Friday, October 30, 2009

Birthday Meatball

Day 68

Boston Qualifying Training.
Last night we all enjoyed singing Happy Birthday to my brother-in-law, Harry. Though it was not his Birthday yesterday, we wanted to give his gift. Minus a cake, Wil had the brilliant idea to stick a candle in a meatball. With the "Birthday Meatball" in place, we all decided to sign with really bad Italian accents. Good thinking Wil, a new tradition, the Birthday Meatball!
It is amazing the power of a good nights sleep. I went to bed at 9:30 last night and work feeling fresh, healed and ready to go. Grabbing an arm full of gear, drinks and cloths, I slip out into the dark. I am wearing a long sleeve shirt, though immediately know it is too much. Sitting in the car the outside temp is reading 61 degrees! It is down right balmy for an late October morning. The bottle drops done, I navigate to LTF. Pulling in I see a heard of runners, Brian (aka Patrick), Michelle, Ann Marie and others. Jay is getting out of his car.
I chat briefly with Brian and Michelle… “Six done” I ask… a quick and spirited, “Six, ha… Ten!” replies Brian. It is 4:30 AM and I quickly do the math. They have been up for a while, though both look energetic and ready to take on the next ten. Man this is great! It further “amps” me up and I feed of their exuberance.

Pulling into the lockers I am stricken with a sudden moment of panic… MY RUNNING SHOES ARE NOT IN THE BAG!!!! OH SH…..!

My mind races with the implications… no run.. a run tomorrow… is there time to get my shoes and get back… not likely Jay is already here… WHERE ARE MY SHOES.

I spend about half a second of that nonsense and think… where are they, I remember that I took them to Minnesota. They are in my travel bag. Better, I left my travel bag in my car… SAVED!
Smiling to myself, I know this is going to be a good run. I smear some Aquaphor in those all important areas and out the door.

The heard of runners has grown and they are off on their next ten miles. Jay is setting the Garmin and we head of for our recovery 15. Hard to imagine, but 15 seems like a piece of cake when you stack it against a 20 mile run. We both comment on the warm weather and wish we had wore running tanks, though we both quickly acclimate.

We hit the first mile in or around 8:00 minutes and back it down to pace. The target is 8:20, though it is likely we only hit it once or twice. Our finish pace was 8:15 according to Garmin, 8:17 by my watch and if you take out a 1:45 for a Jay pit stop, 8:10!

Now Corey would be saying too fast… too fast, but the reality is at 8:17 with breaks we were closer to on, than off, there will be areas in the race that might require a pit stop, or a walk through a water station.

At one point in the early miles I feel my left leg struggling. I immediately stop the negative thoughts and take inventory of everything that is going right, the pace, comfortable, my conditioning, good, a talking pace, body, relaxed.

I listen to my stride, and adjust until the THUD, THUD, THUD of my left leg is gone. Soon my stride is balanced and smooth. I feel good!

The conversation is light today, but the miles click by quickly. Jay and I exercise control on the hills and open our stride up on the downhills. The entire run is about consistency and control.

Looking back I knew last week’s run and even the 10 mile tempo run would be difficult likely due to the extended travel. I think back to how bad I felt, the fatigue, the frustration. I was angry all week last week and worse the doubt it built in my mind.

I also thought about the solo track run in Minnesota and how I had determined I would use that hard workout to steel my resolve, to build my confidence and to strengthen my determination. It worked! I felt energized that day and carried it into the next two workouts. Yesterdays swim and this mornings 15 mile run.

At mile 9.6 I decide to change it up a bit. Rather than head back to LTF, I had placed an extra water bottle and steered Jay and I to a tree lined street with little to no traffic. The leaves were falling as a light wind hand picked up. This felt more like fall. You could smell the crisp leaves as they crunched under foot. I though back to being a kid and running and jumping in a pile of leaves. It made me smile and provided an extra boost as we finished the last 4 miles. I could have been running 7:30’s at that point I felt so good, but knowing better the pace was held and I enjoyed the scenery around me.

Looking over Jay too was gliding along as effortless as always. Jay is ready and would likely be able to pull a 3:20 if he really wanted to tomorrow.

Rolling down Academy, the run nearly done I keep drawing back to how effortless this run was. I considered how I refused to let my thoughts take a trip down a negative path. I know in my mind, this a great run and certainly one to build on for week number 11.

As we rounded the corner to LTF, Jay had an increased sense of urgency and nature was not happy. This prompted a by-pass of our typical stretching. This would be an issue.

As per usual Jay and I headed to our weekly breakfast, better yet, Corey would be joining us after his demonic 9 mile run at 7:00 pace. I was looking forward to hearing about the run and pacing.

As a good friend Corey was waiting on us… stretching! Where are Bob and Jay… We blew it.
Hate to let a good friend down. I tried meeting him afterwards at the bagel place but he had already left. Rats! This put a little tarnish on an otherwise great morning.

Pulling away from the Bagel shop, I think about the day ahead, work and plenty of it, a couple of critical meetings. Better football practice for Wil and Jack. The day will end late and tomorrow will start early.

Wil’s game is at 8:30 and Jack’s at 4:30 tomorrow. I expect it will be hard for the boys to concentrate, as they are excited about Halloween and truthfully so is this 44 year old kid.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Days... A Week

October 29, 2009 - Thursday

Day 67

Boston Qualifying Training. Diane and Harry, my sister and brother-in-law, (more like a brother) arrived last night. I was able to get home soon enough from Minneapolis to enjoy the first game of the World Series, Yankee’s versus Philly’s. A tough loss, it was not that the Yankee’s played bad, but, the Philly’s pitcher just played so great, nobody could hit him. Smartly, I did not stay up to watch, I knew I needed sleep.

Waking at 5:00 AM I knew going to bed early was the right decision, I was still a little tired, but not dealing with the fatigue I have been feeling the last two weeks.

At the pool it is good to see the gang, Jay, Jeff, Corey… The girls. My warm up is slow and I am the only person in lane 1. Thinking about it I decide that it will be a better choice to swim in lane 2 with the girls. It will be faster, but, the work will be spread by three people rather than just me hitting it by myself. The workout is a good one, 4 x 200, 2 x 300, 2 x 200 (we skipped a 200) as a main set, it felt good the pace was good. There were a few moments that I felt streamlined, however at the back end of each set, I know that I shortened my stroke and just pushed my way through the water. At this point I am confident that I will not be going back into lane 1. I consider this a graduation day. After December, my eye’s will turn to lane 3, but that is later.

December 12th is my goal and a one more step toward the goal is tomorrow's 15 mile run. It almost sounds easy when you consider the last few runs have been 20 or 18. We have a good route marked off and the pace should feel very comfortable, running 8:20’s.

I will make certain over the next 6 weeks that I am off to bed at 9:30. I really want to focus on giving my body the time it needs to heal. As we move into November, I will also look to sharpening what I put into my body, no junk. Balanced, lean meals. I will also use these last two 20 mile runs to plan my nutrition. I believe I will need 2-3 gels on the run, my body just burns the fuel. I believe I have found my pre-race meal, pasta, no joke there, but the amount is key. Eat until full and stop.

Board meeting today. Busy work day ending with an off-site meeting. The evening will be relaxed for the first time in what seems like a month. I will enjoy the break.

October 28, 2009 - Wednesday

Day 66

Boston Qualifying Training. It is a beautiful Minnesota morning… cold and dark. I am prepared for the weather, I brought my long tights, an Under Armor tank and a long sleeve tech shirt, I even remember to bring a hat. Exiting the hotel, I know I made the right choice.

Making my way to the Hopkin’s High School track I thank the unknown travel who tipped me off the night before. I park and slip in my iPod, another good catch seeing as I am running alone.

This is my first solo track workout in a long time. I have grown used to running with Jay, Corey, Jeff and the girls. But there is a part of me that appreciates this solo workout. I am here to build grit, to build confidence and to exercise a few demons that have crept into my mind during these recent runs. The track workout is challenging, 2 x (3 x 1200) @ 4:53. The time is the easiest part. As I draw closer to the track I see an issue, it is fenced and locked. It’s early, its cold and the track is locked, there are several reasons to turn around. However I will not be deterred. I climb the 10 foot fence (yes 10 foot!) and drop track side. A quick lap to check for obstacles, I am cleared for flight. Looking at my splits by 200, I check them to memory and take off.

I feel at ease on the track, I check my speed and keep the idea of pace in my head. Rounding the first turn I am reminded of the strength of a good Minnesota wind. It hits me in the face as if to say welcome back. Interestingly there are four turns on a track and somehow the wind defies the principals of what I learned in 9th grade Earth Science and manages to hit me in the face on 3 of the four turns. I am undaunted, and keep a steady pace through out. My first 1200 is good, I worked, but did not kill it, and turned a 4:46.

