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May 30, 2006

Begining of the end

Starting this week my training miles will decreaseslightly each of the next 3 weeks. I have reached taper time. My 20 miler yesterday was the beginning of
the end of training.

At the end of my run yesterday I described it as brutal. I originally planned on doing 22 but ended up at 20.2 miles. The reason for the shortage was heat.
Going in I knew it was going to be warm but I wasnít expecting a 20 degree temperature climb in 3 Ĺ hours. Yes it went from 58 degrees at the 6:30 start to 80 degrees when I ended at just after 10:00. At the end I
was certainly glad I endured the challenge of the day.

Today I look back at the run and I describe it as a great run. Despite the heat conditions I felt very good all day yesterday after the run. Today my body
feels very good. Legs are feeling quite normal and fresh. If it wasnít 90 degrees I would be running again tonight. My confidence level went up from the day before I ran.

On Saturday I was a bit apprehensive all day. It was tough not to think about the run on Sunday morning. My thoughts were always going back to the problems that I have been having with my right shin. I had a very
difficult time sleeping Saturday night.

Finally after checking the time each time I woke up during the night, it was time to get up, 5:30 am. The plan was a quick breakfast, PB on toast and a banana.
Than go out and stash my Gatorades, baggies of ice and one small bottle of frozen water at the 8 mile mark and at the 16 mile mark. Once that was done I would get dressed, stretch and loosen up a bit. I wanted to be on the run at 6:30.

I would say the run was going pretty much to plan through the first 14 or so miles. There were no problems with legs or anything. I was hitting my miles
at a pace that I felt comfortable. It was an enjoying run through the country side which included seeing 3 whitetail deer along the way. The miles seemed to flow quite well.

It was between miles 14 and 15 when I started to feel the heat getting to me. Knowing that I had a baggie of ice which was now most likely ice water at 16, I
plugged along as best I could. My plan was to drink my last Gatorade that I had picked up at mile 8 and go on to 17. At 17 I was to turn back for home and grab a new supply of Gatorade to get me to 22 miles. I knew that the ice water would refresh me for a bit but I also knew it would not give me enough refreshment for the last six. I chose to turn back for the finish at 16. Given the heat factor I felt my body was using reserves and things that would be compatible with doing 22 on a cooler day.

The lesson I learned from Sundayís run was to plan for heat better next time. I should have had ice/water maybe every four miles. During the marathon there are water stations every 2 miles. With that many opportunities to cool myself off, I feel comfortable with being able to handle heat during the marathon.

As of today I am feeling very good about being prepared both physically and mentally for Grandmas Marathon on June 17th. The key now is not to trip, fall, drop a bowling ball on my foot, etc..

May 25, 2006

A little help doesn't hurt

Lord you gave me the ability to run.
I am trying to use that to run 26.2.
I believe the two of us can git r dun.
Although I am confident I can do it,
itís for sure that I will need you too.

I know you will be there for me.
And when I ask I am sure you will,
give me that little push at my time of need.

When I am done you can bet you will be
The first one I thank.

Amen

Getting Close

Less than a month now to Grandmaís Marathon. Training is ongoing however itís going gingerly at the moment. I am anxiously looking forward to the completion of my training and running the event.

Currently I am running every other day. I am hoping that my right leg will begin to improve with this approach. So far my legs do seem to be responding. I was able to get 8 miles in last night and the right leg feels better post run now than it did a couple of weeks ago.

The long run this weekend will be the biggest test and most likely an indicator for the marathon. On Sunday I will be trying to get 22 miles done. I may need to do a walk/run routine toward the end. If I need to walk/run during the run, I hope to make at least 16 prior to walking. I have the route all planned.

After this weekend my weekly distances will reduce each week. This part of the training is called tapering. The thought behind the tapering is that the muscles will begin a recovery process and will be ready to go by marathon day. Due to the fact that the marathon starts early in the morning, Iíll complete the runs during this part of the program very early in the mornings. My hope is that will than acclimate my body to getting up early and running. It will be quite important for me to stick to the tapering schedule and to stay within the reduced miles.

I hope to find some help during my marathon run. I have found that drinking about 6 oz of Gatorade every 2 miles works well for me. I can carry two 12 oz bottles in my hands so that gets me to mile 8. If I take water at some of the water stops, I can probably get the two bottles to stretch out the need for more Gatorade to somewhere between mile 12-14. So I am going to be looking for someone to replenish me along the course somewhere.

