Wednesday, October 26, 2011

What’s Done is Done

Do not underestimate the power of a good coach.

It’s time like these that I miss Teh ELF.  Not necessarily because the workouts would be any better or worse, but she would instill the confidence in me that I was doing the right thing at the right time.

It seemed like it had been forever since my last long run.  Heck, forever since my first twenty miler.  I did that one on a Friday before work.  I did my second one on a Monday, a holiday.  I had every intention of doing this one on a Sunday, but nooooooo….  of course it didn’t work out that way.

I tried really really really hard to take it easy Saturday.  I had four games on my ref schedule.  I thought I could easily handle two 70 and two 80 minute matches and save a little sumfin for my Sunday long run.  Oh, and save a little sumfin from that for my two adult 90 minute matches Sunday night.

Sunday morning, I woke up exhausted.  I tried to sleep in.  I guess 10 PM to 8 AM is a lot of sleep for me, but my body was just plumb wore out.  I made the executive decision to chill ax for the day.  I spoke with Dee Dee about maybe getting my long run in on Tuesday, and she agreed, after expressing concern about my race on Saturday.

My body felt old and broken on Monday.  Running the soccer pitch is hard work, even for Division 3/recreational soccer.  I guess my ref shoes have less padding and the grounds a little harder than expected.  (hmmmm, maybe that’s why my trail marathon hurt so bad…).  All day at work, I wanted to go run long, until I got up from my desk for something.

Tuesday afternoon rolls around and I’m both determined and dreading the run.  Despite the hills in my area, I decide to run from the house.  I come up with a rather clever plan to run the 2 miles down to the Publix, and then run the 2 mile loop on Rose Creek Drive 10 times, then run home.  This would give me my 22 miles for the day, and it would mean I would never be further than 3 miles from the house and have access to drinks and bathrooms.

My biggest fear was that my officiating over the weekend would trash my run.   Wise decision…

It was a beautiful day.  Temps started in the low 70s high 60s and dropped from there.  I felt surprisingly good.  The highlights from my run:  only getting yelled at by two rednecks and watching a juvenile squirrel get splatted before my eyes.

Around mile 14, my legs really began to hurt.  At mile 16, I decided to do one more loop then head home.  As I trudged up the hills back to my house, it proved to be a wise decision.  My legs were aching, even more it seems than after an Ironman.

With that, my last really long run of the raining schedule is over.  I have a half marathon race this weekend, then a 12 miler the Sunday before the race.  Have I done enough to break 4 hours?  I think so.  I hope so.  My easy pace is now in the 9-9:30 range.  That’s pretty close to my marathon goal pace.  I’m hoping with a proper taper, my legs will have the strength to carry me through the day.

What do I know for certain?  Those last six miles are going to really suck.

Happy hump day, y’all!

Wes

Friday, October 21, 2011

Slackin (on the blogging front)

I try to keep this blogging stuff in perspective.  When I got into it, it was a big deal.  I was the new kid on the block, and you could just tell who the “old school” was.  With the advent of social media, blogging has become more of a “chore” than a joy.  With that thought in mind, I have continued to maintain that this blog is all about me.  I want to record my thoughts, my history here.  If you get something useful out of it (and I’m glad you come around), then that is icing on the cake.

With that said, I haven’t felt like blogging much since my last post.  I ran my planned workouts up to Friday, and since it was an “easier” week, I opted to use my officiating activities as my running for the weekend.  Seemed like a good idea, but I think I either ran more than I should, or I ran harder than I should.  Four matches on Sunday (2 centers) really did a number on me and left me wondering if I had sabotaged my workouts for the rest of the week.

