Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Netflix Movie Wednesday

Summer has finally arrived and instead of being a bum, I've been busier than ever and even had run-in with some virus that put me on my butt and will put a crimp in my weekly mileage this week.

A ton of people love Netflix for its documentaries.  I'm not a big fan of a lot of them, especially ones that try and argue a point or prove something.  They are way too biased and only show the evidence that supports a claim, rather than looking at all sides of an issue to find the real truth.  But sports documentaries are rarely political and a few weeks ago, I started getting into the ESPN 30 for 30 documentaries.

The idea behind 30 for 30, was to commemorate ESPN's 30th anniversary, by producing 30 films from some of today's finest directors. Each filmmaker brought their passion and personal point of view to each film, detailing the issues, trends, athletes, teams, rivalries, games and events that transformed the sports landscape from 1979 to 2009 (yeah, I copied that).

There are currently a ton of them on Netflix and I've enjoyed all of the ones I've seen, even if I had no prior interest in the athlete/team/city/whatever.  So if you're a documentary lover, sports buff or just want to see a good inside look, any one of them would be a good pick.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

April 20-26 Training

Monday: 10 miles (6:28); 5.8 miles (7:07)

Tuesday: 10.6 miles bombed workout. My plan was 10x3:00 at sub 5:00 pace with 1:00 easy jog.  I felt really slow and flat at first, like I was running in grass or something.  My brain was telling my legs to go, but they were slow to move.  After 2-3 of these, it started to get pretty freaking hot.  It just got worse and worse, so I decided to switch it to 8x3:00 but after six of them, I was done.  I was speeding up throughout the workout and averaged sub 5:00 pace up to that point, so that's a good sign I guess.  But it was 82 degrees, 69 dew point, with no shade nor a cloud in the sky.; 6.8 miles with 12x.15 miles pick-up, .35 miles jog (6:27). I sometimes will run this workout after doing a moderate session earlier in the day, especially during marathon training when I need to stay in touch with, not build, my speed.  I like getting in some not too strenuous running on semi worn out legs.  Anyway, felt really good on these and averaged about 4:30 pace on the accelerations

Wednesday: 5.9 miles (6:44); 10.7 miles (6:35)

Thursday: 5.9 miles (6:52); 9.5 miles (6:32)

Friday: 5.7 miles (7:12); 14.1 miles with 4800m-3200m-1600m with 3:00 rest.  Weather was decent (upper 60s, low dew point) and my goal was to run sub 15:00, 9:40, 4:35.  4800m=14:55.  Got the metronome award on this one as I ran 4:58.77, 4:58.77, 4:57.87 on my splits.  Felt pretty relaxed.  3200m=9:33 (4:48, 4:45). I thought this would be really tough but I was just cruising.  1600m=4:22. Oops.  My goal was to run 68.XX's on my laps.  First lap was 66, I came through 800m in 2:12 and thought I could break 4:30.  I then came through 1200m in 3:18 and thought I would run 4:25.  Slight pick-up with 200m to go and another slight pick-up the final 100m with some heavy legs starting to creep up the last 20m.  Really pleased with this one because it felt pretty controlled and I feel like if I attacked from the start and ran all-out, I could have run close to 4:15.  This was also my fastest 1600m since 2005.  My mojo is slowly coming back.

Originally, I was planning on doing my Moneymaker workout (3200m@10k pace, 4:00 rest, 1600m@5k, 3:00 rest, 10x400m@3k or faster with 1:00 rest) but since Tuesday's session was cut short and then had some faster running later in the day, I figured I needed something a little longer today.

Saturday:  8.5 miles (6:57); 7.5 miles (6:58)

Sunday: 9.6 miles (6:41); 5.4 miles with 6xpick-ups (7:25)

Week Total= 116 miles.  At the end of Friday, I had a little over 120 for the prior seven days.  Bummed that I had to bag Tuesday's workout but mother nature made me do it.  But while she was being mean to me, she was also probably being nice to some people that I want to put a whooping on next month, so I need to modify better in the future.  That will be much easier now because school is now over for the summer! I can now sleep more than six hours a night, and can even take a nap when Kate takes hers.  And there will also not be a big candy jar staring me in the face, several times a day.  Next week will be another tough week with a road trip to Destin, FL on Saturday for a week.  My legs went from aching everyday, to feeling pretty light, so hopefully I'm on an upswing.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Netflix Movie Monday

Finally, I get it done on Monday (as well as four other things).  Now, I just have to type fast, so I can unload my clothes and jump in bed because I'm insanely tired.

This weekend, I watched a movie I've never heard of before: The Perfect Host.  It had mixed reviews on (I always place more stock in the user reviews over the critics) but it sounded a little interesting, so I gave it a go.

The Perfect Host is yet again, another Black Comedy that was filmed in only 17 days.  With the help of his girlfriend, Simeone, John Taylor comes up with an elaborate bank robbing scheme.  While he is in a gas station trying to get some disinfectant for his foot, a girl robs the joint and gets away with his wallet.  His face appears on the TV, which is seen by the gas station worker, so John flees the scene and ditches his car.

He looks for a place to stay the night and comes upon the house of  overly eccentric, Warwick Wilson.  He checks Warrick's mail, sees a letter from Warrick's friend, Julia, and John pretends to be close with her.  Warrick is planning a dinner party but reluctantly lets John in.  John does his best to avoid the truth until the radio makes an announcement about him.  He then threatens to kill Warwick unless he follows his directions and cancels the dinner party.  Things are turning back in John's favor until he passes out because of some drugged wine and finds out Warwick is not the person he initially appeared to be.

From hear, the movie gets really good and was a bit of a rush.  Right when things hit a high point, you're left scratching your head and then don't get me started on the ending.  But all-in-all, this was a pretty fun movie and while it's no Last Supper, it's still a decent flick. 

April 13th-19th Training

Monday: 7.6 miles (6:58); 8.5 miles with 6xstrides (7:00ish)

Tuesday: 4.5 miles (7:01); 11.7 (6:38). Went to the doctor for an iron test and got my results back.  It's not as low as it was in September, when I had to cancel the Columbus Marathon four weeks out, but it's getting there.  With the half-marathon championships in about six weeks, maybe I have time to get it back up.  I'll "pump some iron" and go for another test in a couple of weeks.  I'll still train hard but take more liberal recovery.

