Monday, February 27, 2012

Cowtown Marathon 2012 - My First Marathon Done !

Well, to say I'm totally THRILLED with my experience and the result (which I'm still more than a bit shocked by) would be a serious understatement. But I won't get ahead of myself, and just tell you how it went down. (WARNING: This is a LONG skip to the bottom if you just want the "bottom line").

At the urging of my wife, so that I wouldn't have to make the little over an hour drive to Fort Worth that morning, I got a room at the Sheraton in downtown Fort Worth and checked in about 4:45 on Saturday afternoon. It was a nice room, and gave me space to get everything laid out and prepped for the next day. I had a nice chicken and pasta dinner at Shula's grill, which is a part of the hotel, and turned in about 7:45. I can't say I went right to sleep, since I found myself going over the course in my head and all kinds of other things. About 8:30 my right instep (and right knee of all things) started hurting so I got up and put some tiger balm on them and after a while that seemed to soothe them. I was probably asleep around 10:00.

I had the alarms set for 3:00 (I know, too early probably but that is just me). I got everything together, checked out of the hotel, and drove down the mostly deserted streets to the race location just easing down the road looking around. Instead of parking where I had planned to park just past the final turn to the finish line, I parked in a covered and lighted parking lot right at the start line, and got there about 4:00. I ate some yogurt, blueberries, and a Cliff bar for breakfast, and over the course of the next hour or so drank about 20 ounces of Gatorade. I had the van with me, with lots of room to spread out in the back (the middle seats were down), and it was windy and pretty cool out, so I just chilled out there, taking a very short nap and listening to the radio.

The day started out about 48 degrees, with a south wind at about 10 mph and a clear sky. As the race went on, it eventually got up to the upper 50's (at least around the time I got done), and at times the wind was blowing at about 20 mph, which made some parts nice and cool, and others a bit "interesting" (a challenge even).

About 6:45 I put on my fuel belt and an old hooded sweatshirt (that I ditched just prior to my corral starting) and headed out to the starting line. I lined up in Corral 3, which was the 9:21 - 10:00 min per mile group. The way they released us, this was the fourth group to leave. The elites started right at 7:00, and they had Army National Guard troops at the head of each corral, holding them in place. Once a corral would depart, they would let the next group come up to the line, wait about a minute or two making some announcements and giving out thank yous, then blow the starting air horn for that group, releasing them. This put some space between each corral start, and was very well done.

I have done all my long runs (and the two half-marathons I've run) with a fanny pack that holds my phone and keys, GU, S!Caps, and a couple of Advil. This time I also had my sun glasses in a case with me. I had three 10 ounce water bottles filled with Gatorade clipped to the belt, and an extra one in the fanny pack (the pack part is in the front). All this may sound more like an Everest expedition than a race, but it is the way I trained, so it is the way I run. :-)  I had probably only gone about 1/10th of a mile when someone caught up to me and handed me one of the bottles that had somehow popped off and fell (I didn't even feel it)...that was so nice of him. He just laughed, and said that he didn't want to chase me for the next 26 miles with it. If they aren't really "snapped" in, they will hold for a while and then fall off. A bit annoying, but things like that happen (and it will happen later as well).

Even with the large crowd, it was easy to move through people when necessary, and the first mile was right at 9:33, so my pace was right where I wanted it to be. My first mile is normally a bit slower than that, but everything felt good. The running felt easy, and since there aren't many long or really steep hills on the front part (with the exception of one right after the 4 mile mark), I just got into a flow. My breathing felt "right" and so did the overall effort. At mile 2 I was under 9:00, and commented to myself that I was going a bit too fast (it was the same pace I've been doing daily runs at for about the last month), but I thought it would settle. When the next 3 miles were also under 9:00, I was a bit concerned...but instead of slowing down, I resolved to just keep running in a "feel good" zone, adjusting as I needed to, and take the "crash / wall" when it happened.

Click the image for some history on "Zombie Land" as I called it. (Actually, click this text)

Mile 6 took us down the brick streets of the Fort Worth Stock Yards area, and past what I call Zombie Land (which is a group of post-apocalyptic looking buildings in an overgrown field just a bit before the 7 mile mark that are abandoned meat packing plants). I found myself being VERY glad that the whole run wasn't on brick roads...I'm not a fan of that. It was also at this point that I noticed that I really needed a "nature break" incredibly inconvenient. I saw one guy head off into some bushes at one point to take one, and thought that beat waiting in a line for a port-a-potty, but didn't want to stop.

