Saturday, June 30

Chicago Dreaming

One minute goes fast. -- Kelly Clarkson, My December album

Sure, but do 14 weeks? In case you haven't already heard a hundred times, I, rslight, am training for my first marathon at the Oct. 7 Chicago Marathon. I wonder if other people who prepare for their first marathon get as obsessed and goofy about it as I have.

I've got my Chicago maps. Chicago travel books. Like a total nerd, I've made notations of where water stations, entertainment, etc. are along the course. I'm reading novels about Chicago. Slap me if I start listening to the band Chicago.

At church this week my pastor gave a sermon about how one's main focus should be on God, and then on lost souls. Or something like that. My thoughts kept wandering to what that Chicago crowd will look like.
My singles Sunday school class has a sheet to sign for prayer requests. There are many serious requests. Some people need jobs. Others have relatives with varying illnesses.
What did I put? I asked for prayer to avoid injury during my Chicago Marathon training. That's right. I had the most selfish prayer request in the class. But hey, if you're a religious person, I really could use the prayer, or at least nice wishes if you're not.

My main challenge is surviving stress at work during the next three months. Sometimes I feel like my job is the marathon and running 26.2 miles is just something fun I'm doing on the side.
After a particularly tough day, I was heartened after receiving a mass e-mail from Chicago Marathon Executive Race Director Carey Pinkowski.
Carey said: "My advice to you over the course of the next few months is to maintain your focus, be patient and remember that it is not going to be one or two training runs that will bring you to your goal, but the collective effort over many weeks that builds success.
"The challenge will be making it to the start line. If you can do that, you will be in for one of the great experiences of your life. The city of Chicago will be waiting to cheer you on and recognize your will and dedication. Train smart and good luck."

Friday, June 29

Rabbits and turtles and squirrels, oh my!

Last night I set my alarm clock for 5:30 in hopes of getting out the door early and running at the nature center. After only hitting snooze a few times, I was on my way.

It was supposed to be a tough workout run before the sun got out too high and too hot. I'm torn. It was tough, but I'm not sure it was as tough as I'd hoped.
As Paul Tergat says, "Ask yourself, can I give more? Usually the answer is yes."
Yes, I could have given more today. I know I could have. Interesting how I read in Runner's World how perceived effort almost never matches actual effort when it's hot outside.

Anyhow, it was nice because the trees formed such a complete canopy for most of the run. And I saw so much wildlife. I've been seeing a lot of rabbits lately, but today I also saw turtles. Were they racing? I don't know. Squirrels tended to dart around quite a bit also. There was one bird I started chasing. I think it was a turkey or something similar. Actually I wasn't chasing it until it started running in a straight line in front of me. And clearly it was running from me and it's head was bobbing up and down in a cute way. Well that made it a chase because I wanted to see if I could catch it.

This is not generally a good idea.

I say that because at one point I ran into the side of a bridge because I was watching the bird instead of watching the trail. I was closing in on the bird when it decided to run off the trail and hide. If I could have communicated with the bird, I would have told it that I wasn't a hunter. Oh well.

Thursday, June 28

My Second 5K

You may just wake up one Saturday morning and decide it will be fun to run a 5K race. Not me. A 5K is not a leisurely morning stroll for me. It is quite a BIG deal. So big that I debated about it before signing up. And I signed up three weeks before the race.

Yes, I will run the "Girls Just Wanna Run" race on July 21 at Phelps Grove Park (Favorable factors include a course two blocks away from my home and no guys running), and I plan to train for this 5K. My goal is to beat my previous time, but I think if I run just as fast (or as slow), it'll be just fine because the weather conditions will be harsher.

And I DO need some advice. Since my first two miles usually are miserable, should I run some distance before the race?

Wednesday, June 27

Wonderful run today

It was a good run today.

As I started out it was muggy and humid, but not too hot. Can't complain with that. I had a bottle full of Gatorade but I didn't really need it.

I was at the Galloway Creek trail and set out for the 4 mile marker. It was to be an out and back run, 8 miles total.

Somewhere just after mile 5 I saw two girls running and thought I'd be able to catch up to them. As I got a little closer, I noticed they were running with dogs and I knew if they were running as far as I was running I would pass them.

Alas, it wasn't to be. The skies opened up and they sped up as the rain started falling harder. I still would have passed them, but they were in the parking lot at mile 6 and I had two more miles to go.

I did pass one woman who said, "This is actually refreshing." Of course it's refreshing. I love running in the rain. But not the lightning. I hoped the lightning bugs I saw would be as electric as it got.

I tried to pick it up, but I was running without a watch so it's a little hard to say how much faster I got if any.

One thing I'll remember though. There's a spot where the trail goes under Battlefield Road and a big sign that says don't enter if there's high water. Well I couldn't see any high water but I did see water falling off the road. Running through their was like running through a waterfall. Before I got to that point, there may have been dry spots on my body. Afterwards I was completely wet. And I loved it.

I passed a few more people in both directions enjoying the rain also. And I got passed by people on bicycles.

