I spent 2009 in Iraq. I ran some during the first part of the year, but not enough, and certainly not many long runs. As the mid point of the year approached, and as I got ready to return home to my family in Hawaii, I decided that I’d crank up my miles to the point where I’d be able to run a half-marathon without dying. My R&R arrived, I flew to Hawaii, and while there, I did some running.
But after my R&R, I returned to Iraq and a new, very stressful job. Long hours, crazy hours. So, I kept running. I realized that the long runs were helping with the stress, helping to keep some sense of balance in my life. Sure, I was running in the dark of night, and sure, I was spraining my ankle from time to time, but it was working for me.
So, I set my sights on the Honolulu marathon, in December 2009. I dusted off my Excel spreadsheet for the Hal Higdon mileage plan for training for a full marathon, and I started to put in the miles. December came, I ran the marathon, and life was great. I closed out 2009 by resting; it had been a hell of a year.
2010 started with no great design. I was home from Iraq, work was OK but not crazy. I still had the same job, it was still stressful, but at nowhere near the levels it had been in Iraq. I was going to exercise with my unit in the morning, and I quickly discovered that, one most weekdays, I’d have about 50 minutes to run.
Hmm. 50 minutes, five days a week. I could easily run 5 miles in those 50 minutes. I’m in decent shape, I thought — I could probably do that 5 days a week. 25 miles a week — that’d be neat to do. I could totally do that.
But what if I snuck out one morning each weekend, and went to run some different parts of the island? 25 miles per week with the unit is a respectable amount of miles, but really — it’s kinda boring. It’s a lot of streets in the neighborhoods, lots of trips around parade fields and between tanks. There’s no jungle canopy, no dirt trails along a cliff. There’s no exploring that way. I asked the wife, and got the go-ahead to add in a weekend run.
Hmm. 25 miles during the week, and, say, a half-marathon or so on the weekend. Geez, I’m up to almost 40 miles per week. That’s kinda cool. I wonder if I could do that all year. And if I did do that all year, well, 40*52 is over 2000. Wouldn’t that be something, to run 2010 miles in 2010. I wonder if I could do it.
And that’s what set the tone for the year. I started to read books and look online for places to go run here on Oʻahu – and ended up starting my own separate blog to write about my adventures running (and to make the website I wish I could have found when I decided to start exploring this island on foot). I found Na Ala Hele, and it changed my life — so many good trails to run and explore, so little time. My plan became to run 25 miles during the week, pick up some more miles on the weekend, hope to average 40 miles per week, and maybe — just maybe — put in 2010 miles in 2010.
But things change. In June, I ended up in Iraq again, for a short visit. Did it alter my plans? Only slights — 5 runs for 66 miles over the two or so weeks I was off-island, and it actually included an 18 mile, middle-of-the-night trek, too. 5 runs for 66 miles — that’s averaging a half-marathon every time I ran, with the shortest of those runs being just 10 miles (and that was the night I landed in Iraq — I landed, dropped my bags, ate a light meal, and then ran 10 miles).
As July started, I joked with some of my soldiers — I could probably run 10 miles every day, for a month. Thus was born the Sparta Challenge — 300 miles, in 30 days. I’m still not really sure how that came to be, but it was really neat to do — and left me feeling fantastic about my fitness and conditioning levels. 300 miles in 30 days? Wow – I am indeed a runner.
That left just three things.
1. There are two state trails that require special permits in order to access them; I’ve now run one of them, and am working on plans to run the second one at the end of this month.
2. My unit had an exercise set for most of September. That would eat into my running time. Instead of my usual 160+ miles per month, I managed just 138. It was off by a bit, but I don’t see this as derailing my efforts to run 2010 in 2010. I was worried, though.
3. I’d never run an ultra. I’ve run two marathons in my day, a couple of ~20 mile runs, and gobs in the 13.1+ mile range — but never anything father than 26.2 miles. Ever since Luxembourg, I’ve had “Run an ultra” on my bucket list. Well, i did that Thursday night. I ran from my house, half-way across the island to Schofield Barracks, where I took the long loop (11.25) around post and up Kolekole Pass, before running back home. 5+ hours, 31 miles — I think 50km is considered the baby of ultra-marathons, but it counts.