Wednesday: 5.9 miles (6:45); 11.7 miles with 8x400m with 400m jog.  Was gunning for 62 lows because of the iron issue and ended up running 8:13 for my total time, which is like 61.5 or so.  These were actually pretty easy and I never got the booty lock feeling I would get during this workout in college.  Should probably have done 10-12 of these because the 400m jog recovery was way too much.

Thursday: 5.7 miles (6:53); 10.7 miles (6:59)

Friday: 4.3 miles (7:23); 9.6 miles with 6xstrides (6:48)

Saturday:  15.4 miles with 11.2 mile race in 63:30.  Ran a medium effort for a while and then got lazy.  Too hot, too humid; 5.1 miles (7:26)

Sunday: 9.4 miles (6:38); 5.4 miles (7:16)

Week Total= 115.5 miles. With the iron issue, it was a bummer of a week.  I'm scrapping the Music City Distance Carnival on June 1st (bye bye sub 14 attempt) and hoping to rally back in time before the half-marathon.  Even if it's still low, I'll probably still try but hopefully I caught it early enough.  Let's look at my iron history over the last few months.  First, my iron tanked in mid September.  Two weeks prior, I ran at the Hood to Coast Relay with a double ear-infection and ran three legs, averaging sub 5:00 pace for 20+ miles, with no sleep.  My iron wasn't low but wasn't great three weeks before Houston.  Two weeks prior, I ran a steady marathon.  Now it's in between last December and last September.  Two weeks ago, I ran the Country Music Marathon.  I would guess that's all related.  I don't plan on stopping my steady marathons, but will dose more iron before/after.  We will see what next week brings...

What Race?

On May 8th, I got invited to participate in the "What Race?" sponsored by Swiftwick.  I got the invite in my email and as you can see, it was a hush-hush thing.  The email said:

"Privileged Athlete,

You have been invited to the first ever Swiftwick "What Race?"

You will find the invitation attached. Please fill out the registration ASAP so that we can get you the socks before the race. Registration closes Sunday night, May 12th.


I was intrigued and decided to sign up.  I figured a guy I coach, Olaf Wasternack, was also invited but I had scheduled him a 20 mile run that morning.  I sent him a text letting him know that if he had a change of plans or felt like doing something else, to let me know and we would modify the schedule.  He told me he still planned on running an easy 20.  He was either not participating or being way too secretive.

The bad part is that I didn't know what the race distance would be.  I really thought it was going to either be a road mile, 3k/2 mile race on the track or a cross country race on Vaughn's Gap.  I figured it wouldn't be your cliche 5k and a half-marathon seemed like too long of a distance.  

On the Monday before the race, I got another email, stating that the race was a loop around the 11.2 mile loop in Percy Warner Park.  That could be considered cruel and unusual punishment.  The 11.2 mile loop is paved but it is very hilly with three monster hills on the course.  While I felt the race distance benefited me, I wasn't looking forward to the course.  I then had to decide how to run the race. Someone last year said his training buddy said I couldn't break an hour on the course.  I honestly feel like if I ran it tapered and raced it with good weather, I could run two loops in two hours.  But with my now present iron issues, I didn't want to try to push for an hour, especially with the expected warm temps and high humidity.  I decided to run it as a progression run and after Nine Mile Hill, open up a little bit if I felt good (I actually think it's called Langsford Hill or something, but I never pay attention to the sign).  

There was no race shirt, you were just required to wear your socks that were sent to you a few days before the race.  They were some neon yellow/green Swiftwick 5's with "What Race?" printed on the front.  I also got a Swiftwick shoe bag and I would put a picture on here but the socks are presently in the rinse cycle down stairs.

I arrived at the race about 45 minutes before 8am (the start time) and saw Scott Bennett and Hunter Hethcoat.  I warmed up with them for about two miles and then people started showing up.  Ted Towse, then Daniel LePage and his friend Bill (I can't remember his last name), Vance Berry and his wife, Liz, Olaf (that sneaky German), Tom Divinnie, Ashley Evans, Lee Wilson (owner of Nashville running company) and even Ryan Snellen made an appearance.  

Ted made fun of what he called my "D3" running shorts and someone else asked if I was really going to run in them.  I run during my lunch break every school and my kids mock my 5.5" inseam shorts.  I can't imagine what they would say if I went shorter.  To most people, they look like daisy dukes but to runners, it makes me look like I should be playing in the NBA.  So Saucony, if you can spare some shorter shorts, send them my way!

My plan was to run with LePage and then slowly pull away.  Him, Bill and I ran the first mile together (which is a long, gradual uphill) and I didn't see the sign, but it was probably in the range of 6:00.  In the second mile, I started to break away, and ran the next several miles in the mid 5:30s.  Hunter Hall was the lead cyclist and I started bragging to him about how I get locked into a rhythm and can hang out there all day.  My cockiness resulted in a 5:47 next mile.

I was feeling pretty lazy and my shorts were feeling pretty heavy.  I was soaked in sweat and just kept a moderate effort.  I died up the hill in the seventh mile (but not as bad as I did in the third) and at this point, I just wanted to keep it easy.  Nine Mile Hill was completely ugly and as you'll see, was pretty stinking slow.  I abandoned my plan of hammering the last 2+ miles and ran the last mile a little steady (long, gradual downhill for about a mile).  I figured LePage made up some major ground on me over the last few miles, but I felt I had some tools in my arsenal in case he pulled up beside me to test my old man strength.

I didn't expect to run this slowly, but then again, I expected to run harder and I got too lazy during the run.  If you follow my training log, I kept it around a "medium" effort the first 6-7 miles, then I shut it down and threw in another medium mile at the end.  

Afterwards, we jogged a couple miles, I shared some of my Blenheim Spicy Ginger Ale and I was on my way home to make it back for Kate's birthday party.

Fun race, nasty course. 

