Archive for the ‘Texas’ Category

Marathon: The Aftermath

Posted: April 24, 2013 in Marathoning, Texas
The starting line.

The starting line.

As my ol’ pal G-Dub once said, “Mission Accomplished.”  I did it.  The unthinkable.  I finished a marathon.  A part of the reason this feat is so remarkable is simple: you are talking about me, of all people, running 26.2 miles.  The second reason this feat is so remarkable, however, is a little more complicated.

When I made the public announcement of my intentions back on February 24th, I was giving myself just eight weeks to be ready for a 26.2 mile race; crazy, but not out of reach.  I had been doing regular Army physical fitness training (“PT,” for short) five days a week for nearly two-and-a-half years up to that point.  Granted, PT is only one hour a day and pales in comparison to a marathon but I was not quite a Day 1 “Biggest Loser” contestant, either.

On top of the already condensed training schedule, the last distance-run I actually completed using Nike+, at the time of race day (April 21st), came on April 2nd, when I had to stop at 4.83 miles of a planned 18 because the pain in my knees was far too excruciating to continue.  I refrained from running anymore after that to allow my knees time to heel to be able to pass my Army Physical Fitness Tests (APFT) on April 11th and 16th, both of which required a 2-mile run.  When the race finally arrived I had not ran farther than two miles in the previous 19 days.   In fact, I actually only completed 10 total “training runs” prior to the marathon, outside of required PT, and my longest run was just 14 miles, 12.2 short of what I would ultimately have to travel.

Now if it sounds like I am bragging, I am not…really.  I am mainly trying to paint a picture of the level of uncertainty I had in me being able to go the distance when race day came around.  Where it may sound like I am bragging stems from the fact that I had very little confidence in my ability on the day of the race, let alone to come in with the time that I did and do so with such little training and seemingly many complications.  Simply, it is one of the few times I can actually say I am proud of something I accomplished.

I officially crossed the finish line at 4:39:47, which was a slow but respectable time.  If you had asked me what my goal was prior to I would have told you two things: finish and not die.  Realistically, though, in the back of my mind I thought I could finish if my knees held up and IF they did, I really wanted to break the 4:30:00 mark.  Coming in at 9 minutes, 47 seconds shy of that was oddly bittersweet.  I was thrilled to survive and come in well under five hours but I surpassed my expectations and actually had a shot at 4:30:00 then fell just short, which was somewhat frustrating.  Better luck next time, right? I guess that is how they keep you coming back for more, which is exactly what I intend to do.  The atmosphere was both positive and infectious.  You heard nothing but words of encouragement before and during the race and nothing but congratulatory greetings after, all from perfect strangers.

Throughout the race my strategy was simple: take what my legs would give me.  I wanted to run the entire distance and only stop at the water stations but not advance forward in any way while I was stopped, both of which I accomplished.  I typically slowed down when there were not any spectators around and sped up when there were people lining the streets or crowding the water stations simply because the adrenaline spike from all of the cheers helped me pick up the pace.  Plus, I could not appear to be struggling when there were potential ladies in the crowd who did not yet know they were big fans of this American hero.

The Finish Line.

The Finish Line. (The crowd was MUCH bigger up until about the 5:00:00-5:15:00 mark, I was just late getting back to cheer.)

Of course, as I crossed the finish line and collected my medal I did my best Barry Sanders impression and dodged all of the fruit and electrolytes laid out for us and went straight for the beer garden. How else is a Mowery supposed to celebrate a marathon?  Like I said that day, I was not drinking…I was carbo-loading.

What was my official time?  Miller Time

What was my official time? Miller Time.

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Marathon Eve

Posted: April 20, 2013 in Marathoning, Texas

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Well, the time has come. We’re just a little over 12 hours away from the start of the inaugural Army Marathon.  I had hoped to post more updates along the way but my training hasn’t gone quite as well as I had planned, which is saying a lot because who really thought this process would go well for me to begin with?  Plus, there wasn’t much to update you fine folks on until the race actually got here simply because all I did was run.  A lot.  And loosely resemble a dog struggling in a surgical collar in the process.

