Monday, July 14, 2014

Hot Stuff

The assault on a sub 3 hour full marathon continues... ...

Running for any amount of distance in Phoenix in the summer is brutal.
It is 'Hot Stuff' in Phoenix AZ in the summer:
BTW - this song is the disco jam.

Ramping up the miles lately for ultra-marathon racing season - 37 miles for the weekend with some good elevation gain on Sunday.  Saturday's 22 mile run starting at 4:00am was brutal hot towards the end of the run and I got dropped like a bad habit by a bad-ass lady trying to qualify for the Olympic Trials.  I suppose if you are going to get your ass handed to you might as well be by a bad-ass runner. 

The plan for the summer is to put in tons of base miles, try to cause some noise in an ultra-marathon later this summer (only 60km - but hey that is still a decent distance), build up a good base, and then start putting the screws to everything - speed work, tempo runs, miles per week, diet;  in preparation for hopefully a sub-3 hour full marathon towards the end of the year.

Finally here is picture from the official race photographer at the Ojai Mountains-2-Beach Full Marathon last month giving the thumbs up while I was still getting mine just prior to completely imploding and folding like a cheap suit;
I was so in control here and a sub 3 hours was pretty much a given at this point.  Ah how things can go so bad so quickly... ...  Ugh.

Total side story... that dude just behind me with the gray shirt and CHIPS sunglasses pissed me off for some reason during the race (for no reason other than his cheesy sunglasses - he was probably a normal good guy) and he totally passed me with about 1/2 mile to go and I couldn't do anything about it.  Ugh.

Anyway... as always  - Running is Awesome!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Kawauchi & Voigt

A cool and fun thing from my two favorite endurance sports people...

First - Yuki Kawauchi-san's (Japan's 'Citizen Runner') results thus far in 2014 as maintained by the great Japan Running News site:
Absolutely nuts volume of racing and results.  He has raced 22 times through 6/15 already in 2014!!! There is nobody in the world who comes close to that quantity and quality of results. 

And how about the always hilarious Jens Voigt discussing his performance in the Tour of California:

How had I not stumbled across this hilarious interview previously?!?!

Interviewer:  This is your last Tour of California, you had a pretty quiet week,but you got in a breakaway today,you must feel pretty happy about that?
Jens: 'What the #*^! quiet week?!  I was suffering like a pig every day.  I was trying to go on a breakaway every day.  But it looks like I'm the most feared rider in the world!

Absolutely hilarious.

Endurance sports are made more fun to participate in and follow due to people like Kawauchi & Jens.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Ojai Marathon Race Report - My Ambitions as Runner

This weekend marked the running of the Ojai Clif Bar Mountains-to-Beach Marathon, and to cut right to the chase - I finished in 3:03:41.  Ugh.  Fail. 
It read 3:03:08 on the big clock at the finish line when I crossed (see below) but 3:03:41 is the official finishing time - and I didn't start the race  30 seconds before the gun went off... so go figure.

Anyway... prior to this race I thought that after it was done whether I got under 3 hours or not I would need time to step back and reflect, and think of what I wanted to get into next...
- Swimming more?
- Doing some cross-fit type of stuff?
- Ultra Marathoning?
- Back to weightlifting and grunting?
- Competitive Euchre and/or Bridge?  Side note... I only learned a few years after college that Euchre is mostly only a Midwest card game.  Great college drinking & hanging out game - the rest of the country is missing out.

But reflection time took about 5 minutes after I finished... I am going under 3:00 hours in a full!  Period.  
My running as hard as I can days are not over.  As the insightful and motivational figure from my youth Sylvester Stallone astutely observed in relation to my quest to get under 3 hours:
Tell 'em Rocky,  err... I mean Rambo.  I have still got a score to settle!

I *must* run under 3 hours in a full marathon!!!
And while I may not be the smartest bulb in the pack, I am one of the hardest headed and delusionally determined people going.  So I am going to listen to Rambo's advice.  I mean, he seems like a perfectly reasonable guy at this point at the end of Rambo right? 

