Running For Life

NO MORE Marathon Training


May 2010

Day 24; 169 days to race day!

Hello to all my little runners and runner wannabes out there!  Sorry it’s been such a long time since last I updated this blog but there are these little things like work and family that make it kinda hard to not only run but keep up with this blog as well.  I’m not really trying to make an excuse…just tell’n ya why I haven’t been around.

So nuff of that.  I’m back to running in full force and have a whole new energy to go with it today.  Last night I had the most awesome run!!!  I got home early from work, the fam wasn’t home so I decided to trek on down to the Mount Vernon Trail to get my miles in.  For those of you who don’t know, the MVT is a really beautiful trail that starts at Theodore Roosevelt Island and runs along the Potomac to Mount Vernon.  It goes by National Airport and through Old Town Alexandria.  Click here for a map. It’s a great biking trail and I don’t normally like to run on it because of all the bikers.  I’m not a big fan of bikers but I’ll save that for a different blog – that’s a rant of mine that can easily take up a whole blog post.  But anyway, I digress.   So I parked at Daingerfield Island and decided to run south – at that point,  it’s much easier to go south because there are no hills and I was not feeling this run whatsoever.  I was tired and just wanted to get it over and done with but you know, that’s the funny thing about running.  You can never tell what kinda run you’re gonna have until you’ve had it and last night was no exception to this rule.  I put my game face on, told myself I’ll walk if I have to, and just started running.  Well, after about 2 minutes, I got into a zone and started to haul the proverbial ass.  I was so excited; I was doing sub 9 minute miles.  Now I know that’s not great to most runners out there but considering that only last year I was doing 12 minute miles this is a GREAT milestone for me.  I haven’t run this fast since my early 30s.  I don’t know if it was the smell of the honeysuckle in full effect or if it was just the right temperature but dude I was feel’n it and it was AWESOME!  I actually felt like a real runner for a change and was smiling and waving at everyone like I was a rock star.  I remember passing this guy going the opposite direction and he had the same pained face that I normally do; looking like he was struggling with every step and I smiled at him and breezed on by. 

Personal best aside, this is a really nice trail as I said earlier.  Oh and that brings me to another point…not only was averaging 8.4 minute miles, I EVEN stopped to take a couple of photos so I might have been able to  get to 8 minute miles had I not stopped.   Next time we shall see.  But for now, here are some of the photos I took along the way.

The top left is just a photo of the marsh that is right by the island where I parked.  There was something jump’n around in there so I decided not to get too close.  I hate to admit it but I’m not as in tune with nature as I’d like to be.  If I can’t identify it as being human, feline, or canine, I don’t want to have any part of it…well, I don’t want to be close to it without having an electric fence and moat between me and whatever it is.  The top middle photo is one of the fence-covered bridges along the trail.  As you can see, they are pretty cool when there is some sort of foliage on them…they provide great shade but they make for close quarters when you put a bunch of bikers, walkers and runners on the trail.  You can’t see it in this photo, but the woman on the bike was snarling at me because I stopped dead on the trail to take this picture and could have caused a major incident by doing so.    In the bottom left photo, if you look across the river you will see where some of the secrete squirrel stuff goes on in DC.   I can’t tell you what it is…but I can tell you, the stuff that goes on over there is just the kinda of things  that would make most of us stay up nights starring at the ceiling.  I’m just kidding, its’ the sewer treatment plant for DC.  Sorry.  Don’t know why I just said that. 

Alright, that’s enough for today.  I will leave you all with good wishes and happy running!!!  Peace.


Day 16; 177 days to race day!

Can someone please tell me how we ended up in the middle of July?  Did I fall asleep during the first week of May and wake up on July 15th?  DUDES!??  What’s the story with this weather?  Like I know I said I wasn’t going to complain anymore (yeah, like that would ever happen) but com’on…what happened to those beautiful spring mornings that start out at like 60 degrees and slowly make their way to 70 by noon?  Running in Washington is only enjoyable two times out of the year; spring and fall and so far I seem to have missed spring.  I went for a run this morning and I believe it was approximately 351 degrees outside.  Maybe it was a little cooler but not by much.  I felt like some sort of night creature who was mistakenly let out during the day, trying desperately to find any hint of shade as if the sun would singe my skin with even the shortest duration of exposure.  Seriously, I must have looked  a little batty to someone who might have been watching me because I was crossing over streets left and right trying to stay in the shade.  I only did three miles and I got sunburned for chrissake!!!  Look at me, I’m a mess! And, those glasses don’t help the situation at all.  

(I must be a very confident person to share this photo with you all). 

In addition to the heat and humidity, I was dealing with the after effects of going to the gym last night (lifting weights and doing cardio on the elliptical for almost an hour), and celebrating Cinco de Mayo.  Yeah, I’m an idiot – quesadillas, fajita, and margaritas are not really the nutritional building blocks for someone who is trying to get a better marathon time but sometimes you just gotta say..what the @*&%, right?  Yeah, you’re right…not if I want a better time.  It’s so daggone hard to get the right nutritional balance when you’re trying to train.  Does anyone out there have any good training meal ideas?  I don’t want anything high in calories but I do want to make sure I have enough energy to get through my weekly training runs.  I think that’s one of the many reasons why I have never been a very fast runner – I suck at nutrition.  Any help would be greatly appreciated here. 

