I’ll put a full Reach the Beach recap up tomorrow but for now, just a brief note that I have survived. Next up, Boston’s Run to Remember next Sunday. Hopefully CNHB will be over her ick before then – she’s done this one before (several times?) but I’ve never.
Song of the week, courtesy of emergency use of my phone in non-headphone speaker mode during a low period of leg #3, Blue Orchid by the White Stripes (with Jack White channeling his inner Burton’d Depp).
Tomorrow I’ll be headed to Wachusett Mountain for the start of the Mass Reach the Beach 2013 relay race.
A few things about this event. The overall course is 199.5 miles, going from Wachusett to the Horseneck Beach State Reservation in Westport, MA. My team (Far From Finished) is running as an ultra team, so each of the six members will be running ~30 miles. I’m runner #3, which means I’ll be running legs 5 & 6 (14.4 miles), 17 & 18 (8.4 miles) and 29 & 30 (11.2 miles). In theory my first & longest run will be run at 3:20pm Friday, with the second two at 12:20am and 9am Saturday. Obviously we’ll drift from that schedule one way or another depending on how things go, but that’s our guess – I don’t see any way I’ll have two nighttime runs. If you’re interested in scrolling through a big PDF of the leg maps you can find that here. If all goes well we’ll be finished by 4pm this Saturday.
The results will be posted here in real time, though I think that may just be the final results. You can follow the most recent flow of detritus @nanio or more generally at #ReachTheBeach.
This will be my first Reach the Beach but is my third relay of this type (I did the Florida Keys Ragnar earlier this year and Connecticut to Boston Ragnar in 2010). Those were both 12 person relays though, this time it’s a 6 person thing, a different beast. It should be doable, it’s should be ok. It’s just a matter of deciding how strong to go and managing the flow.
Ok! Nobody is nervous.
ps. The name Far From Finished and the image to the right is lifted from our captain’s BIL’s band. They’re currently on tour in Europe – here’s a video of them from Madrid last week.
My spring marathons are complete, so here’s a biannual fifty states project update for ya (please to note snazzy new color scheme). New to the finished column this time are Texas, Tennessee & lucky #13, New Jersey. The light greens will commence this October, and the oranges in the southeast will be next March (I love me some long term planning).
This blog has a regular readership somewhere safely in the single digits. The point of it is mainly a record for myself, striving for a larger following would be counterproductive to how I think of the forum. Which is why it was surprising when a friend who is not in what I think of as my regular readership told me yesterday I should update more often. Ok. I will try. You though, anonymous lurker, could also do your part and leave a comment every now and then so I know you’re really here. :)
No race for me this week. Honestly I’m glad for time off, I feel as though I’ve been dragging since New Jersey. Next week is my Reach the Beach ultra so it will be a short week of work for me as I’m taking Friday off.
So while I didn’t have anything going on (other than a TMIRCE meetup run Saturday) there are still three races I want to mention.
1) YJP ran her first trail race today and reported live-in-race that she saw a snake. Which is awesome. She’s prepping for a trail half, new territory.
2) A friend from work who is young and too fast for his own good ran the Cox Rhode Race marathon down in Providence today. This past week he mentioned he was doing this so I gave a half-thought to signing up but found it sold out already. I just now went and looked up his time – 2:55, placing 18th of 1200+. An average 6:42 split. Unbelievable. Congrats John. I’ve no idea if he’s happy with this but personally I would be thrilled.
3) The other thing I considered doing today but ultimately didn’t was the Gil’s Athletic Club Mother’s Day 6 hour trail race. I need to do a long trail run (or, several) to get ready for my TARC 50. Which frankly is giving me a massive panic attack when I think about it, leading me to quite rationally stick my head in the sand whenever it comes up.
My mileage was a bit short of my weekly goal but with RTB next weekend I think I’ll manage to average up to 40/week for the month.
Lastly, and most importantly, Happy Mother’s Day! Both to my own (who is excellent) and my sisters (almost as excellent), as well as to assorted other moms in my world. It’s a tough job, I wouldn’t want (or be able) to do it.
