Monday, March 31, 2008

Running home!

The Ocean Drive Marathon ( A flat and fast, point to point marathon starting in Cape May, NJ and ending in Sea Isle City, NJ. I ran this marathon two years ago and had a great time. Ending in a seaside town that I spent many a summer in, I felt like I was literally running home. This year I managed to rope in a local friend of mine Dan Brown and he in turn returned the favor by roping in a bud of his from Richmond, VA, Mike Shourds. A second marathon experience for both of them!

Well the day started out just fine. We made the bus to the start on time and also ran into a work colleague of mine, Chris Schwyter. Together the four of us drank our coffee, chatted away and made our last minute race preparations en route to the starting line.

The starting line was perfect. temps in the mid-40's, sunshine and the beautiful backdrop of the Victorian Congress Hall on one side of the street and the ocean on the other. Oh... and a light breeze in the air. With a yell from the mega-phone the race began and we were off.

We'll those near perfect conditions lasted the first 1/2 mile. Than the wind hit us in the face. For the rest of the morning we ran straight into a relentless headwind. The Weather channel listed the official wind speeds ranging from 15 to 26 MPH. A conservative estimate was that we had a headwind for 24 of the 26.2 miles. This resulted in a higher then normal drop out rate for the event and 10 to 20 minutes off of the normal finishing times. Final results: Joe - 3:15:05, Dan 3:32:59, Mike 3:35:33 and Chris 4:13:47. Post race carbohydrate replenishment refreshments were had at the LaCosta bar & Lounge followed by dinner at Braca's Cafe. A good weekend had by all.

"The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind, The answer is blowin' in the wind" - Bob Dylan

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Lesson learned!

Mile 24 of the Tampa Marathon is when it happened. Yet another case of unraveling towards the end of a marathon. A classic case of going out too hard and paying the inevitable price. My hamstrings were shot and then seized, cramped, etc. Ran 22 minutes for the last 2 miles. Fortunately I had a week of vacation post-event to lick my wounds.

Three weeks later, marathon behind me, I'm back to the same routine. However my left hamstring is still noticeably tight. What do I do? Minimal stretching with what result? I pulled my left-side glute and lower back muscles and pinched my sciatic nerve so bad I lost a week of running. I was miserable.

A week off and I am back in the saddle albeit late in the training game, getting ramped up for the Ocean Drive Marathon in 10 days and Bull Run Run 50 miler two weeks later. I lost a week of training at a critical juncture. No excuses. I blame myself for not listening to my body, warming up, stretching properly and doing core strengthening exercises. Lesson learned from this recent injury escapade: Listen to your body, stretch and address issues before they become larger problems.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Rebel...

He did it! Bode Miller today has been declared the World Cup ski champion. And he did his way. Icing on the cake for the winningest U.S. skier in history.

Bode is an interesting athlete. You either love him or hate him. A rebel at heart, deep down inside of me I admire the guy. Yes, he has his moments where he is less then admirable but he lives life his way, on his terms and could take or leave the spotlight. Fancy hotels, elite camps? Not him. A mountain guy who prefers low budget hotels or an RV while on tour. Early to bed, early to rise? Nope. He has more fun taking in the local late-night cultural amenities (aka. party with the locals). Yet in spite of his cavalier attitude there is a certain intensity to him. He has the ability to tap into a special inner energy to pull off spectacular performances. He will uncontrollably bomb down a ski slope, safely in the lead, yet is confident enough to push over the edge into the abyss of failure. A man who races by the creed,' Go hard or go home'.

Congrats Bode!

Dream as if you'll live forever; live as if you'll die tomorrow. - James Dean