Sunday, April 29, 2007

Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon results -- 4 hours, 6 minutes flat.

Saturday afternoon, J. and I drove to Oklahoma City, arriving 15 minutes before the close of the marathon expo. After J. registered and we both picked up our race packets, we made our way to Tinker Air Force Base, where we had booked a room for the night. (J. is in the reserves.)

The next morning at the bright, shining hour of 4:45 a.m., we woke up and headed to IHOP, where I discovered a new pre-race meal: 3 pancakes, a scrambled egg, and two pieces of bacon. And two cups of coffee.

The race started at the Oklahoma City Memorial. After a moving 168 seconds of silence observed in memory of the 168 people who lost their lives in the Oklahoma City bombing, we listened to a beautiful rendition of "Amazing Grace," followed by the singing of the National Anthem.

And then we were off!

J. and I stayed together until mile 15, running just under 10 minute miles. He started to fade at that point, so I motored ahead, picking up the pace a bit and finishing in 4 hours, 6 minutes flat. I ran the second half 6 minutes faster than the first.

This was hands-down the easiest marathon I've ever run, despite temperatures in the mid-80s, no shade, lots of sun, and zero clouds. I felt great the whole way. Never hit the wall or felt bad. I can't really explain it. I just had a lot of fun. I danced through the aid stations, posed like a moron for the cameras (see above), and enjoyed the crowds.

It was a good way to end the marathon season.

More biking, less running for the next couple of months, as I'm now gearing up for the Cow Creek Country Classic 100 mile bike ride in June.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Today will be a good day.

Although I have a lot to accomplish at work, I am leaving early for a dentist appointment. (Oddly enough, I actually enjoy going to the dentist. I've known my dentist for 25 years, and a trip to the dental chair is like visiting an old friend.) After my appointment, we (Nell, Smiley, and Mrs. Smiley) are going to the Angelika to listen to Karno (inspiration to me and many others, scorn of the Ultra listserv) give a talk about the Endurance 50.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

If you haven't signed up for El Scorcho yet, then I've got one question for you--why not???

I got an e-mail this morning from Inside Texas Running magazine. It looks like they've gotten wind of our little race and may put a blurb in their next issue. We've also had a couple Marathon Maniacs sign up (hopefully more to come) and have garnered some interest from a few folks on the Ultra listserv. Exciting stuff!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Monday, April 23, 2007

According to the BBC, it was a scorcher at the London Marathon this year, as "runners battled 21C temperatures at midday, equalling the 1996 record." Celebrity runner Gordon Ramsay (no idea who he is) was quoted as saying: "It was like running in a desert today. I stopped to help one guy. It was quite bad. They were dropping like flies."

21C is about 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Maybe it comes from living in Texas, but that doesn't sound too bad to me. Definitely not like running in any desert I've ever heard of.
Monday morning. Another work week awaits. Bummer.

I didn't get up with my alarm. With the evil cats mewing for food in the wee hours before dawn, sleep was affected and I turned off the buzzer and allowed myself to slip into REM for another hour and a half.

In other words, no morning workout. Oh well. I ran a good 12 miles yesterday in the late afternoon sun.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

I spent the weekend outside of Austin at the Lakeway resort on Lake Travis for CLE (continuing legal education). Basically, a few hours of classes and two rounds of golf. The seminar goes through this morning, but I decided to skip last night's "booze cruise" finale on the lake and headed home after yesterday's golf outing. I missed my cute, pregnant wife.

So... we're about to head to the Old South Pancake House for... um... pancakes...? We will be joined by the always enjoyable Addison, Preston, and, of course, Frandog.

After that, I need to go the office. Ugh.

Friday, April 20, 2007

I did it! Awake at 5:30 a.m. and about to head to the gym. Despite my prior committment to early mornings (which was admittedly equivocal), I have not done the best job of jumping out of bed and greeting the day with a hearty "yawp.*"

But I am now up and ready to go. Coffee and Z-bar** finished, running shoes on, heading out the door. Have a wonderful weekend, folks!

*See Whitman, Walt, "Song of Myself," Leaves of Grass; see also Dead Poets Society.

** Z-bars are awesome. They are Clif energy bars designed for kids. I recently discovered them at Costco and love them.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

I got a call last night from my law school friend, the artist formerly known as Swindle (who shall be referred to herein as Cracka). Cracka has been increasingly recluse since his wedding last summer to KatDaddy, a fine lady who I only met briefly during their nuptial celebration. Apparently KatDaddy was reading my blog the other day, and she took note of my decision to run the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon next week. Cracka and KatDaddy live in Tulsa, a short hour and half drive away. So... we've made plans to get together after the marathon for lunch.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Despite the barrage of storms barreling through North Texas last night, I managed to drag myself to the gym. Nell had another photo shoot, so I was on my own for the evening. Rather than veg out in front of the TV with a beer, I ventured outside and sloshed my way to the FAC for some lifting and 30 minutes on a bike. The result: I slept wonderfully last night. I know I’ve read somewhere that exercising before bed can cause sleep problems, but for me it’s like taking one Ambien. (Actually, that may not be an apt comparison, as I’ve never taken Ambien, but you get the point.) I hit the pillow and was out for the count. This morning, I woke up fresh and went for a 6.3 mile run along the Trinity River.

