Sunday, November 18, 2012

November 17. Success

Change of Plans:
What a whirlwind of emotions November turned out to be.  The event that I trained so hard for so long was cancelled due to one of the cities worst natural disasters in their history.  A once in a decade storm decimated the great city of New York.  In all honesty, I do not think that the event organizers, the upper  part of the city, the mayor, or myself had any idea how bad things were down in Staten Island.  The natives were, rightfully so, very upset that the mere idea that this event would be held when these folks were grasping for hope and trying to rebuild their own lives.

Re Focus:
That said, I had a very hard time letting all of the months of dedication and hard work go to waste.  On the night that the NY Marathon was cancelled, a friend of mine, Nichole Roadcap, made me aware of the Charlotte Thunder Road Marathon just down the road from me in two weeks.  Emotions took over and I jumped at the idea.  I didnt even look at the map or elevation chart.  I was all in.  The following morning I went out for a grudge run (a run in which you are mad about stuff and wanting to take out your frustrations on the pavement).  This was not a good idea.  I went out, mad, upset, emotional, etc... and struggled MIGHTILY to run 12 miles.  I probably walked a good .35 - .50 miles through a course in which I normally have no problems with.  When I got back to the car, Mr. Marathon Man himself Bryan Timmons had sent me a text stating "lets do this" in reference to the Charlotte Marathon idea that I brought to his attention the night before.   At that point the countdown was on.  The two fellas from Wi-Sa/J-Vegas who were stoked about the NY Marathon had now turned their attention to the Charlotte Thunder Road Marathon.  Those fine folks from Thunder Road even gave the NY Marathon folks a break on the registration fee.   It was time to regroup.  The next two weeks proved to be two of the most relaxing and rewarding weeks of running in many many months.  No more pressure to run the biggest running event in the world was like lifting a million tons off of my already tired shoulders.  

This cant be happening:
These two weeks did start to create some damage on the knee.  A few nights after running I was unable to put hardly any pressure on the left leg due to the significant knee pain.  It was worrisome but I refused to let this creep into the equation.  I saw an article that advised you to taper your runs on a treadmill to save unneeded stress on the joints so I decided to join the YMCA.  The odd thing about this was that my last "long run" of the post NY Marathon training plan was sensational.  A 9:30mm over 12 miles was something I didnt think was possible for this 36 year old body, but it happened and it happened on a VERY hilly Elkin course.  This run would have been VERY encouraging had I been able to walk the next day.  That knee pain kept getting worse and worse but I figured if I can run on it for 26 miles I can deal with the inability to walk for a few days afterwards.   3 very short but very painful treadmill runs would be my final tune ups before Charlotte.  I was ready (I think)

Welcome to Charlotte!
I had to take Friday off.   Mentally.  I used the excuse that I needed to pick up my Running packet on Friday, which was 100% accurate, but the truth of it was that I simply would have been 110% completely useless at work thinking only about the task at hand.  I used Friday to lay back, have lunch with my daughter and yes, go pick up my race packet.  Doubles Timmons arrived at the house about 2:00 pm and we were off.   We made it down to Charlotte around 3:00 and checked into the magnificent Blake hotel which turned out to be about 300 yards away from the finish line, that we could see from our hotel window.  We finished up our week long carb load at an amazing Italian restaurant in the parking lot of Time Warner Cable Arena.  Baked Clams, Spaghetti, tons of bread and some free Garlic Knots courtesy of Foursquare would be my last dinner before the run.  "Nervous" didnt even begin to describe my feelings on this day.  I couldnt sleep, couldnt think, and couldnt focus on anything except the next day. I think I paced the room for about 45 miles that night, repeatedly looking out the window, envisioning what would hopefully be a triumphant cross over the finish line.

The green flag was scheduled to drop at 7:45am, however we decided that we would wake up at 5:30.  I heard (Herd) Timmons up and rustling way before that I so just layed in bed pretending to be asleep.  I dont know if it was the baked clams or the bundle of nerves, but my stomach was TORE UP.  I was thinking to myself "Please be port a johns every 30 feet, please please please."  As it turned out, it was nerves as it only took 3 trips to the potty and I seemed to be good to go.  Timmons was even kind enough to share a bagel with me for my pre game run.  Off to the starting line we go at 7:00am.  WOW it was cold.  WOW it was windy.  I think the wind chill factor was probably -65 degrees.  Even without the wind it was a solid -45 degrees or so.  Cold enough to flash freeze ones vital organs, that was for sure.  We werent 100% sure exactly where the start line was but it was easy enough to follow the masses.  Thanks be to the city of Charlotte for opening up their convention center for us to chill out/warm up in the moments leading up to the race.  Also thanks be to the gentlemen who pointed us in the direction of the hidden restrooms.   That proved to be clutch.  It was time to down the pre race gu and head to the starting gates.  Have I mentioned yet how nervous I was?  Yes.  Yes I was.  NERVOUS.  BT was composed so I just tried to lean on him to regroup.   We lined up nearest to the sun we could find so we didnt freeze to death.  Then we heard a very odd sound of a race car reving up its engine. WHAT DID THAT MEAN? WHAT WAS HAPPENING?  At that point I saw the masses start moving up tward the city.  It was gametime!! 

