Sunday, September 30


I'm surprised nobody else has posted about this yet, but the world has a new marathon time record, as of yesterday.
BERLIN - Haile Gebrselassie took advantage of a perfect course and ideal conditions to set a world record at the Berlin Marathon. Gebrselassie raced through Berlin's flat and fast course to set his 25th world record in 2 hours, 4 minutes, 26 seconds. That lowered the time of his good friend Paul Tergat by 29 seconds.

From AP/Yahoo

Doing the math, I believe that is 4:48 miles for an entire 26.2. Wow. I will be more than satisfied if I can come within even an hour of his time next weekend in Minneapolis.

Friday, September 28

Bigger ain't always better

I think it's a fairly safe bet that out of all the running contributors here at Poetic Feet, I weight the most. Granted I've never seen KWK, but I'm pretty sure I outweigh him by at least 25 pounds.
Is my excess weight slowing me down? Most likely.
This comes from a recent New York Times story which also points out that being tall isn't all that great shakes either for a distance runner.
Here are some excerpts:

Tall people naturally have longer strides, but stride length, it turns out, does not determine speed. Running requires that you lift your body off the ground with each step, propelling yourself forward. The more you weigh, the harder you have to work to lift your body and the slower you will be.

The best runners are small and light, with slim legs. “If you have large legs, you have to move a big load,” Dr. Secher said. “The smaller you are, the better you are.”


The tallest elite marathoner today, Robert Cheruiyot, is 6-foot-2. But he weighs only 143 pounds. Most elite male marathoners, Dr. Joyner notes, are between 5-foot-7 and 5-foot-11 and weigh between 120 and 140 pounds. In distance running, he said, “you just don’t find many big people.”

Who knows? Maybe I'll take up rowing. I am fascinated by that sport. But the bottom line is I'm not trying to be an elite. I'm trying to be the best I can be... and have fun in the process.

Thursday, September 27

I won the poetry slam

I'd so much like to win a road race. I'd like to win. We'll see when and if that ever happens.

But once again, I won a poetry slam. I won the poetry slam tonight!

I'm competitive and I love to win.

I started out in the first round with my new poem, When did you stop believing? Or maybe I should just call it, The Santa Claus poem.

It was good enough to win.

On the mend

Injuries are no fun. Injuries weeks before are a marathon are less fun. I'll spare the reader the boring details, but suffice to say a couple of weeks ago something in my hip started hurting. I could run - sometimes with pain, sometimes with pain that only set in hours afterward and got fairly intense. Naturally, with three weeks to go to the Twin Cities marathon, there weren't many worse times for it to happen.

I decided the best approach was an aggressive one: a full week with almost no running, except one four-mile test run in the middle which didn't particularly agree with my hip. And since I couldn't figure out any cross-training exercises that don't involve using your hip (elliptical? nope. cycling? nope. swimming? nope.) I ended up sitting around doing nothing except stretching and icing.

Any runner will tell you that the taper is when you get yourself worked up in a nervous lather, questioning your training, stressing over your runs, eagerly anticipating the big day. I mean, just look at bl's recent posts. But spending a whole week of it inactive while nursing an injury made me go through all of that times about five.

Happily, I've resumed my regular schedule of taper running this week, and all seems to be back to fairly normal. I'm ditching the one or two remaining speed workouts I had left and just doing regular runs, and I'm not thrilled that I missed a 17-miler last weekend, but I guess it could be a lot worse.

My participant guide for the Twin Cities Marathon came in the mail today. It's getting close.

Poetry slam tonight

So, there's a poetry slam tonight. I wrote a new poem, but I'm not sure if it's ready.
Feel free to let me know what you think.

When, my friend,
When did you stop believing in Santa Claus?
When did Christmas change?
When did they say the North Pole is cold and lonely and no one cares about you?

Because for me, it never really took, those unbeliefs.

Haven’t you heard?
Jesus wasn’t born in December.
Haven’t you heard?
The 25th is not his birthday.
Haven’t you heard?
Santa is an anagram for Santa.
And Christmas is a hoax.
It’s a pagan festival, a Dionsyiun orgy,
coopted by the church.
Baptizing children in a frenzy of capitalism and lies.

But for me, it never really took, those unbeliefs.

