Monday, March 28, 2011

The Long Run

"I used to hurry a lot, I used to worry a lot, I used to stay out till the break of day. Oh, that didn't get it, It was high time I quit it, I just couldn't carry on that way. Oh, I did some damage, I know it's true; didn't know I was so lonely, till I found you. You can go the distance, we'll find out, in the long run." The Long Run - The Eagles

Salome & I had our longest long run in preparation for the London Marathon planned for this past Saturday morning. As we were getting ready to get to bed on Friday night, we went through our usual long run ritual. I set my watch alarm for what I think is an appropriate time to get up and get ready to get out the door in order to get an early enough start; she suggests a much later time, then we compromise. It's the dark side of being married to another lawyer: everything is a negotiation. Who am I kidding? It's probably true about all couples.

I set my alarm for 4:30 AM. Salome suggests a 6 AM alarm. After a discussion for distance, pace, and the hourly projected temperatures from, we compromise on a 5:15 AM alarm. As I turn in bed and start drifting off, Salome says: "I'll probably wake up before that anyway." "Fine," I say, "Wake me if you do." I quickly drift off into a deep sleep.

In the middle of the night, I sense activity in our bedroom, some lights being turned on, bathroom water flowing. But I'm still pretty deep into my sleep and not feeling like getting up. Before I know what's going on, Salome is talking to me. "What's your credit card number?" "Huh?" "I'm downloading a GPS mileage app on iTunes and the credit card you have listed on the account has expired." Man, she' not only awake, she's wide awake and talking a mile a minute. Turns out she awoke at 3:30 AM; it's about 4:15 AM at this point. I decide I'd better get up. Salome reminds me of my agreement to be awoken if she got up early. I thank the Lord she didn't take me too literally and wake me at 3:30 AM.

As I'm about 15 minutes of prep time behind her, Salome gets out the door before me. Fine, I think, she runs slower than me. I catch her in a few miles. After I get started, I find that it takes me over 5 miles to catch up with her. As I run along A1a, I note people lining up for the start of the Palm 100 Mile Relay run that is starting that morning. As Salome & I make our way back along the 17th Street Causeway, we note the first runners heading out towards US-1. We will come across these runners for the rest of our long run.

As we come into South Beach Park, we spot our Aussie friend Deb Mrky with her running buddies doing their long run in preparation for the Boston Marathon. I mention to Deb that Boston will be the day after the London Marathon and I hope to watch it as I recoup from my run. She mentions that, like us, she and her mates are doing 22 miles this morning. I don't bother to mention that Salome is only planning to run 18 and I'm only doing 20.

As the sun starts coming up around 7:30 AM and we're at about mile 12, Salome give me permission to go ahead at my own pace. I take the pace up a bit and go ahead on my own. I stop off at a gas station to refuel, and end up talking a couple of minutes with a relay team running the Palm 100. With a new bottle of Gatorade, I finish my northbound loop and head home. That last couple mile stretch along a sun exposed A1a is always interesting. However, I'm feeling pretty solid with no major issues. I end up doing a fairly strong last mile. As I hit the home stretch, I come across Salome finishing her 18. We've made it. Now, the next 2 weeks long runs will be shorter and shorter.

I've noticed these last couple of weeks that the long runs don't seem harder, but that I'm more tired the rest of the day than in years past. I chalk this up to age. Salome chalks it up to a lower overall mileage and a shorter training period. I've had to do a fairly quick ramp up coming off my knee issue, so she's probably correct. Heck, I was on crutches in January and a six mile run in mid-February was painful. So my weekend long runs were as follows: 6 miles, a 5 mile race, up to 12, up to 16, down to 15, then up to 20. That's about as truncated a build up as I can handle. In any event, it looks like we're a "go" for London. As the song goes: "You can go the distance; we'll find out, in the long run."

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Spring Training in DC

I tried to stay away from "Blog Land." I really did. When I signed off a month ago today, I thought: "That's it. I'm in recovery and things don't look good." Doing the London Marathon looked doubtful. Future events? Who knew. It would depend on whether I could run London, but frankly, I wasn't hopeful for my future athletic endeavors.

Well, recovery and training have gone better than expected. I've been able to slowly build up to 15 to 16 mile runs, and have slowly built up my weekend long rides up to the 45 mile range. There has not been any swelling of the knee after any of these runs or rides. Thus, I believe the slight tear in the medial meniscus of my right knee is healed. However, the MRI on my right knee also showed a lot of wear and tear of the cartilage in the right knee. After my long runs, I do feel slight knee pain in the front lower inside part of my knee. I'm wearing a knee brace on my long runs to give additional stability to the knee based on advice from my doctor. Whether this makes a difference is anyone's guess. Thus, I don't know how many more long events I will be able to do. I'll have to take it one event at at time. However, as long as I'm still in the game, it looks like I'm back to the occasional blog entry. Besides, blogging is a great repository of the stuff that kicks around in my head during long training runs and rides.

Last weekend was my son, Alex's spring break. We decided to visit our friends, Kate and Jim in Arlington, VA and hit the museums in DC. When we last visited the area 2 summer's back, we were only able to spend about an hour in the Museum of Natural History. Alex felt a bit jipped, so we spend most of a day in that museum. We also visited the National Building Museum, which currently has a display of famous buildings of the world made out of Legos. As Alex is a Lego fan, we had to see that exhibit. We also spent part of 2 days visiting the Newseum, a museum covering all aspects of journalism. They currently have exhibits of the coverage of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Hurricane Katrina, and coverage of cases solved by the FBI. My favorite part of this museum was looking at historic newspapers going back throughout American History and further back into European history as far back as newspapers were in existence. Cool stuff.

On Saturday, my wife Salome & I got in our long run by doing a 15 mile running tour of the monuments. We started out in Arlington, making a stop at the Iwo Jima Memorial. This brought back memories of my running the Marine Corp Marathon back in 2003. We ran by Arlington National Cemetery, crossed Memorial Bridge, stopped at the Lincoln Memorial, up to the Washington Monument, north around the White House, east up to Union Station, South by the Capital building and the Supreme Court, west over the soft paths of the national mall, then south for a loop around the Jefferson Memorial and the Tidal Basin, before heading back over Memorial Bridge back into Arlington. It was a cool morning in the lower 50s, but a little breezy. The cherry blossoms were budding, but only a couple of trees were in bloom. I imagine they will look spectacular in the next week or two.

We had a wonderful time with our friends Kate and Jim. I really enjoyed catching up with their boys, David and Sean. We've periodically visited these friends over the years and its interesting to see this bright young boys grow and get interested in a variety of sports and other interests. Kate and Jim wrapped up our visit with one of their famous night car tours of DC. The monuments at night look spectacular. All in all, a great trip.

So, things are looking up as far as training for London. This weekend will be my 20 miler. If all goes well, I should be able to complete the London Marathon. Don't know what kind of time I'll run, but this is one the will be for enjoying the views and the costumes of the charity runners. London has a reputation of runners either setting world records or dressing up for fun. I think I may have to reprise my "Wayne's World" costume from last year's Paris Marathon. Too bad Jacques "Garth" Watters is not signed up for this one. Then again, he did bandit Paris. "Hey Garth, you still got that AC/DC tee-shirt hanging around?"