On a lighter note, I discovered something kinda cool today.  Normally, when I run in the heat, even if it’s just for short distances, I get the worst cottonmouth.  I properly hydrate so it’s not that. I guess it’s just the way I breathe when I run, but my mouth gets so dry I can barely close it.  Today, I brought some sugar-free Lifesavers (five flavors) along with me and man can I tell ya, those little suckers (no pun intended) made all the difference in the world.  No dry mouth!  Whoo Hooo! One less thing to complain about!  The simplest things can make the whole world seem good and pure – well, not really but they did help my dry mouth. 

It’s time to get on with my day.  Side note: It always feels so good to get your run done first thing in the morning so you don’t have to stress about it the rest of the day. 

Peace out my brothahs and sistahs!  Remember to keep on running!

Day 14; 179 days to race day!

Hello to  all my little Steve Prefontaine wannabe’s out there!  I want to start today off with a quote from Steve (that’s what I like to call him cuz he and I are tight like that) and it goes something like,  “To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.” 

This morning when I woke up I was fit-to-be-tied!!!  Whatever that means.  I’m sure it has some sort of country folk origin and as much as I like to pretend that I am country (with my rubber dairy boots from Wal-Mart) , I’m about as country as Donatella Versace (see photo to right).  So anyway, my point; I was tired and pissy and feeling sorry for myself.  Sunday, I had a crappy run.  It was like a million degrees outside and I think around 400% humidity.  I was barely able to squeeze out 4 miles instead of my intended goal of 6.  I hadn’t been sleeping well and the change in the weather combined with all the junk floating in the air from all the trees and flowers blooming  made me unbearable to deal with this morning.  I was packing my gym bag getting stuff ready for my run tonight (yes!  I’m off schedule again) complaining the whole time – man I’m a gem sometimes.  The traffic on the way into work no doubt added to my wonderful mood…I mean seriously, I don’t think I could have been any nastier!  I decided to go get a cup of coffee to try to get myself in a better mood.  Coffee always seems to brighten even the darkest days.  As I was walking out of my building, there was a woman walking in.  She appeared to be just about 4 feet tall and walked with a very severe limp.  I saw her coming toward me so I stopped to hold the door open for her.  As she walked through the door,  her response to my simply holding the door open completely amazed me!  Not only was she so grateful, as if I went out fo my way to help her, she was just incredibly cheerful!  She had a  huge smile on her face,  and she was thanking me and saying good morning to everyone around us.  Man, did I feel like a tool!!!  Here I was, complaining and moaning about such trivial things and I”m looking at this woman who,  just to do normal day-to-day things,  has to overcome such extreme obstacles and she was not only in wonderful mood, she was able to make everyone around her feel a little better.  I truly am embarrassment to myself sometimes.  So, when I read Steve’s quote,  it made me think to myself, though my “running ability” might not be a gift, my ability to run certainly is and I hope to never take that for granted!

All right, I have stepped down off my soap box.  About a week ago, I asked everyone to give me a list of their favorite races and I got noth’n!  That’s pretty piss poor guys!  Oh well, maybe it’ll help if I give you a list of my top 5.  I am going to list them in order of when they happen.  For some reason, I always think of my running year resetting with the regular calendar year. 

My first race  that I like to start the running year off with is the St. Patrick’ Day 8K.  It’s a lot of fun, people are so happy to finally get out and run after a long winter, and it’s St. Patrick’s day!!! Who doesn’t love the Irish????  By the way, my grandmother’s name was Mary Patricia Nooney!  I think she smiles a little every time I run this race. 

My second race of the year is the Pikes Peak 10K.  That’s the one I ran last week.  I’ve already covered that one so …nuff said. 

Third, is the The Rockville Rotary Twilight Runfest.  This race takes place the third Saturday in July  and it starts at 9 PM.  Dudes, it can be brutal.  There have been times when it’s so hot they have to delay the start time, but it really is a fun race!  I promise. The course winds its way through the city of Rockville – down neighborhood streets where folks come out to cheer you on and sometimes they pull out their garden hoses to spray you down (I think that might only sound appealing to runners).  There is always a huge crowd with a band playing in the background as you cross the finish line.  It’s just a big block party so it’s fun for everyone…even the folks you bring along for support have a good time.    My in-laws came with me last year – my sister-in-law, mother-in-law, father-in-law, nephews, and husband were all there.  Bella and my nephew Caius ran the fun run and everyone had a great time! 

Fourth, is the Rock n’ Roll 1/2 Marathon in VA Beach.  If’ you’ve never run one of these Rock n’ Roll  runs you’ve got to try one. They are the BEST! Not only are they just so much fun (and take place in like really fun cities), they are so well-organized.  I’m always so impressed with how they handle the sheer volume of people who turnout for these events.   This might sound really stupid, but I’m in awe with the support from UPS to help pull off this event.  The VA Beach Rock n’ Roll 1/2 marathon starts in one part of VA Beach and ends on the ocean – I think it’s about a mile or so from the start line to the finish so the race organizers have the challenge of getting all the runner’s drop off bags from the starting line to the finish line.  Sounds like a pretty easy thing right – yeah, no.  They have an entire fleet of UPS trucks lined up by last name and organized by runner number.  I’ve never had a problem getting my stuff at the end and I’m always amazed by the whole process.  Small minds are easily impressed I guess. 

Fifth, and final is the Thanksgiving Day, SOME race.  I know I’ve already mentioned this one as well, but I really like the idea of getting in a run on the one day a year that is set aside for unadulterated  gluttony!  And, you can raise money to help a very worthy cause.  It’s  just an awesome time to be had by all!!!

So there’s my list.  I’d love to hear from you all so send me your lists!

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