Wednesday, March 27, 2013

My passport came, and now I'm nervous

When I checked the mail Monday, there was a nice big envelope with the Boston Athletic Association return address on it.  I ripped it opened and included in the marketing pieces was the runners booklet and handbook with my Boston Marathon runner's passport.  Obviously its no shocker that I would be getting this, but now its really close and now I know where I'll be seeded.

Let me say that my qualifying time was really good in my mind.  A 2:53:08 marathon to me was as good as I could have run. Nothing faster.  So I have been planning to run at a 6:59-7:03 pace per mile for the marathon.  That equates to about a 3:03 marathon.  Thats good enough for me with everything going on in my life right now with Riley being born. 

My race number is 1508.  That places me in wave 1, corral 2.  That means I am basically starting in the front of the ENTIRE field.  I am NOT that fast.  I know that and I dont even want to give the impression that I think I'm faster than I am.  I am not looking to beat my previous time which means that everyone who is in my corral, and about the 5 corrals after me will be trying to go for about a 2:45 marathon or faster.  Thats just crazy.  Basically Im going to get run over in the first half mile to mile.  That scares the crap out of me.  I keep reading the message boards and where people are seeded and where they want to finish and its no where near where I am both training for but also where I am capable or running. 

What I'm also freaking out about is that my last long run was horrible.  I was scheduled to go for a 23-24 mile run on Sunday, and I was struggling.  I just didnt have it.  I had to cut the run short at mile 12.  So my last long run was bad and now my confidence is shot.  I'm not a fan of having a big taper period, so I'm forcing myself to do an 18 mile run on Friday of this week, then have 2 weeks of taper time.  But I was traveling for 5 days 2 weeks ago in Denver, 2 days last week in Flint, Michigan (ps- I wouldnt recommend that location for a vacation) and so I was just wiped.  I have been getting up at about 4 AM the days before the run because I had to catch flights so I was just run down.  I know its nothing to worry so much about but I would like to have at least one more long run under my belt so I can feel like I'll be strong enough to finish the race.

So about a month ago when I wrote about how well my training was going , it now looks like everything is the complete opposite from when I wrote that post (can you say jinx).  My confidence was at an all time high then and now its at an all time low.  I know that when I help coach or train people I always tell them to run your own race and not worry about anyone else.  I know I'm going to follow my own advice and I always do, but the problem is those first few miles.  We all know how races go.  People hear the gun and just go out flying.  There is constant weaving and bobbing to get a good position.  But the start at Boston is so tight and there are turns that leads to a natural bottleneck so everyone will be fighting with each other and speeding up so I wont be able to run my own race for the first few miles. 

So with 20 days to go, I am now officially freaking out.  I might have to adjust my goal, but either way Im going to enjoy this race.  Its going to be my last stand alone marathon for a while, so if I decide to just go and enjoy the race then so be it.  But I would love to have a good 18 mile run this week, build my confidence and then rock Boston in 20 days.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

The madness begins...then ends

Like most people this time of year, both the wife and I take part in March Madness for college basketball.  This post isnt about who I picked or who the wife picked.  Every person in the world thinks their bracket is the best ever.  What this post is, is about putting something out in public for everyone to see.

Every year my wife and I each do our own bracket.  Every year we make a bet.  It usually involves the loser taking the winner out for dinner.  4 years of doing brackets, I have won 4 times.  4 dinners as the victor, guess who has paid?  Thats right, me.  So basically, I win every year and somehow I end up taking my wife out to dinner.

Well this year that aint gonna happen.  So I approached the wife with a different kind of bet this year. We agreed that the loser of our own personal bracket challenge will do Riley's nighttime feeding for 1 week straight.  No if, ands, or buts about it.  The bottom line is that I am making it known that this is the bet.  Neither I or the wife can say that this bet never happened.  Frankly, I could care less how I do against the nation or what my personal bracket looks like. I only care about 1 thing...beating the wife.

So to let everyone know, here is the breakdown of how we both picked.  Here is our final four and championship.

The wife:
Iona (yeah, she chose a 15 seed)
championship: Memphis over Miami

My bracket:
Championship: Miami over Duke

Well, we're almost done with the first weekend of the NCAA tournament, and I have ALREADY won.  Let me say that again, there is ZERO chance that the wife can beat me.
Let me explain: Out of the wife's final four teams, 3 have already lost, including her champion.  The only chance she can collect any significant amount of points is through Miami.  But since I have them going further than she does, I get the same amount of points as her.  Which means, she has no chance of overtaking me in points anymore.

