Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Murry Effin Crimas!!!

This snail has started turning heads...
~True story~

Overheard on last three runs with my new training buddy....

~Who is that hawt guy with the sahweet Garmy?

~Gawd I wish I had one of those, oh and I like the watch too...

~You'd think with that high falutten watch, he would look both ways before crossing the intersection...

Okay, so some of that might have been not actually said out loud but they were thinking it. Especially the second, er, third one...

Big shout out to my little brother and his beautiful wife for totally hooking me up at the family Crimas celebration. We have been talking about this watch for quite some time and he really shocked me when he told me he got it for me! How lucky am I?

So of course I had to take it out for a test drive that day. It corners like it is on rails! (anyone?) My only question is why does my Garmy not beep at the mile marks? I figured maybe I don't have it set up properly and have poured over the instruction manual to no avail....any help?

I was in Tennessee for the holiday visiting with the family and it was cold! Damn, long runs at 30 degrees is not what I signed up for man! However, in the grand scheme of things I will take cold over the summer heat and humidity any day...It only took a few minutes to warm up and get comfortable in the cold. I can never get comfortable in Savannah's heat.

I'd like to thank everyone for weighing in on my "Ultra" debate. I am really close to pulling the trigger on this deal...I just wish it wasn't so close to the spring marathon I am looking at, maybe I can use the marathon as a long training run...okay, so I am looking at a March 21st Mary, with the Ultra being run on April 3rd. I will defer to the experts; is 13 days long enough between the two events?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Holy Holidays Batman!

Dude! It was just Halloween like last week!?!1!

Okay, I have been a little remiss in my blogging as of late~but I have not been neglecting my running. The Snail has been running out of his shell!

45 days out from the Tybee 1/2 Marathon & 5K and I am starting to get excited. We have really been hitting it hard lately. I am running 5 days a week averaging 30-35 miles. My speed work last week was awesome! I did my Yasso 800's; 5 laps.
The crackhead was doing K repeats and he was coming into the turn as I was rounding out my last 800. He pulled me through to that 3:52 and it felt great.

I ran my long run of 11 miles on Sunday in 1:47. I am stoked with the time, it is just around a 10 minute pace. My goal pace for the 1/2 will be about a 9 minute mile so I am feeling pretty good about how things are shaping up.

In other running news, I am shaping up my 2010 race calandar. I am looking at a Spring marathon, probably somewhere in North Carolina. Also, I would like to put a Fall/Winter marathon on the calandar. I will enter the lottery for NYC; I do have a couple of plan B's though. I do not want to run another early fall marathon, as I do not want to go through another Savannah Summer training for a full mary...those long runs in July and August were just cruel...
I have a half on the schedule(Tybee in Feb.) and would like to add one more. Somewhere in the Southeast, if anybody has any suggestions. We will scatter some 5&10k throughout the year just to keep it fun.

Then there is the Ultra.

There two goals that lurk in the back of my mind that I don't speak of often.
1. BQ and eventually run Boston.
2. Complete an ultramarathon.

The ultra is currently more attainable...and because I don't do anything half-a$$ed; just half-cocked...I am thinking about the SweetH20 50K...
You actually cross a creek(twice) Not like, "splish, splash, I am running through a little creek" but more like waist deep, hang on to this rope so you don't get swept away in the current, creek...This ultra might have to wait until 2011 because I am a skeered...

Full race calandar post to come soon....I am looking for ideas on regional runs...any info would be great!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Housekeeping and Kiawah Island

This week is the official ramp up week to Tybee. I would usually insert some derogatory comment about CJ and how I am going to beat him at The Duel in the Dunes; in the spirit of the season I will not.(Okay, maybe just one shot...)

My workouts this week consisted of two, five mile runs done at an 8:45 pace, speedwork, and I will be running long (10 miles) tomorrow. I'd like to take brief moment to mention my speedwork before moving on to what I really want to talk about here today.

Brief Moment:

YASSO 800's


This was just an introductory attempt at the 800's, I did 4. At a goal pace of 4:00 minutes. McMillian says I should be able to do a 1:59 half and 4:12 full marathon so I figured for the sake of my 800's I would shoot for 4 minutes....I have work to do.
I am going to try four again next Wednesday before bumping up to five the following week.

On to bigger and better things!!!!

My buddy was attempting to qualify for Boston today and ran in this marathon. Without telling him, a few of us got together and drove the two hours up to Kiawah Island to cheer him on. We got there about 30 minutes before he hit the half-mary mark and he was flying! 1:33:23. This place is gorgeous! It is fast and flat; people come here to run BQ's. We are thinking of coming back to run the half and/or the full next year. I might come up with the hopes of seeing what a 4 hour marathon looks like...What's that? How did my buddy do? He finished 68th out of 1001 full marathon runners with an outstanding time of 3:15:46.

Congratulations David Howard, you have qualified to run in the Boston Marathon!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Enmark Savannah River Bridge Run Report

Otherwise known as "It's my glass now, I keep it!!!"

So they gave out glasses instead of mugs....I am okay with that...This report may run long, I am warning you ahead of time!

Now for the meat and potatoes!!!

The weather forcast was less than favorable and waking up race morning the weatherman actually got one right this time...Way to go Pat Prokop...
It was raining and in the low 40's when I woke up. Not to be discouraged, weather channel's website said the rain was supposed to lift by 8am. Just in time for the race.

I headed to the start and got on the trolley be taken over the bridge to the start of the 5k. It was cold and wet. However, my spirits were high, I had a double pump to run. The hotel I work for is on the island where the race starts so I ducked into the office to stay warm and dry until 15 minutes before the race. I changed my shoes, had a small cup of coffee and tried to calm the pre race jitters. I really didn't know what to expect, do I hold back for the 5k to save a little gas for the 10k? Is the 15 minute break gonna cause me to get cold and stiff?

I headed to the start with about 2000 other runner/walkers and before I knew it I was off.

I settled into a comfortable pace, tried to run at 75-80%. Five minutes into the run the rain stopped and never returned! On my way up the bridge and caught myself thinking, "What a dumbass, I have to do this two more times?" I pushed out the negative thought with my standard, "Seven minutes to the top, Thomas. Then it is smooth sailing back down."

Cresting the bridge on my first pass, I saved my usual, "Get off me bridge!" taunt. I didn't want to anger my foe so early in the battle. I looked up and saw another runner from my Sunday running group and we chatted for a minute on the way down. I, being far heavier, let gravity go to work and pulled ahead from her, only to have her catch me and pass me in the last 1/4 mile. Coming into the last turn I saw the clock hit 27 and I cruised in for a 27:27 5k.

413/2188 5k runners

Quick to grab some water and eat the Powerbar that was in my pocket, I headed over to the start area where about 1500 runners were preparing for the 10k start.

I had 15 minutes to get my heart rate down and keep loose. I felt really good and was happy to run into another couple of Sunday runners who were doing the 10k. Rob was hoping to break an hour, I silently decided I would keep him behind me...

After announcing a joint race run simultaniously in Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan(Those soldiers ran their 10k on a 1/4 track loop!), they played the national anthem and we were off!

My goal was to hold down 9's for as long as possible. The first mile was a loop around downtown, pulling us to the onramp for the bridge.

WTF!?!? Who put these bricks on top of my quads??? That first mile sucked! LOL! My legs were heavy and my right quad was very angry!!!

As I approached the bridge one of two things happened. Either my legs loosened back up or the pain of climb became greater that the pain of my quads being tight...

From weeks of training on this route I knew this half mile section was the toughest(Steepest)portion of the entire race course. "Fast, Fluid, Form" Take me to the top buddy!

I crested the bridge for a second time and knew I was almost through with the battle....It's all academic from here! LOL...

Did I mention there was a costume contest?

That's me on the left and that look says, "I can't believe it took me this long to pass those Horseshoe Crab runners!"

According to my splits I was pacing just over 9 minute miles. I saw Rob ahead of me on the downhill and opened up a little to catch up to him. We exchanged grunts and I surged ahead. Coming off of the bridge we looped back under to the other side. The was about 1/2 a mile in the flat until we would be going back up. Rob passed me in the flat but I let him go, I knew he wouldn't be able to keep that pace on the last climb.

The last trip over was governed by Crackhead's mantra. "Fast, Fluid, Form." Every left step "Fast" "Fluid" "Form" Before I knew it I was halfway up and had already caught Rob and was reeling in a lot of runners. I resisted the urge to tell them this was my third trip over the bridge...

"GET OFF ME BRIDGE!" I yelled as I crested The Eugene Talmidge Memorial Bridge for the third and final time.

I opened my stride and felt like I was flying down the bridge. I knew I could run reckless until right before the off ramp and then I would need to reel it in and get my running in check for the final hill...sneaky, sneaky; most runners don't know about this hill! After you come off the bridge you loop under and there is this 1/4 mile that you don't feel in your car. After running five miles of the 10k course, you definately feel it!

