The Woman Who Thought in Circles
She went around and around about wearing circles. She didn’t want to be too matchy matchy. Then again she did because her mom liked her more when she was. But she liked her mom less when her mom liked her more which was very confusing to her and made her head hurt.
She went back and forth about wearing the jacket. She liked the color and the buttons were all nice circles and she liked nice circles. Then again she worried about there being too many circles because her boyfriend didn’t like a lot of circles. She didn’t like when he didn’t like what she liked and that made her head hurt.
She went in and out of her closet deciding on whether to wear pants or a skirt. She liked wearing pants but her Grandmother thought it was unseemly. She always wanted to please her Grandmother because her Grandmother gave her money when she pleased her and didn’t give her money when she didn’t. She didn’t like doing what pleased her Grandmother just for money but she needed the money very badly and that made her head hurt.
She went up and down emotionally about what blouse to wear. She had a blue one that was pretty and she has a green one that was strong and she had a red one that was sexy. She liked looking sexy but didn’t like people thinking she was trying to look sexy. She didn’t like looking strong because then people thought she was trying to look strong. She liked looking pretty but didn’t like people thinking she was trying to look pretty. Thinking about what other people thought about her made her head hurt.
She decided on wearing the jacket but couldn’t decide on any of the other items so she just sat there in her jacket thinking around and around and back and forth and in and out and up and down about everything, especially the circles. She eventually got up and took a pill for her hurting head.
Simple Drawings / Complex Emotions
I like to draw on my ipad, especially at night when I am sitting in bed before falling asleep. Most of the time I use my finger but I also use a digital pen on occasion. I use an app called ‘Sketchbook’ from Autodesk.
The goal in all these drawings was to do the most with the least. My focus was to do simple visual drawings that had complex emotional messages.
Here are some of my creations, some with commentary.
The Barbed Wire Boy – 2018
The International Woman Enjoying Not Smiling – 2018
I drew this on the International Women’s Day. I’ve spent over 40 years photographing women and I have combated the idea that they have to be smiling or somehow they are unhappy. I love having them NOT smiling actually because then I am more likely to get a genuine emotional look from them.
Add to that the refrain women so often hear from men telling them they should smile more. That is simply a way for a man to say his comfort is more important than him understanding who that woman really is.
He Was Very Upset She Was Smarter – 2018
She Scribbled Herself Across the Land Scape – 2018
She Felt More Fraught Than Hot – 2018
This drawing’s title is reflective of something I have seen over the years. In all my work over the decades drawing and photographing women I have learned that their outward appearance, how they appear to others, often has very little to do with how they feel about themselves. It isn’t always this way but it isn’t uncommon to find the typical ‘beauty’, admired by all, is filled with doubts and hatred for their looks while the one that passes under the radar and is not seen at all much less as a ‘beauty’ sees herself with confidence and strength. I liked using the rhyming play of ‘fraught vs hot’ to express that idea.
The guy Who Was Always Shocked – 2018
She Never Knew What Hit Her – 2018
Originally the face extended all the way down to where the chest is now. But as I continued I had trouble making the features do what I wanted and decided to shorten the face and add a body.
She Branded Herself The Smiling Liar – 2018
She Realized Too Late She Wasn’t Ready To Split – 2018
He Felt So Stoopid – 2018
She Wondered What People Thought Of Her – 2018
Much of the look of these drawing are a result of experimentation with various pen settings in the app. In this case I brought all the features of this one pen style to their max settings and started drawing. This was the result.
The Man With The Th ick Brows and Neck – 2018
I don’t know in advance who or what I am going to draw when I do this digital portraits. In this drawing I started with the thick brows and was actually envisioning a woman but as it went further the blockiness of the shapes led me to make her into a him.
The Winging Woman Worried – 2018
Sometimes I just have a fleeting glimpse of a person and later use that glimpse as an inspiration. It isn’t a portrait of anyone in particular but it was inspired by a woman at an airport on my recent trip to California
She Realized She Made A Mistake – 2018
Let me know what you think of these!
Family and friends after the race!
The Best of Intentions
Last January 2nd I wrote my second Spring Marathon update post. It covered weeks 2-4. My goal was to do an update every 2-3 weeks after that. This is my next update, 12+ weeks later. What happened? Let’s see. Cold happened. A lot. Not a cold, but just COLD. Running happened. Again, a lot. Coaching happened even more. What didn’t happen was writing about it. This is mostly due to training just not being all that exciting, interesting or sexy. It really is just a lot of running. I had done regular updates in the fall, during my training for the Marine Corps Marathon, but that was my first training season after my Achilles surgery and it really was a new thing for me. This time around it was a lot of the same.
The other reason is I forgot. I don’t mean I forgot to write, I mean I forgot about the runs and the training that I would be writing about. After the first really cold run I was going to write about it but didn’t. After the 5th or 6th cold run they all seemed to blend together and I couldn’t remember the specifics more than that they were cold. Then one was in the rain, then another and another and they blended together as well. The other thing was I was following the same training regimen I had told you all about in the fall so I felt like much of it would be a repeat. That lead me to giving up on regular updates and deciding I would just do a recap at the end of the season. And voila, here we are.
Otis with his own Medal!
My goals for this Marathon were as follows:
- Break my 4:14:47 PR from the Marine Corp Marathon (9:36 pace)
- Break 4:05 – 9:20 pace
- Break 4:00 – 9:09 pace
- Be consistent in pace from beginning to end – meaning no mile would be more than 30 seconds different than any other mile.
- Fuel and hydrate properly and consistently until the very end.
- Recover properly and slowly after the race, avoid cramping.
Here is what I achieved, with explanations:
- Yes – my finish time was 4:03:41 with a pace of 9:06. But wait, wouldn’t my pace be closer to the 9:20 I mentioned above? See #4 below.
- No (and yes). The race was actually mismeasured long by at least .4 miles. My final distance was actually 26.77 (which is why the 9:06 pace), much farther than 26.2. There would be some extra in my Garmin watch measurement due to not running the exact angles, but not by over 1/2 a mile. I checked out the course map versus my tracking map and there was one point where they had us run 6 extra blocks that weren’t part of the measured course. My actual 26.2 time according to my Garmin was 3:58:37. So, even though it’s not an official time it at least tells me I can do a sub-4 marathon.
- Yes and No – My fastest mile was 8:49 but my slowest was 10:10 when I had to pull off to the side (at mile 25.5 no less!) with a hamstring cramp and work it out for 30 seconds. Without that mile my slowest would have been 9:12. Overall, I did a pretty consistent job with my pacing.
- Yes – I took a gel every 5-6 miles, including at mile 25 and took water and/or Gatorade at every water stop. I also took electrolyte tablets twice and advil at about mile 17.
- Yes – As opposed to what happened at my last marathon (laid down and cramped up really badly) this time I kept walking and standing until my legs were no longer in danger of cramping. By the time I got in the car about 30 minutes later I was fine.
