Wednesday, November 28

An intimate and brutal arena

I was reading an article recently online about Alberto Salazar. One sentence captured this approach to running that I've been chasing in some way every since I started putting one foot in front of another on the roads.

And so, obviously, I thought I'd share it with you:

He seemed to turn that most elongated of sports venues, the marathon course, into an intimate and brutal arena -- a boxing ring, say -- and with it, distance running into a kind of foot-to-foot combat.

An intimate and brutal arena, a place for foot-to-foot combat, an occassion for drama, a place for blood...

Tuesday, November 27

The Importance of Diet for a Marathoner; or, Don't Devour Pixy Stix Right Before a Training Run

Well, the title is pretty self-explanatory.

Now, one might think that Pixy Stix shouldn't be too much of a problem if one is only going to do a short run, right? Ah, but then when I tell you it was supposed to be an interval run, that changes things a bit, doesn't it?

One minute of sprinting followed by one minute of jogging.
Lather, rinse, repeat.
For slightly more than two miles.
After having done several miles at more or less race pace.

The crazy thing is, I still managed negative splits on the out-and-back route. Fortunately, I've only got a headache now, and the sprints weren't as nausea-inducing as they could have been. But it was still a mistake.

At least it's not a mistake I make all that often. And this was not nearly as bad as the time I had Cheez-Its for dinner the night before (what was supposed to be) a 16-mile run. That was quite a memorable outing, for all the wrong reasons.


Monday, November 26

The best place you'll ever be

Life is short.

"This is the best place you'll ever be." - Skip Prosser, Wake Forest basketball coach.
Born: November 3, 1950
Died: July 26, 2007

While flipping through the channels last night, I caught a bit of the Wake Forest basketball game. The head coach died this summer after a short jog.

I heard them talking on the broadcast about how the team had taped up some of his favorite sayings in the locker room. One of them was "This is the best place you'll ever be." As I recall, it was something he told his players after a tough loss. They had to go out and face the media and he'd reminded them of how good it was to be in the gym. How good it was to be a college basketball player. How good it was to have the opportunities they had.

It moved me.

There are so many moments in our lives when we can just stop and look around in the midst of tough situations and say this is where I've wanted to be. This is the best place I'll ever be.

Maybe tomorrow gets better. It probably does. But that's because of where I was today.

I don't know. I'm not sure if I'm making as much sense as I'd like to. This is just a small, personal blog right?

So anyhow, I've quit my job. I have one week left. My last day is Dec. 4. I'm scared but I'm excited. Somehow everything is going to work out.

Life is short. It's too short to do something you don't want to do.

Lately I've been thinking of other careers I'd rather do than what I'm doing. The time came to make a decision and I did.

Life is short, but life is good. Thank you for being a friend.

Sunday, November 25

One week from today I race in Las Vegas

Are you ever ready for the race?
You go out every day to build your resume.
You train and you recover.
You flirt with the edge and sometimes you fall.
You try new vistas, climbs, and surfaces.
You find yourself in a rut and climb out.
You get hurt; you heal and go on.
You sometimes win; usually you lose.
You proudly display your awards.
You hide your disappointments.
You long for company.
You seek recognition; at least compassion.
You know you are on your own.
You plan and you log.
You check your progress at each marker.
You set goals.
Are you ever
Strong enough,
Fast enough,
Smart enough, or
Trained enough
For the race?

Thursday, November 22

Another piece of meat

So there was a poetry slam tonight. Most of you dedicated readers know this has been a crazy week for me. If you're a dedicated reader and you don'tknow what I'm talking about call me. I had a new poem I just wrote today and people loved it.
Here it is:

Another Piece of Meat

Big breasts, juicy breasts, plump breasts,
beautiful breasts, mouth-watering breasts.

We are breast men and breast women,
a nation of breast lovers.
And they hate us because of it.
They are the turkeys.
The turkeys hate us because of it.
They are the ones with breasts so big
they cannot stand up.
They cannot support the weight
of their cleavage.
They have wings, but they cannot fly.
They have legs, but they cannot run.
They can barely move.

