I won’t lie: my marathon performance was dreadful.
Time: 5:44:55. Place: 303/328 overall, 172/181.
Splits (note: for some reason, mile markers were not there except for mile 10, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26)
1:02:02 at 5.8 (1:05:56 at 10K)
2:21:23 at 12.7 (2:25:30 at the half)
3:40:56 at 18.4 (3:44 at 30K)
4:05 at 20.
It was HOT. The course, while it featured some shade, was mostly open to the sun, and you could just feel the heat bubbling off of the pavement. Even worse: it was a sudden warming; there was little chance to get acclimatized to it.
So, FOR TODAY, finishing was good enough for me; at half way I was unsure that I would finish. At mile 18, I realized that I could walk easily (and steadily) and finish under the cut-off, and that is what I did. Note: this doesn’t mean that it was an easy effort for me; it wasn’t. But it does mean that much of my challenge in the second half of the race was to stay on “this side” of getting sick; I wanted to keep the effort to where my body could continue to digest fluids; I couldn’t afford to get into a place where the water/sport drink just sat in my stomach, doing me no good.
So, I was never aerobically taxed; it was me against the heat and that is not something that I can “work through”; I have to surrender to it.
What does any of this have to do with Mike Tyson (the boxer)? Mike Tyson famously said: “everyone has a plan until they get hit in the mouth.” Today, the heat socked me right in the kisser.
The race started downtown. I drove Mat to the race (he had a fine 25K: 2:25). His wife was to pick him up.
I chatted with many prior to the start. It was very easy to get into one’s pace; it wasn’t crowded at all.
But: I didn’t see a single mile sign until mile 10, and then not another one until mile 20; then they were there every mile. I wonder why.
I got into a “run 9, walk 1″ (minute) rhythm at the start and that seemed to be ok. Seemed. It was somewhat overcast at first and it seemed as if I were taking it easy. But one storm cloud: the 4:30 pace group was too close to me (bad) and the 4:45 pace group was behind me (not good). I should have been somewhere around the 5 hour group. I was to see (what was left of them) later…and the 5:30 too.
The first hour was uneventful though I decided that I was still working a bit too hard so I switched to a 4-1 rhythm, though I allowed myself to walk up the first good uphill that took you out of town. I felt (ha ha) that I was in the place I was to finish.
Then came many of the roads that I was familiar with, including Bradley university, my neighborhood (we passed right in front of my house!) and my 5 mile West Peoria “lunch” course. I got encouragement from many who are used to seeing me run in the neighborhood. That was nice. Barbara yelled encouragement before leaving to work the 25 mile water stop.
Along the way, I saw Tracy (mile 13.5), Larry (mile 13.75), and Herb (mile 14.5 or so). I was about 2:30 when I saw Tracy, and I told her that I would probably need at least 3 more hours to finish; she told me (as did others) that I “looked good”.
I wasn’t athletically distressed in terms of expending effort going fast. But I was feeling the heat and getting that “if you get hotter, you won’t be able to process fluid anymore” feeling. I’ve had that before: the liquid just sits in your stomach and does nothing but make you sick.
So, I had my right foot (sole, under the ball of the foot) whining (a frequent “hot spot” for me) so I took a Tylenol …and sure enough, the pain went away. That meant that I was digesting liquid; a good sign.
During this stretch I started to do “3-2″ (run 3, walk 2) and even that was challenging. I took a few “just walk all 5 minutes” segments.
At this time, the 25K cut away from our course and back; at the intersection of Sheridan and Main, the real “forever” split came: 25K runners ran downhill to the finish; marathon runners turned left for a LONG 10 more miles.
At this point, Melody passed me (and was to beat me by more than 30 minutes).
I decided to stick it out.
Up through the neighborhoods: I got to mile 18 and, while not athletically defeated, I was on the ropes, heat wise. Ice from aid stations were a life saver. I could still drink though and that was the key…but I could feel the point of “no longer able to digest” coming so I made the decision to walk the rest of the way (save one good downhill that was made for jogging). I was at about 3:35 into it and figured I should be able to walk 16-16:30 mpm without endangering my ability to digest liquid….and that would get me the finish.
