Hopefully the title didn’t scare you away, for this edition of Thinking Out Loud! This isn’t a blog about political parties, or an opinion piece trying to sway you one way or the other, no need to worry about disagreeing on policy. Rather I thought of this blog as I have watched Presidential candidates ‘suspend’ their campaigns.
It has happened on both sides, democrat and republican, once a candidate realizes they do not have a chance at winning they throw in the towel. After spending millions of dollars and lots of time prepping, they decide to call it quits. The saying ‘when the going gets tough, they tough get going’. Apparently that doesn’t apply when you are running for the most powerful office in the World. Perhaps those that drop out aren’t that tough and we should be happy they do not stay in the race. Some run for office knowing they are going to drop out, they do it to get name recognition to run again in the future.
By this point I am sure you are saying to yourself, this is a running blog, how does this relate to running? Imagine if we applied the same thought processes to running. I would venture to say most of us have to pay for our race entries and then spend lots of hours and miles training. On race day (most recreational runners) don’t plan on winning the race. With that presidential campaign mindset we should probably quit running after a quarter mile and ‘suspend’ our participation in the race. Yeah, that sounds weird, it’s called quitting, whether you are running a race or for President it is quitting. (If you get injured or something happens where you can’t finish I’m not calling you a quitter)
My question then, are runners tougher than the men and women who want to be President of the free world? My unscientific opinion is…yes! Runners endure hours on the road/trail in preparation for a race, knowing in most cases we aren’t going to win. We are training to do our best to set a personal record, we have goals in mind. Even when we don’t meet those we keep on going until we cross the finish line. We don’t quit when the going gets tough, many runners I know will run through all sorts of adversity, injuries, illness, and of course the dreaded ‘wall’. Shouldn’t we ask the same of our Presidential candidates, go to the finish line, let all of the voters in each state decide when it is time for your to exit.
When casting your vote for President this election, maybe we should be looking at candidates who have a running background who know how to get through the tough times and come out on the other side a better person. Perhaps we need a runners guide to Presidential candidates? What are your thoughts on the correlation between running races and running for President?
After work I set out for the Outer Banks, the GPS said it would be about a 5 1/2 hour drive down. Along the way I decided to stop when I saw a sign for Wawa and get a sandwich. Much to my disappointment as soon as I exited the highway the sign for Wawa said 3 miles, rather misleading from the highway sign, but I still went refueled and had a sandwich.
When I finally made it to the Outer Banks it was dark, but much to my surprise my hotel was right on the beach! (I didn’t notice when I booked the hotel) After I changed I walked down to the water, it was ice-cold! I didn’t go in any deeper than my ankles, there were still a few people trying to eek out the last little bit of light as they were surfing.
I came back to the room and text my friend who is also running the Outer Banks Marathon this weekend. He and his wife are doing their first marathon. We made plans to meet for dinner at a place nearby called Chili Peppers. For dinner there were seven of us, he and his wife had brought along four friends who were doing the half marathon. It was great to meet everyone, the conversation was light as I got to know everyone. One of Jim’s friends mentioned they were thinking about starting a blog, and I recommended doing it! Of course we talked about mine and then how I become a vegetarian. Jim’s wife and a few of her friends said they were going try being vegetarians for 30 days, they were inspired! Woot Woot! I told them they have to keep me in the loop.
After dinner, I went back to the hotel to watch some television. There wasn’t much on, I watched a show on Discovery called Pacific Warriors. It was about ‘local’ Hawaiian fisherman. It was hard not to laugh. I lived in Hawaii for four years, the people on the show were no way locals. They didn’t talk like the locals and had problems getting the native dialect (pidgin) correct. I could be wrong but I very much doubt these people actually grew up in Hawaii. After a good laugh I went to bed.
I slept in, all the way to 0900 hrs. That is actually pretty late for me. When I woke up I had a few banana chips and went for a shake out run. I ran about two miles, trying to keep a slower pace. I want to start the race really slow around a 9 min pace. I know I have said that before but I really mean it. It was already warm and humid outside. I am hoping the weather forecast is right and the cold front comes through or it is going to be a long race.
