Monday, December 31, 2012

Netflix Movie Monday

This week's pick is a movie I saw earlier in the summer at the suggestion of several people.  I comletely forgot about it until my brother mentioned it this weekend.  Pulling John is a documentary about John Brzenk, who has been dominating the arm-wrestling scene for the past 25 years. 


The documentary makers follow John for a few years as he travels the world, seeking out the best competition and record his amazing journey.  At 40 years old, John doesn't know whether to retire at the top or wait until someone takes the throne from him.  The movie also profiles two competitors who are big threats to John: Travis Bagent, a young West Virginia kid and Alexey Voevoda, a Russian looking to bring pride back to the motherland.  

He can't retire until he faces this guy


Even if you aren't a jacked-up alpha male like myself, you'll enjoy this film.  It gives a good inside look to the world of arm-wrestling and gives you more of an appreciation for the sport.

2012 Year in Review

4,356.8 miles later, 2012 is over.  There were many highs and several lows. For a recap...


First full year being a parent

Being a dad is hard and time consuming but is very rewarding.  I can't describe what it truly means to me but this was by far my favorite moment of the year.

Back to the track
My last official track race before this year was at the University of Arkansas in 2005.  I ended up running 8:21 for 3k, which I was happy with because it was my first race in several weeks and it was rainy and really windy.  I loved the track more than anything else but over the years, have become a much bigger fan of the roads.  I ended up running two 5000s on the track this year, in 14:26 and 14:13.  They weren't what I wanted but it motivated me to attack some fast times on the track in 2013.

  Good finish at the US Championships

While my time and individual performance wasn't what I wanted, I was really happy with my overall place and the ability level of some of the guys I beat. I finished ahead of many 2:15 and faster marathoners and was the only one of two people in the top 20 who didn't run in the Olympic Marathon Trials this past January (other one was Tim Ritchie, who made this race his half marathon debut).

Another year with Saucony

This was my second year being a Saucony Hurricane.  They've taken care of all my running shoe and apparel needs and keep me a happy runner.  The Grid Type A5's are my favorite shoe and I've been running in the Kinvara's since the first edition, before I started running with Saucony.  They are a great company with even better product.

Powerbar support
This was my first year being a Powerbar Team Elite athlete, which I was really happy to get chosen for.  In high school, I used to eat a Powerbar before every race (banana was my favorite flavor) and now, I am back on that tradition (switched over to Wild Berry).  It's easy on the stomach, fills you up and gives you the proper fuel to get ready to compete.  Because of Powerbar's support, I also gave up my homemade ghetto recovery drink, which has made my kitchen cleaner and my wife happier.  No more mixing salt, kool-aid mix, lemon juice, dextrose, whey protein and I can't even remember what else.  Now, I just take Ironman Restore after my runs. It has all of those ingredients ready to go, along with maltodextrin, which is better for you post-exercise. 

Able to add new things in training

To improve in running and pretty much anything, you need to add a stimulus to your body.  If you keep on doing the same stuff all of the time, your body will become too efficient at it and then stop improving.  Because of that, I always try to add something new in training, whether it's a new kind of speed workout, more mileage, etc.  The biggest change I made this year is fast long runs, where I will run 18-20 miles at 90-95% of marathon pace.  This workout helps teach my body to use fats as fuel more efficiently and are really beneficial for the marathon.  In the past, I felt like I wasn't ready for these types of runs, but now my body is able to tolerate and benefit from them.   

Travis's wedding
This past May, one of my best high school friends got married.  Anytime two people begin a new life together, it's a great occasion!

Hood to Coast Relay 
This race has been on my bucket list since high school.  Having a chance to run this race as a member of the Knoxville Track Club was an awesome experience.  I've always wanted to live out West and this experience only strengthened that desire.  One of these days I'll drag the family out that way!


Seeing the US distance runners compete well at the Olympics

Usually the United States gets pummeled in the distance events at the Olympics, but this year, they performed very well.  Galen Rupp won a silver in the 10k and Leo Manzano won a silver in the 1500m with several other US athletes barely missing medals.  London showed that we are getting a lot stronger in distance running and are a force to contend with.


 Knee injury

Well, technically I came down with this in 2011 but it wiped out a lot of time in 2012.  I was hoping to run really well at the Mississippi Blues Marathon but my knee had other plans. 

Achilles/heel injury

When training for the Columbus Marathon, this guy decided to flare up a month out from the race.  I had to miss a lot of quality training and not only did I miss Columbus, I have to delay running the Boston Marathon another year because the time period from Houston to Boston is too short.  Thanks a lot achilles/heel (well, technically, my weak right glute).

Too much politics

First there was all the Facebook election drama and after Sandy Hook happened, rather than focus on remembering the victims, a lot of people wanted to turn it into a gun control debate.  People need to take the political signs out of their butts and figure out how to work together to solve issues.

