Saturday, April 16, 2011

Tomorrow is the Big Day (London Marathon 2011 in 12 hours 30 minutes)

Hi All,

My last blog before the big race. I wanted to take a moment to catch people up.

First and foremost has been my goal to raise money for The Children’s Trust ( Without the Trust, I wouldn't be running the London Marathon. The Trust also provides families with an incredible amount of support and children with brain injuries & disabilities with the care they need to recover. I mentioned in my previous email and many of you may already know this about me but when I was eight years old I suffered a traumatic brain injury. Initially my physicians and therapist put a lot of limitations on what they thought I would or would not be able to do. Everything from speech problems, recovery of short term memory loss, behavoural issues, learning capabilities and motor skills.

With a lot of help, I corrected most of the speech problems...I'm still told ocassionally (by my wife) that I mumble but it has come a long ways. I now work for a company where presenting to clients has become an important part of my role. I bet my speech therapist would be proud.

It is hard to explain how bad my short term memory loss was but I had episodes in school where a half hour to hour long chunks of my day would disappear like they never happened. To me, it seemed as if time had fast forwarded. I spent a lot of time at the The Children's Hospital in Tulsa working with different doctors trying to peice it all back together.

The behavoural issues were a result of emotional highs and lows. I don't know how to explain it in technical terms but essentially moods swings. Seems funny to say and I probably still get accused of it now. The truth is the emotional imbalance was a serious problem and even as my wife or friends may on the occasion joke about it - I have learned to cope with it. Much like the rest of my recovery, it was in large part a result of over a year with visits to The Children's Hospital seeing a pyscologist and trips to the neurologist.

To help with motor skills, I went frequently to a physical therapist. I think those were my favorite visits, we were always doing something fun. By having those resources available to me, I was able to play sports and do lot of other things throughout my childhood, college years and even now that I may have not been able to do otherwise.

It was also decided for me to be entered into an Improvised Education Plan or IEP. I continued on this program until I started seventh grade. I went on to have a very normal high school and college experiences but getting there required a lot of help and support from a lot of people.

Maybe you can see a recurring theme in my story. Lots of kids and their families need help, just like I did. I am very privileged to be where I am in life and owe thanks to so many for the opportunities I've been afforded.

So please, help me and show your support by making a donation to the The Children's Trust in my name. No donations are too small.

Thanks to many of you, I've already raised 749 GBP.

On to running.

Since I first started running with goal of a marathon in mind, I've run 731 miles. I've run 404 miles just since the beginning of the year.

I've learned a ton and broken down a lot of mental and physical barriers. I've been amazed at the progress from day one to now. In the beginning, I had a hard time conceptualizing how difficult it would be to complete a marathon much less setting a goal for finishing in under 4hrs.

Tomorrow all that hard work and effort will finally pay off. I will start the race as 1 out of 37,000 people leading out of the corrals from Greenwich Park; however, as I run past Buckingham Palace and through the finish I will join a very small group people. Sources vary on this but it seems consistent that far less than 1% of the world's population have completed a marathon, roughly .1%. That is exciting and truly reinforces my belief that we are all more capable than we lead ourselves to believe.

Thanks for all the well-wishes and support. Jeremiah.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Day 46 - Only 42 Days Left Until the London Marathon

Big big big big day. 24.71 miles. I've never run that far before.

To assist me along the way, I have Casey running the first 10 miles with me. When you consider that he's only run 5.5 miles as his distance PR, that is a pretty good stretch to hit 10 miles.

I set my alarm a couple of  hours before we were supposed to start running. I roll over, open a Clif Bar, eat it and go back to sleep. It seems to work pretty well and allows me to get some food in my system before I set out on those longer runs. 

An hour later, I get up for good this time. I have enought time to change, put on a large about of anti-chafing cream, get an adjustment and stretch from my brother (perk of having a chiropractic student in the family) and wake up fully. 

Today's run was around Forest Park. Forest Park is a big park in an older money part of town. In addition to just being nice, it is also a new route for me. I never under estimate how nice a "new" run or route can be. I'm reminded of this occasionly and then go weeks where I don't run the same route twice. Makes a huge difference in your mental perception of the run. Overall they seem to go by very slow if there isn't something new to look at. 

When we started walking out to the car, I realised just how cold it was outside. It was cool the day before, but today is was especially cold. Casey luckily had a long sleeve shirt that I was able wear. I was stocked up on Gu and water, no more excuses. It was time to go. 

