Sunday, August 24, 2008

Olympics in Review......

It's really cool when you can witness history in all different aspects of life... and really neat when you can witness history in sports. Over the past 2 weeks, many of us witnessed some pretty incredible feats that took place at the Beijing Summer Olympics. In my opinion, this is the best Olympics I have ever watched... but that might be because I have a new appreciation for many of the Olympic events that I would have not particularly been interested in a few years back.

So the highlights for me???

Michael Phelps - Ok, so the guy is a freak of nature, and has a body that is ideal for swimming.... but do you realize that he swims for 2-5 hours/day??? That is just unreal... this guy works so hard, that he has developed that mental edge over all of his competitors... that to me is the most impressive thing about him.

Usain Bolt- 3 golds, 3 world records, in two of the most highly anticipated events in the Olympics??? And of course, he is Jamaican... so this one is near and dear to my heart. What the Jamaicans did in this Olympics was incredible... with a population of 3.6 million have that much talent in the Track & Field events is very impressive... they are still partying in the streets of Jamaica... actually my cousin was in Jamaica this past Friday, and he told me that they have sold out of (Usain Bolt Water)... which is supposed to make you run faster!!! Classic... he said they are selling like hotcakes!!!!

Also the Jamaican women went 1,2,3 in the 100 m. That is just unreal!!!!

Redeem Team - It's not just that they got back the gold medal... but it was the way they handled themselves throughout the Olympics.... they were at so many of the events, cheering on other Americans... they didn't come off as "We're better than all of you... so this is above us" type... they really made the U.S. proud, and put basketball back where it is supposed to be. I must say though, that the world continues to catch up... beware in 2012....

The women's and men's marathon- I know this is not necessarily a favorite event to most of you.. but for me, this was one of my favorites (obviously there is some interest on my part now). It's really cool that a lady that is 38 could crush the competition like that... which shows that your body can continue to do amazing things as we get older... it's usually ourselves that put these limits on what we want to do.

The Kenyan man that won the Olympics was absolutely incredible. I don't think the average person realized what he did yesterday... running that pace in that weather was almost incomprehensible... even the experts thought he was going to croak or something.... for me that was the 3rd most impressive feat at the Olympics (behind Phelps and Bolt).

Saturday, August 23, 2008

7 weeks left....

until the big day!! I was having a difficult time with the training when I came back from vacation, along with having a really crummy goal pace run... but since then, things have really made a turn for the better. I am back on track with my running. Below are some of the runs that I have done since last week.
14 mile run with Shane and Chris on the Gandy Bridge.
12 mile tempo run around my neighborhood
12 mile easy run on the Suncoast Trail
I have decided that my main weakness at this point is not having the confidence that I can hold a fast pace for the full marathon distance. That is going to be my biggest area of concern over the next 3-4 weeks. Today, I did a 20 mile run with a big running group in Downtown Tampa called the "Blue Sharks". They had 122 runners that started at 5:30 am this!!! That was enough to get me pumped up and ready to roll. I did the first 12 with the group, and then decided to add another 8 miles...trekking down Channelside and then to Ybor and heading back on Bayshore.... it was quite nice...but I can tell that my body is just not used to running that long...much less running any type of respectable pace. Luckily, I still got time... so I'm gonna work hard at this over the next few weeks. After I finish a 6 mile easy run tomorrow, I will hit 55 miles for the week, matching my PR. Last week, I was feeling so lethargic and undisciplined, that I thought this week I would scale back quite a bit... well... I didn't and I feel really good. I realize know that most of my problems last week, was d/t me getting back in the swing of things with being on a regimented schedule. Now, I think I am back on that... and it will make it much easier to really get back on schedule when the Olympics finish.... man I'm tired from staying up and watching this stuff.... Big up Jamaica!!!!!
Speaking of the Olympics... I'm going to watch the men's marathon now... hopefully it will be a great race with a great finish.... hoping for Ryan Hall to perform well... ok, see ya!!!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Mental battle with the training

