Saturday, March 9, 2013

Publix Georgia Marathon - Preflections

In roughly one week I will be starting, in the middle of, and finishing my first ever full marathon (if we're going to be approximate in time, I can do everything at once). I rightly can say "first" because I would totally have this experience again. And again and again. I have had an amazing journey (blech, cliche) with the Team these last four months, and I have been reaffirmed in my decision to join the Publix Team at every GTS.

This morning's was no different. We set off for an easy 8 mile run through the hills and vales of Buckhead, and we made really good time. We crushed the run, on a beautifully cool and sunny day. Next week the weather is supposed to start off about the same but get to a high of 71F, which is rather toasty for a marathon. We expect to be done by noon, though, so we shouldn't hit the worst of it.

Let's see my season, by the numbers (includes today's training run).

Total miles run: 281.77
Total time run: 50 hrs 9 min 45 sec
Total weight loss (using this morning's measurement): ~5 lbs
Total calories consumed: not nearly enough. I'm so hungry. All. The. Time.
Total amount raised: $2,163.50

Total miles ridden: 439.66

I think I'm ready.

I include the bike time because that was primarily from Sundays when I was supposed to run or do cross, so it counts. I have 231.55 miles on the year, which is a slow start compared to last year, but I'm still on track for a 3000-mile year.

This is the most I have ever run, ever. I feel amazing! I blew my fundraising minimum out of the water. That sounds like a feat, but really all of that came from YOU, my many supporters (and far fewer readers). It's the same issue I have with conductors: they weren't the ones that made the music. I'm not the one who magicked the money - it came from incredibly generous and supportive individuals. And I am grateful.

So grateful that I'm making the explicit promise not to fundraise AT ALL until 2014. That means that, for those of you who like to make it a yearly habit, you only have one week to send some dollars my way before the chance is gone for a year.

To those of you who have already donated, thank you! You have helped make this ridiculous idea a reality, or you will have, come next Sunday.

And, the six of you that read this: thanks for that, too.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Atlanta Stinks

I had a great ride home today, a perfectly beautiful day with the low sun, clear sky, and cool air to breathe in deeply.

But not too deeply. Atlanta stinks, big time. Lately I've noticed that my throat is a little dry and scratchy, and it's been more pronounced since getting home. I also noticed that there is a great disparity in what is apparently acceptable exhaust for different cars in Atlanta. Perhaps it's different requirements for different years, or perhaps people are incredibly dishonest when it comes to emissions testing. Whatever the cause, it makes getting stuck at every light (which invariably happens at rush hour) a real drag, literally. It's like sucking on a tailpipe every stop, and it only improves marginally when the offending vehicle pulls away, because that crap does not dissipate very quickly. I found myself covering my mouth with my glove or arm for most of the lights because the stink and smell was so bad. There is no such alternative when actually riding and getting stuck behind such a vehicle over the course of several miles.

All this to say I'm considering using dust masks or bandannas to cover my nose and mouth on these downtown excursions, because I was nauseous after only 36 minutes in varying levels of traffic and exhaust. I was surprised that I wasn't coughing up black or breathing sooty air.

Besides the soot, Atlanta is still pretty smelly. Riding the path near the Highlands got me out of the exhaust channels (for the most part) but introduced a strong, strangely rubber cement-smelling stink that lasted for a while.

Then, of course, the smell of fish fry and hipsters in L5P. It was a long day.

I really do like riding, but this is ridiculous. I totally believe the study that found that people who commuted to work outdoors, because of the exposure and increased breathing rate, had more pollutants in their lungs (in ppm) than motorists. I feel like I ate a block of coal today.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

First week of taper -- no change

Yesterday was our first official week of taper, so we ran "only" 8 miles. Training for an endurance event really warps one's perspective, I've noticed.

We ran out of Galloway School, near Chastain Park, actually turning around at the church we often start from. The reason for the different location was the All-sport GTS, a notorious cluster made worse yesterday by what here passes for snow, a cold and brisk wind, and a decided  lack of sun.

In typical fashion, I misread the directions, adding on an extra 1.25 miles to the route, but newfound running buddy, S, from the Cobb team was indifferent and we kept up pleasant chatter throughout the entire run. At the end we separated, I stretched and changed into cold, dry clothes, and made my way down to the picnic. It was very, very windy, so many people didn't stick around. I was waiting for the cycle team to finish, and they had a rough day. Chastain is located in Buckhead, and I climbed 1300' in 9 miles, so the cycle team, with the added challenge of wind and cold (it's easier to manage those elements on foot), endured hilly routes for 25 miles.

Everyone made it back safe and sound, and it sounded like there were good stories. I'm glad it's over, we've had our share of icky weather the last month, as far as training goes, so I hope that means the weather gods will smile on us for the actual race.

Average pace: 10:36 (10:44) min/mi
Distance: 9.25 mi
Time: 1:38:00 (1:39:16)
Elevation: 1,362 ft

I did the run in the new shoes again and had no problems, so I'm feeling pretty good about wearing them on race day. I have to remember not to over-tighten the laces, which is very easy on these shoes. I felt great.

No picture, because I'm forgetful. I could take a photo of what it looks like outside today, because it's the same as yesterday (windy, overcast, "snowy", cold), but there's no human interest in that.

I didn't ride this morning (see the weather, above), but need to get out and do something today. They say it's supposed to be sunny this afternoon, but I'll believe that when I see it.