Friday, May 28, 2010

Beer, Wings and Chips... oh my!

Friday. Oh wonderful Friday. I went to bed last night dreading the run this morning. Dreading might not be the right word, it seems that with every long run, I have a bit of anxiety, not because I am worried about the distance, rather it is how I will feel. Besides, this 10 mile run is half the distance of the runs I will have coming up in the next two months. Perhaps it was the fact that I would be running solo. I used to love running solo, but recently I have come to enjoy running with my friends. As I typically do, I woke up minutes before my alarm went off.

Grabbing my gear I was out the door. As much as I thought I would be running solo, the moon was big and bright this morning. Nearly full, the moon was smiling down on me as I trekked off into the night.

The pace felt good, I expected that I would hit about an 8 minute pace, though I had hoped it would be better, especially as my target for Chicago is 7:32 for 26 miles. But Chicago is months away and right now it is all about fitness. I check my breathing, and I felt good. My legs, not too bad considering the workout I had on Wednesday. All systems go… Somewhere between the second and third mile my calf knotted up, sharp and painful. What was that? I kept running and in flared up two more time, a bit of a nuisance, and it hurt, but no stopping, I just ran through the pain and it went away.

Running solo gives you time to think, there is peacefulness running solo and your mind is able to clear out the clutter. This is especially true on a longer slower run, the faster runs, tempo and track, my mind is like a siren going off the whole time, but long runs I get some great thinking done. Today was fitness. I have been sitting on three (possibly two) legs of a four legged stool when it comes to fitness. I am getting all my runs in, my head is in the game, but my cross training has been weak lately and my nutrition has been garbage. Almost literally garbage. Wings, chips and beer the night before a long run, really? I’m smarter than this. I felt great during my marathon training for Huntsville because I was aware of my food intake, however, lately I just intake food, any food. My weight is up to 181 again and I feel it, it is like wearing a fat suit of lethargy. This week has been better as I am cross training again, but the next month I need to make a conscious effort to better my food choices, not diet, not starve myself, but just eat better.

With my mind clear, I focus back on my running. Six miles have passed and I feel pretty good, The toxins are working their way out of my body and I am going through my checklist on form, breathing, good, upper body, relaxed, good, left leg is a little sloppy, rather than a smooth transition, I am heal striking and slowing my pace, I correct my stride and the pace smooths out, it almost seems easy.

After a while I look at my watch, I’m nearly done, an ascent up Mount Westside crest that hill and it is nearly downhill for the last two miles. The hill is more labor than I anticipated, but I chalk that up to my lack of cross training and keep on pushing up.

The finishing miles are uneventful, done, 10.1 miles, 1:15:25 for a surprising 7:24/mile pace. Somewhere I must have picked up some speed while exercising out my food demons. Not a bad way to start the morning.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Getting My Groove On

Thursday. Yet another few days have passed. We are well into first week in summer. The simple joy of a water balloon fight, playing “punch buggy”, summer movies and hanging at the pool. We’ve done it all so far. I am still relishing my Age Group win at the Warrior Dash, though a good part of it may have been luck, I’ll take it.

Coming off that event, I am trying to string together a good month or workouts that will have me ready to start the marathon training in less than a month.

I started swimming again on Tuesday as a cross-training exercise, and track yesterday was great, 6 X 800 all under 3:00 minutes, 2:53, :54, :56, :57, :58, :57. Not bad. But I still think there is more left inside. I hit the pool again today but never found my grove in the water, but I kept going and finished my work.

My weight is good not great at 181’ish, I really need to be trending down this month to a more reasonable 175. I think hitting 168 for the marathon would make it possible to go sub 3:20, my goal for Chicago.

I finally have some traction with my script. Though the last time I read it I did like it as much as when I first finished writing it, but that is typical and important. I will edit and change the areas that are weak and put a little more edge to it as well. I think the dialogue needs some work as well. Happy that I having a shot for a development read.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Warriors, come out and play...


