Friday, July 30, 2010

Running Movie Marathon

Of course Pitt is excellent. Duh.
In keeping with my all running all the time postings lately I've decided to get a little inspirational during my marathon training. It's been brutally hot outside, so I need all the help I can get. Let's have a little running movie marathon! (pun intended). These are two great tastes that that taste great together. I'm totally stealing this idea from my favorite movie podcast Filmspotting. They take a theme, genre, director or whatever and watch a series of movies over several weeks and review and talk about them. Who's with me??

The idea may be stolen, but the inspiration came the other day when I flipped on the television and caught the last quarter of a movie called Running. Michael Douglas as a 34 year old runner trying out for the Olympics?!!? Why have I never heard of this movie before? Did the makers of Run, Fatboy, Run steal their plot from this movie? Why was this entire movie shot in soft focus? So many questions from such a cheesy movie.

Here is the list of movies I've compiled so far. Some of these I've seen, some I've not, but they are all being considered. I'll probably pick five or six, the easier to get the movies the better, so if anybody wants to play along or make suggestions let's do this...

Across The Tracks - This is the only sure thing. Brad Pitt and Rick Schroder as brothers running on competing track teams?? Dude. I actually have a vague memory of seeing this movie at some point. I'm sure it will hold up as a classic. Available on Netflix and Netflix Streaming.

Running On The Sun - 40 runners compete in the Badwater 135. That's 135 miles across a desert. That's insane. Available on Netflix.

Run For Your Life - An excellent documentary about the life of the creator of the New York Marathon Fred Lebow. Available on Netflix and Netflix Streaming.

Run, Fatboy, Run - Simon Pegg as a lovable loser trying to win his girl back by running a marathon and learning many life lessons along the way. Comedy and hijinks follow. 

Spirit of the Marathon - Follow a group of runners at levels from first time marathoner to professional as they prepare and run The Chicago Marathon. The best running documentary or running movie I've ever seen. Period. Available on Netflix and Netflix Streaming. Also available right on the IMDb web page via Hulu with some commercials. Totally worth it. 

Without Limits or Prefontaine - Two movies about the man, the myth, the legend. Pre. Double feature? Both available on Netflix.

The Long Run -Grumpy old coach looking for one more shot at glory trains a young woman to race the Comrades Marathon in South Africa. You know, Hoosiers with running in South Africa. Available on Netflix.

St. Ralph -Kid tries to strike up a deal with God that if he wins the Boston Marathon his mother will be healed. Get out the Kleenex I'm sensing tear jerker. Available on Netflix and Netflix Streaming.

On The Edge - Some guy makes a mistake and trains to win some race overseas. Drama unfolds. It's life man. Available on Netflix and Netflix Streaming.

Chariots of Fire - Queue the theme music and do your slow motion running. It's on. Available on Netflix.

Running Brave - The story of one of the greats, Billy Mills, and his path to gold in the Olympics. Should be a good one, maybe. Unfortunately may also be hard to find. Not available anywhere as far as I can tell.

Personal Best - Two female athletes train together, fall in love, and probably face some sort of trials and tribulations along the way. Just guessing. Available on Netflix.

Running - That Michael Douglas stars as an aging runner fighting to do the one thing he loves and win the Olympic Marathon. Not available on Netflix, but I may try to catch this one again on Showtime. Cheesetastic.

Let's watch some movies.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Road to Indy Week 4: Back To Life, Back To Reality

From the Bridge to Paradise (Island)

 Remember last week when I started out kind of brutal and ended up in paradise? Thise week was kind of like that week in reverse. I wonder if they have any openings for dolphin trainers. 

Monday:  35 minute Open water swim. With only a couple of days left I decided to take a day off from running and spend the time in the ocean. There is something completely awesome about doing an open water swim in crystal clear ocean water. It was tiring, but exhilarating.  The entire time I was watching the bottom for cool shells and cool sea creatures. Fish would swim by in schools. The bottom moved and skittered away every now and then as I dove down occasionally to grab a cool shell. Why don't I live near a beach?

Tuesday:  Final run in paradise. The final 7 miles along the beach.  I took it easy and slow. Headed back out across the bridge from Paradise Island into Nassau. I ran along the beach on the sidewalk. A beautiful slow run. With the day off my legs felt very good, and now that I had a good idea of good places to run I felt right at home on the roads dodging traffic on the wrong side of the road. I could get used to this...

Wednesday:  Back to reality...3 slow miles on the regular Mt. Carmel route. It was the slowest running of this route so far.

