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How has it been so long? I meant to do better…honestly although my running has been decent, most everything else has been a struggle. I talked to a career counselor and I have changed some things about how I’m doing my job search, but I still have had no interviews and I haven’t seen a job that just jumps out at me as what I really want – a couple that combine elements of research/human health/nutrition were the best, but nothing has worked out…between days of monotonous data entry and the job search my mental energy is pretty sapped when I’ve had the time to write. Excuses, Excuses…it’s been over two weeks and I haven’t written that race report… The night before I was debating which socks to wear – I usually wear compression socks and I have a couple pairs that could go with my Team in Training shirt. Purple or Green was the question on Facebook and Instagram. I got a lot (for me anyway – around 40 total) of votes and green and purple were neck and neck almost the whole time. Finally green pulled ahead…I was half dared to wear one of each but green came out several votes ahead and I just wasn’t feeling that bold. Green Socks won out... GO St. Louis half marathon race report…It was a very rainy Saturday morning. Because of continuing restrictions they had many small waves of about 50 people starting every 10 or 15 minutes. Overall the race was about 10% of normal. It was a point to point course and we were bused to the start (which didn’t really seem to follow social distancing, but everyone did have to wear a mask.) With such small waves port-o-potty lines were not an issue. The start and the first part of the race were in a park along the Mississippi River. From there we ran south toward downtown St. Louis. We spent time running on top of one of the levees and along a lot of industrial areas that were next to the “greenway” though about half of what we ran was more industrial than green. In a way the rain was good, because other parts of the race were right next to the concrete flood wall, and we would have been cooking on a warm, sunny day. The best part was being around other runners and being able to chat and get a little of that race day social aspect again. The worst part might have been the smells of the industrial area (I think we ran past a sewage plant among other things…) or the pouring rain combined with strong winds on top of the levees or between the buildings downtown at the end of the race. We also had to run up the really steep hill from the riverfront to downtown twice. I ran the whole race with my friend John (who is a TNT teammate, running in honor of his daughter who died of Leukemia several years ago and would be about my age). The wind really blasted the rain in our faces as we ran the last mile downtown. I’m totally looking at the ground in all my finish line photos – I blame the rain and wind…my final time was 2:21:12 by my watch. Not great, or what I would have liked, but if I’m fair, it’s about as good as I could ask for. I haven’t tried to run a fast half marathon (or any long race) for a long time. Nothing like pouring rain and strong winds blasting it in your face...still should have looked up as I crossed the finish...at least I'm not also reaching to stop my watch? Still soaking wet, but riding with John back to his house where I left my car (to avoid parking downtown and trying to find him there) Love the medals this year, they are suncatchers (and not ridiculously large like so many races were doing pre-pandemic at least, I mean it was fun once, but come on, come up with something else...)
My goal was to write every two weeks…hasn’t happened. I’m still plugging away. At running, at life, at job searching. Not much progress on any of those. The weather went from being a problem to being perfect. For about a week just after I wrote last time we hovered around 0* most mornings, had most of the snow we got this winter and ice and snow packed roads. All of that was finally enough to drive me back to the gym, and I did 5 treadmill runs at the gym in the space of a week. I’d have done one more at the gym, but I got there and didn’t have my card to get in (or any ID) so I drove back home and ran a loop of my street, over and over again. It doesn’t connect anywhere but to a road that is too busy (and has no shoulder) to run along. Out and back of the whole street is .8 of a mile. Not so fun, but no worse than the treadmill. It also works out as a bit of a hill workout. Not something I want to do regularly, but it worked in a pinch. The weather on my long run day went from 4*, to about 34* the next week, to about 64* the week after that. If that trend had continued through yesterday we’d have hit 94*. I’m very glad that didn’t happen. It was in the upper 30s to low 40s during my run. (To be completely accurate the 34* and 64* were the highs the previous two weeks, but they made the 30* warmer progression work…) I’m not running with much of an overall plan but within each week I’m doing 1 speedwork run (mostly), 1 steady pace run (no walking, but not fast enough to be a tempo), 1 long run, 2 easy runs (run/walk to keep my heart rate under a specific level) and 2 walks each week. Not in that order of course – I alternate the harder runs with the easy runs and walks. I did another mile test, and I’d improved from 9:01 in January to 8:54 in February. Still well off my mile PR of 8:04, but it’s improvement. I have a real in person race coming up Saturday – as all in person races have been here these days it will be a rolling start of small groups. It’s the St. Patrick’s Day Parade Run, normally a huge 5 mile race, but it’s shortened to a 5k and the location has been moved from downtown St. Louis to Forest Park. And of course there will be no parade. Next month I have an in person half (also a rolling start, also much smaller than the race would normally be). Both are I think about 10% of their normal size. No job news. I’ve only applied to a couple in the last month which isn’t good, but I’m having a hard time finding jobs I’d want to do and that I’m qualified for. I really wish I had figured some things out sooner – if I went back I’d do some things differently right after finishing undergrad. I will work on a shortened version of my master’s degree final project/paper to share here – it’s relevant and I’d share the whole thing but I doubt too many people want to read all 15 pages. Weather Feb 21st (random family for scale) That frozen waterfall is normally a trickle (It's named Dripping Springs), so it built up to the dramatic frozen waterfall gradually, but it was crazy to see. All of Creve Couer Lake was also frozen over and it's a pretty large lake (largest natural lake in Missouri, though there are quite a few larger lakes formed by damming off a water source. People were walking on the lake, which is a bad idea, but in this case turned out fine. Weather Feb 27th. Every bit of snow and ice was gone and I was too warm in that long sleeve shirt.