View of San Francisco as the sun rose
I always learn something valuable every season and this one was no exception.
- The Will Must Be Stronger Than The Skill – There were plenty of runners younger, stronger and faster than me at the Oakland Marathon. And obviously those things matter to some degree. I didn’t win the race, nor did I win my age group (I came in 3rd in that category). But what I did do was beat a very aggressive time goal I set for myself (4:05), one I was not at all sure I could make. To achieve this would mean I would have to run at least 22 seconds per mile faster than I did my last marathon in October, only 5 months before. I was able to do it because I had a plan that I worked on day in, day out and I had a goal that I didn’t let go of during the course of the season. I trained until I thought my skill was there, but it was my desire to meet my goal that drove me to live out that plan. The will drove me to have the skill.
- LESSON: The will to do your best is the key to doing your best.
- Luck Matters – I have run many, many races over the past 10 years and there have been very few where everything out of my control lined up so I could be at my absolute best. Wind, heat, cold, humidity, course, injury, – you name it and one of those things will likely rear it’s ugly head. That’s why we run races again and again, because they are never the same and there is always a challenge. This past Sunday every single thing that could line up to be perfect, did. My will and skill were strong, but so was the temperature, the wind, the course. I was lucky those things were in my favor.
- LESSON: Control what you can control and don’t worry about the rest.
- Estimate Long – I had a plan to make sure every mile I ran was under a certain time (9:09). If I did that I knew I would break 4 hours. But that is if I went exactly 26.2 miles. The truth is almost everyone runs farther than what the race distance is because we don’t run the shortest possible route. We take turns wide, we don’t go in a straight line, or maybe the cones are placed in the wrong place making the route farther. Whatever the reason if you run 6.2 miles or 26.2 miles, chances are your Garmin will say you ran more. My Garmin said I ran 26.77. That is over 1/2 mile longer than the race distance. It turns out this wasn’t just due to me running corners wide, but a 6 block long mistake the race organizers made in setting the route on the morning of the race. What that meant was even though my watch told me I had run 26.2 miles in 3:58, my actual time at the finish was 4:03 because of the extra distance. But my pace was 9:06, 3 seconds below my goal of 9:09.
- LESSON: Put a little cushion in your time and distance estimate when you are deciding your goal.
- Support is Awesome – As you may now, I am on a mission to do a marathon in every city I have a sister or a daughter (a total of 6). It’s a heck of a lot more doable than the 50 states challenge or the 7 continents challenge. The main reason is as an excuse to go visit family, but the more selfish reason is to have support even if I do a race in a distant city. At the Oakland Marathon I not only had my daughter Chelsea, but my grandson Otis cheering me on. In addition Chelsea’s boyfriend Josiah was running the 1/2 marathon and his parents were there cheering us both on as well. There is no such thing as an easy marathon, but a hard race can be made much more enjoyable by having your loved ones there supporting you.
- LESSON: Invite your family and friends to come support and celebrate your accomplishment.
- No Detail is Unimportant – My daughter Chelsea’s boyfriend, Josiah, was going to run the half marathon while I ran the marathon. We got to the start in plenty of time for the 7am gun and off we went. Since the half and full course split before mile 2 we didn’t bother to stay together at the start. When I crossed the finish line 4+ hours later Josiah was there with everyone else celebrating my finish. But he didn’t have his medal on. I asked why and found out he had been disqualified. Why? Because he didn’t actually run in the half, he ran in the full. The half didn’t start until 9:30, 2 and 1/2 hours after the full marathon started! I didn’t bother to check since I had never heard of a half and full not starting at the same time. He didn’t bother to check because it was his first half and he was just assuming I knew what was up. He ended up running the marathon route for 15 miles when he finally decided he had turn back to the finish line. When he crossed (not yet knowing the half hadn’t even started yet) he was disqualified because he hadn’t run the half route at all. He also crossed the marathon finish line first, messing up the official timing for the real winner (it was corrected, no worries).
- LESSON: Check Your Start Time!
Left, published map; middle, actual distance traveled; right, difference in distance
And now to set some new goals for the rest of 2018.
- 2 goal races – Chicago in October and New York in November. I would like to do both but will wait and see if that’s feasible.
- Time goals –
- Under 4:05 will qualify me for Boston, 2020
- Under 4:00 hours
- Close 3:50 – which would qualify me for Boston 2019.
- Use the foam rollers more diligently.
- Be consistent and aggressive in my stretching and weight routines.
- Lose 15 pounds.
- Institute a more thorough warm up and cool down routine.
I will keep you informed!
Oakland Marathon Medal, 2018
So, there you have it. I felt great through the entire race and was very happy with how quickly I recovered. Let me know if you have any questions or comments, would love to hear from you!
The Singer of PI
She sang in the choir, always trying to understand the meaning of the songs. She felt they were a mystery far beyond her capacity to understand. But she also knew that, just like in her yoga class where if she kept doing that one pose she would master it, she would eventually get closer and closer to understanding the more she sang. And that turned out to be true. She never did completely understand, but over time she became better at hearing, interpreting, and understanding. She became a leader in the choir, helping the less experienced members learn these same mysteries. As a result she became beloved by all.
This is true, though it can be women who indulge in it as well, it’s not just men.
Here’s the thing to always ask yourself about conspiracy theories: First, how many people would realistically have to be involved to pull it off? Second, how many different organization’s people would have to be in on it and how far up the chain in that organization would the conspiracy realistically have to go? Third, what is the likelihood that so many people will all perform their job perfectly AND keep quiet about it afterwards? That is why conspiracy theories are almost never true.
In the meanwhile, we have the Orange Man believing way too much of what the Fox says and then acting on it. That is not a good thing in my opinion.
Drawing and commentary © Marty Coleman | napkindad.com
“Conspiracy Theories: A game invented for the amusement of unoccupied men of privilege.” – Addison
The Adventures of Medusa
Medusa Thwarts a Killer
Medusa was going to pick up her daughter at school. As she sat in her car she heard gunshots. She ran into the school and saw the gunman. He was turned away from her and shooting people in the hallway. Because he wasn’t looking at her she had to actually attack him instead of just looking at him. Her secret weapon, which many people do not know about, is that her hair, which is made of snakes, is both venomous and constricting. She was able to wrap her hair around him before he know what happened and bite him. She then took his gun and bent it so it could no longer shoot. When he finally turned around and saw her he did what all people do who incur the wrath of Medusa, he turned to stone.
Her daughter was safe and all those who were shot survived. Another thing many people do not know about Medusa is that when she turns someone to stone it isn’t forever. It only lasts as long as she is angry. The gunman, who got his gun from his garage where his dad kept it in a box, was later convicted of attempted murder and spent 25 years in prison. He died choking on a tater tot.
Medusa was given the Key to the City and The Medal of Gratitude by the Mayor in honor of her heroism.
