Saturday, May 14, 2011

18-mile Training Run--Vancouver

Did an 18-mile training run in preparation for the Vancouver USA Marathon coming up June 19.  After coming off of a spectacular performance at the Eugene Half-Marathon where I smashed my half-marathon PR by 9 minutes and accomplished a life-long goal of finishing 13.1 miles in under 2 hours, I am setting my sights on the Vancouver USA Marathon and the 4 hour mark.  I know it won't be easy to keep the pace necessary for that long of a distance.

Today's weather was pretty warm and it didn't affect me until about mile 8 or so.  But the route for today's run would be the first 13 miles of the VUM which so happens to be also the most boring.  Heading from Esther Short Park and out Mill Plain towards Vancouver Lake and Frenchman's Bar on the Columbia.  From the sounds of it, you'd think it would be scenic, but to the contrary.  You pass by the Port of Vancouver which is rather industrial and the scene is generally flat with not much to look at.  The lake is off in the distance and a person is left with his mind and his thoughts pretty much.

At mile 2 another runner overtook me.  An older man wearing running shorts that looked like the american flag, with stars and stripes and everything.  He was also wearing a Survivor Sunday Indoor Triathlon shirt from the 2010 event.  I just so happened to be wearing the same shirt from 2009 which was neon yellow.  We chatted it up for about 4 minutes or so.  He is also doing the VUM and expects to finish in 3:30.  Ironically, his name is Mike, too.

There were several folks out this direction riding their bikes.  Looked like a cycling or triathlon coach had his folks doing some laps for training.  This is a good place to do bike training since it is generally low traffic and is flat.  Plus an out and back is about 14 miles.

I made it into the Frenchman's Bar after about an hour and it was mile 7.  I took a short break to catch my breath.  Beautiful setting, little wind, nice and warm.  I should bring the kids here this summer.  They'd love the beach and the sand and the play structure.

My training plan had me doing 9:30 for the first 5 miles and then 9:00 for the next 9.  I did ok with the 9:30 part and most of the way, I kept it at 9:00 or better.  But when I got to mile 9 I had to go up an overpass and chose to walk up most of it. I was getting pretty tired.

For nutrition I had 2 bottles of G2 and 2 bottles of EnduroMax.  I am trying out the EM to see if it is any better.  I also had 4 gels for the day.  Plus EnduroLyte caps, tylenol and flintstone vitamins. I wasn't leaving anything to chance today.  18 miles is a long way.  That is when the wheels start to fall off for most people.

I made it back to the truck at mile 14.4.  I refilled my bottles and headed out for a few more miles, but this part would be on the more scenic routes around downtown, the Columbia River and Ft. Vancouver.

Such a gorgeous day.  The section at Ft. Vancouver was my favorite.  Beautiful green grass, the kind of grass you love to run through, or roll down a hill or just lie in and look up at the clouds.  The trees were in bloom, the flowers were in bloom.  Everything spoke of late spring.  Officer's Row was especially beautiful with the 19th century houses.  I got a chill of excitement as I ran through here thinking how great it will be to run through here on race day.

I finished at Mile 18.2 in 2:52 and shortly thereafter Wendy arrived to go to the Saturday Market.  A fantastic run.  Pretty challenging in some spots.  But if I am going to make the 4 hour mark, I need to do a bit better than this.  I'll have to keep up with the training and the speed work.  Wish me luck!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Funny--Short Letters

Dear Ugly People,
You're welcome.
Sincerely, Alcohol

Dear Noah,
We could have sworn you said the ark wasn't leaving till 5.

Dear Icebergs,
Sorry to hear about the global warming.
Karma's a bitch.

The Titanic


Dear America ,
You produced Miley Cyrus. Bieber is your punishment.


Dear Yahoo,
I've never heard anyone say, "I don't know, let's Yahoo! it..." just



Dear 2010,
So I hear the best rapper is white and the president is black? WTF



Dear Windshield Wipers,
Can't touch this.
That Little Triangle

Dear girls who have been dumped,
There are plenty of fish in the sea... Just kidding! They're all dead.


Dear Fox News,
So far, no news about foxes.


Dear Nickleback,
That's enough.
Sincerely, The World


Dear Osama Bin Laden,
Sincerely, United States


Dear Batman,
What was your power again?
Sincerely, Superman


Dear Customers,
Yes, we ARE making fun of you in Vietnamese.
Sincerely, Nail Salon Ladies


Dear Mr. Gump
WTF are you talking about?
There's a little diagram on the lid that tells you EXACTLY what you're
gonna get....