From the Mile 7 marker to just after the Mile 9 marker is a long, straight stretch down Main street, which is by and large downhill (especially Mile 8 to Mile 9). At that point, there is about a 1/2 mile hill up over a bridge and into downtown. I shifted down into a hill climbing gear (:-)), and kept motoring. That mile ended up being 9:13, so I thought that this is where I would begin to slow down. But that wasn't case.

At the beginning of Mile 11, you have just climbed a good sized hill and are at it's crest. The first half of that mile is downhill, and I apparently really picked up speed at that point. I fell in with a very small group of Ultra runners here and I must have started pacing with them. At bottom of the hill there was a water stop, and they all stopped to drink, so I turned the corner to climb the hill (about a half mile) up Magnolia street to Mile 12. I remember thinking "lets knock this hill out" (I hadn't really been "powering" up the hills at that point, and this is the only hill I did that way). This ended up being my fastest mile split of the race at 8:15. When I saw that, I thought that they must have just had the mile markers wrong. I didn't pull out my phone and check it, I was just going by my watch (not a GPS watch) and their mile markers...which were placed prominently at every mile (I only missed seeing two of Mile 5, and Mile 22).

At about the 12.3 mile point, there was a small group of little kids with their hands out looking for a high five. I had just taken a drink from one of my bottles, and I veered over and gave them a high five...and dropped my water bottle. I stopped and ran back to get it, snapped it in good, and took off again. Thankfully, that was the last time I lost a bottle.

At about 14.5 miles I came upon a pacer holding a sign, and providing non-stop banter, encouragement, and instructions...not to mention tooting a harmonica as he went of all things. He was the 4:05 pacer and I was frankly stunned to think I had caught him this far in. I was just sure at this point that there was no way I could keep up with him, but he was interesting so I hung with him for about a mile. It seemed to me that he was slowing (although he probably wasn't), so I started a conversation with another runner and hung with him for a bit, leaving the pacer (although I could still hear his harmonica).

At nearly every other water stop there were several port-a-potties, but there was always a short line. Although it wasn't a drop-everything emergency, I was starting to lightly cramp in my lower abdomen, so at about 16.8 when I saw an opportunity to duck between two closely spaced garages and take a nature break, I did so. Sometimes, it is great to be a guy. :-). When I got back on the street, the 4:05 pacer with his harmonica was right there. Feeling much better already, I caught up, then slowly passed him.

It started to feel a little hard for me at about the 18 mile mark. I remembered reading that when running in the sunshine, having sunglasses on to cut the glare can help you relax, so I switched from my normal glassed to my sunglasses at this point...and it is probably just mental (it all is after 10 or 12 miles for me most of the time), but I DID start to feel more relaxed.  At about 18.8 miles you reach the southern most point, and start heading back to the finish. I remember looking at my watch and thinking "I just MIGHT be able to break 4 hours if I can just not fall apart". Almost immediately (as fate would have it) I started feeling a blister forming on my right foot...not good. I knew there wasn't a lot I'd be able to do about it if I stopped, so I just took an Advil and kept going.

I was able to push the pace a bit on miles 21 & 23...and ease a bit on 22 & 24. By this time, a look at my watch confirmed that unless I fell apart, I could probably break 4 hours, so I really pushed at this point. Mile 25 was 8:22, and I was passing quite a few people in this area. At the Mile 25 marker, I started to climb the hill to the finish. In this last 1.2 miles, there is about a 50 foot elevation climb. It isn't a lot really, but after that far you tend to feel it. I passed one guy who was in real agony with a diaphragm cramp and had to walk (to say he was bummed that he would probably not break 4 hours was an understatement). This mile was slower at 8:44, but the very last part (the .2) only rises 10 feet so I was able to pick up speed, and really cruise into the finish.

I went from the finish line (where they called me out by name, and commented on my time as a first timer over the loud speaker...too cool), to get a quick picture taken. Then a quick left to pick up a banana and my finisher T-Shirt (no waiting for either..very well laid out). From there, it was only a short walk back to the van, a quick change, and I was on the road towards home.

