Friday, October 24, 2008


Recently I was feeling a little bit overwhelmed and concerned about my A&P class. I got my ass handed to me on the first exam. I never really had any problems while I was going back to finish my Elementary Education degree so I was worried. As the second exam was approaching I was starting to feel stressed. This could really be a make or break test. If I didn't do well I probably wouldn't pass the class screwing up the rest of my school plans.

The week before the test I got a little intervention. One of the nurses that I work with told me how she was having trouble during her nursing school. This is a nurse that I respect and seems very intelligent. At the time she was thinking about dropping out of nursing school if things didn't turn around. One of her professors pulled her aside and gave her this advice.

C=RN. Don't stress so much over your grades. I can see that you will be a good nurse. When it comes time and you're dealing with a patient that is coding they aren't going to ask you what your grade point average was during school. You just do your job.

So that has become my approach. It's not that I won't try to do my best, but that I will do the best that I can and not stress too much over the grades.

Columbus Marathon Race Report

The starting line of the Columbus Marathon was jam packed as once again I got caught somewhere in the back around the 5 hour pace group. This was not what I was hoping for. What I was hoping to to do was get in with the 3:30 or 3:20 pace group and cruise along. No worries though. Certainly I would be able to catch up with them right? They were up there somewhere. So began my 4th marathon and another attempt at breaking 3:30. Columbus is a flat course that is known for producing Boston qualifiers. This was an excellent course to PR on and it was a perfect day for it. It started out at somewhere in the mid 40's and clear. It warmed up to somewhere in the mid 50's.

I was feeling ready. My training went well, and I had completed all my longest runs with very little problem. Although unlike the flat course of Columbus all my long runs involved major hill climbs. This was a minor cause for concern as I wasn't sure how I would handle the flat roads of Columbus. Another concern was endurance. I know I have the speed as I've run well all summer in shorter races. The question was would I have the endurance to push through the final miles.

The first half was flawless as I cruised through at 1:39. I knew I was pushing it, but I decided from the beginning to go all out and let the rest take care of itself. A great time for a half, and I felt good. I got a banana and some words of encouragement from marathon super fan Gina. I think her words of encouragement were something along the lines of "Move it Iker! You're going too slow!" After seeing the 3:30 and 3:40 pace groups go by she was thinking that I was crashing and burning. She was unaware of the fact that I had crossed the starting line a good 7 minutes after them.

What could possibly go wrong? It was somewhere between mile 19 and mile 20 that I began to feel the twinges of cramps. Oh yeah, that's what could go wrong. I stopped to stretch and hoped that I could hold off the worst of it as long as possible. Unfortunately that wasn't so long. Within the next half mile it began in my left calf. I shortened my stride and slowed. This seemed to help for a while, but only for a while. The cramps came back and by mile 23 my hamstrings were completely wasted. The miles and miles of flat road and continuous pounding on the same muscles had taken its toll. It was frustrating, because mentally I was feeling strong. I wasn't dehydrated. I still had fuel left, but the muscles were just spent.

At mile 24 I was pushing through slowly just wanting it to be over. At mile 26 I caught a wave from Super fan Gina. After that it was a short sprint to the finish, and by sprint I mean hobbling, limping jog. It wasn't the last 6.2 that I was hoping for or the finish I was hoping for, but still it was a PR at 3:34:37. This is my Columbus Marathon report or what will be remembered as 20 miles of awesome and 6.2 miles of brutal, or as Gina put it I crushed 20 and got crushed by 6.2, but still crushed it.

It's been a fun/tough run of 4 marathons over the last year and a half. The marathons are going on hold for a while. Next year is all about short, fast races and mursing school. After I graduate...we'll see.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Countdown to Columbus

A little over a day away from the marathon and I'm getting it all together and ready to run.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Mursing School

After returning to school to get my bachelor's degree in Education you think that would be enough right? You'd think I'd be teaching right now, but no. I am, once again, in transition. I've been at Children's Hospital for the last four years. A job that I took while I was in school that I could work while attending to my full time class schedule. It turns out I enjoy working at the hospital and would like to stay there. I've been working in various offices over the last four years doing customer service and admin. type work. It's good work and it's not something I don't enjoy, but not necessarily what I want to do for the rest of my working life at Children's.