Yesterday was the Warrior Dash. I woke early and headed over to Corey’s house. I knew I was excited as I woke long before the alarm went off. Picking up Corey at 7:00 we hit the road.

Corey and I have both raced more times than we could possible count, but today was going to be different, we were not racing, but rather, heading to our first Warrior Dash. Neither of us knew what to expect, at least I did not. It can be best described as a 5K meets and obstacle course. But as we had never done that before we were treading into a new area. We had hoped that Jeff and Jay might join us and have it be a real guys event, but they had passed. Too bad.

Immediately upon arriving we knew that the days was going to be a blast. We had missed one part of the description, 5K, check, obstacle course, check, and party! Wha-hoo. The place was packed and it was still early. Typical runners Corey and I checked out the course and had a few people give us the run-down of what to expect.

Just prior to the first wave going off, we warmed up and made our way over to the start line. For the next 6 hours, runners’… better, Warriors would be launching in groups of 500 every 30 minutes. That is 6,000 people and this was the second day, it had sold out on Saturday! Corey and I figured they raked in about $1 million over the two day weekend.

It was determined that this was going to be just for fun, no pressure, no racing and do not get hurt, in less than a month we would start training for Chicago. Lining up, warmed up we fell just behind some very eager runner, with a blast of fire and cannon shot we were off, I should say Corey was off… I quickly caught up and thought, ah.. too fast. But rather than voicing my concern I fell in nicely behind him as he cut a path for the first mile.

After the first mile the fun began… the obstacles upon reaching water’s edge, we traversed 2 x 10 planks submerged in the water for 25 yards, hoping back on land briefly before jumping into waist deep water and trudging, diving, swimming for the next 50 yards. Exiting onto the beach, we rounded a corner and ahead lay waiting 40 yards of tires, rather than stepping in each tire hole, I ran the side walls… much faster. A series of three walls came next and each were quickly dispatched, EZ-PZ.

A short run was interrupted by a 15 foot wall and to be climbed by rope and foot, think Batman and Robin style. A dash to the cargo nets and another 15 foot climb, first up and then down, again not too bad. A quick sprint over some junked cars, Corey had the perfect “Starsky and Hutch” slide as I leaped up and over.

Next came the ascent, not a nice even footpath, but rather an ever narrowing path, with branches and roots and rocks and mud, each of them trying to grab your ankle and throw you to the ground, if the climb did not have your heart racing, the treacherous footing did. High knees and loose ankles were in order as you bound from footing to footing. Reaching the top most people stopped and took a breather. No time for that... ahead were 20 yards of small dark tubing and the only way through was on your hands and knees, this was fitting because at this point, you were out of breath and heading into that postion anyway.

Exiting the tubes it was a now a downhill dash, speed versus safety, legs seemed to fly wildly as you ran down the hill. Racing down a narrow muddy, root and rock covered trail. Just as you gained speed you would hit a felled tree or logs to impede your path. Calculating jumps and looking downhill for safe landing were paramount to eliminating a major face plant. Too fast came to mind on several precarious jumps while trying to maintain downhill speed.

In the near distance you could hear the roar of the crowd, further calling you to throw caution to the wind. The crowd noise came at the same time you had to make a sharp left turn over a creek with a slime covered rock that begged you to take a chance and use it as a place to land, no way.... over the rock.

Emerging from the downhill run, a quick left was followed by a quick right and a 15 foot drop down an embankment. I recall looking ahead and seeing a guy hosing down the slick muddy surface as I was running at top speed. I thought briefly, “I got a bad feeling about this” smiling to myself I picked a path and made like a goat, hop – hop – hop – splash, right into 3-4 feet of mud, soupy-gooey mud. It was in my mouth, ears, everywhere, I would find a lot of it later in the shower, I was covered. No time to worry about that, there were 400 people behind me and I did not feel like being at the bottom of a dog pile in the mud.

Wading through the mud while ducking under 4 sets of barbed-wire that were progressively lower as you went forward. The first three were easy, the last one left its mark on my back like racing stripes, I did not feel it at the time, though I did hear the crowd gasp when it happened. Good thing I was not wearing a shirt, true Warrior Style!