Ok... ...
As with most all of my race reports - I need a song to set the mood.  And since I was totally jamming to this right before the race started, and I suppose since I have already stated my Ambitions as a Ridah Runner, and finally since it it is the title of this blog entry, I gotta go with

If only Tupac could have been with me from up above as I was imploding from about mile 21 on... :-)

Before I start my marginally entertaining race-report, how about looking at me pictorially go through all five of the stages of Grief and Denial immediately after the race as captured by our oldest daughter a budding photographer;

1.  Denial and Isolation
How did this happen...?
 2.  Anger

 3.  Bargaining
  I just finished the full dammit!  Gimme a few more friggin Goldfish!

  4.  Depression

5.  Acceptance

So on to the race report itself...

First prior to the race I had got myself into great running shape thanks to my totally kick ass Running Coach.  He did a great job of structuring my motivated but frankly aimless'ish running ways, kicked me in the ass when I needed it, and gave me sound advice throughout.  I really should have been able to pull it off based on his coaching and plans...  If only my running was up to the same level of level as his coaching...

So after riding the bus from Ventura up to Ojai CA at 4:00am I predictably went to the bathroom about 5 times, listened to a bunch of hard rock music and rap such as the aforementioned Tupac song and got myself into a worked up troublesome mood before the start.  I love getting really angry before the start of races - it takes me back to my underdog Flint MI & MSU days.
So at the start I lined up right at the front - as it is a smallish race (1,500 people) and I didn't want to have to waste tons of energy trading elbows with fellow runners at the start of the race.
I had the words of my coach ringing in my ears "I don't want to hear about you going out too fast, if you go through the first 1/2 of the race in like low 1:27's I will wring your neck" (ok he didn't say the wringing my neck part but it was implied).
So I did generally ok with those instructions, I hooked up with the 3:00 hour Pacer at around mile 7 and after listening to him talk to people it sounded like he knew the course well and knew what he was doing, so I decided to stick with him and the 3:00 hour crew.
It was good rolling from mile 7 on.  Chit chatting with a number folks with different stories of goals, plans of redemption in this race, and a general good mood & vibe.
We went through the first 1/2 in 1:28 high and it was feeling oh so easy, my confidence was building by the mile.
The one thing he did do which I think was generally the right thing, but wonder if it was for *me*, - in that he was clicking off like 6:40'ish or 6:45'ish miles as we were heading slightly downhill - he said at around the 1/2 way mark he was going to click them off a little quicker as the course got flat around mile 20 or 21 and was slight downhill until there.  And that he was going to run the steady downhills a little faster as that was a "3:00 hour effort".  And it seemed to make sense, and in reflecting I think it probably was right, but even though I trained running downhills, I didn't train for it enough.  And around my 18 my quads started to say to me "Hey dude, you are just slamming us - We weren't prepared for this, time to start shutting things down."  And so around mile 20 the 3:00 hour pacer dude started to slip away into the distance.

I don't know why I let him slip away.  I talked/talk about manning up this and that, but it seems like somehow I don't _really_ have that killer instinct.  And then around mile 22 when I realized and gave in to the fact that I wasn't going to make it, I let the wheels really fall off more than I should have.
- Was it because I went out too fast?
- Was it because I wasn't truly prepared for the quad-thrashing?
- Was it because I talk a big game but when push comes to show I fold like a cheap suit?
 Who is to say.  But in any case the wheels fell off.

Oh wait...  I just thought of a non-sequential funny typical me dumb-a** story.
I had really bad cramps in my last full marathon and realized through trial and error it was due to sweating out so much salt and losing electrolytes (I am a big sweater).  So I taped an e-cap to one of my Gu's.
And I was going to swallow it with my first Gu planned for around mile 8 (I go through 3 Gu's in a full).  But when I pulled out the Gu it wasn't there, so I pulled them all frantically out while running from the back of my shorts pocket and felt all of them for that gel e-cap but it was not there!  What a pisser I thought.  So I rolled with it.  But then when I was taking my last one around mile 18 I realized it was taped to that Gu (How did I not find it earlier! what a jackass).  So I tried to pull/rip it off of the Gu but it was not happening - I couldn't rip the tape, so I figured I would do it with my teeth.  But I broke the cap and only got down like 1/4th of it, but as the capsule was broke it tasted way nasty salty which left a taste of a small spoonful of salt in my mouth - yuck.  Fortunately an aid station with water came up finally and I could wash the nasty taste down.  What a bonehead.

