Friday, November 30, 2007

Tagged By Susan

I was tagged a while back by Susan so now I have to come up with 5 random facts about me so here goes.

1. I am very focused - sometimes to the point of obsession. If there is a goal or task at hand I'm going to get it done, whatever it takes.

2. I can drive most anything - about the only thing I haven't driven is an airplane. When I was 14 my Dad let me drive his 18 wheeler truck. Boats, cars, trucks, motorcycles, heavy equipment no problem. Fire Trucks are my specialty now being qualified on 10+ trucks in our department.

3. I love electronics - computers, gadgets, and especially 2 way radios. I am a Ham Radio operator and with also being a firefighter I have at least eight various 2 way radios capable of talking anywhere in the world. If you need communications I can get it done!

4. I certified many years ago as a Radiological Monitor with the Fire Dpt. What the heck is that?? Well, I learned how to use a Geiger Counter in case there was a radiation spill. Not that I would ever do it anyway, if that happens its time to RUN! Just one of the weird classes I have had.

5. I can fix almost anything. If its broke, I can fix it. It might not be fast but it will get done if there is anyway I can do it.

I am going to tag Annette, Cheryl, Kim, and Kirsten to reveal 5 of their random facts.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Tuesday night is my "busy" night most weeks. I not only do the running clinic, but it is also our regular training night for my fire department. Since this week I couldn't run I opted to get to FD training on time. After sitting in on a quick Fire Fighters Association meeting, we were given two options for training for the night. 1) Go to station two and give the rookies some pump training on the engines or 2) stay and take a CPR class. Since my CPR card had just recently expired and I really didn't feel like crawling around on the engines and playing in the water I elected to stay and do the CPR class.

I can't even count the number of times I have been CPR certified over the years. It seems like every couple years they change the standards and this year was no different. We were doing the American Heart Association Health Care Provider course and one of our MEMS medics was giving the class. It was pretty much old school to me, after almost 15 years in the fire service, I already knew what to do, though CPR is not something that is done everyday, I have done it on real people though. Most of the people in the class haven't even did a manikin yet. It was still good to brush up on it.

One major change, now its pretty much thirty compressions and two breaths weather its one person or two person CPR. The thing now is that studies have found that compressions help circulate the oxygen that is left in the lungs so this is the most important part. I can remember when it was 5/1 and 15/2 so 30/2 is easier. They also changed hand placement. Now it is directly between the nipples. Bottom line is this, ANY CPR is better than no CPR. If you ever have to do it your not going to get in trouble for not counting right or having your hand a millimeter out of place. Also, it is against most health care providers policies to do mouth to mouth so unless its a close relative you are taking a big chance on getting something you can't get rid of. The class is pretty boring stuff and it's one of those things you never want to have to use, but everyone should know it.

Oh yeah, I also got my training certificate's for School Inspections and Basic Arson Detection last night. I took these classes back in August and October. Arson Investigation is really cool stuff to study. It's CSI for fire. I have attended many classes on Arson and they are always interesting and informative. Since we are a volunteer department we do not conduct full blown arson investigations. We try to determine a cause and if there is sufficient evidence to warrant an investigation we turn it over to the State Fire Marshall. They get paid to be in court and we don't. Heck, we don't get paid period! So support your local professional volunteers, we need it.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Sports Massage

Well today I got my first ever sports massage. Annette had been for her first the week before the marathon. She loved it and pretty much all the local runners here told me that I had to go see "Christy" after the marathon. With the shape that my legs were in for the first few days I figured that nothing short of an MRI, casts and lots of pain pills would help. Luckily things did get better through the end of last week and Annette scheduled me an appointment for today. All I can say is WOW. It was AWESOME. I did not realize that muscles had so many knots in them. I could feel the knots rolling out as she massaged my legs. She said I was still a little tense but I think that was because I wasn't sure how hard she would be massaging my sore spots. We discussed these up front and I told her where all my aches and pains were. She massaged all of them pretty hard at times but none of it was painful. Afterwards she basically said that my legs were trashed. They are very tight and the tendons in my calves are all stressed. She recommended taking it easy for a while to let things heal up with icing and finger massages to help too. No heat. Even though she is not a doctor, I felt much better after hearing what she was telling me. So, I have pretty much ordered myself to two weeks of rest and no running. Not sure if I can make it that long but I'm not going to run any until my leg feels normal again. Then I'll start back slow and easy. I'll probably go back for another massage in a couple weeks. I really didn't want to leave today, it was that good, very relaxing and it did help a lot. Massage will now be a regular part of training and racing for me.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Sunday Workout

I got in my first real workout since the marathon. No, I did not run. I was able to make it to my upstairs workout room and did about 45 minutes of upper body and abs then I tackled the exercise bike just to see if the leg would do it. Yes, I could pedal with no pain at all. Only time I would feel anything was when I would twist my lower leg a little. I rode the bike for 20 minutes easy. I could do plank on the floor which surprised me but I only held it for just a few seconds. I can do side leg lifts which work the IT band with no pain. So I'm thinking it's not an IT band issue at least. It has to be a calf muscle strain or tear. If it's not 100% better tomorrow I will be making an appointment with a Sports Medicine Doctor to find out for sure.

Walking is much better, Saturday I could actually put my pants on without holding on to anything. This will be the first week since I started running in August '06 that I won't log any running miles at all. Kinda sucks because last year I was able to get a couple miles in even when I had IT Band problems but thats ok, I just ran a marathon and I have no regrets at all. I would do it again tomorrow even with the same outcome.

Rehabbing an injury is just another part of training so I'm not going to bitch and whine about being injured. If your going to be an athlete thats just part of the game. Now I have a new training plan to work on and that is to get back to where I can run again.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Injury update

Today my walking strides are a little longer and it doesn't feel like my leg is going to come out from under me so I guess it's a little better but not much. I tried to get a Dr's appointment today but guess what? They are all closed! I guess no one better get sick or injured during a holiday week. Today was the first day I have been out of the house since coming home from work on Wednesday night so that was nice. I even got to use our whirlpool tub which seemed to help loosen the calf up some. I'm really not that concerned with running at this point, I just want to walk half way normal again. Being stuck in the house has allowed me some time to organize some of our race photos so I guess it's not all bad. Tomorrow I have to figure out a way to at least do an upper body workout or something.

