Saturday, March 31, 2007

Love being lazy

Ah. I had every intention of going and running in the Road to the Final Four 5K this morning. I woke up with enough time. But the bed was so comfy and my legs didn't really feel up to riding to work on my bike, parking there and then ambling out for the run.

Yay- $18 down the drain. I really need to be a day-of-race registerer. LOL.

I'm glad, though, that I got the sleep. I think I really needed it.

Oh well. My focus needs to be on 10Ks that will help me get back into Group IA of the Peachtree... (10K under 50 mins for IA and under 55 minutes for IB).

The quest begins...

Friday, March 30, 2007

Climbing those stairs

On a whim, I just signed up to climb the stairs of the 55-story Bank of America Plaza next month, a fundraiser for the American Lung Association.

Link is here.

I'm not sure how I'll do in this, considering doing the stairs for 24 floors to our office floor from the ground is really tiring stuff!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Back in the saddle

Today I went for a relatively short run (two miles or so), down to the shopping center by City Hall East to get a haircut. Then I ran up the long hill by Ponce.

I feel pretty good. I wasn't crazy enough to do a full run so soon, but I was a little curious to see how it would turn out.

I am glad the half marathon is over, because the weather's been so nice it's cool to ride around on a bike. I rode out to Little Five Points to hang out with my financial advisor and we ended up letting her dog loose at Freedom Park, my bike down on its side while swarms of dogs ran all over the place.

Earlier today, I put up old ribbons and medals (Hood to Coast and the Coos Bay 30K). Would be cool to earn more in the future.

I was happy with my time. I signed up for the Sprint for Cancer 10K at the end of next month so it'll be neat to see what kind of times I'm putting up.

Fast or slow, I don't really care. I'm just happy that I'm back, that I feel fit again and it's not taking too much to do it.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

The home-court advantage (ING Half marathon)

I can't tell you how immensely helpful it was to be running in a half-marathon where I live and on the same streets where I train everyday.

First off was waking up in my own bed and knowing I was only 20 minutes away from the starting line. In 1999, I drove more than three hours in the morning to run in the Seattle half-marathon, on a rain-filled, water-rutted Interstate 5. Not fun.

The only parts of the race I hadn't really run on were the last two miles of Peachtree and the first three miles to Little Five Points. And even then I've biked or driven those routes. As a result, I pretty much knew exactly where I was at any time.

When I got to really familiar ground (Virginia-Highland), it was really sweet. I knew that if things got real bad I could just ditch the race and hole up in my apartment. LOL.

But seriously, when I got to around mile 10 in Piedmont Park, I tricked myself into thinking that I was just doing a simple 4-mile training run.

My cross country coach in high school used to always stress it, but now I totally believe in the power of training on hills -- rolling hills and Cat. 1 monsters that you hit five miles into the run. Any fool can run on flat ground. When you come to a hill, you know immediately what you are made of.

One more good point for having the home-court advantage -- it didn't take too long for me to hobble home and shower, change clothes and then sit outside on my step, helping cheer on the marathon runners passing by.

Half Marathon live data

Bib #13783 | ATLANTA, GA - USA | Age 36 | M
START 7:18:39 AM EST
TIME Chip Time: 02:00:01 Clock: 2:14:58 Pace: 9:09
10K split: 00:57:47

Temp: 74 degrees
Gear: SST (FTP), shorts, APA3, sunglasses (Maui Jims), iPod shuffle

Day of Days (ING Half Marathon)

I just cross the hill at Ellis and the finish line is in sight. I look down at my watch -- it says 1:59:24 -- there are 36 seconds until the 2-hour mark and I don't know exactly how far away the end is.

"This is going to be a photo finish," I say out loud as I ramp up the final kick, mimicking Colonel Tai as Galactica prepared to escape a star turning supernova earlier this season.

This was a race I wasn't sure how it would turn out. I knew I would finish -- I have plenty of experience at the half and even one time -- eight years ago, in the Centralia, Wash.- 1/2 marathon, I finished it even though the longest practice run I did at the time was 4 miles. I really bonked at mile 10 and it was a painful 5K at the end.

I woke up late, missing my first alarm clock, and only waking up to my runner's watch alarm.

Then I couldn't find one of my shoes. It was left in the other room.

And so on and so on. I parked at work, chatted with Dorie for a while (gave her the Banana Nut Clif bar sample I got from the expo) and then wandered down the street.

They made you wind behind Five Points station back around to Decatur street where lots of people were waiting in line. I listened to my iPod for a while and then around 7:11 a.m. the line started to move.