Anyway back to the implosion part of my story... I started to just fade and absolutely implode when I could no longer see the 3:00 hour pacer.  Why couldn't I motivate myself?  Why was I so lame?  Why did I let it slide so much from the 3:00 hour mark? All questions which I will stew about for some time.

Eventually my implosion and weak-willed-ness mercifully came to an end and our oldest snapped off the following as I hobbled to the finish line - if you look closely you can see my face in full grimace mode.

Also here is me finishing in 3:03:08 (look at the clock!  It is actually 06 at this point - and it didn't take me 45 seconds to get from there to across that blue mat - I was slowing down at this point in the race, but not that much!) - I was handed  33 extra seconds...
You can take those 33 seconds back thank you very much  :-)

Anyway, after finishing the above 5 stages of grief and denial ensued.

Joking aside though I am way happy.  It is an 8 minute PR, and I am knocking on the door of getting under 3:00 hours.
I finished 61st overall and 7th within my age group. 

Then after the race my better half, our oldest, and myself went to the beach at Santa Barbara - cool to watch the beach volleyballers get busy, to walk the pier, and for me to drink margaritas.  Then on Monday AM we went through Santa Monica on our way home to Phoenix. 

Anyway, that is all I got.  Happy end of day Memorial Day.  So many people have done so many great things for our awesome country.  Very thankful.

Running is Awesome!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Let's Get Ready to Rumble...!!!

After years of running (around 5?) I have rounded into my best running form by a wide margin.

And now finally it is all chips in for a massive new marathon PR (Personal Record / best).  Race week is upon me...  So...

It seems like years, and certainly months upon months of day after day of running, dieting, running, elliptical'ing, running, swimming, running, dieting, running, lifting, and running some more.
If I don't get under 3 hours in this weekend's upcoming race I think I will completely implode.

And with a great build up block, it is all in right in front of me for the taking.  Time to taper, sleep (a lot), start getting amp'ed up during the week, and freak out about every little detail about the race.  I think I may be influencing currently being debated net neutrality proposed laws with all of my clicking reload for weather forecast updates. 

Fortunately for me getting amp'ed up will be no problem...  Some of my favorite getting amp'ed up video's / songs which I will be (over) watching this week:
  • Sammy Wanjiru & Tsegaye Kebede throwing absolute haymakers at each other at the 2010 Chicago Marathon (I have no idea how this doesn't have hundreds of thousands of views) 
  • Most every Triathlon Kona Ironman World Championship over the last 10 years on YouTube (even though I could never do one love watching people just lay it all out there).
  • MSU Fight Song / Videos.  How about This One, That One, This One, or That One!  And for motivation & fun for UofM & MSU fans alike.... This One.  All Awesome.
  • And all kinds of kick-ass & cheesy music to fire me up!  Such as:

Time to man up.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Peoria 1/2 Marathon Race Report... I won

Today I ran the prestigious Going the Distance 1/2 Marathon in Peoria AZ and....  ...  ...  I won!

My time massively sucked for what I wanted to (and frankly should have) run, but hey, run a small enough race and magical things can happen  :-)

 As with most of my widely read blogs (ba-ha-ha!) I offer a video/song to set the mood for the blog entry.
And since the name of the race was the "Going the Distance" marathon, 1/2 marathon, and 4mile run, can there be any other song then the following....?   I think no.

 This song is the jam!  Love it.

So anyway - now with my huge victory in one of the World Marathon Majors  -  which as everyone knows are comprised of;  The Boston Marathon, London Marathon, New York City Marathon, Berlin Marathon, Chicago Marathon, Tokyo Marathon, and The Peoria Going the Distance Marathon  -   I am thinking I will start trolling/writing on Wilson Kipsang, Tsegaye Kebede, & Ryan Hall's blogs (do they have blogs?) and smack talking them and all of the other pretenders out there.

Err wait... hold that.  I hear there's rumors on the Internets that:
- The Peoria Going the Distance race is in fact not one of the World Marathon Majors
- That because I only ran a 1/2 marathon that my results do not count
- That most of those guys would demolish my 1/2 marathon time by over 2 minutes a mile (which is so much it is funny).
and accordingly my massive victory will not count toward World Marathon Major's points.
Ahh well, I guess I will have to continue to be a data flunky in Corporate America.

