Wednesday, February 29, 2012

New Found Territory

               Well, I recovered from Austin extremely fast. My downtime was very minimal, and I'm up and running. Right now I'm in the beginning stages of training for my first 50 mile trail run. It starts out very easy and manageable, eventually excelling to 26 mile training runs. I'm both excited and terrified. This reminds me of prepping for my first marathon. It is new. New is scary. Scary is exhilarating when you concour it. Once I've run a couple 26ers, I will have a new perspective I think. I may up one to 30, just to mentally destroy the barrier I have. I haven't ever run more than a marathon at one time. I figure once I throw down a 30 or so, mentally I can run whatever you throw at me. It seems to be the easy choice for me.

                 Louisville should be a blast. I was thinking it would be hilly for sure. Not the case. For whatever reason, the marathon is relatively flat. Coming hot off the heels of a PR and knowing I have more to give, if my pacing is right, I plan on cracking it wide open. Fast, flat course?! Man, did  I luck out? All I need is decent weather, and it's on like Donkey Kong. Flat though, I don't even need that. 

               I'm stoked about this year. I'm about to find out just what kind of runner I am, and just how high my threshold is for pain, endurance. I've always been a bit of an envelope pusher. Running is perfect for me. I set the bar. I adapt and overcome. If it goes well, it's all me. If it doesn't, then I stepped in it, and need to clean it. But I will clean it, and I will continue.

So, I'm looking at: 

Shamrock Shuffle 10k
Madison, WI

Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon
Louisville, KY

Madison Marathon
Madison, WI

Ragnar Relay
Madison, WI to Chicago, IL

Dances With Dirt/Devil's Lake 50 miler
Baraboo, WI

Madison Mini-Marathon
Madison, WI

North Face Challenge/Madison, WI  Gore-Tex 50
Eagle, WI

Detroit Free Press Marathon
Detroit, MI

ING New York City Marathon (pending until April)
New York, New York

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Livestrong Austin Marathon 2012

               Well, I will call this a success. Ultimately the flaws in the race were mine, due to my choices, but I will say that this pace team was the most flawed I've depended on. But my choice to depend on them was mine and mine alone. Lesson learned. I will depend on my own watch. I don't like running with a watch, but I will make the sacrifice. They were off by :48 on the first mile, and didn't settle into pace until about mile 11. I believe with every fiber of my being that I would've hit 3:30, maybe 3:25 if even they were only off by 10-15 seconds. I still set a PR at 3:42:03, shaving 2:20 off my previous 3:44:23. I believe I have a great chance to shatter that in Louisville in April with my own watch and proper pacing. I was previously not going to run the Madison Marathon, as I've run it twice and grew a bit bored, but now depending on the outcome in Louisville, I may run it. If for no other reason than I know every crack and bump, hill and dip, in that race and will tear it open.
               My body is nearly completely ready to go, and only 3 days ago I ran the marathon. My thighs are still a bit tight, but everything else is ready to roll. I'm going to be swimming and rowing for about 2 weeks to get my cardio, some upper body training, core workouts, etc. My body is responding to the demands I'm placing on it and I am very happy with the results. 
               The day could not have been more perfect. 45 at the start, and 65 at the finish. Sun was shining. Perfect number of water stops. Great community support. Tons of bands. Some people set up bands and had parties in their front yard. Great atmosphere. If you haven't, Run Austin!

               Now, back to the grind.... The finish line is an illusion.          

Friday, February 17, 2012

Livestrong Austin Countdown

               I left Madison at about 8:45am Wednesday 2/15, making great time, as flow of traffic was about 80 mph once I got into Iowa. The posted speed limit is usually 70-75. All the way  into Missouri, this was the case. I got 30 miles outside of KCMO and fog settled in, I zoned out for about 2 minutes, not realizing I was at 84, according to the officer, (yes, I got a ticket.) and decided it's cruise control the rest of the way. I was concerned with burning more fuel, but now I don't trust myself to keep it steady. I surprised myself by not getting too mad. In the past I would've fumed about it until I was fully exhausted. This time I just chalked it up to travel expense. Say what you will but, most everyone I talked to in Missouri has had a speeding ticket...or several. This was an unmarked. This man was on a mission. I don't even know where he came from. It was like he dropped from the sky. I will say he was very nice though. But, there was no talking my way out of this one. He was there for the sole purpose of issuing tickets. Eh. Live and learn. Speeding ticket or cruise decide. Either way it get's expensive.

               Got into Liberty and met up with my friend Adam at about 4pm, and got into the eating stage. Called up our friend Leo and went to an Italian place in downtown Kansas City. Pizza was insane. INSANE! Cafe Al Dente. Run by a little adorable Italian woman that serves you personally and runs around with more energy than I have sometimes and chats it up with everyone. Brick walls, nice atmosphere.

               Got on the road at 7am Thursday 2/16, again flow of traffic about 80, I set the cruise at 4 over the posted limit and just sat in the right lane. Got into North Austin at just 6pm, and landed at my hotel about 6:45pm. Checked in after peeing for what seemed like an eternity. I didn't want to stop because rush hour was happening and traffic was a little bogged. If I got off, I wasn't sure how easy it would be to get back on.
               Quickly setting my stuff in my room, I headed out to find an Italian restaurant. I asked a few guys working one of Austin's upscale downtown hotels where there was an Italian place close, turns out there is one a couple blocks from my hotel. Went to Taverna on 2nd and Lavaca. Awesome food, nice place, great sevice. On the walk over I realized that there is a running store a block away. How freaking awesome!? Then I noticed the place where the expo is is kitty-corner. Score number 2. There is a Taco Cabana a few blocks away I'll be checking out. Yummy Texmex.
               Then I headed back to get a run in. I ran 2.25, and felt amazing. It took everything not to keep running. I knew I could have run all night. I was afraid prior that I may have over-trained, but now I am quite sure I am just fine. Went back, showered, changed, and hit the hay. I'll go out and do a little eating, shopping, and time killing until 3pm, when I can go to the expo. Hoping that I can meet Bart Yasso, as he is the keynote speaker both days of the expo. I am feeling great. I could go for a run right now, so I guess my work is done until Sunday. Ciao!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Let's get this thing rolling!

So here we go....

I am a marathon runner. I have run 4 and soon to be 5, 9-10 by the end of the year, and hopefully/probably 2 50 milers as well. I have been running solid for 3 years. I am an ex-smoker and alcohol abuser. I got into a bad relationship, and running was the only time I got to myself to think, and myself. Period. I quit drinking and smoking, she did not, and we fizzled. She's better off, to my knowledge. She is married with a man far more suitable to her, and I am on a new course in life. That is that I am newly confident in my ability. I have confidence. That, in and of itself, is a rather new thing for me. I am not a religious person. I do not believe in god, per se, but running long distances is as close as I can get to a 'church' for what I believe in. Anyone who has ever run more than an hour straight knows exactly what I'm talking about. I am always looking forward to my next run. There will be more background to come.

I am leaving for Austin for the Livestrong Austin Marathon on February 15th, the day after my 37th birthday. It will be my 5th marathon. I t will be my first one flying completely solo. I have gone to where I have friends, etc., in the past. This is me all the way. I'm driving by myself from Madison, WI to KCMO, staying over with some friends, having dinner, and continuing on to Austin. I like me time. This is allowing for my own headspace, and it will put a few of my theories to test. More on that later.

So, now I'm heading to the indoor track at The Princeton Club to get my 8 miler in before I go to work. 2 days of rest, XT  on Monday, some tiny runs, then I will find myself in Austin before long. Have a great weekend!