At one point, I thought about doubling back and doing the first mile again for a 10-mile run. ("If I feel good then I fun faster no matter what the session. Don't waste good training time - if you feel good then run hard!" - John Ngugi) I was thinking, if you feel good, run longer. But after the last hill on the trail, I decided I was just going to try to run hard, not longer than planned today.

And there was no lightning, so I'm very happy with today's results.

Quote of the day

So I'm driving home after a relatively hard 8-mile run. Listening to the radio I hear an interview npr with the author of "And his Lovely Wife." Her name is Connie Schultz, not the last name of her lovely husband.

In one of her explanations of why she didn't change her name, she talked about how her parents died in their 60s, blue-collar folks, who worked hard all their lives. "They wore down their bodies so their children wouldn't have to," she said. And does the rest of it really matter? They raised four children who were somebodies and she loved her name.

But that sentence about parents who wore down their bodies so their children wouldn't have to was really moving.

It also made me wonder if I was breaking down my body. After that 8-mile run. But then, is it better to burn out than it is to fade away?

At one point during my run, the thought of overtraining floated through my mind. I bought some new shoes today. ( Mizuno Wave Nirvana). So anyhow, I mentioned to the lady in the store how MS says once he started running 50 mile weeks, his speed improved dramatically.

She said whenever she trains that much, she just wants to sleep and eat. Yeah, I have been tired lately. But then she said if you keep it up, your body adjusts.

My goal, again, is to average 40 mile weeks (at least) for the next couple of months as I prepare for the Twin Cities Marathon. That quality training will be me confidence to go out and run my hardest for the 26.2. We'll see how it goes.

Sunday, June 24

My own running mojo

When I, rslight, was a kid growing up in Dallas, I spent many Friday nights (and some Saturday nights) watching one of the greatest sporting events in the world -- Texas high school football. My grandfather was a referee and I got into games at no charge.
Odessa Permian Panthers were among my favorites years before they became national darlings through "Friday Night Lights." In the 1980s they were the best. The boys in black didn't just beat other playoff teams. They punished them with scores like 56-6. Fans chanted "mojo" during the annihilations.

Permian did one extremely arrogant thing I'll never forget. I was in the 15-0 Permian crowd when the Panthers played 13-2 San Antonio Marshall for the state championship at Texas Stadium. San Antonio had a very talented and frightening running back with wild hair named Carlos Reza. My fuzzy memory imagines him with spiked hair or a mohawk. Maybe both. Either way he was scary.
Did Permian fret? No. Instead the booster club sold shirts declaring Permian state champs before the game even started. And they won big! I couldn't believe the bravado.

I just mention all that because I surprisingly found some mojo of my own this past week. I knew I could beat my 10K PR of 1:03:38 at Saturday's Aldersgate 10K at Nixa MO and boasted about it before the race. I know that's arrogant, but it pumped me up. I was excited about Aldersgate all week because I wanted to back up my words with actions.
I guess you could say I wanted to put my feet where my mouth was (chuckle, guffaw).

Enjoy it while you can

Today I ran 12 miles, starting at 8:30. Whew. It was hot. I ran out of gatorade. I survived. And I wasn't too far off a decent pace. Did I mention it was humid too?

Then I found a nice refreshing story on the internet. Dick Westerlund just won his age group at the Grandma's Marathon in Duluth. He didn't even know it until looking in the paper the next day. His time: 4 hours, 21 minutes. His age group: 70 and up.

An excerpt from the story :

Westerlund's time at Grandmas Marathon qualifies him to run the Boston Marathon, a race which he has never done.

But someday.

"I'm waiting for my running partners (Larry Pederson and Fred Woolman) to qualify, too, and then we'll run Boston together.

"It wouldn't be right to run it myself. We're not spring chickens anymore; we've run together for a long time but it would really be fun to run Boston with them.''

In the meantime, he'll keep running locally, and dominating his age division.

"One year I'm golden,'' he said. "Next year I'll be 71 and somebody who just turned 70 will probably whip me.

"So enjoy it while you can.''

Now that's an inspiration.

Saturday, June 23

Toasty and swampy in Nixa

Well, it looks like at least half of the Poetic Feet squad was out at the Aldersgate race in Nixa this morning...though you'll only find two of us on the official finishers' lists. Tangerine took a little more, ah, "unofficial" approach to the race, but since there were a bunch of the Team in Training runners there doing the same, she sort of blended in with them in her shameful, shameful banditry. ;-)

I PR'ed, which is satisfying, but fell well short of my goal, which is a little unsatisfying. It's a two-loop course for the 10K, and I was pretty much on pace after the first lap, but with the cumulative effects of the 75F temps and the humidity I more or less wilted on the second lap. I was dumping cups of water on my head at the aid station like a marathoner, but it still didn't seem to cool me off that much.

I know RS obliterated his old PR, and tangerine was in the neighborhood of her Route 66 mark on the 5K, which was on a much cooler day. So it looks like there was improvement all around.

I guess I can consider this a trial run for the Hot n Hilly later this least the hot part, anyway.

By the way, if you ever have the chance to see RS close out a race when there's something up for grabs (either holding off other runners or, like today, getting in under 54 minutes), I highly recommend it. He's got quite a finishing kick, and he gets a look of intensity on his face that would freeze a pot of boiling water. When RS pulls out all the stops, you can really tell it.

