I am a man of constant sorrow. If you've seen the movie O Brother, Where Art Thou?, then you know that that is a line from a song sung by the Soggy Bottom Boys. When I got home from my run this morning I noticed that all my sweat had found its way and settled in at my bottom. Speaking of the crack of dawn, I liked being out before the sun. The full moon provided pretty good light. The sun did finally come up, and it was fun looking at all the candy on the ground dropped by trick-or-treaters. I saw three pieces. I guess you had to be there.
Tales of the gruesome. Yesterday it was still dark out when I started my run. The bad thing about that is when a critter runs out in front of you, you have no idea what it is, and you scream like a girl. When I say you I mean you. I, of course, do not scream like a girl. But I will admit that when two bunnies ran in front of me, I was startled and it elevated my heart rate. So this morning as I was running I saw a headless bunny in the bushes. Not sure why a coyote would only eat the head. And then a couple of feet away there was another bunny smooshed all over the road. Coincidence? After a while of more running a mouse (or a huge rat) scurried out in front of me. Again I was startled. So when I got home my wife told me there was a mouse caught on one of our traps. The bottom line is - don't scare me. You will die.
This is what I regret. I got my boy up for school before I left this morning. After I did my first loop, I hollered at my house to see if he was still there. Of course nobody heard me or saw me, but I knew it was getting time for him to leave for the bus. I went around the block and looked down the golf course where I know he likes to cut through. I saw some steam or smoke coming up from the grass a ways off. Knowing my pyro son I immediately started thinking the worst. But instead of checking it out, I kept going. As I rounded the curve I saw my boy walking to the bus stop. That's when I regretted not going to see what it was. My wife's going to be mad when she reads this because she doesn't like my guilty until proven innocent approach with him. I tried to catch him off his guard by asking him what he did on the golf course. "I walked on it." Then I went for the throat, "Did you light anything on fire???" "NO." I guess I'll never know if it was a fizzling firecracker or just a some warm water causing steam to rise in the cool air.
This is what I don't regret. I told allie yesterday that if the Twix Bar that I've seen the last two days was still there this morning, I would eat it. Dang it all if it wasn't still there. Well, I'm a man of my word. Blech. It was all stale tasting. It wasn't too bad once the stale cookie went down and the chocolate and chewy caramel remained. It started to remind me of the Power Bars I ate on my long run last week. Below is the actual wrapper it was in.
The bad thing was that I ate it at mile 3.5. The drinking fountain isn't until mile 7.0.
On a healthier note, at the time I posted mile mileage this morning, I was #6 on the mileage board. That's never happened this far into the week before.
Notice how only three of us don't have more than 1000 miles for the year.
Today I had to stay home with the sick baby while my wife took my sister in for minor surgery. The internet wasn't working and it was just miserable.
Well, I'm still on target for doing 10 miles every day since Monday. I had to split it up into two parts today. I set my alarm for 4:30am, but that's not exactly when I got up. I did my 5.6 mile Wal Mart Bypass loop. Then I had to take my daughter to her 7am play practice. I didn't have on any Performance Underwear today; just my tighty whiteys. After 10 miles the tag really started to irritate. That, and sitting in my own filth for about half an hour. Before heading out again I ate a banana and drank some Gatorade. I noticed I had a lot more energy. More than yesterday that's for sure.
Week's over. I have never run more than 60 miles in a week. In fact, I have never run more than 50 miles in a week. IN FACT, I have only run more than 40 miles once. I almost doubled my mileage for the whole month of December. It's amazing what you can do when you put your mind to it. Last week I ran 17.4 miles. I thought, "Well, that was tough, but I bet I could do 10 miles every day next week if I slow it down some." So now that it's over, I'm definitely taking it easy next week. I've heard too many bad things about upping your mileage too quickly.