The following times are close 1-6, 4:49, 4:46, 4:48, 4:42 and a 4:44. I end the workout feeling great. My running confidence is back and I exit the track knowing that mid-way through week 10, I am better than I started. I fully expect to take these positive spirits into the 15 mile run on Friday.

As I head to the car in a light jog I turn the corner and see a dog, we both jump and next both stand our ground. He barks, I yell. We size each other up waiting to see who will turn first. I decide to take off after him, and he thankfully runs like mad. Later I see the dog with his’s owner and the dog looks the other way. Ha.

I have a big day ahead with work… but best, it will end with me home with family and sleeping in my bed. Can’t wait to get home.

October 27, 2009 - Tuesday

Day 65

Boston Qualifying Training. It is a nice Tuesday morning and I know that it will be a long day. One that will end in Minneapolis. The swim work out is good… once warmed up and seeing that we have 1800 meters at a good clip, I make an executive decision. I do not want to swim this alone and I dip over to lane 2 for pick up a draft from the other two swimmers. I know that I’ll be humping the pace, but I would rather get this done. As expected it is as hard as I thought it would be and at points I enjoy the feel of my lungs burning and heart pounding… my sore muscles. I live in the feeling that this is a good workout. I can feel my fitness coming back after last weeks travel. I am unable to do the “wall-up” (still suffering the lingering effects of Sunday football) but I still do the swim. Looking at the clock it is time to run.

I hop out of the pool, shower and head to Home Depot.. I pick up the hardware and I’m off to the house. I see the boys off to school and head upstairs to start painting. I get it all done and hang the hardware on the doors, everything is moved back in place and I am off to work. A quick trip down two flights of stairs and I am deep in the work day in minutes. The great benefit of working from home. I push hard through the next few hours getting work done, knowing if I am fast enough I can keep my weekly date with Kim for lunch. Kim and I are all about the kids, we rarely go anywhere without them and date nights are few, however, we do take time every week to have a lunch date. I call upstairs and she is ready to go… She looks great, clearly I am a lucky guy.

Back home I dig through a few more emails and head out the door… to the airport… to the plane… to the hotel. Minneapolis is a cool city. I have a better appreciation of the city/state, since I have moved. I was to busy looking ahead in my youth to enjoy the great opportunity I had while in MN. It is amazing how you can look back as little as 5 years ago and say…”what was I thinking”. Age and wisdom go hand in hand.
At the hotel I ask the guy behind the desk for a place to get a good cold beer and some decent food, and perhaps pull-tabs, (think lottery scratch off’s) and most important NOT A CHAIN.

He is stumped, He wanted to direct me to the TGIF’s across the street… I think uh-oh I’m in trouble. However to my rescue, another guest suggest a good “joint”. Perfect. I next ask about a track to run at… front desk man, 0-2. The guest… "Hopkin’s High School", 2-0. I thank them both and head out the door. At JJ’s Sports Bar, I see a line of taps and a bonus… they have wireless. Finding a table near an outlet I am in business.

Everyday you can find humor, you just have to be willing to accept it as humor. The waitress ask me if I’d like something to drink. An energetic “Yes” is followed by “what kind of IPA’s do you have?” “What’s an IPA.” Uh-oh. “An Indian Pale Ale”, I say hopefully. “We don’t sell no Indian beer…” ." must not be from around here”

It was as if I actually just landed from another planet and had just blown my cover. I try to explain that it is not a beer from India but rather a hoppy beer that… she stops me as if I am not talking. “You know sometimes when I go out of state, I can not find Michelob Golden.” Next I ask for a beer menu… “I have that memorized, what do you want?” I see a Fat Tire tap and just point. “small or large” Large!

I order a roast beef sandwich Philly Style. It is great. I buy a dozen of so pull tabs and relax eating and drinking. No luck with the pull-tabs, I hit a few emails and head to the hotel.

Tomorrow’s track workout is next up and just what I need to cure my running blues. It is well chronicled that I like the track I will use this workout as a positive force to build from.
Writing my splits on my arm I drift to sleep, ready to wake in 7 hours at 4:30 AM.

October 26, 2009 - Monday
Day 64
Boston Qualifying Training. I wake and I am excited about today's workout, though a bit nervous. I consider this the first “real” test to see where I am with my training. It is a 10 mile tempo run. I am hoping to have a good run, as Saturdays 20 mile run was not so great! Hoping in the car I make the all important bottle drops. Listening to the radio I am thrilled to hear that the Yankees won! Though my spirits are quickly squashed as the I learn the Giants lost! What happened. I am afraid that much of the season will go this way.
Meeting Jay at LTF, we wait for about 5 minutes waiting for this Garmin to hook up… it will be invaluable during today’s run. Starting off, everything seems to be okay, but by mile 3-4, I know that this is going to be more work than I had hoped. Doing the distance and time was far harder than I expected and my left leg is just not working. It shuts down on me at mile 4.
I found myself second guessing my everything. I big trip to Negative Town. Damn! I keep thinking how my conditioning is good, end every other part of my body is good, but the left leg is tight, sore and clumsy as I run. I can hear it, thud, thud, thud. You would think it would be my bad ankle, but it is gliding, smooth and in good form. I need to find an answer.
We finish the run and Jay is looking fresh, so fresh he spent the last two miles, basically messing with my head and changing tempo, to see if I would work harder or maintain pace… at one point we were hitting sub 7’s. Not good.
The over all pace, 7:50… I’ll take it, but I worry as this is the start of week 10 and I expected to feel a whole lot better than this. I am determined to stick to the plan. No one said it would be easy and it would not be a challenge if it was simple.
I’d like to think that my racing ended with the 10 mile run, but in reality that was the beginning. I had a slate of meetings, proposals, critical work issues and emails that all needed to be addressed. The day was a blur, but did not come close to ending at 6:30 PM.
I changed from business man to repair man. The guest room needed to be painted and done tonight. I work on the first coat of the trim having finished the walls yesterday. It takes me a good while to prep and I am able to get the first coat on, it is my hope to do both coats, but that will not happen. Rather there is assembly of a dresser that takes priority. I knew this because Kim told me it took priority.
I finish the complex assembly just in time to go to bed. As I lay there I think about what needs to be done tomorrow morning… 2nd coat, pick up door hardware, and put the bed and dresser in place, all before I start the work day and later board a plane.
I fall asleep before I finish my list of “to-do’s”.

October 25, 2009 - Sunday
Day 63
Boston Qualifying Training. I wake a t 5:00 AM and there is not going back to sleep. I think about the days previous games, happy with the outcome of Wil’s game but frustrated with my inability to coach the players up and have a better showing against the Green Eagles. I run the various plays through my head and think of the alternate plays or formation I could have called. I think about plays that I left in the play book. I find it frustrating and try to clear my mind.
I really need this sleep, but mind mind will not turn off... My thoughts go back to Saturdays long run and how bad I felt… I start building doubts about the upcoming race. Again, I try to clear my mind… I lay there in bed, still and quiet. Soon my thoughts go to all the things that have to be accomplished today and that this will not be a day of rest.
Enough. Quietly I slip downstairs and see if I can make a dent in my emails. An hour passes and I have not even finished a third of them. I decide to take break and work on the Fantasy Football league for Wil, Jack and I, making certain we set our teams. The time is well spent as Wil pulls out a victory later in the day to remain in first place. I myself, not so good, but not too bad, third place. A few more email and I hear the stirring of the family.
We dress in our Giants gear and head to Mel’s. It is chilly this morning and it feels good. Before we hit the door the head cook is asking what happened to the Giants after being blown out by the Saints the week prior. It is bad, last week he shared that he “bet the farm” on the Gmen.
As we head to our “reserved” table (they actually reserve a table for us every Sunday) a Saints Banner is place in the middle of the table. Everyone has a good laugh as they rub it in with good humor.
Also of note they have hired a new waitress. She is the 4th one since Cassie left. The others were duds, but this girl is pretty good. Kim and I place a bet to see how many weeks she’ll last. I think this one will work out.
Heading home, I prep the guest room for painting and I am able to get most of the “cutting” done before we head to our weekly football game. The game is good however the Freshman team finally wins. We’ll see if my earlier prediction comes true and we ever win again.
Back at home I spend the day painting. I need to get the room finished. I listen to football and manage to get all the paint on the walls. The day races by and soon it is time for dinner, showers, reading books and going to bed. I welcome the time with the family and enjoy just hanging out. I know these moments will not last forever and already Jack is becoming more and more independent. I am both proud and sad at the same time.
The Giants are on but I can only watch until half-time, Jay and I have a 10 mile tempo run starting at 5:45 at Marathon Pace this will be a good test.
I go to bed with the Yankees ahead of the Angels and the Giants leading the Cardinals… Sweet dreams.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Saturday Rush Hour

Day 62

Boston Qualifying Training. I went to bed early last night, though I did make certain that I spent time with the family as I was gone half the week. The boys practice well and I am excited about our upcoming games. I really think that Wil’s team and Jack’s team can pull out victories. Jay pushed our run back to 6:30, I am happy about that, however I still need to go drop bottles.