12 miles tomorrow

Today was a good day for the Poetic Feet troop to go running. At least as far as I know. Danny and I got in a pretty decent workout on some tough hills at the Nature Center. About the time we started, Rslight and MS were finishing up the Aldersgate 10K.

MS finished fourth with a time of 40:57. Rslight earned the pr he predicted in a time of 53:50. This made me curious as to what my 10K pr is. The answer: 53:58.

And as I type this my legs feel tired. I guess that's the way it goes. I'm getting a nap and a good night's sleep sometime soon.

I went to the Professional Massage Training Center on Monday. I've been thinking lately that I'm going to go seek out a more specific sports massage.

This has been some week. That's for sure. 12 miles tomorrow. We'll see how it goes. Hopefully it won't feel too, too hot. 14 miles last Sunday. 12 miles tomorrow. 16 miles next Sunday. The training continues.

Thursday, June 21

Sure Thing

If Saturday's Aldersgate 10K in Nixa MO were a nationally televised event, you could rush to Las Vegas and bet everything on rslight getting a PR.
Wager the whole 401(K) and prepare to live like a Hilton. My Aldersgate PR will be my fourth PR for June. Very sweet.

You're wondering how rslight could be this arrogant or delusional. Has he bribed the race organizers? Is he on performance-enhancing drugs? Is he using roller shoes?
No. I'll set a 10K PR because my previous one was a (insert your own expletive) 1:03:38 set at December's Run for the Ranch. That was my first 10K. It was also the first time I ever ran as far as 6 miles in my life.

Last Saturday I finished Wimpy's 8K in 41:05. If I go that fast at Aldersgate, I will have more than 20 minutes to run the remaining 1.2 miles.
It's time to make the magic happen.

Motivational quote of the day movie trivia

Today's quote of the day is inspired by a a story I read on a Chicago Tribune blog about the American Film Insitute's 100 best movies list.

A long time ago for a very short time, I was a film major. Thus, if prompted any number of movie quotes might pop into my head.

Here's the one that came after reading that aforementioned article:

Dreaming won't get you to Damascus, but discipline will.

For pride and motivation next time you're having trouble getting out the door, name that film.

So I'm here

I've been mostly lurking, but after tangerine took the plunge and signed up, I suppose I couldn't resist. I've commented from time to time on others' posts, but I'll try to post some updates of my own now and again instead of merely reacting to everyone else's.

That said, it's good to be here officially, and I'm looking forward to this fall's Twin Cities Marathon. Based on his times and recent improvement, I wouldn't be surprised if bl finishes there a good deal closer to me than his 1-hour goal. After a hot, sweaty summer of long runs in the Missouri humidity, a marathon on a cool fall morning in Minnesota will feel good by comparison.

I think I'm going to try the 10K in Nixa this weekend; it's been something like 8 or 9 months since I last ran a 10K, so I'll probably get a PR out of it, at least. I have a goal in mind, but whether I hit it will depend on the weather and how my legs are doing. Three weeks removed from the marathon in California they don't feel bad, but I've also only done one run longer than 5 miles in that whole time as well. So we'll see.

Wednesday, June 20

Muhammad Ali

Here's something that popped up in my e-mail today.


On June 20, 1967, boxer Muhammad Ali was convicted in Houston of violating Selective Service laws by refusing to be drafted. The conviction was later overturned by the Supreme Court.

If that makes you want to read my slam poem on Ali, here's a link

Upcoming races

Well, my legs definitely feel like I'm training for a marathon. I guess that's a good thing. I ran 7 fairly hilly miles this morning and had a great workout.

I'm going to do a few races over the new few months but my ultimate goal is to finish strong on Oct. 7 in St. Paul. I'd like to finish less than an hour after new blog contributor MS.

However, I am planning on a few races between now and then. Here's where you should be able to find me:

July 4 - Beat the Heat 2 Miler. (My little brother from Big Brothers Big Sisters will likely also run this race.)

July 14 - Pricecutter Charity Y Not Run 10K - a challenging hilly course.

Aug. 25 - Hot'n'Hilly Powerhouse Run 10K - another challenging hilly course.

(The nice thing about these 10ks is I can call them good workouts and tell you that I'm not concerned about my time because the courses are so hilly. It's true and at the same time not true. But it should be a chance to relax and run some hills. )

Sept. 1 - SPIN 5K - a race not far from my house where I plan to run a 21 minute 5K.

Oct. 7 - The Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon.

I'll see you on the roads.

Tuesday, June 19

Classic poetic feet - longest run ever

I think sometimes about how this blog has changed since I started it. Back in the beginning, I wanted to run a marathon. Heck, I wanted to run a half-marathon.
Way back then, I weighed a solid 20 pounds more than I do now.
And inspired a bit by my blogging friends, who no longer blog regularly, the early posts were a bit longer.
So, I've decided to dip into the archives and pull out a post from a month before my first half-marathon.
I do this partially because we have so many new readers who weren't around back then.

This weekend I had what was almost definitely my longest run ever. I probably went at least 13.1 miles.

