Saturday, April 21, 2012

Running on Empty(Again)

   I'm not sure how to write this blog so I thought I would just go day by day of our trip to Boston and the race! I will warn you in advance that this will probably be a long post!

Day 1 Fri. Apr. 13: Yes that's right we flew out on Friday the 13th! I was assuming this was a good omen because after spending the night at an airport hotel we made it to DFW in plenty of time and boarded the plane right on schedule. We were in the air and everything was going good until I discovered the vision in my right I was blurry, couldn't see a thing. For those that don't know I had cararact surgery in Nov. and until now no problems. As soon as we got settled in Mary called my optometrist(after letting the kids know we were here safe).  Since I was in no pain Dr. Richardson said it was ok for me to run(actually she said a lot more than that but ultimately left the decision up to me). The problem is fixable so that part is ok.
   The rest of the afternoon, we just walked around Boylston and Newberry St. (You know-right on Newberry, left on Boylston-to the finish).We had pizza at this great sidewalk cafe Sonsies and then walked to the finish line area. Later that evening we taxied over to the Faneuil Hall area to soak up some history and atmosphere. Of course I had to go to the Bill Rodgers Running Center and buy something for me and Jessica-it was the right thing to do!

Day 2 Sat. Apr. 14: 1st thing I did this morning was to go for an easy run. I ran down to Commonwealth Ave. and to the "Citco Sign"-1 mi. from the finish and one mi. from our hotel. That done it was EXPO time! So much merchandise-so little time. Yes I spent way to much and no I didn't need everything I bought but in my mind I needed  it! It was a great expo and I got some great stuff and great stuff for Jessica and the kids. I was there for over two hrs and could have stayed longer. After we left the expo we walked over to where Karhu had a trailer set up and I got to visit with Meagan Nedlo(who I was lucky enough to be able to coach when she was in high school). Meagan ran in the Olympic Marathon trials in Houston and was 49th(awesome). I also met the 1972 Boston Marathon Champion Olavi Suomalainen from Finland.
   Everywhere we went the main topic of conversation was the heat and temps. for the race on Monday. It's all everyone was talking about. I had planned on just putting it out of my mind and only deal with it on race day but that was impossible.
   Saturday afternoon it was time for me to fulfill a dream come true. I was going to Fenway Park to see a baseball game. No I'm not a Red Sox fan(although I don't dislike the team) I'm a baseball junkie who was going to see a 100 yr. old baseball shrine. It was an awesome experience made so partly by the Sox fan sitting next to me. He kept Mary and I entertained almost the entire game. He yelled at the left fielder all game and had the crowd chanting too. As soon as they quit serving his favorite beverage he left after the 8th inning. I did find lots of stuff for me, Jeffrey, Jeff, and Grant. After the game we found another great place to eat(reoccuring theme) along Boylston St. and watched the Sox fans party after the victory from our sidewalk table.

Day 3 Sun. Apr. 15: I started out this day with an easy run from our hotel to the finish line on Boylston and back(1 mi. total). I saw the finish of the BAA 5k and got to see Meagan finishing. Today was a rest day for me so not much was planned. Mary and I rode the trolley tour that morning and the I went back to the hotel while she rode some more and shopped! 
   I spent the rest of the afternoon resting and getting my gear ready for the big day on Mon.As i was laying around watching tv and scanning fb again the heat was on everyones mind. This is when I 1st heard about the defferments being offered by the BAA. If you felt like the heat was going to be too much they would let you defer till next year. You would not get your money back and would have to pay next years entry fee but you had a guaranteed entry in next years race. In my case this was a no go! It wasn't the money but the fact that I had invested 6 mo. of my life planning and training for this race and who knows whar will happen in the next year. I was ready and heat or hills were not going to make me back down(or so I told myself). If you were running the race the BAA was going to do everything in their power for you to make it to the finish line safely(and they did.)
   We had my pre-race meal in the hotel andso I was able to carbo-load relatively stress free and went back to the room for an early lights out. Of course I couldn't go to sleep and when I did I woke up almost every hour( which is fairly routine for me).