I never thought I’d run 40 miles per week. I never thought I’d run 300 miles in 30 days. I never thought I’d take off one night and run 50 km (especially since I’d run 10km that morning at PT).
Today, I am 83 days out from the end of the year, and I need to run just 382 more miles to reach my goal of running 2010 miles in 2010. Granted, during those 83 days, I also need to close up shop here in Hawaii and move back to Iraq for another year — but I can work with that. 382 miles in 83 days — that’s an average of just 4.6 miles per day, and only 32 miles per week. In July, I averaged 10 miles per day, and this week I ran almost 80 miles — I think I can do this.
For not having a plan when the year started, it sure seems to have come together nicely since then.
I have a thousand and one reasons to stop and reflect on all of the great running I have done in recent months. On Saturday morning, as I wrapped up an 11 mile run through my neighborhood, I passed the 1001 mile mark on my running shoes. Not running shoes in general — no, I’ve pretty much just been wearing the one pair (with limited exception), and that’s 1001 miles on that pair.
They are dirty and nasty. They stink like you would likely not believe, even though I have been washing them semi-regularly to try and fight that. Any sense of spring in them left a few hundred miles ago. If I believed Nike, they would have been retired on OCT 7 when I passed the 300 mile mark. I’m sure glad I didn’t.
Because last week, these are the shoes I used to outrun an angry adult bull. These are some good shoes.
I had started in these shoes in August 2009, when I formally returned to marathon training. I was in Iraq, I was under a lot of stress with my job, I was ramping up to start IBOL, and I needed to get back to running to help balance out life. Training for a marathon, the Honolulu Marathon set for after I returned home from Iraq, seemed like a good way to do that. New phase, new shoes. The choice of shoes was uneventful — I had bought one pair of Nike Pegasus when I was on block leave, liked them, and bought another pair through the mail knowing that Nike would phase them out before I was ready to try something else. That second pair is what I have been using.
I ran on them in Iraq. I ran on them in Hawaii, and Arizona, and California. On land and in the sea, and through too many puddles and creeks and streams to try and count. In the desert, and in the snow, on paved roads and muddy trails. I don’t think I ran on them through fire, though — I just never happened on any when running. I’m not some elite athlete, some fancy Ferrari of a runner who needs a special diet or special gear, and these are just running shoes. They’ve taken me where I needed to go.
And along the way, I learned a few things.
I enjoy running. OK, not the actual running part, but I love getting out and running. Maybe when I slow down some later, I’ll transition to hiking. But during all these miles, I’ve seen some beautiful scenery, run some awesome trails, and enjoyed getting out to run. Along the way, I’ve taken a few thousand photos (ah, thank heavens for the age of the digital camera), with some decent results. But I’ve found a way to get out and run and explore and see things no matter where life and the Army has taken me.
Replacing shoes every 300 miles, just because you’ve run 300 miles, makes no sense. A while ago, I was researching running at the Army website for safety, and they had very little to say about running and shoes — except that there isn’t scientific or academic research to back up a prescribed need to replace shoes based on miles — it’s the feet and the shoes that determines that, it said. And I’d have to agree.
Running injuries can be terrible, but a lot of them aren’t so bad. With these shoes, I’ve sprained my ankle five times — as in, swollen up like a grapefruit, hurts to walk on it, and people see it and say, “Damn!” The first time, I was 1.89 miles into a 4 mile run — and I finished the 4 miles. The 2nd time, I was a quarter mile into a 7 mile run when I rolled my ankle off the side of the road and went sprawling onto the desert floor — and I still went ahead and ran the 7 miles. #3 and #4 really hurt — I only finished half the planned mileage because the ankle not only hurt, but also started to swell a lot right away. #5 was bad enough to get me to take 2 days off from running — something I did not do for the previous 4 sprains. And I’ve had other minor aches and pains — a knee that sometimes hurts and sometimes just makes a lot of noise, a rotor cuff that really doesn’t like me, and then there was the period when my Achilles tendon and I weren’t really talking but more ignoring each other. All the while, I’ve kept running. At worse, on the earliest sprains, I took anti-inflammatory meds to help with the swelling, but other than that, I’d kept on running. I didn’t think I’d be able to.
