Monday, August 5, 2013

Charleston trip/ Fall race plans

When most people think about going to the beach, it's a relaxing time in which you sit in the sand underneath an umbrella sipping drinks and maybe taking a dip in the water.  Not so for me.  I'm there for the action.  My idea of a good time on the beach is as follows:
-Don't even plan the trip in advance.
-Wait for a day in which the weather forecast and surf conditions are favorable.
-Leave the night before, drive halfway (South Alabama) and stay in a cheap motel.
-Park in the public beach lot, hit the water and stay out there all day.
-The surf is usually best in mid-late afternoon and I love to catch those big waves on the boogie board.  I've done it so much that I know just the right time to kick.  On a good day, I can catch a 4-6 foot wave and ride it all the way to the shore.  Man, it's so much fun but it's also tiring.
-I'd like to stay out there until 6 PM then head home.  I can make it from the Gulf coast in one day but not the Atlantic.
I do not care about:
-Staying in a nice hotel on the beach and paying $300/night.
-Eating in a pricey restaurant with small portions and paying $50+ for dinner if I want a drink or dessert.
Of course, when traveling with a friend, I have to make some concessions.

Overall, this was a fun but a too expensive vacation.  I did enjoy the companionship.  The weather was good all 3 days.  For the most part, we stayed on Isle of Palms, my favorite South Carolina beach.  I've spent many happy hours there but had not been back since I moved to Alabama in 2006.  We also went into downtown Charleston for a good seafood dinner one night.  I've always been a big fan of that city.  It's been consistently ranked among the most friendly and well mannered cities.

Now back to running:
I've been progressing pretty well these past 2 weeks and hope that being out of my normal routine will not set me back again.  Of course, I cheated on the drinking a bit but kept the consumption at a fairly low level (no more than 2 per sitting or 3 per day) and I was clean on Sunday.  Also, the word is that swimming in the ocean is good for magnesium levels.  I found that I did not need any gel and felt slightly worse after an application today.  If I can continue to improve gradually but steadily, I will be in decent shape by late September.  That said, I've pretty much written off 2013 as a loss in my mind.  Even if I finish the year strong, my final stats will not look good and I will be hard pressed to set any PRs all year, which will be my first shutout since my comeback.

Here is the preliminary schedule:
9/22- Talladega 5K- This race is held on the NASCAR speedway and is almost exactly 1 full lap around the track.  I'm not a big NASCAR fan but it will still be really cool to race there.  It's a companion event to the half mary.  Although the course is flat as can be, it won't be competitive.  Even in my weakened condition, I may have a shot at a top 5 finish.

9/29-Great Race- 10K in Pittsburgh, PA.  This one is confirmed as I've already signed up.  Even if I'm in bad shape, I will struggle through it and finish safely at this distance.  It's a large event with a lightning fast course.  Because it has nearly 4x as much downhill as uphill, I cannot count it as an official PR so it's another race mostly for fun.  It will be state #7 of 10 in the 10K chase.

10/26- Sphinx Run Fest in Greenville, SC- Half marathon that I've wanted to do for years.  I used to live here but was strictly 5K-10K at that time.  Looks to be a decent course that "could be" a PR but again, it's highly unlikely that I'll be in top form even by this time.  This one is not confirmed and I will run only if I'm in shape for a 1:35 or below. This would be State #18.

11/10- Marshall Univ. Half in Huntington, WV- If I must limit myself to one half this Fall, this is the one that I would choose.  It's a fast course and drive-able from Birmingham.  Also, it falls on the day before Veteran's Day so I can do this one without taking any time off from work. State #19 if I do this one as well as Greenville.

11/17- Turkey Burner 5K in Monty-  This one is at Metro Fitness gym, where I used to work out when I lived there.  I've always wanted to race this one but never could fit it into my schedule.  Hopefully, this year I will be able to do it and I hope to be a good shape by this point.

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