Sunday, September 30, 2007

Week 37 and Family Update

It's pre-dawn and I'm getting ready for my 18 miler around the ocean drive. Last week, despite feeling the effort of my biggest week of training, I turned in a good time. This week I feel much more rested because I've run two fewer days. However I'll still be posting a total of 38 miles, so not too shabby. Once again I'm interested to see how today's run goes.

It's getting darker as I sit here, actually. We're 2 days past the full moon and the moon was up higher 25 minutes ago when I got up. I expect a 6:15am start again. It's clear and 50 degrees, so it's great conditions for distance running.

Mentally it was a tough week that I think ended well. The tough part had to do with angst over Alexandra and pre-school. The ending well has to do with Leanna and I agreeing on a plan of action that just feels right. We're going to wait until next year to send her to regular pre-school, and then to a different one. She only just turned 3 1/2 and between the uniforms and heavily structured curriculum it seemed liked she wasn't being allowed to be a child. I know we're doing the right thing. It's one of those decisions that you agonize over for a long time, but when you finally make it it is like the weight of the world is lifted.

You see I'm definitely no expert in parenting and early childhood development, but all this training and racing has really clarified some things for me. For example I know that you have to LOVE something first! You don't want it to start as work and then hope it gets better. The love is what gets you through the times when it is work. When Zatopek spoke of "will power [being] no longer a problem" the fact is that he loved running. If you don't love it and it is all work, you may succeed for a while but burn out and loathing usually follow. When you do love it, you are enticed to continue to explore and test boundaries. The love is the catalyst for discovery. I have experienced such amazing feelings and thoughts throughout my athletic endeavors that I know I am a better person for it. In fact part of the reason for this blog is to attempt to share that with people. Maybe someday it will change the life of one person.

**Update**
Everything was in place for a great run today. The weather was perfect. I was fairly well rested. Family stress was lower. It was just a matter of me putting it all together. I started off strongly and did not have any issues with blood sugar early on. I hit the first checkpoint a bit ahead of last week and was concerned about going to quickly too early. But then I said "What the f---, and made my move." You just don't get these perfect days too often. I kept the pressure on and hit the 1/2 was in 1:01:06. I could feel the strain, but if I blew up, at least I'd know what pace was too much for me to handle. I focused on keeping my tempo high (190 steps per minute) and used my arm swing to help with the leg turnover. I put what felt like just a little forward pressure on with my feet. I made it back from the turn in 1:00:13. My final time was 2:01:20, a new PR by a lot. I've just upped my expectations for the marathon.

Runs: 97
Mileage: 38
YTD Mileage: 665.70

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Week 36

I'll be writing most of this post later today or tonight. Right now it's 6:00am and I'm waiting for the sun. I should leave in ~10 minutes. 18 miles today, for a total of 44.3 miles this week. Biggest week in a long time.

**Update**
2:04:29. Faster than I expected. I didn't go out much more quickly than last week, and I had to stop for a pee break (47 sec, making my net run time 2:03:42). My second 1/2 of 1:01:14 is likely my best ever. However it was work today. The higher mileage week is taking it's toll. I'm taking tomorrow often (maybe), and will only run 5 days this next week.

Runs: 93
Mileage: 44.3
YTD Mileage: 627.70

The Mad Fisherman



Wasn't this a scene from "Jaws"?

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Family update

Boys are just wired differently. There isn't a toy around he doesn't want to throw. Pop-up books are made for destroying. Toilets....Oh baby....that's a good time! Alexandra never did these things!

Dylan is settling in nicely. He's suffering through a cold right now, which means Mommy is suffering through his cold right now. When he doesn't feel well he wants very little to do with Daddy. Alexandra is adjusting as well. She still yells when he gets attention or plays with her toys, but the tone is different. It's more of a sibling "get away from my sh-t" yell. Not the panicked meltdown which resulted in hyperventilating.

Also, in the last 4 weeks we've all been sick, Leanna has gone to the ER (It was a big scene because I was at work so an ambulance had to take her.), and Alexandra was taken to the doctor twice because of an asthma attack. Everyone is fine now, though the people at CVS know me by name. I've purchased so many corticosteroids steroids lately I'm sure to be the subject of a federal investigation.

In the midst of all this I've been training for a marathon. Actually this week went amazingly well. I tried something I have not done in decades; running 6 days in one week. No I won't do this every week, but because I'm in a crash course of training to be race ready in 5 weeks, I'm doing a little more volume than usual. Today was my "rest" day (I had the kids for much of the day. Tomorrow I'm running the 18 mile loop again. I'm really eager to see how I run.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Week 35

3 runs. Had wanted to do 4 but a family emergency popped up. Priorities you know... Total was ~30 even. Today was the 18 miler, and I had low expectations. I started at 6:05am after a night awake worrying about Alexandra coughing. I think she has bronchitis again. That's the 3rd or 4th time this year.

