Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Last Call

I’m sure that most felt like we were done with our marathon training and the enduring weekly leaderly words of …, well, let’s just politely leave it at “leaderly words”. After all we’ve been through, it shouldn’t come as a big shock, but I feel compelled (could also possibly be gas related) to get in a few parting shots before calling an official end to our oft agonizing 5 month relationship of mutual dependency.
Before getting to the serial stuff, you need to know that I’m of clear mind and 70% grudge free in my recovery from the extremely embarrassing situation related to this morning’s Easter egg hunt fiasco. Mostly, it was just hurtful. Although the source of the mixed signals remains a mystery, there’s some small comfort taken in my judicious election to appear this morning without the bonnet, floppy ears, powder puff tail, and whiskers.

To start with, I’m truly proud of and impressed with your training accomplishments, particularly with those who are pressing the marathon distance for the first time. I also can honestly and with all sincerity claim that this is the best overall 9 to 10 minute per mile training pace running group that I’ve ever been associated with during the first half of 2011. The success of the first timers also helps validate the practice of “temporarily borrowing”, aka “runnapping”, folks from other training groups in hopes of being able to show them a longer and more mentally punishing path to the finish line.
In our defense, just imagine how you would react if in fact Coach Kathy had approached you and indicated that she wanted you to get as many runners as you could away from Rock Star Ed’s group (NOTE: I’m not saying this happened; rather, directing your attention to what you would have hypothetically done.) I’m trying to not show my feelings, but it is likely apparent to anyone interested in this story line that things between Ed and me have been a little awkward recently. I prefer not to dwell on it or make a big deal about it, ‘cause he knows exactly how and when he pulled away during that certain moment of shared affection. He contends that his recoil was more from surprise than willful rejection, but I think we can all tell the difference. Plus if it was more reflexive than contemplative, then it’s really worse because that provides an unfiltered glimpse of his true feelings. Moving on …..

As mentioned above, today marks the completion of our 2011 Spring training session. With a week to go before the Oklahoma City Marathon, there’s nothing that can be gained from additional training sessions. Although you deservingly have some remorseful thoughts regarding your abusive, albeit justifiable, treatment of certain run leaders over the past few months, please recognize that there is nothing positive that can be done at this point to counteract any missed or distance cutting training sessions. For me, I have historically tried in vain to get in that “one more quality run” during marathon taper week. While each of us responds differently, I’m convinced that hard efforts this close to race day directly add to, not subtract from, the actual marathon finish time.
So my advice, if you’re still reading at this point (and also made in a total serious fashion for a change) is that if you engage in any PG rated activities during the next week, they should be performed at very light effort levels and kept short in distance/time. If you need to get out to enjoy the outdoors, to clear your head, to have some “me time”, to socialize, and/or to stretch out an ache, then that is fine. But if you can tell that you exercised by evidence of shortness of breath, elevated heart rate, or perspiration, then you’re doing too much and it’s going to hurt you next Sunday. You simply don’t need it from a training perspective – it can only hurt you – I promise – no yolking around.

Second serious point: Hydration and carb loading. You need to start now, and not wait until the Friday or Saturday. With hydration, be careful to not just drink water to the point that it flushes away your body salts to excessively low levels. You may consider increasing –Aid beverage intake, along with water or other alternatives to maintain sodium and salt levels. As for carbs, you don’t have to go pasta wild all week long, but just make sure you don’t totally avoid breads, crackers, and other sources. Your body will pull these stored carbs out as fuel during your race, and I believe that it helps to start out fully stocked and to supplement during the race at roughly 5 mile intervals.

I’m planning to use all my richly imagined powers and abilities to favorably influence next Sunday’s Oklahoma City weather conditions. Favorable thoughts directed my way are bound to either increase my imagined powers or to bolster my ego – what we in the biz call a win/win situation. As I’ve disclosed to many, but have reluctantly realized that few have taken note, I will not be running OKC this year. I am, however, very interested in seeing how each of you do during your run. I plan on utilizing this relatively new technology called the “net”, something available to the most powerful and influential people in the world and in fact developed by (or self credited to) a former U.S Vice President. I would appreciate receiving back, with your consent, your bib numbers for internet tracking. For me, it removes a fair amount of the guilt and shame associated with internet creeping if the voyee willingly and knowingly says it’s OK. This is in line with my intense vampire research where the victim invites the vampire in by opening the window or door. It also provides me with an additional layer of coverage in the untimely event of any resultant legal proceedings.