After the run I walked down to the beach for a little while and there were quite a few people surfing and doing stand up paddleboarding. I took a shower and made my way over to the running expo. The parking lots were small and I had to drive around to find parking but the expo itself was pretty nice. They had lots of vendors and a nice swag bag. I walked around the expo for a while before deciding it was time for lunch. A Harris Teeter was only a mile away so I made my way there to get some lunch and sunscreen. I’m not sure if it is going to be sunny tomorrow, but I figure I should probably get some just to be safe.
I had pizza and some desert and then took it easy. I decided to take a nap, hey you can never have too much rest before a marathon 😉 While I was napping I thought I heard a knock at the door, before I could answer the door was opening. It was someone trying to check in. Apparently, the hotel does not have good record keeping. The people apologized and went to sort out the issue, I did notice it was raining pretty hard. Hopefully that will cool things off.
Surprisingly I’m not nervous or worried about this race like was for Baltimore. I don’t know why. I have a plan for this race and hopefully everything comes together and I can break the 4-hour mark.
Around 1800 hrs. I went over to where Jim and his friends were staying. Some of his friends had made a runner’s dream dinner, Ziti! Time to carbo-load. I had gone to Harris Teeter and bought coconut cake for dessert. Dinner was excellent, on top of the Ziti in pasta was OBX made with noodles (Forgot to take a photo). After eating we watched the movie Inside Out, normally I am not one for animated movies, but it was pretty good! When the movie was over we all wished each other good luck and I headed back to the hotel. I arrived and my room key did not work, I went to have it rekeyed and told the desk staff about my unexpected visitors earlier. She said she would let the manager know. I watched some television, set me alarms and went to sleep.
0400 hrs. I woke up to have a small breakfast and went back to sleep for a little while. 0530 hrs. time to get up and prepare for the race before leaving around 0630 hrs. I drove to where the parking lot was near the start line and took a quick shuttle ride to the start line. Before getting on the shuttle I ran into Jim and his wife and we rode over together. The start line had plenty of porta-potties so the line the use the bathroom was not long at all. The race started right on time 0720 hrs. and we were off! I will have a full race recap later this week, let’s just say things did not go according to planned and it was a painful race. After the race I took the shuttle back to the parking lot, hopped in my truck and went back to the hotel to shower. My body has never hurt so much after a race. I didn’t feel like eating anything so after showering I hit the road to get home. I stopped once to refuel and grab a little something to eat. I still didn’t feel like eating but knew I had to. I finally made it home around 1930 hrs. I unpacked, put my laundry in the wash and went over my best friends to watch Sunday Night Football. After the game, I came home and fell asleep almost immediately.
The race didn’t go as planned and it wasn’t a PR, I will detail that more in my recap, but looking back I don’t think it was a good idea for me to run two marathons within a 3 week period. Especially after my 365 day running streak. My race season is officially over, it is time to rest and let my body repair itself.
How was your weekend? What recovery tips do you have?
I wanted to end my running streak where it began, Central Park in NYC. Last year on October 25th my friend, Lizzie, and I went to NYC and ran in Central Park while we were there she didn’t know at the time but I was starting a run streak. Heck at that point I wasn’t sure I was going to; 365 days seemed like such a long time. The next morning at breakfast I told Lizzie about my idea of a run streak and that I was becoming a vegetarian. I’m not really sure what she thought, but I do remember her telling me that is was great that I was becoming a vegetarian but I needed to eat healthy as well. Advice I followed over the last year.
On Friday I woke up early before work and ran, I wouldn’t have time later. Lizzie and I were taking the train to NYC and had dinner reservations at 2200 hrs. The train ride to NYC was pretty quick and painless, last year we took the bus and that was rather interesting. Once we arrived we walked to our hotel, changed, and walked to dinner. We had made reservation 3 months ago and had been looking forward to dinner for quite some time. If you ever find yourself in NYC and want an absolutely amazing meal make reservations at Per Se! Trust me it is worth it! We actually had to take one of the dessert courses with us because we were so full. I can even put into words how amazing the food was!