Drawing and short story © 2018 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com
The Short Order Cook
He stood exceedingly still. Not for a moment or a minute, but for many minutes at a time. This happened at least 3 times while I was eating at the counter. He looked in the fridge at one point. He waved goodbye to a customer, not saying anything. He checked under the grill for something when the counter waitress asked if they needed to reorder something. Otherwise he was still.
I had stopped in on a whim. It’s a very small hamburger joint, really just a counter and a cooking area with windows all around. I had passed it many times over 24 years of living in Tulsa, but had never gone in. Now I was out enjoying my birthday. I had already stopped by a coffee house to draw and a museum to wander and now it was lunch time. I passed the place and decided today would be a perfect day to finally stop in. I did a u-turn and made my way in to a seat at the counter.
There was another cook behind the counter and he was the one who made my lunch. I ordered a patty melt (my favorite type of burger) and fries, with a Dr. Pepper. It was not a diet day for me, obviously. The waitress didn’t really need to do much since the cook could hear me say my order and had it going before the waitress had it fully written down. She went around the corner into the back of the place and I didn’t see her until the minute my food was put on the plate, at which point she magically appeared to pick it up and walk it the 5 feet from the grill to my spot. She then turned around and in no more than 3 steps poured me my drink and gave it to me. She was all about the efficiency of movement.
While I was eating I drew this cook. He didn’t notice me drawing since he was staring out the window in what seemed like a daze. I imagined him seeing a fully made hamburger floating away out the window in front of him. I imagined him wishing he could follow. In the meanwhile, the meal was perfect. The patty melt was greasy, the fries were crisp and the drink was obnoxiously sweet.
As I left I said goodbye to the waitress and waved to the two cooks. I headed out the door and as I did I heard the waitress say, “You gonna move outa my way Bobby?” and the cook who stood exceedingly still said, “I really should.”
Drawing and story © 2018 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com
I drew a group of knitters at ‘Shades of Brown’ coffee shop here in Tulsa last week. They call themselves the ‘Knit Wits’. I spent a good hour plus drawing then showed it to them. They seemed to enjoy it, which is always a nice end to a drawing session.
This is the final result, colored and shaded. Print and original available for purchase.
Here it is after the coloring but before the shading. Print available for purchase.
After I scanned it I decided to just play with a color design overlay, just to see what I could come up with. This is the result. Print available for purchase.
And here is the original drawing straight from the sketchbook. Print available for purchase.
I was going to write a story to go along with the drawing but I think the drawing tells a story all by itself.
Drawing © 2018 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com
The Woman with Only Two Thoughts – An Illustrated Short Story
The Large and The Small
The woman wasn’t able to think anything but these two thoughts. Everything was either too large or too small. Things were never just right. Well, that isn’t exactly true. Sometimes the large thing was just right, even though it was large. And sometimes the small thing was just right, even though it was small. But most of the time the thing that was small should have been larger and the thing that was large should have been smaller.
This was true of real things, like cheese or mufflers, but it was also true of unreal things, like Jesus or monsters. She thought cheese was usually too large for her mouth and that mufflers were too small for her cars. She thought Jesus was too large for her morals and that monsters were too small to kill her enemies. She thought her books were too large or too small. The non-fiction ones always seemed too large. When she was 3/4 of the way through she almost always wanted them to be over. And she thought fiction ones were too small. Most of the time, when she finished a novel she didn’t want it to end.
She felt this way about her body. Her apartment was too small, for example, and the reason for that was that she was too large. She wasn’t large sideways, just up and down. That meant she hit her head on the door jams a lot. It meant her shower was too small. The water never hit her head unless she bent over. She hated that. She thought her breasts were too large but she didn’t want to get them reduced because she was afraid they might be then be too small. She thought her eyes were too small, but only because she had so many friends who had their eyes enlarged that hers looked small in comparison. Her neck was too small, unless you measured it, then it was too large. Her knees were definitely too large and her fingernails were definitely too small. The worst part was that her bladder was too small and her heart was too large.
Her social life had the same problem. Her circle of friends was too large but her number of close friends was too small. As a matter of fact she really didn’t have any close friends so she wasn’t really sure she could even call it too small. Is zero of something too small? The amount of people she was in charge of at work was too large. The amount of people she could complain to about how large this group of people was was too small. Then there were all the people she had to commute with on the train. That number was too large and that meant the number of seats on the train was too small. As a matter of fact, not only were there not enough seats the individual seats were too small. She hated seats that were too small.
Now that she thought about it, her emotional life was that way too. Emotions, hers or others, were always too large or too small. That is why her boyfriends usually left her they said. They would hit her and she would get angry. They would say, “You are making this issue too large and it’s just not.” Or sometimes it would be the opposite. She would feel nothing and say nothing, trying not to upset them and they would get mad and hit her, saying, “You think you can just hide away and be small in the corner but you can’t. I know you are plotting something and I won’t let you get away with it.”
The Just Right
Because of this, life was too large a struggle and she sometimes thought of killing herself. But she knew she never would because her courage was too small to do something that would hurt her or those she loved. And that thought always brought her back to what I mentioned at the start, that sometimes things weren’t too large or too small, but were just right. In spite of all her issues she always knew that the love her family had for her was that. It wasn’t too large so that it suffocated her and it wasn’t too small so she felt alone and abandoned. It was just right. The very large (but not too large) love her family had for her was the one thing that made all the other things small. And that was just right.
Oh, her shoe collection was just right too.
Seeing What Others Don’t
Because I am known to be an artist people aren’t surprised when I see things like patterns, details, connections, concepts, etc. that they don’t. They just chalk it up to ‘that’s because he is an artist.’ But I think people get it backwards. Seeing all those things is what made me an artist, not the other way around.
Not Saying No
Why did I and other artists see those things when others didn’t? Because we didn’t say ‘no’. We don’t dismiss an idea because it is not approved. We don’t dismiss a vision because it doesn’t make sense. We don’t dismiss a connection between things because the connection has never been made before. In other words we don’t follow rules.
Rule Followers, Rule Breakers
Wait, I take that back. We don’t follow some rules but we do follow others. That is why some artists are radicals and shock everyone (they follow very few rules) and other artists are the darlings of the rule followers (because they only break very insignificant rules, if any).
How Radical Are You?
in the context of the quote and illustration above you might say the skeptic is the radical, right? She broke the rules of her religion, no longer believing what her religion says she must believe. But if that skeptic merely exchanges one set of rules, the religious ones, for the skeptics’ set of rules, how much has really changed? How much has she really seen in a new or fresh way? It might appear she has at first since obviously there is a breaking away from a set of rules, but then she becomes as doctrinaire as she ever was as a religious follower and nothing really has changed.
The truly free person is the one who holds their ideas and rules lightly. It’s not that they never hold on to them but they aren’t bound to them to such an extent that they don’t see beyond them. They are willing to consider new and strange ideas, issues, images without judgment beforehand. They are willing to see connections that aren’t immediately apparent.
