One Month Out, "Normal" Still Seems Foreign

It's been a month since I survived a car crash that demolished my car.

Since then, we've closed on our new home, bought a new car, and spent two days' worth of effort moving in. Because of the second car payment, our finances are not as secure as I'd like them to be, but we're capable of making it--even if the next 6 months will be stressful.

I've gotten back to running to some degree. The last two blips in the graph below represent my "return" the last two weeks, after 4 weeks off. Hardly compares to my normal weeks, or even my "even" weeks before.

Weekly running totals

After running 5.5 miles this week and moving things, I realized my ribs aren't quite healed enough for physical activity. I had been able to quit taking ibuprofen, but I'm having to take it again due to the pain. Picking up anything over 20 pounds aggravates the pain.

I'm wallowing in a fair amount of self-pity, but, right now, I'm just hoping for a normal, relatively pain-free life--outside of running. Seeing my aunt in her final days of her battle with cancer when she has a brand new granddaughter and knowing that I survived the wreck puts things in perspective, but it doesn't make the waiting and uncertainty of healing any better.

Alternative Paths

Today could have went very differently.

  • I could have slept in after waking up in the middle of the night.
  • I could have driven the main roads instead of the winding back roads.
  • I could have driven the back road route that I knew much better instead of the slightly longer back road route.
  • I could have listened to the call to run 7 laps around the subdivision's loop.
  • I could have let go of the artificial call to hit a certain goal mileage every single week.
  • I could have made time yesterday to stay on track with my goal mileage.

Today could have been a normal day, with no ER visit, no loss of the faithful car that I've had for 14 1/2 years, no facing 4-6 weeks off from running.

Instead, I woke up at 3:30am, and sat impatiently until 5am, when I went outside to leave for the gym.

At 5:35am... my car ran off the road and hit a tree.

My haste to be out the door before anyone was awake meant that my wife didn't answer when I tried to call. Had I been injured to the point where time was crucial, I wouldn't have survived. Four cars drove by that lonely stretch of road in the early morning between the time I quit calling my wife to dial 911 and the time when the police officer arrived on the scene.

My daughter, who normally drags her feet and daydreams during the morning routine became all business when my wife told her that they needed to get dressed quickly so that Mommy could go see Daddy who was in a wreck. She's pretty skittish about anything that might be a threat to Daddy or any of the rest of the family. She's just started to calm down after a year of fretting about every little lightning storm after she found out that a classmate's dad was killed by lightning.

My son was blissfully unaware of what my crash meant. He thinks I just made my car "messy". (Honestly, it always is.) I think of my coworker who died when his son was 2, and how my son might have a vague memory of me, but not really know me.

My wife often badgers me about time I spend doing this or that activity. Outside of things that involve money, my "other activities" are what I usually feel the most disagreement between us over. And yet, she is a conscience for me. Is it about me or the family? She keeps me as honest as one person can do for another.

While spending 40 hours per week doing "extracurricular" activities would likely always be an issue, the bigger issue that I must resolve is choosing the right path in context. Not all alternative paths have the same weight across different scenarios.

Lately, I've been so obsessed with not losing momentum with my running that I've failed to recognize context--we're moving, my wife is working extra shifts, etc... In so doing, I have also now managed to lose momentum with my running.

I know that an accident like this morning's could have happened at any time, for any reason. I also may be magically better in a couple of days. However, poor decision making has certainly not helped.

In the meantime, I have at least a few days to reflect a little more closely on what my priorities are. I'm not considering giving up running, or really even backing off of running, or other activities for that matter--but I do need to reconsider my willingness to knock their priority to the bottom at the appropriate times.

I don't need to see if I can survive another wreck that makes a car look like this:

Map of Marathon States Completed

  • Kentucky - 1 - KDF 2012
  • New York - 1 - NYC 2011
  • Tennessee - 3 - Flying Monkey 2008, 2010. Memphis 2009.
  • Illinois - 1 - Chicago 2010
  • Indiana - 1 - Indianapolis Monumental 2009.
  • West Virginia - 1 - Hatfield McCoy 2008
  • Ohio - 1 - Flying Pig 2008
  • North Carolina - 1 - OBX 2007

The Curse of the Kentucky Derby Festival (KDF) Marathon

Those who know my running history have heard me talk about "the curse" of the KDF marathon.

The History

Despite finishing 9 marathons total, I've never finished a marathon in my home town.

