Substitute "work" with "running" and/or "blogging" in that clip and that pretty much sums things up as of late.
I'm tapped out.
I'm going to go for a run after school and we'll see if the blogging juices get going. Lots of ideas for 2009 and, at some point, they'll all come together.
Oh, and by the way, don't think I'm just going to dismiss the fact that my blogging name has now been turned into an adjective, adverb and verb to describe being blocked or uninspired. Karma has a way of rearing its head, folks. I'm just sayin'. **Editor's Note** - Because all of you are questioning your own well-being with this post, I just want to clarify that I am not on hiatus. I plan to be back whenever something inspirational smacks me in the face.
I'm not gonna lie to ya, I completely spaced posting about the 2 latest episodes of Runners LoungeCast.
Episode 8 - Tom and Amy give us an update of all the kewl things happening in the Lounge.
Episode 9 - Amy, Vanilla, and 2 SpecialGuests join us for a Battle of the Sexes. All I have to say is that Vanilla and I got jobbed. That's what happens when the scorekeeper is on the other team. Nitmos was noticeably absent for this one although I don't think the outcome would've changed. His excuse involved helicopters and orphans. OK.........
By now, you may have heard that IRan a Marathon. Seriously, I did. The best part of it? The week after. I haven't done a damn thing and it feels great. What's better is that I miss running. Not the way that A-Rod misses Jeter when they're apart, but I miss it all the same. I'm going to get back out on the road as soon as this nagging pain on the side of my foot subsides. It shouldn't take too much longer. Nothing a double cheeseburger and a chocolate milkshake from my favorite local burger joint can't fix.
It's occurred to me that I should probably set some goals for 2009. I could classify the marathon as "unfinished business" from 2008, but I don't want to rip off a cliche motto that every sports team uses when they think that they got jobbed the previous year.
Right now, I want to do 2 HMs. The first one will be the Lincoln Half Marathon in May. Now that I have a little more race experience, I've come to the determination that Lincoln is a really great, completely underrated race. A flat, fast course that's well organized, has lots of crowd support, and has a massive finishing area with a lot of food and fluids at the end. For this HM, I'm just going to go out and have fun. There are a couple people at work that'll be running their first HM, so I said I'd hang back and give them support. If you've learned anything from ROATM, it's that I'm overflowing with goodness and kindness.
The other HM is up for grabs. It'll be in the fall. I may do Omaha if/when they get their act together. Des Moines is always a possibility. I think I've been invited to Denver and Kansas City, but that would involve appearance fees on their part plus a lot of riders in my contract. Not to mention altitude issues (Denver) and hill issues (KC).
I really want to run the Market to Market Relay. Essentially, your team (6-8 people) runs from downtown Omaha to downtown Lincoln (est. 60+ miles). I didn't get to do it last year because I was training for the DM marathon....er....Half Marathon. This, of course, is assuming that I can find 5 to 7 others that are just as crazy as I am and can handle stinking up a Chevy Suburban for 8+ hours.
"Fun" is going to be the theme for this year. I do have a goal of a sub 2 hour HM in the fall, but that's about it.
Oh yeah, one more thing. Some of you have asked, "When's your next marathon?" Really? It's like when you get married, people ask at the reception, "So when are you going to have kids?" Or when your first child is born and your wife is still recovering, "When are you going to have another one?" LAY OFF PEOPLE!!!!
Finish Line - I'd love to tell you that friends and family gathered around me as I crossed the finish line. They didn't and I was 1000% fine with that. Having them cheer me on out on the course was much more important to me than at the finish line.
I just kind of walked around in a daze. It was over, but in a good way. All my hard work had gotten me to this point.
Now give me my f***ing medal.
After getting my medal, I wandered into the "secure zone". It was pretty expansive and people just kept handing me stuff. I took a bottle of ice cold Cytomax, thought for a minute and promptly gave it back. I downed some bottle water, ate a banana and then I saw people with popsicles. I must've looked like a parent looking for a lost child at that point. "Where are the popsicles? Where can I get a popsicle?" Long story short: it was the best damn popsicle I've ever had.
Seeing as though this was the P.F. Chang's Rock n Roll Arizona Marathon, you would think that Changers would have more of a presence. Maybe some double pan fried noodles in the "secure zone". Know what we got? A menu that previewed some of the new entrees coming soon. Really? REALLY????
I wandered into the Family Area and it took me awhile to figure out what my last name started with. After realizing it was "R", I looked and saw the "R" sign.....
