Saturday, April 26, 2008

Still on the road to recovery

I know it's only been 5 days, but this has been a harder week than any week after a marathon in the last 8 years or so. Actually there are some good signs: my overall energy levels are good meaning I did not tap my central nervous system the way I did in October. However, my legs, specifically the Vastus intermedius, are still pretty wrecked. I have been able to ride my bike a bit, but putting pressure down on the pedals causes discomfort. Likewise pushing off the wall while swimming has also been a bit more painful than you'd expect.
The plan is to race again in 4 weeks (might not work out due to family obligations). It's a short race and one at which I've had some success, so it shouldn't be too big a deal. The idea is to get back into the racing groove again before I race "for real" on the first weekend of June. That's a 1/2 iron distance triathlon in New Hampshire and will be an early test of how my prep is coming for Lake Placid.
I did get to pull the kids in the bike trailer again today. Climbing hills with that thing on is an experience, but in general it was fine...if not for that damn burning in my legs! I figure I'll be back to normal sometime next week or maybe next weekend.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Beer Wisdom of the Week

"Looks like I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing beer."

Monday, April 21, 2008

Boston 2008 Race Report

As Paul Talewsky told me once, be happy with a PR because you'll never know when it'll be your last. Today was a PR, officially by 2:30. I say officially though I did take a 50 second deduction for a pee break around mile 1. However, that was due to my values and concern for my fellow runners. Sure I could have dropped my pants in the starting corral and let fly, like so many people did, but no I figured it was worth waiting rather than pissing on my fellow man. Tell you what though, there were rivers galore on the road at the start. If I lived in Hopkinton I'd be praying for rain soon! Minus that deduction I would have run 2:54:51 (my time was 2:55:41).
Anyway, the race went much like my last quality workout: I spent a lot of time hunting for a pace. The course doesn't help here. The downhill is really a bunch of sharp downs with short ups, not flats. And immediately following the military fly over at the start, it was full sun all day. I anticipated this so had my sunglasses and sunscreen on. It never got too hot, or it could have become a death march quite quickly. Anyway I was running faster today than I ever have at this distance and it had one unfortunate side effect: my quads were destroyed by 14 miles. While I had more training mileage than previous years, I had fewer long runs on pavement. The leg pain led to some conservative running in the Newton hills because I was worried about tying up during the last 5 miles. After an initial surge during the 22nd mile, I pretty much settled into a tempo pace and took it in. I knew I had a PR wrapped up, and rather than risk blowing up I stayed somewhat conservative, unlike 2006 when I was attempting to crack 3 hrs for the first time.
The story of the day is obviously the encounter with Mr Livestrong himself: Lance Armstrong. Around mile 10 I started hearing a lot more cheering than normal and signs of "Go Lance, Go" and "Lance, I Luv U" started appearing. I looked around and saw this short guy (okay shorter than me!) in yellow shoes, black socks, baggy black shorts, yellow tank top and about 1/2 dozen Livestrong armbands (think 80s Madonna look). Yes it was Lance. And then I widened my focus and noticed a small entourage around him. I didn't break pace and eased past him. While I knew he was not far behind, I didn't see him again until we hit Wellesley College (lots of screaming girls). Suddenly the guy in black and yellow appears on my right shoulder. The louder the girls yell, the faster he goes. Well hell, while I knew the proper tactical approach was to let him go, I figured how often are you shoulder for shoulder with an icon with soooo many cameras around! So I matched his pace. I checked my heart monitor to see just how far above pace I was. My HR was 160 on a downhill. That's a little high, especially before the 1/2. When one of his assistants (he had people pacing him and bringing him fluids) shouldered in between us (hey he came up to me douche bag), I dropped back into my pace.
The race plan had a 15 sec quick walk break every other aid station. I can't tell if it helped or not from a muscle standpoint (the quads really hurt), but it did enable me to get full drinks without gagging, and given the sunshine this was important. It's always a help seeing people you know, and having Tim standing on the 128 overpass with a nice cool bottle of Gatorade was also welcome. I had a little fluid deficit going at that point so I chugged about 1/3 of the bottle and was back on track the rest of the way.
Of course I'm always critical of my races, however, I know I worked about as hard as I could today. I don't believe I left more than a minute out on the course today. Sure it would be great to be faster, but I've never been this fast so I can't really complain.

