Monday, November 30, 2009

What's That Smell... Childhood

Day 99

Boston Qualifying Training. Track Day! I wake the first time at 2:45 AM and roll over with hours top sleep. I wake the next time and I still have 45 minutes to go. I am like a kid on Christmas Eve, after all it is TRACK DAY. My alarm goes off and I am out of bed in a flash. Dress and ready to go I head downstairs. The Christmas tree smells great, it brings back a hundred memories of growing up as a kid and I smile as I leave the house.

Stepping outside I immediately know I am over dressed. It is warm, like 50 degrees warm. I am happy for the good weather. We certainly paid for this good weather early in the training with more training runs in the rain then I had ever experienced before.

Running from LTF, we talk about our jobs and business, we talk about the T-Day run our friends had, they all had rocking times. Arriving at the track we do our warm up lap and set up our markers.

With the splits written on my hand, I take the first 1K, with the goal of 4:03 and the first 200 meters is targeted at 0:49. I start us off slow, we hit 0:52, followed by a 2 second decrease per 200, we end at 4:00 even, 3 seconds fast. Good. Jay is next, we are fast out of the gate and end with a 3:54, 9 seconds too fast, but reasonable. I hit 4:00 even again and Jay is better on his next one with a 3:57. The last 1K, I am dead on the first lap, 0:49. I drop a second every 200 and on the last 200 we speed it up just for fun. A cool down lap and we are back to LTF. All too easy. A good confidence builder.

Jay and I run into Ann Marie while stretching, she is giddy about her new bike and rightfully so an all carbon fiber bike, she and others hit a 38 mile ride on Saturday, the bike sounds fast and smooth. I think about my steel bike held together with duct tape and think, maybe next season.

She shares the great race everyone had on Thanksgiving, clearly we are all peaking at the right time.

Swim tomorrow will be 2600 meters and done. I will not over do swim these last two weeks. I may hit some easy weights, core and stretching at lunch but nothing insane. This will be more a mental workout than physical.

I am home in time to put Wil on the bus and spend time talking with Jack before he leaves for school. Kim and I share a few moments together before we both head our separate ways for the day. Work will keep me busy. I am happy for such a great family, they have been so supportive of my training. I am a very lucky guy.

Weight, 178. Not bad considering my last meaningful workout was Thursday. I’ll be smart about my food intake and try to keep myself active today.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Tall, Lean and Glistening Green - Smells Good Too!

Day 98

Boston Qualifying Training. The days are slipping away with less than two weeks until race day, I focus on my diet and being smart about my training. I have a reasonable breakfast rather than my big 3 egg omelet as I usually do on Sunday morning.

There is not much football talk at Mel’s this morning. Though the Giants beat the Falcons and we joked about that game, the Gmen were beat soundly in Denver and we all know they just do not have the team this year.

Back at home I hear the rake calling me, but it will need to wait. Jack wants to go play football with the neighbors kids and parents. I to want to play also, but I take a chair and my laptop. Today I am a spectator, while also getting some work done.

Jack has a blast and I'd like to jump out there and play, but with three and a half months invested, I will stay a spectator.

Back home, I pull out the rake and leaf blower and go at it. I have several piles built up and decide to take a break and get something to drink. Coming back to the yard, Wil is spying the freshly raked piles. I know what he is thinking. I decide to redirect his energy and hand he and Jack garbage pails. Get to work boys. They do. They are both hard workers and not afraid to work along with dad. While we are taking care of the back yard, Kim is planting tulips bulbs in the front.

Afternoon comes quick and we finish our yard work and head to pick out a Christmas tree. I am an adult, I am supposed to make grown up decisions. But the fact is I am a child when it comes to picking out Christmas trees. I love them, and I like them to be BIG. With 9 foot ceilings, our tree is typically 8 feet 11 inches. I do not think twice to spending $100 bucks on a tree.

Back home I once again find that the tree is too tall. I opt for my second tree stand. It is lower to the ground while still massively sturdy, weighing about 35 pounds. The second stand works and sure enough, 8’11”. This tree is narrow compared to previous trees I have bought, but it has great personality and great fragrance. Kim will spend hours putting on the lights, wrapping each individual branch. We’ll have over 600 – 700 lights on the tree. The main tree will be decorated with special, meaningful ornaments. We have a few trees we’ll put up, but the others will have themed decorations, Kids, Giants, Dalmatians, etc.

With the tree up, chores done, we settle down for an easy evening. A few emails to catch up for work and the winter flag football season. I spend the rest of the day watching football with Kim, Jack and Wil.

At dinner the "Marinich of the Week Award" is handed out to Jack and Wil for all the great help they provided Kim and I this week. They proudly split the days of the week and decide who keeps it in their room first.

Tomorrow starts Week 15. I will watch my diet carefully over the next 12 days and have decided to not make any Christmas cookies or Chex Mix until after December 12th.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

T Minus Two Weeks... Let The Count Down Begin

Day 97

Boston Qualifying Training. The last workout of Week 14, tempo. It is an easy workout as we taper for the race. The run; 1 mile EZ followed by 5 miles at 7:29 pace. I calculate the splits, 1:52, on the quarters and 0:56 on the 200’s.

I run at the track as it is the best way for me to keep pace. I have struggled by going too fast when running alone. By hitting the track I eliminate that possibility. I wake early and head to the August Butler Bulldogs High School. This is the same High School Kim attended, how many years ago..?

When I arrive it is dark and cold, 34 degrees. The track is gated. I see a gap in the fence and surprisingly, I fit through. I warm up though with the cold weather it takes bit longer than usual. After a mile I am ready to go. I set my watch and I’m off. 20 laps, @ 1:52.

The laps go by quickly. I feel good the whole time, though I am running the inside lane on the first 2 miles, I decide to hit lane 3 on the last three miles. I was looking at my times and hitting each quarter too fast based on my calculation. I figured the inside lap was short. I switched to the outside lane and did add a second or two to each lap, but well under my time by 4-5 seconds every quarter.

Back at the house, I see that the inside lap was right on… .25 of a mile. The fact, I was hitting the mile at about 7:09 or better. The thing is it did not feel that bad. I’ll take it.

Back at the in-laws, we all head to Waffle House. I eat well, blueberry waffle, hash browns, and bacon, chased down with a chocolate milk. Yeah me, well deserved.

The remaining day is spent playing football, practicing guitar and helping Kim and her parents with a few chores. Wow am I relaxing.

We head home, but not before we pick up some great pork barbecue for tomorrows dinner. Once home we meet friends for pizza and a beer. We’ll turn in early tonight.

Week 14 is done. Today marks two weeks to go!

The Turkey Was Stuffed... Not Me!

Day 96

Boston Qualifying Training. Well I did not over eat yesterday, but the Giants left me with a bad taste in my mouth.

Ugh. The damn Giants. I did not yell or scream… they are just bad. Bad plays make me crazy, bad teams, you just shake your head.

I up wake and drive to Bo Jangles, man I love a spicy chicken biscuit. If we had one of these in Alpharetta I would weigh 200 pounds.

I spend the day with the boys. We hang out play football and do a lot of nothing. I worked on the Mustang trunk lid, it looks better than I thought. I did a pretty good job. I learned a ton from Kim’s dad. He’s painted enough cars that I was able to pull from that experience.

I am looking forward to restoring the Mustang after the Marathon… after I paint our bedroom… after I re-tile the master bedroom shower and floor. One thing at a time, Huntsville first.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Day 95

Boston Qualifying Training. Happy Thanksgiving. This is how great my wife is… She knew I wanted to get this run in with Jay. She knew how important it was for me to have a good run for my confidence. Rather than leaving for Augusta to be with her family last night, we leave today after the run.

I wake up at 5:08 and drop of the bottles for the run. Meeting Jay at the gym, we are off. It is a good run. We hold back and spend the first 9 miles really reserved, we are within a few seconds of the goal time 7:57. Good for us.

The conversation is good and we talk about the plans for Thanksgiving. We also talk about what a great job we have done with this workout schedule. We have now run 407 training miles since we started 14 weeks ago. One more step to building confidence for the race.

