Sunday, July 29, 2012

...and now I set my sights for Boston

After only sleeping an hour, waking up, reading, trying to get to sleep while a sickly dog we're watching limped around, fell out of bed a number of times, weaved and banged into walls I just gave up and went down stairs to roll out on a roller, stretch and to begin focusing on today's Marathon. I had some Greek yogurt, cereal and berry's with Chia.
By the time I headed out the door at 5:00am, I was actually feeling pretty good. As I got close to the Embarcadero I began to see runners funneling towards the start line.
I wore my Bicycle riding jacket and carried a "throw away" jacket to wear for the beginning of the race. I was glad I did! It was freezing. I dropped my good jacket with one of the UPS truck equipment/clothing drop off.

I was signed up for wave 5 and it was a very slow march to the entrance but, when I got there I moved up as far to the front as possible.

I was very nervous, apprehensive and my heart rate was already creeping north and I hadn't even started to run. At the gun, it was a bit of a slow start for the first 100 yards but, it cleared up pretty quick and I didn't really have to do that much dodging around people. I new I was starting out a little fast and thought to slow down a bit. I soon just threw the game plan out the window and just went with how I was feeling.

One of the things I planned to do was dedicate this run to my immediate family. I knew I had a long way to go and needed to focus on the ones who have inspired me and brought me to this moment in my life.

Dad: I love my Dad and knew that he would be proud. I get a lot of my athletic inspiration from him. He taught me how to be patient, loving and funny. His strength and personality made me feel safe, and inspired me to try and be like him.

Mom: As I get older I understand we had so many of the same flaws and weaknesses (fear). Through her I came to understand a lot of myself. She had a good heart and was always protective of us all. We were very close, and at times I would be angry with her for letting things get to her and fill her with bitterness. If only I could have inspired her and made her life a little easier. I caused her so much pain.

Linda: I didn't spend a lot of my time with her and kind of put her in more of an axillary parent status. I think I was afraid of her, she didn't pull her punches and put me in my place many times. I missed the few times we had together just being strait up and I know she suffered so much in her short life with her health problems. She had a beautiful family and meant so much to so many. I wish she was here and I could show her that I've tried very hard in the last few years to excel and aspire to push myself to a higher level.

Paul: My life coach. Hugh and I were so competitive with each other for his kudos. I feel he was the catalyst for the Hugh and I to push ourselves out of the box. He's been so supportive to me and I can only hope to make him proud of me.
We had funny names for him... The Pope, the Governor, the Senator! I don't think he really new the power he had over us...

Hugh: My friend...A bond so deep that when he passed recently a part of me died also. No words can describe how good he was to me and I to him.
Still to painful to think about...

This is why I run...

 I definitely wanted to go for a sub 4 hour finish. The pace was brisk and the excitement was carrying me rapidly through the Marina and I made the bridge in great time. At this point I knew this was the beginning of the hardest part of the run. I hit the bridge and running became a bit dicey. the running lane was very narrow and if you stepped to far too the left you would be in to running traffic heading back in the opposite direction!

My fear of running over the bridge (fear of heights) was not an issue in the least. I actually enjoyed it and I felt like I was beginning to really settle in to a nice efficient race pace.
back across the bridge and climbing up into the Presidio was starting to kick my ass but when I started the downside to Baker Beach I felt better and made some good time. At this point I threw away my jacket and finally felt free and unencumbered.

Crossing through the Richmond, fatigue soon began to set in. I downed another Power Bar gel and hoped for the best. The water stops slowed me down considerably. I made sure to thoroughly hydrate myself even though I had to stop maybe 6 or 7 times to pee. Better than being dehydrated. I kicked ass down through the park but when I hit the turnaround and the half way point it was all seriously catching up to me. I tried to keep my pace up during the climb up to Stow lake by trying to stick with faster runners. This totally beat me up and by Stow Lake I was getting that funny back of the throat nausea. For the stretch towards the Haight I was trashed and stopped for a few seconds to inhale a banana and more electrolyte which probably saved me.

Through the Haight was grueling and everything from this point on was slower. I had trouble just keeping my feet moving but, managed to force the pain out my ears and finally my legs began to detach from my brain and started running by themselves! Between So. Van Ness to Florida street there was a small hill and I just had to stop and walk two blocks. I had nothing left. At this point only the music in my ear buds was keeping me moving...thank you Lady Gaga and Incubus...couldn't have done it with out you.

Down through to Mission Bay I knew I could make it but really wanted to walk but, forced myself through it. I passed the Ballpark and saw the Bridge where the finish line was. I new I would not make the under 4 hour goal I had. I put my head down and just kept going. I hated the fact that when I raised my head the bridge didn't seem to be getting any closer! It confounded me and I was getting that bonky grouchiness!...almost there!
As I came up to the finish line I heard my name announce over the loudspeaker and the cheering so, I put on my hard core "Dave Scott" face as the flashing cameras assured me I had done it!
I heard Cathy yell "Pete"! Yes I did it and I was proud of myself but, more in a scientific way... I had approached this event intelligently well planned and I felt that more than a self aggrandizing moment, it was a graduation, an education. I learned so much about my athletic potential and a whole new side of who I am.
I feel great!!!!