They've got big breasts, juicy breasts, plump breasts,
breasts so nice you start to slobber
without even realizing it.

Genetically-engineered breasts,
breasts full of synthetic hormones,
breasts full of drugs and more juice
than Barry Bonds,
breasts far bigger than
Mother Nature ever intended.

And they just want to fly.
They're never going to fly.

Not without breast reduction surgery.
And that won't happen.
No cosmetic surgery for turkeys.

They're not going to fly, they're not going to fly,
they're never going to fly, they're only going to die.

And you, you're smacking your lips thinking about it,
remembering those holiday meals.
They were just another piece of meat.

Take a lesson, my friend, from the animal kingdom.

If you're going to be a turkey, be a flat-chested wild turkey.
Be a wild turkey.
I said, "Wild turkey."
Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey.
The dirty bird.
The kicking chicken.

Have a good time.

And ladies, don't be jealous of the large-chested women.
They have their own problems.

Be thankful for what you got.
You are more than just another piece of meat.

Turkey Trot

OK Poetic Feet people.

Let's talk about the Turkey Trot.

Tuesday, November 20

Jingle Bell Confusion

When I get to the bottom I go back to the top of the slide -- The Beatles, Helter Skelter

I (rslight) possess a copy of one of the most bizarre 5K course maps in existence. I would scan it and post it here if I could.

On Saturday I ran the Mountain Home Half Marathon for Kenya in Mountain Home, Ark. No problem there. It was a flat, straight, out-and-back course with beautiful scenery. Small crowd. Few volunteers. No spectators. Cool Springfield-area contingent (Max Stephens, Dean Casady, Stephen and Jill Aleman). Nice PR for me (1:52:57). One nasty scar on my head from hitting it on a rail during a bus ride from the high school to the start line (fortunately it's a high wound and my hair covers it).

On Sunday I was among hundreds who participated in Kansas City's Jingle Bell Run 5K. It was a sweet, charming event in chilly weather. There were kids disguised as elves, women dressed like Mrs. Claus and a manic Santa Claus inexplicably leading runners in a Kansas City Chiefs cheer.
The course was three loops in Zona Rosa, a very fancy outdoor shopping mall.
Loop one went through Zona Rosa. Simple.
Loop two went through Zona Rosa. Easy.
Here's where it even gets tricky for Houdini.
The third, final loop was a smaller one inside the two loops. Parts of the third loop were the same as the first two.
Volunteers held signs telling the first two loops people to go this way, and the third loop folks to go that way. Since legions of walkers went slow on the first two, it seemed like everyone was heading in different directions.
To make the experience even goofier, it started to snow (lightly).

On the third loop, I reached a corner that would take me to the finish.
However, the speedy little boy I had followed since the halfway mark went straight.
I stopped in bewilderment. Was the kid on a different loop? Or did he make a wrong decision?
When I decided to turn, I thought I heard a volunteer scream in anger: "No! You're supposed to do three loops!"
I paused again. Was she yelling at me? Apparently not.
When I saw the clock in the distance, it read 22:40. I finished in 23:25.
If I had been more confident in my directions on this crazy 5K, I would have gone under 23 minutes. Heck, the course was weird, but it was flat. I might have had a Jim Evans sort of time.
Oh, the heartache! What calamity.

After my selfish, petty complaining about not getting an award at the Parkinsons 5K, I placed third in my age group at Jingle Bell. Third out of 21 dudes in the 30-34 bunch. But I wish I hadn't.
That's because I was forced to have my picture taken with Santa Claus.
When they announced my name during the awards ceremony, I didn't get a medal or trophy. They just distributed little jingle bell ornaments.
A photographer waved me over to Santa. I hate having my picture taken, so I politely said, "That's okay," and attempted to sneak off.
Santa frowned at me.
"Oh, all the winners get a picture taken with Santa," the photographer said, unable to fathom anyone declining. Santa gently squeezed my arm.
I decided it was wiser to just pose for a quick shot than to start fighting with Santa in front of an enormous crowd. As the lone Springfield-area runner there, I didn't want to give us a bad reputation.

