Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Year in Review . . . Running Style

Well, here it is, the year in review for my running. There was the good and there was the bad and there was the OK all wrapped up into 365 days known as 2008.

The year started slowly. After 2 months I was only at 92 miles. Very slow I guess. I keep a running log in Excel so it is easy to look back and see what I did. March 1st though I did a 20.5 mile run so the mileage starts to grow. It is at this time I had decided to run the St. Louis Marathon in April. After a 1 week trip to Panama City Beach, Florida to stay on the beach with my parents, I came back home and left 5 days later for St. Louis with Mike, Chaz, and Paul. Unfortunately, the race came and I was under the weather but since I already signed up and was already down there, I decided to run with a fever and upset stomach. At half way and after 3 stops already, it is just a run to finish and not for time. I end up running 4:27:40 and feel nauseous the rest of the day and the entire 6 hour drive home. But it does count as a completed marathon. Chaz ended up taking 3rd place in the Masters division.

The next month is easy running as I was planning on running a 2 person relay in the Madison Marathon in late May with Paul but he ends up hurting himself so the relay is off. I decide to run the Madison Marathon in its entirety. The race was on May 25th and I was feeling good on this day, at least to start. I decided to join a pace group that was going for 3:45 marathon pace. I must not have been in this good of shape and the course was hilly so after about 9 miles, I drop off the group and run on my own. After 15 miles and a long uphill, I am beginning to slow down. After 18 miles I am, again, just there to finish. I finish in 4:14:16. Don't let the picture fool you, the clock showing is the Half Marathon clock that started 15 minutes after the Full Marathon. The course here is beautiful and I love running in Madison, but the course is also tough with lots of hills. Chaz, Mike, Art, and Laura also run this marathon and Sally and Cherylynn run the Half Marathon.

The next race I will end up doing is a 5K on the 4th of July in Fish Creek in Door County. I end up pushing the youngest Princess in the race, Katelynn. The race started up a big hill so I was lagging a lot until the top of the hill. About 1/2 mile into the race, my Garmin said I was at 10:30 pace but it was all faster from there. The pic is of Katelynn and I in a race a little over a year ago but I thought you may want to see what we look like pushing the Jog Stroller. The last mile I was able to drop the pace to about 6:45 as I pass lots of people. Let me tell you, people DO NOT like getting passed by someone pushing a stroller. It inspires some to go faster and some to make interesting comments, most good. Final Time: 22:44

I continue training over the summer as the next race is suppose to be the Twin Cities Marathon. I incorporate a new interval series called Yasso 800's. To me these are easy but I come from a middle distance background in college. Yasso 800's are an 800 on the track with equal time running as rest. The time you run is your target marathon time. IE, if you want to run a 3 Hr 45 Min Marathon, you run your 800's in 3 Min 45 seconds with the same rest between. Over a few weeks, you work you way up to 10 of these. I end up doing them at 3:20 or faster but that did not correspond to a 3:20 marathon for me.

August 30th, I end up running a local 15K race but I decide to run 10 miles before the race for 22 1/2 miles. I end up running the entire run at 8:35 pace with a 20 minute rest before the race.

September 25th comes and I decide to run the Fox Cities Marathon. This was my debut marathon in 1994 and my PR back then in 3:40:30. This year it is a warm up run before Twin Cities. I still wanted to break 4 hours though. At mile 20 and 3 hours into the race, the sun comes out and gets quite warm and my legs decide to stop working as well as they have the first 20 miles. Once again, I slow and finish disappointed in 4:15:57. And again, I feel nauseous after the race. I do not like this. 2 weeks rest now until Twin Cities. Mile, Paul, Chaz, and Laura also run the full here with Cherylynn running the half. Mike breaks 3 hours for the first time here and Cherylynn breaks 2 hours for the half. Both significant milestones for them.

October 5th is the Twin Cities Marathon. My first National Championship Marathon! Ok, not really, nut it is the USA Marathon Championships. Goal once again, Sub 4 (sensing a trend here?) This was a beautiful course and there is a reason they call it The Most Beautiful Urban Marathon. 3 miles into the race and it starts to drizzle. 4 miles into the race and it starts to rain. by mile 5 it is POURING rain and does not stop until I get to mile 17 or 18. I like running in the rain, but not THAT MUCH rain. It is fun though but very cold as it is windy as well. At mile 12, i meet up with some lady and we talk for a bit. We run together for the next 9 miles keeping a great pace until the hill at mile 21. My legs are getting tired so I slow and she goes on. By mile 25 I am shot and I end up walking a lot from mile 25 to mile 26. My slowest mile in a marathon ever. I see the finish so I pick it up as a I get that mental boost from seeing the finish line. I get to 20 meters from the finish line and my left calf muscle completely seizes up in a HUGE cramp. I end up looking like a big puddle in the road a mere 20 meters from the finish line. 2 medical guys come out to me but I refuse their help as I needed to finish this thing on my own. I end up standing and 1 leg hopping it over the finish line to the delight of the crowd. I did get a nice cheer from them. The 2 medical guys crunched out the muscle which hurt like hell, but I could walk without much problem 5 minutes later so they must have done something right. I end up in a time of 4:11:40. Paul, Mike, and Art also run in the rain.

4 weeks later and it is time for the Rails to Trails Marathon in Norwalk, WI. This is run on the Elroy-Sparta Bike trail so it is a soft surface the entire time. My goal is, well, you know! This is the first time they did this race and the organization was very poor. The only part they did well was the water stops. No chips for timing,very congested start (a bike trail for 400 runners) and more problems. I did enjoy the run though as the course was nice. 1 mile into the race and we hear cows "moo'ing" from a field near by. 3 or so miles into the race and we get to the signature part of the course, 1 3/4 mile old railroad tunnel. You can see the tunnel in the picture. It is pitch black in there so you bring along a flashlight to see. It is crowded in there and wet (it drips water year round), plus there are ditches on each side to filter water out so we had to watch for those. After the tunnel is a 7 mile railroad downhill section. The half marathoners turn around at 5 miles so it is very thin after this. I am on a great pace through the turn around at 11 1/2 miles and the half way point but then we go back up the 7 mile hill. It is not steep at all but 7 miles will wear out most people including me. At mile 19, I enter the tunnel again and i can't see anything even with the flashlight. By mile 20, I am already a little slower than pace but now the down hill section, 2 miles. I can't muster up the energy and 4 hours is out of the question once again. One bad thing about this race is that at mile 23, you pass right next to the finish line and have to run a 1.6 mile out and back to the finish. This SUCKS. I muster up the rest of my energy and finish in 4:11:10. But then another crappy thing, when everyone finishes, they DO NOT have medals for us. We have to wait about 2 weeks or so until the mail them to us. Who came up with this idea!?!?!? I don't think I will be doing this one again anytime soon. Cherylynn ends up running the half marathon after Chaz has a small injury and decides not to run.
The rest of the year is runs that I have talked about in this blog. I end up with a total of 1237 miles run this year. This is 33 more miles than in 2007 and only 8 miles more than 2006. I also run 5 marathon which is the most I have ever run in 1 calendar year. I start a blog and meet some new Runner Blog Friends who are really cool.
So hear is to 2008 and a better 2009! The Year in Preview coming soon . . . maybe.

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