Day 4 Mon. April 16:  Race Day has arrived! I got early of course because I was walking to the bus pickup on Boston Common(1 mi.). It was an easy walk down Boylston and as we walked under the finish line banner I had someone take my picture so at least once that day I would be smiling here. I did notice that it was already warm at 6 that morning(not a good sign). It seemed like every runner had the heat on their mind.
   We loaded on the buses to head out to Hopkinton and this was not an easy task with thousands of runners trying to load on school buses that were running 25 at a time back and forth from Boston to Hopkinton. I finally made it to the Athletes Village and then it was time to sit and wait some more. I always like this part of the race because you get to meet runners from all over the world. Today I did not like it as much because I was already sweating(another bad sign). Up to this point everything was going good but things have a way of turning around fast.
   Things started to go south when they started calling the waves and corrals to go to baggage check and check their race bags(mine had ripped and was being held together with duct tape given to me by the hotel). It seems that we had a bottleneck on our wave and corral and it took forever to check my gear. Wave 3 had no bottleneck and now I had to try to weave thru them to get to my corral. I was almost there when I had stomach cramps. Was this just nerves or should I go to porta potties? Did I have time or not-couldn't see time on my garmin(too small on my 205). I decided too take the time for the pit stop(wise choice on my part). Just as I was emerging from the porta potties I heard my wave start(had to be because I heard all the screaming start all over again).
   This was not a problem because I figured I could make it too the start when my corral went out. I was in the last corral and at least 9000 runners were in my wave 2 and were already running-Wrong! It was a struggle to get thru 9000 wave 3 runners and when I did I was told I would have to start in wave 3 corral 2 because I had missed my wave start. I wanted to at least start in corral 1 but the rules state that if you miis your wave you can start in any corral but corral 1(?). It was the rule and I was obeying it until two female runners in wave 2 came up and they told them they could go ahead and start(thus they had to let me start. Instead of waiting 10 min. and starting with wave three I just started running(Big Mistake). Also I had to tighten my shorts up while I was running because 5 pkgs. of E-gel will cause your shorts to sag if you forget to tighten them after after a pit stop. This would have been a good way to make the evening news if my shorts would have fallen to my ankles while I was running.
  Here I was, running the Boston Marathon course all alone!! Why is this important- for at least 3 mi. I was running by myself. The fans lined along the road were cheering for me. Me and no one else-I have to say it was awesome-in all my running I have never experienced anything else like it!. What could be bad about this you say-how about I was running over a minute a mile too fast. I knew better yet I was running stupid-that's right stupid. I had it in my mind that I had to catch the other runners in my corral so I wouldn't finish behind that many of them. It's why we chips-stupid(this is what I should have said).
  By the 1st 5k I was starting to catch some runners and I realized what I had done but even trying to shut it down some I had a feeling I was still going to fast. At the 5 mi. mark I hit the lap button on my watch(because I was running the 1st 5 for Miles for Mavrick). Unfortuately I didn't look and I hit the stop button instead of the lap button. I didn't realize this until i hit the 6 mi. mark so my watch was off by a mile the rest of the way(which didn't matter because I quit looking at it after mi. 16 anyway).
   I was hitting every water stop-a cup of gatorade at the front and a cup of water at the back. At some points you were running on layers of empty cups, not even touching the pavement. I carried my water belt and it was empty by mi. 10 and so was half my flat coke-drank it by mistake. Later in the race I would drink gatorade and grab an extra one and fill my bottle to drink between stops. I also drank water and an extra cup for my head. I was already doing this before we ever got to mi. 10
   At one point I noticed runners veering off the course running thru a misting tent. The BAA had set up canopies that you could run thru that were spraying a fine mist to cool you off. I missed the 1st one but I would not miss another. By the way the temp. race day was 88 in Boston but and this is the part that hurt-along the course it was in the 90-94 range. Record temps everywhere-perfect day for a marathon.
    Wellesley College is near the half-way point and I actually still felt pretty good at this stage espcially since the road was lined with screaming college girls all holding signs for the runners. I was just going to run by when I saw a girl holding a sign that said "Kiss me I'm from Texas". What could I do- so I stopped and di my patriotic duty in the name of Travis, Crockett, and Bowie and kissed her! Then on with the race.
