Running like a movie star

I'm the guy on the right.  Shin splints are the dude on the left.

I'm the guy on the right. Shin splints are the dude on the left.

Heee-yah!!!! Karate chop to the throat for my arch nemesis “the shin splint”. I’m back and feeling good. After a brutal 2 weeks of rest, I am able to run again and run I did. It was a measly, slow, 3 miles, but I ran and I feel good. The timing is perfect, since the 16 week countdown to the Whistlestop Marathon has officially begun. I will have to adjust my schedule some, since my 16 week schedule has me starting off at about 20 or 25 miles a week. For the next 3 weeks, to stay safe and shin splint free I think I’m going to be around 10-13 miles, so hopefully that works out. We’ll see.

During my two weeks I rested, stretched and played a ton of Wii Fit (I still am the world champ fish catcher while in Penguin suit). Also, while desperately looking for help in taking care of my shins, temporarily retired my Chuck Taylor Converse. This was pretty tough since I wear them (I have 13 pair) daily, but for the amount of awesomeness they have, there is an equal amount of terrible support and absent cushioning. Besides just having a nice marathon run, my new goal is to complete the marathon so I can wear my chucks again (oh shoot, right when the marathon is over, it’s time for snow and I’ll have to retire them again, nuts).

I am signing up for a 5K. Usually 5K’s don’t do much for me, I really enjoy the endurance aspect of marathons/half marathons, but I don’t think I can pass this one up. Plus, my guys Bones and Wudchuk are running the 5K and I haven’t run with them ever. Check out the awesome swag that comes with this race. I don’t even love (I mildly appreciate) the Grateful Dead, but the race looks fun, the shirt and bandana are tied-dyed and awesome, there is pizza, beer and live music after, so it needs to be done, and it shall.

Over my 2 weeks of rest I was reading a lot and trying to become a student of running. So after reading got boring I moved on to my favorite form of media, the movies. After careful polling and research (consulting myself), I came up with the following list of most educational runs in the movies (fear not, Forrest Gump will not be mentioned).

List of movie runs that have taught me the most:

Special Mention:

Kevin Spacey, Verbal Kint/Keyser Söze, Usual Suspects: The scene is when Verbal leaves police headquarters and is walking down the street. At first you see Verbal limping with his gimpy leg, then WHAM, in a matter of 3 steps he’s walking normal. This scene is also important because if it’s the first time you saw the movie, it’s the HOLY POOP moment when you realize Verbal is Keyser Söze. This one falls under Special Mention because he’s not really running here. However, if I ever get injured (again) while running and I need to go from Gimp to Gung-ho marathoner, I think I’ll do my best Keyser Söze impersonation and be running again in no time (then I’ll go rock a bunch of face, because that’s what Keyser Söze does).

Billy Cole teaching me that "do anything" attitude Billy Blanks (yes the Tae Bo guy), Billy Cole, Last Boyscout: The scene here is when it’s raining, Billy is catching a ton of heat for his “illicit” activities, he’s hopped up on drugs and running down the sidelines in the middle of the football game. First a linebacker comes at Billy, so Billy pulls a gun out and shoots him. Linebacker out of the way. Billy keeps running, then a safety drifts over for the tackle, another bullet to the knee. At this point everyone backs off as Billy runs to the end zone, pulls off his helmet, gets on one knee, says “Ain’t life a B$&#@” and blows his head off. While I don’t think I’ll be running with a gun at any point in time, I appreciate Billy’s Do Anything To Win attitude. Hopefully the end result will be better, but if I need to hunker down and get creative, I have that in my back pocket.

Top 5

#5– Seth Rogen, Ben Stone, Knocked Up: The scene is when Ben is in his house smoking what I can only guess is flavored tobacco (has to be, anything else might be illegal). An earthquake hits. Ben is shocked, grabs his bong and runs out of the house to safety. Granted, he leaves his pregnant girlfriend in the house, but let’s ignore that part and focus on the running. Ben was suddenly thrown in a dangerous situation, but instead of panicking or rolling up into a ball and crying, he grabbed what was important to him and ran to safely. I think this run will help me when the unexpected happens during a race. You can’t predict a blister, you can’t predict a trip and fall, you can’t predict some jackhole next to you doing something stupid and you can’t predict Ben’s earthquake. But what you can do, is take hold of the situation, just get the essentials and make your way to a safe place/aid station.