May 24, 2006

The Chunks

The dixie chunks just donít know when to stop digging. I guess when you have tons of money already so what if you reduce your chances of making more. Itís too bad because they are talented.

They get angry when people speak out against them. I guess they think they are the only ones entitled to freedom of expression. If a privately owned radio station doesnít want to play the dixie chunks music, they have that right. Just like I have the right to change the station when I hear a dixie chick dribble.

I was pleased to hear one of the award winners from the Country Music Awards thank God for his talents and the award. You certainly donít hear that coming from the Hollywood types.

May 22, 2006

Fish Story

This weekend I and other adult leaders took some scouts on a camping trip. We went to camp located about 140 miles north of the Twin Cities. The troop had never been to this camp so it was going to be a leaning experience for us.

There was one huge highlight for me, a scout and I think the other scouts too for the most part. Iíll get to that highlight in just a second. First a little bit about me.

As a kid I loved to fish. If I was ever near a lake or river, I had to throw out a line. My grandfather took me quite a bit. He said that he never new anyone who fished as much as I did. When I wasnít out with him I would be on the dock. I would fish for hours and hours. To this day I will spend as much spare time as I can to fish when the opportunity is there.

One of the 3 scouts that joined our troop this last March, Sam M., has the same passion as I do for fishing. In fact I might be challenged to keep up with him. I figure he is my protťgť.

So back at the camp the scouts and some of the leaders went out on a canoe trip and did a little fishing too. I did other things while they were gone. As soon as they got back to camp, Sam asked when we could go down by the lake and try fishing from shore. My answer was once we get done with dinner. Evidently he didnít get enough fishing in on the canoe trip.

With dinner and cleanup complete Sam and I headed off to the lake right there by camp. Sam had brought along some wax worms for bait. I rigged up one of my poles for him to use (his pole broke on the canoe trip). He caught a few small sunfish and a few big ones two. We were releasing everything that we caught. A couple of other scouts joined us. One of the other scouts caught a real nice crappie. I asked Sam if I could try catching a few crappies and he handed over the pole. I managed to catch one nice crappie. Fishing was pretty good but it was about to get a whole lot better.

While I was fishing for crappies Sam picked up my other pole which was rigged with a beetle spin and jig. The jig had a scented twister tail body on it. He went about casting it and retrieving several times. Because it was quite weedy and shallow it was pretty much cast out and than pull off weeds. As it was getting very close to dark the silence was broken by a loud splash that startled me. Than Sam said I got a fish. Boy did he. He was hooked up with a trophy bass. He landed it and I held it up for him to see. I think I was just as excited as he was. We took a quick picture of it and released it. My favorite lure came through once again.

Sam was doing exactly what I would have been doing at that age. Even though the chance of catching a fish was minimal, he was plugging away. Our next campout will have fishing opportunities too. I think I know where Sam and I will be.

Whenever you have a chance, take a kid fishing. Itís a blast.

May 19, 2006

Mind over matter

Occasionally running long distances becomes just as much a mental struggle as a physical struggle. There are times were you need to convince yourself that you can overcome little annoyances. After being out there awhile all kinds of thoughts can go through a persons mind.

While training for a marathon you need to train mentally as well. I did just that last night. Even though my legs felt lethargic and my shoes felt like lead weights I knew I needed to complete a long run. I just couldnít let my body dictate me to turn around and shorten the run. My head needed to take over the run.

There are a number of things that I do to take my thoughts away from running. Generally I first solve the world problems. I think about what I would do if I was in charge of the world. After the little aches and pains overcome my problem solving, I may start to think about what I will do with my lottery winnings. Once the lottery winnings spent I may than reach out to those who are no longer physically on earth but still very much in my heart. Thatís a few of the things I use to get my way past difficult times.

A quote that I read once went something like this ďThere are no atheists at mile 23Ē The author of the quote (I donít remember) goes on contemplating how many promises are made with our maker during a marathon. I know I have made a few.

May 17, 2006

MIA

Okay I am back on the road again. I decided to stay off the legs because of minor pain issues. Certainly didnít want the issues to become major. Last night was my first run in just over a week.

I am happy to report for the most part all things were just fine. I didnít want to over extend anything so I settled for 3.4 miles. There was some discomfort however nothing more than normal after a week layoff. Tonight I will run a bit further.

I am cautiously optimistic that the remaining of my training will be completed per my schedule. That includes a long run of 22 miles on Sunday May 28th. The schedule after that begins a winding down of weekly distances which is known as taper time.