So anyway, on to my awesome-ly lame race report;

The fam drove up with me this morning to Peoria  -  it is a hall to get up there from The Ahwatukey Foothills where we live these days (just moved back from Japan to the US - it is awesome to be back in the US and re-honing my stellar English skills).

So we got there after I briefly bungled the directions on the Internets, I went to the bathroom about 6 or 7 times, and blah blah blah soon enough it was time to start.  So I started hamming it up with folks around me, and getting my stretch on;
Curses... I thought shaving my melon the night before would hide my receding hairline...

Trying to psych out the competition lined up near the front with my impressive array of stretching maneuvers - judging by the fact that no one is paying me any attention I think a fail.

Trying to look cool in my new Oakley's I got from awesome work friends in Japan as a parting gift (I would never shell out for such nice shades).

Soon enough the race was underway, and a group of about 7 of us were out running off the front together the first mile or two.
A shirtless dude who had on an Ironman hat and looked really strong, two ladies, one in really good shape, one small prototypical running looking girl/lady, an ultra looking dude, a wily veteran looking dude, some youngish guy, and myself.
We went out around 6:35 in the first mile and I kept thinking... "There is no way this can be the top pace in this race, somebody is going to pick it up here or come racing from behind us".  But then into the 2nd and 3rd mile nobody did.
And my coach (yes I have a running coach now - I am a dork), told me to go out in 6:40's which I thought was really lame but did so.
Around 4 miles we had circled back and our oldest snapped off a few pictures as we went by, here is one:

Note there is one dude ahead of me in the picture in the top left in the white shirt, it was the ultra-marathon looking dude (he had a beard and was running with is own hand-held water to solidify his ultra look - I had him pegged).
So I went by the girls and the Mrs in 2nd place flashing them the "Can you believe I am in 2nd place?" sign / hand signal.
I couldn't believe it!  I was having delusions of grandeur that if I could just run down Mr. Ultra I would take this thing.
And the leading pace at this point was slower than I planned to run, thus I figured I could make a little noise here!

Around mile 5 I caught up with Ultra-Man and confirmed that my stereotyping was indeed correct and he primarily ran ultras (not a good thing, could lead to continued stereotyping on my part).  I started up a conversation with him and he was a real cool dude.  We talked for a bit and he said he was trying to run around a 1:26 or 1:28 (I think that is what he said).  And I told him I was trying to run a 1:24 to 1:25 but thought the 1:24 was not going to be in the cards given our current pace.
Side note... I always complain about my race times but my results for this race - from a time perspective - were lame & disappointing.  I have gotten in really good running shape (for me) and my careless use of money investment in a running coach is really paying off.  I have really been putting in some good runs and this race did not reflect my current fitness and was/is a bit of bummer.  I think not tapering at all prior to the race, it being a little hot, the course having all of these weird drainage up-downs, and my not putting out for some lame reason contributed to my lame time.  I am going to need to put out much better if I am going to break 3 hours in a full in a bit here later this spring.  The good thing is that I know I have it in me  (I think...)

[re-reading the above after I wrote it is pretty funny - I can make excuses with the best of them]

Anywho, after Ultra-Man and I ran together for a bit I slowly pulled away from him.  Although I could not get my splits/times to go down.  I kept putting in like 6:50 min/miles and thinking "That was a lame mile, you run better than that in tempo runs all the time lately, pick it up lame-a**", but I then I wouldn't and didn't.
On the one hand no one was around to push me, and it was getting hotter, but on the other hand I was thinking that my coach was going to see my times and get a little pissed at my lame-ness'ed-ness.
But I didn't / couldn't respond for some lame reason.

There was a turn-round at about 7 or 8 miles and I could see that it was really only me and Ultra-Man in the hunt, with Ironman dude a bit back in 3rd.  So I just kind of lame-a**'ed it in from there.  And when we took a turn a small bridge with about a quarter of a mile to go I couldn't see anyone behind me so I knew I was going to win - lame time and all.