Drawing and commentary © 2018 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com
“Skepticism is like faith: both are substitutes for seeing.” – Bert Hellinger, 1925 – not dead yet, German Psychotherapist
The Adventures of Medusa
Medusa Walks the Runway
Medusa decided she wanted to be a model. She went to Stone Mountain Modeling School and got a job as a runway model. She walked for the famous House of Gorgon but wore an outfit no one really liked. They sat stone-faced as she walked by and, Medusa being Medusa, you know what happened next.
When I was in my divorce years (the 2 years leading up to it) I remember how tentative my wife was in what she would say. She would say something like ‘Just because I am thinking about it, doesn’t mean I am going to act on it’. Then a few weeks or months later that thing she was just casually considering became real. Then it happened again and then again. Pretty soon I realized something. Some things are too radical for one to consider until they get used to the idea.
Little by Little
‘I will never get divorced’ becomes the mantra because getting a divorce is just too radical. Then after a series of mental and verbal negotiations with oneself it becomes “Divorce is ok if…”. Then more negotiations and “Divorce is what needs to happen.” It takes time but eventually people get there. But not at first. They talk themselves into it. I am not saying it’s wrong to talk yourself into it, sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t. But it is how the process works because words and thoughts matter.
That is the dangerous power of continually thinking negatively in one direction. You become what you think and say. If you fight back blindly against any slight without thinking about if there is validity or something to learn from that slight, then eventually you do it automatically with minimal choice in the matter. Like a dog trained to fight, that becomes your natural and unthinking reaction.
It’s sometimes called being stupid.
Drawing and commentary © 2018 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com
“The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.” – Albert Einstein
Before I forget
The day before December’s Dallas Half Marathon that I ran with my daughter we went to the runner’s expo. There we were lucky enough to meet Shalane Flanagan, the recent winner of the 2017 New York Marathon. What a thrill it was to meet her! Turns out her husband has just started a job with Fleet Feet in Portland, Oregon so we had something to talk about. She is definitely a big running hero of mine. The woman next to her, my wife Linda, is an even bigger hero to me for always supporting my running activities!
Shalane Flanagan, 2017 NYC Marathon winner
Man, time flies when you have guests for the holidays! Now I remember why I don’t like early spring marathons. Not only are you training in the cold and dark but you are balancing it with a ton of holiday activities. The result for me hasn’t been too bad on the running front. I pretty much kept on schedule with maybe 2 skipped runs over 3 weeks. The weekly mileage isn’t high, but it really doesn’t need to be quite yet.
However, on food front? That exploded. Family dinners after lunches after breakfasts after dinners of high calories, high carbs, high sugar. Could I have avoided it all? Sure, but I didn’t. I wanted the ham and turkey and mashed potatoes and cookies and salty snacks and pies and… you get the idea. So, basically from Thanksgiving to New years I gained 5+ lbs. But, I had already gained about 5 from my eating a lot during my fall marathon training so now I am about 7-8lbs over my maximum best running weight and I can feel the difference.
In cliché fashion I waited until New Years Day arrived and then I avoided the potatoes and dessert and bread and Fritos and chips and salsa and stuck to meat and veggies AND I went for a run in very cold temps.
Cruella de Winter
It is cruel to call this a spring training session. Week 2 the temperatures weren’t too bad, but the week before Christmas and the week after were REALLY cold. How cold? I’ve worn three layers on top with a wool base layer, two on the bottom, two pairs of gloves (one set heated), wool socks, ski cap and buff for the last 4 runs, that’s how cold. My cut off for comfort is right around 32º. Below that and it becomes a challenge. It doesn’t mean I don’t do it, I still do. I just have a harder time running is all. Add in the Oklahoma wind and drop the temps to 15º and it can be pretty brutal. This is especially true if you have to run alone, as I did several times recently. ‘Misery loves company’ is absolutely true when it comes to running. If I have to run when it’s 5º wind chill, I want my friends suffering alongside me!
My longest run so far this season has been 14 miles, which isn’t a stretch considering most weekends since October I have been doing mileage close to that. But in two weeks I will move up to 16 and i will start to hit the meat of the training. I am looking forward to it.
My goal marathon is the Oakland Marathon in California. It has a wicked elevation profile to it (13 miles up, 13 miles down basically) so I am going to be doing a lot of hill workouts this season to help prepare me. I also looked up the average temperature on March 25th over the years and the average low is 49º and the average high 64º. If it’s around those temps I should be fine, even though I would love the start temp to be closer to 40º. The Marine Corps Marathon I did in October had a starting temp of close to 60º and ending temp at about 75º and it really only affected me the last 2 miles. My long-term goal is to get my marathon time to 4:05 or below. That means I need to average 9:20 per mile, which so far I have been able to do. Whether I can do that in Oakland, we shall see.
My Xmas present from my daughter Chelsea in Oakland
That’s it for now. If you would like to read more from marathon training series, click in the ‘series’ drop down menu above on the right and find ‘Marathon Training’.
See you running,
Alone in the Lonely
She sat alone at the coffee shop drawing with no one around her in the lonely (no, there is not supposed to be a word after ‘lonely’, I like it just like that) on December 24th at the levitating table. She drank an iced pine needle latte because her friend Justin (who is not really her friend and is not really named Justin but is obsessed with Justin Bieber so likes to be called Justin even though she is a girl) said she would like it and she ordered a Christmas Mustard & Peas Pie because her friend Beau (who really is named Beau but isn’t a boy but a girl whose mother is French and that is why) said she would like it. She didn’t like either one, had thrown up in the bathroom at the coffee shop as a result while an adolescent girl with pimples stared at her and decided she would not listen to them ever again. She also was beginning to get shingles and it hurt all over and she wasn’t suppose to be out because she might infect someone but she didn’t care. All she really cared about was if she could infect her pet ferret. She looked it up on the Google and it had nothing to say about it which proved to her how useless the Google was. Plus it was hard to eat anything with her bad tooth.
The Worst Story
She decided to write a Christmas story and made up a story about a Christmas Tree. It’s name was Chris and it was a talking Christmas Tree. He got famous when he made a video of himself talking early one morning before his owners were up. He posted it on YouTube and it got 25,000,000 views by the end of the day and became the most watched online video ever by the end of the week. Chris the Christmas Tree was flush with fame and money as a result but it couldn’t save him. Before the month was finished he was old, dry and brittle. He lost his ornaments, his tinsel and his gifts under the tree. His owners, not knowing how rich and famous he was online threw him to the curb where he was picked up and brought to the landfill. They found out about the million dollars in profit Chris had on YouTube, that they could have collected because Chris was a minor and the money would have gone to them, after it was too late and the profits had been distributed to a ‘Save the Christmas Trees’ charity. They sued YouTube and the Google and lost everything. In addition they were named the ‘Dumbest People of the Year’ in People magazine. They ended up addicted to Evergreen Car Fresheners, living in a trailer park and hating Christmas after that.
