Friday, May 15, 2009

Microtears in the Left Hamstring

I went to the doctor on Tuesday after school and found out I have some small microtears in my left hamstring where the tendon meets the actual muscle. It's not too serious of an injury but it's enough to keep me from running for about two weeks. I'm doing a lot of icing, a lot of stretching and I'll be doing some aquajogging a few times over the next week so I can at least get some workouts in. I can start running again at the end of next week as long as everything is feeling all right and it has been getting better each day.

This is probably the best time for me to be forced to take off because I am in between training for marathons. The first week of June will be the first week of marathon training for Twin Cities next fall so I've got a couple weeks before that starts. As long as all things go well, I'll still be on track to get right back into it very soon.

Monday, May 11, 2009

2009 Fargo Marathon

A day with some very high hopes ended with a goal P.R. still unreached. Despite that, I had a lot of fun at the Fargo Marathon. I ran a hard race, I went after my goal, came up short, but I never would have been close to it had I not gone after it. I ended up running 3:01:40 and placed 31st overall out of around 1,250 runners. It was second fastest marathon ever so I'm still fairly happy with that.

The start of the race was very emotional and inspiring. With all of the flooding the city of Fargo had dealt with and fought through, there was a lot to celebrate with this event. The mayor came out to be the official starter of the race. The national anthem was very moving and the invocation prayer by a local pastor was very moving and uplifting. With this being a slightly smaller marathon I was able to get myself directly behind the elite runners and was only about two or three steps behind the starting line. The horn sounded and we were off running down University Drive going right by my old college campus.

I felt like the first mile was so slow, I felt like I wasn't working but it's amazing what adrenaline can do to a man. I ended up running 5:54 for my opening mile! It felt like a 6:40. I went to the bathroom on mile 2 and eased up on my pace. Still, it took me a while to ease up enough to get down to where I had wanted to be at. Ultimately this was probably a big part of what prevented me from running stronger later.

At the halfway point, I was in 14th place at 1:23:19, my 4th fastest time for a half-marathon ever! I managed to make it to around mile 18 holding steady at my pace before the pace began to fall off. At mile 20 I was still in 15th overall but my pace had slowed considerably. The last 6.2 miles were complete survival mode. I averaged over 8 minutes per mile for the final 10K and I just managed to keep running to the finish. In my young marathon career this was only my second marathon in which I did not walk at all (my P.R. of 2:59:01 is the only other one). The finish was very cool inside the FargoDome. Lots of people in the stands cheering really loud, being very supportive just like all the spectators along the course had been all morning.

After I was done, I got interviewed by some local reporters on camera. I don't remember where they were from and for a few hours I couldn't remember what they had asked me. I got so light-headed I couldn't think or remember much of anything about the race. When I went to lunch later, it began coming back to me though. It was a little scary for a while though when I couldn't. Today many of my students were amazed by what I had just done. It's hard to believe that when I crossed the finish line I was a little disappointed that I didn't P.R. or reach my goal time. I still finished a 26.2 mile race in a little over 3 hours. Most people would love to be able to do that. I just have a determination and a drive to try to get better that I don't want to accept a finish like this, despite how good it actually is.

I chalk every race, good or bad, up to being a learning experience. If I don't learn something new about myself during the course of a race, then I really feel I didn't accomplish anything. This is the hardest I've ever trained for a marathon before. Perhaps I trained too hard. Analyzing my training plan will tell me more about that in the days to come. I had a bad hamstring that flared up on me again. I am going into the doctor's in the next week to get that looked at. It also could have played a part. It could be something as simple as I just went out too fast and paid for it late in the race. It could be a combination of all of them.

It could still be that the course was longer than 26.2 dad's co-worker ran the marathon with a GPS on and at the finish her GPS recorded a distance of 26.7 miles, half a mile longer than it should have been! Now, this of course is unofficial and won't change anything in the final results, but it is potentially a bit disappointing if that were to end up being the case. Half a mile for me meant a new marathon P.R. or not. Oh well, nothing you can do about it. I'm happy about how things are going with recovery and I'll be running again soon and in a few short weeks, training for the 2009 Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon and another attack at 2:45 will begin.

Friday, May 8, 2009

One Day Away

It's 6:45 am the day before the Fargo Marathon and I can't sleep anymore. I took the day off of work today to travel up to Fargo so I had planned to sleep in this morning, go for a short run and then hit the road. So far, I'm 0 for 1 on that plan. I've basically been wide awake for over an hour with nothing but the race running through my mind. For me, getting nerves like this is a good thing but getting the sleep is also a good thing. I might have to take a little nap on the drive up to Fargo today.

The weather report is becoming more and more likely to be correct by this point in the week and we're looking at low 40s and partly cloudy during the race, absolutely perfect for me. And those strong Fargo winds, they're gonna be pretty calm tomorrow as well. This is shaping up for a big P.R. kind of day for me! I always look forward to the whole experience of running a marathon and being a part of the entire event. Aside from race day easily being my favorite day of any training season, the race expo the day before has to be a not too distant second. I haven't been to Fargo's expo before so we'll see how it compares with the others I've been to. Just being around all those other runners and all of these companies, races, and stores in one place, being there for all of us runners is just so cool to me! Being at one of these expos is like putting my 10 year old self in a toy store with the candy store attached next door, I'm in heaven!

The goal for race day remains 2:45 or under, a 14 minute P.R. if all goes according to plan. Regardless of what happens tomorrow morning in Fargo, North Dakota though, the ultimate reason why I'm doing what I'm doing will never change: I'm praising God and thanking Him for blessing me with the gift of being able to run the way I do and for giving me the joy and passion to want to do it. It's all about my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, I wouldn't be where I am today without Him.

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with perseverance the race God has set before us."
- Hebrews 12:1

Monday, May 4, 2009

Getting Excited!

With my 7th career marathon only a little over 4 days away the nerves have truly begun to set in. I'm checking the Fargo weather forecast every single time I hop online. Every moment that I get a chance to stretch out my legs in any way, I do it. There is a water or Powerade bottle almost permanently attached to one of my hands (a Powerade bottle is about half a foot from my keyboard at the moment). I'm going to bed 15 minutes earlier than the night before each night (tonight that means in bed at 8:45 pm). I'm getting very anxious and the race is virtually the only thing on my mind.

Only a few workouts remain and tomorrow I'll be up to do a set of 400s on the track at 6 am. We are hosting two track meets this week (tomorrow and Thursday) so those days, getting a workout in during the afternoon will be next to impossible. I did this today as well and it got me off to a good start for the week. I'm leaving for Fargo on Friday morning to go to the expo and to get my race packet. I just really want to get through this week of teaching so that I can get to Fargo to be ready to race. I honestly don't know that I've thought through and prepped myself for a single race as much as I have for this one. I tend to do better the more prepared I feel so I think this is a good sign!