I waited until the afternoon to get today's run in. I've done the same route every day this week; that is my 5.6 mile Wal Mart bypass loop followed by my 4.5 mile Founders Park Ward loop. After the bypass loop I stopped at home for a breather. My knee was kind of aching so I questioned if I should go back out. Listen to your body, Burt. Don't hurt yourself being stupid. But I'm so close to 60. Is it worth it? Yes. I went back out and did the last loop. Then I came in and noticed I was only 0.7 miles away from ChrisM. Should I go back out? Nah, I like Chris. I don't want to hurt his feelings. He's a tender little guy. But my wife talked me into it. So I went back out again and did me 1 mile loop around the block. That last mile actually felt pretty good.
I'd like to thank Steve Piccolo for his advice on wearing underwear inside out. I couldn't have done it without you buddy.
Again with the weirdness. Not only am I not going as far on my runs as I was last week, I'm going faster than I was. So it just seems odd this week that I'm done so quickly. Oh well. I'm sure I'll get over it.
No run today. Yesterday both tops of my feet were aching, so I decided to rest today. I kept thinkging about Jennifer Weyermiller. Jenny was a senior when I was a freshmen in high school. She was the fastest girl in the state. As a freshmen she broke the AZ state record in the 100. She broke it again as a sophomore. She broke it again as a junior. And as a senior, she broke her foot. A week before divisionals she was complaining about a soreness in her foot. Coach told her she didn't need to run, but it was our big invitational meet, and she wanted to do well for the home crowd. She ended up breaking her foot in the 200. Stress fracture. So, call me paranoid, but I think a day of rest will do me a lot of good. Don't you?
What a difference a fresh set of legs make. I think I'm starting to get sick. The last time I got sick was when I stopped running for a couple of days. So I wanted to make sure I got out today and sweated it all out. My son had strep throat, and my throat is starting to get yucky. We quarantined him to his room. But I snagged a cheese puff out of the big bucket the other day which I'm sure he had his grimy little hands in.
Last week I was averaging around 8:45 which is what I want to average in my marathon. I wanted to run that today because I ran 8:07's Tuesday and then my feet started to ache. But my fresh legs didn't want to go that slow. It makes me wonder if I should go a little faster at the beginning of my marathon while I'm fresh and then fall back into an 8:45 groove. Or will the fast start kill me later?
It was really cloudy out this morning, but not at all cold, even with the breeze. On-Your-Right-Bicycle-Girl passed me again this morning, but she didn't scare me. Around mile 4.8 I started getting stomach cramps. From the sickness? I sprinted the last quarter mile and averaged 5:30. Hard to believe I could actually run faster than that for a full mile.
I'm feeling pretty good about this whole marathon thing. Today I started out pretty slow and just kept the pace going. I thought, "This is all I have to do to run a sub 4?" Now I just have to do is worry about my legs cramping up. But if I drink Gatorade at every aid station, I should be all right, right?
It was cold this morning. I wore shorts and a long sleeve shirt. I figure it's going to be colder this weekend up in Mesquite. So I should try and get used to it. My fingers were pretty frozen so I was twirling them around like a fancy drum player. Good thing it was dark out.
Speaking of heavy metal bands, I recently reconnected with a friend on FaceBook that I've known since 2nd grade. He plays in a local band called The Furnace. They rock pretty hard. This is the first time I'm going to try and post a YouTube link. I hope it works. The lead singer sounds like Animal at times in this song, but it's pretty good. My friend is the one in the long sleeves playing the guitar. And there's some running in the video, so it's very appropriate.
As I prepare to make the trip up to Mesquite tomorrow, I'm reminded of the time I went to Lake Havasu City and stayed with Rhett. Rhett's son, Chase, asked his dad if we were old friends. "No son, we're new friends. We met on the internet." "Oh. That's kind of weird" Chase replied to which we both had to cordially and awkwardly agree.
2009 Mesquite Marathon (26.2 Miles) 04:33:10, Place overall: 112, Place in age division: 17
I've been trying to think of the perfect sentence to start out my report. 'That was not a pleasant experience.' 'I'm too fat too run a marathon.' 'Fast Running Bloggers Unite!' I'm not a writer, so I can't say I have writer's block. Anyway, I got nothing. So here we go.
