Monday, November 12, 2012

Biting Off More Than I Can Chew...Going For A Personal Record

I think we've all been here at one time or another...

I felt like this guy all weekend and knew I had probably bitten off more than I could chew. By last Friday I was feeling a bit beat up from the previous weekends half-Marathon trail race and had done a bit of over training during the week, when I really should have been practicing some active recovery.

I had been planning on doing an un-supported "Full" Marathon on Sunday for a pretty cool "Strava" Challenge. Strava (Athletic GPS training site) would kick in a donation for the Hurricane Sandy relief fund, if Strava members committed to running a full 26.2 mile Marathon within a two day window. The Marathon would have to be completed in one day. 

Saturday I got a late start for my recon ride on the one speed, or what I should really call "The Steel Canon Ball On Wheels"! I had mapped out a somewhat reasonable Marathon route on "" and planned to review the course for any uncertain anomalies. I probably should have ridden the road bike with gears. My legs were still a bit slodgy from the previous weeks events.
After the recon I realized that the last 3 1/2 miles would be some considerable up hill that I knew I'd have some problems with being at the end of the run. I was going to try and make this my first sub-four hour Marathon. This would only be my second Marathon, for the record...What are the chances? I'd have to go 10 minutes faster than my San Francisco Marathon time.

Saturday night we had plans to go out with friends for Pizza in the Marina. One of my friends had been trying to find a decent pair of cross training shoes for her arobics, yoga and possibly some running. She'd had a history of shin splints so, I suggested "Fleet Feet" and Pizza afterwards. The trip to Fleet Feet was great as usual and they really helped her find a great pair of Nike cross trainers.
I'm not going to give a review for the Pizza restaurant...It sucked! Which was suprising since we've been going there for a couple of years without issue but, the were having a bad night and one bad experience isn't going to make me hate the place enough for a bad review.
The pizza was underdone and took way too long. They also skipped some of the important ingredients!
We sat for too long drinking wine, on top of scoffing down the pizza with underdone dough gave me a serious case of indigestion which made getting a good nights sleep impossible.

Sunday morning came too fast and what little sleep I did get was interrupted by drunken fools partying across two buildings complete with fireworks and police sirens.
I didn't get rolling till around 9:15am, an hour late from the time I wanted to start. Right away I felt heavy, bloated, slow and achy! Not the best combination for a Marathon PR.

By the time I was 4 miles in I actually felt a bit better and started to warm up. I enjoyed the drop down through Golden Gate Park and when I hit the Great Highway my dream came true. The Highway was closed to cars for cleaning off the sand from the beach. I felt good, GU'd up belted down some water and started hitting some low 8 minute miles. About mile 17 I hit a pretty good wall just at Lake Merced.

I could not get my ass in gear around the lake. I actually stopped and walked about 100 yards and downed a couple of Sport gels and more water, then began running again. When I hit the return along the beach I started feeling pretty good for the next couple miles. I thought I might surely break the 4 hour barrier...then I hit the uphill through Golden Gate park...Goodnight ladies and gentlemen. It wasn't a brick wall. It was the "Iron Curtain"!

I started panicking and my time was tapping the nine minute mile range. I started feeling very old, dark and full of self pity.

Pretty young girls were bounding past me like antelope on Cappuccino! I imagined the guys going by with smirks and praying not to ever get as old as this old fart.
With two miles to go I was done but still felt like I could bust the 4 hour mark. I got a little hung up at the traffic light on Stanyan getting onto the panhandle. I compulsivlely kept looking at my Garmin and the digits seemed to never change. When I got to the end of the Panhandle I still had a half mile and I just couldn't get my legs to move any faster. I was kaput!
Trying to cross another intersection and running up a sidewalk distracted me from my Garmin and when I shut it off it was just a few seconds over 4 hours! I couldn't believe it. Part of me was so bummed and the other part was just relieved to be done!

I limped into a corner store, got a big Gatorade and grabbed a cab home.
I could barely make it downstairs to roll out on the Styrofoam roller and shower.
When I got up and plugged my Garmin in the event came up at 24 miles!? WTF! Thankfully since I've had this problem before I also ran my Droid Strava App which came up with the correct milage. A little over 4:00:15. It was 26.4 miles and with the traffic light stops, I feel like it was an honorary sub 4!
Either way the real win was that I made myself do it and I was satisfied with that.

Today I got up and was a bit stiff but my recovery seems to be a lot faster these days. I've learned a lot of tricks. The right food, lot's of protein, roller and all the core work I've been doing are paying off.
I took an active recovery ride today. Just a nice easy 17 miles on the bike and a little free weights. Now I feel great.
My dog's were happy to have two parents home most of the day and relaxed like champs in front of their favorite perch.
Beyonce, Gaga and Layla...Sister wives!
I forgot to mention, quite a while back I had to cancel my 24 hour fitness membership. Due to making shit money these days (yes I've hit the age ceiling and nobody wants me anymore). I happened to be cleaning out some of the catacombs below the buildings I manage and came across a full set of weights complete with leg lift, barbell bench and stretch cables!... Dog provides! This has really been the cornerstone in my training. The injuries are less and my speed, endurance and well being have improved immensely.

Finally on my ride today I stopped at the GG Bridge and it was just one of those days when the Sun, time of day, Bridge were in perfect picture taking convergence!
So lucky I moved here...

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