Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Baby got back

A few of the sketches from last night's Apache Cafe Art Monday figure drawing session. I really like that place. I met my friend there, had a bite to eat (some tasty and a little spicy jerk chicken skewers), and we both sketched and caught up with each other. I wasn't trying too hard with the sketches, it was just something fun to do while we chatted. I did manage to sketch this guy trying to pick up the girl seated in front of us.

I put together my grand blow-out marathon training plan. This will be my last marathon attempt and then I'm done with it. March 30, ING Georgia is the goal. I adapted the half-marathon plan I was doing, along with some plan found on the internet. It's going to be a LOT more running than I've included before, but I also built in opportunities for rest and recovery. I'm going to try to be more consistent about strength training too.

Basically, I'll be running 5 days a week except for every third week, where I will add another rest day. Additionally, every 4th week, I cut back on mileage (not related to the week with the extra rest day.) My longest run will be 23 miles 4 weeks before the marathon. I'm going to shoot for 9/1 run/walk intervals for the first 20 miles of the run.

The half-marathon plan had us running 5 days a week too - two of those runs were usually light. At first I was worried that all that running would tire me out, but the opposite was actually the case. I really felt a lot stronger and looser.

Let's hope that third time's a charm!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Mother Nature is such a drama queen

Going to the Marta station in Midtown for the Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon is nothing like taking it for the Peachtree (July 4th). Kind of surprising considering that November generally has much better running weather than July. But there's nothing like the Peachtree. I guess that's the appeal.

The streets around the station were empty save one suitcase toting couple apparently taking advantage of Thanksgiving Day airfares. There were a few runners waiting in the station - the trains run only every 20 minutes on holidays, and even longer if you want to catch a specific train (like the Doraville train) so there was plenty of time for us to collect there and get to know each other a little.

The conversation between four of us continued on the train - topics that no one other than fellow runners would appreciate. Laura, the weather lady for the local CBS, had run with Dean Karnazes when he was here for his 50 marathons in 50 days. One of the guys was running for a running buddy who is undergoing treatment for cancer and unable to run himself. No newbies, it was clear that each of us was a little obsessed with running.

The train arrived at our station at 6:50, for a 7am race start. I just had time to use one of the plentiful port-a-potties and on exiting that, to see the pack starting the race a block down the street. Talk about timing.

Timing - Mother Nature had that down today too. 7am sharp and the drizzles began. Within a few minutes it was a downpour and the most notable sound was from the hundreds of feet "squish-squishing" on the street around me.

It rained for the first 3 miles, then sprinkled sporadically, and then stopped. I contemplated whether it was better to get dumped on at the start of a race or at the end and decided the start was better. Put it all behind you.

At about mile 6, it started feeling steamy and I peeled off my soaking wet shirt and tied it around my waist. At mile 10, the rain returned full force, but I was warmed up and feeling good enough that it was almost nice to have something new to focus on. I saw a friend from the Wednesday night group volunteering just before mile 11 and called out to him. I was feeling really good at that point.

Actually, I felt good for pretty much the whole race until I hit that last hill by the capital building. I had to coax my legs to keep moving, and they didn't do too bad. I don't know my official chip time yet, and I forgot to start my watch until the first mile marker, but I think I probably finished somewhere between 2:02 and 2:03. Not a PR, but not so shabby for me! I think my last half was around 2:10.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone (the two of you who may still read this! You know who you are.) My favorite holiday is even a little better this year because I really earned my turkey today!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

After months of draught, rain on race day

Great. Of all days. We haven't had any real rain in months here, as may be widely known by now thanks to our silly governor's much publicized rain-prayer stunt about a week ago. (For the record, I did not vote for that goof.) I know we need it, and it's probably fitting that it would happen on Thanksgiving Day, but couldn't it just hold off until noon or so? I am glad that the temperatures are going to range from high 50s to high 60s, but I would even prefer colder temperatures to the sogginess that's expected on Thursday.

Okay, done whining. Thanks for listening!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Halloween Running

How much time I've been letting go between posts - it's a wonder that I even blog at all.

Last night I met up at the Oakhurst Running Club for the usual Wednesday night run. But it being Halloween, it turned out not to be such a usual run afterall. One of the runners wore a dress and I regretted that more of us didn't think to do something Halloweenie-ish.

We started running the neighborhood route at the same time that the tricker-treaters were just setting out to collect their candy-loot. There were a LOT of tricker-treaters on some of the streets. There must have been a few organized efforts with some car-pooling involved. There were a few crowds of 20-30 kids with chaperones and traffic control. As we ran by, we received plenty of calls from the candy-givers at their doorsteps which varied between "Do you want some candy?" or "No costumes, no candy!" The kids and parents also noticed our pack as we sometimes had to dodge between them on the street. The comments from the kids "Are they running?", and the parents "What a great idea!" (as if we don't do this every Wednesday.) A lot of people just stared at us, and to those I called out a "Happy Halloween!" as we passed.

The general festivity in the air and the attention we got as we ran along our route made it feel like we had signed up for some kind of nighttime race, complete with crowd support but minus the water stops. And I haven't felt such a part of Halloween in a long time.

Either all the hiking I did on vacation strengthened my legs or the Halloween spirit got into me as this turned out to be one of my better runs with this group. The hills were tough, but just a little less-so. My finishing time for the 5.22 mile route was 44 minutes - that's (for me) an amazing 8.25 minute pace!!