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.