At 7:14 a.m. we were at the Peachtree Street corner and then we were off. As usual, my calves really felt tight and I tried to "unlock" them as best I could. We climbed up Edgewood and eventually turned up Auburn to go past the Martin Luther King Jr. site.

I was going pretty good up Euclid in Little Five Points at the 1/2 marathon/marathon split (I really would have loved tackling the L3 hill that's part of my normal course in this race, but it was only for the full marathon).

The most challenging part of the race was Freedom Parkway. Of course, I had never run on it before and so I expected it to be hilly like the PATH trail that parallels it. But it turned out that instead of a first hill on the PATH, the parkway is cut lower. I totally took this hill and I almost felt like I was running too fast because I was dropping lots of people. Lament of a hill runner! My 10K split time was about 57 minutes.

At Boulevard, the course turned on the other side of the parkway back toward Ponce, where we ran up a HUGE hill that fortunately turned right before the Highland intersection. We joined Highland at St. Charles, and since this is my 'hood, it was awesome.

This was the first place that I took water, by the CVS, but it was in a frickin' bottle. I don't think they had Powerade the entire race -- I looked for it and would have stopped for some but did NOT want water. So I only had water one time during the entire race. (My 7-mile Middlebear H Loop routes are generally done without water, so I felt fine with that).

I held it for a while, not knowing what exactly to do with it -- I only had a few sips of it and I didn't want to waste it but I wasn't going to carry it either. So when I passed my apartment before the Virgnia-Highland intersection, I just ran up to my yard and dropped it in the mailbox!! And continued on.

There was a great girl band playing at the Va-Hi intersection and even though it was mile 8 and more than I've run recently, I knew at that point I would finish the race.

We ducked into Piedmont Park and then east up 10th Street to Piedmont, which is a nice little jog up a hill itself. Then up to 14th Street, but cutting to a hairpin on Juniper which made little sense to me. I would have much rather had them continue the course straight up the 14th Street hill and add on during Piedmont Park. I bet a bunch of people lost a few seconds at that hairpin.

On Peachtree, some lady said it was 2.2 miles to go. There's a little bit of a hill between 10th Street and, say, 4th Street. I already knew of the hill between Baker and Ellis, the last hill of the race and the last one I was worried about.

Going up this hill, I couldn't find any good song on my iPod. I kept saying 'No,' and "No."

Finally I found "Green Hornet," from the Kill Bill soundtrack, played at the part where Uma Thurman is walking through the Tokyo airport.

I was at full bore and the time was ticking down. At the very end, near the finish line, two girls joined me and we were going pretty frickin' fast. I stepped on the line.

It was exactly two hours, much better than my estimate of 2:05 and better than every half marathon I've run except my very first, 1:47:30.

I didn't bonk at all and totally ran strong. And I was happy I only had to train half as much as I probably should have!!!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Ready or not....

I am soooo antsy going into this half-marathon tomorrow. The last three days (not entirely by choice) I've had very light runs. I've sidestepped chances to bike to work to save up a little for the race.

Some 45-year-old guy, I could hear him from a mile away, labored to pass me as I did a light run on Virginia yesterday, and then he stopped like 20 feet in front of me. After this race, I'm going to bust people like that. I was praying that he'd turn around and go back up Virginia and then I would waste him on the hill.

Somebody may beat me, but they are going to have to bleed to do it.
-Steve Prefontaine

I know I'm ready for this race.

Already looking ahead, I found via the Atlanta Track Club web site that there's a special 5K to commemorate Atlanta hosting the Final Four. I think I'm going to do it, it's in Centennial Park.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Glory Days

Oh, man. I can't believe the half-marathon is almost here. This afternoon I went with a work colleague to the expo.

Dude has done even better than I have -- he said he's lost about 40 pounds in the last year, and it really shows.

I think I can do this race. I see no reason why I won't be able to. Yet I haven't run more than 8 miles at one time. I do have one marathon and a baker's dozen 1/2 marathons, one 30K under my belt.

Whoa. I see the start time for the 1/2 will be 7 a.m. I was thinking 8:30! lol. It'll still be a little dark then, I think. Will be interesting.

Of the things I randomly collected:

-1 pair, some kind of elastic scrunchy to keep my ponytail held back (LOL)
-1 Banana Nut Bread Clif Bar (1 oz.)
-Listerine PocketPak, fresh citrus flavor
-Listerine Pocket Mist, fresh citrus flavor
-A sensations bubble massager, whatever that is
-Various coupons, including free hashbrowns and waffle at Waffle House
-A Publix nylon bag and wrist wrap carrier
-tiny frisbee from REI
-1 race bibb, number 13783
-1 championship timing chip

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Strange Cravings

This morning at work I had a craving for a Big Mac... I can't tell you how gross that is, it's been a while since I've had one.