...at the furthest possible point. Curse my ancestors!!!!!!
As I'm stumbling toward the R's, my sister and coach met me half way. All of a sudden, Vanilla and his lovely wife, Candis run into me. He claims he was there to congratulate me, but he conveniently had a Colorado Buffaloes jersey with him so he could take a picture. Damn point spread. *note - since Vanilla didn't have the kids with him, I had my punching opportunity, but I was too damn tired.
We grabbed a beer and then we headed up to north Phoenix to watch the Cardinals game at my sister and coach's friends house. I was a lump on the couch for a good 4-5 hours. All I had to do was flash my medal to someone and beer, water, pizza, pasta, etc. magically appeared! Voila!
I finished a marathon and the Cardinals pull off the impossible. It was a good day.
When I finished, I was pissed and bummed at the same time. I didn't really race, per se, but I covered the mileage. "26.2*" was going to be the title of this race report. After letting it sink in, though, I'm pretty proud of myself that I didn't wuss out. I gutted out a 4:57:14 race.
Surprisingly enough, I got a decent night's rest. After a quick shower, and a stop at Starbucks, we were on our way down to the race.
6:45am - One hour before the race. We got down there after taking a slight detour. My sister and coach (i.e. - a very helpful friend who was along for the ride) bickered back and forth about where to park. All I know is that, at one point, we were not in an area of town that the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce would have on their brochure. That is, of course, unless they wanted to highlight boarded up houses with graffiti in Spanish. We finally found a decent place to park and we milled around the place.
7:00a-7:15am - We took pictures by our corral, stretched out, etc. No one had started lining up yet, but I thought nothing of it.
7:30am - I hear cowbells, a lot of cheering, and see wheelchairs whizzing by about 1/2 block away.
7:30:05am - Shit.
7:30:10am - I haul ass to the from the half marathon start to the marathon start. My sister is trailing me assuring me that I'll make it, but I'm too focused on getting to my corral. It's always something with me. I arrive just outside of my corral and in time for the national anthem. Whew!
7:40am - And we're off!
7:45am - And I cross the starting line! Not bad considering all of the people. I stake my claim on the roads, but there's really no need. There's a lot of space and people are maintaining their pace. Nice.
*note - at this point, time of day becomes irrelevant. It's now all about mile markers.
Miles 0-3 - If driving the course on Saturday didn't hit me, crossing the starting line sure as hell did I had Sirius by the Alan Parson's Project on the iPod to start this thing off. It's corny and cliche, but a whole bunch of adrenaline and/or emotion shot through me for the first mile. I was cognizant, though, of not starting out too quickly. I kept my pace at where I wanted all the way up until.....
Mile 9 - Hello Mr. IT band. Thanks so much for making an appearance. It started tightening up.
Mile 10 - It started to hurt. Shit.
Mile 10.1 - Here's where my strategy switched from a 4:30:00 finish to just a finish.:
Gut it out
Stretch every mile. If it locks up you're screwed. It's early in the race where I can still run and stretch.
Walk through every water station.
Finish in under 5 hours.
If you don't finish in under 5 hours, no big deal. This is a victory lap anyhow.
DNF is not an option
Mile 11-15 - I'm obsessing about the IT band. I know that if I stop thinking about it, I'll be better off. No dice. It hurts, but it's not altering my gait, slow as that gait may be.
I'm keeping pace with a woman that just so happens to have a very nice butt. It's hypnotic just watching it and her shorts have ridden up just a little bit. Like me, she's stretching every so often (calves). Maybe we can finish together. IT be damned, I'm keeping up with Butt Girl.
Miles 16-20 - My stretching/walking/running plan seems to be working. Is it bad that my fast walking pace is only about a minute slower than my running pace? I see a lot of people adopting my strategy. We're in it for the long haul. Unfortunately, Butt Girl has pulled ahead.
Mile 20.1 - I'm playing with the casino's money now. Longest run ever.
Mile 21 - There's coach sans chili dog. He does have the camera so I make sure I look like this is the easiest thing in the world. I even strike the Heisman pose that we discussed. Don't know why, but it's my race, damnit! Coach tells me that WifeDoodle and KidDoodles are cheering me on from Omaha. Quite a shot of adrenaline.