Balanced Splits: 11:17 (two miles), 5:35, 5:32, 5:33, 5:47, 11:26 (two miles), 6:01, 6:27, 5:52 (1.2)

US 25k Championships

For probably the millionth time in a row, the Fifth Third River Bank run was serving as the US 25k Championships.  I've always felt like the 25k would be a good distance for me but I have never run one.  I didn't have this race on my schedule until a few weeks ago, when our school's Field Day moved from Thursday and Friday, to Wednesday and Thursday.  With Friday now available, I could make the haul up to Grand Rapids, MI.

I didn't really have a concrete race plan and didn't know what to expect just two weeks after the Country Music Marathon.  All I wanted to do was go up there, compete hard and see where I finished.  However, if my legs were feeling good and if I were ready to roll, I felt like I could run 4:55ish pace for the distance.  I ran that pace for the Murray Half-Marathon, which has some climbs and I finished feeling really smooth and relaxed.  I felt like I could have definitely run that pace an additional 2.4 miles and having people to run with in Michigan would help as well.

I was going to drive up with one of my summer/winter training partners and former athlete I coached, Vance Pounders.  We had a near last minute change in plans, so we had to scramble to figure things out.  Our new plan was to drive to Cincinnati, OH and stay with my old Nashville running friend, Chris Herren on Thursday night and then stay Friday night with a guy named Ted, who went to college with Nashville marathoner Jeanette Faber.  Runners seem to have an unspoken camaraderie and will open up their doors to you, even if they have never met you.  That being said, my wife won't let any random weirdos stay at my house.

A little bit after 4:00pm on Thursday, we were finally on our way.  The drive up wasn't too eventful.  The highlight of my trip was when I found out that Ohio didn't have any food tax.  It doesn't sound too exciting but when the tax is nearly 10% in Tennessee, that extra 30 cents was a welcomed surprise.  Since we lost an hour because of the time zone, we rolled into Chris's house about 9:30pm, caught up with each other's lives and then went to bed.
Cincinnati, OH

After waking up and heading out for an eight mile run, we were on our way again, this time with a 5.5 hour drive.  It was another uneventful drive, except that once we entered Michigan, there was literally a dead raccoon every mile or so.  I don't think I've ever seen a roadkill raccoon in my hood, but if you need deer, turkey, squirrel, possum and the occasional coyote or bobcat, my hood is the place to be.

Finally, we arrived in Grand Rapids and was going to head to the expo and get our stuff before heading to Ted's.  Downtown was a madhouse.  One wrong detour cost us about 30 extra minutes because of all the cars.  I hate driving in traffic, so I was ready to get out of the car. Once we got in the expo area, we had to drive around for another twenty minutes before finding a spot a half mile away.  I'm not a baller, so no close-to-the-expo $5 parking for me.

I'm not much of an expo type of guy and I always try to get in-and-out as fast as I can.  The constant crowds of people and overly eager salesmen mentally burn me out, so I don't waste my time.  Vance went to get his 5k number and I went to get mine.  My runner number was #117 and I saw that the 25k numbers started at 200.  Fortunately, the people at the "Solutions" desk were able to help me out and I had to pick my number at some suite in one of the host hotels.  After a short walk, we were there and I saw a group of Kenyans in the lobby, who pointed me in the right direction. After getting my race number (37), I ran into Andrew Carlson in the lobby and talked to him for a few minutes.  He said the field was really stacked, which excited me some because I was coming up here to race some people, not nab a particular spot.  After what had been another long day, we were on our way to Ted's.  He had a two young daughters and I recognized pretty much every toy and sound in their play room.  The benefits of having a two-year old.  After talking for a bit, it was time for bed.

Since Vance's race was an hour earlier than mine (7:20 vs. 8:20), we got to the race a little early.  When he went off on his warmup, I hung out in the hospitality suite and even though I already ate breakfast, I couldn't resist the delicious looking croissant staring me in the face and downed a cup of coffee as well.  I ran my warm-up around the lake, and saw a ton of the other faster runners while trying to dog goose crap and then checked my bag and headed to the line. 

The start of the race was pretty weird.  Instead of the starter getting everyone settled and then starting the race, he gave some random warning and then immediately sounded the horn.  I don't think anyone was ready but we were off.  A few guys shot to the front and I took my time finding my pace over the first couple hundred meters.  After about a half mile, there was a big pack of about 20 guys.  I could tell the pace was really slow for them, so I hung towards the back of the pack so I wouldn't get sucked into any sudden surges or anything.  I was just off Matt Tegenkamp's shoulder, which was pretty cool but I knew he would blast me by the end.

We went through the mile in 4:55, still bunched in a big pack.  I didn't feel very smooth but it felt like my legs were locked into the pace I needed to run.  My breathing wasn't comfortable yet but it normally takes me a couple of miles before I settle into the pace and get a good feel for the effort.

Over the next couple of miles, the pack would leave me, I would catch back up, then they would leave me again.  I took it as a positive sign because it showed that I was running my individual race, rather than following someone else's "command." In the fourth mile, I was running side-by-side with Kevin Castille.  I was hoping we would work together over the next few miles and chase down people as they fell off the back but he left me shortly afterward.  I was hoping it was because he threw in a surge or something but when I saw my split, it was at 5:00. Crap.

The demons started entering my mind but I made myself shut them out and reminded myself of all the people who told me they were excited to see how I would run today.  That wasn't enough I guess because each mile was slower than the prior run.  I felt like I was trying to dribble a slightly deflated basketball.  My body knew the proper force that was needed but I wasn't getting that bounce back.  Stephen Shay then flew by me.  A few minutes later, one of the Hanson's and some other guy.  At this point I was waiting to get "chicked" but fortunately it didn't happen.  At this point, I knew my race was over and mentally I was done.  The last thing I wanted to do in the world was run, so shortly after nine miles, I dropped out for the second time in my life.  Of course when you drop out, the medical people and others come running at you because they think you're about to die or something.  I told them I was feeling really weak and drained, so they covered me in one of those Mylar blankets and I sat in a chair shivering for about 45 minutes while I waited for a van to pick me up.  I felt a bit like a punished child, who was instructed to sit in a chair and think about what he did.  I felt guilty for dropping out but as a self-coached runner, I knew it was the best decision. Yeah, I could have fought it out but frankly, I didn't want to and felt like saving my legs so I would be able to get a good week of training would be the best choice.  When I'm racing, it takes a ton of mental focus and concentration and once that was gone, I felt like there was no point.