By the time we hit mile 12, we have picked it up and gained 45 seconds. We are almost to the end of the 13 miles run, one more mile. Jay decides he wants to show some speed. We end the last mile with a 7:15 mile. We finish 1:24 ahead of our goal time. We both feel good. Pace 7:53.

I step on the scale 176. Yeah baby!

A quick shower and I am home, car packed we hit I-20 east. While driving I talk to all my brothers and sisters. I miss seeing my family and the big Thanksgiving meals we had all together. I talk to each of them for 10 minutes of so. Life goes by too quick. Hanging up from my last sibling, I hear from Corey. Everyone had a great race. Good stuff!

Arriving at Augusta, we enjoy the time with family, throw the football around and generally just do nothing. That is not something I do often, but today, it feels good. I am relaxed. Kim's Dad and I jam on guitars, he's good. Me, I'm learning, but having fun.

Though Thanksgiving is typically reserved for football, there is bad news, their cable is broken and we do not get to watch the first two games. The good news, we will see the Giants game.

Go Giants!

Swim, Weights and Pasta

Day 94

Boston Qualifying Training. I wake up and head to LTF. The boys had been up until 2:30. Not me, though I did not go to bed until 1:00 AM. I do sleep in, well sort of… I wake at 7:00 and I’m off.

On the pool deck I talk to a girl who is in lane 1. She is wearing an iPod shuffle that is water proof. Coooool. I want one of those. Santa are you listening, er... a reading!

Yesterday the guys (and gals) swam about 3,600 meters. I will not be doing all that, though I will get work done. I warm up with 300 meters, followed by 4 x 300 at 6:00 and 4 x 100 at 1:55. I end with an easy 100. Enough I head up stairs to meet Jay. We hit the iron, though lightly, not wanting to do too much this late in the training schedule.

Back home, I am busy and the day flies by. The evening is reserved for football. That’s right, it’s back! Flag football, this is the Winter League. I have a great group of boys on the team. We practice for an hour and I am back home quickly.

The morning will be a 13 mile run at marathon pace. My plan, stuff some pasta in my belly and go to bed. That is exactly what I do. The morning will be here soon.

Short... it's short! No.....!

Day 93

Boston Qualifying Training. Tuesday morning. Typically I would be standing on the pool deck getting ready for a mile plus swim in lane 2. Not today. Today I have a family meeting. I still wake at 5:00 AM, but only because I have to be at meeting southwest of Atlanta at 8:00 AM. I drive early to avoid traffic.

The meeting goes well and I feel good knowing I am taking a good step towards taking greater care of my family.

The day… It is my day off. Back home I take care of chores and by the time the boys are home from school we decide that this would be a good evening to have Jacks sleep over and Laser Tag party. Laser tag is a blast. The boys have a good time, I think I had an even better time. After wearing ourselves out running around in the dark blasting each other, we head home.

Pizza for dinner we head to the game room. It is decided that a Madden 10 tournament is in order. After setting a bracket, the games begin. The battles are fierce, one by one, we watch as one advances and another sits down. Miraculously, I am in the finals, but not just the finals but the number on seed.

The final pits me against a neighbor with a strong set of thumbs and more hours in front of Madden 10 than anyone should consider. It goes into three overtimes. I drive the ball all the way down to the 13 yard line. Against better judgment I kick a field goal rather than trying to get closer. I figure with 13 yards to go, I’m good. I hit the button, full power, perfect, I kick…. And … its… No GOOD!!!! Somehow it falls short, I curse John Madden and call the programmers names that 12 year old boys should not hear. The next series, a tackle is missed and I lose. Not happy.

I go to bed, knowing I want to make up my swim in the morning.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Giants Win... Finally

Day 91

Boston Qualifying Training. Will they win… it is desperation time for the Giants. With picks in had, we enter Mel’s for breakfast. Adorning our reserved table are banners and Falcon’s gear.

The workers are rubbing it in… Falcon’s versus Giants today at 1:00. Next week's breakfast will be fun, more so if the Gmen win.

After a few more errands, I drop the family off at home and head to the gym. Plan, swim and lift. The swim is good not great and I only do 1200 meters. Next stop weights… I forgot my sneakers and my shorts! Disappointed, I shower and head to the car.

Sitting in the car, it hits me, I still need my “race shoes”. Off to Dick’s to pick up a new pair. Nothing better than a new pair of running shoes! My old pair had nearly 400 miles on them and they are nearly done. As long as it is dry tomorrow, I will start breaking in the new shoes.

Back home it is emails and work as I watch the Giants. Though they try their very best to lose the game, the manage to hold on and win the game in overtime. I’ll take the victory, but clearly the Giants have issues and even if they manage to make the play-off’s, it would be tough to see them going far. But you never know.

I listen to the winning OT field goal in the car, sitting outside the Roswell Whirlyball center. Jack and his team have their team party. It is a blast, everyone has a good time.

We end the day watching the How the Grinch Stole Christmas… a classic.

Tomorrow starts Week 14, 8 x 800 at 3:12. I am ready. I am a little over weight from the over eating the past few days. Need to be more diligent. Weight 180 !!!!!!

No Where To Go... I'll Take It

Day 90

Boston Qualifying Training. Saturday. Rest. Football is over, no games, no where to be. We wake early in the house and decide to eat breakfast at Waffle House, healthy, no, but the kids love it.

We belly up to the counter, another fun thing for the boys. We laugh and share stories. My wife comments on my recent haircut. I share with her that the girl cutting my hair said there was not much she could do with my hair as there is so little of it to cut. We share a laugh. Proudly I let them know that she also said I had the nicest blue eyes she had ever seen… without hesitation Jack says, “Did she see the rest of your face?” We all burst out laughing. A good quick wit.

We finish off breakfast the remainder of the day is spent with errands, but mostly playing with the boys.

We end the day downstairs watching the new Star Trek movie that came out. Huddled on the couch we just relax. Nice

Friday, November 20, 2009

Bring on Week 14

November 20, 2009

Day 89 Boston Qualifying Training. Week 13 ended this morning at 12:35 AM with the culmination of the last of five 20 mile runs. 89 days ago, I looked at the five 20 mile runs in the schedule and could only think, wow, that is a lot. It was over whelming to look at all at once.

With my failed attempt at Vermont, I wondered, can I do it. Though for Vermont I took a different approach, every run was geared at marathon pace or better and my body was not ready for that kind of pounding so soon. I broke down and only completed three of the five 20 mile runs during that training.

This time, I followed the program, I stayed on pace, sure sometimes a little faster, but within reason. The result, 13 weeks down, I feel healthy and strong. The next few weeks I will watch my diet and work to stay sharp.

As for the run itself, I had been having trouble sleeping the night before the big runs, too much thought about what lay ahead. Morning all to often came too soon, partly the interrupted or restless sleep, partly because we were leaving at 3:45 AM. Yesterday the idea came, to me, why not do it at night, 10:00 PM – 12:45.

The course mapped, I put the proposal in front of Jay. Surprisingly he agreed. The idea of sleeping until 7:00 AM sounded too appealing to pass up.

I made the bottle and GU drops, my idea was mile 8, 13, 17 and on race day, 21 for GU’s the city of Alpharetta was peppered with Gatorade bottles and water for our last 20 mile run.

Meeting at LTF at 9:30, we were off and running at 9:45. The first few miles were a little fast, they always are, and they were a little tough, after all we were running when we would typically be sleeping. Besides, those first few miles are perhaps our most difficult. At about 3.5 miles I still had not found the groove and briefly worried that maybe we should have waited until morning. Too late now. By the time we hit the first water drop, the body was warm and the pace was found. Jay and I locked in a pace and were much like a metronome for the next several miles… a steady cadence as our feet fell in unison.

Looking around I noticed the crowd at 11:00 and 12:00 PM are completely different that what you see at 4:00 AM. At 4:00 in the morning, you see the news papers being delivered, (a finite job that will likely be gone in 5-8 years) the occasional person who leaves for work way too early, the people heading to workout.

At night the it is completely different, when we start, there is still traffic coming off 400, the streets are filled. I am amazed at the number of people that are out. The number does thin as we close in on 11:00 and again the crowd is different, they are likely coming from a bar and it is a very good chance that they have had more than one drink this evening. We take extra precaution as we cross the roads. By 11:45, the only cars we are seeing are patrol cars. The streets are empty and we run down the middle of the road with no concern.