Miles 22-23.2 - We're heading towards Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe. I can see it. At least, I think I can see it. Who the hell knows? It's getting warmer and I feel like I'm getting sunburned. Perfect. It's at the 23.2 mile mark that I say I'm going to gut it out. No stretching, no walking. You can do this.
Mile 24 - My leg semi-seizes up. One more stretch. Band name at Mile 24: "One Foot in the Grave". Really guys? At MILE 24????????
Mile 25 - 26 - It's all a blur. There's a Jimmy Buffet band and they're handing out shots of Cytomax and/or water. I opt for the water. The Cytomax was fine for the first few times, but then it became disgustingly sweet.
Lots of walkers and runners. Lots of fans. I see the bagel shop where we had lunch the day before. Almost there.
Mile 26.1 - MY SISTER!!!! I told her to wear yellow on race day so that I could see her. She finished her first half marathon! I was more proud of her than I was of me at that point! She was smiling and gave me a big high five. I'd like to say that adrenaline had me sprint the rest of this b**ch out, but it wasn't the case. I ran awkwardly, but I ran. That's all that mattered to me.
Mile 26.2 - Hands in air. I hope I didn't flash the Hook 'em Horns sign. That'd suck. DONE!
Friday was Travel Day. The most notable thing was that there was no notable thing. I always get a little nervous with a sub-45 minute layover at any airport, but all was well. 2 smooth flights. Got into Phoenix, grabbed some grub and a beer at TGIFridays. Nice to know my nutrition patterns followed me to the desert.
Saturday was Expo Day. I'd never been to an Expo before. I was supposed to go to the one for my half marathon in Des Moines, but we got in late. So, it's like a convention for running geeks. Cool. Looking back on it, I should've picked up a couple things. A P.F. Chang's stuffed bear for my son and a non-dorky looking fanny pack. Boy, I sure would like one of those SpiBelts. That'd be great to review, Spibelt. Hint, hint Spibelt!
The perky lady that was selling the Spibelts was generous enough to demonstrate that, no matter how fast you run in place, the pack will not fall off. She seemed nice.
I'm pretty sure I saw a couple people featured in Spirit of the Marathon (the guy who got injured while training and the grad student that raised money for an adoption agency). No kidding. There was a SOTM booth, but they weren't involved. The booth was situated right by a meeting area and, once they saw that, Injured Guy and Grad Student inched away. Hmm.
Next up, I was fortunate enough to meet Vanilla in person. He was in awe of me. I mean, really...it was embarassing. I didn't get the chance to punch him because he strategically had his wife and kids with him each time I met up with him. I didn't want to have his kids see their dad get punched so I let it go.
After the expo, we jumped in my sister's car and drove the route. THAT'S when it hit me. This is a lonnnggggg way. We talked strategy. My buddy, who wanted to be called "coach" would be at the 21 mile mark snapping pictures. It helped that he was at a Circle K. He told me he'd have a chili dog waiting for me. What a coach, huh?
I didn't speak much after our strategy session. I was anxious more than anything else. We met the Vanillas at a bagel shop for a late lunch. I'm sure that we all spoke to one another, but I don't remember much of it.
We went home and I vegged as much as I could. I did little fidgety stuff, though. I wrote my info on the back of my bib, laid my stuff out to make sure everything was there, etc. Dinner was great. Spaghetti and meatballs at a locally owned place in north Phoenix. I had 2 beers, as is tradition, to calm my nerves. It helped somewhat. After dinner, we chillaxed a bit more and then I went to bed in hopes of getting a good night's sleep.
Coming Up....Part 2. Where are all the marathoners?
The countdown has officially begun. I find myself blocking out the enormity of what I'm about to do. That may be a bit grandiose in the grand scheme of things, but in my mind, this is pretty big. That being said, my mentality is this:
I'll worry about times, negative splits, etc. in the races after this. This one is just to enjoy the moment.
I kicked around the idea of podcasting this whole experience, but I nixed it. I want to experience everything without bringing along more geek gear. I am considering Twittering my experience, however. I've got it set up, but I'm debating whether or not to do it. You can click here to see if I have updates throughout the weekend. Exciting stuff, huh?
A big thanks goes out to friends and family. Without your support and understanding, I would not have been able to be at the starting line on Sunday. Big thanks also to everyone in the blogosphere who has passed along well-wishes for this weekend!
Looked blankly at my students while they try to tell me things.
Looked blankly at my family while they try to tell me things.
Looked blankly at my friends while they try to tell me things.
