Saturday, April 26, 2008

Tight Lines

Been so wrapped up in Training for Boston that I didn't get much fishing in this year. That changed this weekend. I took the boys out to our favorite farm pond on Friday evening and we had a ball fishing for sun fish.

Went to the store and bought some night crawlers then headed out to the pond. Got there around 6:30 and things were slow at first. Tristan hooked up first with a spunky bluegill and it wasn't long until Kyler got one. Kyler is now able to bait his own hook and cast fairly well. He is developing the instincts for fishing, but Tristan has the innate ability to catch fish despite a short attention span. Some people just have that knack for catching fish. He caught three sunfish and a large mouth rather quickly then said, "daddy, I'm tired of playing fishing," then proceeded to explore the environs of the pond. Kyler meanwhile was getting a bit frustrated, so I helped him catch a few fish including a nice large mouth.

After Kyler caught his large mouth, he decide to join Tristan and explore, and gave his rod to me. The bobber went under and I set the hook. as I was reeling in a bluegill it was mauled by a nice large mouth and I let it take out line. I thought I had it, but it it disgorged the bluegill and swam away leaving the bluegill in bad shape. It's always interesting when a large fish attacks the fish you caught, but it's rare to land a fish that has taken the hooked fish. After this incident, I put on a Heddon torpedo, but was only able to catch two large bluegills.

This evening my friend Scot and his girlfriend came for supper. Afterwards, we headed down to the Donegal for some trout fishing. It was great to get out. I rigged up with my favorite nymph - a silver bead head - and on my second cast hooked into a nice trout that immediately tore me off. I put on some new tippet and another bead head and in the next pool caught a beautiful wild brown about 15". Fished for about another half hour before dark, but was unable to hook another fish. Oh well, it was nice to get out, and now that the days are getting longer, and I'm not as consumed with training, I'll be able to get out a little more.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Boston Marathon


I had a good week of training prior to Boston. Tuesday I was on the track for 6x400s; Wednesday I swam 2000 yards; Thursday I ran 3 miles at marathon pace. I felt good, and had no injuries. The plantar fasciitis was gone, however, I did have a little "ball-of-the-foot pain," which was/is probably an inflamed bursa sac.

We traveled to Boston on Saturday via Amtrak. We looked into flying, and considered driving, but in the end settled on the train. I don't really like to fly, and we didn't want the hassle of a car in Boston. The train ride wasn't too long an afforded the opportunity to just sit, relax and read. This is something we never get to do. The trip went fast, and our highlight was seeing Barack Obama in the Philadelphia train station.

Got into Boston around 5:00 and took the "T" to Cambridge. We stayed at the Harding House, which is a B&B. We booked it in November and got a good rate. It's good we booked early, because there weren't many rooms to be had in Boston - the Red Sox, Bruins, and Celtics were in town along with over 25,000 marathoners. There were a lot of marathoners staying in the Harding House including runners from Italy and the U.K. Four guys from London who were staying there were running for a Catholic charity as 3 nuns and a priest. Their picture made it to the Boston Globe online.

After checking in, we headed to a Thai restaurant for supper then headed back into Boston to meet the members of the Runner's World Forum at the Beer Works. We had a great time and it was nice to finally meet the people I had been communicating with for the last three months.

Got up early Sunday morning, and headed into Boston for the Women's Olympic Marathon Trials. I was going to run into Boston, but opted to take the "T". The trials were great. I was at mile 4/10/16/22. I saw Magdalena Lewy Boulet lead the pack for almost 23 miles, but around mile 22 Deena Kastor made her move and reeled her in around mile 23, which was just on the other side of the street from mile 22. I wish I would have been at the finish, because I heard that there was quite a race for third. I also saw Joan Benoit Samuelson set a women's over 50 record.

