Sunday, September 23, 2007

"So Much Things to Say"

In theory, running only requires a pair of shoes, clothes, and a place to run. The reality for longer runs is that there is all kinds of nutritional guesswork and gear.

I now have two runs of +-20 miles in the books, both in the last 10-14 days. The first one anchored the only week in my training for Baltimore where I actually ran three days, which is the training regimen.

The first run was from my house to the Oxford Market and back, and was to encompass 23-ish miles. Mike Keene joined me for stellar weather, and a fantastic 11-12 mile run to Oxford. Just past Trippe Creek and Spring Road, we caught up to Talbot County's top bench-pressing runner, Jon Fox, and ran and chatted for 4-5 miles. Mike and I then saddled up to the Market, grabbed more Gatorade, water, and a sandwich. Whether the sandwich (which was tasty) or my lack of long runs was my undoing, I'm not sure. I started in with some stomach problems at probably mile 15, gutted it out with a couple walk breaks, and then completely hit a wall at roughly mile 20, or Kings Woods Road toward Easton. By this point my legs were cramping and I had accomplished everything positive that I could out of the run, and walked the remaining 3.5 miles back to my house. No pain post-run, cut the grass, fine to run the next day.

My other two runs that week were a 4.5 mile lunch run, then an 8-mile run in 68 minutes, which felt great. My next run came this past Saturday morning as Mike K., Team Claiborne charter member Jim Richardson, and I went to Wye Island for a 19.4 mile stroll.

"Super Jim" (with his trademark cape/bib) set the pace for the first 9.7 miles. There are many great things about running at Wye Island. The first is the mostly dirt roads and scenery. The second are the trails available and scenery. And a third is that you can park your vehicle such that you can pass it a number of times and refuel.

After my samich scare last long run, I opted to stick with more traditional/synthetic fuel for marathon distances. To squeeze some protein in, I tried a new drink called Accelerade, which throws carbs and protein at you. I cycled that with water, pretzels, and a Power Gel. And I drank more fluids than I normally do. Something worked, because my legs never cramped (they often do on long runs) and my energy level stayed fairly consistent.

After our first full loop, Mike, Jim, and I hit our own strides and spaced out a bit from each other, ultimately collecting ourselves at Mike's truck, a.k.a. "The Mother Ship." My 19.4-mile time ended up being 3 hours, 28 minutes, 44 seconds. I could have pushed some speed, but was content for a long SLOW distance. Post-run weather, conversation, and vittles, the latter thanks to Mike "Captain Picnic" (also Wood Frog) Keene, were excellent and rejuvenating. I got home, dug up a stump, and planted a crepe myrtle, among other things.

I have been averaging about one run per week, sometimes two, and only once the prescribed three. I am not in marathon good time shape, but could argue that I am smarter than when I ran my two other marathons. I am hoping I can ramp up a consistent string of runs, and run smart during the race, to pull off a PR (both other marathons had snags).

As for the JFK, I am not there, and don't know that I have time/drive/schedule to get there. It's a mental and psychological struggle, but I think I could let it go this year and be okay with it. One thing is for sure, you create some time to think during long runs.

Monday, September 10, 2007

When You Can

A view of the White Mountains from Osgood Trail. My camera won't do night running shots, so you get a cool, scenic photo, rather than downtown Easton at night.

Running and writing for me are both best done whenever I can, rather than waiting for the perfect time or opening in my schedule. Those times rarely show up these days.

I am supposed to be in the heavy part of marathon and JFK 50 training, but can't seem to get the miles in. There is one notable exception worth sharing.

Monday, 9/03 I was hoping to get a longish run in, and realized I had too much to do, too many obligations to make it happen. I realized this after macking down hot wings and pizza for dinner Sunday night. So I did what any runner off his or her rocker would do during marathon training: put on a reflective vest, ipod, water bottles and went for a 2 hour, 11 minute, 52 second run at 10:30 p.m.

I created an extended loop around Easton--Chapel Road to Washington Street, to Aurora Street, up to Washington Street where it connects past Dutchmans Lane, back up to Peachblossom Road, past the YMCA, turn at Thread Haven, back onto Washington Street, past the hospital, all the way back down to the V-intersection of Washington and Aurora. That's the loop, which I ran three times through before heading home. I got some odd looks from folks sitting on their porches, but really, who sits on their porch at 11:30 at night? It was a 14-ish mile run, which I greatly appreciated for all the ways it was fun and different.

My next run was a 7-mile run in 59:51 with Mike Keene up the Easton Rails-to-Trails and Oxford Road and back. And those are my only two runs since the Annapolis 10-miler. So I've got the sweet once-a-week training plan going.

Some real frustration, but with school starting back for Robin and Anna, fall events running full force at work, and other life stuff taking a front seat, it's all there has been (please see 5 - and 2-year-old daughter handbook). My next run is going to be a 22-ish mile run from home to the Oxford Market in Oxford--where they stock Gatorade for resupply--and back home. Hopefully that will answer some of the distance questions. Then I'd like to get 3-4 solid weeks before tapering for Baltimore. There may be some more night running in the forecast!