I was gassed but was in the final mile so I laid it all out there. I saw my buddy Seth ahead of me and tried my best to catch him. I was only passed twice in the final 1/4 mile. Push hard for the final 800 yards, "two laps around the track Thomas"

697/1458 10k runners

Total time 1:25:43
Total miles 9.3

22/41 in my AG

211/349 overall Double Pumpers

I got my glass....thank you very much, runner # 1247, where ever you are!

I can't wait until next year. One foot in front of the other, one step at a time.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Enmark Savannah River Bridge Run "Double Pump"

HeHe...I said Double Pump...

So this all started with a resentment. This will be my fifth running of the bridge run, but this year I will be running the "Double Pump".

Imagine the scene: It was almost a year ago, it was a cool, crisp Savannah morning. All of the local runners had come out to prove their athletic ability against our famed bridge in either the 5k, the 10k, or the Double Pump. Your's truly had just finished the 10k and was walking through the chute to the water table when I saw another runner with a finely crafted mug emblazoned with a bridge run logo. "Excuse me kind runner. I could not help but notice that beautifully crafted glass mug in your hand. Where ever did you obtain it and how might I get one?" She scanned me up and down pausing at my race bib and mockingly said, "Um, you have to have run the Double Pump to get one of these..."

Hmmm, my 10K effort was not enough.

I swore at that moment to run the double next year and find that runner and let her know I had been gunning for her all year....I will get you runner #1247!

What's that? She will have a different number if she runs this year?!?1! hmmm...Karma!

So, Saturday morning I will wake, attend to the usual morning business and join the masses as we cross the Savannah River via ferry boat to the start of the 5K. I will contain myself as best as possible not to repeat the soul crushing glare of runner #1247 while intermingling with the 5k runners...

8:15am, with great fanfare, the 5k will start. We will cross the Eugene Talmidge Bridge and run into downtown Savannah. As I cross the finish line (goal time 26 & change) I will grab a little water and head over to the starting line of the 10k, which will start promptly at 9:00am.

9:00am, after hearing the national anthem for a second time this morning, the 10k will start with a mile loop through downtown Savannah before the route takes us up and over the bridge. We will quickly loop under the bridge and begin to go back up over the other side. Thus making our third, and final trip over the bridge. I am going to leave it all on the bridge and shoot for sub 55 minutes.

This race is billed as "The South's Toughest Bridge Run" and for good reason. From start to finish the bridge is 1.5 miles long with an average of 5.5% grade on the ascent. Peak elevation of 196 ft. So, in 3/4 of a mile we climb almost 200 feet...fun right? I know, let's do it three times....

I will get my mug. One foot in front of the other, one step at a time.

(Unless they aren't giving out mugs this year????)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Kennesaw Mountain Trail Run

I got off work early on Wednesday and headed to Atlanta to celebrate Thanksgiving. Traffic was suprisingly light and I managed to make the trip in less than four hours. I have been looking forward to this little weekend getaway for quite some time....

Woke up at a decent hour Thursday and got in a nice 5 mile run to get the body ready for Thanksgiving. The great thing about running up in Atlanta is that I get a chance to hit some hills; we have nothing that resembles hills in Savannah unless I tackle the bridge. I really enjoy getting hill work. I knew I also needed to get a 10 mile long run in while I was here because back in North Cackalacky CJ was going to be telling his extended family and really anyone who would listen, that he was going to to be traveling to Tybee Island, Georgia in the spring to test his manhood at the Duel in the Dunes. Of course, what he wouldn't be telling them is how I am going to run him into the ground and make him cry in front of his family....but that is for another day.

After heading to the Big Peach to pick up some GU and see if there were any "Black Friday" sales, I decided I would turn my 10 miler into a trail run on Kennesaw Mountain....

This is where this "Low-Country" boy may have gone wrong...
Much like the decision I made to run the Equinox Marathon in Alaska, this plan was not very well thought out. Let's see, 10 miles is the furthest I have run since completing my marathon in September. Oh, and this trail run will take place on a mountain that climbs 800ft of elevation in the first mile and a half.

Bring on the pain!
After peaking Kennesaw in the first mile and a half, the trail decends on some switchbacks for another mile or so. Then the climb up "Little Kennesaw" which was equally grueling, just not as long of a climb. Decending down was fun and then there was another climb up to Pigeon Hill. This was a much more gradual climb making for a little less effort.

Continuing onto Cheatham Hill I hit the five mileish point (map says 5.4)popped a GU and prepared for the return back. Seeing as this was a training run that was supposed to be my slow, long run for the week, I was never concerned about pace and walked up the steepest parts of the climbs. I stopped to take pictures often and enjoyed my 2 1/2 hour trek through Civil War history. I hope you enjoy some of the pictures I took.

My running buddies~Chloe & Jada~ slept in...

Saturday, November 21, 2009

St. James Turkey Trot

Cubbie called me up and said, "The shirts are really cool for the turkey trot this year, we should do it." Hmmmm, long sleeve tech shirt...why not.

So we went to the school and signed up. I went online and looked at last year's results. There were about 250 runners and not too many people in my 35-39 age group. Hmmm, maybe I will run a PR and come away with a little hardware?

I have had a pretty tough two weeks of training, I have been walking around feeling sore and creaky for the last few days. I didn't want to get my hopes up but I felt like I could have a good showing, pull off a 25:30, 25:00 pie in the sky time. My current PR is 25:54 so anything under that is sucess right?

I woke up this morning and the weather was perfect. 55 degrees and slightly foggy. I like running in these conditions. After taking Jada out for the morning walk, I headed to the Isle of Hope. The parking lot had an atmosphere of quiet excitement. Seeing as this race was sponsored by a school; there were a lot of young runners.

After warming up and listening to the race director's instructions, we were off. Cubbie's goal was to stick with me and my goal was to run 8:10 splits.

1st mile~8:13. I labored to get to that number and was not sure 25:00 was going to be in reach. I began to examine my training routine and was trying to figure out were I needed to improve in order to break that 8 minute barrier.

Enough negative thoughts, focus on the run at hand!!! "Fast, Fluid, Form!"

2nd mile~16:43. When I ran the Heart of Savannah 5K at the beginning of October I hit the 2 mile mark at 16:44, so I was running an equal pace to my current PR. Just don't fade...

At about 2 1/2 miles in I looked at Cubbie and said, "4 good minutes, let's go!" We pushed and she held on as best she could. We came into the last turn and a couple of my buddies, having already finished, were on the corner cheering.

I could see the clock, time was ticking. Come on, pass this last runner before the line....


PR by two seconds.

Why am I disappointed?

Have I not worked harder than this time suggests?

Have I worked hard enough to think that I should be crushing PR's?

Why did it seem so easy to run faster than this ten years ago?

Where am I going with my training?

Okay, so I think I am being a little hard on myself.

I hang around to see the awards being handed out, secretly hoping to hear my name. I am sure that they will announce Cubbie's name.

2nd place male 35-39...Thomas Armbruster.
Hey, that's me?!?1!

Cubbie~3rd place female ??-?? (not sure Cubbbie would like me to give away her age.)

My buddy David ran 18 and change and finished 2nd in the 40-44 AG. I guess my AG is a little easier this time around.

So....The question at hand is, "Where am I going with my running?"

My A race is the Tybee Half Marathon. Everything I am doing is leading up to that. I am doing speed work. I am doing long runs. I am running 5 days a week. Maybe I ran a really good race today and as I progress, time will be harder to cut.

I keep comparing myself to what I was able to run 10 years ago before I stopped running. I have been back at this for 16 months and I have seen great progress. For today, I am a winner. Tomorrow? 8 mile run on the bridge.

One foot in front of the other, one step at a time.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Running here and there...

79 days until The Duel and the training is coming along nicely. I have been following a 5 day a week training schedule which includes one speed workout, a long run and three mid runs.

Last weeks speed workout was at the local track. We warmed up with and easy 10 minute jog and then did some stretching and strides....then onto the pain....

Holy Sh!Tball's dude!!!

Crackhead says, "We are doing K repeats, we will do 4 at slightly faster than 5k pace and then 2 x400 to finish. Walk the 1/2 lap back to recover in between K's"

I'm all like, "meh, that's not even three miles...I got this....I wish I was at a titty bar with some old frat buddies right now..."

I decide on 5 minutes as my goal for my K repeats (8:00 min/mile pace) and off I go.

First 200m ~"this is cake"
400m~ "hmmm, little bit o' pain here..."
800m~ "Are you frickin kidding, I still have another 200m??!1!"
1K~ 4:56 "Good god man, there is no way I am gonna survive 3 more of these."

I knocked out the next two at 5:02 and 5:05. The last 200m of each K were absolute murder. MURDER I say!

Crackhead ran the last 500m of my final K with me and I needed his pacing to come in at 5:05. I was comfortable with 1:55 for my two remaining 400's and just like that track workout was over.

Here's the deal. The pain stopped as soon as I did. I know that it won't hurt after I stop running but it hurts some much when I am in it. (Yes, I said it...)

