What can I say? I love to run. I've run 4 full marathons and 6 halfs. But I love God more and I'm determined to run this race of life for Him to receive the ultimate prize of Heaven. I'd like to share my thoughts with you. You can agree or disagree. Comment or don't. You can read or not read. But it's here if you want it. Enjoy! .

Friday, December 31, 2010

2011 Running Chart










CLICK ON CHART TO MAKE IT LARGER.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Eleven for '11 (Goals for 2011)

7:23PM


This is post # 101 and my final one for 2010. I thought I’d close out the year looking ahead at the year 2011. I’m excited to start a new year and know it will bring some great things. As I did last year, I’ve thought about some goals and accomplishments I’d like to make in my running career this next year. I ended up accomplishing 10 of my 12 goals this year. Not too shabby. I would’ve liked to accomplish them all but that’s not always possible. Needless to say, the two I didn’t accomplish will not be on the list this year. The first was “stay injury free”. I would love for that to happen but I had too many injuries this year for that to be a credible goal. I’ll try my best. The 2nd, “convince my wife to run a half marathon”….umm, she’s 6 months pregnant. I’ll learn to fly before that happens. She’s doing great with her walking but running just isn’t her favorite thing. She did do a 5K this year, did a great job, and I was very proud of her. But that was probably the beginning and end of her running career. So those two don’t make the list. But I have 11 other goals for this new year. I’ll put them to the side again and keep up with when and if they get accomplished. Here they are in no particular order:


1. Finish both Disney races – As you know if you’ve kept up with this blog at all, I’ve been hurting. I’ve been sick and/or injured during the last month or two and haven’t been running my normal amount. I am not in my normal shape either. There is some definite worry about these two races coming up in about a week. I just want to finish them. I have very little doubt that I’ll be ok with the half. It’s the full I’m more worried about. I feel pretty confident I can finish them. But it’s a definite goal.


2. Set a PR – I don’t care if it’s a 5K, 10K, half or full marathon, but I’d like to set a PR this year. I think it’s always good to push yourself and I don’t feel like I’ve done that in a while. Like I said above, I’ve been sick or injured for the last month and want to get back into pushing myself. I think it will do me good to go for a new PR this year. I don’t think it will be at Disney, in fact I’m pretty sure of it. But some time in 2011, hopefully.


3. Run a half marathon (besides Disney) – I really enjoy the half marathon distance and so I’d like to do another one this year besides Disney. And I’d prefer it to be one I’ve never done before. I have no idea when or where. Maybe Spring or early Fall.


4. Run a marathon I haven’t done before – Obviously I’m doing the Disney marathon in 2011, but I’d like to do one more. Most likely in the Fall and I’d like it to be something I haven’t done. So Chicago and Memphis are out. Maybe Huntsville or Chickamauga Battlefield. Something close. I can’t spend a lot on travel. We’ll see. I like to push towards a marathon.


5. Volunteer at the Nashville Marathon – For the first time in 4 years, I won’t be running Nashville and I’m kindof glad. I have loved the Nashville races. It will always be my first half and full marathon and I’m glad it’s that way. It’s my hometown. It should be my first races. But I’m ready to take a break. I think it would be great this year to volunteer instead. The volunteers have helped so much each year and I’d like to be a part of that. I’m not sure if this one will work with timing of our new baby. He’s due just a few weeks before this race, but if possible, I’ll try to help out this year. Maybe even get my older sons to help out too.


6. Run a 5K or two - I also enjoy this distance. I’m not sure if I can run faster than my PR (19:46) but I can try. I’ll probably do some of the same ones I did last year. Wouldn’t mind finding a new one or two as well. We’ll see.


7. Run another 10K – I really had a good time at my first ever 10K this year. And I ended up doing about as well as I could’ve hoped. I’m not sure if I’ll do the same one again, but I’d like to either do that one or another one.


8. Run 1300 miles – This was my goal this year. I thought about raising it, but with only doing one marathon (after Disney), I may not have as many high weeks this year. I barely made 1300 miles this year because of injury. I’m going to end up around 1360 or so. I think it will be good to keep this amount the same for 2011.


9. Keep my weight in the 150’s – I have no idea what I weight right now. Our house in in shambles (remodeling) and our scale is put away. I got sick about 2 weeks ago and lost 10 pounds. I was in the 140’s after that. But then with the holidays, I’ve eaten a little more than normal and have gained some. I think I’m still in the 150’s but it’s probably the high end. I like to say there and with my running, I usually can fairly easy. I’d like to keep this goal again for the new year.


10. Run a race or two with Carter – I enjoyed so much running the two 5K’s with Carter in 2010. We’d like to do it again this year. Maybe pick up a new race or two or do the same. Whatever. He’s interested in picking it back up again so I’m game. It’s a great thing to run with my son.


11. Have another successful season of coaching high school Cross Country – I know that’s kindof a general goal and hard to measure. I thought about setting it more specific (recruit more, place ?? in state, etc.) but I don’t want to set my sights too high during only my 2nd year. That’s not to say that I won’t have secret expectation that I’ll want to meet, especially once I see the talent on my team. But I just want another great year like I had this year. It won’t start until late July, but I’m already excited about it.


So there they are. My top 11 goals for the new year. We’ll see if I can go 100% this year. I need these goals to keep my motivation up. I love running and am nowhere close to wanting to give it up or even slow down yet. Another unwritten goal for the new year will be to keep up with this blog better. I’d like to post at least 5 times a month. A few weeks ago, I debated giving it up, but after giving it a lot of thought, I’ve decided that I do enjoy blogging and plan to keep it up for better or worse.

This will be my last post of 2010. Happy New Year to everyone. Hope your 2011 is a great year where you meet all your goals as well. If you don’t accomplish anything else, remember…...

