Wednesday, 29 February 2012


I had forgotten about this part of the marathon thing, but quickly remembered it when it hit me couple of days ago.

I always get a bit depressed, nervous, anxious, quiet, snippy, introspective, tunnel-visioned, worried, doubtful, short-tempered, CRANKY...the week before a marathon. I KNOW that once I get to New Orleans, pick up my expo goodies, meet up with my friends, and wake up on time for Sunday's rocking and rolling...all will be just fine. But...right now I just want the waiting to end.

I am not sure I am physically ready to run 26.2 again after two years off. My 20 went very well about ten days ago. I am looking forward to seeing how my Altras perform over the long haul. I AM mentally fit. I've done it so many times before, my head is well-versed. We'll see if my legs have total recall...or selective amnesia. I think I'll know at about mile 17...when it's time for my customary English Mars bar.

I was waffling on whether I NEEDED to replace my trusty Timex Ironman Triathalon watch for this race. The old one drowned in the hot tub last week...and I had been looking for another way of keeping track of my run/walk intervals. I almost sprang for the Gymboss interval timer for only $ opposed to the $50 for the Ironman...but the expedited shipping to get it here in time was another $20...which meant that for just $10 more I could replace the watch here and now. Did that's all set up...and a bit of my anxiety subsided immediately. (Thanks, Tokyorunner, for the push!)

Had been hoping to bust out my Goon Squad Runners "Big G" singlet for this race. I am still proud to be a member of the team, even though most of them have probably written me off, after my two year hiatus. Pulled it out of the drawer today and tried it my current condition, it's just not comfortable or a good look. Instead I have packed it...for inspiration. My hope now is that I will wear it for my fall/winter race. Hope to win my way back into the hearts and minds of the GSR on Sunday.

So - I am all packed, and ready to go. Looking forward to my first-ever AirBNB experience, beignets on Friday morning, New Orleans Cooking School on Saturday morning with my friend Patti, getting soundly beaten to the finish line by her brother, John, meeting his girlfriend and marathon-virgin, Carrie...and eating and drinking with them all and Patti's other half, Rusty. This is shaping up to be a stellar group of days.

Meanwhile, as I reenter the marathon world, I just wanted to wish everyone else who's running this weekend...Napa Valley; Little Rock; Antalya, Turkey; Osaka, Japan; New Plymouth, New Zealand and Treviso, Italy all the best. Hoping it's everything you want it to be. Perhaps the above video will be helpful.

Next stop, the Big Easy.

Gotta run!

Friday, 24 February 2012


I tried to save a little money this changing the battery in my trusty Timex Ironman watch. I have had this since that summer day back in 2006 when my stepdaughter and I went to Sports Basement in San Francisco in preparation for our joint marathon effort in Portland, Oregon that October. It was not easy for me to let go of the $50...but I convinced myself I "needed" this watch, because it allowed me to set intervals.

For every marathon I've run I've used some variation of Jeff Galloway's run-walk interval system. I am thinking the older I get the more useful this will be. Most of the time I've done 3 minutes running to every one minute of walking. If you think that's nuts, JG himself does 1:1 ratios..and still finishes marathons, along with his wife, in under 5 hours. Anyway...before I bought this watch I had been using just a regular watch, trying to keep track of the intervals in my head. This simplified matters. Elise (my stepdaughter) refused to express an opinion on whether it was a good idea...just in case her mom got mad that I'd spent the 50. She didn't..and the watch has been with me for 18 marathons and oh so many training runs, from Portland to Barcelona to Dublin to Seattle, Austin, Sacramento, Big Sur, Napa, Rochester and Santa Barbara, and others, consistently keeping track of my time, so I didn't have to.

I had noticed for weeks recently that the display was fading, and taking about 10 seconds to fully illuminate in between Rock and Roll New Orleans training runs. But, it still worked, so I paid little attention until, a few days ago, it went dark.

Knowing that watch repair shops charge up to $20 to replace the pooped power source with one that was fully juiced, I decided to pay the $3 for the battery and do it myself. Everything went swimmingly...until I got into the gym hot tub after a 5 miler at Pt. Pinole State Park. It took seconds for me to figure out I had not sufficiently resealed the case. The picture above it what I am stuck with now.

I have a Garmin 305, that does intervals, sort of. Now I am faced, with just over a week to go to running the Big Easy, with a dilemna. Do I try to run RNRNO without an efficient interval timer...or go spend another $50 for the peace of mind of having a new Ironman on my team?