Later I ate at Bo Lings, a Chinese restaurant, before seeing the movie "American Gangster" (which was awesome). I was surprised when I opened my fortune cookie and it had this message: "You will outrun Jim Evans."
What? You don't believe me?
Okay, the actual fortune said: "Physical activity will dramatically improve your outlook today."

Monday, November 19

Quote of the day

"At the moment of commitment, the universe conspires to assist you."
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

Sunday, November 18

Attainable goals

I've got a blister/callus on my foot that's been there since the Twin Cities Marathon. I'd forgotten about it and didn't even notice it until after today's 10 mile run.

Monday, as usual, will be a day of rest for me.

My goals for the rest of the year. A 5K pr. And surpassing my mileage from last year.

They should both be achievable, but the mileage goal is simply getting out there and running and putting in a little time. Last year I ran 1,210 miles. Or, at least, I logged that many. This year, I've logged 1,154 miles so far.

It's been a really stressful year. It will be nice to achieve that one.

I don't even have a log for my mileage in 2005 and only really ran in the second half of the year. So, this is exciting to have this record for posterity. Hopefully I can even build on it next year.

Nature Center reflections

I'm convinced there's something strange with running at the nature center.

I ran twice as far today, but my joints hurt tremendously after running yesterday. Today my legs feel about like they would have if I hadn't run.

I guess it's all part of learning my body and learning what works and what doesn't work.

The nature center is good for hill work, but there are parts out there I've got to avoid. I'm not sure if it's the rocks or the wooden bridges. The hills feel great though.

Still, I saw so many people running there yesterday that it much feel great for others.

Saturday, November 17

So many people

Today I got out and ran first thing in the morning. I needed gloves. When I was done, about an hour after I started, I couldn't turn the key in the ignition because my hands were so frozen.
I had gloves in my car, I just didn't think I needed to wear them.

Anyway, it was amazing how many people were out running this morning. Shortly after I started running in the nature center, I heard two girls behind me. My goal was to keep them behind me, as if I really could have done that if they were faster than me.
After the first loop, I turned around and did a second loop in the other direction. One guy I passed actually told me I was making good time when I saw him the second time.

All in all, a good run. My knees somehow always seem to hurt after running at the nature center. Maybe it's the wooden bridges or the rocks. I don't know. Anyhow, I had fun. Glad to break my streak of five days without running.

Friday, November 16

I miss the sun

The sun set today at 5:03. I miss the sun. I've been going to sleep earlier and earlier this week.
I've felt very rundown. I thought I was running too much. Overtraining and stress from work combining to grind me into the ground.
Maybe I was wrong.
Still I'm going to sleep earlier than normal tonight, earlier than should be legal on a Friday night. I'm getting up early tomorrow to break my streak of 5 days without running.
I'll most likely greet the sunrise out on the trails. Hopefully it will lift my mood.

Thursday, November 15

Friends Jog Sunday

I plan to run a long run (10-14 miles) on the south greenways trail leaving from Nathaniel Green Park at 10:00 Sunday morning. I invited Brian to join me (I think he will) and hope there are others who might come along. I am going to run this one at around 10:30 per mile.

I'm training through some pain and need some distracting conversation.

I'm considering the Frisco Highline 5K Trail Run Saturday.

Wednesday, November 14

Quote of the day

"I've found that often, just when you think you've hit a wall, you experience a breakthrough that takes you to new heights in accomplishment."
--Stedman Graham

Tuesday, November 13

The playground is spinning

So last week, I was talking to a class about poetry. And today I did the same.

But I decided the students needed a writing exercise. So I gave the teachers a free writing exercise. I'm not sure how well I explained it, but basically I wanted the students to start with the words "the playground" and then just write for five minutes without stopping, without censoring themselves, without thinking even.

And then I decided that I needed to do the exercise myself.

