Sunday, April 27, 2008

Baby, where are you as I plan for Green Bay?

Jen asked, so I will report that I am not a father yet. :( All of this waiting, putting life on hold... UGH. Not traveling for marathons or work. I suppose it's all part of the experience, right?

I caved and bought my 2nd Forerunner 305. I tried everything to reset the old one and it wouldn't take. It frustrates me that I got only 19 months of life on the first one, but it was still worth it. And blowing $400 on a 405 didn't suit my fancy.

So I broke out the "new" Garmin and saddled up for a 21-miler today. This after 29 miles earlier in the week, including a nice 4x1200 workout on Wed.

This 21-mile run was important since Green Bay is three weeks off, and I wanted to build some confidence that I am in decent shape to at least have a crack at a PR.

It was a strange week of running, in that I have found it slightly more difficult to get my mileage up into the 50's as I did in the winter. I am not sure if I am recovering as rapidly from some of these runs. I nearly bonked during my 10-miler on Friday. These 8k and 10k races seem to drain me for a couple of days after.

So today's run was a success. Based on this run, which was a 7:20 pace and a strong final push, I suppose I am am prepared to submit my entry to the Green Bay Marathon. I have to admit, however, I was feeling pretty much spent when I was done. I didn't leave much left in the tank. I guess when I average 6:50 for miles 19-21, that's to be expected.

Chalk up 50 for the week. I now begin another taper period - and wait, wait, wait for our little angel to arrive.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Cheering Boston from a Distance

So I was not in Hopkinton today. I was at my desk in Plainfield, Illinois. And our little bundle of joy has not arrived yet. Damn. I think I would have been landing just around now in Chicago back from Boston. Oh well, I know I made the right choice.

I had mixed emotions as I began obsessively tracking individual times on the website today.

I am inspired by some of the performances I saw through the splits on the computer screen, which I know tell very little of the Boston experience for my running friends.

For example, I was inspired by my friend Steve (who basically gave up on his blog), who came just short of his 2:49:59 goal by about 90 seconds - only to see Lance Armstrong gallup in a scant 34 seconds ahead of him. I "watched" a handful of others I know personally and through blogland on the race site. My heart was racing as I hit that refresh button every minute.

Congratulations to all of you that I tracked through Boston today. You know who you are: Jen, John K, Wayne, Chad and many others who I'm probably forgetting - or don't blog. I'll see you in Beantown next year - maybe with wife and baby in tow.

On Saturday, I came in 4th overall and won my age group at a local 10k race. I was quite upset I didn't break under 40 min and couldn't understand why my splits felt slow.

The course was a bit zaney with a lot of repeat loops and several hills in a local park. There were volunteers pointing directions at multiple turns and I am only guessing I went the right way.

Finally, the race director was forthcoming at the end and announced he think most of us ran long due to confusion on the race course on where to make certain turns. Oh well, it was a first time small race and at least I got a medal and a good workout. I guess it is a PR still, since my best race 10k recorded was a 41:52. So my 2008 P.R. streak is alive.

On an even more depressing note, my Forerunner 305 completely died during yesterday's 18 mile run. I must confess I'm a bit disappointed. It's not even two years old and it completely crashed. I cannot even revive it.

The new 405 is being released this month and is $399 with the HRM. Ouch. I can replace my 305 for $202 right now. Half the price. I think I will re-buy the 305. $400 is a lot on a technology gadget that has not been released and is still unproven.

Time to focus on Green Bay on May 18th - and get my wife to eat some spicy food to get this kid into the world!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

A New Beginning

I am now making it official. I am bowing out of Boston. I am simply unable to risk missing the birth of my first child to travel.

Actually, it's one of the best reasons in the world that I can imagine to miss heading to Boston. Can anyone think of a better reason? I think not.

I look forward to the time when I will tell the story to my daughter on how I was trained up for a sub-3 and how I sacrificed it all for her. OK, so that's slightly a stretch, but I am thinking 3:05 at least, right?

Jen is experiencing the occasional mild contraction and, as of this evening, is 2cm dialated. This means she could go tonight... or three weeks from now. It's like the weather, I guess.

I cannot put into words how wonderful my life is right now. I have a awesome wife, a wonderful home, a great career that intellectually challenges me and pays the bills - and my running which ties it all together for me. Now, enter our little beautiful miracle, which makes life even that much more unimaginably, undeservedly charmed.

Sure, it would have been nice to go to Boston and then have the baby. But that's OK. There is always next year. On the bright side, I look forward to bringing my little angel to Hopkinton next year to cheer me on at the start and greet me with special daddy kisses at the finish downtown.