   At 13.1 I was still in good shape I thought-No idea of my time but I felt ok. That didn't last long though. By the time I reached mi. 16 I knew I was in serious trouble. I was going up  a hill and my legs just wouldn't cooperate. I was at the very beginning of the Newton Hills and I was running on an empty tank. I was taking oranges, water and anything the spectators had to offer. I ran thru every misting tent and every garden hose available and I still felt like I was melting. I was toast but I just didn't realize it.
   I made it up 16 and it flattened out but I was dreading 18-21. I reached into my pack for my ibuprofen and all the water I had run thru had turned it into a wet mush so there I was running The Boston Marathon licking wet powdered ibuprofen off my fingers. I bet that looked strange! Not what I wanted right before the tuff part of the Newton Hills.
    As I said I was running on fumes by now so I had to walk up the hilss but every step was agony for my quads and calves. I would walk 2 minutes and attempt to run for 6. I finally made it to the bottom of Heartbreak Hill. I swear that at that moment the top of that hill looked to be 2 mi. long and straight up.I used the same 2 and 6 method(sometimes adding more to the two) and finally made it to the top and as they say it was all downhill from there.
    If I was running on fumes from 16 to 21 what did i have left for the last 5. My feet were on fire and everytime my foot hit the ground the bottom of my feet hurt. Add that with my quads cramping and calves hurting I was in trouble. It was all I could to to put one foot in front of the other again walking and running(using that term loosely). To top it off my knee(bad one) started throbbing and I was having cramps and spasms from my feet to my butt. I was in touble and I knew it.
   How did I get thru those last mi. I just started thinking of all the support I had getting ready for this race. I thought of Mary who was at the finish line waiting on me and proud of me no matter what my time was. My kids who had supported me thru it all, Jessica who was probably on the computer wondering what the hell had ahppened to me and was I ok. All my classmates friends and family who wished me well. All the "You got this", "Good Lucks" and just well wishes I had recieved since I started this journey. It was all going thru my mind(that and the Rolling Stones lyrics "This could be the last time, may be the last time-I don't know"). I made up my mind the I was going to finish no matter the time or pain.
    Not much I can say about the last few mi. simply because I can't remenber much except the crowds and the pain I was feeling. I do remmeber seeing the Citco sign and knowing I had only a mile to go. I remember seeing too many runners to count actually falling out and having to have medical attention in that last mi. I remember hoping I wasn't one of them. Finally the turn on Boylston St. and heading to the finish. Mary actually saw me and yelled for me but I didn't hear her. My mind wasn't functioning as well as it should have been. She had stood out there in the heat for over 5 hrs. waiting on me and she knew now she had to get to the family meeting area. Usually she tells me I was looking good at the finish-not today!
    At this point I just wanted that finish line and to run across it(again I use the term run very loosely). I had made it-no idea what my time was and at that point really didn't care. I must have been a walking zombie because it seemed like every volunteer was asking me if I needed medical help. Somehow I made it to get my medal and bag check. I made it to the family meeting area and still don't remeber how I got there. I had just laid down against a building when Mary found me. I must have been hurting because after she called Jessica I couldn't even talk to her about the race. I just wanted to lay down and not get up for a week.
   Somehow Mary got me back to the hotel. This wonderful person who was feeling bad herself and had waited on me for over 5 hrs. in the sun basically carried me back to the hotel. Once there she forced me to take a cool shower and the recovery procees had begun. After laying on the bed for a while I took a hot shower and started moving around as much as I good. I was wasted and had never felt this bad after a race. We did make it acroos the street to 5 Napkin Burgers(with a name like that it should have been good). I had my usual post race bacon cheeseburger and made it back to the hotel.
     I hurt from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet. I'm serious not only was I getting cramps in my feet but if Mary touched the bottom of my feet it hurt. I was shaking and shivering one minute and alternate parts of my body were cramping at different times. I knew I was still dehydrated but I was taking in as much fluid as I could and my recovery drink. It just didn't seem to help.