Perhaps I'll do this poem in a slam because they liked it. Let me know what you think:

The playground is spinning, spinning.
The slide is flying.
The swings are alive.
I am hiding in the jungle gym.
I am in a jungle.
I see trees, rain forest trees.
I see brightly colored birds and lions, macabees and string cheese that is alive.
It is alive.
The playground is alive.
I am alive.
The trees are alive.
We are dancing together at recess.
Recess is free. I don’t need money
to have fun.
I don’t need money to fly.
I can’t fly.
I’m only a kid. Not a bird.
I’m not a bird. I’m not a superhero.
I don’t have wings.
I don’t need wings.
I can run and jump and dance.
I can run and jump and dance.
I can stand up. I can sit down.
I can do everything except what the teacher says don’t do.
I can do everything except what the teacher says don’t do.
Teachers are good. They’re great.
They love me for reasons I don’t understand.
They put up with me for reasons I don’t understand.
They give me too much rope.
They listen to me when I’m crazy. They wait for me to calm down.
They show up for work everyday even when they’d rather not put up with me.
But I’m good. I know I’m good.
And I’ll be better.
Except at recess. Except on the playground. Except in my imagination.
Because a kid has got to be a kid, sometimes right.
The playground is alive and I feel so good when I’m here.
I can cheer. Cheer. Cheer for childhood and happiness and having a good time.
Having a good time with my friends in the tunnels and the jungle gyms and the slides and the swings and just sitting down and looking up at the clouds.

Cute overload

Today I talked to a class of fourth and fifth grade students about poetry. I read some of my poems and some of my favorite poems by other writers.

One of the poems I read included a German word. Zenf. It means mustard.

One of the girls in the class asked me if I knew any words in Russian. I said no.

She told me that she knew all of them.

At the end of the period, as I was walking out, the school's literacy coach told me that she was adopted and she'd only been in this country for 9 months. Before that, she lived in Russia.

So, perhaps she does know the entire Russian language. So that was my cute overload experience for the day.

Sunday, November 11

Weekend report

Run from the noise of the street and the loaded gun -- Garbage, Run Baby Run

I (rslight) got off to a very slow start at Friday night's Run to the Lights 5K at Branson's Silver Dollar City amusement park, which had about 800 participants. Although I was somewhat close to the starting line, I was trapped behind a wall of walkers for the first two minutes (my finish time of 26 minutes reflected that).
It was a very pleasant experience to run through the amusement park. There were lots of characters in silly costumes to delight the eye. I managed to catch up with my friend Brent Barnett halfway through as we tackled a tough hill. We agreed that the Alvin and the Chipmunks music playing in the park was not the most motivational.

Since the Branson race wrapped up after 11 p.m., I got maybe five hours of sleep before Saturday morning's Parkinsons 5K in Springfield. I managed to get a sweet new PR of 23:04 (having 700 fewer runners helped).
I didn't get a trophy, which is no huge deal. I attend races because I love to run, and not because I want an award.
However, it's disheartening to be empty-handed when you outran many people who received trophies. When they gave a trophy to a woman who finished in about 52 minutes, I felt like laughing and saying, "Hey, go ahead and just give an award to everyone who finished behind me."

After Parkinsons, I immediately went to Oklahoma for my third and favorite weekend race: McNellie's Pub Run!
The 3 p.m. Saturday 3.5 mile event in downtown Tulsa had a raucous, frat-party atmosphere that was the opposite of the clean, family-friendly event at Silver Dollar City. I loved it.
The Pub Run gimmick is this: You can don a white bib and run a normal race like I did. Or you can pin on a green bib and take the Guinness challenge. That entails stopping at each mile marker and drinking three pints of beer. Race officials insist that green bibbers get all the beer in them. They watch to make sure people aren't spilling it.
I never drink alcohol, but I thought it looked like great fun. Of course, the beauty of being a sober runner is that you get to outrun hordes of drinkers. My 29:23 finish time placed me at 141 out of 551 runners, even though my knees were very sore during the race.
Forgive a potentially sexist comment here, but the Pub Run easily had the most attractive women of any race I've done. Made me wish I was a young, handsome college dude.