So the madness has begun and ended in our household.  I dont care if Miami wins the championship. It would be nice since the wife actually went to Miami and I like their team, but for the sake of Riley's nighttime feedings, it looks like I'll be getting one week of uninterrupted sleep.  Cant really ask for more than that.

Now that I have made our bet public, the wife better make sure she pays up.  If she doesnt, I'm sure there will be another post calling her out.

To everyone else, good luck with your brackets.  I hope you picked some good teams and have success with your own pools. I have already won mine without even knowing who the best team in the nation is yet.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Best sweet tooth time of year

The people who know me know that I am a candy junkie.  I dont take that word lightly.  I have a serious sweet tooth.  In my mind, I know I can eat whatever I want and not care because of how much training I do.  I rarely care about calories.  In fact, my normal diet probably has me taking in less calories than I should.  So I need to add some things to my diet. Enter, CANDY

I am a gummy candy lover.  Thats my drug.  My favorite candy is Sour Patch Kids.  Dont ever offer me a few if you have a bag with you.  I will probably end up taking the bag and giving you a few SPK's.  Swedish Fish do the trick sometimes, as do gummy bears, but nothing can hold a candle to the sweet then sour taste of a little man covered in sugar.

I'll ask this question even though I know the answer...When is the best candy time of the year?  Most people would say Halloween.  Sorry folks, youre just wrong.  Thats the best time for quantity of candy,  but not the actual candy.  Christmas time?  Nope.  It does come in a close second, but not the best.  Valentines day? Unless you like chocolate, this day aint for you.

It's right now.  Easter time is the best time for candy throughout the year.  Here's why:  You can get all your staples you want, PLUS the Easter themed candy.  So let me break this down for you.  I guarantee that if you try my assortment of candy, you will thank me.

#1) Sour Patch Kids Jelly Beans

Yeah, they are that good.  Take a normal jelly bean. Make it a little harder than normal.  Not too hard that it cracks your teeth, but a little harder so you have a bit of a crunch to it.  Now picture only Sour Patch Kid flavors and coat the jelly bean with sour patch sugar.  These are amazing

On a more Sour note: I just found out that these will not be available in 2013.  There was a recall on them and they are not being produced for the 2013 Easter season.  Sorry for any false hope, but I cant wait for 2014

2) Nerd Jelly Beans

Ok, another jelly bean addition here, but this is different.  We all remember Nerd candy right?  Those little boxes that typical had 2 flavors in them and you got to choose which flavor you wanted to eat and when.  Well take a jelly bean and cover it with NERDS.

Here's the trick though.  There are 2 ways to eat these.  First is the normal way.  pop them into your mouth and chew.  Nothing special and they are still good but its too normal.

Second way, and I have multiple references who will back me when I teach you this way.  I'm trying to patent this way to eat the candy but I dont think Ill be successful, so Im going to give you a better way to eat them for free.

Take a jelly bean, bite down in the middle of it but not all the way.  Just crack the shell of the Nerd coating and then peel the coating off with your teeth and tongue.  Eat the nerd part first and youre left with basically a second piece of candy for the price of one.  You get the awesomeness of the Nerd, but when that is gone you have a full jelly bean left to eat.  Dont think Im right? Trust me.  Buy a bag, do it the normal way, then do it my way.  I guarantee you'll be thanking me.

3)  Swedish Fish Jelly Beans

Due to the recall of the SPK jelly beans, I had to find a new kind of jelly beans to satisfy me.  The wife is a bigger Swedish Fish fan than I am, but they are still good.  But I saw these this year and thought I'd try them.  I have to say, they are pretty good.  Imagine a little harder than normal Swedish fish.  Thats basically what you have here.  Cant go wrong with that

And while I said Easter is the best time of year for candy, my ultimate Holiday Candy- even though its for Christmas is:

The Red and Green only Sour Patch Kids.

 Ok, I get it.  I have some type of SPK obsession and have listed them for a few times now.  But what they do during Christmas is they take all the bad flavors out.  Everyone loves Red.  Then they put the Green in there.  No one wants yellow or orange anyway so lets get rid of them

So you can now get a handful of only red or green sour patch kids.  Its the best.  I stock up on these bags once they go on sale after the holidays.  I can get a bag of these for like $1 each.  Bring in a $20 and thats a lot of bags to last me a few weeks until Easter season rolls around

My go to store for all of my candy is Target.  Not in the candy aisle though.  You have to go specifically to the holiday section.  Thats where youll find all of these wonderful treats.

