Monday, November 10, 2008

Return to Glory

Well, the time has come to stand from the couch, jump into a fine pair of running shorts, and get back into training for a marathon.

My brother is hitting 6 minute miles. He finished a half-marathon in 1:40. I'm clearly falling behind the curve.

As probably none of you know, I'm at Fort Sill right now training with the Army in phase two of my officer course. Tomorrow I have a 10 mile ruck march with a 40 pound pack. I still recall my experience running the marathon in Vegas, and that memory makes me very confident for this cheerful morning walk.

But this message isn't about the Army. This is about Thanksgiving.

And the Turkey Trot.

Though I can't do much more than run a bit at the FOB for training, I am running a 10K with my brother before devouring my weight in stuffing.

And that's just the beginning.

Not this year, but next, I will return to Las Vegas with one goal.

To run another marathon.

And then, perhaps, to finally rock the Winn Buffet.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007


It's done.

After months of training, setbacks and missed opportunities, my day has come and gone.

It took some doing convincing the Army to let me go to Vegas to run a marathon, but I finally got the go ahead. My teachers were less forgiving, but finally came around when they figured there was nothing stopping me.

The 26 miles, however, did put up a good fight.

But let me digress.

I arrived with my brother in the middle of the night. Our flight hit some serious headwinds and we added an hour onto the trip. When we finally stepped out of the cab at the Mandalay Bay, it was midnight and gaining on morning.

If the rooms hadn't been so damned gorgeous I might have gone to bed.

40+ inch HD TVs, with a smaller HD in the bathroom. THE most comfortable beds I've ever slept on, and a view of...well, the desert.

We woke up that next day and hit the spa, trying out all the trappings of royalty. We felt amazing, stretching out tired legs in preparation for the big day. The rest of the family arrived and we spent time wandering the city before catching a Cirque De Solei show.

Needless to say, I was quickly enamored to the town.

Before I knew it, Sunday arrived. I dressed in my finest running clothes, taped the nips and spread lubricants on my chafable areas.

Joey and I wandered down with the family (minus a slumbering sister) and fell in with the horde at the starting line. Elvis sang "Viva Las Vegas" and BOOM, it all began.

Now, I didn't train properly. One could go ahead and say I trained as poorly as one could for their first marathon.

But for the first ten miles, I was on fire. I flew passed the amazing hotels and casinos, passed the run-through wedding chapel and dive bars, and finally out to the far stretches of the Las Vegas Strip.

At mile 13, I passed two Army soldiers in IPFU-. I starting humming the Army song from the commercials and sped ahead.

At mile 16, I tried to use a portajohn. This was a terrible mistake. You see, someone else had the same idea, only they'd had an "accident."

All over the place.

I resigned myself to finish the next ten miles without the use of the facilities. This proved a doable venture, though not at all pleasant.

At mile 20, my legs died. They went into shock and exploded. Figuratively.

I dragged myself four miles forward until I could see the sign for the Mandalay Bay ahead.

I was almost home.

Each footfall felt as though it would buckle my knees for the last time. Each breath came taught and haggard.

But there it was: The finish line. I crossed with arms in the air, cheering triumphantly in my head.

And then, like smoke in the wind, my day was gone. I spent time with family, ate outrageously good food, and wondered when my legs had been replaced with pain sticks.

Today I am back in Boston, eager to start running again. Eager to start training again.

Marathon Monday is fast approaching, and this time is going to be different.

This time, I won't just run fast.

I'll run fasterest.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

New Meaning for an Old Term

I had an unholy experience today.

Let me begin by catching you all up to my training.

I've hit a few more 13 milers, all with intention of getting up to a nice 20 mile run before petering down as the marathon approaches.

When I finally set out to hit my goal, my knees had other plans. I made it 12 miles before having to stop, lest the incessant grinding of my kneecaps bother the wild geese.

Looking ahead, I was worried. I hadn't hit anything over a 13 miler, my body was showing signs of kidney stones, and my motivation was still low.

Today, things changed, but only a little.

I'm still sick in my stomach area, but managing. My knees hurt something awful.

