Sunday, March 17, 2013

VA Beach Shamrock 8k

The music didn't stop.

My goal for this 8k was a bit of a moving target. When we first signed up, Nicky wasn't here yet and my dreams were lofty. My previous best 8k time, Shamrock 2012, was 1:25:59. Both 8ks in my name were of the walking variety, so PRing the race Saturday was a formality if ever there was one when myself and running are the topic. I mostly planned to follow the advice we saw on a bumper sticker: Start slow, then back off.

My mix was designed with a healthy PR in mind. This winter I had pretty much decided on 1:10:00 as my goal. It's nearly 16 minutes better than my old PR, and would mean 14 min/mile. Therefore, when selecting music, I was happy when I made a 1:09:00 mix. That meant when Jay-Z was over, I would have less than a minute to finish under my goal.

Race weekend arrived, and my nerves took over. Doubting my ability to get under 1:10:00 I decided to not think about it and just make sure I PRd.

Kacey helped me get ready and came with me. After saying goodbye to my in-laws, the reality washed over me and the seriousness kicked in. We left the hotel, and everything felt right. Here I was, as every race day, with Kacey. Only now we have a kid in tow. We did our first race, the Sherry Anderson 5k, in 2009. Kacey caught the bug a little before me, but since then we've had so many wonderful race days together. She's my inspiration.

But still, the miles. Two miles in, with a 12:24 pace, I thought there was no way I could keep it up. But instead I went faster. My walk breaks were frequent, but I never strolled. An old friend proved a good pacer in the first half, and I have a random couple to thank for helping me keep it going for the last three miles. We kept passing each other, but eventually I was spending more time in front. And at the end they were dust. But damn, they helped. The guy had his name on his shirt, but I forgot it. Thank you both, whoever you are.

In the end, I crossed at 1:00:13, 12:07 a mile. Slow by the standards of many, but way beyond my expectations. Nearly half an hour better than my best, and a better pace than my best 5k.

From Macklemore to Paul Simon, B.o.B. to the Deftones, the music kept me going. And after one skipped track, I crossed the finish line to Jerk-Off by Tool. I never even made it to my planned race ender, Empire State of Mind.

What I accomplished was hard. Surgery in August, a new baby boy. But it's nothing at all compared to what Kacey did then and this weekend. I look forward to her recap.

This weekend solidified my love of races. We run for health. We run to finish. We run, walk, jog, and stumble over the finish line. Some keep their heads down, in the zone. Others dress up and laugh the whole time. We're all runners. And I know that now, because I can't stop dreaming about more race days with our new little family of three.



Monday, March 11, 2013

It's been an interesting 4 months since I last posted. Nicky will be 6 months old soon. That thought makes my head spin.

So my goals for 2013 have mostly been thrown out the window already. I haven't been wogging (walk/jogging) as much as I should. But at this point I'm not going to worry about it. According to Smashrun.com, which is a GREAT site for geeks to check running stats, I've logged 30 miles this year with my Nike+. That's more than 1/3 of 2012, so at least I'm on pace to improve! Besides that, though, my chances of making 365 Nike+ miles isn't great, and due to sheer annoyance I've stopped logging my steps. I still wear my pedometer every day, though, and try to do well.

New 2013 goals:

1: Same as before, PR 5k, 8k, and 10k. More on that below.
2: Kacey and I keep a file of all the races we do, along with our times and PRs. Perhaps I've forgotten a race or two along the way, but according to my records I did 1 race in 2009, 2 in 2010, 3 in 2011, and 4 in 2012. So obviously I need to do 5 or more this year.
3: Most Nike+ miles ever in a single year. My current record is 207 in 2010. Shashrun is amazing, as I said earlier, but it's also depressing. My yearly mileage went down in 2011 and then again in 2012. I haven't always used a Nike product to run or walk, but I'm guessing reality follows behind.
4: Get below 206 pounds. More on that below as well.

Shamrock Marathon is this weekend in VA Beach. I'm going for an 8k PR, which will be easy as long as my feet don't just implode beneath me. My best 8k time, and this will be my third, is 1:25:59 (17:18 a mile). My goal this weekend is to get around 14 minutes a mile, so 1 hour 10 minutes or better. I should be able to do that, because yesterday I did a 5k at 39 minutes (very unofficially) which would be my 5k PR by a full minute. That gives me confidence that getting my 5k PR this year will be very much in reach.

A month from now is the Monument Ave 10k in Richmond, VA. I'm hoping for a PR then too, which will mean under 14 minutes per mile. If I don't do it there, I'm gonna have to try and make it to the Wicked 10k in October. If I'm successful, that will leave the rest of the year to PR a 5k.

Kacey and I are doing the 24-hour diet. That's what I'll call it, anyway (she touches on it here). So even though my workouts have been close to nonexistent, we've both been losing weight. We spend most of the week eating well, staying away from soda or dessert or too much of anything. We try to eat mostly clean. Then each weekend we choose a 24-hour period where basically anything goes. We've reigned it in to the point where we just have a dessert or two and eat a little more than normal, usually at restaurants. This helps us lose weight week to week while still being able to eat some bad things. I've been very happy with it, because I can turn down dessert or pizza knowing just a few days from that moment I can have what I want. It helps, and has gotten me out of my funk/plateau. My funkteau.

I try to weigh in each Saturday morning around 8am. This past weekend I was 223.6. Back in 2011, with the Largest Loser competition at a local gym, I think I got as low as 228 before jumping back up to the 260s. Each week now, as long as I am lower than the week before, marks my lowest weight since 2003-2004. I briefly reached 206 pounds back then. Before that I'm thinking it's been since high school, so nearly 20 years, since i was below 200. So 206 is a milestone, but under 200 is my main goal. With more than 9 months left in the year, I just want to get to 205 or below. If I can keep losing weight while not being completely obsessed about food, I'll be able to do it and possibly a little more.

I'm worried that my training (or lack of) will hurt me this weekend. But I keep reminding myself that I walked the 8k last year with only a little more training, and I was 40 pounds heavier. I let some time get away from me this year, but I'm gonna keep moving and aim to make jogging a regular part of my life. And soon enough, Nicky will be joining us in races!