So with that, have a sweet time right now everyone.  

Thursday, March 14, 2013

A Few Days Away and Feeling Guilty

This week I had to travel to Denver for work.  My company is conducting a training program and they want the management team to be there so we know how and what our sales reps are going through and how to develop and coach them out in the field.  Sitting through this training is definitely helpful and I have been pleasantly surprised at how much I am getting out of it.  Normally I cant stand these types of trainings and its painful to sit there day after day.

The problem is that I will be away from home for 4-5 days.  I travel a lot for my job.  Mostly they are day trips or I am gone for a night at a time and come home and maybe travel a second time in a week.  There are always days in between travel where I come home and can be with the family.  I havent been away from home for this long since Riley was born.  So this is something completely different for the wife and I.  Because its been the winter time and Riley is too young, on nights that I have traveled before, I would drop Thunder off at my parents house (thank goodness they live 20 minutes away), and then head away. As much as I want the wife to walk Thunder, its just too early right now.  In a few weeks and when it gets warmer, she can take Thunder out for his night walk and then morning walk and it wont be that much of a problem.  But its just too soon right now. 

By me leaving for this long leaves a lot of pressure on the wife.  She doesnt have an outlet or help to take care of Riley.  I know she is now a "stay at home mom" and taking care of Riley is her full time job, but she doesnt have an outlet at all for the next few days.  Her brother was supposed to come over and babysit tomorrow so she can have a few minutes to herself, but he had to cancel because he is sick.  All my wife wanted to do is go to the gym for a quick workout.  I'm happy she wants to go.  There have been times she hasnt wanted to go and I have gotten on her case.  But now, she wants to go, wants some time to herself and no one can help her.  Its not exactly fair.  And on the flip side, while I dont have much time to workout here in Denver, it is 70 degrees outside and absolutely amazing out.  I'm finding ways to fit in a few runs here or there while I'm here.  Hopefully, I wont be stuck in so many late meetings that I can be able to get out and do a run outside.  This area is amazing and I can wait to go for a 6-8 mile run outside in this area.  I love to see the sights and havent been able to run in this weather since the end of last season.  So its been a few months since Ive been in this nice weather. 

So right now I feel guilty. I know there is nothing I can do.  I would much rather be home with her, Riley, and Thunder, but its a business trip that I have to be on this week.  Yet, during my run today in my hotel, I kept thinking how easy it was for me to change clothes and go down to the hotel gym and go for a 5 mile sprint interval workout.  I was in and out in 25 minutes.  But the wife cant find time to do this.  She cant even find 30 minutes for her to squeeze in some time for herself.  She's also trying to sleep train Riley without my help.  So instead of us trading who is going to take care of him in the middle of the night, its all on her.  This can be extremely taxing and stressful.

I dont get home until Sunday night, and I know the wife has a few plans and help for the weekend but I hope from now until then, she finds some time to get in a workout, destress, and just relax.  She deserves it.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Running Funk

So the past few weeks I have been in a running funk.  I just dont want to go out and do a workout.  I know I need to do my workouts and I know they all serve a purpose, but I just dont want to go and do them.  Its weird, my workouts are still going well for the most part, but my motivation to go out and get ready and go for a run just isnt there right now.

Maybe its because I have a month left until Boston and its that time where I have one or 2 long runs left and then the taper starts or maybe its because I've been training for so long that I just need a break but something has to change.

For example, today I was scheduled for a nice tempo run/race pace run of 6-8 miles.  I know I needed to go out and do the run.  I really need to work on my pacing.  I cant seem to nail the pace I want to run Boston in.  All my training runs, including my long runs, are way too fast.  So I said today I want to focus on nailing my pace.  But as it got closer to having to get ready for the run, I kept not wanting to go.  I kept procrastinating and delaying the run.  Finally, I got dressed and went out for the run.  Once I got to Central Park I still didnt want to be there and said I'll see how the first 1-2 miles are and I can always turn around and go home.  Its those type of thoughts that have plagued me for about 2 weeks now.  I'm always building in a back out plan.  The good news is, my run was amazing.  Once I settled in within .5 miles, I was cruising. I was aiming for race pace, but for some reason the run felt great and I was 15 seconds faster per mile than I wanted to be, except it felt so easy.  So there was some good that occurred.  When I say I was flying, I'm actually making a huge understatement.  I could have easily pushed myself today and been about 30-45 seconds faster per mile than I wanted to be.  But I settled in and realized that Im working to a set goal so I didnt want to push too hard.

