Week in Review (WiR): You Mean I Have to Do This Twice?

May 7, 2012 by

April 30 – May 6

What’s in a Name: As I try and put my recent running accomplishments into perspective, I find myself separating my 3-year running adventure into three distinct parts. Paul 1.0 (Part 1) began on May 12, 2009 with a nice little 1.94 mile run. Paul 1.0 was my shining achievement. 550 miles run between May 12 and Nov. 5; 50 pounds lost; a 5k time of 24:26; a 10k of 51:21. Those were the glory days, before the ITBS (no, not IBS) derailed me for nearly 4 months. I still believe that if my plan was to run the 2009 MCM instead of the 2010 MCM, I would have succeeded.

Paul 2.0 seemed like a success when you look at the numbers (415 miles, 70 hours of running between March and Sept.) but in reality, it was kind of a failure. I never really got back into a groove. I broke 100 miles in a month just once. I ran just twice in August, six times in September. I failed to get myself in shape for the Marathon.

I’m not going to mention 2011 – great year for me personally becoming a father and all, bad year for running.

Which brings me to Paul 3.0, which started on Feb. 9, 2012. So, anyways, now when you hear me mention Paul 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0, you’ll know what I’m talking about… or not, whatever.

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Running Jerks Assemble! The April Initiative

March 30, 2012 by

*Note: 5K Race For Hope – DC – Please donate to Team Ally and Elizabeth. If you clicked here, please click there and give something. Even if you cant make the May 6th 5K run, any contribution would be amazing. Thank you*

So how about that, Pauls back! The Running Jerks who started off as 2, then seemed like it was 1 for awhile, is now 2 again! And in a short time, it seems The Running Jerks have never seemed stronger.

As he covered in his last post, Paul said that he hasn’t exactly been running or even really thinking about the marathon since the last forever. I picked up the ‘I’m running a marathon!” flag about a year ago ish with no results. I blogged a little, ran a little bit, got injured, didn’t run the thing I wanted to, didn’t blog for awhile, didn’t run seriously for awhile, started to run cause I was getting fat, got better at running and at same time picked up my blogging game, bought a big tv, ran a ton more, made a serious plan to make it to October 28, ran some more, then Paul started running again. Year in review done.

It’s been a long time since I felt like I’ve been running with someone. Paul’s had been out of the running loop for a good while. When I was trying to train last year, I was doing so knowing Paul wasn’t going to do it. When I started running again this year, he still wasn’t running. We’re on two different life paths but usually on the same running path; meaning giving the same amount of time to prepare for the MCM.

I remember this go around of trying to come back from an injury (and lazy time) and trying to get back into the swing of things of running. I ran a small handful of times in December and January. I already had plans of a 9-10 month training period for the marathon. I asked Paul if he was going to run it. He gave me that look like if I had just asked him if he would eat dog food for dinner. After 2 seconds he had a confused look on his face and something along the lines of “I don’t think so, not right now, but I’m not ruling it out”. What I do know what he said after that was “I don’t want you getting all the glory”.

That was a clue I picked up on that the running bug hadn’t left Paul, but Lazy Paul was still in control. Maybe it was the 5K on his birthday in early January, maybe it was some fat dude running in his neighborhood, maybe it was something else, but whatever it was I can attest; Running Paul is back!

Preface: Paul and I (along with friends and strangers waiting to be friends) joined a team to compete in Tough Mudder. Watch the video on the main page. We’re trying to do that. Along with the marathon. By October, we’ll either be incredibly sexy or dead.

A few weeks ago, our Co-Captain Garrett (ya I said Co, suck it Garrett), had the idea of organizing a weekly Sunday run at Burke Lake for the team to keep in shape and build team unity and all that bull crap. Despite there being over 10 people on our team right now, only Garrett, Paul and myself showed up to run. The course is 5 miles which is quite intimidating for most or our team, who isn’t ready for that mileage yet.

Our first go around with the course (March 11th) was good for us. Even though Garrett sprained all 17 of his ankles twice, it was a good run. We were able to get some experience on a course that we’re hoping to run a lot on and for Paul and Garrett they were able to get a ‘long’ run in in their books. Everyone finished the run and no one fell in the lake, so a positive run all around.