JamesW first told me about the Mesquite Marathon. At the time I was set on not running another marathon until I was sure I could qualify for Boston. But there were three things I really liked about this one. A) It's on a Saturday. 2) It goes through three states. D) It only costs $55. The more I allowed these things to fester inside me, the more the infectuous pus of "when is another chance like this going to come along?" began to ooze out. So a month before I ran 15.1 miles with the thought in mind that if I can do this, I'll seriously consider the marathon. I did it. The next week I ran 17.4 miles with the thought in mind that if I can do this I will do the marathon. I did it. It hurt. I didn't want to do the marathon. But the next day I felt recovered. So it was on. Time to cram for the exam. I put in 61 miles the next week. (That should get me ready.) Then I took it relatively easy for the next two weeks. Was I ready? Absolutely not, and I knew it. But still I hoped for the best. According to the McMillan Running Calculator and my half marathon PR I should be able to finish in 3:50 (if properly trained.) Anywhere between 3:50 and 4:00 would make me happy.
Since I'm such a cheap guy like Troy on the Goonies, I looked on the blog to see who lived in Mesquite. I knew Gary Culver did, so I asked him if he'd be interested in putting up a stranger from the blog for a night. I took a chance with Rhett at the Havasu Half, and that worked out. Would fate smile down on me again?
As it turns out, Gary's really cool, too. Since he doesn't have an active blog that tracks his daily workouts, not a lot of people know about him. He's an ultra runner that uses the Galloway method. My wife and I got to spend a pleasant weekend with him and his wife. They are two of the nicest people you could ever meet. Very intelligent, too. We shipped our kids off to various family members and friends, including our daughter Abby to her grandma's house in Kingman.
Hands down the best part of the race was seeing other bloggers. Some, like Walter and Jose, I had met before, and others I was meeting for the first time. Here's a list of the bloggers I saw in order of appearance: Gary, Scott, Eight Kid Mom, Ben, Josse, Walter, Bec, TylerS, Mary Ann, and Jose. (I hope I didn't miss anyone.) I didn't get to see Red Rooster, and that bummed me out.
Gary was worried that we might get some of the 100 mph winds that northern Nevada was getting. But it was beautiful out; 57 degrees when we walked out the door. And it stayed beautiful; 63 degrees when we got back. I didn't wear the gloves, headband, sweat pants, long sleeved-shirt, or jacket that I brought. We rode up to the start in these luxury buses. Only about 170 people signed up for the marathon. I sat next to Gary. Walter was one row up from me and Bec was right behind me. Bec was so cute. I overheard part of her conversation with a first time marathoner. She told the guy that she hadn't figured out how to run marathons yet. Then I read her blog, and found out that this was her 13th. She's so humble.
The sun was just coming up as we got off the bus. I ate a banana and drank some Gatorade. I emptied my bladder over by the electric fence. That's where I met Tyler, but he wasn't willing to shake my hand until he put gloves on. I did about a half mile warm up, stretched out, and was ready to go. In between songs from The Furnace that were stuck in my mind, I kept repeating - Even Effort. Relax.
With the goal to run a sub 4-hour marathon, I started off just going with the flow. I knew the first 10 miles or so were downhill, and I wanted to bank a little time before I hit the hills. I was running my own race, but I knew a handful of people were going for the same time I was, and it was encouraging that I was never too far behind them. Gary was doing his Galloway method. That made it really easy to know how long I was running because he would run for 5 minutes and walk for 30 seconds. Ben was trying to pace his wife, Eight Kid Mom, their friend, and one of the '8 kids' to a 4-hour time. I was leap frogging them after a while. By the way, I don't know how Eight Kid Mom has an 18-year old kid when she's only 32. And certainly none of her kids passed through the birth canal because she's far too skinny. (Somehow, that last statement is going to get me in trouble with someone.)
The first aid station was at mile 3. I ducked in the porta-potty really fast and grabbed some TP for my clogged up nose. I drank a cup of water because the Gatorade was still in the cooler. At mile 3.75 we entered Arizona. Most of the race was actually in Arizona. That' why it was so awesome. At mile 5 I took a Gu. From then on out I would take them every 4 miles. I also grabbed some at the aid stations that had them. So I ended up with about as many as I brought with me.
