Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Brief Update

Just a quickie update to all those out there reading along.

I started marathon training last week.   So last weekend I had 8x400 with 400 recovery on the schedule as well as my long run.   Friday morning I got up at 6 and headed off to the track for some intervals.   The track is half a mile from my house so I use that as a warm up (5 minutes) and a cool down.    This ended up being a great workout.   The splits on the intervals were, 1:34, 1:31, 1:32, 1:28, 1:35, 1:32, 1:33, and 1:34, for an average of 1:33.  I really love doing 400s, I seem to nail this distance.   Total workout 4.9 miles 47 minutes.

Sunday I was up early again to go out for my long run.   I wanted to be out at the park at 6:30 so I could get 6 in before I met up with my friend to run the final 6.  My friend is recovering from the Half (he ran the Vancouver USA Half last weekend) so he only felt like doing 6.  My wife got up with me Sunday morning and informed me that she thought that today (Sunday) would be the day , as she had been having contractions all night, and asked if I still wanted to do 12 (of course I did).  About three minutes after I got to the park I got a text saying that I need not worry about how long it took, as it appeared that the contractions were fading and we weren't having a baby that day.  

So I took off with this in mind.   It was a gorgeous morning for a run, temps in the mid-50s and sunny, down along the Columbia river, unseasonably cool for this area this time of year (normally we are in the mid-90s during the day and the low-70s in the morning).  The first 6 miles were done at 54 minutes, met my friend only about two minutes after he got to the park.   The second six were tough, I am having some trouble with my hamstring again, which is probably more like ITS, I have been neglecting my stretches.   So I stopped to stretch out my legs every mile or so during the second six.   The total time ended up being 1:54 for 11.7 miles.   Not a bad run overall.

Now, that baby is still holding strong.   Dr. says that as soon as contractions start, the process should be quick, but we are heading into week three of any-day-now waiting.   So, once again guys any day now, the announcement.

Warning: The following is not about running or babies.

My wife took me to see Pirates of the Caribbean 4 Sunday night, the first movie we have gone to see together in a while now.   I enjoyed it, more so perhaps than the last two, but I like the Pirates movies and am not really the best movie critic (just love to go to the movies).  I was supposed to umpire two baseball games in the last week, but both have been cancelled due to lack of players, it happens every summer, the kids get busy playing other sports or heading off on vacation and suddenly there are not enough to play.
Alright, you guys are caught up (more than briefly) on the happenings in my life.  

Thanks for reading.   Remember, have fun out there!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Strange Occurances

Have any of you guys been asked to race?   Let me clarify a bit then.   How many have been asked to race while in their car on the way to work?   (I am looking for a show of hands)  Now how many by a guy on a motorcycle? (Fewer hands I see).

For the record I drive a VW Beetle, new version, and have a short (like 6 miles) commute to work.   This morning, as I am taking my normal route, I get to the stop light at the intersection of the bypass highway here in town.   Stopped next to me at the light is a guy on a motorcycle.   I have my windows down, as it was a beautiful morning here, and the guys looks over at me and asks if I want to race.   I think about it and say "Not, this morning. ""  This seems really strange to me as I am in a lane that goes straight and he is in the left hand turn lane.   How on Earth were you planning on racing me, considering you will get to go first.   I spent the rest of the ride to work thinking about this, and really the rest of the morning.   Later I get a text from my wife, "My friend says to tell you that the motor cyclist that asked to race you this morning was her dad" .".  To which I replied, that makes a whole lot more sense now than it did this morning when he asked me.   (So for those following, or trying to, that would be my wife's friend's dad.)  Of course I told my wife that it kind of made my morning, and that I should have told him yes and then watched him speed away when the light changed for him.   Oh well, got a bit of a story out of it.

In running news, ran 3.3 miles this morning, was supposed to be easy, as this was my first run since the virtual half on Saturday, which apparently means run at 8:20 m/m to my body, not the 9m/m I was aiming for.

In baby news: Still not here.   Closer according to the doctor, but we want to be greedy and make it one more week.   I think my wife might just go insane.

I get to umpire tonight, which should be interesting as we are supposed to be in the 90s today for the first time (it has taken a long time to get to summer here in SE WA).

Monday, June 20, 2011

My (Fake) 13.1 Race Report

When I last rambled on in a post I mentioned that the arrival of my second child was imminent  Last Monday we were told to expect the little one any day, of course here we are a week later, and no baby .  So instead of going to Vancouver to run my first half-marathon, I stayed home so that I could be at the ready when it was time to go.   However, I did run 13.1 miles, it just isn't official or anything like that.   So without further ado, my fake half marathon.

