Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Figuring Out Taper Time

I've recovered from my 22-mile run.

Whistle... whistle...

Okay, I haven't quite yet. I mean, I ran a recovery run on Monday and all but I'm still feeling the effects from the run. By effects I mean my legs feel a bit more fatigued than normal, maybe a small amount of soreness and they just feel like resting, not so much running.

I still plan on running today but it may not be a monster long run. In fact, it will probably be in the 3-mile range, give or take. But that's fine because it's Taper Time.

What the heck is Taper Time?

It's the time when you rest up for a race, essentially. It's important for all race distances (5K, half, etc.) to rest before a race but in my opinion it's crucial only if that distance is a full marathon. Just seems to me you could still run a half marathon if you are properly trained without having to drastically change up your training plan.

How will my training plan change? I'm not quite sure, to be honest. Much like a marathon itself, tapering is something you experience only when training for a marathon. So I have not encountered this since March/April of 2011, and even then it was a bit different.

I consulted two sources to see about Taper Time. The first, Hal Higdon, suggests in one of his training plans to cut back the mileage this way: seven weeks before the race, the plan has you running 44, then 36, then... 43, 35, 43 and then Taper Time - 32, 24 and 9 in the week leading up to the marathon. So the plan goes from 43 to 24 in two weeks, a reduction of almost half the weekly miles.

The other source, The Competitive Runner's Handbook, suggests tapering with caution. The author claims he loses some of his edge and mental toughness if he takes too long of a rest, and I kind of agree with that. If I'm not running, I'm regressing. That's just how I feel about my body and how it handles rest. For an intermediate plan, he has you running 40 miles the week of your last long run, then dropping down to 32 and 25, with 13 miles the week leading up to the marathon.

I've been averaging 41 miles a week since the start of the year, but one week I only got 25 (I got sick). So the figure should be more around 45 - since that's a nice figure I'll use that to guide myself here. In one of the book's more advanced plans, the weekly miles mirror mine better. The week of the last long run has you running 55 miles - I ran 57 miles last week. It then drops down to 42, 32 and then 14 the week before the marathon.

So that should be my figure then, around 40-42 miles this week, then in the low 30s the next with some short, easy runs the days leading up to LA.

This week then could look like this:

M:  4
T: 3
W: 6
Th: 8
F: 4
Sa: 5
Su: 12

I think that adds up to 42 :)

Anyway, this will be a fluid plan but the overall goal is to keep the miles and runs a bit lower while maintaining the intensity. Not all of these runs will be in the 11-minute per mile range, for instance.

Hopefully this does well to keep my legs engaged while allowing them to prepare for 26.2 miles.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Tackling Twenty Two

Since running my last marathon on April 9, 2011, I've had a lot of ups and downs. I've had some periods of no running (41 miles in July '11) and some periods of nothing but running (222 miles in January). I've had easy runs, hard runs and in-between runs, short and long and all sorts of distances.

But Sunday's run was easily the most daunting, challenging and monumental run I've had since running my fourth marathon. And like most long runs since September, this was different because I was a pace leader. We've been training for the LA Marathon and all but in many ways I had to train to be right on this day, for this run. I had to maybe not set the pace the entire way but I certainly had to rally the group, provide a positive environment, encouragement and support, both vocally and by example. And how could I do that if I was unprepared for the distance?

I had a lot weighing on me then before the run but I tried to compartmentalize everything. I tried not to focus on the entire 22 miles but rather landmarks along the way - the first water stop, the second water (near a place known as The Bell), the turnaround... anything to take away the focus from 22.

I had a decent week of runs: 3, 8, 5, 10, 4 and 4. Carbo loading went well and I felt rested, but taking off on a 22-mile run is something else. The group was talkative at first but there were certainly long pauses early on, probably a collective sense of apprehension tinged with some anxiety.

My legs felt great early on. Before I had a chance to blink, we were at The Bell, at Mile 4.6 or so. I gauged my legs and I knew I had many more miles in them. I took a GU, kept drinking Gatorade and tried to set a strong foundation for the rest of the run.