And that is what I did.
I still got passed a lot though, and Rich Breaux passed me at about mile 22 with a crack “the best laid plans of Mice and Men” (and marathon runners?) I laughed and wished him well; I told him that I wanted the sub 6 hour finish and he reassured me that I could walk it in.
Hey, I got to see the rest of the crowd though, as well as to enjoy the shady neighborhood in the finishing stretch. I saw Barbara at the aid station and she knew that I was behind schedule. But I told her that “today, a finish is good enough.”
And it was…I was even able to bring Froggy out and wave her around as I crossed the finish line.
I got a LOT of encouragement from others: Terri Brink, Herb, Larry, Tracy, Jennifer, Barbara and from many others. And it really, really helped. It encouraged me to stick it out, even at a suboptimal performance (to say the least!).
Afterward, I got to talk to T and her husband Fred…and maybe obtain a football watching buddy for the Illinois games this season?
What I learned I got a good sense of when I am about to “cross the line” into the “no longer able to digest stuff” zone; once I am there, it takes HOURS to get out of it. This knowledge might serve me well for future 12-24 hour races.
And I’ve come to grips with the following facts:
1. I SUCK when it is hot.
2. Making gains on one’s bench press and pull ups is NOT good marathon training.
Barbara is yelling “get going Lard Butt” at me…and probably checking out that guy.
Very leisurely weight workout:
Supplemental stuff: rotator cuff, hip hikes, Achilles, side plank, light squats (5 x 50, 5 x 75)
The squats were more for stretching than for strength. The goal is to be able to build up to doing real weights.
pull ups: 15, 10, 10, 10, 10
bench: 10 x 135, 4 x 185, 7 x 170
dumbbell military: 3 sets of 12 x 50 (seated, supported)
dumbbell rows: 3 sets of 10 x 65 (each arm)
dumbbell bench: 2 sets of 10 x 65
ab sets: 3 sets of 10 of crunch, twist, sit back, vertical crunch (curl that torso!)
incline press: 10 x 140, 8 x 140
pull downs: 3 sets of 10 x 160
pulley curls: 3 sets of 10 x 57.5
No, I didn’t do this exercise nor did I see her:
Stuff I am signed up to do tomorrow’s Race For the Cure. I’ll have to be careful to not line up too far back as this year, the men and women start together (that is unfortunate). I will of miss running through the wave of 12-13 minute milers at about mile 2 and the 11 minute milers toward the end, as I am doing here in the 2009 race. My time was a mid 24.
Fun I have a fast racewalking friend; her WALKING marathon PR (4:19) is sure to be faster than the one I am scheduled to run in a week. She posted some video of her training. She told me that I’d like it. She made a longer video for her coach to critique. I took the liberty of taking a small portion of it.
I didn’t sleep well (Mexican meal too heavy last night?)
I got up early and walked 4.47 miles in 1:06 (14:52 pace) doing roughly the same course I did yesterday, minus a .7 mile out and back and a .3 out and back near the soccer fields.
It was in the 40′s and crisp; I got to see the sun rise.
Talks: the morning talks were good but tough; still I managed to pick up techniques at every one of them.
Several people said that they would have to leave prior to my talk; I expected that (4 pm slot). Some might still be there and I owe them a professional effort; I practiced my talk twice.
Campus: very pretty
If you’re a runner, you might have noticed this surprising headline from the April 5 edition of the Guardian: “Brisk walk healthier than running—scientists.” Or maybe you saw this one, which ran in Health magazine the very same day: “Want to lose weight? Then run, don’t walk: Study.”
Dueling research from rival academic camps? Not exactly. Both articles described the work of a herpetologist-turned-statistician at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory named Paul T. Williams, who, this month, achieved a feat that’s exceedingly rare in mainstream science: He used exactly the same dataset to publish two opposing findings.
One of Williams’ papers, from the April issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise shows that habitual runners gain less weight than habitual walkers, when the amount of energy they put into their exercise routines is the same. The other, published in April in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology, used a similar analysis to show that running is no better than walking when it comes to the prevention of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and coronary heart disease. So there you have it, and there you don’t. Running is better for your health, or perhaps it isn’t.
