Monday, January 30, 2006

I'm a Failure

Yep, I'm a failure. I worked so hard this month to get all my miles in and I failed this weekend. Life screwed me up. Well, life and forgetting to pack your sports bra twice in one week! I didn't get in my 12-miler this weekend, but I'm not sweating it. Life is more important than running and missing one run isn't going to hurt me with 11 weeks still to go until the marathon. I am going to still reward myself for completing the month, if I get in my runs today and tomorrow. Really shouldn't be a probably.

So I was doing some thinking last night. How well do you know your city? I once visited a friend who lives in the suburbs of Chicago and he didn't know what to show me in the city because he rarely went to the city. I thought that was very strange. But I was thinking last night, what would I show people in Columbus if they came here to run the marathon? (Hint, hint! Dude, people, this is a great FLAT marathon here. If you want to qualify for Boston or have some big time goal, this is the place to do it.) I'm thinking of compiling a list of things that I have and haven't done around this city and then completing them. So, how well do you know your city?

Friday, January 27, 2006

High Atop of my Soapbox

Dave has warned me over and over again that I should not post things on my blog that are not fact based, but I'm pulling out my soapbox and doing it anyway. I'll try to make it brief, however. Please do not send me hate mail!

I saw the first Oprah show with James Frey, when he was talking about his book and his addiction. I thought the book sounded fascinating. When I lost my job, I got a library card and the first book I reserved was "Million Little Pieces." I was number 800+ on the waitlist so I had a long time before I would get this book. The day my book came in was the day that all the chaos began surrounding the book. As of right now, I have not finished the book, but I am more than half way through it and think it's great.

So here's my beef.

Yes James Frey lied when he went on Oprah the first time and said that the events in his book actually happened. Yes Oprah has a right to be embaressed by that. Yes the events in "Million Little Pieces" are not completely true. But, that's where I am drawing the line.

Oprah called into Larry King Live and said that "the underlying message of redemption in James Frey's memoir still resonates with [her], and [she] know[s] it resonates with millions of other people who have read this book." I don't understand why she feels the need to go back on this statement. This book is about drug addiction and alcoholism and how one many struggled to get through it. If people use this book to help them through their addictions, whether this book is true or not, it's still a good thing. It's serving its purpose.

I watched (almost all of) Oprah's show yesterday. The following is transcript from the show that really struck me and it is something I whole-heartedly believe. The publisher, Nan Talese made some very good statements about novels, non-fiction, and memoirs. She states, "You cannot stop people from making up stories. We learn by stories." Oprah responds with, "You can if you call it a memoir. You can make up stories and call them novels. People have done it for years." The publisher sums it up when when she said, "A novel is something different than a memoir. And a memoir is different from an autobiography. A memoir is an author's remembrance of a certain period in his life."

James Frey unfortunately has made some public speaking mistakes regarding the media blitz surrounding this book. He really should stop calling the people in the book 'characters' and he probably shouldn't have said he had hundreds and hundreds of pages of documentation to back-up the facts of this book. But he did say he "wrote it from memory" and how it is his memory of how things happened. Isn't that what a memoir is? When I saw my dad fall while running and slice his head open, to me it happened in slow motion and I could probably write detailed pages of the event and probably a lot of things would be embellished because it happened so fast I couldn't get all the details of. But, it's my memory of how it happened and therefore it's my memoir.

Here's my final statement. I like the book. I believe in what the book is about. I believe it is James Frey's account of his addiction. I'm sorry Oprah, I'm backing James Frey on this one.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Too Dang Cold

It's too dang cold outside to do this heart rate training. The plan was to do 9 miles at 70% of max. Well, it was like 20 degrees outside and running that slow would have been too cold and too long. I decided to take it slow, but fast enough that I could get warm and work up a sweat. It snowed the whole time during the run. It was more like snow pellets than snow flakes. I got the nine miles done in 81 minutes; 9 minute miles. I'm pretty sore today. It's a good thing I'm taking the day off. I don't think I could handle any more running today. Tomorrow's plan is to do 12 and Saturday I'll run 5 in the afternoon. I have a track coach's clinic tonight, tomorrow, and Saturday so I've had to rearrange my schedule a bit this week.

