Thursday, February 28, 2008

That's a lot of money!!!

As I posted earlier this week, my next marathon will be in Chicago in the middle of October. It was a toss up between 3 marathons that I wanted to do. Chicago, Marine Corps, and New York. The Marine Corps was the one I initially wanted to do, because I have never been to D.C., and I thought I could kill two birds with one stone, by being able to run a race and see the monuments at the same time. Well my son's birthday is around that time, so I threw that one out the window. So, it was between Chicago and New York. New York is the premier marathon in the US.... all marathoners have told me that I have to do New York at some point in my marathon "life". But check this out... it is $155 to register for the race... $11 to process your application, and you are not guaranteed to get into the race!!! Over 100,000 people attempt to get into the race, and only 40,000 get in... so it is based on a lottery system.... isn't this quite strange??? People (including myself) will pay a pretty penny, to be placed in a lottery system to get into a race, where you are going to punish your body for hours... classic!!! If you really sit back and think about it.... it's pretty stupid in some aspects.... pretty smart in others.
The stupid part needs no further explaining.... paying money to run 26.2 miles is all that needs to be said....
The smart part is that, people are willing to invest in their well being and health.... they are willing to challenge themselves to do something that seems quite out of reach for the typical human, and push their bodies to further levels, and commit to at least attempting to train and complete a beast of a task like this... and most importantly...putting their money where their mouth is.
When I look at it, spending $155 for a race, is somewhat comparable to many people that spend hundreds, if not, thousands of dollars to purchase pills, invest in fad diets and go to the extent of having costly procedures done to lose weight. Actually, I would say it is much safer, much more rewarding, but obviously much harder.... what do you think?

So, this morning I ran my longest distance since the Ft. Lauderdale Marathon.... 10 miles this morning... and it was cold (well for us warm-blooded folks here in Florida). Check it out....

Map of Ivy Lake/Suncoast Easy Run

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Where's the next race?

Map of Ft. Lauderdale Marathon If you click on this map, it will show you all of my splits for the race.
I am still working on gathering pictures from last weekend's race. Everybody had their own digital camera, and I am still waiting to have people download pics to me. I can tell you this though... nothing will top the pictures that were done by the marathon photographers... I really had too much fun with it... so here are a few links to them. These photos are your typical ones during the race and post race. This photo is the most special to me, because it's of me and my dad... his 1st half-marathon (or race of any matter). He did great... 2 hours 21 minutes... unbelievable!!!This photo tops them all... as I said, I had a lot of time on my hands, so I had fun for the cameras. This was my second favorite.... who said marathons aren't a lot of fun? This photo shows off my modeling potential.... or lack thereof...but it has a nice background of the ocean. Ok, more will come, but trust me.... they don't top these. Now I have to decide which of these I should buy and put up in the clinic... so my patients can laugh at me on a daily basis!!!!

Ok, so let's get back to business... I have decided where I want to run my next marathon... I'm going to do the Chicago Marathon. I have decided on this because it doesn't interfere with my son's birthday at the end of the month, and it is one of the big ones... put it like this... Disney, which was overwhelming, had their biggest registration ever with 18,000 participants... Chicago???? Try 45,000 racers and 1.5 million spectators throughout the course... whoa!!!! I gotta check this out!!!! So, I reserved my hotel and I'm in...

Why is it that I always have a race planned to do? Well, it keeps me focused... motivated and driven to keep myself in shape. That's why it is imperative that I always have multiple races that are in the near future, so I know that I won't slack off. So this is a general idea of what I will be doing from now until October 12th... God willing....

My next race will be at the End of April at the Draft Day Dash at Raymond James Stadium - 5k - The time I do in this race will give me a good idea of what my different paces should be as I get ready to start my marathon training for Chicago in June.

The following week, we will participate in the May Classic 5k, which has now become tradition for us at Renewal Rehab to participate in. Not running that one very competitively.

Maybe somewhere during my training for Chicago, I can do a tune-up race, but don't know how much will be available out there as it is in the midst of summer that this will be happening. Not too many races available.

BTW, I did run this weekend.... here it is... Ivy Lake Easy Run

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

A1A Marathon Extravaganza!!!