The Daniel Engber article continues on and I recommend reading it.
Of course, these aren’t contradictory findings; weight loss and those other factors, while linked, aren’t exactly the same.
And, of course, the premise is that you are doing this activity mostly for health reasons.
I’ll weigh in with my story: These photos are from 2009. The first shows me walking the Quad Cities Marathon in 5:28 (walking the whole way; it turns out that I was walking with a meniscus tear in my right knee but didn’t know it at the time). The second shows me running the Race for the Cure 5K in 24:29; that was a typical 5K running time for me that year. Note: if seeing me around walk/runners in the second photo confuses you, in this race, the women were given a 10 minute head start. Hence I was weaving around the slower walk/runners and faster walkers when this photo was taken.
I’ve walked in races from 1500 meters (fully judged racewalk) to 24 hours and have walked (no walking judges) races from local 5Ks to 24 hours and 100 miles. Best times: 4:44 marathon powerwalk, 6:20 50K powerwalk, 11:13 50 mile powerwalk, 101 miles in 24 hours, 2:17 half marathon, 30:42 5K (judged), 18:03 3K (judged), 8:31 1500 (judged).
I’ve run quite a few races too; best times: mile 5:30 (1980), 5:41 (1600 meter 1998), 5K 18:57 (1982), 19:53 (1998), 10K: 39:50 (1982), 41:27 (1998), half marathon 1:34, (1999), marathon 3:33 (1980), 3:38 (2000), 3:40 (2001).
Currently: running: 24:33 5K (2012)…25:00-25:30 is typical, 1:22:46 15K (2013), 2:01 half marathon (2013)
I haven’t had a good walking marathon in a while (did a 7 hour walking marathon in 2012 when I got sick and had to rest for 1 hour at an aid station), but my half marathons in 2012 were 2:34, 2:30 and 2:25. I did 2:22 in 2011. Also, in 2011, I walked 54 miles in a 24 hour event. Note: I can’t legally racewalk any more as my right knee no longer straightens all of the way.
Running or walking? Here are the differences, as I see them:
1. Running: I sweat more. I get wetter and in cool weather, my glasses fog. Not so much when running.
2. Injury wise: running is harder on the feet, knees and Achilles tendon. Walking is harder on the piriformis (small but muscle), hips and hamstrings.
3. Recovery: I definitely recover from walking races quicker than I recover from running races. For a period (prior to getting a piriformis injury in 2006), I could do lots of marathons with no ill effects; in fact in 2009, I managed to get 2 marathons, a trail 30 miler, a trail 100 miler and 66 miles in 24 hours all in the same year. That was my last “active” year for long distances.
4. For me, the calorie requirement is higher for running than walking, and an easy run requires more exertion than an easy walk.
So, what to do? Right now I am running more than walking but that ratio might change soon as my piriformis appears to be feeling better. So, ideally, I like to run distances from 2 miles to the half marathon, and walk distances from the half marathon to the 50K.
In terms of working out, I enjoy the 6 mile (10K) to 10 mile (16 km) distances the best; it is enough to be distance but short enough were I can push the pace a litte. Walking: I enjoy 10 mile (16 km) to 15 mile (25 km) the best; these are longer workouts than the run but somewhat gentler.
Note: I also enjoy hiking from time to time; I like hikes of 6 miles (10K) to 10 miles (16 km) the best.
But my natural gait is sort of “walk-ish”; others have trouble figuring out whether I am trying to walk or trying to run (others usually think that I am walking all of the time).
As far as what is the best for you: I’ve enjoyed mixing the two up (run one day, walk the next, or follow a run with a walk). I’d say: “be honest with yourself”. If you are new to sports and are trying to run…and you look as if you are doing the foot dragging shuffle: I recommend learning to walk fast. Walking allows for you to put your bigger gluteal muscles into it and the propulsion is with a push-off…and you don’t have that “flight phase” in which BOTH feet are off of the ground at the same time.
But if you have a sports background and your body can tolerate running…AND if you enjoy it, then hey, run.