26.2 miles
My goal was to maintain about an 11:15mm for the 1st 7 or so miles, and then start shaving a second or so off each 5 miles or so.   That didnt happen.  At all.  I busted out the gate at about a 10:30mm.  I literally couldnt slow down.  I tried.  I tried so hard but I physically could not make my body slow down any slower.  That..and it was downhill.  I kept thinking back to my 20 mile training run, which SUCKED, in which I ran about 16 miles at a 10:00mm pace, but the last 4 miles at bout a 12mm pace.  I figured that I could probably just keep this 10:30mm pace for 22 miles maybe and then walk the last 4 and still finish in about 5:20 or so, which would still meet my goal.  So thats what I did.  I settled into my 10:30mm pace through the great city of Charlotte.  I saw some AWESOME sights.  2 buses full of kids stopped in traffic were screaming their heads off FOR us around mile 4.   I loved that.  They were really into it.  Other runners ran over to the busses to give high 5's.  I was too locked in to get off of my course so I just stayed straight.   I saw several runners in their bare feet around mile 5 or 6.  BARE FEET!  Earlier you heard about the arctic like weather that had overcome the city of Charlotte.  Dang barefoot runners...dang.  I reached mile 11, still hanging onto that 10:30mm pace and strangely enough, feeling as strong as I did in mile 1.   Not sore, not tired,  nothing.  A mile later though was something that was a bit odd.  The 1/2 marathon folks took a right while the marathon folks took a left.  For every runner I passed for the 1st 12 miles, I was passed by 15 other runners, so by mile 12 I was all by myself when the 1/2'ers broke off.  That was surreal.  It was time for ear plugs.  It was also time to pick up my pace by about :45 seconds per mile.  From mile 11 through mile 19, my pace went from 10:30 to 9:58.  I have no idea why this happened or how.  All I kept hearing and reading was that at mile 18 I would hit this awful wall.  That didnt happen either.  By the grace of God I continued to get stronger as the race progressed instead of getting more and more tired.  Sure, there were some nagging injuries, such as my right ankle that locked up on me about mile 4, and the blister the size of a bar of soap on that same foot was growing and growing.  Mile 20 I did start to feel it a little.  I was still thinking that I could walk some and meet my 5:15 goal, but only if I had to.  Then, out of nowhere, came the most amazing street party I have ever seen in my life.  It was the NoDa community!!!  The ENTIRE COMMUNITY was outside ON THE ROAD screaming their completely drunk heads off in support of the full marathoners.  I was 2 hours behind the winners of this thing but they were STILL in full force when I crossed through.  It was AMAZING.  They even built this huge wall that they put in the middle of the road that said "BREAK THROUGH THE WALL" or something like that.   I give credit to these folks for getting me through the next 6 miles  They pumped me up at mile 20 just as much as I was pumped at mile one.  I love these people so much.  From there, it was all me.  6 miles to victory.  So many different thoughts kept going through my head.  Thoughts about all of the sacrifice over the past 10 months.  The bad runs.  The good runs.  The suckers who told me that I couldnt do it.  The suckers who refused to acknowledge that I was even doing it.  But mostly what went through my head was all of the support I had received from my friends, co workers, clients, wife and church family who told me that I CAN do this. By mile 23 it was obvious that I was not only going to meet my goal, I was going to crush it.  I was in pain, I was tired, my feet were killing me and I was pretty sick to my stomach from some sort of gummy bears a complete stranger gave me at mile 20.  That said, you would have to have chopped off my feet at this point to keep me away from that finish line.  I did not walk one inch the entire way, not even through the hydration stations, not even up those hills, or the 90 degree hill up mt everest at mile 20.  I couldnt wait to tell Timmons that I was finished.  I couldnt wait to surprise Jana that I finished in an hour before I told her I would.  And then as I turned right onto the finish line strip at mile 26 with only 2 tenths of mile left, all of that hard work paid off 10 fold.  There it was.  The finish line that I stared at for hours the night before.  This was the victory lap that I had read about over and over.  And there was Jana, screaming her head off for me just shy of that line.  And then, just as quickly as this whole thing started for me on December 10, 2011 with the worst running effort of my was over.   I had just run a full marathon.  26.2 whole miles.  There were no words to describe this feeling.  I was too tired to be emotional.  This was the greatest physical achievement of my entire life.  I tried to downplay this thing for the last 10 months, but running a marathon is a big frikin deal.   A HUGE deal even.  Doubles even surprised me with the 26.2 car magnet that I was craving so badly this entire time.  This moment was glorious.  