Headed back to the hotel after the trials and Tina and I went to the fitness Expo. We Got there around noon and I claimed my coveted Boston Bib, the holy grail of marathoners. Spent some time in the expo browsing and purchased the obligatory Boston jacket and souvenirs for my Dad and step-mom as well as for the boys. After the expo, we headed into the Quincy Market for lunch at McCormick and Schmick's and some more browsing. Headed back to the B&B and took a nap. At supper, we headed up to Harvard Square for supper. We were looking for an Italian restaurant, but settled for a Bertucci's and pizza. We got back to the B&B around 8:00 p.m. I assembled all my gear, set the alarm and fell asleep rather quickly.

Race Day


Got up at 5:00 a.m. and dressed. The B&B made little breakfast bags for all the runners, so I had a bite to eat and a little coffee. Headed to the "T" around 5:30 and was at the Buses in Boston Common by 6:00 a.m. Didn't have to wait too long to board. I sat with a guy named Andy who ran the race a few times before. This year he was running for a charity. I met him on the "T" and it was nice to share the ride and learn a little more about Boston and the course. As we were driving to Hopkinton, I grew aware just how long 26.2 miles is. You don't really notice it on a looping course , but on a point-to-point course like Boston it is apparent: "damn, I have to run the whole way back."

We got into Hopkinton sometime around 7:20. The Athlete's Village wasn't crowded yet and there were no lines at the porta potties (This would change quickly). Andy, because he was running for a charity, went to a different location, so I was on my own for awhile, but met up with a few guys from the forum. While at the village, I ate a bagel and a banana, drank some coffee and walked around a little. The time passed quickly, and I was more relaxed than I thought I would be. Went for a warm-up run around 9:00 and started to drink some Gatorade Endurance Formula which was available.

Around 9:20 the announcement was made to head to the corrals. Like a migration of caribou, thousands of runners began making there way into downtown Hopkinton. On the way, we threw our belongings onto a bus bound for Boston. I made a last stop at a porta potty and had to wait in line for almost 20 minutes. I didn't think I was going to make it to the corals for the start of the race. No sooner did I step into the potty, then the military fly-over took place. Oh well, having been in the military I have sen numerous flyovers, so I wasn't too upset. Got into my corral with about 5 minutes to spare and waited shoulder to shoulder with the other runners for the start of the race.

Miles 0-5

I'm going to start by saying that I had it in my head that I was going to PR even though people said Boston is a hard course to PR on. I also had it in my head that the Newton Hills weren't going to be that bad, hell, I'm from PA, I know what hills are. Lastly, I had it in my head that I put my time in early in the morning, even rising at 4:00 a.m. in 13 degree weather to train, and I was ready - I earned it. All that meant jack squat when the sun came out right at the start. I was not ready for heat. The air temp wasn't all that bad, but the heat coming off the macadam was brutal, more so because I had not trained one day in temps above 40 degrees, or in bright sunshine. I went out way too fast with the pack, but it was hard not too with all the cheering and revelry. By mile 5, I was hitting sub 7:00 paces at times. Way too fast, but I felt good: I was running Boston. My first warning sign was my heart rate. It was running about 10 beats per minute faster than it usualy was at the same paces I hit during training. I should have heeded this warning and slowed down immediately going from goal #1, to PR, to goal #2, BQ. But, I didn't; I was enjoying the race and the scenery, and like I said, I felt fine.

Miles 6-10

Still moving along, settling in, and still thinking PR. The hills were rolling and I started to notice ever so slightly that I was not feeling quite right on the downhills, something just wasn't right. Kept going, passed more runners than passed me, and never gave a thought to adjusting my goals. Then came Mlle 10, or around there somewhere. I started over a hill when all of a sudden my right hamstring tightened, Oh Crap, a cramp was starting. I immediately got out a Power Gel and washed it down with Gatorade, but my legs felt exactly like they have in the past at mile 20 on other marathons. I thought, no, not mile 10, mile 20 maybe, but not mile 10. I knew what I was in for, so I immediately amended my goal to #2, a BQ time.