And I’ve learned that old farts like me can do a lot more than they think. I am averaging close to 40 miles per week this year, at a time when most of my soldiers are doing 10. In 2005, when my PTSD was at its worst, I was a good 30 lbs heavier than I am now, and all I am doing these days is running and eating ice cream. And my PTSD? As stressful as this job is, it’s under control — like an alcoholic, I suppose, I’ll have to live one day at a time with it, but the running helps tremendously when my stress levels go up.
So, on Monday, I will break out the new shoes. I already have some miles on them — I took them to Prescott with me, and wore them one week here. And I think they’ll be good for some miles; they’re the Nike Pegasus model from last year or the year before, one year newer then the pair being retired, and they look and feel about the same — just new and springy. Give me a few months — I’ll beat that springiness right out of them.
On August 11, at Camp Speicher near Tikrit, Iraq, I snuck out at night and did a 3 mile run. It wasn’t fast, it wasn’t good in any sense of the term. But it was 3 miles. And it marked the start of my training for the 2009 Honolulu Marathon, using the Hal Higdon training plan.
That week, I ran 15.15 miles, and averaged a pace of about 8:45 minutes per mile. All told, I did 69 other training runs, leading up to the marathon today. Of the 461 miles in the training plan, I managed to do 459 of them — I did not do the two miles on this past Thursday, when I flew from Lake Arrowhead home to Oahu (and I had missed one other run, due to an injury, but I had dutifully made up the miles that week). For those 459 miles, I averaged a pace of 9:37 minutes per mile, and I averaged over 6 and a half miles per run for those 70 runs. These past two weeks, when I was in the mountains and snow of Lake Arrowhead, were when I had my slowest average page: 11:37 and then 11:23 per mile, with every other week averaging between 8:42 and 9:44 per mile. Doing it all, I sprained my ankle 4 times.
I never really looked at all those numbers until now. It seems like a lot. Driving 459 miles would be a long day. Often, running six miles feels like a lot — all the more so when I am not running a lot or training like this. And 4 ankle sprains? I don’t think I had sprained my ankle that much over the past 20 years combined. And while an average pace of 9:37 minutes per mile is nothing to write home about, it’s pretty close to the pace I ran today — 10:37.
And I guess the thing that really strikes awe in me, for all of this, is that I ran a lot of this in Iraq, did more in Hawaii, and then did some both in Eugene (aka Track Town, USA) and at Lake Arrowhead. I went from running at night in the deserts of Iraq, to running through the pineapple fields on Oahu, to running through history in Eugene, to stomping through ankle deep snow up and down the quad-runner trails that covers the ridges near Lake Arrowhead. In 4 months of running, I’ve sure covered the globe pretty well, and covered most every type of running, from roads to trails, from flat to steep, from desert climate to snow.
And while this may not seem like a big deal to you, it is to me: I ran low tech. In Iraq, I wore my Army PT uniform. No special tops, no special shorts or running pants. I didn’t carry water or gel packs or fancy jelly beans, but relied on water points from the around the base to keep hydrated. I can think of only one time — the 18 mile run I did here on Oahu — where I stopped for Gatorade during the run, and that was because it was cheaper than water to buy on base. I ran — and in the most unfancy ways I could.
During all this, I used one pair of running shoes. That might not seem like a noteworthy thing, but the officials at Nike and Brooks and all of the other running shoes would want me to believe that I need new shoes every 300 miles. Well, I’m just not believing that. I’m not some high tech racer, some modern day Ferrari in Nikes. I am a runner, and I run. I’d just as soon take off barefoot and in shorts, to run down a deer, as I would take off to run across the island to my office. Super high tech anything would be, I fear, just lost in my running.
And in August, I weighed 214 lbs. Today, when I got home from the marathon, I weighed 202. I am happy being anywhere in that range. I really don’t care what the number is (and while it’s in that range, the Army doesn’t care either). What I do love and care about is the feeling of strength that I get when I am running often and farther. I feel ready for the world at times like now.