Keep runnin’,

Albert

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Coming to an End - 2010

9:46 AM

Only a couple days left. 2010 is almost over. It’s hard to believe. It’s been a great year, a year full of memories. Since it’s nearly done, I figured I’d take a look back as I did last year and list the best of the best. If I had to name the best moment of 2010 it would hands-down be finding out that I’ve got a 3rd son on the way in April. It was the best surprise I’ve ever received. However, that’s not running –related and since this is a running blog, I thought I’d once again list my top 10 running moments of 2010. So here they are:

10. Talking with Dick Beardsley – I’ll admit that before this year started, I had heard of Dick Beardsley but didn’t know a whole lot about him. But when I found out I was going to get to chat with him while co-hosting the Runners Round Table, I did some research. I was amazed and impressed with his accomplishments. He’s one of the modern greats and it was a huge honor to get to talk with him. We were scheduled to talk about his running camps which we did, but we had some extra time and I even got the chance to ask him a personal question about my Cross Country team. That was a special moments to get advice from someone so well known and special in the running world. I really enjoyed that interview.

9. Registering for the Goofy Challenge 2011 – I know this was just punching buttons on the computer, but at the same time, it was fulfilling a dream I’ve had for a long time. I’ve been wanting to run Disney for a while now, basically ever since I heard about it. And the fact that I finally decided (and got approval from the family) to run the Goofy Challenge was very exciting. I’m leaving in just over a week and I can’t believe it’s almost here.

8. Huff ‘N Puff 15K Relay – I got to run my first ever relay this year. I hadn’t run a relay since high school track. I enjoyed running this 15K relay with my friends , Nate and Andrea. I appreciate them asking me, but wasn’t sure what to expect. It ended up being a really fun getaway and race. Ending up first in our age bracket wasn’t too bad either. I ran my 2nd best 5K ever that day.

7. Memorial Day 5K – This was the 2nd of two races I got to run with my son, Carter. But it was his best one. He ran a 26:01 that day which was much better than either of us expected. We hadn’t gotten to train for this one like we did his first one but he still ran his best. And he got FIRST in his age group which was very exciting. I was so proud of him that day and it was so special to run it with him.

6. Purity Dairies 5K – This was the 1st 5K that Carter ran and we had no idea what to expect. We had trained pretty well for this one and it was a great race. He ended up getting 26:23 and coming in third in his age group. He got a medal which he was so excited about as were his very proud parents. One of the best parts of that day was when we crossed the finish line, he looked at me and said, “Dad, can we do that again?” He didn’t care about being tired or needing water, he wanted to run again. I knew then that he was a natural and it made me a very proud dad.

5. Chick ‘Fil-A 10K – This was my first ever 10K. One of my goals this year had been to run my first one and I chose this race. I was a little nervous about how I would do. I had some pain in the weeks prior and was worried that I wouldn’t do well. But I ended up feeling great, running a great time and placing 2nd in my age group. This landed me free chicken sandwiches for a year. We’ve used several of the sandwiches already and each time it reminds me of this great day.

4. Zoo Run 5K – This was my earliest race of 2010 way back in January. I ran so much better than I ever thought I would. I guess I just felt really good that day, but I ran hard and didn’t let up. I ended up with a 19:46 which is my best 5K ever. I got first for my age group and a nice gift-certificate prize. I enjoyed this race and would love to do it again this year but it might be a little close to the Disney races to have enough recover time.

3. Nashville Half Marathon – I was excited about doing this race. This was one of my biggest goals of 2010 – to PR in the half marathon. This would be my one and only chance. I was also excited about going back to the half. I had run the full Nashville in 2009 and had missed the easier and more fun half. I did end up PRing with a 1:33 but it came at a price as I had to visit medical for a while at the end. It made for a good story but I felt pretty bad during the last mile. It’s still a great moment all things considering.

2. Coaching my first ever high school Cross Country season – I got a dream job this year when I was promoted to high school coach at the school where I teach. I had coached middle school cross country for 11 years and loved it, but I was ready to advance to the next level where the competition advances greatly. I had a great season and loved working with these kids. They worked so hard and made me extremely proud. I cannot wait for next season.

1. Chicago Marathon – This had been another dream for a while. One of the ultimate marathons. I was so excited to make it my fall marathon for this year and had a blast. It ended up being a tough race and I didn’t feel exactly like I’d hoped, but I still PR’ed with a 3:34. The trip itself was so much fun and I enjoyed touring the city with this run. It was just an overall great experience and one I will never forget.

So there they are – my top 10 running moments of 2010. Here’s hoping the 2011 will bring some great ones. They may be toned down a bit as I’m not going quite as big after Disney with our son on the way. But I still plan to do some new things. I’ll try to post one more time before the year ends about my goals for the new year. 2010 was a great year where I accomplished a lot of goals and had a running year I won’t soon forget.

By the way – this is my 100th post on this blog. Happy 100! Here’s to 100 more…..maybe.

Keep runnin’,
Albert

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I've Gotta Goofy Feeling

9:15PM

I'm starting to get excited. It's been hard to get in the mood because I've got so much else going on. From home remodel to baby to Christmas, I haven't had much time to even think about Disney. But today I got the "Final Race Instructions" email. It has the link to print out my waiver for my races. I'll print those tomorrow. But getting that email really helped to sink in that I'm about to go to Disney and run two races in the "Goofy Challenge". And I get to run those races through the parks. That's the most exciting part. I've always loved Disney, but have really gotten into it since I married my crazy, Disney wife. She's obsessed and has gotten me obsessed in our 11 years of marriage. We love going and hate when there is a year we can't go. She and the boys don't get to go in 2011 and I hate that for them. We are planning to go back as a family in 2012. But I get to go in 16 days.