 After I thought I was about to get hypothermia, they moved me to an empty pod, which shielded me from the wind and then about 15 minutes later, they came back and said the van was about 3/4 of a mile down the road and I had to go there myself.  I was a little annoyed because I've been sitting in a chair for over an hour, in 42 degree windy weather in a sweaty singlet, and the last thing my body wanted to do was run.  But run I did, even though my hamstrings screamed and the goosebumps never went away.  Finally, a few minutes later, I was on the van. 

After weaving all around the city, I was finally dropped off at the medical tent.  I was freezing my butt off but they gave me an mini interview to make sure I was good to go, I guess.  The finish area was packed, so I had to weave my way back to the hospitality room in the hotel, grab my my training shoes and shirt, then had to find the media tent so I could get my checked bag.  The guy wouldn't let me in at first but remarked that he should have known, based on my thigh size (not sure if that was a good or bad thing). Finally, I had all my gear, met up with Vance and we were headed back to Ted's house for some quick showers and to jump back on the road.

The haul back was supposed to take nine hours and I really wasn't looking forward to it.  I came up to Michigan to run fast and to turn some heads, but I just found myself sitting in a cold chair.  But in all honesty, I'm not that bummed.  Running is my hobby, albeit an important one.  If things don't go well, I get to go home to my family and keep my steady paycheck from  teaching.  While I'm pumped when I compete well, when I perform poorly, I shrug it off and move on.  It's not healthy or good to get too emotionally attached to things because then your happiness or misery rides on that one thing.  But the ride home really wasn't that bad.  It was good to catch back up with Vance and after a rather uneventful first five hours or so, it was cool to drive through Indiana and see the hundreds of wind turbines. We finally arrived back at my place around 7:30pm, which gave me some time to spend on the porch with Kate and Mary.

Overall, this was an insanely draining week.  I was outside all day Wednesday and Thursday for Field Day, which was really tiring and then had to drive several hundred miles on Thursday and Friday.  I've run well in races where I didn't expect to perform but I was just mentally and physically tired for this one. I guess I probably have a little bit of residual fatigue left over the marathon two weeks prior.  What did I learn or take from this race?  Nothing really I guess.

Random thoughts/comments

  • As of now, I'm not a big fan of Michigan.  Like Ohio (which I currently don't like) if I race poorly in your state, it's going to make me a bit biased against it.  But Michigan, you need to fix your potholes, overly promiscuous raccoons and your roadway construction.  But at least your tax rate is low and you have badgers.
  • I've really been impressed with Craig Curley.  While he's been on fire before this race, he hung with the pack for as long as he could and put it on the line.  He also runs with a white hat, which I guess is worth a bonus point or two.  Maybe he just has a weird shaped head, who knows?
  • I probably shouldn't have done the Country Music Marathon/25k Championships double.  If I had to do it over again, I would have chosen the marathon instead.  Yeah, it makes me sound like a competition dodger, but it was actually a really cool experience.  I have even more awkward conversation with people now, I've had several school parents tell me that they have now started running and it was fun to run through Nashville and not have to stop for traffic every couple of minutes. I thought I could just wing a fast race, but there were a lot of killers at this race and I can't just go up there, show up and expect to perform.

Derby Days 5k

One week post marathon, I wanted to get in a good workout.  I was debating heading to the track for a ladder workout but since it was raining, the appeal of doing a road race, followed by a fartlek sounded a little more motivating.  My plan was to run the 5k in around 15:15-15:30, take 4-5 minutes rest, then run 4x2:00 at around 10k effort with 2:00 easy jog, and then 4x1:00 very hard with 1:00 jog recovery.

Before the race started, I was surprised a lot of people recognized me as the guy who won the Country Music Marathon because I was wearing my defect waterproof Timberland jacket (the pockets were placed way too high, so it was super cheap) and covering my bald head with a hat.  They even announced me before the race, which was kind of cool, but also somewhat embarrassing.  I now felt a little self-conscious and wanted to slowly sneak into the lead.

When the gun went off, some 9 or 10 year old took off like a maniac.  I let him lead for a while and passed him a couple hundred meters later and then tried to get into my groove.  I was using my GPS and once I got about a mile in, it said I averaged 4:48 pace.  Unfortunately, there were no mile markers on the course and since I had my auto-lap turned off, I had no idea what my splits were.  When I hit two miles on the watch,  I was around 4:45 average pace, so I guess that mile was around a low 4:40.

I started getting a little bit tired the last mile and was slowly losing time.  With a half mile to go, I moved up to a 4:46 average and was hoping I could sneak under 15:00.  But the watch climbed higher and I crossed the line in 15:24 for 3.21 miles on my GPS and a 4:48 average.  On most certified courses, my GPS is usually around 3.15-3.17 and this course had a ton of turns and random running through parking lots, so it very well could have been a "real" 5k.

But regardless, I thoguht I would run faster and I felt really flat, especially on the long, gradual hills. If I went flat out, I don't think I could have broken 15. I decided to scrap the fartlek after the race and jogged around for about three miles in the cold rain.  By the time I got back, they were already starting the awards ceremony, which was impressive because most races take quite a while to start that.  While waiting around, I was able to meet a lot of new people, met the owner of Anytime Fitness in Gallatin, who was a really nice guy and ran into Dave Hudson, who was running the finish line services and always does a great job at that (and coaching the Brentwood Cross Country and Track Teams).

All-in-all it was a little bit of a frustrating day, but it was better than running a hard workout in the rain at home.  They did a great job for a first year race and I will probably come back again next year.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Netflix Movie Monday

I was happy to see The Cabin in the Woods was recently added on Netflix.  For one, I didn't have to spend the week scavenging to find a new movie.  For two (I don't think that makes sense) it's a pretty good horror movie, which is hard to find these days.  Over the last several years, I've usually been disappointed when watching modern day horror movies.  The story lines are a complete train wreck and the actors are terrible as well.  But The Descent was great, 1408 made me squeal like a girl when I saw it in theaters several years ago and the ending of The Mist still tugs at me to this day.  The Cabin in the Woods wasn't one of my favorite modern day horrors but it was well worth my time and a good watch.