YJP & I drove up from Balitmore, arriving in New Jersey on Saturday for the expo, which was located at horse race track (Monmouth Park). Saturday was coincidentally the same day as the Kentucky Derby. I didn’t place any bets, and we also decided against waiting around three hours for the race to go off.
Dinner was had at some rando Italian place that was packed with seniors at 6pm. I lost my headphones in Bethesda earlier in the week so we stopped by Target to grab a pair – they didn’t have exactly the right kind of cheapo Sonys but the ones I got are close enough.
This week’s race started a bit later than last week’s, so I slept until 4am. Up with coffee, trying not to step on either YJP or Turtle, both of whom were condemned to sleep on the floor of an otherwise fairly nice hotel room.
YJP dropped me at Monmouth at 6:30, just in time to see the half marathon start at 6:45. It’s not exactly clear to me why the half went 75 minutes before the full buy the upside was all the massive lines at the porta-potties cleared out immediately leaving plenty of access for nervous peeing. I snagged a discarded sweatshirt from the side of the road as it was a good it colder than I had realized.
At 8am, we were off. I was supposed to be in corral B but think I started in C as my group was the third to go. Somehow I was behind the 3:50 pace group, it was not my intention to start this far back.
The first seven Miles were winding around neighborhoods, pretty zig-zaggy. I worked my way up to the 3:30 pace group, faster than I intended to run for the day.
I saw YJP at mile 5.5, a good thing. No signs this week, but this one crossed my mind. I couldn’t see Turtle at first but realized she was staked out in a median grass strip.
For miles 7 to 11 were spent slaloming around the slower half runners/walkers. Mostly this was fine, less so at some water stops. So yeah, definitely unsure about the logic of sending them first. At 11 the full course split off and headed south.
At 12 I saw YJP again. Again, a good thing.
At the half mark I was at 1:43:34. This is pretty quick for me for the first half of a full, 40+ seconds faster than I was last week in Nashville where I set a new marathon PR.
At mile 15 I see the lead male runner (and eventual winner) coming back the other way. Not exactly sure what mile he’s at but I guesstimate he’s six miles ahead of me. Dude is ripped, later I find out that that was Oz Pearlman, magician & marathoner. I knew of him earlier because a while back I watched this video about him running the Athens to Sparta “Spartathlon” race in 2012.
The bottom of the course did a bit if weaving around various water obstacles, Deal lake, Wesley Lake (which was really more of a canal). Some parts of the course was on small footbridges, they had volunteers specifically in place to warn of footing issues, step down, etc.
At mile 17 I made eye contact with someone along the course – he says, “You look fanTAStic Nathanael!” There’s no way this is true but it’s appreciated, really nice to have direct support coming straight to you at a moment of weakness. I like having my name on my number.
Somewhere around here in Asbury Park the course passes what looks like a couple of interesting venues. There’s the Wonder Bar (presumably unrelated to the Allston dance club), and also the Stone Pony, where I learn that Limp Bizkit still exists, and is playing Monday night. A band on some porch is covering Michael Jackson, Billie Jean. I like these informal spontaneous bands a lot.
The turn around is at mile 19. I’ve been slowly losing speed, but things start to come apart a mile later at 20 (this is where I first calculate how slow I’d be if I walked the last six miles). Someone handed me a half-banana here (my emergency rescue food of choice) and I was so happy to have it, before it dropped out of my hand uneaten. There’s no bending over and picking things up at this point, like your keys in a lava flow, let ‘em go, because man, they’re gone.
I see YJP again at 22, she’s all supportive but I’m really hurting here. My splits for the last four miles are all in the 8:30-9:00 range, and I decide not to push. Christine had sent me a text the night before asking me not to kill myself and I agreed, telling her my goal was sub-3:40, so I try to stick with that number and recalibrate my math. The last few miles are head down focus & finish. The sun has coming out and I’m losing a steady stream of water off the brim of my hat. These miles are along the waterfront, to my right I can see where the boardwalk used to be – for all the “Boston Strong” stuff I’ve heard down here (which, don’t get me wrong, is appreciated) it’s easy to forget that Hurricane Sandy really hit this area quite hard only six months ago, killing 37. The marathon shirts here say Run * Restore * Rebuild for a reason.