The next 100 feet looked easy enough, mostly a muddy surface. The reality was you were running on grease. It was slick and a mis-step would put you on your ass or your face. Clearing the mud another beach and 4 lumber-jack log sitting in waist deep in water, up-over, up-over, four times. By this time you were with the crowds as they cheered you on, a quick assault of a wood and 2 x 4 wall, it was time to sprint. The cheering fueled the fire… ahead you could see the flames. Real flames, about 3 feet high, too high to hurdle completely you cleared the burning logs (Duraflame) and went right through the fire. 25 feet later, done. Warrior.

What a blast. I had a great time, Corey and I grabbed our free beers and ate turkey legs like we were, well, Warriors.

Sitting down we later hooked up with two other great athletes who had also completed the Warrior Dash earlier. Now fueled by a few beers, and having a good time, it was casually thrown out that we should run it again… a consensus was reached and we did, though this time at friendly pace, it was much more fun as we cheered and jeered each other on.

The great part about being an athlete is the cool people you meet and great things you get to do, strangers hours before and now Warriors together. Best part of running... see great places, do great things and meet great people.

More beer, music, and fun we raced one more time as the day came to a close for us Weekend Warriors. Gathering our gear we headed our separate ways each committing to race again next year or consider an adventure race some time later this year. Perhaps the Red Speedo Dash in December or the Fig Leaf 5000 next April.

The end to a great day was briefly hampered by me losing my keys, but they were eventually found and the ride home was filled with memorable stories of the day. A big thanks to Corey for hanging with me to collect first place AG and also helping me track down my keys. I’ll not live that down for a while and to our new friends, thanks for the fun time!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Up in the air

Friday… Wow this week has flown by. Literally, as the majority of it was spent on planes and travel. The east coast to west coast trip is always a good time, but coming back it rough. As always I try very hard to keep myself on east coast time, but getting up at 2:00 AM to run really does not work, especially when so many of my work obligations take me into the late hours. Overall I put a couple small runs together and hit the weights a few times.

It was good to connect with a number of colleagues, “talk shop” and share some good stories. Hooked with up a running friend that used to run with Steve Prefontaine. Later at the same party I met two ends of the musical spectrum, Merrill Osmond (yes Donny and Marie’s brother from the Osmond Brothers) and the guitarist from the Talking Heads. Cool night.

Had my first Randy’s Donut at Randy’s Donuts while driving to LAX. It was great and warm, met the owners, they talked about Ironman 2 and how the shop was in the movie.

As fun and successful as the trip was, I hated not being home for the boys on the last day of school today. Looking forward to getting home and kicking off summer on Saturday and the Warriors Dash on Sunday!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Can you keep a secret

Saturday. Well yesterday I got up early to meet Jay for our Friday run. We had talked about this run on Thursday while having beers with our buds, Jay and I agreed to meet at 5:45. As we both knew we were running on Saturday, but did not want to let others know we had decided to run. Jay thought the conversation was just a front. So there I stood Friday morning at 5:30 waiting. Jay did not show. Funny.

This morning was different. Jay called at 6:10… where are you. On the way. With Jack in the car, we arrived at the race site. A local 5k/10K… a few hundred people. I have had a bad cold that started Monday and I am just now as I am typing this feeling better.

Connecting with Jay, I said I would likely pace him for two miles and fade back and run with Jack. This was to be Jack’s 2nd 5K. Warm up rituals done, I felt my breathing was restricted from the congestion. Standing at the starting line, I looked around there were horses on the course, a good number of strong runners. Starting near the front, there was the typical burst of speed. Jay looked like he was gliding. A very confident runner with strong legs and conditioning. As we neared the first half mile, I shared that we were going out too fast… there was no response from Jay and I did not want to affect his race, so I tried to keep myself quiet. As we neared the first mile, I could see the lead runner, a young high school runner, he was hitting the mile marker. I looked at my watch, 4:25, WOW! I said Jay we are too close to the front and need to slow down. However, we were hitting a downhill and the pace stayed as we crossed the first mile at 6:18. Too fast.