Throughout the run, I followed my normal nutrition and hydration plan.
  • GU at 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, and 23. 
  • One S!Cap (electrolyte capsule) at 6, 12, 18, and 22.
  • and between 4 and 6 ounces of Gatorade about every two miles starting at mile 4 (the last drink was at about 23 miles)
As far as the goals went, I did manage to run every step of the way, and even beat my A level goal..which is still hard to believe, as is my final time...what a wonderful experience. Once I got home and rested for a while, the lower part of my left leg (below the calf muscle and above the ankle) got really tight and sore. Putting my full weight on it was painful, and it was more than a bit of a challenge to walk yesterday (which I didn't do much of). This morning, it is a good bit better, although I won't be walking far today either (I planned today off from work thank goodness). I also have a pretty challenged toenail, but other than that, I'm just tired and sore.

And very happy.

The official results (the Pace is based on 26.2...not the 26.47 my GPS listed for me)

I placed 335th out of 1421 total finishers (top 23.57%).
Out of 922 male marathoner finishers, I came in at 279 (top 30.26%).
There were 114 men in the 50-54 age group that finished, and I placed 30th there (top 26.31%) .

The average finishing time for men overall was 4:03:00 according to the website.

A chart of my mile splits, with the average for each six mile increment.

Happy Running Everyone !

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Cowtown - The Day Before

The Big Day will be here in less than 24 hours now. I'm all confirmed, have my race bib and packet, and the only thing to do now is just wait for the starting gun to go off.

According to the confirmation below (and my bib), they have me set to line up in Corral #4, which is the 10:00 + minute per mile group. I plan on at least starting the first several miles a bit quicker than that, and hopefully holding that pace as well, so I'll probably line up in Corral #3 tomorrow unless there is a "Corral Nazi". I can run around those in front of me in the early miles (and I probably will have to anyway almost no matter where I line up), and more than a couple of runners will probably be passing me who lined up further back as well...but there will be quite a few half-marathon runners lined up as well, so the fewer I have to dodge early on the better.

I've got a few "levels" for my goals for this event.

As far as goals for the race goes, I feel like I've already achieved my E-level goal, and that is to be able to show up at the starting line free from injury, not over-trained, and mentally ready to tackle the course. My right instep (that I strained / bruised about 10 days ago), is all but gone (the pain that is...although I can feel it a bit). I don't expect that will cause any trouble though.

My D-Level goal is to be able to finish the race of course, regardless of time or how I'm able to get it done. If this is anything like most of my longer long runs (and there haven't really been all that many), this one will just be a matter of not thinking too far ahead, and staying in the moment. Focusing on my breathing and my form, and keeping up with my hydration and nutrition.

My C-Level goal is to be able to finish the race without walking ANY of the distance. There are no doubt many people who will take walk breaks at various points throughout the race and still cross the finish line significantly ahead of me. However, at least for my first marathon I want to actually RUN the entire distance. Not to take anything away from those who intersperse walk breaks, it is just not one of my personal goals. We'll see how that goes.

My B-Level goal is to finish in under 4 hours and 30 minutes, and unless the hills on the course (or some other unforeseen circumstance) gets in the way, that is a distinct possibility (although not "in the bag" for sure). I drove the back half of the course yesterday, and noted the speed humps (there are probably somewhere between 10 and 20 of them on the back half, which "could" be a tripping hazard), and there are some uneven road surfaces in some areas, so I'll just need to be careful there.

My A-Level (I have a dream) goal would be to finish in under 4 hours and 15 minutes. Given that there is very little chance that I'll properly run all the tangents, that I will not be alone so I'll need to dodge other runners and walkers at times, and that there are few more hills on this course (and they are longer) than those in the area in which I typically trained, this is probably not reasonable (not to mention that this is my first time and 10 months ago I couldn't run more than 2 miles at one time without gasping for breath and was 30+ pounds heavier). But every goal doesn't have to be reasonable, so this is my unreasonable one. :-)

For whatever reason, I'm not really nervous or really that excited about it all...not yet anyway. I'm just ready to get started. The day I've waited for and trained for is it is just time to relax and get into a flow on that day. One thing is certain...regardless of which "goal level" I may or may not achieve, it will be an experience. And I'll be sharing that with all of you afterwards.

Happy Running and Racing Everyone !!!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Week in the Rearview Mirror: February 12 - February 18, 2012

This last week went very well, and the nice, relaxed runs are quite pleasant. My bruised right instep is almost completely healed now, with just some very minor tenderness. For the most part the weather has been quite agreeable, with only Saturday morning being cool and rainy. On that day, I did a bit of treadmill running at the gym, and even had fun doing that.

Here is what last week looked like...

