How I Trained for the Umstead Marathon

Or, Catch a Falling Star and Put it in Your Pocket: The story of one man’s accumulation of miles for the purpose of racing a fast marathon on the course where he ran his slowest.

Running so far this year (in weeks):

Three short and fast runs to go before Saturday.

Long Runs
Jan 21:
19 miles at Uwharrie
Jan 28: 20 miles on Chinqua Penn loop

Looping around cows and vultures.

Feb 4:20 miles of local hills
Feb 11: 10 miles on greenway, 10 miles on Umsteadish trails
Feb 18: 18 miles at Umstead

Pacing with Shannon, who is going to put on a great show at the Umstead 100.

Speedwork (1/week, with a warmup and cooldown)
Jan 25:
Hill repeats, 50ft up over .17mi x 10
Jan 31: Tempo, 4mi @ 6:25 pace
Feb 7: One and Ones (one minute hard, one minute recover) x18
Feb 15: Hilly tempo, 5mi @ 7:10 pace
Feb 21: Farris Park tempo, 4mi @ 6:45 pace
Feb 25: Easy hill tempo, 9mi @ 7:00 pace

All other miles run within an 8-10 minute pace (a few as slow as a 14 minute pace). Many with Sunny.

The picture of athleticism.

Cross Training
I did a few pushups.

I’m guessing my meals overall would likely break down to 35% carbs, 35% protein, 30% fat. Maybe 40-35-25. Lots of oatmeal, fruit, nuts, salad, veggies, and meat. No soda, only rare binges on sweets, unless you count dates as a sweet. Then binges are frequent. I weighed 135 on the day of registration. As of Feb 26, I weigh 132.

Reading list:
The last three chapters of Heinrich’s Why We Run.
Finally finished The Bunion Derby.
Learning about the many things running can be in Peter Nabokov’s Indian Running.
Pick any random page of George Sheehan’s Running and Being.

Last year I finished in 4:23. I expect to beat that by an hour.

There it is. Let’s see what happens.

My head is a balloon!

I'm floating away!

All photos by Shannon, of course.

In preparation for Umstead, I’ve been working on getting my weight down by taking Helium supplements. I’m currently down to 2.4 pounds, but that’s because I just ate a sweet potato (a food I’ve fallen back in love with recently). Running on an empty stomach I have to be careful not to push off too hard with the ol’ ground tappers, especially if there’s a breeze. There’s also the issue of cadence: I’ve had to slow mine down a bit. Down to like, oh, fifteen, twenty steps per minute. Sometimes less, because, well, you know. The wind. Once I get the hang of it, though, I’m sure I’ll be really fast.

In my propaganda shirt, running with Shannon

Umstead is barefootable, but not barefootfastable, I say with the obligatory “for me.” Well, maybe if I up the Helium dosage… The trails are rockyrooty, and the path has occasional malicious scatterings of gravel. Easy enough to manage slowly, but slowly ain’t my goalie. I’ll be wearing the Moc3, if the weather is dry.

AC wins the Bright Shirt Contest, but my shorts are shorter. What have I become?!?!

I ingested another Helium pill, and had ac tie a rope to his bike rack. He sped off, I hung on, and was air skiing through the pines. Yeah, I’m kinda extreme like that.

Then we all ate at the Turkish Restaurant of Deliciousness.

Oh, and the reason I’m not at work right now is because of this:

The pictures were taken on Saturday, and today is Monday. Insert wacky weather comment __here__.

Aaaaaannnd… we’re TAPERING.

What I Talk About, Once a Born to Runner, When I Talk About Running

See what I did there?

Here’s another round of posts that never were.

I was going to post a Footwear Dictionary of sorts that would put an end to the whole “barefoot shoe” thing: A picture of a sock, with the title, SOCK. A picture of a sandal, with the title SANDAL. A picture of a “barefoot” shoe, with a title, SHOE. A picture of a wedgie “correctional” shoe, with the title, MISTAKE. But, I figured that was too harsh; I’ve moved on from the “zinger” material. If anyone else wants to do it, go right ahead. You know how I feel about “Intellectual Property.” It’s something owned by a wiseguy.

Hey, maybe we should rename the “regular” running shoes WEDGIES. Just an idea.

I was going to bring up the whole barefoot coaching thing again, only to make the point that if I were to be in the market for a running coach, someone who was certified by Saxby would have a greater chance at getting my business. But that was my only point, so no post.

I was going to do a training update, but there’s not much “there” there. I’m not in official taper mode yet, but I backed off the mileage last week and will back off a little more this week. I plan on running at a marathon-effort pace for at least part of every run from here on out. That’s all I have to say about that.

Speaking of the Umstead Marathon, while I’m not ready to make an official time prediciton, I will announce one objective: to finish in the top fifteen, which will earn me a plaque. I want one, and I might be able to pull it off. Depends on who shows up, though.

Oh, and I’m letting my beard grow bushy for Umstead.

Then there’s pushups. Turns out if you don’t do any pushups for about a year, you’re not very good at them when you start again. And by “you” I mean “me,” of course. Funny, that.

Chariots of Fire is a mediocre movie at best. That certainly isn’t worth a whole post, although I could have done a review. But really, it’s not very good. No development, no dilemma. I made the observation on facebook that it would have been better as a witty comedy with the Lord Whimsywhatever as the protagonist.

I’m also too late to the latest “lotsa running vs little running (ah-crossfit-choooo)” debate between Robillard and MGBG. My two cents anyway: if you want to run a lot, you should run a lot. That’s what run a lot cultures do/did, like the Raramuri and the Navajo and the Ethiopians and the Kenyans. And that’s all I have to contribute. You see why I didn’t post that one – there’s even less “there” there than the other non-post.

Alright, that’s it. See you next time with another post of posts never posted. Until then, read my nonsense on Dailymile (column to the right). That’s where I’m writing the most these days, it seems.