December 24th-30th

Monday: 5.1 miles (7:16); 9.1 miles (7:07)

Tuesday: 9.5 miles (6:44); 6.6 miles with 6xhill blast (7:23)

Wednesday: 14.2 miles (6:01) fartlek with 10 miles of 3:00 fast/3:00 moderate (5:34).  Was planning on a progression run but there were 20-25 mph winds, so I felt a fartlek would be a better workout.  Was planning on running the fast portion sub 5:00 pace but it was just way too windy.  Took my time working into it and didn't feel smooth until 5-6 miles.  Ran around 5:10/6:00 average, wish was slower than I wanted but it was hard to get moving.; 5.5 miles (7:30)

Thursday: 11 miles (6:50); 4 miles (7:10ish)

Friday:  6 miles (6:55); 6 miles with four strides (7:15ish)

Saturday: 10.7 miles with 5k race (14:55). Frustrated because I was expecting to break 14:30.  Legs just wouldn't turn over quickly and it felt like I was sprinting.  The course has a lot of rhythm changes and the road was wet, so it was hard to find my groove.  Probably just a little worn out from the heavy training and if you can run a good 5k two weeks out from your marathon, you're going to be in trouble during your marathon.  Splits were 4:48, 4:49, 4:49; 4.3 miles (7:12)

Sunday: 22 miles (6:12).  Really good run and was really relaxed and easy.  I was in SC and was going to run to the forest, do two loops and head home with a goal of 20-22 miles. I used to love the forest but it was really annoying today. Way too many turns and rhythm changes, which made this marathon metronome man, mentally worn out.  I decided to do just one loop and was surprsied my watch said it was 5.95 miles because I always thought it was 6.5-7.  My GPS usually measures short on trails, so maybe it was a little bit longer.  I then decided to branch out and run my old school high school routes to reminisce about the old glory days.  I was running 6:00ish the last half and it felt like I was just jogging.

Week Total=115 miles.  OK volume I guess, with a good long run, but my race was crappy and my workout was kind of eh.  With two weeks left, I'll start to back off and run around 100 miles this upcoming week with a couple of hardish workouts and a shortened long run.  Iron looked ok but I was surprised that I got it drawn an hour before it closed on Christmas Eve and had the results in my email before lunch on Christmas Day.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Monday, December 24, 2012

Netflix Movie Monday

Even though I'm getting older every year (obviously), I still cling on to a lot of cartoons from my childhood.  I'll watch Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles whenever I'm flipping through the channels and notice it's on, I was annoying Mary when I was watching The Avengers cartoons on Netflix and I'm not afraid to admit I like Winnie the Pooh (Piglet is probably my favorite).  So for my suggested view this week, I'm going to choose a cartoon movie and go with Batman: Under the Red Hood.


I don't have a favorite superhero, but I've always liked Batman.  I was never much of a Spider-Man guy, Superman had terrible movies and even though I'm a runner, The Flash has never really appealed to me that much.  Maybe I have an affinity for Batman because he's "real."  I could never shoot webs out of my hands and would never choose another bald guy as my main rival but I can envision myself patrolling the streets of Hendersonville with my fancy tool belt full of gadgets. I'm sure I'd be much more useful than the several times I've seen my friends in blue perched on a horse in the middle of an empty Drakes Creek Park.


 Batman: Under the Red Hood obviously takes place in Gotham City.  Joker has been taken to the looney bin after killing Batman's BFF, Robin,  With the Joker gone, a vigilante villain, Red Hood (that makes the title of the movie sound a little dirty) makes an appearance on the scene.  He slowly takes over the drug trade from the appropriately named, Black Mask.  Red Hood does takes care of a lot of "bad-guys" but this goes against Batman's code of not killing people.  


Batman has no idea who this fool is and is joined in the fight by Nightwing, a lesser known sidekick.  A more manly Robin, if you will. You then you have the classic comic book plot of the good guys chasing the bad guy all around town but never being able to catch him.  While they fight and pursue Red Hood, Batman realizes that Red Hood seems awfully well-trained in fighting and free-running (sounds more manlier than acrobatics).  Then you find out....(super big spoiler)

This is a pretty decent cartoon movie if you want to take a trip down memory lane and remember the simpler times.  Even though this is a cartoon, it's pretty dark and more oriented towards older people.  With a simple plot and some decent action, it's worth a view.

December 17th-23rd Training

Monday: 20 miles (6:11). Was planning on doing a 20 miler with the last five at MP right after school but it was pouring rain.  After about an hour delay, I was able to head out the door.  Felt a little weak for a while but got better throughout the run.  I could tell my legs were getting a little bit tired and since I've only done five miles in the last three days, I decided to scrap the fast finish part.