Our second go around with the course was quite different. Again Garrett invited the team and again only Garrett, Paul and I showed up. I wasn’t feeling up to the run because A) I forgot about it and B) I literally walked into the house from work, Garrett reminded me about it, and 3 minutes later I left the house in my running gear going to Burke Lake. I wasn’t planning on the run nor did I want to do it. But establishing a tradition is way better than being lazy. Shoes are on, both legs are working, let’s do this.

Out the gate, both Paul and Garrett were running fast. Like, way faster than I’m used to (and I’m speaking as the running veteran in this group, which I know means nothing). According to my Nike+, they were running at a 9min-9:15min pace, which was I knew was way to fast for the both of them, because the last time they ran this course they didn’t come close to that. I chalked it up to early eager energy and I hung back of them, waiting for them to slow down during miles 2-3.

Before we get to mile 2, Garrett pulls up limp with another sprained ankle (his 52nd in 5 weeks). After a brief pause, Garrett says he’s willing to go, so we go. I decide to hang with Garrett to make sure he’s ok at first and after the first half mile he seems to be doing allright. My plan was to ditch him after he hit a 10min+ mile/pace but this silly billy was keeping a good pace, around a 9:30min/mile pace. This was almost at the 3 mile part of the run and for the whole run I had thought we’d been running too fast (at least too fast for what I’ve been used to, alone) but here are these 2 guys just booking it.

Quasi injured Garrett was doing ok by himself and we were past the halfway point on the trail, so at worst he’d half to follow this trail to get to us if he got attacked by 3 bears. With that thinking, I thought I should catch up to Paul, who was a good part ahead of us but within ‘seeing’ distance.

So I kick into another Mike gear to get up to Paul. Once I get into a reasonable distance to him, I kick it down to a ‘Paul’ level and follow him for a little bit, expecting him to slow down a little cause by my Nike+ calculation, he hasn’t slowed up at all since we started. I checked my Nike+ once more only to get the reading DOES NOT COMPUTE.

The only thing I remembered about our first Burke Lake run was that there was a long straight stretch run across the lake about 1.25-1.5 miles into the run that Garrett and Paul almost literally sprinted across that tired them out for the last half of the run.

On this run, we started at the same spot, but instead of running right this time, we ran left. Meaning, when I was behind Paul, thinking he’ll tire soon and I’ll pass him good, thats when we got out of the woods and I saw the same long straight stretch, I thought “Crap! We’re almost done! How the hell has Paul kept this pace up? Crap! He’s not gonna let up.”

It was then on that straight away on Burke Lake, still running at a pace I didn’t think I’d run at all during the whole run, 3 steps behind Paul, did I think

The Running Jerks Are Back

I was excited. I had a new outlet to test myself, right in front of me. I was already running faster than I thought I could. Was it because I run with no one else and have no one to test myself against? Was it I always run on hills? Was it mental?

We were running fast. Faster than I’ve ever been used to, especially at this mileage.

I’m still running behind Paul. 2 steps behind.

He’s still running fast. Is it cause he knows I’m right behind?

I wasn’t ready or willing for this run, but I know I have something in my tank.

This whole run I’ve been running at a faster pace than I’m used to. That usually kills me.

For the 2nd time this year I get the opposite message from my brain that I’m used to in a difficult running situation.

Usually it’s “OK, you’ve done enough. Give up, walk, try to do better another time”

This time, it was simple: Run

And so I ran. I passed Paul at a weird trail crossing where cars could pass, but I had this weird feeling once I ran by, Paul knew to follow.

I didn’t have to look back, but I knew Paul was behind me. He hadn’t been running as long as I had (at this point), but has always had that mentality of never to be outdone. Just ask him of what he thinks of people that pass him in any race.

Running behind Paul and a pace I’m not used to got me excited. I was behind him at the long stretch and thought my time for the 5 miles would be good. I kept up with him in the woods thinking I’d be pushing him. Once our progress got ever-so slowed by a car, it hit me; how fast can you go?

I’ve never thought like that when I ran. I’ve always thought about just finishing the distance I’ve set out to run. But all of a sudden it hit me, Run Fast.

