Archive for March, 2010

Unintended hill work

We all know that hill climbs are a critical component of training. I find myself today in the mountain town of Ithaca, NY at Cornell University for a training seminar. Of course I had no directions for where to park so I pulled into the first entrance and was told by the security guard, we’ll call him Shecky, that I needed to park in the garage and get a permit. I thought, ok, fine I can do that. I pulled into the garage and followed the visitor parking signs and came to a dead end. A sign there clearly said permit required. Unfortunately there was no booth and no people around.

I walked up two flights of stairs and still no signs of life.  I finally found my way out of the garage, but even then there was no one I could see that was there to offer me a parking permit.  I decided that perhaps the class organizers would have the permits.  I found my way down a steep hill and over to the law school.  I signed in and picked up the two large books I was going to need for the training course.  I asked the volunteer about parking, and she said she had no idea.  Great!  I had walked past a guard station a few hundred feet away from the law school, so I thought I would check that out and see if they could help.

I spoke to the woman in the station and she told me I needed to buy a $10 parking permit.  I said, ok, fine.  She then asked for my license plate number.  Hmm, I don’t know what it is.  “Can I just take the permit and get you the info on the way back?” I asked.  “No I need the license plate number first,” she replied.  I looked at the hill I had just come down, and back at her, and said ok.  I walked up the hill loaded with my books, laptop, and all of my gear, it must have been 600 feet of elevation.  I took a picture of my license plate with my phone, dropped my gear off in the car, and walked back down.  When I got to the guard station I gave her the number and she just wrote it on the permit.  I can write a number on the permit, why did she make me walk up the hill?  Twice?

She then told me not to worry about going back to my car, she would call and make sure they don’t give me a ticket!!!  That’s great, but all my gear is in the car.  So needless to say, I had another climb ahead of me.  I think I ended up walking up 1200 feet of elevation and more than 2 miles.  Awesome!

The Running Man

Yesterday my schedule had me running 6 miles after my spin class. The weather was perfect. After Friday’s lactate threshold test I was ready to run in my aerobic zone. I prepared a 3 mile loop that passed my house and I left water in my mailbox.

I also set my watch to keep me in my zone. The watch worked really well, I’ll post a review of it in another post. The watch will beep when you go over and under your zone, which allows you to slow down and speed up accordingly. The run was pretty uneventful, which is great, but let me just say, there are few things in life more frustrating than having to walk when you just want to run.

Because I am trying to stay in my zone, every time I hit a hill I was forced to walk in order to stay in my zone. I want to say I had to stop a dozen times or more as I ran over the mount everest of a route that I had set myself up for. I ended up with a 11:54 pace. Lots of room for improvement.

It was brutal, but I’ve been assured that this is the right way to train, grumble grumble, grumble. This route is going to be my training indicator in the months to come. My goal is to be ble to get through this run while still in my zone.

I made it through the run relatively unscathed. My shins hurt for the first three miles, but that eased for the back 3. Even though this is the longest I have ever run, I wasn’t tired and I felt I could go much longer.

The aftermath? Well, my feet were tired, very tired and sore. Even though I tried to run on the middle of my foot, my heels were sore, which means that I am probably heel striking more than I think I am. This morning my feet are ok, my shins seem fine, and the only pin I’m feeling is a slight sharp pain in my left knee when I go down stairs. This should pass soon. With my upcoming schedule, I probably won’t have time for my run today, but we’ll see.

So I now have nearly half of my half marathon (quarter marathon?) under my belt, and I feel very strong. Who knows, maybe I can do this thing.

Where did the strength go?

My how things turn so quickly!  By the time I got home, bathed the kids, and got my swim stuff together I was drained.  I couldn’t even pick up my gym bag forget about the car.

So I dragged my sorry butt to the gym and tried to swim some laps.  Once again I struggled through the laps.  I did discover that I have exactly two speeds for swimming.  Fast and stupid fast.  Don’t misunderstand, I don’t mean I am faster than other people, though in some cases I am, but what I mean is that I am sprinting, and I can’t seem to slow myself down.  This would be awesome if I could sustain it for longer than 10 feet, but before long I am huffing and puffing like I have emphysema.  I know I need to slow it down.  I just can’t figure out how to do that. I did manage to squeak out 700 yards before the gym closed, but I wasn’t happy with it.