Tuesday: 8 miles (6:49); 7.4 miles (7:15). Holy crap, my quads are insanely sore today. I don't think it's from running because my quads rarely get sore from running and I didn't run very many downhills yesterday.  I think the culprit was stupidity. We were filming a school video, where I dressed up as Batman.  I decided to surprise my next class by keeping my outfit on and crouch on top of the 8-9 foot column in the corner of the gym.  Unfortunately, they were seven minutes late, so I was in a semi-squat position for quite some time.  And before they came in, the principal came in the gym and spotted me. Anyway, I think that's what jacked my quads up.  I'll have to delay Wednesday's workout until Thursday now.

Wednesday: 4 miles (6:54); 12.2 miles (7:01)

Thursday: 4 miles (7:10); 14 miles with planned workout of 4800m (5:00 pace), 3:00 jog, 4000m (4:55 pace), 3:00 jog, 3200m (4:50 pace).  Unfortunately, the windchill was sub 30, with 25-30 mph winds with gusts up to 40mpw.  I decided to try this on the track and run mainly by effort.  I surprised myself and ran the 4800m in 14:57 (4:59, 5:00, 4:58) and felt pretty strong.  The wind messed up my pacing and I would split 40s on the "slow" 200s and 34s on the "fast" ones. I nailed my time again with a 12:16 (4:52, 4:57, 2:27).  That one felt decent and I felt like I would be able to hit my last time.  On the 3200m, I came through in 71 and my hip flexors were shot, so I stopped.  I then jogged 100m and was going to try some 400s at 70ish with 100m jog rest but after 200m, my legs still felt like crap.  Frustrating because I felt strong aerobically, but my legs just all of a sudden quit.

Friday: 10.7 miles (6:42); 5.5 miles (7:18)

Saturday: 9.4 miles (6:42); 5.7 miles with 6xhill blasts (7:26)

Sunday: 17.2 miles with planned workout of 3x4.2 miles (2.1 mile loop) at 5:10 pace with 1k jog recovery at sub 6:00 pace.  

First Round: 21:40 (5:08, 5:11, 5:08, 5:09).  Legs were turning over very quickly at first but I felt more controlled on the second loop. 5:55 pace recovery jog

Second Round: 21:42 (5:07, 5:11, 5:09, 5:10). Felt better on this round, except the hill tired me out some on the second loop. 5:58 pace recover jog

Third Round: 21:47 (5:10, 5:13, 5:08, 5:11). Started to get a little tired but still was in control.  The hill on the first loop hurt and I crawled up it the second time.  At the end of this round, I felt really good and strong, while these workouts normally kill me. But my calves were pretty tight from my A5s. I ran this course and workout two years ago, before Rocket City and was over 30s a mile slower then and ended up running 2:27:08 in my race, so this is a good sign.  The only frustrating thing is that whenever I run here, the second mile on the loop is nearly always 4-5s faster than my first.  Today, it was slower every single time. Maybe I bled a lot of time up the hill on every loop. Who knows? But I'll take a 5:09 average for this workout.; 6 miles (7:22)

Week total= 124.1 miles. New lifetime record.  Solid long run, with a frustrating workout on Thursday but a great workout on Sunday.  If I wasn't so sore, I could have run Thursday's workout on Wednesday, which was near perfect conditions. I hate ending that workout early because I haven't had much extensive stuff at around HMP, which I feel I need.  Because of that, I'll run a little harder than anticipated on my Wednesday workout next week.  I've been having consistent PVC's for a few weeks now and am having some other symptoms of low iron, so I'll get that tested tomorrow.  If I find out that it's low, I have no idea what I'll do. When it was low in September, I was destroying my workouts but struggled with anything faster than HMP. I guess if it's borderline low, I'll try to somehow boost up it before the race.  If the numbers are tanked like they were in September, I'll think about scratching Houston and running Mercedes a few weeks later.  But hopefully my numbers are ok. 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Saucony Wear Testing

Stolen from Jake Krong and Andrea North's blog:

We are looking for dedicated athletes to participate in trials of our new footwear styles.

Participation will provide you with an opportunity to evaluate some of the leading technologies in the athletic footwear industry and have a direct impact on the design and development of our footwear.

Run more than 40 miles a week
•Know what you like about running shoes and have ideas on how to make them better
•Have a strong commitment and passion for running
•Would be able to adhere to our program schedule and uphold our professional standards
•Wear a women’s 8 OR a men’s 9, 10
•Are excited to test new prototypes and provide in-depth detailed feedback

Please contact us for an application to join our wear test program:

Thursday, December 20, 2012


Everyone is aware of the the school shooting last Friday in Connecticut, where six adults and twenty kids tragically lost their lives.  Even though Connecticut is quite a distance away, there's something Middle Tennessee runners/walkers/triathletes/anyone can do to help the victims and their families. 