Day   Activity   Distance (in miles)
Sunday Elliptical 1.60
Running 5.01
Monday Rest Day
Tuesday Elliptical 0.79
Running 6.14
Wednesday Running 6.04
Thursday Running 5.38
Walking 1.10
Friday Rest Day
Saturday Walking 1.00
Running 6.00

These are my time and distance totals for the week:

Activity   Time Total   Distance Total (in miles)
Running 4:14:52 28.57
Walking 0:30:50 2.11
Elliptical 0:30:00 2.39
Overall Total 5:15:42 33.07

Only 6 days till the Cowtown is nearly upon me now. This week will be mostly a taper week, with the big day on Sunday. I've been really feeling good in the last several weeks, so the only issue "should" be keeping the week in 'taper mode'. I did somehow pickup a minor allergy issue in the last couple of days, but it doesn't appear to affect my breathing in general...just makes me a bit lethargic, especially towards the end of the day. The energy during my workouts doesn't seem to be affected at all.

The February pushup challenge (400 in the month of February) continues to go well. I started with a set of 20 each day, and I've progressed through 3 sets of 10 with a 45 second recovery to doing 4 sets of 10 with a 45 second recovery. I've met the goal of the challenge for the month at this point, but I'll see how it feels to keep some momentum going on this. I've modified the pushups and pullups this week so I'm doing pushups one day, and pullups the next (not both in one day), and I'm up to 5 sets of 4 pullups with a 45 second recovery on those days. I do plan to stop this on either Tuesday or Wednesday of this week, so I won't be sore in any way from that on marathon day.

I may have missed a day of stretching on my own at home, but I did attend an hour long Yoga class on Tuesday evening, Thursday evening, and Saturday morning (with another one scheduled for Sunday evening). I'm really liking the Yoga classes...I find that they are not only good for stretching and strengthening, but I'm learning quite a bit about the background and other aspects of Yoga from one of the instructors (Bill). I've been the only guy in the class for each of these sessions, but for some reason it doesn't "feel weird", and I just feel like one of the learners (and not the odd man out).

Happy Running Everyone !!!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

New 2 You Cross-Training Challenge for February

The idea of trying something "new to me" 12 times in 2012 originated with Kim over at (Just) Trying is for Little Girls, and I "signed up" for the challenge she got started with this post

This is my second "new to me" thing, and it went very well. Last night I went to the first Yoga class I've ever tried, and I have to admit that I had a good time with it. The instructor has been teaching in my area for the last eight years, and was very knowledgeable and talented while at the same time being very low-key and laid back. The studio is in an outdoor mall type area, and is very nice on the inside with a minimalistic decor. It is literally on my way home, so it was convenient, and called Yoga Synergy Spa.

The class was a Yoga 101 Beginner class that lasted about an hour, and the hour really went by very quickly. In addition to the instructor, there were four other students in the class and they were very nice. The lesson started promptly at six, and we began with some New Age music playing in the background (the entire class on a low volume) with just some seated relaxation and breathing. According to the instructor, this class was primarily a Vinyasa type of Yoga at a very elementary level.

The instructor made it clear to everyone in the class that while she was there for guidance and information, that they were to listen primarily to their own bodies and not strain or stretch painfully. For each of the poses through which we progressed, she explained where it "should" feel a bit uncomfortable, and where it should not (in other words, if it hurts here, don't do it). She modified poses for some in the class that found the pose as demonstrated uncomfortable, and was just very pleasant.

I would definitely be at a complete loss to communicate a pose-by-pose description of the class, but we went through various standing and seated stretches, some core work where we started on all fours and lifted one arm forward and opposing leg backward -- alternating that extended position with a "curled" position where the knee was touching our chin/forehead (which really worked the abs), a Tree pose to work on balance, the Pigeon pose to stretch out the hips (with a variation I had yet to try that was interesting), a short circuit where we transitioned between Downward Dog and Cobra, and a circuit that had us in a lunge-type position.

All in all, I had a nice time, and it was fun. I'm on a $15 for 15 calendar days promotion, so I'll for sure go back over the course of that time to see what else I can pick up on. I definitely learned something last night...some things I was doing right on my own ("I learned it from a booook"), some modifications to try, and some things I still need a LOT of work on.

There is definitely a whole world of things to learn and experience in the world of Yoga, and I just barely scratched on the surface of one facet of it....but had a good time doing so. What I did last night was not an overly taxing physical workout, but I can see the potential for that type of Yoga workout if I tried one of the more challenging classes.