#4– Steve Buscemi, Mr. Pink, Reservoir Dogs: The scene… well it’s a Quentin Tarantino movie so who knows what point in time it is, but it’s right after the diamond heist, Mr. Blonde shot up the place and now everyone is running away. Mr. Pink has the diamonds and is making his getaway. The cops are in hot pursuit but Pink is determined to get away. He’s running across a street, get’s plowed by a car and knocked to the street. He gets up and keeps on moving (well he carjacks the woman who hit him and then drives away). Watch this scene, now watch it again. Check out Mr. Pink, now that is some determination. Mr. Pink refused to give up (because of death or jail, which are pretty good motivators). That’s the drive one needs when running a race. I don’t want to rob a jewelry store (unless you think I can get away with it) but I want that determination in my races. With it, no Kenyon can stop me.

Mr Larson is telling me that style isn't everything

Mr Larson is telling me that style isn't everything

#3– Mr. Larson, Happy Gilmore: The scene on this one is right after Happy makes his awesome mini-golf-like putt and wins the Green Jacket. Shooter then steals the jacket and runs away. Shooters run is lame, he’d be in the 60’s or 70’s on this list. However, Mr. Larson (Happy’s former foreman who had a nail in his head for half the movie) is having none of Shooters shenanigans and is quickly on the chase. Mr. Larson looks ridiculous (and scary) as he is chasing after Shooter, but eventually he catches Shooter. While I am not a vain man, this is an important reminder that it’s not about looking good, it’s about getting the job done. No matter what I do, I will not look like a graceful runner, in fact after 20 miles I would be happy to look like Mr. Larson; but I need to focus on the task at hand (completing my race) and cross the line ugly.

#2– Bruce Willis, John McClain, Die Hard: The scene is when John is being pursued by Hans Gruber (what a great bad-guy name) and co. Due to John’s situation when the terrorists arrived, he was sans shoes. Hans knew this, so he has his thug, Karl, shot up a bunch of glass walls all around John. Then he (along with Karl) either shoot or throw a grenade or something at John and make him run (with his bare feet) across all of the busted glass they just shot out. Luckily John is one of the baddest of the all-time bad asses so he runs across the glass without a problem. Simple message here, no matter how much pain I am in during a race…. At least I’m not running barefoot across glass while terrorists are shooting at me. It’s not that bad, so sac up and run.

I couldn't find a pic of Ripley running, but she even looks goofy running backwards

I couldn't find a pic of Ripley running, but she even looks goofy running backwards

#1– Sigourney Weaver, Ellen Ripley, Aliens: (possible unfair status of #1, but this is probably my favorite movie of all time) The scene is the last action scene in the whole movie. Ripley, Newt and Bishop were just surprised because a 20-25 ft queen alien is on their ship (Bishop is real surprised since he was ripped in half). Ripley needs to get from where she is to a docking bay so she could put on the power loader and fight the queen alien. So Ripley has a few options, she can stroll to the docking bay, she can crawl, skip, do the worm, but Ripley instead decides to run. And after watching her run, I have no clue how the alien didn’t catch her. It’s ridiculous. It is like someone said to her “I bet you $10 you can’t run with your midsection way out in front and your feet and head way behind.” If that was the case, she won $10. If I ever have a daughter, I’ll watch this movie with her from the time she is 2 or 3, just to make sure she never runs like this. Sometimes the biggest lessons in life are negative reinforcement. That is the case here, it isn’t “run like this, train like this, be this determined”, nope the best movie running lesson of them all is: No matter what you do, never run like Ripley.

So that’s it to my reviews. I can finally run now, so I’ll probably stop watching movies that have running in them and actually run.


Dave and Sitting???

Police sketch of the shin splint that has been terrorizing my legs

Police sketch of the shin splint that has been terrorizing my legs

Dave and Running, more like Dave and Sitting. It official that I’m busted, crunched at the shins. About 10 days ago I went for a nice little 4 mile jog, but instead, I made it about ¾ of a mile before my shin discomfort shot up the pain scale and hit the “Dave, you had best stop before you really injure yourself”. So I quickly walked for the rest of the distance and haven’t run since. I figured 2 weeks of rest should get rid of all of this and let me start back up fresh and pain free. Plus, I still have until the end of this month until I need to begin a 16 week training program. I’m not pleased, but not too nervous yet.