Like many horrors, The Cabin in the Woods mixes horror with elements of comedy.  It's not going to give you nightmares, but it also has some tense scenes.  In the movie, five college kids go to a cabin in the woods (appropriate movie title). They believe it's just a regular old cabin, but they couldn't be further from the truth. Unknown to them, it's actually a highly controlled environment, regulated by some people in a distance location.  They control what monsters to send in, can lock rooms, release gas that affects mood, etc. Why are they doing this?  You'll have to watch the movie to find out. 

The monsters are probably my favorite part of the film.  They have a wide variety of them, and they are influenced from many other horror movies, such as Evil Dead, Pans Labyrinth, It, The Ring, The Shining and the list goes on.
The Master List
Yes, that's a Merman
It's not Pennywise, but it's not Bozo either

The storyline is kind of crazy and the ending is pretty hardcore as well.  If you are in for a fun, enjoyable horror, this is definitely up your alley.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

May 6th-12th Training

Monday: 5.9 miles (6:51); 8.1 miles (6:59)

Tuesday: 9.5 miles (6:15); 6.1 miles with 7xhill blasts (7:08)

Wednesday: 4 miles (6:53); 12 miles with 6400m tempo run and 4x200m with 200m jog rest.  Ran 19:33 for the tempo (4:54, 4:53, 4:54, 4:52) and 30, 29, 29, 27.  My hamstrings were really tight on the tempo but it felt pretty easy.  I was going to run 2x400m but since my hamstrings were so achy and I don't want to be too worn out Saturday, I changed it to 200s when I was 150m into my first one.

Thursday: 4 miles (7:02). Didn't do a second run because I had to drive to Cincinnati after-school.  I also felt like absolute crap on my first run and felt like stopping to walk, so I figured the extra rest would be good.

Friday: 8 miles (7:15). Skipped the second run again because I got in later than planned.

Saturday: 11.4 miles with 9.1 mile "race".  Started the USA 25k champs.  Ran with the pack for the first 1.5 miles or so, they surged, caught back up about three miles in, started falling back in the fourth mile and after five miles, I knew it was going to get ugly, which it did.  Mentally checked out after 7-8 miles and dropped a little after nine.  Frustrating but whatever.  Will be more extensive about this later.  At least I saved my legs a bit I guess.

Sunday: 5.6 miles (7:05); 9.4 miles (6:40)

Week Total= 84 miles.  Lowest mileage week since late February but a long freaking week.  Kate has been sick most of the week and has ended up in my bed more nights than not, which killed the sleep.  Two days of being outside all day during Field Day and a whole lot of traveling.  I need to quit playing around and get my butt in gear with some stuff, which I'll probably go into more detail later.   I'll get a blood test tomorrow to make sure my iron is ok and if it's fine and I feel good, I should get in a quality week this next week.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Netflix Movie Monday

Yeah, it's Tuesday again, but life gets busy.  I would just change this to Netflix Movie Tuesday but then I would probably end up posting this on Wednesdays,  But alas, summer is almost here, so I'll have more free time (and hopefully more time to find good stuff).

I've started getting into Netflix shows because we haven't had cable in a long time.  From time-to-time, we debate getting it again but life gets too expensive.  The wife misses TLC (one reason why I don't want to get cable again) and I miss my cable shows such as Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, Workaholics and the list goes on.

Recently, a ton of Cartoon Network shows were put on Netflix.  They have my classic favorite cartoons such as Cow and Chicken and Dexter's Labratory but also a lot of shows I've never heard of.  The Regular Show looks a little bit interesting and after a few weeks, I went through the first season (it sounds impressive but it's really only a little bit over two hours). 

The Regular Show is about a blue jay (Mordecai) and a racoon (Rigsby) who work at a park as groundskeepers.   They have a pretty boring job but are constantly finding new, over-the-top adventures to undertake such as getting involved with a unicorn gang, getting attacked by talking hot dogs, etc., which gets their boss, Benson, pretty ticked off and they are almost fired on a daily basis.  

Each episode is only 12 minutes so if you watched an entire one and hated it, hey, it's only 12 minutes.  One of my favorite things about the show is the completely random characters. 

If Rigsby is Robin, Mordecai is Batman.  The more mature one of the duo but still likes to have his fun
Rigsby.  He's like an annoying teenager.  No shame, immature and out-of-control.
The bossman, Benson.  Yes, he's a gumball machine
High Five Ghost and Muscle Man.  They are Mordecai's and Rigsby's rival groundskeepers
Skips.  He's a smart meathead (oxymoron) who can only get around by skipping.  His voice is done by Mark Hamill.
Pops.  I love this guy

Sunday, May 5, 2013

April 29th-May 5th Training

Monday: 5 miles (6:46); 10 miles (7:03)

Tuesday: 10.2 miles (6:19); 5 miles with 4xhill blasts (7:04)

Wednesday: 5.9 miles (6:54); 12 miles with 16x400m with 1:00 jog rest and 3:00 jog rest after every 4th interval. I took the extra rest to give me some extra recovery from the marathon last weekend.  I ended up running 17:25 for the 16 of them, which is a 65.XX average.  My legs felt a little heavy, but I actually felt really good and kept on making myself slow down.  After Rocket City, I only ran 68s, so my speed is pretty decent right now.  I could have done 20 but I wanted to play it safe.  Encouraging workout.