Emailed my sister and friend countless number of times "just to check on things."
Emailed my sister a weather report for Phoenix even though she lives there.
Rooted the Cardinals on and then secretly rooted for the Giants. In retrospect, it'll be cool to have all eyes on the Valley on Sunday. I was bummed to see that the Cards play the early game. I would've considered going to Glendale to see if we could get tickets.
Have devoted a lot more of my planning periods - OK all of them - to researching things including, but not limited to: taper madness, marathon nutrition, weather reports (both here*, Denver** and Phoenix), the Wall, Respecting the Distance, etc.
Hydrated to almost uncomfortable levels.
Almost unpacked and packed to a larger duffle bag.
...and it's only Tuesday. Lord help us all.
*we're supposed to have dangerously frigid temps on Thursday and it'd be great if we could get a snow day. One of the many perks of being a teacher. **connecting flight
If you really want to read this entire diatribe, here ya go: Part 1, Part 2, Don't worry...after this reflective saga, we'll go back to our regularly scheduled programming.
"Don't worry about what others think. It's your blog. Write what you want to write about." - Non-Runner Nancy (paraphrased)
One of the biggest mistakes I did after my first race was tell myself that I needed some time off. I told myself one week.
One week, became two, became 3......
I got back to running right before Thanksgiving. I had gotten out there sporadically between late September and October, but the excuses were running fast and furious:
"It's getting cold outside." "I've got too much stuff to do." "10 mph winds? That's just too damn windy."
It wasn't until May of 2007 that I got back into it. One of my students and I were talking about an upcoming race. She told me that 5 miles wasn't that tough. I told her that 5 miles was longer than she thought it was and that the course was pretty hilly. Long story short, winner had to buy donuts for the class. That small wager got me back out on the road.
After soundly beating her AND letting other students know about it (I'm an inspirational teacher, aren't I?), I had the itch to get back out on the roads. I had no race in mind, I just knew I had to get back out there.
When I was going on a weekend run, I was listening to an episode of Phedippidations where Steve Runner was professing the value of blogging. I was familiar with the whole concept of blogging, I just wasn't sure why anyone would give 2 cents about how my runs went. Nevertheless, I do whatever the media tells me, so I signed up on Blogger. New Shoes, New Blog was the first entry. Quite honestly, I never really got much out of it.
It wasn't until I went to the Running Blog Directory where I started perusing other blogs. The first one I read had (and still has) solid writing and it made me laugh. I looked at the blogroll on that blog, went to those sites, thought they were good, went to the sites that they recommended and...well, you know how the rest goes. Next thing I know, people are commenting on my blog, I'm commenting on theirs, I'm signing up at Runners Lounge, etc.. I was now part of some intriguing web 2.0 running group. Here's where I realized the following:
There were other people like me. There were people that were c-r-a-z-y about running. There were people that had to balance work, family and running. There were people that had the same oddball sense of humor that I did.
Innocuous comments on runners' blogs would get me out the door on some days. In a small way, blogging about my runs and reading other blogs had pushed me further into setting goals and training for races that I never thought I'd run.
And for that, I say "thank you".
....and I also say, "If it hadn't been for you, I wouldn't have been able to experience the pain of plantar fasciitis, IT band problems, been exceptionally unproductive at work, home, etc." I blame it all on you.
I've backed away from the ledge and have now settled down. At least, I think I've settled down. Since I can barely complete a thought in face-to-face conversation, I thought I'd just ramble here. My blog. My rules.
I've managed to let anyone know that comes across my path (friends, family, students, staff, dog, etc.) that I'm running a marathon in less than 2 weeks. The conversations go something like this:
UNSUSPECTING SOUL: So, how did your Christmas go? Get anything good? ME: Oh, I got some gift cards, some clothes, and a plane ticket to Phoenix. US: Phoenix? When do you go to Phoenix? ME: In a couple of weeks. See, I'M RUNNING A MARATHON! US: Oh, how long is a marathon?
UNSUSPECTING SOUL #2: How was your break? ME: Good, how was yours? US: Oh well, my dad was really sick, so we spent a lot of time at the hos- ME: I'M RUNNING A MARATHON IN 2 WEEKS!!!!!
Tis the season.
Because some douchebag threatened to blow up a plane a few years ago with a bottle of Scope, I now have to familiarize myself with how much 3 ounces is. Unfortunately, I discarded my scale years ago when I got busted for blow. Ha!