Oh yeah. I called home and talked to Alexandra after the race. She said, "Good job daddy. Did you get a gold medal?" "Yes I did dear, just for you (my finishers medal)." "Wow. Daddy I got Tinkerbell undies! They're so beautiful!" Okay moment's passed. Back to being Daddy.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Boston 2008 pre-race

I'm set for tomorrow. I'll be leaving home early, catching a bus from Boston to Hopkinton, and then running my a-- off back to Boston. I'm pretty sure I'll be fast, but this post isn't about how fast I think I'll be. Instead it's a thank you to those who have helped me get to the starting line, mostly my family. Leanna's my hero. I just couldn't manage the kids all day every day the way she does. And if she doesn't do that, I can't do this. And yes, one last thank you to Tim, who scheduled all those "fun" runs for me. It's a lesson that you can frequently achieve more personally when you work with others.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Beer Wisdom

I'm thinking about starting a new blog topic based on the "words of wisdom" found on the bottle caps of Newport Storm beer. Whenever I get a cap with an interesting quote (they take famous movie quotes and insert the word 'beer'), I'll post it here. Sure it might be stupid, but hey I know people out there who like "Flavor of Love 3" too! Right Em?

Maybe to make it fun your comments need to name the film from which the original quote was taken.

Today's quotes:

"That beer is our last hope.
No. There is another."

"Ow, that really hurt! I mean honestly, who THROWS a beer?"

Monday, April 14, 2008

Proper Hydration Tips

Courtesy our good friends at the Gatorade Sports Science Institute:

Tip #3: Check the Color of Your Urine - An easy way to tell if you're properly hydrated is to check the color of your urine. If your urine is pale like lemonade, that's a sign of good hydration. Crystal-clear urine often indicates over-hydration and the need to cut back. Dark urine (like the color of apple juice) may signal dehydration and the need to drink more.

So okay, when I drop my pants and pee on the ground during the marathon Monday, I won't get in trouble, right?

"Sorry officer, I'm just checking my hydration level. Do you think that looks more like apple juice or lemonade?"

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Yeah I'm blogging less, but...

...I'm just so friggin' busy. Training is going well. Work is challenging. Kids are fun and challenging. e.g. From Sunday to Sunday last week (8 days) I ran 60 miles, and biked ~3 hours in 3 different states. I ran Colt State park in RI 10 days ago and Central Park in NYC 2 days ago. We took a train back to Connecticut to pick up the kids and I ran another hour then drove home. (Mommy and Daddy were on a "get-away" weekend.)
I'm transitioning to my new boss at work, but still have items to do (mainly personnel reviews) for my old boss. I've had to throw out most of my plans and start over.
The kids are kids. They are great but Dylan has monster meltdowns now (he's almost 20 months) and Alexandra had an asthma attack this last week. Not a severe one, but she's back on one of her inhalers. It looks like allergies might be a trigger because her latest bout of coughing started as the trees began to bud. It all started spring of last year as well.
Sleep would be nice but it might have to wait. I do manage 6 hours or so a night, but I really could use one or two more consistently. Nonetheless I actually feel pretty good, just a little "off balance" if you know what I mean. There is no hyper defined routine right now. I'm, pardon the cliche, just livin' one day at a time. While challenging at times, I am still keeping that positive mental energy as best I can. The fact that I am running so well helps. While it is the least important of the items I am doing, it is the one which shows the most definitive results when I work at it, and gives me hope that the other situations will indeed improve in the same manner.

Anyway I'm only 13 days from Boston now and it's time to start thinking about goals. I'm not really sure how fast I'll run, but thanks to Tim and his help a PR is pretty much a guarantee as long as I take care of the "race management" things (pacing, eating, etc...). Physically I'm ready to run a best by A LOT.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008