...and now I set my sights for Boston

Friday, July 27, 2012

Reality Sinks In...

I took a trip down to The SF Wipro Marathon Expo to pick up my race bib, timing chip and take a look around. My looking around ended up costing me a bit of change.

I felt like a gambling addict on a losing streak in Vegas. I just couldn't stop. The further I got into the Exhibit hall the more out of control I became. The final straw after all the GU's, Shirts, blinking running gear was when I came across the "Newton" booth. All those crazy neon colored high tech design shoes and a big sign saying 20% off!

Of course there were a pair of the top of the line shoes in just my size! 
Hey they threw in a free pair of socks! That's a deal! I enjoyed hanging out talking to a bunch of old geezers sharing ideas and their 2 cents worth of advice and opinions on everything.
I love the "Newtons" They feel comfy but, need to tie them a bit loose, they seem to have a naturally glove like fit. I'll still run Sunday with my Brooks "Pure Flows". They're still my favorite shoe at this point and I've been running in them exclusively for the past three months.
After the giving away most of my money I forced myself to high tail it out of there and get home to safety.

I'm feeling a little more rested today and have been eating as much food as possible to hopefully pack in enough glycogen into my muscles to see me though  the 26.2 miles. I had lost maybe a little too much weight within the last couple of weeks and I've been tired and just dragging my ass. Probably a bit over trained I think.
I stop to think that only a few short months ago this was all a goofy afternoon pipe dream. Somehow I've pulled it together and made it happen. I'm quite sure I'll do the distance and my only concern is getting close to the time goal I've set for myself. 4:15. It would be nice to break 4 hours but, I'm not sure I can really do it but, I'll sure try.

In the meantime the new apartment and job are working out pretty well. I'm hoping to be able to stay here for awhile. There's a great vibe about the place. Our friend who's into the whole "Feng shui" concept thought everything seems just right.
The dogs love it and it seems our Doggie Day Care is actually getting busier now.

Just a little over 24 hrs to the big run and I'm getting a bit of performance anxiety, but I think it will all be good. I can't believe my goal is this close to me already. Reality sinks in...

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Open Road, Just Me and My Bike...

Sometimes in life, you look back and realize you've just gone down a path that you could never have fathomed. Life is full of surprises and the trick is don't hit the brakes, just let it happen and you may be happy with the path you've taken.

I had a chance Saturday to step back and take a breather and to just digest all that has happened in the last few months. I haven't had anytime alone aside  from running in where most my thoughts have been about training, goals and short term life logistics. I had planned on taking a bike ride to Mt. Tamalpais and put out a somewhat weak invitation for others to join. It seemed everyone had plans and couldn't make the ride, which was actually fine cause I really needed some alone time.
With a week to the Marathon, I needed some cross training and to give my feet a break from slamming the ground.

I dusted off Klein road bike and got up early and headed out for the bridge. I just focused on quieting my mind and just threw away the thoughts that would start worrying me. By the time I got to Fairfax I finally got into that Zen mode and it just became me and my bike.

I think I've lost a bit of power/wattage in my legs but at the same time I've gained endurance. Usually I'm pretty trashed after a Tam ride but, I actually ended up feeling excellent, like I could have gone much more. 

The whole ride was very positive aside from the bike crash I came up on as I approached Alpine Dam. A woman at lost it on a curve and went down pretty hard causing a serious head injury. I stopped at the Dam and watch them proceed to airlift her out by helicopter. 

It made me think of how I'm lucky I just seemed to lose the thrill of blasting downhill at high speed. One of those qualities that comes with's called common sense. I've had too many close calls and I feel in the past few years my timing, balance and  bravado have lost a bit of polish.
The Seven Sisters

I'm beginning to get a handle on how to eat and the amount of energy I burn with riding and running. Where I'm losing certain advantages, I'm gaining in a other avenues.
I rolled along the "Seven Sisters" and felt so lucky for just being and thankful for being able to witness the beauty on such a fine Summer day. I cruised down the front of Tam and happened into a few riders and a bit of chat. It was a breeze going through Sausalito and up the corkscrew to the bridge. 
I was absolutely crazy heading back across the bridge with all the bike tourist traffic coming at me. I felt like a Salmon on a bad acid trip.
Finally I made it home safely and called ahead to meet Cathy at our favorite restaurant, "The Grubsteak". 

After a great meal, we headed home for a power nap and some doggy time!
Solace of the open road...loving life.

I feel so lucky...
I hope this feeling stays for awhile.
This week I'll do some light running, focus on work and next Sunday "The Marathon"!
Can't wait!

Saturday ride was 57 miles but, my GPS didn't boot up until 17 miles into the ride...

