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June 30, 2008

Rest time is over

Itís time to regroup and get moving once again. I rested my tired old body through the most of the week. This week I will be preparing more for the bike ride of my next event than running.

I did get out for a couple of rides on Saturday and Sunday. Saturday was the first time I did any exercise at all since my Marathon on the Saturday before. It was a leisurely bike ride that included pulling a trailer with my grandsons aboard. Saturdays ride was about 10 miles of easy hills but a bit of breeze slowed me up during part of it. Sunday I did 16 miles of hard riding that included some pretty good sized hills. All in all it felt really good to get out again.

One thing I did learn is that sure are different muscles used for bike riding. The old body was a little sore and wobbly later in the day on Sunday. After taking a week off from exercise the body was a bit soft.

This week will include some runs and some hard bike rides. One major focus will be running after riding the bike for many miles. That is the most difficult thing to do for the duathlon that I will be doing on July 6th. After this week it will be running as I did while I trained for Grandmaís marathon.

So on to the next adventure I will go.

June 22, 2008

Week 18: Fought the good fight!

My sixth marathon is now history. This one by time was my second best marathon. It went from going ever so smooth to a struggle and than to I can do this. This one might just be the second most memorable since the first will always be the most memorable.

Prior to the marathon it was great to meet up with another runner that I met over the last year. She was doing her second marathon. Itís always nice to have a friendly chat with someone prior to the run.

Shortly after arriving at the start area I felt a pain in my arch of my left foot. One that I had not experienced for quite sometime. Sure felt like planter fasciitis pain. That is something that I did not need. I worked on stretching my foot off and on for about a half hour. I was hoping to get the kinks out as best I could. Walking into the starting chute it seemed a bit better but still a slight pain.

In the starting chute you can always count on conversing with fellow runners. Itís quite a joyous atmosphere. This year there was a young gal in front of me who had a T-shirt on indicating she was in the 50 state club. Thatís a group of runners who try to run a marathon in all 50 states over how ever long it takes them. She had about a dozen or so states crossed off. I asked her how many she planned on doing this year. She said 10. Wow was my response. I told her good luck as we begin to move towards the start. The amazing thing of talking and being part of the crowd all things just seem to fade away which included the pain in my foot.

From the start all the way to the halfway point I felt in total control. Things were going very smoothly. I was on a pace that I felt was comfortable and was well within a range of getting to the end in the 4:30ís. Life was good at this point.

It was just after fourteen miles when I noticed things were starting too change. The heat was starting to take its toll not only on me but others. I actually become a little confused and couldnít remember which mile marker was up next between 16 & 17. Fortunately it was 17. My pace at this point was slowing but still okay.

I had a small contingent of supporters waiting for me at mile nineteen. Two of my nieces and a pseudo niece were there with some items for me, cold Gatorade, an orange and a nice ice cold wet towel. Itís a great pick me up to have someone along the course.

Shortly after meeting my support crew I got the biggest scare of my marathon running career. I begin to get quite light headed. It was a weird feeling. One that I havenít felt since way back in my late teens. The only difference was there was no inhaling this time. I of course chose to walk at this point. Thoughts of "okay what do I do know?" were racing through my mind. Do I stop and sit or what? I chose to walk and try to focus on staying upright. I did the very best I could to stay calm and breath nice and easy.

Things started to get better after a few minutes. So I slowly picked up my pace to make sure I was doing okay. There didnít seem to be any aftershocks so I picked up the pace as best I could. I walked the water stops from here on out and took a block or two breather about halfway between each mile. Making sure I drank water and cooled myself down. At this point my time no longer mattered.

As with the 5 prior Grandmas marathon once I got to the top of what is called Lemon Drop Hill, I knew I was going to make it. Saturday was no different. I walked it to the top and than begin a nice easy pace down the long descent and onto the street that heads through downtown Duluth. I relaxed quite a bit at this point and did the best I could to focus getting around the next couple of bends.

I had no idea what my time was. I guess while I was getting my carbo chew thing out of my waist pack just after mile 12 I must have hit the pause button on my Garmin GPS device. When I looked at my Garmin at mile 15 I knew 2:02 couldnít be correct and saw that the time had stopped. I restarted it but that didnít help my mind was still a bit clouded and I wasnít able to do any calculating. Basically the CPU in the head computer was down.

Again as in the previous marthons making a sharp turn toward the end at mile 25 is a big rush. Run down a hill, than walkup a hill and from there I ran as best I could towards the finish. Iíll admit a few short walks in there this year. I did manage a couple of smiles and poses for the camera when I went by the photo op spots about a ĺ of a mile to the finish. The crowds along this last mile stretch are quite encouraging.

Finally the turn for home and once again that big adrenaline rush. I have always been able to run this section. The crowd just cheers you on and I know my family is pulling me. I was scanning the crowd as I ran down the chute. I see my daughter hanging out trying to see me, I give her a wave and I was now locked on to the ones I love. I happened to see the clock just past the family and by God I was going to finish under 5:00 and better yet Iíll be in the 4:40ís. I had accepted the fact that I was going to over 5:00 and was hoping it wasn't going to be over 5:10. It was now "never mind the watery eyes just get it done, Tim".