So I tried a little something different with last night's track workout.
We were doing 8x400 with 1:30 walk breaks. My goal pace was 1:50(which I hit 6 out of 8) I told myself to be prepared to suffer. Embrace the pain (wtf was I thinking)
It still hurt but it hurts so good. (that's two for you G)

My weekly long runs have been 8 miles on the Savannah River Bridge Run route. The Double Pump race is two weeks away and I am starting to become comfortable on this bridge. (If that is even possible)

Good luck to those racing this weekend, prepare to suffer.
One foot in front of the other, one step at a time.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Happy Veterans Day

Happy Veterans Day Dad, to you and to all of your compatriots.

He will return from Afghanistan in 17 days. This will complete his third, year long, deployment in the last eight years. I am forever grateful for the sacrifices he has made. Countless "firsts" that he missed. Days, weeks, months, that he spent away from his family. I grew up on an Army post; I have spent countless hours, days, months around the soldiers willing to put their lives on the line to give us the freedoms we so often take for granted. All of my childhood friends grew up in this same atmosphere and we all share this same bond.

I went to college on a ROTC scholarship; several of my classmates are still serving in the Army; some at Ft. Hood. One in partcular that was in the bulding where the shooting took place last week. I am deeply sadden when any soldier makes the ultimate sacrifice, even more so when it happens stateside.

Take time to reflect. Take time to say thanks. Take time to enjoy your freedoms. I know I will when I am running freely in the streets.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Hilton Head Bridge Run Recap

Or.....PR's all around!!!!!

Usually I like to jump right into the recap, but lets talk about how Cubbie creeped me out this morning first.

The alarm went off at 5:30am, however I had been woken up ten minutes before by my roommate's friends, who were just going to bed...Like two ships passing in the sea, I was beginning my day as their evening was winding down.

A long story, perhaps for another day.

I put on my running gear, threw on my wind pants and got ready to walk Jada before I left. Roomie was asleep on the couch ( his friends were sleeping in his bed). Much to my great joy, Jada instantly ran over to roomie and began licking his face, waking him up! Pay back buddy! "Where are you going this early?" I am racing in Hilton Head today. "Oh, good luck!" I walked Jada and returned to the house, running up stairs to "drop the kids off at the pool" before I left the house.

Quietly coming back downstairs trying to not disturb my roomie, I didn't turn on the lights. Right before I got to my front door I was startled by this person sitting in the chair next to the couch. "What the fu...? Cubbie? Why are you sitting in the dark? More importantly, how did you get in the house?" Great way to start the morning...

We get to the race course and get settled. 15 minutes before race time Cubbie has to go to the bathroom. The line was a country mile....I told her I was gonna loosen up for 5 minutes and would meet her back by the blue tent. I get back and can't find her. "She must have gone over to the start" Nope, not there either. Crap, I can't go without her...

As the starter's pistol goes off, I see Cubbie hauling butt around the corner from the can and we are off!!!

This is a small local race with a small field, split between the 5K/10K. I have no trouble weaving in and out of runners and quickly get into a nice grove. I look over my shoulder and Cubbie is 10 paces back. I hit the 1 mile mark at 8:34 and feel like it is a good pace; I was hoping for a 54:00 time today, so I needed to run 8:41.

Second mile at 17:09. Holding comfortable, pasing a few runners here and there. Here comes the bridge and the 5K turn around. Halfway up the bridge I was wishing I was only doing the 5K as I see runners turning around. In my mind I knew for me only doing the 5K would be taking the easy way out. I have ahalf-mary beat down to deliver to CJ in February!

Three mile mark at 26 and change, I lost about 1o seconds on the bridge but was not terribly worried. "I can make this up on the last mile!"

Then the wheels started coming off...Did I go out too fast? Am I not really built to be a runner? Hey, look at that fat guy leaning up against the wall drinking coffee, smoking a cig, that should be me...

As we ran through mile four, it was a sweeping wide left turn on the off ramp from the bridge. We. Kept. Turning. Runners were coming back but I could not see the turn around. Where is the frickin turn around? Who designed this course! Arrrgggh, I hate running, why does it hurt? Finally, the turn around! Where's Cubbie, she should be close. Oh, good, there she is...okay, put on a big face, don't let them see the pain...

"Fast, Fluid, Form" That is the mantra the Crackhead gave me...I kept repeating it as I was energize by seeing all of the runners behind me approaching the turn. Ahead I saw the five mile marker at the foot of the bridge.

I hit the five mile mark at 44:10 and knew I needed to really drop this last 1.2 miles to get in under 54. "Who put this bridge here? What? You know, the 5Ker's got to turn around before they even got to the top of the bridge and I have to go over it twice? Man, the Double Pump is gonna blow next month with three trips over a real bridge..."

As soon I crested the bridge I knew I was home free, it was time to really drop it with only a 1/2 mile remaining. While repeating my mantra, "Fast, Fluid, Form" I scanned ten runners ahead and found my victim. His shoulders were dropped, his head wobbley, I knew I could take him. I used the decline of the bridge to catch my breath and waited for the "rise" of the flat coming off of the bridge to greet me. As I pushed I could hear the sound of footsteps behind me. Let's give a ten second surge and drop this guy. Hmmm, still there...okay, take thirty seonds and then we will push again. When I pushed the second time I actually heard him say, "Oh, shit!" But, he was still there! What the hell? With less than 1/4 mile I looked over my shoulder at him and said, "Come on man, let's go!" At this point we flew by my "victim" from earlier, and turned the final corner to the finishing straight. With my newfound friend right on my right shoulder I saw the clock read 54:10. Damn, there goes 54, lets not lose sight of 55! Final surge into the chute...


New PR.

By almost 8 minutes!

I immediatly looped back to get Cubbie in,I made it to the corner and there she was, trucking!

I cheered loudly and watched her cross at 55:45. New PR for her as well. Almost three minutes off of her old PR!

What a great race.

Overall time 54:39/8:47 pace.

I look forward to reading full recaps from the B2Ber's and Florida Ironman....

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Last Minute Addition...

...to the race schedule.

18th Annual Hilton Head Bridge Run

I wasn't going to run this race but Cubbie talked me into it and, well, who doesn't like a free race? This will be like the anti-bridge, bridge run. Starts out with a flat two miles, then up onto a small rising bridge for another mile. Back down and around to finish a sort of out and back course.

I am looking forward to getting out there and testing the legs at this distance. My training runs over the last 2-3 weeks have been 3-5 miles at a mid 8 pace with a couple of 7 milers sprinkled in there. This race will go a long way to helping me determine my pacing for the Savannah Bridge Run 15K in December and The Duel in the Dunes.

Sitting here today I am calling for a 55 minute 10K so hopefully when I post the race recap I will not have to stamp it with a FAIL...

In other running related news...

I was out for my five miler last night and I was halfway through the run when I got to the park. Forsyth Park is is a hot spot for runners and walkers alike, it is usually busy no matter what time I am there. I have noticed a lot of people with their dogs lately and have had several near run-in's with absent minded dog owners. You know these types; iPod rocking, dog all the way out on the leash, taking up the whole path. I don't run with my dog because she is too much of a spaz and wants to eat all of the birds and squirrels. So, I can't understand the people who don't keep their beloved Fido close by and respect the other people using the path. Not everybody loves your 95 pound dog that is barreling down the path towards you. Oh, and the ankle biter's that think they are St. Bernard's, shorten their leashes too!

Sorry, didn't mean to rant but share the road buddy!!!

Good Luck to all the racers this weekend, especially those taking on B2B. CJ, good luck getting Jenny home; we are in double digit days until Tybee...One foot in front of the other; one step at a time.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Duel in the Dunes

Being a life long fan of the New York Metropolitan's it is my job, nay, my duty to do everything within my power to distract you from the fact that today begins The 2009 World Series; with two of my least favorite teams competing. I will distract you with an announcement!

100 DAYS until the running of Tybee Island Half Marathon...otherwise known as the Duel in the Dunes.

Duel in the Dunes? Snail, you can't have a duel without a proper adversary! (Cue villain music)Hailing from the mountain's of North Cackalacky, I give you Carolina John. What began as friendly banter amongst fellow bloggers has turned into an all out battle, a duel if you will. (Incindiary comments from the villainous CJ)

February 6th, 2010 we shall settle this like men on the streets of a sleepy little beach town in coastal Georgia. Most of the locals (okay 95%)will not have risen from their drunken slumber before I will have run CJ into the ground of their fair island community. As you travel over to CJ's blog you may read reports of being "tired from the Half-Iron" training or twinges of "hip pain". Don't be alarmed faithful readers, just a case of another carpetbagger from "North" Carolina...

Consider yourself warned Mr. Flynn... 2 hours...

Monday, October 19, 2009

Is it the weather or the marathon base?

Sooo.....I am running fast and I am loving it!!!

Let's back up a little. Over the last 2-3 weeks my runs have been a very consistent, every other day, run. I wanted to give my body, especially my knees, proper time to recover from the marathon. After this weekend's run, my mileage for the month is about 50(okay, 48.4 but who is counting?)

Here is the kicker, I am running faster. AND easier!

I should put this into proper context and in the interest of full disclosure; my marathon training pace/long runs were done at about an 11:30 pace. Who cares about that, that is the past, lets get to the meat and potatoes!

