Random Rantings and Ravings from a Slow-Poke Runner in the Heart of the South. (A Weeekly (sort of) Blog about running and just about anything else)

Sunday, May 28, 2006

I'm Baaaaaaaaack!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm back after a long hiatus from blogging. Sorry to all of you who check my blog periodically to encourage me in my running. Honestly, I've been in a little bit of a running slump lately and it is showing up in my blog.

I was a little disappointed in the calf injury in the weeks leading up to the Gum Tree. I decided to take it easy the week after but it has kinda' leaked into the week after that. Due to the lack of consistency in my running the last month (partly due to the injury), my running seems more laborious.

I am going to try and put more variety in my exercise and will mountain bike more, try to find a racquetball partner, and do some more resistance training. As it normally goes with me, the lack of running has meant I often ate more than I should. Something about lack of discipline in my running carries over to my eating. I have added a few pounds as a result but I think it is mostly water weight.

I only ran a little over twelve miles this week but plan to kick it up next week to close to 20. The next race I have planned is the Tupelo 14.2 miler on September 3rd. It is a small race that's part of the Tupelo Marathon. I have had very few runs 10 miles or more and I have NEVER run more than 12 miles.

I will be looking more to endure more than anything. I know the nervousness of racing with most of the runners in a different class than me will make it a difficult race. If I run it in under 2:15 I will be extremely happy but, again, time is not as important in this run. Hopefully, it will help me get geared up for the Memphis Marathon the first Saturday in December!

By the way, I have now changed the running log link to the right and it should go to my new running log. I haven't really decided if I like the new one better but I am too lazy to switch back regardless! I hope everyone has a great Memorial Day weekend and thanks to any soldiers out there reading this blog for all of your sacrifices so we can enjoy freedom in this country!!

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Mission Accomplished -- BARELY!!!

The 2006 Gum Tree Run is now officially "in the books". I have now completed my first ever 10K race!! Now for the recap:

My wife ran the Gum Tree as well and we laid out our clothes last night and went to bed fairly early to get a good night's sleep. I checked the forecast before retiring and it looked like partly cloudy and temperatures in the mid to high 50's at race time. Perfect! However, we were awakened at 5:30 am by strong thunder and penny-sized hail! I checked the radar and it looked like it would blow over by race time; but we were both still getting nervous!

I ate a perfect pre-race breakfast at 6:15 - a big bowl of Fruity Pebbles! After getting ready, it appeared that the storm would, sure enough, blow over. I created another eclectic race-day ipod mix and we headed out the door at 7:20 am.

We got there plenty of time to get our champion chip timing thingies and snapped some pre-race pictures. There was between 800 and 1000 runners registered and there were plenty of folks in line for their numbers.

We did a little jogging and stretching and I was a bit nervous because the calf, sure enough, started hurting. We went over to the start line at 8:15 and I staked a spot about a 1/3 of the way back. I looked around and saw a few people that didn't belong here beside me. I saw some corporate-looking guys I have seen running around the Wellness Center that I KNOW can leave me in the dust. I also stood beside an overweight 50-something lady with a bouffant hairdo. She was chewing gum and chatting with a similar lady beside her in capri pants. I could only think that I would get stuck behind them but I stayed put.

My wife went back to the very back of the line. I am really proud of her because she has been training hard but she had yet to run more than 5 1/4 miles. She was nervous but determined to enjoy the race and didn't want to feel any pressure from those starting off fast around her. She would later say that she probably ran the first two miles TOO slow but she really enjoyed herself, so in that regard, she met her goal.

They had a poor sound system and the start caught me a little off guard. I didn't hit my watch until I was a few seconds past the start line so I knew it would be about 10 seconds slow. I knew not to start off too fast but being stuck behind some slow runners got the best of me and I found myself sprinting (a little) down the shoulder to get in position.