But my motivation is back on.

I woke up this morning and it was cold. I mean seriously cold. I'm not saying that because I'm from Texas and am not used to Boston weather, I'm saying that because it was 30 degrees with a wind chill of 22.


I got in trouble with the Army (missed PT) so I had to attend a Saturday morning run.

So I throw on my running shorts, by under armor shirt, a long sleeve shirt and a ski jacket. I figure, with the weather like this, the Army isn't going to let people outside. It's too damned cold.

Once again, I am an idiot.

I arrive just in time to hear the Master Sergeant call for us to get ready for the run. I drop my ski coat and pull on a beanie and gloves. I'm shivering already.

The run begins, easy 9:00 pace, and my lungs are dying. The cold is literally freezing the water in my body. I'm wheezing like an asthmatic, though still leading the pack (cold doesn't change the fact that I'm a stubborn ass).

After three miles, my lungs warm up and I'm running easy, but I'm still worried about my knees.

And then something off happened. My knee started to hurt, but then just froze over. It was as though a layer of ice formed where the cartilage in my knee should have been. I was able to maintain my pace with no pain.

After 9 miles, I was giddy. Endorphines were rocking my brain, and I was able to lead the pack and carry a nice conversation.

Then mile ten came.

Last night, I'm sad to say, I ate pizza. This was a mistake.

Like most members of my family, I have some lactose issues. I won't say I'm intolerant because I feel racism is disgusting, but I do tell the odd lactose joke to my friends.

At mile 10, my stomach awoke. It told me, in no small terms, that a deuce was coming. I had three miles to go before I'd be home, and there was nary a Port-o-John to be seen.

It seemed like it would be the end of me, save one thing: The Sherman Proximity Law

Albert Sherman (old friend) once told me that craps, like most bodily functions, are as much mental as they are physical. When you are stuck in a line, for instance, your bladder panics because it doens't know when the line will end.

The same idea can be applied here, but with favorable results. The dump knew I wouldn't let it down, and that there wasn't a place to properly release, so it stayed in place. Sure, I hit some AWEs (Almost Wet Emission) during my final mile, but I made it back to a reliable john.

Now, the Sherman principle applies in two ways. Being far from a facility can cause the body to panic, but being close can cause the load to commence firing procedures prior to bay doors opening. This is known in layman as "prarie doggin".

In any case, I made it back safely.

None of this, however, refers to my original quote: something unholy.

As I said, it was 30 degrees. I was wearing shorts. In the event of hypothermia, the body removes blood from unneeded body parts to continue circulation amongst the organs. Today, my body made a poor choice about what was necessary.


I was a mile from home when my groin started to hurt. I stopped at a crosswalk, jogging in place to keep my legs warm, and placed a hand "down yonder" to check on the situation.

I couldn't feel anything for a moment. It was as though I'd dropped "them" along the way, like car keys. After a moment, a horrible sensation came over me.

Excuse my language, but my junk was frozen.

It wasn't until after I'd arrived at the Track and Tennis Center and gone into the bathroom for emergency reheating that I realized the scope of the threat.

Thankfully, my "team" was well trained in cold weather. I won't give you the gory details (mainly because there aren't words in the tongue of man to describe this) but I was able to restore 100% functionality to all equipment.

What's even better, I ran 13 miles. I ran it well. After I was done, I wanted to run more.

And I could have. My knees felt fine. I could have done more.

13 more? That we'll have to see.

Until then,

Run fasterest.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Going Belly Up

I'm getting back into the swing of things.

I hit a 13 miler last week that felt pretty good, save some knee issues at the end.

In fact, I'd say I was right where I wanted to be given some of the problems I've been beset with. Still, I realize now how hard training for a marathon can be, even if there weren't other issues keeping me down.

Today I was supposed to hit 16, a pretty reasonable goal. It would set me up to hit 20 next week, and then I'd slow it all down leading up to the end of the month, my flight to Vegas, and the marathon.