So I ran. With 3/4 of a mile left, I started running. I haven’t run since High School. But I felt myself run here, not the whole way, but at parts, and it was amazing. Running, maybe not as fast as I can, but giving it all for almost a mile, felt great.

At the end, neither Paul or I knew that we had that ‘burst’ in us. We ran harder and faster than we thought we could, on an innocent Sunday evening. In March.

Oh yeah, we’re kicking ass. It’s March, but we have bigger plans for the coming months.

PS: Oh ya, my plan is to lose 13 pounds in April. More to come on that later. That’s the April Initiative.

PSS: “The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe.” – Gustave Flaubert

That’s that quote this website gave my after my 50th blog post. I’m not sure how to react to it yet. Do I believe in running or dog pictures or bad writing?

Hello Again, Naturally

March 21, 2012 by

I just went back and checked. I wanted to be completely sure. I haven’t posted on this blog – a blog I co-founded with Mike – since Nov. 17, 2010. Said blog post, which you can read here if you are so inclined, talks about my failure at running the 2010 Marine Corp Marathon. Don’t worry, though, I said, because, and I quote: “2011, here I come.” Yeah, about that.

Let’s step back for a second. For those just joining us, the Running Jerks – Mike and myself – started this blog in July 2009 with the hopes of chronicling our journey to run the 2010 MCM (failure), then the 2011 MCM (double failure). I hope you can see where this is going.

I totally swear that we’re gonna run the 2012 Marine Corp Marathon.

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A 10K Recap And The 10 Mile Run That Was

March 20, 2012 by

Who knew running 6.2 miles the morning of St Patrick’s Day could actually be fun? I didn’t just a few days ago. When I woke up at 530 AM Pattys morning not to drink but to run a 10K, it seemed like the worst idea every thought up.

I signed up for the Irish Sprint 10K a couple months ago, thinking it might be a fun thing to do and at the worst I’d get a green shirt out of the deal and I’d be up earlier than usual to start drinking. It turns out the race was quite popular and sold out quickly. I never planned on going or running with anyone, it was just my monthly ‘March’ run.

Circumstances dictated that I wasn’t able to be available to sign up for the Marine Corps Marathon when registration opened. That sold out in less than 3 hours, a record for the race. I would have freaked out about that if I didn’t learn that my silly little Irish run would have an extra stipulation to it; if you finished you would receive a ‘golden ticket’, a chance to sign up for the MCM after it had sold out. Luck of the Irish.

The 2 weeks leading up to the Irish Sprint I was nervous about running. I knew I was in good enough shape to run the 10K without any problems. My fear was that I was going to injure myself before the run and miss my chance at the marathon this year. My first injury took one step to knock me off my feet for months. I was sure with the way things usually go for me that I’d be hit by a car or mauled by a bear if I ran too much before the race. With that air tight logic in place, I only ran a few times in March before the race. No cars, no bears, no problem!

Along the way, Paul (of Running Jerks fame) and Courtney (not of Running Jerks fame) got the itch to run the race. Race had long sold out, but they worked some witchcraft and were not able to sign up themselves but also Courts fiancee Nate. How does that line go, where once my wolfpack was 1, now is 4? Anyhoo, I had someone to drive me to the race and talk to me afterwards. Luck of the Irish.

I slept on Pauls couch the night before and woke up at the ungodly hour of 530 AM. I never knew 530 AM existed on St Patricks Day morning, but let me assure you, it does, and it sucks. The race didn’t start till 8 AM but we had to pick up Court and Nate and apparently drive to Denver, where we would be shuttled to the starting line. My thinking when signing up for the race was that I’d drive an hour, tops, to the race, park the car, run the race, pick up my 1st place medal, get back in car, drive home, and have a beer in hand in the recliner by 1030 AM at the latest. Ya, notsomuch.

The line for the shuttle was a tad long, which was a reason we left earlier than we had to, to plan for such things. As we got dropped off, I kept my license in case, you know, they wanted to know who I was when I picked up my bib. Turns out they didn’t need any confirmation (they never do it seems) so I got to run with my license in my pocket for the whole race, which meant I was checking my pocket for my ID every other step. Also, turns out my ID scratched up my Ipod screen a little. Stupid ID, good for nothing.