This is part of the reason that I'm back in school to become a murse. It's something I've vaguely considered in the past but never pursued. This decision to pursue it was spurred on by what seemed like an inconsequential conversation, almost a joke. It all seemed to happen very quickly. One day we were talking about it over chat. The next day we were talking about program options. A few days after that I was at lunch with a co-worker and friend that was looking at nursing programs and had applied to one of the community colleges. The next thing I know I'm filling out applications, visiting school counselors, and signing up for classes.

That brings me to now. I'm currently taking Anatomy and Physiology, which is one of the few pre-requisite classes that I need to take before applying for the program. I have to admit it is quite a bit harder than I thought it was going to be. I've never thought of myself as a great student of science. English and Literature were more in my wheel house, but I'm working through it.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Off to the Races

It was quite the exciting weekend of races! First up we hit the Soapbox Races in Mt. Adams where teams were not only racing but judged on their themed vehicles and showmanship. The streets were packed as we watched some crazy racers speed down the hill...

The Cincinnati 3-Way

...and got to see some pretty awesome wipe outs...

Kool Mobile hits the wall

The theme of the day seemed to be hillsides as we then headed over to Ault Park for the Reggae Run.

I lined up with over 4,000 other runners and walkers on a perfect evening for racing. I had my goal of a top 50 finish and 20 minutes in mind, but didn't really know what to expect having never raced this before. I have a history of going out fast and hurting at the end. If I did that today it would be a super fast downhill mile and a half or so, then I would be punished for it coming back up (and I mean UP a big ass hill) into the park. I forgot my Garmin, which has become an indispensable toy tool while training and racing to keep that tendency in check. I borrowed a watch, but in the end I was flying blind as there were no mile markers either. I made a deal with myself. I would cruise down the hills. I wouldn't chase anybody down. I would let them go. I would see them again on the way back up.

So I stuck to my plan. During that first half of the race I set a steady pace and concentrated on conserving my energy as much as I could during a 5k. The course wound its way out of the park with a few minor inclines but a much larger downhill push to Delta Ave. I waited patiently and watched others around me push the pace before the real race had even begun.

We turned up Delta. This is where it begins. I shortened my stride and concentrated on controlled breathing. I wanted a quick, efficient turnover and to keep from gasping for air. I picked up the pace and started passing runners. During that last half of the race I felt completely in control of the situation. I had enough in the tank to push it up the hill and give it a good kick at the end.

The results speak for themselves.
31 ADAM IKER        Official Time: 19:46   Pace: 6:23 

Thursday, October 02, 2008

So begins another taper before the Columbus Marathon in a few weeks. In the past, and by past I mean in the last year, I've gone into these times tired, beat up, and sometimes recovering from injury. I'm feeling pretty good. I've played it a lot looser with my training this time around, ditching the constant journal entries and obsessing over getting in every run. I've concentrated on getting in the important runs: 5 weeks of hill training early on and just finished up a 6 week rotation of Yasso 800's. I got in all my long runs finishing up with a solid 20 miler last Sunday. All the other runs have been filled in as I could get them in. Some weeks I'd get in 4 runs other weeks only 3. It makes me a little nervous that I'm under trained and don't have the endurance I need to reach my goal had I put in a more regular schedule with more mileage.

On the positive side I feel healthy and haven't sustained any injuries that I've had in the past due to those high mile weeks. I guess the proof will come in a few weeks when I line up at the start line in Columbus to try to run a 3:20 marathon. I'll be testing the theory that it is better to be under trained and healthy rather than risk injury.

In the meantime I'll be running the Reggae Run 5k this Saturday. It's a tough run that begins and ends in Ault Park, and for those that don't know the park is on the side of a hill. You run down the hill out of the park, and back up to the finish. Should be fun! My goal is to finish top 50 at around 20 minutes.