After the swim I showered and threw on my running gear.  I drove home and started my run at 10PM.  I ran a new route and tried really hard to keep my heart rate below 150bpm.  The reason for this is something I want to discuss in a separate post, but lets just say it is really hard to run at such a low heart rate, do you see a pattern forming here?  The run was uneventful, however, I struggled with shin pain again.  It feels like a sore tight muscle thing and I hope that over the next few months it will work itself out.

I listened to my surroundings as I ran.  I don’t listen to music as I run because I like to let my mind wander.  As I approached an apartment complex I heard what sounded like a bunch of men laughing.  It put me on guard.  It was night time and I was a little freaked out because I couldn’t see where all these people were.  As I passed a pond in front of the apartments I realized that the laughing was actually just some frogs croaking.  Overactive imagination?  Me?  Nooo!


Sometimes I wonder if strength is mostly physical, or mostly mental?  I know that in reality you need both, but which is most important?

I say this because today I feel strong.  I feel like I could pick up a car, then run a marathon strong.  Of course so far all I’ve done for physical activity is pick up the phone, and walked a few blocks (does typing count) so really I haven’t put this feeling to the test.  But I also can’t exactly figure out why I feel as strong as I do today.  I didn’t do anything special yesterday.  So is it the weather?  We are expecting an unusually warm 70 degrees today, or is the training kicking in?  I don’t know, but whatever it is, I hope I can harness it for a long time to come.  I’m going to need all the strength I can muster to get to my half marathon goal.

There is power in this feeling, what I do with it matters more than anything.

My Nemesis

So last night I came to a startling realization.  Swimming is my nemesis.  I know, sounds silly right?  But it’s not.   I feel like I make progress one day, and then fall apart the next.  In fact, at times it is even more bipolar than that.  I have a great length, then half way back to finish the lap I think, this is great I can go forever, but by the time I get back to the wall, I am out of gas.  Huh, what?  Where did that come from?

I know that this is a long journey, I keep telling myself it is a marathon and not a sprint, but come on, there has to be something going on here that is beyond swimming.  The pool is actively trying to mess with me.  Some days it pushes me along, feeding my ego, and the next day it steps on my chest with it’s watery foot.  So that’s where I stand, swimming hates me and wants me to fail.

Of course there’s nothing like a rivalry to get my juices flowing, so it it’s a fight the pool wants, it’s a fight that I will give it.  Mark my words, I will take you down pool.  I will swim endlessly, and you will see my power.  (OK is it gone now, gulp, omg I’m scared.)

I also ran last night, erm, that wasn’t much better.  My legs were stiff, and my shins started getting sore.  I need to figure out what I’m doing wrong to make my shins so sore.  I do enjoy running at night, but last night was a slogfest.

2010 O’Hartford 5K: Race Report


This was the first race that my wife and I have ever done!  To think not long ago we would have laughed at the thought of it.  In fact, just a few months ago the thought of running 3 miles was unfathomable.  A couple of years ago I started working out and trying to get into shape.  I thought running was something I would do for some aerobic workout.  I got out at night and ran a two mile loop.  I had to stop to walk 3 times over that loop.  It took me nearly as long to do that loop as it takes me to run 3 miles now, and it turns out that the 2 mile loop was only about 1.7 miles.  Now here we were, registered and ready to run 3.1 miles through the streets of Hartford with over a thousand other people.


Nothing to tell here really.  The race was a late start 1:00PM w0ot!  So life was normal until about noon when we drove over.  The weather forecast wasn’t great.  Upper 40’s and a high chance of rain.  We packed some clothes in case we needed to dry off after the race.  The race was right by my office so we dropped our stuff there and headed down to warm up and stretch a little.  We watched some kids run the wee-mile, and decided that our kids would do it next year.  Then we warmed up in a nearby building waiting for our race to start.  It was amazing how many people were out there.  The race had a best costume contest and a lot of people wore lots of green outfits.  The one that stood out most to me was the Jolly Green Giant.  Very funny.