The next mile started with an uphill, though gradual, it was a consistent grade that lead to a brief flat and a sharp downhill. I took advantage of the downhill to lengthen my stride, I leaned forward and let gravity takeover while I took a bit of a breather. It was short lived but allowed me to catch a couple of runners. Next came a sharp uphill, I kept my pace and picked off another runner. I knew at this time the race was half over, though I did not want to look at my watch, that fact did give me a boost of energy that I carried to the 2 mile mark. I heard them yell out 12:45, too fast again, but this time on pace, with a little less than a 6:30 mile. I took an assessment of how I felt. Breathing. Not good, very restricted. Legs, tired… yep just as it should be, after all I’m running hard. Laughing to myself, the entertainment is interrupted. I hear bikers Chris and Brian who just happened to be out for a 50 mile bike ride. They call out Jay and my name. Go figure. SO much for a secret race! Secret blown and now two friends cheering us on, I decided that stopping was not an option besides; nothing fuels you more than being cheered on by those you know. I put my head down, grit my teeth and ran on.

Hitting Main Street Alpharetta, I knew I had a good long downhill followed by a tough uphill. Time to catch some more people. I set my sights on the next target and was able to pass several on the downhill and two on the uphill. Cresting the hill and now getting ready to press the pace, I saw one more person ahead, I thought they may be too far ahead and nearly decide to settle as they were considerably younger, yeah right. I looked at my watch it read 17:23, I figured 2-3 minutes more, go hard. I picked it up. The distance was closing but so was his lead. I broke into a hard sprint and narrowed the gap to 10-15 yards. My legs were now moving independent of my body as I sprinted past the other runner with 100 yards to go… turning the corner I saw the finish line… 19:50 is my PR. The clock read 19:43… I knew I could not break it, but I did not want it to be 19:51… :47, :48, 49….:50 crossed… Done! 19:50. Not bad.

Grabbing my card I felt that I might have perhaps won my age group… I was 7th over all so… perhaps. Dropping my card in the box, it was 2nd in the age group. The winner was 18:50 (yikes) the masters winner was 18:28 (double yikes).

Jay came in right behind me and we swept the bottom of the podium for 2nd and 3rd place. It was a good run. Congratulating Jay, I went back and watched as Jack came in strong. He finished in 27:14, that is 30 seconds faster than his last race. We thought for sure he would have some hardware but was just off the podium with a 4th place. It is a tough age group 10 - 14 for Jack who is 12, but he did really well.

Later I took the boys to see Ironman. But not before a call from Corey asking about the secret run. Good friends and a good laugh.

Friday, May 14, 2010

One small sip for man, one giant chug for mankind

Yesterday an accomplishment was achieved, a goal obtained, a place of recognition awarded. In life it is important to mark those moments in time that help define you as a person.

Perseverance, determination, conditioning, sacrifice… I have used all the words on my little journey as I travel through life. On July 15,th 2006, I stepped up and made a commitment, in writing knowing full well that it would not be won in days, weeks, months, but in years. Yes years. For anyone who reads these random thoughts you already know I tend to fixate on achieving my goals; being a good father and husband, doing an Ironman, qualifying for the Boston Marathon… all of these are worthy and a true test of those words above, though none require the span of years to achieve such singularity and a place of prominence.

Last night, at 7:35 PM, May 13, 2010, I completed the odyssey I began Saturday, July 15, 2006 at 5:47:06 PM, 1398 days, 1 hour, 48 minutes and 17 seconds later, on Thursday, May 13, 2010 at 7:35:23 PM, an entire 3 years, 9 months, 28 days, 1 hour, 48 minutes, 17 seconds. I drank my 125th unique beer at Taco Mac and was officially recognized and honored with my Bachelors Degree in Brewniversity at Taco Mac.