Just a recap of my plans: I will fly out on Friday morning. I've got the first flight out. I'll probably go straight to my hotel, the Pop Century. I've never stayed there before and I'm excited to try out a new place. After I get settled in (I may not be able to check in yet) I'm going straight to the Wide World of Sports to register for the races. I was able to qualify for one of the first corrals. I can't remember which one at the moment. Friday night I will just get a good dinner and relax at the hotel. I'll probably turn in early so I can get up bright and early for the half-marathon. The half is Saturday morning beginning at Epcot, running to Magic Kingdom and back. I'm planning to use this as just a warm-up run for the marathon. I'm not planning on pushing either race but I'm especially not going to push this one. I don't want to do anything to jeopardize my marathon the next day. I'm not sure what I'll do Saturday after the half. My parents are coming down to Orlando as well to visit old friends and watch my races. They've offered to take me to a park one day and I may take them up on it for Saturday. I should be done with the race fairly early and should be able to get to a park quickly. I still want to turn in early that night but a little time at the park would be fun. Sunday will be another early morning for the marathon. This race also begins at Epcot and goes to Magic Kingdom, then Animal Kingdom, then Hollywood Studios and back to Epcot. I'm planning to go back to the hotel and rest on Sunday. I'm sure I'll be worn out. I'll try to get out Sunday evening and have another nice celebration dinner. Monday, I'm going back to the park since I get in free!! All marathoners get in free on Monday. I haven't decided which park I'm going to. Maybe Epcot. It's got a lot of options and is probably my favorite park. I have a late flight out Monday evening so I won't get to stay at the park all day but it'll still be fun. I'll fly home Monday evening and watch my Auburn Tigers play in the National Championship that evening. What a great day that will be!

I've still got some nervousness in the back of my mind due to my injury and having run VERY little the last few weeks. But I'm just going to trust my base and do the best I can. I'm definitely not trying to set any PR's or run hard in either race. My goal will be to finish each race in a decent time. I'd love to finish the half in around 2 hours and the full close to 4, but we'll see. I'm just excited to be running through the parks and getting to see everything the Disney races have to offer. Plus, I hope to meet a few running friends while I'm there.

Anyways, can't wait and I think I'll really get excited after the holidays are over. I wish my family could be there with me but it just works best for them to cheer me on at home. I look forward to posting about it on here. It's gonna be a great experience. A once in a lifetime....

If I don't post again before Saturday, hope everyone has a great Christmas and Happy New Year. I plan on posting before the year is up about goals and plans for 2011.

Keep runnin,
Albert

Sunday, December 19, 2010

I Can Run!!

7:27AM

I ran this morning. 6 miles. But I ran. That's the key. And I have no pain. Well, let me rephrase.....I have no pain in my hurt leg. I have pain. A little. Not bad. Mainly breathing pain. Getting back into running pain. But it's amazing how much I've missed it and how good it feels to run again. I actually did a trial run yesterday. 3 miles. It felt great. The only thing that "hurt" was breathing, but I chalk that up to the cold weather (below freezing) and the fact that I haven't run in almost 2 weeks. But I was so happy that I didn't feel any pain in my left leg. So I decided to double it this morning and try a "long run". When you haven't run in 2 weeks, 6 miles is a long run. So I got up this morning and got ready. It felt a little weird. I haven't gotten up to do a long run on a Sunday in 3 weeks. It was 20 degrees outside. I'll say it again....I like running in the cold after the first mile, but man it's cold when you first go outside. It's the only thing that makes me hesitate doing the morning runs. But after the first half-mile or so, it felt good this morning. I ran 6 miles in around 48:30 so about 8:05 per mile. That's great again considering how long it's been. I'm still going to take it easy the next few days and not go crazy. There is a little tightness in my 'hurt' left leg as I sit here and type this, but it doesn't hurt like it did. Still, I think it best to get back in it very gradually.
By the way, I haven't officially announced on here that our third child on the way is a third son. We're very excited to have three boys. His name will be Griffin Wallace Thweatt. At our last visit (when we found out it was a boy), we mainly just wanted to hear that he was healthy and growing normally and we got that. That was all we really cared about. Our boys are getting really excited and can't wait to meet their new brother. I can't wait either, but at the same time, I don't want to rush it along. Since this is the third (and final) child, I want to enjoy every second of it.
Finally, I've been debating what to do with this blog during the next year, 2011. There is a part of me that wants to shut it down and I've seriously considered doing so. I'm just not as motivated to write as I used to be. Plus, since we have a child on the way, we're remodeling our house, and we're very busy, I don't have any races planned for the new year except Disney. I'm sure I'll plan some local ones, but I'm not planning on traveling anywhere in 2011 for a race. Don't get me wrong, I have enjoyed keeping up with this and sharing my running stories. I'm just not sure how many readers I have and if it's worth it. I'm afraid I'll run out of things to talk about. So I'm still debating it. I'm not sure what I'll do with it.
I am very excited about Disney and I plan on writing about that this week. No time this morning. I also want to set some goals for 2011 so that's another post before the year ends. I'll write again this week at some point. Hope everyone has a good week and is getting excited about the holiday season.

Keep runnin',
Albert

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Pain, Pain Go Away.

11:59AM

Pain, pain go away. Come again another day. Actually, don't come back. It won't go away. My "shin splint," which I don't think is a shin splint at all, is still there. It's been three weeks and I still have pain. It is better, but it's still there. I have been running VERY sporadically the last couple of weeks to try and heal but I'm not there yet. I ran last Thursday (a week ago) three miles and it was fine, but the next day, my leg hurt a lot. I tried again Tuesday night of this week and ran 4 miles. It hurt a good deal between miles 2-3 but after that, the pain went away. However, it hurt some yesterday. Today, it's better. I talked to a runner friend of mine and told her I thought I might have a stress fracture. She agreed that it sounds like that.

Here's the scary part, I have the Goofy Challenge in less than a month. Not just a marathon, but a half the day before. A marathon and a half. In less than a month. What do I do? I asked her if I should just run through the pain and keep training or stop altogether to let it heal and risk losing my training. It's a tough decision. Will I be able to do a marathon in a half having only run a long distance of 14 miles this time around? I did run a marathon in October. She suggested I take time off and wing it at Disney. I'm not trying to get a PR at Disney. It's Disney so I was planning on having fun with it anyways, but I did want to finish both races. So needless to say, I'm worried. I think I will take this week and next week off and see how I feel. I may then try a short run around Dec. 19 or so. I guess I just won't do a super long run before these races at Disney and pray that my prior training will come back to me. I don't want to go to a doctor for fear he'll tell me not to run or put me in a boot. I'm going to Disney. I paid too much for this trip and running the Goofy has been my dream for years. I'm going and I'm running, even if I have to crawl. I'm also slightly worried about my weight. I tend to eat a lot here around the holidays and running is the only thing that keeps me fit. I'm going to have to watch it.

