This post is the fourth in a series of guest posts by Eric Motter. Read his first, second and third in the series. Check back every few weeks to read more about his journey as a Nike-sponsored athlete and his marathon training progress.
“Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong” – Murphy’s Law
When I last left you, I was experiencing a rough summer. The brutal humidity was making my long runs a challenge, my trainer – Randy “Bones” Benedict, runner extraordinaire and the Manager of Second Sole in Gahanna – was tormenting helping me through tortuous speed workouts, and I was about to test myself to ensure I was within reach of being on pace for a sub-2:00 half marathon.
A few things have gone well for me since then:
- I ran my next long run at about a 9:10 pace. I need to run a 9:08 pace on race day, so I’m close. Maybe it’s somewhere deep down inside…
- I upgraded to Nike Vomero 9 running shoes. I have had several pairs of Vomeros over the last couple of years and over time have eliminated the shin splints I used to have when my mileage got heavier. I don’t think it’s a coincidence.
- I got a new Garmin Forerunner 220 GPS watch, although this won’t really pay off until winter. You know how your old GPS watch takes a few minutes to be found by the satellite? It typically happens when you’re standing in sub-30 temperatures waiting to start a run. Well, this one syncs in about a second.
- I continued to ramp up my speed work and actually look forward to those runs now. Although it’s not showing up in improved long run times, I feel like I’m able to do runs that I wouldn’t have been able to do 10 weeks ago, and the speed work is what is driving it.
- I upgraded my running socks to Nike Dri-Fits. Those things are designed to be so snug that each individual sock specifies whether it is for the left foot or for the right. Think about the shape of your foot and why that would be important for a runner… It’s a bit of a no-brainer. Why has nobody thought to do that before now?
Unfortunately, everything else has pretty much gone south. Instead of spreading these horror stories out over several blog posts, I’ll just relay what I’ve learned all at once.
- It’s not a good idea to take a Mexican vacation in the middle of training. Bones allowed me to back down my training to where I just needed to sweat for 30 minutes each day rather than log long miles (hello beach yoga!) while on vacation. That was great, but unfortunately I returned from Mexico with a mini Montezuma’s revenge. I never quite felt sick, but my stomach wasn’t settled for almost a week. It was tough to log quality miles under those circumstances.
- Sometimes Body Glide isn’t enough. Take a look at this picture.
Now look again, but closely this time. Hint: That’s not a pink corsage. I sent this picture to Bones from my hotel room in Connecticut after a tough 5:00 a.m. treadmill run.
Our actual text conversation:
Me: Need something better than Body Glide <pic attached>
Bones: Holy $#%@! Almost dropped my phone! You just made my morning.
Can you feel the sympathy in his response?
- Hill workouts should never be done when the temperature is north of 80 degrees at 7:00 a.m. When the post-run cramp hit me I was on a conference call. I actually had to pretend I didn’t yelp in pain (“Ugh, sorry… I was just clearing my throat…”) and mute the phone so I could lay on the floor and cry while stretching out my cramping calf.
- It’s not a good idea to put your training log folder in the seatback pocket in front of you on a plane when you’re drafting your blog. You might forget it. It also wasn’t a good idea for me to have a life insurance application that contained an identity thief’s wish list in the same folder. I’d love to share details of some of the good and bad days I’ve had, how my diet affected certain runs, funny things I’ve thought about and scribbled on my training log immediately after finishing a run, but that info is somewhere in an airport dumpster.
- This summer in Ohio has not been conducive to long runs. I haven’t had a good outdoor long run since my test run in late July. I’m hearing similar stories from other runners this summer.
To summarize, I’m off track right now. 1:59:59 seems like a pipe dream. Bones has me doing more speed work for the next few weeks, and hopefully I can catch a break and have a long run on a morning where it’s 60 degrees and cool. Until then, I’ll just keep checking my credit report and continue to bleed from odd places.