 26.4.26 Run

This Saturday, at Nashville Running Company, Robbie Bruce from X3 Endurance will be organizing a run called 26.4.26.  The event takes place at 8am and consists of a 6.5 mile loop, where participants can get in 6.5/13/19.5/26 miles.  They are also encouraged to bring a minimum of $1 per completed mile, all of which will be donated to the families of the victims.  If you aren't able to log any miles, they still need plenty of volunteers.  There will be a volunteer meeting tonight at 6:30pm at Nashville Running Company. 

For more information, go to their Facebook page here  While I'm not planning on knocking out 26, I plan on knocking out a loop or two. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Rocket City Marathon

The Rocket City Marathon has a sentimental value to me.  It was my first marathon,which turned out to be a positive experience.  I was hoping to run 2:30 that year (2010) and ended up running 2:27:08 and felt really strong at the end.  It was then supposed to then grant me the best running experience of my life, qualifying for the Olympic Marathon Trials last year, but a sickness decided to take me out two days before the race. With Houston five weeks away, I debated running this as a faster long run to get another feel for the distance and hopefully pick up a little bit of money.


Before deciding to run, I consulted three different people.  It was a little bit funny because their individual views and personalities showed in their answers.  First, I asked Mark Hadley.  Mark is a really knowledgable guy who has a passion for the sport.  He has a knack for making the scientific sound simplistic.  He is a coach to a few elite runners, as well your average joes. His site is a really valuable resource, so I figured he'd be a good guy to ask.  He told me that while he would not suggest it in an optimal build-up, it could be doable, and used to my advantage as long as I kept it under control and ran three easy days before and three to four easy days afterward.

I then asked Camille Herron, who is a 2:37 marathoner and new world record holder.  I haven't talked to her much over the last few years but I used to talk to her way back in the and aol instant messenger days.  She ran a really solid marathon at Dallas a couple of years ago and came back to run very well at the Mississippi Blues Marathon about a month later.  She runs a ton of marathons and her advice was that it was definitely doable and that I could run really well at Rocket City and come back and smoke Houston.  It was a great confidence booster!

My last person I asked was Fernando Cabada.  I've never talked to him before but I always liked his confidence and "real" mindset.  He ran Rocket City as a long progression run last year and then came back five weeks later and ran 2:11 at the US Olympic Trials.  Since that was exact time frame I was looking at, I figured he would have some good input.  He said that it didn't take much out of him and he was able to work out hard the following Wednesday.  His advise was to definitely keep it under control.  He must like this method because he ran a 2:19 the week before Rocket City and six weeks before Houston, which he is planning on making a run at sub 2:10.

With the "approval" of those three, I decided to give it a go.  My plan was to take my normal marathon race fuel during the actual race, but keep it very relaxed and under control.  Under ideal weather, I was planning on running 2:25-2:30, with obviously a slower time better,  but since I was running for money, I couldn't just jog.

I had a very hard week of training the week before, which was also probably one of my best weeks ever.  I planned on a really hard workout the Tuesday before, but I axed that shortly into it.  I then tried another workout on Wednesday, and ran a 11.5 mile moderate progression run.  During the week of the marathon, I was planning on getting in about 110-115 miles.

I constantly checked out the top seeds page on the Rocket City homepage and saw that I was seeded first.  That gave me a little bit of pressure because I was the "favorite" but wasn't planning on winning.  The #2 seed was Geoffrey Terer, who I considered to be the favorite.  After doing some Google stalking, I found that he runs mainly half-marathons.  He consistently runs in the 65 minute range, but wins by a small margin.  That showed he was probably just running hard enough to win and had a lot left in the tank.  He even had a win over Patrick Cheptoek, who I have never come close to beating.  Based on my current fitness, I felt like I could beat Geoffrey in a flat-out marathon race, but I didn't expect to beat him with the effort I was going to give.

Behind Geoffrey were Jay Stephenson and Wojciech Kopec.  I expected to run primarily with Jay.  He ran some really fast times several years ago but hasn't been racing a ton.  I saw that he broke 70 in the half this past fall and felt like he would run around 2:30.  He's a pretty consistent racer, so I figured he'd  be a good person to run with.

Wojciech graduated from Harding (my old college) and has never run a marathon.  In college, he was better at the 3k/5k and seemed to struggle some in the longer distances.  Because of that, I felt like he would go out hard (rookie mistake) and then fade the last 10k and finish somewhere around 2:35.  I was happy with the entries because I felt like I could get 2nd place and run around 2:28.

After school, Mary, Kate and I headed down to Huntsville.  Unfortunately, we hit a ton of traffic and didn't get in until around 7pm.  I always forget stuff when I go somewhere, which for this trip included my pair of racing socks and body-glide.  My only other pair of socks were knee-high compression, so that meant I would have to wear the same pair two days in a row.  No biggie.  I had a pass to the dinner and when I saw it was about to close, I sprinted to my room, threw down my bags and ran back downstairs so I could make it in time.  I also got grumpy because I another Kenyan, in addition to Geoffrey.  Who was that guy?