There was a time when I would look forward to the punishment of the long run on Saturday mornings the feeling of preparing Friday nights, getting up while most were sleeping in, the freedom to eat and drink Saturday night knowing that you just clocked 16 miles because you could. Those days are a distant memory to me, my last race was the Marshall Marathon in 2013….2013! Many of you from the old loop remember my post about how I got to that point and how I changed my life. While I am still able to keep the weight down, my blood pressure has become an issue again and to be honest bouts of depression. My work life is horrible and has been for some time, I am trying to make a change buy changing careers after working for the Government for 16 years is hard and hard to get an interview etc. I love my family, my kids are amazing and my wife is the best, but I am not happy and haven’t been, my wife thinks I am depressed and I probably am, I just go to bed, show up at work, go to some practice and go home and repeat every day. It is not healthy nor productive and is affecting me and the people around me. Last year I signed up for the Charlotte Marathon and on the second week of training I tore my calf muscle, which my Doctor said, was the worst he had seen. I could not run and actually had to use a cane for about 3 months…. so no marathon. Then work got crazy again and I settled into this dormant life yet again. I have ran twice this year. This isn’t a pity me post, this is not yet another I am going to “change” posts where I attempt a comeback. This isn’t a comeback, this is a rebirth. I was once an unhappy, fat, sedentary person who changed and become a marathoner. I am now a busy dad, husband, who has little ones who depend on me, this is no longer about fixing me, or making me better, this is about them and what I show them a person is capable of. I am 40 now and it’s a different ballgame, I don’t bounce back as quickly, schedules are tighter, life gets in the way, so I have to become the person who can handle all that and still train for a marathon, 26.2 miles is the cure to my illness, it will fix me…or break me but either way I will be different. So here I go and try to awaken the ghosts of Saturday mornings and the feeling of completeness in my soul. Thank you for listening, I promise to update here and be held accountable.
Checking in from Derby City. Today was my first run in 4 weeks. I was training for the Kentucky History Half, but I got sick and couldn't run for four weeks without having some kind of relapse, be it epic coughing or a return of fever. So, I didn't. I needed the run. I needed to pound the pavement. My father is very sick. Part of it can be cured. The other part...well, we're not sure what it is. He had an MRI yesterday and will speak with an oncologist next Wednesday. Hopefully, whatever it is is treatable. I'm not ready to lose him, and that is my greatest fear. So I've been in tears most of the last few days and doing the bare minimum at work. But today's run was good. my pace was 12:40ish but it felt comfortable and that's where I am right now. My RBFF was with me and did a good job distracting me from my worries. It's also my birthday, so I'm glad I got to run today. I feel more like myself and less... like a drifter, just making my way through the day in a fog. I told her I wanted to run a marathon next year, but I want to take a long, slow training cycle so my body can be ready without dropping off the immune cliff four weeks before the race. I'm looking at Indy Monumental or Marshall. I hope to be around more often as I get back into running. My oldest will be four on Saturday and my youngest will be one next Wednesday (yes, the day my dad talks to the oncologist and it also happens to be his birthday). Hopefully my youngest starts sleeping through the night in the next few months so I can put my running plans in motion.