Sunday, July 15, 2012

So I've been trying to snag an under 2 hour Half-Marathon time, more for my self confidence than anything. I have to set little goals on the way to the big one to keep me fired up. Today I finally felt like the rhythm, is coming together. I kept a pretty even pace and most of the miles were under 9 minute miles. Now to double this and keep up that pace for another 13 plus miles is a long shot, especially on a route with so many hills and people to get by.

Along with that, I'm beginning to dial in the diet which is making a difference. 
One of the products I'm experimenting with is something called "Chia Seeds". Supposedly a protein supplement, high on omega 3 etc. Also I'm using "ZMA with Theanine " which is helping with recovery and sleep. Now the magic bullet in all this is a recent discovery. "Power bar gels"! Especially the "double latte". I could feel a nice kick after doing one of these around mile 7. I was able to really keep my energy level up considerably. Finally for a great tasting snack food are the Artisana line of natural butters. Peanut, Cashew and Coconut are my favorite. A spoonful of one of these in the evening are a great nutritious replacement for sweet processed treats.
Today was a beautiful day for a run and I was feeling pretty good. Not completely recovered physically from our recent move and all the training, lifting and abuse to my body in the last month. I had to take liberty to include a "Dork Shot".
I'm also sticking with my "Brooks Pure Flows" for my Marathon this month. They feel perfect. I think the "Connects" I'll save for the shorter runs.

Being in a better state of mind and happy with the move and the new job (so far), has done wonders for my overall feel, mood and general well being.
My Layla lou

I had a good weekend and had some very happy peaceful moments. I'm still having moments where I miss my younger brother so much. It's times like these that I wish I could share with him...He would be happy for me.
I miss you Hugh...

Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Third Time Is The Charm

With all the trepidation of a new job, apartment and the move into a horrible neighborhood, I am quite surprised at how things worked out. It all ended up pretty well and I'm actually stymied with  myself that I would have stayed so long at my previous job and taken so much abuse from a bunch of arrogant frackin dweebs who really have no idea how to manage, people, buildings and If I were one of the higher ups they'd all be fired.
To use my least favorite phrase, which I seem to hear once a day now,
"moving on"...
(a passive aggressive dismissal somewhat like..."talk to the hand")!

Over the last month, the process of moving has been quite grueling. I'm hating it more and more as I get older and my back is hating it ever worse.
I was a costly move and I didn't really have a lot of money to pay anyone to help so, the help I did get was pretty shoddy and a lot our furniture arrived pretty beat up and all the lifting just destroyed my back in the process. We had to move into a temporary unit until the manager who got fired moved out. Five days after moving we had to move again.

The new building is in a pretty nasty area of the Tenderloin but, the building has a nice feel to it and the apartment is pretty sweet although a little strange in it's design.
I was afraid for how the dogs would feel about the new place but, they settled in right away and seem quite happy here. There's a nice little courtyard and there are plenty of other dogs for them to hang out with.
The apartment also comes with my own office and it's probably the best part of the deal. It's nice to be back managing buildings again.

The running has been sporadic with the move. My back has been acting up and with only two weeks to the Marathon I'm just a bit worried how I'll hold up. Some cross training on the bike will be in order.
Not a lot of time to blog so I won't fill in the details here.
This is the third move in a short amount of time and I'm hoping this is the charm.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

When Everything Goes Wrong but Ends Up Right

Caught "Red handed"!

I've had zero time to spew on my blog. I've quit my job, got another one, left a beautiful apartment to move into another somewhat nice classic old apartment but, in a building that's in the heart of what I like to call "Crack Central"!
 I've jumped from the frying pan into a really deep fryer. 
 During our move I was ripped off by workers in the new building. I had left some personal property in the new apartment and reminded the workers there to NOT! remove my stuff with their stuff. I got the yeah, yeah Senor which didn't give me any secure feelings about it all. I just didn't want to haul the stuff back again to the old apartment. (workers were supposed to be done the previous day)!
I ended up losing a all out jackets and all my running shoes, probably around $400 dollars worth of footwear.
After a 4 day runaround I finally reviewed the video and actually have the guy on tape carrying my stuff away! After confronting his Boss who got a bit snarky at me for being upset at "losing a couple of pairs of sneakers". (He doesn't realize that I'm in between him and thousands of dollars worth of contracts and work work with the new company).
I ended up losing a few day's of training for my Marathon at the end of this month but, finally got my paycheck and went out yet again to get another pair of running shoes.

I bought the shoes yesterday and without breaking them in just ran 22 miles with great success. No blisters or sore feet so, I guess aside from my nagging back issue, all is well and I got my last good long run before my taper period leading up to the Marathon on the 29th.
I focused today on learning to run through pain and to just make it go out my ears (as Scott Jurek would say). I was trying for a personal record to break my 2 hour mark for a half Marathon distance but just couldn't push it any harder without my back spazzing out on me. Also the beachfront roads and sidewalks were mobbed and caused me quite a bit of slowdown.

I'm very tired and sleep has been elusive in the last week. My eyes are beginning to cross right now so, I'll  catch up later.