After leaving The Bell I realized we were running pretty fast, under 9 minutes a mile. I tried to ease back a bit but it seemed everyone was in a rhythm and it was tough to scale back. Eventually we were on a mentally tough portion of the run. Miles 7-10 would be on a bike path with not a lot of scenery. The miles were rough to simply because we had so many miles to do that even after a solid eight miles, we'd still have 14 left to go.

Finally, though, we were off the bike path, winding around a neighborhood and then the turnaround. We'd have to turn around and run every step once more, but that was fine. I felt good mentally and physically and none of the other runners were hurting either.

Around Mile 12.5 though I thought I felt something. My legs seemed a tad bit heavy. I couldn't decide if they really felt heavy or if I was just imagining it, but I just tried to ignore the feeling. I feared though that if they really were heavy, then I would struggle bad towards the end of the run.

Not trying to think about that, I instead tried to focus on the water stop, which would be at Mile 15. But my mind was doing some bad things at this point and I felt the run was a never-ending one. I had a hard time focusing on the water stop. Conversation was light, we were spread apart a little at this point and the run became tough.

But by the time we reached Mile 15, we had gotten a bit closer together. Two of the speedier runners had gone off ahead and three others had settled into a more comfortable, slower pace. That left five of us together, and only three of us had run a marathon before.

I ate some licorice at Mile 15. I couldn't resist. There was a bin of them and they were tempting, and a bit of a change of pace from the three GUs that I had taken. GU was sitting okay in my stomach but was also threatening to stage a revolt.

The next mile was almost all uphill, but any questions I'd had about my legs feeling heavy were gone by this point. I wasn't exactly flying uphill but I wasn't struggling either. I was keeping a strong pace and felt no heaviness at all.

At about Mile 16.3 we finally were done with hills (for a bit of a stretch) as we were heading back out towards The Bell. Before long, we were leaving The Bell (again) and headed back to the start. Half of me was expecting to hit a wall and the other half was anxious to test myself at this distance. We got a little more spread out at this point. My focus turned to maintaining my pace, which was in the low- to mid-nines.

We reached Mile 20 and I felt strong. I was encouraged. Much like I felt at the end of my 20-mile run in January, I felt as if all of my hard work and training had paid off. Here I was, at 20 miles, and not only was I not collapsing but I was holding a good pace and felt strong.

I was not done, though, but now I could begin to focus on the finish. We wound through another neighborhood, got to Mile 21 and kept going. With about a half-mile to go, we briefly got stuck at a light but after that I was home free. I thought about trying to pick up the pace the last stretch but decided against it as I did not want to injure myself.

Finally, I turned a corner and hit Mile 22. I did not want to stop until the spot where we'd started our run, more than three and a half hours prior to that. In the end, I ran 22.13 miles in 2:58:57, a pace of 9:54 minutes per mile.

Some congratulatory high-fives and handshakes followed. We'd all set out on this daunting run but we'd all handled it so well. If there was ever any true fear, nobody showed it.

As for me, I felt as if I could have run more, which is always an encouraging sign. Don't get me wrong, I was glad to be done, but I had more left in me.

And that feeling, along with everything else that went right with this run, combined to make this my best training run ever.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

22 Awaits

The LA Marathon is close but not close enough.

I have just one more tough training run remaining, but it's a doozy. On Sunday I will run 22 miles.

I'm prepared for the run. I've trained long for this race, and even though I've had some setbacks along the way, I'm not about to falter here, before the most important training run I've had since March of 2011.

I've been growing more... well, worried isn't the word... apprehensive? Anxious? Nervous? I suppose it's a mixture of all those sorts of feelings.

Anyway, I'll be back Sunday afternoon to let you know how it went.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Returns On Races

My race calendar for 2012 already has some great races - LA Marathon on 3/18, San Francisco Marathon on 7/29 - but I might be able to fill it out even further.

The tax man came by our house Tuesday and he was kind and gracious. Therefore, I have some funds now in order to finance my race calendar. I'm eyeing three races in particular.