The Race

As the start time got closer we got into the street and waited for the start.  The street was packed with racers and everyone was pretty close together.  As the seconds stretched on towards the start of the race I could feel the energy coming over me.  There was electricity in the air and the closer we got to the start, the more fidgety everyone seemed to get.  I looked over the crowd with my virgin eyes, not knowing what expect, but excited at the prospect.  The race announcer’s voice boomed in the air, and the front of the pack was off and running.  A collective yell came out from the runners and the crowd…but despite the excitement, the racers in front of me started in fits.  A few steps forward, and stop, a few steps forward and stop.  I kissed my wife, who was standing there sharing the energy of the crowd, and then slowly, mercifully, we were off.

The Long Mile

The first several hundred feet were slow going.  The road was clogged with runners and there was no way to make headway.  As we made the first turn, the road opened up and I slipped to the left into a relatively open pocket and picked up my pace.  The second turn onto Main Street followed shortly thereafter and the road opened wider.  It was a sight to behold.  The city seemed to pause just for us.  Roads closed, police officers holding off the impending flow of traffic as we ran along the streets like a mob.

People were working through the crowd as the giant race sifter shook the slow people to the back and the fast people to the front.  Time and time again blurs passed by me as if they were egging me on to chase them.  At one point a young girl cut out in front of me and slowed to a crawl.  I worked my way around her thinking to myself how careless some people were to not even look behind them when the moved around and slowed down.  As I shot past her I thought of all the blog entries I’ve read from various women racers who complain about over taking a man only to have him pass them in a fit of machismo.  I contemplated for a second if I would end up a footnote on her blog post, or a weirdo on her Twitter feed.  I didn’t care, I just wanted to go.  It wasn’t long before we were off of Main Street.  I continued my run.  At this point I noticed that, although the road looked the same, it was getting considerably harder to keep running.  I couldn’t place it, but I was tired.

I wondered  if I was running too fast.  What was my pace?  How would I know?  I regretted not laying out the race better so that I would be able to tell where each mile was.  I was sure we were past the mile mark at that point.  My calves and shins started to get sore.   I shook it off and pressed on.  The thoughts kept coming.  Was I burning myself out?  What is going on here?  As I ran I looked at the area around me.  It was very familiar to me.  I used to hang out in this area of Park Street as a kid.  I ran past the barbershop a high school friend’s dad owned.  I ran past the apartment of the dream girl in my high school, who was at one time unattainable, and who not long after, I threw out of my car for paying attention to my belongings instead of paying attention to me–I can’t stand materialistic people.  I ran past the street where I almost lost my life when a friend of mine and I were chased down by a gang.  The street was full of memories of where I was from, where I had been, and now, a new memory of where I am going.

Mile Two

Within a few minutes, I passed the mile marker…wait…that was only a mile?  What on earth is going on?  To make matters worse, I looked at my watch and noticed that I was running slower, not faster than usual at a 10:20 pace.  The race sifter had finished its sifting and now I was running with people who were slower than I wanted to be, I had been sifted out!  I then came to the next realization.  I had been running on a false flat for nearly half a mile.  That explained it.  I picked up the pace as soon as the road flattened out.  It wasn’t long, however, before I saw a monster hill looming in front of me.  I had driven on this road countless times, I had never ever noticed the hill.  How could it be?

I leaned into the hill and slugged my way over it.  I was working hard now, and I could feel the burning in my calves and my shin.  I tried not to slow down.  It was at this point that I realized that I was really hot.  My hands were sweaty, and my upper body was drenched.  At the top of the hill I found the water station.  I contemplated not getting any water because I didn’t need it and I didn’t want to slow my pace.  As I approached the table the crowd of racers opened up and I was able to grab a cup without slowing down too much.  I tried to sip the water as I ran, however, that was not really happening.  I got a few sips then dumped the rest down my back.  Oh what a glorious feeling that was.  Totally amazing!

As I started the descent, the idea came over me that I should run faster.  I really wanted to beat my training pace of 10:00, but more importantly, I wanted to at least match it.  I figured that I would have plenty of time to catch my breath after the downhill.  That was until I turned the corner and found an even bigger hill to climb.  I just about gasped at the look of it.  If you had asked me a week ago if there were any hills in Hartford I would have said no.  In fact, I remember telling my wife that this was going to be a much flatter race than any of our training runs.  Oh how I was wrong.  I trudged along, however, and tried my best to keep my pace.  I passed the second mile marker and noted that I was now at a 10:09 pace.