Thursday:  5 x 800 intervals on the Nagel Middle School Track. I ran each 800 meter interval trying stay close to a 7 minute/mile. Each rest in between was a slow jog for 400 meters. It was brutally hot and I fought to get through the workout. All in all I think I did very well. The speed was up to par considering the heat.. Things are looking good.

Friday:  Rest and Relaxation...

Saturday: 7 mile marathon pace run on Little Miami Trail. The first few miles had trouble keeping pace. I felt like I was keeping pace, but apparently not. I was down a little bit. After I loosened up I was able to pick up the pace and finish strong.

Sunday: 2 Laps around Lunken for a 10 mile long run. This was the toughest workout I've had so far. For the first 7 miles I couldn't push above 9 minute miles. I was feeling very stiff, sore and tired. Thankfully it was an overcast morning with a nice breeze. Thank goodness for the clouds and the breeze. Lunken can be brutal on a sunny day. That back straight away just bakes in the sun. But this day I reached that back stretch for the second time, and was finally able to pick up the pace and shake off the soreness. This is what I need to feel to get used to fighting through those final miles of the marathon.

Coming soon: A running movie marathon....

Monday, July 19, 2010

Road to Indy Week 3: A.B. Iker International Runner

 Taken with iPhone and put together with Autostitch app. For real....

Suggested playlist while reading this entry: Soak Up The Sun/Sheryl Crow, Only Happy When It Rains/Garbage, Airplanes/B.o.B, White Flag/Gorillaz, Just Like Living In Paradise/David Lee Roth, Breaking The Law/Judas Priest,

I'll probably never have another week of running like this in my life. It started out as a hot, muggy and pretty miserable week trudging through the usual workouts on the usual routes. I had a little excitement on Tuesday, but not that exciting. Then things got really awesome on Friday as we boarded a jet to the Bahamas. By 5 pm that evening we were in our bathing suits and heading to the beach. Being the anal retentive runner that I am I wasn't going to miss a run. I made sure I had my running gear packed up and ready to go at 6 am Saturday morning. It's blazing hot, so I wanted to at least stay out of the sun. Besides it's vacation. I can't spend my day running. The troops would be waking around 9, so I had to be back and ready for some fun in the sun. Speaking of which, the Leap of Faith awaits. On with the wrap up!

Monday: Easy 3 miler. Ran a new route from the Anderson Mercy Healthplex to try out a new route. It was another hot one since I didn't get out until about 1 in the afternoon. It was slow and un-fun.

Tuesday: Hit the Little Miami Trail again after work for an "easy" 7 miler. After the previous day's heat I wasn't feeling super excited about the run. It was hot and muggy and within a mile of start...raining. I'm a fan of running in the rain. Great run.

Wednesday: Another 3 miles on the Mt. Carmel route I set up. It was supposed to be at an easy pace and for the most part it was, but I couldn't help but try to beat my own time in cyclemeter again. I did.

Thursday: 35 minute tempo run. I never quite got these runs right in previous trainin programs. I went back and looked into exactly what I'm supposed to run. You start off at an easy pace and about 20 minutes in pick up the pace to just below a 10k pace for about 5 minutes. This one would be handy to use the Nike Plus program with if it worked. At the point you could hit your power song and get an aural kick for about 5 minutes. It all worked out pretty well for me. I picked it up for the 5 minutes and dropped back down to an easy pace for the last 10 minutes.

Friday: Rest and Travel Day. I am leaving on a jet plane. Don't know when I'll be back again. (Actually I do, but for the purposes of this post I don't.)

Saturday: Just Like Livin' in Paradise. I was out for a 7 mile race pace run in a strange land without any idea of where I was running other than somewhere around the resort and the unreliable Nike Plus back in action for a couple of days. No cell phone service means no GPS service on my iPhone. Boooo. I ran into a fellow runner from New York in the lobby at about 6 am, chatted and asked him where he's been running. He mentioned crossing the bridge into Nassau and running along the strip. that sounded like good a plan as any, so I headed out toward the resort entrance and across the tallest bridge I've ever encountered. It was a seriously steep hill, but with a beautiful view of Paradise Island at the top. The run worked out really well. I headed out along the coast line sticking to the sidewalk. Once The sidewalk ended I headed back to the resort and to the foot paths.

At one point I got totally lost in the resort (this place is huge!) and had two choices: turn around and back track in to the main hallway of the resort and through the casino out the other end. How often do you get to run through a casino? I headed in expecting to get stopped at any moment, but at 7:30 in the morning there weren't many people around in the casino except for a few die hards staring intently at the slot machines. They didn't even notice me. I'm sure there was some security watching me on the monitors wondering what the crazy tourist was doing.