Another big difference is the smell. The smells are different and better! At 4:00 AM, you have the smell of garbage and it is not uncommon to have garbage truck pass you leaving a foul taste in your mouth. Last night we were treated to wood smoked grills, and a number of great smells emanating from the various restaurants.

We pass mile ten and I celebrate that we are half-way through our last 20 mile run. As we run by the theater, the is a crowd waiting for the midnight showing of New Moon. I know my wife and her friends are going today to the 10:00 AM show. She called to say every Mom in Alpharetta was there.

Passing the theater, I steel myself for the next part of the run, it is my least favorite, it is flat, but there is something about it that is not inviting. Mansell Road is only about a mile long, but it is dark and you can not see a thing. The path is narrow and the tall grass whips at your legs making them itch. Clearly I do not like this section. Jay and I muscle through a do our best not to pick up the pace.

Rounding off Mansell, we are back on Haynes Bridge. For the next 3 miles we will climb. The climb ends at the top of “Mount” Westside Parkway part way up we drink, feed and continue, turning the corner the most difficult parts of the 20mile run are done. We are on the home stretch. Up Old Milton Parkway, turning right on Roswell Road, we run past Pure, they are closing for the night. No sign of Ann Marie or the girls having fun on their "girls night out".

We continue with a slight down hill followed by an almost imperceptible uphill. The street is scenic and we run right down the middle of the road. I am almost euphoric as I know we have passed mile 15. Jay though is struggling, GI issues and some fatigue from a busy day that started at 4:30 AM, but he soldiers on. He is tough. He never breaks stride and never losses pace.

I wonder if my exuberance is bothering him, I tend to talk a lot on a run, today I have a lot to say. Jay says he is fine and we keep running. At this point I am ready to run 7 minute miles the rest of the way in, but do not knowing that would be a bad idea. We turn the corner and head down Hwy 9, it too is empty though we are smart enough to stay on the sidewalks. Nearly done. Jay and I discuss a strategy about the finish and which route to take. Once a path is settled we make our last stop for a Gu and sport drink. I try to convince Jay to take a Gel, he passes… GI issues.

Turning down academy it is all down hill 1.8 miles to go. We let gravity take us down the hill. It is effortless. It is my hope to feel this good on race day. The weather tonight was perfect, cool, not cold, a bright starry sky, and no wind. Turning on to Tradewinds, we finish… Done.

The capping of a strong 13 weeks. We have been diligent and it appears to be paying dividends. We won’t really know until for certain until December 12th, but it feels good now. For the next three weeks we will stay the course and sharpen the blade.

As I lay in bed I thank God for family, friends and good health. I have a smile on my face, I know I do not have to wake up at 3:00 AM. My body clock naturally wakes me up at 5:00 AM, but unlike the days before, I am comforted knowing I can roll over, the work is done, and I will have no guilt about sleeping in this morning.

Week 14, bring it on!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Should I Stay or Should I Go Now

Day 88

Boston Qualifying Training. When the alarm went off this morning my shoulder was killing me, the same shoulder I crunched in football several weeks ago. Immediately came up with 10 reasons to rollover and go back to bed… but there was one over-riding reason to get out, December 12th, race day. Decision made.

The day is closing fast and I am in the fine tuning phase of the program. I change my attitude and off I go to the pool. What has really changed in my life since I was in Middle School (though we called it Junior High than) I would wake up at 5 AM go to morning wrestling workout, followed by a day of work at school, and playing football with my friends in the evening. I have not changed on bit, I wake at 5 AM, go workout, work all day and play football with the boys in the evening. The only thing different is I have a less hair and hopefully I am a bit wiser.

On the pool deck I am hoping for change. I have been miserable in the pool these last two weeks. The workout is a good one, 4 x 500 (300 with fins & paddles, 100 fins, 100 swim). Though I am excited with the workout, I turn in another crappy performance. I am dead last, and 20 meters behind in all but one of the 500’s. The sprints are good not great, the planks are good not great. I walk away discouraged. If this trend continues I will be back in the remedial lane, with my water wings on and the swimming ring with the duck head. I have no idea what is going on, but will continue to push.

Jumping on the scale my weight is 178. Not happy with that either. On the ride home from the gym, I think would I have been better to have just rolled over. Likely not. I know from years of training the most meaningful workouts are often not your best workout. It is when you are struggling and want to quit, when what is easy for others and difficult for you that you are building what it take to perform well.

It is easy when things are going good. But that is not life and certainly not racing. What do you do when things turn to “crap”, when conditions are not optimum, when you are not feeling your best. It is a day like today, that I can pull from, preserve, know that I can make it because I have been there before. An adjustment in attitude and the day is looking better.

Tomorrow I have my last 20 mile run. It will be the end of Week 13. The pace will be 8:15. The goal is to hit the first 14 miles at 8:15 and next drop it down to 8:10 with the last two being at 8:05 (maybe). Tonight I will drop Gel’s, Gatorade and Water. Dinner my usual, a big bowl of pasta. Bed will be early.

Wil is home sick today, you could see it coming last night, off to the doctors.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Aliens Attack

Day 87

Boston Qualifying Training. Last night I could easily have gone to bed at 8:00. I am not a fan of the time change and it is my strong belief that it should be abolished. Sure when the United States was an agrarian society/economy, it made sense. The idea of telling your body, hey, it’s an hour earlier/later... this change is ridiculous. My feeling is the time should be split by 30 minutes and set at that time year round and never deal with the time change again.

I am so tired last night it was almost as if I was sick. I wonder, is it the accumulation of the weeks working out, could be, or was it the swim workout, of the fact that it is dark at 6:00?

Hard to say. I know when I was lifting I could barely do 10 pull-ups when I usually knock out a nice set of 11 or more. Whatever the reason, I knew I would be asleep before 9:30 and I was.

I woke up twice last night, once at 11:22, I had to laugh, I thought wow, this is when I used to go to bed. I rolled over knowing I had hours of sleep ahead. I woke again at 2:50 due to a bad dream , aliens had invaded the earth and were killing everyone. Man kind had turned to mass chaos, I was trying to figure out how to save my family. One of the invaders had entered our sub-division and I hit him with my car and jumped out and started beating it with my bare hands, blood would explode out of the aliens face every time I would hit it…. I kept thinking we can beat these guys… and I woke up. My take away is I’m either 12 years old inside a 44 year old body, or that subconsciously I know my main goal is to take care of, protect and provide for my family no matter how hard things may get in this world and I can persevere.

I decided to not figure out which it was and that I still had time to sleep, so I rolled over again, knowing the next time I woke it would be time for track and it was.

Fully awake and rested, I met the gang; really a gang, there were eight of us at LTF, we could have rumbled with the Windward running group. We made our way down to the track and after a quick lap to clear the lanes, setting our 50 yard markers, we were off. Today’s menu, 10 x 400 @ 1:34, with a 400RI, that meant we were doing 2.5 miles of running and 2.5 miles of RI running for a total of 5 miles on the track and 7 miles total.

The first 400 was 2 seconds fast and this repeated a few times. We dipped as low as a 1:22 but never higher than a 1:33. Towards the end, the 8th 400 was run at 1:33 and felt like we were doing a cool down lap. All was good. I enjoyed the conversation and the company of the other runners. It picks you up and makes a day like today feel effortless.

Today will be filled with work, but the house will be noisy after 12, it is early release day boys get home early. A good thing, I like having them home.

