Sunday, November 25, 2007

CW-X Xtra Support Review (the white and purple one)

It's awesome! I can't deny that $55 is a total ripoff but it works great.

Once you wedge it on over your head (maybe this is easy for other people but I am pretty uncoordinated and found it rather difficult) it's like you aren't even wearing anything. And it doesn't let anything move at all. Exactly what I'm looking for in an undergarment.

I've worn it on a few runs - so far the longest is 8 miles - but it's comfortable and not a hint of chafe. I'll be cruising the internet searching for bargain rates on this one so I can add more to the collection. It will be great to get rid of the stockpile of ratty things I'm wearing now. Especially since they're going to seem even worse now that I've found this great item.

The other model CW-X that I bought - the regular sport version - I could tell right off the bat that I wouldn't want to run in it. Way too bouncy. I'm not sending it back though because I think it'll be just fine for walking/hiking/cycling or going to the gym to do weights (as if I ever actually do that!)

UPDATE: the "sport model" CW-X that I said wouldn't work for running? It works just fine (at least up to 5 miles). I've worn it twice now without any problems or discomfort.

Philadelphia Photo

Here's me after the half-marathon in Philadelphia. I'm wearing the Livestrong shirt I got from Lance for running the NYC marathon.

The free shirt actually has short sleeves but I'm wearing the long-sleeved Livestrong shirt I bought at the Livestrong challenge underneath the free shirt.

The yellow hat is from the Delaware Marathon. Too bad I didn't have any yellow gloves.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

(I didn't actually win this trophy. I made it to give to the winner of the Thanksgiving Bake-Off at work.)

Monday, November 19, 2007

11/18 - Philadelphia Half Marathon

I didn't decide to actually run this race until Saturday night. In fact, until I went to the pasta dinner with my running buddies, I was 100% sure I wasn't going to run. I've been feeling sick all week and the weather was looking grim (cold, wet, possibly even SNOW!) and I just didn't see the point. But then I got my number, and my shirt, and everybody encouraged me so I decided to go.

Sunday morning, it dawned cold, but mostly dry and while I made a feeble attempt to wimp out, Brian wouldn't listen to me, and we were up and getting ready by 5AM (the race started at 7AM!)

A minor setback when my pre-race favorite meal (overnight oatmeal in the crockpot) was ruined because I cooked it on high instead of low but we still left the house on time.

Conditions were really perfect for the race and I found myself in a really insteresting situation. Completely unprepared and really not invested in how I did. It was just like a training run - a way to stretch out my long rested legs and to see how my Garmin would work out in a race.

As it turns out, I had a great day! Not quite a PR but very close: 2:20:48 officially.

Mile 1: 11:27
Mile 2: 10:43
Mile 3: 10:20
Mile 4: 10:22
Mile 5: 10:45
Mile 6: 9:51
Mile 7: 9:49
Mile 8: 11:06
Mile 9: 10:20
Mile 10: 11:33
Mile 11: 9:57
Mile 12: 10:29
Mile 13: 10:55
final: 2:55

Total time: 2:20:39 -- the Garmin time. It's a little off and it measures 13.3 but it's close enough for me!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Quote of the day

I just came across this on the web:

“In every race, there is a crucial moment when the body wants to quit. Then it needs imagination and mental tenacity to survive the crisis. Otherwise the penalty is defeat.”- Derek Abbotson

I'm feeling defeated about my half-marathon on Sunday and it's not even here yet. I'm still sick (cold with cough) and I think I might skip the race. :(

Friday, November 09, 2007

Even more money spent: Garmin 305

In all the excitement over the marathon, I forgot that I bought a Garmin! I got the 305 because I wanted the HRM but I'm not going to use that right away. This weekend I'm planning on taking it for a spin just to figure out how it works, then I can introduce the HRM after the 1/2 marathon on the 18th.

I'm really hoping that this is going to help me steadily pace my long runs and lead to a really good marathon performance someday. I don't expect that performance will come at Disney because of the Goofy Challenge, but it could help if I do a spring marathon. (Right now I'm considering Ocean Drive -- I'll get a new state -- or a repeat in Delaware.)

Another $100 out the window

I am in desperate need of new running bras. I know, that's more information than any of you need.

I just plunked down about $100 for these two slightly different models from CW-X. I am skeptical but I hope that they are worth it.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

New York Marathon - Race Report

Well, I survived the New York Marathon on Sunday!

I finished in 5:09:08, which is about 2 minutes slower than my PR (setlast year at NYC) and I'm completely astonished that I was able to pull off that time since I started struggling at mile 15 and was actually thinking about quitting at mile 17. The worst part is that there wasn't any real reason for the glum attitude -- it was all just my own negative thoughts working against me.

My plan for the race was to stick like glue to the 5 hour pacer and try to hang with him all the way to the end. On a perfect day, I thought I'd be able to do it. But it would have to be a perfect day.

My training has been spotty at best since the 25 mile hike I did in late September and when I did my longest run in preparation for NewYork (only 18 miles instead of the scheduled 20) I felt horrible. Really horrible. My legs hurt until Wednesday and typically they don't hurt at all after my long runs. At that point, I knew that New York was probably going to be really hard but I still hoped for a miracle.

I started out with the pace guy and struggled to stay with him in the early miles because I really wanted to be running faster than the pace (11:26). I kept having to slow down to stick with him and it was a frustrating battle but one that I thought would be worth it in the long run. By mile 13 we were running 1 minute ahead of pace for a 5 hour finish. He told us that that was intentional because we'd lose 15-20 seconds on the bridge into Queens just past 13 miles and we'd lose the rest of the lead on the Queensboro bridge between 15 and 16. Somewhere along that stretch I lost touch with the pack. And the11:26 pace that had seemed too easy now seemed pretty hard.