Mile 3

I made the turn onto Capital Avenue, and there were two people there cheering us on.  I saw a woman on the sidewalk with her child looking into the crowd of runners with an eagle eye.  At that moment I knew that I would want…no need…to have my children there to guide me through the half marathon in October.  In my darkest moment they would lift me up and I would float to the finish, I just felt it.  As I made it up Capitol Avenue, I reviewed my race plan, or rather I should say the idea that I had about how to finish.  I had planned to turn the corner in front of the Bushnell Theater and sprint in to the finish.  I wanted to finish strong and leave it all out there on the streets of Hartford.  Even though I was tired and my sneakers were hurting the soles of my feet (again) I knew I had to do it.  As I approached the state capitol building, a barricade on the side of the road forced me to move right.  I was trapped among a group of runners so I had to either slow down, or speed up.  I chose to speed up and it felt good, really good, so I kept going.  I zigged and zagged through the crowd of runners.  I felt strong as I blasted past people, the race sifter be damned.  As I turned the corner I saw the arch.  The arch was not the end of the race, but it was pretty close to it.  As I looked down the road, my heart sank.  I can’t make it at this pace, I just can’t.  Then I said to myself, yes you can, you can try, you can make it as far as you can, and you can crawl the rest of the way if you have to.  So I ran, I ran down the hill and through the arch passing person after person.  As I turned the corner after the arch I couldn’t see the finish line yet.  I knew I was done, I had to stop now.  Just as that thought entered my head, I heard through the corner of my ear (do ears have corners?  maybe mine do) a man in his late 50’s say to his running partner, we can break 30.  Suddenly they were off.  I think they may have had rockets on their feet because humans can’t possibly run that fast.  I don’t know if it was animal instinct, or just stupidity, but as they passed me my legs just picked up the pace.  I was chasing them.  It was like my legs had taken off on their own and I couldn’t stop them.

The two runners pulled away, their rockets firing in perfect synchronicity, but I kept running as fast as I could.  Every time I thought I was out of gas, my eyes would lock onto someone in front of me and I would say, I am passing them.  I did that ‘terminator eye lock’ time and time again.  It fueled me and I started running faster.  As I barreled into the shoot I heard a blur on my left say “slow down, slow down,” and all I could think was, “yeah right, slow down my ass,” as I rocketed through the timing mats.

My heart was pounding out of my chest and I was gasping for air, but I was thrilled.  I couldn’t believe that I had found that energy, that reserve hiding in there.

My wife and sister-in-law did really well too, and they came in just after I did.  I’m not sure what happened though, because I didn’t see them come through the shoot, and they didn’t see me either.  I was kind of sad about that, I wanted to watch them run through the shoot, but we reconnected a few minutes later.  They were both as happy as I was with the event.  It was a great race, and I hope to do it again next year.

Once again I can see that this whole athletic thing is mental.  Your body has more to offer than most people realize.  If I can push myself this much now, what on earth is on tap for me as my conditioning improves?  I don’t know, by I can’t wait to find out.


5K  Timing Chip Time: 0:29:37 (Pace 9:33 yay!)

Place: 868/1545 overall (by timing chip not overall time)| 59/72 age group

Weather Clothes

Layer 8 long sleeve shirt, Layer 8 running pants.

Temperature: 50 degrees, overcast and windy

I felt a bit warm, however, once the race was over I was very cold.  I need to figure out a way to pack something that will keep me warm post race.

Running in the Rain

Tomorrow is the O’Hartford 5K road race.  The weather forecast is 40 and rainy.  Icky.  This is my first ever road race, or race of any kind (I’m not counting the YMCA training tri’s  they are just for training).  I’m excited, but not nervous.  Looking forward to feeling the energy.  Wish me luck.

Everyone’s Journey is Their Own

While running yesterday I couldn’t help but think of the enormity of the task I’ve managed to set myself up for when I registered for the Hartford Half Marathon.  I was running along, there in the dark, thinking the R-rated version of “Oh Man” as I approached the 1 and a half mile mark and realized how far a half marathon was in comparison.  It got me thinking about the difficulty of it all.  I don’t think anything is impossible, I strongly feel that with enough work and patience anyone can do anything.  There is proof of that everywhere.