Wow!!! It has been a whirlwind for the last 72 hours!!! I apologize for not blogging earlier than this but I did not leave Ft. Lauderdale until yesterday morning, and I got to Tampa just in time to treat my patients at 1:00 pm yesterday... couldn't even go home and get my car. Kerry had to drop me off at work coming off the highway and pick me up at 8:00 pm last night. On top of that, we had like 24 patients lined up for us yesterday, so there was no time to breathe!!! So, I am actually blogging in between patients right now... ok, so let's get started.
We got to Ft. Lauderdale Saturday morning at around 9:30 am, and dropped of my wife and kids at her parent's house. Chris and I went over to the expo and got our packets and got to browse around and see all the booths. That never gets old.... always see something or meet somebody that is so interesting. We met a lady named Marie that has run 125 marathons (she is 52!) She is currently training for a 125 mile race!!!! Unbelievable.
Later on that night, we went to Delray Beach to go watch one of our former patients play a tennis match. My brother had tickets to the match, so we decided to take him up on the offer. We had fun, and after the match, I saw my former patient, who said that I'm going to need physical therapy for months after finishing the marathon tomorrow... thanks for the love!!!
Once we got back to my parent's house, we watched the slam dunk contest and then went to bed.

Sunday morning was an early rise... slept a lot better than I did while at Disney... I guess I wasn't as nervous this time around. My dad, Chris, and I were on our way to the race, when my dad realized he forgot his garmin watch at home... so we had to turn back and go to the house, and get the watch.. it was so funny to see how frazzled he was when he saw that his watch not on his wrist. Anyways there was no time to overthink the race, because we got to the start about 5 minutes before the start of the race.
The area was beautiful... it was a beautiful atmosphere... but it was a little bit on the warm side. Starting temps were in the mid 70's and the temps were in the mid 80's probably 3 hours into the race.
So what happened??? Well good news and bad news..... Good news first.
I finished the race (good news) but did not finish in the time I wanted to (bad news). Chris hit the wall fairly early in the race, started having problems at like mile 14 or so. I think we went out too fast…we hit the halfway mark at exactly 2 hours (and we planned to do a negative split, so we could come in just under 4 hours). That unfortunately was not even close to happening. He had to start walking and jogging, and was struggling a bit. But he continued to fight it out and went on. I stayed with him, and what I did was just run to each mile mark/water stop and wait for him (had fun with volunteers, danced with the bands!!!), or just run with him and do intervals…I have run with him many times before and we did a 22 miler in like 3:20, so I know he can do it, but it was really hot (starting temp at race: 74 deg/ by 9:00 am it was like 83 deg.!!) and I think a 9:00/mile pace was too ambitious with that weather…hence the wall smacking him in the face!!! Remember when I told you earlier about that lady that completed 125 marathons??? She even got ill during the race due to the oppressive heat... she said she has never been off of her pace group but she struggled at the end... she was bummed out. Obviously with what happened at Disney, staying with Chris throughout the race was not an issue or option. I felt extremely bad for him, but I knew that he needed my support to get him to the finish line. I think my crazy antics with taking crazy photos and pumping up the volunteers and fans, dancing with the reggae bands at mile 19, cheered him up, because he thought I was making a complete fool of myself!!!! When I got close to the finish line, I saw my wife and kids and family and I stopped to greet everyone and give hugs and kisses... they weren't at the finish line at Disney, so this was pretty cool. Also, my younger brother works for Red Bull and he had a team of girls at the finish line waiting for me. I took a a few pics of them.... but I still hadn't even finished!!!! So I took a few more steps and crossed the finish line (taking some cool photos before!!!!) So anyways we finished in 4:53… I ran a few miles after the race with my cousin on the beach, and I feel ok. I will do all easy runs for the next 3 weeks, and then get going again…. BTW, after finishing, my wife saw that I could actually do this without it beating me up much, so she has decided to let me run another marathon this year... she said it was like night and day from the last one. I think I'm going to do the Marine Corps Marathon next (October 26)…looks like a lot of fun. It is nearly twice the size of Disney and you run by all the monuments in Washington, D.C.
Well, this is what I got from this race:
1.I love to run and I love events... even though Sunday seemed to be my day from a running time standpoint, I think I enjoyed myself as much or even more with all the fun that I had on the course. It is just awesome to be part of the hoopla!!! It's nice to run a good race like last week at Gasparilla, but it's also nice to take everything in like I did in this race.
2. Just because you can run a certain pace at certain temps, doesn't mean you can run that at any temperature. Chris and I are used to training in the am, when the temps are usually in the mid 50's, low 60's. 20-30 degree difference is huge!!! You need to change the gameplan...
Chris just read off his HR to me (he was in the 190's from mile 7... ouch!!!)
3. What a feeling when you cross the finish line!!! This felt as good or better than Disney. I just completed over 26 miles!!!!!

P.S. I will post pics on the blog later today or tomorrow.... I will have other races in between my next marathon.... I will keep you updated tomorrow on what my plans are for the rest of the running season.

