Wednesday, July 15, 2015

When 50 Fights Back

I had a plan for 2015. And you know how that tends to go.

When I finished the Fort Lauderdale A1A Marathon, I figured, I got this. New PR, feeling great, and I'm ready to tackle SLO Marathon. Took a few days off to recover and then started building up again.

And then March happened. aka, 50 Fights back.

Went into my doctor to get my allergy meds renewed, and instead ended up at the Cardiologists. Doctor didn't like my BP, which led to a EKG, which showed a potential event, which led to a Echo Cardiogram. Having had most of my health issues in my life be self inflicted, and therefore mostly avoidable, being told that I might have had a heart attack, and didn't know it,  was a complete shock.

Who do I tell? Who don't I tell? Who needs to know who do I not want to worry? What if this if for real, do I have to completely change how I live? Can I handle the stress and hours at work? Can I be active and alive? Am I looking at something even more dire? The days in between the first doctor visit and getting to Cedars for a full workup were mostly a blur of stress. Sleep issues, over thinking, creating scenarios, lots of "If... Then's". None of it productive. It would be a massive over statement to say I came face to face with mortality. Nothing that grand or dramatic. I was mostly just confused and my thinking was directionless.

Make a long story short, there was no cardiac event. Cardiologist thinks that as a runner (he actually called me an athlete and I tried to correct him), my resting heart rhythm has a very short alpha/upstroke, but a normal deep beta/downstroke. The EKG read this as potential damage resulting from an event. The subsequent tests and the Echo came back as normal, no damage. So as usual with me, all the over thinking and stress was completely unnecessary.

What was the real impact? The real impact was the addition of new meds to deal with my BP and cholesterol, etc. They have effected my energy levels, left me with some occasional dizziness, and changed how I feel when I run. Net, I can't run like I could just a few months ago.

Took some time off running though March and April, tried to get back out there in May. Didn't feel right, so I shut it down again, and here in July I'm getting back on my feet. Now 5K's feel like half marathons, and 10K's like ultras. My split times are two and three minutes slower, and my recovery time is longer. So it's going to be a long process getting back to where I want to be.

I missed SLO, and I'm not running SF Marathon this month. I'm only running two to three times a week right now, and I haven't tired a long slow run yet. I'm signed up for Chicago in the fall, but I'm not sure I'm going to get there yet.

What I've learned about this is that age is in fact not just a number. As I get a little older, there are going to be changes in my health that I need to adjust too. I need to stay active, but I need to pay attention to what I'm feeling. I need to not over react (big news there) and stress about every little thing. I need to be willing to change, but not give up. To adjust without surrendering. I need to take care of myself, in all of the different ways that means.

And hopefully through it all, I need to #Keeprunning.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Race Recap: A1A Marathon

Publix Fort Lauderdale A1A Marathon!

Round about 6 months back, someone reached out to me on Twitter about a “Running Cruise”. Big group, meeting in Fort Lauderdale, run the A1A Marathon, and then get on the Regal Princess, cruise the islands, with shorter 5 and 10k runs at the island stops.

What could be better then that? Already planning on the San Luis Obisbo Marathon in April, I figured, what the f*ck. I’ll be training, I’ll ramp up sooner, and this should be a total blast.

Left work a few days early and headed to Lauderdale.  Good chance to see my father and not be arriving last minute for the race. No way I’ll ever want to sleep on that single bed in my dad’s guest room again, but that’s another story.

Having lived in Broward near Lauderdale for 10 years, it was with no small sense of déjà vu that I headed over to the hotel. Broward Blvd and the Broward Center, Las Olas, A1A, the beach and hotels, all were places that I’d spent quite a bit of time, but hadn’t really been too in a decade.

The hotels haven’t changed. Still over priced and under serviced. Still poorly maintained and barely adequate. If you want a great vacation experience with healthy food and wonderful service, Fort Lauderdale Beach is not the place to look. But I just wanted a room near the finish line so I could collapse and shower after the run. Baia Mar checked that box. Found the room, found some food (a poor excuse for fish tacos) and got my gear laid out and got some sleep Saturday night.

Sunday morning came right away, and like all race days, you’re up an hour before the alarm goes off at 4am. As the finish line was being set out front of the hotel, we all waited in line for the shuttle bus to the start line over on the other side of the intracoastal. I got their early enough that I only had to wait for one batch of busses. Others who were just a little later on told of really really long lines, and arriving at the start right at the gun.

Got to the start line and searched out the 4:45 pace group. Figured that was my best bet, and it was lead by an amazing lady named Maria. The A1A Marathon was her 300th, and between her stories and the bunny ears, I kinda thought it could be a great distraction for the later stages in the race. One note. Don’t count on getting to a porta potty at the A1A. There were all of like 20 of them for 5000 people at the start line.

So the gun went off right on time at 6, and our little 4:45 group crossed the start about 5 minutes after the gun. Heading east, we crossed back over the intracoastal just as the sun was rising and turned north up A1A along the beach. Maria and the group were everything I’d hoped, and the first few miles flew by almost unnoticed.

The only real challenge with the A1A marathon is the combo start for the full and half. The first 6 or 8 miles are pretty congested, and even at my slow pace I had to dodge traffic quite a bit in the beginning. As a result, maybe 6 miles in I saw a crease in the traffic and pulled a little ahead of my 4:45 pace group to get into clean air. The quicker pace felt pretty good, and I planned on keeping it up a mile or two and then drifting back to the group.