The only problem is I'm not completely sure. It may have been even longer.

Here's what I did. I went to visit my little brother in big brothers big sisters. I got to tell you it's a great program.

Anyway, I called my little brother's mom to tell her I'd be literally running over to pick him up and then the two of us would go for a job.

"Are you crazy?" she said. "Do you know how far away I live? You'll have a heart attack."

"No, I'm not crazy," I replied. "I know pretty much exactly how far away you live. About 5.5 miles and I ran 6 miles just last Sunday. I've run 10 miles once before and so it won't be a problem. I'll be there in about an hour."

About an hour is kind of slow I know, but I didn't want to over do it since I wanted to make sure I had enough gas in the tank to get back home.

There's a trail behind my little brother's house and so we ran to the park which is at least a little over a half a mile. What a run, my little brother lives just west of a street called Golden and the park is just east of a street called Scenic. The trail took a beautiful winding path along a creek through the woods. It's a little over a half mile running from Golden to Scenic.
Unfortunately, little bro at just 10 felt the need to stop a couple of times and say how tired he was. Fine. At the park we ran around the big lake there and then ran back.
On the way back I did some good talking at one point about how my little brother is going to be a great football player because he runs when he's tired. And when he's really tired he knows that is the time to keep going and just keep the legs moving and not stop and not stop and keep going because that's how he'll be incredibly strong and bust through tackles. And yeah. Hoo-hah.
I could have been a drill sergeant.
Anyway, it was running and walking when I was with the little bro, but it was fun and my talking helped him keep going for a while too.
Anyway, I ran all the way home and I'm just happy I made it. More speedwork comes soon.

I knew I wasn't going to have a heart attack, but I think it's time to buy some new shoes.

Monday, June 18

A new runner, a new writer

OK. I'm not new to writing, but I am new to running, or committing to running, to be more precise.

Thanks to BL to let me share my running stories that, I hope, will lead to my first half marathon this November in this fine city. My blogs won't be as eloquent as BL's posts or as humorous as RS', but they will offer some personal perspectives as I train for my first long-distance run. I am not good at self-discipline, so the forum will help.

I am training with Mo, a coworker, who is as fast (or slow) as I am. We're going to take it easy but gradually build up to 13.1 miles, which I am sure many of you have accomplished countless times. So, it can be done, as I tell myself.

Sunday, June 17

Quote of the day

"It's easy to have faith in yourself and have discipline when you're a winner, when you're number one. What you got to have is faith and discipline when you're not a winner." - Vince Lomberdi

Saturday, June 16

Marathon song

I, RS, have neglected an important decision four weeks into my 20-week marathon training. I need to select rslight's official 2007 Chicago Marathon training song.

I really like "Resolve" by Foo Fighters. However, it is difficult to resist "Let's Get It Started" by Black Eyed Peas.

I've already adopted my official 2007 Chicago Marathon training motto. It comes from the recent film 300, which I loved. Prepare for glory!

So close...

So close but yet so far. Sigh.

I ran my second 8K today. I'm a little disappointed in my ... performance. I also wrote in my time, but that's not really true. Time is just a reflection of performance. (My somewhat arbitrary time goal was 40 minutes, but mostly I just wanted to run fast, wanted to feel like I ran fast.)

In the last mile of this just under 5 mile race, I just couldn't go as fast as I wanted to. Maybe I was focusing too much on other runners and not enough on myself. There was the runner on my heels who eventually overtook me. There were the runners in front of me who I couldn't catch.

It was an out and back course and on the way back I passed two runners and then I was passed by one of them in the last half mile of the race. I wanted to pass more people though. I just couldn't get the speed I felt I could. If I felt like I couldn't run any faster, that would be one thing, but I know I can. I can feel it.

My time today was 41:32. In my previous 8K I ran 43:19.

So when I got home, I slipped over to the Y and I ran a mile in 6:59 on the treadmill. It was hard, but I need more hard miles and shorter runs.

Yesterday I wanted to do a quick run and did a two mile jaunt to Jordan Creek and back. Somewhere with about a half mile left, a black guy on the sidewalk said, "Open it up some. Open it up."

I tried. I got a little faster. But next time I'm going to try harder.

So close, but yet so far.

My friend Ryan ran a good race. I don't remember his exact time but it was about 30 seconds faster than me. Congrats.

Thursday, June 14

Swimming Manhattan

I just read an article this morning about a different kind of marathon - a 28.5 mile swim around the island of Manhattan.
For the average swimmer, it takes 9 hours. Amazing.
Here's an excerpt from the story:
When the marathon swim began in 1982 (a revival of an event popular in the 1920s), it had only 12 swimmers. Nearly 90 are registered this year, and they range in age from 18 to 76. Many live in the New York area, but others arrive from throughout the country and the world — including participants from Italy, Guatemala, Australia and Japan.

“It’s like applying to college,” said Morty Berger, the founder of the Manhattan Island Foundation, which organizes the annual race. Manhattan Island Marathon Swim hopefuls must complete an online application, submit an essay about why they want to be part of the race and pay a fee of $1,285. Because the race can last more than nine hours, contenders must also complete a qualifying swim to show they have the stamina. Still, Berger said, “We’ll never be able to satisfy the demand.”