The first mile was pretty unremarkable except that my parents drove over and stood near the first mile marker with our kids. It was REALLY cool to see them and it charged me up! However, by about 2 1/2 miles, my legs felt really dead! You can see on my running log that I only ran once this week and not too many miles last week. The calf felt great but the layoff from running had me feeling sluggish and my 8:30 pace was already starting to fade.

We went through a nice older neighborhood in Tupelo in the third mile and it was neat to see all the folks out by the road cheering us on. There were hundreds of people and their children, sitting in lawn chairs and smiling, clapping, or waving! At one corner, there was a line of five or six little girls in sundresses giving high fives to any willing runners on their way by. One man had the road by his home lined with 60 flags to add to the celebratory atmosphere!

I began to feel better around 4 miles and picked my pace up a bit - but was still only around a 9 minutes a mile pace. I knew I couldn't slow down much more or I would not make my goal time of under 55 minutes. And one of the longest, windiest, and most boring sections of the race was coming up.

The fifth and sixth mile of the race goes down two four lane roads where there is very little scenery. I kept a steady pace and focused on my music. I looked at my watch and knew, barring any breakdowns, I could meet my goal.

The second half of the sixth mile is a gradual uphill and I passes a few runners dry heaving on the side of the road. I began to feel proud of myself that I was relatively comfortable. With the hurt calf, I head really decided not to push myself too hard and I was feeling pretty good. I was too tired to push the pace to much but I wasn't about to die either.

Near the sixth mile I saw my parents again set up in lawn chairs with the kids. I gave a big smile and wave and said hi to the kids. I picked up the pace because I knew it would be close. There was a big crown lining the final stretch and I couldn't see the clock. About 100 yards away I saw that I had a full minute to reach the finish line. I settled into a comfortable pace and crossed at 54:46! Slow by a lot of your standards -- but pretty good for my first 10 K!!!!

They cut the timing chip off my shoe and gave me my finishers medal. I sprinted to the car and grabbed our cooler with Gatorade and the camera. I walked back to where my parents were and waited for my wife so I could snap a few pictures. She finished at 1 hour, 10 minutes and 8 seconds. CONGRATS to her and HAPPY MOTHER's DAY!!!!

I checked our times online tonight and we were both a little disappointed because it has us both listed 5 seconds slower than when we know we crossed the finish line. Since it took us both a few seconds to cross the start line, we assumed our chip times would be a little faster than out clock times but we don't know how that is supposed to work.

All in all, it was a great run and it gave me a benchmark 10K time to try to beat! Now, I just got to see how long it takes for my calf to feel better. I am not sure if I should take additional days off or just try to run easy through the injury. Either way I look forward to many 10K runs to come!!!

Friday, May 12, 2006


The 2006 Gum Tree 10K Run is now less than 12 hours away!!

My calf is better tonight and I plan to ice it before hitting the hay. I didn't run this morning so I will need to do some warming up to get my legs fresh.

With the recent injury, I won't feel too bad if I don't make my time of less than 55 minutes. I just look forward to running and completing MY FIRST 10K EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'll give you the full rundown tomorrow night!

WIsh me luck and say a prayer!!!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Unintentional Taper

As the southern saying goes, “If you’re scared, say you’re scared!” Ok. I guess I am a little bit scared. I have been gearing up for the Gum Tree 10K Run this Saturday well before I started my training several weeks ago. After all, I have wanted to run this race for a long time, years even. It is not until recently that I have worked up the mileage to make a decent attempt at it.

Then came to calf injury.

I would say it happened two and a half weeks ago during a hill workout but, truth is, I am not really sure when it happened. I changed shoes a week and a half before it started so I wonder if this is part of it. Unfortunately, I didn’t write a lot about the injury in my online running log, probably because I thought it was just a little soreness. So I can’t really pinpoint when it started, but it is a soreness and pain that just won’t go away!

After I realized it was an injury two weeks ago, I took off five whole days! The calf began feeling better but I had an easy week last week, running only 20.3 miles. I felt really strong in my 7.25 long run on Saturday but I must have tweaked the injury because the dull pain came back and has not gone away since!