The first 11 miles were great. I was well on my way to getting that sub 4. Mile 12 brought the first significant hill. I powered up it, and without losing a lot of time. But my breathing was becoming labored. I hoped I would get it back under control once I hit the downhills. However, I really don't remember any downhills. It was all a big blur. Actually, it wasn't that bad. Yet.
An interesting feature to this race is that they put up "Miles to Go" markers. So when you see the "8 Miles to Go" sign, you've run 18.2 miles. The half marathon, 10k, and 5k were also on the same course, so I could see when I was half way there. I looked at my Garmin and saw 1:55:xx at the half way point. At that point I knew I wouldn't get a sub 4, but I still hoped to be close to it. Then mile 15's aid station came along. Here's the aid I got: "I'm sorry. I have nothing for you." You have nothing for me?! Give me that Thirstbuster in your car! You've got to have something. That was quite disheartening. So I plugged along to the next aid station telling myself, "Two miles isn't that long." Well, it is.
I finally made it to the next aid station. In between here is where I finally fell off pace for a sub 4. This is the last time I saw Ben during the race. His friend he was pacing was wanting to throw in the towel. His wife, Cathy, er I mean Eight Kid Mom, and their son had gotten a little ahead of me. Climbing those next never-ending hills was brutal. At one point I stopped, sat down, and emptied my shoe out. One of the runners asked if I was ok. I told him yes, but it was a lie Steven. A LIE! The cool thing about the race is I was done at the same time Walter was. Well, he had finished in 2:50. I was finished at 2:50. This was the same time I yelled out, "Curse you, Nan!" How dare you tell me to reward myself with a marathon. (You know I love you, Nan. But I sure hated you then.) Anyway, nobody heard me. I'm sure she felt a shiver go down her spine though.
A couple of miles later I found myself waddling like a penguin. That's when I yelled, "Curse you, allie!" (She knows why.) But I was finally out of the big hills. And with a 10k to go, I was telling myself, "I can run 6.2 miles." That's a little more than my Wal Mart loop. Even thought I stopped and walked a few times the last six miles, it was a moral victory. It would have been so easy to stop and walk the rest of the way or even quit. But I kept going. I was proud of myself for finding the mental strength to finish hard. (Even if hard meant walking for 30 seconds here and there.)
With two miles to go I could see Eight Kid Mom again. Her son was long gone. 'Come on Burt. You can run 2 miles in your sleep.' I knew I was going to finish. But I also now knew I wouldn't finish under 4:30. Oh well. I'm getting out of it what I put into it. And not a lot of 195 lb guys could do what I just did. With half a mile to go I got within earshot of Eight Kid Mom. "Go Cathy!", I yelled. That's what she needed. I'm embarrassed to say that I had to stop twice and walk for about 20 seconds each in the last mile. I'm pretty sure it was post partum depression. I mean, I was almost done. Now what was I going to do with my life? I hadn't thought that far. I don't want to be done! But really I did. So I finally got to the last turn where I could see the finish line. There was a small crowd lined on the along the street. They were just sitting there. Quiet. Maybe because I looked like death-warmed-over. So I yelled, "You all can cheer!" That fired them up. Then I started slapping high fives and kissing babies. Well, if there were babies, I would have kissed them. I didn't see any. But I saw Tyler and slapped him a gloveless five. I saw Walter and his crew cheering me in. And I saw my wife taking my picture. It was so cool to have them there at the end when I was knocking on death's door.
After the race I was done. It would have been nice to go mingle. But I could barely move. I did talk to Mary Ann, and she told me she got 2nd place for females. I went back to Gary's, showered, packed my stuff, went to Pizza Hut for a post marathon meal, then headed back home. We picked up my daughter in Kingman and made a bed for her in the cab of my truck. We at dinner at Arby's. She puked it all up.
I did 25 situps and rode the stationary bike for a while. I'm starting to be able to walk like a normal person now. I got my bike back from the friend that I let borrow it for a triathlon. That will be nice to ride this weekend to get me back in the swing of things.