Tuesday, I went for my 5 mile run at lunch time.  It was a gorgeous day, a little warm, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to run under the clear blue sky.  That night, the cold front pushed in and brought rain, chills, and winds.  It was nasty enough to push my Wednesday run onto the treadmill.  I was supposed to do eight Yasso 800s and a total of 10 miles.  At about the second or third Yasso, I thought there was no way I was going to be able to finish this, but after each one, they got harder on my body, but easier on my mind.  I did all of them.  I did, however, cut the cool down to half a mile (for a total of 9 miles).  I thought I was going to do my long run on Friday, and I wanted to save something.

While I was resting up on Thursday, I decided not to do my long run on Friday after all.  Officiating is part of who I am, and I need to integrate that with who I am as an athlete.  I decided to do the six mile run I have planned for today as normal, and do my long run on Sunday.  I have four matches to officiate Saturday, and two Sunday night.  It’s up to me to do something Sunday that is equivalent to 22 miles, and not jeopardize my Sunday night matches.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

Have a great weekend, y’all!

Wes

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Faith

I would swallow my pride,
I would choke on the rinds,
but the lack thereof would leave me empty inside,
swallow my doubt
turn it inside out
find nothing but faith in nothing.

At some point in my life, I suppose, I’m going to have faith.  Just shut up and do it.  Trust my body to do what it is going to do.  If it crash and burns, that too will teach me something.

After work on Friday, I went down to the gym beneath my building and changed into my clothes.  it was around 4:30-ish by the time I hit the street.  I was hoping to be done with my workout by 6 PM.  It’s hard (for me) to do a Friday workout.  No sense in prolonging the pain longer than necessary.

I took it easy climbing the hill from my office, giving my permission to get thoroughly warmed up.  See.  I am learning something.  By the time I crossed Powers Ferry Road and entered the park, it was time to hit up the rest rooms.  Yes.  Another delaying tactic.  I had about 0.15 miles to finish my warm up, and when the Garmin buzzed, I took off at speed.

The 310XT reported my pace at 6:30-ish per mile.  I laughed.  My goal pace was sub-9 for 8 miles, not 5K pace.  I reigned myself in and watched my pace climb up to eight and a half.  I knew the euphoria of the start would wear off, and reality would begin to weigh me down like a ball and chain.  As the first mile clicked off, the negotiations began.

If I can hold this for six miles, I’ll be happy.

Five.  Five would be good.

Nah.  I can do them all, but I might take the last two miles easy.

I felt that particular spot in my mind harden with resolve.  My legs felt good through the halfway point.  I wanted to push to miles seven and see how I felt.  Sure enough.  At mile seven, it started to get hard.  Really hard.  I held on for the half mile back into the park, then turned down the crushed gravel path along the river.  In my mind, I believed that I could do anything for a mile, and I did.  I all but collapsed when I reached the far end of park.

The water from the water fountain never tasted so good.  I took it quite easy climbing the hills out of the park, and I thoroughly enjoyed my slow downhill jog back to the office.  I was totally spent.  So much so that Dee Dee asked me if I was OK talking to her on the phone.  I was more than OK.  I was golden.

The next day, we piled in the car and headed for Statesboro, Georgia to visit my oldest son in college.  We attended a pretty awesome game of football between Georgia Southern and Chattanooga before driving the rest of the way into Savannah.  We booked a hotel room, site unseen, on Priceline and ended up in the Westin Resort across the river.  The hotel was amazing.  The ferried us across the river for a fabulous dinner, then back again when it was over.  I slept real good that night.

The maid woke us up at 8:30-ish.  We forgot to hang the little sign on the door.  No worries for me.  I wanted to break my new K-swiss shoes in on my four mile run.  The first thing I noticed as I ran around the resort were signs with “RunWestin” on them with mile markers.  Evidently, this was 2.5 mile loop through the golf course.  To add the extra 1.5 miles, I ran back towards the interstate.  There, I saw signs hanging from the light posts that said “Welcome Runners!”, and I laughed, pretending they were just for me.  Little wet white signs hung limply from poles.  I could make out “5K Parking” above the arrows.  I finished up my 4 mile run back at the hotel, just as it was starting to rain.