Tuesday, June 12

Kenyan outbacks

I tried to do a workout today I heard of called Kenyan outbacks. It's relatively simple. Run an out and back course, running the back part of the course faster than you ran the out part. It's helps the body get used to running negative splits, running faster when you're tired.

I added my own little wrinkle. The out part of my course had a significant downhill so I'd be running back uphill.

I suppose it went OK for the first time I tried this particular workout. I threw a little curve into my route and I'm not sure I had an exact course to measure myself by. Plus, I think the second two miles were slower than the first two miles. So when I got back to my starting point I jumped on a treadmill and ran two miles at a pace definitely faster than the previous four.

The most frustrating part is that I know I could have run a bit harder but I didn't feel very loose. All in all though, six hard miles.

Happy trails.

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Monday, June 11

A breathtakingly beautiful run

Last week was a long week. So, no long run. In fact, no running at all.

Which didn't go very far towards making it a better week. If there hadn't been yoga and sailing, it would have been a terrible week. As it was, it was just very long.

Today, though, was a really good run. I'd made plans to run with a friend at 8:30, since it's finals week and we didn't need to be anywhere at 9. (Or so we thought. Turns out one of us did. Oops.) Plus, I was pretty tired after last week, so the idea of getting up any earlier just wasn't appealing. Plus, high tide was at 7:45.

I woke up this morning with my phone ringing, and my alarm clock blaring--as it must have been doing for the previous 30 minutes. My friend was outside, waiting for me. By 8:45, we were on our way to the beach. Despite the late hour, no one was manning the entry gate, so we went in for free.

We parked in a different spot than usual. By that, I mean that we parked further north than she had ever been in that park, and where I've only gone a handful of times. Instead of a dirt path to the beach, we ran along a wooden walkway. At the top of the cliff, the path breaks away, and becomes a dirt path as it winds along the very edge of the cliff, instead of immediately descending to the sand. Breathtakingly beautiful, even with June gloom.

Eventually, the path turns to a set of awkwardly spaced log and wire steps. We walked those, then ran north on the beach. My friend had never been there before. I'd never thought to ask her to run there, mainly because the beach isn't as nice to run on there--it's at a steeper angle, which is something to keep in mind when you're running on sand. Since the tide was just past high, though, we had some nicely packed sand. Still, our feet and ankles had very complete workouts--everything from the knee down was exhausted for the rest of the day, from stabilizing us in the sand.

We turned around where the cliffs extend to the water--going further requires getting wet, doing some rock climbing, and trespassing on a private beach. I've done all three before, but it's not the way to get in a good run. We turned back, passed our point of entry, and passed it, slowing to work our way over some wet rocks that break up the sand at one point.

From there to our turnaround point, it was a simply amazing run. The beach is at a very low angle to the water, so there was plenty of room on the newly packed wet sand. The sun was up, but obscured by a fairly light marine layer, keeping us cool. The light cloud layer also made the light especially nice, the kind of soft lighting that professional photographers create through a myriad of artificial means. The tide was going out, so the waves were small, and creating the light sounds that people record for white noise machines... the pale imitations. Just one sailboat a mile or so off shore, coming toward the harbor. Tourists from the rental bungalows all within about 50 yards of their rentals, taking photos of children with buckets, entire families trailing around with each other. No dolphins showing off, but pelicans doing their delicate dances of riding the winds along the cliffs and the crests of waves. A practically perfect run in every way.

I could have done without stepping on the very edge of a shell filled with water, though. It flipped up and tossed all the water on my sock and shoe--not enough water to make a big difference, though. L didn't understand at first when I said what happened, but then it happened to her, too. There were also a couple of blisters from bad planning with my shoes. Still, a very relaxing run. Even the clamber back up the stairs at the end was fun.


Fixing the church bingo

I came across an interesting lead to a story about a drug testing policy at Grandma's Marathon in Duluth from a Minneapolis newspaper

The news seemed shocking at first, like finding out the church's bingo games were fixed or hearing that the sweet old lady next door was growing cannabis in the basement. The women's winner of the 2006 Grandma's Marathon had been unmasked as a drug cheat.

Nice to see a writer put so much energy into what could have been a boring, straightforward news article.

Sunday, June 10

Busiek adventure

Today's long run was tough, although in some ways it was also easy compared to what we've experienced in recent weeks. It was definitely a wee bit easier on the body because we were running on unpaved trails. However, these were steep unpaved trails. At times it seems like it was a 45 degree angle straight up. We walked that hill.

Still, I got a great workout and my heart rate was well elevated for two hours, just as it had been in recent weeks. After last week's near half-marathon pr, this was the change of pace that I needed. And it was nice that my car was situated near where we were running so that I could rehydrate effectively. The bad part was that we got lost and had no idea how to get off the nighmare roller coaster loop we were running and back to the car.

Did I mention we also had a couple of knee-deep river crossings to contend with. It seemed worse than it was. Actually it was refreshing to step into the water, the cool, cool water.