I actually ran this morning. Not too bad, but the treadmill is really becoming a crutch. Unless tectonic shifts have altered the Phoenix landscape in the past 10 years, I don't remember the Valley of the Sun having more elevation than 1.5 on the 'mill.
I am getting zero work done at school. None. I'd say my students are noticing a difference, but I doubt it.
Lately, Facebook is a reminder of how much of a geek I was in high school and college. You may find this hard to believe, but I was a bit obnoxious in my misspent youth.
Bib #7105 for your stalking pleasure. The officials at PFCRNRAZ tell me that you'll be able to track my progress on race day. No comment on whether they change the name of the race for next year so I don't have to keep typing PFCRNRAZ. FWIW.
Thank you. Thank you. I'll be here all weekend! Please remember to tip your waitstaff. You've been great!
Aaahh Freak out! Le Freak, C'est Chic Freak out! Aaahh Freak out! Le Freak, C'est Chic Freak out!
Hopefully, that song will be ingrained in your head for the rest of the day. God knows it's been in mine since October. My thoughts have been running rampant while I've been "resting my IT band"*. This could very well be another series of posts. Nevertheless...:
What if my IT band acts up like it did on my 20 miler?
I haven't trained well for this. How many weeks did I only get 3 runs in?
My diet sucks. I need to detox. I've been living off of sugar cookies, almonds and more sugar cookies for the past 2 weeks.
How big of a difference is there really between Cytomax and Gatorade? Do I really need a fuel belt of my own stuff?
If there's a band every mile on the course, do I need the iPod?
What if the bands suck?
How much is my pre-race routine going to be altered because of the impending traffic issues?
Does my friend/driver know where to go?
Will I be getting any sleep the night before?
45 degrees at the start of the race and 60 when I finish? That's quite a temperature swing.
Which shoes do I go with? Both have about the same amount of miles.
Don't forget the Body Glide.
26.2 miles? That the f*** was I thinking???? I barely managed 20 and now I'm going to spend another hour (if I'm lucky) on the road?
Is this what Taper Madness is or am I just being over-dramatic? I'm going with the latter on this one. You would think that typing this out and venting a little bit would help.
The following series of posts are completely selfish. As I embark on my first marathon, I've been doing quite a bit of reflection as to how I got myself into this mess. Some of it may be new to you and some of it may be old news. Feel free to read, feel free to comment, feel free to skip it and wait for me to get over myself. Click here for Part 1.
After completing the C25K program, I researched where I could run my first 5K. Contrary to popular belief, Omaha is not a hotspot for running. Oddly enough, Lincoln is.
Then I saw it.
A 5K brought to you by my Beloved Cornhuskers. Not only that, but the team cheered on the finishers at the end. Perfect! A great way to celebrate my "graduation".
The morning of the race, my wife attempted to get out of bed. Every time she did, however, she was too dizzy to even sit up. The entire room was spinning. I had to take her to the emergency room. The prognosis: vertigo. The remedy: rest. No 5K for me. My wife felt awful, but I was glad that she was OK. It was time to look for another race.
"If anyone's interested, the District is sponsoring us for the Corporate Cup Run this year. If you'd like to be on the team, let me know.", said my new boss and Wellness Committee Chairwoman.
"Hey, I'm in.", I said.
"Great! It's a 10K and it's in late-September."
"10K? Are you sure I can do that? That's like twice what I've trained for!" (I was always great at math).
"Well, if you move up your long run incrementally, you should be able to handle it."
There are few people's advice I listen to and take without question when it comes to running and my boss is one of them. She's our school's girls cross country coach, in the Nebraska Sports Hall of Fame as a runner and has one numerous road races in the area. She'd never say it, but - to paraphrase Ron Burgundy - she's kind of a big deal.
So I trained.
And I ran further than I've run before.
And I get my bib number.
And I'm ready for race day.
And it was more than I could've imagined. Thousands of runners - some just like me - celebrating their hard work by hitting the roads. I'll save you all a race report. Trust me, the one that I had written the day after was my best one yet. I can thank Active.com for deleting it when they took over the log portion of coolrunning.com. I'm still bitter about it.
Sign #2 that I was a Runner: My PR wasn't good enough.
The one thing that I took from the race was that I was pissed I didn't run faster. I had a time in mind, blew that away, but I still wanted more. If I didn't slow down at the turn. If I had only kicked a little later. So on and so forth.
It's a train of thought that still happens after every race.