Weight 177, good.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

2010 Slips By Without One Step Being Run

Day 86
Boston Qualifying Training. I was dreaming that I was in New York City with the family and my sister and her husband. I was watching William our youngest as we walked through Times Square and in a second he was gone, I could not find him. I was screaming his name, WILLIAM, when I woke up. My chest was heaving. It is a parents worse nightmare.
I slipped out of bed and checked his room, he lay there fast asleep. Sleeping children are like angels on earth, so peaceful. I look at my watch, 4:58. Time to get up anyway.
Pulling on my clothes I am hoping for a better performance in the pool than I have had these past few workouts. My last two workouts have been awful.
Arriving at the pool there is a bit of a pall in the air. Many of us who are preparing for the Huntsville Marathon in hopes to qualify for the Boston Marathon had found out yesterday that the registration had closed for 2010. The news came by way of an email from Corey… the subject, Very Bad News. There was no text in the body, after all what could be said, the attachment alone was all that was needed. Reading it brought the cold hard sobering fact that next years Boston Marathon was off the table. Damn.
Clearly there is disappointment, but there is nothing that can be done to change what has happened. I think back to my time at Vermont… I should have gotten it done there, but I fell apart. Does not matter, I can not turn back time. If I could, that broken ankle would never have happened.
I take about 10 minutes feeling bad, and decide that is enough. I know I want to get back my speed, now I have an extra 18 months to do so.
On the pool deck I share the news with Jeff who had not heard, though he is not running he understand the sacrifice and shares the frustration. Ann Marie si the first to jump in and start swimming, it is time to get in the pool.
The pool. The pool is the complete opposite of the track for me. I love track, I hate the pool. Hate is a pretty strong word, I really, really, really dislike the pool. The fact that I have had two bad performances in the last 8 days makes it worse. The problem is, the harder I work, the slower I swim and the more exhausted I am.
My form seemed like it was getting better, but now I am just thrashing about. Today I want to be better. A quick warm up and I am ready. Positive thoughts… I will be fast, I will have good form. We are doing 7 x 300 with 100 breakouts, Swim, Fins, Paddles. The first set I have difficulty getting the fins on and I mistakenly put the paddles on too… I am already 20 meters behind. Crap. Next set, I am good on the swim in fact I stay consistent on the swim part, but when the fins go on, I am lost.
The girls in the lane are smooth and their feet are like little motors with their fins on. The gap widens and by the time the paddles go on I am back again 20 meters. Double crap! It is so bad that by the last 25 meters on the last 5 sets, I have to just stop and turn around to stay with the pack.
What the hell is happening. I was doing well with the 100’s and feeling fast less than two weeks ago. If this continues I will be going back to the remedial lane. The 25’s followed by push-ups and planks are good, but I am weak on numbers 5&6. The rest I do fairly strong. Resolved steeled me on the last two. It did hurt my shoulder considerably, but my pride was stronger than the pain.
A quick shower and I hop on the scale for a nice surprise, 176! I smile to myself. Jumping in the car, I get Wil off to school and make breakfast for Jack and I, steak and eggs, followed by a tall glass of orange juice. Man it taste good and I can feel my body feeding the muscles the much needed protein for recovery.
Work, lift, play and a little more work will round out my day. Tomorrow is track. Good.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Driver 8

Day 85

Boston Qualifying Training. Today was the start of Week 13, the last of the build weeks. After this week the workouts will be geared to tapering and staying sharp. The last 20 mile run will be Friday and it is my goal to run the 20 miles on the course we will be running on the 12th of December.

Today is a tempo run and I will be accompanied by Corey. It has been a while since we ran together I enjoyed the run and the ability to catch up. The run was a mild 8 mile run at an 8 minute pace. The times were a bit up and down, but not too bad, we ended up about a minute fast over 8 miles. Seven seconds per mile, is okay, 5 would be better, but again not bad.

I felt good, clearly my conditioning is good, however, I am still having a bit of trouble with my left quad. Oh well, I’ll just deal with it. I do not have any physical joint or bone pain. This run is another confidence builder. I did think that there were a few areas that I worked harder than others, but by the time we found the groove the 8 mile run was over.

I value the time Corey provided. He likely had a faster and I know it was too be a longer run, but he was great to have along on the run and his sacrifice to help me along and stay on pace is greatly appreciated. He made an 8 mile boring run a fun and effortless 8 mile run.

A quick stretch and shower and I am off to the house. Wil is waiting on Dad to put him on the bus.

The house is quiet when I return from my run, it is just Kim, and the boys. Our guest have returned home and though others enjoy when guest leave, we miss them. It is good to have family. The boys really enjoy having them visit and so do Kim and I.

My day will be busy with work and a meeting at school for William.

Weight 177. Good!

Sunday... All is quiet

Day 84

Boston Qualifying Training. A great Sunday morning. I finally sleep after re-playing Jack’s game from last night. The bad part is the majority of the night was already over when I finally slept.

Waking at fully at 7:00 I am up. I go downstairs and print out the football picks, as I do every Sunday. Heading back to the main floor, I sweep up the kitchen, take out the garbage, let the dogs our, fill up their dog bowls, give Rocky his meds, sweep out the garage, empty all the garbage from my car and about a half dozen other items as I wait for the family to get dressed and ready for breakfast.

After we are all rounded up we head to Mel’s. Our reserved table with the Sunday paper, sports on top is waiting. We have another great meal and all of us take our time this morning. Not that we are not busy, but Diane and Harry are leaving for home after we eat. They have been here a little over two weeks but it feels like two minutes. So good to have family. The boys as well as Kim and I love to have them visit. We all have a good time. We hug, and take a few last photos as they drive off back to Binghamton.

The remainder of the day is filled with work and play, football with Jack, riding bikes and feeding the ducks with Wil, cleaning out the cars and too many emails to even think about.

After making dinner for the family and the weekly Marinich of the Week Award being handed out, Jack won, we settle on to the couch and enjoy the Colts and Patriots game. I will not see the end of the game, I am running with Corey at 5:30 AM 8 miles at an minute per mile pace.Good night Sunday.

Hello week 13

Time Warp Three Days in One

Days 81 - 83

Boston Qualifying Training. I can best describe my swim workout as lacking. I had the rest, I just did not seem to have any speed. The workout plan was great, a good warm up, and I liked the set, 5 x 400 with the 400 made up of free style, kick, IM and pull. But I had no energy. I was beat and my strength lacking. I was at the end of the pack the whole time. I pushed through the workout and called it a day. Later in the day I would hit the weights.

Jay's reaction to hearing that Turkey Sausage has been removed from the menu at Cracker Barrel. He will now be forced to eat Bacon!

With a poor swim, I could only wonder how my run would feel. Jay is leaving for Vegas before noon. That means we have a big run, 15 miles that starts at 3:45 AM. The pace is an 8:10. This is really close to the Marathon pace, scheduled for 8:00. We start the run off well though too fast, we back the pace down and settle into a very comfortable pace. I feel good and Jay and I discuss keeping the pace at 8:10 for the first 8 miles and dropping it the last 7 miles. A good plan. We do just that and it feels good. The final time is 2:00:56, that includes stopping twice for water.

At the end of the run we do some quick math, 8:03 per mile. Nice. It feels good. At one point, around mile 12, I look at Jay, we are cruising. Our breath is normal, the legs, good, (my left leg hurt a bit but was manageable). I spent some extra time stretching. I feel good and I am very confident after this run.

The day is best described as GAME DAY. Wil has his last game of the season. Though I try very hard to not worry about the wins or loses with 7/8 year old boys, there is a part of me deep down that wants the boys to win. Not for me, but for Wil and his teammates. The Fighting Irish enter today’s tilt with no losses. I try very hard not to think about winning, but good play. If I press, it will only make it worse. I take out the sharpie and as I have done for the past several weeks I write my little reminder on my hand, “Coach Up!”. I make Wil a good breakfast before we leave for the game, pancakes.

We load into the car, we need to be on the field at 8:05, the game starts at 8:30. Driving over to the game I ask Wil if he is nervous. “Yes” he says. Good I respond. “Why, why good”. I share with him that it means he is ready. That he wants to do well. It is his body and mind preparing to give the very best. If he was not nervous, I would be more concerned. This relaxes him and we talk about football as we drive to the field.

The game goes well and Wil is outstanding. We score 42 points and it is never close. The boys play really well. Wil and kids finish the season with no losses. Perfect. Better I achieved the one goal I have every year, it is not based on wins or losses, rather, my goal to have every boy on the team score a touchdown. So many coaches pick 1-2 kids to be the quarterback or running back… I take a different approach. Every week I pick two new running backs. Everybody is the star one week. I am most proud that I can let the boys have their moment in the sun.