A bunch of the Cruiser's are running the Great Duck Race tomorrow in Stuttgart. It's a small 10K race that Annette ran last year. It's a flat and fast course and most of them are just running it as a training run for the Memphis 1/2 Marathon on December 1st. Wish I could be there! Good luck guys!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Post Marathon Wednesday

I guess its time to declare an official injury. Ever since the marathon my right leg has been giving me problems. It started during the marathon and I ran with it. At times I could barely walk but I could run once I got started. It hasn't changed much since Monday. I can walk, but only very very slowly. If I put weight on it its ok at times, and then sometimes if I twist it a little I have a pretty bad pain. Sometimes it just feels like its in the top outside of my right calf. Other times it feels like it radiates all the way up to my hip. The calf itself is still very tight. At times I can put all my weight on the leg and it feels fine, other times if I'm walking it just hits like a brick and I almost fall from the pain. It feels a lot like my IT band felt last year when it was hurt but I don't think the IT goes down below the knee. So, I'm thinking it has to be either a calf strain or calf tear. Maybe even a tendon. Worst scenario would be a stress fracture I suppose. I really don't have a clue and it is very frustrating not really knowing. I can't seem to find anyone or any info on a similar injury yet. With the holiday it's pretty much futile to try to see a doctor. I do have an appointment Monday for a massage if I can walk then. So here I am 3 days after running 26.2 miles, not even able to walk to the bathroom. What I really hate the worst is the fact that all the nay sayers to running can say, I told you so.

By the way, I really did have a good marathon and would do it again tomorrow even if I knew I would be hurt. It was that awesome.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Tulsa Route 66 Race Report

Ok race fans, here is my attempt at a race report. Actually I could write a lot more but hopefully this sums most of it up and I apologize in advance if it's too long.

Tulsa Route 66 Marathon – 11/18/07

Annette, Kelly and I all drove down together early on Friday morning. After getting checked in to our rooms, we tied to find a place to eat. We were staying at a Hampton Inn in Sand Springs. We drove around for a while and couldn’t find anything but fast food. We wanted something good! We found a Western Sizlin and stopped there but about that time a whole football team arrived so we just left. We didn’t want to wait in line. From there we just went on down to the Expo.

Let me tell you, the roads around Tulsa are some of the worst I have seen when under construction. The exit to our hotel was blocked off and the exit to the Expo was blocked off with construction. No detour signs or anything. The downtown area looks like a war zone with road construction everywhere. Somehow I lucked out and found the Convention Center.

The Expo itself was ok. Not real big but there were several running stores there with some good deals. We got our race packets, bought a few things and headed back to the hotel to wait on the others that were coming in that evening. After some of the others arrived we all wanted food very badly. Since there was nothing good really close by, we opted for the Western Sizlin we had been at earlier. It was still a good meal.

On Saturday morning we met with Brenda, Vickie, Paulette, Kim, and Kelly to do a short run in remembrance of Ryan Shay who died during the Olympic Marathon Trials in New York. I only ran 2 miles, Annette, Kim, Brenda and Kelly did 3 miles. Vic and Paulette just did a walk. It was sunny and very warm, even though it was 45 degrees.

Saturday Morning Run - Kelly, Kim, Paulette, Annette, Vicki, Kim

Later that morning we went to the expo again so the others could get their race packets. Several other Cruisers were driving up Saturday morning and they were going to meet us there. We did the whole expo thing again, but we were getting hungry again. We decided to eat a snack there and wait on the others then go eat. Well, things took longer so we decided to find the race course and drive it. Somehow I found it. I guess I was lucky again. We didn’t drive it all but got a general idea of most of it. We didn’t however anticipate the hills that we would run in the race. That was probably a good thing though. After that we headed back to the hotel to wait on the others. The plan was to go to dinner early so our food would have time to settle.

We ended up going to Spaghetti Warehouse in the downtown area. Somehow I got picked to be the lead vehicle and by some stroke of luck I drove right to the place. I think there was a total of 15 of us there for dinner. It was awesome! Carb loading Saturday Night

After getting back to the hotel everyone went to their rooms to get everything ready for the race. We were all getting very anxious and excited at this point. I actually slept really well that night which was a big surprise.

Race Day:
We were all up early Sunday morning to hit the continental breakfast before leaving at 6:45am. Everyone arrived at the race site together around 7:15am. I think there were 15 in our group with 3 carloads of people. The weather was perfect, about 45 degrees at start time. I think it was cooler than that actually. As the race went on it probably got into the upper 60’s to low 70's and there was a little fog along the river early.

The group - Front row: Rock, Annette, Bob, Lisa, Jane(blue), Cindy(green), Andrea, Susan, Brenda
Back row: Rick, Me, Kim, Kelly, Vicki, Paulette

Lining up at the start

The race has begun!

After the start, we went 300 yards and then had an uphill to a bridge that crossed the Ark. River. By mile one I was ready to dump my throw away shirt. Jane and I ran together for probably 23+ miles which really helped me conquer this beast. There were several cool bands playing during the first 3 miles and then one every now and then afterwards which added some fun. We had our pace down, our nutrition down and were just behind the 4:45 pace group for about 4-5 miles. We tried to slow it down a little with our pie in the sky goal being anything under 5.

At about mile 7 I started having issues with my right leg just below my knee on the outside. Still not sure what it is. But I felt it all week thinking it was just pre-marathon pains. We were doing the run/walk program and took our quick walk breaks pretty religiously every mile. We were probably 1-1:30 ahead of pace at this point then at mile 8 I had to stop for just a few and try to stretch my leg so we lost some time here. It didn't help any that there was probably only 8 miles or so that wasn't concrete in the whole race! By mile 9 I was thinking there is no way I can do 26.2 with this leg acting up. For a split second I thought of DNF then I thought no way. I’ll finish if I have to walk or drag my leg in. It was very hard to get moving after the water stops. I probably looked like a lame horse or something but I was determined to finish. The 5:00 pace group passed us around 8 or so and I knew we couldn't hang with them. That was kind of a downer. At that point it was just about finishing. Once I got running I was ok which was weird. Walking hurt worse, running was not bad. A few times we even ran extra hard to make up time. I think we took a bathroom break around 10 which always loses time but we kept moving forward. After 13.1 I took 3 Motrin to help the leg and a mile or so later it actually felt better but it was too late to make up the time.