On Sunday, I agreed to go on a 10-mile run with bl on a Springfield greenways trail. I thought I could handle it at a slow pace, and I did okay for the first 9.5 miles. Then I really hit a wall (just slammed into it) and had to start walking. I like to fancy myself as a Dean Karnazes type who can run as much as possible, but my body shouted: "Oh, no, buddy. You're done for this weekend."
Thanks a bunch for waiting for me at the end, bl.
No running for me for the next two days.

Drinking more tea

I've come across a new year's resolution for 2008. Drink more tea.

It all started with this e-mail that popped into one of my inboxes:

Defrost your Belly
Imagine trying to cook your food in a pot of cold water. When you drink iced beverages, according to Ayurvedic practitioners, you are creating a similar halt to your digestive system. The cold temperature causes your digestion to temporarily slow down or stop. Instead opt for digestion-enhancing beverages. Felicia Tomasko, editor of LA Yoga and an Ayurvedic expert, says drinking hot water when you first wake up jumpstarts your metabolism, cleanses your body, and strengthens your digestive fire. To keep the internal fire burning, Tomasko advises drinking hot water throughout the day. She further suggests adding lemon for a cleansing effect, honey to scrape toxins from the body and stimulate fat metabolism, or a lime to cool excess acidity. Begin your Ayurvedic routine with the simple addition of hot water to your beverage list.

Now I don't know much about Ayurvedic routines. I'm not so sure about these e-mails I am getting.

But reading this e-mail a light went off. I was reminded of the Kenyans how the first thing they do every morning is drink some Kenyan tea. It's also one of the first things they do upon returning home after a run. Man, they drank a lot of tea. Perhaps this is some of the science behind that.

Saturday, November 10

Cars and speed

So, I'm barely a mile into my run today when a car slows down and the driver yells out the window, "You're going to have to go faster than that."

It was MS.

Funny, I was thinking exactly the same thing. I have to go faster. Today's run was about 3.1 miles to Commercial Street and back. And then business.

What was the business half of today's run? Well, when Mark saw me I was trying to keep my heels off the ground and think a bit about form.

Business was attending to my big goals of the moment. Finishing a marathon is one big goal. But another big goal is finishing a 5K under 20 minutes. At this point, earning a PR in a 5K is also a big goal, thought not as big a goal as finishing under 20 minutes. That's crazy and audacious as a goal should be.

Under 20 minutes in the 5K would be about a 6:15 pace. My 3.1 mile run had me finish right at the Y. I got on the treadmill and after a brief warm-up on the treadmill cracker her up to 6:15 pace. I thought of it as a time trial. I wanted to do a mile at that pace and then cool down. About half a mile in, I had this incredible urge to go to the bathroom that I could no longer put off. The beauty of treadmills, I slowed things down to go to the restroom. But once I stopped running, I no longer needed to use the facilities. So I got on an exercise bike.

Then, after regaining a normal heart rate, I got back on the treadmill. This time I set my sites on a mile in under 7 minutes. My 5K pr is 23:30 which is a 7:32 pace. So a 7:00 pace would be a PR easy. With less than a tenth of a mile, I cranked the treadmill up to the 6:15 pace and finished her out at that speed. It was good.

I feel like I got a good workout in.

Like MS said, I'm going to have to run faster though. Especially if I'm going to catch him. The good news though is that the 7 minute mile didn't seem that hard at all.

My next 5K effort will be Dec. 1 on the Missouri State Campus.

My goal 5K however will be the week after. It will be the first 5K that I've raced for three years in a row. I hope to make at least as much improvement this year as I made last year.

I have a need for speed.

Friday, November 9

Rock'n'Roll San Antonio

I know our out of town friends will be interested in this. In case you haven't already head about it. The Inaugural Rock'n'Roll San Antonio Marathon is Nov. 16, 2008.

Maybe you already knew but I thought I'd post it since we hadn't talked about it.

I don't know what races I'm doing next year. But hopefully I will be running.

I've learned this week that a sub 2-hour half-marathon doesn't make me sore. But lifting weights for under 10 minutes will have me sore for days. And I'm talking about light weights with 12-15 repetitions.

