Long (road) runs suck!

2 Mar

Two weeks ago, I came down with a bad cold/sore throat. For about a week, I laid around fatigued, blowing out this gunk from my nose. Concerned how this lost week was going to affect my preparations for the LA Marathon, I finally got back on the roads last week. Due to family conflicts and other meetings, I only managed two 6 mile runs. I could feel I had a ways to go to get back to form. My rhythm was off, my legs ached, and I struggled to even out my breathing. By Thursday, I decided I needed a few more days rest in order to get my last long run in on Sunday.
Unfortunately, I forgot about my daughter’s first track meet of the season last Saturday. It is an all comers meet, with about 30 high schools participating. Unfortunate because I forgot I had volunteered to help with the event set up and with the discus competition. My daughter looks like a sprinter, and has a lot of raw speed, but she has no interest in the running events. Instead, she opted for the discus and shot put. And I’m happier than heck. Each time I watch her throw, I can see how much fun she is having. She’s got rail thin arms, and doesn’t intend on bulking up, so it is all about technique for her. And whether she places, or not, doesn’t matter. She’s having fun participating, and I’m having fun supporting her.
Anyway, even though a rain storm had just pushed through, Saturday was still cloudy and cold. For six hours, I set up for the different events, bent down to measure each toss, avoided errant throws, and slowly froze my ass off. By the time I got home, I was so tired. I rested and hydrated for the rest of the night in preparation for my long run.

The long run…well, let’s just say it’s done. I had 2 other runs of 20 and 22 miles which had gone perfectly in the weeks before. This one was a disaster.
I ran on pace for the first 12 miles. I started feeling some pain in my foot every 3-4 miles. It would linger for about 1-2 miles, then disappear.
By mile 16, I knew I was in trouble.
By 18, my pace started to slow. The hacking fit didn’t help.
When I hit 21 miles, I knew I was done. I had no more energy. I could either call my daughter to pick me up, or suck it up and finish the damn thing.
Well, I decided to suck it up. It seemed to take forever, but it is done.

On the plus side, 19 days to rest up and get back to 100%. I’ve got some good tapering and nutrition suggestions from some of you. I’m looking forward to meeting some friends in LA – hopefully other bloggers. I’m glad I got that depressing run out of the way. I’m confidant I’m going to have a great run on March 21st!!

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How or when did you know you caught the running bug?

2 Mar

In answer to Christina’s question…How or when did you know you caught the running bug?

I first caught the running bug back when I was a sophomore in high school. I had played organized sports when I grew up in LA; basketball, soccer, rugby, even football for one day*. Running was always my old standby. Due to other conflicts, I never ran track or cross country in high school. I wish I had. I hung around a large group of friends who used play fun, odd games. We’d play flag football some weeks, then change over to croquet the following week, then switch to capture the flag. The games always had an edge to them, with unique rules. One rule, after the flag was captured, called for gang tackling each member of the losing team. The losing team could only hold off defeat by not being tackled. Only then could the first team claim victory. One particular day, my team quickly fell apart, losing our flag, my team members quickly picked off by our rivals. However, I managed to elude the other team for about 2 hours, running cross country through the open space. I remember how fun it was just to run and run – my first trail run.
More recently, I had an epiphany of sorts. Since those long ago school days, I’ve kept running; some marathons, some halves, a few 10Ks, but mainly to keep fit and mostly on the roads. Then about 3 years ago, I was running by an open space area and wondered where a trail went. I took off down the single track and entered a new world. It was like the clouds had parted, and the sun was shining on Shangri-la. I was so jazzed I could barely contain myself. I ran home and pulled as much info as I could on trails in the immediate area, then trails on our local mountain, Mt Diablo. I was in ecstasy. I woke up every day thinking of new areas to run. I recall even leaving work early to go run a new trail I had found.
Someday, I hope to do an ultra. For now, I have this road race to get out of the way. After training on asphalt and concrete for the last 6 months, I long for the muddy single track, the wide open fire roads. I miss screaming my head off on the quad busting down hills. Soon…very soon.


* The summer before my sophomore year, while acting stupid I fell off a car and ended up with a severe concussion. I was unconscious for about a day, and spent a week in the hospital. This was the year I was going to go out for football. Feeling invincible and wanting to play so bad, I went out for the team about a month later. I got knocked silly during tackling practice – and that ended my promising football career. Because I was such a jokester, my friends left me on the road for about 5-10 minutes – thinking I was kidding around. They still joke how they finally trudged over and kicked me a few times before realizing I was out cold. Such fun guys.

back in the saddle..

23 Feb


After a week long layoff, I finally got back on the street again this morning. I debated whether to ease into it with a 2-3 miles easy run, or just bite the bullet and do a full 6 miles.

After thinking about all the training I’d put in the last 5-6 month, I knew my conditioning hadn’t suffered that much, so I decided to do the full 6. It wasn’t easy… I expected to have no rhythm, achy knees, labored breathing, and general tiredness.

Usually, with all the driving to pick up kids from school, meetings, etc., I find it easier to get up at 5 in the morning for my runs. In order to do that I make the decision to get up early ahead of time. I don’t know why that works. But having one less mind game to play with myself seems to do it. It almost didn’t work this morning. I woke up at 5 and lay in bed thinking of a million reasons to postpone my run till this afternoon. The warm bed…the residual sinus pressure..and so on, but I finally got up and dressed, and was out the door in 15 minutes. (Good thing too. It is pouring out here right now)

I picked a perfect route. It starts at a slight downhill in the first mile. Then a minimal incline over the next 2 miles, before flattening out. The last half mile is also downhill. I started very slowly, focusing on my form, and breathing, trying to capture a good rhythm. I started to tire after the first mile – seemed like I couldn’t get enough air into my lungs. And running that long straightway (from miles 2-4) in the dark seemed to go on forever. I laid out the course so I could cut it short at 3 or 4.5 miles, if I was having too much difficulty. I did feel some discomfort at both checkpoints, but I  dealt with it and trudged on. My pace was really slow – later I realized I was going as slow as the final miles of my last 22 miler 9 days ago.