Thursday: 6.4 miles (6:54); 9.5 miles (6:57)

Friday: 8.5 miles (6:52); 6.3 miles with 6xstrides (7:07)

Saturday: 7.7 miles with 5k race in 15:24.  Didn't get to warm up too long.  My plan was to run the 5k around 15:00-15:15, jog for a couple minutes, then do 4x2:00 at 10k effort with 2:00 rest and then 4x1:00 really hard with 1:00 rest.  There were no mile markers and I turned off my auto-lap, so I don't know exact splits.  Took my time finding my rhythm in the first mile and split around 4:48, my second mile was around 4:40ish and my third mile was around 4:56, with most of the slowdown happening the last half mile.  The course had a lot of gradual hills and random 180 turns and parking lot cut throughs.  Legs didn't have much power and this was a harder effort than I would have liked, so I scrapped the fast running after the race; 6.3 miles (6:54)

Sunday: 20.1 miles (6:03). Got rolling in the low 6:00s pretty quickly but took me a while to run under 6:00 pace.  Ran the last few miles close to 5:50 average.  Hamstrings were really tired the last couple of miles.

Week Total: 112.9 miles. Eh, not bad post marathon.  I had no soreness but a lot of random achiness through the week, especially in my hamstrings and butt.  Really pleased with Wednesday's session but not so much with Saturday.  USA 25k champs will be interesting.  I don't want this week to be a wash, so I'm not going to go into the race fresh but I'm hoping to maybe get top 10.  My main goal is to stay mentally tough while getting my face kicked in.

Country Music Marathon

All season long, I've changed my mind a million times about this race.  My original plan before I decided to train for Boston, was to take a stab at sub 2:20 in this race, so I could get the $1000 time bonus, $1000 first place money (assuming I won) and then $500 for the first Tennessee resident.  $2500 ain't a bad payday. But all of that changed when I decided to run Boston.  My new plan was to run Boston all-out and then if I felt like I could come back and win 12 days later, I was going to give it a go. Dumb thinking, but whatever.

Well, Boston was taken off the table, so I was back to plan #1: sub 2:20, make some money.  Sounds good, right?  Well, my school's Field Day got moved back a day, which opened up May 10th.  What's the significance of that?  I could now enter the USA 25k Champs in Grand Rapids, MI on May 11th.  Running well there was more important than making some money, so I switched my Country Music plan yet again.  The new goal was to run hard enough to win and if conditions were ok, make a run at 2:26:59, so I could get a $250 time bonus and hopefully still come away with $1500.  That would be a steady pace, but wouldn't beat me up too badly. And if I did get a little banged up, I could use some of my new found cash to visit Julianna to destroy me with a massage.

This lady doesn't play around

Well, about a week before the race, I found out they took away the overall prize money, as well as the Tennessee resident prize money.  The time bonus money was still there but the allure of an extra $1500 was gone.  And the bad thing about Nashville in late April is that weather can be freaking hot.  Did I really want to run a marathon in 70 degree heat and then try to race well two weeks later?  It makes me sound somewhat like an elitist jerk but the USA 25k championships are more important than the Country Music Marathon.  I could potentially wreck my race by toeing the line at the marathon.  So I spent the week before the race going back and forth.  Should I run the marathon? Should I switch to the half?  I kept a close watch on the forecast and saw the weather was going to be wet but temperature was going to be pretty decent.  I ran a toned down workout the Wednesday before and finally decided on Thursday that I was definitely running the marathon.  If the rain wasn't too bad, I was going for the $250 bonus and if I felt really good, I was going to go for the $500 one.  Not to mention, a lot of my non-running friends and school parents have constantly been asking me if I was going to run this year, so I felt the pressure there a little bit. 

I spent Friday eating a ton of sugary stuff.  I'm not big on carboloading because if you are tapering for a marathon, then your carbohydrate stores should be nearly topped from the reduced training volume.  I'll drink a couple cokes leading up to the race but nothing too fancy.  However, I wasn't tapering for this race and with a plan of still getting in 100+ miles during the week, I divulged a little more than usual.

The parking for the Country Music Marathon looks like it can be a nightmare. You have to park near the finish line and then catch a shuttle at the start.  I didn't want to have a 4:00am wake-up time, followed by having to hang out in the rain for a while, so I took Scott Bennett's offer to stay at his place the night before the race, like I did in 2011.  He only lives about 1.5 miles from the start, so it works out perfectly.  After chowing down on Mama's Pancake Breakfast at Cracker Barrel, followed by dropping off my energy gel and water bottle at Nashville Running Company and Jeff Edmond's house (thanks guys), I was on my way to the Bennett Bed and Breakfast.  I downed some a couple gulps of children's Benadryl (works faster than the pills), watched some Regular Show on Netflix, set my alarm for 4:45am and I was then dead to the world.

I woke up and was surprised it wasn't pouring rain.  Just a light drizzle.  Now....what to wear to warm-up?  But first things first, I had to lube down.  Normally chaffing doesn't bug me but I didn't want to take any chances because I heard it's worse in the rain.  I slathered some on the very outside of my armpits/shoulder blades and covered the nips. Unfortunately, I forgot an extra shirt, so I threw on my Saucony rain jacket, put on my half-tights, wore some long tights over that and headed down for some coffee and a couple of Powerbars.  My rain jacket against my skin turned out to be not so good of an idea.  My jacket stuck against my body where the vaseline was and it also stained it as well.  After borrowing one of Scott's shirts, I was now improved and ready to head out the door.

I walked/jogged the 1.5 miles to the start and then looked for my baggage check.  Several people told me it was in several different areas and after about an extra 10 minutes of jogging, I found out it was located inside the Chili's.  I hung around for a few minutes, did a couple of short strides to get my legs ready for the race and I went into my corral about 10 minutes before the gun. I was later on was joined by Olaf Wasternack, who ran a nice PR at Boston 12 days earlier.  I've been making him take some down time but he got the oppurtunity to get a free entry, so he jumped in.  7:00 approached and there was no sign that they were about to start the race.  With the rain and temp, I started shivering and was getting a little inpatient.  Much less impatient than a lady behind me who was pitching a fit about the delay.  You have a long way to run woman, and the key to running well is to relax!  But someone had left their car on the course and with all the freaking out over security, I'm sure they had to send one of those remote control bomb sniffer things to go around the car, followed by anthrax sniffing dogs, then they probably had to take the car apart and send all the pieces to some crime lab in Washington.  Shortly before the gun, we had a moment of silence for Boston and then we were on our way.

Runners take a moment of silence as they wear blue wrist bands in honor of the Boston Marathon bombing victims at the start line during Country Music Marathon in Nashville, Tenn., Saturday, April 27, 2013.

