Wednesday, February 18, 2009
A New Target
OK, it's all set. I signed up this morning for the Hatfield-McCoy Reunion festival marathon in Matewan, WV. I am truly a hillbilly runner, as this marathon presents its own set of challenges and intrigue. It is officially in the mountains, but I found out this morning the elevation is only 702 ft above sea level. So there's no high elevation stuff like oxygen depravation to worry about. However, there are plenty of hills. So I'm going to have to put some hill days into my training plan. It's not a problem, there are plenty of hills around here. I'm also going to get my small camera working again, and practice taking pictures on long runs. I have GOT to take pictures during the course of this marathon. It should be very picturesque, and the course lets us run past some landmarks of the Hatfield/McCoy fued from the 1880's, including gravesites and homesites. I have to take some pictures of that stuff. It's going to be too cool.
This race starts at 7 am with a shotgun blast. so the town's 500 residents will all know the race is starting, I guess. Actually, the town is only 1.5 square miles in size, so the marathon seems quite broad to them I guess. The first half of the course is much more difficult than the second half. And with the 7 am start, it will be cooler in the morning. I am not going to set a time expectation for this race. I am going to have to put some tempo work into the training plan, so I can learn how to negative split. If I expend all of my energy trying to keep a certain pace through the first half, there will be nothing left thanks to the difficulty level. The second half of the course is easier, but the day will be warmer by then. But get this: In June, in the south, the high temp is only supposed to be 82 degrees? Here in Greenville it could easily be in the 90's by then. So if I keep a slower pace while it's hillier and cooler, I should have enough left for the easier, warmer half of the course. And I can always walk more if I don't have a time expectation. The goal is to complete the course without injury, and have a fun time with it.
So from the shotgun start to the pig fest at the end, it should be a fun, funny, fit and fantastic marathon, and I can't think of a better way for this mountaineer to pop the marathon cherry.
I started compiling a training plan and log spreadsheet last night. I will pass it on to anyone who wants a copy once it's done, but it's quite intricate. We are entering triathlon training season as well. In fact with this marathon June 13th, I also have the Festival of Flowers international distance tri June 7th, the sunday before. and before that, I have a 30 mile bike ride, 4 mile mud run, a sprint tri, and a half marathon. So I started the training plan by filling in all of the race data. The challenge now is to support the long term (oly & marathon) goal without sabotaging the other races. And I have to ramp up to the level of training needed to compete overall, you can't just jump into 9 or 11 workouts a week, each lasting at least an hour. you have to start out with 5 hours a week and work up over a 3 or 4 week period at least. This training plan is actually going to extend all the way out to the B2B half ironman Nov 7th. I've got a half ironman training plan already picked out that starts in July. So I can plan a rest week (or more) after the marathon, and keep on going into november. I've got the spreadsheet designed with the plan and the actual results, so I will be able to log my results as well. it should turn out to be a helpful tool.
I'm scheduling swim meters, bike miles, run miles, strength training minutes, and stretching minutes. I am also starting the Tri Power book I reviewed a while ago, so the strength training and stretching plan is going in there, as are scheduled yoga days. Everything has to be in balance to pull off the entire plan, and a spreadsheet should let me spot an imbalance easily.
I must admit I'm exposing a strange part of my personality. It's not just the fearless ability to be backwards, but the desire to ramp up the challenge after something doesn't work. I don't mind admitting I hate the beach. I'm maybe the only one (well, Kelley doesn't like it much either), but the salt air stinks, sand gets everywhere you don't want it, it's always hotter, I get sunburned too easily, and other people annoy me. So going to a crowded beach, or any public beach really is something I actively try to avoid. It's miserable. Yes the ocean can be relaxing and there are meditative qualities that make it fun once every couple of years. But if you think I'm crazy not to enjoy the beach, that's why I'm running my first marathon in the mountains. Another backwards thinking aspect involves challenges. my twisted mind says that if I fail at something easy, I have to try something harder to make up for it. Like with woodworking. I've been making furniture for about 12 years now, and I love it but don't get to do it much anymore. But if I made a birdhouse (something any 2nd grade boyscout could do) that looked like something birds would only shit on, most people would try to build a better birdhouse. I would try to build a coffee table. If the coffee table spilled the drinks and kept falling down, I would try to build a chair. Chairs are the most difficult furniture you can try to build. They have to look good, support weight, and be comfortable. Since there are so many specific details to a chair you've got 100 things to focus on instead of only like 3 with a birdhouse. More specifics = a bigger big picture = more chances to get it done right.
This is the same thing that makes me a good programmer. Seeing the all of the pieces that make up the big picture is the only way to complete an entire project. I will take one task of some simple code and half do it, screw it up, and not really care. But a huge architecture means more chances to get it done right. Now I don't consider getting the flu last week and missing the myrtle beach marathon a failure, but it is still a DNS. MB is flat, fast, and feb is cold. We had no other races (besides the half mary Jan 3) to contend with in that picture. Now I'm staring down more of what my personality likes. A bunch of races during the training plan, a bunch of different sports and types of races, and a more challenging marathon that actually falls more under my conditions (mountain vs beach). So I feel GREAT to sign up for this bad boy this morning.
Yet that's not the only new target we are facing. Have you seen the current issue of Runner's World?
Pay attention, fellas. I have been informed that if you find men attractive, this is exactly what you are looking for. It makes the gay man in me proud. the chiselled jaw, sculpted 6-pack abs, proud lean chest and little stubble beard. Apparently, this cover is getting cut out and hung on the bathroom wall (not by me). So lean and mean is in right now, and a new standard of attractiveness has been achieved. So who among us can achieve such levels of attractiveness? Ryan should be there, you big sexy bitch. Nick trains 20 hours a week and has 8% body fat. check.
I have a goal for the summer, and it's ok if it makes you chuckle. I want to wear a pair of white pants this summer. As soon as I say that, Kelley corrects me and says "cream colored pants". whatever. I want white pants, no shirt, and heads turning so fast they snap off. you can't have the little bit of beer gut I've still got and make that happen. you can't have a waist bigger than 34" and pull off that look. the "skinny" jeans I'm happily wearing now are a size 36. So it's not a weight loss goal. it's a reshaping goal. I bet the runners world model could pull off white pants. I'm also betting that if I stick with my training plan, including the Tri Power strength training, core strengthening, and endurance program I'll be there by july or august. Remember i work from home, so I can then just throw all of my shirts into the goodwill pile. try and make me wear one.
You know, I told the runners world people if they were going to use my picture for that cover, they had to change the name just to keep people from hunting me down. glad they listened. ha!
So face forward, runners. The spring is almost here and training/racing plans are all falling into place. Bask in the anticipation, and let the sunlight shine full upon our faces. 'Till next time.