Worst Christmas Story Ever
Then she decided that was the Worst Christmas Story Ever, crumpled up the paper and wrote her shopping list instead, which included canned Spotted Dick, because it would be funny to put in the stocking of her mean uncle who groped her every holiday.
Ask any performer what is the key to her or his success and I bet a majority will say, ‘perseverance’. They just stuck with it audition after audition until they reached the success they wanted.
Now, replace the word ‘performer’ in the sentence about with almost any other profession or activity. Then replace ‘audition’ in the second sentence with whatever that new profession or activity needs to do repeatedly to be successful.
- Lawyer – litigation
- Artist – drawing
- Runner – race
- Accountant – tax return
- Pitcher – pitch
- Baker – cake
- Yogi – pose
You get the idea. What endeavor is it possible to succeed in without repeated effort in the same direction? None.
Now, take one of the professions above (or add your own if it’s not listed) and ask yourself what is the likelihood that each and every audition, litigation, drawing, race, tax return, pitch, cake, or pose will have been done perfectly every time on that road to success? None.
What does that mean? It means that perseverance is not just about continuing to do something. It’s continuing to do something you are failing at. That you are no good at. That others do better than you. That people criticize you for. That you have no guarantee you will succeed at.
What does it take to have that sort of perseverance? Belief that it is what you are supposed to be doing, in spite of what it looks like at any one moment.
A Little Help From Your Friends
Last fall I had a runner in one of my running groups who was training for her first marathon. She had some seriously hard training runs that wiped her out and made her decide she just didn’t have it in her to do a full marathon. She told the group via Facebook that she was bummed and was going to switch to half marathon training. The response was an outpouring of ‘oh, have I been in your shoes before!’ comments. There was comment after comment talking about how she was bound to have crappy, hard times during a long season and that they knew she would be able to turn it around with a little tweak to her training, a little change in her mindset, a little prop up from her friends.
And she listened to us and stuck with the program. And 6 weeks later she ran her marathon and felt great about it. What was that? That was the way most people are able to persevere, with a little help from their friends.
So, if you are doubting yourself and your path but you really know you are supposed to be on it, then don’t be alone. Reach out and get that encouragement, that advice, that shoulder to cry on. Get whatever you need to keep going. Help is out there and it wants to help you.
Drawing and commentary © Marty Coleman | napkindad.com
Quote by Samuel Johnson, 1709-1784, English writer
Wait a second, it’s not spring! Nope, it’s not. But, if you are running a spring marathon your training season starts in the dead of winter. And I am training for an early spring marathon in March which means I am starting in December! The marathon I am in training for is the Oakland Marathon in Oakland, California in March 25th.
I have two long-term goals in running. One is to run a marathon in every city I have a sister or a daughter. I have already run in Tulsa, Dallas and Virginia/D.C. I still have to do the San Francisco Bay Area (Oakland), San Diego and New York. I am tentatively planning to run San Diego in June and NYC in November. However, I need to get admitted into NYC Marathon as it is very popular and they only allow so many. They choose via a lottery. I won’t know about that until February.
The other goal is to qualify for the Boston Marathon. The Boston Marathon is the oldest marathon in existence and it is also the most exclusive. They don’t have a lottery. What they have is a set of qualifying times. If you can run that time, you are allowed to apply for a spot in the marathon. Here’s the thing, you have to be REALLY fast to get in. However, the times are more lenient the older you get. For example, if you are 35-year-old male, you need to run a 3:10 marathon. If you are a woman in that age group, you need to run a 3:40. I would have to shave off over an hour to make that time. That isn’t going to happen.
But I am not 35. I am 62. But even the 60-64 year old qualifying time of 3:50 is not a time I am likely to match. HOWEVER, the 65-70 qualifying time of 4:10 is. My last marathon I did in 4:14 so I think it is realistic that if I work hard I can shave off 5-10 minutes and qualify at age 65. Here is the cool part. I don’t have to be 65 when I qualify. I only need to be 65 when I run the Boston Marathon. In April 2020 when they run the marathon I will be 65. However, their window for qualifying is from September 2018 to September 2019. That is only 9 months away from now.
The best early opportunity to do that is the Chicago Marathon on Oct. 7th. That is a lottery like NY and I just found out I got in! It’s known as a flat and fast course and is popular as a BQ opportunity.
So, just to catch you up, I had Achilles Tendon surgery about 13 months ago. I had some nasty bone spurs removed and the Dr. had to detach my left tendon, cut the back edge of the Calcaneus heel bone off with the spurs, then reattach the tendon. The Achilles is the biggest and tightest tendon in the body and recovering from the surgery is slow. There was no guarantee I would be able to run again much less run fast.
But luckily I already was in shape and already had lost 25 lbs that I needed to lose (I went on to lose another 8 after the surgery). And because I already was fit I was able to get back into shape relatively quickly. Within a year I had run a marathon and had cut 22 minutes off my PR. That is what gave me hope I could actually qualify for Boston.
This Past Week
So, in addition to that Marathon I also ran a 5k, 10k, 15k and 2 Half marathons this year. The last race was the Dallas Half Marathon just last Sunday with my daughter Caitlin and her BF Sam. I didn’t pull back from my running schedule as a coach like you are supposed to do when tapering for a big race because it wasn’t designated as a goal race for me, just a fun race with family. I ran my usual 4 nights, Mon-Thurs, including a track workout and an intense hill workout.
This coming week includes the start of Fleet Feet’s Pathways program, of which I am program coordinator and head coach. That will add a new wrinkle to the training schedule but I will figure it out.
My total mileage for week #1 was 31.6. I hope to have most of my training weeks be in the upper 30s to mid-40s. My longest mileage week last season was 48.5. I would like to hit 50 once this season.
That’s it until next week!
See you running,
PS. If you would like to read my fall marathon training journey simply go click on the ‘series’ drop down menu and go to ‘marathon training’.
He lagged behind his wife because he was reading the catalog raisonne of the artist. He was trying to figure out how much time it took for her to paint the painting of the crying violinist. He didn’t notice what time it was but his wife did because she was hungry and wanted to go to lunch. She also didn’t like the exhibition and didn’t want to spend any more time there. He liked the painting because of the mystery as to why the artist had titled it ‘Metronome’ when there was no metronome in the painting.
Drawing and story © Marty Coleman | napkindad.com
The original image and/or a print are available for purchase.
The woman saw herself as flawed, always. She didn’t like how selfish she was, how greedy. She didn’t like her judgmental attitude towards so many people and things. She felt she wasn’t a very good wife or mother. She knew she was not as helpful as she could be to her co-workers and she was too snippy with her bosses. She didn’t make enough money but she spent too much and didn’t give enough away she thought. She didn’t call her sisters enough, or her mom and dad. She didn’t like her looks. Her face was too thin, her breasts too small and her butt too big is how she saw it. She thought her skin was too pale and her hair too straggly. The only thing she liked about her self was her tattoo. She died in a car wreck at age 30.