Nearing the end, on behalf of the Dom-N-8RZ Run Leaders, I want to thank each of you. The past few months have been great for us – getting to know new people, and in helping us in our own conditioning and fitness. I’m hopeful that we share many mutual good memories, and that we realized we can have a bit of fun while also working hard. Also, thank you for this morning honoring the recently legislated “No Hitting Run Leaders” rule, although it is hereby recorded that maliciously inflicted mental anguish and suffering can significantly exceed physically rendered pain.

While we’re in our “Happy Place”, please take the time to thank the great folks at Runners World for all the wonderful help and guidance they have and continue to provide to us. Coach Kathy is simply GREAT, while Pretty Boy Brian can be adorable....
....if you give him 5 or 6 chances and assuming you can forgive his lust affair with the megaphone, and they truly care about almost all of us.
Trail Zombie Ken is a rock, and he plays a major part in keeping us abreast of what’s going on in the running community with his blogs, friendship, and guidance.

Tatur Dave is the ingenious map maker and chief route creator.

He makes sure that we always have interesting and challenging routes to impossibly challenge our navigation skills – with hills, of course.

Finally, as we’ve recently discussed, anyone who set a PR in their first marathon will be obliged to return this summer and continue to run with the Runners World group (like there was even another consideration in and around the Tulsa area – please!).

Best Wishes! Have a Great OKC Marathon (the Memorial inspiration is tremendous and should give you at least 168 points of motivation, especially during the later portions of the race).

Hope to see you soon – gotta’ go now – they’re shutting this place down – after all, it was Last Call a while ago.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Hunt is On!

When: Saturday, April 23, 2011 6:45 AM-8:30 AM. Central Standard Time
Where: Peeps Park (21st & Boulder)


It goes without saying (not that I could ever go without saying, as by now everyone reluctantly acknowledges) that we’re all pretty hoppin’ excited about what’s hidden amongst the grasses for us this weekend. There’s likely to be jumping here, bounding there, all sorts of weaving about, with jack rabbit stops and starts, tails bumping close to the ground, noses twitching, and ears standing at attention. Whether the trail guardians are in a giving or taking mood remains a bit of a mystery at this point, but a well prepared and optimistic hunter/gatherer would be advised to bust out the big basket – just in case.
You see, it’s time to shriek out a big HALLELUJAH or two – a time to celebrate. With last week’s long run dutifully charted, recorded, and booked for reflection, we have officially completed our Spring 2011 Marathon Training Program. In fact, rumors are trotting rampant that some of our more geekishly astroidal runnertoids were so bold as to digitally memorialize “my first 24” that was ”accidentally”, but not-so-innocently recorded on outlawed, yet brazenly displayed, garmanistic contraband that were boldly justified as wristerly fashion statements.
Suspicious motives aside, the entire gaggle of Runners World trainiacs are sincerely congratulated for sticking with it, enduring the early morning starts, the early season chills, the unselfish heaping servings of 70% uphills followed by 30% downhills, taking getting lost from a science to a higher art form, dutifully gulping Pretty Boy Brian’s surgically sanitized gatorbrew, and cyphering through the clues to ascertain each week’s starting location and time. Seems like I’m leaving out something else that everyone had to endure, but I can’t for the blog of me quite figure it out, even though it seems so close and directly beneath my fingertips – like it’s almost staring back at me at this very moment. Oh well, maybe it’ll come to me later, but for now I’ll just keep the torture going.
Looking back a bit, it’s almost like we were constantly in search of the perfect trail, the perfect temperature, the perfect running group. Well, zero out of three leaves a lot of room for future opportunity, which is of course the objective of any run leader/leaderette worth his or her salt-clogged pores. Like some famous person may have said, “Always leave them hoping for a better life”, or something to that effect. So for those who aren’t quite sure whether they’re hooked, whether they’re just a tad bit addicted to the perfect run quest, we pose the following: If you’ve ever found yourself suddenly and without warning thrust in the eye of an approaching tornado, and your thoughts immediately go to recognizing how calm the wind is and how the rest of the world seems to be pushed well beyond the circular and revolving wall, and you can only think about how great it would be to go for a run in these conditions, then …. well …. I hate to break it to you so harshly, but yes, you are indeed a certifiable runner – maybe even institutional status.

Hopping along, we’ve got a little marsh hunt planned for this Saturday at Peep’s Park (alias: Veteran’s Park). We’ll be getting our thumpers on at the new old time of eggs-zactly 6:45 AM’ish. And if all goes according to plan, we’ll casually run exactly half the distance during the first part of our run, and then bounce on back for close to the same distance for the return trip, hoping that we end up Dom-N-8RZ-ly close to where we started. Let’s make it a tail-boppin’ challenge – the Hunt is On!
Peeps Rule – carbalicious – the preferred energy chew of all the great marathoners/marathonettes.