I would ask Elise...but she'd be no help...if past experience is any guide.

Gotta run!

Thursday, 16 February 2012


A quick note on the post below. I apparently mis-read the Portland Marathon web site. It's the HALF that's sold out...not the FULL...yet! Now what am I going to do. I love Portland. Pondering.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012


Well, it is down to this. In two weeks I will be jetting off to New Orleans for the inaugural Rock and Roll NO Marathon. It will be the 32nd time I have ever lined up on a marathon start line. Here's hoping it will be my 31st finish.

Pretty much wrapped up the training with my 20 miler two days ago...from the San Francisco Ferry Building to the Larkspur Ferry Building in Marin.

My hope was to pull it off in 4 hours. I've run this route on many a final LTR for previous marathons, and have always done it in 4, give or take two or three minutes. You would think I'd think I had it in the bag, but, due to what I had felt was lack of adequate training since I signed up for this event, I set off with one of those "who knows how this will go?" thoughts bouncing around.

The weather was a little brisk, as I parked just two blocks from the SF Ferry Building just before 6:30AM. Just enough of a breeze that I talked myself out of leaving my windbreaker in the car...and headed off down the Embarcadero with visions of a cold one or two on the ferry right back to this very spot in just a few hours.

The run was hard, but not harder than I had expected. I took that as a good sign, that all is well, training wise. I had not run this far in well over two years and it was the first time I'd gone this distance in my Altus shoes. Every time I go a bit farther I am concerned that this will be the time when I injure myself like I did a few years back in my VFFs. Didn't happen...and I am liking these shoes more and more the longer I go.

I did have a couple moments when I experienced a sharp pain in my right knee. The first one was right at the very beginning. Chalked that one up to having not been fully warmed up. The second time was, run completed, on the ferry. Chalked that one up to having just run 20 miles. In between the two twinges, nothing to speak of.

I spent the entire time catching up on a few of my favourite podcasts. I don't do the music thing when I run. I figure I'm going to be out there so long, I may as well be thoroughly entertained. Just in case you might in the market for a new program to listen to, here are my suggestions.

If you must listen to something about running I would suggest RunWorldRadio. It's pretty new, and certainly does the trick of distracting me from the dreariness (at times) of the long slow run. In only three episodes so far they have talked about "running naked", the "drinking club with a running problem", whether male athletes should shave (and I mean "everything"), the female host's tale of her first "Brazilian", and I don't mean a guy she met in Rio, and what each of the three hosts are training for and how it's going. I also listened to Mike and Tom Eat Snacks, where they talked about Cheetos...for nearly an hour. Seriously. Now with real cheese. And...for you serious foodies, my favourite podcasts of the moment, The Splendid Table. Nothing like listening to people who love food and cooking talk about food and cooking while you can eat only sports gels! One man's torture is another's inspiration.

The crowning, and completely unexpected moment of the run was when I got my first glimpse of the Larspur Landing shopping center, which is across the street from the terminal for the ferry back to SF, and seeing, in letters not unlike the famous "Hollywood" sign, FOOD TRUCKS SUNDAY. Life gets no better than this, my friend. I did a loop around the shopping center so that my Garmin hit the 20 mile mark right in front of the first of the line of gourmet trucks, offering everything from cupcakes to Indian, to fried chicken, sandwiches...and on and on. I was delirious with having the good fortune of being where I found myself...with 20 minutes to go til my boat left for home. I settled on the Indian samosas and a Stella on the ferry.

Back in the city I went to my gym...with fingers crossed. On a number of other days when I've done this run, I've returned to my 24 Hour club to take a jacuzzi (don't even try to sell me on an ice bath! I've tried. I hate them) only to find it shut down for maintenance. This was hot, bubbly and OPEN! Score!

I did the run in 4:13, which I initially was not happy about, but, then remembered I had walked every uphill...and there were a number of them. I hear that's a technique employed by those goofs who do 100-mile races! I have adopted it, realizing that no matter how hard I try to beat the incline, it always wins, and I'm left drained. This time, saved that fuel for the distance. So...seeing that New Orleans has NO HILLS whatsoever, I should be just peachy! Right?

To show you how good I was feeling about things when I got home I immediately began looking for a fall/winter marathon. Portland, Oregon, in October is already sold out. That's a drag. But..Reggae Marathon in Negril, Jamaica, in December, is NOT.

Gotta run. Yeah, mon. Red Stripes and coconuts at the end.