I'm going to try to reintegrate weight lifting into my running program. We'll see how it goes.

Wednesday, November 7

Born to Run II

You could also argue that more people have died giving birth than in running marathons, climbing Mt. Everest, and exploring space all put together, so clearly humans aren't meant to give birth.

I'm not sure that dying in the attempt means that we weren't meant to do it.

Born to run

Intersting article in the Chicago Tribune inspired by the deaths of Jim Fixx and Ryan Shay.

Here's my favorite part:

Humans weren't meant to run 26.2 miles at a crack in the same way humans weren't meant to explore the heavens. We know mankind should get out of the space-exploration business because astronauts have died in the line of duty. Humans weren't supposed to navigate oceans, either, because if they were, we wouldn't still be pulling up wooden ships from the sea. And humans obviously shouldn't be attempting to climb Mt. Everest because people die trying every year.

Maybe we shouldn't strive or dream or set goals at all. But we do. We do because that's how we're wired. Something inside us tells us to go for more. To strain and struggle and bleed for something great. To build ever taller buildings. To push the envelope. To take it to the limit and beyond.

Tuesday, November 6

Don't like my poems anymore

I don't like my poems anymore
and now I find out
they don't like me much either.
Well, that puts me in my place.
I want my poems to fly, to jump, to rhyme.
Why won't my poems dance?
Why won't my poems take anybody's breath away?
Why can't my poems be like her poems?
Then all of a sudden,
my poems start talking back
issuing complaints and demands
and calling me ridiculous names
that I won't repeat.
I mean who is a poem
to talk about me,
the poet, the writer, the creator.
Without me, the poem would not exist,
but like a mortal cursing God,
my poems cursed me.
An ugly chorus of poems
calling me a slacker, a hacker.
Now the poems can also be
somewhat patronizing.
"Talent," they scream.
"Talent! You have so much talent.
Why don't you think about using it?
Because of your laziness we stink.
We're pieces of crap.
Feces. Waste material.
Why don't you work with us?
Shape us. Smell us.
We got the funk. We got the funk.
So come on punk.
Memorize. Plagiarize.
Beg, borrow, steal.
Whatever it takes.
We know we've got potential,
but we're flopping around
like angels without wings.
Don't you want us to sing.
La la la la la...."
Now if these poems were real,
if they had bodies,
I'd be slapping them around.
Who do they think I am?
The problem is
I know who they are.
They are figments of my imagination,
Right. Figments of my imagination.
But still they seem so real.
I want to do right by them.
I want them to be proud
to be called my poems.

Monday, November 5

First Half-Marathon

I don't think anyone can consider me as a speedy runner, but I didn't expect to keep the 10-minute-a-mile pace for my first marathon.

Before the race, we (Mo and I) thought 11 minute-a-mile should be our pace. If we felt good, we could pick up after Mile 7. But it turned out we were running at ease at the beginning and still clocking 10 minutes or so for each mile. We changed our initial plan and decided to run that pace.

After Mile 7, we also realized we couldn't really pick up our speed but our goal was to maintain the speed. It was harder by then but still realistic.

The last 3 miles were hard. I thought of walking, but that was when having a running partner paid off. Following Mo, I kept running.

In previous shorter-distance races, I always had energy left in my legs for a finishing sprint. Not this time, which may be a good sign for I tried hard.


I’m basically against competition so please understand this as motivational goals – not winning or losing. I once told Brian he would eventually beat me. Sunday made me realize that he is closer than I thought. That is the source of this idea.

This is the “beat Jim in ‘08” Challenge. I’ll buy a pizza dinner for everyone who succeeds. Here are my rules:
For Brian and Ryan – you must cross the finish line of any 5K or 10K before me. This will probably mean around 22:30 or 46:00 but could be much slower on one of my bad days.
For Pam and Mark you have to get a better WAVA score in the same race as me. This will probably be around 69% but could be as low as 65% on one of my bad days.
I encourage the others of you to submit a proposed challenge, based on your own expectations, for me to add to this list.
It must be done in the same race and between now and my birthday (July 12th). I will try to race often to provide plenty of opportunity. I will change the rules by request. We’ll have the pizza party next summer. Please understand that I’m cheap.