Friday, April 15, 2011

Something Special

When: Saturday, April 16, 2011 6:15 AM-11:00 AM. Central Standard Time
Where: Veteran's Park (21st & Riverside)


Something Special

All right class, can we say too hot and too humid and way too early and that it totally kicked Larry’s @#% - HEY! That’s enough – you not only didn’t have to add that last part, but you also didn’t have to say it with such a sense of unison and joy. Yes, last Saturday was not one of my better days for running, but still managed to get through it without having to lug around all that extra body fluid that the medical community likes to refer to as blood. Just think of the time saved by plasma extractors when they are able to draw it directly from the vein, sans centrifuging, just the sweat nectar. It’s times like this when we must keep in mind that survival is preferred, but not something to be taken for granted. Of course we all know the real story – er, that is, let me see, oh yeah, that – um – I ….. was ….. hold that thought a little longer …. purposely filling the sweeper role by trailing the group at sufficient space and distance to ensure that we didn’t leave anyone behind, or lost, or ….. Can I get back to you later when I think of, I mean accurately remember, how it might really have happened? Thanks. Plus, last week is so in the past, and as we’ve learned throughout the training season, we need to be focused on the future.

Which brings us to Saturday’s Final Long Training Run – the longest of the season. 24 solid miles of circuitous sole tenderizing bliss, just trust me (OK, I know this “just trust me thing” hasn’t necessarily worked out all that well for fellow ‘Noes and ‘Nettes in the past, but this time might could should possibly will be different). In fact, you’re gonna’ sorta’ have to, cause for this extra special marathon training extravaganza we’re banning all timing devices and electronic guidance systems. Yep, this time when we get lost we’ll be doing it the old fashioned way, just like my grandpa did (but of course He would never admit that he was lost – wonder where I ever got that gene?). Aside from the obvious abusive nature of it all, there is actually a purpose to the madness of not running with that old familiar electronic wrist suffocating sun dial. It vaguely has something to do with learning to listen to your body, set a pace based upon your breathing and conditioning, to focus on form and being relaxed, and also to ward off the panic that can set up during an actual race when the batteries die or the satellite signal won’t sync or the band breaks and the watch disappears or the dog ate your homework – oops, the old standby reflex just kicked in. Anyway, tunes to move to are in, but knowing exactly where you are, how far you’ve gone, and how long it’s taken to get there are totally out. Just Trust Me.

For an encore, I dipped into my special issue bag of top secret run leader powers, and wishing to use them for good for a change, arranged for a return to early spring temperatures for Saturday morning. The special powers are very strong, but they aren’t very long lasting, which means that it will likely warm up quickly as the sun draws higher and higher. Not to be daunted, cause a run leader likes to pretend like he is prepared for any situation, (although the repertoire typically consists of running, walking, or stopping – not necessarily in that order), we’re chosen to honor all of those unspoken requests and have agreed to start our run 30 minutes earlier. For the time anchored sort who desire a bit more precision in their muster, plan on arriving at Veteran’s Park Saturday morning at 6:15 AM’ish, and we’ll take it from there. Also, it might be good to bring along several sets of left and right turns, ‘cause we’ll be using quite a few. As the last long training run, make sure you do all that other prepping and primping and nutritioning and hydaterating thingamabobs that you should get down pat (which is way much different than a pat down) before the actual marathon.

If everyone does their part, which pretty much means to not question anything I say within earshot distance, it’s not entirely outside the realm of imagination that Saturday could actually be Something Special.

Also, I hate to keep bringing this up, but PLEASE, just this one time, kind observance of the No Hitting Run Leaders Rule Suggestion Hope would be much appreciated.

Way back when it rained a lot round here, I had posted this video. I have been wanting to re-post it for a while, but I thought people could just not relate to it. But after the well documented phenomena last night, I thought it was finally time to take this video off the shelf and share it again. Enjoy.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

RunnersWorld Runners attack Big D (and Big D attacks back!!)