To say my training hasn’t gone as planned may be an understatement. I battled two very painful cases of what the Internets is calling “runners knee” throughout my training, which forced me to cut back on an already condensed training schedule in order to be physically able to fulfill my Army Physical Fitness Test obligations.  I have since purchased two high-tech knee braces that I now wear when I run, which brings additional unnecessary attention to this train wreck and makes me look like the old white guy playing basketball at the YMCA still trying to live out his life’s dream of being “the next Larry Bird.”  While I was reluctant to accessorize, the knee braces do seem to help, as do the Dr. Scholl’s Active Series Insoles that I added to my Nikes (hat tip to the Mom for that suggestion), so if any fellow runners are having knee pain I would give the Mueller brand knee braces and Dr Scholl’s insoles a look.

Earlier today I was able to pick up my race packet which made my imminent demise all too real.  I was told that I needed to be at the starting line by about 5:30 in the morning, which lead to the realization that I don’t know if I have ever been up at 5:30AM on the weekend unless I was still up from the night before.  I better get a heavy dose of personal fulfillment that these running maniacs talk about when I cross that finish line because this marathon is really eating in to my ability to sit around and do absolutely nothing but watch baseball and drink beer all weekend.

Nonetheless, this is what I signed up for and I’m actually excited to get started and even more ready to finish.  I’ll be posting the start of the race on Facebook and “Liking” my status will send cheers directly to the Nike+ app on my iPhone and in to my headphones while I run.  Technology these days, what will they think of next?  This will allow my friends and family to be a part of my overall success (failure) tomorrow with virtual words of encouragement.  Or, if that doesn’t interest you, you can just text message me hateful things like most of my close friends do on a daily basis.

At this point, I know my pace will be very slow and my time won’t be great but as long as I finish I’ll be happy.  After all, 26.2 miles is an awfully long ways and I’m not sure I did that math back when I signed up 9 weeks ago but it’s too late to turn back now.

Pray for me.

Let The Games Begin

Posted: February 26, 2013 in Marathoning, Texas
At least I'll look good as I struggle?

At least I’ll look good as I struggle?

Tomorrow marks the first official run of my marathon training schedule and in the spirit of trying to find creative ways to motivate myself I went out and bought some new Nike swag for my adventure.  At least this way when the authorities find me passed out in some ditch they’re going to look at my gear and know I mean business.

Why I had the first two days of the program off is anybody’s guess — like I said before, my sources weren’t all that at all scientific — but with tomorrow’s run the realization of two things is gradually setting in:

1) I actually signed up for this marathon and am planning on running it (running used loosely).

2) ME, of all people, actually paid money to go run…and then went bought stuff specifically made JUST FOR running; who even knew such things existed?

I’ll likely be posting more frequent and concise updates of the process on my Twitter account so if you would like to track my pain and suffering in almost real-time I suggest you give me a follow, you know, if you’re in to that sort of thing.  And I can’t imagine there are many of you who WOULDN’T enjoy tracking my pain and suffering so I expect to see a large jump in Twitter followers in the near future.

Am I right or am I right?

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No, your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you.  Yes, you definitely read that correctly. I most certainly signed up for my first marathon. And not just any marathon, no, but the inaugural Army Marathon here in beautiful Killeen, Texas. Why, you ask? Well I have finally decided to look for things to do in my free time that most self-respecting adults consider to be socially acceptable hobbies and for whatever reason, I decided to go for the one thing my hatred for falls somewhere between the Duke Blue Devils and the Louisville Cardinals: running.

I’d like to think I am in pretty good shape thanks, in part, to the Army, but I’m nowhere near marathon conditioning.  And by “pretty good shape” I mean able to drink more beers than most people should in one sitting.  So it’s with that in mind that I’m hoping the daily physical training requirements of the Army will help supplement my preparation in any truncated schedule because, you see, the race takes place on April 21 which is now a mere 8 weeks from yesterday. Talk about jumping right in to the deep end.

Being the go-getter that I am, I Googled “8 week marathon training programs” from the comfort of my padded desk chair and elastic waistband pants and found a nine week program from a source that was borderline at best. Me pulling up this sketchy marathon training schedule and trying to strategically omit nearly 10 days of training is the point in time when the prescription drug commercial voice over guy tells you to “please consult a physician” before replicating these activities.

The original training schedule was as follows:

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