I HATE not running. My four miles really felt great Tuesday night. I was right back in it and aside from a little leg pain, the rest felt good. I can't wait to be back in it when this crazy leg heals. (And a special note to a certain MB - it's not my feet. My feet are fine. And I don't run too much. But I appreciate your concern)

I'll talk more as Disney approaches. It'll be here soon. I have confidence that this will all work out. Just a slight obstacle in the way.

More soon.

Keep runnin',
Albert

Friday, November 19, 2010

Man Down (again!!)

6:48 AM

So I accomplished another goal over there ------>. I am officially over 1300 miles for the year. I'm at 1312 as we speak. I would have more but the injury fairy has found me again. More about that in a second. That leaves only one goal left to accomplish, keep my weight in the 150's. I weighed myself this morning. 158. So far, so good and again with the marathon training that's a-coming, I should be fine. I'll weigh myself on Dec. 31 and see if I can check that one off as accomplished. So it should be 10 out of 12 goals accomplished. Not too shabby if I do say so myself.

My Cross Country season ended well! My girls finished 7th and my boys 4th in the state. I had the #1 overall girl in the state and the 3rd and 4th boy. Not too bad for my first year. Would I have liked to have done better. Of course. Any coach that says he's fine not getting first place is lying. You always want the best, but it can't always happen. We accomplished a lot this year and 6 of my 7 runners (boys) got PR's in the state meet. I can't complain about that. I truly think they did their best and I was extremely proud of them. So season successful. Can't wait for next year. I've got a great up and coming boys team. I need to recruit some girls but they could be very successful too.

You may have noticed that I haven't run at all this week. What's up with that?? Well, I'm injured. Again. I have really killed this "stay injury free" goal this year. What is this, the 3rd or 4th time I've been injured? I think I'm getting old. Anyways, this time it was shin splints. I started having pain in the front of my lower left leg at the end of last week. I decided to run 5 miles on Saturday to test it out fully intending to do my long run of 16 on Sunday. It hurt at the beginning of my run, but went away pretty quickly. However, only an hour after I ran and all that night, it was killing me. I iced it for a long time Saturday night and then made the choice to skip my long run. I don't like skipping them and I'm already climbing so it was going to be hard to get back up to speed, but I didn't want it to hurt more. Sunday and Monday it was pretty bad. But I've been icing every night and it feels a lot better now. I could probably run today but it's such a busy day that I'm going to wait. I haven't decided if I'm going to run tomorrow or wait for my long run. I adjusted my long run schedule so I can get back to where I was in three weeks. I'm just going to have to up it each week instead of doing the same distance for two weeks each time. I'm planning to run 14 this Sunday. I hope my injury days are done at least until after Disney marathon weekend. I'll keep you posted.

That's about it for now. Hope everyone has a great week and a very restful and happy Thanksgiving.

Keep runnin',
Albert

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

One Sucess. One Fail.

1:48PM

We're goin' to state! My cross country team, you know the one I'm coaching for the first time, has made it as far as they could. I am very excited for them. You have to place at least 3rd in your Region as a team to make it to state. Also, the top 10 individuals go as well. I wasn't as worried about my boys as I was my girls. I've got some great girl runners, but my overall numbers have been way down this year so I just wasn't sure, but I sure had high hopes. My boys got 2nd and my girls tied for 3rd. Tied. Holy Cow! What do you do with a tie? Well, in case you're wondering, you go to your 6th runner (Top 5 are added together for your team score). Our 6th runner beat theirs by 5 places. So we won....barely....but we got third. Watching the fourth place coach look at the results was tough. I feel his pain. But I'm very excited for my girls and my guys. They deserve it. State is this Saturday. I don't know what to expect. I'm just glad we made it. It's kindof been tradition.

Since we made it and since I have absolutely loved this season and things have gone great for the most part, I think I can call it a success, so I'm counting goal #7 over there accomplished. Success.

Here's the failure. My wife wouldn't run a half marathon if there was a gun to her head. Plus she's nearly 5 months pregnant. It ain't happening. I got her to run a 5K back in the Spring so that was a start, but she's just not into the running thing. So I have to call that goal (#6) for this year unaccomplished. I made a nice effort. She does walk very faithfully, even pregnant, so I have to commend her for that.

By the way, #8 is very close to getting accomplished. I should reach 1300 this week or next.

#10 is close also. I'm still in the 150's. Just gotta keep it through the holidays but with my Disney training, it should happen.

My running is going fine. I'm finding it very hard to run at night now if I don't run at practice. I'm trying to get back to 6 days a week, but I've been so used to running at CC practice that I'm lacking motivation to run at night. Plus I'm so busy that I'm often too tired to run. I'm hoping once the season is over and I am forced to run at night that I'll get back in the habit. 14 this past Sunday was good. I'm working my way back up for the Goofy Challenge only 65 days away!!!

More about that as it approaches. I'll write again soon.

Keep runnin',
Albert

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Runner #3 due in April.