Days 5 & 6 Apr. 17 & 18: Since this is such a long post I'll run these two days together. Tue. morn I woke up and couldn't move. I hurt plus I was just worn out and wasted. We were supposed to do a lot of sightseeing today but I just didn't think I was up to it. We did ride the trolley and the I had to go to "Cheers" and it. It was one of my favorite shows and I have been here everytime I've been to Boston. Later that evening we went to the Union Oyster House for dinner. the last 2 times I was here there was always a 1 to 2 hr. wait for a table. This time it was only 30 min. so we got in. The food was great!!!
   Thursday we took the subway and then the train to Salem. We were going to do some other stuff but it seems a lot of the tours don't start till May. We had a great time in Salem(Mary got to see "The House Of even Gables" and Nathaniel Hawthorne's home so she was happy(thus I must have been happy). Our final eating place was another one I had to go to-Legal Seafood-again it was great.

Day 7 Apr. 19: Wouldn't even put this day on here except for the fact that we couldn't get all the stuff we bought in our bags to take home. Luckily one the things I bought was a Marathon backpack so I used it for my carryon and checked my carryon. I'm sure we also paid extra for the weight on at least one of our checked bags. I didn't care all I wanted to do at this stage was to get home. Evidently we made it!

I know this is an extra long post even for me but i just wanted to put this Boston experience down on paper. I don't know if it is my last Boston or not. Never say Never! I am not planning on this being my last marathon either. I know it sounds like the race wasn't that much fun but I would do it all over again(only a litle smarter I hope). Heat or Cold I am a runner_it's what I do best(besides being a great Pops). Run Happy!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Road to Boston-Boston 2000

     I was going back to Boston and things would be different this time. No intimidation for me, I had done this before and I was ready to run. Of course things never seem to work out as planned so naturally we had several bumps in the road along the way. The first problem was finding a place to stay-I waited to late to try to get reservations and it seemed like every place I wanted to stay was booked up. We ended up getting a room in Cambridge so we were a taxi-cab ride away from everything.
    One of my very good friends was also going to Boston. Jerry Russell of Longview(by way of Dangerfield) was also running Boston. Jerry and I have been friends since Jr. High so this was an extra bonus for me. Another bonus, the Gazette did an article on me running Boston and it ended providing me with my own personal cheering section from Boston. Becky Lawler Montgomery of Pittsburg was living with her family in Boston while her husband Mark was doing his residency there. Becky grew up down the street from Mary and I in our first home. Her dad Arnie was one of my Dad's best friends and a wonderful person.
    Becky still got the Gazette and called me at home one night and the rest as they say is history. Mary and I had our own personel tour guide for the weekend and it was great. Becky met us at the airport and took us to our hotel. The first thing I did after settling in was to take Mary to "Cheers". We had lunch there and just walked around the Boston Common. Later Becky, Mark and the kids took us to eat at "Legal Seafood". We had a blast and I was actually getting to really enjoy the "Boston" atmosphere.
     The next day Mary and I met Jerry and Linda at there hotel and then "EXPOOOOOO! I was ready this year-if there was a shirt for sale-I bought it. I actualy still have all the stuff I bought that year. Later we all went and did the tourist thing. Rode the trolley and all that jazz. Between where we went that day and where we went with Becky and Mark, I should have picked up something. Harvard and MIT-I should have learned something.
     One good thing about our hotel, every morning I would go out and run along the Charles River and everystep the same song kept playing in my head-"Dirty Water". "Well I love that dirty water, Boston your my home"-a classic garage band hit!!! Running and watching all the college scullers(sp.) rowing up and down the Charles was very neat.
     Race day finally got here and of course I had to call a taxi to take me to the bus pick-up. I left and Mary had a long wait to call her taxi so she would be at the finish line waiting on me as usual. No cell phones to keep in touch or to check my progress as I ran. Just a lot of sitting, waitng, and worrying. To be honest she probably had it worse than I did. I rode the bus to the Athletes village and as soon as the race started I was thru waiting. Once I left the hotel she still had 6 or 7 hrs. to wait and worry.
    Next week the race itself!!!

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Road to Boston-10 Years After-Boston 2000 Qualfying

