Sunday, March 06, 2011

Shamrock on Saturday

The Shamrock Shuffle is this Saturday. I'll never know why NASCAR and recreational 5K runners have their World Championship as the first race of the year. Physically I'm not 100%, but then I haven't been 100% in the last couple decades. My only concern is a left knee that aches a little. It doesn't hurt enough to stop or even slow down. It hurts just enough to be a little concerned. It could be fine on the big day, it could buckle. Stay tuned to find out.

MumblingSages has been focusing on longer distances. His times are a little slower than mine, but his runs are three times as long. I think he is faster than he claims. I know I am.

This will be year three of our saga at the Shamerock. I am 2-0. So far weather has not been an issue. That could change this year. Depending on whom u believe, we could get 0-12 inches of snow this week. Spies tell me it is snowing in Minneapolis and its headed this way.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


I lost 6 lbs in 24 hours. That can't be g00d.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Countdown to Shamrock

I got called out. I didn't think it was going to happen, but it did. Life is like that sometimes. I'm getting ahead of myself. This story began last month. The Winter Solstice has always been a special time. For thousands of years pagans / druids / astrologers / sun worshipers / morons have cast mystical powers to this darkest of days. Not me. The Winter Solstice means one thing in my life... Time to start thinking about the most important sporting event of the year. That's right. The Shamrock Shuffle.

Yeah, I know it isn't until March. Its months away before the world turns its eye to the sleepy berg of Eau Claire, WI. But something primal happens when the sunlight returns. The timing is unfortunate. Christmas time is a time of celebration, of Comfort and Joy, Glad Tidings of Salvation to all mankind! With every c00kie I get a little slower. Eggnog expands the belly whilst dampening the fire within. In short God rested this merry gentleman but g00d.
As I went over the river I heard it. As I went through the w00ds I felt it. As I went back and forth to the refrigerator it gnawed at my gut. MumblingSages is out there. He plans. He trains. He puts fancy backgrounds and ads on his blog. He lurks. (more of a lurch than a lurk really). Then bammo!!! He called me out.

Yeah, ok technically I fired the first salvo with a "Fhatty" text that ruined his New Years Day breakfast, but texting and blogs are worlds apart in the chessgame that is Shamrock Smack Talk. A phone-phone text is black-ops behind enemy lines. A blog post is a diplomat "leaking" to foreign press that the Queen is not amused. His mistake was sending the Prime Minister down to read the post before the Faceb00k UN Security Council. He must realize, this means war.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