After she died her community commissioned a famous sculptor to create monument to her because she was the best, most loving person anyone in the community had every come across. The sculpture said love all over it because that is what she was all about.
The Adventures of Medusa, part 5
Medusa was finally so depressed about her life situation and how she kept turning people stone without meaning to that she went to live in a cave. But then bats attacked her. She turned the bats to stone but didn’t realize that stone bats still can fly and attack. Now what should she do?
How She Turned Into Herself
She turned toward the radio tower, listening. She turned into someone else when she did. For a while she was happy being this new person. Then, when she didn’t recognize herself any longer she realized she wasn’t happy after all. She continued to turn but as she did she changed back to being who she was. But not really.
She turned into someone else many more times after that. As she did so she realized that that first time her unhappiness was really just fear. Later she wasn’t afraid of turning and it even became a goal of hers. She became courageous and strong and happy with her self. Not the self set in stone, but the self that was like a flowing river. The same but different at each turn.
She died when she was 92 years old. She had herself turned into compost and buried with the seed of a tree. The tree grew up and turned beautiful colors all throughout the year, never looking the same but always being the same.
Drawing and Short Story © 2017 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com
“The woman moving forward while the baggy pants guy waits for his boarding pass while I sit on the floor waiting for the flight to California and wait for Linda and Caitlin to return from getting food during fall break in Tulsa in October of 2004.”
An illustrated short story from my 2004 sketchbook that I came back to this year to color. I did a lot of drawing while I traveled in 2003-2004 and I often would write a description of what was happening in the drawing right on the drawing. I hadn’t drawn anything in the windows originally. the gangway and airplane were added as I colored it in 2017.
Drawing and story © Marty Coleman | napkindad.com
This original drawing is available for purchase here and a print of the drawing is available here.
courage |ˈkərij; ˈkə-rij| – First known use was in the 14th century
- The ability to do something that frightens one : she called on all her courage to face the ordeal.
- Strength in the face of pain or grief : he fought his illness with great courage.
When I was in Elementary school I was regularly challenged (or did the challenging myself) to a fight with one of the Aprahamian brothers. We would taunt each other over girls (usually a girl named Patty, who was very cute) and decide to meet after school at the baseball field across the street to fight. I didn’t take any courage to do this because we all knew we weren’t really going to meet and fight. We just liked pretending we were going to.
I wheedled my way out of fights all through my school years (as did almost every other boy I knew) by using humor and bravado. But it didn’t include courage. I only got in one physical fight and that consisted of a slap (yep, a slap, not a punch) I gave Rusty. Right after that Rusty and I became great friends and we were part of each other’s gang of buddies for the remaining years of High School. I didn’t learn a lot about courage from all these non-existent fights.
I first learned courage from living at home. Both my mother and father were heavy drinkers. With the drinking came some serious arguments. And with those arguments came me having to decide how much to intervene. My father wasn’t physically abusive but he was dominating in voice and anger and that was enough. I had to muster up all the courage I could at times to go downstairs and try to stop the fighting. I didn’t always decide to do that, sometimes I would put my headphones on and ignore it as best I could, hoping it would just go away. But I had a much younger sister at home and if she was downstairs, or wherever the arguing was, I would try to be there as well, if nothing else to get her back up stairs to her room. And sometimes it would just be too much and I would let out my anger and frustration at them both. That took courage. My older sister was learning courage at this same time, as she was pretty much going through the same thing I was.
There were plenty of other instances in my life where courage was required for me to move forward in life (and in at least one case survive at all). The key here is that courage is never learned from another person. It can be witnessed and admired yes, but one’s own courage is not built by that. It’s built by one’s own experiences. Building courage is like building muscle. Chances are you are not going to be able to lift your own body weight the first time you lift weights. But if you start light and are consistent, before you know it you will be able to lift that weight. Courage is a muscle.
The same is true with courage. The person who has never built any courage at all is not likely to have the courage to face something extreme. But if, as you live your life, you take small chances in activities, statements, relationships, and adventure, then chances are you will be able to face the next thing with more courage.
So here is my challenge to you: No matter what level of courage you now have, take a small step that builds on it. Maybe it’s about a diet plan, perhaps it’s about traveling somewhere, or it could be about a physical activity you want to try. Take that small courageous step towards that new goal. You can do it. And when you do it, it will lead you to something great.
Drawing and commentary © 2017 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com
“Without courage we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency.” – Maya Angelou, 1928-2014, American writer.
Joan the Baptist – A Short Story
The woman inside her mind in the balcony alone wondering if she’s changed for the better by being a Baptist or not. And all the people below her wondering who she is and what she is doing in the church dressed like that.
Drawing and short story © 2017 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com
The Final Week
We flew into Washington DC on Wednesday. I had run both Monday and Tuesday evenings, about 4 miles each night, and planned just one more run for the week. This run would be in Virginia, on a beautiful trail near where my daughter lives. But before that we were going to have a full day on Thursday taking care of our Granddaughter Vivian. We took her to her favorite lunch place, the Silver Diner, then to see ‘My Little Pony – The Movie’. Then we walked through the mall to the toy department at Target and found her a My Little Pony toy and coloring book. I brought all my drawing stuff with me but never used it because I spent a good portion of the remaining days coloring in the coloring book with her. The ponies in My Little Pony are very distinct one from another, and she knows what color each one should be. She was not happy when I wanted to make one of them polka-dotted and another one striped, but she let me do it. Then we carved her pumpkin together.
Saturday we went to her Tae Kwon Do lesson that she gets from her Aunt and Uncle, who run a Martial Arts Academy. It was way cute to see her do her routines. We then went to a quaint little village called Occoquan for lunch and some shopping. As you can tell, playing with a 4 1/2 year old is a great way to distract oneself from an upcoming anxiety-inducing event. I was happy for that since there wasn’t much to do besides fret over the race if I wasn’t distracted.
I did do my final run on that Friday. I got out the door at exactly 7:55, the time the race was going to start in two days hence to see how the temperature would be. I had run this beautiful forested trail before and it did not disappoint. It was deeply wooded and cool, with the sunrise slipping through the trees as I ran. I did four miles and called it good.
The Marine Corps Marathon has about 30,000 participants. It’s the largest marathon without a cash prize in the world. That meant it was much wiser to take the Metro than to try to drive to the start in Arlington, Virginia. My wife was doing the Marine Corps 10k so we went together. I awoke around 3:45 and didn’t really go back to sleep. We left my daughter’s house at 5:45 and made the first Orange Line train at about 6:05am. We were the second stop from the end but there already was a crowd of runners coming in. Linda had a different start location than I did so we said our goodbyes when I transferred to the Blue Line. By the time I got off at the Pentagon Station it was wall-to-wall people. I then had about a mile long walk to the start line. Luckily for many there was a long line of bushes to one side. That meant men (and a lot of women too) were running off course into the bushes to pee. The alternative was waiting way too long in a line for some nasty Porta-Potty. I feel bad for the grass that died for me, but oh well.
