Sunday, October 26, 2008

50k's and a Birthday Party

Yesterday, Saturday, was a very busy day for me. I had plans for running in the evening, but I wanted to do sort of a warm up run in the morning. Around 9:30 a.m. I went to a local park. My plan was to run 4.5 miles, it's a 1.5 mile loop track. I started very slow and ran the first mile around 11:30, this included stops to stretch. I ran the next two at 8:30, this gave me three miles, and I decided to go ahead and make it an even six, so I ran the next two at 8:00 and ran a cool down mile at 9.

Next up was a date with my granddaughter. She had asked me Friday evening to take her to a classmates birthday party. I wasn't clear on the details, but I knew I had to pick her up at 12:30 for a 1:00 start. I got to the address and it was a place called "Pump it Up." It's a well run party place for kids but appointment only. They start you out with a safety video, then take you into the first play room. A lot of air pumped up play areas. Slides, jump areas, ball play areas, and in the 2nd room more of the same but including a obstacle course. After watching the kids for a while, I had to do the slide myself. It's a good workout getting to the top of the slide, but then the fun begins. I did it about 4 times, then in the next play room I did the obstacle course twice. After about an hour playing, and getting the kids good and tired, they take you to the party room. Pizza, vegetable trays, and plenty to drink. I was hungry now, and the pizza was as good as at any of these type of places I've ever been. But I think they bring it in. Cake, open the presents and then the show is over. About two hours total, perfect. My granddaughter wanted to go somewhere else, but as soon as she got in the car, she went fast asleep, perfect. I took her home and then prepared for the rest of my evening.

A friend, Joel, is running his first 100 miler in a couple of weeks, and he wanted to get in a long night run. I had not promised to run it all or any of it with him, I wanted to see what plans my granddaughter had for me first, but since things seemed to be working out, I decided to go for it. I got there, and there were two others there to run one loop with us. A loop is about 10 miles. It was daylight when we started, but it was dark before we finished the first loop. When we finished, the two dropped, and we gained another runner for one loop. We finished that one, and then Joel and I did the last loop together. We finished after midnight, and did just under 31 miles. So I'm calling it our midnight 50k.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

In all Fairness

I want to be fair about experiences I've had with different companies. I dogged O'Reilly Auto Parts in an earlier post about the way I was treated there. Now here is an encounter that had a different ending. I mentioned in my previous post that I had to rush home after running Saturday for an appointment with an appliance repair man. I had purchased a new dryer from Best Buy one week before. It was new, but a floor model out of the box and discounted over $140.00. I hooked it up and within about two days it started making this grinding sound. I couldn't meet anyone at my house until this past weekend, so I scheduled an appointment for Saturday, and they were to call me by 10:00 a.m. By 11:00 still no call, so I call them. They have me down for an appointment two weeks later. I said you've made a mistake, there is no way I would have scheduled an appointment that far out for a new appliance. She said let me see what I can do, but you may have to hold for about ten minutes. I said no problem. She comes back, and says I'll have someone there within ninety minutes. The guy gets there, and says the machine is damaged, you should get a replacement. I say, ok, but in my mind I'm thinking there's no way they are going to let me replace a floor model they discounted with a brand new one. Well, not only did they replace it with a new one, they never once said anything about the fact that they had discounted the first one for being out of the box and on the floor.

I condemned O'Reilly, I want to commend Best Buy for their customer service. And before I get carried away, I know that individual experiences will vary from time to time and depending on the customer service rep you get.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

That's What I Get

Training has been going well. Last week, I did a little of everything. Long runs, speed work and tempos. I seem to be able to hit my marathon pace fairly easily, although if there are any hills at all my heart rate climbs a bit higher than I'd like. From what I've read you can hold about 85% of maximum heart rate for some time. But go above that, and it's the same as going past your lactate threshold. So I've been doing some long slow runs to try to strengthen my heart.

