December 03, 2005
The Most Expensive Jacket & T-Shirt I Now Own
T minus 7 days and 10 hours, and counting.
So now it's official. The funds are in and I do in fact have my minimum.
The team met one last time for a 90-minute workout and Final Prep. It was a nice easy run with Kit, Victoria, and Christine, and we were chatting it up the whole way, up to the Diamond Head lighthouse and back. After having done 18 and 20 milers, doing nine miles seems like a piece of cake.
At about 7:30 after everyone got back, we went through our final prep meeting (which, probably not coincidentally, was the same time as San Diego's meeting; we gave a big "Aloha" shout-out to them). In our final prep packets were instructions that were obviously geared more to those who were coming to Honolulu from elsewhere. Only a few of us were staying at the Hilton Hawaiian Village; most of us would be coming from home. But most of the information was relevant and familiar...packet pickup at the Convention Center, and the pasta and victory parties at the Hilton.
Then afterward we met with Coach Jon who went over the basics of taper week...lots of rest, lots of carbs over the last few days, salt to prevent cramping, some tips to avoid the pre-race jitters.
In my final prep packet were two pieces of clothing, which I can honestly say are the two most expensive pieces of clothing I own...the purple jersey I'll be wearing on the 11th, and the purple and green Team San Diego/Hawaii jacket. In a sense, both of those items cost me $1,600. To me now, they are more precious than gold.
Now comes the challenge of trying to keep calm. In this last week, I feel like I've got an intravenous drip of caffeine in me, except without the caffeine. And part of the excitement I feel is that a sub-4 hour marathon is so close that I can taste it. I have to tell myself, I can do that, as long as I keep calm and do things right this week.
The countdown is on.
November 23, 2005
Time for the Taper
Sorry for the silence over the past month. Part of it was due to computer problems that I experienced earlier this month...apparently my three-month old computer had cancer of the hard disk, so I had to bring it in to CompUSA for a transplant. Fortunately, the insurance...I mean the warranty covered it. Man, I'm starting to talk cancer now...
Anyway, a lot has happened since the last time I wrote. I finished the Val Nolasco Half Marathon on November 6 in a time of 1:55:59...faster now over 13.1 miles than I did a few months before over 12.4 miles.
Then, over the next two weeks, I ran 16 miles, then last Saturday, I did the traditional 20-mile run from Kapiolani Park out to Hawaii Kai and back. And I felt good afterward, a bit tired, but not sore afterward.
When I think of how far I've come so fast, it startles me. I think I'm ready for a really good marathon. I hope I can hold pace and keep going strong even through the last six miles.
Now it's time for the taper...dropping mileage in preparation for the race. I feel so good now that by the time the last week comes around and I start carbo-loading I'm going to be bouncing off the walls.
But now for business...I'm getting closer and closer. I'm within $150 of my minimum. Just six donations at $25 will put me over the top. Thanks to Andrew, Lance & Kathy, and Ann for their donations!
I repeat, just six $25 donations. Or three $50 donations. Won't you be the person who puts me over the top? Donate today.
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.
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).
October 08, 2005
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.
October 06, 2005
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.
September 29, 2005
Training and Fundraising: Week 6
The training is going along great now, and I can definitely feel the difference. All that mileage that I've been doing, mileage that I hadn't been putting in in marathons past, is paying off.
And the Schofield 25K, which I ran on Sunday, is the proof. I've been holding a steady 9:25 pace, the same rough pace that I had kept over 15K and 20K, but this time over a moderately hilly 25K (15.5 mile) course. The official time was 2:26:11, and my second half was about two minutes faster than my first. Coolness! And it was too, rather cool in the morning at 5:30, with clear skies and very little wind. Couldn't have asked for better conditions.
Mileage summary for the week ending 9/25/05: Monday 4, Tuesday 6, Wednesday 5, Thursday 3, Friday and Saturday 0, Sunday 16 (Schofield 25K). Total for the week: 34 miles.
My training week so far started out sluggish, with tired legs from the 25K, and a 20 minute tempo run that Coach Jon had us do around the Ala Wai area. But I was able to get in some good workout, and even give blood at the same time. Well, sort of. This time, I decided to give just my platelets. (More in a separate entry.) I'm scheduled for a 2 hr. 15 min. run on Saturday, though, how that's going to play out with this flash flood watch we're under for the weekend remains to be seen.
