Thursday, January 31, 2013

Super Bowl Concerto

For the last few years my Super Bowl Sunday has been quite predictable. We get up early, head into Central Park to run in the 4 mile NYRR Gridiron Classic, then head home and have a bunch of folks over to watch the game. The race puts an interesting counterpoint to the eating bonanza that normally occurs. As part of the classic, there is a football toss at 8am and the race follows at 9.

This year is different. My girls were invited to audition for a concerto competition. Their audition is on Super Bowl Sunday. One is scheduled to play at 11:00am and the other almost immediately afterwards. Now on one hand it seems good that they were scheduled to perform before the big game but this time makes it close to impossible to do the race and the concert (they are about an hour drive apart). My older daughter, while registered for the race with me, realized that and chose to play her concerto.

I have a dilemma. I've seen my girls play many times. The latest time was just last week. I fully expect them to nail this audition and they will perform again shortly. Even if they don't get selected for this competition, there are many on the schedule already. My so called running will make the race a train wreck but it is better to do it than not. Yes, forfeiting the race fee and giving up the tee shirt isn't a good thing but the registration wasn't that expensive since we registered so long ago.

So, what to do? Race and miss this performance or don't race and see the performance. I'm leaning towards running early solo, missing the race, and seeing the concert but I'll probably waffle a dozen times before I actually need to make a decision.

In any event, I'll be watching the game rooting against the Ravens. Not for the Niners, but against the Ravens. Read into that what you will.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Surgery interruptus

Last month I was scheduled to have a minor surgical procedure that would hopefully have had a positive impact on by preventing the medical woes I experienced last summer. My issue is that nasal polyps grow in my sinuses that are most likely due to allergies and they sometimes grow to the point that I need them surgically removed. I had them removed twice before years ago and my ENT said that it is time to remove them again. We scheduled the surgery to happen in December.

Unfortunately, I got the flu a few days before the scheduled surgery date. This cancelled the surgery at that time and it was rescheduled to last Thursday. I was ready but had a cold. Nothing all that serious and in fact I wouldn't have even gone to the doctor but since I had to get cleared for this surgery, I went. The result was yet another cancellation. Apparently surgery on a sinus isn't that easy with a runny nose.

Now I have no reschedule date. I've been very haphazard with my training as I mentally viewed the surgery as step one and then real training for StA to be step 2. Somehow in work and for others I can balance a gazillion things at the same time but with my own training I'm very sequentially oriented. I need to fight that tendency and get with the program.

I still have enough time for St Anthony's triathlon to be a success. I'll deal with the surgery as a surprise and not schedule it in. Time to get on the trainer.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A hike through Disney

Last weekend was the Disney Marathon Weekend. This Disney extravaganza has grown into a series of events and my daughter earlier in the year said she wanted to run the half as her first half marathon. Her previous longest race was 4 miles but she is a runner. I was going to run it too so I signed us both up at that time.

Her training plan was to start adding weekly long runs in early November with her longest run scheduled for 11 miles a couple of weeks before the half. She did all the training per the plan and was ready. In contrast, I did minimal training except for getting fat. I can't really run well so I walked a bit. My longest "walk" prior to race day was 7 miles. Getting the flu a few weeks before made me regress even more. I was just starting in mixing in a little jogging to my walks but I realized, at best, I was undertrained. I didn't really understand how undertrained I actually was but that epiphany was coming.

I wrote previously that my goal was to not get picked up by the SAG bus. My plan was to move up in the corral to gain some slack from the sweep. My goal was to move my daughter up too so she could run with people at her pace. Her goal was 2 hours and to not have to walk at all.

We were originally in corral H. They moved her up to corral A (with the fast folks) and me to corral E based on previous race results. I thought that fair. The expo was interesting where we listened to Bart Yasso give a talk and checked out the expo. The main buzz had to do with the heat wave being experienced in central Florida. The high temperature the day before the race was in the mid 80s - not great for running.

The clock was set for 2:45AM on race day and we were out of the house by 3:30 per plan. My goal was to go back to sleep in the car but my daughter was bouncing around already. We headed over to the staging area and they let us head towards the start at 4:30. After the long walk to the corrals, I walked her to near her corral, wished her luck, then started the long trek to corral E. When I got to D, the bouncer said this entrance was for D and above. I hopped in and blended with the "real" runners.

After the anthem and the starts for the other corrals, it was our turn to run and off we went. I started jogging planning on a jog 2/walk 3 mix to start. I thought I was golden It was, as expected, very crowded with 25k runners or so. There were time where the road narrowed and people stopped running. All was good until about the 2 mile mark when I started feeling a  slight tinge in my upper right hamstring. To save myself I decided to walk it in. Walking was fine, running wasn't. I somehow convinced myself that goal#1 was to not be picked up, goal#2 was to get a medal, and goal#3 was to make the official 3:30 cutoff.