I definitely recommend Busiek State Forest for some good hard training to take you off the roads. Don't run for distance though. Run for time and effort. And your effort will be quality, I guarantee it. Without a quality effort, you won't make it back to your car.

And I swear I wasn't that dehydrated afterwards. So I don't know how to explain the guy who asked me for a quarter as I was walking back home from Quizno's. I mean this homeless looking guy asked for a quarter, but he didn't just ask for a quarter. He said he needed a quarter (parental discretion advised) to get his "old lady's tits out of the pawn shop." Really that's what he said.

The Power of Believing

I just finished reading a a fascinating story headlined "The Power of Believing." It's probably about as well written as anything you'll find in The Winfield Daily Courier.

It's about Michelle Adler, a woman from Winfield, Kansas who was trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon. It really picked up when the writer describes Adler trying to keep going after hitting the wall. Not to mention the mysterious lady in blue.

Here's an excerpt:
"Mentally, I tried to run faster, but it didn't feel like I was going faster," Michelle said. At mile 25, she realized she had only about 9 minutes to finish the last 1.2 miles.

"In my mind, I thought, 'I can't do it,' and I don't remember saying it out loud," said Michelle, "but I must have." Suddenly a lady in blue ran up along side her and asked, "What are you trying to do?"

Michelle answered her, "Qualify for Boston. I need 3:45."

The lady replied, "You can do it, but you need to run faster."

"I'm sure I got this shocked look on my face, or maybe really irritated because I felt it was obvious I was giving everything I had," said Michelle. But she kept running.

According to Michelle, a few minutes later, the same lady appeared beside her again and said, "You can make it, but you must run faster, NOW!"

"Something kind of clicked at that point," said Michelle. "I made a mental choice to try to run harder and faster, to give it everything, even if I missed qualifying by only few seconds."

So did she run fast enough? Click here to find out.

Talky runner

The faster that I, RS, become, the more I start talking to myself during races. Out loud.

I'll often whisper, "come on, come on," during the final minutes of a race. If I'm really gunning it halfway through, I'll whisper, "slow down, slow down," although my body doesn't obey. I might whimper, "Aw, man," when I encounter a steep hill (one I have yet to make friends with).

I hope this isn't disturbing other runners. Does anyone find this inappropriate behavior?

I fear I'm approaching racing like I approach roller coasters. As a kid I was scared of roller coasters. When I became a Six Flags Over Texas ride operator as a teenager, I had to ride roller coasters as part of my job. The only way I can get through a roller coaster ride is by screaming. Before, during and after the ride. It gives me something to do with my fear and anxiety.

I guess my point is that it is difficult to run hard and fast in a calm and quiet fashion.

Bad Squirrel Run

The streak for me, RS, died yesterday in Marionville MO. I failed to get a 5K PR for the fourth consecutive weekend at the second annual Running of the Squirrels. My time was 24:20.
I'm not sure what went wrong. I thought I had really gunned it.

My friend Mark, a two-time Boston Marathon qualifier who finished in 19 minutes, kindly waited five minutes to cheer me on as I approached the finish line. When it was in sight, I heard him yell: "Two women are behind you. Start sprinting!"

I never look behind me during races, and you might as well have told me that Osama bin Laden was behind me. Or Paris Hilton. Although I doubt either one of them are good runners.
I pumped my legs like crazy those last seconds.

Next weekend I have a modest goal of trying to beat my 8K PR of 44:29 at Wimpy's Double. The old PR was set at an inexplicably snowy April Panera Bread run, so it will be interesting to see if warmer weather gives me a few less seconds.

Saturday, June 9

No racing today - hill training

I had a couple of friends drive out to Marionville this morning for the 5K Running of the Squirrels. No report from teh yet.
At the time the race started, I was rolling out of bed determined to head to the trails and work out there. The earlier the better, right? Well, I think I got there too late in the day or I hadn't run on trails recently enough because it sure took a lot out of me. And on top of everything else, the trail was overgrown in some spots, had trees over it or in other spots it had rivers of mud.
It was a stressful week and I didn't eat particularly well yesterday. It's a good thing I didn't go racing.
But after about 50 minutes in the maze that is the Sac River Trails, I headed out to the huge hill nearby for four repeats. I used to go halfway up the hill but now I'm going all the way. Yeah, I didn't race today but I had an incredibly tough workout.
Next week I'm heading to Willard for an 8K. I think I'll try to do the shakeout run three hours before race time as well. That worked fairly well last time.

Friday, June 8

Quote of the day - Walk Tall

"Like I said before, there are times when things don't lay the way they're supposed to lay. But regardless you're supposed to hold your head up high and walk tall. Walk tall." - Cannonball Adderley

Maybe that seems more appropriate for a golf blog. Maybe. But I've been thinking about that quote a lot lately and listening to the song that comes after it.

My friend Mike Brothers created a cd for me a year ago as I prepared to drive off for my first marathon. There were a lot of great songs on there, as well as one song I wouldn't call great, but that was definitely fun and appropriate called 26 miles by a group called Honky Tonk Chateau.

Anyhow, lately I've been listening to Cannonball Adderley's "Walk Tall" and trying to incorporate the message. It's something I always do, you know. Think positive. Stay focused. That's who I am.