After Mary settled in with Kate, they came down to join me.  I downed 2.5 plates of spaghetti, a cup of Gatorade and a piece of carrot cake.  At dinner, I saw Jay and we talked strategy a bit.  We talked roughly about going out in 1:14ish for the first half, which sounded perfect to me.

After dinner, I was still really hungry, so I ate a couple of energy bars that I bought at the expo.  I then headed to my old Hood to Coast teammate, Ethan Coffey's, room because his girlfriend, Julia, was going to be my fuel girl.  The plan was to take a gel bottle at miles 7, 12 and 19.  I was going to stuff an extra one in my back pocket and take it around 3-4 miles in. Everything was set and I headed up to my room for bed, but unfortunately I got a random phone call which basically consisted of:

Caller: Why did you hit my car and leave a note with your number on it?
Me: What are you talking about man? I didn't hit your car.
Caller: Yeah you did, my tail light and bumper is all busted up.
Me: Well it wasn't me
Caller: Who's your insurance?
Me: Geico, you could save 15% or more if you switched over.
Caller: Geico? You lie man.  If you didn't leave a note, who did?
Me: The Geico gecko

And then I hung up. Fortunately he didn't call back.

There was not just one additional Kenyan, but two new ones entered, so I did some Google research.  The first, Reuben Mwei, was a stud at Adams State College and has been running very well on the roads.  Jay told me he thought he heard Reuben was hurt, so he probably wouldn't show up.  However, if he did, I knew that would be another guy ahead of me.

The other was Peter Kemboi, who is also a tough runner.  But he's run a ton of marathons this year, including the Philadelphia Marathon just a few weeks ago in 2:29, so I knew he would be tired.  My hope for him was that he would hang with the leaders and then I could pick him off the last 10k and snag third.

Shortly before heading to bed, I started getting a super hunger attack. I then looked on my phone for the closest fast food place and saw that McDonald's was less than a mile away.  I drove there and ordered my usual, a McDouble, without pickles and a small fry.  I then devoured my food, took a couple of Benadryl and headed to bed.

I woke up a couple of times in the middle of the night with a pretty bad headache.  But whenever I have headaches at night, they are gone in the morning.  I was also insanely thirsty, so I chugged a 32 oz. Gatorade and then went back asleep.

My alarm woke me up at 5:30am and I still had a killer headache.  I knew it was probably due to dehydration because I ate a lot of carbohydrates yesterday and drunk very little fluid.  Before this, my plan was to cut off my beverages at 6:30am, so I could pee it all out before the race, but I knew I was in "fluid debt" and needed to drink a lot.  I drunk another 32 ounces over the next 1.5 hours but still had my headache.  Along with the water, I had my customary coffee and ate two Powerbars.

At 7:00am, I decided to walk around outside for a while and then at 7:30am, I started a very easy mile jog.  I was crawling, but luckily, my headache was going away.  I saw several of my Nashville running friends, as well as several more from the Hendersonville Running Club.

I then ran into my old former teammate, Janet Cherebon-Bawcom who ran the 10k for the United States this past Olympics.  I was worried she was going to jump in and smoke me, but fortunately, she was just there to cheer.  Janet ran the Rocket City Marathon several times in the past and two years ago, when I started training hard again, it was my sole motivation to not get beat by her.


Finally it was time to start.  The weather was right at 55 degrees, which was pretty warm.  When the gun shot off, the pace was crawling.  We were probably going close to 7:00 pace the first half mile. Everyone bunched together and then some guy with a really weird European accent was rambling about his seven kids and how all five were sick the other night, so he was busy taking all of their temperatures at 2am.  I then noticed he was running in Crocs (yes, Crocs).  Whatever floats your boat I guess but I can't see how those would be any more comfortable than a pair of racing shoes.

Rocket City Marathon 2012
Image: Eric Schultz |

We went through the first mile in a 6:11. It's funny, 6:11 pace normally feels pretty fast on a non-racing day, but here, it felt like 10 minutes.  We were still really bunched up and went through the next mile in 6:01.  Finally, people started to get a bit antsy and we were running in the mid 5:30s, which dropped all but a few people.  At three miles, I decided I didn't need my Powergel, so I tossed it aside.  Shortly afterward, Wojciech apppeard to be annoyed by the slow past as he shot off and we all let him go.  He probably dropped a 5:20 the next mile, which is way too early to make a move, especially for a marathon rookie.

I hung with Peter, Geoffrey and Tim Richard.  The two Kenyans started to pick it up a little bit and I wasn't sure what I was going to do.  I didn't know if they would keep a constant pace, so I decided to stick with Tim and worry about the guys up front later.  There was a pretty strong headwind at this point but we ran side-by-side.  The unspoken man rule is that if it's windy, you can only draft on someone if there is more than two runners right ahead of you.

