Friday, April 30, 2010

Starting to feel fat again!

Almost two weeks ago I ran the Boston Marathon, fighting through months of injuries to even get there let alone finish. I promised myself that I would take at least a month off of running after to allow my body to recover from all the injuries I have. Here it is,not even 2 weeks in, and I want to run this weekend so bad. I know I shouldn't but I am feeling so fat that I might cave in a run a few miles on Sunday.

I have been trying to get other forms of exercise in but it isn't the same. I have been using weights and doing circuit training to burn calories, but still not equal to running. I also made it back to the pool. I stopped swimming in January to focus more on running since my time is limited. I got in the pool twice and that is it. Hopefully I can get a swim in today, Saturday and Sunday. I was going to ride this weekend but I really do not enjoy riding.

One of the beautiful things about running is all you need is your shoes and a street or trail (there is a little more to it especially if you are a girl but you get the point). To swim I have to drive to s specific gym, to ride I need to lug all my crap to school, not as easy as running.

I hope to get in some swimming this weekend so I can avoid running at least one more week so I can rest my body longer, but if I do run, I hope my wife doesn't kill me.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Ragnar Relay

Boy am I tired. After leaving Boston and landing late Tuesday night, I woke up early on Wednesday and Thursday to teach and get ready for Ragnar Relay. Friday, I was up at 5:00 to get my 3 teams of runners to the starting line of the Ragnar Relay in Ventura by 8 am. I had no clue what was in store for us.

39 hours later, I finally got to sleep on Saturday night. In between was freaking amazing!!!!

All I knew about Ragnar was that we were supposed to have 12 runners per team and each runner would run 3 legs ranging from 4-9 miles per leg. At the end of the race, 200 miles would be completed with the finish line being in Dana Point. There were some safety rules we had to follow but that's all I really knew.

Our 3 teams of middle and high school runners started at 9 am on Friday morning. At the first exchange they were all dead even. Then things started happening. One girl from the second team went the wrong way and wound up running 1 mile in the wrong direction. We found her and didn't want to violate any rules so we made her run back to where she strayed off course. That put that team 16 minutes behind. the rest of Friday was spent driving a mile stopping and cheering then driving a mile and cheering as the runners would pass by.

Then night came. It is pitch black in some of the areas and thankfully we had 2 bikes to help illuminate the course and keep our runners safe. However, we only had 2 and needed a third bike for the 3rd team. Thank God we made it through the night without incident.

Saturday brought sunlight, heat and new cities we had never run through before. Finally, the 36th leg and we were almost done. We drove to the finish line to wait. After 200 miles, 2 of our teams were separated by only 10 seconds. AMAZING!!!!! Then we had to wait for 2 hours for our last team.

After talking to so many adults and learning that a lot of teams couldn't finish because they were tired, sore, or too slow, really made me proud to know that that was never an issue for us. We looked at 200 miles as a fun run and we knew we would finish. We just hoped for a decent time.

Looking back, I am absolutely amazed at how well a bunch of 13 and 14 year olds did. It was such a major accomplishment and I couldn't be prouder of all of them. Even though I didn't sleep for 39 hours, didn't eat very much, lived on coffee for an entire 2 days and still haven't recovered from the lack of sleep, I would do it again tomorrow if we could.

I can't wait until next year.

Thanks Ragnar Relay.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Boston Marathon Recap

Wow, where do I begin? I could go on for days and days about ever aspect of the race- from the overall atmosphere in Boston to the crowds along the course. The entire event was absolutely amazing and the second I stepped off the plane I realized why I, and so many others, work their butts off to get to Boston.

But let's talk about the race itself. Going in I had doubts, and those were compounded by the fact that on Saturday and Sunday, my lower back seized up so bad I couldn't stand up straight and had to stop every 10-20 feet to bend over and stretch out my back. I spent a lot of time on my hotel floor rolling out on tennis balls and lying flat on the floor with my legs up on the wall, perpendicular to the floor. My injuries leading up to the race, my under-trained racing legs, and the possibility of rain all were weighing on my mind.

Marathon Monday. I got up, it was cold 35-40 and windy. I went to athletes village to wait out in the open for 2 hours before the race. I was cold, my So Cal blood can't handle that crap. Anyways, I was mentally going over the race plan I had posted earlier. I really wanted to stick to it.

So the race finally starts and here I am, after 23 months of hard work and waiting for this day, I am scared to start. I am scared to let everyone down that is counting on me to do well. I am scared I will disappoint my wife whom traveled with me and was hoping I would happy with my time. As I get to the starting line (3:00 off the gun time) I slowly get into my slow run. I am going to stay with plan of starting easy for teh first 10 miles. Man did I feel like an ass. EVERYONE passed me! It is one thing to go easy at a marathon and have a few people pass you that you know are fools, but to be at THE Boston Marathon all these fast, fit people pass you like you are walking. But, I stuck to my plan. It just made me feel less like a runner and even a little out of place.