2009 Cheshire Chase Beat the Bishop (3.1 Miles) 00:22:48, Place overall: 7, Place in age division: 1
Today was the third annual Cheshire Chase sponsored by the Skyline Stake of the LDS Church in Mesa. I've done it all three years. I feel kind of bad because the last two years I haven't lived in the stake anymore, but I've been the first adult to finish. So I take home the hardware, which is a medal that's probably nicer than the one I got at the Mesquite Marathon. Maybe next year I'll tell them to give the medal to someone in the stake. Maybe not.
I haven't run a lick since the marathon. I wasn't sure how I'd do. So I stretched out and warmed up a little. My legs felt great, but there was some tenderness in my tendons. I decided I would push the pace, but not get out of my comfort zone.
The first year a high schooler took off and smoked everyone. Last year he had a broken ankle, but I'm pretty sure he was back and won again this year; 17:15. The kid that won last year took second place this year. But there were also more guys from the Skyline CC team there this year. I had no chance at beating them. They were sprinting from the get go. Two other kids took off, too, but I don't know if they were on the CC team or not. I reeled one of them in at the mile mark. He decided he was going to run with me. I told him he was doing great. He was a very friendly kid, and quite popular; at least everybody seemed to know him. His name was Travis. He was a bit of a clod-hopper. I didn't think he would last much longer, but every time I pushed it he would go too.
We passed the other kid shortly after the turn around. That was Jared. He used to be my home teacher. He's got to be about 6' 5" now. Tall kid. With a mile to go I gave another little surge. Travis stayed with me, breathing hard and hopping the clods. At that point I decided he was working so hard for this that I wasn't going to let him lose to me. I kept him honest by holding a quick pace. We got to half a mile to go and I urged him on because it looked like he was ready to give up. Then we got to the final turn with 0.2 miles to go. I was pulling ahead slightly so I started yelling at him, "Come on! Almost there! Don't give up! Let's go!" He finally kicked it in and beat me by a second. That made it exciting for everyone. And of course made me feel good inside.
This is the Bishop. He actually runs in his white shirt and tie. He was on my Ragnar team two years ago. He's pretty fast, but the last two years he's run at a 9 minute pace so more people can get their "Beat the Bishop" certificate.
This is my daughter on the right. She's the only one that came with me. She's standing next to our old neighbor on the left. They both did the one mile fun run. Ben and Eight Kid Mom are in town for Thanksgiving. I know they wanted to do this race, but I don't think they got in until midnight.
My splits were 7:05, 7:21, 7:20 and 1:03 for the last 0.15. My friend also measured 3.15 on his Garmin. But with as bad as I am at running the tangents, it was probably a pretty accurate course. My legs don't feel too bad. The tops of my feet are sore. And my glutes are pretty tight. Other than that, I'm doing good.
I finally took Vinh's and Lyman's advice and went for a nice slow run. (Sorry for those of you I just offended for saying 9:25 pace is slow.) It was really nice out. I thought for sure it was going to rain because I washed three vehicles yesterday. I got about half a mile into the run and tried to pass some egg nog, but when the prarie dog started poking its head out, I immediately stomped on the brakes on that idea. That would have to happen to me on the day I decide to go real slow. It made the last two miles brutal. Even with the slow pace I saw someone way up on the sidewalk walking along. I figured I might pass them so I was playing out the scenario in my head on how I would have to say, "On your left." Just then I heard, "On your right." I knew who it was. It was On-Your-Right-Bicycle-Girl again. I wonder where she goes. She always has this yellow back pack on, and she just pedals on down Rittenhouse Road. Anyway I said good morning to her and told her it was nice to see her again. I'm sure she has a pet name for me, too.
We got a little rain yesterday and last night. You'd think that would cool us down big time. But I still went out in just a body armor shirt and a tank top. Well, that's not all I was wearing, but you know what I mean. I enjoyed the nice damp smell in the air, except when I run by these certain bushes that smell like urine when they get wet.
I started watching the movie Australia over the holiday weekend. When I saw that it was almost three hours long I almost passed a bowel movement with mortar. But I loved it. One of the best movies I've ever seen.