Saturday morning Lizzie went to meet one of her friends and I decided to go for a run in Central Park. Our hotel was only 2 blocks away. I wanted to try and get a longer run in since I had been taking it easy most of the week. On Day 364 I managed to logged 12 miles; I looped Central Park and then did an out and back path. There were so many people in the Park, bikers, runners, walkers, horse carriages, there was even a race going on. I really enjoyed the run even though it was a bit chilly. After the run we met a friend of mine for lunch, rested up a bit, had a dinner at supposedly the best falafel cart in NYC according to Yelp! We aren’t so sure about that but it got the job done. After dinner we made our way to Times Square to see An American in Paris and enjoy wine from a sippy cup! Definitely a highlight! The show was fantastic. Again I would recommend seeing it if you have not and are in NYC.
Sunday had arrived, this was day 365. There were plenty of times I thought it wouldn’t get here but it had. It was gloomy out and a light rain was falling in the city, but it was time to run and weather couldn’t stop us. We left the hotel and started to walk towards Central Park, Lizzie said to me ‘Are we going to walk or run?’ With that we starting running towards the Park. We ran out and back and stopped to take a selfie, just as we had done 365 days ago.
It felt good to complete the streak. I’ve never done anything for 365 days straight before, at least nothing that required me to go out of my way to do it. In total I estimate during that time I ran approximately 1355 miles, with lots of them coming during marathon training. I’m glad I completed the streak, but as Lizzie pointed out to me a year is an arbitrary number, so very true. Why not make it two years? I’m not, but what made me choose a year? I suppose I thought it would be a good measure of time and give me something to do everyday. Some people have said it was inspiring, I didn’t do it to inspire anyone but I’m glad I did. I do hope that I have motivated someone, somewhere to run, or embrace a healthier lifestyle. In the last few weeks of the streak I began looking forward to stopping and resting my legs. I thought about some things when it comes to a streak and keeping it going. One person who inspired me and has a streak she doesn’t keep track of (at least I don’t think she does, anymore) is my Mom. Twenty years ago she gave up smoking, I still remember the day she quit. We were at the park fishing and it started raining, my Mom, Dad, and I started running for the car. Before we made it we stopped at a pavilion to catch our breath and that is when my Mom quit smoking. She took out her cigarettes and threw them in the trashcan. She was pretty winded and finally realized smoking was destroying her lungs and her health. She hasn’t smoked since. I’m really glad she quit that day. I know my Mom is going to read this so ‘Keep up the streak Mom, you’ve got 19 years on me!’
Looking back on the streak it was challenging at times, but helped me stay on track and maintain a balance in my life. I am sure I will write more about what the streak has meant to me in the future, when I’m ready to share some things. In the meantime I am looking forward to letting my legs rest. If you are wondering did I stop, no, I ran on Day 366. It is Tuesday evening about 2145 hrs; as I begin to write my blog for Thinking Out Loud it feels odd that I haven’t ran today. As I showered tonight I actually thought about running after getting out of the shower, and I’m thinking about running now, but it is late and I am much to tired. Just a few days ago that wouldn’t have stopped me, but today is finally a rest day!
I’m not going to stop running or training, I decided to try and break 4 hours in the marathon again! I’m running the Outer Banks Marathon on November 8th. Between now and then I will be training, but with a few more rest days.
My alarm went off at 0400 hrs, thank goodness it wasn’t time to get up just yet. I wake up early to eat and then go back to sleep for a little while before big races. I had an Extend Nutrition bar with some water and went back to sleep until 0530 hrs. A cold front was suppose to have come through overnight and the weather was cooler than it had been the past week, which made for good running conditions. I dressed in the tank top and shorts I had been running in all summer, but put on a winter hat, gloves, and arm warmers since the temp was only in the upper 40’s.
I pulled into the parking lot at M&T Bank stadium around 0645, I sat in my truck till 0730 then made my way to the start line, it was cold but I knew I would warm up once I started running. As I waited in the starting corral I went over my game plan in my head; go out slow and try to make up time later in the marathon. A woman came up to me while we were waiting to start and we started to make small talk and introduced each other, her name was Sandy. She noticed my Garmin and asked what pace I planned to run and I explained my plan; she said if it was okay she was going to run with me for a while. I didn’t mind and she said she was hoping to finish under 4:19. This is just another reason why I love the running community, you never know when you are going to meet someone new!
