From the beginning.....

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Eugene Marathon - A quick summary

First ever marathon finish.
On the track in my hometown, Track Town USA
26.2 miles is longer than my commute to work, about twice as long, I think. It's just short of my 35 minute drive to my buddy Karl's place up the peninsula in the San Francisco bay area.

26.2 miles is more than twice the width of San Francisco (12 miles).

Wilsonville Oregon to Vancouver Washington is 26.5 miles.

Oh, and I would only have to run 21.3 marathons to get home to Menlo Park from Eugene. The point being, a marathon is a big distance to cover with your feet.

When I was 30, with zero understanding of the possibility of completing, or the implications of my words, I vowed to run a marathon before I was 40. Done and done. I turn 38 in just under 2 months.

Completing the Eugene marathon yesterday is definitely one of the great highlights of my life so far. Rough math puts marathon runners in the US vs the US population at about 6.4%, so I'm in fairly exclusive company now. Among my friends, the percentage is much higher (and that's awesome!). Completing my first marathon in my hometown was extremely important to me. Not only is it Track Town USA, but all of my family lives here, and many of my friends live nearby too.  Add in that several good friends were running the 1/2 marathon, it was too perfect to pass up.

The real question was with my nagging achilles injury, do I run and risk further injury, maybe hampering my running for several months? I also felt like I required a shoe change.

Decided to run, decided to change the shoes. My reward for the risks? Probably the most perfect first time marathon experience a person could ask for: perfect weather, amazing crowd and community support, family and friend support both on and off course, and all of the post race hometown comforts a person could ask for.

Thank you so much Eugene!!

Almost Marathon Time

Two weeks out.

I'm not super nervous about the race yet, but I'm thinking about it more and more.

Two of the biggest reasons I can keep running.
I felt pretty apprehensive after the Oakland 1/2 marathon. It was a dramatic swing that I wasn't really ready for. I felt OK running before the race. Admittedly, I knew I wasn't in great running shape, I just didn't think it was as bad as it was. I've never felt worse in a race, probably never felt worse on any regular run either.

So by today (Friday the 12th), I've completed 3 of my long training runs, two of which are the longest runs I've attempted (13.1, 18, 17 miles) and I have one left. It's a 20 miler, but I'd like to get 22. I'm on an 'accelerated' marathon training plan, designed to simply prepare me for the distance. In the event that I survive, I still plan to continue my quest to qualify to run 2014. If I feel like my body will take it, I'll make an attempt in August (unless I can find a good race sooner). Otherwise I will likely focus on speed and fitness, to drop my 1/2 marathon PR down.

Back to Eugene though, I'm not only anxious to run, I'm stoked to get to see my family and friends. ALSO - several of my friends are running the same day. Lots of anticipation around travel, friends, family, time off from work......the drive!

Good journal start -will pick up again soon....


One week out.
So I haven't run much this week. Just the one track workout on Tuesday: 3 miles in solidarity with the victims in the Boston Marathon bombing. Easy pace with friends. Last week was rough from a run/mental standpoint. I had several friends running Boston, and just such a big blow to the community as a whole.

I could probably, and may, write a whole post about that, but I'll get back to my training for now.

The last weekend aside, I have made all my long run goals (I ran a 21.5 miler between now and my last post). I know it's not great, but each week I've only ran twice. I did sneak a 5 miler in I think once, but I've had competing issues: I need to get a feel for the long mileage, but I've also had a problem with my achilles/foot.

I do feel like I have the feel of a long run, so have chosen to rest and rehab the Achilles/foot. I've also been rolling/massaging it. I also switched from my lower drop shoes to my stability shoes for walking around. It seems to be working. It doesn't hurt as much to walk, and I figure to try 3 runs this week, at least 5 miles each. Whoops, time to see what's wrong with the hot rod. [editors note: I was at a cafe waiting for the mechanic to diagnose an issue with my car, not good news, unfortunately].


Sitting at the train station - 9am.

I'm pretty disappointed with the results of the mechanics evaluation of the hot rod: $5k+ for repairs. :/

My feelings are mixed, I'm to travel to Eugene on Friday, and currently have no way to get there. Just paid my federal taxes and haven't seen the state return yet. Is it irony that a pending car payment for a car I can't drive is preventing my travel? It's many things really, but right now, that's where the money's going.

