Friday, March 31, 2006

Back on the saddle

I'm taking my plan to run the San Diego Marathon seriously, so after taking a week and a half off from running, I started up again. I ran three miles on Wednesday and Thursday, taking it easy for now to prevent any injuries and allow my legs to recover from the marathon. San Diego is in two months, so I have to start getting some longer distances in once again. I'll start with six miles tomorrow, bump it up to 10 the following week, and perhaps a twenty miler 3-4 weeks before the marathon. Geez, there's not a lot of time. I think the main thing is to maintain my level of fitness while I recover, and in a couple of weeks I can start doing speed workouts again.

On non-running related news, I went to see Rhett Miller play a show in Santa Ana. Wow, what a show. It was worth risking my life driving through a storm and the local freeways. Miller played in a venue called the Galaxy Theater, which is a dinner-theater-ish establishment. I've only seen one show there before, and it's an OK venue, but they really need to put in for repairs. There were leaks on the ceiling, including one that dripped right onto the stage. I feared electrocution for Rhett and his band. Thankfully the show went on without any fatalities and the band played a heck of a set. Miller played a lot of songs that were pretty evenly split between his solo albums and stuff from Old 97's, including a punked out version of "Barrier Reef."

I've been seeing a lot of shows lately. Last week was Josh Riter/Band of Horses, the week before that were Arctic Monkeys. Next week will be The Boy Least Likely To at the Spaceland. After that I don't have another one scheduled until Josh Ritter returns in June.

Oh, I almost forgot, I passed my comprehensive exams! It looks like I'll be graduating. The only thing left is to pass my classes, which should not be a problem. =)

Sunday, March 26, 2006

my L.A. Marathon story in pictures

I give up! =)

Laser-like focus.

Still happy and relaxed.

Brad and I.

Less happy and relaxed.

I think I can...

Ouch! It hurts!


Thumbs up for L.A. Marathon v.2

Thursday, March 23, 2006

The Report

Four days after the marathon and the soreness has faded away. As glad as I am to be able to walk down the stairs without any pain, I miss the soreness because it was a reminder of what I had accomplished. Now that the pain is gone, it's just a memory, but it's one that also is beginning to dissipate. Right now I'm in a post-marathon funk, elated by the experience but a little out of place wondering what to do next. It's like an addiction, really. There's the anguish, then the high, followed by a craving for more. I can't think of a better thing to be addicted to.

As for a race report there really isn't much to report. While I thought, regardless of the final time, Nike was an easier run for me, fewer things happened to my body in this marathon than the previous two. Mostly that has to do with the fact that I've been running for over a year now. Also, I don't think I pushed myself enough early on. I held back a little bit. My goal was to finish the first half in under two hours and try to at least maintain the pace for the second half. I wound up running the first half in 2:04, the fastest first half I've done, but it meant that I had to run a 1:55 second half to finish under four hours. While that wasn't beyond the realm of possibility--my half marathon PR is 1:49--there was the fact that I had already run a half marathon that day. Still, I felt good after the first half and was ready to speed it up a bit. Again, I think I was too cautious because while I did speed up, I did it ever so slightly. In the back of my mind I worried that if I use too much energy at that point I was going to cramp up by mile 18 or, worse, hit the wall. I have to get over that fear of hitting the wall. While no one wants to hit the wall, part of running a marathon is hitting that wall yet finding a way to get around it. I didn't hit a wall on Sunday. All I felt was good old-fashioned fatigue and nothing more.

The fact that I allowed my training to lapse in the last few weeks hurt me on Sunday. My last run longer than 10 miles was over a month and a half before the race. By mile 15 I was beginning to feel tired, which should be normal, but it was a fatigue that didn't set in until mile 19 in San Francisco. What saved me was being smart about taking in fuel throughout the race. The oranges at the sideline were incredibly scrumptious. I'm sure they weren't, but when you're in the middle of the race, anything tastes great.

I didn't start badly cramping until mile 25 and the finish. My legs just started feeling like lead by mile 19 and I had to practically drag them for the last five miles. It may have been psychological but I just couldn't get myself to move faster. Thanks to Kate running with me from miles 22 to 25, I probably would have slowed down even more. Thanks to her she kept me at a sub 10 minute pace. When she left me at mile 25 I was in good shape. I had a cramp on my right quad, but I was still moving well. At about the 25.5 mile point, my calves cramped up. I can't understand why my calves cramp up together. One at a time, I can understand, but both inevitably cramp up within seconds of each other. It must be because once one cramps I wind up overcompensating on the other. It's ridiculous. I'd love to run a marathon without cramps in my calves. I doubt it will happen, but it's something to shoot for.