It was pretty humid, and we did sweat a lot. Lucky for us we packed our own stuff because the water stops seemed too far apart and I only saw a couple that had gels. They were spaced about 2-2.5 miles apart but we ran past a lot of them.

Somewhere around 14 we went through the town of Jenks. It was really cool as it had little shops along the road and they were all playing Christmas music. It was deserted though except for the runners so it was some what surreal.

Jenk's looked like a ghost town.

By mile 15 I had actually figured out how to start running again after walking. If I bent my knees and squatted down with my hips a little it was easier to start and much faster. Usually it’s a struggle for me when I get more miles down. Today it was a struggle from 7 on. Having someone to run with made all the difference in the world and without Jane I would have struggled much more. I think we helped each other a lot, if nothing else we always knew when it was gel time and when it was electrolyte time. We did a gel every hour and electrolytes every 30 minutes or so. Every mile we got a drink from our bottles. I’d have to say nutritionally we did it right. We never hit the wall.

It seemed like from 14 on the miles were longer than a mile but we knew they were not. Around mile 18 there was a band playing some head banger music and they were singing something like “you’re not going to make it”. It was weird….we needed some good rock and roll and did not want to hear that crap! I think at 19 we had some Belly Dancers on the corner. They were just standing there so I told them to start dancing, we needed some motivation!

I thought I was seeing things, belly dancers on the course

Mile 20 was a nice sight to see, I told Jane that it would be like walking on the moon after this, going places where we have never been, but then the race director tricked us. We turned into a nice little area with bars lining the streets and there was a big Star Bucks. The first one we saw in Tulsa in fact! At the end of that street we made a left and then it was all HILLS! These were not little hills either. The race director told us on Friday that it was only gently rolling hills. Wrong!! These were close to Greystone hills. The bad thing was it was like this up until half a mile from the finish. There was not very many nice down hills either. Needless to say, not very many people were running up these. I ran up a couple which felt good on my calves but after 21 miles, I really didn’t want to get a muscle cramp at the end and with the bad leg I was pushing the edge anyway. We plodded on, and I think at about mile 23 Jane went on ahead of me a little ways. I tried to get her to earlier but she wouldn’t.

This is usually the start of "The Wall" but it was the home stretch for us

There was a couple decent short down hills around 25 that I took advantage of. At one point I thought I might finish under 5:25 then I’d see another hill so I had to re-adjust. Then it was 5:30, and then it was 5:35 which I did beat. All the hills at the end were just WRONG!!
Kim, Kelly and Annette running me in to the finish

Just before 26 after I turned the corner I saw Annette and some of the girls running towards me. That was a sight for sore eyes! They ran me in till just before the finish chute where I did a short sprint to finish it off. The rest of the group was all there cheering me also as I rounded the corner. It was awesome!! Final chip time, 5:32:45.

Me running to the finish line

I actually still had some gas in the tank at the end but the leg just didn’t work good, mainly walking. Walking afterwards was probably harder than running those hills. I moved very slowly, but it’s just the calf or whatever is wrong. My hips were really starting to hurt on those hills too. Afterwards I got my medal which is AWESOME and my finisher’s shirt which is a long sleeve tech shirt. I did get one piece of Pizza but all the food was gone.

Tech shirt and medal

The super cool "My First Marathon" medal. You can't buy this, you have to earn it!

The best part of this whole experience was the support of all the Cruisers. Just knowing that they were all waiting at the finish helped to keep me motivated. I was not going to DNF and let them down! Annette finished her 1/2 Marathon in 2:18:15 and set a new PR. Jane's final marathon time was 5:30:07 and was her first marathon.

Annette finishing her 1/2 Marathon

Will I do another?? Heck Yeah! Even though there were many times I was thinking why in the world were we doing this, it was still a lot of fun. One other thing about this race was the marathoners that were running with us at times were so nice. We carried on conversations with so many people and they really liked our Cruiser singlets. We met and ran with one guy that ran a marathon in Mountain Home on Saturday and then Tulsa Sunday. He said he has run 79 marathons so far since 1999. He doesn’t run them for speed, but for the accomplishment.

I can say this was one heck of an accomplishment and yes, it was hard. I could have had a much better time if it hadn’t been for the injury but like everyone says, you just never know what the day will bring till it happens. I was lucky to finish.

Post race - I can barely walk this morning. My hurt leg does not want to cooperate at all. Sleeping was hard last night, I think everything from my hips down was hurting. But this is what the marathon is about. Conquering and overcoming whatever it throws at you. Guess it’s on to recovery now.

Here were my mat time splits:

10K – 1:09:57 – 11:17 pace
15K – 1:52:22 – 12:05 pace
Half split (13.1m) – 2:35:52 – 11:54 pace
27K – 3:27:06 – 12:25 pace
33K – 4:17:28 – 12:34 pace
Final - 26.2 miles – 5:32:45 – 12:45 pace
Avg. Heart rate – 162
4142 Calories

Special thanks first to my wife Annette for being there for me and taking part in almost all of my training runs and taking care of me post race. Jane, for being a great running partner and putting up with me for 23+ miles along with several training runs. Vickie, for her experience, advice and inspiration throughout my journey. Brenda for always having the right training routes along with inspiration, advice and caring. Coach Dennis for his encouraging words that always kept me thinking “I can do this.” And of course, all of the Cabot Cruisers which are too many to name. Their support, experience, wisdom and inspiration always kept me thinking that there is no way I can fail.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

I kicked it on Route 66!

Quick report. The Tulsa Route 66 Marathon is over. I did it,I got the medal and the shirt! 5:32:45 final time. Race report to follow soon!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

11 hours and counting

I can't believe I will be running 26.2 miles in less than 11 hours now. Everyone keeps asking how I'm feeling, if I'm nervous, etc. Well, I am feeling great. I'm worried about my right leg/calf as I have had a weird twinge there for the past couple days but I ran 2 miles this morning and it felt fine. One of the girls told me that it was normal to feel stuff like that before a marathon. I have probably hydrated more in the past two days than I ever have. I have 4 packs of gels, some sport beans and some peanut butter crackers in my running belt. To top that off I will start off with a bottle of Accelerade and plenty of Hammer Endurolyte tablets to keep my electrolytes in check.
I have my chip on the shoe and everything is laid out. Still wondering if I put the race number in the right place and if I have the right shirt. It will be fine. If todays weather is any indication on tomorrow, it will be a warm run. Time to get to bed. I'll report more tomorrow after the race if I feel like it.