Did I mention I have a marathon in a few days? My first one? Yeah, feeling like that is starting to be in doubt now.

After last week in Boston, it's hard to sit and feel sorry for myself. It could be so much worse. Still sucks. Hard to mentally prepare for the longest run of my life.

Also, not sure if I'm going to make my track workout with the group. It's my last chance to see the group, theoretically, before the race. Well, train will be here in a minute....


Almost a lot of things: softball day, travel day, family day, friends day, RACE DAY!

After working out travel arrangements, I've been trying to get rested and calm after Monday and Tuesday, rough days. Friends stepped up to volunteer their cars, carpool from Portland.....awesome.


I got cut off on Wednesday when I was working on my last post. It's OK though - friends were early to the bar, always a good time.

To close out the post though, I was feeling pretty scatterbrained and stressed. My friends were great and hanging out help relax me a little.


Finish line tomorrow....
I find myself one day, now less than 24 hours away, from my first marathon. Hopefully I'll be done by this time tomorrow!

My prevailing thoughts are: what do and don't I eat, or drink? Do I make my foods nice and salty? How about drinking caffeine or beer?

I know I'm supposed to be resting, but it's hard with so many friends and family around. I still need to pick up my race packet too. Hopefully the 'light' coordination I've been doing will come together well. I really want to get together with all my race friends today (and the family).

I don't know how much sleep I should try and get, I've never slept more than 4-5 hours before a race.

I'm supposed to rest, but due to various circumstances I haven't run since Tuesday's track workout. I'm hoping to get a shake-out run on Pre's trail later this afternoon. On my long runs, my arches/feet have gotten a bit crampy, so have my calves...we'll see.  My achilles/arch seems to flare up pretty easily, but I ran my 21.5 miler with it so hopefully this rest helps it, not hurts it.
My new Elixers.
The Marathon will be my 2nd run in them.

A pretty big deal: I'm strongly considering running in new shoes. I picked up some Mizuno Elixers, as my Mizuno Inspires seem to have died an early death on me. Truthfully I probably should have been training in the Elixers, but I went with what I had. Unless I have an extreme change of heart, I'm running in the Elixers.

This is likely to be my last entry, pre-race, so I'l sum up how I'm feeling:

I'm psyched
I'm content
I'm at ease
I'm anxious
I'm ready to start
I'm ready to finish
I'm ready for mile 21 (you'll find out why)
I'm happy to be here
I can't wait to run a marathon in Track Town
so much more....

See y'all on the the other side of 26.2!

Post Eugene Marathon Check In

May 11th, 2013

Awesome mug and medal I was greeted with
when I returned to work after my marathon.
So it seems I find myself with some time to jot down some notes about how my first two weeks post-marathon have gone (on my flight to Portland).

So far, physically, pretty lazy feeling. I'm attempting to rehab my left foot/achilles so I've done no running.

I do play softball, so I do have some physical activity. Not to mention with my car breaking down, I've been riding my bike to the train, then from the train to work. Putting in about 9 miles a day.

I don't mind the ride or softball, but I do wish I could keep things more immobile. It's getting better, I just don't know how long it will take. Could be months.

I keep going between being proud of my accomplishment, completing my first marathon, and feeling like it was a bit anti-climactic. Most people don't even want to run 26.2 miles, let alone complete it. It's a big deal. I hate the way this will sound, but there was a big mental build up for me about the difficulty. I absolutely know that the way I ran it (to have fun, to actually ENJOY a race for once) removed much of the challenge. My long training runs were all nearly a minute per mile faster, including my 21.5 miler.

I was definitely tired when I finished, but I feel like I was more tired after my 1/2 marathon PR in September (1:29:48 yipee!). I'm very much looking forward to my next marathon, being physically and mentally exhausted. I guess more simply put, I feel guilty for not feeling worse.

Not running has both a physical and psychological effect: I miss running, really miss my running pals, and I'm not getting my normal doses of endorphins or stress relief. It's also a time for me to mentally work things out.

All in all, I feel pretty good, I'm looking forward to not only getting back to running, but to training hard for my next marathon. After all, I still have my Boston qualifier to run.