So, at 4:15, I have fifteen minutes or so to shave off to get to four hours. Looking back on Sunday, I don't think it was meant to be. I wasn't in the best shape, but I think I could have shaved a few more minutes by pushing myself a little harder. Well, when I put it that way, if I just pushed myself I could be sitting at four hours. I'm happy with my time and wasn't too disappointed that I missed the goal. I still set a personal best and erased the horrible memory of my first LA Marathon. Besides, this is not the end. There are more marathons to run, maybe a couple more this year alone, and I'm sure by this year, if I put in the work, I can break through that four hour mark. I'm not that far, really, I can see it. Fifteen minutes! Fifteen minutes!

This week I'm taking it easy. I haven't done any exercises and I'm getting very antsy. I did walk a lot last night in Hollywood prior to the Josh Ritter/Band of Horses/Earlimart show. I actually didn't make it through the Earlimart set because 1) I didn't care for their music; b) A 7+ foot giant (I'm not kidding) planted himself near the front of the stage and blocked my view along with many others, and c) My legs were aching after standing around for 2.5 hours.

So, what's next? San Diego is a possibility, and I'm trying to figure out which marathon to run in October. Portland, Chicago, and NYC are possibilities. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, March 21, 2006



I'm still working on the race report, but I think you will get a sense of how the race went based on my split times, courtesy of my Timex IronMan watch, which appears to need a change in batteries. I forgot to hit the button on mile 25, so the time for miles 25 thru 26.2 are combined. Overall I was a good time keeper. My time per my watch was only off by four seconds, and I think that's due to not wanting to look stupid in the finish picture.

NOTE: I have no idea why the entry is leaving so much white space. It must be my HMTL formatting. I have no idea what I'm doing.

Monday, March 20, 2006



I didn't crack four hours, but it's still a PR! More details to come, but needless to say it was yet another wonderful, albeit painful experience.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Foot Update

It's 12:30PM on Saturday and my foot feels worse today. I'm kind of disheartened that I'll have to pull out tomorrow. I think the chances are good that I won't run unless my foot feels a lot better. I tried running on it right now and it hurt. Strangely, I'm not as frustrated as I expected. If it had been my first one and had put in all this time and effort I would be angry, but it's my third, so the significance of running it is less. I'm bummed that I might not get to try for the sub-4 hour time, but at the same time San Diego is less than three months away. I can train for that and go for it there.

I'm not going to make the call right now. I have a few hours to decide, and if I wake up tomorrow morning and the foot isn't considerably better then I won't run.

Friday, March 17, 2006

walking a little funny

I've developed a pain on my foot. I've had it before and went away after a few days. I thought it might be plantar fasciatis because it's worse in the morning and goes away as I walk around a bit. However, doesn't P.S. run down the middle of your foot from heel to toe? The pain is only on the ball of my foot. I still intend to run on Sunday, but I might be less comfortable than I'd like.

The good news is that the weather is cooperating. We have showers today and tomorrow, but Sunday ought to be cool and partly cloudy. I'm still not nervous. I feel like I ought to be, but maybe it's quickly becoming old hat. The plan is to run an easy first half in around two hours, hopefully just a bit under. I'll then pick up the pace from miles 13.1 through 20. I'll stop taking walk breaks after mile 20 and try to run a 10K pace for the remainder. Again, it's a plan. We'll see how well I stick to it on Sunday.

I took a two-hour lunch and picked up my bib. I would have liked to walk around a little more, but it's just as well. I need to get off my feet and get back to work. I did buy a hat for $8 just in case it rains and to block out the sun. Look for me. I'm #3175.

Friday, March 10, 2006

life gets in the way

I haven't posted in a while because life has been incredibly busy, well, mostly school has been taking up much of my time. It has been a flurry of reading, writing, and presentations for me, and it has cut in to my running time. I'm having doubts about being able to run a strong race next weekend because I've cut back on my running the last three weeks. I've done a couple of long runs (10 miles) on the weekends, but I'm lucky to get in another run during the week. I ran the wilderness trails in Claremont yesterday in a good time, but it wasn't fun. A lot of my doubts must be psychological, but I would love to be able to say that I'm heading into the race next weekend in top physical shape. Sadly, I'm not. I'm probably heavier than I was last year. I was hoping to shave off about ten pounds by marathon time, but I failed.

Regardless, I'll push for sub-4 hour time. I'm sure I've got it in me. It's just a matter of how much I want it. I did the math last night, and if I maintain a 9:00/mile pace, I'll be crossing the finish line at 3:55:48. That's good enough for me. This weekend is the last long run (8 miles). I'm doing the aid station, so if I want to run I'll need to get in early and do so. I have spring break next week, too, so perhaps I can get in one last good run on Tuesday and/or Wednesday. I'll book a massage on Thursday, and rest up for the marathon. As much as I'm nervous about it, I'm also quite excited.

Have fun!