I made it though. No leg soreness, though my feet are a little achy. My sinus pressure went away after blowing out a few snot rockets – yum!.

So, first recovery step taken. 2 more runs in the next 3 days, then if all goes well, my last long run on Sunday. I ‘m somewhat concerned about the long run, though. I hope to get my legs and lungs back by Sunday – but I’m wondering if I should postpone the long run for a week. I’ve seen some training plans with long runs 2 weeks before a marathon. I’m not sure if how it will affect me on marathon day. Hmmm… something to ponder over the next 5 days. Of course, I expect all you experts to chime in with free advise!!

Almost back on track

22 Feb

Just got through a wicked cold/sore throat that took me out of commission for a week. It used to be I could recover from a cold in a couple of days, but this last one really kicked my ass.
I felt a tickle on my throat on Tuesday, tried to weakly fight it off Wed, but surrendered and submitted on Thursday. It was taking too much energy to keep fighting.

I finally emerged somewhat clear headed this morning. I haven’t been able to get a decent sleep due to all the post nasal drainage.
Tomorrow, I’m starting my last heavy week of training, culminating in a 22-24 mile long run on Sunday. Then a 3 week taper to the Mar 21st LA Marathon.
If I was clearheaded enough, I would probably freak out about the lost week.

On a side note, my sister in LA had been writing me all last week about her last long run in preparation for LA, her first marathon. First, 2 weeks ago, she told me it was a 23 miler. Then, last Wed somehow it changed to a 25 miler. Yesterday, out of the blue, she texted me. Her long run had become the Pasadena Marathon. WTF!! I still don’t know who talked her into that.  I haven’t been able to get a hold of her yet – she’s probably still icing. I wonder if she still plans on running LA? That would be 2 marathon within 30 days. Crazy kid sisters!

Sick as a dog

17 Feb

I have been truly fortunate.

I haven’t been sick in over 3 years. No colds, flu, sore throats…nothing. Coincidently, three years ago I started upping my mileage (from 10-15 miles to 25-30 in the last 6 months.

Meanwhile, my wife, son and daughter have had various illnesses, especially in the winter months.

The streak ended yesterday

My family has been trading colds and coughs for the last 4 months. Yesterday morning, I awoke with a tickle in my throat. By 5pm, that little tickle had blossomed, making me miserable. I got home and dragged myself to bed- getting up once to eat dinner.

There’s a slight improvement today. But, I have no interest whatsoever in going out for a run. The combination of a great 22 miler last Sunday, and this throat thing (might even be allergy related) has really fatigued me.

Maybe tomorrow….maybe Friday.

Meanwhile all the ladies are taking full advantage and going right by me again at 1010-in-2010

Just wait….

Read a great review of how proper nutrition/hydration and pacing helped Christina BQ at the IMS Arizona marathon. Great stuff! Check it out.

(cough, cough, hack, hack)

Valentine’s Post

14 Feb

This has been a great running week- 37 total miles
– 8×800 on Wed, 4:15 average – these are getting harder as I another 800 one each week
– a great long run of 22 miles this morning. After all the rain in the last weeks, I knew the sun would be out today. So I was debating whether to wear my sun glasses, or my regular glasses. Sun glasses won out, though it was a little interesting running in the dark at 5:30am

Zeroing in on running 200 miles over consecutive months – I’ve never done that. Feels great!

My son’s b-ball team won their last game of the season today. The team pizza party was great too.

Congrats to all the racers this weekend!!

Nothing to report about Valentine’s Day, except – My mother-in-law decided to pay us a visit! Major fail!!!
Who does that??

5 weeks to the LA Marathon – only one +20 miler (22-24?) left. I can’t wait!!

Work, work, push, push

4 Feb

Have you ever had one of those days were you have to really work hard to get a good run? 

I’m not talking about how it takes 1 -2 miles just to warm up, and then you finally find your rhyhm. I mean when you have to really fight to reach that higher plane. Kind of like sprinting up a muddy hill that keeps sucking you in tll you reach the dry section. Yesterday’s interval set started off like that.

I almost didn’t get out of the car when I got to the marked trail where I do intervals. My knees ached, my stomach felt bloated (yeah, guys get that way too), allergy season is fast approaching. There was also the distraction of some police action at the airport next door.

The last few weeks, I had been averaging about 4:30 on sets, but I felt I could probably go faster. I decided to shoot for somewhere between 4:05 and 4:15.
As expected, the first 2 800s were somewhat difficult. Maybe I needed a longer warm up, but I still managed to stay within target with a little work.
4:05
4:10
But then, this fatigue set in. Almost like I had attached weights to my legs.
4:17
I was wondering whether I’d even be able to complete 4 sets. Pushing all that negativity aside, I took a longer rest, refocused and put more concentration on what I was trying to do.
4:10
4:05
4:10
4:15
Whew! Guess I just needed to psyche myself out a bit. It seemed like the weight had come off in the last 4 800s. My stride was smoother, my arms were pumping evenly, my breathing more relaxed. I definitely was in a groove.  After cooling off, I felt great! There was definitely more of a spring in my step. Man, I felt fast !!

well, for me it was fast 🙂