Getting gear laid out

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Journey Begins

We leave for Tulsa today and it's probably a good thing. If someone at work had to ask another dumb question or do something stupid I think I would croak. So lucky for them, I took today off!

Everyone asks if am I excited. I really don't know that excited is the word. It's more like exworried. I'm probably more worried about what might or will go wrong than the excitement itself. I'm sure that will change as soon as I get to Tulsa with all the other runners. The taper really hasn't felt like a rest to me. Just an extra day or two off from running is all. I packed some last night. I have one bag that is full of nothing but running gear. It's so full I don't know if I can carry it! I think I have everything in there except for an ice bath.

Off to pack some more and get the drive over with. Pre-race and post race reports to follow. The journey begins!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Marathon

This was written by Dean Karnazes and some may have read it before. I thought it was fitting to post here just a few days before my marathon.


The Marathon is not about running, it is about salvation. We spend so much of our lives doubting ourselves, thinking we’re not good enough, not strong enough, not made of the right stuff. The Marathon is an opportunity for redemption. “Opportunity,” because the outcome is uncertain. “Opportunity,” because it is up to you, and only you, to make it happen.

There is no luck involved in finishing a marathon, the ingredients required to tackle this formidable challenge are straightforward: commitment, sacrifice, grit, and raw determination. Plain and simple.

So you set about in your training to prepare your body for the rigors of running 26.2 miles. You train like crazy, dedicating yourself wholeheartedly to the challenge ahead, pouring everything you’ve got into it. But you know the Marathon will ask for more. In the dark recesses of you mind, a gloomy voice is saying, you can’t. You do your best to ignore this self-doubt, but the voice doesn’t go away.

The Marathon shakes you to the core. It deconstructs your very essence, stripping away all your protective barriers and exposing your inner soul. At a time when you are most vulnerable, the Marathon shows no pity. The Marathon tells you it will hurt you, that it will leave you demoralized and defeated in a lifeless heap on the roadside. The Marathon tells you that it can’t be done, not by you. “Ha!” it torments you, “In your dreams.”

You fight back, however, and stand courageously at that starting line, nervously awaiting the gun to go off. When it does, you put your head down and charge off into the abyss with the knowledge that you either paid your dues, or skimped along the way. There is no lying to yourself, the Marathon sees right through excuses, shortcuts and self-transgressions.

All goes well for the first half. But slowly, step by step, the pain mounts, while the intensity of the endeavor amplifies. You remain steadfast, knowing that you did not skimp, that you did not take shortcuts along the way, that every footstep was earned through months of diligent preparation. Still, with each wearing thrust forward, that little nagging inclination of self-doubt progressively advances toward the surface of your awareness.

Then, at mile twenty, the voice looms louder than ever. It hurts so bad you want to stop. You must stop. But you don’t stop. This time, you ignore the voice, you tune out the naysayers who tell you you’re not good enough, and you listen only to the passion in your heart. This burning desire tells you to keep moving forward. To continue putting one foot boldly in front of the other, and don’t stop. Courage comes in many forms, today you will have the courage to keep trying, to not give up, no matter how dire things become. And dire they do become. At the 26 mile mark, you can barley see the course any longer, your vision is faltering as you teeter on the edge of consciousness.

And then, suddenly before you, looms the finish line. Tears stream down your face as you cover those final few steps. Now you are finally able to answer back to that nagging, pervasive voice with a resounding: Oh yes I can!

You burst across that finish line and are liberated from the prison of self-doubt and limitations that have forever held you captive. You have learned more about yourself in the past 26.2 miles than you have known in a previous lifetime, now you are freed from the chains that bind. Even if you can’t move for a week, you have never been so free.

As you are being carried away from the finish line, wrapped in a flimsy mylar blanket, barely able to raise your head, you are at peace. That daunting adversary that, as a runner, has haunted you for an entire lifetime is now your liberator, you fondest ally. You have done what few will ever do—you have done what you thought you could never do—and it is the most glorious, unforgettable awakening ever. You are, a Marathoner, and you will wear this distinction not on the lapel of your clothing, but in your heart, for the rest of your life.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

3 days and counting

Thats right. Just a little over three days till the big event. I am feeling pretty good, not much different than I have before any other long run weekend. Only thing, this time I'll be going longer than ever before! Mentally I can make it. Physically I can make it if my legs will hold up. I am still worried about the calf cramping but I have a plan for that. My achilles may or may not hold up but I'm thinking I can limp a 12:00 minute pace if I have to. I wish I was running in new shoes but I just couldn't make the transition in time so my old shoes will have to do. Socks are good, shorts are good. I have various tested options in shirts depending on race day temps. I'm taking almost every piece of running gear I have just in case. It's a good thing I bought a new Nike bag to carry it all in. I have my stock of gels ready. Need to pick up some Accelerade to take tomorrow. I have a pace figured out, I am still debating in my head on my run/walk strategy.

Friday night and Saturday should be fun. There will be a big group of Cruisers showing up. I'm sure Saturday night we will carb load at some Italian place. There are only 4 that are running the full. The others are running the half. The half this year will start one hour after the full. Which is good for our group, at least they won't have to wait as long for me to finish that way.

I wanted to run tonight but instead we did Colton's. Guess my protein loading is over for today. I'll sneak a short run in tomorrow evening and then I am done till Saturday. I did get 4.3 miles in last night at the running clinic. Coach Dennis told me just to run an easy 3-4 and do some strides so thats what I did, or tried to do. The warm up run to our normal running area was a little over .6. Then I did 3 strides. That gave me one mile at 11:48 pace. Then I started what was suppose to be a slow jog around the block. Second mile I was thinking probably an easy 10:25 or so but it was actually a 9:28. Way too fast. But it didn't feel fast. I managed to slow it down by throwing some walks in on the next mile coming in at an 11:24. 3 strides and I was done and running back to the school slowly. Finished with an average of 11:12 which was about what I needed.