The game link:

We celebrate the season at the Varsity for lunch. A big day for Wil, three touchdowns and an undefeated season. Means more to me than my 15 mile run and marathon to watch as his face beams with pride.

Before the food is digested, my thoughts turn to Jack and his game tonight. They are playing to get into their Superbowl. The boys are clearly capable of winning. The team we are playing we have lost to twice. The first game was close, 6 – 13, but we played a less than perfect game. The next game was 0 – 0 at the half, but we were blown out in the second half, losing 20 – 0. This would be different. A new defensive scheme was put in place, we added a new offensive series, our version of the Wildcat.

The game is a battle. It is a hard hitting, smash-mouth game. We score first. It is good and I feel confident. A couple of blown tackles on defense and they score next. We get the ball back and drive the distance of the field. I call a risky play near the goal line and the ball is fumbled. The boys hold tough, but a missed tackle and it is off to the races. We are down. Once again we drive the ball, only to stall near the goal line.. The competitors are driving, we pick the ball off as the clock hit zero. Unfortunately the ball is accidentally run out of bounds. The score at halftime 13 -6.

The second half is a battle. Each yard gained is earned. The boys are dirty, bruised and many of them bleeding. There is no give. The second half is 0 – 0 . The final score is 6 – 13. Though we lose, it does not feel like a loss. The teams played so well, either team could have been victorious. It came down to a missed block here, a blown tackle here or there. I am proud of each of the boys. Jack had a great game, 3 solo tackles and a fumble recovery.

The boys may have lost, but they won a big battle and each can hold their heads high as a champion. We celebrate with beer and wings at Taco Mac.

I may say that I am happy, and I really am, however, that does not mean I did not spend the night laying awake re-thinking every bad play I called in. I could kick myself for the play near the end-zone. I was way too cute and it cost us, possibly the game.

I know I am happy that Diane and Harry stayed to see the boys play their final game of the season. It is great to have family around.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Not That Wet Wednesday

Day 80

Boston Qualifying Training. Track day is fun day. Yesterday in Corey’s absence I sent out an invite to all the track buds letting them know Jay and I would be leaving the LTF at 5:45 AM.

A good crowd gathered, though we missed having Jeff there. Ann Marie, Susan and Susan showed along with Jay and me. Susan, was well adorn in her bright yellow 2009 Boston Marathon tech shirt. She has run the race 7 times. Good for her, an inspiration for the rest of us this early morning.

The weather despite being wet, was good, a little warm even, 58 degrees. I was over dressed. Most of us were. A nice leisurely jog down to the track, hopping past puddles and navigating the mud, we arrived. Though the track was dark and deserted, it was welcoming. I was prepared and confident, the track workout was not a mystery. I knew it and knew it well, and I enjoyed the track.

Today, 3 x 1600 with a 400 RI, pace, 6:39 with 0:49 second splits every 200 meters. Piece of CAKE. After a quick lap around to clear the track and set up our markers, we all huddled at the start line, adjusting our watches. Confirming we were all check for go, we started. Jay and I, led by me on the first mile, followed by Ann Marie and Susan, targeting a 7:02 mile. Susan Lipscomb was there for support and also running, but not the mile splits.

The pace was good and I felt great. Rounding the first curve I knew I was right on… mid way down the back stretch, 47, 48, 49! Right on. Hitting the front stretch… 1:37, 38, 39! Again right on! I was barely breathing and was thinking this is too easy. The next three laps I would knock 1 second of each 200 meters and we would finish with a 6:33, six seconds fast, but well within reason. Better, Jay and I were barely breathing. The girls finished shortly behind us, though much faster than prescribed.

An easy 400 RI and now Jay led us out. Like clockwork. Jay was at his best. Right on the first lap, and dropping time with each consecutive lap. Finish time 6:24, 15 seconds fast, but again very controlled and negative splits. I led the last mile and we again ran negative splits, finishing in 6:21… too fast, but again not to a point that we were ever really uncomfortable. The pace was quickened on the last lap, but not raced or excessively sped up. A good controlled pace.

In the department of “Really” on the last lap, Susan came by Jay and I and said, let’s go… and I could not help but put a little fire into the last 20 meters, just to finish ahead of her. I’m so damn easy.

On the jog back we talked about Huntsville, Boston, family and training... the usual stuff. Found out that Ann Marie and I used to both hit the track when John Adamson was training us for $5 bucks a pop on track day. Small world.

My weight.. I have tried to not be so, well, so me about my weight, but it has been fluctuating with my sister visiting, I am just eating too much. I have been 177 -179. Today I was 179 after the run and 178.5 after lunchtime lifting. I need to get myself back in control. Right now. I blame my sister for the homemade apple pie and gingerbread chocolate chip cookies.

Next week it all stops, with 4 weeks out I will focus on nutrition.

Tuesday I sleep

Day 79

Boston Qualifying Training. "Fatigue makes cowards of us all." Jack Stanbro. That is what my wrestling coach used to tell us when I was in high school. He’s right. It will make you quit, it will make you feel that have nothing left. All the more reason to make certain I am in top shape for the race on December 12th. Not just in conditioning, but also rest. The previous days run was an early wake up, 3;15 AM. My goal was to find an hour Monday and catch up on the missed sleep. It never happened the day was just too busy.

When I woke this morning, I was tired. Certainly I could make it through swim practice, but I knew my body needed rest. I need to recover from the previous days run and early hour wake up. I made a decision that swim would have to wait until lunch time.

Waking two and a half hours later, I was refreshed and ready for the day. The morning was productive at work and I headed to the gym for my swim. The workout, a variation of the previous Thursday workout, 250 warm up, 250 drills, 7 x 300. I was not as fast as I had been the previous week, though I did watch as my times dropped as I went deeper into the set. Good deal. I limited the workout to 2600 meters. Likely the volume I will be doing starting next week. As I get closer to the race, I want to cut down on my swim workout and will not swim at all the week of the race. I’ll likely take time to spin.

The afternoon was uneventful and the evening brought perhaps the best highlight of the day. My Sister Diane and her husband Harry, decided to stay and extra 5 days so they can see Jack and Wil play their games on Saturday. We are all happy for that. Great to have family.

Wil is enjoying his “Marinich of the Week” award and has it prominently displayed in his room.

I fall asleep listening to the rain, knowing it will be gone in the morning, just in time for Track!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Twelve Years Ago Today

Day 78

Boston Qualifying Training. Twelve years ago today I was lying in bed when I awoke with this presence hovering above me. Slowly opening my eyes I see Kim leaning over me, kneeling on the bed, she is in the ninth month of pregnancy. She says, “Oh, you are awake.” I briefly wonder how long she has been waiting for me to wake up, but my though process is interrupted by the next three words, “I feel funny”. Two weeks earlier the doc told us that we would know when it was time, that she would feel different, she might feel "funny". The word were like a shot of adrenaline. All the months of waiting were over, it was time. I hop out of bed and suggest that she take a shower. She ask’s me to not call the doctor, but I do. He say’s take some time.

I make Kim breakfast, chocolate chip muffins, juice and milk. The contractions are happening, and today will be the day. We sit and watch Mr Hollands Opus, to pass the time. A good movie. The contractions shorten and it is time. We drive down an empty 400 on a Sunday morning. Thankfully it was not Monday rush hour. I recall that as we exited 400 she had her first strong contraction, she groaned and I stepped harder on the gas pedal, laughable now. The story ends with a Jack being born later that day… the twelve years since have flown by. He is becoming a young man and I could not be prouder. Cherish every day, time is fleeting and soon he’ll be learning to drive and next off to college. Today, he’s still my boy and I’ll hug him a little longer while I still can.

My run this morning was strong. Jay and I met early, 4:15, which meant an early wake up, 3:45 AM. Early, but worth it. Jay and I have started this training program together and I expect to cross the finish line together as well. We are good support for one another.

Meeting at LTF, Jay reminds me that there is a mile warm up… rats! I forgot the warm up when I mapped the course last night. No worries, I quickly recalculate a new route in my head and we are off. The first mile is difficult, it is early and our bodies have not yet warmed up. The weather however is perfect, not close to perfect, but absolutely perfect. It is 52 degrees no wind, and clear skies.