Thanks for the love....

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Fit 2 Complete

I am so pumped up and excited to tell you all about a new program that we will be starting at Renewal Rehab. If you go to our website , you will need to click on the Fit2Complete tab. So let me tell you a little about the program.....
We wanted to start a program that would assist those of you that would love to participate in a running event of some sort (preferably a half/full marathon). So what we have done is created a program called Fit2Complete. With this program, we will give those that are interested in acheiving the goal of running a major race, a full program taking you from the couch to runnning, walking, or run/walk a half-marathon and/or marathon. We are trying to convince our patients to sign up for the 2009 Disney Marathon, which will be in January of next year. It gives us plenty of time to get you conditioned to have a great race and more importantly a great time. From now until January, we will have organized races that we, as a group will participate in, to keep our interest levels high, and to slowly get prepared for achieving the highest of goals, which is completing a half or full marathon. I want you to realize that the program is called Fit2Complete. It is not called fit2walk or fit2run.... we don't care which one you do, we just want everyone to complete the race. We will give everyone the appropriate program to assist them in achieving their goals. We are prepared to have people that have never run a day in their life, and people that have done some recreational walking and/or jogging in their past.
What we would like for you to do in return for us setting you up on a run/walk program, is to help us raise funds for my neighbor, Zackary Rozmeski. As most of you know, he is a very funny, happy and most importantly courageous 6 year old that is battling leukemia. When I meet with each individual, and give you your program, I will also give you a pledge sheet, that you can give to family, co-workers, friends, etc. and ask them for pledges that we would give for Zack's fund. There is no amount that you are required to raise, we just ask that you try.
The other neat thing that we will have is a discussion forum. This will allow everyone that is part of the program to have a forum that they can use to ask our therapists and trainers at Renewal Rehab and other fellow runners that are training in the Fit2Complete program questions about training, injuries and other pertinent questions, to assist you in achieving your goals of completing your training. This has the potential to be very fun and extremely rewarding for you. Upon us meeting for the 1st time, we will get into extreme detail about your program, and how you will build yourself up to be able to participate in a 3x/week run/walk program that will get you ready for participating in a half/full marathon.
What do you think?
For those that are interested you can either email me, post a comment on the blog, or call our office. For that information go to the clinic's website.
Lastly, Happy Valentines Day!!!! Make sure you hug and kiss your loved ones.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Gasparilla 15k

Tale of two races... it was good to get this race in my system, since I still had a bad taste in my mouth from the previous one. I had a pretty good night of sleep, and headed out of my house at about 6:15 this morning. I was able to park at our S. Tampa clinic, since it is only a few minutes walk from the start of the race. I was able to follow other people who were doing the race or running in the streets, and finally I saw a ton of people by the Publix, where the start of the race was.

Gasparilla is a pretty big race....not the size of a Disney, but still a pretty big race. I believe there was close to 3200 people running the 15k and over 6000 people running the 5k. It was a really neat site to see so many people gearing up for the big race. I tried to capture showing how deep the runners were at the start line, but due to my inadequate height I was not able to capture it... but here are a few pics anyway....

The wheelchair division started at 7:25 am. These guys and gals can book it....

A good amount of folks here waiting for the race to start.

Due to me running the Ft. Lauderdale Marathon next week, I planned on trying to take it easy during the race, to reduce risk of injury before the big day next Sunday. I figured that a good way for me to do that was to carry a camera, in which I would take pictures before, during and after the race, so I would focus more on capturing the moment instead of racing my butt off. Well that was my initial plan, and as the race started I got out to a very comfortable pace of about 8:00/mile. The first mile of the race actually takes you right in front of our S. Tampa clinic... and all of a sudden I heard someone scream out my name.... "Greg, I need your keys!!!!!" So quickly I looked to my right and saw that it was the office manager for an orthopedic MD that is next door to our office... so I basically had to go back and give her my pouch that had my keys and my camera in it. Ok... so a little delay here in the race, and I obviously wasn't thinking clearly at that point in that I gave her my camera... but oh well... I figured I guess I can start to move pretty good now... so I started to speed it up and I was going faster than I initially planned, but not at a full race pace. So no more pics....sorry!!!!
The course as always is beautiful, and there are so many people running that it just brought a smile to my face... I just can't explain it... running with so many people is so cool. It's nice to run past people, and even have people run past you.... and it is always so neat when you are on an out & back course to see when those extremely fast runners start sprinting past you, when you aren't even close to the turn around point yet. That is one of the neat things about races... you are running in the footsteps of some of the best runners locally, nationally, and internationally.
So anyways I ran a comfortably hard race (if that makes any sense) I can't say it was a walk in the park, but I had some energy left in the tank, that I was able to run under a 6:30/mile for the last 1/2 mile without a problem. I have to admit that at the end when I slowed down, I wasn't really out of breath, but I did have a feeling of wanting to puke once I stopped running..... but luckily I didn't embarass myself, and it went away. I think I'm going to have some good pictures, because I looked for all the cameras and gave some pretty cool poses while I was running (what a dork, huh?) At the end of the race, I went to some of the booths that had drinks and food and ate a little, and then worked my way back to the clinic. As I was going back to the clinic, I saw some people that were continuing to finish up their race... some struggling quite mightily and one guy just puking his guts out and still continuing to run (TMI!!!) But it made me think that I was on that end just 3 weeks ago, and you never know when it is going to be your day or not..... today was my day, and I'm very grateful for that. So here are the stats for the race...
15k (9.3 miles) - 1:09:04
403rd out of 3918 finishers
36th in my age group out of 191 males aged 30-34
Ft. I come!!!!!!
Map of 2008 Gasparilla 15k

