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.

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