There’s another band and a good amount of positive atmosphere at mile 25 that makes it feel like this should be the finish area – unfortunately it was not. At 25.5 someone yells something at me about Austin because of the shirt I’m wearing – I try to throw them horns but there’s a good chance I screwed it up and said ‘I love you’ in sign language instead. Either way I’m hurting and barely making it. The photos from the finish line photographers are not flattering this time around (other than these).
I see YJP one last time in the crush of people at the finish (no idea how she got there so fast) then pull through to the end. Sweet medal. My finish time is 3:39:38, an 8:23 split, almost six minutes slower than last week. The sun is out in full force and is really too bright for me at this point – I’m sick, nauseous for a solid 45 minutes or so before we stumble back to the car to find a Mexican place for Cinco de Mayo & the long ride back to Baltimore. I’m so very glad I don’t have to drive.
So, not my fastest race, but for sure my fastest marathon on one week’s rest. And while going out too quick is usually my archnemesis, today I felt happy to have tried it – if I could have hung the last six miles I would have PR’d, and also I think these crash & burns can teach a bit about the boundaries of possibility we’re working with.
Thanks one last time to superfans YJP & Turtle for coming out to cheer for me, for driving up from Balto & for tolerating the hotel floor so that I could sleep. That was really above and beyond.
This was my third marathon of the year – I’ll be taking a break from this distance for a while to work on some different things. Next up for me race wise, a Reach the Beach ultra relay in two weeks. I’ve really been looking forward to this race.
Song of the week, Wagon Wheel, the Old Crow Medicine Show version from a 2010 Mixcorp mix. I only learned just prior to this race there’s another version of this song by Darius Rucker – who I further just learned is a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Those two facts are officially TMI about Darius Rucker. For exhaustiveness sake, here’s the original Bob Dylan version as well.
Unlike most of the races I do, the Country Music Marathon in Nashville was on a Saturday. Maybe it’s a Southern church thing, I don’t know. Its cetainly not to help coordinate with other regional races as the nearest two others this weekend (Louisville and Champaign/Urbana) were both on the same Saturday as well. Regardless, I took the day off Friday to head down to Nashville for expo & some top-secret poking around town business.
Also unlike most of the races I do, part of my family came with to cheer – I was really psyched about this. My mom has wanted to see a race for some time but the Sunday thing has been a problem for them. We scored fairly cheap nonstop flights ($160?!) so were able to grab a third for Christine, who brought the free-ridin’ Tate along for the trip. This is his second marathon (he came to Newport last year) which is pretty good for someone who isn’t even one yet.
The original idea to run Nashville came from YJP, as part of an extension of our Austin plan. Timing being fortuitous, we met up at the airport and headed to the expo. This is a Rock ‘n’ Roll event which for better or worse leads you to expect a certain consistency. Which was what we had. No surprised. Shirts were white and IMO boring, which seems to be a trend in this race series. I haven’t worn the New Orleans or St. Louis shirts since those races, and don’t see myself wearing this one either. The hat Christine bought me, however, is pretty sweet.
My family has a few relatives living south of Nashville so Friday afternoon was spent down there. Our Louisiana cousins drove up as well, a sort of semi-impromptu family reunion. I was glad to see everyone but at the same time happy to be able to call it an early night, heading to bed at my hotel around 7pm.
3am, up and at it. My hotel was freezing. I checked out the window, rain seemed to be gentle. Ok maybe this won’t be bad.
5am, YJP showed up at my hotel. We met a third friend who ran Ragnar Florida Keys with us last January, and walked down to the finish line for a shuttle to the start. By now it was raining heavily. As I got on the bus I realized that I had left the clear gear check bag required by post-boston security upgrades back at the hotel. This was a problem. I ended up checking my jacket, the only warm item I brought with me to Tennessee, in yjp’s bag.
The start was near a scale model of the Parthenon just west of downtown. I was in corral 2 as I had been a bit over optimistic with my finish time back when I registered. Start was delayed five minutes or so for last minute car towings. This is fairly common and I try to roll but the pouring rain makes it hard to be easy going about the wait.
