"If you fail to prepare, you're prepared to fail." ~ Mark Spitz
Today I went to 8th and Broadway in downtown Nashville. That's where the Rock 'n' Roll half-marathon will start. I walked down Broadway following the race route down to 2nd then over to and up Demonbreun back to 8th. In that first mile there are already a few challenging hills. I never noticed those hills when I'm just out driving around. Yesterday I went to the intersection of Charlotte Avenue and 10th Circle North in Nashville. From there I walked about three miles along the Rock 'n' Roll half-marathon course to the finish near Nissan Stadium. I tried to imagine what it's gonna be like to run that section of the course after running the more than ten miles it takes to get there. Yep, that's a half-marathon, first run ten miles, then run a 5k. I'm making mental notes, gonna familiarize myself with that course as much as possible.
Side note: I always chuckle when I hear Waze pronounce the French name Demonbreun as Demon Brawn.
"I'm not a derby horse. The going is all the same to me whether it be wet or dry. Just keep plodding along, singing a song, that's my motto." ~ Patrick De Marr
Year 2016 Review
Running mileage for the year:—652.3 miles
Most mileage in a month: December—75.2 miles
Most mileage in a week: November 24-30—25.7 miles
Longest run: December 17—10.26 miles
Tom King Classic 5k, March 5—27:44
Mule Kick 5k, April 2—26:08
Purity Moosic City Dairy Dash 5k, April 16—26:02
Race Across the Spectrum 5k, July 23—28:08
Urban Runoff 5k, August 20—26:49
Franklin Classic 10k, September 5—58:31
Grey Ghost 5k, October 1—27:19
Band on the Run ~3.5k, November 19—18:15
Average 5k time—27:02
Average 5k pace—8:43
Stationary bicycle virtual mileage for the year:—863.6 miles
"Run for fun? What the hell kinda fun is that?" ~ Old man in Back to the Future 3
I was an intermittent runner back in the '70s. I don't actually know how far I ran or how fast. I'd just run. I doubt I ever ran more than three miles at a stretch. I'd run daily for awhile then lose interest. I was a teenager, I had other things to do. My parents were unsupportive regarding my running. They felt running to be a waste of time and energy. They felt extra time and energy should be used for something useful—not running. The scoffing old men in Back to the Future 3 actually reminds me of my father.
"People don't know why we run, but it's the hard work you put into practice, and the reward you get from the race." ~ Courtney Parsons
I joined the Navy in 1979. I was required to run in boot camp. As I recall it was nine laps around a football field. I had no problem running that distance in the required time. Aboard ship there was no place for running except in tiny circles around the helicopter deck. For onboard ship exercise, I'd usually just jump rope.
After I left the Navy I returned to Tennessee. I moved to Nashville in August 1984. I was getting back into running, so I went to the public library to get a book on the subject. I found The Complete Book of Running by James F. Fixx. When I went to check the book out, there were two librarians behind the desk. One asked, "Do you know the man who wrote that book died?"
I shook my head and said, "No."
"Oh yeah, he was out running, being all healthy and all, and he had a heart attack and just dropped dead on the side of the road." These ladies were actually giddy and giggling. Ha, ha, ha. It serves him right, they seemed to believe.
Well, I went ahead and checked the book out, but I didn't read it. I read parts of it, but the very idea that the man who wrote the book on running died from a heart attack while running dampened my enthusiasm. Plus back then I was routinely hearing horror stories about ruining knees and other stuff that made me feel that perhaps running was probably not such a good idea. I have a friend who ran a half-marathon and ended up going around on crutches for several weeks afterwards. I also know a guy who had a heart attack while running in a marathon. I ended up joining a gym and doing miscellaneous exercise activities. I had a bicycle for awhile in the '90s. I'd ride nearly every day. In October 1994 I rode a 106 mile bike ride.