Ok, lets recap the race itself. Started out in the middle of the woods on some road. I got to high five an old man in a green Pope outfit and a Dog mascot and jog behind Pattys Day Elvis before I even crossed the starting line. In my book, we call that a ‘good start’. Weather was awesome, not cold nor hot. Just right. Of course it was, it was St Patricks Day.

Paul mentioned that this course was rather hilly before the race. I checked out the course map on the way there and it only mentioned 2 uphills and 3 downhills. “Bah” I thought, “Arlington is chalk full of hills, this be not a problem for individuals such as I”. There were a couple uphills in the first 2 miles, nothing of note. I thought I was going to tear up this course, to the point they’d rename it after me. Then we made our first turn into the woods. Then came the hills, or what felt like mountains.

The first hill was nice enough. Long and steep enough to have people already start walking. Dodging these problem because the trail wasn’t very wide and walkers love walking side by side. Jumping around them was problematic; I didn’t want to hit them or a tree or step in a large pile of leaves that actually was a giant hole (or Sarlacc pit) and break my ankle. I waited for my openings but my time was already suffering. Ok, so maybe they won’t rename the race after me now, but I can still get a kick ass time.

The first hill was rather long, longer than any in Arlington. Then there was a short flat earth break, then another hill. Then another. Then we got a downhill break, only to be followed by another long hill. That was followed by 34 more uphills.

I mean, it felt like 3 miles of hills when it was probably just over a mile of them but man, that was the roughest stretch of mile(s) I’ve encountered. You didn’t know when it was going to end, just had to suck it up and do it. Looking back now, it was a fun challenge, but during it I was worried some of these people might fall down and start rolling down the hill, turning the run into a Donkey Kong game of jump over the oncoming barrel/human being.

The next couple runs felt like a breeze after scaling that mountain. I made sure to keep an OK pace and not start to burn myself out just cause the terrain isn’t trying to kill me. A couple people passed me and I made sure to remember them, cause I knew there was another hill and I would pass them as they walked (spoiler: I did. Jerks). The rest of the race was kinda cake except for the very end, where the last quarter mile was a big ass hill that destroyed the willpower of any who came across it. When I came upon it, not 1 person was trying to run up it, everyone was walking.

The path was wider this time, but it was still a pain to dodge all the walkers, because it seems there is no “slower people stay to the right” rules in hill walking. I had enough left in the tank to really run up this hill. I tore up the sucker rather nicely and no doubt blowing the minds of all the people who I passed. It was a cruel way to end the race, but again looking back, I enjoyed it. Tough course. Fun race. Who knew.

After the race I literally got a Golden Ticket to get into the MCM. Very radical. Also, we got a free beer. So I got my pre 10 AM beer, which was nice. Only downside to the whole thing was we had to wait a bit for the shuttle back to the cars, but all in all it was a great race that I’d probably do again. The whole morning left me drained for the rest of the day and I wasn’t in Prime Drinking Shape, which is a shame. No regrets though, great time all around.

Oh right, the 10 mile run that was.

Well I tried a 10 mile run the week after I almost did it. Short story short: I did it (hizzah). That’s when I thought I was going to injure myself and shut things down till the race. Cool story Mike!


A 10K Recap And The 10 Mile Run That Was, But Wasn’t

March 15, 2012 by

Let’s cut out the fat and get to what matters on this post, shall we? Yes? Excellent.

February 18th was the George Washington Way To Go For Being You 10K (not official name). It was an 8am 10K in Alexandria (near my house) which wasn’t to far from my house which was pretty much the only reason I signed up for it (that, and it was the only 10K in the area no involving a ‘valentine’).

Going into the race, I wasn’t too worried. I had been able to run 6-7 miles numerous times on my own runs. I had run such runs enough times (about 3 or 4) where I felt confident that this 10K wouldn’t cause that much of a problem. I’ll show up, run 5 miles then do the rest while doing handstands, do a quick karate demonstration and call it a morning.

As with all races before it, this race has other plans for me.

Before the race, I was used to running 6+ miles with numerous nasty hills. This 10K only had 1 bridge to call a hill. The rest was flat. The race description was that it was a flat course so I had confidence for once going into the race.