The marathon started just after 0800 and we were off, we took the first mile out at around a 9 min pace, right on target, the first few miles were a slight uphill towards the Maryland Zoo. My hat at gloves were gone by mile 2, I threw them off to the side of the road. As we ran Sandy and I talked about where we were from, running, and just got to know each other. Our pace quickened a little without either of us really noticing to around an 8:30 pace. That was a little faster than I wanted to go out, but I was feeling comfortable. The first few waters stops were pretty crowded, so crowded only one of us got water, but runners being courteous people, we got enough for each other. As we passed through the Zoo, some of the animals were out to greet us. We saw some penguins; while some runners stopped to take selfies we kept on moving through. Our pace had quickened again and we turned in a sub-8 mile, I knew we had to slow down and bit and we eased off the pace.
As we left the zoo, the course had a few hills but then flattened out. St. Paul street to the Inner Harbor was downhill, so we could relax a little bit. Running through Harborview we saw some of my friends and I dropped my fuel belt with them. It was getting really lose during the run and was becoming annoying. I took the bloks out and put them in my pocket before dropping it. As we circled the Under Armour factory I really had to pee; Sandy said she would slow down and run along the side of the road so I could catch back up. A tree made a great substitute for the port-a-potty that had a line, hey I wasn’t the only one doing that! To catch up to Sandy I threw down a 7:30 mile, I had a feeling that would come back to hurt me.
Passing the 13.1 mile marker, Sandy saw some of her friends. I thought my Garmin said 1:50, but looking at my times on the marathon website it said we ran the first half in 1:54, I could have seen my watch incorrectly. Either way we were making good time maybe a little too fast. I mentioned to Sandy maybe we should slow down a bit, she said we should just keep up the pace. I was still feeling good and we did. Going through Harboreast I saw all the people I know from Lululemon at their cheer station, it was motivating to high five all of them as we went by. Coming out of Harboreast Sandy and I both noticed how quite it had gotten along the course, there weren’t many spectators for the next couple of miles.
Approaching mile 16 and Patterson Park I slowed the pace a bit; Sandy kept the pace going and we lost each other in the crowd as the half marathon and marathon merged together. I saw my parents cheering on the sidewalk, which was some more motivation. After passing Patterson Park, I didn’t see Sandy anymore and the climb to Lake Montebello started, for the next 4 miles there would be an incline. In mile 18 I lost my steam, someone was handing out full bottles of water and bananas, I grabbed both and walked while I drank the water and ate the banana. I finally cleared the hills and made it to Lake Montebello at mile 20 I started doing the math in my head of how fast I had to run each mile to make it under 4 hours.
Alternating between walking and running I watched the time tick away on my Garmin. Going out faster than I wanted was coming back to haunt me. I tried to find the energy to keep going, my legs were exhausted. Mile 22 was the final incline and it really slowed me down. I was going back and forth between 9:20 pace per mile and 11+ min a mile, I was in trouble. At mile 24 I still thought I had a shot at breaking 4 hours, but I would have to throw down two sub-7:30 miles, my legs didn’t have it in them, or my mind wouldn’t let them do their thing. Either way it wasn’t going to happen.
I crossed the finish line at 4:11:16. So close to breaking the 4 hour mark yet so far away. Even though I didn’t break 4 hours I was happy with my time; I PR’d by 32 minutes. I immediately started analyzing the race in my mind and where things went wrong. Then I started thinking about when I can run another marathon and when I could be ready.
I made my way over to get a foil blanket, I was freezing, I had tossed my hat and gloves a long time ago and the temp dropped after that. I finally got a foil blanket, met my parents, and got my jacket from them but I could not get warm. I think it was in the low 40’s or upper 30’s by this point. We took some pictures and stood in line for a while to get my Maryland Double Medal and King Crab Challenge medal holder, in total I was outside for about an hour and shivering the entire time.
I did get to ring the PR Bell!!! Everyone before me went up got there picture and struck the bell once, after my mom took the picture I struck the hell out that bell several times!!!
Waiting around the finish area I looked for Sandy but didn’t see her anywhere, we actually connected later in the day and caught up a bit, she finished in 4:01:40 a PR for her as well.
When I finally made it to my truck I was so happy to be able to turn the heat on and get warm. The warm shower felt great once I was home, except on my arm pits, the arm warmers had rubbed my arms raw, really raw. I continued to analyze the marathon in my head for the rest of the day and watched it on television. I had recorded it. That night the tradition of the marathon party continued, it was smaller than usual, but still a good time!