Call me naive.
I believe in everything.
I believe in all of it.
I believe in Santa.
I believe in Bacchus.
I believe in Jesus.
I believe in Dionysus.
I bleieve in Kali and Kwannyin.
I believe in the seen and the unseen.
I believe in God and the gods
and their love of life and joy
and happiness and mashed avocados
and eggnog, whiskey, wine and beer.
Surprise parties and angels singing
and people rising from the dead,
waterfalls and pots of gold
and gourmet finger food
and God loves a good party.
My God always loves a good party.

For me, it never really took, those unbeliefs.

Rejoice and celebrate.
I believe that poets who live in glass houses
should dance naked.
I believe that poets should live in glass houses.
I believe in you and I believe in me.
I bathe in wishing wells,
dreaming about us.
All I want for Christmas is you.
All I want for Christmas is for you to believe.
All I want for Christmas is for you to scream out in joy.
to laugh and smile and dance.

I call upon the elves and their toys.
I call upon the angels of joy.
I call upon the reindeer and the snowmen.
I call upon Scrooge and the Grinch.
I call upon George Bailey and Tiny Tim.
I call upon Santa and Mrs. Claus, soaped up and making love in their hot tub.
I call upon Bacchus and Dionysus.
The ghosts of Christmas past, present and future are watching and hoping and wishing that you would be happy and filled with joy.

We have power over darkness. We have power over despair. We have power we have hope and our happiness comes from within.
It doesn't matter what they said. It matters what you believe. It matters that you believe.

All I’m asking for from Santa Claus, all I'm asking for this Christmas, is for you to believe in him, believe in you, believe in us. Believe in miracles and joy. My friend, don't stop believing.

Tuesday, September 25


From the Quad City Marathon, we find this story of inspired timing:
Stacy Kennedy's big day at the Quad City Marathon Sunday only got better once she reached the finish line.

The former Dubuque Senior cross country star won her age division and finished 10th overall among women with a finish of 3 hours, 25 minutes. Kennedy's time also qualified her for the Boston Marathon.

Kennedy's fiance, Wahlert graduate Tim Dougherty, proposed to Kennedy after she crossed the finish line. She said yes.


My horoscope for this coming week raises a most interesting question:

If forced to decide between being filthy rich and living with one's soulmate, 92 percent of the population would choose the big bucks.

Wow. What would you choose?

As for me, my astrologer has good faith in me. Here's how he continues with his missive:
I hope that's not your position, Virgo. In fact, I hope you're not the kind of person who would even agree to entertain a question like that. The fact is, you won't have to choose between love and money in the coming weeks, even if that initially seems to be the case. I urge you to hold out for both the $10 million AND the romantic bliss.

It's great to be a virgo.

Track splits

As posted previously, my 10K race on Saturday was a bit disappointing. It's never fun to feel like you're running in slow motion.

But I had a track workout that was good today. There was one thing bad about it. Just as I was getting to the track, I rolled my ankle. I was running and the sidewalk dropped off and, well, I did some icing tonight.

Enough about that. Let's talk about speed.

So tonight's workout was 4 400s with 400 rest followed by 10 minutes of easy jogging followed by 4 200s followed by 200 rest and recovery.

My splits for the 400s: 1:26 1:31 1:30 1:35.

Not bad if I do say so myself. I'd prefer the last one had been a little faster and I know that's mostly mental. On the 200s I had a different problem and it wasn't mental. Maybe it was partly mental. You see I lost my mind on the first 200.

Here are the 200 splits: 0:32 0:40 0:41 0:39.

The consistency of the last three would be admirable if I was running hard. But I don't really think I was. I was still recovering from the first 200 where, as I said previously, I lost my mind. I finished right beside two people in that first one who ran three more 200s in basically the same time as the first one. Meanwhile, well, I think I've caught my breath now.

Anyhow, the ideal workout would be to run each interval in the same pace. But I did also have a lot of fun tonight.

And isn't having fun what it's all about.

It reminds me how training can be a drag sometimes, but when you get to race day, there's all the hooplah.

12 days

Twelve days. Twelve days. Twelve days until the marathons on Oct. 7.

What more needs to be said? You can almost feel the excitement in the air.

Sunday, September 23

Where's the Clock?