    I decided 10 years had been long enough and besides if I ran Boston at age 40 it would be neat to run it at age 50. The first thing I had to do was get into marathon shape again. It had been almost 2 full years since my last marathon(my longest time ever between marathons) so I had some work to do. 1st item on the list was to pick a qualifying mararthon to run. I chose White Rock besause I was familiar with the course and it was in Dec. which would give me added recovery time before Boston. I felt like I could run good enough to qualify at White Rock.
    An added bonus was that Jeff and Jessica had moved to Dallas earlier in October of that year and that gave added support at the race. Not much use in me trying to go into detail about the race because I just don't remember that much about it. I know it was cold(I cheated by looking at old photos). It's amazing to me that I can remember so much about other races but not anything about this one.
    The one thing that stands out in this race is an episode I or we had with gloves. As I wrote earlier my my son-in-law Jeff and daughter Jessica had just recently moved to Dallas so they were at the race. This was Jeff's 1st marathon and 1st time to see me run so that was a another reason for me to run well. As always Mary was following me around the course, meeting me with water, gel, and at mile 20 flat coke or anything else I wood need. Somewhere between mi. 7(1st meeting) and mile 13(2nd meeting) my gloves had gotten soaking wet and I had thrown them away. As I approached Mary I was pointing at my hands like a dummy but not really telling them I wanted another pair of gloves. By the time they realized what I wanted I was past them and wasn't going to stop and go back even though I knew my hands were going to be freezing around the lake.
    A few seconds after I passed them I heard  someone running very fast coming up behind me. My 1st thought was that someone had forgotten how far this race was or that it was a relay runner trying to make up some time in a hurry. I then heard my name being yelled very loud and turned and looked behind me. Here comes Jeff in all out sprint bring me my extra pair of gloves. Everyone got a kick out of it because my 1st words were to Jeff to be careful and not hurt himself. What I remember ids Jeff giving it everything he had just to make sure my hands did not get too cold. You just don't forget gestures like that!!!!!
     Needless to say I did finish the race and qualified for the 2000 Boston. It was one of my better finishes ever in White Rock. Also back in those days of downtown finishes your family pretty much got to you as soon as you croosed the finish line. This made for one my all time favorite race photos of Mary, Jessica, Jeff, and I in the sportphoto pose-very neat! My clock time was 2:58:54 which probably back then was my official time. I think Boston 2000 was my 1st chip race(still have the chip).
   I had done the hard part so all that was left was ntering Boston , training, and getting there. Nothing to it, right! That winter and spring was probably some of the best racing and training I have ever done. I also had another reason to look forward to Boston. I was a veteran of the race-I had done this before-no more intimidation for me-yea right. Next week: The Race!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Little Rock Recap(or Sometimes it Just Ain't Your Day)!

    This should be short and sweet(or unsweet). Let's just say I did not run the race I thought I was going to or run the race I wanted to. I realize that I was not a full strength for various reasons but I still thought going in I would run better than I did. The weather was great for the 1/2-the race well organized-the course tough but managable(Austin was tougher). As they say-It just wasn't my day.
   Race morning was here-the sun was shining and the temps were just right. Walking from the hotel to the starting corral I truly felt like I could shake all the bad stuff off and run a good race-maybe not a great race but at least a good one. I was close to the front corral so I knew I would have a good start plus I saw the my grandkids Grant and Maggie so that had to be a good omen. It was just all up to me to run!
   And were off! I got a good start-no real hold-ups-just smooth running and having to break stride only a few times. I hit the 1st mi. at 7:28, mi. 2 at 7:31 and then I hit a wall! I'm serious-I never really hit a wall in a half but today I hit a wall-not with 2 mi. to go but at mi. 2. My legs-my arms-my entire body-just no energy. I tried to mentally push it but nothing seem to respond to what I wanted it to do.
     This is where everything starts to bother you. I threw my gloves away( i took my arm sleeves off before the race even started). I came so close to throwing my fuel belt and bottles away but that would have been hard to explain to Mary. I was going to throw it to her when I saw her at mi. 6 but of course I didn't see them to to late. As a matter of fact it was my son-in-law Jeff who saw me. Thank goodness he yelled at me and I saw him. It reminded me then that no matter how bad I felt I had to finish. My brother Stan and sister-in-law Tanya had driven down from Fayetteville to see Jessica(who was running the full) and I run. They were meeting me at the finish line so that gave me another reason to keep going.
    The rest of the race went pretty much the same-I would try to pick up the pace for as long as I could and then I would just keep putting one foot in front of the other one. Finally the finish line got here and Stan, Tanya, and Grant were there waiting on me. Once I actually looked at my watch and saw my finish time of 1:47:30 I thought as bad as I felt that was a good time. I've run long enough to realize that you aren't going to pr every race. I was disappointed that I didn't run the time I wanted to but I really believe I ran as good as I could this day.
     One really positive thing for me was I did see Jessica finish the full and she really ran a great race on a very difficult and warm day. The weather was good for the 1/2 but for the full it warmed up quick. She really ran good and I am so very proud of her( I hope this doesn't embarrass her)! I am running the full here next year-Yes I do have medal envy-Jessica's medal was bigger than her head!!!!
     Even though the race did not go as I planned it was a great race weekend for us. Running and Family-for me it doesn't get any better than that!

