Sunday, January 27, 2008

Progress - 1/27/08 (Asherville, IN)

I'm 703 miles in and just passing Asherville, IN. I'm heading towards Terre Haute and then into Illinois. All I can find about Asherville is that it's part of Clay County and has an elevation of 659 feet. Yep, it's THAT big of a town.

My 18 miler - 1/26/08

I ran my 18-miler yesterday which ended up being significantly more difficult than my 16-miler from a week or so earlier. This was hilly (unlike the New Orleans marathon will be) and it was an out-and-back which means that no matter how tired I was, I had to finish it.

I only stopped to talk three times for about a minute each, so I felt good about my stamina. Health-wise, I'm good. Knee-wise, well, less so. My knees were really killing me the entire time and are still hurting today. I feel like an old man hobbling up and down the steps.

The good news? My 18 miles took only 9 minutes longer than my 16-miler which is a good sign. Again, my stupid iPod Nike+ thing isn't working like it should and only showed 16 miles, though I mapped out the run in my car and on before hand. I don't want to be rash, but I think my iPod and I might be breaking up soon. I didn't want it to get to this point, but I think we've seen better days. I'm thinking about cheating on her with a Garmin.

Anyway, now all I have left to do is the 20-miler which will be my last long run before the marathon--less than a month away.

The other good news? I'm within 2,200 calories of hitting 100,000 calories burned since May. That is quite an accomplishment and I'll be sure to celebrate by eating two large pizzas by myself. Ok, maybe a piece of fish and vegetables.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Run - 1/19/08

I woke up this morning with a bit of a stomach ache, so I decided not to go for too long a run. I ran 6 miles (though my stupid ipod only has it as 5.5) at a very good pace: 50:44. I need to get my 18-mile run in this week and then my 20 the following week, but I didn't want to go without a run today.

It felt good and it wasn't too cold, but the sidewalks were too icy, so I had to run on the roads. That's fine--if the cars notice you, that is. Regardless, I'm glad I got out and feel much better now.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Psychology of the First Song and the Power Song

During my 10-mile run this morning, I started to think about the psychology behind the first song on your running play list and your Power Song. More than a year ago, I had Montell Jordan's "This Is How We Do It" as the first song. I changed it to the Beastie Boy's "Intergalactic" and then to Smash Mouth's "Walking On the Sun." Just today I changed it to Paul Oakenfield's "Starry-Eye Surprise".

As for Power Songs, I only made one change--from Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy" to Van Halen's "Right Now", which is the current Power Song on my Ipod.

So, the potential problem is that these songs are now associated with running. When I want to run and am feeling good, that's a good thing, but when it's more of a chore, I find that my taste for these good songs starts to wane. And, when I hear them on the radio, I find myself changing the station because I now hear them so often and associate them with something else.

I already can't listen to the Knack's "My Sharona" because that's my wake-up song on my CD alarm clock (off the "Reality Bites" soundtrack, if you're wondering). If I hear that song on the radio, I turn it immediately because I associate it with getting out of bed, which I don't like to do--ever.

So, a question for the group... is my neurosis getting the best of me or is there something to the psychology of a work-out song and hearing it at other times? What do you do to keep your music fresh?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Progress - 1/10/08 (Indianapolis, IN)

I'm 644 miles in and getting into the heart of Indianapolis, IN. Most of you are familiar with Indianapolis as the home of the Colts and the site of the Indy 500. It's the 13th largest city in the US with a population of 781K.

I'm continuing southwest down Route 70 on my way towards Terre Haute, IN and then to St. Louis, MO.

My 16-mile long run - 1/8/08

On Tuesday, I ventured out for my longest run to date--16 miles. I had a tough time sleeping the night before knowing that it'd be greeting me in the morning. Honestly, I was dreading it a bit as it's 3 miles longer than my longest run in the past and I knew that I had some time constraints because I needed to pick someone up late morning.

It took me almost 2 hours and 40 minutes to run the 16 miles, and I was completely exhausted afterwards. Completely exhausted like I wanted to fall over and die. That kind of complete exhaustion.

I ran from my house through downtown Concord, which took me past all the political sign-holders and down Main Street. As you know, New Hampshire has the first primary and the streets were packed with political supporters screaming their candidate's name. That's certainly an interesting way to spice up a run.

During my last 5 miles, all I could think about was the peanut butter toast, almonds and Gatorade that I'd be having when I got home. If that's not an indication that I'm a runner, I don't know what is.

