Monday, September 23, 2013

A new way of making decisions

Which way did he go?
I have a decision to make in the next few days that is pretty big.  Nothing bad, don't worry about that.  But what I realized in having to make this decision is that there are so many other factors involved then previously.

Back when it was just me, or me and the wife decisions were just a lot easier.  If something happened and I made the wrong decision then so what.  We'll be ok.  I didn't have to worry about consequences.  Now, it's the complete opposite.  Now, I have to worry about making the decision, how the decision will impact me, the wife, and Riley.  It's not so cut and dry.

And it's not even the large decisions that are causing the headaches.  It's the small ones too.  Like where to go for dinner, what to do on a given day, where should I do a race.  All of these are impacted by the little one.  It's like I have to make a pro's and con's list for every thing I do.  I'm not complaining about it one bit, but I just noticed it recently when I am being tasked with making a pretty large decision that will hopefully impact the family in a positive way.

I never really went to anyone to ask advice.  I always believed that advice is something you ask for when you knew the answer but wished you didn't.  Now, I'll ask anyone who will listen to see if I've thought about things in every way and every possible angle.  Does this mean I'm growing up?  or does it mean that if I'm torn between what I should do that I really know what I should do but don't know if I truly want to do it?  Or maybe there is something that is holding me back that I can't let go of or get out of my head?

Either way, making decisions no matter how large or small they are is definitely a different process now.  Hopefully in the next few days, I'll make the correct one for all of us.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Happy Birthday Wifey

This is just a quick shout out to my better half.

Happy Birthday Wife.

You've allowed me to do so many of the things I wanted this year, and I can't thank you enough.  Our year has been one to remember, especially with the addition of the little one.

I hope I can give you a great day to remember, and you have a very special day today.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Via Marathon Relay Company race report

Last week I ran in the Via Marathon Relay with my company.  If you recall, I was hesitant to run this as a relay at first.  I was torn because I ran this race last year as a relay and I really liked the course and I saw the results and I thought I could place in the half marathon distance of the race.  Coming off Maine, I figured I was in top shape so running a half marathon on a net downhill course would be a great way to PR and get a podium finish.  The race is divided up to a full marathon, half marathon, and marathon relay with 5 members running different distances along the marathon course.  After going back and forth, I decided to run with my company as part of the "fast" relay team.  The event is in the Bethlehem, PA area where my company is based, and my company had about 15 teams included in the relay in addition to about 80 more teams not associated with my company.  I was recruited to be past of the fast team for my company with the idea that we wanted to be really competitive.

Since I was the fastest on my team, my team captain wanted me to run the first leg, which was also the longest of the 5 distances.  Since he wanted to beat a specific other relay within a subdivision of our company, he calculated that I could probably get about a 4-5 minutes lead going into the first transition over that team.  Not bad for a 10k distance.

So I got to the start line around 6:45 for a 7 am start.  From there, I got a spot on the starting line.  Since it's a smaller race, it was just show up, grab a place on the line and go.  I felt a little bad starting in the front knowing that other runners were running the full marathon, but then I realized I would probably be going out faster than them, so it was better if I was in front of them.  After a few words from Bart Yasso (Runner's World is located in Bethlehem, PA also so they had some runners), the gun went off, and the race began.

You can spot me on the left with my bright yellow Skora Base's and blue shirt
When I ran this race last year, I used it as part of my NYC Marathon training, so I ran at my race pace for the first 17-18 miles.  However, this year would be completely different.  I was going to push myself for the 10k and see what I can do.  After the gun went off, I was in the 10th position pretty quickly.  Not just 10th in the relay, but 10th with the marathon participants also.  When I passed people wearing the marathon bibs, I gave them praise and told them not to worry about me since I was part of the relay.

After the first mile, I looked at my watch and my mile was done at 6:01.  I wasn't sure if this was good or bad.  I wanted to be around 6:08 or so, but I didn't know if this was going to be too fast.  At the first mile mark, there starts a huge downhill.  The descent is like 200 ft in something like a .5 mile distance.  It's fast, but also hard on the legs.  I took the hill and just went.  My second mile was done at 5:57.  Not bad but I knew I couldn't keep this up.  Either way, I didn't see anyone in front of me or behind me.  I was in a nice groove and just kept pushing.

The next 2 miles are somewhat of uphills so I had to adjust accordingly, as well as the course switches from street/paved road to packed trail.  I knew I would be a little slower from running the route last year, but my times didn't decrease that bad.  The next 2 miles came and went uneventfully, and I got to mile 5 and looked at my watch and I was cruising.  I knew I was easily on my way to a 10k PR so I was psyched.  I figured why not try and push this as hard as I could to get as much of a lead over the next relay team as I could.  I started to feel the "team" concept right about now.  Instead of looking at my watch and gunning for my time, I was focused on getting my time as fast as possible so my team would have as large of a lead as I could get them.

With about .5 mile left in my run, I saw one runner and picked up the pace and caught him.  I came around a corner and saw the hand off for the next relay leg.  I cruised into this area and handed off and was done with my 10k. My team told me I was the 3rd overall relay person to come through.

