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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Today it Begins...Again

Driving home last night in the snow, I was sure that my casual run this morning was going to be out of the question. An overnight freeze would just turn this mess into a layer of ice. While I could have planned to get on the treadmill, I'm still in recovery mode and opted for sleep.

To be brief, woke up at 4:00 and the temperature was only in the mid-30's. JOY! A peek outside showed wet streets, but no remaining snow. Dressed, out the door and off I went. There was a heavy mist and within a few feet I thought that I'd cut this run short.

About five minutes in, I was just overwhelmed. Sure it was chilly and I was getting wet, but it was just plain awesome.

Then, at that moment...I was reminded what I am. I am a runner. I love this stuff. This is what we do. Bring it on. What else you got?

As a few cars pulled by, I could see them slow. I knew what they were thinking..."what's that idiot doing?"

I get similar looks from our neighborhood police officer when I'm out pounding the pavement at 4:00 AM to beat the heat of a typical Texas summer. Once, he pulled up beside me and ask how far I was going. When I told him I'd be at it for a few hours, he just shook his head and wished me well. He gives me a knowing nod each time we cross paths.

Today wasn't my fastest run or my longest, but it was one of the best in a very long time. Forget the health benefits of running. This was about pure God given pleasure. I'm thankful to Him for allowing me to experience this on a day that otherwise looked to be so ordinary.

Run in Peace, Rest in Grace


Monday, December 14, 2009

Rock Recap

Yesterday's Dallas White Rock Marathon was my 6th marathon. Around mile 24 I remembered why I hadn't run one of these things in five years. Yet, only my fellow runners would understand why I missed my time away.

My 4:30 finishing time is far from a PR, but I had no disappointments. I just wanted to make this as comfortable as a marathon could be. Happily, I felt amazingly well and only started the dead leg shuffle around mile 24 or so. It was that last marathon five years ago when leg cramps had me at that state around mile 17. I swore then I'd never do it again. Nine miles with a pair of stilts as legs will do that to a person.

This was my 3rd White Rock and I want to applaud the city for turning out to cheer on these lunatics in running shoes. My first marathon in Dallas, back in 1997, pales in comparison to yesterday. Tons of people. Not just cheering for their designated runner...cheering for strangers like me. It's no New York City Marathon, but it was simply impressive.

One observation. You'd think the American Airlines Center and numerous port-a-potties would be ample for 20,000 runners. Yet, lines were nuts before the start and throughout the race on the course. I feel sorry for those who had to wait in line during the race for a chance to "go".

The inventor of the timing chip needs to be thanked once again. This allows us slower runners to start in the back, yet still post an accurate time. Here is a view from the back of the last starting coral. I was way honking back there, yet it worked quite smoothly.

I guess my only complaint can only be directed at most (likely all) large marathons. It is nearly impossible to get in a rhythm. You know, zone out and before you know it you've knocked off a couple of miles. Just too many people. This is my own doing for signing up for large races. After I finished yesterday, I was thinking that I actually enjoy my long training runs as much as the race itself if not more. If I mentioned that to my non-running friends they'd have me locked up.

Now, I can focus on this wonderful time of year. No more distractions. For those of us that celebrate Christmas with the main focus being Christ, it is time to dig in. Fill your heart with the gift that was so generously given.

And...maybe get back out of the road for some solitude.

Run in Peace, Rest in Grace


Saturday, December 12, 2009

Pre-Race Note: Relax

What gives with the anxiety.  I'm running the Dallas White Rock Marathon tomorrow and have had more trouble sleeping than usual the past few nights.  I know the race is the culprit as my mind immediately goes to the race.

Strange thing is that I registered for this race not seeking a PR or even a specific time.  I just wanted to put in the miles as a training run to kick off what I hope to be a busy 2010 running schedule.  Thus, no pressure.  I would even be ok with walking a substantial portion of the last 10K.

Yet, I got geeked at the EXPO yesterday afternoon.  I started to obsess about when I'd fuel and which aid stations I'd hit for fluid & walk breaks.  Darn it, I'm doing exactly what I didn't want to do.  Planning the race.  I guess having a plan is always good.  Unfortunately, my planning leads me to expectations...not what I had in mind.