So I rounded the last turn and then did my Chris McCormack #1 finger pointing pose - lame time and all - as I neared/crossed the finish.  I mean what the heck... I was about to win the prestigious Peoria Going The Distance 1/2 Marathon!

 Macca's got nothing on me!

 And with both hands / index fingers for full effect!  
and check out the throngs of fans...

And here is how Macca himself gets the double #1 victory point done!
Copyrighted I am sure...  
The man himself getting it done!

Only minor differences between me and Macca... He was at the end of hammering the entire world at the Kona Ironman World Championships at the end of a full marathon after a 2.4 mile swim, and a 112 mile bike ride.  And I was at the end of hammering a (very small signed up) bunch of mostly middle-aged pudgy office workers who didn't qualify for Boston or want to run a full.
Details, details...

And so after I was done even though my time (1:28:16 official time, can't get wireless Garmin to upload for some stupid reason) sucked, I thought it was kind of cool and funny that I had won.  I was so full of myself... (I am often full of it  :-)  )

Anyway, I then got my handshake with the race director dude:

I skipped the ceremonies as they were going to be like over an hour later and I needed to get back to the house to write this blog get ready for a dance recital our girls have tonight.
Too bad, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer and US AZ Senator John "The Maverick" McCain were on hand to present me with my $5,000 USD winners check...  NOT!  (ba-ha-ha!)
Will have to catch up with them next time.

So lame time and lame effort aside it was pretty humorous and fun to win.  Can't decide whether to laugh at myself or be proud.  So I think I will go with both!

I think it is good for me though as I have been putting in some really good runs (for me) lately and have been getting cocky that I am going to go under 3-hours in my full in a bit here in the spring and this puts me back in my place and will force me to keep working!

Running is Awesome!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

いわきサンシャインマラソン/Iwaki SunShine Marathon Race (err... Trip) Report

The marathon race report that wasn't....

As much as I love running races, I also enjoy writing a good fun race report afterwards and thinking of all of the ways I can make fun of myself (usually not all that difficult).
Although this time around before I could even make up lame excuses and dog on myself for why I didn't run the time I thought I could, the race got cancelled...!!!
The biggest snow storm to hit the Tokyo / North of Tokyo area in over 10 years dumped a crapload of snow all over Japan from like Tokyo up a hundred miles or so north.  And the area the race was (Iwaki in Fukushima Prefecture - located Here) was right in the wheelhouse of the storm.

So what is the customary song for you, the reader of this blog (you and the 5 to10 other people who read it besides myself :-) ) to listen to which captures this awesome blog entry...?
I am going with the following:
Bowling for Soup  -  Almost

Why is it the theme song?  Well...

  • I yet again *almost* did something awesome earlier today - i.e. almost put in an awesome time.  As my training has been going awesome lately.  Although this time I didn't even get to start to try to prove it...!
  • The song/video seems to capture my life pretty well.  I have almost done all kinds of awesome things.
  • I can relate to those dudes in the video.  I lived somewhere between their world and the cool guy's world in H.S. (so I guess that puts me somewhere between Chris Christie & David Wildstein :-)  ).  I was the best golfer on an inner-city High School in Flint, MI.  And I dated a few decent chicks here and there in H.S.  That is saying something / has got to count for something right...?     Err... ... ...  No.
  • Finally it is a great / fun song, that is the main reason for it being the theme song.  

So back on point here and backing up a little bit...
Since start of this year I have taken my running to a whole other level.  I got a running coach at the end of last year, and after him kicking my ass about not following his brutal schedule to a tea I have been waking up in terror most mornings thinking of the run I have to somehow try to accomplish on his masochistic schedule, although somehow finding a way to get it done.
Speaking of which next time I see him upon returning to The States I am still debating whether to thank him or slug him a good one due to the brutalness of his schedule for me.  He is a skinny running guy so I am thinking I could take him.  I think I will go with thanking him as I am becoming a way better runner.
Also I have also had a solid 1/2 year now without injury so I am rounding into the best running shape of my life by a decent margin.

Accordingly.... my next race end of spring in the US I am absolutely getting mine!!!  Already signed up and I have absolutely got to take advantage - everything is going my way right now... well less this (non)race.