My legs were definitely aching afterwards, and I took a couple ibuprofen that morning, more later that evening and then a few the morning after. I took the next day off because my right calf was throbbing. I ran 5 miles today without any problems, though.

Before I feel comfortable with my marathon training, I'll need to do an 18-miler and a 20-miler. I'll need to do those over the next two weeks to gain the required confidence for the full 26.2.

Saturday in the (Central) Park

I was in beautiful NYC over the last weekend and went for a run through Central Park with a friend. I had always wanted to do it but never had the chance because I really didn't get into running until I no longer traveled into the city.

We ran about 40 blocks up (to 102nd St.) and then circled back and ran down the Upper West Side (west side of the park). We stopped by the Dakota (where John Lennon died) and ran through Strawberry Fields and passed by Tavern on the Green, among other things.

The walking/running/biking trails were amazing and it really took you through a nice path with some decent hills and great scenery. After having gone to the city 30-40 times in my life, this was a nice first for me.

I ran it without music, as it would have been quite rude to run with someone while listening to music. I think we ran a bit further than what my ipod said, but that's been the trend of late.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

2007: The Ups, Downs, Bumps and Bruises

I'd like to say that I consciously decided to delay my year in review until after the new year so that I could stand out among the others. I'd like to say that, but that'd be a lie. I just couldn't get to a computer during the holidays and didn't want to skimp on the reflections of a very important year in my running career and in my life.

I don't talk about my non-running life on purpose. But a large change occurred in my non-running life this year--I decided to enroll in law school. That meant moving 7 hours away from my closest friends and 8 hours away from my family. I sold my townhouse, quit my job and moved up to New Hampshire to do something I've wanted to do for as long as I can remember. It has been the right choice--certainly not the easiest choice--but it's been the right choice and I'm happier every day that I made it.

My blogging started in July, but my tracked progress started on May 18 when I started to use my iPod/Nike+ system.

Since that time, I have logged 605 miles. That averages to about 86 miles per month. Looking at a year, I'd run about 1,030 if I kept up that pace.

And, since I needed a more concrete measurement of what the mileage was, I synced that up with a map of the US starting in Philadelphia (at the airport) and ending in Los Angeles (at LAX airport). That translates to running through Pennsylvania, a small part of West Virginia, all of Ohio and into Indiana. (See the map below.)

This idea has kept running interesting even though I'm running similar routes every day during my training for a race. It's also added a lot of fun. It's quite cool to see where I'd be if I were actually running across the United States. Look at that map. I've run that far since May. That feels amazing.

The goal is still to reach LA by the time I graduate from law school (May 2010). It requires me to run close to 900 miles per year to make it happen. Based on my progress so far, I'll make it with some room to spare.

My favorite holiday of the year is New Years. For most people, it's their least favorite, but I just love it. It allows you to end things that didn't work for you in the old year and start things new as the clock turns midnight. More importantly, it makes you reflect on your year and who you are and how you've changed over the year.

Looking back over my posts from this year, I couldn't help but smile at what I've accomplished and how far I've come. For your entertainment, here are my favorite posts from 2007:

1) Why I Run (September): It's first because it's the most important. It's the reason I got started and the reason I continue running, despite the freezing cold weather in NH.
2) Sandown 5-Miler (August): I had no idea the race was as hilly as it was until I looked at the t-shirt that morning. After a brief freak-out and call to my father (a former runner), I decided not to psych myself out and ran a strong race. This was a "you can do it" kind of race.
3) Moose On The Loose (August): My first competitive race was the Broad Street Run in Philadelphia (in May). I completed the 10-mile race in 1:29:47. I finished this 10-miler in 1:21:54--almost 8 minutes faster than my first race. This was a "look how far you've come" kind of race.
4) The Shoulder Injury (August): Though I wouldn't call this a highlight of my year, it was very important because it reminded me of how important running is in my life. I was chomping at the bit to get back out and counted down the hours until I could hit the road again.
5) Signing up for my first marathon (September): This is a highlight and very scary at the same time. Even before I was out of the brace, I signed up for the Mardi Gras Marathon in New Orleans at the end of February. This IS my motivation.
6) Concord 5K results (August): This was an important post because it was the first time someone from the running/blogging community commented on a post. Until that time, I hadn't done a thing to promote the site because I wanted to establish the content and flow first and then ask people to join me on my journey. Like Vanilla at Half-Fast, I'm very blessed to be a part of this community and I continue to appreciate the support it provides.

So, there you have it, folks. 2007 was a wonderful year and 2008 shapes up to be the same. I wish everyone the best as you begin the new journey.