We ran together the next couple of miles before I started to branch off.  At seven miles, I was supposed to get my first fuel bottle.  I was a little scatterbrained and completely forgot.  I ran past the water stop and wondered why a girl was yelling my name.  I then remembered I was supposed to get my bottle but it was too late.  My next "delievery" wasn't until 12 miles, so I decided to drink a little bit of Gatorade at the next couple of water stops but all that really did was tie-dye my singlet.

Shortly before 10 miles, you take a right turn onto a highway, that is 4.5-5 miles long.  At this point, I was a little over 30 behind the trio of Wojciech, Peter and Geoffrey.  I felt bad for Wojciech because they were drafting off him in, in a single-file line, without sharing the work. But it's a race and I guess he could have slowed down until someone made passed him.

On this stretch, I was feeling pretty decent at got my fuel bottle at 12 miles.  I made myself down it all because I know I needed the fluid and carbs.  I could tell I was slowly catching up to them and shortly before halfway, I latched on.  I debated passing them but since I fought the wind for so long, I felt sticking behind would be fine for now.  They were running a good bit slower than I was, so I enjoyed the relax in pace.  We went through halfway in 1:13:22, which was perfect.  It felt easy and relaxed and I had a lot left.

Once we left the highway, the headwind went away.  Unfortunately, that meant it felt a lot hotter.  At this point, I debated taking off my shirt and tucking it into my shorts but I was scared it would fall out and I didn't want to scare all of the little children with my pastiness.  It was in the lower 60s at this point, which sounds ideal to the non-runner, but anything much over 50 will slow you down, with 35-40 being my favorite marathon weather.

Wojciech took some kind of tablet or something and I asked him if they were Polish steroids (he's from Poland) but he joked that they were American steroids.

At this point, I was helping him with the pace, with the two Kenyans on our backs. I couldn't read Peter very well but Geoffrey was very relaxed.    In a couple of miles, Wojciech fell back several seconds, which I thought was the end of him.  I told the Kenyans that there was only one mzungu left, and was going to stick with the pace until at least 20 miles.  Wojciech ended up rallying back and at 17 miles, I got my second fuel bottle.  Since it had a light brown appearance, I told the Kenyans that it was Tusker Beer (largest brewery in Africa and located in Kenya) and asked if they wanted any.  Geoffrey started at the bottle and then gave me a weird look but didn't want any.

Around 20 miles, I was still feeling really good and to be honest, was getting bored with the monotony of it all, so I dropped the pace down to the lower 5:20s,  which dropped Wojciech, with the mile after that around 5:20 and then the next around 5:15, which dropped Peter.  I told Geoffrey that if we could keep it up for a few minutes longer, we would drop them for good.

At 21 miles, he made a big move and motioned for me to go with him.  I debated my two options.  #1: Run the last 4-5 miles at 5:00 pace and try to drop Geoffrey but also put a lot more pounding on my body or #2: Run just hard enough to get second.  Winning would net me an additional $250 but killing myself the last few miles would probably mean a slower post-race recovery.  And even if I ran that hard, I may not be able to win.  Because of that, I decided to run for second.

Geoffrey put about 10s on me with every mile and I noticed Wojciech was rallying back again.  At 23 miles, I only had about 15 seconds on him, so I tried to keep it around that distance.  At this point of the course, there is a lot of turns, so I was able to constantly keep a gauge on things.  At 24 miles, he was still close but in the 25th, he started to fall back some and I was able to really relax in the last mile to finish 2nd in 2:26:16 with Geoffrey winning in 2:25:18, Wojciech third in 2:27:24 and Peter 4th in 2:29:58.
Rocket City Marathon 2012
Image: Eric Schultz | 

After I crossed the line, my plan was to turn my hotel tub into an ice bath, sit in that for about 15 minutes while chugging liquid calories and then put on my compression shorts and socks (too much mixed science on whether or not those work but I wasn't taking a chance). But when I crossed the line, I felt really bad and similar to how I felt at the US Half-Marathon Championships.  My head was pounding, my eyes were really sore and my stomach didn't want anything in it.

I wasn't feeling like an ice bath, so I took a hot shower instead.  I tried to drink some recovery drink, but that made me feel like throwing up, so I only got about 150 calories of it down.  I then laid down in bed and took a 1.5 hour nap.  I was expecting to feel like death when I woke up, but I felt pretty decent.  I then headed downstairs to try and get some food in my stomach while waiting for the awards ceremony.  I ran into Wojciech who told me that he barely got in any runs over 13 miles and hasn't been running a ton.  With that being his first marathon, off of that training, he ran really well.  He seemed really motivated and wants to go back home to Poland to train for a while, before trying some training in Kenya.  With his talent, I feel he will be under 2:20 in a year for sure.
Top 5 men in order (right to left)

Overall, I would consider it a successful performance.  I was worried that only getting about 20-24 oz. of fluid and only 200 calories during the race, and then not getting much shortly afterward would put a bigger pounding on me but I felt good.  I should have had a back-up plan in-case and had a goal fluid and calorie amount.  Most people drink too much fluid in a race and drinking to thirst is your best bet but I feel like I didn't drink enough.  Some random tidbits/thoughts on the race, future, etc.

