August
29
Posted on 29-08-2010
Filed Under (Training) by Brian

On Monday morning I was lying in bed with my eyes open, as I often do, waiting for the motivation to finally swing my legs over the edge and rise for the day.  I began replaying the Gasparilla marathon in my head and having a conversation with myself about what I did right and what I did wrong.  Soon, my thoughts drifted to the moment near the 24 mile mark when my calves first started to cramp up.

I was trying to describe the feeling to myself and stumbled over the words until I arrived at this conclusion:

“It felt like my calves looked me in the eyes and said, ‘You’ve been pounding us for the last 3 hours.  To hell with you’.  They tightened so much that they threatened to break their tendony bonds to my bones, tear through my skin, hop the seawall and swim to Mexico where they would find a new host.”

I pictured myself collapsing to the ground of Bayshore Drive as animated versions of my calves awkwardly hopped toward the seawall, casting one final smirk that said “F You!” with their sinewy cartoon mouths before plunging into the sea and making their way to Mexico.

I laughed out loud…for a while and got out of bed.  It’s always good to start the day with a laugh.

If consistency is key, then I’m well on my way back.  I ran all 7 days this week:

Monday: 3 miles treadmill + leg strength training

Tuesday: 4 miles

Wednesday: 3 miles treadmill + upper body strength

Thursday: 5 miles

Friday: 3 miles treadmill + core strength training

Saturday: 8 miles (final mile in 7 minutes)

Sunday: 5 miles

Total: 31 miles

Overall, my average pace was probably about 8:30 min/mile.  I felt good on just about every run with the exception of Thursday’s 5 miler.  I was dreading the weekend 8 miler because of that and because I was meeting up with Richie and Steve (who have been pushing faster paces lately).  Unfortunately, Richie injured his calf and Steve ran the other direction, so I never met up with them.  I had a great run anyway.

I’m getting occasional flashes of the kind of outside my body experience that I had for most of the Disney half marathon.  It feels good, but I’m also getting some episodes of utter “suckitude” like Thursday’s painful 5 miler.  I did have a lot of wine on Wednesday night, so I think I can chalk it up to that.

All in all, I’m feeling pretty good.  I’m not quite ready to add speedwork to the mix, but I’m getting there.  Certainly if the temperatures come down, I’ll be ready to fly…maybe even before that.  I’ve got a tentative race on the calendar as well.  I’ll be running the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 10K in downtown St. Petersburg during the first weekend of October.  I’ll also probably run the intrasquad 5K with Alice’s cross country team in the next few weeks.

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August
17
Posted on 17-08-2010
Filed Under (Inspiration) by Brian

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been doing a little PR work for one of our websites that sells plus size bras.  The website is hosting a contest that will donate $250 to the fund-raising efforts of a single walker in an upcoming Susan G. Komen 3 day for the Cure event.  I’ve thus been scouring the blogosphere for those who might be interested in spreading the word about this contest.

I’m not surprised that I’ve found quite a bustling internet community around the Susan G. Komen 3 day events and it’s funny how well I can identify with many of them.  For instance, Laurie talks about the importance of earplugs for camp.  How I wish I had those while trying to catch a few winks at a major exchange during the Ragnar Relay.  Paula talks about the finish.  Here’s a quote that will sound familiar to anyone who’s ever finished a marathon:

Walking into holding was not something that you can describe. To know you finished the walk (even if you did only walk 27 out of 60 miles) is amazing. Everyone is there cheering you in. As I was walking down the aisle of cheering people I saw my med team and they looked so proud of me. It just felt simply amazing!

There are some things with which I can’t identify, though and I’ve read some truly heart wrenching stories over the last 3 weeks.  There are those who have survived and those who have died and (perhaps most depressing) those who have fought off breast cancer once or even twice only to be overcome by the disease a few years later.  In just about every case, however, it’s amazing how many people these women (and some men) have inspired.

At least half of the bloggers I’ve contacted are people who didn’t exercise much before taking on the challenge of the Susan G. Komen 3 day for the cure.  Make no mistake that this event is one that requires training akin to that which we runners undergo when preparing for a marathon.  Walking 20 miles may seem easy to us at first glance, but 20 miles at any speed is nothing to scoff at and doing it for 3 days straight is an accomplishment worthy of note.

It would be easy for many of these people to say, “That’s not something I’m cut out to do” or “I’ll never make it”, but they keep going (and that’s why energizer is a major sponsor).  The thought that a friend, relative or co-worker looked death in the face drives them on.  Little by little they walk, increasing their mileage until they do it.  They have mottoes like “Whining causes blisters” and “Blisters don’t require chemo”.  They find out what they’re really capable of when they put their minds to it and they don’t quit.  They find a vibrant community of other people doing the same thing and along the way they raise huge amounts of money for the fight against breast cancer.

I continue to be inspired by these people.  My only regret is that we only have one donation to give.  I hope that the contest will drive enough traffic to the website so that it grows enough for us to donate more next year.  If anyone knows of someone who is walking this year, please direct them to the contest:

http://www.allplussizebras.com/susan-g-komen-3-day-for-the-cure-reach-your-goal-contest

Tweets and Facebook shares would be much appreciated as well. Thanks!

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August
08
Posted on 08-08-2010
Filed Under (Training) by Brian

I think the main lesson I’ve learned from my training in the last few weeks is that I’m not in the kind of shape I thought I was. After being inspired by Spirit of the Marathon, I met up with Richie and Steve for a 10 mile run a few weeks ago. I was really dogging it about halfway through and had to stop for a walk after about 9 miles. They were kind enough to let me catch my breath and we finished 10 miles in about an hour and a half.

Since then, I’ve realized that I’ll have to take it easy and gradually build myself back up until my legs come back. That’s not a big deal since I’ve really got no big race plans until the Ragnar Relay in January. On that front, we’ve put together a team of 12 runners and I’m the coach! It doesn’t mean all that much since we’re not horribly serious about time. I think our main goal is to get to Key West early enough to have a bit of a nap before the party really starts.

I did manage to get 3 runs in less than 24 hours this weekend. The first was 6 miles in about 52:30. The second was 3 miles that I didn’t time, but felt fast. The third was 3 miles in 26 minutes. The legs are holding up pretty well and I’m regaining some cardiovascular fitness. My goal right now is to try to stay consistent and just get my workouts in with little regard for time.

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