Exactly 50lbs of weight loss from start to finish.
Between Timmons and Myself (Mostly Timmons), we raised $5150 for breast cancer research!
Training runs in only three states..North Carolina, South Carolina and Nevada!
Only 12 miles run on a treadmill.
Almost 900 miles from January through Marathon.
Best Run: The Charlotte Marathon, Duh.
Worst Run: Probably a tie between the 20 long run and an 8 mile training run that saw me wreck my car, get bit by a dog, walk 4 times, run face first into a sign and dang nearly pass out from heat stroke.
Shoes:  3 pair of shoes.  Started in brooks pure performance, then to some Asics Gel Nimbus 13 and then some Gel Nimbus 14 to finish up.
Most impressive piece of gear:  Compression shorts.  Changed the dynamic of every run dramatically.
Revelation:  KT Tape.  I wore it once...DURING the marathon.  Guess who had NO KNEE PAIN THE ENTIRE TIME?!? THIS GUY!!!!  KT Tape...the stuff.
Best Motivators:  Chris Freak Nix and Bryan Timmons.  For 6 months we had a daily email string talking about successes and failures in our training runs.  Nix trained for a marathon but had a baby instead.  

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Sunday, September 30, 2012

September 30 - And the time is here

September was  chaos. PURE CHAOS.  The month started with my family going back to school and promptly receiving the most disgusting, violent stomach virus I have ever seen.  Somehow/someway, I did not get this, however right about the time they settled back into some decent health, I became overwhelmed with runners burnout.  I didnt want to run.  At all.  Ever again.  For that one week, my times were the suck.  My feet hurt, ankles hurt and most of all, my desire hurt.  Then I was introduced to a new track...a track named Salem Lake.  I go out and absolutely KILL 16 miles (by my standards).  A sub 10 minute per mile time was nice, but the fact that I felt amazing at the end was even nicer.  This was the fire I needed for this month.  From there, it was on.  I was dropping sub 9 minute miles like I was on a scooter.  Hills were no problem.  NO PAIN!! The pain in my feet has almost completely disolved!!  September may have started out as the suck, but it ended with a renewed mindset that I so desperately needed.  The last run of the month just so happened to be my longest run of my life.  An 18 mile run through the Jonesville and Elkin streets at 5:00 in the morning.   That run included some of the most amazing lightening and thunder and rain and winds that I have ever seen during my training.  All I could do was pray to God that He would kinda just let me finish and not kill me with lightening.   I am thankful that He took care of me because I started to get some of those early September feelings about 8 miles in and was flat out ready to quit...because it would have been easy to quit in these conditions.  18 miles in the books!!  Its pretty much all downhill from here as we lead into November 4th in New York City.  I have an official 1/2 marathon in Greensboro on October 6, then on October 20 I hit my big 20 miler.  I'm crazy nervous about both.  From that point, its taper time.  Mileage goes south to allow the body time to heal from 8 months of strenuous training.    If I am not ready now, I WONT be ready.....I'M READY.  LETS RUN 26!!
Also of note, we are still a ways outside of our $5,000 goal for the Sloan Kettering Breast Cancer Foundation.  Not that short, but still short.  One fundraiser left to go...wii bowling tournament on October 20th!!  COME TO THAT!!!!!

Friday, September 7, 2012

September 7 LET THE PAIN BEGIN!!

Looking back, I was whining about July like I am whining about September.  August however, was AWESOME.  I beat pretty much all of my personal records.  3 miles?  Killed it.  5K?  Heck yeah.  4 miles?  indeed  5 miles? of course.  14 miles?  crushed by 7 minutes.  13.26 miles?  beat down by 7 minutes.
And then came September.   The pain in my left foot has intensified fairly significantly.  On top of that, now my RIGHT foot is hurting, along with some back pain, two thighs, and yes, frikin Andy Bernard syndrome.  That one, thankfully, might have just been a glitch.  or 5.    Already this month my entire family has been stricken with one of the most violently disgusting stomach viruses I have ever seen.  My entire family....except for me.  Not sure how I avoided this mess, but I did.   I'm not sure what to blame my first 5 runs being pathetic on, however the fact that I gained 10lbs (Seriously) and lost those same 10 lbs (seriously) all in the span of 7 days, 3 of them at the beach.
Well there are some pretty big runs coming up in September so I gotta fix my mindset now.  Tomorrow in fact is a nice 15 miler...which equals my personal long distance.  Then comes 16, 14 and 18.
This week I am going to try to take 2 consecutive days off from running prior to the long run...we'll see how that goes.
Oh, and by gosh!  We are still dang near 1,000 bucks away from our 5,000 goal for the Think Pink Rocks/Sloan Kettering Foundation for Breast Cancer Research!  Not a lot of time left here so yeah...fingernail bitting time.
Hey has anyone ever tried to roll a golf ball under their foot to fix the achilles tendinitis?  Well it doesnt frikin work.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