What you should do: whatever you will stick with. If you hate it, you won’t stay with it. If you frequently injure yourself, you won’t stay with it.
Don’t worry about which is optimal.
You see the course profile. Just the facts:
8:20, 8:14, 8:05, 0:49 25:29 for 5K
2 miles warm up plus 2 miles cool down = 7 miles total
This was a tiny race; 20-30 tops. Early on a young woman was leading and I was chasing 2 young women, an older guy and a young man. I caught none of them.
The course started with a right hand turn and then an up/down on the toughest hill on the course. We came down and on the downhill I passed the two women and the old guy; they got me back on the next uphill. Then it was pretty much the same on the rest of the course though they eventually picked up the pace.
The day was pretty and I ran hard; this was just a challenging 5K.
Next I ate some breakfast and then went to the East Peoria bikepath to walk 8 more miles. I kind of lolly-gagged going up (1:01 to 4.05) and then, inspired by some slower women runners (that I couldn’t catch) took the return in 55 minutes; 40 for the last 3. That was a better effort.
Why? I’ll be walking much of the marathon so I need to practice walking.
Workout notes Great weather; walked my Cornstalk classic course in about 58 minutes (by time of day; I had to wait to cross streets, etc.) This was about 13:30 mpm or so on a hilly course; it was just hard enough to get slightly damp with sweat.
I am feeling better, but this mini-workout took something (just a little) out of me. There is no way in Hades I could have done this 7 times in a row (enough to make 30 miles) today. And yes, I’ve walked 50 miles in a row at a faster pace…a LONG time ago.
Later, my wife tells me that one of her former students (in his early 30′s) ran his first half marathon in 1:54. “That’s good, right?” she asks. I reminded her that when I was 39 and 40, I had run a 1:42 (windy; a month after a marathon) and a 1:35 (peaked) and she had yelled “get going Lard-Butt!” at me as I finished (25-30 minutes behind the winner). So, is he (her former student) a lard-butt? “No…that’s different.”
I got this e-mail message from Rick Santorum:
Grab the popcorn folks; this will be fun.
See the earth through Saturn’s rings…and Saturn, with rings, from the earth via the moon:
The view from the other direction:
Workout notes Slow, easy hike (1:09 outer loop, 54 minute out and back for 2:03 for 10K) at the hilly Forest Park Nature Center. There were several other hikers out there. One middle aged lady was struggling with a hill; she said that she “bit off more than she could chew” with her first hike of the season. We agreed that if there is a time to get stiff and sore, it is now.
It was a very pretty day; the best we’ve had in a while.
Observations: the vast majority of hikers are slender; today I saw a couple of exceptions.
The parking lot: what struck me is that there were several hybrid cars and no large trucks; there were a couple of smaller SUVs. This is very different that what you see in the parking lot of the all-you-can-eat restaurants.
Humor and working out:
Why would ANYONE think of me when they saw this on Curb Your Enthusiasm?
Here is an article about these “caveman diets” and the fallacy of “if it is natural it must be better” medicine/diet. Note: I know that some people simply can’t eat certain foods (e. g. my wife has celiac disease, which was diagnosed by a blood test given by a doctor.)
Now I think that I know what is meant by this: if someone says “x is obvious and therefore does not require proof” they are on dangerous ground. Though there are a few all-time-great mathematicians that can make correct conjectures that aren’t proven until much later, the vast majority of us had better be able to prove what we claim; our intuitions, while necessary and valuable, can lead us astray.
For example, I once spent 2 years trying to prove something but couldn’t; the reason: it was false! Happily I eventually sought out and found a counterexample and published that.
You see some “obvious facts” (which are false) repeated over and over again!
For example, in some quantum mechanics text books and notes, you see the claim: if is finite and exists then which is FALSE, even if is smooth.
Note: if you don’t know this, and want some hints:
1. Think: convergent infinite series
2. Think: a sequence of tall, thin rectangles that get taller and thinner; each area is the value of the term of your favorite convergent infinite series.