Waking at 5:40, I the bottle drops are done. I am excited about this run, but I feel fairly ragged. I am not tired, but I am fatigued. It is good to see Corey on the run with us, it make the first 10.5 go by a little easier. Jay looks relaxed the entire time. Corey does not break a sweat. I am putting out and effort. After dropping off Corey, I am feeling a bit deflated. I struggle as we climb the hills at North Point. I struggle on the run back up Haynes Bridge. Reaching Academy, my spirits rise, knowing we are almost done. We hope to catch up with Craver to bring us in the last 2-3 miles. Taking the right on Henderson, off Hwy 9, I am feeding off Jay’s conditioning and good spirits. He is ready to go and could qualify tomorrow. As we hit Cumming, we have not seen Jeff and decide to go Right rather than left. We end right at LTF… good and done. I am beat, but it is over, the third 20 mile run off the training program.

A quick shower, I have a lot to get done. Leaving the building, there is Jeff. I blew it! We changed our route going right on Westside parkway… 300 yards to the left was Jeff, a good friend, standing there waiting to take us in the rest of the way. Damn. I feel bad. Worse, I was certain that Jeff had just changed his mind on meeting Jay and I. Dang. He waited 10 minutes. Never again do I change a route. Bad, bad, bad.

I was not pleased with my run. I felt the last 10 miles, every step. Two weeks ago during and after the 20 miles I felt great, today, not so good. I decide to put it behind me, especially after the travel and late nights in Las Vegas. Besides… better things are ahead this weekend, Wil’s game is this afternoon, Jacks game is under the lights at 8:00 and the day culminates with the Halloween party at the Craver’s. I am ready for it. But first… more work!

With my sister visiting next week, I have the guest bedroom to paint. I work hard to get the work done, but clearly this will take the weekend and not happen in one day. I blink and it is time to go to Wil’s game. He does great, running in for a Touchdown, throwing a Touchdown pass and running in a two point conversion on a real heads up play. The two point play was originally a pass… the man was covered, Wil stiff arms the defensive corner back and runs the ball in for the score. They destroy the other team. Nice to see Wil have a good game and get to be the center of attention.

Wil’s game link on Youtube

A quick meal and we are at Jack’s game. It is tough. Jack is starting quarterback. He is a solid player. He take a couple of vicious hits early but does not let anyone on his team know, a leader. The boys play great and the score is 0 – 0 at halftime. The kids are playing tough. However the second half is a disaster. I do not know if it is my play calling, lack of adjustments, or that the kids just stopped playing. What I do know is we were stomped. 20 – 0 in the second half. We lose. Rats! The boys are all dejected. Jack and a couple of the other boys put in good games, but many of the boys quit on the team and did not give their best. I have to find a way to inspire these boys.

I decide I will think about this later. I have the Carver party to go to…! My idea was to go as Max, from Where the Wild Things Are. However, I never get the main part I was going to use for the costume. I have to opt for Plan B. Earlier in the day while picking up Jack costume, I spot a costume that should bring a laugh. Tinkerbelle. Trying it on, I was surprised it fit. I felt badly for the father that had to explain to his daughter at the Halloween store why the “furry” grown man was wearing the same costume. Oh well. It brings a laugh to Kim and the boys and decide, yeah, this will do. Good thing I am comfortable with my masculinity.

Changing in the parking lot of the game, I try hard to make certain none of the boys on the football team see me driving away wearing a Tinkerbelle costume. Now, I learned a few things from this experience right away; 1) wind blowing up your skirt can be a chill or a thrill depending on the temperature, 2) the skirt always is in the way of the seat belt, 3) your bare skin on the seat of the car, again, chill or thrill, 4) there is no place to put a wallet, keys or cell phone, 4) everyone wants to look up your skirt, just to make certain you are wearing underwear. I think I’ll stick with my pants from here on out.

The party is great the costumes are great, the food fantastic and the beer ice cold, I only wish I could have been their earlier. A few drinks, I stopped at three, two would have been better and a jello shooter cuts the stress… however it was almost like letting the air out of a balloon. As if it all hit at one time, I am really feeling the last 5 days as they crash down on me. It’s 11:30 and I am done. I say my good byes and thank you’s and head home. Kim and the boys are already home from the neighbor party. That party too is winding down, I slip in the backdoor to make certain no one see’s “Tink” and I am thankful as I walk in the door that I was not pulled over on the way home. That would have been bad.

I look forward to sleeping in on Sunday. Week 9 is done!

Weight… 176! That is great!

Friday - Leaving Vegas

Day 61

Boston Qualifying Training. Can anyone tell me what happened to Friday. I woke up in Vegas at 4:15, 7:15 AM ET, but that was after a late night entertaining clients. Most people in the city of “Lost Wages” typically are drunk, gambling and smoking. It is not a pretty sight, as you walk the streets you see a lot of interesting people and a considerable number of them are over weight.

As I was walking out of the elevator, when I saw the most attractive person I had seen in Vegas, she was stunning. Now, I am a happily married man, and Kim is truly beautiful to and always has been, but, in the sea of Vegas tourist, this women clearly stood out. As I am processing this information, I consider the fact that is just after 4 in the morning. Why is she alone… you would think that someone would be with her… who would just let he walk back to the room alone… than it hits me. Ah… She’s working! Though I was staying in a very nice hotel, Paris, clearly this is not uncommon.

At the airport I am exhausted. I sit there working on email and trying to catch up on the work that piled up while at the conference. The plane ride is uneventful and I log in with the idea of having all my email done before I land in 4 hours… my battery decides to give it up. I had about one hour of work. Perhaps that is a good thing. I use the time to sleep. I grab a few Z’s but it is not completely restful.

Look at the wave coming out of my brain

Landing I race up 400, making calls and tying up loose ends. The pace never lets up, plane, calls, Wil’s practice, Jack’s practice, home, and sleep. I feel like a zombie. Saturdays 20 mile run will be tough.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Travel Kills Training

Day 60

Boston Qualifying Training. Nothing. Well almost nothing. I woke early and headed down toward the pool. It was closed. No swimming this morning. I knew by this time all the guys would be at LTF and well into the first set, building their fitness. Yet here I stood in the darkness of Las Vegas, with only the glow of the strip providing light. I walk past the barricade saying "Pool Closed" and briefly think, okay, this might still work, I'll slip in, get 1,500 meters in and slip out. My plan is immediately squashed as two maintenance works emerge from the dark carrying pool cleaning equipment and politely remind me, while pointing to the obviously disturbed barricade, that "Sir", "the pool is closed". I thank them and inquire about a fitness center. The larger of the two points to a bank of 10-12 doors and says go through door with the light. I look over and see that all the doors have a light. Right. I decide I’ll figure it out myself. Walking over it is the door on the far left, a little more descriptive, but there is a reason he is doing pool maintenance. I walk down the flight of stairs, locked. Dang. I am up, but the west coast world is not, at least those seeking fitness. Gambling and smoking 24 x 7 in Vegas. As a side bar thought... From the time I have landed I have smelled nothing but cigarette smoke. Living where public smoking is not legal, I have to say, it has been horrible these last few days in Vegas. The smoke is everywhere.

Heading back to my room, I see a guy stumbling to his room. He is attending the same conference that I am attending and I recognize him from the night before. He was heading to the “tables” as I was heading to bed last night. He pulled an all-nighter, gambling and drinking. I see no pleasure in that. He is happy to tell me in a drunken slur of words that he won some of his money back and is now only $2,000 down. Uh, yeah. The previous evening he spoke about his secret gambling account with $11,000 in it. Secret in that his wife does not know about this money. Dude, you have a problem.

Back at the room I put towels down on the floor and stretch, I work core and do a quick military workout, sit ups, push ups, dips. It is not enough, but it is all that is available. I consider walking the tower stairs, 38 floors, but decide, this will be too much when I have a 20 miler in two days.

I head to the conference and do not see the light of day. 12 hours Later I take a few clients out for food and cocktails. I do my best to make a quick evening, but it is 1:00 AM ET when I finally head back to my room. I see that the Yankee’s lose as I walking back to my room, rats! It is 1:17 AM ET. My stuff is packed and I am asleep before I can finish my prayers.

Traveling kills training. I feel as if I am just gaining pounds and losing fitness.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Track to Strip

Day 59

Boston Qualifying Training. I stayed up a little too late last night, but I was enjoying the Yankee game and decide I might catch a few Zzzz’s on route to Vegas later in the day. I finally called it quits at 11:15 and hit the hey. I fell asleep immediately, waking once with an 30 minutes until I need to wake up, I rolled over for what seemed like moments waking just before the alarm went off.