Mile 4: I see Christine & my mom on the left side, I’m over toward the right if a fairly wide course that’s still fairly dense so can’t make my way over. Not thinking much about pace at this point.
Mile 9: I see them again here – this time I get a high five. I tell Christine I’m feeling awesome, which is surprising given the rain. Which remains heavy. There’s a mat at 9.9 miles for some reason, later I’ll see I’m under 8:00 splits.
At half I’m at 1:44:21, a 7:58 split. This is pretty decent for me – I didn’t realize at the time this is some 80 seconds faster than my half time in Austin, my standing marathon PR. Just past the half mark we’re heading down a steep hill that’s being bisected by what’s basically a little ankle-deep river and some dude cruising past me says “this is totally the log flume of marathons”. Yeah.
Mile 17: we cross over the river into East Nashville. I look for the cheer squad here but no luck. The Titans stadium is right across the river, this part of the course gave pretty good views of it. I’m talking to some guy here about Boston qualifying times – he’s running with his son who is 19.
The course from 17-20 winds up through a quite nice neighborhood. I know there’s a chance mom & Christine will be at 20 when I get there but they’re not – this is fine, actually the thinking about it serves a purpose of occupying the brain whether I see them or not. Mile 21-25 is a loop around a big park with a lake in the center – it’s raining quite heavily here and most of the paths are flooded, it’s hard to say where the lake ends and the park begins. YJP told me later she saw ducks padding on the grass, I completely believe that.
The race starts to get difficult for me at mile 23 which is later than usual. I know there’s a cheering squad at 25, so I break the remainder up into 2 & 1.2 mile segments. At 25 these kids are going nuts (enthusiasm was high all along the course today but here particularly). This last 1.2 I’m really pressing – I think I’m just shy of a PR but am not really sure. At 26, just prior to the left turn into the stadium I see Christine on the far right side of the course screaming at me. I can’t really put it together mentally why or how she’s there but she is. Three seconds later YJP is also in the same peripheral view, coming the other direction heading out towards 20. Having not seen anyone since mile 9 – this is really pretty remarkably awesome coincidence right before the finish & gives a boost – you can see from the GPS map above in the last half mile I go from 8:30 splits to a finish of 7:09 – that’s all the cheer squad’s doing.
Across the line, final time of 3:33:46, an 8:09 split – this is a new marathon PR for me by 24 seconds! Though I don’t realize this for almost an hour. I’m 244 of 2705 overall, top 10%, and top 15% by sex & age division. I score some chocolate milk and a mushy banana and trip over to the family meeting area. It’s hard to make it there – the rain is more obvious & painful once I stop running, it reminds me a lot of the Maine Marathon & that post-race desire to GTFO. I sit in the meeting area for a few minutes trying to get it together before realizing I should motivate before I start to freeze. It’s another mile walk from there to the hotel & I’m frozen solid shaking by the time I make it there. Tennessee was supposed to be warm but this is NOT.
The one downside of getting so cold from sitting in the rain is I didn’t get to wait at the finish line for YJP. I think she forgives me, kinda, but it’s not 100% certainty. I’ll have to figure out a way to make it up to her.
We took a bonus day in Nashville the day after & visited the Grand Ole Opry, bought some new boots, went line dancing, the works. I liked this, hanging out a bit instead of flying home immediately, legs cramping. A small luxury. And Nashville totally is an interesting place that deserves future exploration.
Song of the week & a reliable member of my long run mix, An Argument with Myself by Jens Lekman.
As I write this it’s 10pm Thursday night. I’m preparing to leave early tomorrow morning for an flight to Tennessee for my second marathon of the year. The weather channel is now showing an 80% chance of rain for Saturday morning in Nashville. I’ve run races in inclement weather before, bitterly cold races where my sweat has frozen, races the snow. Rain should be easy. I ran an entire marathon in the rain, just last fall. On a sprained ankle. I can do this.