Sunrise on Runners
I found Tulsan Jennie Loucks at the bag drop off. Great to see a familiar face.
The Sun was just peaking over the trees as the Howitzer sounded the start of the race.
Loud and low flew the Ospreys as they buzzed the crowd before the start.
I knew of at least 6 or more runners from here in Tulsa who were running it but the logistics of trying to find people in that crowd was not on my side. But I did run into one fellow runner, Jennie Louck from Tulsa, at the bag check line. It was great to see a familiar face. But we weren’t going to be running the same pace so we parted ways at the corrals. I went into the 4:00-4:15 corral just as the gun went off. But it took probably another 5 minutes or more before we started to move forward towards the actual start line. I could see the 4:15 pacer ahead of me, he was carrying 3 balloons with 4:15 on it. My plan was to keep him in sight with the hopes of eventually catching up to him. How crowded was the race? it was impossible really to weave ahead for at least the first 2 miles. Eventually I was able to move in and out just enough to catch up at mile 5.
By then we were over the river into Washington, and into Georgetown, on our way into Rock Creek Park. I went ahead of the 4:15 pacer at that point hoping to finish between 4:10 and 4:15. The park is a gorgeous, deeply forested area that goes through the Northwest area of DC. It was cool and quiet since there was no room for any spectators, with rock cliffs on one side and a creek on the other. I was feeling great and my pace was on target. I had one mile under 9 but that was a downhill mile. All the rest so far were right where I wanted them to be, about 9:15 – 9:30.
This was the crowd around me for at least the first 10 miles.
Miles 8 – 13
We then returned to the river and hit probably my favorite stretch. The Kennedy Center is right on the Potomac and it has a second story cantilevered over the parkway along the river. We went under the building for a while then came out to a big crowd of spectators. This included an amphitheater type setting at the base of the Lincoln Memorial’s river facing side. A long set of steps up from the river were filled with a cheering crowd. It was exciting to see after the quiet of the park.
Then we ran through the most solemn and profound part of the race. It’s called the Blue Mile (mile 11) and consists of photographs of fallen Marines along both sides of the road every 10 ft for an entire mile. This was also along the Potomac, on a very small park road. There is no crowd, just the river and a quiet golf course on the other side. We proceeded along the entire mile and I didn’t hear anyone speak. The pictures went all the way back to 1944. At the end of the mile there was about a quarter-mile of people holding up large American flags that we ran under. It was quite impressive and moving, to say the least.
The Blue Mile
The Power of Patriotism
Mile 12 and feelin’ good!
Backing up a bit to mile 9 or 10 I started to notice something not good in my run that could completely and utterly mess up everything if it continued. What was it? In spite of putting on a very generous coating of Glide (the anti-chafing stuff all runners use) I started to notice my left nipple was getting very sensitive. If you have ever been to a big race you may have seen a guy with ‘bullet holes’ on his shirt. the tell-tale red spots meaning his nipples had chafed so much they were bleeding. It’s just about the worst thing that can happen beside falling down. And it was now happening to me! YIKES, this could be a very bad thing indeed.
Luckily I knew that somewhere around the halfway point there was going to be an aid station for medical emergencies. While they obviously are there to help those in distress most of what they do is hand out Vaseline on a stick for those who are chaffing. In this particular case they just had it in their hands. I swiped a bit from a gooey hand as I passed and, with great relief, smeared it all over my chest. Whew, crisis averted! Of course my hands were covered in Vaseline at that point which made holding my phone to take pictures a bit of a challenge, but I did it. I was still on pace for the finish I wanted during these miles and feeling strong.
Miles 14 – 19
This is where the crowds got really big. We ran parallel to the reflecting pool down to the Lincoln Memorial area, then turned around and passed the Washington Monument. The last time I was in DC I was there at night so I hadn’t seen the latest addition to the museums along the mall. There is now a huge building housing the National Museum of African American History and Culture right at the western edge of the mall, near the Washington Monument. It is covered in what seemed to be dark brown lattice surrounding inverse and truncated pyramid shapes. It is solid and big and at first seemed jarring and unsettling because of it’s uniqueness. But that is part of the point of the building and it’s message. The African American experience is jarring and unsettling for many. But it needs to be seen and known by all Americans for us to truly understand and appreciate who we are. I stared at it for a long while as I approached. It was in stark contrast to the Monument it’s so close to in both style and message. And that is a good thing. It was as much a part of the profound nature of the race for me as any other part.
Some big random thing sticking up in the middle of nowhere
National Museum of African-American History and Culture © National Geographic
From there we went up and down the mall, passing some of my favorite museums, especially the National Gallery of Art’s modern building. Passing the Capitol, gleaming white, we came to the National Museum of the American Indian. Another building that seeks in its look and it’s content to open up America to who we are in totality. These Smithsonian buildings, while not ‘monuments’ per se, really are what I consider to be some of the best, most profound monuments to who we are as Americans in principle and action. They make me proud and I believe these are just as much what our Marines fight for as anything else.
Still on pace at this point but starting to feel the miles add up.
Miles 20 – Finish
At mile 19 we are headed over towards ‘THE BRIDGE’. This is the big cut-off point for the slower runners and walkers. If they don’t make the 14th St. Bridge by 1:15pm they get shuttled back to the finish line and don’t get to complete the race. Luckily it’s a very liberal time and it wasn’t an issue for those around me. This brought us into Crystal City and huge crowds. Then the scariest moment of the race – I almost fell! And I mean it was really close. I lurched forward having caught my toe on something and had to stride out 3-4 times not sure if I was going to fall or not. I caught myself just barely and was back up running. But the near fall made my left quad freak out a bit. I wasn’t sure if it was a cramp or an injury or what for a few seconds. I kept running and just hoped it wouldn’t affect the rest of the run. Luckily it didn’t.
Then all there was left was a 2 mile long stretch out of Crystal City, past the Pentagon and Arlington Cemetery. The sun was up high, the heat was up too and there were no shade in sight. It was the only part of the race that I really felt my energy and strength start to wain a bit. I slowed down about 30 seconds per mile at that point but kept running. And then another unexpected thing happened. Remember that 4:15 pacer who I passed at mile 5? He passed me at mile 25.5! I really wanted to make 4:15 so it had me worried. But I trusted my Garmin watch’s time and calculated he was running just a bit fast and I would still finish on time.
They advertise the end of the race as being a true test because it is uphill. But looking at the elevation chart I knew it wasn’t THAT much of a hill. I mean really, how bad could it be, right? Well, it was actually a VERY steep final 200 yards uphill to the finish line! But with the finish in sight I wasn’t about to let some stupid hill slow me down. Plus there was a huge crowd at this point cheering us on. I hoped to find my family but it was just too loud and too crowded.