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Road to Boston(Part 1B-1990)

   I was going to describe my 1st Boston in one word but I decided it would take two: Total Intimidation! I was intimidated from the time I got on the plane at DFW on Sat. till the time I got back off the plane on Tue. The funny thing is the intimidation did not start until I was waiting on the plane but when it started it was there to stay.
   We all headed to DFW that morning and everything was fine. Mary and Jessica had borrowed a van and were taking me there so it was all cool. I was ready because my actual training had gone good. I had run more miles and faster miles. My race times were even better than before White Rock-I was ready(or so I thought). Did I mention that Boston was only my 2nd marathon and more important did I mention that this was only the 2nd time ever I had been on a plane that actually flew. Of course when we got to the airport the plane had mechanical problems and we had a several hour delay. Finally we boarded  and I was off to Boston-Mary couldn't go this time because we were financially challenged at that time and only one of us could go and we decided since I was the one that qualified it would be me!
   Landed in Boston late Sat. nite and made it to my hotel where luckily for me, my brother Steve was waiting for me. He lives in New York and took the train down. It was great!! This year Boston fell on Easter weekend and the only thing close to our hotel that was open to eat was a McDonalds so here I am 2 nites before the biggest race in my life eating a grilled chicken sandwhich at MickeyD's.
   Sunday morning we went to pick up my packet and this is where the intimidation really set in. I mean I thought I was bad-qualified for Boston on my 1st try and ran a 2:52. The problem was everyone I seem to talk to ran faster than I did and there were so many of them. The biggest race I had ever run in had 3200 runners-Lord there were that many on one side of the expo and they had to all be faster than me. Speaking of Expo-it was my 1st(in those days at WR you just picked your # up at Lukes on Oak Lawn or you picked it up race day-no expo). I just wandered around in awe like the small town hick that I was(and still am). Really didn't buy much probably because didn't have much money and truthfully I just wasn;t sure how the whole thing worked.
   That afternoon we finally got into Cheers. It was at full capacity and we had to wait in line for a while. The show was at it's height in popularity and the in place to be on Easter Sunday in Boston. I was able to buy a "Cheers" shirt for Jessica and she still has it. That night I went to the pre-race carbo dinner and was lucky enough to meet Bill Rodgers there for the 1st time. What a great champion! Of course I met more runners who were faster than me(i'm sure there were some there slower than me-I just didn't meet any of them).
   Race morning finally got here. I got up early got ready told Steve I would meet him at the family area under "C"-Duh!I walked to the Boston Common and got on the bus for the 26 mile drive out to Hopkinton to the Athletes Village so I could sit for 3 hrs. waiting on the race to start. Nervous doesn't begin to do justice to how I felt. I just wanted to get started and use some of my nervous energy for something constructive. Finally we started walking for our corrals(which was also my first experience with corrals.) I really was a newbie.
   Now came the easy part: The race started and I finally had some control over what I was doing. My plan was to run the race just like I did at WR and everything would be okay. Well guess what: It didn't happen. It seemed like to me the effort was there but my pace was a little slower. It was basically the 1st I had ever experienced navigating thru crowds of runners,It is hard to remember a lot of the details of this race because it has been 22 yrs. since I ran it and my mind has done its best to forget some of it. I do remember the crowds and how excited and how many people there were along the streets. It was totally unbelievable to me.
   I had a good pace thru 20 miles but it all fell apart after I came out of the Newton Hills(Heartbreak Hill being the last of the 3). One minute I was fine and the next minute going downhill my quads were in excruiating pain-I mean bring on the tears pain. At one time it hurt so bad I wasn't sure I could finish. I did make it across the finish line and I can honestly say that moment dwarfed anything else in sports that I had ever done. The pain, the tiredness, all the struggles the were all worth it when they hung that finishers medal around my neck. I was a Boston Marathon finisher.
    A side note: this was the first time the defending Olympic champion had won Boston. Both Gerlindo Bordin-mens and Rosa Mota-womens olympic champions won there respective races. Also 40 yr. old John Campbell  ran a 2:11:04 to break the masters world record I was 40 also and was only an hour behind him. I ran a 3:11 which was not as fast as I wanted but as good as I was able on this day.
  Steve met me at the family meeting area and we made it back to the hotel where I called Mary and told her all about the race. This was the old days: no chips-no tracking just calling when you got a chance. This is why in all the older pictures everyone is looking at the clock and stopping their watches right on the finish line. The thing I do remember most about this race is getting back to the hotel and taking my shoes off. Couldn't figure out why my socks were so bloody. I took them off and two toenails came with them. Never have worn shoes that might have too many miles on them since this race.
    I apologize for such a long post but believe me I cut out a lot. Next month: Boston 2000.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Uphill Against the Wind Both Ways(or Austin Recap)