Last year I was able to have my oldest grandson cross with me so this year I grabbed my granddaughter and the youngest grandson to cross the line with me. We crossed at 4:54 something. I was home.

I fought the good fight.

Chip time was 4:48:49.

I said this was going to be last Grandmas marathon. Well stay tuned there might be a change.

To everyone who has followed my progress I thank you. Maybe someday I can support you as you embark on an adventure.

Take care my firends and may the good lord bless you as I was this past Saturday.

June 15, 2008

Week 17: The end is near

Yes the end is near. In less than a week I will hopefully have completed my 6th Grandmas Marathon. 17 weeks of training is now behind me.

This week I logged 25 miles in my journal. For the year I am 4.4 miles short of 600 miles. This weekís miles prior to Saturday will not be a lot but it will get me over the 600 mile mark.

As in other weeks I had a bad run and a good run this week. It happens so often that a bad run is followed up by good runs. Sometimes I think my body has a mind of itís own and just likes to mess with me. Maybe itís some angels like my grandpa and brother who are responsible for toying with me. Heaven forbid I take running for granted.

The 10.2 I did on Tuesday was difficult to get through. I struggled through the first four miles and than a spectator give me a little boost. A young buck happened to come out of the woods. We had a stare down as I slowly ran towards him. It was when I got within about twenty yards that I could see he was a buck. At about ten yards he just simply moved into the ditch and stood there as I passed by. Had it not been for that little boost I might have thrown in the towel. That little pick me up kept me going to get close enough that I knew I could finish it. It wasnít pretty but I survived.

Today I ran 8 miles and all went quite well. I had opportunities for it not to go well. It was windy. It was hot. It was hilly. I could have blamed a poor run on any one of those. I didnít need too. I finished under a 10 minute pace. The last mile was tied for 2nd quickest pace for the 8 miles. So heck all is well and still quite optimistic about having a good time this coming Saturday.

Hopefully my next post will be letting you know I finished another 26.2 miles. My main goal is do just that. Finish! Donít know if I will beat my best but I do know that I will run the best I can on that day.

See you at the end.

June 08, 2008

Week 16: Are you Ready???

I think I am ready. Iíve logged a lot of miles. I got my marathon haircut on Friday (#4 Guard all around). I drove the course on Saturday and took notes (more on that later). So I would say yes I am ready.

There are few more things that I need to do yet. One more long run (15 miles) which I will do on Tuesday. Put together my list of what to bring. Decide on what color shirt to wear. Pick up a few supplies. Thatís pretty much it.

One of the things that I found to be helpful last year was driving the course and taking notes. I drove the course the afternoon before the marathon and reviewed those notes the night before. I was in Duluth on Saturday so I drove the course. I will now have two weeks to review the notes. Just like the year before I was surprised to find the beginning a bit more hilly than I remember. I figure it must be an age thing.

Here is what I am looking at:

From the start line there is a slight incline for about the first .5 mile. From there itís flat for about a mile. At 1.5 some rolling ups and downs of various lengths until about 2.3. Slight descent and flat to the 3 mile mark. From there itís a slight incline all the way to 4 and another series of rolling ups and downs to 5. At the 5 mile mark weíll be entering the first small town on the course, Knife River. Lotís of spectators will be there. The route is flat through town. At the end of town thereís a hill thatís not as big as it looks but itís a significant hill nonetheless. Once at the top we drop down a bit, go under a railroad bridge and than up just a bit to the 6 mile mark. Itís pretty flat to 6.8 and again some rolling ups and downs to about 7.6. Thatís followed by a slight descent to 8.4 and uphill to 8.9. Than itís a down hill to about 9.6 and flat to 11. From 11 to about 12.3 thereís some small to medium rolling ups and downs. A bit of a rise at 12.9. Flat from there to just past 14 where it than goes down to 14.7. Again some small rolling ups and downs until 16. At 16 a small degree incline to 16 .4 and than itís pretty much downhill. From there to 18 itís a slight descent and just past 18 itís a bigger descent to 19 (Lester River Area). At 19 we will be at edge of Duluth and a very scenic residential area. From here to the finish there are lots of spectators cheering you on. Stays flat until Lemon Drop hill at mile 22.2. Significant hill at this point but not very long. Just over .2 of a mile. It is followed by a nice descent. At this point we have been in a business section of Duluth on the edge of downtown. A small hill just a block long as we go up to the next street over which is Superior Street which is just prior to mile 23 I think. This is where I feel the chills of ďHeck I am going to make itĒ. Flat from here to mile 25. At 25 we turn towards the convention center go down a hill than up a hill to cross over The I35 bridge and than back down. That will put us at about 25.2. One mile to go and itís flat. Turn by the convention center, turn by the ore boat museum, turn at the other end of the ore boat museum and then the itís the final turn onto canal street and into the finishers chute. Careful it may get wet here from the watery eyes.

After typing that it makes me wish it was tomorrow. The excitement is building. Maybe a small amount of anxiety too.

If you care to track me you can sign up at www.grandmasmarathon.com. Verizon wireless will either send text messages or email messages. You will receive updates as I pass certain points on the course. Runners have a chip attached to the shoelaces and when we cross the check points our time is registered. That information will be relayed to you.

Taper time is about to begin.