9:11AM

I did a 10 mile long run on Sunday. Just a week after the marathon. I probably should have taken a week off of long runs, but my training for Disney was supposed to begin on Sunday. That's right. It worked out that I was supposed to start training the exact week after the Chicago marathon. What are the odds? I was technically supposed to do 12, but I decided to just do 10. I did the same route that I did back in the spring when I twisted my ankle going through a construction site. Construction was gone this time. I enjoyed the route. Problem was that I got to the nature park before it was light. I thought it might be closed, but two park security officers were standing at the gate. I could barely see them. A little scary. I yelled out "is it ok to run through?" One of them told me yes but to be careful. I did have to be very careful. I couldn't see 10 feet in front of me and there were no lights whatsoever. This is the park where the road was heavily damaged by the May floods so it was a little nerve-wracking running through it in the pitch dark. I was also a little worried about running into a deer. There are so many and they're almost not afraid of humans anymore so I could just see myself running smack-dab into one. I definitely heard them, but didn't see any. So it worked out well, but I'm not sure if I want to do it again in the dark. I think I'll wait until the time changes. But the good news was that the run felt good. Very little aches and pains leftover from the marathon. My knees are hurting a little at the beginning of my runs, but it goes away quick. I'll try 12 this weekend, but will have to do it on Monday before school b/c my wife will be babysitting/housesitting on Sunday. I gotta stay home and watch the kiddos.

Speaking of kiddos - we revealed this weekend that we've got another on the way. Little runner #3. A surprise, but a definite blessing. I've known since August 13, but we decided to wait a while to share. Here he or she is:



We'll find out Nov. 29 if it's a boy or girl. I don't care. I just want healthy and safe. I feel so blessed to have a third one on the way. God's been good to our family. So now I'll have three runners in training.

Cross Country is going pretty well. I lost my third boy runner this week to a stress fracture which is tough, but we'll keep pressing on. Only 3 meets left and 3 weeks left. It's been a great season and I'm excited to see how it finishes out.

That's all for now. Not much else going on in the running world. Hope everyone has a successful and safe week. Be careful out there but.....

Keep runnin',
Albert

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Finished! Chicago Marathon Race Report.

2:11PM

Well, I'm done. I'm back at my hotel, sitting in the lobby, watching football, and updating the blog. I finished the Bank of America Chicago Marathon about 3 hours ago. So here's the full report and I stress the word "full". Read at your own risk:

I got here yesterday morning and got the shuttle to my hotel. My hotel is the Fairfield Inn - Midway so it's very close to the airport and ended up being nice. I arrived at around 10AM so I didn't expect my room would be ready but they had one ready. It was nice to go ahead and get in a room. I got settled and spent about 15 min. in the room and then headed back to the airport to catch the subway into the city. Took the subway to a bus stop which was a free shuttle to the expo. The expo was amazing. I have never seen such a big expo. I should've brought my camera. Sorry I didn't. I didn't spend a whole lot of time at the expo because I knew I wasn't going to buy anything, but I did look at all the booths and got some free samples. I did buy a hot dog since I hadn't eaten anything all day and it was past noon. Coming out of the expo I got extremely lost. I went a different way out to find a bathroom and got all turned around. It literally took me 15 extra min. to find the free shuttles again. I did A LOT of walking yesterday. I got back on the subway and headed back to the hotel.

I spent the afternoon (2-5) just resting and reading in my room. I thought I might fall asleep but I had dozed a little on the subway so I wasn't tired enough for a nap I guess. Around 5:15, I walked three blocks to Giordano's Restaurant at the recommendation of the hotel receptionist. It ended up being a GREAT Italian restaurant. I got spaghetti and meat sauce which came with a salad and a ton of bread. It was wonderful. What was even more wonderful was that right above my head there was a TV and I watched Alabama get beat by South Carolina. The guy sitting at the table next to me was also rooting for SC so we enjoyed the end of that game. I walked back to my hotel and got everything ready for the race. I turned on the Auburn game and fell asleep to it. I woke up in time to see Auburn win with a last second field goal. What a sweet football day it was!!!

I woke up at 4:55AM and took a shower, got ready, and packed up. There was no way I'd be back in time for checkout so I turned my bags into the front desk and checked out. I just missed the shuttle to the airport getting down to the lobby at 5:25 but another came at 5:40ish. I took the subway into the city once again and was joined by lots and lots of other runners. I wasn't sure the best place to get off the subway so I just followed the crowd. It worked. We walked just a few blocks to the pre-race area. This is my only complaint - the pre-race area was very confusing. I couldn't find anything and there weren't enough people to direct you in the right place. I desperately needed some water. The hotel was gracious enough to give me a bagel and banana even though breakfast wasn't supposed to start until 7, but they had no bottled water. I wasn't worried b/c I was sure the race would have some but I could not find it anywhere and when I asked, they kept directing me to the wrong place. I got to the pre-race around 6:30 which I thought would be fine b/c the race was starting at 7:30 but from 6:30-7:00, I was running around like crazy. I definitely got a good warm-up in but not on purpose. Not only could I not find water, I could not find the bag check-in for the seeded starters. It was hidden in some trees and not well marked at all. I finally found a water fountain and took what I could get. Nashville's marathon has the food and bag check-in area very well marked. Chicago needs to improve on that. But that is my ONLY complaint. Everything else was great! I finally found the bag check-in and later found water bottles but there was only one tent and it wasn't well marked either. I would suggest having water bottles all over the place. In 10 locations at least.

Getting to the start corral wasn't easy either. It was jam-packed with people and very hard to get through. I finally got in my corral at 7:05. Still plenty of time to stretch but I was a little panicky, I have to admit. By the way, I have to tell this. Sorry if it's inappropriate. I read the marathon booklet last night while watching Auburn. It clearly says and I quote "all bathroom activities should take place in the port-a-potties provided." That rule was completely and blatantly ignored. Men were peeing all over the place. At one point, I watched literally 20 men go into this very narrow area between a row of bushes and a fence and line up like they were at a horse-trough type urinal. I wished I had my camera b/c it was made me laugh out loud. But there were no reservations at all. I guess that's just part of the marathon so I joined in. I tried to be discreet but when you gotta go, well you know. You can't start a race having to go and there are just never enough port-a-potties. Ok, enough of that.