Sincerely, Jenny
Dear World,
Please stop freaking out about 2012. Our calendars end there because
some Spanish d-bags invaded our country and we got a little busy OK?

The Mayans

Dear White People,
Don't you just hate immigrants?
Native Americans


Dear iPhone,
Please stop spellchecking all of my rude words into nice words. You
piece of shut.

Every iPhone User


Dear Trash,
At least you get picked up...
The Girls of Jersey Shore

Dear Man,
It's cute, but can you pick up peanuts with it?

Handbook 2011

Got this from a relative in her Christmas Card.  Post this on your refrigerator

1.   Drink plenty of water.
2.   Eat Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a beggar.
3.   Eat more foods that grow on trees/plants and less food that is manufactured in plants.
4.   Live with the three Es: Energy, Enthusiasm, and Empathy
5.   Make time to pray
6.   Play more games
7.   Read more books than you did in 2010
8.   Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day
9.   Sleep  for a minimum of 7 hours
10.  Take a 30-minute walk daily. And while you walk, smile.

11.  Don't compare your life to others.  You have no idea what their journey is all about.
12.  Don't have negative thoughts about things you cannot control. Instead, invest your energy in the positive present moment.
13.  Don't over-do. Keep your limits
14.  Don't take yourself so seriously.  No one else does.
15.  Don't waste your precious energy on gossip
16.  Dream more while you are awake
17.  Envy is a waste of time.  You already have all you need
18.  Forget issues of the past. Don't remind your partner about his/her mistakes of the past.  That will ruin your present happiness
19.  Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.  Don't hate others
20.  Make peace with your past so it won't spoil the present
21.  No one is in charge of your happiness except you
22.  Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn.  Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class, but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.
23.  Smile and laugh more
24.  You don't have to win every argument.  Agree to disagree.

25.  Call you family often
26.  Each day, give something good to others
27.  Forgive everyone for everything.
28.  Spend time with people over the age of 70 and under the age of 6
29.  Try to make at least three people smile each day
30.  What other people think of you is none of your business
31.  Your job won't take care of you when you are sick.  Your family and friends will. Stay in touch.

32.  Do the right thing!
33.  Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
34.  God heals everything.
35.  However good or bad a situation, it will change
36.  No matter how you feel, get up, dress up, and show up
37.  The best is yet to come
38.  When you awake alive in the morning, thank God for it
39.  Your innermost is always happy. So, be happy.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Eugene Half-Marathon Report! Wow Baby!