Oops! ... I did it again -- Britney Spears

My (rslight's) eyes darted about wildly when I approached the finish line of Saturday's In Like a Lion 5K in Phelps Grove Park in Springfield. I didn't see a clock, which freaked me out. I didn't know how much to speed up, but I knew I ran the race strong and steady.
After I sprinted through a throng of cheering sorority ladies lining the finish, I doubled around to investigate where they put the dang clock. Was it on top of a truck? Inside a tent? On the ground but blocked by someone's feet?

Maybe it's a good thing there was no clock. I got a new 5K PR of 23:29. That is my fourth PR for September. I also had four PRs in June.

You're wondering if I got a fifth one at Sunday's MSU Strides for Cancer 5K at Greene Park in Springfield. Uh, no. That race started at 3 p.m. in the afternoon, and the heat really took a toll. I think my time was 25:32.
The heat must have also slowed other people. I finished eighth overall and won first place among the 30-something dudes. bl could have also garnered a medal and a MSU shirt if he were in it (everyone received a prize).

14 days

Two weeks from this moment, I should have finished my third marathon.

I ran 10 miles this morning and it was tougher than I expected. But I ran 20 miles last week.

I'm ready, I'm ready, I'm ready as I'll be. And hopefully that's ready enough.

Saturday, September 22

Slowing down?

I went to Monett today to run a 10K. I ran my slowest 10K of the year. Well, I can't find the results for the River Run. Maybe that was slower. Anyhow, I'm not sure how discouraged to be after this race.

I'll just rest now.

Friday, September 21

If you must think if

Doing more research for my column that I'm working on. I was reminded of this phrase:

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'

Think when, not if

I'm doing research for a column here at work when I came across an interesting blog, interesting at least to me. It's news and views from the rabbi of an Orlando shul.

The blog postthat caught my eye was about what the rabbi called "a rather extraordinary commandment" at the beginning of a week's torah portion.

Here's what the rabbi had to say:

This week’s Torah portion, Ki Tavo (Deut 26:1 - 29:8) begins with a rather extraordinary commandment, and one that contains interesting lessons for those who lead communities and organizations.

When you enter the land that the Lord your God is giving you as a heritage, and you possess it and settle in it, you shall take some of every first fruit of the soil, which you harvest from the land that the Lord your God is giving you, put it in a basket and go to the place where the Lord your God will choose to establish His name. You shall go to the kohen in charge at that time and say to him “I acknowledge this day before the Lord your God that I have entered the land that the Lord swore to our fathers to assign to us.”

The kohen shall take the basket from you hand and set it down in front of the altar of the Lord your God. You shall then recite as follows before the Lord your God: “My father was a wandering Aramean. He went down to Egypt with meager numbers and sojourned there; but there he became a great and very populous nation. The Egyptians dealt harshly with us and oppressed us; they imposed heavy labor upon us. We cried to the Lord, the God of our fathers, and the Lord heard our plea and saw our plight, our misery, and our oppression. The Lord freed us from Egypt by a might hand, by an outstretched arm and awesome power, by signs and portents. He brought us to this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey. Wherefore I now bring the first fruits of the soil which You, oh Lord, have given me.” (Deut. 26:1-10)

A little strange, isn’t it? Remember where this is being said: Moses has led the people out of Egypt, they have endured many trials and hardships, have wandered in the desert for forty years, and stand now on the other side of the Jordan River, preparing to enter into the Land of Israel. Remember, too, that Moses and the generation that came out of Egypt are condemned to perish in the Wilderness, not entering the Land. Remember further that there are many tribes and nations that currently make their home in this Land promised to the People Israel.

What strikes me as enduringly strange is how God is commanding the people to bring an offering from crops that have not yet been planted, grown on land that is not yet cultivated, from soil that is not owned by them, and where none of them have even set foot!....
(I edit out the first two lessons that the rabbi draws from this passage- snip)

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, a leader always projects an attitude of optimism and hope.Think of the very first word of these verses: “When you enter the land.” Not if, but when. There may be armies arrayed against us and constant complaining from inside our own group, we may have a strong urge inside us to turn and go back to the slavery we know and are comfortable–yet a true leader always says When, not If. Giving hope, encouragement, always being positive and uplifting, these are the traits of a leader.

The point of this story. So what have you been training for? Finishing a marathon. Qualifying for Boston. Setting a new PR.

Think when, not if.