So it seems like time to say – nobody is nervous. This is a small lie I tell myself whenever it’s needed, always a non-truth when it comes out of my mouth. Most of my life operates on auto-pilot. Work home friends family running sleep. Racing is a break from that, something that still brings positive anxiety. I like this nervousness because it slows life down, forces sharp focus, presence of mind, attention to the immediate. In stressful moments time slows down as my brain tries to take in data quickly in higher resolution, observing every decision, avoiding mistakes becomes critical. And however many marathons in, I can tell you, they’re still stressful.
I’m glad of that. Thankful for the nerves. Grateful for the opportunity to burn through it. Cheers to facing and overcoming the unknown. Ok. I should really go pack.
I look at the bar chart below and feel my internal criticism levels rise. But it’s been a pretty shitty week on several fronts so I’m going to give myself the benefit of the doubt here, pretend that this was an intentional taper and just move on.
Running achievement of the week – I drove up to Marblehead on Sunday and ran the Ring Around the Neck 5 miler. Not a PR for me, but I placed 24th of 400-some, 8th of 54 in my class, and first overall finisher from Boston (there’s a completely made-up category for you just to make me feel better about myself).
I’ve been sick ever since the bombing at the marathon. I’m not entirely convinced that they’re not related. My immune system has been trying to work through it, but I’m running out of time. My next marathon next weekend in Nashville is getting closer and while I’m not exactly panicking, I am concerned. I’m not hoping to break any records at this race but still I’d like to run strong and do myself proud.
I haven’t given much thought to to security situation down there – I don’t particularly think marathon attacks are going to be a recurring ‘thing’, and they’ve announce increased security checks and regulations, both for the event and the expo. But last week’s bombing is still pretty fresh in my memory. I’m really not sure how I’ll feel once I’m down there, but I’m hoping it will be a positive experience.
A few thoughts on today. Or at least notes about the mechanics and logistics from my perspective.
I left work early today to go down to the finish line well after the elites had come in. I wanted to see Vihann and a few other people finish, and had rough ideas about when they would be coming by. A work friend was having a party on Commonwealth between Exeter & Dartmouth street so my plan was to watch the finishes then stop by to visit with them a bit. Vihann had given me a VIP pass for the finish area, valid after 2pm, but I had screwed up and left it at home this morning. I was thinking how I didn’t want to have to confess this after the effort he made to get it to me.
My backup plan was to watch the race from the Commonwealth Mall a few blocks down from the party, between Mass Ave & Hereford Street. Last year YJP & I watched from here once our volunteer gig was over. We met up with the North Enders here as well – it’s a good spot for the boys to run in the grass and there are fences to keep them out of traffic. This year I was alone, but texting with Christine & YJP as I waited for the runners. I like this location – I like that it’s a part of the course shared by the 5K that Christine & I ran yesterday, and the 10K in the summer. Vihann came through, gave me a high five and headed around the corner to the finish. I saw someone who I’m almost 100% sure was Steve Yee, one of the founders of Marathon Maniacs roll by – sweet! My semi-celebrity sighting of the day. I figured Marc would be along soon.
I’m assuming you know what happened next. We heard the first blast quite clearly – it was not far away. My first inclination was to think someone was shooting a cannon that had been brought in, like the one they shoot off of the Constitution. But really, it was too loud. My brain couldn’t process it from the sound alone. The second blast was just as loud, if not louder. The news said they were 17 seconds apart, I couldn’t have told you that.
A few moments later the police rushed into the road coming up the hill from under Mass Ave to block the runners from going further. Some of them turned and chased the runners who were past them to get them to stop. It’s very hard to stop a wave of many hundreds of people, particularly after they’ve been running for four hours and are within a few hundred yards of the finish line. But they did it. They drug a gate across the road. At this point we all pretty much realized what had happened around the corner was something real.
Tons of cops, on bikes, SUVs, trucks, flying around the corner towards the finish. The police told the runners the race was over, but they didn’t really have anywhere to go, so they stood en masse on the course. I and the other fans stood as well, watching them, watching the cops, watching each other, trying to figure out what was happening.