I've still got it! sorta

You know that feeling you get when you haven't blogged in months. "Man I oughta blog something just to get back in the habit" I've had thoughts that were marginally interesting. Thoughts that were even worth a post. But when its been several months you start to think, "When I break my silence it better be a d00zy." This is not that post.
My son is ten years old and takes tennis lessons at the YMCA. I send him to lessons because he enjoys tennis and refuses to take direction from me. I don't mind so much with baseball, f00tball, basketball etc., but I used to feed the family on my ability to teach tennis. So it grates me a little that I pay money to sit on the sideline watching a college girl spraying balls all over Heck while she tries to feed volleys to middle sk00lers. You can't feed balls using an extreme Western Forehand Grip!!!!. It takes all I have not to run onto the court, shake her by the ears and scream "Continental Volley Grip !!!! Use the same grip you are teaching the kids, you Dummy" Shheeeshh. ......Sorry, this is not that post either.
So I'm minding my own bidniz. I keep one eye on the class, the other on Y00T00b vids (iPhone) of TV reporters losing their kewl. Then near the end of the class the other instructor lines the kids up for serve practice and pulls out the radar gun. OK. Now you have my attention. Its one of those cheap models and he explains how you get the best results if you serve right over the top. He even gives them the BS about your MPH only counts if it goes in. Like that matters. We aren't worried about world records here. We are talking about strutting rights amoung 10-12 year oldes.
As expected, the kids' form goes to crap as they try to over hit and most of their serves are so errant that they can't get the gun to register. When they do get a reading, nobody breaks 40 MPH. Meanwhile, my adrenal glands begin to tingle. The instructors walk around and give hints to the kids. It does no g00d. Learning to serve takes years. The guy instructor serves a few to demonstrate form and pr00ve that the radar gun is in fact working. The girl serves a few. Her technique makes me kringe. The hour is almost over and the kids are losing interest. Failure is like that. The guy instructor walks over to me, hands me his racket and says, "You wanna try?"
I haven't played tennis in a year. I haven't used a radar gun in ten years. You can really hurt yourself if you serve hard with out warming up. My right shoulder makes sounds like breakfast cereal because I made this mistake in high sk00l. Yer dern t00tin' I 'wanna try'.
I pull off my jacket and my sweatshirt cuz they are restricting. I kick off my snow b00ts so I don't break my ankle. I take off my glasses so they don't fly off my face. I take 3 balls out of the hopper out of sheer muscle memory. I have to put one back when I realize I'm wearing jeans. I toe the line thinking 'this is going to hurt'. First serve 80 mph. Wow thats embarrassing. Second serve 85 mph. Gimme another ball. 92 mph. The instructor starts telling to kids to pay attention to my balance and weight transfer. My form goes to crap and I slap one in the net. I collect myself and serve another in the low nineties. If I keep this up my arm will fall off but I want to use that third digit on the radar gun. "Last one" I say. I take a deep breath....lean forward, come set.....toss ball, bend knees, cock arm.......uncoil, pronate wrist, strike ball, explode into court.
Not bad really. No warmup, out of practice, borrowed racket, flat tennis ball, right on the center line, 97 my socks. Tomorrow I'll ask my son if I impressed him. I am not sure if I did. I would have liked to have topped 100mph. Deep down I know I still have it in me, but I don't play tennis anymore. As you may have noticed I've spent the last year or so focused on running. I plan on using this blog to discuss this coming year's training/racing experiences. I should post my first pre-Shamrock Shuffle blog, but I've got this kink in my neck that came out of nowhere. I'll have to go ice it and get back to you later.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Mission Accomplished

I know you've all been waiting with bated breath for the results. First a little background. You all know that I have been training for the Whistlestop Marathon since Jan 2009. The seed for the race was planted at Whistlestop 2008. At that event, I, and 2 other members of my bowling team ran the half marathon distance. Yep, not your typical bowling team. Anyway, after the run we were a little bored, so we went golfing.

A couple weeks later we were discussing how fun it was and we decided that we should run the full Marathon the following (2009) year. And we should golf again. And somehow we decided to turn it into a screwball triathalon. Run, Golf, Bowl. At this point Tad (former college sprinter) had run 2 marathons previously. Bob and I had run zero (0) marathons combined.

The problem of how to score such diverse events l00med. Finally I had the storming brain. First, overall low score wins. The winner of a given event gets zero(0) points for that event and the other two get points based on how far he is behind the winner. Thus.
Marathon: One(1) point for each minute behind winner.
Golf: One(1) point for each stroke behind winner.
Bowling: One(1) point for pin behind winner.

If you think about this puts a heavy weight on bowling. Which is as it should be. It is the event we are the most equally matched in, it comes last, and has the most potential for someone to make up ground.

Well the Marathon is not to be taken lightly. I really wanted to run in under 4 hrs. so developed a plan. Run the first ten miles in 1:25 mins, next ten miles in 1:35 (3hrs total), run 6.2 miles in under an hour. Actual results....... first ten miles in 1:24, next ten miles in 1:31 (2:55 total), last 6.2 in 59 mins. My official time 3:54:58.1 and yes the last 6.2 miles reeeeeaaaaalllly sucked. I thot I trained for everything. Legs were tired but strong. Heart/Lungs not even working hard. But about mile 21 my core musckles started to give way. Thats right. My abs, back, and rib muscles started to ache so bad, I couldn't hold myself upright and my form broke down. I hadn't read about that anywhere and hadn't prepared for it. I'll have to werk on that for my next one.

Anyway Tad ran in 3:11 which put me 43 points behind.
Golf put me further behind (I suck at golf).
We all stunk at bowling that day (unfamiliar lanes/fatigue/etc) but Bob stunk least enuff to make a huge comback and win the triathalon.