My goal was to try and stay with the 3:30 pacers who were in my corral. My previous PR was 3:38:55. I didn't know if I could improve nearly 9 minutes, but I thought it was worth a shot. I would have to run 26.2 - 8 min. miles. It's doable I thought, but would today be the day? The race began and we started. I had my ipod on and charged up. But I couldn't hear it for the first mile or so. The crowd support on this race is SIMPLY AMAZING!! There were huge crowds the entire 26 miles. Granted it was bigger in some areas than others but there were no big spaces with no people. I have never seen so many supporters. Ever. I stayed with the 3:30 guys for the first 2-3 miles. I was feeling great so I decided to go ahead of them a little and build up some cushion in case I had to use the bathroom again (which I knew I would eventually) or had to stop or slow down for some reason. My 5K was 24 min. My 10K was 47 so I was running well. The first half marathon was great. At one point, around mile 8 or 9, I was averaging 7:30 per mile. I even thought I might could hit 3:20 at this point if I kept pace. My music was inspiring me and I felt truly awesome. I was hoping it would last. It didn't of course.

I started feeling it around mile 14. I was getting tired and thirsty. I'll just go ahead and say it. I didn't hydrate enough for this race. I have problems with that and I'm kindof mad at myself. I should've learned from my April half-marathon. It wasn't super hot, but it was around 80 and it felt hot when the sun was on you. I always felt good in my upper body. Breathing. Arms. Etc. But my lower body wasn't so good. My legs started feeling really tired, even my feet. Miles 15-19 were the toughest. I stopped to use the bathroom around mile 15 and began running again but I knew I wasn't going to be able to run the 11 miles left. Around mile 20, or maybe earlier, I can't remember, I started walking some of the water stops. I was drinking a lot of gatorade and water b/c I was so thirsty. I took my 2 Gu packs as well. One around mile 11 and the other around mile 20 or so.

Oh yeah, another funny story to embarrass myself. As a few of you know and now the world, I have issues sometimes with rubbing in certain areas that start with an "N" and end with an "ipple". In my 2nd half marathon, I had severe bleeding and didn't even realize it until way after the race when I looked down and saw 2 huge red spots on my shirt. It was not fun, although some of my former friends thought it was hilarious, especially when the race pics came out. I put bandaids on this morning but those stayed on for about 2 miles so I knew it might be an issue. With the heat, I was severely sweating which meant my shirt was wet which meant it became an issue. I started feeling it around the halfway point and knew that the red spots would return if I didn't do something. I had a white shirt on as well of course. Soooo, I decided to lose the shirt. Problem - my bib is on shirt and I didn't want to stop. So I took all 4 pins off, pinned it on my shorts, held my earphones, took off my shirt, and replaced the earphones all while running. I kindof proud of myself. Most rookies would've stopped to do all this. But I'm a pro at embarrassing red spot prevention. Ok, end of that story. Back to the race.

Around mile 20-21, my legs started cramping. I started feeling it in my calves and thighs right above my knees in the front. I walked a water stop around mile 22 and rubbed my legs for a second. When I hit mile 23, I decided I would try to run w/o stopping to the finish. It was around mile 23 that the 3:30 guys passed me and I couldn't keep up. I knew I wasn't going to beat 3:30. I was a little disappointed I'll admit. If the weather had been a little cooler and I had hydrated like I should've, I really think I could've beat 3:30. When I got to mile 24, I looked at my watch. It said 3:17. So I quickly figured that if I could run 2 10 min. miles (not counting the extra .2 miles) then I could beat my PR of 3:38:55. I definitely thought that was doable. I hit the first of the two miles in 8:30 and felt good about my chances to PR. It was shortly after I passed the 25 mile mark that I made new goal in my head - beat 3:35. The last 2 miles were good. When you know the finish is that close, it gives you new motivation, at least it did me. The crowds during the last 2 miles were huge. I got to mile 26 at close to 3:34 and started sprinting - at least as fast as I could go at that point. We rounded a corner and saw the finish line. I say again that a finish line is the most beautiful sight in the world with a few exceptions (like my kids and stuff). I crossed the line running fast and stopped my watch. 3:34:55. EXACTLY 4 minutes faster than my PR. And I beat 3:35. I was happy. It wasn't 3:30 but it was a PR and I finished strong.


The post-race was great. Lots of good food, water, gatorade and a free massage which felt amazing. These 2 very nice ladies worked my sore muscles very well. I told them they were troopers for massaging all these sweaty, smelly runners. They said "hand-sanitizer". It was a good 15 min. massage for free which I thought was nice. I also got a free cold leg wrap at another booth on both my calves. It was nice too. I hobbled back to the subway, treated myself to my new favorite Starbucks drink on the way (Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate), and got back to my hotel. The hotel does have a nice, large, public bathroom so I went in there, washed up with my handi-wipes, and changed clothes. It's not a shower but I'm not too bad. I don't think I smell. Much.

So there's my story. I'm about to go eat and watch my Titans play Dallas. My flight is later tonight. Can't wait to see my wife at the airport. I did call them right after the race and talked to her and my two boys. It was nice to hear their voices. She's a real trooper also taking care of them this weekend and letting me go on this trip. Thanks, babe. Well, that's probably more than you wanted to know. Now it's on to DISNEY!!! I'm supposed to start my training...well....next week! So not much recovery time here. But I can't wait for Disney so I can be a little Goofy and run a marathon and a half in 2 days.

Thanks for reading.

Keep runnin',
Albert

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Here I Go Again On My Own

12:37PM

Isn't that the lyrics to one of the best songs ever? Whitesnake. Ahh, memories. I think that was my first ever record. Like vinyl. Like big round plastic thing that spins with a needle. The good old days. Anyways, the lyrics are fitting. In 3 days, I head out on my own to once again run a marathon. Three days. Wow, it's close. I have no idea if I'm ready or not. I don't even have time to think about if I'm ready much less get ready. I don't even have time to write this but I'm making time for you, the fans. Both of you. Someone told me last time that I had more than one reader. Maybe 3.
Anyways, I did my last long run on Sunday. 12 miles. It felt incredible. I averaged 7:40 per mile so I was going pretty fast. And I felt like I was going fast. But it didn't hurt at all. I felt good the entire time. In fact, the last couple of miles felt the best. I hope that's the case next Sunday. The weather is supposed to be good. 60's or 70's. Hope it's not too sunny. I"m a little nervous about getting to my hotel, getting to the expo, getting to the race, etc. I also don't know what I'm going to do after the race. I will have to check out of my hotel before I'm sure unless they allow a 2pm checkout. So I guess I can't shower before my flight home that night. Sorry in advance to my seat mate. Not sure how to solve that one.
Oh well, I don't have much more to say than that. I'll try to write again Saturday and/or Sunday. I'll definitely put up a race report Sunday or Monday. Wish me luck and give me a prayer as well. I appreciate it. Chi-town, here I come. Again. On my own. Goin' down the only road I've ever known. Ok - that lyric doesn't apply. I'm out.