Ok, enough rambling. I need to go pack.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Secret to Life

Today is my Dad's birthday. He is 90 today. Yes, 90 years old and he is still healthy and active. I called him this morning to wish him a happy birthday and during our conversation I told him that he has completed something above and beyond what is normal. I asked him what the secret to getting to 90 was and he really didn't have the answer. His only two things were having a good wife and coffee. He was married to my mom for 67 years before she died in March this year. Drinking coffee has always been something he does too. He doesn't eat a special diet, nor had he lived a perfectly clean life. He was raised on a tobacco farm in South Carolina and started smoking at a very young age. He chained smoked until he was probably 65, then quit cold turkey. Back in the 50's and 60's he managed a plant that manufactured asbestos insulation. Well, we all know how bad asbestos is. Most all the people that worked at that plant has died except for my brother and my dad. In the 60's he was also quite the drinker, but again quit cold turkey during that time. In the mid 60's to late 70's my dad drove a truck, owned his own and was on the road a lot. We all know how bad road food is. Maybe being honest and treating people right has something to do with it too. I tried to offer up the idea that it was just in the genes, but he has outlived all his brothers and most of his sisters that were younger than him.

So maybe the answer is a good woman and good coffee. If thats the case I have both! If I make it to 90 I hope to be as active as my dad. At least running makes me feel like I have a better shot at getting there.

I took this Sunday when we celebrated with family
Happy Birthday!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Fire Truck History

Since I have been sitting here trying to write about several different things tonight and then changed my mind, I decided I'd do a little fire truck history. One of the firefighters at my station is in ICU in Russellville due to a motorcycle accident and he loves this old truck so I wanted to do a little show and tell. Get well soon Reginald!

The truck in the photos is a 1975 Mack Firetruck. I am the Captain on this engine and the primary driver most of the time. We purchased the truck in 1995 after one of our firefighters was killed in an apparatus accident. Dania Stivers was the 1st female firefighter killed in the line of duty in the State of Arkansas. Thats another story for another day.

The first photos are from an add in Firehouse Magazine in 1985. The engine was originally Engine 1 in Portage, Michigan. They bought it new in 1975. Ran it as their first due engine and in 1985 sent it to Pierce Manufacturing to be refurbished (rebuilt). It continued to serve the people of Portage until almost another 10 years later when in late 1994 it was sold to Deep South Trucks in Mississippi. You can see in the top picture the way it looked new(1975), and the bottom part was when it had its first refurb in 1985.

Deep South Trucks did another refurb on it in 1995 and thats when we purchased it. Another 12 years later it still looks like this below. Not bad for a 32 year old truck!

If this engine could only talk, it could tell 20 years worth of stories from Portage, Mi and so far a little over 12 here in Arkansas. It has put out many fires and pumped thousands of gallons of water. I can say one thing for sure, they sure don't build trucks like these anymore. I feel honored to have been one of the select few that has driven and loved this truck. We have applied for a FEMA Grant to purchase a new truck to replace this one. If we get it the old Mack will become a reserve pumper and will most likely never get driven much. A new truck will be nice but it will be tough to beat this old truck.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Weekend Runs

Annette and I ran with the Cruisers starting at South Side Elementary at 7:00am. The weather was a little cool but not bad, about 45 degrees. There were 24 runners that showed up to run so we had quite the crowd. There were all paces from fast to slow so everyone had someone to run with. Our route was a hilly one going out Bradley to Dietrich, Dietrich to Honeysuckle, Honeysuckle to Stagecoach, Stagecoach to Campground, Campground to Cherry, Cherry to 321, back to Dietrich then Bradley with an out and back on Panther Trail to finish up whatever mileage we wanted. My goal was 8 miles. And today the objective was not to run as fast as possible, but to pace myself for the long run, starting out slower than picking up speed in the second half. Also I was experimenting with a run 2 mile/walk 30 second rather than a 1 mile. Since my marathon goal pace is 11-11:25, I was supposed to start my first mile around 11:40. Ha...that didn't happen. Have you ever ran with a group at the beginning of a run or at a race? It's almost impossible to go slower than what you normally run. But that was my training plan. Learning to pace myself for the marathon. I have to run slower at the beginning to have gas left in the tank later. The first mile ended up being a 10:27 pace, just my normal relaxed pace. I was trying to run slower. I did manage to slow it down which made the 2 miles before breaks a breeze. However, this was not a flat route. This is a very hilly route with several big hills and lots of medium sized ones. When I hit mile 4 I was at a 11:07 average pace. Perfect! If I did this in the marathon I would be a happy camper. The second 4 had the bigger hills and even though I tried picking up the pace, the hills slowed me down. But I still ended with a negative split. 8 miles ended with a 10:57 pace. About where I wanted to be for today's run. If it wasn't for the hills I would have had a much better time on the second half, but then again, I was holding back trying to stay around 11:00.

Here were my splits:
Total miles ran - 8.39 - 01:31:44
Avg. Pace - 10:56
1- 10:27
2- 11:04
3- 11:20
4- 11:34
5- 11:47
6- 10:52
7- 9:19
8- 11:11
9- 10:37

Again we started with the Cruisers at SSE at 7:00am. The weather was much warmer than yesterday. The temp was 56 degrees and about 76% humidity even though we had gotten a very light shower before we started. There was not as many people running today as Saturday, maybe 7 or 8. My only plan today was to run 6 miles at just a relaxed pace, not necessarily my marathon pace. Today was more of an easy run just to get some miles. I had a pretty flat route figured out but before we got started Joan called the route which I had never ran before. When she named some of the roads I knew there would be a few hills but what the heck, I love hills! The route went east down 321 to Woody Lane, then to Cherry, to Campground, to Dietrich, then Bradley and adding any additional on Panther Trail. It was partly a reverse route of some of yesterdays run.