Heading downstairs, I slipped out the door quietly. Arriving at the gym, I laced up the shoes and waited as the gang rolled in. First, Jeff, than Jay, the girls and Corey. It was a good group and I was excited about today’s track workout. 1 mile warm up, 1 mile at 6:31, 400 RI, 2 miles at 13:42, 800 RI, 800 at 3:13 with a 400 RI. A real test of speed and endurance.

Rolling down toward the track, the extra people in the group seemed to add to the overall energy. Each a great athlete, all dedicated to being better athletes. Many in the group will be running the Huntsville Marathon, along with Jay and me.

My last trip to the track as well as Monday's tempo run was too fast. I am focused on nailing the time today. With that in mind, I lead the first of two laps of the mile. The Goal to hit negative splits… the first 400 was 3 seconds slow, the 800 was 2 seconds, 1200, 1 second and final lap we ended with a time of 6:17. I had a bit of a calculation error on the last lap and Jay and I ripped it. But it was not a ridiculous speed and we were well in control.

I was happy that my heart rate returned to normal shortly after the first mile, better my lungs were now open for business. A quick 400 RI and it was time for the two mile run, we were ready. I would take the first mile and Jay would take the second. Again the goal, negative splits. The miles would be 6:51 per mile. However, looking back I can see my calculations were off. I kept thinking we had to have the same splits as the mile we just finished, 6:41.

Setting off the first 400 was 1:44, the 800 at 3:28… the time kept dropping by quarter, at the end of the first mile, our time was 6:39, very good. As I moved to the right, Jay slipped by and looked as if he just started running, fresh, strong, great stride. I fell in behind Jay and let him pull me along. He, just as I took each lap consistently, while shaving a ½ second of each lap. We finished the second mile at 6:36, two seconds faster and 24 seconds faster than goal.

Overall, I felt great, I felt strong, I knew there was a lot in the tank an I could tell Jay was just in a glide mode, there is a lot of speed we are holding back… that will come after the 12th.

After an 800 RI, we headed out on our 800’s 3:13, we hit 3:09, and 3:06, both were easy and seemed almost pedestrian. Highlight of our track outing was a nice meteor shower. I saw two “shooting stars”. I would find out later, this is actually debris from the tail of Hailey’s comet. Very cool.

The jog back to LTF was brisk. The stretching was shortened as I wanted to get home in time to drive William to school. He’s such a great kid. I arrive back home from taking Wil to school just in time to give Jack a big hug before he leaves for school.

Running down stairs, I print out my boarding pass and fire out a few email. I have a number of calls I will take as I drive to the airport. All the calls go well and I make the plane with minutes to spare, too close for my liking.

Arriving in Vegas I put out a few fires that flared up while I was in the air. Attending the evening meeting, I secure a few good business calls. I expect this trip will help us in the next few week.

I end the evening with a quick walk down the Vegas Strip.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Nemo's Lucky Fin

Day 58

Boston Qualifying Training. Frustrated. That is the best way to express my feelings right now. Just plain frustrated. I woke this morning after a restless nights sleep. Every time I turned a sharp pain in my shoulder would wake me up. It ached all night highlighted with bolts of white hot pain to remind me why I should not dive for a football on Sunday.

Carefully crawling out of bed, I made my way to the gym. Easing into the pool, I started slow, working my shoulder carefully, part of the rotation was okay, other parts of the motion was barely tolerable. I move gently and slowly in the water trying to warm up and hoping as the muscle and joint warms the pain will cease. The more I go, the more I find I am unable to pull with my right arm. I feel like Nemo with the little fin on one side. After the first 250 I thought maybe… it will be slow and I might end up swimming in a circle, but maybe.

I was unable to breast stroke for the next 200, so back to my slow crawl, again managing the pain and waiting for it to dull. A 100 Kick and it was time for the main set. The first part of the main set was 4 x 200. I was able to get through the first two, though by the third 200, the bolts of sharp pain, became a long continuous pain in the shoulder for the complete motion. No good. Time to stop. I’m 1000 meters into a 3600 meter workout and I am done. I go directly to the kick session, completing 5 x 100 kick board with fins. Total for the morning is 1500 meters. I barely warmed up.

Showering is a chore as I can not lift my arm. My trip to Vegas is well timed… I will miss the pool on Thursday and take that time to rest the arm. Likely I will find a tower and walk a tower several stories up and down until I hit a 100 floors. Always a good workout. I’ll spend the next few days focusing on core. I’ll also do that today during lunch.

Weight 179… dang… frustration all around. Thank goodness tomorrow is track day.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Oh Deer... The Greenway

Day 57

Boston Qualifying Training. I slept in until 7:00 AM, it felt great. My body needed the extra rest as the weekend was almost as busy as the prior week. It was decide the prior evening that the tempo run would take place at noon.

The day was pretty busy and work filled the morning. It made the time fly and immediately lunch time was here. Pulling my favorite running shorts from the laundry room I was off. The tempo run today was a simple, 1 Ez, 4 tempo at 7:30 and 1 Ez. Not bad. Meeting Jay at LTF, we run into Corey. A brief discussion on pacing and Jay’s idiosyncrasies and we were off. The day was perfect for a run, low to mid fifties, clear sky, no wind, beautiful. So much better than what we would have dealt with at 5:30 AM, frost, mid to upper 30’s, good call Jay.

Heading out of the parking lot, my body warms up, it is an easy pace and I am pleased that my shoulder is not bothering me while I run. That was a good sign. It is decided the four miles would be run on the Greenway, a flat, fast 12 miles cut through a wooded area along side a creek. It is a 12 miles I know very well. It used to be a staple of all my runs. I would enjoy seeing the deer and rabbits. Saying hello to the numerous runners you would see along the way, it made the runs easy and enjoyable. Another nice part, there are markers every ½ mile and I have every inch of that trail memorized. A good thing too, with our warm up done, the first mile market was missing! All the recent rain, it must have floated it away. I took me about 20 seconds to find the place that the market was supposed to be, hitting my watch, Jay and I were off.

The goal was 7:30. The first mile seemed a little fast but not overly so, however it was clear we were moving, 6:50! This was not intentional nor was it happening due to Jay and I being ultra competitive. Rather, I think there were several factors, we were both rested, the distance was not over whelming, the weather was perfect, the course is flat… individually all these factors added up to a fast time.

The second mile we do a better job and by the end of the run, we have essentially hit a reasonable time. The overall pace was 7:16, not great, but it felt good. I still am having an issue with my left leg, but it is my assumption because I have been missing the weight days... I need to hit the weights.

While cooling down, John Adamson swings by and we talk about up coming races. John is running in the Ironman National Championship in Clearwater, Florida. He’ll do well, no questions. He asks about my upcoming race. We talk about the concept of running a controlled pace, he is all for it and we share various race stories. This leads to a discussion on long runs and preparation. I share with John that I have taken a new approach, running slower. Long runs are at race pace plus 30 seconds, 45 seconds, 15 seconds. John shakes his head. “I never understood that” he says. “You want to run fast on race day, you need to know how to run fast during training.” This is essentially what I have done every time before. It would be an easy trap to fall back into this pattern. However, I am committed to following this training program all the way through to the end. Today felt easy, so it must be working. Sure my leg hurt a little, but my conditioning was great.

Leaving the gym I head up 400 a few exits to the new theater. Kim and her girl friends are planning an outing to see the “Twilight - New Moon” movie when it comes out and being a good husband, I drive up to buy the tickets for the first showing.

The evening is spent hanging with the boys and doing homework. There is a little bit of trim to paint, and some touch up left over from yesterday. It looks good and I am excited to have the new carpeting coming later this week. Home repair and maintenance is a full time job itself. I could list a 100 jobs that need to be completed. One at a time, one at a time.

Off to bed early, swim in the morning, it will be a test for the shoulder.

Weight… 177, a good surprise.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

It snowed on my French Toast

Day 56

Boston Training Qualifying. Last night my boys were “blanked”, though there were some good plays, they did not play well. Again, I found myself very frustrated unable to find the calls that would bring success. I find it very tough to sleep easy after a loss. I continue to run the plays and various scenarios through my head in an attempt to learn for the next game. Eventually sleep comes and it is a deep sleep, until my alarm goes off… No… I forgot to turn off my alarm. Worse, yet fumbling with the alarm to turn it off I inadvertently hit snooze. Five minutes later after falling back to sleep I learn of my mistake. Worse yet, I wake up Kim too. She is not happy. Now we are both laying there wide awake. Way too early for a Sunday. We both lay in bed with the idea of going back to sleep, but it never comes, we decide there are better things to do…

After showering and taking care of morning chores, it is off to breakfast with the boys. I skip this omelet this morning and opt for French Toast, perfect for a cold morning. They make it like my Mom. She used to finish off the plate with powedered sugar, as my Mom would say, it snowed on the French Toast.

It is a great breakfast and once again the cook comes over with a plate full of bacon. BACON!!!! We all talk about the big game the Giants have, though I am not confident, I believe the Saints are the real deal this year.