Keep runnin',
Albert

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

From 5 to 50

9:00AM

So we had our 3rd Cross Country meet yesterday. It went well although I had several out sick and it was HOT. I'm about sick of this hot weather. I'm ready for Fall, NOW! But those that ran, ran well and we had some great times. We're still in the beginning meets that don't mean a whole lot. October and November bring the big meets that really count.

Chicago Marathon is less than 3 weeks away. Holy Cow it's close. I really haven't been thinking about this one as much as I did with Memphis last year. I just haven't had time to think about it. Don't get me wrong, I'm very excited. I will travel up on Saturday morning, October 9. My flight is early. I am staying at a Marriott very close to Midway airport. Saturday I will travel to the expo and pick up my packet/info. The marathon is Sunday morning, 10/10/10. I really don't know a whole lot about it except I've heard it's flat and fast. I really don't know what to expect. For some reason, I don't feel as ready for this one as I have in the past. Maybe b/c some of my recent long runs have been a little slower than I want. So I don't know whether to expect a PR or not. I'd like to PR, but I don't think I'll be too disappointed if I don't. I just want to finish and enjoy the race. I'll talk more about it in the coming weeks.

Last week I only ran 5 miles. I was trying to get my foot feeling better. It still hurts in the mornings but maybe it's a little better. Anyways, since I did 22 on Sunday of this week, I decided to make this week the week that I went for 50. One of my 2010 goals is to run a 50 mile week and so this is it. I did 22 Sunday, 6 Monday and 6 last night. So I'm already up to 34 miles. Only 16 to go. I plan to do another 6 today at CC practice. That will leave me with 10 for the last 3 days. I think I can make it. My 22 on Sunday was fine. I had to stop a couple of times for bathroom purposes and another couple to fix my ipod (BTW, I am sick of not being able to turn the IPOD dial b/c of sweat/moisture/humidity/whatever. They need to make an alternate way to move the dial. It's annoying.) But otherwise, I didn't stop. I averaged 8:43 a miles which was ok. I want to average between 8 and 8:30. But I was glad I went for 22 instead of 20. Now I get to taper. I love the taper. I'll do 12 this Sunday.

That's about it for now.

Keep runnin',
Albert

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Five Whole Miles

10:43AM

That's it. That's all I'm doing this week. 5 whole miles. And I've got very mixed feelings about it. I don't like it. I hate taking multiple days off like I had to do this summer when I got injured. But I think it may be for the best. My foot is just not right. It still kills me when I wake up in the morning or step on uneven ground. I think last Saturday's 10K while a great race, didn't help in the healing process. So I've decided to take it really easy this week. I ran 5 yesterday in CC practice. I figured I'd do one run this week - midweek - just to see how I felt and to satisfy my own run cravings. It felt good. I hadn't lost it and I know I won't. It's just my mind playing tricks on me. So now I'll wait until Sunday and try to do my long run then. I'm hoping the few days off will help my foot to heal even a little bit. I've got a marathon for crying out loud in 3 weeks so I've got to get this foot in a little bit better shape. We'll see if it pays off. Regardless, I'm so excited about Chicago and I'll talk more about it in other posts soon.

My CC team had their first official meet on Tuesday. We did well. My boys won the meet and my girls got third. I think this will be a slightly down year for my girls simply b/c of numbers. I just don't have many girls and that's been a trend lately, even in middle school where I have been coaching for 11 years. It's just been a much more popular sport for boys and not girls. Not sure why. Maybe b/c girls' soccer is played at the same time, but that's not the only reason. Needless to say, I've got to recruit some more girls for next year. But everyone on my team ran well Tuesday and I was proud of them. We run again this Saturday in a big city meet. I'll let you know how it goes next week. I'm hoping to bring home a first place trophy, especially with my guys.

Hope everyone has a great weekend. I'm enjoying these cooler temps.

Keep runnin',
Albert


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Anyone For a Sandwich?

8:56PM

I'm sick. Sinuses. Runny nose. Slightly sore throat. Runny nose. Itchy eyes. Did I mention runny nose? I felt it a little last night but it has really hit hard today. So I'm going to keep this short b/c I need to get some rest. Quick updates:

My CC team had a good meet last Tuesday. It was a practice meet so it wasn't scored. No idea how we would've done as a team. Too many runners to figure out. It was packed. But I had some great individual performances. Our first real meet is this Tuesday. I can't wait. I'll let you know how it goes. I'm still loving coaching this team.

