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This weekend’s good, bad, and ugly: Good, dare I say great, was Saturday morning. My twins (10), daughter (4), and I ran the By the Bay 3K in Pacific Grove. This is held the day before the Half Marathon formerly known as the Big Sur Half. In typical Wirz fashion, we were running almost late, so my wife dropped the runners off at the tent to get our bibs at 7:40am, while the non-runners (her and Son #3) found a parking spot. The gun was at 8:00am. Bibs pinned, and we made it to the starting line between the national anthem and the start. The twins found a spot at the start, and Lily and I found a spot about half a dozen rows back (Deena Kastor and family spotting #1). Horn sounds, and we’re off like a bunch of spastic little kids. I let the twins run their own race (and prayed that there would not be a fight…). Lily did great! She ran a lot, walked enough to catch her breath and get a little rest. We got to the last corner, and I pointed to the finish line about 200 yards away, and told her that once she crossed the finish line, she would get her medal and pancakes. She took off like a shot. She heard the announcer say “Put your hands in the air when you cross the line,” and she ran the last 25 yards with her hands in the air, and wouldn’t you know it, she had those 25 yards and all those cheering spectators to herself. It was wonderful. The twins came in 11th and 13th out of 283. Lily came in 132nd of 283, and I was 133rd. She beat me by a whole second! After well-earned pancakes, and running into Deena again, and not acting like a stupid fanboy, we headed off to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. We usually go a couple times a year, and I think this may be the last time we go during a big event weekend. For the first time, I felt claustrophobic. I know I’m spoiled; we’re members and go multiple times a year. Free passes for Loopsters that come to the area. The good, bad, and ugly rolled into one: Sunday long run. This was supposed to be my 20 miler that would lead to a 3 week taper before CIM. After a later than planned start, I got rolling. The route was a 2.25 mile leg that led to a loop that I would run twice, hit the straight again, giving 20.1 miles. At the end of loop 1, I felt both calves and my right hip cramp up. I stopped dead in my tracks. I didn’t want to hurt myself, but this was the last really big run. The last week’s long run (14 miles) was ok except for the last 2 miles had a lot of starting and stopping from tight calves. I turned around, and with the exception of one more stop at the gate one mile out from my house, I made it home without stopping. After getting home, cooling down, and feeling a little upset, this is what I learned. 1. I probably could have sucked it up, stretched every ½ mile for 8 miles, completed the run, and been miserable or hurt myself. I chose to not hurt myself, and turned in a good run. The bad part about this is the self doubt that it causes. Will I be able to fight on race day? Should I have embraced the pain and not turned into the barn? 2. 12.3 miles in 1:52:27=9:11 pace. My goals for CIM have been to PR (beat 4:27 from 2005), break 4:00, and if I have a spectacular day, break 3:50. If I run more conservatively, like: 9:30 miles, I can still PR and go longer. 3. I am packing too much weight. 175# on a 5’6” frame is just flat too much. My appetite has gone up the last couple of months, and instead of dropping 10-15# during training, I have gained 5#. (?!&#!*&) 4. I have not been able to stick to a training plan consistently, specifically the consistent building on the long run, and that in itself is another post. So, after having a small freakout about not being able to finish, or blowing up in 3 weeks, I have a plan. I will get my midweek runs in, and even though it will sacrifice a taper Sunday, I plan on getting a 20 miler in this Saturday, 15 days out from the race. I should still get some physiological good out of it, right? The following weekend will see an 8 mile max long run from me. I realize that breaking 4:00 may become difficult. Cheers, D