Soon after came the waves of ambulances. Dozens of them. Then helicopters. A couple of cops on foot came back from the site of the blast to tell people on the far side of the street to go into the buildings, that the sidewalk was evacuated. Those of us in the mall didn’t really have anywhere to go. I tried to figure out how long before the explosions had Vihann gone by – I hadn’t looked at my watch and didn’t really know. But surely he had cleared the area by then? (Fortunately, he had.) I stopped to talk to a number of people, to listen in on conversations – some people who had been closer, some people who had seen blood on the sidewalks. Eventually I decided there was nothing else I could do so started walking west.
And so I walked home. It’s not far about 2 1/2 miles, up to Kenmore, past BU, into Allston. The last text I got before my service died said not to get on the green line, so I didn’t. I tried to find Marc along the way but couldn’t manage that either. As I came into Kenmore, runners who hadn’t heard were still running into a stream of people walking in the course in the other direction, spawning upstream into the emergency. My phone was completely nonfunctional (I’ve since heard cellular service was turned off to stop other blasts from potentially being triggered). I picked up snippets of specifics from other people who were closer to the blast or somehow had a wifi signal. One BU freshman walking near me started spouting some nihilistic bullshit about how he didn’t feel bad for the people involved, and about the inevitability of death – I very much wanted to hit him in the face.
Then I got home. I’ve been sitting here since, listening to sirens outside.
The Boston Marathon is honestly one of my favorite things about Boston. I love marathons, I love this city, and you can’t beat springtime – it’s a perfect combination. Moreover, the goal of running this specific marathon has been the guiding structure of my life for the past few years. I intend to qualify, and I likewise intend to run it, someday. What happened today, whoever it turns out was responsible, it feels like a very personal blow. I do not like it, do not appreciate it, not at all. I don’t understand the whys of this yet, but almost don’t care – I don’t want us to be altered by this, to be afraid of our city, to be hesitant to join together in positive affirmations of strangers like the thousands of fans around me were doing for passing runners. I don’t want that taken away from us.
This is the most exciting running weekend of the year in Boston, with the Marathon coming tomorrow. The whole town is crawling with marathoner-types carrying expo bags, looking for the right restaurant to carbo-load. I’m not running or volunteering this year but do like to be a part of things, to go to the expo, and to cheer on the various friends who are running the full. Another way to get in the action was to run today’s BAA 5K. This isn’t really my race length of strength, but still, I had a better run than last year and lowered my PR somewhat. As it’s only my third 5K (and considering I sprained my ankle in one of the two priors), that’s not particularly shocking.
But still, lots of fun. I met up with Hondo & PK pre-race over by the library in Copley Square, stretched out a bit then worked my way up into the 6:30 race pace group. Race course this year was slightly different, up between the Common & the Garden, weaving down Comm & Newbury before turning around and running the marathon finish down Boylston. I finished it in 20:45, a 6:41 split (which coincidentally is my current PR split for 5 miles as well). Sarah & Steven & assorted nephews were all there to cheer though I didn’t see them until after the race. A few photos from the day are here.
Two weeks from yesterday is my next big thing, the Country Music Marathon down in Nashville. I think I’m going to wind down the mileage (or at least the effort levels) this week & next to give my body a mini-taper.
Song of the week, Lost in My Mind by The Head and the Heart.
After seeing Adam’s post on the topic, I spent some time looking through Leslie Jone’s historic photos from the Boston Marathon in the 30s & 40s. The shirt of the 1939 winner Tarzan Brown caught my eye, as I was born in Westerly and am partial towards it.
The wikipedia paragraph on his quirks is worth reading in length: In his third appearance as a runner in the Boston Marathon in 1935, he arrived in an outfit sewn together from one of his mother’s old dresses by his sisters and he had sneakers that were falling apart and this was just 2 days after his mother had passed away. Approximately 21 miles into the race, Tarzan removed his sneakers and threw them into the crowd and ran the rest of the race barefoot (a total of 5 miles barefoot) and finished 13th. Then in the 1938 running of the Boston Marathon, Tarzan was leading on what was an unseasonably warm day when midway through the race, he ran off the road, waved to the crowd and jumped into Lake Cochituate to swim and cool off. After a while, Tarzan returned and ran the rest of the course, though other runners had already long since passed by. Tarzan was also seen arriving just minutes before the start of the 1939 Boston Marathon [ie, the second one he won] eating hot dogs and drinking milkshakes just before the race and claimed that he had missed breakfast.