The first 10-11 miles were on pace and I almost felt bored going at that pace. Then mile 12. I get excited that Wellesley is approaching, just like everyone else. And that is just what I needed and planned. I get the boost I need from the girls and my legs and head feel better. I am followin my plan. I use the energy to get me to mile 15-16. Here I decided to put on my Ipod and hit the hills. I maintain my same pace up and over all the hills, which is really tough considering you are at mile 17, 18, 19 going up fairly steep hills.

After the peak of Heartbreak Hill, I am feeling good but tired. I know I can hang on for a respectable time. However, some quick math tells me that I could re-qualify for Boston if I picked the pace up and eliminate 5 minutes. I think about and realize that I am better to just keep a good pace then to run really hard and maybe blow up and not finish strong.

I keep on chugging along and I start to feel it at mile 24. I just need to hold on until mile 25 then I know that I can get it done. Sure enough I get to mile 25 and now I know I am home free. The legs are feeling lifted by the thousands of people out cheering. It is 10 deep on each side! It is so loud for the last mile you can't think- which takes away all the pain. Once I see the final right turn before the famous "left onto Boylston" I start to smile. Others are grimicing in pain and I am smiling my ass off. I see the Convention Center, make my left on Boylston and boom! there is the finish line all big and beautiful. 800 meter celebration run. Wave, smile, wave, smile... then cross the most historic and memorable finsih line in the history of our sport.

My final time- 3:22:25 . For all I had beenthrough I am blown away with my time. I couldn't be happier.

I actually ran a slight negative split for that course amazing!

Moss, Craig

5k 0:24:06
10k 0:48:15
15k 1:12:18
20k 1:36:24
Half 1:41:41
25k 2:00:25
30k 2:24:31
35k 2:48:02
40k 3:11:43



Thursday, April 15, 2010

Last thoughts On Boston

Last night I woke up and couldn't fall back asleep. My mind was on Boston and my prep leading up to it. I started doubting my training, yet I was thinking about a good time. Crazy how the mind works. My best ever Boston is 3:01. My worst is a 3:12. I probably won't get anywhere near either of those but I really would love to. But that would require a low 7 min/mile average and my training wasn't that great due to my injuries.

Noramally I would like to get in 3-4 long runs of over 18 miles, 2 of which wouldbe negative runs, meaning the second half of the run would be faster tha the first half so I could practice finishing strong. The only long runs I got in were a weak 15 miles, a decent 19 miles, and a great 21 miler.

Second I would like to have averaged at least 50-60 miles a week. I could only get in 30's at the most. This leads me to feel under-trained.

Finally, I would like to get in once a week mile repeats on a hilly trail. The injury would not even come close to allow me to run faster tempo type runs. The best I could do is get in weekly quality runs of close to race pace for 5-7 miles. Not ideal for me.

So going in I feel under trained and so I worry about my time. Hopefully all of this negativity will disipate before the start so I can enjoy my race and just be happy about being in Boston. Hell, this is my 6th and hopefully not my last, you can't always PR. I need to just have fun. Turn around thoughts!!!!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

My Boston Marathon Game Plan

Today, after school, I have my final California pre-Boston Marathon training run. My next and final run will be Saturday, in Boston probably down the famous Paul Revere Trail to the Boston Commons or by the Charles River, either one is spectacular in the Spring. Then it is game time!

So here is my plan:
First, you take a bus out to Athlete's Village at Hopkington High School where you will sit under a massive tent or in the open on the grass. So my first plan is to take a small, fold up chair that I can discard before the race. I learned the hard way a few years ago that the ground can be very, very cold up there. I will also wear multiple layers of clothing to keep me warm for the few hours you must sit around and wait.

Once the race starts, I plan on being patient and go easy. Usually, I am really good to start slowly but at Boston it is so hard to hold back. You are starting on a downhill and everyone starts so fast that you almost get "caught up" in the moment and want to run fast too. I did it once and blew my race up!!! So I plan on doing my first 10K very slow.

After the first 10K, I will gradually pick up the pace ever so slightly. Still don't want to sabotage my race. The tough stuff is ahead.

At the half-way point I will pick it up again. This time it will be easy to get a little bit faster (almost too easy and can get you moving too fast again). The half-way point is at Wellesely College and the massive amounts of girls that come out to cheer is mind-boggling and ear shattering. My first time I was shocked and amazed that you could actually hear the cheers from a half-mile away! Once there the sheer thrill and excitement carry you through like you are floating on air.

