Friday, February 25, 2011

On "Winning:" If I hurry up...I'll be late.

The Fifth Third RiverBank Run 25k here in Grand Rapids is on May 14th, 2011, and I plan to win it. Well, at least I plan to "win" it. I was talking to a friend on the phone one day after a half marathon. He asked me what I had been doing that morning, and the conversation went something like this:

Pete: Hey. What are you up to?
Me: I just finished XYZ Half Marathon.
Pete (unimpressed): Cool. Did you win?
Me: Not exactly.
Pete (disappointed): Oh. Well, let me know when you win one.

And on the conversation went.

Now, as the great blues man Howlin' Wolf once sang, "I was built for comfort, baby. I ain't built for speed." I'm not ever going to win a race in my life. I'll always be just a number in the middle of a pack. But if I can train for a race properly and finish a race properly, then I will have acheived my goal. And when you achieve a goal, doesn't it feel like you've won something? When I crossed the finish line in Chicago in 2009 in 4:29:45, I felt like I had just won the whole dang thing. That's why I'm doing it again, and that's why I'm blogging about it. I want to win it again, and I want to share it with my friends and family in a way I didn't understand 2 years ago.

So the RiverBank Run is GR's biggest race of the year, and I'd like to finish in a time that is close to last year's time of 2:19:21 (or so). That would be a "win." In order to train for races, I usually use Hal Higdon's training plans (another post), which say that you need 12 weeks to properly train for a half marathon. As of tomorrow, I'll have 11 weeks left for the race, and the 25k is a bit longer than a half marathon (15.5miles) anyway, so I probably should have tacked on an extra week.

Long/short- I'm behind on the plan. I'm not necessarily behind on my running, but I'm behind on my training. Big difference, which I'll save for yet another post. Either way:

If I hurry up...I'll be late.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Two Eighteen...


When I got back into the "swing" of things around the end of January, I finally got up the nerve to get on the scale. I knew I had gained some weight through the holidays as many people do, but I wan't really sure how much. The result? 218. Yup, I weighed in at a porky 218 and wasn't happy about it. That being said, I have to admit it wasn't a surprise after how much I'd ignored my running in January.

So 218 is my kickoff weight, and I'm bound and determined to make that my "ceiling" for quite some time. I'm glad to report that after yesterday's run, I had pulled back to 214.5. Still not where I should be, but moving in the right direction.

Believe me, this is NOT a weight loss blog. I'm just marking my starting point, and I'll have semi-regular updates as they relate to my level of fitness and preparation for the marathon later in the year. In 2009 when I ran my first marathon, I was at about 210. Last winter (2010) at this time, I was actually at the lowest I'd ever been as an adult at about 206. I had plenty of time to work out (read: unemployed) and didn't eat out much (read: unemployed).

I'm hoping to be a bit below 210 when this fall arrives. Hopefully carrying around a few pounds less will allow me to run a bit faster and beat my previous time. That's the goal.

In the meantime, I'll continue to focus on eating better and continuing my workouts. When you boil it all down, the science works like this:


I don't buy the carb thing, the unprocessed thing, the raw thing, the organic thing, or any other "thing" selling books these days.

7 miles (in 60 minutes!) yesterday and rest today. Running Monday, Tuesday, and Saturday this coming week. Not a lot, but it's a busy week. 'Till then, keep on running!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Blizzard Augustus

I never knew that a "blizzard" can only be defined as such if there are certain amounts of snow and wind that result in certain levels of visibility over a sustained period of time. I think we should start naming blizzards like we do hurricanes. You know, we all remember Hurricane Andrew, Hurricane Katrina, or Hurricane Ike, right? Every season starts with the beginning of the alphabet, and we alternate between culturally diverse names for men and women. I'm going to take some artistic license here and call what happened yesterday Blizzard Augustus.

Well, Blizzard Augustus kept me from the gym (and work), but it didn't keep me from getting a good workout.

Here's a cool shot AET took in the early afternoon after the storm had cleared:

At first, our house looked like this:

Then I had to shovel my wife's side of the driveway to get her to the hospital for morning rounds. Here's a shot of the fruits of my labor:

The snow day meant I got to spend the whole day with this guy:

And this girl:

So thanks Blizzard Augustus, for getting me a "cross-training" workout, and for keeping me holed up with my boy, my pup, a fire, and a bunch of kids sledding in the back yard. Can't wait for your sister Beatrice!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Welcome Aboard!

Welcome to my first attempt at blogging. I've seen plenty of other people blogging about plenty of other things. So I figured I'd document my efforts to meet and exceed my performance in the 2009 Chicago Marathon in the same race two years later.

A wise runner will realize that a marathon training program is about 18 weeks, which means I technically don't need to start a program until early June, but I plan to run the 25k (15.5mile) Fifth Third Riverbank Run here in Michigan in early May to establish a fitness base for 2011 and kick off another successful running season.

So I'm starting the blog now, partly as a winter diversion and partly to kick myself into gear in the New Year. It'll be a slow start, but along the way, we'll get into various topics, including my running history, training runs, shorter races along the way, equipment, fitness, nutrition, hydration, family, work, travel, and I'm sure a hundred other topics as well.

So off we go.

Lace 'em up and join me.