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 time...it 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.


megan said...

So glad to read about your return to racing. I have just one tip for running in New Orleans - replace fluids like its your job. I have gone down for relief work the last 6 years in March and it is ungodly how humid it is. I am always limited by the amount of water I can carry. Anyway, have fun!! So excited to hear a review of this race as it is one I would like to do in the future.

Run happy friend!

Rachel said...

wow michael, that sounds like a pretty epic 20 miler! totally jealous about the food trucks and jacuzzi : ) glad to hear your training has gone so well, and i can't wait for you to finish in new orleans!

i'm bummed to hear about portland, i was planning on doing it! jamaica certainly sounds awesome though : )

Rachel said...

i just double checked - the portland FULL is still open!

Michael B said...

oops! now what am i going to do??? i love portland...

RoadBunner said...

That is a long run route I REALLY want to do someday! One of these days...

Good luck at your race!