After the warm up we set our watches, reset the Garmin and we are off. The first mile is a 7:45, not unexpected, though a little tough, we are still warming up. The next mile is better, 7:50… closing in on the target. By the third mile we are hitting 7:55 – 8:00 minutes per mile. Good deal. We lock in the pace and keep on running. Soon enough we are at our first water stop, about 20 seconds walking/drinking and off we go. We are right on pace for a cumulative time, at one point, 1 second over pace. We hit our next water stop, drink/walk and “relief”, 30 seconds, and we start rolling again. The climb up mount Westside Parkway is a controlled pace. The left on Old Milton Parkway is a good easy pace. The run is almost too easy. A couple more right hand turns and we are heading down Academy. We are ahead of pace, but it is a simple 7:57. Not a 7:30, so good. I feel good. I feel good and this is after a 20 mile run just three days prior. My left leg does act up a little but I refuse to give it any consideration other than a reminder to watch my stride.

The run is completed in 1:19:29, thirty seconds fast, again 3 seconds per mile. A good job. These past few weeks have continued to build my confidence as the marathon date nears. My last 10 mile run was on pace, but it seemed like I struggled and doing more would have taken work. Today the motor was running and I was in a groove, there was more in the tank. Now was I ready for another 16.2 miles, I don’t know, but I do know that each week is getting better.

A full day of work today, followed by birthday festivities in the evening with Jack. Sounds like a good day.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Another Nice Day

Day 77

Boston Qualifying Training. I wake before 6:00 AM, a smile crosses my face, I know it is Sunday, my workouts done and with guest at the house, I have nothing too urgent to worry about. Rolling over, I sleep.

Waking up around 7:00 that is enough, time to get up. I put out the dogs, fill the bowls and give them some attention. They are not the best dogs, but they are good dogs and they mean well.

The family is still asleep. I go to my office and print off the football picks for the day. A big day for the Giants, they need a win, a loss and the season is pretty much over. As the family stirs, I continued with a few chores, sweeping the floors, sweeping out the garage, cleaning out the vehicles. Soon enough we are heading to Mel’s. I hear an ear full of abuse about the Giants third loss in a row. The ribbing is good natured. Arrrgh, the Giants. Hurt feelings are soothed over with a mound of free bacon! Man bacon can cure almost anything, it was well over a pound of the cured goodness.

The morning slip by easily and we prepare for Jacks Birthday Party. It is his 12th Birthday on Monday. Today we have a flag football game schedule with nine of his friends. I will ref, too close to Huntsville for me to be taking any chances by playing.

The boys have a blast. Jack is QB’ing against the boy who is the starting QB on his team. Jack easily out plays him and leads his team to a 42 – 28 victory, it was never close. I became a spectator as they ref’ed themselves. At half-time I challenge the boys to sing the Star Spangled Banner… They do it, all 10 of them, loudly. I wish I had a video of it, cool. MVP’s of the Game, split, Wil and Jack!

After the game we hit the house for cake and ice cream and a little chatter. Families come I and join the festivities. A good time. Tomorrow we will celebrate Jacks birthday with just the family.

We settle into an evening meal Roast Beef, gravy, mashed potato’s, green beans, sweet potato’s, rolls… the feed bag is on. I likely gained all my weight back. Four weeks out, I will be tightening the belt, no junk, no ice cream, chips, candy… it all goes away. This will be the last time I eat without thinking.

The meal is good but my stomach sours, the Giants lose a game that they could have won. They are not doing the little things that count. It is just like training… you can not just turn it on the day of the race, you have to practice hard, you have to do the little things. Not just run, but lift, core, diet, nutrition… rest… it all counts.

Sitting here this really applies to all aspects of life. Family is the same. Nice to tell your spouse or children you love them, but better to show them. Listening when they are talking, hugging them for no reason, wiping their tears, giving yourself for no reason other than to spend time. The details are the difference.

As I put the garbage out to the curb before going to bed I see the last leaf fall from the tree out front, cool to see as it floats along. I felt as if it was a special gift just for me. The details.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Let's Get Ready to Rumble

Day 76

Boston Qualifying Training. Oh it’s Saturday. Last night just before I went to bed my work colleague emailed, “my wife’s water broke… were heading to the hospital”. Cool he sends me updates through the night. The baby arrives about 7 AM. He is a first time father. How exciting.

Waking fully I head to the gym and hit the weights. It feels good my legs are burning from the sets. It is a good burn. I finish with my core workout. Nice.

At home we mostly just putter around, taking it easy. Wil has a game at 12:15 and we are looking to just pass the time.

Finally, it’s time. Wil and I head to the game. He is growing up too fast. Arriving early I run the boys through the plays. The other team show up, but they are missing a couple of players. I agree to just play with seven.

The game starts off well enough but by the second play anarchy breaks out. The other coach is complaining. The refs are making up calls. We score quickly and it only makes it worse. The other coach becomes more angry. The refs blow more calls. They argue with me, they argue with the other coach. The refs are becoming the game. I speak to them share that this is an instructional league and the purpose is to coach the boys. The refs threaten to kick me out of the game and call a personal foul.

I'm pissed. We pull out the Stature of Liberty and we score again. The other coach becomes even more angry. We are called for holding, tackling, and an assortment of ridiculous calls to provide the other team an advantage.

At halftime, I take the boys aside and tell them to focus on the game and get a drink. The other coach is talking to the refs. As I head over there the conversation goes from bad to worse. I walk away. I take the high road.

The game continues and the other team scores. The opposing parents are an embarrassment, cheering at a missed snap. The opposing coach threatens one of my kids parents, “I’ll see you after the game” he makes it worse by telling one of his boys on several occasions “go hit that kid and knock him down” unbelievable.

A few of my parents fall into the trap and start to comment back. I stop and ask that the parents take the high road. They do we finish the game, a win, but I am embarrassed that the boys are subjected to such foolishness. Even though we won, the kids are dejected. It feels like a loss. I talk the boys up and tell them how proud I am that they acted like champions and did not fall tot he silly actions of the other coach. Off to Five Guys for victory burgers and fries.

The day slides by, Wil, Jack and I spend time playing in the back yard. I make a Teriyaki Tilapia Dinner over rice and snow peas. Yummy. Better I did not poison anyone this time.

A quick game of Uno and we are all off to bed. Sleep comes easy tonight.

Friday 4 x 20 Knocked out!

Day 75

Boston Qualifying Training. Well here we are the end of Week 11. The fourth of five, 20 mile runs. I feel bad. My stomach is in pain. Kim and Harry spent the night wrapped tightly to the porcelain and a bucket. They clearly have the food poisoning worse than I do. I am happy that I spent time last night putting the bottles out before the plague set in.

Arriving at LTF, I am dressed and ready to go. Jay shows and we are prepared for our run. Today’s menu, 20 miles at an 8:30 pace. We decide to keep it close to 8:30 and drop it down to an 8:20 is pace late in the run. Pure negative splits. Setting Jay's Garmin and my watch, we are off. It is cold this morning, in the low 30's, we both wear shorts and long sleeves. The air is crisp and fresh. There is frost on the ground. The stars are filling the night sky and moon is nearly full. As we click past the first half mile, Jay spots a deer jumping into the woods.

I find that it take a couple of miles to get my body up to speed and warm. The breathing is easy and I focus on an even stride. It seams to be working my left leg is good so far, in fact it will not bother me the entire run. My stomach is making all sorts of noises though. Darn food poisoning. We are close to mile 5 and it hits… my stomach is at war. I quicken my pace… There is a bathroom at Will’s park. Jay, we need to pick it up. Jay suggest a tree, I'll let Jay pretend to be a bear in the woods.

I make it and I quietly thank myself for packing the baby wipes. I thought this might happen given how bad my stomach was last night. A real big thanks to my bud Corey, great idea on the baby wipes in a sandwich bag. I am saved. It is quick, violent and over in less than 40 seconds. I exit the restroom a new and relieved man. Let’s get going.

The miles tick along with the conversation. We are running easy. We pass mile eight and head to the back side of Mansell Road, it is my least favorite part of the run. We pass Waffle House at mile ten. All systems are go and my stomach is no longer making noise.

