Monday, April 14, 2014

Martian Half Marathon #4

Last entry, I tried to convince you this year was different, and that I'm trying to do things right.  One of the things I've never been able to do is get myself to sleep early on the night before a race.  The night before this year's Martian Half Marathon, I was in bed at 8:30pm.

I'd love to take full credit for that, and say it's all me, but some of that was missing sleep during the week, and another good chunk of it is my new job's 4:30am wake-up time.  Yep, I'm back on toddler time, people.  I'm even waking up BEFORE the dog.  No more whimpering wake-ups for me, I'm shaking him awake to go outside.

After getting an incredible amount of sleep, I woke up and realized that the new, more prepared, more thoughtful me had put everything I needed for this run out the night before.  So, after taking a shower, I realized I woke myself up way too early.  No matter, I just stayed up, drank a few more glasses of water, and watched Mister Ed, thinking about how a remake with Bruce Campbell as Wilbur would work out.  Close your eyes and listen.  The vocal resemblance between Alan Young and Campbell is uncanny (at least it was at 5:30am).
He has worked with horses before
We got down to the race a bit late, and we've learned our lesson from previous years to park far away and foot it to the race.  So, no getting stuck in traffic and waiting for pedestrians for us.  We're (unpaid) pros.  There was also no time to do a run back to the car to drop off our shirts, but I planned on throwing it under my "We Come in Peace" shirt anyway, to prevent a cotton rub, and did.  I also noticed that the screen on my point and shoot camera was busted.  No matter, I still was able to get a pre-race photo (but not much else during the race).


We started in between the 2:10 and 2:20 signs, figuring that's about where we'd end up.  I just wanted to do better than last year, which was my worst halfer ever, and feel better after too.  With all the work I've been putting in, I figured that was a lock.  With the heat, I wasn't sure a course PR was in the cards, but if it was there for the taking I was going to go for it.

After the start, the first few miles went really nice and easy.  I was falling a little more and more behind the 2:10 pacer, but that was expected.  I just wanted to hold pace and run my race, and not be too concerned with that.  I have a love/hate relationship with pacers anyway, due to their accuracy issues, and always seemingly finding the one that's going way too fast or slow at a given point.  I try not to put too much stock in them.

About the 6.5 mark, I caught and passed the 2:10 pacer, but later it seemed like they magically turned into another person running significantly faster, and he came back and passed me.  I tried to keep up with about everything I had, but I think I was getting massively dehydrated out there.  As I've said before, for this race, I just wish there were more water stops.  Also, the 70 degree weather was a bit of an adjustment from the 20s (and below) we've been running in.  Honestly, I'm not sure I've run any decent distance in anything above 40 degrees.  I think that went for a few people.  I saw a larger number of people than usual that went down, pulled off, or hurled in the heat.  Luckily, the only thing that happened to me was a little cotton mouth and a bit of slowing down.

As I was coming down the home stretch for the finish, I heard someone on a speaker, megaphone, or some enhanced spectating mechanism telling everyone there were cookies at the end.  That turned out to be none other than Spike and with him as always is Redhead Running.  When it comes to spectating they are pros.  After hearing there were cookies (actually I didn't partake) and them calling out my name, I knew I better hurry and I picked up my pace a lot.  Also, thanks to them, I have an actual race action shot (see below).

I assure you, I didn't take this picture

I came in with a chip time of 2:12:28.  Not a course PR (2:11:03 in 2012), but very close.  I still believe I'm in better shape now, and that it will show up later.  As soon as I got my water at the finish, I felt really good, better than I've ever felt at the end of this race.  I don't really think I left too much out there, though.  I don't think I could have moved my legs any faster.  The only thing I think I could have done to help my cause was double-fist the water stations (and not accidentally grab Gatorade instead at station #1).  Bobby Boucher would be so disappointed...

You drank what?
Not wanting the challenges of the day to end, I also decided to take on Rio Wraps El Gigante.  Just couldn't pass up the chance to run a Half-Marathon and complete an eating challenge in one day after the failed 5/3rd burger weekend.