Now, to the reason for my title. This Saturday the running club was doing fourteen miles. I decided I wanted to do 18 miles, but that I wanted to do the 14 at sub-marathon pace. Around 8 to 8:10 miles. My plan was to get to the lake an hour early and run a very easy 4 miles to warm up. Well when I got there, two of my friends were there, planning basically the same thing. So I take off with them, but a warm up for them is a bit faster than I had planned, but I ran with them. So then we start the 14 with the group. I start out running sub 8's and it feels OK. So I decide to hold on to them for at least the 7 miles turn around. I ended up holding them for 8 miles. I made my first water stop, then continued trying to hold at least 8:35's. This was now difficult, but I also wanted to finish the 14 miles in two hours or less. I was slowing, and it didn't look like I was going to make it. But with around 2 miles left I see I can make it if I hold around 8:30's. So I go for it. My gait is now not right, but I push on. I finish in 1:59. Mission accomplished. I had to leave almost immediately for an appointment with an appliance repairman. That's a story for another day, but it ended well. I feel very sore and like I might have pulled something. Later in the day I can barely walk. I'm starting to get worried. I have been relatively injury free for several years now, and I'm really afraid I've hurt myself. Sunday, I get up a little late and decide to go to this park to see if I can run at all. If nothing else, I can walk one loop, 1.5 miles. I get there, stretch, walk, stretch, walk, then try to run. Can't do it, can't run even a few steps. OK, no need to panic, you may just be real sore, you did run 18 miles harder than you've ever run a marathon. So I finish the loop walking, and go home. Monday I'm starting to feel a little better, and I can run just a little. Tuesday, much better, I can run, but I'm still not back to normal, but I'm now convinced that I'm just super sore. That's what I get for over doing it.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

SOS Marathon - Emergency Rooms

One more note on the Spirit of Survival Marathon I ran on my birthday. They made a big deal out of it being my birthday. When I finished I checked my time and saw that I was 4th in age group. The next day when I checked the online results I noticed that they had me in my old age group. I was actually 3rd in my new age group. I didn't get my medal, my companions told me the medals were generic so I didn't bother with trying to get it mailed to me. But it is a first for me, a top 3 age group finish in a marathon. Mind you my time was not great and it was a small marathon but I take my victories where I find them.
Today I did a very easy 11 mile run/walk. I was running, and ran into a friend who was walking. He had raced yesterday, and was just taking it easy today. So I walked with him for awhile, and when he turned back I started running again. It was an easy recovery week.
Yesterday, Saturday October 11th, I was taking it easy, watched OU lose to Texas and preparing to "chill" for the rest of the day maybe run a few light errands, when my granddaughter calls and asks me to take her to the emergency room. Now my granddaughter is 5 so you know who was really asking. So I speak to her mother and her mother says "yes, we do need to go to the emergency room." So I go get them and take them. My granddaughter is in a great mood and just glad to be around "pa pa." And of course I'm thinking "is this trip really necessary." But of course error on the side of caution when it comes to children. So, the short rest of the story is I was in the emergency room from around 2:00 p.m until around 11:00 p.m. A nine hour stay for about thirty minutes of actual interaction with medical staff. And they treat you like crap, even though she has insurance. Thankfully my granddaughter is doing just fine.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

They say the mind is the first to go

Today is my 55th birthday. It's on a Sunday, when most marathons are run, and it's a new age group birthday. So what do I decide I want to do on my birthday? Sunday, football, how about lay around the house being waited on hand and foot while I watch football in my underwear and eat as many empty calories as I can? No? Ok, how about letting my family take me out to lunch or dinner, and then watch Sunday Night football? No, ok, how about finding a marathon, oh look, there's one just around 80 miles from Oklahoma city. Let's do that on your birthday. Duh, ok. So that's what I did. Willie , David, and I carpooled down to the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge for the Spirit of Survival Marathon. I told everyone that my goal was to just treat this as an easy training run, and not try to go too fast. But deep down inside I hoped to run under 4 hours. This is a very hilly course and not conductive to running real fast. Nonetheless I was trying to hold around 8:45's for the first half. Even though I knew that I needed to keep my heartrate below 160 I consistently let it climb above that. I ran as hard up hill as I did down. You see where this is going. I ran the first half in around 1:55, I ran the second half in 2:23. Nice little positive split for a finish time of 4:18. Not my worse, but not a great time. About a mile from the end, I was walking at this point, this young lady passes me and says "run with me." Well being a sucker for a pretty young lady, I start running, then it starts getting good to me and I go off and leave her. I hear the speakers ahead, and keep pushing even though my body is now saying slow down and walk some more. I push on to the finish, cross the line and almost pass out. I slowly walked to find somewhere to sit down, and get something to drink. I really felt bad and was a little worried. But after about 5 minutes, I started to feel better. The two guys I rode with both finished top 3 in their age groups so we waited until they could get their medals. I'm grateful for this as I still needed some recovery time. We left the race to find the world famous "Meer's Hamburger" stand. We found it, and had to wait about 30 minutes to get in. I was still a bit unsteady on my feet, so I sat outside until they got a table. After I ate, I felt much much better. I was not impressed by the hamburger, it was good, but not great, a bit dry to me. Anyway, I got home, took a shower and then weighed myself, down 5 pounds, and this is after eating and drinking quite a bit. So I hit the wall because I was not eating enough, but I was feeling full, and really thought I was drinking too much. Anyway, it was an enjoyable day, mainly because of the great company of Willie and David.
Happy Birthday to me.