Excitedly we head home, I am looking forward to football this morning with the boys, we have been playing for 4 weeks now. It is my expectation to redeem myself after last’s weeks poor performance, 3 picks, wow. After a good warm up, sides are chosen and we start the game.

The game goes back and forth, it is a good game, but I drop no less than 6 passes… what is going on. It is not as bad as it sounds as I later catch two TD’s, including one that came from Jack on a broken scramble play.

The only problem is we had mis-matched numbers and for the first time we have a mix of freshman players, boys and adults on each side. This lead to the game taking a different feel, I found myself far too often diving and taking some hard hits… I need to think about this again. At the end of the game I hit the ground so hard while I was diving I thought I dislocated my shoulder.

Thankfully, I did not, but I can not raise my right arm without using my left arm to help. The next play we win… I hide the pain and shake it off, but happy the game is over driving home with my left arm.

With the new week coming there is work to be done around the house, including painting. New carpet is coming, and I need to have the base boards painted and done before the carpet comes on Wednesday. I am happy to have the distraction as the Giants are absolutely demolished by the Saints. Rats. I reason that the season is still early, and I actually though the Gmen might loose this one, perhaps this will be a wake up call as the Gmen will face the strength of the season in the next few weeks.

As the evening winds down, I receive an email from Jay, “ tempo, lunch?” “Beer and Falcons game tonight.” Good Idea Jay.

I will not watch the whole game and look for a full nights sleep, week 9 starts tomorrow, my body and mind need to be fresh.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Physical and Mental Garage Sale

Day 55

Boston Qualifying Training. Earlier this week the Marinich's decided to have a Garage Sale. Both Kim and I think that it is important every year to clear out the things that have accumulated and move them along, hopefully picking up a few bucks along the way. What does not sell finds it’s way to Goodwill, where it might help someone else that is in need.

The best part is that it is a cleansing opportunity, an opportunity to reflect, remember a time or moment that has past.

While pulling out the sale items from closets, the attic and basement storage areas you find things that you had completely forgotten about, a favorite toy of the children, or item purchased on a vacation. Moments and memories. Pulling out a coat that I had not wore in a few years, I found a dog hair from our old dog Maggie a great dog, and certainly missed.

As I was rummaging for things to be moved along, I came across my race bibs a 3 inch stack. For years, I have been saving my race bibs. Each race going back to 1994, I would take bib and upon getting home I would write down the date, distance, miles splits and overall time.

My earliest race, July 1994, the Peachtree Road Race, 10K, 48:00 even. Paging through the rather large collection of bibs, I watched as my times dropped, ever so often “PR” would be written on the bib in large letters, I was clearly proud of my accomplishment. Like a child getting a gold start on their test.

As I leafed through the collection I stopped at the Disney Marathon bib. It was 2004. The year prior was my first marathon, though that bib was nothing to recall with fond memories. I had food poisoning the Friday before that race and spent the entire Saturday violently ill. But 2004, I was ready. I had been running big distances and training hard. Likely too hard as I really did not know at that time what I should be doing.

Looking at my times I can see the I ran a typical Bob Marinich race… Fast as hell out of the gates, unable to hold myself back. I remember vividly running the first mile in a sub 6:45 pace and thought, hey this is going to be easy.

Looking at the times I sure I thought I as having a good race, but clearly I did not pace myself.

Mile 13 – 01:33:00 – Strong Pace 7:09 / mile
Mile 20 – 02:35:00 – Pace 7:45 / mile it was already going as the last 7 miles were 8:51 / mile
Mile23 – 03:05:00 – Oh no… what happened… 3 miles, 30 minutes
Mile 24 – 03:15:00 – Another 10 minute mile…
Mile 26.2 – 03:39:59 – Last two miles… 12 minute miles.

Finishing Pace 8:23. I remember falling apart and thinking, “what the heck happened.” I was terrible discouraged. I had trained for nearly 20 weeks. Looking back, it is obvious what went wrong. Too fast in the beginning and died at the end. Smart would have been an easy 7:45 and hold the steady pace.

So as I sit hear cleaning out the old and reflecting on the past, there are some things that need to be moved on. I can not change the past and I can not assume what might have been, but I can change what I do from here on.

I have spent too many races running full out only to die short of my goal. This race in December will be a familiar distance, 26.2 miles and an opportunity to take new approach, to run smarter and to not have to ask what might have been and hopefully put another bib in the stack with PR written boldly across the front.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Sweet Run = Free Cold Beer

Day 54

Boston Qualifying Training. Week 8, in the books and done. I am officially half way through the 16 week training program.

I woke up at 4:00 AM and I knew two things right away; 1) I was going to have a great day and 2) my day would not end until 12:00 Midnight or later.

It was a morning that was easy to jump out of bed. My stomach was still full from last nights pasta, but not so full that I felt bad. I had an abundance of energy and the goal of an 18 mile run was just the way to expend that energy.

Typically, I only need 30 minutes to get from my bed, to what ever exercising I am doing at LTF. However on these long runs, it requires I get up an extra 15 minutes early for the bottle drops. It is so much better to have these drops than to carry that much fluid around, well worth the extra 15 minutes it takes to drop the bottles and have feet moving at 4:45 AM.

It is always good seeing Jay at LTF ready to run… My buddy Bobalu told me long ago the value of a running buddy (buddies). Knowing that friend is depending on you and you them kills any notion of “well I can do that run tomorrow”, or “it’s just too cold… maybe later”. If you don’t have a running buddy he told me, get one! I have some of the best!

Jay always enters LTF in a happy mood, full of positive energy, as if he is just ready and waiting to attack the days challenge. We are dress and ready to go… Unlike other runs over the past 8 weeks, this time we will have company, Michelle. Michelle is also training for a marathon, the Atlanta Marathon on Thanksgiving day. Jay and I welcome the company. Corey will also be joining us on our route as we hit mile nine. It will be a good crowd and the miles will fall away easily.

I am eager to start the run, unlike last week where Jay and I ran way, way, way too fast and were hurting after only 13 miles, today we will follow the book and stay on pace.

Now, it is widely, though inaccurately, believed amongst my running buddies that I like to run too fast, that I have to hammer it, that I have no self control, that I must go out fast and not stop until every part in my body hurts and my lungs are screaming. In most cases that would be an accurate description. But not today! A challenge was placed, the gauntlet thrown, and a small wager was put on the table.

It was Corey’s belief that I could not, would not be able to keep a conservative pace of 8:35 for the first 9 miles and run negative splits on the back 9. The ante, a six pack of Sierra Nevada, a favorite.

In honesty, Corey knew I was a sucker for free beer and thought his ploy of a wager and the psychology of me winning would be deceptive enough to keep me in check. The reality, I would have run that pace anyway. I learned a lot from a poor run last week to know that I needed to change my approach. The fact that I could benefit with free beer from Corey, just sweetened the deal.

The run went just as planned, a nice easy pace of 8:35 even 8:40 in a few areas, for the first 9-10. It felt good and it felt easy. The miles just drifted away and it was nice to share a few new stories, at least new to Michelle.

As we neared the meeting point for Corey, our pace was perfect. He was waiting, and ready to go. We ran about 3 miles taking us back to LTF. A quick pit stop for water and “relief” (girls use potties, boys use trees, proof below) and we were back to the road. Four runners, on a nice cool morning.

After weeks of rain, the sky was clear enough to see the stars peeking through, the sign that the Atlanta rains had stopped for a day or two. Rounding mile 11, it was time to pick up the pace. We had carried our slow pace a bit too long. Having not stopped our watch, the pit stop had cost Jay an I a minute. A quick set of directions to Corey, (though not nearly clear enough, sorry guys) and Jay and I were off.

The hills and a faster pace immediately set off my left quad. I was favoring my right leg and running mostly on my left leg. Too bad. I evened my stride by focusing on an even gate. The next few miles were hard and Jay was frustrated with the amount of traffic we had to contend with while crossing the street.

When we started picking up the pace at mile 11, we were 8 seconds behind our 8:30 goal. By the time we arrived at mile 16 we were 5 seconds ahead of pace, with two miles to go… There was some fast running over those 5 miles. Likely too fast, but we both felt great and Jay was smart to keep somewhat in check. Around mile 14, I had enough energy that I could have really hammered it home at a 7:30 or better pace. But again… not the goal, not today.

Finishing the run I felt great. A quick shower and dressed, Jay an I were off to our ritual of Cracker Barrel for breakfast. Interestingly, we were not famished as we had been on previous long runs. Fitness and metabolism are adjusting as our bodies become accustom to the rigors of a long run.

Leaving LFT, I see Corey and Michelle, I was not clear in my directions and they had the benefit of a nice 19 mile run rather than 18 and I feel bad. I know I would not have been happy. The extra distance cost them time and they can not join us for breakfast. As I walk away, I assure Corey that I do not need the beer and the wager was not necessary. I’d rather go out and have a beer one night with all the guys. Hopefully that happens soon.