Impossible is a word to be found only in the dictionary of fools.
– Napoleon Bonaparte

Having said that, I never really thought that I would be doing a half marathon.  As I jogged along, alone with my thoughts, I came to a realization.  What I was doing, running 3 miles, seems impossible to someone.  There are millions of people who can look at what I was doing that that dark and frigid night and think to themselves, I could never do that.  Most of those people will resign themselves to that thought process and will continue to sit on the sofa and watch TV.  They will consider the very task that I was completing impossible.  But a small number of those people will stand up and say I want to do that.  Those people will not only try, but they will succeed.

Some of the world’s greatest feats were accomplished by people not smart enough to know they were impossible.

–Doug Larson

What I realized in that moment was that everyone, be they a seasoned professional athlete or a weekend warrior, faces the same demons of self doubt and the fear of falling short of their goals.  For me it is finishing the half marathon, for them it may be getting a PR, or coming in first.  In either case the passion, yes even the glory, is in fighting that demon, in proving to yourself that anything is possible.  It is showing the people who say it can’t be done that it will be done.  The race, the competition, it is a personal journey, in the end we each walk alone, and the true winner is the one who does what can’t be done just because they were told it was impossible.

It always seems impossible until its done.
–Nelson Mandela

YMCA Training Tri 2: Race Report

I’ve been a bit delayed in writing this for a couple of reasons.  I’ve had some things come up that have made things a little crazy.  More importantly, however, I am a bit disappointed in my results, more on that later.


The race happened to fall on my wife’s birthday.  So in the morning I got up, got the kids out of bed, made breakfast and took it up to my wife along with some cards that the kids put together for her.  After that I had an english muffin and coffee.  We didn’t have to be at the event until 10:15 (I know, what luxury) so there was no rush, and we had plenty of time to let the nerves build up.  I have no idea why I was nervous.  It’s not like there was any money at stake.  My how the mind plays tricks on you.  Although I had felt like I was coming down with something for several days throughout the week, I felt fine the morning of the race.  The only issue I had was a bit of a stiff neck, probably stress related, and really tight hamstrings.  By about 9:30 we were off.

We arrived at the Y in time to see the first wave take off.  We watched them swim almost effortlessly.  Within about 15 minutes my nerves gave way to hunger.  I was famished, I have no idea why.  Luckily  there were granola bars and bananas available and I gobbled up a granola bar greedily.  Then it was time to get started.


As usual, my heart was pounding.  It calmed me a little to talk to people I knew, and having my wife in the lane next to me helped as well.  I’ve found that with the swim it takes me some time to get warmed up.  Unfortunately, I peak about 2 seconds later so I only get about one or two good strokes in there.  As I took off, I went slow and steady.  I learned my lesson from last time and managed to conserve some energy rather than fly off like a bat out of hell.  I felt strong in the water and made the first turn without pausing for air.  As I finished my second lap I could tell from the excitement of the people counting off my laps that I was doing well.  I stopped for a second to take a breath and realized I was the only one on this side of the pool.  This time it wasn’t because I was slow, I was actually a full length ahead of everyone.  How could that be?  I continued on, my chest puffed out with pride.  That didn’t last long.  Around the 6th or 7th lap I started to get tired.  Not panicky tired like last time, but just tired.  My form got sloppy and I needed longer and longer breaks on either end of the pool.  I had gotten into slog mode, and was just slogged out the laps.  At one point around the 9th lap I stopped at the far end of the pool at the same time as the guy next to me.  He looked as beat as I felt.  We had been in the same wave last time, and he had beat me by 3 lengths.  He looked over and said, “this is crazy” I looked back and panted “Yeah this should be the race, we still have to bike and run.”  I forged onward.  My form collapsing as my body tired.  I never panicked this time around.  I just slogged.   In retrospect, I don’t know which is worse.  At least when I panicked I was relieved to be out of the pool.  I was still one of the first few out of the pool.  But not by much.  This time as I climbed out of the pool I stood on solid legs, unlike my last rubber legs experience.