   Ok so there wasn't any wind(thank goodness) but it was definitely uphill both ways.That said let me also add that it was a great race. Everything from the weather to the crowds made this a very enjoyable experience plus I had several other bonuses that made this race one I will remember for a while(not just for the hills).
    I could go on and on about the Fri. 5 pm Austin traffic but if you have been there you know what it's like and if you haven't then you should go sometime!!! Needless to say once we got to our hotel which was right downtown we ordered in and I just rested. The next morning I slept in, rested, had a big pre-race breakfast and went to do one of my favorite things ever. EXPOOOOO! Added to this was the fact that I met good friend Manny Samaniego at the expo and we had a great visit.
    Saturday afternoon was here and of course the weather was nasty. It was raining off and on but the forecast still called for sunshine on Sunday. Weather didn't really matter because we met my cousin Jeff Hayes for lunch and just a special family time visit. This made the weekend trip a success no matter how the run turned out on Sunday.
   Now down to the nitty gritty-race morning dawned and just as predicted sunshine and 45 degree weather-perfect.Our hotel was walking distance to the start and finish so I just got ready and headed out. I had studied this course elevation and pretty much had a race plan. I looked for the 3:25 marathon pace group and started out with them.
   My plan was to run with them for the 1st 5k and then starting picking up the pace as much as I could thru the 15k mark. Very simple reasoning: the worst hills were in the 1st miles and the you could make up some time in the middle of the race. Now when I say worst hills I just mean more of them as you will see later. I knew coming back over the bridge at mile 8 I had achance to run a good time if I didn't fall apart. Mary was waiting for me at mile 8.5 and seeing her gave me a big boost(as always) and I felt like I was ready for those last 4 miles.
   I hit the hills around mile 10 and made it thru them okay and still thought I was running good. I wasn't really looking at my watch because sometimes you just know when it's your day. I was okay thru mile 11 and then coming to the top of a hill close to mile 12 I saw it-the hill Jessica told me about. No it wasn't the highest hill on the course(there were several higher)-It was just stinking straight up. You were running downhill toward it so you could watch all the other runners ahead of you struggling to get up this hill-not a good feeling. I would like to say I ran up it strong but I can't-I struggled with it.
    I did make it to the top and then thru several more but then we hit the finishers chute and I knew I had it made, just run to the end. As I made the turn down Congress I heard that "Run Tony Run" that I have been hearing for so many years. It never sounded better!! I finished with an official time of 1:40.28-my best time since I was in my 50's.
     I know my ultimate goal is to run a sub 1:40 half but I can't be upset that I didn't make it this week. I had only hope to run close to what I did in Houston but I was 2 1/2 min. faster on a much tougher course. I am sure I have run races this good before but I just can't remember one right now especially when you consider the course and my age. I have 2 halfs left before Boston and I'm convinced I can get that sub 1:40 at one if not both of them. That's my new goal!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Road to Boston(part 1A)

   Two things come to mind when I realize that Boston is now less than 10 weeks away. 1st is: Do I have enough time to train so this will not be a miserable experience, 2nd is: I can't believe I'm really doing this again-not because it's 26.2 mi. but because I never ever expected to run it again(or any other marathon for that matter). About the time I was thinking about retiring from racing anything further than a 10K, my daughter Jessica took up running with Team in Training. I decide to run her 1st half with her and her determination and courage during that race showed me how much I missed running or racing.
    After that race I decided I could run another marathon and made White Rock Marathon my goal for the next year. White Rock not Boston was my goal because I wasn't sure how my knee would react to that many miles being put on it. I know my Dr. said it would tell me when it was time to stop, I just didn't want it to tell me this when I was 10 mi. from the house. Training went well and outside of a few knee swelling incidents(which frozen peas took care of) I felt like I was ready for the race.
   Race day came and for me I couldn't have asked for a better day. It was cold and I know for 1st time marathoners who were in the back corrals it was probably miserable. I had a good corral and knew I wouldn't be standing around long. Past marathon experience told me that the weather was working in my favor. Standing in the corral I bumped into one of my best fiends from high school so we had a mini-reunion waiting on the start. He asked me what I wanted to run and when I told him 3:45 his comment was "Great because 4 hrs. gets us into Boston." Hank was only running the 1/2 this day but it's a funny thing about marathoners,they always seem to know what it takes for their age group to get them into Boston.
   Showtime was here. I told Mary I loved her-Mary told me to run with big boys-just like we have been doing since my first marathon in 1989. The gun sounded and we were off. My race plan was simple: go out conservative thru the 1st 8 mi. which were up and down, make up time during the middle of the race which is flat and down hill and after 20 get thru the Dolly Parton hills with minimal damage and run to the finish the best I could and hope like hell it was good enough. It was: I ran a 3:41:51 which was over 3 min. faster than what I was shooting for. I guess you could say this was my over 60 pr(you know what I'm talking about-Jessica).
  I'm not sure who but someone asked me after the race if I qualified for Boston and all I could say was "Oh Yea". I still really wasn't thinking about going to Boston but sometimes knowing you qualified is just as important.  I guess every marathon I ever run qualifying for Boston has been on my mind, sometimes it was for the runners I was pacing but for me it was always there. Even if I had no intention of going I always wanted to qualify.
   As far as when I officialy decided I was going, it was April 18, 2011. After following the womens and mens race on the computer I knew I had to go. I was so caught up in the excitement I knew that if I didn't at least send in my entry I would never forgive myself. I wanted to be part of that excitement. As much as I enjoyed(sorta) my other Boston's this is one that I will cherish forever!
     Next week: The Road to Boston (part 1B)-Boston 1990.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