4/22 - Run Through Redlands Half: I've done this one before, twice in fact, and want to do it again. This will be fun to run with all of my Loper buddies, and since we won't have the LA Marathon in front of us, we can really enjoy this race.

10/7 - Long Beach Marathon: Gulp. This would be my third marathon of the year. I've not done that before but I think I can do it this year. The price is 80 dollars right now, which is great since it will only continue to rise and could get to 110 or more even. I'm not afraid of committing this early, but I just have to be 100 percent sure. I'm like 94.73 percent sure right now, so almost there.

12/9 - Pomona Holiday Half: This would be a fun race that would be right in the middle of the 2012-13 Loper season. Price is 60 dollars so it's quite affordable.

With the tax man being nice to us, I think my calendar will load up soon enough. I haven't ran many races, actually just two races since June, so having races dotting the year will be some great motivation to keep me going and surging towards my ultimate goal of running 2,000 miles in 2012.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Encouraging 15

Well, I'm back to blogging. I kind of took a week off mostly because I wasn't feeling inspired to do much. My runs were not great because I was sick so I was not quite inspired to write about my lack of inspiration. But Sunday was a great day and I'm feeling good once more.

My run streak ended at 41 due to a fever. I had a 25-mile week the week after Surf City and had less than that through Saturday of last week but on Sunday I ran 15 miles and I really felt great. I finished the week with 38 miles, which is a great number to be honest. I like to get into the 40s but 38 is a solid week nonetheless.

Having had a couple of cut-back weeks helped save my legs a bit and keep them fresh for 15 and hopefully for next weekend's run, the 22-mile monster that awaits.

All signs point to a strong week of runs and a strong 22-miler so I just need to prepare myself mentally and physically for this week.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Two Weeks Left (or thereabouts)

Two weeks left.

I have two weeks left of marathon training ahead of me.

That's the way I'm looking at it anyway. My next huge challenge - the LA Marathon - is on March 18 and obviously that's more than two weeks away. In fact, that's more than one month away.

But things will change after two weeks. I will run 15 miles on Sunday Feb 19 and then will knock out 22 miles on Feb. 26. And then my marathon training will be complete.

Again, not exactly, but the hard parts will be over.

No more 20-mile runs. No more 18-mile runs... no more runs of more than 12 miles actually. My weekly mileage will be cut after the 22-miler as I'll begin to taper down.

Now, my running of late hasn't been great. Last week was a struggle and I got sick so I wasn't able to run my half marathon on Sunday. It was a bummer. I actually only managed about 25 miles last week and - worst of all - my run streak ended at 41 days. (insert super sad face here)

But that's not going to sidetrack me. I'm going to dust myself off and get right back into the throes of this marathon training. I've only got two weeks left anyway, two weeks to give it my all and then I can focus on recovering, resting and then 26.2 miles.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

ThrThiThu: Pics, Half and Half/Half

1. We. Got. Pictures. Surf City race pictures are out and there were some decent ones of yours truly. I'm usually a bit of a ham during races and I suppose this one was no different. I didn't seek out the cameras but when I saw one and had the chance I made sure that I was unobstructed. What can I say, I like having my picture snapped on race day.

What do you think?

Those two were near the finish I believe. These last two are of me crossing the finish. I remembered to smile and strike a bit of a pose. Only thing is, my friend was blocking me! How dare she!!

I actually think it's kind of appropriate. After all, I didn't run this race for personal glory. I ran it to pace my friend to her first sub-2, so only fitting she's in my finish line shot.

And yes, I'm wearing my pink again. It's race day, gotta show off my club's colors.

2. Half On Sunday. Yeah, I'm running another half marathon on Sunday. Well, not sure how I'll do. I was wore out on Wednesday during my 6-mile run. Usually 6-milers aren't that taxing (unless I'm running them fast) but this one wore me out by Mile 3, and I wasn't going fast at all. I'm not going to PR - there's no way - but I do think I can get a decent time. I realized that, of my half marathons, one I ran at 2:15 (my first one), another at 1:48 (the all-downhill one) and the four others have come between 1:54:58 and 1:56:58. Crazy, huh? I also have a 1:55:03 and 1:56:20 in there. Guess that's my sweet spot.