So, two weeks after finishing my marathon, I run 5K's on back to back weekends. 2nd 5K I drop a 25:54 time for a 8:20ish pace. My regular weekly runs with Cubbie are at average 10 min pace. We have been shaving minutes, (Yes, literally minutes, plural!) off of our time on our regular 7 mile loop. Example? Sure! Average time on 7 mile loop in August was 1:17 -1:20 on any given day. Route PR was 1:13:50, Thursday night we ran 1:12:01...Yesterday we ran a 7 mile route with two passes over the bridge in 1:10.
Here's the best part, we are having a BLAST!

Gee Snail, I want what you have. How ever can I obtain the joy of running you seem to have stumbled across?

So glad you asked dear reader, now if you will send me $1.99 in an envelope addressed to....No, that's not right, you have to give it away to keep it!

So this is what is different...

First of all, Mother Nature has been VERY kind to us here in Coastal Georgia, the weather as of late has been fantastic. Our run yesterday began with temps in the 50's. Perfect weather to run, humidity is almost non-existent.

Secondly, I just logged 550-600 miles of base/marathon training miles over the last 6-7 months, my body is ready to go.

Thirdly, Cubbie and I have begun running with our buddy Ryan. I will refer to him as "Crackhead" from here on out. Crackhead is one of the top local triathletes and for some reason he has decided he will run with us snails on occation. No, it was not court ordered....Anywho, he has helped push us to run faster without overly pushing, if that makes any sense.

Combining all of these factors, we (Cubbie and I) are running faster and we are having a blast doing it! I have labeled this "The Winter of Speed" and am working towards some Spring races hoping to drop my PR's. Not to get ahead of myself, I am enjoying every run as I firmly believe one of the reasons I am enjoying running right now is that I do not have too much structure in place...yet.

One foot in front of the other, one step at a time.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Zen Run 10K

I was over at JoyRuN's blog and decided, well I am scheduled to do 7 miles today, why don't I do the bridge run course instead and get one of these snazzy little certificates to post on my blog...

I have also been wanting to try out this new podcast that is supposed to have music set at a certain BPM, thus keeping you locked into a consistant pace. Today was a day for new things...

Armed with my podcast guiding 170 BPM music and a well established 10K course on the toughest bridge in the southeast, off I went!

I started the music and my run, this motiontraxx podcast is specifically designed for the 10K distance. I felt like the first mile was fast but I attempted to keep with the beat. I hit the first mile around 9:45 but felt comfortable. The route puts you on the onramp of the bridge at about 1.75 miles into the course.

2 mile mark came on the first climb of the Talmidge beidge, I hit is at `19:24, holding that 9:45 pace. "There is NO way I will keep this pace!" Crested the bridge and began the first decent. Three mile mark at 29:24. "hmmm, 10 minute mile while on the bridge?!?! When will the wheels fall off?"

I hit the 5K mark while in the flat, looping around to the onramp of the other side of teh bridge, 30:18.

This second climb is actually easier, although it FEELS harder! 4 mile mark is also on the climb of the bridge, 39:14. I am actually really impressed with A.) my ability to hold this pace on this bridge, and B.) the fact that this wordless "drum music" isn't driving me bonkers.

Okay, crested the second pass on the bridge and my legs are shot. As the decent speeds up, I can't let go like I usually do. Hitting the 5 mile mark at 50:44 (11:30 pace) explains alot, that second pass on the bridge really took alot out of me.

I know there are two sneaky hills left ahead so I put me head down and run. I cross the finish line as the music is ending and my watch reads 1:02:24...hmmm right at a 10 minute pace just like the website said.

Logging into the Worldwide Festival of Races website I was able to get this fancy certificate from the "Crack Race Directors"!

I was fairly impressed with the MotionTraxx podcast. I really want to see how consistant I can be on a flat run, so maybe I will play around with it over the next few weeks and let you know...
One foot in front of the other, one step at a time.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Heart of Savannah 5K recap

It turned out to be a pretty good evening for racing, the temp. was a little higher then it had been all week; it was somewhere in the high 70's by the time the race started. I live a mile or so from the start of the race so Cubbie and I jogged to the starting line for our warm up. Getting to the race early enough to see the kiddie 1/4 mile run, this race is very much a social event. According to the final tally there were 469 finishers.

I had to make several trips to the bathroom before we started, note to self, lay off of the Gatorade in the afternoon leading upto an evening race.

The horn sounded and we were off! One word for the start of this race. Congested! It was really hard to get into a comfortable stride, it finally opened up half a mile into the course. I didn't feel like I was hitting the 8:00 mile pace I was hoping for, I knew I would find out shortly as the one mile mark approached. 8:22. I was thinking this was okay because it took me about 10-12 seconds to actually get to the starting line and this was a chip timed event. I really fell into a comfortable groove in the second mile, it hurt just enough to let me know I was alive. I saw the 2 mile mark coming could read the timing clock in the 16's. 16:42. Crap, I really need to get moving if I am going to get under 25! I started pushing and began reeling in runners, I was passed by three runners in all of the third mile; I probably passed 10 or 11. As we turned the final corner I could see the finish line about a 1/10th of a mile down the road. All out, don't leave anything in the tank!!! 25:52! I was happy with my time, I had knocked off a few seconds from the 5K run earlier this week. Cubbie hung on for dear life and cruised in right behind me at 26:19, this was good enough for 7th out of 28 in her AG.

Final stats:
Chip time 25:54 (?!?! there was no starting matt, so the chip time started with the gun.)

116/211 Men
16/29 AG


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Heart of Savannah 5K

In an effort to see where I am sitting for Saturday's Heart of Savannah 5K, I decided to run the course last night.

I hit the first mile at 8:10 and felt pretty good. Around the park, chase some runners and hit the 2 mile mark at 16:44. Lost a little steam but was still moving well. As I was about 2 1/2 miles in I just keep telling myself, "Hold on, fast turnover" I looked at my watch at about the three mile mark and saw 25:04. "Push, last 1/10 of a mile!"


What? Beat my PR by a minute in a non race situation?

High five's all around! Cheeseburgers and milkshakes for all of my men!!!

I am going to destroy my current PR on Saturday! Thoughts of my PR's from my early 20's are starting to creep back into my head, but let's not get ahead of ourselves...

One foot in front of the other, one step at a time...

Sunday, September 27, 2009

In an effort to maintain the motivation from my marathon training, I have decided to enjoy a full Fall race schedule. While reading an email from the local running store Fleet Feet I noticed there was going be an inaugural 5K in Beaufort, SC; about 45 minutes away. I knew this would be a small race so I thought it's only $16.00 and who knows maybe I can come away with some hardware...After checking with a few runners and bloggers(CJ) I signed up.

Early to rise yesterday morning and headed to Beaufort. I got there early and my buddy from FF was setting up the timing so we chatted about our marathons, he is running NY in November. I was telling him I was hoping to drop a 26 and maybe grab a 3rd place finish. He told me in his expierence, these courses tend to be a little short and I should shoot for 24+,25...I was scanning the compition and felt good about placing, even with my slow pace....

Off we went, the race course began at the church and went through the local neighborhood. I went out fast and knew I needed to settle into a comfortably painful pace. I was a little thrown off that they did not have the miles marked so I really had no idea what pace I was running. Mentally, I was locked into this "24 min" 5K that Kevin thought I could run, so I used the time to figure out where I was on the course. The first two miles went by and I was reeling in runners who gassed the first two miles. Hell, I just ran a fricking marathon, I can burn a 5K right?

Wait!?! Why does my watch say 23:30? WTF? Where is the finish line?

Oh, there it is...okay, 25-26 is in the picture still...Maybe this course is not short but just the right distance...

What, go right? Go around the entire parking lot? But Mr. Friendly Course Aide, the finish line is over THERE! Hmmm, okay, 27 minutes...God, why are my legs so tired, this is not supposed to hurt like this...

Do what? Are you kidding? GO AROUND THE ENTIRE CHURCH? No, this has been at least 3.1 miles already! Thomas, did you sign up for a 10K?

29 minutes...okay, the finish line should be around this corner....push, don't get chicked....

30:33...Kevin was standing at the finish line and had a huge grin on his face. As he gave me my card in the chute he said, "Course was long, huh?" Course was long? How about 3.5 miles!

I can laugh now, but it was not funny during those four minutes.

As I filled out my race card I saw the 35-39 basket was empty. First place!?!? nah, can't be. Well, I did finish 21st overall so, maybe...While talking with Kevin he told me they were going to combine groups and go to 10 year catagories. That's cool, I was just glad to be here, who knows, maybe I will sneek in a third place.

As the awards were being given out I learned the overall winner was in the 40-49 cat., with a 23 and change time... yup, course was long.

"Now for Males 30-39...second place goes to Joe Schmo" Wait, I passed that guy in the last half mile? Does that mean... "First place, Thomas Armbruster. By the way folks, Thomas ran a marathon in Alaska last Saturday." Geez, thanks Kevin.

