Been a bit, Root Downers...regrettably. Have had a busy couple of weeks. Always do this time of year. Nothing different there. Of course, you put "training for a marathon" into anything and it eats up whatever else you were planning on doing. If you're not running, you're recovering. Like this morning behind a nice mug of coffee listening to LL Cool J's Walking With a Panther recounting yesterday's first 18-miler.
This is it. I got two 36-mile weeks consisting of two 5-milers, one 8-miler and then one long run at 18 miles. That's a big week. I'll do this twice and then we wind down going into the marathon. Even with the marathon on the final week, I'll only run 34 miles that week so this makes the longest distance weeks in the training. I've had some killer runs this week. There was the five on Monday where Kool Aid and I tore through the neighborhood like killers on the loose. We started out at "prowler" and ended at "predator." We were trucking that night. Then, my eight on Tuesday was my historic "Prefontaine on Fire" sprint where I clocked eight miles in eighty minutes. A personal best for that distance. The 18 I was set to do yesterday came at an optimum point in my training. Of course, as luck would have it, Kool Aid's gotta temperature so I was going to have to leg this one on my own. I drew out my route which would take me from essentially center city all the way out to the northwestern edge of town. Preferably at sunrise. There's something great about hitting the path before everyone else. Get to the earth before every moron in hurry tramples it to death. There's just something about it that's intoxicating. At that hour, the city is not only silent, it's paralyzed. Nothing's going. It's just you in God's great landscape splitting the air and breaking the serenity with your soft footsteps and light pants of breath. Here's the path.I woke up feeling great. A little tired, but whaddya expect for a Saturday morning at 4:45. I stretched, lubed up, munched some ibuprofen, a banana, a bagel. I stepped out into the morning air and it was thick with this wondrous fog. I couldn't even see the end of the driveway. It was cold and a wind was hurriedly pushing the fog down the street. Perfect.Pressed play on the iPod and started out. The pace was good. Breathing was quickly locked into tempo. Hydration was optimum. I carried with me enough food to fuel me out and back. Two bags of jelly beans, two goos and a banana. As I made my way out on 9th all the way to the edge of town, the sun began to slowly rise lighting the landscape around me. The heavy blanket of fog surrounded me. It was so thick at one point that I wouldn't have known I was even going up hill until I saw headlights that appeared to be coming down from the sky in front of me.
It was the greatest setting for a solo run. Just me, a few rabbits, a herd of cattle and a punishing northern wind. When I turned north into the wind, it almost reduced me to a walk. And, just at that moment when I was rocked backwards, the intro to LL Cool J's "Goin' Back to Cali" broke the silence. I took a deep breath, put my head down as the wind drenched my beard with morning dew and tore northward. Thanks, LL.
Geez, you'd think this cat was never a rapper with Google image search. I had to hit up five different pages before I could find a picture of him not in a beautiful suit on the red carpet smiling like a nincompoop. Here we are. Here's the LL I was running with.
You know, LL's pretty played. Dude's from Queens. Don't you root for the Mets if you're from Queens? Everytime I see that dude, he's rocking a Yankee lid. Guess Mets are old school. That was back in 1986 with the World Championship team with Darryl Strawberry, Doc Gooden, Keith Hernandez, Gary Carter. That was a long time ago. Yankees have won five championships since then. LL probably doesn't even watch baseball. He probably just has problems matching his outfit to the orange on the Mets hat.
Why is it that anytime there's a special on Led Zeppelin on television, the Wilson sisters of Heart are flown in as the Zeppelin experts. I swear, I turned on Biography this morning and, in the first five minutes of the Led Zeppelin Biography, there's Ann and Nancy in their gypsy garb talking about Zeppelin in their whispy fascinated tone. Seriously, don't you have a state fair you should be playing at? Go away. I hate Heart with a passion. Chicks were Zeppelin biters. Go listen to "Barracuda" and tell me it ain't a direct bite of "The Immigrant Song."
But I digress.
But I digress.
When I made out to Soncy and Tascosa Road, it was time to turn it back to the city. Public Enemy's "Fight the Power" blasted into my brain as I jogged onward. With the wind now shifting to my left shoulder, I powered forward actually gaining speed as I climbed back into the city. The inclines and declines on this path were remarkable. Easily more challenging than anything I'll see in Dallas. I think the most brutal portion of White Rock is a 1.3% grade for about two and a half miles--18 to 20.5 and then it goes downhill for the rest. I was doing 2.5% grade for a half mile at a time.
As I came into town, I arranged to have my lovely wife follow me for mile 13 to the end at 18. She met up with me in West Hills with dogs in tow, threw the hazards on and crept behind me offering encouragement along the way. As we made way back into our neighborhood, I was approaching 16 miles. Only two more to go. So I took a route that I knew would measure up to two miles and I would end just down the road from the house. I sprinted the last block to make sure I didn't end in a crawl. End strong.
I doubled over at the end. My legs immediately tightened up. It only took about two minutes for the muscles to shrink and shrivel. I stretched as quickly as I could to avoid cramping. Walked back to the house and perched myself on a stool in the kitchen and chomped a sandwich, a glass of milk. Hopped up and it was too late. My muscles already tightened up. I could barely walk. I went into the living room and laid out. The pain lasted for about fifteen minutes. Took a shower. Some ibuprofen. Walked it out. Felt a little better.
My ending time was 3:35. Pretty long for 18 miles. Not yet convinced that my ending time was close to 12 minutes per mile, I decided to go out and drive the entire thing and confirm the distance. Turns out that my distance was 19.4 miles--overshot my goal by 1.4 miles taking my average per mile down to 11:05. Overall, that's a great time for the hills I ran, the wind that I was jogging headfirst into and the hour at which I started.
I ate a burrito from Sharkeys after that, laid down on the couch and immediately passed out. When I awoke, I was hungry again. I stood up from the couch and my right leg almost gave out from under me. My knee, thigh and hamstring were on fire. I sat back down. Now's when you let your body heal. Nothing strenuous. Take it easy. That's the rule on Sundays.
Last night, we had some friends over for dinner...birthday dinner for the wives. I ate a ton of food. I was so hungry. Bruschetta, a NY strip, shrimp, zucchini, spinach ravioli, chocolate cake and ice cream. I had a couple of beers over the evening and by about 10:30, I could barely keep my eyes open. I went to bed on by back, with my legs outstreched and my hands on my belly. At 5:00 this morning, I awoke in the same picture....the pillow still folded behind my head and the blankets over me not even slightly disturbed. I laid in one position for five hours. Something my body never does.
Snapped to my feet at 6:00. Leg feeling better. Had two bowel movements already this morning. Hungry again. These 36-mile weeks have my body going crazy.
Doing it all over again this week. Marathon's under a month away. This morning's a perfect morning for Sly's There's a Riot Goin' On.
Keep up, kiddo.