After that it will be maintenance. I will maintain that new pace for the next 3-4 miles. Then we get to the hills of Newton. Here I will pan my attack. If I am feeling it, I plan on attacking the hills since hill running is one of my very few strengths. I will use a short stride with a quick turn-over and get up the hills fairly easily.

Once get past the top of Heartbreak Hill I will take it easy down the backside (fairly steep decline) into Cleveland Circle. Once on the flats, I will try and emulate what I did at LA and really pick up the pace. I hope I am feeling good from saving my legs early on and can "get up and go" at this point.

I can visualize the wall of people you run through on the way into downtown Boston. I can visualize the infamous Citgo sign telling you that you are almost there. I can visualize running down Commonwealth Ave, and I can visualize the most amazing turn in all sports, the turn onto Boylston Street. From here it will be a straight, half mile shot to the finish. I can see myself finishing.

Finally, I can visualize myself walking past the finish line, medal in hand, and seeing my wife on the side waiting for me. The best will be when I can give her a big hug and kiss and tell her in her ear "I DID IT!".

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Ebb and Flow of Running

The ups and downs of running, that's what I am going through. Some weeks you feel great/the next like crap. Last week, I swear I though I would never run well again. Everything hurt, I couldn't get into that running "groove" no matter how fast or slow I ran. Everything was a struggle. This week, I feel great. Killed Saturday's run and then ran well Sunday and Monday.. Today is a rest day as part of my Boston Marathon taper. All that is left is Wednesday's 8-9 miler and a 4-5 miler Saturday. 2 runs left and then the big race. Wow it is really here.

I am so excited. I want it to come so bad. I go to sleep early every night so that the night will go by quicker which means Patriot's Day will be here quicker. My thoughts are consumed with the race, my game plan, my running outfit, my race morning routine, what to take, and visualizing the race (I remember most of it and try and see myself running effortlessly through each town).

Tomorrow or Thursday I will detail my race day game plan.

Enjoy your day

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Weekend Before The Boston Marathon

One week from today I will be sitting on a Jet Blue airplane heading towards Boston. So excited/nervous. This will be my last weekend of training, then it is a maintenance week next week. I am such a geek. I already started packing things for Boston. I am so excited to finally go back that the little things like starting to pack, getting my Heartbreak Hill play list ready, etc are keeping me sane.

Next week I will try and explain what Boston means to me and try and give you my perspective of the course/weekend. I will be busy getting ready for Boston, setting my classroom up for a substitute teacher while I am away, submitting my own classwork for my physics class so i don't fall too far behind while gone, and also trying to finalize/tie up any loose ends for the Ragnar Relay which is on the Friday of when I return. So I may not get around to it, but i will try.

Have a fantastic weekend. For anyone racing- GOOD LUCK!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Wow, yesterday's 7 miler went surprisingly well. No real pain, no real discomfort and I felt pretty smooth. Now 7 is nowhere near a marathon distance but it does give me hope that I can salvage a decent Boston Marathon. With only 7 more runs schedules, everyone matters to me at this point. Not so much for the fitness it provides but for the mental edge I need to have a decent marathon. I am off today from running but that didn't mean I would be resting. I still did weights for 45 minutes. My weight training is fairly hardcore and requires me to almost become anaerobic at points. Tomorrow is a 5 miler then Saturday off. Sunday I will try a 10 miler.
Hope all goes well.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

OK I am back. For the 3 readers who enjoy my blog sorry, I was on a mental break while I tried to relax during Spring Break. Now I am back to blog about my upcoming Boston Marathon.

After feeling GREAT at the LA Marathon (and I mean GREAT I haven't felt that strong at a marathon in years) and how well I felt the next two days, I thought I could resume training lightly so I didn't lose too much fitness for Boston. That Wednesday after LA I jogged 30 minutes very easy on grass and stretched well after. I took Thursday off and ran 5 on Friday. I was feeling so good. Saturday, I woke up and it was really windy so I headed to a trail that is protected by a canyon. It wasn't windy there but the 6 miles of trails made me tired. Then to complicate matters I went out for a bachelor party that night and had a few drinks. All of this messed me up bad.

Since then I have been struggling to run well at any distance or pace. My hamstrings feel like there are locked up, my hip flexors feel weak, like they can't lift my legs, and to make matters worse, my old hip/groin injury has come back with vengeance. So I am not too happy with my running at this point (one semi-highlight was the 12 miles I managed to get in this past Sunday but that didn't even feel good).

So with 12 day until Boston, I am actually worried about my race. I am not worried about hitting a time goal, I am worried about even performing at a level acceptable for a Boston Qualifier. See, I feel that this is the "regular" person's championships and you should try and come with your "A" game. Pro's wouldn't go to the Olympics to just hope to finish, I shouldn't either. So I am under pressure from myself to perform.

I have a new round of therapy this week so maybe all of my worries will be alleviated with some massages and stretches.