The problem arose with a fine little bout of stomach pain. I can't figure out what's going on with my innards. It seems as though my intestines are trying to learn origami. I can't describe the sensation in any other way.

I'm gonna go see the doctor tomorrow to make sure I didn't strain a muscle during PT with the army. I don't see this as a big threatening thing, but it prevented me from running today, which makes it an enemy that must die.

I will hit my 16 miles this week, and well before Sunday. I'm planning on getting some new shoes on Monday, and it will be just the thing to break them in on Tuesday.

I'll let you all know how it goes, but for now ya'll should get back to your own training programs.

Run fasterest.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Breaking the Wall

Today is a great day.

You might be wondering how that can be possible, seeing as I woke up at 0500 with a mild case of food poisoning after watching the Sox please drunken fans everywhere, thus denying me of any sleep.

Well, I'll tell you.

For the last year, I have been running on a plateau. I've peaked in terms of speed.

The army requires I run two miles in 15:54 or less. For the last year, I've hit 13:40-13:49.

Never faster.

Today, all that changed.

I woke up and felt as though someone had placed a sizeable chunk of uranium in my gut. It hurt to bend over and tie my shoes.

Still, I had to be at first formation, lest terrible things happen to me.

My push-ups and sit-ups suffered from the intestinal disorder, and for the first time in a year I did not hit the maximum number of push-ups (75 in two minutes) settling for an unimpressive 73.

When it came time to run, I was almost ready to quit. I wanted to puke, my stomach hurt so bad.

But I marched onto the track, stretched my legs, and prepared for my worst run in years.

And then the whistle sounded and I took off.

I mean, I took OFF.

I hit my stride and didn't feel any pain. Sure, the dry air in the building gave me a severe cough afterward, but for the moment I was flying.

One mile in and I felt OK, hitting a 6:40. Usually, this is where I would hit my wall and slow down.

But today, I brought a friggin' hammer.

I busted the second mile in 6:55, my first sub-7 for a second mile.

Overall time: 13:35, a personal best.

Not only that, it made up for my lackluster push-up score, so I remain a 290/300. If I can cut seconds from my run, this means the training is working.

This means 13:00 is well within reach.

This means that, come December, I will hit that two-mile run like no one's business and max the PT test.

Oh, and along the way I'll run 26.2 miles.

As I said, today is a good day.

Run fasterst, ya'll.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

On the Road Again

It's so good to be running again.

After a few weeks of hitting small sprints and six milers, I finally got in a nice long run.

This Saturday, one the behest of the Army, I ran to Bunker Hill, a distance of about 11-12 miles.

I led the pack of 14 people, keeping an easy pace of 8:50 the whole time.

What made it all worth while was watching the sun come up over the Charles River while jogging my ninth mile and realizing how much I missed that feeling.

The endorphines alone rocked my world.

I would have gone on longer, but my body was recovering from some serious illness and needed rest.

But now I have motivation back. I remembered that great feeling I got from running, and the great fear of the marathon that looms over me.

Today, more than ever, I feel like I will make this marathon with a solid time.

For now, I'm going to heal up and get ready for a PT test in the morning.

Keep up your own programs, and remember...

Run fasterest.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

In Limbo

Hey all.

I know it's been some time, and I know you're all very curious as to what has happened to me.

Well, not too much.

I've kept up with my running as best I can, given the unfortunate circumstances surrounding the last fwe weeks.

I met with the Colonel of my Battalion, but he has so far made no decision regarding my position.

This irks me.

I'm still active with ROTC and the National Guard, which means my time is always in flux, but I have been running moderate disatnces for the past few weeks and feel pretty good. My only complaint is that I have not been able to get in a good long run in some time.

I plan to hit at least five long runs before the marathon, with one 20 mile run. This will prepare me as best I can for the 26.2 that lay ahead.

One could say I have not been adhering to the plan as I set out originally, but I will get back on track. There are still weeks before the marathon, and I have every intention of hitting Vegas like its never seen before.

I want to thank all of you for the encouragement over the trying weeks. Your words of inspiration have made the stress a little less grating.

Thank you all, and remember:

Run fasterest.