Monday, January 24, 2005

It's nail-biting time!

The Patriots won!!! They killed the Steelers!!! What vindication. I was finishing off a nice long run (more on that later) when the game started. When I got home, my neighbor came out of her house and told me the score was 10-0 early in the first quarter. I nervously watched the Steelers drive a couple times, but the superb New England defense held them off. It was sweet!

Now comes the hard part... the Super Bowl. I hate to get cocky, and I hope that the Eagles and their fans do a lot of trash talking. As long as my team remains quiet things tend to work out. I like my teams modest and to let their play on the field do the talking. It should be a good game, with the Patriots trying to establish a good running game with Dillon (which fizzled yesterday) and McNabb taking on the New England secondary. Even if Terrell Owens plays, I don't think he'll be 100%. New England should be able to cover and frustrate him the way Pittsburgh did earlier in the season. It's so exciting, but so nerve-racking, too. Even two weeks away. Go Pats!!!!

As for my running, I've adopted a new training schedule for the three months before the marathon. I'll be doing runs at my Proposed Marathon Pace to get my body used to it. I start at 3 miles, then increase weekly. The longest run will be 12 miles, 10 days before the marathon. I was thinking I would do a 8:35 mile pace, because that would get me the 3:45:00 marathon time I hope to achieve this year. I did the three mile run with splits of 7:30, 8:15 and 7:45. I was encouraged that I could keep up that speed, but I need consistency so that my body remembers how to run a particular pace. Next week is 4 miles, and I'll take it a bit slower, aiming for an 8:00 mile. If I can keep that up during the marathon I'll get 4:30:00!

The new program also calls for 14 mile long runs, except for a couple in the 18-22 range, over the three months. Since I did 12 last week, I thought 14 was a reasonable distance to try. It went very well. I kept up a pace between 8:30 and 9:30 for every mile except for a brief walk break in mile 10. The only problem I had was my back. As you know, I was on the road last week, and slept on a hotel bed that was considerably less plush and comfortable than my own at home. I didn't have any problems while away, but when I got up Saturday morning in my own bed, my lower back felt tweaked, like I had been sleeping on a convex surface. The feeling didn't last, though. When I got up Sunday, I had overslept and had to jump up and do the chores my wife had asked me to do before she left to go grocery shopping. Sometime in the hurry of getting those things done I pulled a muscle in my lower back. It was bothering me, but I decided to run anyway, hoping the upright posture I keep while running would help. It didn't. The back was just a nuisance during the run, but afterwards, it stiffened up like a son of a bitch! I put a heating pad on it during the evening, and it feels a bit better this morning, but it's still pretty bad. I'm walking a bit awkwardly and groaning every now and then. I'm supposed to start running again tomorrow, doing fast mile repeats. We'll see if that happens. Crap!

My wife has a few theories about why my back hurts (and has hurt in the past after I travel). One is that the mattress and my back just aren't a good fit. This is unacceptable because she absolutely loves our new mattress. Another theory is that after I travel and we make love, somehow I strain my back in all my enthusiasm. This is equally unacceptable for obvious reasons. I don't know what the answer is, but hopefully it will feel better soon and let me keep training. I'm starting to feel really good about my chances at getting the 3:45.

This is not a very good way to get back into blogging after a couple days absence. I suppose I could have made this post more boring by telling you about cutting my fingernails last night, but I'm not THAT cruel a person. Good for you if you made it this far.

iPod: "Small Black Box" by Michael Penn; "Drivin' On" by The Breeders; "Drive Thru" by Tenacious D; and "First Day Back" by Braid.