Thursday, September 20

Pedialyte power

I was cleaning out some old newspapers and found an interesting story on hydration in the Style Section of the Sunday Sept. 9 New York Times. It's on Pedialyte, a drink for infants with diarrhea that some people use to combat dehyradation when working out and running long distances.
I first heard of Pedialyte when reading Dean Karnazes' book Ultramarathon man. I've never really sought it out though because it's supposed to taste so bad. Apparently it also costs tremendously more than Gatorade.

Wednesday, September 19

Marathon motivation

So, we'll take the motivation where we can get it. We set goals and with huge anticipation countdown to the big events.
The big day is just around the corner. October 7, (Marathon Sunday in Chicago, Portland, Minneapolis and St. Paul) is 17 days 20 hours 40 minutes and change away as I type this.
And there's a poetry slam here in Springfield in 8 days.
What's a poetry slam? If I do this right, you should be able to see of our country's best slam poets (best poets period) in the space below these words. My friends, Anis Mojgani:

"You have been given a direct order to rock...."

Tuesday, September 18

Quote of the day

"If you are prepared, you will be confident, and will do the job."
- Tom Landry


I had the runner's obsession.

When my right knee was hurt about two weeks ago and I learned that I couldn't run for a while, I became very anxious: how long do I have to wait before I can run? When can I run again? Can I run now? I was throwing those questions though I knew the answer quite well: You just can't run with an injured knee.

As days went by, my anxiety only worsened. I did cross-training: elliptical machine, swimming, and tried any decent therapy that would put me back on my running feet again.

It was quite pathetic: I was afraid I wouldn't be able to run the half-marathon. I was afraid I would be so out of shape I couldn't have a decent time. Then, I realized if I ran on the bad knee, I might be done. And I then thought there's nothing wrong for me to walk the half-marathon course. I am not training to qualify for Olympics anyway.

See Amy Run

Wind It Up! -- Gwen Stefani, Sweet Escape album

I (rslight) am winding up my Chicago Marathon training. My first and only 20-mile run went well last week. It took me just under four hours (3:54) with minimal soreness. No pain or discomfort. Should I have done a 26-mile run? Another 20-mile run? Does it matter now?

Chicago heroine: One of my fellow Chicago Marathon participants is Pennsylvania welder Amy Palmiero-Winters. While I dream of just finishing, Amy wants to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Trials.
This is no ordinary fast woman. She has a prosthetic leg. Her left leg was lost after a 1994 motorcycle wreck. Amy was told she would never run again, but now she runs quicker than before. On Oct. 7, she could be the first woman with a prosthetic leg to qualify for the Olympic Trials. Check her out at

Chicago book: I recommend "Crossing California" by Adam Langer, which I just finished reading. It is a tale of Jewish teenagers becoming adults in Chicago during the early 1980s. Since I'm not Jewish or from Chicago, I'm not sure how accurately it portrays the characters or locations. However, it nails the often painful experience of adolescence.


Here's a quick question: Has anybody done any barefoot running/training? I keep reading about it here and there and getting intrigued at how it might help. Seeing as how I'm now tapering I'll probably wait until well after the marathon to experiment with any barefoot running but I wanted to ask.

Sunday, September 16

Let the taper begin

Today I ran my fastest 20 miles yet. And I was a wee bit hobbled. I tweaked my ankle at my speedwork session on Tuesday and it's not quite 100 percent.

Anyhow, today I headed up to the Frisco Highline Trail. Definitely not quite as busy as the Galloway Creek Trail. The good though is it's longer.

The bare details: I only saw two mile markers. The two-mile marker and the 10-mile marker. Although I didn't know if I'd see that 10 mile marker or not having only seen one mile marker earlier in the day.

I got to the 10 mile marker at 1:46. I hoped to run the second 10 faster than the first 10. Isn't that always the dream? My legs started getting tight though and I finished in 3:39.

Let the taper begin. I'm as ready for Oct. 7 as I'm going to get.

Saturday, September 15


Here at Poetic Feet, we have a new contributor, Pam. I do believe Jim Evans once called her, Pam I am. Or is that Pam I Am!

Pam is also training for Boston and will be racing on Oct. 7, just like everybody else, in Portland, Oregon.

Thursday, September 13

Training for Boston

Two of the runners on this blog, R and Jim Evans, are hoping to qualify for Boston in their next marathon. Of course, MS has qualified for Boston in his last three races. Or is it two? And if I make my goal in my next race, then I will have qualified for Boston, if I were a few decades over. But Jim Evans said that if I do it, I will have given him hope.