Wednesday, June 6

Quote of the day

"It's a little like wrestling a gorilla. You don't quit when you're tired. You quit when the gorilla is tired." - Robert Strauss

I'm not exactly sure what Strauss was talking about, but a marathon can be like that too.


New Guiness World Record

Running a marathon is tough. Running a marathon into a strong headwind is even thougher. Running a marathon in under three hours? Still tougher.
But running a marathon while pushing a baby in a stroller into a strong headwind and setting the world record for fastest marathon run while pushing a stroller?
Some things you just can't make up.
This is what Michael Wardian did at the Fredrick (Md.) Marathon while pushing his 10-month old son. His time - 2 hours, 42 minutes and 21 seconds.

Here are some excerpts from the Q and A:

AC: Do you think your son was aware of what was happening during or after the race?
MW: I think that Pierce did have some idea that we were going for a long run but don't think he knew that we had set a World Record. He is only 10 months old.
AC: What was going through your mind during the race? Were you afraid that you might fall over and injure your son?
MW: My mind was focused on the task at hand, just like it always is during a race. I had mile goals and I was determined to hit them, even with the wind battering us. I was concerned that something could happen during the race and I wanted to make sure that Pierce was comfortable. But I was not more concerned than when we go to the store in the car, for a walk with the dogs, etc.

AC: Was that more difficult than running with a stroller or less difficult?
MW: I would say that the World Record with the stroller was more difficult because of the wind, the wind was very strong with gusts up to 35 mph.
AC: What's your favorite race that you've ever run? What's your least favorite race?
MW: My favorite race is always my next one, I love competing and being given the opportunity to test myself. My least favorite race is one when I don't perform up to the goals I have set for myself. However, these races when you fail are sometimes even more important than the races when you do well.

I like what he said about his favorite race. That's the way continuous running should be.

Tuesday, June 5

Adventures in goal setting

When I went to pick up my race number for last weekend's 5K, I also dropped off my registration for another race - Wimpy's 8K. It will be my second 8K race.

In the first one, almost a year ago now, I ran the race in 43:19, a pace of 8:44. I remember I had a friend pace me for that race so I could make sure to run at least 9 minute miles. Now this race is 11 days away. Should I simply take the goal I had last year and plan to run a minute per mile faster. Basically run the race 5 minutes faster in 38:19.

Is that too ambitious a goal or not ambitious enough?

Sprint timer

I ran four miles today to pick up my car from the Saturn dealership, where I'd left it to get the oil changed. I think this will be a relatively light week compared to the last few.

Anyhow, I used a feature on my watch I hadn't used while running before. I had previously considered the timer function something I could use when calculating my pulse and so I had it set for one minute. Today I used the timer function to measure one minute bursts of speed.

It was a good technique, but my bursts today weren't all that impressive to me. Oh well. Four miles run are better than four miles not run. I think I may need to schedule a massage.

Monday, June 4

Congrats to Mark

Congratulations to my friend Mark Schiefelbein who just finished his second marathon of the year in under three hours and 10 minutes.

This time it was the Rock'n'Roll marathon in San Diego in 3:09.37.

Two prs in two days?

So yesterday near the end of my weekly long run, my training partner Jim Evans asks me about my half-marathon pr.

I mention that it was 2:04 or 2:05 or something like that. (I just checked the website - it's actually 2:08:24) in the Rock'n'Roll Arizona Marathon.

And as I recall, that's pretty close to what I ran yesterday.

Except I hadn't planned on running - or racing - a half marathon yesterday. Just a good easy long run.

When Jim turned to me, he said I could probably get a pr if I finished the last 3.1 miles in under 28 minutes.

I replied that that would be nice, but it wasn't at the top of my list of priorities for Sunday's run.

However, what I've learned from Sunday's run is I have to drink more fluids more often. And also, I shouldn't combine a long run with other outdoor activities in the hot sun.

That's the purpose of a long run though, right? Learning how to drink and eat on the run and take care of the body.

All in all, a good weekend for run. And perhaps, two prs in two days. Though who's counting?

Saturday, June 2

Where am I?

I, RS, have some obvious but important advice for Poetic Feet readers. Know your directions.

I ran a 5K called Maple Ridge in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Memorial Day. Since I know my way around Tulsa like I know my way around Thailand, I carefully plotted my way to the 25th Street start line on the Internet.

The race was great. It had beautiful weather and went through an attractive, affluent neighborhood. I had a decent time (by RS standards) of 25:43. There were hills on the course, but that was no problem. RS makes friends with hills.

As I enjoyed my post-race chocolate bagel (Homer Simpson voice: Mmm ... chocolate bagel ...), I had a moment of panic. The finish line was different from the start. I had no clue where I was. Well, I knew I was on Owasso Street, but where the heck was that?
After wandering for what seemed like a half-marathon, I discovered the start was actually close to the finish. Maple Ridge has so many diagonal streets it seems like a labyrinth.