Friday evening I planned out a couple of routes to run 13.1 miles, an out and back in the park along the river, and a romp through my neighborhood, figuring I would just pick one Saturday morning based on how I felt.   Then I checked the weather to see what the hourly forecast would be, the low 60s and cloudy, with rain to come after I planned to be finished.   Perfect.   I was prepared, I got my clothes and gear all set up and ready so all I had to do was get going first thing in the morning.

Saturday, the alarm went off just before 6, and I snooze it a couple of times just because I can, thinking to myself, I can totally turn this off and sleep in for a little bit longer.   I get up a few minutes later and get dressed and ready to run.   I get a water bottle ready and a couple gel packs and at 6:30 I hit the road, 13.1 miles here I come.

The first 3 miles are pretty good.  The first mile is out of my neighborhood down to a paved path, which I can only do 2.5 miles on going out due to construction on the parallel road.   The first 3 miles are good, I am at a 8:20m/m pace and fell pretty confident that I can hold this for while.   Just after mile 3, I get to the stop light that indicates my turn-around back towards the neighborhood.   At mile 4, I slow down to take in the first gel, and am averaging 8:30 m/m.   I come off the path and turn up one of the major roads in my area an keep on pushing towards mile 5.

Somewhere between miles 4 and 6 I must have mistepped, or hit a curb funny along the sidewalk, because I now have a throbbing pain in my left calf and hamstring.   I don't remember doing anything to it, but I am now very sore.   This stretch also has a couple of hills, so between the ailing leg and the hills, I slow down, walking a bit to try to work out the tightness in the leg.   Finally, around mile 6 I ease back into a reasonable pace and my phone chimes at me to indicate that I am at 9 m/m pace.   Fine I think, I can pick this back up and keep going, I could still get through this under 2 hours.

But, instead of working through the pain, the leg gets more tight.   Between miles 7 and 8, I truly think about heading back to the house and icing up as it has now started to rain a little .   I push on, two thoughts keep me going, first, just run three more miles, a 5k then reevaluate, the second, your training partner is going to run this thing tomorrow, how will you feel if he finishes and you didn't even get to mile 8.  I push it, running/walking to ease the pain a bit.   I get to mile 9 taking the other gel hoping that a shot of energy will really help.   The whole time I am visualizing the path I am going to take, trying to calculate the distances of each segment until I can get to 13 miles.

I push past mile 10 at the bottom of my traditional 2 mile loop, thinking, just round this little section twice to get to 11 then back to the top of the hill and around that loop twice and a short jaunt downhill to get to 13.  Just 3 more miles, let's hit some milestones.   I complete the two mini-loops and reach 11 miles as I head up the hill, thinking it won't take long to get to 12.  But it did, it felt like it was going to take an eternity for the phone to beep out that 12th mile.   I check to see where I am, 11.4, Let's go, run this thing out.   So I do, no more walking breaks just pushing as much as I can go .   I run the last two miles under 8:45m/m, and finally coast to a stop at 13.1 finishing with a 9:33 m/m pace and 2:05:05.  I am sore, disappointed, and tired.  I walk home, just a couple minutes and stretch out .

I have to be honest, I am of course disappointed that I didn't get to go to Vancouver and run this race.   I truly think that I would have run it at about 1:50, but the mental shift from running a race and running a glorified long run is remarkable.   My mind is also a little preoccupied with the impending birth, so I wasn't focused on running as much as normally would have been.  Plus I should have taken the flat asphalt path in the park instead of the ever changing sidewalks in the neighborhood.  But, it was important that I get out and run this, to show that I could.   I have another one on the schedule in three months, and my friend who did get to run in Vancouver is talking about another one next month.   There are tons of opportunities to run.

So there you go readers, the race that wasn't, the almost injury that was, and the mental ability to push through it.   On the leg, compression socks Saturday night helped ease the pain in the calf muscle and by Sunday no pain there at all.   Wrapped the upper leg in an ace bandage Sunday to help diminish that pain.   I should be back out for an easy 3 tomorrow or Wednesday.  I need to take some pictures of my "course" and get them up here.   Have a great week guys .

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


If I have learned anything in the 10 months that I have been running, it is the need to be flexible.   I am not talking about limber joints, and being able to stretch in all manners, I mean the ability to handle bumps and curveballs tossed at you by life. 

Those of you that know me and my family, know that I have been talking about two major life events about to occur for me.   The first being that I have been training for the Vancouver USA Half-Marathon, and the other being the impending birth of my second child, due mid-July.   Now, since I signed up for this event back in February, my wife has been joking that the baby would be born on Father's day (which would mean that both or out kids were born on Father's day), this Sunday, the same day as the race.   Even knowing that our first was almost three weeks early, I took this in stride assuming that all would go to plan and that I would have two weeks after the race to prepare for the arrival.  