I ran pretty relaxed for the first couple of minutes.  There was a pack of guys up front that I finally reeled in about 1000m in.  Daniel LePage and his buddy, Bill Martin, were up in front.  The pace felt a little bit quick and I asked Daniel what pace he thought we were running because it felt like 5:20.  He said he hoped it wasn't that fast but we went through the first mile in 5:21.  I've always had a pretty decent "internal GPS" so if any race directors need a marathon rabbit, I'm your man!

I want this outfit
In the second mile (at least I thought it was around here), I went into the lead and started to leave the pack behind.  It wasn't intentional or anything, I guess I just became locked into that 5:20ish pace.  The rain and temperature made me feel a little bit flat, so while I was splitting my watch at every mile, I wasn't looking at what my mile times were.  I wanted to feel the effort, not hit a certain pace.  Around this point, I had to laugh for a few seconds as about a dozen cops drove by on some mini-motorcycles.  What a crew.

Fred Ready and Lou Hejany watch the Country Music Marathon from a tent along Belmont Blvd on Saturday April 27, 2013 in Nashville, Tenn. (Photo by Shelley Mays)
Someone forgot to tell these people occupy Nashville is over

At around 4.5 miles, I took my first gel.  I don't know if it was because of the rain or what, but I didn't really take any water with it.  I continued to lead and made sure I stayed relaxed over the hills.  Around seven or eight miles in, I started paying attention to my splits and was running around 5:30 pace. Perfect.  Because I'm terrible at drinking out of cups, I tried to take an ounce or so at nearly every water stop.  I then entertained myself by seeing if I could chunk the cup across the street and make it land in a trash can.  I was succesful a couple of times and was hoping the TV crew got it on film and submitted it for one of ESPN's Plays of the Day.  Didn't happen.  They were sitting in the back of a pick-up truck and I felt bad for them because of the cold rain.  I heard them butcher my last name several times and I almost decided to speed up and correct them on the pronunciation.  They told me I was getting a ton of air time and I told them that my looks are made for radio, not TV.

About 10 miles in, I took my second gel and I continued to lead.  Every once in a while, I would sneak a glance over my shoulder and saw that Daniel was about 20 seconds back, but I couldn't see any of the marathoners.  I was still feeling good at this point even though I was getting tired of running through deep puddles in some parts of the course.  Shortly before halfway, there was a part of the course that was flooded across the street.  Luckily, my Saucony Grid Type A5's didn't hold much water.

I made a 180 degree turn around a curb and saw a guy about 30ish seconds behind me.  It surprised me because I had no idea he was there, and didn't know who he was.  However, he was looking pretty strong and I knew a difficult part of the course was coming up, so I picked it up a little bit over the next few miles.  I went through halfway in 70:46 which was a little bit faster than I wanted but wasn't as fast as 2011 when I went through in 1:10:12 and ran 2:24:10.  I made my way up the long hill, which had been my slowest mile of the race both years (5:46 this year, 5:54 2011) and then took another gel at 15ish miles.

A runner crosses the finish line during Country Music Marathon in Nashville, Tenn., Saturday, April 27, 2013.
Matt Pulle.  He put a whooping on me in the 2010 Moon Pie 10 Miler and I believe is one of the first Nashville runners to discover Julianna

After running near the finish line, it was time to begin my least favorite part of the course, the journey into Shelby Bottoms.  Don't get me wrong, I hate coming back as well, but at least you're coming back. Running up a long, gradual hill, I muttered to myself that I hate hills and after that was out of the way, I ran by Nashville Running Company to get some water and fuel and to boost my morale.  The marathon starts to get lonely around 20 miles in, and it doesn't help that the Country Music course is also pretty lonely at that point.  So running by the store gave me a little boost as I made my way into Shelby Bottoms.

There were a ton of deep puddles throughout the park and I found myself running through them to see how deep they were.  Marathons can get boring, so it was time to find a new, temporary hobby.  I ran up around the pond and then back down.  In 2011, it felt like my quads and i.t. band were ripping apart from my bone at this point, but I felt good here.  I was also able to see the guy in second, who seemed to be at least a couple of minutes behind.  There was a big time clock on the top of the press truck and at 23 miles, I did some math in my head.  I figured that I easily had the 2:25:59 time bonus and was well under pace for 2:23:59 as well.  I relaxed a bit because I just wanted to sneak under the time bonus and take as little damage as possible.

Runners cross the finish line during Country Music Marathon in Nashville, Tenn., Saturday, April 27, 2013.
After seeing this photo, I was curious to see what their order of gun time finish was.  My prediction was black shirt, blue tank, blue shirt, girl.  However, it was: blue shirt and girl tied, black shirt three seconds behind them and blue shirt 14 seconds behind the first two.

On the way back out of the park, I passed the place where in 2011, I puked several times in front of some high school cheerleaders.  No puking today!  I was running in the lower 5:30s at this point, with the same effort level, which meant fatigue was slowly creeping in.  I still felt really strong and relaxed but my legs were slowly becoming worn out.  Finally, I cut a left and I could see the final turn.  I then also saw my life flash before my eyes as some old guy on one of those mini motorcycles came barreling towards me and I had to swerve out of the way so I wouldn't get run over.  I threw my hands in the air at him and told him he needs to watch out, made the final turn and I made my way towards the finish.

In my running career, I don't think I've ever broken the tape before.  Back in high school, our school paper wrote an article on me and they took a picture of me running on the track, about to break a fake tape, but that doesn't count.  Right before I hit the tape, I had my right hand on my Garmin (thanks classical conditioning), then quickly let go and raised my arms a bit, followed by immediately stopping my GPS.

Scott Wietecha, of Hendersonville, wins the 14th Country Music Marathon in Nashville, Tenn., Saturday, April 27, 2013.

As soon as I crossed the line, I was yanked over by a reporter, who asked me a bunch of questions, then I was walked over to a million other reporters with mikes in my face.  It sounds annoying but it was actually a really cool experience and my closest ever thing to "fame."  I was then walked to the the medical tent and the only thing I had on my mind was that I REALLY wanted to sit in a hot tub.  I was insanely cold at this point and miserable.  If I would have run this flat out, man, I would have been hating life at this point, much like the guy I saw sitting on a cot, covered in blankets and shivering insanely hard.