Even though my actual run was great, my concern is that I dont want to go workout right now.  That when its time for me to run, my mind isnt in it.  I know its not overtraining, since Im allowing myself some breaks but I'm wondering what it could be.  Ive had a few runs where I have gone a mile or so and just turned around since I wasnt into the run.  I've also found myself choosing to do a run on a treadmill instead of going outside since its so much easier to go downstairs to the treadmill in my apartment building than to go out and go for a run outside.  I just feel so burned out right now

Whats the best way to get around this funk?  How do I force myself to step up and go do a workout when I dont want to.  I think I jinxed myself when I posted about a month or so ago about how great my runs have been.  Now I'm paying the price for that. 

I need a pick me up.  Anyone have a great workout they can send me so I can change up my workout and can look forward to going for a run and as Stella would say "get my groove back"?

Monday, March 4, 2013

Riley's first shots

So tomorrow is Riley's 2 months doctor's appointment.  More importantly, its his first round of shots.  That freaks me out soooo much.  Let me say that when it comes to shots and needles, as a kid I was a biiiiiig weenie.  My mom still reminds me of the times where I would go to my doctor to have my annual blood test, you know the little finger prick, and I would hate that.  I used to run out of the exam room in my underwear kicking and screaming just so I wouldnt have to get my finger pricked.  I made life so miserable for my mom for taking me to the doctor, the nurse trying to take my blood, and of course the doctor.

As the years have gone by, I have had shots and injections all over my body.  I've had steroid injections in my spine to relieve disc herniations in my back, I've had a cortisone injection in my knee to help with IT Band Syndrone, and Ive had every medical test needed and of course there were needles involved.  I've somehow learned how to deal with the shots and needles and they dont bother me anymore.  Except I still cringe at having to get blood drawn for my annual tests.  My doctor just doesnt know how to get my vein at all.  It takes him like 3-4 tries every year. I end up with a huge black and blue mark since he keeps missing.  I just dont get it.  he does it for a living and I have the best "heroin veins" as I call them.  My veins stick out of my arms that I could find a vein with a sewing needle.  And my doctor somehow cant manage to hit a vein?

So when I got Thunder, my fear of needles transferred directly over to him.  Every time he went to the vet and had to get a shot, I either had to bring my mom with me or I left the room.  I couldnt bare the thought of the vet hurting Thunder.  I know the shots didnt really hurt him, but I still was scared out of my mind.  Someone would have to come in and hold Thunder and the vet would give him his shot usually in a place that he didnt even realize.  But it was terrifying for me.  It still happens, so its not like I've grown up and gotten better.  It just freaks me out when he has to get a shot.  I love Thunder and wouldnt want him to get hurt at all, let alone someone causing him pain because of a needle.

Now comes Riley's turn.  He needs his first round of immunizations.  I know that.  I've learned to accept his cries and understand that he's a baby so of course he's going to cry.  His circumcision was an adventure, but he didnt even cry once so it wasnt so bad.  We got out of that one scott free.  But I've already told my wife to not expect me to be in the room tomorrow for the shots.  I dont want to see them, I dont want to know about them, nothing.  As I said with Thunder, I know Riley will hardly feel the shots so its not like I'm concerned about that.  But I can just imagine the screaming that will come out of that room when the pediatrician puts that needle into his little chubby thighs.  He's just too little.  As my my calls them, his little legs are "pokies" and to inject a small needle in them is frightening.  It wont be a happy household tomorrow night.  Its times like this that I kind of wish he was older.  This way I could bribe him with ice cream or a comic book if he was a good boy.  But what am I going to bribe him with tomorrow?  Formula? A new teddy bear? Elmo on his diaper instead of cookie monster?  Nothing is going to work.

So as I sit here tonight thinking about tomorrow, in some ways Im glad that its him getting a shot and not me (wow, do I qualify for being a bad dad now?)  But I just hope he really doesnt feel the shots and wont remember anything 5 minutes later.  Im wishing him good luck and that he wont have to have that many more shots.