The running has been very smooth lately -- seven miles seems simple. I'm trying though to not really push it too much, with the 1/2 marathon right around the corner.

Normally I would take a break before the race. But I want to continue the streak (79 days and counting).

My favorite running song on iPod: Rock the Casbah

Sunday, March 18, 2007


The Peachtree 10K race applications are out in today's AJC but unfortunately I'll likely be downgraded to running in the general pack instead of in Time Group IA.

Oh, well.

That's what I get for not really running the last few years and playing poker instead.

These days I have it both ways -- I run and play poker. And it's pretty great.

The main advantage of running in Time Groups IA or IB is that by the time 7:30 a.m. rolls around on July 4, it starts to get warm outside. If you're in, say Group 8, you don't cross the starting line for maybe 10 or 20 minutes and it's really hot by then.

Eh. Either way, I'll be happy that I'm a part of this annual city tradition -- the largest 10K race in the country -- and for once, I'm in shape enough to enjoy running in it.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


Course: Middlebear (H Loop)
Time: 5:45 p.m.
Temp: 75 degrees
Time: 62:14
Gear: SST(Mirage), shorts, APA3

Notes: First outing using the iPod, pretty much got me to run about race pace through the entire course. I just came back from riding to work but my calves were not stretched out in first part of run. Really hot outside- I drank an entire liter of water afterwards -- and prolly could have had more.

Riding that train...

Rode to work today, and it was excellent- there's actually less hills than on my old route...

Yesterday afternoon I ran to work on the same route to pick up ... my new iPod!

It is sweet. I'll have to leave a picture of it here.

I spent much of the midnight hour downloading songs onto it. I have 75 or so on it and it only takes up 1/4 of the space.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Oh, sweet sleep

I didn't go to the 10K, on account of being sleepy. We didn't get back from "300" until after midnight, and there was that time change and the race started at 8:30 a.m.

OK. I should probably say that I do, at times, just oversleep races I haven't paid for in advance (and even those I've pre-registered).

Why pay to run when I can run for free???

Btw, I need to check out running shoes... Even though there's no tread wear on the bottoms of my shoes, I am wondering if my left leg is happier when the shoes are replaced every 300 miles or so instead of 500...

Saturday, March 10, 2007

On the Bike

My run wasn't that long this morning, since I had to be at work by 11 a.m. and I am not wanting to burn everything out before tomorrow's 10K race, so I decided I would try to go to work by bike.

It's been a while. A long while. I basically stopped biking to work because I found it was better for me to drive to work, change into running clothes, and then stop off on the Middlebear path on my way home.

But biking is 1). great fun 2). A good way to commute.

Running legs made the ride really easy. I've made two rides into Decatur in the past and I like having a one-two punch of running and biking.

I think I'm going to continue to depend on running for the bulk of my workouts, since it's really the only tried-and-true way for me to drop extra pounds. Oprah says you have to go with what works for you, so I'm doing it.

Spring is pretty much here. It'll be interesting to see if I incorporate more bike rides into my workout pattern.

Friday, March 9, 2007

It's done

So today I bought a blue iPod shuffle, with the engraving "kurocat's" on it. This, mind you, is just for running. I wanted it to be as light as possible.

Still can buy my 30-gig iPod Nano. Actually, I'm hoping that I'll be able to get it free from Poker Stars.


An iPod

I must be one of the last holdouts for an iPod, but I think I'm going to finally get one.

I'm kind of old school and don't really like to run with music, but sometimes I think it can be useful.

Now I wonder what kind of iPod I should get? How many songs do I actually need?

Thursday, March 8, 2007


Course: Middlebear (K)
Time: 5:20 p.m.
Temp: 72 degrees
Time: 47:37
Gear: SST(Carolina), shorts, APA3

Notes: I was happy with this run, since it's the first one that I ran consecutively since Sunday's Ultimate Frisbee at Piedmont. I was worried my motivation was gone but cat is back.


It's nice outside and I'm restless for a run with only about 10 minutes left in my workday. We'll see how it turns out.

Saturday, March 3, 2007


Course: Middlebear (H-Loop)
Time: 6:20 p.m.
Temp: 64 degrees
Time: 68:14
Gear: SST(NPT03), shorts, APA3

Notes: It was a little too late in the day to be running but I didn't want to miss a day. I was really tired so I had a two-hour nap after work. Legs felt fine. I tripped and fell near the Viper Tube. Almost got hit by a car coming out of the road just behind Fritti. I thought he saw me, since he spent a lot of time waiting but he slammed on his brakes just as I was going past...Was happy to get in a long run though.