Scott Wietecha, of Hendersonville, wins the 14th Country Music Marathon in Nashville, Tenn., Saturday, April 27, 2013.

Before I was released, I had to talk to a couple more cameras before being escorted to the baggage check. I was happy the lady walked with me because she had an umbrella, even though I was already soaked.  She even let me stop at the VIP tent while she got my stuff for me.  That's some southern hospitality!  By the time my arms were almost numb from hugging myself so hard, she was back with my stuff.  I was really happy I over-packed because I threw on some compression socks, some long tights, some warmup pants, a short sleeve shirt and two jackets.  I even debated putting on some arm warmers but I felt like that would be overkill.  I then looked for my phone and couldn't find it anywhere.  I started freaking out and then my inner cheapo came out.  If I lost my phone, I would have to buy a new one, which would be over a hundred bucks. And once I get a new phone, I get "un"grandfathered out of my $25 monthly Virgin Mobile plan and get upgraded to the $35 one.  On my way to the baggage claim, I figured after a few years, I would come out losing money because of this race.  When I got there, I asked the lady if she found a phone and saw that two of the helpers had it, and told me I had a ton of missed calls (and 106 Facebook notifications).  I definitely didn't have time for that!

I then spent the next hour or so thawing out, drinking coffee, eating a ton of some carmel brownie things and talking to some of the Nashville Striders and some other random people.  I heard some guy announce that the shuttle would be leaving in five minutes.  Since I had no idea where Mary could get me, I felt riding the shuttle back to the start would be the easiest and best option.

I sat beside the second place marathon finisher, Andrew Catalano, who was a really nice guy.  Finally, I was off the bus and I arrived just in time because Mary was less than a minute away.  After getting my stuff from Scott's house, I was finally on my way back home.  I then killed time before the awards ceremony later that night.  In 2011, the winners got full sized guitars and I was REALLY hoping I would get one of those.  However, it was not to be this year but at least I get a cool, wooden small one (just like in 2011).

While I ran a couple minutes harder than I planned, this was a really cool experience.  I never thought winning this race would be such a big deal to outsiders.  Random people will come out of their house or stop their cars to talk to me while I'm running around town and I've been recognized by multiple people at Wal-Mart the last two times I've been.  When I got to school Monday, parents and students' decorated the school and made posters for me and I even had three news channels and three newspapers come to school on Monday as well.  I'm still waiting on my call Obama!

This first grader ran sub 8:00 for his mile, while talking to me the entire time

Two more of my school kids who ran Sunday.  Hopefully this soccer players will turn into cross country runners!

Now it's time to relax the best I can and get ready for the USA 25k Champs.  Odds are, I won't be too fresh but it'll be a good racing experience.  I'm definitely planning on running Boston next year, but I think I may come back and run this one as well.

Random Thoughts/Rants
  •  With the continous rain, the race was very good peeing weather, especially if a camera was on you the entire time.  However, I will not confirm or deny any peeing allegations.  I'm just saying if you really had to pee the second half of the race, you'd be able to hide it pretty well.
  • I've had a ton of people ask if I won $17,000 and others ask how much money I won.  I assume I'll get a $500 time bonus but that's all I expected to get.  It's a bummer they took away the money but I knew that going into it.  They did fly in Jim Ryun, Ron Clarke and I believe Frank Shorter (if not more people), so I'm sure that cost a few G's.  Those guys were great to talk to and were cheering on the kids at their race on Sunday.  But heck, I was at the kids race as well and I bet I had more random people talk to me about the race and took more pictures with kids and other strangers than all of those guys combined.  I'm in this to chase few times (and make money when I can) but I felt they could at least kept a small purse or something.  But the staff were nothing but great to me, so I hope I that didn't make me sound like a jerk.
  • No, there were not any Kenyans in the race.  A lot of people have asked me that and their responses have led me to believe that they feel that's why I was able to win.  There are fast Kenyans and there are also slow Kenyans.  I secretly want to say "no, there weren't any in this race but in my race I ran two weeks before this, they finished 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 8th.  And oh yeah, I won by about ninety seconds." You can only beat who shows up.
  • I've had a lot of people ask me (and my wife) if I heard what Reed Trickett from Trickett Honda said.  Well, if you missed it, in his live commercial, he said I had "no chance" to win and he expected that the pack would chase me down.  He ended up calling me to apologize and has since apologized in a commercial.  I wish he would have had more faith in the local guy, who also has had his Honda worked on there, and plans on buying a Honda when his piece (really Mary's) of crap 2001 Ford Escort ZX2 dies. So Mr. Trickett, hook a brother up!
  • Maggie Moo's was cool enough to give me a ton of free ice cream.  It's always cool when businesses support you.
  • A lot of people have asked about the rain and my shoes.  My racing shoes, the Saucony Grid Type A5, have drainage holes on the bottom.  While they hold a tiny bit of water, most of it comes out the bottom.  This was a huge help.
  • In this marathon, I ended up taking four gel's and probably at most, 16 ounces of water.  Most studies shows you should drink to thirst, and I wasn't thirsty.
  • This was the first big city half-marathon/marathon since Boston.  What happened in Boston was terrible and I hope nothing like that ever happens again.  I was really impressed because after such a tragedy, rather than having people break apart, they became more unified.  As a result, I don't understand what good the attack did in the eyes of the culprits.  I had people ask if I was nervous or scared to run. I wasn't in the slightest.  Crazy and terrible incidents like that are mainly out of your control.  Too many people worry about things they can't prevent or stop and spend too little time worrying about things they are capable of preventing.  Take care of your body, spend time with loved ones, be frugal with yourself and generous to others.
Mile Splits:




























2011 Country Music Marathon vs. 2013 Country Music Marathon

5k: 16:29 vs. 16:54

10k: 32:59 vs. 34:00

13.1: 70:10 vs. 70:46 

20: 1:48:21 vs. 1:48:07

26.2: 2:24:10 vs. 2:22:41