3. Half And Half, II. One thing I would love to do this year is to run a half marathon on Saturday and another half marathon on Sunday. That doesn't look likely, though. There aren't many decent prospects for that happening. I am running the Fontana Days Half on June 2 and there is the Rock n Roll San Diego Half on June 3 but that's all the way down in San Diego, I'd have to go down there to get my bib and... well, that's just too much driving. Ugh!! Last year there was at least one occasion when it would have worked out (Diamond Valley was on April 9 when I ran my fourth full and Redlands was on April 10). I thought it would work out this year too but no dice. Oh well, not all races are on the usual places where I look for races so maybe something in late summer or after will come up.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Surf City Aftermath

A few things about Surf City now that I've had a couple of days to digest it:

* Still happy with what I did.

* My splits...

Mile 1 - 8:39; M2 - 8:31; M3 - 8:38; M4 - 8:53; M5 - 8:25; M6 - 8:57; M7 - 8:41; M8 - 8:49; M9 - 8:53; M10 - 8:37; M11 - 9:04; M12 - 8:34; M13 - 8:34.

TG asked me how I got so fast. Well, I'm not sure this qualifies as fast, but I've been able to improve on my speed by tempo runs. For my money that's the best speed workout. I suppose shorter, more intense workouts are also necessary but I enjoy pushing myself for 3-5 miles at a fast pace. It just gets my legs used to maintaining that speed for a longer period of time. I think some intervals though would do me some good. And I would love to do Yasso 800s more often too. Perhaps I'll do more of both come springtime.

* Surf City will always have a special place in my heart. My first marathon was at Surf City and so was my third. I have to admit it felt strange being at the starting line of the marathon and not running it. I saw a couple of friends off for the full and it brought back memories of my own 26.2 challenges. Still, whatever pangs of regret I felt went away as soon as I started the race. I had that "I'm so glad I'm not running the full" thought once I stepped onto the course.

* My biggest fear of this half was the people. There were, what?, 12-16,000 runners for the half, something like that. I feared it would be way too crowded. It was crowded but PCH is pretty big, it handled all of us half participants just fine.

* The weather was warm, quite warm. Two years ago, it was sunny but didn't warm up until... maybe after 10. Last year the sun did not come out until I was at Mile 23. This year, the sun was out and beaming overhead at like 7. I was warm pretty early in my race. No need for long sleeves or gloves or anything. I think that had more of an effect on the full marathoners but it still kinda wore me out.

* I think I gave everything I had. I'm sure I can train for and get a faster time but I think that right now, in the condition I am and in the shape I am, this was an A performance. Of course I'm not winning any age groups or anything but that's fine with me. It's a good time for me, I'm happy with it and I realize that I can train harder and beat that time. That's motivating... all of that is motivating.

* So what's my next race? I'm running the Palm Springs half marathon on Sunday. Yay! Two half marathons on consecutive Sundays. I'm not sure yet what my goal will be but I have a few days to figure that out. I'll make sure and let you know what I come up with.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Surf City Half Marathon: Pacing To Sub-2

Sunday started off on the wrong foot. Kennedy wasn't feeling well and crawled into bed next to me and proceeded to kick me and shove me for about five hours. I got out of bed around 4:15, got my stuff together and left for Huntington Beach, where I'd be trying to pace a runner from my pace group (Kuuipo) to her first sub-2 half marathon.


The drive was smooth. No cars, no traffic, cruised right into a parking spot. A little while later I was at the start of the marathon, where I'd been each of the last two years. This time though I was there to see two of my other runners off, including one (Dean) who had not run a marathon before.

After wishing them luck, I went back to my truck to gather a few things and then back to the start. Maybe this wasn't the best idea because it was a nearly two-mile round trip. I used it as a warm-up but still.... it was a long warm-up and hoped it wouldn't affect me negatively.