Sunday: Breakin' the law. I had a scheduled long run of 14 miles today, but I had to sort of wing it. Nike Plus failed me again at about 5 miles in. That's cool. I was half expecting it and was prepared. I wore my watch and had the time running. I'm not sure if I got my 14 in, but I got a good 90 minutes in. Once again I picked a random direction and just started running. This time I ended up running on to a golf course. As I ran by the entrance some workers at the guard station said something. I didn't hear and nodded and waved and kept on running. Laaa lala. It was a beautiful course with great views of the ocean and lots of birds scurrying around. I wound around the course and back out the same way I came in. As I passed by the station again one of the workers walked up to me.

He said in his stern yet polite Bahamian way, "Sir this is private property. We sent security out after you."

I was all, "Oh shit I'm sorry. I saw a bunch of grounds crew out there and nobody said anything." Actually they were very nice and all waved and said hi.

He just shook his head. That's right I'm a total bad ass. I out ran the Bahama golf course security force. Breakin' the law, breakin' the law...

Next week: Back to reality with Bahama stories and lots and lots of photos and maybe some video...

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Road to Indy Week 2: You hit me once, I hit you back...

 Some days I feel like I'm in an abusive relationship with running. I clothe it in fancy running shoes, send it to school, feed it delicious food, buy it fancy gadgets, and even take it on vacation to Florida. What do I get in return? Sometimes running's really good to me. I swear running loves me...sometimes. I feel like it loves me. I swear guys it loves me, except for the times I think it wants to kill me. It wants to set me on fire and dance over my ashes. I think this can be best summed up in song. Then we're on to the weekly wrap up....

Monday: Started out the week with an easy 3 miler. Using my new running/cycling app (suck it Nike Plus) I saved the run as a 3 mile route that I'll be able to use during future runs to pace myself against. The app will tell me if I'm ahead of my previous pace or behind my previous pace at various points in the race. It's like my dream to race myself.

Tuesday - 6 miler on the Little Miami Trail at an easy pace. According to my running log "it was hot and I sweat a lot". It is July. Thanks Captain Obvious.

Wednesday: I revisited that 3 mile route and beat myself by 36 seconds (suck it me). It was still at an easy pace.

Thursday: This was my first tough workout of the week. After a warm up jog I hit the 5 Mile Trail. I sprinted up a 1/4 mile stretch of hill and jogged back down...repeat 4 grueling times. Between the heat and coming off a 12 hour stretch at work I was thoroughly exhausted by the end. Luckily on this schedule I'll only be doing this every 3rd week.  

Friday: Well deserved, much needed rest day....ahhhhh

Saturday: Race Pace Day. The lesson I learned this week was that race pace day isn't only about speed, maybe even less about speed as it is about practicing form. It was an excellent run where I felt very comfortable about maintaining a 7:43 min/mile pace. At the end of the run though I could feel my shoulders hunching up and my strides becoming heavier as I pounded the ground trying to keep pace. If I can learn to keep good form as I get tired it will make all the difference come late in the race on marathon day.

Sunday: 13 mile long run. Running was real sweet to me for the first 9 miles. It was about mile 10 that it kicked me in the hip. It wasn't a hard kick. It was more of a love tap to remind me it loves me, and to do a better job of stretching. Running believes in tough love. After a little regroup I gave running a slap back and finished up. Hydration is gonna be key for these long runs. I need to be sure and carry some water with me or plan these a little more carefully to hit more water fountains. It's getting real....real hot and long.

Coming next week: Running on Paradise Island!

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Road To Indy Week 1: Nike Plus is dead to me.


After finishing the Columbus Marathon in October 2008 I was done with marathons. What does this have to do with Nike Plus? We'll get to that..It was the fourth in about a year and a half and Columbus kicked my butt and kicked me squarely in the quads. Soooo, here we are and I've started to train (in July) for that which I sworn off (because it always ends in pain). To quote Vizzini:

You fell victim to one of the classic blunders - The most famous of which is "never get involved in a land war in Asia" - but only slightly less well-known is this: "Never start marathon training in the summer!" Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha...

That's not exactly right, but whatever. So off we go on a 16 week training program that will culminate with the running of the 2010 Indianapolis Marathon on October 16th. Things are gonna change I can feel it. This time around I've decided to go with Hal Higdon's Advanced Marathon Training Plan. I'm a little late starting since it's an 18 week program, so I started on week 3. It's for those who want all the pain of the marathon and a big heaping plate of training runs. Each week I will give a little update and a rundown of the week's training. Don't worry I'm getting to why Nike Plus is dead to me.