During my quest to exit the neighborhood, I heard the race director calling to departing runners: "Wait! Don't go! We have door prizes. And they are really nice door prizes!" I shrugged and thought, well, it is a rich neighborhood. Maybe they will give away a Bentley.
For the next several minutes I watched race volunteers distribute QuikTrip mugs. And no, I didn't win one.

PR times two

Not every post by me, RS, will be a boast about my PR.
But how can I resist mentioning I got two in one day?

I got an easy one (7:30) at the Cox Medical Mile because it was my first-ever one mile race.
Then I finished the Sifford Day at the Ballpark 5K in 23:53 to get a 5K PR.
Congrats to bl for also getting a PR of 23:20 there.
We'll have to hunt down those faster guys in our age group at a future race since they got the trophies we deserved.

Run like Lightning

Well, I had a good time at the Chris Sifford Day at the Ballpark 5K.

It rained the whole race, and somehow I had it in my head that they'd call the race off if there was lightning. Ha! I saw lightning, but I never saw nobody called the race off. Just fine with me.

I knew I'd get a PR and I did. They haven't posted the race results yet, but I got a 23-something.

I got up and did a little shakeout run three hours before the start and I know that helped some. But I also have this nagging feeling that I could have run faster.

For one thing, in the last mile or so of the race, my shoe came untied. (Double-knot I know, but my shoes never come untied.) This being a 5K there was no way I was stopping to tie my shoe. Anyhow, a good race.

And I think Ryan got a PR also. Congrats! Onward and upward.

It's naptime.

Philosophical not poetic

This morning I sat in my pickup and watched the start of a 5K race. I registered, traveled 20 miles, put on my bib number, and did short warm up but chose not to participate. After they were on their way I drove out of the parking lot and headed home with no regrets that I missed a race and forfeited time and an entry fee.

Every day we wake up to the reality that there is a probability we will be injured, get sick, or even die. I don’t live in a hole. I realize that we are required to take some risks to live a full life but I constantly play the odds, looking for ways to give myself an edge in the game.

I fear flying yet I know it is safer to travel by plane than by automobile so I will fly rather than drive on longer trips. It is safer to not smoke than to smoke, safer to exercise than not, safer to wear a seat belt than not, and safer to stay indoors during a storm than not. When a simple, otherwise inconsequential, decision can increase my odds of living a longer healthier life it is an easy choice.

I once had a conversation with Maynard Cohick about the risks of mountain climbing. He was a risk-taker. For him the pleasure he acquired from living on the edge outweighed the risk. My mother-in-law is adamant that life without cigarettes would not be worth living. I have a friend who will not give up the joy of eating to control his diabetes and clogged arteries. Each of us must make our own well-informed decisions balancing our physical and emotional well-being

This morning a thunderstorm was passing over and the race organizers made the decision to start the race as scheduled. I suppose the increased risk was minimal but sufficient for me to place my physical well-being above the social pressure to race. I hope my friends, who chose to run, were safe and finished well. I am proud of them for enduring the storm and hope they do not think less of me for opting out.

Friday, June 1


We've been a bit light on the poetry around here at Poetic Feet lately. I was reading in a book by Yehuda Amichai, one of my favorites, when I came across this earlier today and thought I'd share some.

And This is Your Glory


In my great silence and my small scream, I inspire
Mixed kinds. I was in water and I was in fire.
In Jerusalem and in Rome. I may get to Mecca, too.
But this time, God is hiding and Adam shouts Where are you.
And this is Your glory.

God lies on his back under the world. There
Somethings' always breaking down, needs repair.
I wanted to see Him, but I keep
Seeing only the soles of his shoes, and I weep.
And this is His glory.

Even the trees went off to choose a king.
A thousand times I started my life wondering.
At the end of the street, someone counts out flat:
That one and that one and that one and that
And this is Your glory.

Like an ancient torse with no legs and no arms,
Our life is more beautiful without heroic charms.
Remove my undershirt armor, yellow in the night,
I jousted with all the knights, till we switched off the light.
And this is my glory.

Put your mind at rest, your mind ran with me all the way,
Now it's tired, worthless, you might say.
I see you open the refrigerator, my girl,
Illuminated in the light of another world.
And this is my glory.
And this is His glory.
And this is Your glory.

Shake it out

So, I keep finding reasons to give this 5K tomorrow more importance. Someone special is coming to watch the race and while it would be silly to write that I'd like to impress her, I do. But she's a track coach and a pretty accomplished runner herself.

Anyhow, I digress.

Here's a link to a fascinating story I've been thinking about a lot lately. It's about shakeout runs.

Short runs of about 10 minutes done about three hours before the race. Since tomorrow's race is at 8:30, that means I'm setting my alarm clock for around 5.

Here are some excerpts from the article:

Deena Kastor is among the dedicated early risers. "It’s not the most pleasant thing to do, but it’s definitely helpful," she says....

...The good part is that your still-sleepy brain and body won’t have to struggle to perform anything strenuous. "It doesn’t have to be more than a very slow jog, interspersed with some stretching, and maybe a few easy strides at the end — just enough to get you up and going," says Kastor. The Hansons runners jog easily for just 10 minutes. "For a marathon, we’ll reduce that to maybe only five minutes," says Keith Hanson.

It's going to be a great race.