Wednesday, June 20, 2012

I love the summer!!

Nothing beats hot humid days for me. I love it!!!! Today was about 95 and tomorrow will be about the same. I wanted to get out and run today during lunch, but work was just to hectic. I ended up basically working through lunch and eating my lunch at my desk. Tomorrow, I definitely plan on it! Got home late tonight, so I had to settle for a couple of miles on my bike.

I've been actually taking my bike to work (strapped to my car) and have been changing it up a bit during lunch. On Tuesday I went for an awesome bike ride through the Southborough Conservation area. It's basically this huge field where they mow some trails for people to walk, run or ride through. It's fricken sweet!

There are tons of trails that lead out into the woods as well. Went down a few, but didn't go too far into them.

I have done many runs through here as well, but on the bike it's totally different. Some of the hills are very challenging but doable. The down hills are my favorite! I almost wiped out a couple times fly down them! This will be my favorite thing to do this summer.

Injury report..... My left calf\knee are still not quite right. My last few runs have only beeen about 3 miles each. While it doesn't bother me while running or biking, I do feel it afterwards. I've been icing it and doing my stretches and it has been helping. But for the most part I've been talking it easy. I have no real big races coming up, so I've been taking advantage of the "time off". Will hopefully be back into the swing of things soon.


I probably wont post this weekend 'cuase I wont be around, so everyone have yourselves a great rest of the week, a great weekend,  and some great runs!!!!!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Taking it easy

I've decided to take it easy (love that song) for a week or two. I still got these weird aches in my legs that I can't shake off. One especially in my left calf. The funny thing is that it only hurts when I walk, not when I'm running. I've consulted Dr. Google and it can be multiple things. But the top recommendations are some stretching and most importantly some rest.

I have only run 3 times since marathon day. A total of about 13 miles. All great runs too. But this weekend I'll take the days off, making a total of 5 days rest and then feel I'll it out for Monday. On Wednesday there is a 5K in the afternoon not to far from work that I'm thinking of doing. I did it last year and came in 3rd in my age group which was totally unexpected. But the best part was the free food and free beer after the race. That's why I really want to do it again. :)

As for a fall marathon..... still thinking about it. Thank you all for the positive feedback by the way. I'll have to decide soon so I can start the official training. But even if I'm a week or two late, being that I'll start off with low miles, I can jump right into it. Just don't want to wait to long.

Oh... I posted this on my Facebook page yesterday so some of you already saw it:
*Plate # has been altered*

Now it's official!!  :)

Sunday, June 10, 2012

What now?

First.... I want to thank all who took the time to read my marathon recap. I know it was long, but honestly, there was no way to shorten it any more than I did. I could have written a whole book on that day, trust me.

I still can't believe that I ran and finished a full marathon. Me. The same guy that 3 years ago would get winded walking up the stairs at work. The same guy that could not go an hour without smoking a butt. The same guy who never ran a day in his life. It's like a dream. And if it is a dream, please... no one wake me. I could never go back to being that same guy.

So now that I have accomplished this...... What now? The only other race I have on schedule is a 10K in July that is an afternoon race, 5 mins away from work. But besides that, nothing else planned. With the marathon on my mind the past couple of months, I didn't even want to look past it.

Would you call me crazy if I said I feel like running another marathon? Would ya? I really enjoyed every single thing about this marathon. From the training to the limping the day after the race. I liked having a goal to shoot for. It gave my runs more purpose.
There are two in October that I'm looking at. BayState and Hartford. Though if I did Hartford, I would need to start back on training this week. Not sure if I want to jump back in to yet. But then again, I'm going to be running anyways so what is the difference?

So, question for you marathoners.... What do you think of me running another marathon this year? Is it too soon?

I'm going to just enjoy my runs for now. But I'm honestly going to give it some good thought in the next two weeks.

What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Worcester Marathon recap (longest post ever)

The night before the marathon sucked. I went to bed around 10 but ended up falling asleep around midnight. My mind was already running the marathon. LOL ... at about 2am I woke up and had a hard time going back to sleep. Next thing I know, the alarm clock is ringing. It's 5am. Coffee, muffin, bathroom, some last minute internet surfing and out the door by 5:45.

The weather was perfect. Sunny and the temperatures was about mid-50's.

Worcester (pronounced Woosta in these parts) is only 15mins away. I parked in the parking garage, grabbed my stuff and made my way towards the Porta-Jons... The pre-marathon nerves were already kicking in. By the time I got there, I saw that there were only 5 Porta-Jons and there was already a line of at least 40 or more in front of them. As I waited in line, the line behind me got even longer. It was 6:40 by the time I got into the Porta-Jon. There was no way the people still in line would make it to the starting line on time.

My warm up run was my run towards the starting line. There I met up with a coworker who was running the half. We chatted for a bit and waited for the start. He took this picture of me:
I look scared in this picture... or awkwardly nervous.

The start was delayed by like 10 mins because they were waiting on people that were still at the Porta-Jons. I can't believe they only had 5 of them! People were still making their way towards the starting line when the count down began and gun went off!! I felt bad for them. The race was chip timed, but still sucks to start a bit later than everyone else.

The gun went off and off I went! This is where I made rookie mistake #1... I started way too fast. I got caught up in the moment and was running with the crowd that was made up of mostly half marathoners. I knew it. I kept telling myself to slow down, but it was tough.