Have I mentioned I have a toe that has been numb since Monday? How weird is that? I'm thinking I pinched a nerve.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Let the Training Begin

Yesterday I started my training plan for Boston. I'm calling it the "Modified Pfitzinger Plan." It's basically the Pfitzinger Advanced Marathoning plan, but I've modified some of the mileage and some of the runs. I ran 6 miles yesterday with 10 X 100m strides. The 6 miles was hard as I was trying to run it around an 8:00 pace. I didn't quite make that, but it's early in the training. Halfway through my run, though, I did see and talk to a friend of mine from high school. I love small town America! My 10 X 100m strides were awesome. I was a sprinter in high school and sometimes I really miss the speed. So in total, I clocked 7.25 miles yesterday in 1:00:40. I'm having to rearrange my schedule this week to fit all my runs due to a track coach's clinic later this week. I'll keep you posted on how it all goes.

Monday, January 23, 2006

On Your Mark, Get Set, GO!

Twelve weeks until Boston and the real training plan starts now!!!! I'll keep you updated on how it is going.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Ralph the Dog

Remember when Ralph the Dog sang "Can't live with them, Can't live without them?" Yeah, I could definitely do without the dogs. I went on a 5-1/2 run yesterday around a country block near my parents' house. It was too dang cold to run with the heart rate monitor so I just ran at my pace. Everything was going great too until I came down off a little hill and I saw a big dog roaming this trailer park. You know it's a big dog when it's not wearing a collar but wearing one of those harnesses that goes around it's front legs. As I approached the trailer park I slowed to a walk and kept a watchful eye out for the dog. I saw the dog around one of the trailers and two children were playing with it. It was a freakin' pit bull and two children were playing with it! I walked until it was way out of sight then I started running again.

As I approached the end of that road there were two more dogs who yapping at me. But they were little weiner dogs and they seemed to run along an invisible fence in their yard so I didn't worry about them.

Turning onto the next road I noticed a man out getting his mail and he had three dogs with him. As I came to the house his dogs came running out to the edge of the property barking and lunging toward me. These dogs were terriers (I think) and the man kept saying, "don't worry they won't hurt you." But they sure looked like they were going to hurt me. I walked through that section too.

Finally onto the last road of my run and I saw a dog running down the middle of the road. From far away it looked really tiny and it appeared to be running away from me, so I kept on trekking. I got to the road my parents live on and turned toward home and there was the dog. I stopped and told it to go home and it seemed very scared and turned and ran the other way. If only all the dogs ran away when I yell at them.

The past two times I've done this run I've had dog troubles. I guess I'll have to scratch this route off my list. I don't live in a place that has many trails and I don't like to run the same route everyday. Sometimes you have to run the roads. Yesterday I had to run the roads as it was snowy and really cold and the trails wouldn't have been clear. But, I'm not going to lose my limbs or my life to a dog, so I guess I'm going to have to find another route.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


So I was out on my 5 mile jaunt yesterday afternoon (it was beautifully sunny and I was wearing shorts) and running my super slow pace. I had already made it to my turn around point and I was on my way back home. I was trying to beat a light so I sped up across the street. To my surprise my heart rate monitor did not start beeping as I sped up nor did it go off as I settled back into the slow pace. Huh? So I picked it up a little and the heart rate monitor still didn't go off. Huh? You mean I've been running this unbearable slow pace and I don't need to? I made it back a minute quicker than I had gone out and now I've learned I don't need to run as slow.

Two weeks ago when I fell I noticed a little pain on the top of my left foot. The pain was right about in the same location of the stress fracture I had had in my other foot. I thought maybe I had landed on a rock or maybe it was part of the sprained ankle I had done to myself in the fall. The foot doesn't hurt when I run, but I've noticed the soreness sticking around the next day after my run especially when I wear dress shoes to work. I'm going to keep an eye on it. I don't need another stress fracture and not be able to run Boston again because of a broken foot.

Andrea--I'm planning on an easy 12 on Saturday.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Weekly Wrap-Up

Last week was a good week of running. I continue to struggle with having to run so slow, but I keep reminding myself that it's going to make me better and I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing. I think it's working, though. Saturday I ran 9 miles at Highbanks at a pretty easy pace. I felt great! I wish more people had decided to run the second loop. I really wanted to do all 12 miles. Oh well. It's a slow build up. I don't need to get injured again.

I've made a bet with myself. When I train for a marathon I put together these elaborate plans with how many miles I'm supposed to run each day, etc. And I never stick to these plans. This time around, I am really going to try to stick to my plans. I have decided that if I can stick with the plan through the end of this month that I can buy myself a new running shirt. Maybe it will help with my motivation.