August 22 - Records and Insults

August has gotten off to a fast start, so to speak.  In the span of 7 days I beat my own personal record in the 3 mile, the 3.2 mile and the 13.26 mile.  As a matter of fact, I CRUSHED those records.  It feels tremendous to see the hard work paying off.  I've been making a habit of running with some pretty awesome folks in some pretty awesome places so far this month.  I've run with the living softball legend Chris (freak) Nix through Tanglewood and through the downtown streets of Wi Sa.  I've run with 3 of the legendary Herd icons, Rose Ket, Sac and Hien "Clutch" Lewis.  SAC and Clutch are also in the process of training for their very own 1/2 marathon, have mercy!
Today's weird scene comes from the prestigious Salem Park in Wi Sa where some fellas thought it would be crazy cool and funny to stop their car in the middle of a high traffic area and yell "Run Fat Boys Run" at us whilst almost causing an accident with the SUV directly behind them.   As Freak Nix so eloquently put play.
The next few weeks see a substantial increase in mileage as we build to the final 20 miler in Mid October.  This weekend will be a 14 mile run in the heart of North Myrtle Beach.  If I can get somebody to come pick me up, I'm going to just run from the condo to Ripleys I think.

 I'm ready.  I tired...sore...delusional and other words, but I got this.  Fat boy got this.
Here are some pictures from Sundays run through Jonesville/Elkin.  Also, this is the run that saw the demise of my iphone 4 as it lay shattered on the hard concrete.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

1st Week of August - About Eliminating Doubt

The 1st week of August is in the book which means LESS THAN 3 MONTHS TO GO BEFORE GAMEDAY!  July sucked so bad, but August is starting out pretty dang tremendous.  Its still hot, but I'm feeling so much better both mentally and physically.  This month I have signed up for a 1/2 Marathon in October as part of the training regimen.  In hindsight, probably not the greatest idea as the track is all roots and sticks and leaves.  Whatever.  I pwn.  I like to look back on weird things that happen during my runs.  Tonight, August 7th was the semi finals of the women's beach volleyball olympic tournament thing.  To celebrate this, a girl decided to dress up like Misty May Traenor and walk slowly around the elkin the dark 9:30 at night.   I dont even know what to say.

Lets Run.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

July- Minimal Progress is still Progress

Oh the wonderful month of July.  I guess July marked the 1/2 way point of the training depending on how you look at it.  As awesome as I felt on the final run of June, the big 15 miler, I felt equally as BAD in July.  I mean I hate to blame stuff that is out of my control on what seems to be an entire month of regression, but I'm going to anyway.  July saw 11 days of 100+ degree temperatures.  The humidity was awful.  And on top of that, I obtained a sinus infection and a double ear infection.  Enough complaining though!   I did manage to log 97.23 miles this month and I stuck to the plan.  Well actually, I said screw the plan the last half of the month and started adding mileage to it.   Once I started adding mileage to the plan I actually started doing a little better.   July also saw a brand new pair of pumped up kicks, courtesy of Fleet Feet.  The Asics are nice, but they def. do not feel as awesome as the Brooks I had until mid July.  I'll probably roll Asics until Marathon day, then bust back out the Brooks for the big day.  July saw me hit a wall as far as weight loss goes.  I entered the month at 171 lbs and ended the month at 171 lbs.  I was crazy hungry this month though.  I cant complain too much, as I'm still down 50 lbs since last December.   July saw an EPIC fundraiser at Foothills!  We raised about 800 bucks that day for the Team Timmons and Team Swaim Think Pink Rocks charity for a Cure for breast cancer!  With a company match, we are still a combined 1600 short, although Team Timmons has raised about 2K more than Team Swaim.  Kudos to him.  Great effort indeed!  If you are reading this and feel sorry for me due to my lack of funds raised, fix that by clicking HERE 
This month on the trails I saw some pretty crazy stuff, not least of all the Elkin PD pulling his car behind mine and getting out to chase down a perp on foot.   I was also befriended by a Pitbull (everywhere? Everywhere!) in Jonesville that I was initially confident that he was going to eat my face.
Up next:  August.   Game day is in sights.  Only 3 short months remain.  I'm getting pretty dang nervous.  Actually, I am VERY dang nervous.  Nervous enough to have nightmares about the horrible possibilities of game day in November.   3 Months.  Lets do this.