April 2015, I received an email at work inviting me to a meeting. The email was sent to everyone in our company. The meeting was for people interested in running. The email said there'd be a drawing for free entries into a 5k. They were trying to put a team together for a corporate challenge. It didn't matter if you were a fast or slow runner. They just wanted to get people involved.
I wasn't sure I could run 3.1 miles. I was in fairly good shape, but I'd hardly run at all in years. I went to the gym where I was a member and got on a treadmill, I set it for forty minutes. I discovered that setting the speed at four was a fast paced walk, at five I'd break into a slow run. I'd run at five awhile then walk at four alternating. At the end of the forty minutes I had covered 2.87 virtual miles. I went back the next day and did 3.12 virtual miles in forty minutes.
I reluctantly decided I'd go to the meeting. I thought I'd be the only old person there. I was certain people would look at me and wonder what the old bald guy was doing there. The majority of people at the meeting were in their twenties, but there were a few older than myself. Anyway, they held the drawing and I won a free entry to the Firecracker 5000 to be run on July 4.
May 2, I started training for my first 5k. At first I could not run a quarter mile. I'd have to alternate between running and walking. I kept training and then one Sunday morning June 14 it was cooler than usual. I ran 3.25 miles without walking once.
"When you cross the finish line, no matter how slow or fast, it will change your life forever." ~ Dick Beardsley
July 4, the Firecracker 5000 was held at the Opry Mills Mall in Nashville. It was fairly warm and humid, but overcast and looked like it would begin raining at any moment. The race route was a lap around the outer perimeter of the mall parking lot, then it looped back went around the building and circled back to the starting line. I started way back of the starting line because I knew I'd be one of the slowest runners. I knew I was not going to set a record or win a prize. My goal was to run the whole distance without walking and finish in under 35 minutes.
The race was about to begin, they made some announcements, played the national anthem, fired the gun, and we were off. I was trudging along sweating and struggling at a slow but steady pace. In a way it seemed so silly to see hundreds of people running around a mall parking lot, but at the same time it was fun. I felt I was part of something. I felt comradery, a spirit of friendship and community with my fellow runners, but at the same time I was alone in my own personal struggle. I ran the whole distance and finished in 31 minutes 44 seconds, with an average pace of 10:13 per mile. My coworkers were cheering as I ran across the finish line. I was the slowest man on our team. I did manage to finish faster than a few of the ladies.
By training for and running that first 5k I discovered running is fun, even for old people. One of my coworkers who is in his sixties finished that race in around twenty-five minutes. An eighty year old man finished faster than me. I also came to realize running is not the risky activity I had once thought. I now realize that those horror stories are actually rarities rather than the norm. They're usually the result of inadequate training and/or poor running form.
"A lot of people say they love running because of how they feel afterwards. Not me. Well, I love that, too, but it's also so much fun while I'm out there." ~ Dick Beardsley
I went back to 8th and Broadway in Nashville. This time I turned west, walked to 12th, crossed over to Demonbreun, walked up Demonbreun Hill to the roundabout. From the roundabout I walked down Division to 12th and 11th into an area called the Gulch. This section of 11th runs parallel to railroad tracks, and it's mostly level with a gentle mostly downhill slope to Charlotte Avenue. From there I walked up Charlotte Avenue to 10th Circle North. Now I've walked about half of the Rock 'n' Roll Nashville half-marathon course, the beginning two miles, and the final four and half miles. My friend is definitely correct about the course being hillier than what I had originally thought.
"Make friends with pain, and you will never be alone." ~ Ken Chlouber
Running log (past week)
Sunday: 7.28 miles (10:03); I usually run in a relatively flat and level park that's built on a flood plain. I need to prepare for the hills of the Rock 'n' Roll Nashville half-marathon. Today I ran past the park to a country road. I ran about four or five miles up and down paved and gravel hilly roads. I plan to include this route at least once each week in preparation for the race.