First mile took us up a decent hill on 321. It ended up being Annette, Jane, Kim and I running together as we were running a faster pace than the others. We decided to break at 1.5 miles today or see how we felt. During the second mile we were on Woody Lane. Woody Lane had one of those slow, creeping hills that doesn't look like a hill, but you feel it when your running and then realize you have been suckered in. This one seemed like it lasted for 1/2 a mile. Then we hit Cherry. Cherry is like a roller coaster just up and down hills. Luckily we didn't have long before we came to Campground. Making a left on Campground gave us our biggest challenge. It was a huge hill. We ran down this yesterday but today we had to go up it. At this point I was in the lead of our group and I asked the girls if they were ready for a break and they said yes. We had made it almost to the top before we stopped. When we hit the top of that hill, all I could see was country side and downhill running. I thought to myself, "there is no other hills now till we turn on Dietrich!" Before I hit the peak I took off. I wasn't trying to run fast at first, I was just running, getting my form down, making sure I was doing all the downhill stuff right. After the run I looked this hill up on the map and it has about a 78 foot elevation drop that we ran down for about 3/4 a mile.

After a couple minutes I realized that this downhill felt really good. I decided to pick the pace up some. I could tell I was getting further away from the girls but I knew they were talking too so I didn't really think that much about it. I looked at my garmin and thought wow.....that can't be right. It said I had a 7 something pace going. I wasn't even breathing hard. So I thought well, might as well keep pushing. When I hit the bottom of the hill it was flat and I kept pushing the pace. I could see Dietrich but it was still a little ways off. I figured I'd push till I turned and I did. After I turned on Dietrich I got a quick drink and walked waiting on the girls to catch up. About the time they got to me I took off. I always have a bad run on Dietrich and Bradley so today I was going to beat it. Dietrich has several hills also, not real big but still enough to feel them. I ran these hard, powering up and down them. I'm sure the girls were wondering why I was pushing so hard. When I saw my mile 4 split I was amazed. I had run a 7:35 mile! Of course a lot of that was downhill. As I kept running I started thinking how fast I was going and how good I felt. I still had gas in the tank so I was going to keep going. As I hit my mile 5 split I realized that I could break a record for my 6 mile time. I hit mile 5 at 50:37. All I needed was a little less than a 10 minute mile and I was going to get it! I continued on Bradley and across to Panther Trail, watching my tenths click away. Panther Trail even had a hill! I had started slowing down some but when I realized it I'd pick it back up. There was no stopping till I hit the 6 mile mark. I wanted to beat one hour! I went almost to the end of Panther Trail before turning around and heading back. If I calculated my miles right I would end up with 6 at the end of the road. That last half a mile seemed like the longest I had ever run. And here I am having to climb another hill by the Jr High again! Once that was done it was all slightly downhill. I was afraid I was going to have to turn on the sidewalk to get my 6 but the garmin went off right before I hit the corner. 59:16! I had done it! 6 miles in less than an hour and that was on a hilly course. It was a good feeling, even though it only meant something to me. It was still like winning a race or getting a trophy. I also broke a one mile time record with a 7:35 mile even if it was a lot downhill. Whats even better is the fact my legs are not even tired today or hurting. Dang, maybe I am ready for Tulsa. I hope so. This time next week it will all be over. Tulsa is mine!!!!

Here were my splits, believe them or not:
Total run miles/time - 6.12 - 01:00:23
Avg. Pace - 9:52
1- 11:02
2- 10:42
3- 10:32
4- 7:35
5- 10:47
6:- 8:39

Veterans Day

First I would like to say Happy Veterans Day to all the Veterans out there. My Dad was a veteran of World War 2 and Tuesday is his 90th birthday so we celebrated it today with family. I have many family members and friends who have served and are still serving our great country. So to all of you I say "Thank You".

Saturday, November 10, 2007

This pretty much sums it up

I copied this from a post on a forum about being addicted to marathons.

"I think I'm addicted"
"It's a drug. Not so much the running... but the feeling of accomplishing something you weren't sure you could do. I'm always chasing that feeling."

Some of us chase that feeling in other areas of life too. Not a bad feeling at all!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Running Swag

With taper madness comes the increasing desire to spend money on running gear. So thats what I did on Tuesday. I have been wanting to try some of the CWX Expert Tights so I broke down and ordered some. I needed something that I could run in and also bike in when its cold and these are perfect. They also have the special muscle support features built in them. Since we are running a lot at night now I also ordered a Brooks Nightlife Hat. It has a built in flashing red light in the back and is highly reflective. Just to have an extra for the bike or run I got a clip on LED light also. On Monday I bought a new Nike bag to carry my gear in. Somehow I made it through the week without buying shoes. How I don't know, must have been the fact that work was crazy this week and I couldn't think a lot about running the past three days. I would like to give a plug for where I purchased the tights, hat and led. They had a very low price on the tights and they had free shipping too. I ordered on Tuesday and it was at my door on Friday.

CWX Expert Tights, Brooks Nightlife Hat, LED

Saturdays run calls for 8 miles. I am going to experiment running the first half at a little slower than marathon pace and then pick it up on the last half. I am also changing the walk breaks to every two miles. It will not be about seeing how fast I can do it but more about pacing myself for the marathon. So far most of my long runs start out fairly fast and then get progressivly slower. Just what you really don't want in the marathon but it's probably what will happen anyway. We will see how it goes.

I am a little behind on my mileage this week and missed my scheduled run last night. I was stressed from work and really didn't feel like running in the darkness. If it would have been daylight it may have been a different story. The traffic around my house is pretty bad in the early evenings so dealing with that in the dark is not fun. I'll make it up this weekend hopefully. I did get a quick 2.1 mile run in Wednesday night at relaxed pace. 9 days and counting till the big event and I am questioning everything and wondering if I have trained right or enough. I'll have the answer in a little over a week.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Speeding in the dark

If the average person was driving through Magness Creek last night they would have been wondering what all the weird little flashing lights were and all these reflective people running around. I guess if your a total die hard runner this is what you do. At a very chilly 43 degrees, the average couch potato would surely be thinking they have been invaded my Martians or something as no one in their right mind would be running in the dark when its cold outside. For the Tuesday Night Flyer's though, darkness is not a problem.