3. Smooth with a bump function.
Of course, the uninitiated are sometimes confused by this saying and said this (on someone else’s wall):
“Yeah, cause we wouldn’t want any part of mathematics to be intuitive or anything human-like.”
I don’t know the spirit with which this was said. But this LOOKS (to me; but I could be wrong) like “if it is too opaque for me to understand it must be bad”. You do see attitudes like this a LOT.
But the blunt truth: mathematics, science and engineering are hard, and progress at both the theoretical and practical levels is difficult. Smart people have to work hard and put forth a great deal of intellectual effort. But the results: well, efficient engines, medicines, modern electronics, this computer, etc. “Common sense” is woefully insufficient at the research levels, even if it is necessary to be successful in one’s day to day life and one suffers if one lacks it.
Workout notes 5K treadmill walk after weights.
Treadmill: I started out at 4.1 miles per hour (about 14:40 mpm) and upped the incline by 1 every minute until I got to 7 at 14 minutes; then I kept it there until 30 minutes. Then I lowered the incline by 1 unit every 2 minutes up upped the pace by .1 mph until I was a 4.8. total time: 42:20 for 3.1 miles.
Weights: rotator cuff, pull ups (4 sets of 10, 1 broken set of 10), incline: 10 x 135, 4 x 155, 6 x 145, 8 x 140.
rows/dumbbell bench: 3 sets of 10 x 65 lb. dumbbells. seated dumbbell military: 2 sets of 10 x 50, 1 set of 15 x 45. Pulldowns: 3 sets of 10 x 160. Curls: dumbbells (10 x 70), machine (10 x 70), EZ curl bar 10 x 55. I also did the ab line 3 times (10 x weighted crunches, twists, sit backs, vertical crunches) and legs 3 times (adduction, abduction, push backs) and some stretches.
I felt good.
Not so good
How bad is it in Pakistan? There is a terrorist group there whose mission is simply to kill Shia Muslims:
The group doing the killing is called Lashkar e Jhangvi, “The Army of Jhangvi” or LEJ. They are Sunnis whose agenda is not much more nuanced than killing Shias. Though South Asia is a region rife with internecine conflict, with factions who have fought each other for all of recent history over land and religion, these attacks are unique. Even in a region violence visits far too often, what’s happening now is singular, and it’s getting worse.
First it was snipers picking off civilians, then LEJ members began stopping busses, shooting Shia passengers and leaving their bodies on the roadsides. Now, LEJ is using massive bombs in places frequented by Shia civilians: social clubs, computer cafes, markets and schools. About 1,300 people have been killed in these attacks since 1999, according to a website dedicated to raising awareness about them. More than 200 have been killed so far this year.
Hazaras are one kind of Shia for which LEJ has a particular fascination. Quetta sits just below the border with Afghanistan, and it’s the city where members of a Shia group from Afghanistan–the Hazaras–have sought refuge whenever they’ve felt their own country doesn’t want them. They’ve been coming to Quetta for over a hundred years, but while they’re coming in search of safety, they’re now being met with slaughter. [...]
If the Taliban is the schoolyard bully who keeps some semblance of order among the other children but then begins to abuse his power, LEJ is the hyperactive kid running around kicking shins, and who has free reign because the teachers are terrified of him, too. After a bombing last month, LEJ waited until rescue crews arrived at the scene, and then set off a bomb to kill them, as well. The message was clear: If you try to help Hazaras, you will end up like them.
Fear may explain why the government isn’t doing anything about the attacks. LEJ is not hard to find and their leadership lives openly, mostly in Punjab. They do not pursue their means discreetly. The bomb LEJ used in February weighed 2,200 pounds, twice the size of the one Ramzi Yousef used to try to topple the World Trade Center towers in 1993. They had to tow it to the bombsite behind a tractor.
Nor do the killers try to avoid blame. On the contrary, they eagerly accept responsibility, post YouTube videos of themselves and tally up death tolls with transparent glee. A twitter update just after a recent attack read:
“Quetta Alert: 50 Shias in hell and over 65 injured due to blast on Alamdar Road.”
If anyone thinks that there is some moral equivalence between the United States and groups like this, they are crazy.
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