I found my friend who'd sold me a bib, put it on and texted Kuuipo. Before too long, she was bidding farewell to her family and we made our way down to the start. It was jam-packed but we got up near the front. I tried to give her some encouraging words but I could tell she was focused and ready to conquer the distance.

This is going to be fun.

Right away, I could tell Kuuipo was ready. She took off, was running faster than the 9-minute pace I wanted to keep for the first three miles. We passed the first mile marker in 8:39 and it certainly felt like it was a sub-9 mile. I'd told her to use multiples of 9 as a rough guide (Mile 1 in 9 min, Mile 4 in 36, Mile 6 in 54...) to help us finish our sub-2, so we were ahead of pace after one mile and after two as well. After three we were at 25:48, well under the 27 minutes we roughly needed to be around.

Can we keep this up?

The thought had poked at me. I was hopeful that we would be able to maintain this pace. It was certainly faster than I'd intended on coming out - I thought we'd be closer to 28 minutes after three miles. We did feel good though, felt strong and I felt like we had a lot in reserve. We were talking, Kuuipo and I, and we were not gasping for air or anything.

Up ahead I saw a fellow San Francisco Ambassador. Christina and I had been trying to figure out where each other was via text just before the race started and I realized she was somewhere in front of me. On the course, I spotted her wearing her SF gear. I finally caught up, patter her on the shoulder (which I think startled her) and got a high-five.

A little after that, blog/Twitter buddy Julie spotted me. I was surprised to see her and managed just a "HEY!!!" before shaking her hand and parting ways. Both meetings were great but way too short. Still, it's always nice putting faces to names.

Soon after, we got off the main road and veered inland. The full marathon runs you through a park, which I thought was one of the better parts of that race. The half though does not. I missed running through the park and was disappointed that we would have only major streets to run on. In the park, there are plenty of enthusiastic middle schoolers cheering on the runners, but we missed out on that. In some ways though, we were able to keep our focus on the road in front of us and the task at hand.

Gotta GU!

At Mile 4.5 we hit a water station and I took my first GU. I'd not had any at home so I bought two at the expo right before the race. I popped the Roctane GU, which I have became a big fan of. I had also decided at the last minute to not wear my water belt so I was downing Vitalyte at most every water stop.

Our miles were a bit erratic at this point, but that had to with the moderate inclines and declines. Mile 4 was 8:53, Mile 5 8:25 and Mile 6 8:57. The last mile though was our one and only stop as Kuuipo had to tie her shoe. We got back on Pacific Coast Highway at this point and headed up towards the turnaround. It was well up ahead, probably a good three miles.

All along, I knew that we were going to do it. I had actually told Dean before the race that I thought Kuuipo could do a 1:55, that she had been doing so well lately it was all but inevitable. I hadn't told her all this exactly but I did tell her I had a lot of confidence in her and I reminded her of it during the race.

This portion of the race seemed to take long. I don't know if I just wanted to turn around as soon as possible but the turnaround was quite a bit away. We finally reached it though and headed south, in the direction of the finish line. There were only four miles and change now, and we were still under our rough guide of 9-minute miles.

But I was unsure just how much we I had in reserve. We'd been holding a steady pace throughout: some of our mile times from the first nine miles - 8:39, 8:38, 8:41, 8:53. I thought about keeping this pace for the duration of the race.

"When do you want to pick it up? Mile 10?" Kuuipo asked.

Pick it up?!?

I was not sure if I had a pick-it-up in me, but I told her sure, that that sounded fine. Mile 10 we ran in 8:37 but Mile 11 featured an incline. It wasn't a hill (the people at San Francisco would smack me if I referred to that portion of the race as a hill) but it definitely was not flat. We threw in our first and only 9-minute mile here as we ran Mile 11 in 9:04.

But we did have a pick-it-up in us though. Mile 12 and Mile 13 were each 8:34. My legs were feeling the race, the previous 11-12 miles, and my feet were not quite throbbing but within earshot of that. I thought to myself that I only had to push hard for this last stretch and once we got to the finish I could relax.