My history:

  • 2009 DNS - Signed up for the KDF marathon in January. Got injured in late January and ran/walked about 1/10th as much in February and March as I did in January.  Never started the race.
  • 2010 DNF- My kids got a stomach virus the week before marathon week. I avoided the nastiness, but my stomach didn't feel right the day or two before the marathon. During the marathon, I sat down on the side of the course at mile 11 with intestinal problems. After fighting to get over the last hill in Cherokee Park at mile 16, without the guts to do so, I saw a friend spectating around mile 17 and used his phone to call for pickup.
  • 2011 DNR- I didn't sign up, but I helped another runner train for his first marathon. The week before the marathon, we ran 20 miles at a pace similar to my two fastest marathons. It was like KDF was taunting me.
  • 2012 - Signed up. My Garmin flew apart two weeks ago in Iroquois Park, at mile 7 of an intended 20 miler. Last Saturday, I stubbed my toe and it turned black and blue (no breakage upon X-ray, but still...)

 

Reality

No, I don't really believe in the curse. I've taken the race for granted. I don't take care of things like I would if I were more heavily invested in another race:

  • I know too many people near the course who I can hang out with if I quit.
  • I push things too hard, because all I have to risk is the registration fee...  not vacation time, travel fare, reservations.
  • *or* I don't take training seriously because I haven't spent $100s or $1000s.
  • The race will always be there next year.
  • There is no difficulty getting registered for the race.

The problem is, none of these factors have changed, and now I'm obsessing over a toe. Obviously, the only remedy for this "curse" is finishing.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Keep digging, KDF. Charging for updates? At $1-$2 per TEXT?

I've run in Chicago, NYC, and (yes) even the KDF before when updates were free.

Now, you can pay for the opportunity to be notified. No free notification mentioned (which is very helpful in letting a family member know if you need help, etc...)  At the 10-, 15-, 25- and 30-km markers, that means mini marathon participants (the overwhelming majority of participants) only get 2 updates.  Marathoners, of course, would get 4 updates. That's $1 or $2 per text...  And from the wording of the below ad, that's $3.99 per notification method/person being notified... probably should post those updates to Facebook for the most bang for your buck.

Going back to the simplicity of the Runners World smart coach plan

This training plan was created using the Runner’s World SmartCoach iPhone app. To get your own plan, download SmartCoach from the App Store or create a plan online at www.runnersworld.com/smartcoach

02/20/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 8 mi
Pace: 8:39

02/21/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 8 mi
Pace: 8:39

02/22/2012 - Tempo Run
Distance: 7 mi
Pace: Warm; 4 mi @ 7:17; Cool

02/23/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 7 mi
Pace: 8:39

02/24/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 7 mi
Pace: 8:39

02/25/2012 - Long Run
Distance: 14 mi
Pace: 8:39

02/26/2012 - Rest / XT
Distance: 0 km
Pace: Easy

02/27/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 8 mi
Pace: 8:39

02/28/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 8 mi
Pace: 8:39

02/29/2012 - Speedwork
Distance: 7 mi
Pace: Warm; 2x1600 in 6:49w/800 jogs; Cool

03/01/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 8 mi
Pace: 8:39

03/02/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 7 mi
Pace: 8:39

03/03/2012 - Long Run
Distance: 16 mi
Pace: 8:39

03/04/2012 - Rest / XT
Distance: 0 km
Pace: Easy

03/05/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 8 mi
Pace: 8:39

03/06/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 8 mi
Pace: 8:39

03/07/2012 - Tempo Run
Distance: 7 mi
Pace: Warm; 5 mi @ 7:21; Cool

03/08/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 8 mi
Pace: 8:39

03/09/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 7 mi
Pace: 8:39

03/10/2012 - Long Run
Distance: 18 mi
Pace: 8:39

03/11/2012 - Rest / XT
Distance: 0 km
Pace: Easy

03/12/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 8 mi
Pace: 8:39

03/13/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 8 mi
Pace: 8:39

03/14/2012 - Tempo Run
Distance: 8 mi
Pace: Warm; 6 mi @ 7:25; Cool

03/15/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 8 mi
Pace: 8:39

03/16/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 7 mi
Pace: 8:39

03/17/2012 - Long Run
Distance: 20 mi
Pace: 8:39

03/18/2012 - Rest / XT
Distance: 0 km
Pace: Easy

03/19/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 8 mi
Pace: 8:29

03/20/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 8 mi
Pace: 8:29

03/21/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 8 mi
Pace: 8:29

03/22/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 8 mi
Pace: 8:29

03/23/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 7 mi
Pace: 8:29

03/24/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 7 mi
Pace: 8:29

03/25/2012 - Rest / XT
Distance: 0 km
Pace: Easy

03/26/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 10 mi
Pace: 8:29

03/27/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 9 mi
Pace: 8:29

03/28/2012 - Speedwork
Distance: 8 mi
Pace: Warm; 3x1600 in 6:41w/800 jogs; Cool

03/29/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 9 mi
Pace: 8:29

03/30/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 9 mi
Pace: 8:29

03/31/2012 - Long Run
Distance: 16 mi
Pace: 8:29

04/01/2012 - Rest / XT
Distance: 0 km
Pace: Easy

04/02/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 9 mi
Pace: 8:29

04/03/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 9 mi
Pace: 8:29

04/04/2012 - Tempo Run
Distance: 9 mi
Pace: Warm; 7 mi @ 7:20; Cool

04/05/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 9 mi
Pace: 8:29

04/06/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 8 mi
Pace: 8:29

04/07/2012 - Long Run
Distance: 20 mi
Pace: 8:29

04/08/2012 - Rest / XT
Distance: 0 km
Pace: Easy

04/09/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 9 mi
Pace: 8:29

04/10/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 9 mi
Pace: 8:29

04/11/2012 - Tempo Run
Distance: 10 mi
Pace: Warm; 8 mi @ 7:24; Cool

04/12/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 9 mi
Pace: 8:29

04/13/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 9 mi
Pace: 8:29

04/14/2012 - Long Run
Distance: 20 mi
Pace: 8:29

04/15/2012 - Rest / XT
Distance: 0 km
Pace: Easy

04/16/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 5 mi
Pace: 8:18

04/17/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 5 mi
Pace: 8:18

04/18/2012 - Tempo Run
Distance: 7 mi
Pace: Warm; 5 mi @ 7:03; Cool

04/19/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 5 mi
Pace: 8:18

04/20/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 5 mi
Pace: 8:18

04/21/2012 - Long Run
Distance: 8 mi
Pace: 8:18

04/22/2012 - Rest / XT
Distance: 0 km
Pace: Easy

04/23/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 4 mi
Pace: 8:39

04/24/2012 - Rest / XT
Distance: 0 km
Pace: Easy

04/25/2012 - Tempo Run
Distance: 7 mi
Pace: Warm; 4 mi @ 7:17; Cool

04/26/2012 - Easy Run
Distance: 4 mi
Pace: 8:39

04/27/2012 - Rest / XT
Distance: 0 km
Pace: Easy

04/28/2012 - Marathon Race Day
Distance: 26.2 mi
Pace: Marathon 7:33 Time: 3:18:04

Lost and battle scarred 18 miler yesterday morning [warning: pictures]

Bloody knee at the end of the run

It's been a while since I've taken a spill during a run...  seems like it's been a year and a half since my last fall, and almost 5 years since one similar in nastiness to this one, and that one was at mile 2 of a 10 mile race.

There I was, lost in a neighborhood close to Highview, on the edge of Fern Creek.  I had begun this planned 18 miler unsure if I could finish any more than 10 miles.

My first 5 miles were a familiar route that I've used before for 7 to 23 milers, part of an out-and-back route that makes an intentionally indirect weaving path through a neighborhood close to the Gene Snyder Freeway that forms the outer access belt of the county. It's a sidewalk and low-traffic neighborhood route that usually provides 6.8 filler miles in my wanderings through southeast Louisville. I've also used the route to the point that I pretty much hate it--more so than the treadmill.

And so, at mile 5, I needed a different route to keep going. I started veering off toward a route on the other side of Bardstown Rd., thinking that I'd just add a few miles off the busy street before continuing on my more regularly used route.

However, on my diverted route, I decided to explore a street I had never been through before. The first street of the diversion was easy enough to remember, but then I came across a nice little loop road that continued on to another neighborhood.  I took the loop road and then exited to another set of roads.

On my way back, I got back on the loop road and tried to find my way back--making at least two loops in the process. Once I finally found my way back to the street I started with, I was mentally fatigued from realizing that I was lost. As I went down the sidewalk on the road back, I didn't notice that there was an unevenness in the sidewalk, and tripped and went for a nice flop onto the concrete.

Because of the cold, the landing on the ground was a dulled shock to the system. I had shake off the cobwebs and force myself up off the ground. Somehow, that spill around mile 10 challenged my ego enough to get me through another 8 miles that were originally in doubt.

It took me a couple of blocks to get moving with any rhythm again, and my leg strength was weakened by the fall. Those last 8 miles were rough and hilly, but the fall somehow made me determined to finish the planned 18--I just couldn't quit because of a little fall.

I'm sure anyone who saw me those last few miles (including several runners) were probably horrified by the looks of the wound. Of course, the wound cleaned up in the shower into a tiny little scrape, but I'm glad that the skin on the knee doesn't seem to feel as much some other areas.

18 miles in 2:55:57

Bloody knee after cleaning

 

The First Moment of Truth / Doubt #nycm #running

I don't know if it's a prioritization thing or a psychological thing, but I have yet to fill out my training plan completely, either in my RunningAhead.com Training Plan or in my Google Docs spreadsheet.

Last week featured back-to-back 11 and 13 milers, ending with a 15 miler at the end of the week.

Wednesday (tomorrow) and Sunday this week and next feature a 14 miler and an 18 miler.  Those seem pretty daunting at this point.

It's not the distance or weekly volume that has me apprehensive. I've went as far as 23 miles in training runs before. My plans have peaked with a few consecutive weeks around 80 miles per week. With this plan, my first 20 miler is still weeks away, and the plan peaks at 70 miles per week.

One difference is that this plan is structured differently: My former (often improvised) 80+ mile plans consisted of lots of "doubles": 2 runs in a day. It's a little easier to squeeze in workouts when you do 7 miles, 5 miles, etc... then one 20 miler. I'm also trying to stay fairly faithful to the up-tempo and marathon pace long run schedule (so far).

Another possible difference is that my work and family schedule have made me favor (almost exclusively) the early morning run. I was doing outdoor runs for some of those, but the excessively humid air on the one cool day in the middle of a long hot streak was so laden with gnats that I really haven't had the interest in getting back out there in the darkness until it cools off a little.

That leaves me running on the treadmill, and for the interest of time, the treadmill downstairs.

For 2+ hours.

Twice a week.

Maybe I'll venture outside tomorrow morning.

Two 2+ hour runs on a treadmill in the same week.

10,000 miles running.

Running Log after 10,000th mile run

千里之行﹐始於足下。
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step -- Lao Zi

It's been a long time coming.

65 days worth of running time coming.

Over 5 years since I ran my first continuous mile.

35 of those initial miles had no running at all--those in April and early May of 2006.

Many of those initial miles with "running" in them were still at a slower pace than the average daily walker walks--I recall being unable to keep up with a 15 minute mile back then.

I'm about 55 pounds from my peak weight, and maybe about 5-10 pounds heavier than my lightest weight.

My 5k times have went from 33:44 on my 30th birthday to 19:50 5 weeks ago.

My marathon times have went from ok (4:34:06) to great (3:39:45) to disappointing (4:42:33) to not-as-great-as-I'd-hoped (3:32:20) to DNF to I'm-so-glad-to-be-close-to-4-hours-again.  3 extended injury periods (4-8 weeks) during marathon training. One canceled marathon, one failed marathon, 8 marathon finishes are under my belt.

I've discovered that the soft, i.e., flat, marathon is often a lie, especially if it's Chicago. Flat is often harder than rolling hills, and Chicago weather is unpredictable. It seems that cool weather in October is not a guarantee in Chicago--a strange concept to someone living 3-4 hours to the south.

I've discovered that you can't have any time expectations in a marathon of over 20,000 people once you're behind half of them.

I've discovered that running at the beach at sea level is often hot, humid, and rough, even at 5:30am, but you're still running at the beach.

I've discovered that a marathon race experience is often dependent on the nuttiness of the race director.

I've discovered, in my training, that I'm not as patient as I'd like myself to believe.  That's where the injury often comes in.

I've learned that half-mile repetitions at my 5k pace will more safely improve my 5k time than half-mile repetitions at a pace that my body is unfamiliar with. Making the extraordinary commonplace automatically moves the bar on extraordinary.

Finally, I've discovered that running slow for 2 1/2 hours isn't any easier than running the same distance at a faster pace, and a 4:42 marathon can hurt far more than a 3:39 marathon.

Best of luck to those just now discovering running. You're guaranteed to have days in which you won't want to continue. I still do. I had days this past week while on vacation where I laid in bed trying to rationalize sleeping in during my first week of marathon training, but I somehow managed to find a way to motivate myself. Regret lasts forever, and the reward of sleeping in lasts a couple of hours.