Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Two months till St. Louis

Just a quick status checkup now that I see the St. Louis Marathon is two months away. It will be my second marathon, following the ING New York City Marathon three months ago. I have not been as diligent in recording a daily mileage log as I was in advance of my first one, and I need to get back to that asap, because it's necessary for training as well as shoe-usage monitoring.

Instead, here are a few typical days in the life of me lately:

Saturday I tried to finish the book manuscript (up to 246 pages and almost ready to chase agents), wash running gear (who cares about other laundry??? lol). Sunday morning I ran the Gridiron Classic 4M, preceded by the Football Throwing Contest, all at Central Park, and then that night I worked throughout the Super Bowl as we at Major League Baseball officially take the handoff. Monday was a blur of meetings and content preparation for MLB.com with Spring Training just around the corner, and that night I went home, threw my workout gear in a bag and walked over to New York Sports Club on my block. I LOVE NYSC! I joined in December in an effort to reduce the nagging injuries that plagued me before the NYC Marathon, and I have been Attack Man on this front.

I warm up with 20 minutes on a lay-back bike with arm and leg tension, set at Intervals. Then it's straight to the Xpress Line equipment -- eight machines that work every main muscle group of your body. I am doing three sets of 10 to 15 reps depending on the machine, starting with leg press and working my way around to curls for lats and delts. Imagine being in a gym with marathoners all around you. That is my little world next to Central Park. Then I hit the elliptical for 30 minutes. Then I went upstairs to the stretch room and did a LOT of core work, heavy on planks and crunches. I learned from watching someone use a squish-seat for crunches, but for me, I like my old-fashioned way the best of just bringing legs and head up at the same time while laying on my back. I have my Nano Red on my sportband the entire time just as I do running around Central Park, and I'm in my own world and feeling on top of the world.

This morning I briefly considered just going to work because I had worked out the night before, but I am in my boot camp again with my game face on and I went out in the rain and ran 11.5 miles around the park, mixing up my route and staying mostly on moist bridle paths. I felt strong. I felt great. I was wearing shorts and windbreaker in winter, just like Sunday. Now it is time for me to mix in intervals, which is about where I was when training with Team for Kids for NYC. It is more challenging doing this completely alone, but I am getting up to the 30s in weekly mileage now. It is time for me to elevate my game, time to put the long in long runs again. I have to revisit my NYC prep and one of my books and follow some instruction.

I am very excited about my second marathon. If you read my first post here, then you know that I overcame mountains just to finish New York City and I obviously want to shave at least an hour or more off my finish there. My goal will be five hours for this one. I just ran a 2:18 Manhattan Half (PR), so that's certainly doable, health willing. I am sitting here typing this while surrounded by a bagful of oranges, celery, a pear, some kind of juice from the sacred Goji berry of Tibet, and unsalted mixed nuts. I am trying my best to avoid late-night eating, which is generally my biggest roadblock in this life as a crazy runner. Here at my desk at our MLB offices, I have the black bumper sticker that I got at the Oklahoma City Half last year: "Marathon Freak." I am not the fastest marathoner but I love it as much as anyone.

Also: NYC Marathon registration starts Feb. 25. It feels good knowing that I won't have to rely on the lottery this year. I ran the nine required NY Road Runner scored/qualifier races in 2007 for guaranteed 2008 entry, and then some -- about 25 events.

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