It was cold at the running clinic last night and after a short discussion with Coach Dennis we were all anxious to get going and get warmed up. One of our New York Marathon lady heroines was there, Jackie, who finished the marathon in 4:58 something even though she had severe cramping problems. This was discussed some with Dennis and I was very interested as I was still trying to figure out what caused mine on my last 20 miler. With the normal compliment of ladies, we also had a couple more guys tonight which was nice. Kelly's husband Robert was there and since we run close to the same pace, Dennis paired him up with me to run since this was his first night.

We did our normal .6 warm up run to the starting point down in the neighborhood. I was running way too fast in the warm up I could tell but I guess it was the cold weather. It felt good! We started with 4x strides to get the heart rate pumping and the legs stretched out some. The intermediate group was tasked with a 1x1000m, 1x1200m, 1x800m and then 3xstrides. Robert and I started our first 1000 and the beginning felt pretty slow at first which is ok as I knew we would get faster as we went. I made the mistake of trying to use my garmin's average pace to pace by rather than timing the 200m splits. We were suppose to do lactate threshold pace which for me should have been about a 9:25. The first 1000 was came in at 5:28 with an average pace of 8:51. A little fast, but it really felt slow. Weird. After a 4 minute rest we went right into our 1200. This time I thought we would slow down just a hair and try to hit our pace. Well, again, the garmin fooled me. I also missed the stopping mark and ended up running a little over 1448 meters instead of 1200. It was WAY to fast. 1448m was .9 miles and we did it in 6:57 or an average pace of 7:47. Dang, I should have done a timed mile tonight as I would have blown 8 minutes away!

After a 5 minute cool down we figured out in our heads what our splits should be at every 200m. We were going to nail it this time, not too fast and not too slow. We hit the first 200 mark probably 5 seconds too fast. Not bad. Next 200 mark we were just a little slow so I picked it up a little. Next 200 i started not even thinking about the time. I guess this was where I messed up because I thought the next mark was 800m but in reality it was only 600. Even though we still just went a little over 600, our average pace figured out to be 9:17. At least this time we had gotten our pace almost right. Even though we missed a couple of our stopping marks, we still got the same benefits of the workout so it was all good.

We finished with our 3 strides, then talked with some of the others. A young man named Josh has been there for the past couple weeks so I took the opportunity to try recruiting him for the Cruisers. He is VERY FAST. He won the Magness Creek 5k and came in second at Cabot Fest. I think he runs a 15-16 minute 5k. I ran back to the school with him and we talked more. He is very interested in the Cruisers, the Grand Prix series and loves running on the Tuesday nights so hopefully we will have a new Men's Team member! This guy could really turn some heads in the Grand Prix, especially with the added speed work that Dennis gives.

By the way, Dennis wants to move Annette and I to the advanced group so maybe after the marathon we will do that. Right now the marathon is my only goal, afterwards I plan on regrouping and making a plan for 2008.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Penguin Marathon Strategy

Finish the same day that you start. Sounds pretty simple but 26.2 miles is a long way and anything can happen. You just don't know what the day will bring until its here. I read this in the book "Marathoning For Mortals" and it made a lot of sense.

"Long distance races are mysteries. I like to think of them as theater, plays in which I have my part, but i'm not given a script. I'm given my lines 1 mile at a time. Every new mile marker offers a place to take my role in some new direction."

So as I taper, I ponder what my role will be come race day. We shall see soon!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Multi sport Sunday

Today has been a great day! The weather has been perfect for outdoor activities. The time changed so I got an extra hour of sleep too. Actually it was kind of nice to try to sleep in since I didn't have to get up at 5am to run. I had to make myself stay in the bed till about 7:30 new time. Got some good needed rest. And even better we didn't even have one fire call all night.

I knew once I got up that I would be running sometime today. It was so nice not having to run at a certain time that I just lazed around. Annette went to swim at 8:45 so I decided I'd run later. I ended up going out around 10:30am for a nice 2.8 mile recovery run. Nothing fast, but not too slow either. I just wanted to run and enjoy it. It's weird after doing long runs that 2.8 seems like nothing almost. Trying to hold back and not run too fast I ended with a 10:07 pace. Pretty much what I planned. Faster than my relaxed pace and slower than my LT pace. I ran mile 2 in a 9:40. Afterwards I soaked my legs in the pool for about 15-20 minutes. The water was ice cold. It felt pretty good and by the time I got out my feet were numb. It sure did help the muscle soreness. I forgot to mention that before I ran I did about 15 minutes of ab and core exercises also.

With the weather being beautiful and in the lower 70's, I decided that I'd break out the road bike and ride with the group at the 1:30pm regular Sunday ride. This was the first time I have had the bike out since the Big Dam Bridge 100 miler in September. There ended up being a good group of riders today. Probably close to 12-15. Since a few of us were doing marathon training we opted for a shorter route than normal today. Again, the weather was perfect and not a bit cool for riding. I have no cold weather gear yet so my tri shorts and my BDB 100 jersey was perfect. As with most rides we started out slow and then someone takes off. The riders that want to push it try to keep up. We had a tail wind going down Mt Tabor road and it wasn't long before I wanted to go faster too. After I passed a few people I think I was riding in about 4th or 5th position. We had to be averaging close to 19mph as I looked down several times and I was going 20 with no major effort. There are several good hills on this road also so with every small uphill there is a downhill to go faster on. The bike is just fun, especially when your legs are fresh and you feel like hammering. When we got to Hwy 31 we stopped to wait on the other riders. When we started back I started thinking, I better slow down and take it easy. I'm training for a marathon and some of these fast bikers don't even run. So I slowed it down a bit. Some of the group took 31 to Hwy 38 to go back and most opted for the shorter route which was Hwy 321. I started towards 38 when I saw 3 bikes coming back toward me. They said they changed their mind so I did the same and ended up riding 321 back to the starting point. 321 does have some big hills on it, not monsters but big enough you feel them and have to drop the gears down to make it up. We had a head wind going back so that made it not as fun. Head wind and uphills equal hard work!

It was a great ride with great people. I ended up with right at 20 miles and an average pace of 15.3 mph. This would have been more but we rode slow and talked going back on 321 for a while. It wasn't about the time today anyway, just getting out on the bike and enjoying the outdoors. I did burn 980 calories so its all good. It was nice to be back riding the bike. I just hope we get some more good days like today before it gets too cold.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Bring it on Tulsa!