Also, I love how this much running has made me feel. For as crazy as Iraq was during those last months, with a new job and the IBOL project on top of trying to go home and reintegrate with my family, I can’t think of a bad day. Endorphins are an amazing thing. My stress has been under control. My PTSD has been under control. I feel good, life is going well and is under control, and I am happy with where I am in life. And that’s the influence of the running, of the preparations I made for this marathon.
If you’ve read the book, Born to Run, then maybe this will make sense: I’ve been chasing a deer. I’ve been running for fun, not for speed or anything else. No carrying water, not eating along the way, not using fancy high tech stuff — it’s been about reaching down deep inside, and finding me by running. And I would not trade that for the world.
I have been so unfocused on the training part of all this, that it probably could be called something other than training. I’ve just been running — while also following some guidelines for distances. I’ve had more fun getting out and putting in the miles, without care or regard for times or intervals or pace or personal records. Running in Iraq at night gave me time alone, to clear my thoughts and let my mind wander. And it led me to IBOL — which was a great part of my 2009. I spent the summer, fall and now winter investing in running, and looking back at how my year in Iraq ended, with work and IBOL and a great return home to my family, I would have to say that it was a hell of an investment; a little less sleep gave me some great dividends.
Anyway, enough with all that. Poor Jack has been suffering through all this, trying to get to the part where I talk about the actual race event, so he can decide whether to add Honolulu to his 2010 Marathon plan.
This is the second marathon that I have run. I’ve also run some half marathons, too. There are a few things about Honolulu that make this race noteworthy.
1. Egads, it’s beautiful. From running along the Pacific, to coming around Diamond Head, to zipping through both Honolulu and Waikiki, it’s a great place to go running.
2. Wow, it’s flat. If you’ve never run one before, this would make for a fine first marathon.
3. The people are great. It’s a wonderful social event, with folks dressed as Yoda and Darth Vader, Minnie Mouse, brides, etc. And at something like 20,000 runners, it’s a big happy crowd.
4. The race organizers love the military. I’ll be honest — this marathon is expensive (registration started at over $100, and late registration the day prior was $225). But they cut us slack, not just with the late registration but also with the super-awesome registration fee of just $30 for active duty military. Saving 85% on the registration price was a nice, nice thing.
5. If you have to go somewhere for a marathon, Hawai’i is a damn fine place to go. We’ve had wonderful weather this week (though it’s rained the past two years), and I can’t recommend enough coming to Hawai’i — to run a marathon or just for vacation.
One bummer, though, is that the race starts at 0500 / 5 AM. Which means getting into Honolulu by 3 or 4. Being active duty military, the race registration folks had advised me to go to the Hale Koa hotel in Waikiki, and park there. The Hale Koa is an Army hotel right on the beach, and they have a nice parking garage there that cost me all of $12 to park while I did all of the marathon events. Yeah — $12. Nice. I loved that. That raised the total cost of the marathon to $42 for me — about as awesome as they come. Anyway, I snuck into the parking garage at about 3 AM, geared up (iPod, Garmin Forerunner 305, military ID, car key, and a spare $20) and then headed to the starting point.
The starting area is on the road outside of the Ala Moana Shopping Center, across from the Ala Moana State Recreation Area (which is really just a nice, big park). The park featured the all-important banks of porta potties, which had a near non-stop line right up the start of the race. The race folks had marked off sections for folks to stage, based upon expected finish times. Which was nice, until abut 10 minutes before the start when everyone crunched forward. See video of the staging, here. See the video of the fireworks, here.
And by the time I started to run, of course, I had to pee. I had to make the 2 or 3 mile look around Honolulu and back to the start line, before I could peel off and use those same porta-potties. And by the time the race had started, I felt a) tall and b) Caucasian. The race is sponsored by Japan Airlines (JAL), and the race does cater to a lot of visitors coming from Japan — so much so that the race has two websites, one for US / other, and one for Japan.
It wasn’t just that folks came from Japan to run, or that they came with travel groups / through travel agencies. A saw whole packs of folks, lining up together, staging together, with matching additional stuff on their shirts or just plain matching shirts. My favorites were the packs of runners I ran into later — a gaggle of 30-something-ish ladies, running as a pack, with someone out front – maybe their coach, maybe their tour guide, maybe both. All, though, looked to behaving fun, which I thought was awesome.