By mile 2, the shirt came off. I wrapped it around my Clean Bottle. Which by the way is the perfect water bottle me (Thanks Detroit Runner for the review!!). Somewhere between mile 3 and 4, I lost my shirt. Didn't even notice it fall off. :(

At about mile 5 we came to a split in the road where the people running the half went towards the left, while the people doing the full went right. It got lonely pretty quick. I went from having 30 people around me to having one guy about 30 ft ahead of me and about 2 people 20ft behind me. At mile 6 we entered the town of Holden and we ran Holden for the next 11 miles. Holden is a beautiful back road town with lots of farm land, lakes, rivers and dams. Honestly one of the most scenic runs I have ever done. The back roads made it easy for quick bathroom runs. hehehe.

The next mile marker I saw or remember seeing was mile 10. I was still feeling strong. But still moving way too fast. But I felt good. I was passing a few, a few were passing me. Rookie mistake #2. I kept trying to pass people at times I probably shouldn't have. I should have just paced them instead of trying to pass them.

At mile 12 we came up on the center Holden. The crowd support there was awesome!!! People were hi fiving me as I ran by, kids were holding signs, people were clapping and cheering. What a moral boost that was!!!! I was fist pumping and whooin' my way through the center of Holden. It was awesome!

But then we turned off into another back road and reality started to set back in. Mile 13 and it was quiet. There were no crowds here. We had done plenty of hills up to this point, but the hills around mile 13 and 14 really killed. They were short, but steep. There was no way of really "running" them. You just kinda chugged your way up them.

Miles 15 -18 are a blur. I was still feeling pretty good though. Ran with the same 2-3 runners for the last 6 miles which really helped keep my pace. At mile 18, we were back in Worcester. No more country roads. We were back in the city. Some lady had passed me and I kept watching her. She would do this thing were she would be way ahead of me, then she would start walking. I would almost catch, but then she would start running again. She did this for the next 4 miles and I would never catch up to her.

Mile 20. Past this point was uncharted territory for me. My longest run to date had only been 20 miles. And it's at this point where I started to notice a slow down in my pace. At this point we had made our way back into the same ending stretch of the race as the half marathoners. I knew this area and I knew what was ahead of me.

Mile 22.  I came up to a water stop. This is were I made (I think) rookie mistake #3. I stopped running and started walking towards it. I really wouldn't call it walking though... it was more like wobbling. My legs weren't feeling right. I took a sip of water, splashed the rest over my head and tried to take off again. My legs weren't having it. So I walked some more. Rookie mistake #4 - I stopped my Garmin every time I walked. Force of habit I guess.

I had been listening to music on my iPhone through out the race. My iPhone was in the pocket of the Clean Bottle. At mile 23 as I was walking, my phone ran. I saw that it was my wife. I didn't want to pick it up. I didn't want to tell her I was walking. But I picked it up anyways:

Wife - Honey you OK? (it's like she knew something was wrong)
Me (with a lump in my throat) - My legs hurt, I can't run
Wife - It's Ok babe. Do your best. We are here at the finish waiting for you.
Me (bigger lump in my throat) - Can you stay with me?

And she did......... God, I love that woman!!!!!!!!

Miles 24-25-26 were the toughest 3 miles I have ever done in my life. My legs were cramping and I couldn't run more than quarter of a mile. I had officially hit the wall! But with my wife on the phone with me and my kids cheering me on in the back ground, those were the best 3 miles of my life. I wasn't running with my legs at that point. I was running with my heart.

There was a lot of running and walking towards the end, but I made sure that when I came around the corner towards the finish line I was coming in running! The wife and kids cheered me on!!!
I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw that I was under 4hrs. It brought me to tears. 

As soon as I crossed the finish line I grabbed a hold of the table where the medals were just to hold myself up. The guy placed the medal around my neck and my wife had to help me walk away.

I was hurting. I was was no Jim heal kicking in the air.

I needed water and I needed to lay down. My legs were cramping up something fierce! I looked more like this:

It took m a while to even crack a smile:
....a painful smile

But I had finished. I had completed my first marathon. Who would have ever thought, that this former smoker of 18yrs would run a marathon? No one, not even I....

The final time is not correct because I stopped my Garmin a few times.

Final result - 3:56:04 - 66th over all and GET THIS...... 3rd in my age group!!!!!

Happy doesn't come close to what I'm feeling!!!!! I made some mistakes, but I hope to only learn from them. I'm looking forward to another one in my near future.

Thank you to all you bloggers\runners out there for your support. Thank you for taking time to read my post and for following me through this journey. And stay turned.... I'm not done yet!!!!

(no time to proof read this post.... it's way to late. sorry for any mistakes)

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Holding my head a little bit higher today....

My Facebook post:

The medal:

The result:

Recap to come soon. As for right now, I'm kicking back relaxing and having a beer:

Saturday, June 2, 2012

I'm ready!!

I spent the day hosting a graduation party for my oldest daughter who graduated from high school yesterday. (yay!!) ... I'ts been a really long day. I'm wicked tired. Which is a good thing, It will help me get to sleep. Otherwise I'll be up all night thinking about the race.

Tomorrow the plan is to get up at 5am, drink a little coffee, maybe eat a muffin, hit the bathroom (pre-marathon nerves), out the door and be in Worcester for 6. Race starts at 7. This will give me enough time to find parking, do some warm up runs and any last minute porta-jon runs..... ;)

I think I'm ready. Physically, I feel good. Mentally, I'm still preparing myself.

BTW... my counter was way off if you didn't notice. By at least 15hrs I think. Not sure what happened there. Must have drinking the day I set it up.... who knows... :)

Thank you all for the support you have all given me these past couple of weeks. Your words will be with me as I run all over the streets of Worcester!