May 10, 2006

Taking a step back

As mentioned in my prior posts, my right leg is giving me resistance to this training stuff. Due to that I am going to take it easy this week. Try and give the leg a little bit more time to recover.

The plan is to do some real light jogging on a dirt track. That is just about as boring as a dreadmill (not misspelled). Around and around I will go. Each lap is about a 1/3 of a mile. That will lessen the pounding that my leg and knees have while running on the asphalt.

I am still quite confident about finishing in less than 5 hours. However my hopes of doing better than a 4:30 might not come to fruition. My time will determined on how well my body recovers during the taper part of program.

May 07, 2006

Got it Dun

Todayís training run was the long run for the week (runners call it a LSD). Every week a scheduled LSD is run as a finale for that week. This weeks run was a 20 miler.

For me today was quite grueling to say the least. I did get the miles in but as the old phrase goes it wasnít pretty. Didnít feel that great either.

I started out just like I had wanted too. I was running a very steady pace for the first loop of my run. The loop I run is about 8.5 miles. I replenished my supply of Gatorade and headed out for lap two feeling very strong. Than all of sudden at mile 11 I could feel I was weakening. A good analogy would be like watching a thermometer go down as a cold front comes through. At mile 12 I thought maybe another shot of Gatorade would give me a boost. Unfortunately that wasnít the case and in running terms I had bonked. From 12 to 17 I alternated between walking for about 20 yards and running about ĺ of mile. Finally I got back to the house and a fresh Gatorade and ice water for my hat. That would hopefully give me enough to get through to the end.

I managed to run, sort of, for the last three. It took every thing I had and a whole lot of talk between my maker and me to finish the last three. Itís done and despite it didnít go as I hoped; I feel it was success nonetheless.

Oh, I also owe a lot to those that supported me from the RCC. Thanks.

For those that are interested here is the loop that I ran today http://www.usatf.org/routes/view.asp?rID=22172

Tomorrow will be a rest day and than its back to the pavement.

May 05, 2006

Had to do it.

Sometimes a person needs to evaluate the situation and do what he/she thinks is best. I was struggling with what to do with the leg pain that I have had for about a week now. I had to decide what I thought would be best.

My decision was to give it more rest than work. I have only run twice this week, Tuesday and Thursday. I will also take today off. The rest however ends today.

On Saturday morning I will get out for an easy paced 5 to 6 miler in the morning. Than on Sunday a 20 miler is on the docket. I am really looking forward to getting back out there. It will be tough to hold back my pace on Saturday but itís necessary to prevent future problems.

On Sunday I wonít be alone. I have a few unseen friends that will be running with me. For quite sometime now I have been chatting online with some other runners that have something in common with me. That something is Weight Watchers. So a number of them have said they will go out and run at that same time that I am running. We have created a virtual running group. It will be a good time.

May 03, 2006

Whoa Big Fella

A small concern has entered the fray of my training. Basically itís been there for a week or so. The right shin is aggravated.

Last night I was headed out for my speed work. The plan is to run a steady easy pace for about 15 minutes to warm up and get loose. There was the stiffness in my right leg that I felt on runs previously. However this time the small ache and the stiffness didnít go away. It became readily apparent that the speed work wasnít in the cards.

For the moment I need to determine what to do with the issue. A number of things are on the table. One is to stop running and do some biking for a few days. Another is to take my step back week early and just reduce my miles this week. There is also trying a combination of things and that is my plan to deal with it.

May 02, 2006

Pick up the Pace

Iím not talking about salsa here. The pace that I am talking about is my running pace.

My best marathon run (PR in runner talk) is 4:37, which calculates to about 11 minutes per mile. That is the pace that I am looking to pick up. I am hoping to get closer to 4:20 this time around.

As I mentioned in a prior ramble I managed an exact 10:00 mile pace for 18 miles. That is what will be required to get to a 4:20 marathon. The problem was my latter miles were slowing a bit. I was at about a 9:50 pace for the first 9 miles and than about 10:10 for the final 9.

A couple of things are going to have to happen in order for me to pick up the pace. Well maybe three. Probably the easier of the two is to train hard. I am finding the training to be not as bad as my prior training programs. I started the program in better shape. The second thing is I hope to drop at least 5 more pounds. That would make me almost stealth like. Well maybe not stealth but lighter anyways. The maybe three is a huge tailwind. The first two are under my control.