Monday: 3.32 miles (9:23)
Tuesday: no running
Wednesday: no running
Thursday: no running
Friday: no running
Saturday: 5.20 miles (9:18); a beautiful sunny day, 15 degrees F, 60% humidity. It was so nice to have the whole park all to myself.
Week Total: 15.80 miles.
Week total stationary bicycle virtual mileage: 41.3 miles
I'm registered for the Hot Chocolate 15k in Nashville February 11. Running this 15k should be good preparation for the Rock 'n' Roll half-marathon in April especially considering it's run on some of the same streets. This will be my first 15k. My planned race day pace is 9:40, finishing in roughly an hour and a half. I also plan to run the half-marathon at that same pace, finishing in roughly two hours, and six minutes. I have some friends who ran the Hot Chocolate last year when the temperature was about 20 degrees. Well, I'd personally rather run in the cold than when it's hot.
I'm also registered for the Mule Kick 5k in Columbia Tennessee to be run on April 1. I ran the Mule Kick last year. As I recall the first two miles are quite hilly. The final mile is a relatively level run along the Duck River. My time last year was 26:08. My goal this year is to finish in under 26 minutes.
"The best pace is a suicide pace, and today looks like a good day to die." ~ Steve Prefontaine
I watched the 1997 movie Prefontaine. The movie tells the life story of Steve Prefontaine who was a great American runner back in the '70s. At one time Prefontaine held the American record in seven track events from 2,000 to 10,000 meters.
The movie begins with Prefontaine's childhood in Coos Bay, Oregon. The movie showed that he was very competitive in sports, but often not allowed to play mainly because people kept claiming he was too small or too slow. He took up long distance running and was competitive in that field setting several high school records.
Prefontaine went to the University of Oregon and trained under coach Bill Bowerman. Prefontaine was a great athlete, but much of his celebrity was due to the way he played to the crowds and the media. In his bravado statements to the press he would make claims like, "I'm going to run the last mile in under four minutes and I dare anyone to stay with me." or "When I make my move with a mile to go, it's gonna be whoosh! And those guys are gonna think they hit a brick wall." In the movie one of his classmates said when Prefontaine would win a race it would be on the front page; however, when this classmate would win two events at the same meet, it would be barely mentioned in the sports section.
Prefontaine competed in the '72 Olympic Games in Munich. He witnessed the terrorist attacks that interrupted the games. At age twenty-one, Prefontaine went to the Olympics as an underdog. He ran in the 5000 meters and finished fourth. Some people believe Prefontaine would have won a gold medal in the '76 Montreal Olympic Games if he had not died May 30, 1975 in a single car accident.
Prefontaine is an inspirational movie, but it contains inaccuracies. One reviewer called the movie a "pseudo-documentary film" due to it getting facts wrong and the movie's inaccurate and exaggerated portrayal of the characters.
"That's what's holding you back—the pain. You've gotta learn to overcome it. You've gotta embrace it. You've gotta run through it. Then you can let it go." ~ Coach Coleman in 4 Minute Mile
4 Minute Mile is a fictitious movie about Drew Jacobs, a high school kid with natural running talent from a rough background; and Coach Coleman, Drew's mentor, a retired track coach who trains Drew to run a four minute mile. It's a good movie and inspirational. It's somewhat similar to The Karate Kid, and seemed cliché in that sense, but the movie had several unexpected twists. Although, there's running and training, the movie is actually a drama about Drew's conflicts with his older brother, life struggles, and overcoming adversity.
"Water is medicine. If you can get water, you get rid of 80 percent of our diseases. That's why water is the song I am going to sing for the next five years. I'll get money from the government. And I'll put as much money as possible in water projects. But it won't be enough. That's why I will partner with people. Every dollar people give us in our area, I'm going to match it." ~ Wesley Korir
I watched a documentary on Netflix called Transcend. It's about Wesley Korir who has been a top finisher in many marathons. He won the Los Angles Marathon in 2009 and 2010. After he won the Boston Marathon in 2012 Korir announced he was going back to Kenya to run for political office. He was elected a Member of Parliament for Cherangany Constituency. It's an inspirational story of a man born in poverty, he comes to American to become an elite athlete, then returns to his native land to help his people.