So....I got some hardware...and I drove the course after the race and it was 3.45 miles...Glaven!... I know you had something to do with this! My pace was 8:50, I'll take it.

One foot in front of the other, one step at a time.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

I am a Marathoner...

I woke up 15 minutes before my alarm was supposed to go off, I was afraid I would oversleep....

Having laid out my race apparel the night before; it was just a quick shower, collect my belongings and out the door. My brother's house is only a mile from the start so the walk was perfect. I stopped for a coffee and got to the gym 45 minutes before race time. Everyone filed into the gym to listen to the race director's instructions.

This race is a runner's race. No hoopla, no fancy jet fly over. They usually use a howitzer from Ft. Wainwright to start the race but the soldiers are currently deployed in the desert so the Howitzer is otherwise being used. The race director said he would start the race at 8:00am on his watch with the firing of a starter pistol. That is exactly what happened. Before I knew it, I was running my first marathon.

They immediately run you up the "sledding hill" just to slap you in the face a little and let you know who's in charge. Crap, a minute and a half in and I am winded! After we got through the bottle neck of the sledding hill, everything opened up onto the streets of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Campus. Mile two took us into a set of running/hiking trails on campus with some pleasant rolling hills. I settled into a nice rythme and was clocking about a 11:30/12:00 minute pace for the first 5 miles. I was running with a group of people I figured I would spend the entire race with but ended up leaving them at mile six. I really enjoyed the first seven miles of this course. We were running through soft trails and I was really able to enjoy the leaves turning and all of the great colors.

That happy "pink cloud" feeling didn't last for too long as we approached mile 8 and the road to the Ester Dome. I knew this was coming and was prepared for the next hour and a half to be the most difficult part of the marathon; the most difficult run I had ever done. As we passed the 9 mile mark, we left Ester Dome Road and went back onto trails. Immediately greeted by steep hills, I walked up the steepest and ran when I could. I averaged 16 minute miles over the next few miles. although it was really tough, I was enjoying every minute of it. At about the 12 mile mark we came out of the woods and back onto Ester Dome Road, which now was a dirt road. Very steep hills! I was feeling very comfortable, no pain in my right knee, although there was pain in my left knee...kinda wierd.

I hit the top of the Dome and the half marathon mark at 2 hours and 52 minutes. I was happy with my time. Lol, I later found out that the winner (collecting his second victory) crossed the finish line one minute before I hit the half-mary mark! The next four miles were an out and back on top of the dome and they were the most upliftingly difficult miles. It was up and down, up and down VERY steep "chutes" as we were going out, others were coming back. Everyone was so friendly. Runners were saying, "Good Job", "Looking Good" There this sense of comraderie that I have never felt. I was running with a giant smile on my face and realized that I was living life!

Mile 17 brought about the beginning of the decent. "The Chute" was 1/3 mile drop in which we dropped about 500 feet in elevation. It was almost too steep to run, I was able to shuffle down while the others had to walk slowly. It was an intense rush. The next three miles were a more gradual decent through some really beautiful trails, I was able to shave some time hitting 10:30/11:00 minute pacing.

At about mile 20 it got really lonely.

The next closest runner was about 200 yards in front of me and 300 yards behind me. I was slowly reeling people in, only being passed by relay runners. From mile 2 to the finish line I think I was not passed by more than 10 full marathon runners. I am assuming I was holding a solid pace for the entire race. This loneliness lasted for four miles. I had too dig deep and I had interesting conversations with my HP. I also want to thank the Alaska State Patrol Officer who popped up in four different places over these four miles; he really helped me keep moving forward. The last time I saw him I told him, "If I see you when I get back to Georgia, I will be really worried." I saw him at the finish line, shook his hand and thanked him for helping me.

Last big hill at mile 25.5. Are you kidding me? That is just cruel! I crested the hill and opened it up as best I could for the remaining 3/4 mile. I had the finish line in sight and knew that I was going to become a marathoner.

After 5 hours, 40 minutes and 11 seconds, I achieved a life long goal. I ran a marathon. My brother was at the finish to greet me, and give me a card from Holly. Enlisting the help of so many (Cubbie, Holly and Timothy to name a few)I am so lucky to have been able to accomplish this goal.

One foot in front of the other, one step at a time...

Now what?

Friday, September 18, 2009

The time has come...

I sit here with less than 22 hours until the start of the Equinox and well, I am a little nervous...

The weather forecast does not seem to want to go along with "my plan" It has been clear and in teh mid 50's all week. Tomorrow? High in the low 40's and 50% chance of showers. Fu@$! Wait, only 50%? That means there is a 50% chance that it WON'T rain, right!?! I have always been a glass half full kinda guy anyways...

Training in 90 degree plus weather for the last three months means that I will absolutly LURVE running in 40 degree temps....

Quick update on my life lessons in humility....
I live in glorious Savannah, Jaw-ja...elevation 4 ft above sea level...Seriously, the nickname fo my area is "The Low Country". I went for a 7mile run Wednesday, I decided to run the miles 9-12 section of the marathon course. This is the hardest section of the course; climbing from 400ft to 2200ft in said three miles. HOLY SNIKEYS!!! It took me 51 minutes to cover those three miles. What a beast of a climb...

The good news will be that once I crest the Ester Dome, 12.4 miles into the marathon, almost all of the climbing will be over...

Stand by for further updates and a full race recap. Thank you all for the support over the last few months.

God willing, tomorrow I will be a marathoner, one foot in front of the other, one step at a time.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Hello Alaska!!!

I am sitting in the terminal in Anchorage waiting for my connecting flight to Fairbanks...Holy Crap it takes FOREVER to get to Alaska from beautiful Savannah, Jaw-juh...Seriously, I boarded a plane in Savannah at 7am, it is currently 12:00am Savannah time and I am still not in Fairbanks. I will arrive in Fairbanks at 5:30am Savannah time, traveling a total of 22 hours...

But it is so worth it!!!

The mountain's in Anchorage are awesome....the sun is setting right now and I cannot remember seeing a more beautiful site...We flew past Mount McKinley, pretty cool...Anywho, I get to meet my nephew for the first time in about five hours. I will be running my first marathon in three days....

One foot in front of the other, one step at a time.

Friday, September 11, 2009

I remember very clearly...

...where I was that morning. Holly and I had been out late the night before. We woke up around 10AM. While laying in bed, I turned on the television, like I had done countless mornings. I couldn't understand what it was that I was seeing. It didn't make sense. I woke up Holly and told her something was going on in "The City". We watched in horror as the footage was coming in...We were so far away(Savannah, GA), but it struck so close. I have family that work in NYC. I called my mother to find out if everyone was accounted. There was this terrible feeling in the pit of my stomach, I can feel it again as I type this and remember that awful morning. I hung my American Flag outside that day and went to work later in the evening. I was taken aback by how quiet Savannah was that day. I will never forget.

I ran six miles last night. I don't really want my run recap to share space with this blog today so I will keep it brief..hehe, I said brief....Six pain free miles at a 10 minute pace. It felt great, this weather is why I love living in the south. 8 days to the Equinox! I can't wait, one foot in front of the other, one step at a time.

Monday, September 7, 2009

What to do, what to do...

There has been all of this talk about knee pain in the blogosphere lately and I think i am having sympathy pains... Thanks Glaven & CJ...I have not had any major knee pain throughout my training program...last weeks 22 miler really put it on me. I ran a 5 mile tempo run on Thursday and everything seemed fine. Sunday we did 11 miles. The first 5.5 miles went effortlessly. I was setting the pace, we were cruising at about a 10:15-10:30 mile. We stopped for a quick water/bio break and headed out for teh second loop. At about 2 miles in I started getting this all to familiar pain on the outside of my right knee. I wanted to stop but continued to tell myself that it would go away. The pain never left but did dull after a while. After I got home, I iced it for a good 20-30 minutes, this helped greatly.

What I am really worried about, is the fact that I leave for Alaska in a week; I run my marathon in 11 days. I don't know if I should reduce my training runs to less than 5 miles for the next 11 days to allow my knee to rest more....I will turn this over to anyone with more experience...Any suggestions?

Monday, August 31, 2009

117 miles

I have run 117 miles during the month of August, finishing the month with a 22 miler yesterday. What can I say? My marathon training program is almost over and it is bittersweet. The Equinox Marathon is 19 days away and I am as ready as a first time marathoner can be. Crazy. I never thought in a million years I would actually be here.

Let's review Sunday's 22 miler:

We had a 5:30am call, all of the Chicago All-Stars were there. Uzman was giving out little glow braclets to help us be seen along the road before the sun came up. The Weather Channel told me it was 74 degrees with 100% humidity. This was rather distressing to me, I had attempted 20 miles two weeks ago, only to have it turn into a big FAIL due to the level of humidity. Well, that and a few other variables. Ever the historian, I took some precautions to avoid repeating that outcome. I figured since we were doing two 11 mile loops I would bring another shirt, some dry socks and my other pair of running shoes in the event what I was wearing became too sweat soaked.