Happy running everyone !!!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Week in the Rearview Mirror: February 5 - February 11, 2012

I've got to admit, I could really get used to a long string of good just makes it that much more fun to be active. On the first of February I did something to sort of "bruise" my right instep, and it has slowly gotten better since then. I'm stretching the calf a good bit which seems to help, and sticking to the shoes that have more cushioning which also seems to help. I realize that isn't very scientific since I'm changing two variables at once, but I want to ensure that this is resolved before the marathon on the 26th. The runs themselves have been pain-free, and the weather has been nice for running, so no complaints there.

Here is what last week looked like...

Day   Activity   Distance (in miles)
Sunday Elliptical 1.59
Running 4.31
Monday Rest Day
Tuesday Walking 1.02
Running 6.35
Walking 0.41
Wednesday Elliptical 1.58
Running 4.41
Thursday Rest Day
Friday Walking 1.02
Running 4.40
Saturday Elliptical 1.62
Running 4.63

These are my time and distance totals for the week:

Activity   Time Total   Distance Total (in miles)
Running 3:36:13 24.10
Walking 0:34:13 2.45
Elliptical 1:00:00 4.79
Overall Total 5:10:26 31.34

Only 12 days till the Cowtown Marathon, and other than the (now very minor) instep discomfort, I'm feeling healthy and ready.

On Saturday afternoon, my wife and I took a course map of the marathon and did the drive over to Fort Worth to see what it looked like in person. There is a portion of the run that occurs on a biking / running trail starting at about mile 18.5, so we didn't get to drive all of it. However, what we did see was "interesting" and not exactly what I had pictured in my mind. The elevation profile looks something like this (from the marathon's website)...

You can tell that there are quite a few rolling hills throughout the course, but I didn't realize just how "rolling" it really was. With few exceptions (at least in the first 18+ miles), if one isn't climbing a hill, one is coming down one, so this will be a run that will have more than a few gear changes in it. In some respects this should break up the effort somewhat so that it isn't just an extended pounding so that is good. In other respects, some of these hills go up for anywhere from 1/10th of a mile to nearly 3/4 of a mile.

Knowing how the course goes won't necessarily make it any easier physically, but I believe it will help me mentally since I won't be constantly surprised (dismayed) when I round another corner to face yet another significant uphill section. The key for me will be to switch gears effectively, and NOT try to power up the hills. My goal is to attempt to maintain my cadence (or get close), while shortening and lengthening my stride as the topography allows.

The February pushup challenge (400 in the month of February) continues to go well. I started with a set of 20 each day, and I've progressed through 3 sets of 10 with a 45 second recovery to starting 4 sets of 10 with a 45 second recovery this morning (Monday). I've also been doing 2 sets of 5 pullups with a 45 second recovery every other day. Those are significantly tougher for me, so I'll have to bring those numbers up much more slowly.

Although I missed a couple of days during the week last week, in general the stretching and strengthening exercises continue to go well. I'm slowing gaining increased flexibility, and it is keeping the stiffness and pain away on the runs so it is well worth the 30 minutes or so of effort.

I think I'm going to try out my first Yoga class this week, so that should be interesting. I have no idea what to wear or how it will go, but I plan on that being my "thing" for the New 2 U Cross Training Challenge for this month. I plan to call today and see what to expect, and will post about it once I do it. Wish me luck...with my flexibility and coordination, it should be entertaining for everyone (but me of course ;-).

Happy Running Everyone !!!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Large Races: Pros, Cons, and Planning Ahead

I noticed this morning that the 2012 Bank of America Chicago Marathon just sold out, closing registration 25 days faster than last year. The registration STARTED on the 1st of February! Over 45,000 people will be lining up in Grant Park at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday, October 7th to run in the Windy City. This will be the race's 35th anniversary, and it doesn't even start for 241 days !

I like to think I plan ahead, but this is just amazing to me. I suppose that since this is one of the premier marathons in the country that still doesn't have a restricted entry system in place (think New York City / Boston Marathon), that it is a highly sought after run, and I do have to admit that I might like to run it myself one day.

But that IS a lot of people though. My first (Cowtown) currently has a little over 19,000 people signed up at this point, and the Ft. Worth Marathon isn't anywhere near as prestigious as Chicago. I suppose that "big city" marathons just attract very large crowds these days.

I have kind of mixed feelings about races this big to be honest.