It was good that we had started so early. Though it was dark, it did set a nice setting for the start — which featured a fireworks display over just a starter’s pistol. It made for lousy photos, but hey — small price to pay.
The run really was uneventful. I tended to let my mind wander, though I was listening to music the whole time. Nice and pretty, without too much elevation change. And yes, folks were dressed crazy, which was pretty cool. But mostly it was just a very nice run. When we started, it was in the low 70′s, though it was likely closer to 80 when I finished. I walked through every water point, which were about every two miles until near the end, when they were every mile. I mostly had two cups of water at each water point; once I had half a banana, and once I had 7 jelly bellies that some nice lady was dispensing. But mostly I ran and let my mind wander where it may.
I was, though, the little social butterfly. I ran into a few folks from work; a bunch of us from the staff had decided to train up and do this, some (like me) doing it solo, but one big clump doing it with the lawyers.
And you know how Superman has his kryptonite? And Samson lost all his powers when his hair was cut? I was on track to do about a 4:30 marathon (10 minute miles, or about the same as I did in Luxembourg a few years ago) when my enemies massed their forces and resources, and deployed a keg to the race course. Damn them! Not only did I get beer, but I got only a little beer initially, so I had to go back and correct them on what it means to run a beer point during a very serious race like this. And I had to take a photo, too.
There’s something wrong with being middle aged, and 20 miles into a marathon, and considering doing a keg stand, just because it’d be a hell of a photo opportunity. Looking back now, I wish I had. Instead, I opted just for the standard photo with the ubiquitous red cups — the only thing keeping it from being a great party was that we were out in front of their house, and not in their kitchen.
After Eugene, I’ve taken to the hills east of Los Angeles, to spend 10 days with my father in law. After a year in Iraq, surrounded by the same people and same desert, day in and day out, I wanted / needed to get away and regroup.
10 days in Eugene sure did wonders for that. It was fantastic — a great chance to clear my head, think about the world and life and the things most important to see, while also reconnecting with the wife and kids.
But the kids needed to get back for school, so I’ve come here, to escape from it all some more. Hanging out with my father in law, and running some. I’m earning my keep by helping with drywall and the laundry list of tech support issues around the bachelor mountain pad.
The view from the house. What's not to love?
Did I mention the view? Lovely, isn’t it? I could just sit and stare for days on end. I’ve arrived just after some nasty weather had rolled through over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. The snow lingers on the ground, the air is cool but not too cold, the sky is clear and the stars are about as bright as can be. Being here, and listening to the speech from President Obama, I had to wonder if mountainous views are my true calling.
And did I mention the running? The Honolulu Marathon is on 13 DEC, just a couple of days after I am due to leave here. After my long 20 mile run right after we landed in Eugene (the next day, actually), I am tapering. Which for me means less miles. I’ve gone from 40 mile weeks, to this week (21 total) as I work down to next week and running just 9 miles ahead of the marathon.
But I can’t come to the mountains and expect to run on flat terrain. Part of the fun of it all is the running and exploration and adventure of getting out and about, to see things. And a wee bit of it is about the challenges of running here — at 5500 feet elevation, in the cold, with snow on the ground and mud everywhere as snow melts.
Tuesday I did my prescribed 4 miles. Not having any idea what I was just, I just went out the front door, down the street to the end, and I took a right. A bit later, was passing this little ditty:
The roadsign said it was 3W12, and was for approved off road vehicles but not cars.
I’m unsure if the photo really captured how steeply this path heads up. It’s about half the width of a car, it’s all mud, and it’s steep. I made a mental note of the 3W12 name on the sign, and I headed further on down the road. The road ended at a water processing plant, but I headed further on down the road on what was likely a fire trail. My little 4 mile jaunt included just 341 feet of ascent and 571 feet of descent.
So on Tuesday, I headed back to go see what this 3W12 thing was all about. FIL said that it was one of a number of ATV and quad-friendly trails in the area, which sounded especially good for a Wednesday morning run (really, what ATV / quad driver would be out and about on the mountainside on a Wednesday morning?) Six miles was the plan, and whoooo doggie, was it a great six miles.
