Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Countdown ...

Very excited to have finally figured out how to upload this fancy, customized ING Hartford Marathon "widget". I'm not entirely sure what a widget is or how it magically appears on my page, but I like it. Unrelated,I was a big fan of "gidget"

Feelin' Good

I'm ready to dominate the streets of Glastonbury Sunday! Ran 2.5 miles in about 23 mins last night, mostly uphill and it was a piece of cake. Not gonna lie to you, I'm feelin' good.

I still haven't gotten new sneaks and I'm not sure its gonna happen before the race Sunday. I'm ok with that. I can take the heat from those around me for one more week. However, I know I can't show up again wearing ankle-length Carolina Blue shorts without having my group throw me under the bus by pointing and laughing, but the sneaks I think I can get away with.

One mile planned for tonight but I think I'm gonna do the same 2.5 as last night. Rest day coming tomorrow.

In other news, Saturday is the 135th running of the Kentucky Derby. In year's past, I would have studied this field for the past two weeks. I'd know every horse, trainer, jockey and puff piece side story in the race. While I would never pick the winner, I would be a load of information for anyone around me. This year is different. I'm thinking of going with the one whose name sounds like something I'd have called a college buddy or ex-girlfriend. So after looking over the field - I think the exacta box will be Dunkirk and Summer Bird.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Grammar, Obama, Weirdos and Swine Flu

A few things...

1.) My grammar is awful. I don't try to hide it. I know it. I live with it.

I confuse "then" and "than", I never know when to use " , " or " ; " , and I write like I think.

I have known this for years. I can research with the best of them, come up with a witty comment every now and then (or than??) and enjoy doing it. So if any of you can give me any advice on improving my grammar than (or then) I will gladly take it.

2.) Today is Barack Obama's 100th day as President. This means my own personal first 100 days challenge is up. We've gone from 248lbs to 210lbs in this time. The 25-week running schedule is the Phase II of this. The idea is to gradually get off of the no-carbs and into a healthier, well-balanced diet. I'm gonna keep up the no-carbs until I break the mendoza line and I'm expecting that happens in the next month. My new goal is to try and shrink greater than the American economy in the next 100 days.

3.) I've gotten over my fear of the neighbors thinking I'm a weirdo for running at night. I'm just not a morning work-out person. I hope this changes because the marathon has a morning start time. As I get closer to Race Day, I'll need to prepare myself with a.m. runs. I'm just not there yet.

4.) The gals over at NiceStreets are very clever. I concede they are better writers then (than) me and I can live with that. Be sure to follow them as well.

5.) Was I over the top for running last night with a facemask? I mean, you can never be too safe, right?

Two-mile run coming tonight. Still undecided as to the route, but I'm feeling confident I can do it without a problem.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

One down, 24 to go...

In the past, Week 2 has always been the downfall of any potential workout plan. I blame this on many things, but mostly because I've never had a long term goal when it came to running. I would get all gung ho, maybe run a couple miles a day for two or three days and then blame sore knees, weather, work or a hangover on the reason why I couldn't get out there the next week.

However, THIS Week 2 is different.

The training schedule gives myself the opportunity to not only build up my distance gradually over the first few weeks, but also my confidence. The Week 1 plan was to run a mile Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday with the three mile run on Saturday. In the end,I ran a mile Tuesday, 1.2 miles Wednesday, 1.5 miles Friday and the 3.1 on Sunday. Goal was 6 miles for the week and I ended up exceeding the goal with 6.8 miles. Week 2 calls for a total of 7 miles - 1 mile on Tuesday and Thursday, 2 miles Wednesday and three on Saturday. I head into the week feeling fresh and knowing I can attain this goal. If I choose to run an extra half mile than I know I can do it and still feel good the next day. Mentally, this is a big hurdle crossed.

Enjoying the 5k on Sunday was another milestone. I can now try and fit the upcoming races into the weekly schedule. I know that next Sunday, May 3rd, is the Baja 5000 5k in Glastonbury. With another three mile run already planned for next weekend, this fits in perfectly. It also gives me a short term goal to shoot for. While time is of no concern to me, I am confident I can run the next 5k in under 30 minutes. This is attainable just by knowing what to expect. I'll be better prepared just by knowing I won't keel over half way through.

Now, time to start researching running sneaks.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Silver Medal

Incredible news is that for runners in the Glastonbury River Run from my hometown I came in second! The official results can be found here.

The First 5k - Glastonbury River Run

I must say that all of my concerns and fears of running a 5k this early into the training came true. I had five questions heading into the race and it didn't take long for each one to get answered.