Anyway it was a beautiful day for a run. Crisp fall air. I ran 2:07:59. While the first 1/2 of the run was slow, the second 1/2 of the run was as fast as last April. We'll see how I recover. I did feel out of shape, but I finished well so that was a plus. My new sports drink, a custom blended mix from a company named Infinit Nutrition, worked pretty well. I might change the blend slightly when I reorder, but it's pretty close to right.

Runs: 87
Mileage: 30
YTD Mileage: 583.40

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Week 34

4 runs. Easy ones because of the bronchitis, which is 90% gone. ~30 miles. I'm on my way. My 11.5 mile loop was the slowest I've ever done it. This might end up being a good thing. I'm trying to stick a little closer to the Daniels formula for training. My slow days have been too fast in the past.

Runs: 84
Mileage: 30
YTD Mileage: 553.40

Saturday, September 08, 2007

The heart of the matter

I think we're finally getting to the bottom of things with Alexandra. She has a big fear that we're going to leave her again. Last night she started asking me, "No Mama go away? No Dada go away? No baby Dylan go away?" Our time in Moscow, especially the last time when she was essentially hauled away screaming in my in-law's car, was traumatic for her. Knowing that this is the major issue is somewhat comforting, though, because I know we're not going away again and over time she'll believe that too.

So I've gotten back to marathon training. Bronchitis has ended my triathlon season. It'll be another week at least until I can breath normally. However I can run a a slow pace (8:00-8:30 per mile) without causing too much distress. So I've targeted a fall marathon, the Breaker's Marathon in Newport. It is contested on roads with which I am extremely familiar, so I'm looking to try for a marathon PR (2:58:11 set at Boston, 2006). Of course it all hinges on how quickly my breathing returns to normal, so we'll see.

I'll post the official training update tomorrow, but it looks like I'll hit 30 miles for this week, and will be shooting for 40 next week. That's far above what I've been doing for the past couple of months, so you should see the YTD mileage totals picking up again.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Preschool Day 2

We've already gotten a "talking to" from the teacher. Alexandra has a bad habit of screaming (really loudly) indoors. It was not appreciated. In general she had a rough day today. Another prematurely ended tubbie. I hope this phase passes sometime before college graduation.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

No 1/2 Ironman for me; Alexandra goes to school

Turns out the 1/2 Iron is this weekend. I hate that bike course anyway (**update: Someone died out on it yesterday when hit by an SUV**). Even if it were next week I'm still coughing up my lungs from the bronchitis. Mornings are the worst. It takes about 1/2 hr to clear everything from my head and chest. After that I'm pretty much set for the day.

Alexandra started preschool yesterday. By all accounts she really liked it. It helped a lot that her best friend Mia was going as well. I guess she got a little upset mid-morning, but then rallied and was better. She was very well behaved during tubby last night. Apparently Mommy had a little "talk" with her about the previous night's fiasco. This morning she was asking to go to preschool. Maybe we will sign her up for a 3rd day.

I've been really struggling with all the changes going on. The sickness might just be a manifestation of all that; induced by stress. I can't believe Alexandra is going to school already. She's put on a growth spurt and is noticeably taller than in July. Time is flying by.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Week 33

Ahh "Daddy Time" also known as 5:00AM! Actually it's now almost 6:00 so I might not get to finish the whole post, depending on when Dylan wakes up.

I wanted to kick start my training this week to ramp up for a 1/2 Ironman in the middle of September. The week started well: 1 hr. bike and 4.3 mile run Sunday (day after landing), 8.5 mile run and 1/2 hour bike Monday, 5 mile run Tuesday. During the Tuesday run I began to feel it: The cold that would end my week and possibly my hopes for the 1/2 Ironman. It's Saturday and I haven't been able to train since. Tomorrow is a possibility because the nose and lungs are clearing, but I'll see how it goes today. If I feel better throughout the day then I'll start tomorrow. If not, I think that's all she wrote. Either way, with two weeks to go the training would take a different approach to what I had intended. I'd start small and slowly build towards race day. No tapering, instead the race would be the first big workout. It means the race plan would be ultra conservative because I'd be on unknown ground. That's how I raced Timberman last year, and that worked out okay.

I want to do this race for selfish ego reasons. I'm in second by a single point in the a year long series for my age group. I had been in first much of the year, but if you've followed this blog at all you'll know why I haven't been racing that much. The guy in first has easily raced twice as many times as I have. This race is the final race of the series. This is my best distance. It's in my home state. I know I can do it. Even sitting here I know I'll be able to do it...if I can just start training again this weekend.

Runs: 80
Mileage: 17.8
YTD Mileage: 523.40