With running out for a few weeks, I needed to find some ways to keep moving towards my goal of completing the Whistlestop Marathon. So I kept working on core work and weight loss. Core work and stretching was easy, I’m pretty sure that is what the Wii Fit was created for. I’m not one to toot my own horn, but during my Wii training, I think I have become the “catch fish while you are in a penguin suit” champion. If Wii translated into marathon training, my fish catching is like running 4/min mile repeats with the Kenyon national team.

The other element is weight loss. Since I can’t run, or do anything that involves my shins (they were even sore after a game a ping pong last week), I have to focus on my food intake. Since that has been a total failure over the years, I needed a new way to be more disciplined. I’m most disciplined when I’m playing poker. I’m focused and know the potential outcomes of every decision I make. In order to have this discipline and make optimal decisions, I use a poker tracking software when I play on line. In this software I can analyze tens of thousands of hands that I have played and look for weaknesses or leaks in my game. Using this method I am well aware and can compensate for problems I have such as overplaying Queens when an over card comes on the turn or river and letting go of premium hands when a flush scare card hits. This information helped me save tons of money.

So using that same philosophy I was looking for some type of metrics for my caloric intake. I saw a few sites that were pretty lame, then Wudchuk showed me and some section called Daily Plate. The site is awesome. You can enter what you eat and it will give you an unreal amount of feedback. Total daily calories, a break down of proteins, fats and carbs, total #’s if you want to gain or lose weight. Also, unlike other sites that let you enter “oatmeal” and that is it…. On this site, when you enter “oatmeal” it will give you 50 different options of oatmeal so I can enter Krissy’s hippie Country Style Organic Steel Cut Oats, and get the specific corresponding data. Additionally, it lets you enter any of almost a thousand different activities (the first one on the list is 19th Century Dancing, so it’s pretty extensive) and calculate your calories burned too. There are a ridiculous # of things you can do from this site, and it’s totally free. I highly recommend this to anyone who is looking to record data on food, exercise or calories.

While this is helping me slowly lose some weight (which should make completing a marathon more likely) I still feel that something else is not right. I was supposed to take some thyroid medicine for a while, but I hate pharmaceuticals and stopped after 30 days. I have an appointment with my doctor (Dr. Pohlman, for anyone in Chicago who is looking for a top notch physician) on Thursday, and hopefully he can help me find some answers.

Thursday happens to also be the day I will begin running again (hopefully). And that is good because I have been a mess without running, and…. Running Warehouse dropped off a big monster box of goodies for Krissy and I on Friday and I want to play with my new toys (by toys I mean shoes, socks, gels, and other things that would cause a kid to kick me in the face for calling them toys).

I checked with the Bellagio sports book, and the new odds for me completing the Whistlestop are 3:4.

Velociraptors in Lincoln Park

Prehistoric goose

Prehistoric goose

It was another injury filled week, but I was still able to get 3 runs in (with one being a Sunday long run). Just last night Krissy was able to user her Jedi massage powers to discover another injury in my lower leg: my perenium, peroneus, perpendicular…some perXXX word. While doing a post run calf massage Krissy started working this muscle (that I didn’t even know existed until yesterday) and my foot immediately went numb. While I’m sure a numb foot is never a good thing, it was nice to have finally discovered the cause of all my lower leg pain. I think once this pergo, perennial (whatever) thing is fixed, I’m pretty sure I’ll ramp up to Kenyon speed in no time.

For this week’s long run I decided to take the lake path straight south for 5 miles and then loop back up the same way. For those of you not familiar with the running path for the north side of the city, it goes like this (for 5 miles). I started at mile 2.85 of the path, which is at the totem pole on Addison. The path then goes south along the lake to Belmont. At that time it shoots under Lake Shore Drive and then goes through Lincoln Park for about 2 miles, and past the zoo. From there I took the North Avenue bridge back over LSD and back on the lake path. Right past Castaways (where I always become jealous of the people on the beach, drinking beer, while I’m running). Along the lake past Oak Street Beach (FYI, the palm trees were planted this weekend), along the painful angled area between the lake and LSD, and then over to Navy Pier. To get a full 5 miles, I need to run lower Wacker a bit, but that might be the worst running stretch in the history of Earth, so I usually do circles around Navy Pier. Then I go back up the same way. 10 miles with plenty of water fountains, pretty much the perfect path.