After breakfast, I am barely in my car and the business calls start… it will be a long day, but it is a great day, highlighted with my standing Friday lunch date!
12:00 Midnight... Good night moon.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Beer Night! You're Kidding Right?

Day 53

Boston Qualifying Training. All day yesterday I was looking for 15 minutes that I might just close my eyes for a few minutes and unwind. It never happened. As soon as Jack and I returned from football practice it was already after 9:00 PM. I showered and was in bed by 9:30. My body was in need of sleep… a deep recovery sleep. I never opened my eyes until the alarm went off at 5:00 AM.

Today’s Master Swim Class was good. Though I did not have the speed necessary to keep up on the 5 x 300 at a 6:00 minute pace. Basically it became a 30 minute 1500 swim for me. Every time I hit the wall it I was time to go… go… go..! I’m not a big fan of coming in last place, even when I am just practicing, but clearly, that was the case. I was the absolute last person to hit the wall, not by a little either, but a lot. Jay was hitting the wall with a minute to go… dang. That is frustrating. It kills me to hear how fast they are going compared to what I am doing. Yes I have an ego and I know it. I need to find that speed.

Mike has been throwing in a few strength building sets, there I actually find myself on the good side of the crowd. Bring it I can muscle my way through the water.

Leaving the gym I know that I MUST find time to lift weights today. I think the more I hit the gym, the better I feel in the pool as well as the run. It will be a late lunch workout.

6 hours later.... It is now way past lunch, I just finished mapping out tomorrows run and sending it to the guys. It will be good to have a few more people on this run. The emails fly back and forth between Corey, Jay and I and somewhere along the way, Jay started emailing with an Italian accent. Humorous, but clearly a typo, that did not stop Corey and I from relentless needling.

With the course mapped out, Corey has thrown out a wager, one I clearly plan on winning. Our goal tomorrow is negative splits, 8:35 for the first nine, 8:24 for the last nine. The wager… a six pack of Sierra Nevada.

Now, if it were just money, I would not say I could hold to that bet, but a six pack of my favorite beer. Corey, Just bring it in a cooler, I'll drink it for breakfast!

Speaking of beer I have been wound too tight these past few weeks... solution.. I am having a quick beer at Taco Mac tonight, the glass was just too cool to pass up. Besides, it was a very good seasonal Pumpkin Ale. Yummy. I did hold off from eating the wings. Those I took home to some very happy boy! Pasta by Bob tonight and a nice salad for those sitting in the adult section of the table.

I am eager to run tomorrow! It will be fun with the group.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wet Track... Warm Heart

Day 52

Boston Qualifying Training To quote an iconic figure… “It was a dark and stormy night.” Snoopy.

It was a dark and stormy night, I woke several times in the night with the sound of RAIN. I knew when I went to bed the forecast called for rain and that the track workout would be wet and cold. The thought of rolling over never crossed my mind as the alarm rang. After all, it was track workout and this one going to be fun.

I met Jay at LTF, we waited to see if there would be anyone else to join us, however we both already knew that answer. Five minutes later the clock hit 5:45 and it still just Jay and me.

We set off across the parking lot dancing around the puddles and steady flow of water on its natural path, more times than not that path was right in front of where our feet were landing.

Making the way to the school track I think not about the rain, but how good it is to be outside, the weather is cool, but not cold. The rain is falling, but not too hard. The gently sloping hill that leads to the track is a perfect warm up, just the right distance to get the body moving and start to open up the lungs.

As I enter the track, it is empty, dark and colorless in the absence of light. I have been here before. I have been doing this a long time and it is a very familiar place. I have been here in the scalding heat of summer as sweat poured from my body, and I have been here in the darkest and coldest of winter when the run was the only way to stay warm.

I remember the first time I brought Jay, Corey, Jeff and Walter to the track and we did our first track workout as a group. I had been away from the track and it was so natural to be back, that was years and years ago. A quick trip around the track to lengthen the stride and my body is responding well. This will be a good day.

The workout today 2 x 6 x 400 at 1:35 pace. A very pedestrian pace, this one will be easy, work will get done, but it will be easy. I start the first lap and the rain begins to come down a little harder. The visibility drops to 20-30 yards and there is only darkness. Large puddles form on the track, but they do not slow down the pace. The first of the 400’s is done with little physical exertion. However the set times tend to bounce over the next few sets, 1:32, 1;28, 1: 34 1:27… this continues.

The focus is pace and when I do consciously keep the pace in mind, the numbers are good, when left to just run and not think about pace, I am fast, is that so bad?

During the second set my mind wanders back to running 1:07, 1:08 and the idea that 1:15 was slow, or maybe moderate. How many years ago was that 4, 5 , 6 at the most. What happened. I have a deep desire to just rip one off right now just to see if the lion can still roar. My better judgement keeps me from trying.

Do I still have any speed left. Did my ankle injury just destroy any chance of gaining speed or is it age catching up. I dismiss all those thoughts. My goal is set firmly on qualifying for Boston and muscling around the track for my ego is not going help and would likely only cause injury. I will look for speed again… but not today, and not before December 12th.

Finishing the last 400 I feel good, the legs are still feeling the effects of the 20 miler 12 days prior, but my conditioning /breathing is great. There was work accomplished as expected this morning, though this workout was not difficult and I was quickly able to regain heart rate and normal breathing after each 400, feeling fresh for the next 400.

I will find time today to hit the weights at the gym, though multiple meetings will make it difficult, it is important I keep building core and strengthening the legs for the duration of the marathon.

At home I chase away the dampness with a nice warm bowl of oatmeal… I forgot the raisins, but the brown sugar on the oatmeal is good enough. A nice glass of juice and I have given my body the energy it will need over the next 4 hours.

Weight a disappointing 180.

I've got your back

Day 51

Boston Qualifying Training. Exhausted. I am Exhausted. Sure, I went to bed early and I felt great when I woke up, but here I am at the end of the first set and I am worn out. Last week was tough with travel and it killed me to break my consecutive masters swim class streak. I was at 10 in a row, now I am back to day one though ready to start again.

The entire swim workout is a gut buster. Clearly this “off day” conditioning is working and there is no question that this workout will take me one more step closer to Boston.

A quick shower and the day is filled with work and meetings. The day goes by fast and soon Wil is home from school. Wil’s best friend Jimmy came over to play in the afternoon. Wil and Jimmy are both in 1st grade, though Jimmy is clearly an entire head taller than Wil. This is a great photo of the two boys.

As I sit there working, I often over hear their conversation and the perspective of a 7 year old can be very refreshing. Today, I over heard their conversation however Jimmy was upset.

Yesterday, while riding home on the bus, a kid in 2nd grade and easily a head taller than Jimmy who is a big kid, took advantage of the fact that Jimmy’s older brother was not on the bus.

Seeing an opportunity tease Jimmy, he taunted him saying he looked like a Girl. Jimmy is a gentle giant and not one to engage, he said nothing though it clearly bothered him. Hearing this and seeing how much it hurt his friend, Wil was mad. Wil immediately asked Jimmy, "was it that Ben kid…?" "Next time you tell me I’ll beat him up for you!"

I nearly fell out of my chair, first it was nice to hear Wil wanted to stick up for his friend, but these two boy are easily a foot and half taller than Wil. I had to laugh. It’s nice to have a best buddy.
Weight... 179. I blame the apple pie.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The grid iron gang

Day 50


Wil's team played to a great victory, dominating the line of scrimmage on offence and ferocious blitz on defense.

One hour of football condensed into nine minutes of fun... If you watch closely, you will see me nearly stroke out on one of our kick-offs.

Highlights... Wil's TD run, Parkers TD Run, The Statue of Liberty for a TD, Wil nearly getting "pants'd", and Liams TD run. Oh yeah a 50 yard kick-off by our kicker.

Track... No Tempo...

Day 50

Boston Qualifying Training. This is the start of week 8. I wake 4 minutes before the alarm goes off. I hear it before I even get out of bed, that all too familiar sound… Rain. It is heavy and steady, certainly it will not be ending any time soon. As I always say, it rains on race day, so there is no backing down. I dress for the track and head to the gym.

As I sit in the lobby waiting, Jay walks up. “Bob, I know it rains on race day and we are tough, but we have a choice, let’s do the tempo run today.” I think Jay may fear that I say, no, today is track, let’s go. But he is right, we have a choice. “Sure Jay” I say. The tension on his face relaxes, and he is quickly relieved. We meet at the treadmill. This works well for me too.

At times I dread the Tempo run. It is a run I enjoy, but I always think about this run too much. It is also why I have problems with this run. Most of the time it is too fast, last time, slow. I need to dial this run in, I consider the Tempo run to be the most important run in our training.