So, obviously I enjoy reading stories about people training for Boston such as this one from the Billings Gazette in Montana. It's about a woman who often trains while pushing her two infants in a baby stroller.

Here was my favorite quote from the article:
"Since I started this whole thing back on the first of May, I've run over 500 miles, probably over 600," she said. "When I told my father-in-law, he said, 'So you've basically run to Missoula and back.' "

Tuesday, September 11

More L'Engle

It's so interesting how I got started reading more Madeline L'Engle just before she died. I was reading Herself: Reflections on a Writing Life earlier today, my birthday, and found a great passage near the start of the book.
I share it with you here.

In art we are once again able to do all the things we have forgotten; we are able to walk on water; we speak to the angels who call us; we move, unfettered, among the stars.

Countdown continues

25 days until the marathon.
Today is my birthday.

And the thought for the day comes from the movie, The Departed: I don't want to be a product of my environment. I want my environment to be a product of me.

Monday, September 10

Countdown continues

One day until my birthday.
26 days until race day.

"I've learned that you don't have to win first place to win." - Kim Zmeskal.

Sunday, September 9


I thought about headlining this post "Frustrations, part two." Or "Frustrations, -BL." But no. I'm not frustrated. I just have challenges.

Today's run was a challenge. Yesterday and today I had a phantom pain in my side. I think I just slept funny. I had a decent workout yesterday. Hill repeats next to Hammons field. The pain in my side was a small factor. But then again, what pain. It wasn't that major.

And you know what Zatopek said: "If one can stick to the training throughout the many long years, then will power is no longer a problem. It's raining? That doesn't matter. I am tired? That's besides the point. It's simply that I just have to."

And I've really wanted to average 40 miles a week for marathon training. After today, there's only one week left of training before the taper.

I needed four quality miles yesterday and I think the hill repeats gave them to me.

Today's run was 10 miles. I almost typed only 10 miles.

Today's run was 10 miles. I wanted to get up and run with a group of people at 6 a.m. I overslept. When I finally completely rolled out of bed, the pain in my side was still there.

After a lot of thinking, I decided to wait until noon and go to the Y for a run at marathon pace. That's 9 minute miles. 10 miles at 9 minute pace. Tougher than I expected, but not so tough I couldn't do it. Could I do it for 16 miles more?

27 days to race day.


Saturday, September 8

Raining PRs

Now that it's raining more than ever ... you can stand under my umbrella -- Rhianna, Umbrella (featuring Jay-Z)

I (rslight) don't have an umbrella, but I do have a new 5K PR of 23:33, which I got at this morning's rainy Strafford 5K.
Honestly, I didn't try that hard. It was just a flat, easy course. My friend Brent Barnett slipped past me for the second time this week at the race's end. Ah, well. I should have another 5K PR soon.

I won third place among the 30-something dudes. I got nervous when top females Rosie Laughlin and Pam Sailors won enormous cuts of meat. What the heck would I do with a ton of meat? Fortunately I and other lesser award winners received cool tote bags.

Unrelated but interesting side note: Country singer Jo Dee Messina will run the Chicago Marathon after singing the national anthem for us. Will rslight outrun Jo Dee? Find out Oct. 7!


It seems like hardly a week goes by without someone or other on Poetic Feet having an interesting experience at a local race. I didn't know it when I got up this morning, but today was destined to be my turn.

I headed to Strafford for their annual 5K this morning. I'd never run it, but I was looking forward to this race. The last four 5Ks I've run have been, in order: 1.) ridiculously hilly, 2.) ridiculously hilly, 3.) 6 days after a marathon, and 4.) on a humid 85-degree afternoon after I ate way too big of a lunch a couple hours beforehand (long story). So really, it's been since late April that I feel like I've run a 5K that was a true test of my racing fitness. But I knew today was the day: Strafford is a pretty flat town and it was relatively cool and raining.

I didn't know until I got there that this race is a bit of an oddity by local standards. It's put on by the local high school, and they were also holding a middle-school and high-school cross-country meet on the same course with staggered starts. For some reason they decided to send off the middle-school kids off first, then us normal runners 5 minutes later, and the high-schoolers some time after that.