My dad ran his 20th marathon yesterday. He completed Rock and Roll Arizona in 4:02. He was trying to qualify for Boston, which he needed a 3:35. He said he'll go and watch me, but I must admit I'm disappointed for him. He's been battling some injuries for quite some time now and he can't seem to get past them. He says he's not going to do the marathon anymore, but I hope he reconsiders. Next year he moves up an age group and will need a 3:40. I hope he finds the motivation again.

And finally in the completely bazaar you know I've had my troubles in the past with being chased by dogs. My aunt recently took up running and this week she was chased by a cat on her run. How weird is that? A CAT!

Talk to you all tomorrow.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

I am the slowest runner EVER!

Yesterday I did six miles. In freakin' an hour and 22 minutes!!! My usual 6 miles is more than 30 minutes faster than that. I guess the good news is that of the 1:22, 1:13 of it was at 153 bpm or below. And after about 4 miles I started feeling better and could start picking it up. I've always known it took me a long time to warm up and feel comfortable, but I didn't know it still applied to slow, slow runs. I'll keep plugging away and hopefully this training will all work out.

An hour and 22 minutes!! For six miles!!!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

No Willpower

One of the things I like to do as a coach is to attend other sporting events that my kids participate in. I have already attended several boys and girls basketball games this season so I decided to take in a swim meet last night. It was a good meet. Boys won, girls lost. But it really made me miss swimming.

Swimming is one sport that I have stuck with my entire life. My parents wanted me to have good water skills and not be afraid of water so they started me in swim lessons when I was just 6 months old and I took lessons every year until I was 12. After that I did one year of diving, and then joined the swim team. I didn't stay on the swim team very long as it conflicted with gymnastics, but I've always had a passion for swimming and enjoy doing it recreationally.

I haven't quite figured out, though, how the swimming and biking thing are going to fit into my new HRM training schedule. Initially I had decided that it would be only running with an easy swim on Friday, yoga on Sunday, and maybe an easy bike ride on the trainer also on Sundays. But I want to swim more and work more on my bike. If I do these workouts at 70% or below of my max heart rate, it shouldn't negatively affect my running, right?

So I just read Wil's post about getting up at 3:30 to do a workout before getting her kids up and getting ready for work. I've thought about doing this especially with the swimming. Our gym is open 24 hours and the pool opens at 5:00am. I could definitely get a swim in before work and probably make it to work earlier than if I was at home. But, I have no willpower to get up earlier and work out before work. If someone was depending on me, heck ya I would be there. Me depending on me is a different story. And then there's the issue of getting ready for work at the gym. Not really a problem logistically, but I'm super self-conscious and I just don't think I can do it.

For now, my swimming will remain at one day a week until I figure out how to make it work.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

HRM Training Sucks

On Saturday I decided not to run at 70% and ran with the group. It felt really fast even at an 8:00 mile because I had been doing the whole week around a 12:00 mile. As the run went along we got faster and faster and I tried to push to see if my max heart rate was incorrect. Of course the highest I could get was 192. I did a slow lap around Antrim Lake when finished with the 7 mile loop of the north end of the Olentangy Trail and still finished with an 8:23 pace for the whole run.

Yesterday the plan was to do 4 miles at 70%. My watch was beeping all over the place. I couldn't even hold my heart rate under 70% when I was walking. It was really ticking me off. So I turned the alarm off and just ran a slow comfortable pace and held my heart rate around 160 bpm. When I got back to the school to finish my last mile around the track, I decided to run some 400s to see if the 193 max was correct. Wouldn't you know I couldn't get it above 193?! Boy was I steamed!

So I guess the 153 is correct for 70%. I just have to keep reminding myself that I have to stick with the plan and it will get better and faster. Right? RIGHT?

Congratulations to my buddy Jeff for qualifying for Boston in the OC Marathon. And another congratulations to my girl Andrea who completed the Goofy Challenge Plus at Walt Disney World this last weekend. She ran the half marathon, the 5K, and the marathon.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Goals 2006

You've waited. You've anticipated. And now I deliver.

But, you're totally going to be let down.

I only have one goal.

Last year was the year of racing. I did like a bazillion races and had a million PRs and by the time I got to my fall marathon, I was damn tired. But, this year is the year of training and my one and only goal is...

