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October 30, 2005

The Accidental 18-Miler

Training must be going really well if I can talk about this and be none the worse for wear.

So we met at Ala Moana Park at 5:30 a.m. for our training run. It's not in the usual place we've been meeting; Ala Moana Park is where the marathon starts; Kapiolani Park is where it ends, and the two parks are about three miles apart. We were scheduled for a 2 hour 30 minute run, so I figured at a 10-minute pace I would cover about 15 miles. Knowing that it was about 12 miles roundtrip from Kapiolani Park to Wailupe Beach Park and back, I figured, OK, I'll head out to Wailupe.

Had to make three pit stops in the early going...one stop not even out of Ala Moana Park, one at Kapiolani Park, and one at the park by Kaimuki Intermediate, so I had kinda lost touch with my teammates. Once I reached the Aloha gas station I headed out on the highway. The first inkling that something was wrong was when I noticed that there was no one coming back from Wailupe.

It was soon afterward that I realized my error. I had forgotten to account for the return trip. So instead of a 15 mile route (which it would have been had I turned around at the gas station), I ended up doing an 18-miler. Wow.

Mentor Mike ended up having to backtrack to find me with two cups of sports drink in tow. It's a good thing Jen wasn't there or else I think she would have been worried sick. Oops.

But I think that was good for me. Had a little muscular soreness in my knees toward the end, but now, 24 hours later, I'm fine. No soreness at all. That surprises me a bit. So this mistake might actually be helpful.

Another reason to look forward to December. I hope this momentum continues.

Posted by Keith at 05:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 20, 2005

Almost to the Half-Marathon!

The fundraising is coming along. I'm almost at the $1,300 mark...the half marathon point. I've been cashing in spare change and aluminum cans at home, and I've put a few unused books on Amazon.com and sold a few. And I've got a few more donations as well.

Thanks to Aunty T, Glenn & Cindy, and Misako (Misako, your support as someone who has done TNT before has been invaluable, and every little bit counts...thanks!). And special thanks to Eric, who gave a really generous gift! Eric, I treasure your friendship and wish you the best of luck in your own quest for the marathon finish line!

On the "marathon course," I'm now on the highway passing by Wailupe Beach Park, on the way out to Hawaii Kai. My main goal is to make it out to Hawaii Kai ($1,600, 16 miles), then as far as I can on the return trip.

Keep it coming, folks! While I'm working on getting to the actual finish line of the marathon, I'm counting on you to help push me to the fundraising finish line, and push the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society that much closer to its ultimate finish line...a cure for blood-related cancers. It's a team effort, and you're part of my team. Think of it this way...with your donation, you are figuratively running with me. Ask yourself, if you could run side by side with me for part of the distance, and physical condition were no object, how far would you run? Then give accordingly. Thank you for your support!

Posted by Keith at 10:57 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 16, 2005

30K: Good Pace, Not-So-Good Pacing

Had the longest run so far in the program so far...the Niketown 30K race (18.6 miles) from Kapiolani Park, following the marathon course all the way out to Hawaii Kai and back without going through the loop.

The good news is that my average pace was in line with the three practice races we've done so far...9:31 pace compared with the 9:25-9:27 range before. The bad news was that I went out too fast and paid for it later on.

First miles was easy 10:00 miles, but once I hit the highway I really sped up (faster than my intended average) and I think that ultimately did me in. Should have really held back on that first half. The fastest point was miles 9-12 when I was doing sub-9:00 miles. So I looked good on the highway, and then when I turned into Kahala, I dropped to 10:00 and then ultimately 12:00 miles toward the end. So I suffered through glycogen depletion, some heat stress, and a touch of stomach trouble too.

But the bright side is that I know I have the strength to do a good marathon. I just need to control the pace better.

At least I found out now instead of on the day...so...for the marathon, more aggressive carboloading, much slower start through the half-marathon mark...and don't try for the sub-4 yet. Shoot for the 4:15 and speed it up from there. That should do it, I guess.

Right now, after a cold water shower on my legs, they feel OK. And more good news...My left knee has pretty much ceased to be a problem, or at least it's indistinguishable from the achiness I feel in both knees now. It's aching, but not painful. At least it's not as bad as seeing one young woman at the end of today's race whose quads cramped so badly they were visibly red and swollen. Worse than childbirth, she was saying. Yikes.