I personally enjoyed the documentary; however, it's not as interesting as some other documentaries I've watched on Netflix. The documentary is educational in that I learned something about Wesley Korir, running, and life in Kenya. It contains footage from races, training, and Korir's political campaign. Other than providing information and raising awareness, the documentary does not seem to have a clear objective. Another problem is that the documentary is difficult to follow because of the accents of many of the speakers, and parts of the documentary are in a foreign language, I assume Swahili, with no translation or subscript provided, so I have no idea what was being said in those portions. Netflix has the documentary rated 1-1/2 stars out of a possible five.
"Racing was a rite of death; from it came knowledge,” ~ Once a Runner by John L. Parker Jr.
I've signed up for another half-marathon. At work they are putting a corporate team together for the Tom King Classic, so I signed up. Since this race is in March, it will be my first half, and the Rock 'n' Roll half will be my second. (Assuming of course that I survive the first.)
"So I went for it. It was a race after all. At some point in a race, you're supposed to go as fast as you can, regardless of how relatively slow that might be--you're supposed to push yourself, I thought. And so I did." ~ Marc Parent
Running log (past week)
Sunday: 7.41 miles (9:32); another beautiful day, a bit breezy, ran the hilly country road training route, sunny, 54°F, 62% humidity.
Monday: no running
Tuesday: no running
Wednesday: no running
Thursday: 3.28 miles (9:28); a beautiful night, ran in the park by the light of a nearly full moon, clear, 32°F, 46% humidity.
Friday: no running
Saturday: Hot Chocolate 15k, 9.32 miles (9:03); overcast rainy, 60°F, 65% humidity. The Hot Chocolate 15k begins at Bicentennial Park in Nashville. The route makes a loop around the park, then heads downtown to Broadway, then circles back to Church Street. At that point the 5k people head back to the park. The 15k route goes up Church Street all the way to Centennial Park, loops around, then comes back down Church Street, and heads back to the start. There were quite a few hills, but none seemed particularly severe.
I arrive at the race and right off I run across a guy I know from church. He is an athletic 23 year old, and a much faster runner than me. He will be running in the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon in April. He asked if I had a goal time. I told him an hour and a half. However, at that time I was not feeling very confident. It was already 60°F, and I assumed it would get warmer as the day progressed. I felt I would be satisfied with just finishing regardless of my time. Finishing in an hour and a half would require maintaining a pace of 9:40 per mile or better. What actually happened weather wise was that we got a drizzly rain and it cooled down a bit.
This was my first 15k. It was also the first race I've been in that had pace runners. These people run at a specific pace while holding up a sign with their pace written on it. I lined up to where I was about midway between the 9:30 pace runner and the 10:00 pace runner. We get started and before we've gone a mile, a guy runs up beside me and says, "Hi Joe." It was another person I know from church. I'll refer to him here as G. He's in his 40s, he said he was there with his son. His son is a teenager. The son had run ahead, and G said he was going to try to catch up. I said, "See you later."
Somewhere between mile two and three I realized I had caught up with the 9:30 pace runner and I thought to myself, "I can run faster." So I passed him. Around mile four I passed G. Around mile 5, I caught up to G's son. Around mile 7 I passed the 9:00 pace runner. Around mile 8 I was struggling, G caught up and said he'd been trying to catch me since I had passed him. I told him his son is about 100 feet ahead. G passed and I did my best to keep up. G did not catch up to his son and finished about 30 seconds behind. G told me afterwards it was the first time his son had finished a long distance running race ahead of him. I finished about 30 seconds behind G with an official chip time of 1 hour 24 minutes 16 seconds.
Week Total: 20.01 miles.
Week total stationary bicycle virtual mileage: 41.73 miles