I have only run one time this week: A run just under 5 miles in which I ran a lousy 9 min/mile pace. I had planned to give it another try today but I overslept! It may have been a good thing because the calf is still pretty sore.

I went to the Runner’s World website that has the figure you can click on to find out what possible injury you have. It told me to wrap my calf, ice it, stretch several times a day, and avoid any hard workouts. I have gotten a six-inch ace bandage and started wrapping it yesterday. With only 4.8 miles of running this week so far, saying I have “avoided any hard workouts” is an understatement.

It is disappointing that this happened just before the race. I plan to run a 3-mile semi-tempo run tomorrow unless something happens. I will probably wrap it during the run tomorrow but I have not decided on the race yet. I still want to run the race in under 55 minutes, but with the injury, I’m a bit….yes…..scared.
Someone commented on my previous post that my legs wouldn’t forget how to run on Saturday. I am sure hoping they don’t!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


Well.....not really. But I do now have a claim to 2 seconds of semi-fame!

I have now had a letter to the editor published in Running Times Magazine!

In a recent issue of the magazine, I was disgusted with a column written by one of their columnists that strayed from running and delved into the arena of social issues.

She wrote of a race she had participated in benefiting Planned Parenthood and made fun of individuals that held signs protesting the organization. Her criticism of these individuals seemed particularly evil-spirited as she expressed her disgust and made fun of them. Then she turned right around and praised a friend who won the race when he seized the opportunity to grab the microphone and launch into a pointed speech promoting gun control.

What struck me most about the article was how hypocritical she was to describe their protest as "ridiculous" but laud her friend when he does the very same thing! She even went as far to say he was"leading the way for the rest of us"! It seems to be a prevalent trend with some in our country to attempt to surround themselves only with those that agree with themselves and attempt to limit the right of others to express opposing viewpoints.

Running Times printed only a portion of my e-mail that encouraged us to focus more on the common ground we share as runners; and to try to leave politics out of the run, which was a play on the subtitle of the article. You can check out my two seconds of fame in the June edition of Running Times, a fine magazine, on news-stands now!

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Week of Running

Wow! It has actually been a week since I last blogged -- oops! The last time I wrote I talked of the setback with my leg. Well, it has gotten better but some soreness is still there.

I waited until Tuesday to run and did an easy 4 miler at the 1/2 mile track near the gym. The run went okay. I could tell I had a little longer of a layoff, as it was a bit harder than it should have been. The calf was a bit sore still so I decided not to do speedwork the next day.

Wednesday I ran 5 miles at the same track at about an 8:30 min/mile pace. The calf didn't bother me at all and I felt a bit relieved with the race about a week and a half away.

I skipped Thursday calling it an off day and ran a 4 mile tempo run on a the treadmill on a rainy Friday morning. I kept a slight incline until 3 1/4 miles and kept a moderate pace (for me) of 8:19 minutes a mile. A little sore in the calf again but felt like nothing to worry about.

I debated for a long time about how far I would go Saturday. It is a run that is a week away from the 10K run and I didn't want to go too far. I also didn't want to undercut myself and lose out on some valuable training. I finally mapped out a route of 7 1/4 miles that went through a nearby park.

The park was especially bustling that day with an antique car show, regional soccer tournament, and a "Dudie Burger" festival. You probably don't know what a Dudie burger is. Years ago someone in Tupelo bought an old train car and made it into a fast food restaurant. It was called "Dudie's" and their specialty was a dough burger made with beef, flour, and water. I think they fried it in grease so it is not the healthiest thing in the world but it was pretty tasty. Although they sold for only a nickel, all of the McDonald's of the world put them out of business in the early 80's. Now they have a festival once a year where they cook them up once again. (I went later in the day with the fam and ate two of them! They now sell for two dollars.)

The run Saturday went GREAT! It was a little hard around four miles but I felt really strong the last mile, sprinting over the last 1/4. I felt a little sore Saturday and today but not as bad as last week.

I am both excited and nervous about the upcoming race and will blog a lot about it this week. I hope everyone else had a great week!