Fantastic. That second win he ran a 2:28:51, a 5:40 split. This was the first time the course had been run under 2:30. Unreal.
I had a vivid dream about Maija last night – she was alive again, and everyone was all like, oh, sure, she’s alive in this world. And I was like, wait – why haven’t we been living in this world until now then? And she ran and ran around the backyard. Then there was a stairwell blocked by a large square post that I couldn’t squeeze by then I was stuck in the stairwell constricted by my chest then I couldn’t find her again then I woke at 4am and couldn’t go back to sleep. Which is all to say, hi there pretty Belle. We’ve never met but you’re already driving me crazy.
This was a pretty good week for me despite a rough start with my left knee. I’m three weeks out from the St. Jude’s Country Music Marathon down in Nashville and feel fairly well ready for that. I’ll probably do one more ~20 late next weekend before starting a short taper*.
Other quick notes of potential interest:
1) A week from today is the BAA 5K (here’s our team last year). I’ve never run a “good” 5K time (sub 7:00 split), and am not sure the BAA is really the right race to do so in (so crowded!) but I’m giving it another shot.
2) The day after the 5K is the Boston Marathon. I’m not running it but a bunch of my extended running community will be doing it (Marc, Vihann, Jay & Karen at the least). Cheers and good luck to them all, I’m hoping to bounce out of work early enough to at least see the finish. Someday it’ll be my turn to take a shot, hopefully as a qualifier.
3) I think my Reach the Beach ultra team has found it’s 6th member, which is very good news. We’re going to meet up for a social type engagement sometime after Boston so we call all meet in person before the race (May 17th-18).
4) My seventh marathon of the year has been booked – I’ll be running Marine Corps Marathon in October down in the DC area. I’m raising money for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital for that race. I’ve hit $400 of my $1200 goal and I am hopeful & optimistic about reaching the rest sooner than later. Please consider making even a nominal donation if you’re able.
Song of the week, The Ladder by Andrew Belle.
*Two bonus links on the topic of tapering: Jacqueline Klemond on taper madness, not something I particularly experience myself but an amusing read nonetheless. And Sean Newall on his pre-half taper fail (“tapering is another Runner’s scam”). This, I understand.
The sad news is known, the Jayhawks lost to Michigan in heartbreaking fashion in the Sweet 16. Down deep I expected them to lose eventually, but later, hopefully, and not after leading the entire friggin game. But what are you gonna do.
Either way, I’ve still got a pool to run so let’s check in on the top of the leaderboard after weekend #2.
1st place, 151 points: Actually this is me, my upset pick bracket. I only have Syracuse left and have them losing in the next round so can’t score any more points. 2nd place, 139 points: Nate – has Louisville advancing in the next round. If they do he’ll earn 13 points for that, moving into first place. 3rd place, 133 points: Ebs’ bracket – no teams left, he’s done. 4th place, 128 points: Jared – has both Louisville and Syracuse left & meeting in the final, strong position. Could earn 13 + 13 + 21 points to finish with 175. 5th place, 126 points: Lilla – has Louisville winning it all – the next two rounds would earn her 13 + 21 points if they win out, putting her at 160. However, since Jared also has Louisville and is up, she can’t finish higher than second. 6th place, 124 points: My dad – no teams left, done as well. 7th place, 117 points: My real bracket – could earn 13 more moving ahead of my dad, but no further. 8th through 24th place: these guys are all pretty much hopeless. Better luck next year!
The only scenario in which I would win the pool (bittersweet, granted) would be if Wichita State somehow manages to upset Louisville & Michigan (who nobody picked) takes out Syracuse. That’d leave all the scores as they currently stand. Frankly after watching the video of Kevin Ware’s leg breaking tonight, it’s hard for me to pull too hard against Louisville. That was just brutal.
A big training week for me as I broke the 50 mile barrier for the first time. To get there I did two longish runs this weekend, 14+ yesterday and another 13.1 today. Legs are a bit tired tonight.