Of course this isn't necessarily how things work.   My wife went to the doctor Monday as part of a routine check where the doctor told her that he didn't think she would make it to the appointment next week, as the baby was in the process of making it's grand entrance.   Which of course is like the baby just informing me that it will be in charge for a long long time (proof I am sure that it will be a girl).  So of course this means that I am changing my plans for the coming week .  I will not be running the Vancouver Half-Marathon as it makes little sense for me to drive 4 hours across the state to run a race, when we are mere days, hours, or minutes away from having the baby. 

Flexibility!   I knew this was a possibility, I am only mildly sad that I won't run in the race I trained for, but I am elated that the baby will be here soon.   So as I do with most things that happen in my life, I am rolling with it.   My motto has always been control what you can and let the rest go.   This is no different, I have no control of the timing of baby's arrival, but I do have control over several other things.   So, I will still run 13.1 this weekend, it just won't be an official timed race.   I can also get a jump start on marathon training.

Onwards to new and exciting challenges.   First the new baby, and then on to getting my training plan together for a fall marathon.   I plan on running the following races through the fall.   The 7/23 - Shoreline Run 10k in Richland, WA; 9/24 - Indian Summer Half-Marathon, in Richland, WA; and finally on 10/22 the Columbia River Power Marathon, in Hermiston, OR.  I will get more info up on this one in a later post.

I imagine I will get a report up soon regarding the baby (just don't expect it before Sunday )

Thursday, June 9, 2011

My First Running Win!

Here is a post from June to help bring this blog back to the present.  Enjoy.

I ran across midpackrunner's virtual 5k post a couple of weeks ago and didn't really think much of it, as I was nearing the end of the full training for my Half.  But then I hit a snag last Tuesday and only ran 2 of my planned 5 miles in the morning.  So I figured why not give it a go, push a little 5k out in the afternoon, finishing out my planned run for the day. So I did.  I ran my 5k in 24:14, went online to the site linked above, entered my time and information, then basically forgot all about it.
Today I got this email:

Hi Max,

I wanted to write and congratulate you. Your name was randomly drawn from all the male entrants in the Spring Into Summer Virtual 5K. As such, you've won a signed copy of Bart Yasso's "My Life on the Run". Please let me know what address you'd like that shipped to, and I'll get the word out to Bart so he can personalize your book.

Congratulations! Thanks again for running and reading!

Yours in Sport,
Tim Woodbury
Sweet, my first running win!

Yesterday, I felt inspired during my run.  I don't know if it was the weather, it was pouring rain during my run, or if I just needed to go out and run fast, but I went out and tackled a 4 mile tempo run as fast as I have gone to date.
Mile 1: 7:38
Mile 2: 7:33
Mile 3: 7:33
Mile 4: 7:25
The whole thing, 4.25 miles took just 34 minutes.  I felt great.  This was my first run with all the miles being sub-8 minute miles.  I truly think I can pull a 10k off at this pace (I will find out in July).

Anyway, just wanted to share some awesomeness in my running.  Thanks!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


I have gone back and forth about posting this, as it is personal and a bit emotional, something I have a difficult time with.  I know you will offer nothing but support, that and I felt that yesterday's post deserved a bit more explaination, a brief look at the non-runner me. The first part feeds the second part.