Looking at my watch, I did my 10k in 37:11.  Miles 3 and 4 made me slow down a little but I was still happy with this time.

After getting some water/Gatorade, my team whisked me away and we had to drive to the next checkpoint so runner #2 could hand off.  The rest of the race was somewhat a blur to me.  I was in the car for some of the race driving from checkpoint to checkpoint and cheering on my team.  And then some of the race, I ended up running the course to get some miles in.  I paced 2 of my teammates along their relay legs.

As the race went on, I really enjoyed the day.  Helping pace another teammate was fun for me.  I wasn't a fan of running slower than normal, but it was a great feeling when I was with one of my teammates and all I could hear was cursing and him wanting to slow down, but I kept him going and at the end of his leg, he told me he wouldn't have been able to finish that fast without me pushing him.

When the final leg of the relay came, our teammate was off and after about 6 minutes of waiting 2 other runners asked if we want to finish the course together so I figured what's another 4 miles.  So the 3 of us started to run and make our way to the finish area.  Along the way, we saw a whole bunch of marathon runners hitting their wall, so we continued to offer support and praise to them.  They had it hard. They ran the whole marathon. We were only running 6 miles or less.  Even in a few situations, we reached runners who were cramping up and needed help.  We gave them Gatorade, salt tablets, and gels along the course, so it was nice to help other runners who needed it.

As we came up to the finish line, we helped pace one runner in particular who was really thankful to us afterwards.

All in all, it was a good day to run and get some miles in.  I ran a total of 14 miles in 1:32 for the day.  Some of that was my 10k PR, and some being pacing others.

Our relay ended up being the top relay in the company and the 4th fastest overall.  Our President/CEO was extremely pleased with us.  He couldn't stop smiling that we finished so strong.

I'm glad I did this race as a relay.  Sometimes it's good to be part of a team and not worry about going out there and needing to run a great race by yourself.  It was a fun day.  The only thing I didn't like was something that didn't affect me.  As I was running other legs of the relay, I felt bad for the actual marathon runners.  It's hard enough to run a full marathon.  But these runners keep getting passed all the time from the relay runners.  Running a marathon takes enough mental strength.  Having to see "fresh" runners passing you all the time is not something that would be motivating.  There is nothing that can be done about this, but it is something that I noticed along the course.

Finishing the race and helping green bib runner close out his marathon

Now that the relay is over, it's time to focus on my last individual race in October.

Monday, September 9, 2013

A Brand New Fun Season.

So now that my big race season has ended, it is time for another season to begin.  One that is a little more fun, but so much harder on the body.  It's a season that takes as much of a toll on me mentally as trying to push myself to hit certain fitness goals.  The season started 2 weeks ago, and I think I'm close to be at the end of it.  What season is it you ask? 
Since I lost between 6-8 pounds for race season (not like I had that to begin with), I need to put that weight back on.  My wife, parents, and friends are telling me I look too thin.  On top of that, I used to be a huuuuuge sour candy addict.  My New Year's Resolution was to give up Sour Patch Kids.  With the exception of a few bags or so at the movies, I've actually kept to my resolution.  However, now is another story.  I truly believe that once your race season is over, it's time to reward yourself with things you have given up and things you miss.  

When did these come out and where have they been all my life?
So that's where my season started.  The problem is, it's not cupcake season.  Really, it's been M&M season.  And not just your garden variety of plain or peanut.  Yes, those have been consumed as well.  But since the Maine race, I have had countless bags of Almond M&M's, Pretzel M&M's (they make these now?), Peanut M&M, Peanut Butter M&M's, and a few more.  It's crazy.  I think this is the problem and why I don't have them all year round.  Because once I stop, I really can't stop.  

I have now gone through a full pound bag of some type of M&M's at least 4 different times in one day.  I'm usually polishing off one bag every 2 days.  I can't stop myself.  They are soooo damn good.  It's like I've never had them before.  In fact, I'm even getting turned off by Sour Patch Kids. That's a sin for me to say.  I can't believe I'm cheating on my SPK's.  I tried to have them as a reward and then I popped a few M&M's in my mouth soon after, and I wanted no part of the SPK's, but more of the M&M's.

The Almond makes it healthy, right?
My wife has now forbid me to bring them into our apartment since she always grabs a handful and she aint having that anymore.  I think I agree with her.  I can't keep doing this to myself.  They are so good, but a few minutes after, I keep feeling like crap.  But does that stop me from having more?  Nope, not one bit.  All I do is grab a handful and pop them in my mouth shortly after.

I'm not even gaining the weight I lost.  Since I'm still training and working out, it's like I'm burning off all those M&M's. I guess I'm going to have to do this the hard more regular food and start snacking on candy.

This lasts about 10 minutes in my apartment
I'm glad this cupcake season is coming to a close for me.  I'm not going to be as crazy as what I put into my body over the next few months, and I'll definitely be allowing myself to cheat a lot more, but I don't know how much longer I can do this to myself.  It's so good, but sooooo bad.