We began our journey, I settled into a great pace early on. My breathing was comfortable and the humidity was not overwelming. I knew I had a long day in front of me, I was anticipating 5 hours or so when I added in water breaks. I was carrying my hand held water bottle so I didn't feel the need to stop at the first water station 4 miles into the run. There is a stretch of road on this route that is 3 miles long, I commonly refer to this as the "death march" portion of this route.
The first pass along the death march was really easy, the sun was rising during my trek and I was in awe of the magnificent specticle that was mine for the viewing. I made it to the marina ( 7 miles) and stopped for water and a popcicle. I felt great and it was nice to chat with the other runners. The humidity was starting to lift as the sun came up, I was a little worried about a repeat of my last 20 mile attempt. The next two miles passed pretty easliy and I managed to catch up to one of the groups that was ahead of me most of the morning, in hindsight I think this was the first mistake of the day, as I pushed myself a little too much halfway into my run.
As I finished the first 11 mile loop, i decided to refill with gatorade and change my shirt, socks and shoes. I felt like a new man right out of the gate, but was VERY aware of the fact that I switched from my brand new(less than 50 miles) shoes, to my borderline expired(400 miles) shoes. Wow, I was not aware of the difference in these shoes, same shoe, same model everything...just more mileage.
Two miles into my second loop and i was beginning to struggle. My feet were immediately beginning to feel the effect from the pounding and my right knee was also beginning to throb. I started a walk/run combo where I would run for ten minutes and walk for one. I got to the 4 mile mark, 15 on the day and took my time at the water stop. Mentally I was strong, knowing that I "only" had 7 miles to go. I hit the marina and was rather happy to be 18 miles into the run. I pondered the idea that this is where "the wall" is usually located and wondered how I will feel at this point during The Equinox.
My remaining four miles passed very slowly as I was reduced to running two street signs, walking one. I was able to dig deep and run the last mile, although it was at a very slow pace. I truly believe if I had stayed in my new running shoes I would have been in a lot less pain. The point is that I did it. I didn't drop out early and listen to the "Running is Stupid" committee. I was very close to making a left turn at one point and only doing 18 miles. I knew I needed to get 22, I now know I can do it. One foot in front of the other, one step at a time.

So, I am officially in the taper portion of my training and will be leaving for Alaska in two weeks...I can't wait!!!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Greetings Race Fans!!!!

After much research( okay well after spending 10 minutes on Active.com) I have filled out my race schedule for the Fall/Winter. I have gone through the tedious process of posting my schedule to the right, for everyone's viewing pleasure. I will provide start times and locations for all would be running stalwarts-signs are greatly encouraged!

A few of these races are the most popular ones held here in the Lowcountry, some of my favorite. The YMCA 5K is the third largest race in Savannah, it is run the first Friday evening in October, in downtown Savannah. Always a great turn out and after party.

Tim and Nicole DeBoom are bringing us their Skirt Chaser race series for the first time , this will be an awesome event. I love the format, sending the women out in the first "Catch Me" wave, with the men leaving three minutes later in the "Skirt Chaser" wave...I have always been a skirt chaser, this race was a no brainer! To really add to the fun this event is a night race, being held on Halloween and we will run most of the race on this great race track in Savannah.

The Rose Dhu Creek 10K Trail Run should be an interesting event, I have not run a trail race since high school....

I will also be running in Savannah's largest road race, The Savannah River Bridge Run "Double Pump", for the first time. This race combines two races, they created this format a couple of years ago and it is developing quite a following. Savannah has always had a 5K/10K format for the bridge run, race oragnizers decided to split the start time and give runners a chance to do both. The way it will work is the 5k starts at 8:00am. We will run from Hutchinson Island, over the bridge and into Savannah. Then get into the starting coral for the 10K which will begin at 8:45am. The 10K is an out and back course, so "Double Pumper's'" will run both races, making three trips over the bridge. They will then combine both race times for our actually time...pretty cool, and you also get a cool "Double Pump" mug for finishing.

Last but not least, I have added a "half mary" to my schedule, I believe Carolina John will be joining us at the "Redneck Riviera" to compete in the Critz Tybee Island Half Marathon & 5K. This is a fast and flat course, I will be shooting for a sub 2 hour time. (and maybe some blogger bragging rights...)

Sunday will be my final long run before I begin my taper...22 miles with the Chicago All-Stars! 23 days until the Equinox!!! One foot in front of the other, one step at a time!!!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

A Week of Ups and Downs...

So the following day after my surprising performance at the Savannah Mile I was scheduled to run 20 miles. I didn't want to run 20. I tried all day Saturday to get mentally prepared for it....

Life lesson #1. Do not go out to dinner with co-workers until 12:30am, when you have a 4:45am call time for your 20 mile run.

Life lesson #2. Just because you pray before bed that there will be thunderstorms when you wake up, it doesn't mean your HP will hook you up.

Life lesson #3. When you do finally get out of bed at 5:30am for your 20 mile run, be prepared for a long morning when the weather channel reports it is 84 degrees with 99% humidity.

So...pulled up to the Landings and stepped out into my morning oatmeal...or at least that is what the air felt like as I began my morning run. "Slow and steady Thomas, we will be at the marina in no time."

The wheels started to fall off early. Two miles into the run my breathing never really evened out any my shirt had already become so drenched that it was causing my shorts to stick to my legs...The humidity was the worst I can ever recall. By mile five, the sweat running down my legs was causing my socks to really get soaked...I could hear someone calling "The Running Is Stupid" committee in my head to order. I had a feeling they were about to have a meeting to discuss the Baker Act; knowing that the guy in charge of the body was off his rocker. HR 187 was passed quickly, with little debate and the morning run was shortened to an 11 mile trek. I got to the Marina (7 mile mark) and took off my shirt to ring out the excess sweat. OMG, i could not believe the amount of water that came out. I then followed the same process with my shorts. Yes mom, I was wearing compression shorts underneath my running shorts. (and it was early, nobody was around) I also rang out my socks but there was really nothing else I could do. I took a GU and continued on back to the car. The next four miles consisted of a walk/run combination where I was trying every possible trick to convince myself that running is actually something I enjoy doing. As a constituent of the Chairman of the Running Is Stupid committee, I would like to go on record stating the fact that I will not be voting for him in his next campaign for re-election.

Tuesday, seven miler with Cubbie. Still smarting from Sunday's defeat, I had something to prove. We really laid it down, I set the pace for the first 5 miles and you would think that I had a hot date later because we were moving!

Thursday---NEW SHOES!!! It was time to ante up and I had a $25.00 credit at Fleet Feet. I bought the exact same shoe I am currently running in, Mizuno Wave Inspire 5. I lurve these shoes. I decided to break them in with a 5 mile tempo run around the park. One mile warm up to the park and then three laps at tempo pace. I was clocking my miles somewhere on the average of a 9 minute pace. There were alot of runners at the park so I had alot of people to pull me and help me hold my pace...

Sunday-11 miles with Cubbie...
Great run, having Hurricane Bill sitting off of the coast the weather this weekend was B. E. A. Utiful! We got on teh road at about 9am and I could not have been happier to run. We powered through our first 5.5 mile lap catching up on all of the gossip, stopped for water and then started the second loop. I was really feeling great and decided to really push it for the last two miles. I think I felt "Runner's High" for the first time during a run. I have often felt a certain "high" imediately after a run, but never during one. Yeasterday was different. Awesome run all around.

26 days until the Equinox, one foot in front of the other, one step at a time.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Georgia Snail at the Savannah Mile


I am just going to look at that for a while...

I understand that that is not a fast time for alot of people around here, but for this guy-right now-that was fast! Yep, that was me two hours ago at The Savannah Mile. I was hoping to go sub 8:00. I was going to be thrilled to hit 7:30. But 7:19?!?! come on, that is just silly...I do my 400 intervals at a 1:50 pace. Which is the same pace I just ran that mile. I missed placing in my age group by 35 seconds. There wasn't a great turn out, but this gives me something to shoot for next year...I will rethink my track workouts, eventually (sooner, not later) will begin doing the workouts the fast snails are doing. I am going to enjoy this day...Because tomorrow I have to do 20 miles...One foot in front of the other, one step at a time.

Friday, August 7, 2009

In with the New, Out with the Old...

Today I move into a new age group! I am now at the bottom of the 35-39 year old group. We will test the new grouping at next week's Savannah Mile. My short term goal is to not finish last in my new age catagory! The long term goal will be to become competitive in the new group by 2010...I know, I know, one thing at a time.

Ran the Fleet Feet track workout Wednesday morning. Spokes gave us a little switch to the workout. We warmed up with an easy mile, some light stretching and then came the pain...That which does not kill us...(will make our legs hurt and chest feel like it is going to burst!?!?)

We did a 100M at 5K pace, followed by 100M recovery. Immediately moved into a 200M at 5K pace, 100M recovery. 300M at 5K, 100M recovery. Rinse and repeat! We did a total of 5 of these circuits. Our goal pace was 8:00/mile. This is probably a little faster than my current 5K pace but I feel I am not pushing myself in regards to what my 5K pace should be...we will find my true 5K pace this fall after I finish my marathon training and begin to focus on some shorter distance races.