Miles 11-15

The cramps were not going away despite lowering my pace to about a 7:55 per mile. The sun was really up now and I was sweating like a pig. I was hydrating every chance I could, so I thought I would be okay, but my pace began to dwindle to about 8:05. I began having thoughts of coming all this way only to fall out of the race before the finish line. I was determined to finish, and decided I could put up with the pain as long as I lowered my pace even more. It would have to be goal #3 today, finish the Boston Marathon. As I came into Wellesley I was starting to feel a little better. If I recall, it was slightly uphill to to the college and for some reason gradual inclines were easier on my legs than declines. The Wellesley girls were screaming and I got caught up in the moment of being in the "scream tunnel," and my pace actually dropped back under 8:00. After Wellesley, I again began to experience cramps on the declines.

Miles 16-20

And then came Newton and the famous hills. Well, at mile 1 they would have been hills, but at this point in the race they seemed larger than the Appalachian Mountains that I trained in at my dad's. And they took there toll. My legs just wouldn't work, and my pace fell of significantly. Even on the backsides I couldn't make up time for fear of having my legs completely cramp on the downhills. One hill, two hills, three hills then the big one - Heartbreak. Son of a &*%$#@, who were the evil beings who devised this course. I knew it was all downhill once I got to the top; I knew Tina was waiting up there; and I knew I could finish Boston, but I had to get up the hill. At this time, I created sub-goal #4, to finish, but to finish without walking. If I could run up this hill, then the time, no matter how bad would be at least tolerable, so I kept running and running and running, and then I heard the BC students. (Ahh, to be one of those bastards. The only running they were doing was to the bathroom to expel the morning's beer.). I was at the top. Where was Tina? Then I heard my name. It was Tina. I stopped briefly to give her a kiss and to get a swig of water. I told her I would See her in Boston, then I was on my way. And what a beautiful sight awaited me. There it was, the city of Boston in the distance. I was going to make it.

Mile 21-26

I'd like to build the drama. I'd like to say my legs came back and I managed to run 7:00 minute miles crossing the line in 3:30.59 to just BQ. I'd like to say that my legs completely cramped but by sheer force of will I crawled to the finish. But, the last 5+ miles were simply run at a plodding pace in order to stave off cramps. I knew I would finish. I did have a brief resurgence at mile 24 when I heard Pink Floyd's "Mother" blaring from an apartment. I though of my mom and her bout with cancer and was able to pick up the pace. Unfortunately, my legs only sympathized for so long, and I was back to plodding. At mile 25, under the Citgo sign, I had another resurgence, but again my legs decided a mile was too far for an all-out effort. So, I came into Boston in a plodding manner and turned onto Hereford Street. Boylstan Street was the next block: a left turn, 300 yards and I'd be home. Then I heard the voice of Rob Duffield. I ran the Got-the-Nerve Triathlon with Rob last spring and when I started to flag at the end, He yelled to me, "finish with dignity." I heard those words in my head on Hereford and decided to release my inner quarter miler. I figured that even if my legs completely buckled, I could crawl to the finish from here. So, off I went. I put on a sprinting spectacle rivaled only by the Elite women's race. I passed everyone in front of me and was encouraged even more when I heard someone yell "look at that guy go" (I assume he was talking about me, because I was going and nobody else was) Even though I was hobbled almost the whole race, I finished with dignity and had my moment of glory on Boylstan Street. I completed the Boston Marathon: 3:39.07.


Got my space blanket, got my medal, got my belongings, found Tina, and got a cab and headed back to Cambridge for a needed shower. Throughout the afternoon other runners made their way back to the B&B. We all exchanged race stories and of course congratulated each other. I was starving by 5:00, so we headed back into Harvard Square. We went to John Harvard's Brew House where I had meatloaf, mashed potatoes, asparagus, clam chowder onion rings and a few pints of their pale ale. I was feeling tired after supper, but decided I wasn't going to get to go out in a city again anytime soon, so we headed back into the Quincy district to celebrate. While there, we met a couple from Washington. The husband, Jim, ran the marathon. We hung out with them until around 11:00 and then headed back to Cambridge.