The selection was perfect and fitting GD Hercules IPA. A very heavy aroma of Hops and the distinct grapefruit smell that makes your mouth water before your lips hit the mug. Served in the well earned 20 oz mug, the flavor seem enriched as I shared a toast with my fellow friends. My name will forever hang in honor as a member of the Taco Mac Brewniversity, I will hold my degree with great pride and use this knowledge gained from enjoying the variety of flavors around this great world to enlighten other beyond their simple Mich Ultra or Coor’s Light, to expand their horizons to the delight of their taste buds.

For those who have supported me, my wife, children, family and friends, I thank you. To my stomach, that distended when one more was called for and to my well muscled liver I again say thank you.

Robert C. Marinich

Monday, May 10, 2010

Slow, slow... s-l-o-w.

Woke up early, my arm seemed to move independent of my body to hit the snooze alarm… twice!! Finally my mind took over and I was out of bed and off to the gym. Today was an EZ day, 1 mile warm up, 2 miles at 6:54 and 1 cool down.

I figured this would be a piece of cake, after all I was hitting 6:23 on my last 5K. As I started running my quads we barking, immediately. What?

The first mile went by and I picked up the pace, Things were feeling good and I was working hard to keep from going too fast. I did too good a job. I ended up at 7:09 for the second mile, too slow. I hammered it a little more and ran a 6:47, for the second cum total of 13:56. Worse, it was not good, I labored. Dang. Likely there are half a dozen reasons, all I know is I was very angry with these results.

Off to the airport, and I’ll get to see my brother tonight, that is cool.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Show Time

Well, I woke up this morning and hit the streets running. Jay and I had not run together for a while and it was good to know we had a 10 mile run to catch-up. Jay has been training pretty hard so I was concerned with how I would hold up. My legs are just beat up these days though I am not doing much cross training, I am fighting fatigue. Sure enough, my left leg “quad” went down immediately. It hurt the entire run. I think Jay was in a similar state though. He had been pounding the bike and the Tuesday ride burnt is legs too. So there we were two aging athletes getting it done.

The last few days I have been getting ready for an art show, I have several new pieces that I am hanging and I am happy I signed up for the show as it has forced me to start painting again. I miss painting and enjoyed getting paint on my hands again. I hung the show yesterday and it will open tonight. A one night show, complete with music and nude body painting. This will be neat. It cost about $60 to hang the paintings, so I hope to at least break even, though honestly I do not expect to sell anything.

I have full day of work as I prepare for meetings next week. However I am really thinking ahead, after work, I am taking the boys to IronMan II. After that dinner and down to the show.

Carl 12 x 12

Moe 20 x 12

Zelda 20 x 20

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Uh... Cow!

Well the month of Aprils is over and May is already in full swing. I have been lacking in my journal writing and keeping my page up to date. Let’s face it, life is busy. There is too much to provide a long winded update, though I could do it, trust me I could do it in great detail, so rather I will hit some high-lights.

The boys are doing great, Wil’s soccer has been amazing and he is averaging about 2+ goals a game. Jack is doing well and over the past three weeks he participated in the spring AYFA football combine. He ended up taking first in 4 of the timed events and second in the fourth. As good as that is, he knocked it out of the park with his first 5k, running a 27:50, for a sub 9:00 minute 5K. Nice Job Jack. Kim continued to amaze us all by balancing everything, life, family, chores, wife, mother, friend and daughter.

I had a few highlight too, I picked up the head coaching job for AYFA, 7/8 graders, closed some good business deals, welded in my first patch panel on the Mustang, tied a PR for a 5K with a 19:50, (note: I thought my best 5K was a 19:21... wrong I looked at my bibs, yes I save the bibs from my races and write the times on the bib, the best time… 19:50, in 2005), so I tied my best ever.

Last but not least, I have an art show coming up. I did this for two reasons, one, it is nice to make some extra money, and two I have not painted in about 18 months. I needed to get back into it. Last night I painted this cow for the show. It felt good to be painting again. This is a little loose compared to my previous paintings, but I wanted it to be more spontaneous. His name is Mick and he will be at the show on Friday night. Come tot he show Friday and say hello to Mick.