Several of our runners made a trip south to visit Dallas, work on their tan, and since they were there anyway--run a marathon or half marathon. This blogger does not have a complete list of who all went, but give me a shout-out in the comment column, and I'll give you kudos. I do know that Brian and Misti Stanton, Laurie Whitesell, Alana Duncan, Jodi Williams, and Susan Westmoreland represented RunnersWorld doing either the half or full. Temperatures soared, and most runners had a personal battle with the heat. But all of our runners made it to the finish line unscathed--well, nearly all.
Susan Westmoreland (pictured next to the trail_zombie after her MotherRoad Marathon finish back on 10-10-10 ) was cruising along to another half marathon finish. Around mile 12, someone stepped out of an alley as she passed, and instead of shouting the usual "looking good" or "you're almost there", she grabbed Susan's Camelback and yanked, throwing Susan to the ground. Susan, understandably startled, held on to the front straps while this crackhead mugger yanked the pack from behind and yelled "I WANT YOUR MELON!!!"
While I would liked to have had a picture, Susan's camera was IN the backpack (whereas a GOOD paparazzi would have had the camera in her/his hand.) Fortunately, this happened near an intersection where three policemen were directing traffic, and they ran to Susan's rescue and took this crazy woman away. Susan was not hurt, although she did land a little hard on the ground, and she finished her race after giving the police a few details. This woman was maybe 80 pounds, according to our beloved victim Susan, but had superhuman strength possibly due to a good hit of meth. ("Hit"---is that what they call a dose of meth??) A side note--the above pic is not actually of the backpack grabber, but one I found on Google. Laurie Whitesell described the mugger as a cross between Don King and an old Ike Turner--but female. So if the actual person in this picture sees this and calls me out, I'll just deal with it.

So what can we make of all of this? Well, for one, this is a half marathon Susan will never forget. She now has a new nickname--Melon. And I think she would be well advised to get a different backpack to eliminate any future confusion.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Hard Part is Done

When: Saturday, April 09, 2011 6:45 AM-9:30 AM. Central Standard Time
Where: Veteran's Park (21st & Boulder)


The Hard Part is Done

Still less than 100 %, but most of us should be back to our basic routine and core training schedule this week.
Yep, we got last week's sandy springs and lakey ‘McMurderies out of our system, and we can now focus on what we do best - mutilating route directions, getting lost but rarely admitting it, harassing fellow/fellowette runners, complaining about every nagging ache or pain, stuffing our post run faces with carbonage, and overall loving every sweatingly minute of the Tulsa Runners World Dom-N-8RZ marathon training experience. That’s what I’m talking about!

Oh, the places we have been, the stories we can commun-i-fabr-i-cate, and the trail damages that we have inflicted …. It’s these misremembered memories that allow us to once again pursue the rapidly approaching goal that seemed so distant and semi-committed way back when. Once again, the power of body and spirit weakening substances reigns supreme over our arguably otherwise rational decision making capabilities. There’s a reason why races are carefully labeled with daring and intriguing monikers such as “Midnight Madness” as opposed to the more descriptive and accurate “50 Miles of Excruciating Pain and Body Slamming Humidity”. Something about friends don’t let friends suffer alone, Missouri loves company, and other traditional saying two numbersome to speak of, take it or leave a half baker’s dozen – you get my drift lumber.

So this Sat (all the cool people now say “Sat” versus the prior word that described the day after Friday and the one before Sunday – wouldn’t be cool to slip in a reckless ‘urday), we remuster at Veteran’s Park, say around 6:45 AM’ish, administer our ever popular group air hugs where we try to sacrificially expel all our slow running genes/genettes, and with semi-coordinated laces and increasing pulse rates wait in tepid anticipation for this week’s chaotic route instructions. We confidently and silently assure ourselves that the exhilarations of running off course are just a few tens of minutes away, but still, it takes the patience of Job, as well as the disabled ears of great grandpa to make it through another one of Pretty Boy Brian’s megaphone protracted post dawn sermons.
Also, back by popular demand, this week’s run has been carefully and sadistically infused with sloping sections that magically trend upward in a 4 to 1 disproportion to the portions oriented towards the down low. And just to provide the right balance of rigid scientificological data collection required to prove whatever lost point that I originally envisioned, we’ve solemnly vowed to switch our garmins from left to right, turn our maps over and upside down, and re-run the 6’ish mile slopewinder course in reverse for our second lap. Breadcrumbs and spray paint might come in handy. Mileage du jour de Sat is 12 (Int) and 14 (Adv), presuming we can once again comply with our recently enacted No Hitting Run Leaders Policy. Special advice for our flailing fashionistas: Peeking ahead just a bit at the weatherometer, I don’t recommend wearing anything that won’t survive a severe desweatification process.

With the time and the date and the course, and finally the last minute tip-o-da-week instructions to stay primarily in an upright posture all set, the hard part is truly done. All that’s left is to leg it out, and to hope that next week we get to run a long one.