As I made my way to T1 I noticed how calm I was this time.  No tunnel vision, no hyperventilation.   I walked over to the bench where my stuff was.  The place was a mess.  There were shirts and towels everywhere.  I couldn’t even see my shoes.  All the shirts were the same color (darn team shirts) so I struggled to get my stuff together.  I had rolled my socks so that I could just unroll them onto my wet feet, and I had placed them in my running shoes.  I reached into my left shoe and pulled out the sock.  I reached into the right one and there was nothing there.  No sock.  I checked, I checked again, I even dug my hand deep into the shoe, but nothing.  I search around frantically.  The sock was gone!  In the meantime my wife had made her way to T1 and was getting ready.  She must have been in a haze because I repeated that my sock was missing 3 times before she realized what I had said.  I gave up looking for it and ran into the locker room.  I had a gym bag with me and I hoped that I would be able to find a sock.  I didn’t want to end up destroying my feet like last time.  It took me 3 tries before I was able to unlock my combination lock.  I rooted around for my sock and found one.  I threw on the mismatched socks, threw on my shoes, and ran to the spin bikes.


As I started the bike portion of the race I knew that the fight was leaving me.  In my rush to get started I forgot to adjust the seat and handlebar positions on the bike.  I know this is not going to be an issue in a real triathlon, but it still hurt.  I spent the first 5 minutes adjusting things while I was riding.  I kept thinking that this was close enough, but then I would get uncomfortable.  When I finally got situated I tried to hit the bike hard.  My legs felt like lead.  I didn’t understand why I was having so much trouble maintaining my pace.  It was brutal and I once again found myself slogging my way through the bike.  I fought in vain to catch up to my wife.  She was pedaling furiously.  I couldn’t believe how long she was able to keep the cadence of her bike in the 110-120 range.  When I started on the bike I was a half mile behind her.  Despite my attempts to make headway, when she got off her bike I was still a mile away.  She had actually pulled away from me on the bike!  I let her speed push me faster.  I spun the bike up for the last mile and before I knew it I was done.


T2 is hardly worth the mention.  I ran out the door, down the hall, and onto the treadmill next to my wife.  My legs were rubbery but they were still working.


As I got on the treadmill I ran through the mental checklist.  I was wearing socks, CHECK!  I knew the 2.25 miles wasn’t going to be a problem, I mean, I had just done a 5k not too long ago.  So things were all in order.  I set the treadmill to 1 for an incline as I was instructed to do this time around, and I set the treadmill to 6.  That is a comfortable pace for me, at least during my 5K run.  I started to run and was thrilled that I didn’t feel the knives cutting into my feet this time.  About half a mile in something happened.  I felt a strange burning in my calves.  At first I couldn’t tell what it was, but then I felt my shins burning too.  It dawned on me that I was getting legs craps.  I audibly mumbled “Oh Come ON!” to myself.  I couldn’t believe that I was going to have this issue today.  This was my day to shine.  I had conquered the swim demon.  I wore socks, come on!  Ok, fine, it is hurting, but this is supposed to hurt, remember?  I will just ignore it.  I focused on pushing the pain away.  But I couldn’t.  Shortly after it started I had to slow down.  I dropped to a 3MPH pace to walk and try to get a stretch in.  After a few moments the agony of going so slowly surpassed the agony of the cramps.  I cycled back and forth this way, cramps giving way to frustration and vice versa.  I looked over at my wife, she was a woman on a mission.  She had a look of determination on her face, in that moment I was so proud of her.  I realized that it didn’t matter what happened to me, this was her birthday, and she was shining.

With only 3/4 of a mile left I hit it back to 6.  I told myself “there is no stop button…there is no stop button.”  Unfortunately my eyes were drawn inexplicably to the big red stop button as if to say “oh yeah, what’s that thing?”  I pulled out all of the motivational crap out of the toolbox to throw at this problem but nothing worked.  I thought of my kids, I thought of my spin instructor yelling “press it” I looked out the windows.  I did it all.  I just couldn’t hold on.  I slowed it back down.  With the last 1/4 mile looming in the distance I pushed the treadmill to 8.  I crushed it and gave it all I had.  I just couldn’t do it.  I screamed to myself “ok fine, but I’m not going lower than 6.”  It’s funny how something that used to feel horrible can be a relief under the right conditions.  As the treadmill slowed to 6 I found myself thinking, well 6 doesn’t feel so bad now, does it?