For the record: 2 hours, 57 minutes, 38 seconds; 258th place out of 711, and 34th place out of 55 in my age group (males 30-34).

Posted by Keith at 08:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 08, 2005

Fourteen-Mile Fantasy

After the temporary interruption last week, the long run schedule resumed with a 2 hour 15 minute run. Little by little the runs have been getting longer, and now I was able to get to the beach park below Hawaii Loa Ridge on Kalanianaole Highway before turning around. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get a complete time, but I think I did about 10 minute miles or a little less.

That left knee of mine started aching a little with about a mile to go. The funny thing now is that the pain is not the kind of pain you get when you sprain an ankle, where it comes from the muscle or joint. It's on the inside of my knee and it feels like I've burned it, with a little bit of "black and blue," which seems kinda weird. But other than that I was able to walk around OK today and the joint itself doesn't feel sore. Nevertheless, I'm gonna still take it easy. I hope it clears up in time for the 30K next weekend.

Posted by Keith at 04:19 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 06, 2005

Speed Bump!

The weather wasn't that great in the islands...the remnants of Tropical Depression Kenneth caused really moist air to hang around, putting the islands on a flash flood watch. Jen decided to cancel practice last Saturday, thinking that there might be a thunderstorm out there. So I spent the weekend doing absolutely no training.

That's not necessarily a bad thing, though, because my knee has been iffy. One day it's good, the next it aches. I'm definitely trying to take it easy...cutting back the mileage and intensity, icing it, and just today I bought one of those knee supports you wear under your kneecap. Maybe that might help things.

One thing I do...this is most definitely nature's version of a speed bump.

At the same time, I'm definitely going to try the long run on Saturday but take it really easy.

Posted by Keith at 07:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Stepping Up to the Plate(let)

As I mentioned when I discussed the National Marrow Donor Program in a previous entry, I'm a regular blood donor at the Blood Bank of Hawaii. I think at last count I've given three gallons (24 units) over the past ten years. And I keep getting called back.

There are three reasons why I seem to be such a popular person with the BBH recruitment staff. One, I have O positive blood, the universal donor, which is always in high demand. Second, my blood is CMV negative, which means that it has special applications in treating immune-suppressed patients and very young babies. And third, I also have a rare blood type (to the tune of one in about 10,000 people) that is also in demand. Put those together, and I really should have a standing appointment with them every eight weeks.

But often I don't, and it's partly because of the way my body reacts to a whole blood donation. Actually, everything is fine when I donate; I hardly ever bruise, and my veins are in good shape. It's what happens afterward. I find that it sharply reduces my oxygen capacity to the point where a hard workout leaves me short of breath, and it takes me a couple of weeks to fully regain my ability to run hard.

So when they called me in a week or two ago, I decided, for practical training reasons, that I'd try giving platelets instead of whole blood. They transferred me to the apheresis department, where they gave me the lowdown on platelet donation and why it's also important.

Basically, platelets are needed mostly by cancer patients (and blood cancer patients in particular), whose own platelets are often destroyed by chemotherapy, and most definitely during bone marrow transplants. It takes six whole blood donors to produce enough platelets for one dose. One donor going through the apheresis process can produce the same amount, in a little more time.

So I went through the process on Wednesday. I answered the standard questions that need to be answered every time any blood components are donated, and was escorted to the apheresis unit of the blood bank.

One thing that I noticed right away is how comfortable they make you feel. After all, you've got a needle stuck in you, and as a result you can't really move much for about 45 minutes to an hour, so you're basically treated like a king or queen. They're quick to give you blankets when you get chilled (which is part of the process).

I was especially struck by the state-of-the-art machine that was used to separate out the platelets. It's all computerized...punch in my size and estimated platelet count and it calculates about how long I'd have to stay attached to the machine to get the necessary amount of platelets. From there it's all automatic...the machine draws the blood, centrifuges it, separates out the platelets, and sends it all back, all through the same needle. It took a while for me to get used to the machine and pump out enough blood to keep up with it, but soon got the hang of it.

In all, I spent about half an hour on the machine, doing some reading and listening to music while the machine was doing its thing. And then, it was over. And it felt good.

I was even able to run a light workout that day with no ill effects.

This might become a habit for me. Yet another way to help cancer patients. I'll definitely go back to giving whole blood when the season is over, but platelets are definitely a viable alternative. I'll definitely do it again.

Posted by Keith at 07:53 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack