Monthly Archives: March 2008

Detroit Mayor Indicted = My Midlife Crisis

As a native Metro Detroiter, one can feel nothing but pride as you see the news of Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, and his 7 count (or so) indictment.  Nice!  Growing up during the Coleman Young era, you had to admire the charisma and spunk of the old guy, as well as his place in the history of the labor movement in Detroit.  Dennis Archer was a good guy in my book (what I knew of him anyway), but he was too (ahem) suburban for many Detroiters.  So, we now have Kwame.  Reminds me of the Dave Chappell skit “When keeping it real goes wrong.”

In reading the story, I noticed that the Mayor is 38 years old, and has served in office for 7 years (thankfully I’ve been in Boston for 8 years).  I too am (almost) 38, and what do I have to show for it? Now with what is likely half my life gone, I have never been indicted.  I have never had an affair which I denied, only to have the text messages turn up in the press.  I have never had the luxury of luxury, including diamond earrings, a fleet of Escalades,  and the other accouterments that have gone along with being the Mayor.  So, here I am, thinking about what will my legacy be, what do I have to show for my 38 years, and what does the future hold for me (and Kwame).  **Sigh**

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Keeping the horses in the barn

Rolled out of Hopkinton this morning to do the last “long run” before Boston. Plan was to cruise 23 miles on the marathon course, keeping the powder dry since Boston is only four weeks away.  Very tough to keep things under control, as the pace kept creeping up due to the feelings of an easy pace. It is a bit demoralizing to hit the start at 7:00am, knowing that you basically have 23 miles to trudge through.  The toughest part is the beginning, when you are out in the sticks.  Actually, the first 11 miles kind of bite.  The key is one mile at a time.

I approach Boston in the following “chunks”:

  1. Miles 0-6: Basically downhill rolling miles. Not all downhill, with some decent climbs as you wind your way through Hopkinton and into Ashland, finally reaching Framingham at around Mile 5.  Mile 6 marks the beginning of the only “flat” stretches on the course
  2. Miles 6-11: Slight rolling to flat.  Also, pretty boring stretches, hitting Framingham Center, and into Natick Center.  You need to get into a good rhythm here, not burning any matches.  Let the miles roll away.
  3. Miles 11-15: Hitting Wellesley College and the wall of noise.  It is actually quite annoying.  I end up running as far away from the girls as possible because the loud blast can shatter your ears. After that, a short uphill into Wellesley Center, and out of it toward Newton Lower Falls.  Rolls a little, with some nice downhill stretches.  Need to start taking stock of the systems.
  4. Miles 15-22: Game on.  After Mile 15, you have a steep downhill toward Mile 16.  This can hurt A LOT after your quads have taken 16 miles of beating.  At Mile 16, the Newton Hills start.  The first is the longest over Rt 128 (but gradual). Next, the firehouse turn and the steepest hill that really hurts. Downhill mile from 18 to 19, making up time. Mile 19-20, slight uphill with a downhill.  Mile 20-21 is Heartbreak Hill, not terribly long, but at this point anything hurts. Mile 21-22 is a fast downhill mile, if you have the legs and core strength to hold it.  AKA the Haunted Mile as you pass the cemetery next to Boston College.
  5. Miles 22 – 26.2: Suck it up, take the downhills, long uphill grind under Mass Ave and a right turn onto Hereford. Left turn on Boylston and the finish line is further away than you would like.

Today, we ended up with a time of 2:42:50 for 23.18, for an average of around 7:00/mile.  Ran the hills hard, the rest easy.  Mission accomplished.  Time to start polishing things up and getting ready for the big day.  Mental preparation starts now.  Time to dig out the pain cave.

Obama is a long-legged mac daddy!

This is just priceless. See what you can do with a PhD?

Democracy is much too important of an exercise to be left up to the people.

1:20″56 = 154th

All I can say is, New England has some very fast runners.  It’s always interesting when you go from your local 5k to the big regional races and see how fast people are.  While you might think you are fast compared to your nearest competitors, when you step up to the big league, you see how fast is a relative term.I harbor no illusions that I am a fast runner.  People refer to me as being able to run fast. At the 2008 New Bedford Half Marathon, a time of 1:20:56 (or 6:11/mile) gets you 154th place (out of 1666).