Monday: Intervals on the track. This was my first time on the track in a long time, and it felt great. I warmed up with a mile of running then knocked out a 4 x 800 workout at about a 10K pace with a 400 jog break in between each interval. I finished up with a 400 all out and an 800 cool down. The total was 5 miles.

Tuesday: off

Wednesday:   8 x hill repeats. I wouldn't normally do hills and speed in the same week, but this is the day I started the program after fumbling around looking for the right one. Typically I pick a hill that's about a 1/4 mile long, but was stuck with a short hill, so I figured that 8 repeats would almost equal 4 x .25 mile hill repeats. Felt pretty good. Weather was great...about 73 and sunny.

Thursday: 3 mile run at a an easy pace. These runs will be on Monday and Wednesday from now on, and occasionally will be replaced with cycling or swimming as the summer goes on to mix things up.

Friday: Rest Day

Saturday: 6 mile race pace. Tempo runs and race pace runs are going to be key. I was missing these in previous training programs. I plan on doing these regularly to get comfortable with the pace and build endurance. For Indy I'm hoping to break 3 hours and 30 minutes which means I'll have to maintain a pace faster than 8 minute miles. I can do that easily over short distances, but the true test comes after about mile 18, and this is where things fall apart every time.  Today's run was brought you by the long boring loop that is Lunken Airport Trail.

Sunday: 8 mile long run. aka The Day Nike Plus died. I met up with the running group for our long run this morning bright and early at 7 am. I'm glad we did, because it was already hot out. Any later and it would have been unbearable. Everything was ready to go: music - check, sunglasses - check, Nike Plus - check. Off we go from Mt. Lookout Square.

Fast forward to about 20 minutes into the run. I start thinking it's kind of odd that I haven't heard the soft coo of the Nike Plus girl in my ear counting down the miles. Certainly I've covered a couple of miles so far. I pull my iPhone out of the iPouch and I was iPissed. I had a few choice iWords to say and they all started with f. On the screen I see what is pictured above. 20 minutes and 0 miles. I owe my iPhone an apology for all the harsh language it had to hear. I'm sure it's innocent in all this. I blame Nike Plus. You are dead to me Nike Plus. I'm over you. If this were an isolated incident that would be fine, but this is the final straw in a series of annoying incidents. The rest of the run to Eden Park and back went smoothly. I finished about 8.5 miles as I just figured out thanks to routes feature. The pace was about perfect as I wanted to keep it about a minute slower than race pace.

Post run was awesome. The perks of running with a group and one of them having a pool...and living close to excellent eats. Thanks Beth! I new we could do it!

It looked something like this....

Tomorrow morning begins week 2!

Saturday, July 03, 2010

In the summertime when the weather is high....

Final game of the softball season and Aiden has hit her peak. She goes 2 for 2 scoring 1 run and looks like Johnny Bench in his prime behind home plate. Wrapping it up in style and on her birthday no less. Happy birthday girl!

Thursday, July 01, 2010

50 Races, 50 States...50 Years?

The Warrior Dash has revived my interest in racing. For a time I was feeling kind of burned out and uninterested in racing. I'll still do some of the major events like the Heart Mini and the Flying Pig, but I wasn't excited about races. Partly I feel like I've hit a wall with my performance. Some days I feel like I've run as fast as I'll ever run. I always enjoy trying to beat myself and improve upon my times. It's getting harder and harder to do. The other part is working at night. It's making it very hard to get motivated to train. I'm usually exhausted when I get off work at 7:30 in the morning, and it's so hot when I wake up in the afternoon that running is just un-fun. Something had to give, and it was my training.

Now I'm feeling a bit of that loving feeling....from racing which will give me a reason to train. Heading out to Illinois also reminded of another goal that I had made for myself a while back. I thought I had written about it, but apparently not. I had set a long term goal, more of a lifetime goal, of doing some sort of event in all 50 states. I don't care what it is, bike, run, tri. It's an excuse to travel and try out new races.

Here is my tiny list so far. It's sad really...

  • Ohio - 2007 Flying Pig Marathon
  • Kentucky -  2007 Jingle Bell Run 5K
  • Florida - 2008 Disney Marathon
  • Michigan - 2007 Miles for Meals 5K
  • Indiana - ?!!?
I've done several races in Ohio and Kentucky. I just picked one to list. What's up with Indiana? How have I not done any races in Indiana? This is really disappointing and will have to be fixed this year. Maybe a fall marathon in Indy? Or...maybe a shorter race in Indy and one of these:

Steamtown Marathon - Scranton, Pennsylvania

Bay State Marathon - Lowell, Massachusetts

Anybody have a couch I can crash on?