Our turn came up, and we were off. Three guys surged way ahead way quickly, and I fell in with a pack that I soon broke away from, leaving me all by myself as we wound around Strafford. By this point I was starting to catch up to the middle-school stragglers, and as I followed the winding course I weaved around groups of preteens jogging, or talking, or walking, or some combination of all three. I was in fourth place, feeling good, and quite probably on a PR pace.

After a couple of sharp turns I was back on Strafford's main street fairly near the start. The three lead runners had surged completely out of sight, and I all could see ahead of me in the rain was a confusing maze of middle school kids bobbing along with their parents milling around on both sides of the road cheering them on. Not knowing what else to do, I followed the middle-schoolers back behind the school to where we had started, thinking we had to loop back up there and turn around, or perhaps come out the other entrance at the far end of the campus. I knew I was still well short of 5K, but we hadn't been given directions at the start (at least that I heard), there were no other runners around to ask, and none of the spectators were there to watch our race.

As I got back near the start line, though, I began to realize something was awry. I spotted the coach/race director and as I ran up I held my arms up in the universal shrug/"huh?" motion. He yelled at me, "you were supposed to run two laps out there! Sorry."

To get from the main road to the start/finish line, I'd run behind the football practice field, the elementary school, and the middle school, so I was easily a good 300 yards off course by this point. I realized that even if I ran back out to the road, my PR and my decent finish were down the tubes, and in my frustration I simply walked to the car, took off my race number, and walked back over to the finish line to cheer on rslight.

He had a much better day, running to what unofficially seemed to be a PR time (and on the correct course, natch). Of course, given some of his recent misadventures, I think rslight was due a good PR or two.

I also learned the fascinating fact that the governor of Missouri is a fairly decent road racer, which was something I had been totally unaware of. I heard someone mutter something about him being there as I stood at the start line, and sure enough he crossed the finish line incognito in about 10th or 12th place, I would guess somewhere around 22:00 or so. I was fairly impressed that he had shown up not to cut a ribbon or seek publicity, but to anonymously gut it out for 3 miles on a rainy Saturday morning with the rest of us.

I was determined to salvage something out of the morning, so I drove back to Springfield and I did 15 more miles in the rain to bring me to about 18 for the day, which is what my long run was supposed to be this week. My legs were pretty dead by the end, considering I'd raced about 1/2- 2/3rds of a 5K to start the day, but it gave me plenty of time to stew. And I resolved that, barring injury, today was my first and last DNF, regardless of what my final time ends up being. As bl is fond of reminding us, it's supposed to be fun.

Madeline L'Engle, Rest in Peace

Madeline L'Engle, mentioned in this recent post, has died at 88.

A nice exceprt from the Times obit:

“Why does anybody tell a story?” Ms. L’Engle once asked, even though she knew the answer.

“It does indeed have something to do with faith,” she said, “faith that the universe has meaning, that our little human lives are not irrelevant, that what we choose or say or do matters, matters cosmically.”

Friday, September 7

Quote of the day

Today on ESPN, I heard Lou Holtz giving a mock pep talk to the Michigan football team to help them regroup after the loss to Appalachian State.

All in all it was a great speech, but I especially liked this part:

"Remember the good Lord put eyes in the front of your head so you can see where you're going rather than where you've been."

Thursday, September 6

Tempo run

I'd just like to say that I had a great workout today. A good hard tempo run. 40 minutes at 8 minute pace on the treadmill with the incline up to 1 degree. It was hard but it was good. I wonder a little bit if it was hard enough, but I'm glad I got it done. It helps me believe in myself just a little bit more.

It reminded me of one of my favorite quotes, something like - none of the races here are as hard as the tempo runs back home.

I love this workout. It really makes me feel like I accomplished something.

Tuesday, September 4

Hot N Hilly Part II

Gonna keep on tryin' till I reach my highest ground -- Stevie Wonder, Higher Ground

I (rslight) started feeling fatigued three miles into Monday's Run for a Child 10K in Rogers, Ark. Maybe my first-ever 18-mile run the previous week was suddenly taking a toll.
The race, a great production featuring several hundred runners, started at the fancy Promenade Mall. It quickly became Hot N Hilly Part II: Hills Gone Wild as we ventured into the countryside. There was a seemingly endless incline on the first mile, and then rolling hills. Nothing real steep, though.