For now, I will plan to run this 10k on Saturday in Aurora, IL -- assuming we do not head to the hospital by then. I will also adjust my training toward the Green Bay Marathon on May 18th.

I read the first couple chapters of The Runner's Guide to the Meaning of Life last night. Amby Burfoot talks about the beauty of new beginnings as one of the wonderful gifts that running offers to us.

He's spot on. That starting line is new every single day, and some are more significant than others. This is one my very significant, new beginnings. I am so proud and fortunate to be at this place.

And I am still planning to run that sub-3 at St. George in October, with my parents, wife and baby girl rooting me on. Sweet.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Bracing for a Boston-less baby bash!

Today is Monday, April 14, 2008. I am t-minus who knows what from becoming a father.

I put in an unusually paltry 35 miles this past week. 35 miles doesn't seem like a lot in a week relative to my usual weeks.

However, one must bear in mind that I had a very busy week of travel, meetings -- and even attended an event in support of this honorable charity at a Times Square hotel where this ground-breaking, media mogul spoke a few words. I'm quick to self-criticize lest I forget I banged out runs of 20 and 16 last week.

All of this low mileage was planned, mind you even further, since, technically speaking, I am in taper. Yes, I am registered for the granddaddy of all marathons which is to be run exactly one week from today.

In the spirit of reality checking, I do not think I will be boarding my flight toward New England this weekend. It's a hard pill to swallow - with a killer PR set back in February and some steady running ever since.

We must all consider that there is a larger and more life-altering experience in the making - to which virtually all child-bearing women in the world would boast with disgust: "How could you even think of boarding that plane on Saturday?!" We're still two weeks out from the due date come this weekend, but there's no consolation to be found anywhere if I lose this gamble.

I've laid out a "Plan B" (i.e. for BABY!) for when I officially come to terms with canceling my trip to Boston, which is currently set for Saturday. Again, I've not made this call - but I am slowly realising (yes, English spelling intended) that this will be the honorable, wise and ultimately "right" choice.

With Boston 2008 dreams dashed, and a new found and far more impactful miracle about to enter my life, my next challenge might be to enter this marathon, which will invite the new challenges of sleep deprivation and a new, far more meaningful inspiration for my next PR.

On another exciting note, if I "win" two marathon lotteries this year (which bring about as much wealth as ... ?), I could potentially be 20% complete with the 50 in 50 challange. Only 40 to go at age 33? NO PROBLEM!

Monday, April 07, 2008

Preparing for running daddyhood

I ran 54 miles this week and proved to myself that I am in very strong marathon shape. However, there is still a great deal of uncertainty than I will head to Boston.

I have to admit that I was a bit dejected on Monday afternoon when I bonked when trying to run a 20-miler. Apparently, I was more spent from Sunday’s 8k race that I realized.

Here’s what went down: I left work earlier to go to Springbrook Prairie and start my 20-miler by 4:30 PM. I was spent by the fourth mile and cut back to recovery pace. I was smart enough to call it quits after 6. It was the low point of the week and I channeled that frustration in to a first for me.

I rested up on Tuesday and vowed to redeem myself by attempting something I never had in the past: Doing a 20-miler before a full workday. This required meticulous planning.

On Wednesday, I rose at 4:30 AM and hit the pavement by 5:00 AM. I banged out a solid 20-miler before work and made it into the office by 8:15 AM. How many can say they’ve done that?

This weekend brought loads of friends and family to celebrate J’s baby shower. Even with all the fun, chaos of hosting 6 adult guests and my 20-month niece at our house, I squeezed in 28 miles over the weekend.

Friday was a fun fartlek, which included 1.5 miles at 5k race pace and the final two at MP of about 7:05.

On Sunday, I crushed 16 at the Morton Arboretum in the beautiful 60-degree weather. It was a great run. Most encouraging was that I ran a 7:18 avg pace and held an average heart rate of 151. That’s a substantially lower HR than I have ever seen for this kind of pace running through the hills.

I am keeping Boston as a possibility but am keeping our pregnancy as priority #1. J had a dr. appt earlier this week and the initial prognosis is that she is ahead of her May 5 due date. She has another appt this week with her primary doc, which we hope will really tell us if she is ahead of schedule.

Recap of March 31 week

Mon – 6 miles at 8:04 avg pace – bonked on failed 20 mi attempt
Tue – Rest
Wed – 20 miles – 7:27 avg
Thu – Rest
Fri – 7 miles – Fartlek – 1.5 mi at 6:03 avg pace – final 2 at 7:07 pace
Sat – 5 recovery – 8:36 avg paceSun – 16 miles at Morton Arboretum – 7:18 / 151 avg HR