On a different note, I have been thinking about whether or not I would post something on the Virginia Tech tragedy and what I would say. Then I came across these words, which convey the sentiment that occupies my thoughts on the sadness that has occurred:
Our reaction to tragedy can potentially be as dangerous and hurtful as the tragedy itself. I hope those closely involved in the incident, as well as those far away, can find a true spirit of compassion for all of those involved – the victims, the families of the victims, the staff of the university, the law enforcement officers, the person responsible for the shootings and his family.

How much pain do you have to be in to even consider taking the lives of so many, seemingly at random, then take your own life? It is a pain beyond comprehension. I pray none of us ever experience it.

Monday, April 16, 2007

It was a nice Sunday. I woke up around 8 a.m., sipped some coffee, read the paper. After breakfast, I did some cleaning around the house, and then headed out the door for a long run. 17.5 miles later, I was back home feeling pretty good. I took a shower and left for my annual eye doctor-Lasik checkup. Still 20-10 vision. I did some work related, um, work, then played 9 holes of golf.

Like I said, it was a nice Sunday.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

I am completely unmotivated to go outside today. The weather was nice most of the week, but now that Saturday has arrived the temperature has plummeted into the 40s. There's also a wind advisory. Ugh. So much for my 20 mile run. I think I'll put in the miles tomorrow, when it's supposed to be sunny and in the 60s.

Nell is off to a baby shower this afternoon (not her own), followed by a photo shoot. What to do? What to do? The FAC closes at 3 pm, so I guess I need to get off the couch if I'm going to workout indoors.

Different subject -- things are coming along with El Scorcho. The website went up last week (still a work in progress), and we've already had some folks sign up for the race, which is pretty good because other than this blog, we haven't advertised anywhere. There's even a Runners World message board discussion about the race. Very cool.

Don't forget to sign up soon!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The other day I was perusing my wife’s copy of Runner’s World magazine (which doesn’t get as much perusal by my wife since she became pregnant) and came across a March 2007 article entitled “What Kind of Runner are You?” Hmmm….

According to the RW folks, there are four types of runners: socializer, exerciser, warrior, and purist. A socializer is all about running clubs, running partners, running in groups, etc. An exerciser does it solely to lose weight and maintain health. A warrior is motivated primarily by competition, while a purist runs for running’s sake (how if feels and how it makes you feel afterward).

So where do I fit in?

Well, I’m definitely not a socializer. I’ve got one running buddy, but most of my runs—including long runs and marathons (and my one 50K to date)—are done solo. I enjoy being by myself, letting my mind wander, zoning out. I’m not a fan of running in large groups. I like races, but not the beginning of them when it’s crowded, and I can’t get into a rhythm.

I’ve got some exerciser in me. After all, this running stuff started at the end of college when I finally woke up and decided to get in shape, trading partying and junk food for working out and eating (mostly) healthy. I run for fitness, but that’s just part of it.

Warrior? Sure, I’m motivated by competition. Not so much external competition, but the self-imposed goals I set for myself. Like getting in shape (see above) or realizing certain ambitions. Until recently, for example, I was motivated to break the 4-hour marathon barrier. But now that I’ve achieved that goal (twice!), I’m okay with clocking in at whatever pace feels comfortable (which is typically just a bit over 4 hours). That doesn’t mean I’m going to sit back and take it easy. Other goals surface. Like moving up the chain on the Marathon Maniac ranking or finishing more ultras (including a 50-miler or—gasp—a 100-miler someday).

So of all the categories, I suppose I’m closest to a purist. Running makes me feel good mentally and physically. My body is recovering faster, and I’m able to really take in the surroundings on my long runs. I feel most alive when I’m gutting out the final miles of a marathon. It’s that point that sometimes hits around mile 21 or 22 when it’s hard—really hard—but I keep going and then, all of the sudden, it becomes effortless. Well, not effortless. It’s still hard. But I don’t notice as much. I start to feel in rhythm with myself and my surroundings. It takes awhile for it to kick in. And sometimes, it never kicks in, and that really sucks. But when it does, it’s like being nicely buzzed. A wonderful, sublime buzz. (Note: don’t confuse the “endurance buzz” with “runner’s high.” “Runner’s high” is a myth. Never had it happen to me. But the “endurance buzz” is real. And it’s good.)

So what’s my category? I’d have to say I’m a Pure Exercising Warrior.

By the way—don’t forget to sign up for El Scorcho!!!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Here's a couple Big D Marathon pics.
I figured I'd have some fun in the photos. I enjoyed the run, but the post-race festivities sucked. Yeah, sucked. Especially when I went to go grab something to eat and was informed that all the food was pretty much gone. Apparently, the race directors had put out all of the post-race grub early and the half-marathoners had decided to plow through darn near all of it.

Oh well. On a more positive note, I am officially Marathon Maniac #534, and my InSane Asylum page is up and running. At some point, I'm going to fill out the Maniac Questionaire.

And, to bring this post to a nice close, Smiley and I have decided to run the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon at the end of the month, which will be the last marathon of the season--until El Scorcho. (RUN EL SCORCHO!!!!!)

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

I checked the Big D results again, and if you look at chip time (as opposed to gun time), I actually came in 6th in my age group and 110th overall. So there.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

It was hotter and hillier than White Rock, but the Big D marathon went well. I finished in 4 hours, 6 minutes, and 50 seconds at a pace of 9:25 per mile. I was 7th in my age group (out of 36 runners age 25-29). Overall, I finished 112th out of 423 marathoners.

I've got a few criticisms, but I'll post them later. Right now, I've got pizza waiting for me.

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