Eugene Half Marathon
May 1, 2011
Eugene, Oregon
1:54:20  13.1 miles
Do any of you remember me from 3 years ago?  When I was in the worst shape of my life?  When I couldn't run 50 yards continuous?  When I couldn't climb a flight of stairs without feeling like I was going to pass out?  When I made every excuse I could think of when my sister tried to get me off the couch and get to moving?  Or simply couldn't play with my kids because I was so uncomfortable?  Well, that guy doesn't live here anymore and since October of 2008, I have logged close to 3000 miles of swimming, biking and running, became an Ironman, climbed Mt. St. Helens, I can keep up with my kids and I have made exercise an important component to my life style.  In addition, I continue to set lofty goals for my physical performance and today I accomplished a huge milestone that I never thought possible.
When I made my goals for 2011 I listed finishing a half-marathon in less than 2 hours as one of them.  To finish a 13.1 mile course in less than 2 hours requires an average pace of about 9 minutes per mile.  That is fast for me, since I typically run at 10 minutes per mile.  My previous half-marathon time was 2:07 and that was coming off of training for a full marathon and i was in great shape.  Running at a 9 minute pace is pretty easy for me to do at distances of 3 miles or less, but a full 13.1?  Eegads!
I hooked up with a new marathon training coach and program.  Just happened to be the same coach I had for my Ironman training in 2010.  They have a little different philosophy than my previous training group and I can see now the amazing results.  I have been training since January and it has involved lots of intervals, tempo runs, hill work and long runs.  I did a half-marathon in February and finished 2:03, setting a new PR, but I hadn't busted through that 2 hour mark.
I set my sights on the Eugene event because of the prestige and history behind the running program at the University of Oregon.  I didn't know it until recently, but Eugene is known as Track Town, USA.  Athletes from all over the country come thru Eugene for the NCAA Track & Field championships and the Olympic Trials.  Eugene is also home to many running legends over the past 3 decades.  We would start and finish at Hayward Field, the home of where all of these legends got their start.
The day was epic.  Crystal clear sunshine and warm temperatures (well, once it warmed up).  Wendy and I arrived at the event site about an hour before the start.  We checked a few things out and then she kissed me for good luck and I went off to do my warm ups.  I tried to cede myself with the 2:00 pace group, but there were so many people I was closer to the 2:08 group.  I would have to work my way through the field to catch up and the race hadn't even started yet.
There were about 8,000 runners between the half and full marathons.  The streets were relatively narrow and it was packed pretty good the first mile. I took off and tried to settle into a comfortable pace, but still stay close to the 8:47/mile pace I had set as my goal to project a 1:55 finish.  This would give me 5 mins of breathing room for bathroom breaks, shoe tieing, high-fiving and other delays along the course.  Mile 1's time was 9:37!  Oh crud!
I started picking up the pace a little, but I also needed to develop some patience.  13.1 miles is a long ways and I could easily blow myself up going out too fast and too hard.  The second mile was right on pace at 8:46 and then once I started feeling comfortable, I picked it up even more.  Miles 3, 4 and 5 were around 8:30 and then mile 6 was 8:05!  Wow!  I was feeling good.  I cruised into the timing mats at the 10K mark at 54:22!!!  This is a very respectable time for me if I were doing just a 10K!
The vibe was great at this event.  Lots of cheering fans and great support.  Lots of entertainment and an aid station about every mile or so.  I loved it.  Lots of nice people I got to chat with along the way, too.  Met one person who was from Spokane and actually knew where Milton Street was where I was a kid!
I sucked down a gel at about the one hour mark, which is about what I had planned to do.  I was feeling pretty good.  I turned on my iPod at about mile 4 and cranked the tunes up to keep me motivated.  The sun was shining, the air was warm, I was feeling great and cranking out a great pace and I was happy to be in this amazing event.
Just before mile 9 we ran back by the Start/Finish line and I saw Wendy.  Stopped and gave her a kiss and told her I was doing great.  So nice to see her and know she was there cheering me on.  The next 2 miles were where things got really hard.  I started bonking and was feeling depleted.  I hadn't drank as much Gatorade as I wanted and I was needing another gel.  I sucked down a bunch of G2 and then followed it with a gel.  My pace had slowed to about 9:10 for these 2 miles and I even had to walk for 50 yards as I crested the top of one hill.  But I kept plugging along.
From miles 11 til 13 I knew it was time to crank it up.  I wasn't going to leave anything in the tank.  I was going for broke.  By now I knew I was going to make the 2 hour mark, but I wanted to see how much I could smash it.  I was teetering on the 1:55 time and I wanted to see if I could beat 1:54.  I dug my heels in and pressed on.  Next mile was 8:31.  I was really getting tired.  My heart rate had been at threshold for several miles and my calves were really sore.  But with 1 mile to go, I knew I couldn't slow up and cranked out a 8:29 the final 1.1 miles.  We rounded the corner and entered historic Hayward Field and right onto the track.  Wow!  Nice cushy track surface and the huge stadium with people everywhere and our tired faces on the huge Jumbo-tron.  I could see the finish and kept pumping.  I looked down at my watch, it had already clicked over to 1:54 but I kept pumping anyway!  I heard the announcer announce my name as I finished.  Yay!
1:54:20 was my official time!  I smashed my previous PR by 9 minutes!  That is incredible!  I was feeling it though.  I was rather dizzy and I certainly felt depleted afterwards.  I needed some food and some chocolate milk.  Mmmm, my favorite post-race recovery drink.  I loitered in the recovery/food section for a bit and then proceeded to the exit where I saw Wendy gretting me with a huge beaming smile.  Yay!
So there you have it folks!  I finished 13.1 miles in 1:54:20 for an overall pace of 8:42/mile.  Incredible.  So what is next?  You know something else has to be in the works, right?  Well, my ultimate goal is to finish a full 26.2 mile marathon in less than 4 hours!  So stay tuned for June 19th when I will try to break that barrier at the Vancouver USA Marathon! Woot, woot!
Thanks for your support