Ok Tulsa, I am just about ready for you! Did my long run of the week today which ended up being 13 miles. After all the problems I was having with my calf muscle I wasn't sure how this one would turn out but somehow it all worked out. I had rolled, used icy hot, ice, elevation, more rolling and massaging on the calf to get the knots out of it. Thursday I could only take baby steps. Friday was almost back to normal. Today I was ready to go. Rest days do help, especially when your legs are trashed from the long runs. I did decide last night to switch back to my old Brooks Adrenalin 7's and see if the legs felt different.

I started the run at 7am with the Cabot Cruisers at South Side Elementary doing our famous 10.5 mile city loop. Jane needed 13 also so we pretty much ran together the whole way. After starting, probably less than a mile out the fast group took off and of course I was in the slow group. Well, we really were not that slow but I wanted to be very conservative today not knowing how my leg would feel. First mile was an easy 10:01 pace but I told Jane that today, I was going to make sure and take my 1 mile walk breaks every time and we did. Before I hit mile 2 I was having my doubts. i could feel the knot in my calf muscle again. I was afraid it was going to stop me before I even hit three miles. When we took our mile 2 walk break I reached down and massaged it real quick and kept going. I made sure to drink at every break also. By some stroke of luck, it didn't really bother me again until about mile 10.

There was a pretty big group running this morning, along with Jane and I there were two other girls in our group and probably 5 or 6 in the fast group. Then when we were about mile 3.5 we ran into a lady that was having to walk. She had went out with the fast group and then started having knee issues. At about 6 we ran in to about 5 or 6 more ladies that had parked by the mini-mall and had run towards us to meet up. It worked out pretty good as we ended up having about three or four packs of runners. This made it nice in that pretty much there was always someone to talk to.

The miles clipped away, taking a quick walk break at every mile. This seemed to really help my legs. Probably didn't help my pace that much but it was good on the legs and really, I didn't care about pace today. It was just all about finishing. Right at mile 10 I started feeling my calf tightening up again so I really slowed down. Made it back to the school, stretched and refilled. Most of the others left so Jane and I took off on a new route down by the Jr High to add on a couple miles. I was very slow on these last miles but we got it done. When we got back to the parking lot I needed .2 miles to make 13 so we ran around the parking lot a couple times. I was very happy to have made it through this run without stopping or hurting worse. Recovery has seemed pretty good this afternoon too. My calf feels pretty good, almost normal again. My left achilles is still sore but I am used to that. So, I have decided to run the marathon with my old Brooks shoes. They have actually been pretty good to me so whats another 26.2 miles anyway!
Here are my splits and this is one of my slower long runs to date but I am still pretty happy to have times this good with the nagging injuries.

Total miles ran - 13.01
Total run time - 2:35:37
Average pace - 11:58
Average heart rate - 156 81%
1965 Calories

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Thoughts on Marathoning

First off, training for a marathon is hard. Anyone that says it isn't is full of it. Probably won't find many that will argue that. Thoughts of what I've done right and wrong in training go through my head as I start tapering. My right calf is still really tight. So now I'm wondering whats really wrong. Is it my shoes? I have new ones, a different brand but I was fitted at a running store. Maybe I should have stayed with what I had used all year. I still have the left achilles problem. I was hoping the new shoes would have helped that but it didn't. It's not worse. The miles don't seem to make it worse. It's just a nagging thing that won't go away. Now I have the calf issue. I can run on it, it seems to loosen up after I start running some. I have massaged it, iced it, bio freezed it among other things. So I wonder what it is. What have I really injured? Did I injure anything at all? I woke up last night wondering if its some kind of stress fracture. I guess this is what happens during taper. So my plan today is to take a couple days rest. No running till Saturday. Hopefully it will loosen up for my 12 miler I need on Saturday.

Tuesday/Wed Updates:

Tuesday night I had the running clinic. Our task was speedwork, 1x800m@lactate pace, 1x1000m@lactate pace and 1x800m@lactate pace. I started with a .9 mile warm up run to the area where we do our speed work. I really wasn't sure if I could even run or not as the right calf was really tight. It was hard to get going but once I did it seemed to loosen up. We always do some strides before the workout starts but I couldn't do these at all so I just slow jogged. We started the workout and I figured I wouldn't be able to run fast so I just started jogging slowly. Annette and Cheryl was in my group and they were ahead of me. Cheryl was coming off an ankle injury so she couldn't run that fast so I thought this was perfect. After about 200 meters or so the calf seemed to loosen up and my stride got longer. Before I knew it I was clipping along at a pretty good pace. At probably 400 meters I passed the girls. Didn't feel too bad. First 800 was 4:42. We took a 3 minute rest and went right into the 1000 meter run. Same thing happened again. I started slow and after getting going I was able to speed up the pace. Passed the girls around 500 meters and sped on. Ended with a 5:51. After a short rest went on to the next 800. This time with about 500 meters to go, Brenda and Cindy passed us and I decided I was going to try to keep up with them. They run really fast so I knew it wouldn't last long. I was able to stay on their tails almost to the 800 meter mark. That felt good and my time was 4:24. I wasn't able to do the strides at the end, the leg just didn't want to cooperate. After a .8 cool down back to our vehicles I was done. I actually ran these intervals too fast. This was supposed to be lactate threshold training but I think I wanted to see how fast I could run hurt. Dumb huh. My LT pace should be about 9:30. Here was what I ended up with:
800m - 4:42 - 9:21 pace - about 10 seconds too fast
1000m - 5:51 - 9:16 pace - faster still
800m - 4:24 - 8:21 pace - ok, i blew my LT by over a minute here!

Wednesday night was Halloween so Annette and I met Brenda at Magness Creek for a Halloween run. This was just a slow steady run through the neighborhood. It was kinda fun with a lot of the kids getting out for Halloween. I ended up with 5.6 miles and a 11:29 pace average. We stopped and talked to Coach Dennis along the route and saw some other people we knew along the way so this slowed the time. Annette stayed and ran some more but I went home. When we saw Dennis I asked him about my leg and he seemed to think it could have been from dehydration on my run Sunday. He gave me some tips on how to massage it out and suggested taking a day off. So, thats what i'm doing.

I wonder how it would feel to run without a nagging pain or injury? Maybe one of these days.