With the last minute change of schedule, we hit a 2 mile EZ warm up, 3 miles at 7:13 pace and 1 mile EZ cool down. My stride is very poor. My legs are a little tired, feeling a little bit of yesterday’s game, but my conditioning is fine. I am barely breathing heavy. The gym is warm and at the end of the run I am soaked, dripping with sweat. It feels good.

Jay and I hit our stretching and core workout. I see Ann Marie as I leave the gym and she too is doing well with her training. It is fun to have so many of us training for this race. Later today I will go to my first Pilate's workout; that should be interesting.

A lot of work to get done today and I hope to close some business this week. A good thing for everyone.

Weight 177


Day 49

Boston Qualifying Training. Aahhhhh, a nice fall morning and it’s Sunday. Everything slows down just a little bit today. After a hectic week of travel and a very busy Saturday it’s nice to know that there is no sense of urgency today. I lay in bed for a few extra seconds and stretch, the sheets are cool and it just feels good. Kim is slowly waking as I roll out of bed.

The house is a little quieter this morning as Wil is at a sleep over. It is just the three of us at Mel’s for breakfast. Once again a killer omelet. Those guys do a great job and the football picks are going to be close today. Kim and I are so close only 3 games separate us after 4 weeks.

As always, we head to the grocery store, but today we do it with a twist, a battle plan is devised and it is our goal to get in and out of the store in less than 15 minutes. It’s fun as we hit the aisles skidding around the store with the wheels squealing on the floor. I think Jack and I enjoyed this little adventure a bit more than Kim.

At home, we prepare for our Sunday football game. As good as I was last week with 5 TD passes, I am horrible today. 3 picks, one returned for a touchdown. Dang. I end up with one TD pass. I did do well on defense and block a few passes. The freshman take the lead, but the adults come back for the win. This week was far more competitive. At some point they will beat us and we will likely not win again. The vigor's of youth.

Back home, the family gathers around the TV to watch the giants game. The Gmen roll to a 44 – 7 win and the game is never close. Next week the real competition starts, we’ll see how good the Giants are in the next few weeks, Saints, Arizona, Eagles and San Diego. Game on!

It is too nice to be inside, I head out and take care of the lawn, cleaning out the cars and several other chores. I also start prepping my painting. My goal is to have the painting for the charity completed by Friday. I take a few minutes to practice my welding; it is getting better, but I still have a long way to go.

Throughout the day I am thinking about my buddy Bobalu, but I have not heard him from him yet. He is running the Chicago marathon today. I will call him in a few hours, right now, I prepare for dinner. Sausage and peppers for me and “City Chicken” for the rest of the family. Good stuff. As I am making the food the call comes in from Bobalu… he has a great race but does not qualify… missed by 12 minutes. He’ll try again at the Dallas White Rock Marathon on December 11th. It will be the 27th time he runs that Marathon.

Dinner comes and goes after which we all play football in the yard. A good time with dad as the all time QB. My passer rating is far higher this evening than it was earlier today.

The evening winds down with showers, homework and some time hanging together on the couch. The days football picks are close as predicted. It comes down to the Patriots and Denver. Denver pulls out a victory in over time and I win the weekend.

The batteries are recharged and tomorrow starts week number 8 of training.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Friday is Saturday

Day 48

Boston Qualifying Training. On most Saturdays I wake up and get ready for football. Today that will have to wait as Week 7 of training comes to an end. Typically the last run is on a Friday, but travel pushed it back until today. A 13 miles run at a 8:15 pace. I am glad that the pace is a little quicker, I need to shake of the earlier weeks run. Jay and I meet at LTF and it looks like we might miss any bad weather. Last night thunder showers were predicted. But so far, the sky looks good, no stars, but no rain either.

I look like and older version of myself and Jay is way too excited

We decide, that we want to take it out a little strong the first mile, nothing to crazy, just under 8 and settle into a pace. Mile one was just that, however we did have trouble regulating our pace for the next two miles and found ourselves far ahead of pace. We adjusted, but neither of us ever found the groove. My left leg was on fire from mile 2 to mile 13. The quad, just above my knee was completely fatigued. Not sure what to make of that, as this problem had appeared to have gone away, now it is back with a fury.

The run was very familiar, with a few challenging hills to build “grit”. However, we were determined to hold pace on the last three miles but found ourselves fast there too. The final time7:58 per mile. One might say well, not bad, but the truth is this was bad.

The beginning was too fast, sure the first mile would have been fine, but the second and third, big mistake. Next, we never found a pace, rather we seemed to yo-yo up and down; this is very tiring. Last, Even though the time was 7:58, 2 seconds under our projected race pace, it felt difficult. Sure, we are at the end of week 7, but come on, we should have cruised this run.

We are both faster than this. So there is some thinking to do on this run and how to put it in perspective. Likely I will look at this week and like Jay, account for a lot of travel and not a lot of rest leading to poor performance. Imagine that.

The positive side… We did learn something today that will be applied to future runs, CONSISTENCY. Though I will still likely hit that first mile faster, my goal is to find pace and keep it going, no more yo-yo on the pacing.

Another positive note, I stepped on the scale with the full expectations of weighing north of 183. Let’s face it, travel, no exercise, late night meetings and meals, this was going to be a disaster.

After showering up from the run, I dried and hit the scale… I paused and really did not want to look, I felt like a man waiting to be announce guilty. “This man has eaten too much… He ate and drank without concern in Chicago, he must be sentenced to fatness for two weeks!"

Tilting my eye upward I nearly fell over, 176! What? That can not be right. I step of the scale, “zero out” the base weight and step back on, now eager to see what it says… 176. I guess all the activity associated with travel and the fact I was not sedentary for any part of the day really helped burn the calories. As I think back, there was no snacking either. 176, not bad.

Pulling into the house, there is much to get done after being gone all week. Errands were run, and chores were completed. A quick lunch on the grill and off to Wil’s football game.

A few last words written on my hand to remind myself to coach up the 7/8 year old boysand the game starts. A couple of early mistakes, but the kids recover nicely. Wil starts the scoring barrage with a 40 yard touch down run. The Irish win with a score of 35 - 0. The boys all played great and there are only a few areas of breakdown that we will work on at practice next week.

Tonight Jack and I will scout the other teams they play next week. Should be fun!

Home... Homeward Bound

Day 47

Boston Qualifying Training. I wake up rested for the first time this week. Smart going to bed early last night and staying on Eastern Time. I did get a call at midnight from my work colleague asking if I wanted to go hit a bar in Chicago… Uh, dude, I’m sleeping.

I had hoped to hit the gym this morning and had brought a pair of workout shorts and T for just that, however, there was too much on the agenda today and sleep was far more important than work. I keep thinking how good it was to run in to Bobalu and how it helped me put my last run into perspective. Everyone should know Bobalu. I share a little bit today.

I met Bobalu, Bob Kaiser, several years ago, an introduction from a friend and that time, my boss who was living in Texas, the same as Bobalu. It was a business meeting and it was brief, I was a bit taken aback by the fact that this grown man, ten years my senior would call himself Bobalu. The meeting went well and we agreed that there was merit in a second meeting at an upcoming conference in Las Vegas. I had just started running again and was competing in 5K’s and 10K’s. During the meeting in Vegas, I shared that I was a “runner” Bobalu asked if I wanted to join him on run the next morning at 4:30 AM. Sure. I believe he must have had a degree of doubt based on the surprised look on his face when he walked off the elevator that next morning at 4:30 and I was standing there ready to go.

You showed, he said. You bet, I replied,. Here we were in "Sin City", two guys in running shorts and t-shirts, making their way through the casino floor filled with people smoking, drinking and gambling from the night before, and off we went into the desert night.

Out on the strip I asked, how far are we running, "11- 12 miles" was the reply. I had run only 8 miles at that point, though I had done 13 way back in high school. The pace was moderate and the temperature was perfect. I learned how Bob Kaiser became Bobalu, but more importantly that day I learned something about myself. Up until that time I did not believe I was capable of running a marathon. Too far, I’m not made for that distance, was my thought. However that early morning run, at a moderate pace I ran well over 11 miles and I felt good doing it.

It helps to have a guy like Bobalu to run with, he is a great story teller and can keep you in high spirits as the miles slip past. As a Marathoner, Bobalu assured me that I too could be a marathon runner, coming from a guy that today has run over 105 marathons, that was enough for me. I was determined, my next goal… 26.2.

That early morning, the ideas of qualifying for Boston was not there. Heck, I did not even know what running the Boston Marathon was or meant to runners. That morning I was like every other “newbie” I wanted to finish!

So it began. I signed up that week for my very first Marathon. I already knew the one I wanted to do. The Disney Marathon. I remember two years prior going into a FleetFeet after a 10K in Buckhead, "The Buckhead Sizzeler" and seeing the finishing medals for Disney. I also remember thinking at that time, that I could not ever get one... 26.2 miles, was too far in my mind. That all changed, I was determined. My perspective changed. I would run, and I would achieve what I considered at that time unachievable. That was 10 marathons ago... Now I work to achieve what I again thought might be unachievable, qualifying for Boston.