Heart Rate Training

Yep that's it. If this stuff works like it's supposed to then all my other goals will fall into place. My other goals being the elusive 3:30 marathon, to do better in Boston than I did last year, a sub-22:00 5K, and improvement on my bike in the triathlon.

Here's the plan. There are approximately 15 weeks until Boston. Starting next week and all the way until the 23rd, I will be doing all runs at 70% of my max heart rate. Starting the week of the 23rd I modified the Pfitzinger 12/55 plan to this: one tempo run, one semi long run, one long run, one marathon pace run, and one pure recovery day. In reality only the tempo run and the marathon pace run will be done above the 70% max heart rate. Now if this goes really crappy for Boston, then I'll rethink my plan for a fall marathon or summer triathlon.

Here's my problem, however. I have asthma and I take Albuterol before I run. The Albuterol makes my heart race. Therefore I have two different max heart rates based on with medicine and without. My theory is this: I will always be using the medicine when I race, therefore my max heart rate will be established using the Albuterol. The kink in all this is my minimum heart rate. The things I have read about heart rate training tell you to take your min heart rate first thing in the morning before you crawl out of bed. That's fine but I get a different minimum heart rate based on medicine versus no medicine. To sum up, I'm having a hard time establishing my 70% and 85% because I think my minimum heart rate is too low. This is something I'm thinking of consulting my doctor about since he's done heart rate training and has an unusually high max heart rate like I do.

For now I'm using my max as 193 because that's the highest I've seen during a run. Although I think that's way low. I think my max heart rate is more like 205. And my minimum heart rate is 58 because that's the lowest I've seen during a nap. However, I'm not even sure that's correct because the minimum was 58 but my average during that nap was 78. So I'm guessing normally my heart beats around 78? Any idea, y'all.

I've done two runs this week with 153 set as my 70%. It has been grueling. My first run was 3 miles on the treadmill and it took me 38:45. Good gosh! Then I did a 5 miler yesterday in 59 minutes. My watch beeped at me about every three steps on that run. Of that 59 minutes, only 41 were actually in the zone.

So what do you think? Does this sound like a good plan? Do y'all have experience with heart rate monitors and can give me some feedback about if it works or if I've set something up wrong or ways to establish my zones better (besides spending a million dollars to be put on the treadmill wearing a gas mask)?

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Hi Ho, Hi Ho

It's back to work I go.

Yesterday was my first day of work and boy was it rough. Getting up three hours earlier than I've grown accustomed to started the day rough. Dad picked me up for work around 6:30 and basically dropped me at the door the second he showed me where my cubicle was. The day got even longer less than a half hour into my day when my dad came over and said he had a meeting from 3:00 until 5:00. My first day; a ten hour day. Most of the day was spent reading manuals and reading a book. A read a whole book on heart rate training yesterday. (Thanks Andrea!) I couldn't even log into my computer until about 4:00.

Here's the funny part about yesterday, though. I was too nervous to eat breakfast before leaving for work so I packed some diced peaches to snack on. Around 7:30 I got hungry so I opened my peaches only to have them squirt juice all over both legs of my pants. I was feverishly wiping them hoping they would dry by the time my new boss came in at 8:00. Being that this was not my first time this had happened to me, at least I had the knowledge that the juice was going to dry clearly. Luckily, it did dry in time and I didn't have to make a fool out of myself.

After dinner with friends yesterday I crashed, although not as early as I had hoped. I had to pack my lunch and get my clothes ready for today, which was a disaster. Coming from a job where I could wear jeans and tennis shoes, I'm really struggling with this business casual attire.

Coming soon....goals 2006.

Sunday, January 01, 2006


Every other Saturday the group meets at Highbanks Metro Park for a run. At Highbanks we run on a rocky trail that has pretty good hills for Ohio. As y'all know, I haven't been doing much running in the last 4 weeks, but this past week I bumped up my training and ran 5 days for about 20 miles total. About 10 minutes into our Highbanks run yesterday I rolled my ankle and went down hard. My dad stayed back with me and we walked the ankle out and then finished our run. When I got back to the start I checked my knees which were throbbing pretty good. They were covered in blood. Surprisingly I didn't tear my tights, but I did cut up my knees pretty badly. This picture doesn't do the damage justice.

Today my knees have bruised, my ankle is pretty tender, and I have a bruise and a scrape on my hip. It was a good trip, man!