We dropped Jimmy back off in Statesboro before driving home.  The next morning, I woke up at my usual time to drop Matthew off at school.  Once I had that accomplished, I headed straight to the Silver Comet Trail for my twenty mile run.  My legs were feeling very sluggish, but I again surprised myself with another solid long run.  My time was just about the same as my last 20 miler, but this run had more elevation.  I also managed to nail my nutrition and hydration, which is always a good thing.

With one more long run on the schedule, a 22 miler, I’m looking forward to an “easier” week.  Never in my wildest dreams would I have believed an easier week for me would be 46 miles of feet pounding fun, but this is marathon training.

Wes

Friday, October 07, 2011

Is there ‘Try’ in Running?

Do, or do not.  There is no ‘try’.  -- Jedi Master Yoda

Coming off my twenty mile run on Friday, I was on a euphoric high.  I believe that’s the furthest I’ve ever ran where I both met my goals, and my legs felt fairly good at the end of the run.  No, they weren’t “awesome”, but I wasn’t waddling around either.

On Saturday, I officiated a couple of U-12 Girls Academy games.  The fields are half size, so not a lot of running.  Just enough to activate the muscles and flush out the bad stuff.  Sunday, on the other hand, was just a huge day for me.  I had four games to ref, starting at 1 PM and not finishing until 9 PM at night.

For the 1 PM game, I failed to do my homework.  It was the first place team against my club’s team, which was in a three way tie for second.  The first half went splendidly.  During half time, several of the opposing team’s parents stopped by on the way to the concession stand to compliment me.  The second half?  not so well.  Unfortunately, it was my own doing.  In general, I like the players to try to play though fouls if they can.  It keeps a nice flow to the game and allow me to focus on what’s important.  This time, however, I let one go that I should not have.  The attacking player pulled a defender to slow him down so that he could get around him to the ball in the box.  The attacker won the ball, and then got promptly fouled.  I blew my whistle.  The attacking team (visitors) thought they were getting a penalty kick.  They were mad as hornets and not understanding (duh) when I awarded the ball to the home team (defenders).  In retrospect, it is a mistake in execution that I will not make again.  If I choose to let the first foul go, it is gone.  over.  caput.

Later in the second half, I had to give one of the visiting team’s players a straight red for coming in cleats up to a young man’s crotch.  Yea, the second half pretty much sucked.  The good news?  There’s always good news.  The rest of my games, even my Competitive Adult center went well.  It didn’t stop me from losing sleep over the first one.  That’s just how this officiating thing rolls sometimes.

With four soccer matches under my belt, I estimated that I ran anywhere between 12 and 20 miles on Sunday.  Running the pitch is hard on the ankles and knees.  It’s not in a straight line, and most of our soccer fields ain’t exactly grassy.  I took Monday off, as scheduled.  I was tempted to take Tuesday off too, but I went ahead and put in my 4 miles.  Felt pretty good too.  Wednesday, I was supposed to do a seven miler, but I pushed that back to Thursday.  My 7 miles on Thursday went well, but voted quite strongly that I should have waited another day for the 4 miler :-)  LOL!!

Which brings us to today…  I have 10 miles on the schedule with 8 of them at race pace.  Just so happens its one mile from here to Cochran Shoals, and an 8 mile loop to the end of Columns Drive and back.  Perfectly flat too, mind you…  The problem is my ankles are sore.  My knees are sore, and my legs are feeling a little tired.  I plan to give it my best shot, try if you will.  The problem is, if I don’t already believe that I can get it done, then I probably will not.  A lot of times, after my warm up, my legs come to life, and I get it done.  Sometimes, they don’t, and I suffer.

That’s what I plan to do then.  Give it a try, and hope I don’t cop out.  I’m travelling to Georgia Southern to spend the weekend with my son.  I plan to break in my new red K-swiss Blade Run Lights while I’m there.  I need to decide which shoe to wear for my twenty miler on Monday.

Have a great week end y’all!

Wes