Overall it was a great run. The weather was cool (which was awesome) maybe around 70 degrees and the sun was out most of the time with a few nice shady spots. One of our notebooks (of course the one with iTunes) pooped the bed, so I took on the run with whatever was in my phone. I wanted to try something different so I started with some Incubus. Ahh, 50/50, some was real nice running music, the rest (while good music) made me want to shoot myself in the head as a runner. Way too slow and depressing. That was quickly replaced with my old faituful: NIN- the All That Could Have Been album. Trent’s fast tempo and utter hatred for everything nice in the world became a nice change of pace. It helped keep me at a nice pace. I had been going out a little fast in my previous long runs, so I was mindful to slow it down a little and hopefully prevent the Mon-Th shin splints that follow.

Since I like for my long runs to be alone, I usually have a lot of time to look around and observe. This week I was thinking a lot about the concept of wisdom and how it differs from knowledge. Particularly how we all have quite a bit of knowledge that we have picked up (mostly from our parents) over the years. Don’t touch the stove, look both ways before crossing, no matter how good they taste-2am burrito’s will get you sick one day, are all good examples. We know that info, but until the years go by and we have some sort of interaction, experience or observation, we never really truly understand it. When we do, that is when knowledge becomes wisdom.

A great example of this happened the last 2 weeks while I was running. What happened on both occassions is that some little kids (3, 4, 6, who knows, they all look like kids to me) saw some geese (just sitting around, quacking, minding thier business and doing genereal goose things) and decided they would like to chase and maybe catch these geese. Now I’m sure that these parents had given the following rules to the kids: don’t chase the geese, don’t go after the animals, leave the animals alone… Unfortunately for the kids (but fortunately for me, because it was damn funny) they didn’t internalize this instruction and think they don’t need to listen. Oops.

So here is what happened (twice in seperate weeks, so I’m sure this is goose law, written in a handbook or something): The kids (moving in pairs for some reason) pick out a goose and start chasing it. The geese seperate and the kids single out a single goose and chase it away from the group (the goose’s A-hole buddies take off on him). The goose runs a few steps, then stops and lets the kids run/wobble back up to him, then the goose runs away and stops, kids run, and the cycle continues for maybe 25-30 seconds. After this 30 seconds, when the kids have the goose isolated and are starting to catch up, something amazing happens that makes me think that geese are the distant relatives of Velociraptors…..

The new raptor

The new raptor

Magically 2-3 invisable geese come out of nowhere and flank the kids. I poop you not this happens. At that time the chased (decoy) goose, turns around and charges the kids. The kids turn to run, but there is no where to go. They are trapped in the goose triangle. In both situations the kids just started crying and ran off (to thier parents, who one of the times was recording the whole thing. For the love of god, if anyone knows the dude who was recording that on Sun May 31st, please please send it to me). No children or geese were harmed in this story, so I think it’s possible to conclude the following points:

1) These kids now have goose wisdom and will most likely never chase a goose again
2) This is absolutely hillarious. Next weekend I might get a blanket, a cooler, and some friends and just sit near the “goose spot” and watch this happen over and over again.
3) Geese are the long lost relatives of Velociraptors (yes a capital “V” because they are that cool)

Outside of the fun goose/raptor part in the park it was fairly uneventful. A few drunk funny people on the beach, a few bikers who were speeding through as if they didn’t see the hundreds of people on the path and some really cool old guys playing chess over at the chess-gazibo; pretty typical.

This is a high milage week, I’m supposed to do 32, but based on the wierdness in lower leg I think I’m going to cut a lot of the runs almost in half. That should get me about 22-24. Next week is a recovery week, so only 18 scheduled. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that after those two weeks of low milage, along with the greatest running help known to man (a wife who is a massage therapist), I’ll be good to go after that and can continue my training. The Whistlestop Marathon doesn’t care that I might be injured and they are closing that course after 6hrs, so I had best get ready so I’ll be done in time.