-Need to practice drinking out of cups.  I tried to drink a little bit out of several of them but it didn't work too well.  If I don't have help in Houston, I need to be prepared.

-Need more runs in my Grid Type A5's.  I ran both of my prior marathon in the A4s, but the 5s are about an 1/2 ounce lighter.  My feet and calves felt a little stressed towards the end because of the pounding, so I need to get them adapted to it.

-I need more marathon fitness.  I feel like this race will be a "super-compensation" run but I could tell I still need some more of that down-and-dirty endurance.

-5:10-5:15 pace is going to feel fast and I need to be prepared.  I haven't done much work at that pace yet due to some sickness and training fatigue.  I've done a lot of stuff at around half-marathon pace (about 5% faster than MP)  and some long, enduring stuff at around 90-95% of MP but I haven't zoned-in on the pace I actually plan on running.

"Balanced" mile splits: 6:11, 6:01, 5:34, 5:35, 5:25, 5:39, 5:28, 5:33, 5:27, 5:26, 5:22, 5:32, 5:31, 5:45 (first full mile with the pack), 5:44, 5:39, 5:49, 5:28, 5:23, 5:20, 5:17 (bye-bye Geoffrey), 5:26, 5:35, 5:33, 5:38, 5:43, 1:17 (.2)

For you people on the fence about Rocket City, you should definitely run it.  It's cheaper than most marathons and you get more than your value worth.  You get an information book, along with course maps mailed to you before the race, you get a huge finisher's medal, age group awards are five deep, you get a free finishers certificate, hat and finishing photo and they always have great pre-race speakers (Bill Rodgers this year, Dick Beardsley last year).  This is a race put on to give everyone a positive and valuable experience, rather than trying to nickel-and-dime you for everything.

Monday, December 17, 2012

December 10th-16th

Monday: 5.7 miles (7:01); 11 miles (7:26)

Tuesday: 10.2 miles (6:37); 7 miles with 6xhill blasts (7:36).  Felt good on the hills, which is a good sign because I was expecting to have dead legs.

Wednesday: 4 miles (6:55); 14.4 miles with 20x400m with 1:00 rest, 3:00 rest after every 5th. Ended up at 22:32, which is 67.high average.  Took the extra rest because I felt like my legs would need it.  400s at 3k-5k effort put more stress on your legs, and with the marathon a few days ago, I felt like my legs wouldn't be completely up to task.  Started out around 70 and never went over 67 after the 4th, with a lot of 67s and then 66s.  Inner/upper legs were pretty tired and felt like they would give a little bit but they would recover quickly.  Aerobically, this was very easy and relaxed.  Recovery is going very well.  This workout also went by really quickly, while taking a straight 1:00 rest throughout drags on.  The extra rest after five, gave me something to look forward to and focus on.  That shows the importance of mentally breaking up your races into sections, rather than looking at just one big picture.

Thursday: 5.4 miles (7:21); 7.5 miles (6:54); 3.1 miles (7:32).  Busy day.  Not enough time for doubles, so had to cram in a triple.

Friday: NO RUNNING.  Got the puke bug from Mary. I'm getting tired of all this sickness, especially since I'm hoping to hammer the next three weeks.  Was in bed all day throwing up.

Saturday: NO RUNNING. Had a fast finish 22 mile long run planned but I couldn't do a thing.  Barely ate at all and felt really weak.  Man, I needed that session.

Sunday: 5.5 miles (7:05). Weak at first but better by the end.

Week total=73.8 miles. Crap.  After Friday, I would have had like 124 miles in a seven days but the sickness curtailed that. It seems like since August, I haven't been able to string together several good weeks.  I lost 47 planned miles this week, which is a big chunk of change.  And I'm not too confident in my marathon-specific fitness now and I lost that workout on Saturday.  Maybe this will freshen my legs up some, who knows?  A few days before the sickness, I started getting some night sweats and woke up several times during each night, which usually happens when I'm overdoing things and about to get worn down, so maybe somehow I avoided some mild overtraining.  I'm hoping for a very big week this week, as long as my body tells me it's ready.  Also happy with how quickly I recovered from Rocket City.  2.5 more weeks of solid training and then it's time to back off.

Netflix Movie Monday

My first pick for this week would be From Dusk till Dawn.  Great Quentin Tarantino flick (who I'm not normally a big fan of) with some B-movie type action/horror.  There's even George Clooney in there, which serves as good eye candy for the ladies.  But it's a pretty graphic movie, so I can't recommend it officially, in-case you want to watch it with your mother or kids.  But heck, I'll throw a short trailer on here anyway.