Last night Cubbie and I met up for "Bridge Thursday's", schedule called for 8 miles so off we went. Eased into the run and we hit the bridge at about the mile and a half mark. Up and over, not too bad, the more I do it, the less I dread it. Typical bridge route is a little over 6 miles; we decided to add a mile and a half in the middle of the run, in between trips over the bridge. Funny little aside, as I was running back up the bridge, there was this guy driving down the bridge, smoking a bowl! I see some of the most interesting things on my runs...Anyways, that second climb was a back breaker, the good news being that as soon as I crested the bridge and yelled, "Get off of me bridge!" the pain immediately left and I began the 3/4 mile decent back to Savannah, by far my favorite part of this workout. Total running time 1:23:02, about 7.5 miles.

Thanks to everyone who has been stopping by the blog and leaving comments, thanks to those who stop by and just read as well.

43 days until the Equinox, one foot in front of the other, one step at a time!

Monday, August 3, 2009

18 With The Chicago All-Stars!

Long Run Sunday!!!

But first a quick recap of my other runs(I use my blog as a workout diary of sorts...)

Thursday- Cubbie and I meet at my house and we ran "The Bridge" Big monster bridge that takes you from Savannah to South Cackalacky...stats:1.5 miles from base to base, 5.5% incline.

It is about a mile and a 1/4 from my house to the bridge. We pretty much mirrored the 10K bridge run course. Brutal heat, especially in the low's before and after the bridge. Felt great going up the first climb, which is the harder of the two because of the steep incline on the onramp. As we crested the bridge you can't help but gawk at the beautiful view of downtown Savannah from the top of this bridge. I thought we were running with a light tailwind...anyways, down the bridge, battle with the blazing heat in the low and then back up the other side...Whoa!!! that was not a "light" tailwind. As we were blasted in the face about a 1/4 of the way up, this must have been a 20 mph headwind at least. It was all I could to to stay vertical...definately working the "lean" to stay upright. I think I was still running, but it felt like I was moving through a giant blob of oatmeal...total running time 1 hour and 5 minutes...give or take...

Saturday- short run 3.5 miles with a timed second mile of 8:37. The Savannah Mile is in a couple of weeks, I would like to go sub 8:00.

Sunday-This is where daddy pays his dues...18 miler Long Run.
We meet up with the Chicago training group at 6:00am for their planned 18 miler. I had been on the fence all week about this run. MY schedule called for a 10 mile LR after last weeks 14 miler. Cubbie wanted to do the 18, I told her she was on her own, I am doing 10. All week there was this voice in the back of my head. "The Equinox is waiting, have you paid your dues?" "If you build it they will..."Sorry wrong voice..."You can do 18, you are just using this schedule thing as cop out" "What if you get hurt, stay with the schedule" I was going to run with Spokes who is training for NY, he was scheduled to do 12. He didn't show up! Now what?!?!
Uzman mapped out the course and was awesome in setting up four water and popsicle stops. Simple route; do the 11 miler "marina" run followed by the 7 mile loop. As I started my run I was still planning on only doing the 11 mile route, maybe a little extra...I hit the Marina(7 miles) and felt like a champ. I was taking GU every 45 minutes and had my handheld water bottle. I saw Cubbie leaving the marina as I was coming in and we had a very simple exchange:

Coolest running budddy ever-"How do you feel?"
Me-"Really good, you?"
Cubbie-"Good! You doing the whole 18?"
Dilly-Dallyier-"Not sure yet!"
Anti Christ-"You're Doing it! Come on!"

That was it. I got to the end of that route and felt great. No reason why I can do another 7 miles right?!?! Refilled the water bottle with G2 and began the 7 mile loop. The next three miles went by pretty easily. I was still holding an 11:00-11:30 pace, stopping for water at the water stops.

The last 4 miles became an exercise in mental fitness. It was now 9:00am and it was really starting to get hot. I wanted to quit. I began taking two minute walk breaks for every 10 minutes of running. My salvation came in two things; the final three miles were completely in the shade and there was a young lady named Jackie who was also pacing at about the same speed. Lately I have been trying this little gem when it really hurts. "If I am suffering this much, they(he, she, whomever is nearby) must be suffering just as much, if not more" I am not sure what part of me thinking other people are suffering makes it easier for me to deal with but it kinda works...As I pushed through the final mile, I allowed myself to really focus on the gravity of what I am doing...I am training for a marathon. I am about to run 18 miles for the first time in my life. I am changing my life one step at a time.

After I finished I stuck around to talk with some of the other runners. This is a really cool group of people with great (and varied) running backgrounds. Most interestingly is a woman( i didn't catch her name) who has finished 2 ironmans , one being Kona, and 2 half irons since 2004. Oh, btw, she is 72...me, I turn 35 on Friday...What am I going to do with the next 37 years of my life?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


First things first, running recap from yesterday...

I meet up with Cubbie for a seven mile loop at the Landings. It was pretty humid for 6:00pm, I had my handheld bottle and drained it by mile 5. We took off fast. I figure we were doing about 10, 10:30 mile pacing for the first four miles. It felt really good to open up and really run. After 4 - 4.5 miles I couldn't take the pain anymore and had to pull back. Cubbie kept the throttle down so I had something to shoot towards. By mile 5 I was completely gassed, just like that I was walking. I told myself, two minutes! After my time was up I started running again, I saw Cubbie at a turn and trying to close the gap. There just really wasn't anything in the tank. I had to walk twice more over the last two miles, both times less that two minutes of walking allowed. Cubbie double backed in the last half mile and we finished together. Overall I finished at 1:18:52, somewhere around an 11:20 pace. I was happy with that considering I mixed in a couple of walk breaks. I am really looking forward to getting to a point where I can consistantly run my long runs at a 10:00 pace or less, I imagine the heat adds a little time but also know my fitness level and the amount of weight I am carrying has a big factor.

Speaking of weight... I am throwing down the gauntlet! I got on the scale this morning and it read 215.4. I have 52 days until the marathon and I want to be under 200 pounds by race day...I figured it out and I am looking at about 2 pounds a week for the next 7.5 weeks....very doable. June 2008, we had a "biggest loser" contest at work. I started the contest at 245 and dropped 35 over three months to win the contest. A great mix of running and healthy eating got me to that victory. After the contest was over, I began to slip here and there and gained 15 pounds back over the winter. So, as I began training for this marathon the weight started dropping back off. However, I have been stuck at this current weight of 215 for two months! I want to drop this weight and keep it off.

For a guy who is 5'9 (5'10 with the right shoes) I really should tip the scales in the neigborhood of 160, 165 max. That is 50 pounds away. long term/short term goals here and now in writing (on my monitor, whatever!)

Long term goal-50 pounds by the summer of 2010

Short term goal-15 pounds by the start of the Marathon. (or right after I cross the finish line, can you say water weight?!?!)

Hitting these goals will also cause my times to drop like a pair of panties at a Maxwell concert...(too much? How about a Barry Manilow concert? Justin Timberlake?)

Deep down inside of me there is a runner. He WANTS to escape. I have run a 22 min 5K/48 10K in this century...2001 to be exact. I can get there again...One foot in front of the other, one step at a time.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

10 Days...5 runs....37 miles later, the scorecard reads Mother Nature 3, GS 2

I am back to my blog...sorry! Alot has taken place over the last week and a half. If I blog about all of it the battery on my laptop might die...Ok, lets get to the nitty gritty. Two long runs, two short runs with hills and a regular run. "Let's go to the tape Bob!"

Last sunday Cubbie and I were scheduled for a two hour run. we usually measure our long runs in miles but this run was kind of us working back into long runs after taking a couple of weeks easy. "Spokes" said he was interested in meeting up with us, so the more the merrier. We agreed to meet up at The Village at 5am to get most of this run in before the sun came up. Weather report was terrific. It was 72 degrees when we started, a little on the humid side. As soon as the sun came up (6:30) the humidity lifted. We finished the run and it had only reached 78. According to Spokes' Garmie we covered about 11 miles. GS 1- Mother Nature 0

I had to head to Atlanta for training and decided to get a couple of workouts in while I was up in the big city. I stayed at The W Atlanta-Downtown, one of the perks of working for Starwood Hotels. I could actually devote an entire blog to the awesomeness of this new property; seeing as how this is a running blog, I will not.

I arrived in the ATL(that's what the kids call it) early Wednesday evening. Had dinner at this really cool place, Flip Burger Boutique. I was told someone who was on Top Chef opened this place, great food. Anywho, got back to the hotel and was itching to run. I wanted to tackle the hills of downtown Atlanta, so off I went for a little thirty minute spin around the block. The weather was perfect and so was my run. I love running hills. I think it is the mental aspect that I really like; you know it sucks, your legs burn and you want to quit. When you get to the top you feel a certain sense of accomplishment AND you get to go down the hill. GS 2-Mother Nature 0.