What is wrong with me?

My wife and I had a discussion (not argument) about me participating in more marathons for the 2008 year after the Ft. Lauderdale Marathon next week. She feels as though I should shut it down for the rest of the year and not participate in any more big races. I was trying to justify why I think I should do at least one (maybe two) more marathons later in the 2008 year… I mean its only February, right? She held her stance on this topic quite firm, and after we finished talking about this issue… I have begun to wonder…. Why do I have to run marathons? Why can’t I just run now for the sake of running? Is there something wrong with me?
So, I figured that I would use the blog today to explain my stance on this issue.
If you have read my blog since I started it, you would know that my reason for starting to run was primarily for health related issues. But since starting to run races, there are a few things that I have come to realize. I am never going to win any races, but I can continually push myself to levels that my body has never reached. There is something that is so cool, about being able to do something that you can say, I did better than last time, and next time, I'm going to go for the next goal.
Next, think of a hobby that you have.... some folks like to knit, sew, bake cookies....whatever. Would you like that hobby as much if you stunk at it? What if you continually baked brutal cookies that nobody wanted to eat, or continued to poke your finger every time you knitted. I feel the whole idea of having a hobby is to be good at it... it just makes it more fun to do.
So with those things said..... the marathon day itself is pretty cool, but it is the journey of preparing for the marathon day that makes it so special. 2 weeks ago, we celebrated Adryana's 5th birthday party, and leading up to the party, my wife put her all into making the party a complete success (which it was). Now, even though the party was great, there was a lot of preparation that she did throughout the weeks leading up to the party, and it wasn't always fun for her, but to see it all come together on that day was just such an incredible feeling for her (that she still hasn't stop talking about Adryana's party). Kerry actually has said that she would like to be a party planner...and I've always wondered, why? She seems to always be stressed when she is doing things like this.... but now it makes complete sense. The feeling you get when you prepare for something and put so much dedication into something, and then to see it all come together is priceless.... and that is what the marathon brings to runners.
Finally and most importantly, I realize that training for races (especially the marathon) makes insignificant things seem significant, and makes pressing issues not such a big deal anymore. What???? Let me explain..... about 2 years ago, I would get anxious and stressed out over certain things... like working real long hours, having multiple patients during a certain time of the day, etc. I would get all worked up if things never went the way I thought it would go. I would also get bent out of shape before a day would even start, just thinking of how I would actually handle everything. Now, I think that at times I get so engulfed with thinking about my training, that those things that used to bother me seem so insignificant. Yesterday was the perfect example..... we had 45 scheduled physical therapy patients at our facility, which is by far, the most amount of patients that we have ever had scheduled at our facility...of those 45, I believe 42 people showed up, and it was past 8 pm before I left the facility. Guess what??? My mind was taken off of all that because I was so excited about running the Gasparilla 15k this morning, that it didn't even phase me that we just had our busiest day in Renewal Rehab's history!!!! So basically, if your mind can only focus on a certain amount of things, it might as well be things that excite you and make you feel positive and happy, right? Ok, I think I have convinced myself that this is the right thing for me to do!!!! Hopefully my beautiful wife will take a peek at the blog.... let me see if she changes her mind.... I will let you know.