1.) What if I finish last? - This was entirely possible. 600 or more people entered this race and my guess is that each and every one has run more over the last year than I have. This became crystal clear just by looking at the other runners sneakers compared to my bulky, ugly, not-ready-for-prime time clown shoes. The best decision I made was not running alone. Prior to the race, I decided to hire two pace-setting, motivational coaches to drag me by a leash through the course. Every time I stopped (at least a dozen times) , these two road angels would crack the whip, tighten the reigns and pull me through. High fives all around for being team players despite the whining, kicking and screaming from yours truly.

2.) What if these ol' getaway sticks just can't take the distance? - They couldn't. It wasn't just the getaway sticks that had trouble, but I felt pain in my toes, gut, chest, back, fingers and shoulders as well. I mean, my entire freaking body was ready to shut down by the 2.5-mile mark. I have plenty of excuses for this. The heat, the shoes, the hills, the lack of carbs, the lack of water... and the list could go on.

3.) Will I hold up the others I'm running with? - I did. I'm learning that distance running is about 103% mental, 72% training, and 35% experience and 86% heart. It took all 296% of me to keep it going. However, my teammates were awesome. As noted above, they refused to let me stop for more than a few steps. Even though they and I knew that keeping a steady pace is imperative to getting through any run - they stayed right with me.

4.) What effect will the 90 degree weather have? - A negative effect. It was HOT. I mean it was Alessandra Ambrosio hot. It was Adriana Lima hot. It was.. you get my drift. The 1:00pm start time will not be a factor come Summer as most races are in the morning. I now understand why. My dogs were barkin' and burnin' about a mile into it. One positive - my bald, sweaty dome got some sun for the first time in '09.

5.) Do I get a T-shirt? - Yes. And I plan on retiring it along with the number "546" bib that came with it.

While the 31 minutes and 27 seconds I was actually running were pure hell, the entire experience was great. I truly can't wait for the next one and this has only fueled my desire to take on Week 2. All I'm concerned with at this point is making progress each week. I can honestly say that much progress was made in Week 1. I stayed on schedule, learned that I am currently at a ten minute mile pace, and - with some help- can get through a 5k. 24 weeks left to turn this greasy, soft butterball of love into a lean, mean street-slaughtering running machine and everything is currently on schedule.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Coercion, Manipulation and Intimidation = Persuasion

Three days of one-mile runs and I'm getting cocky. After getting seriously worked over, I've decided that my first three mile run won't be in the confines of my friendly hometown neighborhood loop but rather along the Ct River and farmlands of South Glastonbury in the Glastonbury River Run on Sunday.

This will be my first 5k. Well, technically its my second, but that one was a walk and I was surrounded by family and friends. I'm throwing myself straight into the fire here only five days in and there is alot going through my head.

1.) What if I finish last?
2.) What if these ol' getaway sticks just can't take the distance?
3.) Will I hold up the others I'm running with?
4.) What effect will the 90 degree weather have?
5.) Do I get a T-shirt?

The best thing about the schedule I have set up is that it allows for some flexibility on weekends. I had originally planned for the three mile run to be today with cross training on Sunday. By switching it up, I can still get my three miles in plus I can get a good marker as to where I stand in relation to my pace. This will be the foundation run and hopefully every run from here will improve.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Friday Funnies #1

Mother always said, when running a marathon in a foreign land - watch out for the T."

The Plan

The aforementioned schedule ...

**Hat Tip to A.A. for PDF'ing the heck out of my schedule and then JPEG'n and HTML'n it to put on here

I haven't even gotten through the first week and already had to tweak the schedule. I had to work late last evening and by the time I got home it was past 11 pm. While I love running at night, I was worried about the perception from neighbors if they saw me running around the neighborhood that late.

I'm sure I'll get over this in time, but is there a commonly agreed upon curfew for runners? Is there a certain time, either late or early, that is just considered creepy to be panting, coughing, drooling and sweating around the block?

Long story short, I ran my Thursday mile this morning. I'm definitely not a morning runner. I think the main reason is my current diet. I've been going with the no carb diet since mid-January. After making the New Year's resolution to lose 30lbs, I managed to gain ten by January 20. It was on that day, Inauguration Day, that I set the goal of losing 50lbs in Obama's first 100 Days. With that day coming up on April 29, I'm currently down 37lbs. I'm thinking of trying to keep it going for one more month, but concerned that it is counter productive to this running schedule. When running at night, I at least have some energy from the 10lbs of eggs, bacon, sausage, cheese, steak, chicken and hamburg that I consume throughout the day.

The other issue is my strong, borderline obsessive, affection for coffee. I know I'm better off drinking tea, but I'm not sure I can do it. I mean, that's like going from a Red Sox fan to a Yankee fan over night. Conservative to a Liberal. Hunter to a vegan. I want to train for and run in this marathon, but not at the risk of becoming less of a man.

Three mile coming tomorrow...

****UPDATE**** Thanks to this, I can now dispose the Lipton English Breakfast and Carrot Smoothies

Thursday, April 23, 2009

If I Could Inspire Just One Person ...