Starting off a new year of running

So fresh (5 months) off of my bittersweet victory in completing the Honolulu Marathon I got together with Slurp and told him I was planning another half and full marathon. Slurp said he was planning the same, so we decided on the two following races: The Chicago Half Marathon and the Whistlestop Marathon.

Vader can definatley motivate me to run faster

Vader can definatley motivate me to run faster

The Chicago Half Marathon has special meaning. We have run it once (2006) and intended to run 2004 and 2005 to no avail. In 2004 I think we just both got lazy. My registration was free through work, so no big loss on my part. In 2005 I trained pretty well, running 5x times a week, but unfortunatlely (about 24 hrs before the race) as I was helping my parents move and I severely twisted my ankle. Finally in 2006 we signed up and I ran the race with no training at all (but 25lbs lighter). I finished, with a ton of walking, in just over 3 yrs. Since we started almost a half hour late, I was racing the cops who were trying to kick me off the street so it could be reopened. While this is just a tune up race before the full marathon, 4 weeks later, I will be nice to run it in a controlled manner and not feel like I’m going to pass out at the end. Hopefully this time I can remember not to have tasty and delicious Cozy Noodle curry chicken the night before.

The other race is the Whistlestop Marathon in Wisconsin (almost Duluth MN, on Lake Superior). Slurp’s in-laws have a cabin in the area and this is the same race as the half marathon we ran last year. In true Slurp and Q. fashon, we showed up and started about a half hour late (2 for 2, I’ve never started a half marathon on time). This is also the race where I was handidly defeated by an 80 or 90 year old woman. I’ve never planned to win a race, but I guess I do always want to have faster times than the women in the XX yrs+ category. This marathon will be my chance to avenge my greatest defeat. If that same woman (I have it somewhere, but I rember her name was Maude or something from Duluth MN) is running the half marathon, hopefully I’ll be able to defeat her with my 1st half time. The other struggle here is that the marathon has a 6hr max. I think that’s a 13.44min/mile pace. Way faster than my 14min race pace I was hoping for in Honolulu. Hopefully I can pick up some speed my October.

So those are the planned races. I started running again in April when the weather cooperated and then full time in May. My plan is to use May to get my base miles in, then start really training hard come June. So far this month I have had some minor injury issues. First was a groin pull from playing softball, that had me out for about 5 days. Then earlier this week some nasty shin splints made thier way into my legs. I guess those are typical since I’m ramping up my miles pretty quickly from week to week. Luckily Krissy is a genius of a massage therapist and helped me to seperate some muscle from the bone (pretty painfull stuff) and also stretch my calves so that they wouldn’t hurt on upcoming runs.

My pace is a little better than last year. Last year is was 15/min miles and this year it looks like 14/min miles is where I’m at so far. I have to keep improving that for both races, but I have a ton of time so I think it should be OK. These races being only my 3rd half and 2nd marathon, I’m not looking for Kenyon times, just good comfortable Dave times.

The other thing slowing me down is my weight. I dropped about 5 lbs in the last month, but I think I’d like to drop at least another 30-40 by the time the marathon hits. Another 40 lbs would have me, average sized by American standards, fat by marathoner standards, fat by global standards but thin by sumo wrestler standards. And thats right where I want to be. I read that a loss of 1lb=2seconds/mile. If you take off 40, that’s 1min 20 sec/mile. That would bring me well below my 6 hr time limit for the race… and might even get me to my personal goal of beating Glynis or whatever her name is. She will be defeated.

So that is where everything stands today. Slowly building up to a comfortable 25-30 miles a week, but doing so while building my own running/training strategy. Should be fun and the mistakes should be even more fun.

Review of Honolulu Marathon (part 2 of 2)

The clouds/rain left and then the sun had it's revenge

The clouds/rain left and then the sun had it's revenge

We hit the half way point and I checked my time. Right on schedule. That’s the good part. My foot was getting hotter and hotter, that was the bad part. I saw the Kenyon’s pass by when I was going up the volcano, now as this was the two way street portion, I was able to see the regular (but fast) people go past. As my feet were slowly burning, I kind of wished I was one of them so I could be almost done. But no use in crying, I must push forward.