Heading up mount Westside Parkway, we are through the most difficult part of the run. Thirteen down, seven to go. I look at Jay, cruise control. He is steady, I too feel good. “Jay” I say, “let’s pick up the pace with 6 to go” it is the easier part of the route. We finish fourteen and the pace quickens. The horses are running and it feels good. I feel strong.

The next three miles are strong. A quick drink at mile seventeen and we are ready to finish off the run… Up and down Campbell Road, we hit Westside Parkway, left to Windward, Northpoint, up Marta, behind LTF we are laughing and joking, this is too easy. We pull up to the door and the 20 miles are done 2:45:30, 8:16’s for the total run.

The negative splits must have been fast. Jay never did tell me what we were running. I now know why. Though it was too fast, I am happy. This was a run that provided me confidence.

Right now I am confident. Pace and consistency. Be strong at the end. A good run.

Heading to Cracker Barrel for a weekly Friday breakfast Jay and I talk about a road trip to Huntsville in two weeks to run our last 20 on the course. It would be good if we can. We’ll both need spouse approval for that to happen.

Kim and Harry are still sick, when I get home. We nurse the sick and I keep busy with work. The day ends with practice for Wil and Jack and I later attending the Milton game.

Week 11 is done. Good deal. Bring on Week 12 I’m ready!

Done in by the Birthday Meatball

Day 74

Boston Qualifying Training. Thursday morning and it is off to Swim. It would be difficult to say swimming is a fun thing for me, it would be stretch to say I like it, but it is fair to say, it is helping.

I know the swimming is maintaining a solid base of conditioning while the low impact of allows my body to heal from the run workouts.

Today would be a series of 300’s, lot's of them. With the girls missing, it is just Shane and I in lane two. The first few 300’s are good, but I felt myself fading as the workout went on. It would have been easy to just turn it off and cruise, but that certainly would not be any benefit.

Many times in a run, when the legs are toast, the lungs burn, the mind drifts, it would be easy to just back off, but that does not raise the bar, you just have to push through it, through the pain, push out the negative thoughts and move forward. Applying that same mindset, I focus on my stroke and I pull deep from the reserves. I break the workout down into easy to accomplish segments and keep on "moving forward". I finish the workout and consider it a small victory. I also put that moment in my mind, something to pull on when things get tough, the ability that I can drive on.

A quick shower and I am off to put Wil & Jack on the bus. Unlike Wednesday when I was slammed on work, today I take PTO, my first PTO in over 4 months. With my sister and brother-in-law visiting, we schedule a day of golf.

Golf is like any other sport, it takes practice and a mental toughness. That said, the last time I played golf was the beginning of summer. Kim and I had hooked up with another couple and we played nine holes, I have not touched the clubs since. Today we were playing 18. I decide to put my competitive nature to the side and not take the golfing too serious, rather enjoy the day with family. Good thing. My score would best calculated with an abacus.

Kim played well and my sister has a good game too. However the real joy is watching my brother-in-law, Harry. Harry who is 63, a very young and athletic 63 played great. As we play, I might hit a good shot every 8-10 strokes, a good drive here, a nice putt there, but I do not play enough to ever string together a decent game. Harry however is very good. We played a course he never played, we played from the back tee’s that included many blind shots. His play is consistent, hit shots are down the middle of the fairway, this approach shots are not on the green, but in a specific spot on the green. He shoots a 75, 3 over par! Funny, he was a bit upset with that score!

As for me, I stopped writing my score down after the first snowman, and that was the first hole. However, I did have my moment of glory. The 9th hole, par five, I hit Harry’s driver, a crushing drive straight down the fairway, I actually out drove Harry by over 30 yards. My next shot, a 5 wood, from 210 plus yards away. I take a quick practice stroke and it feels good. I step up to the ball, a quick glance to the hole and I steady myself. Drawing back the club I feel good, the swing is fluid, the ball takes flight and takes a trajectory directly to the green. I watch as the ball lands on the green and checks up. It sits perfectly, 14 feet away from the hole. I smile inward.

Arriving at the green I can actually see "the line". Sometimes I see it clearly, others I have no idea. This one I see. I draw back, but my putting stroke hesitates, I leave the putt short. Harry say’s “you babied the putt”. I agree. No Eagle, it would have been a first. I will not miss the Bird. I line up the putt and firmly stroke the ball, center cut.

A Bloody Mary with my sister at the turn, I feel nearly drunk for holes 11-16 and my game turns further south. I hit maybe 5 more good shots the rest of the day, but I’ll live on way I played the ninth hole.

I fix a big bowl of pasta and meatballs for the family diner in preparation for tomorrows big 20 miles. After a quick dinner I head to Taco Mac for a beer and a new glass.

On the way home I feel a bit sick. Kim calls, she is not feeling well. By the time 9:30 hits, the family is sick and everyone is throwing up or… well yeah that too.

I spend the night bent over in pain waking more than sleeping. The 20 will be tough.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Tick Tock Track Clock Times 5

Day 73

Boston Qualifying Training. Track day! Well kind of… I tricked myself. Today was tempo day, but my tempo days are typically days of frustration. Not because it is too fast, rather, I can not keep myself on pace. I go TOO FAST. Typically my tempo day goes something like this… Okay an easy warm up at 8:30’s, I do 8:00 or even 7:50. Pace might be 7:29 and I am so concerned that I am running too slow I hit 7:10, or 7:15. Next, I think, back it off, so I take a little bit off, after a few minutes it feels like I have slowed too much! Uh-oh, better pick it up… go too fast and hit the mile marker at a 7:10 or 7:15. I do this 3-5 more times depending on what the prescribed workout is for that tempo day. At the end of the run I am wore out and frustrated.

But not today. Seeing as it is only a 1 mile EZ and 5 miles at 7:29, I decide to join my buddies at the track. I will be disciplined. I have my times written on my hand, 56 seconds every 200 meters and 1:52 every quarter. Four laps around the track is shorter than a mile, so I select the second lane, it is 20 meters longer per lap, that should make it a mile.

The jog to the track is uneventful, Jeff, Corey, Chris and myself. I feel good and I am happy that I have my hat and long sleeves, winter weather is coming.

As I will be doing this 5 miles run alone, though near my buds on the track, I pop in the ipod and I am off. The pace is easy, comfortable even. I wonder what it might be when I hit the first 200 meters, looking I see 52, not bad, rounding the first ¼ mile, 1:49, a little fast, I pull back a bit. The next lap is 1:52, better… and so it goes 18 more times. I switch directions every mile, so I can balance my legs and it makes it easier to keep track of the laps, four laps, and switch directions.

I am watching Corey, Chris and Jeff they are all in a groove. I would love to blast a couple of laps off, but that would serve no purpose but to feed my ego. I consider maybe letting loose on the last two laps but again… why. Those days can wait until December 12th passes.

I end the workout and my time is 36:11, about a minute and 15 seconds too fast, for a mile pace of 7:14, rather than the prescribed 7:29. I think, that’s not right, I was only 2-3 seconds fast every 200… oh yeah, times 8 equals 15 seconds. I am not displeased. If I had been doing that time and huffing and puffing, sure, It would have been too fast. The fact is I felt good, I was in control and I was very comfortable.

This is a good run to build on for the 20 miler on Friday. I have now had 3 solid back to back to back runs. I am looking forward to kicking butt on the 20 miles at an 8:20 pace. My goal for Friday is to run the first 11 at 8:20 and the next 9 at 8:15, to feel it out maybe even drop that last two to an 8:00 pace.
Last night I finished welding the Marinich of the Week Award. It may look a little rough, but it came out just as I had hoped. It looks cool.

Weights at lunch provided there is time. There is a lot of work to get done. Weight today, 177. Steady.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

And the Award goes to...

Day 72

Boston Qualifying Training. Though I went to bed early last night, I woke in the middle of a great dream and honestly it would have been very easy to roll over and go back to sleep. The reality is the thought crossed my mind, but I knew that would not help. Sitting in the middle of Week 11, this is it, crunch time, no time to slack off. I hop out of bed and know that this day will make me stronger.