Word of the day: Fantastical (from Meriam-Webster online dictionary)
1. a : based on fantasy : not real
    b : conceived or seemingly conceived by unrestrained fancy
    c : so extreme as to challenge belief : unbelievable: exceedingly large or great
2. Marked by extravagent fantasy or extreme indivduality: eccentric
3. Fantastic: Excellent, superlative
My wife and I are part of a book club.  We joined/founded with a couple of people I know from work about 18 months ago as a way to meet new people, read books we would not normally choose for ourselves and stay connected with friends.  Now, on to the title of the post and the reason by providing the definition to you wonderful people out there. Fantastical was the word used most often to describe last month's book club book. 
My wife chose 'Luka and the Fire of Life' by Salman Rushdie. 
This book is about a young boy who travels to the World of Magic in order to save his father.  It is a grand adventure and truly is a fantasy book (little known fact, but the majority of Rushdie's writing is on the fantasy side of things).  It seems that most of the book group either did not read the book, or did not enjoy the book.  Seeing as this is a group comprised of several engineers this is not a total surprise.  I myself, an engineer, really enjoyed the book, but I have a love of fantasy/sci-fi books probably based on years of video game playing.  Of course there were a couple of people that read the book that are not engineers and they seemed to enjoy the book.  However both sides used the term 'fantastical' to describe it. 
I felt that fantastic(al) is an apt word for so many things that happen in our life.  It is fantasctic that I have friends and family that support me in all efforts I embark on.  It is fantastic that I live somewhere that I can run for the joy it provides and not as a necessity.  It is fantastic that we have top of the line medical care. It is fantastic that we can choose what we want to do and how we respond to events in our lives.  Life itself is fantastic.  I could go on about how I lucky I am to live with all the niceties that we as Americans sometimes take for granted, sometimes you just need to step back and think about all you have instead of what you don't.
I realize, especially after discussing my anxiety with my wife, that the race is my rational/physical way of expressing the feelings I am having about several things going on in my life right now.  The most important of those would be the impending birth of my second child.  My wife is due mid-July, and the pregnancy hasn't been easy, it hasn't been horrible, but complications at the end with the first one have me worried as we approach the end of the second one.  The doctors, of course, have been helpful in so many ways trying to catch warning signs early so that we don't have unexpected problems again.  I know that having a new baby at home will change those worries, but at least the unknowns of the pregnancy will be gone. 
So in reality, I have the perfect storm of events, the Half in 10 days, then what I am told is more like days than weeks (Dr. predicting a July 4th baby), for the arrival.  It is a bit overwhelming.  Normally, I would only worry about what I can control (aka the Run) but in this case my emotions are getting the better of me. 
To the my readers:  You guys are, in a word, Fantastic!  I know my training will get me through the race.  I also know that my real concern is the coming challenges of an expanding family (there is no training for raising a child).  So thank you all for you words of encouragment, and I can't wait to update you all with the race report and the baby report.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


I am down to just 11 days until the Vancouver USA Half-Marathon, Sunday, June 19.  I can't tell if I am nervous excited or nervous terrified for this run.  This being my first attempt at running the full 13.1 miles.  My training as been outstanding over the last four months, but that doesn't mean that the ol' thinker isn't getting in the way of the physical abilities.

I have completed two twelve mile runs, even though the training plan called for only one 12 miler.  I completed the first one by myself back during the second weekend in May in just under 2 hours, and I thought I was going to be sore for a month (it was only a couple days, nothing new after a new distance).  Then this Sunday I ran with my training partner on the regularly scheduled 12 mile run and we did it in just over 2 hours.  The difference being that I felt great after this run.  I felt like I had enough energy to go another couple of miles (the difference between 9:45m/m and 11:00m/m).  This gives me great hope that the distance won't be a problem.  Hopefully I can push myself to complete this race under 2 hours.  So I have settled on nervous excited (though I imagine the brain is still doubtful).

Some future plans:  I am going to run in my local marathon - The Tri-Cities Marathon, October 30th. If I can convinve my wife, or if she can convince her parents, I would like to do the Surf City Marathon in February.  My wife has family down there, so convincing isn't so much of let's go, its how do we get there to avoid winter weather in the north.  Though with a friend's baby shower, and my son's birthday party all this weekend, the planning may not happen until Monday.

Thursday, June 2, 2011


Hey all!

I did something yesterday (6/1) that I had never done before in my time as a runner.   I ran twice in one day.   I awoke in the morning (boo 5:15) and managed to work my way out into the crisp morning air.   It was the perfect morning for a run so I was thinking that I could get out and roll off 3 or 4 Tempo miles at any speed under 8min/mi.  I guess my body had other plans and found myself in dire need to get back to the house after just 2.3 miles.

I figured that  I would just pick up where I left off last night and try to complete my run.   So after work, I met my wife at my in-laws, geared up, and set out for a run.   This was a good run as well, as I managed to go and push a little more, managing a 3.3 mil run.   The total for the day 5.6 miles in 44:09, good enough for a 7:53 pace.   Not a bad way to celebrate National Running Day!   Now I don't know if I could have run all 5.6 miles at this pace ( Probably would have been more like 8:10 or so).  But I know that I can push myself, especially good to know as my Half approaches in three weeks.

Saw this guy by the river path after my afternoon run!

So a few other things.   Like I said above my first Half is in three weeks (6/19).  I am stoked, I really think I am ready to crush it, training has bee great the last few weeks, even after the hamstring soreness.   My goal is under 2hrs, I just have to push myself mentally to get through it.

Check out the picture I took in Lincoln City, OR last weekend during my 6mile run.   I didn't run down this hill, mostly because I didn't want to run back up it.   Even though I did manage to basically do hill repeats.   It was a great run, though I was sore the next day.   There was something relaxing about running to the sound of the waves crashing against the shore.

Decided not to run down this hill last weekend.

These sure do get long when you only post blogs once a month or so.   Goal, be better about posting more often.   Until next time, have fun out there guys.