Participating in a larger marathon certainly has name recognition, so people will know what you're talking about. And at this point in my running, making a goal race something "name worthy" (so to speak) is a nice touch.

Another kind of nice thing about a larger event is just the opportunity to run with and test yourself against a large group of like-minded people. I tend to do the overwhelming majority of my running alone, so it is interesting and a bit invigorating to be around THAT many people doing what I love to do.

On race day, I'm primarily out there to compete against all the men in their early 50's who were complete couch potatoes less than a year ago, unable to string 2 miles together at a time without nearly killing themselves, and 30+ pounds overweight. In other words, myself. Because even though I'll be around a lot of people, it will still be myself that I have to deal with most of the time.

Yet I do also get a lot of enjoyment out of passing other runners on the course, especially in the latter half to quarter of the distance...and especially in the last couple of tenths of a mile at the end to cross the finish line. Even though I won't be setting any record of note, and the odds of me either knowing the people I'm passing or every recognizing them if I see them again will be slim, I still get a "rush" out of pushing myself hard at the end and blowing past a few of my fellow runners.

Of course there ARE downsides to that many people, including taking a while to cross the start line, and erratic runners who dart in front of you or slow down (A LOT) all at once for no apparent reason. Then there are the small groups of those using the Run/Walk method, which just add to the clutter early in the race before people are settled into their pace.

The water stops can also be a bit of a "cluster" at times, with all the people who (at least sometimes) seem almost desperate to "get that cup", and they all have to funnel into one relatively small area where they will at times slam on the brakes to take the drink. I have to admit that I'll be carrying some water bottles on my belt just so I can avoid that hassle (at least in the early miles).

But even those things are minor things in the minds of a great many people apparently (as they are to me)...I can think of at least 45,000 people right off the top of my head (and 19,000 more a bit closer to home).

So what do you think...especially those of you who have done a few marathons..?

Do you like the large crowds or find them frustrating..?

Do you enjoy large spectator crowds, or could you care less about them..?

Monday, February 6, 2012

Week in the Rearview Mirror: January 29 - February 4, 2012

Had another good week this week, with a very pleasant middle-distance run on Saturday.

I noticed during the day on Thursday that my right instep felt sort of "bruised", and over the remainder of the week it got better, then came back up. I believe this is either a down-line effect of overly tight calf muscles (since stretching of those muscles seemed to help a bit), and/or the difference between the two shoes I am alternating between. I have both New Balance 880s and New Balance 1080s, and I noticed the return of the tenderness after the use of the 880s, while the longer run with the 1080s didn't produce this. I'm really leaning more towards this being the overly tight calf muscles though, since both pair of shoes have roughly the same mileage on them (142 vs. 150), and I hadn't had this issue previously. I'll just have to see where this goes.

Here is what last week looked like...

Day   Activity   Distance (in miles)
Sunday Rest Day
Monday Elliptical 1.59
Running 4.33
Tuesday Walking 1.03
Running 4.06
Walking 1.04
Wednesday Cycling 22.98
Thursday Walking 1.02
Running 6.13
Friday Rest Day
Saturday Running 10.65

These are my time and distance totals for the week:

Activity   Time Total   Distance Total (in miles)
Running 3:47:20 25.17
Walking 0:43:38 3.09
Cycling 1:26:34 22.98
Elliptical 0:20:00 1.59
Overall Total 6:17:32 52.83

Only 19 days till the Cowtown Marathon, and other than the minor instep discomfort, I'm feeling healthy and ready. My next door neighbor is also going to be running Cowtown, and last week she completed a pretty long run as well...24.5 miles in 5 hours. That is just a long time to be motoring on your feet, but was no doubt a confidence builder for her (this is her first marathon as well). Hopefully that type of effort three weeks and a day or two out won't prove to be a negative.

The February pushup challenge (400 in the month of February) is going well. I started with a set of 20 each day, but starting yesterday I've moved to 3 sets of 10 with a 30 second recovery. I also re-assembled my weight rack yesterday (Sunday), so I now also have a pullup bar, and I'm considering throwing in a few pullups each day as well (although it will be VERY few). We'll see how that goes.

The core work and stretching is also continuing, and I'm seeing improvements in my ROM, and increases (although minor) in my abdominal strength. More importantly though, I believe it is helping to keep me from being injured. In the evenings sometimes I can feel twinges of older issues, and once I've completed the stretching and strengthening it resolves. Apparently, against my will, I'm a believer.

Happy Running Everyone !!!