Saturday was 1 Marathon (my first), 18 holes of golf (my second round of the year), 4 games of bowling(not publishing our scores, they were bad), 7 beers, 2 shots Wild Turkey. Congrats to Bob for winning the triathalon, to Tad for qualifying for Boston Marathon. All in all a great day even tho I lost.

Mumblingsages did well in the 10k and is thinking about entering the triathalon next year. How about you?

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Ummmmmm......Now what?

Ok its 6(six) days away from the Whistlestop Marathon (WSM). Last week Tuesday was a rest day on the training calendar. That felt odd since Tuesdays are normally my 'long' run days. So I flipped back through the calendar and realized that it was only the 2nd Tuesday in 2009 without a run. I have a 'special' calendar that I use only for scheduling races. I've found it helpful to keep training separate from all the other clutter on the official "Golden Calendar" that Lisa uses to keep track of family d00ties.
I looked back at my training calendar and was shocked to find out that I have been preparing for WSM since January 6th and I have no idea what I'm doing or what to expect on race day. The olde saw "the more you learn, the more you realize you don't know" is bearing itself out.
When I started this regimen, I knew I needed to train hard and follow a schedule built by someone who knows what they are doing. I believe I have done so. I assumed that over the course of 10(ten) months I would get a feel for what to expect on race day. Boy, was I wrong. Even following a proper schedule I still have g00d days and bad days. There are days I run like the wind. There are days I run like a park bench. These extremes happen over short and long distances alike. I have felt great after 18 mile runs. I have felt like death 8 miles into a 20 mile run.

Not knowing what to expect makes race strategy hard to develop. I want very much to finish in under 4(four) hours. That means I need to be just under a 9:09 minute pace. So, do I try to peg that pace each mile? Do I log a bunch of 8:30's to put some time in the 'bank'? I know I'll likely fade at the end, especially after the greatly feared mile 20(twenty) where so many hit the wall. How much will I fade?? Should I start slowly and finish strong? Every thing I read says that the best thing to do is to start slowly and pick up speed as you approach the finish line. I also read that 90% of ppl don't do this. If I start at 9:30 pace, will I be able to pick up the time later after I've already run 10+ miles?

Who knows?? I sure don't.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Having a wife is neat.

I am mostly recovered from a bout with Lyme Disease. I will take my last pill this coming Thursday. While the effects of the illness appear to be gone, I am still recovering from the hiccough in my training that it caused. I ran 2o miles last Tuesday and it nearly did me in. My body wanted to quit after 8 miles, but my brain wasn't that SMRT.

This coming Saturday is a 10K in Kasson, MN. While not a true 'rematch' of the 5K Shamrock Shuffle, it will be the first time since then that mumblingsages and I will be in the same race. He is training for the 10K and I for the Marathon at Whistestop in Oct. Neither one of us is "ready" for a headtohead on Saturday. He runs faster splits than me, but has never run a complete 10K distance. I run much farther on a regular basis, but to do so I run much slower.

The sage claims he will just 'run his race' and not care what I do lest he hurt himself and mess up his chances for a strong 10K at Whisltestop. While I applaud the sentiment, 1) I don't believe him. 2) he should be on notice that I am bound by Community Fun Run Rule #23.

Community Fun Run Rule 23) If Mark is in your race, beat Mark.

Yesterday I had 6 miles(10K = 6.1 miles) on my training calendar, so I decided to push myself and see how I'd do. I finished in 50.13 mins, one of my splits was my first post-Lyme sub 8 min mile. I was feeling pretty g00d until I checked mumblingsages' log for the day. He had done 5.14 miles in 41.13 mins. Three of his miles were sub 8mins. This made me a little nervous. At his pace he would beat me by a full minute.

When I expressed my concerns to Lisa, my lovely wife, she was able to put everything in perscpective. I told her Mark's time and she said "Yeah, but that's not 6miles".

Ah Clarity! She is absolutley right. Yes I will have to push myself. Yes I will be sucking major wind. But I have a lot more reserves in the tank. I just have to be willing to use them earlier in the race.