How good? Well, for starters, I averaged 12 minutes per mile, when I normally do about 9:15 or 9:30 per mile on these medium to longer runs. An hour and 11 minutes to do what I would otherwise have done in, say, 56 or 57 minutes.
It was 833 feet of ascent, and 1025 feet of descent — 1855 feet of elevation change, in 6 miles. I did do six mile runs in Iraq, that had less than 100 feet of elevation change. My 18 mile run in Hawaii had just 2600 feet of elevation change, when I ran up the mountain to my new office — three times as many miles, but a little over 1.5 times as much elevation change.
3W12 is pretty steep, it turns out.
But, I hope you’ll agree, it’s scenic and awesome. If mud and snow and puddles and steep trails work for you. They do for me. I love this stuff.
It would be snowy and muddy and steep. And then it would get snowier, and muddier, and steeper. I was plugging away as best I could, picking up one foot and putting it down again and again. The altitude and the thin air did make it hard as hell to hold anything close to a normal rhythm, so I’d slow down enough so that I could keep running without having to stop. When I did stop, it was to take photos.
I’d get to places like this, and look out over the lands. I’d try to spot where the other trails were, and see if I could figure out how to get there. When it’s a really long run, that’s great. When it’s just six miles, it’s dangerous — if I’m not careful, I’ll tell myself it’s OK to just go on to that next peak, that next hill, that next trail, and before I know it, I’m trying to figure out the absolutely shortest route back.
Coming back down was pretty slick and muddy. I don’t think these photos, especially this one, really capture just how steep this trail could be. Oh, I’m sure it’d be great fun on an ATV or quad-runner, but for running, it was high adventure trying to make it back down this without having a yardsale of me and my running gear all over the hillside.
Thursday, I went back out and found a different ATV / quad trail in the area (3W13), and knocked out my three miles for the day. Wonderful day, a bit cooler than the other days, but great running. Three miles, and over 1000 feet of elevation change.
But yes, I am tapering. This weekend, I am suppose to run 8, which I look forward to doing. I’ve been peeping at Google Earth, at where I’ve run and where else I can run in the area. 8 miles — that could be some good exploring!
Less than one week back from Iraq, and I’ve already covered just shy of 50 miles of running. I’m a little sore, but it feels great. Between server issues, moved half way across the world, and readjusting the life at home, I’m not said much about what’s going on. Let’s start with the running — it’s easy to talk about.
Last week, as we were waiting at the airport in Tikrit for our chance to fly to Kuwait, I stayed focus on my running and managed to put in three runs for almost 18 miles while staged on the flight line, ready to fly out on a moments notice. Sitting at a desolate airport, waiting for weather to clear or a plane to arrive, for several days can, well, be pretty damn boring. Lots of folks watched movies or caught up on their reading — I tried to go run.
But those were flat miles, in a dry heat. Looking back now at my Garmin records from the 16 mile run I did two weeks ago, it was a total of about 700 feet of elevation change — for the whole thing. There’s nothing flat about where I live — if you’re not on the beach, it’s not flat.
After I got back home last Sunday, after the day was done and the kids were in bed, I took off and did a 12 mile run. My training plan told me I was suppose to be having an easy week — thus 12 and not 17 miles — but 12 miles seemed pretty boring. I figured I could spice it up by heading to the hills. Ugh — it had over 1000 feet of ascent. When it was over, I was smoked — it part because I had just flown half way around the world, but in part because it was 6 miles up and then 6 miles back down. I slept pretty well that night.
This week, though, I have mixed it up — some loops through the neighborhood (still not flat) and some runs through the pineapple fields. And I gotta say — the runs have been a lifesaver. I’ve been able to self-medicate, getting healthy doses of endorphins, as I’ve tried to adjust to being home and as the family has put up with my crap.
If that sounds odd, well, it shouldn’t. The Army says that the #1 thing we as soldiers can do, post deployment, to help deal with the stress of reintegration, is physical exercise (cardio, specifically). It’s no joke — those endorphins are magical when it comes to dealing with stress. When I had first approached my wife about training up for this marathon, it was just this that as I cited as the #1 reason for wanting to do this — endorphins during redeployment and reintegration, since I know it’s always stressful not just for me but for us, when I come home.