We've heard it before. From professional athletes, musicians or educators, we've heard the old cliche - "If what I do could effect just one person positively than the experience is all worth while," blah blah blah.

Only 48 hours into this epic journey and, together, we have inspired not one, but two aspiring marathon runners to document their triumphs and struggles on their way to this year's Hartford Marathon.

These gals appearently reside in Connecticut. One, I think, is some sort of wizard and the other a one-legged European football player. The blog can be found at Be sure to follow along as they find out about life, love and the pursuit of the ultimate dream along the mean (or nice) streets of Central Connecticut.

Ran 1.2 miles in the rain last night and took me just over ten minutes. While I am not concerned with time, it was good to know exactly how out of shape I am at the start of this. I'd be lying if I didn't admit my calves were a little sore when I got into bed last night. To go along with the running, I am also doing crunches before and after each run. Only a total of 50 last night, but hoping to get them up to 400/day by the end of next week. Today is a scheduled one-mile run but I may push it to 1.5 miles. I'm looking forward to the three mile run Saturday.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A Journey of a Thousand Miles (actually 600 miles) starts with a Single Step

View Larger Map

So the first mile of my training started at 9:10pm last night with two laps around the neighborhood. It was over by 9:20 but was a start. After looking over the planned training schedule, I will run 605 miles leading up to the race. 605 miles is equivalent to over 970 kilometers (or 194 5k races) and if you add on the 26.2 miles for the race than it would be the equal to running from my home in CT to Detroit. These figures are daunting (especially for someone who is basically starting from scratch) but have given me the motivation to run that first mile.

This first week will have me run a total of six miles. A mile each on Tues, Weds, and Thursday with the "big" three-miler coming on Saturday. I will build up the mileage from there with the toughest week coming a month prior to the race when I hope to total 38 miles in one week. The Saturday run that week will be the 20-mile jaunt that will truly prove if I am mentally and physically prepared for the marathon.

While I don't expect that I will be able to follow this exact regimen for the entire 25-weeks, it is a road map for me to strive for. Heading into Day 2, we are still on schedule.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Goals and Schedule

"You have to forget your last marathon before you try another. Your mind can't know what's coming."
Frank Shorter

Running a marathon is no easy task. One website I came across noted that less then one percent of the people in the world can say they've run a marathon. In order to accomplish this, you need to have some very clear goals. While I am sure this list will expand as time goes on, the goals I have set at this point are as follows:

1.) Start and Finish race.
2.) Set training schedule and do everything I can to keep up with it.
3.) Weigh in at 180lbs on race day. (215lbs at this posting)
4.) Make running a regular part of my day.

These goals are simple and attainable. While I would like to finish in under 4hours 30 minutes, I'm not going to set any time goal for this race. While I can say I have technically completed a marathon, the '99 race doesnt really count. 1.) it would have taken me less time to drive from Hartford to Washington DC or fly from Hartford to London than it took me to finish and 2.) I have no solid proof that I completed the entire race because my friends tied one on at Boston College and never made it to the finish line.

The Schedule

Setting up a training schedule early on is important to reaching the goals. Since I have not run in years, I am starting off very slowly. I hope to run a total of six miles in week one. A mile on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, three miles on Saturday and an hour of cross training (cycling, swimming, elliptical, etc.) on Sunday. I will take every Monday and every Friday off. Every Saturday will be my "long run" and every Sunday will be cross training. Wednesdays will be the "sorta long run". I will post the full schedule in the future and will post what I actually run and a critique of how close I stick to the schedule.

The 25-Week Challenge

On April 15,1999 I was driving a group of friends home from a movie in North Attleboro, MA. I was a Sophomore at Providence College and in the absolute worst shape of my life. The conversation turned to the upcoming Mondays' Boston Marathon. I jokingly blurted out that they should all go to Boston on Monday and cheer me on in the race. To a person, they all said that I could never finish the race. That was all I needed to hear.

The following Monday, April 19, I woke up early and headed to Hopkington. I hadn't run even a mile in over six months, but six and a half hours after the noon-time start - I crossed the finish line. The accomplishment was as great as it was stupid. I remember telling myself that if I could finish, than I would never have to contemplate running another marathon again.

In the ten years since, I'm not sure I have run a total of 26.2 miles. However, on the night of the 2009 Boston Marathon, a challenge was made to compete in the 2009 Hartford Marathon being held on October 10.

This time, I'm focused on doing it right. This site will be first and foremost for myself. I am hoping to update on my weekly training from now until race day and use this as motivation to get me through the difficult patches that are sure to come in the coming months. For anyone else willing to take on this challenge, than I'd love to hear how you prepare. As I sit here today, the likelihood of me actually running in the marathon seems small but, God willing, if I can stay motivated and focused on my goals than it could be a life changing experience.