On the fundraising front, I had three more donations (thanks Kane & Jackie, Rolf, and Joyce). With that and volunteer hours from working packet pickup for the 25K, I'm finally over the $1,000 barrier. Gathering $600 in sixty days now doesn't seem like such a daunting task, and the light at the end of the first tunnel is nearing. Then I can have fun gathering as much money as I can afterward.
With that fundraising shot in the arm, I have the recommitment forms filled out and ready to fax to Jen at the LLS Chapter Office tomorrow, in time for the deadline. So this story will continue for another two months...stay tuned.
September 22, 2005
Recommitment: Go or No Go?
Man, has it been a week and a half already? Sorry for the irregular updates. I've been short on sleep on lately. One thing about marathon training is that it takes a lot out of you, and these days I've found that I've been needing more and more sleep, but somehow not delivering quite enough. Gotta get into the habit of getting more shut-eye.
I think I've come down with my first official injury of the season...a minor ache in my left knee. It goes away as I run, but it comes back every so often. It's not excruciating, but it does cause me concern. I've been icing it regularly, trying to stay away from the anti-inflammatories as much as possible, and today I went down to Sports Authority to pick up another pair of shoes (I think, with the mileage I've been logging, it's due for a change anyway).
For some reason, I've noticed that most of my injuries have been on my left leg. A case of shin splints that all but sidelined me for a few months a couple years back affected my left shin, and now this. Maybe it's the way I've been put together. Anyway...
Finally got some movement on the fundraising front after a few weeks of holding steady...a $25 donation (thanks, Aunty Sharon!). At this point, I'm at $881, over halfway to the minimum. I'm looking into some alternative fundraising avenues now...if you have any ideas, please let me know.
But right now, I face a decision. By September 30, I have to decide whether to recommit to the team and tell them to order shirts, party tickets, and such on my behalf. By doing so, though, I would guarantee them that I will raise my minimum of $1600. In other words, if I come up short, I have to make up the difference, which could be substantial.
I have to admit, though, that when I signed on to do this at the beginning of August, I had no idea that one hurricane would cause so much damage and cause people to open their wallets and send their limited money to the Red Cross. And by the time you read this, another one will probably cause even more damage, and generate even more donations. Rightfully so, of course, and I have made personal donations to the Red Cross as well. But several times in recent weeks I've felt like I'm on the wrong side, and that with what's been going on, I have no business competing against the Red Cross for money.
At the same time, though, I do have almost $900 collected and hope to break four figures soon. I have all these people supporting me in my quest, and by dropping out I would definitely let them down. So I'm inclined right now to throw caution to the wind, redouble my fundraising efforts, and recommit.
After all, leukemia and lymphoma will still be around even after New Orleans is rebuilt.
So, I'd like to thank those of you who have given, and make a plea. If you've already given, please accept my heartfelt thanks. I have probably thanked you in person or by way of a personally written card, and if I haven't, rest assured that I will. If you've verbally pledged your support but haven't given yet, I hope you will make your donation soon. The sooner I get your donation, the less stress I'll feel.
And, if you've stumbled across this page, think that this is a good cause, and have some ka-ching lying around that you haven't already earmarked for, say, the Red Cross, perhaps you might consider sending some of it to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society? Just a suggestion... :)
September 04, 2005
Training Update: Week 4
T minus 98 days and counting.
Yet another early morning, this time on a holiday weekend. This time I was down at the other end of the island, on the former grounds of Barbers Point Naval Station, for the Kalaeloa 20K. 12.4 miles.
Actually did OK this time, despite rather hot and humid weather. 1:57:20, around 9:27/mile, about the same pace on average as I did during the Normal Tamanaha 15K two weeks ago. Was struggling quite a bit on mile 7, but a gel at the next aid station worked wonders. Next time, though, I'm sticking to PowerGel. I tried this new Accel Gel, which also adds 25% protein to the mix to aid recovery, but it tastes nasty, or at least the flavor I tried did. And I'm carrying more of them, at least one for each 30 minutes.