I was feeling happy for Kuuipo who was very close to reaching her goal but I was also feeling quite exhausted, and that tempered the happiness a little bit.

"Just go ahead, take off!"

Kuuipo had insisted I run fast once we got close to the final mile marker. I hesitated but I could hear it in her voice - she wanted me to run fast. So I did. I took off, a few steps and I was hitting my top gear. It wasn't quite translating into speed but I was running faster than I had been.

This may have been her strategy though. I thought that I may have left Kuuipo behind but she came up behind me, having found her top gear. She looked strong and I was glad that I was able to help her find that top gear. She passed me by, I made no attempt to catch her and instead settled in just behind her. I thought it was only fitting to have her finish a step or three ahead of me.

Gotta pose.

Just before I crossed the finish, I raised my arms up, smiled and held it until I was past the photographers.

That was my me-moment.

The rest of the day was all about Kuuipo.

Surf City Awesomeness

We did it! I paced my friend and she got her sub-2. She finished in 1:54:57, and I came in a second after.

This essentially my PR. I did a 1:48 in Fontana but that's all downhill. So this time is better than my 1:55:03 from Long Beach 2010.

Meanwhile, Dean -another runner from my pace group - ran his first full and finished in 3;55:51! So happy for him!

I will have much more on the day soon.

Exciting day overall!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Surf City plan

I'm running Surf City on Sunday! Unlike the last two years though I'm not taking on the full distance.

I'm going to shoot for a sub-2 finish in the half marathon. I've run six half marathons and I've done a sub-2 in five of them, so this won't be new ground for me. But it will be for my fellow Loper, whom I hope to pace to what will be a huge accomplishment.

Here's my plan in a nutshell for our sub-2 finish:

Miles 1-3ish - I want to keep our pace as close to 9 as possible. I don't want to go under 9 because it might set us up for a crash-and-burn at the end.

Miles 3ish-6 - Gotta start getting in miles in the 8-min range. Can't have too many 9-min miles here. Our legs have to respond and start carrying us.

Miles 6-10 - Make or break. If we're not on target to get to Mile 10 in less than 1:30, then we have to pick it up.

Miles 10-12 - If we're at Mile 10 in under 1:30... it's in the bag. Three 10-min miles would get us there. However, we can't think that. We mustn't think that. If we're there, we have to use it as motivation to go stronger. If we're not at the magic marker, then we have to reach deep down inside and work harder than we've been working.

Miles 12-13.1 - This is it. Hold nothing back. We're going to be tired and all that but this is just one mile. At this point, we must tell ourselves "One mile is NOTHING!!!" In a matter of minutes, we'll cross the finish and be done, so we can't conserve anything. The last thing we want to do is to miss our goal after having let up a bit in the last mile. If we don't reach our goal but gave everything we had at the end, at least we'll feel better about it knowing that we came in with a full head of steam.

Hopefully that works on Sunday. It's worked for me before.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Excited, But Not For Myself

The LA Marathon is going to be massive. On March 18, I will run 26.2 miles once more.

But that's not what excites me the most about that race. It will be the culmination of a lot of hard work on the part of my pace group. In particular, I'm excited for the first-timers who will run their first marathon that day.

One of the runners from my group, though, got a bit ahead of himself. He signed up for the Surf City Marathon and will run his first 26.2-miler on Sunday. I'm actually excited for him. He's been one of the strongest runners and has torn apart the training. And I'm honored to have played a role, albeit a minor one, in his quest to become a marathoner.

Like most newcomers, I wasn't sure back in August which of the runners in the my pace group would stick around and which ones wouldn't. But Dean was different. Right away he was asking me about running a half marathon. He had already signed up for Las Vegas (Dec. 3) but wanted to run the Mission Inn Half Marathon (Nov. 14). I told him then that I would run Mission Inn with him, that I'd pace him to the finish of his first half marathon if he wanted.