Sun at my back, finish line ahead!
I crossed the finish line strong and fast in a time of 4:14:49. I had made my 4:15 goal and a new personal record by 22 minutes!
A Marine Lieutenant gave me my medal, I collected some water and food and saw my family on the other side of a chain link fence. That was when I made my only real mistake of the race. I didn’t keep walking it off but instead went over to their side of the fence, found a grassy spot in the shade and laid down. Big mistake. I didn’t get up again for probably 45 minutes. My calves and feet went through some intense cramping that really did make me scream out in pain. I think I traumatized my granddaughter Vivian. She was not expecting to see Papa Marty looking or acting like that!
My Supportive Family!
Eventually I was able to get up and we walked it off, going over to the baggage claim and finding a place to eat. I was still pretty wiped out and incoherent at this point. We made our way back to the Metro and were able to get seats all the way home. I took a nice long nap and was up and at it later that afternoon. The next morning we got up just as early to catch a plane back to Tulsa. By Monday afternoon I was back at Fleet Feet showing off my medal, telling race stories and leading my runners in their active warm up before their run. No, I did not run!
After All That
And so, 31 weeks of surgery recovery (including running) and 19 weeks of intense marathon training led to a successful race. A PR by 22 minutes, a new found love of long distance running and most importantly, renewed love among my family and new goals into the future.
My family made this shirt for me to run in. It shows my ongoing goal, to run a marathon in every city where I have a sister or a daughter. I’ve done 3 and have 3 to go; New York, San Diego and San Francisco bay area. And somewhere along the way, if all goes right, I might just be able to qualify for the Boston Marathon. But that is a whole other story!
Coolest Shirt Ever!
Here are my stats for the race:
- Distance – 26.54. It’s accurate. I ran 1/3 of a mile farther than required (and probably everyone else did as well). They measure the course from corner to corner but due to the crowds no one is really able to run that exact same route. The runners had to go around corners much wider than is most efficient.
- Time – 4:14:49 (PR by 22 minutes)
- Average Pace – 9:36 (according to my Garmin, accurate for my true distance) 9:44 – Official race time (for 26.2 miles).
- Age Place (60-64) – 38th of 396 – top 10%
- Gender Place – 2,925th out of 10,757 – top 30%
- Overall Place – 4,187th of 19,993 – top 25%
Thanks to all who supported me at home and from afar.Thanks for reading these posts over the summer and fall and cheering me on. I hope this journey has been an inspiration for you and will help you on your fitness journey. Remember, if I can do it, you can too.
See you running,
If you would like to read the rest of the Marathon Training posts simply find ‘Marathon Training’ from the Series drop down menu on the upper right. If you have questions or comments, I would love to hear them.
NOTE: If you would like to follow my progress or send cheers during the race, there is info at the end of this post on how to do that.
The Waiting Game
So, now I wait. Or rather, I taper. Tapering is a needed but disconcerting time of training. It’s where you reduce your workouts in mileage and intensity as you get closer to your goal race. In the case of marathon it is usually 2 weeks with the first of those being just a mild reduction and the 2nd week being a much more severe reduction.
This past week I ran my usual 5 days but didn’t do as many miles and I didn’t do a lot of hills. But I did do speed work, even though I wasn’t planning on it.
Waiting, waiting, waiting
Over the past weekend we found out that the elder statesman of Tulsa running, Bobby Bomer, had to have emergency abdominal surgery. He leads our weekly workouts at the University of Tulsa track on Tuesday mornings and evenings. I was called to take his place on Tuesday morning. That meant a 4:45am wake up to get there on time. I was planning on just leading the warm up and encouraging people as they ran, maybe doing some light running, but not doing the sprints. But Bobby’s wife Judy was there to help lead so I gave into the temptation and ran. It turned out to be wonderful. It was the first true fall day, with temps in the low 50s as we started. It was refreshing and exhilarating. Later that day I led my usual group on our afternoon run (not speed work) and that same feeling continued. It was cool and dry and we ran strong and fast for the entire time. I was thinking ‘I hope my race is at this temperature!’.
At the end of our early morning speed workout the TU Students were warming up for theirs.
Reducing and Refining
The rest of the week I ran just the mileage I would normally run with my group, nothing extra, nothing intense. I also ran just what Pathways was running on Saturday, 10 miles. I didn’t do any extra before or after. It was odd after so many weeks of continually pushing the weekly miles up to be reducing them.
Strong Runners at Sunset in Broken Arrow, OK
Aches, Pains and Fences
One of the worst things about tapering is ‘ghost injuries’. I had 2 days this week where I ran with my big toe aching quite a bit. An injury? A problem? Serious? Long Term? What does it mean for my race? Will I be able to run? Then a day later it disappeared. My back was aching, probably will be a problem I am sure. Next morning, it was gone. I felt weak a few afternoons ago. Maybe the flu? A cold? What if I am sick for my race? But the truth was I just needed to eat lunch. What is that all about? It’s about freaking out about every little thing. You have invested so much for so long in running towards this goal that when you are so close you see the tiniest little thing as a potential game changer or ender. It does sometimes happen of course, but the vast majority of time it turns out to be nothing.
The other thing you worry about is doing some other random activity in these taper weeks that will wipe you out. For example, in the 2 weeks before my first marathon in 2010 I rebuilt a fence in my backyard. It had to be done, the fence was falling apart and we had 2 dogs who were about to get out. But it was back-breaking work and I came to the start line of the race with a very sore back. I learned my lesson that day – no heavy lifting, no DIY projects, no fence building in the weeks leading up to the race.
The old fence during a hail storm – note the chairs blocking the gaps so the dogs wouldn’t break through.
And of course I am constantly checking the weather for that day. What would be my ideal conditions? Probably about 45-50º to start and moving up to 60 or so, with cloud cover and just enough wind to keep the air moving. What does it look like it will be? As of now, it appears it will be about 53º to start moving up to about 70 by the time I finish with a mild wind. It will be part sun, part clouds. That sounds pretty good to me, I’ll take it.
Beautiful sky during our first true fall run.
Tomorrow we head off to Washington DC. If you would like to follow me and find out how I am progressing during the race there are a number of ways to do it. Feel free to spread the word to others you know who might be interested.
Go to the MCM website and you will find lots of options.
I suggest the simplest, which is the ‘RUNNER TRACKING’. All you have to do is type in my name or bib number (24944) and put in how you want alerts to come.
A cooler way to follow is to do the ‘MAP TRACK’. It has a map that allows you to see in real-time where I am on the course.
I am also registered with the MOTIGO app. You can record cheers and encouragements and they will be played wherever in the race you tell it to play.
And the very best way to do any of that is to download the MCM app.
That is it for now! Next time you hear from me I will hopefully be tired and smiling with a big medal around my neck!
See you running,