Well, that didn’t happen. Maybe the extra training I had done, maybe the flat course, maybe just the cool temps and the familiar landscape, I just kept on moving. By mile 8 I’d lost site of the 4:45 group behind me and was ticking off miles more in the 10:20 to 10:30 range. The Half Marathoners split off right around there and those of us in the full had the road to ourselves.

Splitting away from the beach, we tracked our way up through the familiar streets and neigborhoods. Past Oakalnd Park Blvd and Commercial, past the bars and restaurants, the retirees and vacationers. By the 13.1 point, I was pacing closer to 10:00/mile. Having only half way to go, I experimented with the pace a bit and picked it up towards 9:45 splits. This took me most of the way to the tour of the neighborhoods of North Lauderdale as we looped around and headed back south down the beach, less then 10 miles to go.

One of the really nice things about the A1A are the volunteers. Every hydration station and aid station was well staffed. Everyone was smiling, every one had a choice of water or Gatorade, quite a few had Cliff shots or a treat. For me the Gatorade went in and the water went over my head. It was not so cool anymore by 8:30 or 9AM.

The next 4 or 5 miles went really quickly, the wide flat track we were on didn’t give much resistance and as I passed 3 hours, I had a really good feeling I could kill my best time. My splits were drifting down into the 9:30 range, pretty much unheard of in my world!

The last 10K along the beach was hot.  Out of the shade, with the Atlantic Ocean on our left, and the hotels rising again on our right. It’s a great feeling when you’re that late in the race, still feeling pretty strong, keeping your splits consistent and knowing you’ve got a great shot at a PR.

The last mile or two the crowd grew, and the other finishers were gathering to rest, re count and cheer on the remaining runners. I got to the finish in one piece, looked at the clock, and was almost shocked. Pretty close to negative splits through the race, at least until mile 20, and then I gave a little back. Still 4:25 is 19 minutes of my previous best, and not something I would have expected to run!

Boring Details:

Official Time: 4:25:23
Official Pace: 10:08
Official Place: 409
Age Group: 32/52

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Keep Streaking?

Run Streak Day 35!

Now I need to make some decisions. Is this helping? Is it healthy? Can I keep it up? Should I streak through the taper? What bout after my next race? So many questions.

The Run Streak thing has been a really great experience so far, feel like I'm getting a lot out of it. The routine, the discipline, the dependability, and the miles. It's quickly become part of my day, something I look forward too whether I'm doing 20 outside or 2 on the treadmill. It has become that cliche "Me Time". My times are coming down, I've avoided the normal rash of training woes, turned ankles, tweaked hamstrings, so overall it has seemed to be a positive.

But when is it too much of a good thing? All the books talk about the importance of rest days, especially for the over 50 crowd. Am I streaking towards the cliff?

This is what the last 35 days looks like:

December 4th: 5.2 Miles 48:00  9:14/Mile
December 5th: 3.1 Miles 26:53  8:40/Mile
December 6th: 4.0 Miles 36:30  9:08/Mile
December 7th: 15.01 Miles 2:45:24 11:01/Mile
December 8th:  3.1 Miles 26:50  8:39/Mile
December 9th: 5.0 Miles  45:11  9:02/Mile
December 10th: 3.1 Miles  26:46  8:38/Mile
December 11th: 6.3 Miles  58:00  9:12/Mile
December 12th: 3.1 Miles  27:48  8:58/Mile
December 13th: 4.0 Miles  35:20  8:50/Mile
December 14th: 16.07 Miles 2:50:21 10:36/Mile
December 15th: 3.1 Miles  27:34  8:54/Mile
December 16th: 5.0 Miles  46:15  9:15/Mile
December 17th: 3.1 Miles  27:26  8:51/Mile
December 18th: 6.2 Miles  55:10  8:54/Mile
December 19th: 3.1 Miles 26:53  8:4/0Mile
December 20th: 4.0 Miles 34:44  8:41/Mile
December 21st: 20 Miles 3:44:14 11:12/Mile
December 22nd: 3.1 Miles 27:00  8:43/Mile
December 23rd: 4.0 Miles 43:21  8:35/Mile
December 24th: 2.4 Miles 20:20  8:28/Mile
December25th: 8.0 Miles 1:13:14 9:09/Mile
December 26th: 1.66 Miles 14:30 8:32/Mile
December 27th: 3.0 Miles 26:00  8:39/Mile
December 28th: 16.2 Miles 2:43:31 10:05/Mile
December 29th: 3.1 Miles 25:50 8:20/Mile
December 30th: 4 Miles 35:04 8:46/Mile
December 31st: 2.92 Miles 27:08 9:17/Mile (+12 mile bike)
January 1st: 8.0 Miles 1:12:11 9:00/Mile
January 2nd: 3.1 Miles 26:30  8:31/Mile
January 3rd: 6.22 Miles 58:39  9:26/Mile
January 4th: 18.22 Miles 3:14:54 10:42/Mile
January 5th: 2.0 Miles 16:44  8:22/Mile
January 6th: 5.0 Miles 43:30  8:42/Mile
January 7th: 3.1 Miles 26:54  8:41/Mile

My next race is 5 weeks out, I've got 2 more long runs and then I'm supposed to taper. So I have these questions running around in my head. 

To Recap:

1) How long to keep the streak going?
2) Can I streak through taper?
3) Can I continue the streak post A1A Marathon?
4) Why am I doing this anyway?