Mar 24, 2014

Great Black Swamp Festival of Races 25K

That's a long event name. It reminds me of this:

A solid tech tee
In February 2012 and 2013 I ran the Toledo Road Runners Club 25K. I dig the 25K distance--it's more challenging than a half-marathon and burns enough calories to make me feel like it's okay to eat and drink carelessly for the rest of the day. This year the TRRC didn't offer the 25K in February. Also, there is no more Churchill's Half Marathon in March. Also, there used to be some other "Festival of Races" during this time of year. I think the Great Black Swamp Festival of Races is intended to replace all of those events. Seems to have worked out well; there was a turnout way bigger than the former 25K and possibly even bigger than the old Churchill's Half.

The Great Black Swamp Festival of Races offered distances of 5K, 15K, and 25K. It might have been wiser with consideration to marathon training to only run the 15K because we were only supposed to have run a long run of 12 miles this week. Nevertheless I chose the 25K for us because, like I said, I like the distance. I wanted to attempt a PR, too.

See me and Joe at the front of that photo? That's how we look when we're unaware that someone is taking a photo of us. We had no plan for pace prior to the race. We did end up running the majority of it together. Joe told me after we started that he'd try to stick around an 8:45 pace. Within the first mile we were doing closer to 8:30.

Long story short, the race started at Anthony Wayne High School. We ran, did some turns, went uphill a little bit, hit the Wabash Cannonball Trail a couple of times, passed the Fallen Timbers mall, and ended up back at the high school. It was a pretty solid course because we were on the road a lot but there was hardly any traffic and where there was, cops held the drivers so that we could pass through. I was surprised by the little amount of wind with which we had to deal, especially being out in the middle of nowhere.

I said we ran the majority of the race together; although we did a good job of maintaining an 8:15ish pace, I was feeling whooped by mile 13. Joe, on the other hand, was feeling all fresh and shit so he pulled ahead at that point. The final mile was a "memory mile." During registration there was an option to enter the name of a deceased family member or friend, so I went ahead and put in Jessica Fernandez--my 16-year old cousin who died nearly two years ago. Along with probably hundreds of other signs lining the last mile of the route, I passed Jessica's name twice (once for my registration, once for Joe's). That was nice. Also, it was cool to see how many people took advantage of that memory mile thing.

There's Joe finishing followed by me a little bit behind at 2:08:16. I PRed by more than a minute and I mostly have Joe to thank. Truth be told, I was feeling like doodoo early on but was having a good time running with Joe so I tried my darndest to hang with him. Thanks, Joe!

That 2:08:16 was good enough for third place in my age group. My prize? A beer glass!

Elliott being Elliott.

Mar 17, 2014

Where's the love, runners?

Last night I spent an hour sitting with Joe, drinking wine, watching the first episode of Crisis, and taking part in #runchat on the Twitter for the first time. It was a relaxing way to unwind from a weekend that went from good to shit. I'm still telling myself to get over the latter.

Anywho, #runchat was a blasty. It was awesome to tweet with other runners from all over the world, share experiences, and even celebrate achievements together. Completely different from another Twitter dialogue upon which I stumbled earlier in the day. Long story short, some faster runners were dissing slower runners. The part of me that believes all people are good wants to believe it is all a joke. If so, then call me salty. Still, here's a summary of the tweets:

You have no right to put a 26.2 magnet on your car if you've only run one marathon.
If you run a marathon slower than I do, it devalues my hard work.
If it takes you six hours to finish a marathon, it doesn't count.
It's insulting to us REAL marathoners that you SLOW marathoners call yourselves "marathoners."

I can't make up this stuff! Aren't runners happy? Kind? Supportive? Yes, we all sometimes talk out of our asses and get a little cocky. But to explicitly insult others and to do it on Twitter where anyone can find it? For real, that ain't cool.

I guess I am a poser. After all, I bought a 26.2 magnet the afternoon after I ran my first 26.2. Every time I finish a marathon, I'm an annoyance to those who ran faster. Need more than six hours to cover 26.2 miles? Don't waste your time because you pretty much will not have done anything. Also, you may only use the title "marathoner" if you have run one in 5:59:59 or faster!

Again, maybe the joke went over my head. I hope it is. Runners are good people! Right?

Mar 12, 2014

Wellness Screening 2014

Yesterday I got something awesome in the mail.

Those right there are the results of my most recent wellness screening. My employer and our insurance company are good people and offer the service for free annually. In the six years that I've been with my current employer I had only taken advantage of the opportunity one other time. Truth be told, at the time I wasn't focused on my health so I only did it for the Target gift card giveaway. All that I remember is that the results were good.

This time, I destroyed it. Also, a woman destroyed my arm.

That's my arm a day after the screening. I don't think it's supposed to look like that just from having a little blood sucked. I can only make out two in the photo, but there were actually three wounds. I don't claim to know anything about drawing blood, but given that I've got an awesome vein that you can see on the left, I question why the woman had to tear up my arm. Tidbit: When I had blood drawn back in high school, the woman who did it told me that I've got great veins for shooting up. Only in Lorain. Almost two weeks later I'm still bruised.

Anywho, I screwed up the morning of the screening. On my way to school I stopped at Starbucks for a nonfat latte. I arrived at work, did my regular morning stuff, and at 8:00 plopped myself into my office chair. I opened my Franklin Covey Planner to February 28th, took my first swig of latte, and scanned through my tasks.

A1: Wellness screening @ 7:50

Two strikes against me (10 minutes late AND I broke my fast that I didn't know I was doing when I took that sip of latte), I hustled down to the wellness screening site. My late arrival was no big deal but the dude who checked me in said that my results might be inaccurate because of the milk in my latte. If anything, I supposed some stuff would be a little elevated.

Here are the highlights:
Blood pressure: 121/85 (Pre-hypertension, eek)
Total cholesterol: 156 (Ideal = less than 200)
LDL: 91 (Ideal = less than 100)
HDL: 58 (Desirable = 40-59)
Triglycerides: 36 (Ideal = less than 150)
Glucose: 92 (Normal = less than 100)
BMI: 21.6 (Normal = 18.5-24.9)
Percent body fat: 23.4

I'm going to work on decreasing my blood pressure. For a couple of years it was actually interfering with my ability to function at work. A handful of times I ended up light-headed and with tunnel vision in the nurse's office, but it hasn't happened this school year. Admittedly, I can get pretty high strung. Seriously, this weekend I had a meltdown because the house wasn't spotless.

I'm pumped about the cholesterol stuff. Joe and I put a lot of effort into eating good food in terms of flavor and nutrition. Of course we induldge a couple of times per week, but we can do that because of the quality of most of our meals. We're good at portion control, we avoid processed foods, and we eat a lot of good produce. Take a peek at our snack stash and ignore the Gu and Clif bars, the latter of which I've replaced with Kind bars before long runs.

Full disclosure: I ate fish and chips and had a beer at trivia last night. BUT! I only did that because 1.) I ran 6.5 miles (of speed work) in the afternoon, 2.) I had lots of granola and Greek yogurt throughout the day, and 3.) I ate less than half of the meal and brought the rest home.

I'm cool with my BMI but I don't care about it too much because it doesn't account for muscle. I'm also good on my percentage of body fat, but it wouldn't upset me if I were to see that number drop. Joe tries to encourage me all the time to do strength training with him in order to tighten up but I just don't feel a passion for it. Maybe one day I'll get an itch just like what happened with running. Or maybe my bout with P90X turned me off. I could be proactive and make it a goal between spring and fall marathons. Hmm...

And that's that; my 2014 wellness screening. I'm feeling good. It's time to work on better results for next year!