When I hit the 2.25 mile mark I stopped the treadmill.  Unfortunately, I also stopped running right around then and I rolled right off the back of the treadmill.  Under ordinary circumstances I would have been ok, but my legs were a wobbly and cramped mess.  As I slipped off the back end I fell face first towards the still moving treadmill.  I heard a collective gasp from the people around me as I fell.  I had the presence of mind to put my hands out on either side of the belt and catch myself before causing any damage.  A group of people came rushing over to me, but I was up and running to the last checkpoint before they got me.  I assured them that I was fine.  My wife later told me that everyone was worried about my cramping.  I guess they were watching me closely as I fell.  What a spectacle.  Here’s to doing better next time.  It can’t be much worse can it?


Swim: 14:07 (650 Yards)

T1: 3:03 (darn sock)

Bike: 22:33 (10 miles)

T2: 0:15

Run: 24:30 (2.25 Miles)

Total: 1:04:28

Place:  31/40

Alone in the Dark

As the car pulled away the darkness pooled around my feet like the tide coming in before the storm.  The envelope of darkness surrounded me.  THUMP THUMP THUMP.  My heart raced as the last light from the car’s taillights rounded the corner and was swallowed up by the darkness.  THUMP THUMP THUMP.  I was there, alone in the darkness, and I could feel the anxiety building in my chest….wait, let me back up.

After missing my first scheduled run I decided there was no way I was going to let another runless day pass me by.  Work got in my way again, so I just couldn’t get the run in during lunch.  Tonight was going to be our swim day so I knew I didn’t want to miss that either.  My wife and I ended up driving together for the swim.

I decided to bring my running gear.  I had mapped out the spot on the way home that was 3 miles away.  I figured my wife could drop me off after swim and I would just run home.  No problem.  So after our swim, I showered, got in my running clothes, and got ready to run.  We drove to the three mile point, and I got out of the car.  It was night time and the car thermometer said it was 37F.  I got out of the car in a nice residential area, and my wife wished me luck.  This was more or less the point of no return.  She was headed home to relieve the babysitter.  Without a sitter I was going to be on my own to get home, one way or the other.

I started running, and my wife pulled away.  As she pulled off the light from the car gave way to complete darkness.  I couldn’t see the moon in the sky, and there were no street lights.  As she turned the corner up ahead my heart sunk.  I was anxious and afraid.  It didn’t make sense to me to feel that way, but I did none the less.  It was so dark that I couldn’t see the street.  There was no sidewalk so I ran in the middle of the street in order to avoid gutters and potholes.

The night was still and calm.  Once I settled my nerves I looked into the sky and stared at the stars.  The night was perfect for running.  Cold but clear.  I ran looking for landmarks.  I have driven along this road for years, so I searched out, anticipating the landmarks.  Every once in a while I would hear a car approaching and I would move over to the side of the road to enjoy the little moments of light that the headlights would provide me.  Once in a while I would come across a street light which provided me with an oasis from the deserted blackness of the night.

As I reached the half way point I realized that I hadn’t been taxing myself too badly.  I was keeping a 10 minute/mile pace.  I actually felt good.  The rest of the run was pretty normal.  I made it home wih a pace of 10:17.  I’m not winning any races, but this was also only my second run at this distance.

A couple of notes.

  • I caught myself slowing down from time to time as my mind wandered.  I would pick up the pace at that point but I think I will have to work on keeping the pace up even when I lose focus.
  • I also noticed that it was hard for me to go any faster, I just didn’t feel coordinated enough to pick up the cadence, I think it will take some practice.
  • I also noticed that I seem to be landing mid foot naturally. This should help with my Pose Running which I hope to begin soon.
  • Lastly, when I got home I did a good stretch, I started to feel my hamstring tighten up and decided that I should try an ice bath.  I didn’t have ice, but since my tap water must run through a glacier on the way to my house it was plenty cold on its own.  OMG the water was sooo cold.  I left my shirt on, and after a few minutes I went numb enough to not feel the cold.  When I got out my legs felt fresh and light.  I think this is the way to go after long runs (ok 5K is long for me, so what?)

Weather Wear

Temp: 38 Degrees

Wind: low

Gear: Layer 8 pants, Layer 8 Shirt

Note: I felt good, however my butt was a little cold.  I think it was because I was wearing cotton underwear which held onto the sweat.  I have some underwear made of technical fabric to try next time.

  • The Narcissist Section (a.k.a. Me Me Me)

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