Monday, July 05, 2010

Happy 4th

It's actually the 5th so happy belated 4th. I didn't realize it was so long since my last post. I guess I got so depressed once healthcare reform passed that I took a hiatus. Nothing a good ol' patriotic 4th of July can't fix however.

I ran the Peachtree Road Race for the second consecutive time this year. Not really sure why I decided last year would be my first race but it was. Maybe because it was the 40th running. Who doesn't like an anniversary? I semi-trained last year, slowly increasing my run times. Pause here. In case I haven't mentioned before, I hate running. I love the feeling after running, that I've improved my cardiovascular risk profile, improved my stamina, burned some calories. It's also cheap so that's another plus. But running to me is so boring. It requires no skill. Okay, sure there are proper techniques of running, etc. but it's not like you're hitting a golf ball 300 yards and trying to land it within a strip of grass. Also, you start and end at the same place and you have nothing to show for it. Big deal, so I live a few extra years at the end of my life. The demented years? No thanks. If I ran and ended up at the grocery store and back with food so I didn't have to waste gas, now we're talking but that's not very practical.

Having said all that, I am sensing a bit of my mortality so I run--mainly because I can do it spur-of-the-moment, I don't need to call up someone else or a group of people like with basketball (I can actually shoot around alone for a while and find it somewhat fun but after about 30 minutes of it, you want to start playing in a game) and I can feel it make a difference in my blood pressure and cholesterol. Along with running, it may be difficult to believe with all the buffets I've been to in the past year but cutting down calories has brought my weight down to 157.6 lbs. Aside from a diarrheal illness I had a couple of years ago, this may be the lowest weight since before med school. Of course it fluctuates but at the least, I've been consistently below 160 for a few weeks now.

Getting back to the running, using headphones and listening to music does make it barely tolerable. For the race last year, my training never consisted of more than 2-3 miles at one time until I busted out the 10k on race day. We lived at the Habersham last year so I stopped near the now defunct ESPN Zone and talked with Karen and the baby for a minute. Then, heading up cardiac hill I spotted a port-a-potty and waited a minute to get in but it was taking too long so I just kept going. I frequently get a big urge to pee while running, even if I recently went. Eventually it goes away but the uncomfortable feeling slows me down a bit. I walked all of cardiac hill and some of the uphill areas after that and finished in 67:36.

I just remembered that Karen became a fan of the road race on FB and I think if you became one of the first x number of fans, you got a free number so she signed me and herself up. I think that's how we ended up in the race.

Training this year started a little later because I didn't realize how close to race time it was. "Training" last year was mainly so that I wouldn't be one of those poor guys who ends up in the hospital in multi-organ failure from rhabdomyolysis. Had one a couple of years ago at our hospital. This year, I was trying to actually post a better time, ideally sub 60 minutes. I ran a 5k earlier this year ("1st Annual" Shoebox Derby) in under 24 minutes but one of the top runners said the course was short. Based on later training and times, I think it was a lot shorter than I realized.

Anyway, for this year, I woke up, ate 2 frozen waffles, drank some coffee and since we live in Brookhaven now, Karen dropped me off. Peachtree is blocked off a couple of blocks north of Peachtree Dunwoody so it's easy to walk from there to the start areas. I essentially ran the whole distance this year and finished in 56:30. Not bad but I think I can knock off at least another couple of minutes. For next year, notes to self:

1. If you drink coffee (mainly as a cathartic) before the race, either drink only half a cup or drink it a lot earlier. Again, I had a crazy urge to pee (surprise) just before the start so the first mile or so I was really dragging because I didn't feel so great.
2. If I resolve 1., then try to run the first 3 miles much faster (but not too fast to get worn out). The first half of the race is mostly downhill so you really have to take advantage of it.
3. No ipod next year. I think it slows me down. I love pouring water over my head during the race and because of my earbuds, I had to slow down a little to make sure I didn't get them too wet. Next year I can just pour it all over more quickly. Plus, there is a lot of music along the course so there is less need of an ipod.
4. Walk when I drink water. It will only take a few seconds and it's easier to coordinate than trying to jog and drink at the same time. And you don't get any in your lungs accidentally.
5. Don't carry anything. There was a BP giving out bottled water so I grabbed one thinking it would be more efficient and helpful since I wouldn't have to wait for the water stations to get water. Well, that backfired because it slowed me down while I tried to drink it
(I didn't want to waste the water since it's bottled so I'm trying to drink it for a much longer time than I should have), plus it slowed me down because I'm carrying the thing.

So those are my tips for next year. We'll see how much time I can shave off.


Helen said...

You should make your coffee strong and drink less of it-- like an expresso shot. That's what we did. the other thing that causes an increase in time is weaving in and out and in front of other people. Our next door neighbor has an instrument imbedded in his shoe that tells him actual miles run. He ran the road race in 52 minutes, but the actual miles were 7! I agree with you about running the first half fast. The other trick I learned is to sprint the hills [1. in order to make your opponent feel defeated and 2. in order to expend less energy]. You can recuperate on the next downhill.

tantheman said...

Great point, totally forgot to mention that. I remember last year thinking how tired I was 1. because I was weaving around people so much and 2. because I had been standing up so long before the race. This year I sat and waited until we had to line up and minimized the weaving so it was much better. I think Daniel told me about the same guy; the weaving definitely makes a huge difference. I will also be sure to take the hills faster since I took them really slow this year.