Finally around mile 14, the Blister of Death on my left foot was too much to handle. I pulled up, sat on the curb and pulled my shoe off. I felt the blister through my sock and realized it was pretty huge. I decided to leave it as a surprise, and since I was half way done, just keep moving forward. I was hobbling a bit, but kept trekking on, about 80% of my pace. The other runner in my group went to the washroom and caught up by now and we started marching on.

Mile 14 was very very painful, but around mile 15 it felt great. It must have just been a hot spot and went away. Hooray. I now felt fantastic, my legs had a bit of a break while I was going slow and my foot felt fine. We went back to our standard pace for about ¾ of a mile and I felt I must have met this dreaded “wall” everyone talks about and kicked its butt. There was no stopping me now.

Except for the blister. At the mile 15 or 16 water stop I slowed down and grabbed a sponge and a cup of water. I slowed down enough that my blister caught up to me. I was instantly hobbled and could not even walk. I peeled off and finally had to check it out. OH MY GOSH WAS IT DISGUESTING. Now it was on both feet and looked mega gross. It was like something out of a medical book “Fellow doctors, if you ever see this, chop off the foot and do the dude a favor” would be the caption underneath.

Running immediately became a thing of the past. Jogging, speed walking, heck even the casual stroll was gone. Now it was full on hobble. Each and every step was hobbling from one blister to another. Sure I may be a Sally, but this was excruciating. However, I trained from 6 months, and had a 90 yr old woman behind me who I had to beat. So I kept movng.

To keep my spirits down and in the gutter, everyone who I passed in the first 16 miles was now passing me up. And I hobbled. A dude with one leg crutched past me, and I hobbled. Someone dressed in a cow suit jogged by, and I hobbled (but with a smile for the first time, because… come on, it’s a cow). The sun was fully up, the Ethiopians were done for hours and were now half way back to Africa, and I was going at about 26min/mile pace. Slow was bad, but the pain was getting worse.

Miles 16-20 might have been the worst hour and 45 minutes ever. I was able to have a few thoughts that didn’t involve foot pain and I realized I brought enough food for 7 hrs. I planned on being done in 6, but I bought an extra hour’s worth to be safe. Oops. The first half I paced it, now I was pacing a 9hr finish. Some nice local was cutting and passing out oranges. I didn’t care at that point, so I took 5 of them. Citrus was going to be my fuel. I kept 1 last gel for the final volcano ascent, but other than that it was just me running on orange fuel.

If it wasn't for dying on my feet, it was a pretty nice view

If it wasn't for dying on my feet, it was a pretty nice view

Right around mile 21 or so I think I started hallucinating or something. I was still hobbling each step, but a calm came over me. Maybe it was the lack of fuel, maybe the pain caused my brain to turn off, maybe it was just me being at peace with my inevitable death, but I felt OK. I think it was just knowing that with only 5 miles left, no matter how much it hurt, I knew I would finish. Last volcano push and for the first time in 3 hrs, I was feeling OK in my head. And since I was alright, I was able to observe something other than the half step in front of me. I noticed the hardened salt on my face (gross) and the absolute silence. Early in the race people were cheering and talking amongst themselves and having a happy time. This was a death march and people were moving like silent zombies. There were still a lot of other “runners” around me, but you could hear the slightest sound. It was pretty crazy.

My joy ended around mile 23 when my brain turned back on and the pain returned. Every time I saw an ambulance, I could swear it was calling to me with its soft comfy stretcher and wheels that go faster than 2 miles an hour. It had a tractor beam locked on and I was being pulled towards the Death Star. At my bottom, something funny came into my head. Robby (my high school wrestling coach) and Lockwood (my football coach) started yelling at me. I don’t know where it came from, but there they were. And like the coach-fearing lemming I was in high school, I did exactly what they said. I kept moving forward. Then I used my recently activated brain to think about more when I used to get yelled at by Lockwood and Robby. And it kept driving me. I was now moving at an unbelievably fast pace of 21 min/miles. Look out Honolulu, here I come.