I have continued to think about what I could have done differently over the last few days and will probably do that for a while. I am looking at doing a half marathon soon, but will probably wait until the spring to tackle another marathon.
How was your race season? What are your goals before the end of the year?
Check back tomorrow for Thinking Out Loud and see if the streak continued…
I now look forward to Thursdays and Thinking Out Loud, even if I don’t get to post every Thursday!
For those of you who are regular readers of the blog you may have noticed I haven’t posted any training updates for the Baltimore Marathon. Not to worry, I completed Week 16 and 17 of the training plan, the run streak is alive, and I am ‘enjoying’ taper week. The Baltimore Marathon is Saturday.
I’ve been running for 354 days straight and training for the marathon for the last 4 months according to the Hal Higdon Training plan. That training culminates on Saturday. The last few months I’ve had many nights were I’ve lost some sleep thinking about the marathon and if I will be able to complete it in…under 4 hours.
I feel prepared! I’ve never trained harder for a marathon! Now it is time to hydrate, carbo-load, and run!
I will have much more to say about the marathon on Saturday, so check back! Not a very exciting blog post this week.
I’ve actually been meaning to write this Thinking Out Loud post for a few weeks but haven’t had the time. Perhaps a better way to put it is I haven’t made the time. Work has been really busy, meaning lots of long days! The past two weeks it has been hard to keep up with my mileage but I have kept my running streak alive! Less than 3 weeks to go before I reach 1 year!
Back to the topic, first paragraph and I was already distracted. Looking at the title you might think this is the definitive guide to running, given the 3:16 notation, if you are looking for that I am sorry to disappoint it is not that.
A few weeks ago during one of my runs I saw someone wearing a t-shirt that had ‘Austin 3:16’ printed on it. That made me think about the Keith Urban song ‘John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16’ (did you just sing that in your head? I did every time I proof read this). That made me think about the Bible verse ‘John 3:16’.
I know that is a long path to follow but stay with with me, ‘3:16’ has become a symbol/notation for the definitive way of doing something. Of course the Christian church was first, don’t worry this isn’t a religious lecture either. 3:16 became mainstream years ago and has been attached to a lot of things (see examples above) Steve Austin used it for his character in the WWF, yes I remember wrestling when it was still the WWF, and Keith Urban has used it for a great song in my opinion, and it has been attached to so many other catch-phrases.
As I passed the guy wearing the ‘Austin 3:16’ shirt, ‘Running 3:16’ popped into my head. I asked myself is there a definitive way to run? The answer is no. Every runner has there own stride, pace, arm swing, habits, favorite gear, running route, foot strike, etc. You don’t have to look a certain way to be a runner, you do not need lots of equipment to be a runner, if you consider yourself a runner you are a runner! That is what I love about the sport of running almost everyone can do it! (If you have never ran before please consult a doctor before beginning any exercise program) That just felt like a good place to put a legal disclaimer.
Many times when I am out running I observed other runners and take notice of their clothing, stride, arm swing, and wonder how in the heck are they running like that, then I think if that works for them who am I to judge their run-style. In races I’ve seen runners who have some sort of spinal disability running hunched over and they are moving at a pretty good pace. You can be short, tall, heavy-set, skinny, able bodied, have a disability and you can still run, as long as you have the fortitude to take that first step and keep going! Our sport does not discriminate and that is another reason why I love running!
Often times when I speak with people they say, ‘I don’t know how you do it, I can’t even run a mile.’ My response is always it starts with that first step. I imagine some people think I am being cliche but I’m not; you never know where that first step and the one after will lead you. It has lead me to a great running community, that is strong, welcoming, and ready for more runners!
Winning comes in many forms for runners. You may never win a marathon, or a 5k, but every race you run or for that matter every step you take you have lapped those waiting to take that first step. Running for a large majority of the running community is an individual sport, we have personal records (PRs). We compete against ourselves, because we want to be better, we want to put our best self forward. That is Running 3:16! You can create your own guide to Running 3:16, and the best part is that it is definitively you but we all share in that experience when we run!
I am Running 3:16, you are Running 3:16, and every runner you pass or passes you is Running 3:16.
We each have our own way of getting to the finish line, we do what works best for us, we take pride in our accomplishments and our individuality while taking joy in being part of the running community and the accomplishments of those runners around us.