About 10 miles in I realized that as long as I kept doing what I was doing, it looked like I would meet goal#1and#2 but not #3. It would be close but then I started feeling a blister start. I also noticed that my hands were swelling and starting to hurt. I was near the end so it wouldn't be that bad so I kept going. At this time everyone around me was walking. There were no runners at all.

I saw my daughter at the 12 mile mark. She had her medal, space blanket,  and was very happy. She walked in with me and told me about her race. She said she was doing great but had to really go to the bathroom at mile 8. There was a line for the porta potties so that delayed her. She said when her Garmin said 13.1 miles she was under 2 hours but at the end Garmin said 13.28 miles in 2:01:11. She was happy but was talking about being more aware of the tangents and bathroom next time. She said that there was a big difference between 11 miles and 13.1. She said at the beginning it was so fun she was thinking about the full next year. At the end, though, the half was enough for her.

I didn't get picked up. I got my medal. I didn't make the 3:30 cutoff. There were still thousands of runners behind me. My blister wasn't that bad but my hands were hurting from the swelling so I went to the medical tent and iced them down. This was a mystery to me but with the heat and lack of training, odd things should have been expected. The medical folks seemed to feel that this wasn't a big deal.

After about an hour, my hands were back to normal. I've proven that I'm stupid enough to get this stuff done by virtue of my inability to admit defeat. No need to prove that again. I wasn't in that bad shape but realized that there is some advantages to actually training.  That has to be the plan going forward.

StA up next.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Racing a bus

This upcoming weekend is the Disney Half Marathon. The plan was that this was going to be my 16yo daughter's first half marathon and I was going to run it too. The plan called for some training. She did the training. I thought about it, at best.

So here we are the week of the race. She is ready. I am not. She is hopeful for sub2:00. My goal is to not get picked up by the bus. The bus?

Let me explain. Disney requires a 16:00/mile pace or they sweep you off the course. Supposedly there are a few points along the route where if you don't make it in time, they have a bus to drive you to the finish. If you get in the bus, you don't get a medal. Bragging rights were conceded to my daughter some time ago.

I have been walking a bit but my training has only started. I walk at a little less than 18:00/mile. I need to run some and I need to run a scam to position myself properly at the start.since the bus clock starts when the last racer crosses the start line. With 20.000 racers, I could probably get me 15 minutes of slack that way.

The other issue is that 13.1 miles can be a long way if the longest you've covered in a while has been about 7 miles. At a slow walk. To add insult to this perfect storm it is supposed to get hot in Florida (surprise) That only will impact people who are out on the course a long time (like me). I can only hope that I get on a roll and see what happens. If I'm in danger of hurting myself, I'll divert and start riding Splash Mountain early. My family expects to hit the parks after the race for the rest of the day.

I'll be happy with finishing last. Next time I'll train. Or monorail. Want to avoid that bus though.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Other types of PRs

I was thinking about PRs in racing and training. Many people are posting about how many miles they raced or trained last year or PRs that they set. My mileage was low last year but I didn't dive into the numbers. My PRs are fairly modest compared to most but I keep track of them, look at them from time to time, and sometimes figure out which one to attack next. This year I hope to break two of PRs - Oly tri and Ironman - at least that's the goal.

I don't believe that I'm very different than most so called athletes. As an experiment as someone what their PR is in a common distance like a 5k. Most athletes will rattle it off immediately but then the next sentence is often either an excuse or a plan to improve. Try it.

Then I had a brain fart. What if you had PRs in other parts of your life that you mentally track as closely? I thought of how much money one makes in a year or the biggest bonus or commission if you work in fields like that. I knew that off the top of my head too.

Some other ideas for PRs came to mind:

  • The most vacations taken in a year. (notice it isn't the most days worked in a year)
  • Worst sunburn (hard to measure).
  • Smartest moment.
  • Number of near death experiences.
  • Number of times fate intervenes in near death experiences. (all?)
  • Highest (dubious) or lowest weight as an adult.
  • Smallest size clothes you've fit into.
  • Date of last all nighter.
  • Luckiest you've ever felt.
  • Date of last all nighter not work related.
  • The fastest you've ever driven in a car  (mine was >100mph since the speedometer only went that high)
  • Dumbest moment.
  • The fastest you've ever ridden your bike. (I've topped 50mph a few times, last at a Placid training ride).
  • Longest your house has been out of power.
  • Coldest/hottest temperature you've experienced and where.
  • Saddest you've ever been.
  • Most frightened you've ever been.
  • Happiest you've ever been.
Some of these have crossed into the athlete mode again - hey, it happens. I can't remember all of these for me but it is an interesting exercise and I'm thinking about keeping track. Any to add?