Good Luck!
Comment to accept and or suggest a way I can add you in.
Do you want a piece of this?

Picture Time!

I vaguely recall yelling that out to rslight as he passed by one of the several times I saw him (and everyone else) during the Bass Pro half marathon yesterday. Since tangerine was running her first half-marathon on Sunday, I ran the 10K on Saturday...which meant that for the first time I actually got watch a marathon/half-marathon instead of running in one. It was an interesting experience, especially when so many people you know are running in it, and also when you know the course.

Thanks to that I was able to make good time in my car and see tangerine and her friend 6 times in 13.1 miles, and many of those times I saw other Poetic Feeters as well. I also got a chance to cheer loudly for Frank Shorter ('72 Olympic Marathon winner) who was running the half marathon and was in the general vicinity of rslight/bl/Jim most of the race; he seemed surprised somebody recognized him out on the course more than anything else.

Anyway, they say a picture is worth a thousand words, so by that logic this is probably going to be the lengthiest post ever on Poetic Feet. Nicely done to everyone who set PRs this weekend, and I had my second-fastest 10K ever, so it was a good weekend all around. Maybe some of the out-of-town contingent will drop in next year...

Start line - Frank's the guy in the hat looking at his watch.

The front of the race. I didn't know it at the time, but these were all half-marathoners.


tangerine and her friend

Runners on Lone Pine heading downhill

rslight workin' it

More Bass Pro thoughts

This is the least sore I've ever felt after a half-marathon. Wow.

As I look back over the weekend, it was a pretty good one. Absolutely no complaints for me with how everything went.

On Saturday, I volunteered at a corner stopping traffic. I also chose to cheer on the runners a bit and offer encouragement. I was just past the two mile mark on the 5K or right around mile 5 on the 10K.

I was a bit surprised when I gave somebody a high five and she said, "I really needed that." So I did it a couple more times.

I sang the Notre Dame fight song a few times for people because it's the only fight song I know. But also the words are cool. "Shake down the thunder from the sky. What though the odds be great or small, old Notre Dame will win over all while her loyal sons (and daughters) are marching onward to victory." I threw in the daughters line as a couple of middle aged ladies passed me and I think they got a chuckle out of it.

I told a few people that they could run faster if they wanted to since they were so close. I could tell that a few of them appreciated the information and others didn't care. It was also interesting to watch the facial expressions of the leaders as they passed me. Visions of focus.

After watching a friend finish her first marathon on Sunday I walked down to the Big Brothers Big Sisters aid station about a mile from the finish line. Clearly a little over a mile from the finish line as I walked there. At this point, we're talking people who were close to the 5 hour mark. Some were running, some were walking.

As I got to the aid station, all the people I knew from Big Brothers Big Sisters were gone. And I had to volunteer with them at the beer tent from 1-3 (or was it 12-3?) so I started to head back. As it was, I hooked up with somebody who said he was struggling. So I walked with him and then we started running. He'd only run about three times in the last month although he'd done a lot of biking. Fairly recently he'd done an Ironman in Kentucky. I'm like wow. How many people here today just completed an Ironman? So it was an enjoyable chat. I was wearing jeans and my race shirt at this point and didn't have on my best running shoes.

What a day! I'd been thinking of going to Memphis next month to run in the St. Jude Half-Marathon, but as much as I enjoyed that race, I don't think this is a good year to do it. And the goal I had is now accomplished. It's time to set my sights on other things, like improving my 5K times. I probably won't race again until a 5K on Dec. 1 and then we'll see how things go.

Sunday, November 4

Bass Pro rocked

n- n- now th- that don't kill me can only make me stronger -- Kanye West, Stronger

I (rslight) just wanted to echo Jim Evans' sentiment that today's Cohick Half Marathon was superb. Everything appeared to go right for everyone.
I wish Bass Pro had been my first marathon instead of Chicago. I bet I would have finished around 4:30.
The weather was perfect. There were no huge crowds of people shoving like animals at the water stations. There were no stern police officers ordering us not to run.