Anyway... back to my (non)race report here  -  after getting back to Japan after the holidays leading up to this race I was thinking what motivational words of wisdom could I use to draw the proper perspective to take me to the next level...?

And since over the holidays I spent my time with my better half along with our two girls - a soon to be teenager and another right behind her - and the music they listen to;  I ended up with the following questions to motivate myself:

  • "You want a PR?".     Yes Please
  • "You want a Lamborghini?".     Sure - who doesn't want a Lamborghini
  • "Sip Martinis?".     Yes Martinis are good
  • "Look hot in a bikini?".     Well when I go to the beach or pool I am not usually wearing a bikini, but sure, I guess I wanna look hot in a bikini

"You better work b^*#!  (Ted)".

And so I heeded the the wise/sage advice of Britney Spears, and I have been going to work!  I have been *crushing* my runs since the start of this year.  Side bar:  I have to admit... I love hanging with our girls as (among many reasons it is great fun) it gives me an excuse to listen to music such as this as otherwise I would be too "highbrow" to admit that I am listening to - when I know plain and well this is my kind of music.
Conclusion to be drawn:  my level of refinement = somewhere around that of a 12 year olds.
But anyway, back on point here, due to the massive snow storm, I didn't even get a chance to look hot in a bikini this morning at the race.

So when I found out there was no race this morning I decided I would at least make the best of it and go out for a 12 mile fun run, and snap some pictures of all of the snow.  What a great call - (most) all of my disappointment was washed away after a good run.  A good run can fix most any crappiness you are experiencing in life.   I love running.  :-)

So here are a few pics...
Outside the hotel

another one outside the hotel

The hotel itself - the Iwaki Toyoko Inn

Street outside the hotel pre-run

Pretty view during run

Towards the end of the run - had a dude snap a picture

After my run in Iwaki I had to drive home to Ota in Gunma Prefecture and all of the toll road expressways (常磐,  北関東, 東北) were closed due to the snow.  So my drive home was 6+ hours - I was quite proud of my Japanese sign reading and navigational skills though I must say - as I was driving through all kinds of way local roads with mostly no map to go by.  No mistakes made.
I thought that was so friggin lame though all of the toll road closures.
I had to pay 3,850 Yen to drive to from Ota to Iwaki.  That is like $40 bucks USD.
And for that those chumps can't keep some trucks around ready to plow the roads...?  Lame and weak!  Lame and weak!
Most all things run by the government are lame and weak.
Ted Editorial Comment:   Ugh... my massively liberal self becomes more and more conservative by the day (it is aberrant to observe).

Anyway that is about all I got.  Drinking beer tonight for the first time in a long time.  Will have get to drink a few more times before going back to The States for farewell party type things (I am transferring within my company from Japan back to the US after 3 years here in Japan) I think but other than that it will be (unfortunately) no drinking until next race late spring.

Running is Awesome!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Bring it - いわきサンシャインマラソン

T-minus 2 days until the いわきサンシャインマラソン (Iwaki Sunshine Marathon).
I can't wait!!!

I love everything about marathon race week;
  • Watching all kinds of running / workout videos to get me fired up like this this one, this one, and this one.
  • Lining up all of the songs on the iPod.
  • Tapering down so getting extra sleep in.
  • Figuring out what to wear.
  • Planning my trip to get there.
  • Listening to music to amp me up all week.
In general it is just a great block of building anticipation throughout the week.

Although for it looks like for race day the Iwaki Sunshine Marathon will have nill Sunshine!!!

Looks like on race day 2/9 a 70% chance of snow-sleet-rain with a 100% chance of totally sucking.  
And on Saturday an 80% chance of snow.  Which means the roads may have snow and ice on them.  Argh!!!
And I don't know what that little snowman is doing smiling there.  I want to punch him in his face.
Anyway, what additionally sucks is that it while it has been cold here in January, it has been dry pretty much the entire month.  So now on the one day I have a race it is going to sleet-snow-rain...

This doubly sucks as since I have been sticking to my tortuous running schedule from my running coach (if you are a going to be a running dork - you might as well go all in!) it is making me a considerably better runner and I am ready to drop down a PR, but this weather is going to screw me.  Ugh!

Anyway, gotta put that out of my mind and keep getting amp'ed up.  For now this will do it -