And so, I’ve spent the week trying to find the balance — miles, vs. hills. The miles are good for me, but the hills are helping me build strength in my legs (and with how much they ache, I have no doubt it’s working). They were pretty uneventful runs during the week, but the long run today was noteworthy: I ran my our neighborhood not just to the Army base, by across it to my new office.
K and the kids had gone to see a performance of Annie last night, and I….. went to sleep. I was very tired. And by tired, I mean I went to bed before 7 pm. Yeah, tired. But I slept 7 and a half hours, getting up at 0230 and hitting the road just after 3. It was almost 6 miles through the fields, and then a little over three up to post and then across post to the office. I stopped, on the way back, at a 24 hour convenience store, to buy a 64 ounce Gatorade — most of which went into my camelback, to restock it since I had drained it on the way, but the rest went right into my belly. No food, no gel packs.
I had hoped to do the run in about 3 hours. Last weekend, I finished reading the book Born to Run, which at one point talks about slowing down slow runs, to burn fat and not what’s in your stomach. Since my stomach was empty, well, I was committed to trying this (and it totally worked). It was 18 miles in 3:05:40, a hair more than I had set as my goal. But there was the whole 2200+-feet-of-ascent aspect, too, so I’m okay with the time. My thighs are seriously smoked — even my hips hurt — but I feel pretty good. I’ll be drinking water all day, and I did eat that Buick when I was done running.
If you’re curious as to how the running has been going, here‘s the updated spreadsheet for my running and training. Pretty nerdy and geeky, but it does show what I’ve been up to. I have a Google Earth file, too, that I can email you – just ask, and I’ll send it.
About 6 weeks ago, my blog crapped out on me. One day, poof, all by itself, it lost a bunch of data without explanation. I run everything from my own server, and I’d set WordPress to email me regular backups of the database, so I wasn’t too worried about it — other than not having the time to go in and fix it, and wanting better bandwidth to use in fixing it. Well, I had both tonight. Welcome back, Mr. Blog.
I am home in HI. Iraq is done. It was nice, but I so much prefer to be at home. I had the honor of being in charge of getting 94 soldiers home, which was an adventure. After some initial delays in Tikrit, due to rain of all things, we rushed from there to Kuwait, through Customs, and onto a North American Airlines charter flight. Similar to when I came home (covertly) this summer, we went through Leipzig to Bangor, Maine, before stopping in Sacramento on the way to Oahu. It was a long, long 36 hours. For me, the saving grace was that, as the guy in charge, I got to sit in the comfy sets at the front of the plane. Still, though — that’s a lot of miles to cover. And really, when the wife and kids are waiting on the other end, the miles seem to take that much longer.
Now that I’m home, I’m really doing three things:
1. Hanging out with the wife and kids.
2. Working on the honey-do list.
The hanging out part is pretty easy. My temperament seems to be a lot better than it has been after other deployments. I am much slower to be irked – which was not always the case after other trips.
I’m doing my best with the honey-do’s. Today, I spent a good amount of time tinkering with our TiVo. With Galleon, VisualHub, and websites like this, I figured out how to add video to our TiVo (when normally it just has the things that it records). Now, I can add programs to it, for us to watch — I can go someplace like this, download a movie like the original Street Fighter, when load it on the TiVo for us to watch later. Not have to do, just nice to do.
And yes, running. Always with the running, even while in the process of staging to move from Iraq to Hawai’i. At the airport in Tikrit, while we waiting for the weather to improve, I did three runs that totaled almost 18 miles. On Sunday, about 14 hours after I got home, I did a 12 mile run through the pineapple fields. Iraq was flat; I am having to adjust both to the lack of flat running, as well as the humidity. This weekend, I am suppose to run something around 18 miles for my long run — I’ll need a plan for water and maybe food along the way.
So, yeah. It’s good to be home.
Posted by: art in Iraq, Running
I made it through another week, injury free. That, though, is getting tougher as the lunar month comes to a close this week and the moon goes away. Running it darkness can be awesome, but it can be tough on ankles.
After five weeks of running, I am .29 miles ahead of the training plan. Not too bad. It’s always give and take with me — lots of little days of just a pinch more than required, and then the one or two days where I come up short a mile or two. My shortfall was the other week when I had rolled an ankle and done only 3.5 of 5 — that’s a bunch of pinches to make up.