We churned through the mileage early on, running five, six, seven miles every Sunday. It got more and more until we reached double digits and stayed there. Dean did well, transitioned into the higher mileage without many problems, and by the time Mission Inn rolled around, I knew he was going to smash it. Had it not been for the unfortunate shortened-accidentally course, he would have gotten around a 1:52 for his first time out. He ran Vegas and finished in under 1:50. Since then, he's run two more half marathons, setting a PR at 1:44 in Irvine in early January. The day after that, he ran 18 miles.

I know Dean is going to excel on Sunday. I tried to stress to him that this race is not about a time but about finishing, that he will go on and run other marathons and then he can worry about time (he's already registered for LA). I didn't tell him though that I think he will probably finish in under four hours as long as he keeps it easy at the beginning. He's a strong runner and I know if he does not go out too fast too early, he will have enough energy to push through the wall and run the last six miles at a strong pace. A sub-four is possible, a sub-4:10 is likely, a sub-4:20 is almost a guarantee.

But time does not matter. If he takes five hours to run it, I will be happy for him. If he runs it in three-and-change, that's great too. What matters most is that he will run it, he will have the medal hanging around his neck and I'll have played a role in that.

So my excitement for Sunday and for the LA Marathon is fueled by my desire to see others succeed. It's quite motivating and exhilarating to see a first-timer accomplish things they may not have thought possible.

I was there before and I know how good it felt to do things for the first time, and now I'm enjoying it from the other end. And I love it.

3TTh: Race Day; Unfit; Girl Scout Cookies!!

1. Half Race, Full Day: My next race is fastly approaching. Before I know it I will be standing at the start line of the Surf City Half Marathon. It's going to be an exciting day. I am excited to run a race and to test myself at this distance, but I'm most excited for my running friends. Friday, I will write more about my buddy Dean who will be gunning for his first 26.2-mile run on Sunday. Aside from him and a couple other friends who are also running the full, I'm excited to have the chance to pace a runner to her first sub-two hour half marathon. She's been one of the stronger runners in my pace group, so I think she will have no problems conquering the distance. It will be fun to see her cross the finish and celebrate with her afterward. It's going to be an awesome morning. If you want to follow along my progress... I will have to get back to you. I don't know the name of the person who is selling me their bib my alias yet but once I do, I will share it.

2. Not Fit To Run: I ran across this on Men's Health. It kind of made me shake my head. The premise is this: a quick three-step test will help you see not just if you are fit but if you Men's Health Fit. Their three tests: core stability (hold a plank for 60 seconds), chinups, pushups. Yeah, no running or cardio of any kind. A bit further reading made me shake my head again. MH then describes these things that make for a healthy, active man: core strength, lower- and upper-body strength and "enough endurance to run a mile without stopping for defibrillation." Wow. So if you can run a mile you meet at least one criteria of being MH Fit? That seems like a low bar. I mean, for the average guy maybe one mile would be a decent mark but for MH Fit I would think that you should be able to run a 5K at the very least. One mile without keeling over of a heart attack? Unreal. Of course, their other things I would struggle with. I've never been good at chinups and pushups and planks are difficult and always have been. So all these rocked-up men who are MH Fit... well, I guess I'll just have to take solace in the fact that I can run 26.2 times as much as they can.

3. Girl Scout Cookies! Do you want some? My girls are selling Girl Scout Cookies. I am happy to ship cookies to different places. Already sending some to San Jose, Texas and got orders from LA and Utah pending. I will cover the shipping charges... unless you order a pallet of them, in which case I'll chip in. If you are local or are going to be in the area I would deliver them to you if we could work something out. Let's see, we've got Thin Mints, Peanut Butter Sandwiches, Peanut Butter Patties, Caramel deLites, Thanks-A-Lot, Shortbread, Lemonades and Shout Outs. I don't know, but I heard some of these make good post-run meals... wait... maybe I'm confusing that with something else...

We've got plenty, and we are already making plans to pick up more boxes of all kinds, so order away.

The girls would be much obliged! And you will get some of their handy artwork too :)