On Tuesday morning we boarded the train along with other runners and headed home. At stops along the way more and more runners got off. By Lancaster, I was the only one. Got into Mount Joy at 6:05 where we were greeted by our fan club who gave us enthusiastic hugs and kisses.

Final Thoughts

I've been thinking about my less than stellar time, and have these final thoughts:

1) I was not prepared for warm weather. It's easier to run a fall marathon when it's cool after training in the summer than it is to run a warm spring marathon after training in the winter.

2) Unlike a fall marathon, I didn't bike as much for x-training. I swam more, but this didn't translate to running as well as biking does. The legs just weren't as strong this spring.

3) I drank too much Gatorade Endurance formula. I probably should have drank more water.

4) I should have slowed down a little after noticing the increase in my heart rate.

5) I went out too fast.

6) I underestimated the hills, both inclines and declines.

7) I qualified for and ran the Boston Marathon, regardless of numbers 1-6.

8) Marathoning has a way of humbling you. You think you're in great shape and a great runner then a woman passes you with a sign on her back that says "Baby on Board."

Boston Globe Marathon Site

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Road to Boston XVII

This is it, one week until the Boston Marathon. I had a good week of training and I'm feeling confident going into the final preparations for the race.

Monday I rested. Tuesday I ran 5x1000m cruise intervals with a 1:00 minute RI between each 1000. Wednesday I swam: 8 laps swimming followed by 2 laps kicking repeated 5 times. Thursday I ran 2 miles easy, 3 miles at 6:45, then 1 mile easy. Normally I would have rested on Friday, but the D.F.C.A. kid's fishing derby was Saturday morning, so I had to get a workout in. I rode the bike trainer for 40 minutes then immediately went for a 10 minute run. Today I did my last long run: 10 miles in 1:12, which is a 7:15 pace, 25 seconds below my goal pace.

This will be my last "Road to Boston" post. I'm planning on some 400s on Tuesday, swimming Wednesday and Friday, and around 4-5 miles Thursday. I will also run about 3 miles Sunday before the marathon. My next post on this subject will be my race report.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Soon This Will Be Reality

Playing around with Voicethread today in an inservice program. The only images I had to play with were some fishing shots from the Hughes River in the Shenandoah National Park.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Down The "Swatty"

Got on the water for the first time this year. Brian, Matt, Matt, Kyler, Tristan and I paddled three hours on the Swatara Creek. We put in at Jonestown and Paddled to near Harper's Ferry. The water was running nice and clear; the air temp was about 55 degrees. The sky was overcast, but the sun came out a little towards the end of the run. We saw numerous, kingfishers, wood ducks, red tailed hawks and two large owls. We also saw some waterfowl that I'm still trying to ID. Click for some information on the Swatara Creek Water Trail. Enjoy the pictures.

The Road To Boston XVI

Two weeks to Go!!! Taper is going good, and I'm feeling and running well right now. I may be able to PR. I went from not being sure I was going to run; to running just to complete the race; to running a BQ time; to now: a chance at a PR. Monday was a rest day. Tuesday was one of my least favorite workouts: 8x800s at 3:05 with a 1:30 rest interval. Wednesday I swam 2150 yards. Thursday was a mile warm-up then 5 miles at 7:01. Both Tuesday's and Thursday's paces were below what my plan/schedule called for. This is what got me thinking about a PR. I rested Friday. Saturday I ran a half marathon and pushed it to see how I would feel. I managed a 1:37/7:26 pace. I felt good after that, so as long as the next two weeks go well I'm going to try and run Boston between a 7:30 and 7:40 pace. Sunday I rode for an hour before church. I pushed it, but not hard, and managed a 16.9 mph pace.

Can't believe it is almost here; I can now actually start looking at 15 day forecasts for the Boston area.