Spent all day Thursday in training. Finished up at 5pm and decided it was time to explore Cenntenial Park. I saw dark clouds rolling in and was hoping to get in and out before Mother Nature "got on the board" As I ascended Peachtree St. the winds really picked up, blowing debris all around and generally making my climb much more difficult. As I headed toward the park I could feel the pressure drop and knew it was only a matter of time, but I didn't care. It felt great out! I ran across a few other runners, we silently alerted each other of the impending storm by waving and pointed to the sky. I had just about crested the hill next to The Omni as the heavens opened and drenched me. I then realized that I was running with the biggest sh!t eating grin on my face. This was a close call, Mother Nature had made it on the board. GS 2- Mother Nature 1

As I was heading back to Savannah, Cubbie called to see if we could move our long run to Friday night, instead of sunday morning. Uh oh..."Dude, it is going to be so hot! We are going to die. No, I mean literally die Cubbie!" So we agreed on a 6pm start for our 14 mile trek. Just an FYI- I have never run 14 miles consecutively in my entire life, and now I am going to do it at 6pm on a late July evening in Georgia...We cruised the first 7 miles easy peasy, lemon squeezy...Stopped real quick for a water refill and continued on. We were pacing at about 11:30 per mile and I was happy to be halfway home. It was really humid and the sun was baking. Cubbie wasn't taking enough water and really began to struggle. We will go ahead and call this one, Mother Nature has just tied it up. We stopped for a bio break at mile 9 and walked for a couple of minutes. Ever the fighter, Cubbie caught her second wind and we soldiered on. Mile 10 we came to the point in the road where we could turn left and do 11 miles or turn right and do 14. I knew Cubbie wanted to go left...But like the awesome running partner she is, "Let's finish this, we are doing 14!" Ha, give me that point back Mother Nature! We continued to push and finished our long run at an unofficial 2 hours 52 minutes. After a judges review, Mother Nature evens the score 2-2. Dang Russian judge!

This morning was supposed to be a recovery run, 3 or 4 miles. Cubbie calls me last night and says, "Hey can we run at 9am?" sure. "Um, you want to run the DeRenne run?" This is a no brainer to me...."Cubbie, we are only supposed to do 3 or 4 miles, we just ran 14 miles! DeRenne is 5.5 miles!" this is where her tricky logic suckers me in..."Yeah, but we haven't run that route in so long, it will be fun." That's all you've got? It will be fun? "Um, okay, why not" WTF? I am such a pushover! LOL! It was 85 degrees when we started, only half of this route is in the sun. We managed the first half of the run with relative comfort. However, the second half was a battle of wills, me secretly wanting to walk it in. MN beat down on me for the last mile and a half but I fought back as best I could. We finished strong. I really think it was a draw but after reviewing the tape I award Mother Nature the final point and the overall win for the week.

Final Score:

Mother Nature 3 - Georgia Snail 2

Shhh....don't say this too loud. I loved every minute of it!

One foot in front of the other, one step at a time.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Running with the fast snails...

I have had a couple of good workouts since Sunday. Cubbie and I met up at Daffin Park on Tuesday for our planned hour run. It has been nice to get back in the groove of running with my partner; I do believe I like a healthy mix of solo runs and partnered/group runs. I think I have ADD so it is nice to switch things up alot!

We started our run, hittting the first 1 1/2 mile lap at 15:48. Two months ago this was a "fast" time, it is nice to see that we are starting to really make progress in our fitness level. We hit the halfway mark at 31:50. holding onto sub 16 laps. We decided to venture off of the beaten path and explore some of the surrounding neighborhood for our last 30 minutes of the run.

Cubbie convinced me it would be a good idea to run to her "New Shack" so we made it there and back in the planned time finishing our run at 1:02:xx. On a side note, I set out a couple of water bottles I planned to pick up at the halfway point. Cubbie is as stubborn as a mule when it comes to taking water during a run. She has this mental thing about stopping and also just doesn't want to drink during a run. As I have discovered, I HAVE to consume water on a run or I will totally BONK. I grabbed one of the two water bottles and carried(and consumed) the bottle on the second half of the run. I was really glad I did, it was hot and I was sweating like a whore in church. Funny, with about ten minutes left, Cubbie was "struggling" and "wished I had that water bottle".

I have been hemming and hawwing about joining the local running group for their Wednesday, 6:30am, track workout. I met Kevin, a Fleet Feet employee, at one of the events they sponsor. He told me he is a 10 min. pacer and that we should run together. I finally decided to jump in with two feet and showed up early that morning for a real workout.

There were about a half dozen people there; Kevin and I stood out like sore thumbs. (sorry Kevin) Everyone looked like they had just stepped off of the cover of this month's Runner's World. I think Kevin could read the apprehension in my eyes and comforted me with a "don't worry, we are going to do our own track workout"

Warmed up with a easy 12 minute mile, some light streches and then came the pain!

400's (4 total with about a minute and a half rest between)

Kevin said the hard part was over, He is a very good liar!

200's (8 total, rest was the walk across the field)

I cooled down with a half mile jog in the opposite direction to "unwind"

All the while we were doing our workout , the local gazelles were churning up the track doing 4's and 8's. (Look at me with the speedwork lingo!) They were really killing it! Sparking the drive within me to one day be able to do their workout. During one of the breaks everyone came up and introduced themselves to me and really made me feel welcome. Great, now I can't hold the opinion that fast runners are "snobby jerkfaces because they are so fast!"

I was smoked but loved every second of it. I promised Kevin to be back and he is interested in joining us on our long run this Sunday. He is training for Chicago and Cubbie is excited to have another Chicago runner in the fold....wonder if I will need to come up with a nickname for Kevin...I think I will adopt his already used name of "spokes" I think that nickname is used tongue & cheek, I will do some further investigation.

I have another run with Cubbie this evening, 1 hour, then we are going to tackle a two hour run on Sunday....65 days until the marathon...one foot in front of the other, one step at a time.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Early Bird Gets The Worm...

...and some much needed heat relief! Cubbie and I are back full force this week. her job has kept her away so we have been training on our own over the last few weeks, squeezing in a run together every now and then. We were overdue for a long run so decided to meet at 5:30AM(did you know 5:30 comes twice a day?) and run for an hour and a half. What a diffence in temperature! According to the Weather Channel it was 70 degrees with a 71% humidity when I left the house at 5:15. We meet and began our run and it was just flat out wonderful outside. There was a slight breeze coming in off of the marsh and I could not be happier! Today was a day of many firsts.

Yesterday I purchased a new water bottle with the handheld carrying strap. I was very apprehensive about lugging this thing with me for the entire run but my last few long runs have been such a struggle dealing with dehydration that I HAVE to find a solution. Honestly, I think I would rather run with a belt but this was cheaper and I want to explore my options. I plunked down ten dollars and bought a new bottle. While I was at Fleet Feet Sports I decided it was time to upgrade my running head gear and I invested in a visor, I hear it is better than a hat in releasing the heat off of your head. Third purchase from Fleet Feet was some different flavors of GU for me and Cubbie to try.

Armed with my new purchases and excited to show Cubbie my stuff, we began our morning run. Started off at the usual slow pace, I quickly noticed my breathing was a little off and this "thing" in my hand was really a pain..."Is this how it is going to be for the next hour and a half?" After about ten minutes we settled into a comfortable pace and my breathing evened out. It was very surreal to be running at this time of the morning. It was SO quiet, there was no movement. The sun wasn't supposed to start rising until about halfway through our run. There were deer everywhere! I was really digging it! Cubbie wasn't impressed, she works out there and sees the deer all the time, but even she gushed when a deer raced across the road clumbsily followed by a little baby bambi.

Thirty minutes in I felt great and decided to take my first GU. Last long run I waited until 45 minutes and that long run turned out to be a big FAIL. "Orange Burst" as a flavor is okay, not at the top of the list for me. We were moving right along discussing the problems of the world and before I knew it we had been on the road for an hour, I took my second GU, "Strawberry-Banana" and decided it ranks at the top with "Tri Berry" We agreed to take a turn in the route that adds about 3/4 of a mile onto our run, this is the route we first ran out here, at a time of 1:40. Something happened at about 1:15 into the run. We didn't talk about it beforehand and we didn't talk about it while it was happening but simultaniously we both put the hammer down and really started killing it! I don't know if she started pushing and I pushed back or if I started pushing and she pushed back, before we knew it we were really moving! At the end of aour long run?!?! This makes no sense, LOL. 2 out of my 3 last long runs I bailed mid run and today we are pushing the pace. We finished the run at 1:28 and I quickly realized that the first time we ran this course, two months ago, it took 1:40. 12 minutes? How did we find 12 minutes on that course.

Here's how:
I had a 22oz water bottle with me that I took sips from during my run.(And totally LOVE now!)

Consumed 2 GU's, one every thirty minutes.

It was 72 degrees out, not 85 degrees, when we started and 75 degrees when we finished, not 90 degrees.


I had beaten myself up so much over my unsucessful long runs that I had really begun to question my sanity over the decision to run this marathon. "Maybe I am just a 5K guy..."

Nope, I will soon enough be a marathoner, God willing. One foot in front of the other, one step at a time.