Among the memorable moments:
1. bl and I finished under 2 hours in the half-marathon. That's where we belonged.
2. Tangerine and Mo looked like pros in their first half-marathon. I may start calling Tangerine Deena Kastor.
3. While Bass Pro didn't have thousands of spectators like Chicago, it had quality spectators. Take MS, for instance. He didn't just cheer, but offered wise advice. Around mile 9, he told me that I would soon go uphill and benefit by using different muscles. It gave me a positive outlook when I climbed a bridge for the second time.

Since bl thanked Jim Evans for pacing him today, I should probably express appreciation to Pam Sailors for unknowingly pacing me to a 23:20 5K PR in Saturday's Ozark Greenways. It seems like a different person pushes me every week.
I nearly coughed up a lung struggling to stay behind Pam throughout the race. I lost her in the final seconds when an 11-year-old kid thunderbolted past me and threw off my focus.
I also had the Kanye West song "Stronger" stuck in my head, which was oddly motivational.

Cohick Half Marathon - first post

Thank you Jim Evans!

Ever since I ran my second marathon in January with a 2:08:24 for the first 13.1 miles, I had no doubt that I could run under 2 hours in a half marathon. Well, very little doubt.

But it's one thing to no you can do something, and another to actually do it. To actually prove it.

I think my half-marathon in Minneapolis was a little faster, but not by much. Let's not think about that too much.

Today I did it. And with the help of my pace team, a team of one - Jim Evans.

Could I have done it without him? Perhaps. But there was a great deal of confidence in knowing that Jim guaranteed he would set the pace I needed.

More to come.

Quote of the day - Ryan Shay

"He was the ultimate competitor," Notre Dame Athletic Director White said. "He was unbelievable. He was a warrior. He had an aura about him. He was a different cut. But the 'Brady Quinn of Olympic sports,' that's how big he was in the community here."

Saturday, November 3


It's hard to get too worked up about Notre Dame football and another loss today, even if it does stop our 43-year winning streak over Navy.

Ryan Shay, a runner I'd seen in ads in Runner's World, has died. And he was also a Notre Dame grad. I'm trying to remember what those ads were for.

"The Olympic trials is traditionally a day of celebration, but we are heartbroken."

NEW YORK (AP) — Top distance runner Ryan Shay died during the U.S. men's Olympic marathon trials Saturday after collapsing about 5 1/2 miles into the race. He was 28.

Shay was taken to Lenox Hill Hospital and was pronounced dead at 8:46 a.m., New York Road Runners president Mary Wittenberg said.

"It cuts a knife through everybody's hearts," said Wittenberg, whose group organized the race.

She said Shay received immediate medical attention. The medical examiner's office said an autopsy will be performed Sunday.

"There were several layers of medical response. It was very quick," said Wittenberg, who would not elaborate on what steps were taken.

Shay of Flagstaff, Ariz., hit the ground near the Central Park boathouse, a popular Manhattan tourist spot, during the 26.2-mile qualifier for the Beijing Games. The death came a day before the New York City Marathon, when millions usually line the streets in one of the sport's showcase days.

"He was a tremendous champion who was here today to pursue his dreams," said Craig Masback, chief executive of U.S. track and field's governing body. "The Olympic trials is traditionally a day of celebration, but we are heartbroken."

Shay was a favorite going into the 2004 trials but was hampered by a hamstring strain and finished 23rd. He was the 2003 U.S. marathon champion and was third at this year's U.S. 25K championships. He also won the U.S. half marathon in 2003 and 2004. He was the NCAA 10,000-meter champion in 2001, the first national individual title in track for Notre Dame.

I haven't seen a cause of death. I guess the thing to take from this is that life is short. Enjoy it.

Thursday, November 1

Frazz trivia

What was the author of Frazz comic strip talking about when he said this?

"Instantly comfortable, but they felt stiff on the road."
--Jef Mallett, 45, East Lansing