Saturday, November 29, 2008

Can lightning strike twice?

About a week to go before my next marathon and I am not exactly sure what is going happening next Sunday. When I did the California International Marathon two years ago, I was totally ready for it on pretty much every level. I was in great shape, had done all the long runs, escaped injury and sickness, and was super motivated to finally break 3.30 minutes. And I did it. It was probably the best race of my life.

This year things have gone good and bad.

+/- I haven't had any really injuries in the past year and I have avoided bad colds. In fact,, I haven't missed a work out in over 300 days, which could be actually really stupid. Since my mental well being depends on a daily workout, I don't ever get the critical rest I need to build up and improve, and also don't do super hard workouts since I am never fresh enough to do them. But I am willing to sacrifice this to maintain my sanity.

- I didn't quite do as many long runs as I wanted; my three longest ones were 18.2, 16.3 and 15.8. Two weeks ago I wanted to do 18 but cramped at around 16 miles.I am rationalizing this by blaming it on a very warm that day. Of course at the end of the 18.2 miler I did do I was cramping big time and it was a perfect running weather. The last two days I did a 12 and 10 mile run and I managed to hold it together. So I have some hope.

- I am about 10 pounds heavier for this race than I was two years ago. This is primarily due to my creatine addiction, which I have taken every day for the last 19 months. This extra 6-7% body weight is not going to do me any good in the race and might be the source of my recent cramping due to the extra pounding. I am going to try and keep off the creatine for the next week in the hope that I can drop a few pounds.

+ Mentally I am excited to do the race. It is a completely flat if even a little bit downhill race but I have no illusions that it will be easy. However, I am going to enjoy the race no matter what and will not be crushed if I don't run another 3.27.40. It's not even a goal.

The goals:

1) Run the whole race
2) Break 3.37
3) Break 3.30.

After this it's on to training for more marathons, the Death Ride, 508 and CrossFit.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Political Science 2008

I don't consider myself to be a political junkie even though I am Union College, Class of 86, political science major. I like to stay engaged in the process and issues, principally by reading the four horseman (Kristoff, Krugman, Friedman and Dowd) but the minutia of policy debate doesn't charge me up. However, five days into the early days of the Obama-Pelosi-Reid mandate, and I am finding myself glued to every new posting on Caucus and any word that comes out of my new messiah, Rahm Emanuel's mouth.

I was extremely happy when Bill Clinton became president in 1992. It followed a period in which Republicans had been President for 20 out of 24 years; basically my entire consious life. But the victory was not as clean or pure as this one seems. Clinton was a flawed candidate and he did not come into office with the kind of mandate to govern that Obama has. Also, while we were in a recession then as we are now, it did not seem like we needed a seismic change in the way we govern both domestically and internationally. Don't get me wrong; I think the Clinton presidency was a success. No matter how much credit you assign to him, the fact was his presidency occured during a eight year run of economic growth and peace.

Obama is and has the potential to be the transendent president that we need and it is not about race. That's why I was slightly offended when McCain's first words in his concession speech was recognition of the pride the African American community was feeling. This election means a lot to people many for lots of different reasons. People see in Obama what they hope government can be, what a moral, intelligent and interested president can be, not an African American politician. Certainly his race amplifies the enormity and meaning of this election, but as a white male in San Francisco, Obama's election gives me as much hope for this country as an African American in Mississippi (even if it is a red state).

Now I better be able to get CBS on my cable-less TV so I can catch 60 minutes tonight.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Iron Gym

Success! After years of thinking about getting a pullup bar, I got the Iron Gym, put it together in 20 minutes and it works. This is a monumental moment, less because I can now add pullups to my exercise rut but because I have been rightly accused of commiting to things and not following through. Of course buying a pullup bar does not not constitute a paradigm shift in my habits but it is a small step.

I was listening to an interview with Lance in which he said that one of the things he loves about biking is that he gets to sit and think for hours without having to speak to anyone. I am more used to running and thinking, then biking and thinking and I think they are two different beasts. Although I am in pretty good shape, it is really rare that I actually feel good when I am running. There is always a certain level of discomfort going on, and it is hard for my mind to drift or to have seriously constructive thoughts such as short and long term planning. Of course, calculating how far I've gone in tenths of a mile, and running the same exact course whenever I run doesn't exactly get the creative juices flowing. On the bike, there is more time for reflection, given that there are times when you aren't pushing it as hard on flats or downhills. Plus the miles go by faster and it is hard to keep looking at your watch, so your mind is more susceptible to wandering. Since I plan to bike a lot more in 2009 (60-100 mile rides will hopefully be commonplace), I'll have more time to test this theory.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Signs of A Successful Run

As I contemplate this weekend's 18-19 mile run, it is sits there as an ugly challenge that I know will make me suffer but will hopefully be rewarding when I finish. 10 signs that I look for to judge that it is rewarding are:

1) I don't spend the entire run praying for it to be over and actually enjoy some moments of being outdoors and able to run

2) My body survives without cramping and breaking

3) I don't yell or give the death stare to a motorist who blows through a green light and forces me to wait 12 seconds due to stupid pedestrian laws

4) I finish slightly faster than some arbitrary time goal I set prior to the run - too slow and I have finally entered my physical decline, too fast and I am worried I peaked too soon

5) I am actually able to enjoy food after the run, the whole point of doing it

6) Some company drives by me when I am running and throws sponsorship money at me

7) I finish motivated enough to commit to some new crazy challenge like Ironman Canada, The Furnace 508 or The Death Ride.

8) I don't kill the rest of the day post run by mathematically analyzing the run for seven hours.

9) Dave and Emily don't kill me for once again blowing off another CrossFit workout

10) It brings me thatmuchcloser to qualifying for Boston

Tuesday, November 04, 2008