This isn't my first rodeo either. This will be my 6th marathon.  Yet, it is my first in five years.  Does it ever get easier?  I'd hoped this would feel like another Turkey Trot or neighborhood 5K.  I just want and need to do one thing...Relax. This is fun...Right?

Blessings to all the runners, volunteers, organizers and spectators. You are all in my prayers.

Run in Peace, Rest in Grace


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Taper Tubby

Stepped on the scale this morning and darn it if I hadn't done it again. I gained weight during my taper....AGAIN! Three pounds and I still have a few days to go. What gives? I know better. I'll be almost 5 pounds over my intended weight and 10 above what I consider my lean mean fighting machine weight (still short and doughy...but, less doughy...maybe I should get a spray tan and do some cross training).

Sure, I've been hampered by this Vertigo thing, but you'd think nausea would keep me from gaining weight. The opposite has been true. I've been starving for the past 10 days. I guess I'm feeling sorry for myself not being able to run so I just eat. I'm hungry all the time. I have even found myself eating junk I would normally pass on without thought. These are not even sorta good calories so I can't kid myself and use the carbo loading excuse.

Last night, I was sipping green tea to wash down some Almond Toffee. My boss' wife sends some over every year. It is wicked good, but one small bite is usually my limit...for the season. I was like a crack addict. I need to be locked up the balance of the week or else they'll flag me at the start for appearing to be too unfit to participate.

Ok, off to lunch. Need protein. Need carbs. Think healthy and focus on portion control. Oops, someone just delivered cookies...darn it!

Run in Peace, Rest in Grace


Monday, December 7, 2009

When to Quit

After some wonderful trail running and food in Santa Fe last weekend, I was suddenly slammed with Vertigo. It hit me like a ton of bricks while driving to the office the morning after I returned. Technically Vertigo or not, I've got the inner ear symptoms similar to it. The good news is that it has improved gradually. I now struggle with whether or not I'll be able to (or should) run the Dallas White Rock Marathon this coming weekend. The pressure from family and co-workers to drop out is immense already.

I was fascinated how quickly those who don't run were quick to recommend I sit this one out. For some reason, I thought they'd have more respect for the effort put in to train for this thing. Aren't these the people who make The Biggest Loser such of popular TV show? As usual, I was wrong. Why was I surprised? I mean, these folks are the ones who ask if I plan to win. Of course they don't get it.

Fellow runners speak with more caution. They want to know what my doctor says. My favorite question: "How bad is it?"

That question says a lot. They get it! Clearly, runners deal with a lot of physical ailments while training. We utter "how bad is it?" to ourselves and other runners often. It means, simply, 'you think you'd die if you gave it a go?'

So, in order to receive your proper opinion, let me elaborate on how bad it is. At present, I still get dizzy when driving and doing various tasks with my hands while sitting or standing. My doctor wants to initiate the standard tests, but was clear to point out that if it were indeed Vertigo there is not test to confirm such. They basically just rule out big health threats: brain tumor, hear condition, diabetes, etc. and hope it clears up in a number of weeks or months.

Even though I'm tapering, I did run some the past two days to see what would happen. Day one was a mess. Less dizzy the second day and I began to think that maybe I could deal with this for four and a half hours. Why not? Rough morning today followed by no symptoms this afternoon.

I've promised my family and doctor that I'd make an honest race time decision. Assess how I feel after driving to the race. I suppose the only fear I have is how honest I'll be with myself about how I feel. I'm praying this week for this discernment on Sunday. To be able to separate my "want to" from deep desire to run. Our temptations are just that. Strong "want to" vs. what is right.

I cannot imagine the pressure I'd feel if this were my first marathon. Heck, I just decided to run this event about a month ago. I have nowhere near as much invested as a first timer or someone who started with a training group 18 weeks ago. Some of those folks are facing a similar question and opting not to run is a tougher decision.

So, I enter the next several days praying for improved health and for understanding if things simply do not lead to my running the event. There are other marathons, be honest...I really, REALLY want to run this thing. This ain't gonna be easy.

Run in Peace, Rest in Grace