When my friend Brent Barnett flew past me on a second half downhill, I mustered just enough energy to shout, "Go for it, Brent." I never caught up to him. My strategy was to keep a steady pace even though I couldn't seem to generate real speed. To my surprise, I saw I would get a PR while approaching the finish. I excitedly shouted, "Here we go," while accelerating across the timing chip mat. My new 10K PR is 52:26.

This Arkansas race had an eclectic array of goodies for runners aside from the obligatory race shirt. We received:
1. A nice backpack
Inside the backpack:
2. Go Lean protein bar
3. TLC granola bar
4. Nature Valley granola bar
5. An Atlantis hat
6. A towelette
7. Bandages
8. Holiday decorating clips and poster strips
9. A candy cane
10. Cheerios
11. Scooby-Doo fruit flavored snacks
12. Betty Crocker molten caramel cake (microwavable)
13. Coupon for a free Chick-Fil-A sandwich (unfortunately for me, only good at two northwest Arkansas Chick-Fil-A restaurants until Oct. 6)
And finally:
14. DVD-Rom of The Sims Pet Stories (apparently some type of video game)

Gratuitous side note: I always thought Stevie Wonder sang the phrase "People keep on running" in his wonderful song "Higher Ground." I wanted to put that as my musical quotation, but evidently Stevie doesn't sing that. I guess sometimes people just hear what they want to hear in songs.

Countdown (to more confidence) continues

32 days until the Twin Cities marathon. (32 days until the Chicago Marathon also.)
7 days until my birthday.

Numbers, numbers, numbers. It all boils down to preparation.

"Besides pride, loyalty, discipline, heart, and mind, confidence is the key to all the locks." - Joe Paterno

Monday, September 3

Supposed to be fun, part two

Yesterday I saw the IAAF track and field world championships on tv. I caught the female high jumpers and that was good. Especially because of the way that if you blink, you miss the high jump coverage.

(In high school I did the high jump but I didn't really "run" track. Anyway, I digress.)

The best part about the high jumpers was seeing Blanka Vlasic, a great high jumper from Croatia. After she cleared the bar, she got up and danced. Clearly she was enjoying herself.

Another one of those reminders that sports and just about everything is supposed to be fun. The clip below shows her celebrating a jump, but not dancing quite like she did yesterday.

Saturday, September 1

Thank you Plucinski

Is that the reason why you're running so fast? And she said, 'Ain't nothin' gonna break my stride. Nobody's gonna slow me down. Oh no. I got to keep on moving.' -- Matthew Wilder, Break My Stride

I've never met Karen Plucinski. I've just heard of her as a speedy, talented marathon runner.
I (rslight) was extremely shocked to be running beside Plucinski more than one mile into Saturday's Spin for Kids 5K in Springfield. Surely I wasn't going that fast. However, I really tried hard to keep up with her.
I also attempted to visualize myself as a Kenyan in the videos I've watched (you can now view highlights of the 2005 or 2006 race). It's a stretch. I know. But I wanted to mimic their arm motion. I often pump my elbows back and forth like crazy, but their arms seem so relaxed.

I crossed the finish a few seconds after Plucinski to get a 5K PR of 23:48! My 24-minute-something 5K summer malaise is broken! My old PR of 23:53 wasn't some bizarre fluke! To quote Lewis Carroll: O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!

To add to my glee, I was in no pain or discomfort despite running 18 miles for the first time earlier this week. I've got just one 20-miler left before I taper for the Chicago Marathon. I was so happy after today's 5K that I'm sure I could have run 20 miles out of pure excitement.
However, I haven't deviated from John "the Penguin" Bingham's Marathoning for Mortals plan, and it just calls for an 8-mile long run next week. I'm essentially at the Penguin's command.


Any race that ends with a trophy is a good race. That's what I told my little brother after today's race. He came in third in the 11-12 age group at today's Spin 5K.

Before the race I told someone that I wasn't racing so much as being a rabbit today. Then I amended that and said that I was going to be a turtle. Because, the main goal was to make sure that Danny didn't start too fast.

Our number one goal was to see Danny run the race all the way from start to finish. And he did. The trophy was gravy.

But as we were leaving, he said he wanted me to run my hardest next time and so we could both get trophies. Sounds good. We just have to find the right race. I listened to the times today for the 30-39 age bracket and couldn't help wondering how I would have done if I'd have run my hardest today. Oh well. My focus is on the marathon, currently 35 days away.