"Feeling Stronger Every Day"

  What a race weekend!!!! I wish I was good at putting what I think into words but I'm not so I will do my best to make this less painful to read. I guess I can start by saying there are now 2 more things I can cross off my bucket list: 1. Seeing the Olympic trials and 2. Running the Aramco half marathon.
  I had no idea what kind of race I was going to run Sun. but to me this week end about my racing but about the Olympic Trials and seeing one of the runners I coached when she was running cross country in high school. I had watched her run since she was in the 7th grade and I was so proud knowing she was running as one of the best female runners in the nation.
  Mary and I drove down Fri. morning. We checked into the hotel and went straight to the expo and I picked up race bib and several other items I totally didn't need. I've got to tell you Mary is not near as much fun at the expo's as Jessica is. The expo enthusiasm just wasn't there. After walking around for a while we went outside for the opening ceremonies of the Olympic Trials. It was very exciting and Mary was really starting to get into it. Later we went back to the hotel to enjoy a quiet relaxing dinner with my brother and sister in law-Barry and Mary Anne and a plus their car didn't get towed away(always good when that happens).
  Saturday morning rolled around and it was time for the trials to start. We watched the men start and of course I ran around catching them at every spot I could. After their 1st loop the real reason I was here was ready to start. The women were off. I tried so hard but couldn't be sure if I saw Meagan at the start so we waited until they made their 1st pass(1st loop was 2.2 mi. then they had three 8 mi. loops). When they came around I was able to see her then I made sure I saw her on every loop. We caught up with John and Sharon(Meagans mom and dad) and watched with them as Meagan made her other loops. After the race was over Mary and I got to visit with Meagan and I just was so proud of her. 49th overall in the trials was fantastic!
   Okay now for my race-woke up race morning and checked the weather-no rain-no ice-no heat-just a perfect day for racing. Got dressed had my coffee and my nutri-grain bar and took care of everything I needed to before I left the hotel(runners you understand what I'm saying). As I was walking out of the hotel I turned my Garmin on to locate the right satellite as I was walking to my start corral. Boston Billy was the official starter as well as Frank Shorter-Nothing could go wrong-Not. About 2 minutes before the start I looked at my watch and nothing-I mean blank. I tried to start it but got nothing so I was panicking till I realized the would have race clocks at the mi. markers. I would be a little off but I could figure the difference. This would have worked but I missed most of the clocks on the mile markers so I was depending on the pace clock in my head. It worked pretty good till about 10k mark and I let the race get away from me for awhile but I ended up pushing at the end ran as good as could(I always think I can do better but I think that's a trait of most runners).
   I ran a 1:42.57 which is my fastest time since RocknRoll last March. I was 993 out of 9352 runners(top 11%) and 11th in my age group out of 167 runners  (top 6%). This was not quite the results I wanted but I've been running long enough to know that these things happen. Sometimes you just get your butt kicked. There is always another day and more races to run.
  Next month I go to Austin to run the Livestrong 1/2 and even though the course is harder I planning on running a faster time. I will have more miles under my belt and much better quality workouts. I always seem to run better 1/2's on a marathon training schedule. That,s my goal anyway-no sickies and no cataract surgery. Of course that also means no excuses either. It is time for me to get back under 1:40. I'm not saying I am going to do that at Austin but I will be giving it my best shot! After all I am "Feeling Stronger Every Day".