So my official pick will be Snatch, which is also one of my favorite movies of all time.  Of course Mary hates it (but has been watching every Christmas flick on TV so far) but I like the storyline, dry humor and action/comedy aspect of it.  It's a Guy Ritchie flick with an ensemble cast staring people like Brad Pitt and Jason Statham.The storyline is completely scramble-brained but basically, you have some Russian gangsters, shady boxing bookies and promoters, dopey busch-league robbers and some Jewish jewelers trying to track down a priceless diamond.  They all become intertwined in some way, unplanned by them.  Not much of a plot summary there but that's really all there is to the movie.  Much like most of my movies on here, you'll either love it or hate it. 





Thursday, December 13, 2012

12South Winter Warm-Up

This was a first year race that I decided to try out.  The race offered a 6k and 12k, so I opted for the longer distance and hoped to use it as a longer tempo run. I decided to use my GPS, to help regulate my pace between 4:55-5:00 a mile, but I turned off the auto-lap and planned on splitting it at every mile. I didn't know anything about the course, except that the 12k would be two loops.


I tried to get there a little earlier than usual because parking in that area is pretty sparse and the race was completely sold out.  I ended up with a spot that George Constanza would be jealous of and went down to get my packet. 

I wasn't familiar with the area at all and went out on a 3.5ish mile warm-up.  I was planning to get to my car about 10-15 minutes before the race but as usual, I got lost and didn't know where I was.  Luckily, there were tons of joggers in the area to point me in the right direction.  I made it to the start a couple of minutes to spare.

I saw Ryan Snellen on the line, who is getting back into it after some extended time-off, Matt Pulle (who beat me at the Moon Pie, 2.5 years ago) and another guy who looked pretty fast, but I didn't recognize. When the race started, I took a little time finding my rhythm and worked my way up to the front with Snellen and the Mystery Man. We were running just under 4:50 pace, so I backed off a bit.  After about 1k, I took the lead and tried to settle into the pace.  A few minutes in, you took a 180 degree turn but I got a little confused and took a left, before being told to turn back around.  I only lost a couple of seconds and was back on pace.

Shortly after the turnaround, there was a pretty big hill but since it was so early in the race, I felt pretty good going up (finally a steep hill that doesn't kill me). After I passed a mile on my GPS, with no mile marker in sight, I knew the race probably wouldn't have them. I debated turning my auto-lap back on, which would at least give my GPS mile splits, but I didn't feel like fooling around with it and just focused on my overall average pace.

The next part of the course consisted of running up-and-down rolling 12th South Avenue.  None of the hills were particularly bad but they came one after the other.  Fortunately, when you got to the top, you took another 180 degree turn (and I accidently turned left again) and then got to run back down before branching off a side loop the finish the first 6k.  After the first loop, my overall average was 4:56 and I felt a little tired, but was going to try and hang out that pace.

On loop two, all of the uphills felt a good bit harder but other than that, I was feeling strong.  I decided to start manually splitting my watch at the end of every mile and hit the 4th at 19:46, overall time.  I was happy to hit the turnaround at the top of 12th South, which meant I would gain back some time after splitting 5:03 and 5:10 for the last two miles.

At the start of the sixth, I did a quick assessment and was feeling really good and gained back a lot of time with a 4:42 7th mile.  I ended up crossing the line in 36:07 (36:12 chip time, somehow) with a GPS reading of 7.30 miles and average pace of 4:56. I felt really good at the end and was happy with the controlled effort and even happier with the post-race Krispy Kreme donuts.  After devouring a couple of those, I went on a cool-down run with Brent Ferrell (Mystery Man) who has been in Nashville for a few years but has only done a couple of races. But he's run some pretty fast times in the past, so he could get pretty fast soon. 

It was a pretty solid first year race.  I liked the double-loop course with my only qualm being a short course, without any mile markers.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Netflix Movie Monday

Stake Land is a movie I checked out last week.  I never have heard of it, just saw that it was new on Netflix, looked like a decent flick, so I decided to give it a watch.  It's a horror/action vampire/zombie movie.  Well, technically, they are vampires, but not like this

or this

definitely not like this

if I had to relate them to vampires in another movie, it'd be something like this

Stake Land is a post-apocolyptial movie horror/action movie that combines vampires (that are more like zombies), looney cult members and a story about a guy (Mister) who can lay the smackdown who runs into a young man (Martin) and teaches him how to survive in the new world as they make their way to New Eden (aka: Canada), which is the safe zone, if you will.  Along the way, they fight and kill many vampires and find other people to join their posse.

Vampires aren't the only danger as they also run into a religious cult that is causing a lot of terror in the world.  Mister and his gang are now stuck fighting against the cult members as well as the vampires.

It's somewhat of a coming of age film as you see Martin adapt to the new world and begin to find his place.  The storyline isn't killer but there's some decent action and if you are into vampire/zombie movies, it's worth a watch.