Monday, March 13, 2017

2017 Newport News One City Marathon



Newport News One City Marathon

 Garmin Stats: HERE

View from our hotel window

Denise, Faith and I at packet pickup

Marathons are not my favorite. I explained it to my wife like this..."A half marathon will push you to the edge and then pull you back, a full marathon just chews you up and spits you out". Never the less my favorite weekend getaways consist of a road race followed by an evening of live musical entertainment. Sometimes (usually) preferences have to be compromised. If I really want to see an artist, then I will race a less desirable distance or if I really want to do a race, then any live music scene will do.

For the Newport News One City Marathon, I was in town for a Green Day concert. The marathon was on the same day, so I went ahead and signed up for that too. I had only committed to the events at the end of January so that gave me 6 weeks to up my training from 12 mile long runs to 20 mile long runs.I usually train for 4 months to run a sub 4 hour marathon, so I figured I'd increase my mileage, slow down my paces and plan on a 5 hour event.

I ended up surprising myself. I fell into a very comfortable groove in the mid 8's and decided to just hold it as long as I could. For 18 miles I just kept a steady and smooth effort of easy 8's going. I knew a crash was on the horizon though, so I wasn't entertaining any crazy thoughts of a PR or even of coming in under 4 hours. 

The real story of any marathon is the last 6-8 miles. That's when it starts to chew at you mentally and physically. When I started slipping into the 9's at mile 19 I remembered thinking "Maybe I can just cruise to the finish at this slower pace." and I did keep it up for one more mile, but my heart really wasn't in it, so when I hit the 20 mile mark I took my first walk break.

Walking felt really good!

I was just about convinced I needed to follow a 50/50 walk/jog strategy at 1/2 mile intervals to the finish, but the more I looked at Garmin and crunched the numbers the more I realized I actually had a shot at a sub 4 hour event. I took off in a jog after my first walk break of about 1/3 mile and even though I was sore, it didn't feel too bad.

I ended up taking 3 walk breaks, the second and third ones being closer to 1/4 mile, all while evaluating my chances at a sub 4. It wasn't until mile point 25 that I adjusted my strategy for the difference between the Garmin distance measurement and the course distance measurement. Garmin was about 2/10ths of a mile ahead, so I did the math and realized I had to stay under a 10 min mile for the last mile and a half. 

Me about 30 or 40 strides from the finish. I looked over and was so happy to see Denise! I had told her not to expect me at the finish till much later, so I figured she wouldn't be there.
It was hard work, but I found the energy for it. When the clock first came into view I could see the 3 clearly and the 5, but was that an 8 or a 9? A few steps closer and it was confirmed as an 8, but it was changing to a 9 in just a few more seconds. Picking up the pace ever so slightly I got close enough to realize that I was going to achieve another sub 4 hour marathon! I had cut it close, almost too close, but had what I needed!

"Warming" station.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Back to the Basics

Back to the Basics

What are the basics of a well rounded life that values wellness? Just like in so many story books (3 bears, 3 little pigs, 3 wishes from a genie, etc,...), the answer seems to fall back to 3 primary targets...consciousness, accountability and discipline. 

The building block of the universe. You might think its matter...I suggest you read up on quantum physics.

You are a part of the collective whether you like it or not. Find something or someone that matters and establish goals for improvement.

Some things matter. Be unyielding. A passing phase is fine for entertaining the trivialities of life, but there are no half asses in the winners circles.

Again with the 3's...A strong mind requires a strong body which requires a strong will which requires a strong mind, ..., ..., ...,the essence of it all is as the elders have often said..."You are what you eat." 

I am not a runner...

I am not a runner...

Its true. Running is a means to an end, but its not the only means. I'm a fitness enthusiast. I lived life as a somewhat large man for a decade or so, I found it to be unsatisfactory, and so now I take steps to ensure that I maintain certain levels of activity, health and fitness. I'm not doing it to extend my life, though statistically that is probable. I'm doing it to improve the quality of life that I live while I'm here on this earth for however long that may be.

Running for me has always been about the intense long duration calorie burns. I do love them, but they aren't needed to maintain any of my health and fitness goals. My base layer of wellness is nutrition, followed by flexibility, followed by strength, followed by low impact cardio (swimming, cycling, etc...) and lastly...high impact cardio such as running.

Hard competitive running the way I do it requires a solid base and the truth is my base is shit. I don't deserve to run. Over the past few years, since roughly 2012, I have been paying much less attention to nutrition, I seldom do any significant flexibility exercises and I only strength train to maintain a minimal standard of functionality whereas I should be working towards gains.

I'm going to regroup and get back to basics before I run again. My blowout at the 2016 Blue Ridge Half was unacceptable by any reasonable standards. Over the next several weeks I'm going to work on some defined standards that I will have to achieve before I make another go at competitive running. I'm going to start blogging more about the journey as well as the events. I'm going to spend time in the back of the pack with the walkers and get a feel for that end of the spectrum.