Miles 23-26 were all the same (except some going down, which was nice) then it happened, I saw the finish line. I could see it but as I was hobbling towards it, it kept getting further and further away. People around me started running. I was blown away. If they had that much energy, why finish your marathon in just shy of 9 hrs. Plus, no one cheering you on thinks you were really running the whole time, you aren’t fooling anyone. IT’S 9 HOURS. But people were doing it. I was still limping away, and I heard some grunting. I didn’t think I was audibly crying out, but maybe I lost control of my voice. And I heard it a second time. I looked to my left and there was a woman going the same pace as I and she was struggling just as much. I started talking to her about the people running and how the finish line kept moving. She then responded in Japanese (which I don’t speak). We pushed each other on to finish and never stopped talking for the 6-8 minutes to the finish line. Neither one of us spoke each other’s language, but we didn’t shut up.

Speaking of shutting up. So when I’m about 100 meters away, the dude on the microphone is announcing everyone who is about to finish and such. He says something like “Dave from Chicago, sporting a holiday green shirt, is finishing up, let’s hear it for Dave.” Awww, that made me feel warm and fuzzy. Then as people are running past and I’m still limping. About 45 seconds later, I still haven’t crossed the finish line. No one is around (except my new Japanese best friend) and he says “Dave from Chicago, come on, get across the finish line already.” WHAT?!? I just ran 16 miles and hobbled on 2 huge blisters another 10 miles, I’m in crazy pain, I’m obviously limping from foot to foot as I’m moving and this guy is busting my balls.

My new BFF and I right after we crawled across the finish line together.

My new BFF and I right after we crawled across the finish line together.

Finished. Ah it felt nice.

They gave me my shell necklace and such. I took a picture with my new BFF and just wanted to sit down. But there were no seats. And the field that all of the tents and booths were in, was a mud pit because of the monsoons. I was finally done, and I had to walk another half mile to get to the T-shirt tent (damned if I’m not getting my free shirt, I earned the heck out of it). So I hobbled some more. Sat in the mud for a few minutes (I didn’t’ care at that point), finally got my T-shirt and then something beautiful happened. I saw a bunch of empty cardboard boxes outside of the tent. It was empty boxes from the T-shirts. I used the strength of a 1000 gods to tear those boxes open and made a bed of cardboard. It looked fantastic and felt even better. I pulled my iPhone out of the armband and called up Krissy to tell her I was alive. It was about a 20 min call, followed by another 10 min of me laying there. A good dozen times people came over to see if I was alive, and I was. It was finally over.

Except I had a mile walk back to the hotel. I was walking along Wiakiki beach, so there were benches everywhere. So I walked about a block or two, then sat on a bench for 20 minutes. Went another block or two, then another 20 min sit. I did this the whole way, about another hour and a half to get back, but I had benches and no 90 year old woman on my tail (who sadly didn’t finish, I’m glad she feared me and bowed out, but it was too bad her race ended that way). I finally got back to the hotel, took a quick shower and slept. I slept from mid-day until late dinner time. Called room service. They showed up and it took me 2 minutes to get from my bed to the door. I then slept till the next morning.

I woke up the next morning and was finally able to attend to my blisters. I’ll be kind and not post pictures, but they were huge and found places to spread to that I didn’t even know existed on my feet. But a few years as an Athletic Trainer in college helped me know what to do, and some hotel room surgery did the trick. I could walk again.

I flew back the next day and was walking fine in about 3 days. I reached my goal of completing a marathon, so I was done. Or so I thought. I now realize I can’t go out like a punk, and I have to run another marathon so I can have a respectable finish. Completing the marathon is nice, but now I have to complete one on my terms. Who knows what this could turn into, but I’m happy I’m running again.

Review of Honolulu Marathon (part 1 of 2)

Me, hanging out at the expo with some inflatable thing that looks like Toad.

Me, hanging out at the expo with some inflatable thing that looks like Toad.

OK, so after the marathon I needed a little bit of time to recover before writing.  Then I forgot.  So here is my marathon story, 5 months later and in Readers Digest form. 

So here is my pre-marathon plan.  Hit the Expo and register.  Get some rest on Saturday check out the city a little bit.  Sunday, get up at 3, meet everyone at 3:30 and be ready for 5am start.  For the race I plan on doing the first 10 miles slow, maybe 15-30 seconds/mile slower than my standard pace.  Mile 11-20, pick up the pace a bit, bring it up to my planned race-pace.  Mile 21-finish, close strong at whatever pace I feel comfortable with.  I have a mile+ walk back to the hotel after the race, so I can’t just fall apart at the end.