So, I did the 15k this morning and it went great... I am going to blog about it, but I want to download pictures on here, so you can see all the sights from the race.
Bye for now!!!!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Super Run

Chris caught some flu bug and was unable to run this morning with me, so I decided to go out in the front of my neighborhood and set out to do 13 miles. The plan was to do the full run at my marathon pace, which I don't really know. Let me explain.. based on all these formulas that all these running gurus use, I am supposed to be able to run at about an 8:00/mile pace during the marathon, which I feel is extremely aggressive. I have been aiming to run a marathon at 8:20-30/mile during Disney, but obviously that never happened... so since then, my goal paces have kinda been up in the air. So I decided that I would try to aim for the low 8's and see what happens. It would be good to have some solid confidence going into the Ft. Lauderdale race, so this is really the last time that I'm going to be putting in some quality training.
So off I went at about 6:30 am, and I started out the 1st mile at about 8:10... from there on I really didn't pay much attention to my watch and I just ran what I felt was comfortable...every 2 miles I stopped and drank Gatorade or water (just like I would during the actual race) and then I started to run again. The weather was absolutely perfect (low 60's, with a lot of fog and no sun). I looked over at my watch during the 4th mile and realized I was running around 7:50/mile. I was a little shocked, because it really felt effortless. As much as I like my Garmin watch (A.K.A. my personal trainer)I also am always trying to be careful to not become a slave to the data given by a watch. I feel as though our body's internal clock can let us know exactly what is going on...quicker than any fancy watch anyways I decided to stay at what I felt was comfortable but still very manageable and just roll with it... well I continued on, drinking routinely at every 2 miles, and taking in my endurolyte tablets every hour... and it was just great!!! I noticed that there were a lot of runners out this morning... I guess people are getting ready to participate in one of the Gasparilla races next weekend. There was one lady in my neighborhood that I kept on passing as I went around the lake in my neighborhood, and I gave her a little thumbs up encouragement as she went around the lake for at least the 3rd time (I figured she must have put in about 6 miles so far... so it might have been needed). I remember looking at my watch and saw that I completed 9.2 miles and 1:12 elapsed... and I was I'm booking it... but again, I felt good and just kept it going. When I got to the 12th mile, I didn't want to stop and drink, because I knew that I was in a "zone", but I stopped and stuck with my game plan... I drank for about 15 seconds, and finished out the last mile. Final time? 1:42:50. Better than my best race (Reggae Marathon, Dec. 07 - 1:43:30)and I wasn't giving it my all... so I'm just happy... kinda shocked really at how it all went down today. I'm just hoping that I didn't do too much with 2 weeks before the marathon.
So here is the Ivy Lake Long Run

Saturday, February 2, 2008

2 weeks to go....

I have been trying to stay a lot more low key as I get prepared to run the Ft. Lauderdale Marathon. As incredible and emotional that the Disney Marathon was too me, it was obviously also disappointing from a time perspective on my finish. I still think that I have a much better marathon time in me, and I want to see what happens when attempting to do another race. I must say that my perspective on the marathon has changed and I realize that even with everything that happened at my last race, that I truly enjoy running and being part of the event even if it doesn't go my way. So this is what I will be doing in the next 2 weeks leading up to the event.
Sometime, between today and tomorrow, I will run 13 miles at around 8:00-8:30/mile. That will be my longest run until the day of the race. I will run 2 training runs in the week, and then I will run the Gasparilla 15k race next Saturday morning. For the 15k, I will not run it at my top speed... I will try to keep my times in the low 8 min/mile. I am actually going to treat it like a 9 mile tempo run.... the 1st mile fairly slow, then the next 7 miles at a high 7 minute/mile pace. Should be a fun race, and I've never done a 15k race before, so we will see how it goes. I will take the next week easy as we lead up to the race.
I have decided that I will pace with Chris during the Ft. Lauderdale marathon. Because of me screwing up his marathon, I know that his main goal is to try to run a sub 4 hour marathon, like myself... but are speeds are a little different, so in a race we usually don't run together. I know with us running together, it will make the experience of the marathon more enjoyable because we will be able to encourage each other throughout the race. But for sure, this time, if anything happens to me, I've already told him....GO!!!!!! I'm a veteran now at imploding at races, so it's all good... I realize there will always be another day to run, and I'm thankful that my body allows me to run, so it's no biggie, right? My dad is ridiculously pumped up for the race also, as he just ran 10 miles this morning as he starts to taper for his half-marathon.
Two of my patients, will have their husbands running the Ft. Lauderdale marathon also. I'm not sure if Chris and I will pace with them or not.... their goal is a 4 hour marathon too, but I'm not too sure on their strategy to complete a 4 hour race. Chris and I have our little thing in place already, so we will see.
Ok... hope you all have a great weekend, and enjoy the Super Bowl tomorrow.
Greg's prediction: Patriots 38 Giants 30.

Patriots 19-0.... ugh!!!!