Thank you Bobalu for that great run that early morning in Las Vegas. I also learned the 4 best things about running that morning, but that too will have to wait until another day for me to share.
Bobalu runs Chicago send him good thoughts as he runs to qualify for Boston on Sunday.

Sitting on the plane home from Chicago I was looking forward to seeing the family. I knew the 13 miles awaited me I the morning, but that was tomorrow. I arrived home early enough to catch the second half of the Milton football game with Jack and our friends. After the game, the family sat together watching the Yankee’s beat the Twin in extra innings. I finally made it to bed at 11:30, but would not trade the time I spent last night with all of us on the couch. As Wil would say, Good Time, Good Times.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Does anybody know what day it is...

Day 46

Boston Qualifying Training. Does any body know what day it is… I wake up and for a moment I am not certain the day or where I am. Then I remember, home. But not for long, it is 5:00 AM and I need to be on a plane in a few short hours. I hit the shower, write a note to everybody and sneak out of the house quietly. At the airport, I am busy with email and proposals while coordinating meetings for the show in Chicago. There will be no workout today.

On the plane I am treated to free wireless, man that is great. It is a productive flight to Chicago. A quick taxi ride to the hotel, my mind is immediately on lunch, I have forgotten to eat, but I am happy that a meal at Portillo’s will fill those cravings.

Checking into my hotel, I am concerned as there seems to be few “professionals” working the lobby. I make my way up to my room and it is an immediate about face. The room is filthy, the sheets are grey, walking across the street I check into a Courtyard for $20 bucks more. Well worth the extra money, especially as they have wireless. My work colleague arrives and we walk to Portillo’s, if I can not exercise, I’ll at least walk. A great idea until the sky opens up and we get soak. Funny though.

As we walk the streets it hits me this is Marathon weekend! The Chicago marathon is taking place on Sunday, looking around there are runners everywhere, but not at Portillo’s. I order an Italian Beef Sandwich, with hot and sweet peppers, topped with mozzarella cheese and dipped in the Italian seasoning, deciding I am already over the top, I order a side of fries and large beer. Healthy NO, tasty and good for the soul…YES! I’m glad they do not have these in Atlanta. How good, see below.

Like New york City, Chicago has it all and I hear that Joshua Bell, the worlds premier Violinist is playing at the Chicago Symphony. I consider going, tickets are cheap, $60. This will be great.

Making my way to the conference the booth is set up and I make my back to my hotel, this time walking by the Nike store on Michigan Avenue. It is a hub of activity with runners flocking to the store like it was Mecca. Printed on the outside of the store are the names of every runner participating in the 2009 Chicago Marathon. Runners are three deep looking for their names and taking photos. I find Bobalu’s name (and his daughters) and shoot him an email with the photo attached and the words “I’m here where are you”. The phone rings in seconds and plans are made for dinner. I decide better to see friend than Joshua Bell.

Finishing at the conference, Bobalu and I have a beer and full plates of pasta from Rosebuds. It is hard to too beat the food in Chicago, anything you want, it is all great. We talk about running and marathons, this will be Bobalu’s 105th and I wish him good luck and encouragement in his attempt to qualify for Boston. His training has been rigorous… I think he’ll do fine. I hope and expect to meet him at Boston Square in April. I am excited about running after meeting with Bobalu, just what a I needed after that horrible run earlier in the week. Was that this week… man.

I get back to the hotel, hit the last few emails and know I will quickly fall asleep, I need it.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

No That's Not Possible...

Day 45

Boston Marathon Training. Several years ago Kim told me if you have a chance to see family, you should do it. I finished my meeting in Miami and it went well. There is an opportunity to close additional business in Tampa, as well as take a few moments to see my brother. It is possible that I could close this business on the phone, though this is a reference account and right now, every client counts. They have five new centers that will come on board this year alone and again it is an opportunity to see family. I point the rental up Alligator Alley and head off to Tampa. The mileage suggest a nearly 5 hour drive, though it is a straight shot at 80 mph+ I make it less than 4 and the drive is easy, allowing me time to make several business call.

Arriving in Tampa, I drive past my parents old house, it was recently painted and I think how much they would have liked the color. Arriving at my brothers house it is a sea of activity, though not nearly as hectic as it was the last time I visited. It is good to see family and I immediately know I made the right decision to come.

A quick trip to the store for a six-pack, my brother and I watch the Twins/Tigers game and a cold beer lubricates the conversation. I am tired and I vow not to stay too long. The game goes into extra innings, but with the last few days travel, I am running on fumes. I head out at the top of the 11th, but not before I borrow a pair of shorts.

Arriving at the hotel, I lay out the shorts and immediately go to bed, my brother call to let me know that the Twins won the game. It will be fun watching the Twins versus the Yankees. As I lay in bed, I am considering my options. I know that Wednesday is Tempo day. As I always do when I travel I bring a pair of sneakers jeans and a T-shirt, I hate traveling in a suit and jacket. So I lay there knowing I will be running in a pair of non-running shorts and a pair of running shoes that were retired over a year ago.

Waking at 5, I am tired, just not enough sleep these past few days. I am running through my mind my options, 1) run in the old shoes and cloth shorts or 2) wait until I get home and squeeze in my tempo run… and it hits me, I have football for Wil at 5:00 and Jack at 6:30 seeing as how my flight lands at 3:15 that afternoon, I know the my choice has been made. I am out the door.

This is a familiar run, from the hotel to the Courtney Campbell Causeway, to the start of the causeway to the bridge and back. The run is supposed to be 1 mile warm up, 6 miles tempo at 7:45 followed by a 1 mile ez cool down.

I shorten the warm up, and start the tempo part. Thankfully the shoes have a little more cushion than I expected they would, I do not forsee any problems. It is dark out and I am in the dark. Though I know this run, I only know the finish miles, 6, I have no land marks, and no mile markers. I will be doing this by feel, essentially I am in the dark figuratively and literally. I am not too worried though. Two weeks ago I did my 18 miles on feel and did a great job keeping pace. As I run I feel good at first. Though as I look at the distance to go, I think I might be going too slow. I am having difficulty judging my speed. I pick it up. I think I was running too slow. I start to notice my left quad is feeling fatigued. "Really," I think to myself, I thought we were done with this problem. I continue to run. I can see my turning point ahead. This run is taking more out of me that I expected. I hit the turn around and expect to be at an easy 23:45… wrong, I am at 24:10. Holy crap. I think I said the “F” word too!

I am blown away that I think I might be running too fast and here I ran too slow, worse yet, I am not feeling that great. I head back and think I need to pick up some time. I am running and I am working hard, much harder than I should be working. What is going on… I am 4 minutes on the turn around and my left leg is done. I’m not even at mile four and I am trying to figure out how my left leg makes it back to the hotel. No real choice, and everyone learns to live with pain I just keep running.

My mind starts to stray and it is all negative. I stop the bad thoughts and look for the good. I pick my head up and though it is still dark, I see the houses across the bay as people are turning on lights and just getting up to start their day. The water is calm and there is a flight line of planes in the distance heading to and from the Tampa airport.

The distraction works for a while, but everything is falling apart on me , my leg, my head, trying to focus and just get this one done. I am still behind and the last ¼ mile I pick it up. I finish with a per mile pace of 7:47. The pace was supposed to be 7:45. The reality is it could have been 8:00 minutes per mile! I want to scream! I do my cool down, though I cut it short, I am very angry and disgusted.

Now, I know that there will always be days when you are “on” and days that you are “off” but today I was no better than a two pack a day smoker out for his first run. This was horrible. Sure, I got it done and it is in the books, but what did I gain and what did I learn. This is a six mile run at a pace only 15 seconds faster that my marathon target and I almost did not make it, actually I did not make it, my pace was slow by 0:02 per mile.

Two weeks ago I am flying on a 5 mile run and can not slow down, this day everything was falling apart. Was it the lack of sleep, the two beers (doubt it), the travel, the old shoes, diet… basically, what the hell.

This run left me with a lot of questions and doubt, but no answers. Saturdays long run should be interesting with Jay, 13 miles at an 8:15. The thought creeping in my mind is all this slow running is teaching me to run slow.

The meeting I went to Tampa for goes well and I believe I have secured a long term client and picked up 5-6 new facilities for the coming year, a good thing. I share a few minutes with my brother over breakfast and we talk about my frustration from the morning run. That is the last I think about it until now. A plane to catch, emails, work and an evening filled with football.

Both the boys do well and it washes away the bad parts of the day. Good to see Kim and the boys though I just see them for a few hours. Getting the boys to bed, I sit watching the Yankees beat the Twins as I work through emails and proposals. It will be a short night, tomorrow I head to Chicago with less than four hours sleep. I will miss my second Masters Swim Class. Dang.

I'll try to find a gym while in Chicago. Need to work out of this.