I think perhaps I've found my goal marathon pace? 9:27 pace for a marathon would put me around 4:07:35, around my PR time. That would be a great improvement over last year when I ran 4:59 flat. That I was able to run that pace and not slow down so much is great.
Getting closer in training, getting closer in fundraising, getting closer to the date.
For the week ending 9/4/05: Monday 4, Tuesday 5, Wednesday 5, Thursday 2 (7 x 200 with 200m recovery), Friday and Saturday 0, Sunday 12.4 (Kalaeloa 20K). Total 28 miles.
August 28, 2005
An Endless Source of Energy
T minus 105 days and counting.
At the end of my fundraising letters, I included a quote from Gerry Lindgren from his recently completed book. He said, "When you run unselfishly, for the benefit, happiness, and welfare of others, you tap into an energy source you could never imagine." Lindgren definitely knows what it's like...as he describes it, he won all those races not to win the medal, but to make his opponent give his all.
Of course, I don't expect that I would achieve the success that he has (he won all that acclaim before he left high school). But, knowing that my running is not for myself, but for others who can't, has given me a level of motivation I had not experienced in a while.
When I'm actually looking forward to an 11-mile run and running it in less than 10-minute-per-mile pace, as I did yesterday, I know the energy is there.
When I'm running more times in the week than I used to all this year, and not thinking anything about it, I know the energy is there.
When I'm running easy despite being slightly sore from the previous day, I know the energy is there.
And when I remember the reason I'm doing it, when I look down at the purple silicone rubber bracelet around my wrist that says, "Train Endure Achieve Matter", the initials of which spell TEAM...the energy comes rushing.
As for the fundraising, I've been holding steady at $254 total. This should change in the next few weeks as the responses to the letters I've sent out come in.
For the week ending 8/28/05: Monday 0, Tuesday 5, Wednesday 3 (Niketown, Ala Moana short course), Thursday 3 (10 x 100 with 300m recovery @ McKinley Track), Friday 0, Saturday 11 (1:45 run, in my case from Kapiolani Park to Kalani HS and back), Sunday 3. Total for the week: 25 miles.
August 16, 2005
T minus 117 days and counting.
In two days I've done half a typical week's mileage in the weeks leading up to this program. I wonder if I'm getting in over my head. I know that the schedule said 5 miles, but I figure that I'm getting back into marathon shape after several months of relative inactivity. I mean, there'd be weeks where I'd only run twice, for about 9 miles total. So I did only four miles today. I did about three miles, running and walking, yesterday. And I'm starting to feel a few aches and pains, which is really starting to give me pause.
And I could use losing a few pounds. Man, can you believe me saying that? I, the person who weighed a mere 110 pounds when I graduated from high school 15 years ago, saying this? Well, since then, I've gained 35 pounds, and now I'm right smack dab in the middle of normal. Only thing, when I did my PR back in 2001, I weighed about 10 pounds less.
Don't worry, I have no fear that this increased awareness of my weight will lead to anorexia. But I guess this is what happens when I train and eat like a marathoner for part of the year, and continue to eat like one when I'm not training.
So I guess I should be training for a marathon year round. Yeah, that's the ticket!
August 14, 2005
First Training Session: 17 weeks to go
T minus 119 days and counting.
Yesterday was the first training session for Team in Training. After Jen rallied the troops like she did at the kickoff meeting on Thursday, the team circled up for some stretching and then we were off.
The workout for the Advanced schedule: 75 minute continuous long run. Starting at Ala Moana Park near McCoy Pavilion, we headed Diamond Head along Ala Moana Blvd. and Kalakaua Ave. through Waikiki. Even though we started together, once everyone all separated into beginning, intermediate, and advanced, it kinda got lonely. The others doing the advanced schedule were also faster than me, and most everyone (the first timers) were either on beginning or intermediate and turned around earlier.
Fortunately, I had my good ol' iPod along for company. I think it'll be a constant companion on my long runs from now until the marathon.
Yesterday was rather hot and humid, even at 6:00-7:00 a.m. And running into the rising sun didn't help either...I found my face a nice shade of pink. Next time, sunscreen or a hat. And Vaseline on the thighs to avoid chafing myself.
Now I know why I don't do this all year long. :)