My next big race is in Nashville on 4/27, four weeks away, so I’ll probably two more normal weeks followed by some kind of taper. The weekend after Nashville I’ll be down on the shore running the New Jershey Marathon.
Song of the week, the excellent My Girls by Animal Collective.
I came up to Portsmouth for the Eastern States 20, another Boston prep race. I haven’t done this particular race before, but in years past it’s been run from Kittery Maine down to Salisbury Mass. Since Memorial Bridge between the two is under repair, we ran a revised course that only hit NH & MA.
The race had a late start at 11am, but the weather was perfect, light breeze off the water. We wound around Portsmouth for a few miles before finding 1A along the coast. The coast itself is gorgeous in parts, rocky outcroppings. At one point someone next to me said there was a guy with a goat on a rock offshore, but I couldn’t say for sure if that was true or not. Let’s assume so for idiosyncrasy’s sake.
I felt strong through the first 13.1 but things started to go poorly after that. In the last few miles I find myself checking my watch far too frequently. I happen to glance down right as it hits 17.76 miles, which beyond being a nice historic number is in a curious coincidence the length of a Marine Corps Marathon qualifier event held just recently [actually, 17.75km -ed]. As I think that, I’m also aware that the Marine Corps Marathon itself has its registration next Tuesday but at this moment I’m starting to bonk and the absolute last thing I want is to register for anothe race.
The last two miles of this race were fairly difficult, coming across the Hampton Harbor Inlet and then across the state line into Massachusetts. I was actively looking for Team HB who was somewhere around the finish but I didn’t actually find them until a few minutes after I finished. There wasn’t much in the way of food at the end, just muscle milk samples (blurgh) but hondo gave me a handful of wheat thins which pretty much saved my life.
My final time was 2:41:14, an 8:04 pace. This is faster than my marathon PR pace (8:10 in Austin) but quite a bit slower than my best half (7:18 in Chicago). I was fairly sick at the finish – I don’t think I used the best pacing strategy here, going out too fast and fading fairly strongly at the end (last two miles were by far the worst, averaging 9:01 min/mile).
I didn’t run with headphones today, my longest ever run without. So no song of the week (I’ll spare you the unfortunate Meatloaf tune I had stuck in my head for the last 10 miles). A few more photos here.
A better week. This despite the cancelation of the Half of Quincy which I was rather looking forward to. I was upset at first, but have gotten over it. They’ll reschedule, I hope, and if not, I’ll wait on final judgment until I hear about refunds. I do think it’s ridiculous to cancel a race on Friday for snow, given the high temps this weekend and the melting we had. But whatever, the Quincy PD wants to be a nanny-state, so be it. I had a nice (if slow) long run yesterday (in shorts!) that included a few stretches of almost undisturbed snow and you know, it was lovely.
My next race is two weekends hence, the Eastern States 20. After that is the BAA 5K and seven weeks from today, on to Nashville for the Country Music Marathon.
Song of the week, Psalms 40:2 by The Mountain Goats.
Not a great week, personally, professionally or running-wise. Right ankle pain is back and most of this week’s (stupid low) mileage has been slow and low energy. Rationally I know that the lows reset our baseline for subsequent highs. But I’m not feeling very rational these days.
One week to the Half of Quincy, eight weeks to Nashville and the Country Music Marathon.
Song of the week, Rufus Wainwright’s Oh, What a World.
This week has been a little bit of a recovery week, stepping slowly back into things as the marathon pains fade away. Notable runs of the week – Thursday I met up with some people I’m planning to run a Reach the Beach ultra with in May. They seemed pretty cool. Yesterday I did a solid 7.3 mucking about with iSmoothRun Pro (more on that once a bit more testing is done). And today I met up with Hondo for the middle part of my snowy long run. My mother (normally a wise woman) said yesterday that she thought winter’s back was broken, but after having spent a few hours today with snow blasting me in the face, I’ll have to disagree.
Hey and speaking of marathons, the Country Music Marathon in Nashville is 9 weeks from yesterday! Let’s hit it YJP.
Song of the week, The Official Ironmen Ralley Song by Guided by Voices.