Even with the long sleeves, it was still freezing outside. The first part of the run was a little uncomfortable as my fingers stiffened up in the cold air and started to sting. I knew that was going to be the least of worries or uncomforts for the day, so I tuned it out mostly and just kept a conversation going with Casey. This worked but was a few short miles later that mother nature started calling. We were only 3-4 miles in at that point but I still had confidence that I could make it to the end. It slowly got more and more unconfortable but I was still convinced I could hold it. I've mentioned it before, but I'm not big on of stopping unless it is absolutely necessary. We passed up mile 5 and then hit 5.5.

Now every step was a new personal record for Casey. We joked every few second "record...record......record, record, yep another record. For  a little bit there I had forgotten that I need to go to the restroom. Not wanting to stop wasn't my only reason for continuing on in discomfort, the park was packed with people and there wasn't anywhere convenient to go. Around 6 miles, I could actually tell it was affecting my running. Then out of nowhere, I saw my prayer of porter potty answered. 

They were all the way across a Rugby pitch and a parking lot. I gave Casey a quick glance like keep going - I'll catch you. I sprinted to the Port-a-John of answered prayer, did my business (number 1 if you were curious) and headed back quickly to our route. By now, Casey was completely out of site. I wasn't gone that long so I was surprised at how quickly he disappeared. We had been running a slightly slower pace, so I used the extra bit of energy to pick up the pace several notches. It took me almost a mile but I finally caught him. I was feeling pretty good at this point. 

Record, record, another record. We continued on with this game all the way through to 11 miles. Remember, he set out originally to just run 10. I was proud of him for sticking it out and made my first 11 miles fly by. I was a little bummed when he headed off to the car. I think because I knew I still had over 13miles to go.

Basically, we were doing these big laps around Forest Park which are around 5.5 miles. I was starting to feel the first signs of fatigue at this stage but no real soreness or cramping. I moved along quickly through miles 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, and 17 finally hit my first wall around 18 miles. I noticed a small hill at about 4 miles into the loop was getting much more difficult with each lap. I started zig zagging the hill (it works) just to get up it. I remember the hill well because of the T-Rex statue at the top of it. I started calling in T-REX Hill, made me feel better about the fact that it really wasn't that big but sounded hairy. After T-REX hill, I started the miles count-down. Only 6 more, only 5 more...They it turned into "please make it stop...only 4 more miles to go"

With three miles remaining (~22 miles) I was really cramping up and a ton of lactic acid was building up. From there on out, it was a matter of convincing one leg to step out in front of the other. I tried taking in more water and another Gu but the pain was relentless. I reached an uphill section and was ready for my body to revolt at the sheer thought of it. So close, just a little further, come on just a little more, I've got this - those were the types of thoughts running through my head. With every step, the pain intensified and so did my determination. At 24 miles, for the first time in all of my months of training, I finally felt like I had what it takes to cover the distance. Something clicked that told me no matter how much more intense the burn or pain, I had the will to finish. I'm doing a poor job of explaining it, but it was an incredible feeling.

Incredible feeling or not, I hadn't miraculously tuned out what was taking place physically. I went from just 2 more miles to just one more light post, to that trash can, to the edge of the parking lot, 100 yds ahead to the street crossing, 50 yds to the Missouri History Museum, 25 yds to the water fountain, 20yds, 15yds, 10yds, 5yds and there. I did it.

My time was nothing close to spectacular but I learned something important about myself today.

Stats: 24.71 miles - 3:53:12 time - 9:26 pace

Elise was just around the corner and came to get me. I was cramping and legs in state of complete exhaustion but all the while grinning on the inside at the accomplishment. I hadn't mentioned before but I did this run just before a flight to the UK. Some chocolate milk, ibuprofen and a cold shower was just the key to getting ready for 11 hours of flight time that evening. The compression socks also help. No joke, a combination of those things and I actually had an enjoyable flight. Two weeks unitl my next big distance challenge (26 miles).


Day 45 - Only 43 Days Left Until the London Marathon


In St. Louis today. We have a quick three mile run to knock out before the big one tomorrow.

The goal for today's run was just nice and easy, saving energy for tomorrow's big one. I haven't been nervous about tomorrow until now. I guess my body is having flashbacks to a couple of week's ago and the 22 mile run that took me to my outer limits.