Very uneventful week in running. I was suppose to close out with 10 on Saturday, but I wanted to loop the airfield. That hasn’t changed — it’s still 11+ to do that. Which is fine. I wasn’t setting any time records on that run, just enjoying the darkness and the exercise.
Running this week is accelerated. I normally run late Saturday night and then pick back up late Tuesday night, but this week has the Army 10-Miler on Friday morning, almost 2 days ahead in my training week. So, I ran 11+ last night, and I went back out and hit my 3 tonight to start the new running week. Sunday, Monday, Tuesday night, and then Friday morning I’ll do the 10. I’m only scheduled for 7 this week, but 10 won’t kill me. I’ll probably run it with Rob or something.
Posted by: art in Running
I’m still running. Believe it or now, what with everything that is going on, I am still hitting the road for miles in hoping for being ready for Honolulu in December.
It’s going only OK. I am running at night, almost exclusively at or after midnight. And I am trying along the side of the roads — and once a week, at least, stepping on the edge, rolling my ankle, and hurting it. My ankles are in pretty bad shape right now. I can still lace up and running straight on ‘em, but rotational stuff hurts some. They’ll bounce back. I just need more moonlight.
But it does sort of kill the pace. Week 2, which included a 7 mile run in which I rolled my ankle in the first quarter mile, had me averaging 9 minute miles for the week. This week, when I again rolled my ankle, my weekly average pace was 8:42. I need to stop rolling my ankles.
Anyway, it’s good to run. It’s good to have a training plan. It’s good to be out on the open roads again. This coming week will close with a 9 mile run — the distances are getting respectable again. Maybe by then my sleep pattern will return to something considered more normal, too.
Rough week, with a lot of work, maybe not enough sleep, a lot of emails about the side project and, oh yeah, some running.
Good running. At night, too, which helps with the heat. 3 x 3 miles, 1 x 6 miles. The 6 mile run (last night) featured some pretty strong winds, which killed my pace. But I ran, which is good enough.
I wanted to post a link to a file I whipped up, for training for a marathon. It’s an Excel file (here) and it’s all geek. It’s built on the Hal Higdon novice marathon training plan, which I swear by for anyone just wanting to run and survive a marathon (it’s fool proof).
On the first sheet, you’d enter the date for the Monday before your planned marathon. On sheet 2, you’d record distances and times for the various runs. And then, behind the scenes, it does a ton of math – pace per run, pace per week, and all kinds of other eye candy stuff, to include charts and graphs.
Oh, and I almost forgot. Week One, Day One of training for the Honolulu Marathon was Tuesday. Tuesday was also the day my boss told me to go back to bi-phasic sleep, until further notice. Could life be more complicated? Yep. So be it!
So, go get your geek on and check it out.
Posted by: art in Iraq, Oahu, Running
I’m running again. When the Doc told me recently that my foot would be ok — no broken bones, no bone spur, likely just a soft tissue injury — I told him I was itching to get back to running.
Stay off of it for two weeks, he said. Take these, he said.
Well, one for two ain’t too bad. I’d not run in about ten days by that point, so I waited a few more and got back to running. After all, this is week 0.
I’ve got my eye on the Honolulu Marathon. And I’m not alone. More than a few soldiers from my unit are eyeballing it. I am not alone.
Now, getting ready for a marathon isn’t a simple thing, and it’s not an overnight thing. So, I am planning to again use the Hal Higdon training plan to use the next 18 weeks to get ready.
18 weeks. Starting, while I am in deployed, in northern Iraq, in the summer, and working nights. 18 weeks, that will include us going at full throttle at work, prepping to and handing over out mission to someone else, flying half way around the world, taking weeks of vacation, traveling to the continental US, and, oh yeah, reuniting with my family.
That, and the little issue of 435 miles to run, between here and the start of the marathon. Yeah — 435. That’s what it takes to train up for a marathon.
So, this was week 0. I have not registered for the marathon yet; I want and need to get a few more miles on these feet of mine before I lay out the cold, hard cash. I did 15+ miles this week, over the week and with 5 runs. It’s a start – nothing broke.