Sunday, September 23, 2007

2 for the road...

Or, 13 days, 14 hours to go... not that I'm counting it down or anything.

Overall, I am very confident that this will be a success. The biggest battle will be the mental challenges over the last 5 miles. I've reviewed the course through running sections of it as well as visualizing myself over the course.

The last of the hard runs are over. For the next 2 weeks, I'll be tapering and letting the body heal (which it desperately needs). This was more than a 90 day training program (the norm for marathon training). It was 9 full months of rebuilding something that had been lost a long time ago. It was the inspiration of Sir Roger Bannister, the Perfect Mile, Bill Bowerman and the Men of Oregon. The passion and fire of PRE. The wisdom of Mike Manley and Steve McChesney. The spirit of those I've known and lost (Dan, Bill and Tom McChesney, my Dad). Bill McChesney Jr. is in the photo for this entry. Great guy from a wonderful family. I cried so very hard the day I found out he died in an accident.

This was a year of digging up my past and going back to my roots. I did all the hard work, but the mental preparation and guidance of Julie Browning were very important to get me this far. My wife Beth, who is everything I've wanted in a partner and best friend, and more...

I am a runner. It's in my blood. It's in my past. It's in my future.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Last of the long training runs

I'll admit it, I'm glad this last LSD run is over. 21 miles checking out the course again (technically it was 20.5 in 2:30, 7:19 pace). It went better than my last time over this route, so that's a good thing. The banner is out, the signs are on street posts, and the roses and mile markers have a fresh coat of paint. Portland Fit, Team in Training (leukemia) and some others were out doing their 21 mile benchmark also.

The highs this week: solid track workout, LSD went very well, working on a nutrition plan, being home, Red Sox crushing the Yankees Saturday. I also met with Jeff from Hammer Nutrition to get my race plan in place. Tested it out yesterday and it went pretty well, still need to make a few minor adjustments, but we should be good to go on race day for Hammer Gel and Endurolytes.

The lows: work, the Red Sox blowing a 6 run lead in the 8th on Friday to the damn Yankees (with Paps and Oki on the mound, how the hell that happened I'll never know). I love being threatened with lawyers in Mexico, really... it's such a joy.

Friday, September 14, 2007

I still miss you after all these years...

September can be a painful month sometimes. The first few years were the hardest. Sometimes I have it pushed so far down that it doesn't come to the surface. More often than not, I don't have it pushed down far enough and it hits me when I'm not expecting it.

It's been 7 years. I still remember it like it was yesterday. Last thing I said to him was something along the lines of "Pick up some limes on the way and get your ass over here!". Typical. When I got back to his house the next morning, I knew something had happened, something bad. Very bad.

I met Dan 21 years ago in the barracks at Memphis. He had just turned 20 and I was going to be 19 in a few months. The friendship that started that fall would last a lifetime. Even though our travels would take us to Japan, the middle East, Indian Ocean, and through months of Desert Storm, once we got back to solid ground the friendship would always be there waiting. He was my best man, my drinking buddy. We golfed, skied, cycled, chased women, and managed to always stay just out of trouble. He pointed me in the right direction when my second marriage failed. I was going to move in with him. I had moved in... on that horrible weekend before the accident. He was honest, the best friend you could ever ask for. Dan was all that and more... he was like a brother to me. He was at his peak, I was at my low... I would have traded places with him if I could.

If I knew he was going to get on his Connie, I would have talked him out of it. It was pouring hard where I was at and it was heading his way. He stopped under an overpass because the rain had stopped the traffic due to an accident. Some delinquents drove onto the emergency lane and clipped a pair of other motorcycles before they hit him. He wasn't even on the bike. His Connie had almost no damage. He was hit from behind and never saw it coming. I used to see the chain of events all the time, like I was there watching in slow motion. Despite what they said, I don't think that he ever regained any awareness. The machines kept him alive while his body was trying to let go. I can still see him lying there...

It's been 7 years since I lost my best friend, but he's here with me every day.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Back from hell... and beyond

OK, so as I predicted, the week was long and grueling. Tuesday fly out to Scottsdale (where it was 113 degrees). At least I was in my normal time zone and was up early enough to get in a dreadmill run (it was over 80 degrees at 6 am outside).

Wednesday, meetings in Scottsdale, then fly out that afternoon for Tampa (via Dallas). In the afternoons, flights are limited and you're dealing with the time difference. We arrive in Tampa around 12:30 AM, so by the time we make it to the hotel and get wound down, it's around 2 am.

Thursday, up at 6 to catch up on some e-mails (pissing off my overseas counterparts), eat breakfast, inject some coffee into my system, then off to more meetings. We run over and have an hour to get to the airport (just 5 minutes away fortunately) for my flight back home. For the record, it was mid 90's and high humidity in Tampa. The good part was getting an upgrade from Houston to Portland. Four hour flight, first class, and a free movie. The perfect way to end a trip.

So, in summary... 3 days, 5 segments of flying, 2 hotels, 113 degree temperature (but it's a dry heat...), and 4 presentations. Not a great way to keep a consistent training plan, but work does pay the bills.

I was going to to Pints to Pasta today, but after my massage on Friday, didn't think that would be wise. I'm almost fully recovered from Hood to Coast, so I did go out with the intent of doing 13 yesterday. I only did 10.5 though since I was still tired. This week should be a good one to get refocused on everything.

One more long run next weekend, then the next 2 are tapering off.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

5 weeks and counting...

One thing that needs to be said about Hood to Coast... it takes a long damn time to recover from that race. I don't care how good your conditioning is. It does things to you that nothing else does.

That said, this was a slow recovery week. I just could not make the legs go at times. It was like a forced death camp march. Like today... everything felt OK, I just couldn't get my legs to turn over. This happens, and I really can't complain because the LSD runs do teach me a few things. For example... my racing flats were great in that last leg (8 miles) of the H2C, but at about 13-14 miles... not so much. I could use them in a half, but I now know that they will not be what I need for 26.2. Also, I think it's time to start ditching the foot pod. For the next 5 weeks, it's about the length of time and focusing on the HR for the training runs. More importantly, I need another pair of Hayward's or Skylars's (same Nike shoe, different year made). My Zoom Hayward's have been the shoe to get me through all this, but there is no way that I can do another race in them. Mileage is too high and they are getting too warn in spots.

The preparation for all of this is really nothing more than mental floss for the deranged (at least from this point forward). Can I make improvements over the next 5 weeks? Sure, but they won't be much. Only consistent training, eating, stretching, and rest matter now. The rest is all mental.

I want to break 3. I just need to convince myself that I am capable of this. I think that with ideal conditions, I am capable of breaking 3 hours. However, as today indicated to me, I have to mentally prepare myself to overcome things as they potentially can happen.

This week will be a pain too, on the road again for work. Out to Phoenix Tuesday afternoon, over to Tampa Wednesday afternoon, then back home Thursday. Woohoo!