On the bridge, it was dark and it's uphill and many, many people began to walk. I joined them. For some reason during this stretch they have mile markers at every 10th of a mile and at one point I started to run and didn't even make it to the next 10th marker. Now that was demoralizing! I thought to myself -- how can I possibly go more than 10 more miles when I can't even run a tenth of a mile at time? UGH!

Turning off the bridge onto 1st Avenue in Manhattan is a pretty exciting part of the race because there are big, rowdy crowds there. This is just past mile 16 and there is a sign there that says "If the definition of easier is less than 10 miles to go.......welcome to Easier!" Unfortunately for me, it didn't feel easier.

For the next several miles up 1st avenue I was really in a very bad place. I was walking a lot, felt like I had nothing in the tank despite following my proven fuel plan, and was just completely miserable and grumpy. Even the crowds, who were awesome, weren't doing much to help me. I started trying to figure out if I could drop out and walk back to the hotel from where I was. Then I started thinking that I could just walk the rest of the way. I calculated I could walk the whole rest of the way and still finish under 6 hours. Not a great time, by any stretch, but it was achievable.

Finally, we made it into the Bronx and the people there were just fantastic. They were loud, and fun, and dancing and really gave me a nice boost. They got me running a little bit more but I still felt rotten. Entering Manhattan again is also a really nice push because even though you still have about 6 miles to go, at this point you are heading towards the finish line and that makes it seem a little better.

I couldn't maintain any consistant running so I was trying to walk as fast as I could and run as much as I could. This was mostly on downhill sections, when somebody called my name (thank goodness this happened a lot), and when I spotted a photographer. I was also aided many times by this gang of runners dressed as Darth Vader, Yoda, Chewbacca and Princess Leia. I started out enjoying them but by this time Darth was getting very sloppy with his light sabre and he kept whapping people with it because he was trying to get around them or was just not paying attention. He whapped me with it three or fourt imes and he was so incredibly annoying that I kept having to run to get away from him. He kept catching me though and then I'd have to run away again. I hated him, but in retrospect, he really probably helped me quite a bit.

By now I was closing in on Central Park and the last few miles of the course. This is about when Nike+ decided I had run 26.2 miles so it started congratulating me. I love that it thinks I ran a 4:30 race when I was really struggling through some kind of death march. That perked me up a bit, and I was in the park, which is filled with people and long downhill sections. Awesome!

This is also when I realized that my time wasn't nearly as terrible as I had feared. By this time I had talked myself off the 6 hour ledge and was figuring that I'd probably finish more like 5:30, but I realized that while my 5 hour goal was out the window, it was still possible for me to beat my PR of 5:07. Shocking!

I tried running more but I was still not maintaining many long running periods. Around here I started to think about Ryan Shay and was wondering where it was in the park that he had fallen on Saturday and tried my best to pull some inspiration from him too keep on going. That helped. Then I spotted the "1 mile to Go" sign and that reminded me of all the awesome Nike+ people, and that pushed me on a little bit, but then we exited the park and it got a little less exciting, and it got a lot more smelly (lots of horse manure from the carraige rides) and I couldn't run anymore. I'd also figured out that I'd have to run an even 10 minute mile to finish with a PR and that really seemed impossible to me, so I figured I'd walk a little around here hoping for a strong finish up the last hilll and across the mat.

I didn't quite pull that off either, but I'm amazed to have come so close tothe PR time when I felt so bad for so much of the race.

They handed me my medal and I read the back of it which had this quote from Alberto Salazar: "....a triumph of the will over all limits." I actually cried when I read that. I've never cried at the end of a race before but that got me. Luckily, it was a very short burst ofwaterworks and they were all cleared up by the time I got my finisher's photo.

What a day!

What I find completely amazing is that the race was almost identical to the race I had in 2006 NY marathon. But last year I felt prepared, and excited, and absolutely exhilerated for the whole race. I had nothing but energy running to the finish line, I was practically jumping for joy! (Check out my athlinks profile picture -- that's just a few feet from the finish line at the marathon last year.) I think the only real difference between the two races was the dialogue I was having inside my own head. I was my own worst enemy....but I still ran my 2nd best marathon ever. So all in all, I'm very happy.

Now I get about a week off before I start back on the training for Goofy. Clearly I have my work cut out for me, but it's very obvious that I need to schedule a lot of long runs. I'm solid over 13 but after that it's all downhill.

For the numbers people, here are the splits that were sent to me bythe athlete tracker:

Location Time Pace/mile
5 Kilometers 0:35:04 11:17
10 Kilometers 1:10:38 11:22
15 Kilometers 1:46:14 11:23
20 Kilometers 2:21:12 11:21
Half-Marathon 2:28:58 11:21
25 Kilometers 2:58:12 11:28
30 Kilometers 3:34:59 11:31
35 Kilometers 4:13:59 11:40
40 Kilometers 4:53:05 11:47
Finish 5:18:24 12:08 ------------- This is confusing. I think the 5:18 must be the clock time but all the other splits seem like chip times.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Men's Olympic Trials

There are so many interesting guys in this race it's like impossible to choose who will secure one of the top three spots.

I really love Meb Keflezighi for some reason, but he's been a little off his game in his last few marathons. However, I think his luck is going to turn around on Saturday.

I'm also rooting for Brian Sell since I find the whole concept of the Hanson's traning group fascinating and I really want them to succeeed.

Then there is Ryan Hall, the young phenom and his opposite number Mbarak Hussein who is 43 years old! 43! How can I not be rooting for a 43 year old guy to get into the Olympics?!

And then you have Abdi Abdirahman who is super fast and seems to be getting faster every time out.

There are probably a dozen more guys who could take one of the top three spots. It's really an awesome field and I wish I could actually watch it in person but that's just not in cards for me.