I was using my new ipod that I just bought, the nano, the one thats the size of a quarter. It kinda sucks. I like to switch songs alot when I’m running and to do that you must ‘wake’ the ipod from its ‘sleep’ and the only button that does that also audibly recaps your current racing stats for you, which I hate. I usually don’t want to know how far I’ve run or how fast I’m running, but in order to switch songs I must hear both. It’s pretty annoying while your running, just take my word for it. I didn’t know about this because this was my first run with the new ipod. Poor planning I know, that’s kinda my thing.

I also didn’t calibrate the new gizmo, so it was recording everything alllllll wrong, so I never knew how fast I was running, which sucked. I didn’t want to run the first parts too fast and keep some energy for the end and wouldn’t you know it, I did the opposite. Because I didn’t know how fast I was going, I ended up running to hard in the beginning and was running on serious fumes at the end. The last 2 miles were filled with nothing but thoughts of ‘fake an injury and walk’ or ‘just walk’.

Luckily I didn’t stop to walk (I did actually stop for a second once cause my knee was having weird pains on the outside in mile 4, but that was brief and ended up being nothing). It ended up being a good run with a good sized crowd. It was in Alexandria, only 15 min from my house which was awesome.

I had to keep my wallet and keys in my car, unlocked, for a little over an hour in a parking garage which was a little nerve racking. But I figured no criminal worth their salt would think to break into an old Ford Taurus and find anything on value. I still keep my Boot (that I used to fix my stress fracture) in my back seat, which I think sends a message to all criminals that says “Foot pains? No? Then keep moving, ain’t nothing here”.

For my efforts, I got a very nice (quality) long sleeve shirt, 2 bananas, 2 5 hour energy drinks and 2 Muscle Milks (tasty! but expensive). I think all those together were worth the $30 entry fee, so I think I came out on top. Plus I got video of Mascot George Washington giving me water, so yeah, I came out on top. Race #2 of the year, done.

The rest of February sucked for me. I only got in 2 more runs in that month. I don’t want to get into details, but it was very hard to get back on the horse.

I wanted to brush the stink of February in a good way. A big way. On March 1st, I was stretching for the run when I got the wild idea to run 10 miles. My current best (this season) was 8 miles. My brain was in ‘screw it’ mode and my body wasn’t saying no.

The simplest/hardest way to do 10 miles around here is to do my 5 Hills Of Death loop. Twice.

I was on a gravy train to successville when at mile 7 my butt waived the “I need attention” flag. The rest of my body and brain said “No dice, we be running this, cram it for 3 miles”. Butt said “ok”.

At mile 8, my butt disregarded all flag policies and took the mic. “Look, long story short, its Go Time. My men are ready. I suggest all interested parties do the same”.

Brain went through every possible plan at hand and worst case scenarios, but it became clear; this shopping center I’m running by is gonna have to do. Run canceled, butt wins.

As I ran across the shopping center (its about 9ish PM), I’m looking at potential candidates (stores that are open). I wanted to avoid the obvious canidate but (butt) it was unavoidable; I had to hop scootch boogie into Harris Teeter. Face all red and full of sweat (and earphones still in), I ask the produce dude where the bathroom is. Now, I’ve lived across this place for more than a year and have shopped here many times, but the bathroom location alluded me.

He points straight up. “Upstairs, this wall”. Curses! I have to go across the store, walk upstairs, go back across the store (it’s a big store!) to find what I need to find.

I had delusions that I could keep a running pace, do what I had to do quickly, then finish that last mile and a half and get my 10 mile goal.

Alas, my butt had other ideas. I did what my butt wanted to do and walked out the store, full of sweat and crazy hair. As I walked out I saw my roommate checking out. Of course he was there to see this. I wanted to stop and tell him of my tale, but (butt) by then I had decided to run out my … run and get to 10 miles.

When I got to Harris Teeter, I was at 8.3 miles. Still my longest run (of this ‘season’), but I knew in my heart of hearts I could have gotten 10. I had it mapped out. I was ready. Dammit.

This Saturday I get to run the Irish Sprint 10K with a few special guests and with the added speculation that if I finish I get to register for the Marine Corps Marathon 2012. Alcohol may or may be involved afterwards.

Next Post: The Actual 10 Mile Run and The Irish Sprint 10K Recap

Post After That: Ouch, I’m Injured Again