 Monsoon, Rain Storm, Flood, Swimming, they are all great words you can use to describe the morning of the marathon.  The temperatures were nice, but it was very wet.  The entire AIDS Marathon group met at the hotel lobby and walked the 1.5 miles to the starting area.  There were a couple of puddles that were as wide as the entire road.  Most people were wearing rain ponchos like lame-o’s, but since I was a tough guy, I just wore my shorts and shirt (and some shoes, socks, and running belt).  Despite the fact that mother nature filled up a bucket and dumped it on Honolulu, the spirits were pretty high as I guess they always are at the start of a marathon. 

 When we finally got to the starting line (or about 2 blocks behind it as I was) people chatted and took pictures galore.  I posed for a few, but I think most people’s camera’s couldn’t handle this much sexiness at 5 am.  Time flew by and the next thing I knew, Barack’s sister was saying some things in a microphone (I only heard Charlie Brown’s teacher talking) then she fired the starting gun and a whole big fireworks display began.  It was a pretty good show, about 5-10 minutes in all.  It took about that long for me to hit the starting line.

Here are the fireworks at the starting line

Here are the fireworks at the starting line

The buzz was very surprising and once it broke up in a few blocks, people were running at a pretty good clip.  It was faster than my pace, but hard to fight the crowd to slow down.  I think the first 1.5 miles were about 45seconds/mile fast.  Luckily I would have more than enough time to bring that back.  It was still pretty early, but the city got pretty excited about the race and there were a ton of people out cheering.  If it was me, I’d be sleeping in and annoyed by the loud fireworks at 6am, but the Honolulu people seemed to dig what was going on.  During this time our pace group was at about 8 or 9 people.  A few dropped off when we saw a gas station with a bathroom at mile 3.  Around this time we were able to see the ocean and got back on the main road.  The rain was on and off the whole run so far, but we had our first good break and the sun came out for a second. 

Next came the hill ascent.  And by hill, I mean volcano.  Running up a volcano was definitely tough on my legs (our group dropped to 3), but we trained for it and I was feeling OK.  Then a weird sensation came over me… I’m running up a volcano.  Now I’m not a volcano-ologist, but from what I remember in school, at the top of a volcano is lava.  I’m not afraid of spiders, or heights or enclosed spaces, but I’m pretty sure I’m afraid of lava.  Nothing like an irrational panic came over me, but at that moment in time I realized the lunacy in what I was doing (sidenote: I did not encounter any lava, nor melt from exposure to lava as I feared). 

Volcano from far away, it doesn\'t look too bad from here

Volcano from far away, it doesn\'t look too bad from here

If I remember correctly mile 9 was the top of the volcano (or as high as we went).  I took a sweet picture that should be on the previous post that I was sending to Krissy as I was running.  I distinctly remember saying to Brody (a woman in my pace group) that I felt if we could handle that incline as well as we did, the next 17 miles should be doable.  The opening 6-7 miles, plus the uphill volcano miles should be the tough part.  NOPE.

Running downhill (down-volcano) was surprisingly easy on my legs.  My knees didn’t love it, but the pain seemed pretty standard.  We made it down to flat ground, put some distance in, then made the turn for the main highway that the marathon took over for the next 13 ish miles.  At this point we would run about 5ish miles on one side of the highway, do a little 2 mile loop, then run another 5 on the other side of the highway.  Then it was back up and down the volcano and at the bottom was the finish line.

 We were down to 2 in the group and I was still feeling surprising well.  I definitely felt like we were running slow and I was excited about the middle of the race.  Around this time, mile 11 or 12ish that I started feeling something funny.  My feet, especially my left foot felt kind of hot.  Now the rain stopped and the sun came out and was blazing, but my foot seemed hotter than it should be.  One thing I definitely learned in running is sometimes you get little pains that hit your feet, shins, legs, etc, stick around for a while, then iron themselves out and you feel fine.  Surely this must be one of those situations…. Except it wasn’t, it was a huge blister-in-training.


Dave is finished with his marathon…YAY!!!! Thanks to everyone for your support. I’m sure he’ll be blogging the whole story in a few days.