The great thing about running is the place absolutely does not matter.  I can’t complain that 153 other people “showed up”, or they were sand-bagging, or they shouldn’t be racing in “my race.” It’s a race, you run it, and let the chips fall.  You are racing against you and your goals.  That’s it.

My goal was to finish under 1:21:59.  So, by that measure, it was a very good day.  I ran pretty conservative at the start, figuring that I lacked the high end fitness to break 1:20.  Looking back, I might have been able to, or at least put in a closer effort.  But, whatever.  This was not my primary race. That comes in 5 weeks.  And really, Boston is not my primary race.  The big one is Ironman Lake Placid.  This is all the preliminaries.

Perfect weather day for New Bedford. Wind towards the end, but manageable.  No rain or snow.  Cloudy and in the high 30s.  Can’t complain about that.  Did about a two mile warm-up and three mile cool down for a total of around 18 miles. Perfect.  Drove down with Elaine, who was great company. Ran with friends. Nice.   No injuries, no (running) worries.  Two more hard weeks and then the taper begins.

We’re all winners.

Wind at your back

A major consideration whenever running from Hopkinton is which way is the wind going to blow. It speaks to a pragmatic concern of whether you are condemned to running 20+ miles getting smacked in the face the entire time. When the forecast said “Blustery”, I immediately looked for the direction of the ‘bluster.’ W20-30mph. That will do nicely.

Another early morning, the misery of which was added to by the switch of the clocks. But, with only 6 weeks of marathon training left, now is not the time for rest. Time to make the donuts.

Part of today’s program was to throw in a fun little 9 mile section of marathon race pace. For me, that’s about 6:45/mile (I’m an optimist). If the first mile was going to be any indication, I was going to be in trouble. Running out of Hopkinton with our 20mph tailwind, we hit the first mile in 7:47. Uh oh. Guess I shouldn’t have done that 75 minute spin and 11 mile run the day before. I didn’t think a 2:30 workout the day before a long run would take that much out of me.

Being a slow started, I just tried to find a rhythm till the first waterstop at Mile 4. Things started to turn over better, but still stiff and cold. Gradually, legs started to loosen and I started to get into a groove. The thing about distance running is finding that rhythm. Go too fast and you will bonk. Go too slow, and you start ‘pounding’ instead of ‘gliding.’ Finding that mid-point is important, especially on a course like Boston where the downhills absolutely kill your legs.

I was able to hit about 10 miles of 6:40-6:45 pace. The good  thing was my heart rate stayed in Zone 3 the entire time.  I was then able to roll through the hills with my legs feeling solid under me.  Double bonus. Of course, it is hard to get a gauge of where I am because of the tailwind. I do know somewhat where I am in the scheme of things. I have a long way to go, but at least I’m on the right track. 22.7 miles in 2:37:07 = 6:55/mile total.

I don’t have time for this S**t!

Holy cow.  No time to do much of anything, like blog.  Not that anyone probably reads this or cares, but it is kind of like failing to keep up on a commitment, if even to one’s self.

Training is going okay.  Last Sunday did a 22 mile run, hitting most miles (after the first four) at around 7:10/mile pace.  Strong headwind going out=nice tail wind coming back. Trying to pile on the miles, getting up to the 60 mile/week point.  Then trying to add one two days of swimming and two days on the bike.  Not working out as I planned, due to work obligations and other things. At least the running is staying relatively consistent, as it is priority #1 at the moment.  Only about 6 weeks till Boston, which means only about 3 more long runs.  No time to screw around.

It’s been nice outside during the day, which doesn’t mean anything to me since I am doing a lot of runs at 5:00am when it is still butt cold.   For instance, this morning at 5:00 it was 26F.  Right now, it is around 50F.  I would love to get on the bike outside today, but I am steeped in laundry, cleaning house, and taking care of the girls.  Next week is Spring Break, and I am hoping to fit in time to do more training. But, I have a ton of work to do as well. So, there is really no time off.  Just more flexibility in the schedule.

Looking forward to getting New Bedford 1/2 marathon out of the way.  Did a 6 mile tempo last night, and if that is an indication, I am looking at (hopefully) around 1:22.  I’m not in great shape due to lack of tempos and no speed.  Hopefully the aerobic base will kick in and carry me along.