My bad for not posting for awhile. I have been away and when I came back to work this week... it has just been one thing after another. But I am somewhat back to normal and everything is all good... Praise God!!!
But honestly, I would say that this has been my most disappointing week of training. Until 2 Saturdays ago, my training has gone near perfect with my runs. The weather has been uncomfortable, but I have been able to hit most of my paces (besides tempo runs) without a problem. My last post talked about my first 20 miler of this training cycle, which did not go so well, so I won't harp on that too much.
During my vacation week, I was still able to hit most of my runs, but I decided to do them on a treadmill for 2 of them, so I could sleep in and feel lazy!!! I must say it was quite nice... the only thing that I did new was try hill repeats in a parking garage and on a treadmill. I am wondering if my legs got messed up from this new type of training. Anyways, this is the start of my stinky training week....
I was supposed to do 15 miles with 12 miles at marathon pace. I have been looking forward to this run, because it was supposed to give me full confidence that I can hold that pace very easy. I am more than halfway through my training for Chicago, and I haven't been able to run any races, so this was more of a reward of how my training was going. I was supposed to do this on Sunday, but I was still on vacation, and I decided to wait until I got back. So this Tuesday, I woke up at 5 am, and trekked out to do the simulated run.... it sucked!!! It was hard from the 3rd mile.... I just felt like my legs were heavy, my breathing was labored, and I had difficulty holding my pace. I felt like I was running 30 miles, instead of 12, and this was NOT good for my confidence heading into the second phase of my training. Basically, I ran the splits as fast as I ran my half marathon about 9 months ago.... which is not too reassuring... I am supposed to be much faster, right???? Well the second I finished that 12th mile, I had to stop and catch my breath... I averaged about 6 seconds slower than what I planned...ugh!!!! I had to battle throughout the run to keep going... this is what I expect at mile 22...not mile 9!!!! So anyways, my confidence has been a little shot, and mentally I am struggling to put it behind me. But, I was able to think about this a little more.... I am training for a marathon.... and I know that completing a marathon is more mental than physical.... so I am looking at this as mental training for me.... can I pick up the pieces of a key run, and continue to plug along??? Well.... yes!!!! I will, and I won't let this get me down for long. I will say that I am actually going to substitute the bike for one or two of my easy runs over the next 2 weeks, so that I can get my legs back... but I have two key runs this weekend... a 14 miler on the Gandy Bridge with Shane and an 8 miler with some interval sprints in there.
Shane and I talked today a bit, and he feels as though because I am fairly new to running, my body is not used to running high mileage (for me that is)... so he wants me to tone it down a bit, and take out a day of running over the next get my mental edge back... and that is exactly what I plan to do.... I'm ready to go out there again!!!!!

BTW, after my Tuesday run... I came into my house, kinda bummed, and as soon as I turned on the TV after I showered, it was on the Olympics channel...not NBC, but the channel that is a 24/7 feed on the American athletes and their road to the Olympics... made me put things in perspective a bit.... as Pat Riley said, "Hard work guarantees you nothing, but without it, you have no chance"

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Bumps in the road

On Saturday morning, I journeyed out to finish my highest mileage week ever. It seems as though every week, I seem to break my record with re: to mileage... but this is it!!! I will not go beyond 55 miles for my program in preparation for Chicago, so I felt as though this would be the ultimate test for me. I was not very motivated to do this run, and I asked Chris if he would accompany me on part of the run. He obliged, so we decided to start around 5:40 am at the Suncoast Trail. Chris said that he would run the first 10 miles with me, and then I would be on my own for the rest. The interesting thing is that when I run with Chris, we always have great talks... I don't want to bore you with our conversations, but the main thing we talked about was how we all have weaknesses, and sometimes our spiritual enemy plays on us a bit, and tries to expose our we have to get stronger with re: to our weaknesses. Also, we talked about how crazy it can be when everything seems to be going right, and then all of a sudden... all hell breaks loose (no pun intended). It was a great talk, and I needed the encouragement and I'm sure he needed it too.
Well after he left me, I had to finish the last 10 miles. I decided to stop and put on my Ipod, and finish out the run strong. The funny thing about the last 10 miles of my run is that it was exactly what Chris and I had talked about. I was running really comfortable.... actually, a lot slower than I usually do my long runs, and I just decided that I was going to coast for the last 10 miles. I would not push it, just finish. Well.... all was well until around mile 18 or so... and then I just felt like... ok, this might get kinda tough....let me slow down a bit more. As soon as I hit the 19th mile, I started to feel woozy, like I was gonna hit the ground. I stopped running, and I started to drink the little water that I had left. I felt awful... I knew I was in trouble, but I also knew that I could at least walk the last mile if I had to. So, I ended up walking for about a tenth of a mile, and then I started to run again. I was severely dehydrated at this point, and I knew it... my legs didn't feel like lead, but my body just ran out of steam. When I got to 1/2 mile left, I said I would just try to run a little bit more and then walk, but I just kept on going and just playing mental games with myself. I ended up running/shuffling (but most importantly...not walking!!!) the last 1/2 mile. I was disappointed in how my big week finished, but I felt as though I showed some mental toughness in gutting it out and finishing the run.... running!!! So, I was able to crawl in my car, get home... and I crashed.... felt like I was gonna puke honestly... but after about an hour or so of getting fluids back in my body and taking a 90 min. nap, I felt better again, and drove down to Ft. Lauderdale. That's where I am at now, and will be here for the rest of the week. This will be a recovery week for me, in which I will cut back to 40 miles or so... I need it though, because my body feels tired. So here is the run/carnage. My run was exactly what Chris and I talked about earlier.... things can be going so well, and all of a sudden, bad things can come in a barrage... but you gotta fight through it... and I think that is what I did... it wasn't pretty, but I made it. Isn't that what life is all about????