My big news is my first 10K yesterday. Quick race report. I woke up at 5AM and left the house by 5:30 to get there and pick up my race packet. The race was going to be run in a very nice area. Flat. Newly built buildings and landscaping. Beautiful lake, waterfall and pathways. The weather was perfect. Nice and cool. Not super hot like it has been the last couple of months. But I wasn't feeling just great. I really did not want to get up that early. And my foot was still bothering me. For a split second I had debated not going but I quickly dismissed it. I made a commitment and wanted to keep it, plus I wanted to get this first 10K under my belt. The race started right about 7. It ended up being a very flat course with just a few slight rolling hills. The course was beautiful and there was a pretty good fan base for a 10K. The first mile was fine. I was trying to keep 7 min. pace and hit my first mile in 6:50. So I was happy. The 2nd and 3rd mile were a little tougher but I kept pace pretty well, maybe slightly slower but still under or at the 7 min. pace. Mile 4 felt good. I guess I knew mentally that I was more than halfway done so I got excited about seeing the finish. I felt like I was picking up my pace but I was still running 7's. The last mile felt fine but very long. It was an out and back course and the last mile has you looping around the lake. That loop seemed so much bigger coming back than it did going out. But I sprinted the finish strong and ended up with a 43:42 for my first ever 10K. That's a 7:02 pace which is just over what I was shooting for. I was very happy with my time and felt good overall during the race. Don't get me wrong - it was tough and I was worn out when I stopped but I never felt like I needed to stop. The race was sponsored by Chick-Fil-A and so the past race goodies included chicken and biscuits (soooo good) and the best sugar cookies I've ever had as well as fruit. It all tasted so good. They posted the results within 5 min. after I finished. I didn't expect to win anything. I really didn't. I figured several runners out there could go faster than 7 min. miles. But when I looked at the list, I was shocked. I had gotten 2nd in my age group. I quickly thought back to the race website I had read when I registered. It had said that 1st and 2nd in each division got free Chick-Fil-A for a year. I decided to stick around for the awards ceremony. I in fact did get 2nd in my division and won a medal(a cowbell - Chick-Fil-A you know) and 52 coupons for a free chicken sandwich - one per week for a whole year. Not too shabby. So on the whole it was a good day (my birthday as well!) and I thoroughly enjoyed my first 10K.

Now it's back to training for the Chicago marathon. I took today's and this week's long run off. I'm trying to get my foot to heal. It's still really bad in the mornings when I wake up. I plan to try another long run next weekend. I may take it easy on the mileage this week as well.

Hope everyone has a good week. I'll try to update later in the week about our first CC meet.

There's the short (yeah, right) update.

Keep runnin',
Albert


Saturday, September 4, 2010

Milkshake AND Ice Cream

8:25PM

Ok, I was told by my one reader today that I need to post and he's right. I'm really sorry, one reader. I hate to use the busy excuse again, but it really is true. It's a good busy and a fun one but it doesn't allow me to sit down at the computer for any length of time. But today is different. This is labor day weekend and we are in Chattanooga, TN on a quick family getaway. We went to the Aquarium today, did a behind-the-scenes tour, and just enjoyed downtown Chattanooga. It really is a nice city. Its downtown is so much cleaner than Nashville's. Sorry hometown. However, it's taking a toll on my eating habits, not that I really had any. But I had a butterscotch milkshake for lunch today (my favorite milkshake flavor) and then Coldstone ice cream tonight. But it's too hard to eat well when you are on "vacation", right? Right!

Ok, running news....My first 10K is next Saturday. One week. I really am just using this as a fun run. I'm not trying to prove anything here. I mean I'll run it and try my hardest but I'm not going to be disappointed whatever happens. It begins at 7AM next Saturday in Murfreesboro which is about a 30 min. drive. Plus, I have to pick up my packet that morning so I'll basically be getting up around 5AM. Fun, fun. But I'll try to post again on Saturday with a race report.

My foot hurts. I cannot seem to get myself injury free. When one thing heals, another hurts. This time it's my left foot. I have pain in the front inside of my foot. It's mainly bad in the morning or when I haven't moved it for a while. And I can still run on it, not that I should. But it doesn't hurt while running which is strange. I'm not running today or tomorrow so maybe that'll give it a little time to get better. I am supposed to do a long run tomorrow but since we're out of town, I was going to save it for Monday (Labor Day). Not sure if I'll do it or not.

In other running news, I absolutely love coaching high school cross country. Love it. My team is awesome. There is no other word. I love these guys and girls. And I can't wait for the competitions to start. We have our first meet on Tuesday of this week. It's a practice meet, but we're going to use it to see what we can do so I'll post about that too next weekend. Our first real meet is Sept. 14. Both teams have the potential to do really well, especially my guys. It's a lot of work and responsibility, but I still love it and I especially love playing Ultimate Frisbee on Fridays with them. I look forward to it every week.

Well, that's about it for now. Hope that will satisfy for a few days. I promise to try to do better. Hope everyone (one reader) is doing well.

Keep runnin',
Albert

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Monday, August 16, 2010

New PR (And I Didn't Even Run!!)

2:43PM

I know, I know. I haven't been on here in 2 weeks. It is incredible how busy I am. The beginning of this school year has been CRAZY - to say the least. I'm hoping it'll slow down or at least even out soon. I apologize for not updating. My goal was at least once a week. I don't even have a lot of time right now. But here are some quick updates:

1. I ran 16 this morning. Good run. Had to stop and ...you know...toward the end but otherwise, good run. Averaged 8:07 per mile which I'm happy with. I'll do 16 again next week. Did it on Monday this week because we were out of town all weekend. Had to get up at 3AM which was a killer. Back to Sunday next week.

2. Still training for Chicago coming up on 10/10/10. So excited about that trip. Would love to break 3:30 but not sure if it will happen. My time to train is limited as well. But I am working out a lot with my CC team so that helps.

3. Speaking of....Cross Country is going well. We've had 3 weeks now and I'm enjoying spending time with these awesome runners. Our first meet is about 3 weeks away. Tonight is our beginning of the season party. Looking forward to that.

4. So I was looking around at the results of the Zoo run I did this year back in January. Not sure what made me look, but if you'll remember, I was a little upset when I saw the results the first time. They had my gun time and chip time the same which I knew wasn't right but I accepted it and decided to use it (19:55) so I could better it later. Well at some point (not sure when), they corrected it. My chip time now says 19:46. 9 seconds faster!! I didn't think it was quite that much but I'll take it. So my new 5K PR is 19:46. That'll be tough to beat. But I'm excited about the new PR.

5. I've done a couple of 5K's the past two Thursday nights with the CC team. Both have been in the low 21 minute range. It's a tough course and not on a road so I expected it to be a little slower. I'll try to break 21 this Thursday if I run.

Ok, out of time. Much more to talk about but it'll have to wait. Hopefully within a week.

Keep runnin',
Albert