Arriving at LFT, I am ready for the swim, it is a good looking first set and we work hard to stay on pace. The deeper we go into the workout, the harder and faster we get. By the time we hit the kick sets I am done. Exhausted. I take the next 15 minutes and swim it out. I go into the workout like a lion, fast and furious, but I left like a lamb, spent. I leave the pool knowing that work was done. I needed to push a little more at the end of the workout, though I remember that my real goal in focusing on the key runs this week.

Tomorrow is a tempo run, 1 mile warm up and 5 miles at 7:29 tempo. I will do the work at the track so I can stay on pace. It will be a little boring, but, it will keep me steady. I will take my ipod and find a groove. I have had a problem with going too fast on tempo, but tomorrow the track will keep me honest. It will also be good to run with company as others will be doing their track workout.

There is way too much going on at work and family time seems to go by too fast. Tonight Jack has football practice that will last until 8:30 PM. I’ll get home just in time to tuck Wil in to bed and myself shortly there after.

On the family side, I had what I think is a cool idea. Two weeks ago I started the “Marinich of the Week Award”. The Marinich of the Week Award is handed out to the Marinich that has contributed to the family, or done something outstanding, or taken a leadership position, or done a good deed.

Kim won the first Marinich of the Week Award for her outstanding work as a great mother and wife these past 17 years, an easy pick. This Sunday the award was given to Kim, for outstanding contribution to the family. It was totally unexpected and unprecedented to have the award won twice in two weeks. The bar has been raised high.

Funny to see the reaction of the boys. Wil is working hard to make certain his chores are done, table cleared, and studying hard. He wants to win the award. He asked me, “Dad if I get a 100 on my spelling test will I win?” I think that Wil may have an inside track on this weeks award.

As for the award, I am making it. The second part of my brilliance, this is an opportunity for me to practice my welding skills. Last night I cut all the pieces out of 22 gauge steel. Tonight I will start welding. The Award is a 3D steel sculpture of the letter "M", it will look rough, but cool when it is done. Besides, my welding skills will be better when I am done.

Front and back sides of the Award

Off to work… Weight 177. Need to start trending down.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Moon Lit Monday

Day 71

Boston Qualifying Training. Wil is on the bus, Jack is eating, he’s such a slow eater that he could easily sleep another 30 minutes, but he enjoys taking his time eating breakfast and watching the NFL network. He also likes to see his brother off to school, a good big brother.

The boys both enjoyed a surprise for breakfast, donuts! The benefit of waking at 3:40 AM is I had time to stop by Dunkin Dounuts after my workout.

Waking at 3:40, I was surprisingly alert. I tried my best to not wake Kim as I left. Pulling on my long running pants, I see the moon is full outside. The sky is open and it looks like a cool fall day.
At LTF Jay and I head out to the track. The workout is a good one, 1k @ 4:06, 400 RI, 2K @ 8:26, 1K and 1K, again @ 4:06. The warm up is nice, I feel good, my body feels good, I am ready for Week 11 a week that ends with our 4th 20 mile run.

It takes about 9 minutes to get to the track, maybe longer. Jay and I take that time to do our weekly math problem… converting finish time to 200 meter split times. Math while running is always bad. Converting minutes to seconds, adding the total seconds, dividing by the number of 200’s and adding it all back up. What a mess. We come to an agreement on what the time is supposed to be and give it a go.

Arriving at the track we both comment on how well lit the track is by the full moon. A quick loop around to clear the track and we are ready to hit it. We suffer bad math, but somehow manage to get the times close. We are fast on each of the set by 10 seconds but consistent and more important we were running negative splits, 200 meters @ 47.7, 47.2, 47.7, 46.6, 46.4. This happen on every set.

The workout is done almost as quickly as it started. I feel fresh and put another positive workout in the book. A great way to start the week, a great way to start Week 11.

I will hit the weights at lunch. Weight today 178. Hmmm. Off to work.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday...

Day 70

Boston Qualifying Training. I wake up later than expected. The day will pattern this start. We are late getting to Mel’s. I forgot to bring the football picks and we had to go back home, right where I left them, on the counter.

At home, I spend hours, really, hours, putting up the Halloween decorations. I though it might take me 45 minutes tops, wrong 3 hours. The day is zipping by, my goal is to finish so I can watch the Giants, I almost miss the start. We all love the Giants in the Marinich house.

As excited as I was about the game, I knew that this was a make break game for the Giants, a win would put them back on the road to a good season and in first place in the division, though a loss could be the start of the Giants spiraling out of control. Grabbing some snacks we all sit down to watch the game. In minutes of the start, the game is over, Eagles dominate.

I knew before the game started I would have to leave for Wil’s Sunday game. By the time we had to leave I was eager to turn off the television. The Giants lost 40-17! Not even a competition. I'm still a fan, but it will be a tough season. Two years ago I said the Superbowl win would last me 7 years... 2 down.

At the park, the team shows up late. The game starts and it is clear each boy is suffering the affects of a candy induced coma. Those that do not have candy corn stuck to their face suffer from lack of sleep.

Blocks are missed, balls are dropped, routes not run correctly and defense at time porous. Safe for a few highlights, the game easily could have been lost. However after a rousing half-time talk from the coach, me, the boys hit the field with determination to put the game away. It was not pretty, but the boys won, 12 – 0.

I really do not care as much about the win, but really use this time to teach the fundamentals of football. I had a lot of coaching opportunities today!

Pulling away from the field, I am happy for the distraction of Wil’s game, not because the Giants lost, or Jack’s team lost last night, but to take my mind off training. I think this weekend is a good weekend to help me keep things in perspective. Sure, I want to do well on December 12th and yes, I want to qualify for Boston. But the reality is the balance of family, work, faith, and training is important and so delicate.

I work desperately to keep my focus on family and not let the training consume me, or spill over to the family in a way that is negative. I do think my training can be a positive aspect for the boys. I think it is important that they understand that goals require discipline and degree of sacrifice. I also think it is important for them to know that you may not be great everyday, but everyday can be a great day!

At home, dinner is fixed and we enjoy having my sister and brother visiting. All is done in time to watch the Yankee’s play. I will only make it to the 3rd inning. I will not be late for bed! Week 11 starts at 4:15 AM. I am ready, bring it!

Good night moon, good night stars.

Scary Saturday

Day 69

Boston Qualifying Training. Saturday morning I am up early, but this time it is for Wil. This day I will be a supporting cast member to the boys. It is a day of football. The day starts with Wil’s game at 8:30, followed by Jack’s game at 4:30 and ending with the great candy collection of Halloween.

I am jump out of bed and make my way down stairs; cinnamon rolls, bacon and a glass of juice is a winning breakfast combination. We are the first to arrive at the field and warm up throwing and run through our plays for the day. I find doing this helps make the boys comfortable with the plays and drive off the nerves.

Almost at the start of the game the rain came. We did not get wet, we were soaked! The boys had perhaps their best game, dominating the line of scrimmage and a great penetrating defense. Wil had a career day on the field Saturday, running in for two touchdowns, picking up a first down, and throwing 3 for 3, including a touchdown an two 2 point conversions. The game ended up 42 to 12. Check out the boys here.

Coming home there was work to get done… pumpkins to carve and chores to be completed. The clock was ticking… about the time the pumpkins were carved, it was time to leave for Jacks game. What a game. It was a shoot out. But the good guys were on the losing side. We put up a great offence, but the defense was unable to stop the opposing team. We have a lot of work to do before our first play-off game.

As disappointed as I was at the end of the game and as much as I kept running the game back and forth through my head, the boys were over it in minutes, after all it was Halloween.
Back at the house the neighborhood streets were already filled with a parade of kids going house to house.

We had a gang of 10 that walked the neighborhood. This was the first time I walked with the kids rather than hand out the candy. I stayed back about 10 yards and let the boys be boys. It was fun to see them as they matured. Proud to hear them all say thank you and how they watched out for the Wil. Good kids. Jack and will ended up with 188 pieces of candy, and to quote on of the other parents I met out on the street, “this neighborhood give out the best candy, full candy bars, cans of coke… wow!”

Rounding up the boys we head back to the house. Though I am committed getting more sleep, I end up watching the Yankees, it goes late, but he Yanks win. It is 1 AM, I sleep easy.