I imagine my body is asking questions like:

"What the hell is wrong with you?"
"I'm not stellar at math but isn't 24.5 a lot more than 22?"
"Do I have to?

Mentally, I'm battling these pre run notions of how terribly grueling these long runs are. The distance before gets easy but the point of real gains is sheer torture. Reality is it isn't the worst thing ever and is over relatively quick, only 4 hours.

Some stats from today:

3.31 miles - 28:42 time - 8:42 pace

I enjoyed running with Casey, made the run go by really quick. Good encouragement for tomorrow....especially with all the negativity brewing.


Day 44 - Only 44 Days Left Until the London Marathon


Yesterday's 11 miler was motivating. I really feel like I have a chance at making my goal time of 3'40". Still a long ways to considering I will need to keep up a pace not much slower than that for an the entire race.

It has me thinking about strategy and how I want to tackle the twenty sixer in just over a month from now.

Do I go slow for 18-20 and put on the speed on the last 6-8? Do I try to keep a steady pace throughout and hope I don't run out of gas at the end? Maybe one or two miles fast and one or two miles slow? The fact is, I really don't know much at all still about strategy, pre-race, race and post race nutrition, etc.

Time hasn't been on my side lately, so the likelihood I research anytime soon is pretty low. I will make some time for it eventually just know it won't be until closer to the race.

I'm looking forward to this weekend as I am going with Elise to St. Louis to see my brother and his wife. Casey is going to run with me this weekend. Well, run with me as much as he can. He's a pretty athletic person all-round but hasn't run much more than 6 miles. On Sunday, I have 24.5 miles to run. His plan is to run with me as long as he can and then I'll finish the rest solo. We'll see.


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Day 43 - Only 45 Days Left Until the London Marathon


I feel great today. The extra day of rest was a brilliant idea.

This morning I got another session of stretching in this morning. I wish I could make time for this every morning. It gets blood circulating throughout your body and really wakes you up. I felt completely refreshed.

Tonight I met my trainer. His name is Rueben. He is a professional body builder, about my height, latin ethnicity, not overly big but you can tell he's all muscle. He seems like a real no BS kinda of guy and I can appreciate that. The appointment tonight was mostly to get measurements taken and discuss goals, eating, etc.

He is confident that he can get me down eight pounds before the marathon. I guess we'll see. I've platueaed on any type of weightloss now for more than a month. Not gaining or losing, staying flat around 180 lbs. His scale said 183, must be the food and water I've had during the day because there is no way I gained 3 lbs since this morning.

After the consultation, I headed to the Gold's Cardio Theatre and jumped right into my 11 mile run with a mid seven pace. My legs were feeling spectacular so why not go for it. I was surprised after 4 miles that I was able to keep the pace. Transporter 3 was playing in the theatre and kept my focus off of the dials on the treadmill. Before I knew it, I was at 7 miles. I had to bring the speed down on the treadmill but couldn't help but think about getting a time in the sevens for my 11 mile run. With only four miles to go, I very carefully adjusted the speed up and down trying to maintain an overall average in the sevens. At 9.5 miles, I was starting to fatigue and had to drop the speed way down. I let myself recover for the next .75 miles and then cranked the speed up into a high six minute pace staying there through the finish. Although a treadmill run, I was really proud of this run.

Fastest time for any run over 10miles.

Stats: 11 miles - 1:27:53 time - 7:58 pace

Looking for to a distance PR this weekend in St. Louis. Dragging my brother along for as far as he can run.


Day 42 - Only 46 Days Left Until the London Marathon


Today was a sign of progress from yesterday. Sore tight legs in the morning.

I've been doing a lot of running lately and anytime I feel sore or tight after a run it usually has something to do with me falling, tripping, rolling an ankle, getting chased by dogs, disappearing into pot holes, etc.

This was the good kind of sore and tight. I not only pushed my cardio limits last night but I also wore my legs out. I've got no excuse not to run my 3mi runs in less than 21:30 from now on.

Instead of sticking to the training plan tonight I thought I'd be better off to get some rest. I did my yoga stretches (designed for runners) and plan to get a full night of sleep. I now have to push the 6 miles originally planned for tonight over to tomorrow on top of my 5 mile run. 11 miles total and I'll be meeting with the personal trainer for an initial consultation as well - guess we'll see how it goes.