El Gigante!
El Gigante weighs in at a mere 2 lbs, and, supposedly, according to our waitress, there is an 8-year-old out there who has finished it (someone call child protective services!!).  Personally, I don't know how that's possible.  Even though it's only 2 lbs, it's really dense, and if I stopped very long, I wasn't going to make it.  However, in the battle of Brent vs Running vs. Food, today, Brent won.

For a mere $15 you can get your own El Gigante, and if you finish, you can also get your very own commemorative shirt for the occasion.*

Me  proudly displayingmy medal and shirt
Shirt (back)
Martian Shirt & Bib

* - I am not an official spokesperson for Rio Wraps, nor do I have any association with them.  I just like food.  I've tried to get Big Boy to be an official sponsor, and maybe get some white and red checkered overalls, but they won't return my calls.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Weight Loss Championship

So here we are on the cusp of a real start to the running year.  In my mind, everything truly begins with you first long race, and for me, pretty much each year, that's the Martian.

Considering how hard last year's race stomped the hell out of me, I really wanted to come out swinging this year.  I wanted to try and not gain any weight back over the winter, then hit the pavement hard in the early months leading up to this race.

Well, that didn't completely go as planned.  However, I didn't pack on very much weight, and, unlike last year, there wasn't any long periods where J and I completely abandoned the run days.  In fact, we kept running about twice a week, outside, throughout this entire horrible cold, and almost record-setting, snowy winter.

That means, we've been running with muscles that have been tested with cold-weather tightness.  We have had to climb snowbanks, run through several feet deep of snow, gingerly run and correct our balance on ice, and get back up and finish runs after several falls.

So I guess what I'm saying is, I don't consider this winter a failure, and now that the weather's broke I've tried to make up ground.  This year, I'm actually training for the Martian.  I know I haven't logged jack on daily mile.  I forgot over the winter that I even had a Garmin, and the quiet coming from this blog reaks of "slacker," but I'm here now to dispel that stench.

Perhaps the running mileage isn't what it should be, but I've ran a lot more than last year.  Barring a pre-Half Marathon (Flushing) last year, I've kept the feet moving a lot more regularly.  Outside of that, I've also added to the workout regimen.  Nearly every day, I have something scheduled (with only really 1 or 2 days off during the month).  I've basically doubled the weight regimen I did last year.  The most significant difference with that, though, is that I'm actually doing it consistently (and not ditching it for a month or more).

The other thing I'm mixing in on non-run days is some yoga exercises.  For some reason, I've kind of latched onto John Vitarelli as my video teacher.  I don't know.  I think I like the laid back style, the Star Wars references, and the fact he's not all geared up in a $1000 work out outfit.  He just kind of reminds me of the good runners I see out there that wear that ratty old white t-shirt and shorts, but go straight out and kick everyone's ass.  How I fell into doing this all the time, I can hardly remember, but I've stuck with it.

I think it's all been good for me, because I used to really sluff off eating properly on days off, because I didn't have to work out.  I could just eat horribly and sit in a chair with a book or a movie later.  Now I actually have to watch it, because it's no fun forcing yourself through a workout stuffed to the gills or running off straight sugar (and, believe me, I've been forcing myself).

J has mirrored with his own regimen (also weights and yoga, but different styles of each).  At the beginning of the year we got to talking about what we were doing, and what results we expected, and talking about those results at the end of the month.  Eventually, like all conversations like this between men, we figured out a way to make it into a contest.

With Wrestlemania XXX being fairly recent (last night), enter the "Weight Loss Championship."  Every month, on the very last day we have a weigh in (honor system) on the same scale and same time of day and text over the results of the month.  The person who drops the most (which I still believe should be by percentage of body weight, to handicap me from winning too much) wins.

Currently, the winner keeps an old child-sized (formerly WCW) World Heavyweight Championship belt.  Since we're both too fat to actually wear the thing (at least I am, perhaps it fits him, who knows?), I put it on my plastic "party" goose and he puts it on his stuffed dog.  I won February, he's won March, and I'm winning April (I hope).  Perhaps, eventually, there will be another prize or a custom made belt for this honor.  Until then, we'll continue with this ritual.

Renfield and Party Goose
Stuffed Dog Champ

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