I don’t want to jinx it but the nice fall weather is continuing here in Baltimore! Most of the day was overcast and dreary; after getting some work done and coming to the conclusion the light rain wasn’t going to stop I went to the Promenade to run. The rain picked up a little during my run but not to hard, honestly I barely noticed. I had another strong run with negative splits and my last mile being my fastest. I think my legs are a bit refreshed after a lower mileage week last week!
Tuesday: 7 Miles (Pace 8:38)
After two great days of running, my body was starting to get tired. My plan was to run 10 miles downtown, but I wound up doing 7. I ran with my friend Kristen, we started a bit faster than I wanted to but quickly fell into a steady pace. During my longer runs and in general I have been trying to make a habit of starting slow and then picking up the pace. That is the strategy I plan to use in the marathon. We ran along the water and it was a bit humid but still a nice evening out. When ended the run at Tin Roof and talked with our friend Theo for a bit. Kristen left and Theo and I caught up a bit, I hadn’t seen him in a few weeks. It was good run and I hope to make up some miles tomorrow.
Wednesday: 2.1 Miles (Pace 8:24)
So much for making up the miles. Even though I had a relatively light day at work, I was still pretty fatigued. It seems like it has taken my body longer to recover before I am ready to go 100% again. After work the day got away from me and I had a night college fair to attend and only had time to get in a few miles.
Thursday: 1 Mile (Pace 8:16)
After a late night from the fair last night, an early morning, and another evening college fair I didn’t feel like running much. For some reason this week has been a bit more difficult for me to motivate myself to get out and run. I think I can see the end in sight and I’m getting excited for a break. I need to keep my eye on the marathon and not slack off these last few weeks.
Friday: 1.5 Miles (Pace 8:16)
Knowing my long run is tomorrow, I decided to take it easy on the run today. I wanted to make sure I stay hydrated and well fueled for my final long run tomorrow. I saw my neighbor and friend on the run, he was walking his dogs, when I ran up behind him I actually scared him. I guess I’m a really quite runner. After a quick chat I was on my way and finished my run.
Saturday: 20 Miles (Pace 9:12)
Last night I slept close to 9 hours, the long days at work have really been taking it out of me. I know you can’t catch up on sleep, but it was nice to get in a few more hours than I had been. For breakfast I tried a new energy bar from Extend Nutrition, I actually won a gift card from Ashley’s blog. It is suppose to keep your blood sugar balanced for up to 6 hours during the day. The run today had course support from Falls Road Running Store, they host the run every year before the marathon. The course starts at Patterson Park and follows the marathon course. You run most of the hills which is good, it gives you an idea of what to expect. During the run, I met some new people and chatted with them as we ran I also saw some people I know from running and ran with them for a while. When I wasn’t running with anyone I reflected over the last few months of training and running the same course 3 years ago in preparation for the marathon. Things have changed a lot since then, which I hope to write about in a separate blog. As I thought about the last few months I have never trained with this much intensity or intent before. I am hoping it will pay off come race day! I wasn’t trying to run a certain pace and when I finished I was happy with it. I felt comfortable, very tired but comfortable with how I ran. I know how I want to refuel during the race and I have a plan, I just need to stick with it. After the run, I had an event to go to for my best friend, and then I had some people over my house. We had a bonfire and enjoyed sitting around telling funny stories. Sarah and FKBT came over and brought some dessert, it was a great way to end the day and begin my taper!
Sunday: 1 Mile (Pace 8:43)
All through the night, I had a horrible headache and woke up with one as well. No it wasn’t from to many beers, I think it was a combination of being dehydrated from running, not eating properly afterwards, and the smoke from the fire. I woke up had some breakfast and started to feel better. Today was the home opener for the Ravens; I went to the game with a friend. I didn’t have time to run before the game so when I got home I did a quick loop around the neighborhood. My body felt fatigued from yesterday, at one point I actually thought about stopping, but I didn’t. I’m so close to finishing the streak. Today was day 337 of the running streak. The end is in sight. I am looking forward to a day of rest and I’m looking forward to the marathon! I am so glad that taper time has started! I didn’t get in all the miles I should have this week, if I can I will make some up this upcoming week, but it is time for my body to regain strength through some easier runs!