Seven Weeks Ago I Drove Past the Location of the Tucson Shooting

Twenty eight days into 2011 and I don't have a lot to write about. But that's o.k. Funny thing is, I was in the same boat a year ago with this post "Training Without Any Goals in Mind."

Call it my new year's lull. Or just recuperating from my late fall marathons. But really what it comes down to is...running is not high on my list right now. I went through the same thing a year ago.

I was about to write about other stuff when it dawned on me, I wonder exactly where the horrific Tucson Shooting took place on January 8th. It certainly was on my mind the fact that I happened to be in Tucson last December to run the Tucson Marathon but I had not taken the time to actually look at the location of the cowardly attack.

The Safeway supermarket is located at the corner of Ina Road and Oracle Road. To get to my hotel, I drove west on Ina Road and made northbound turn on Oracle Road. So tonight, to my surprise, I discovered that on Saturday, December 11th, I literally drove past the fateful location of the Tucson Shooting, exactly 4 weeks prior to the date of the attack.

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I also drove past that same location, southbound on Oracle Road, after the marathon on December 12th.

This attack sickened me as I'm sure it did all of you. Very, very sad. Let's hope that Gabrielle Giffords continues her recovery. Yet another reminder that any of us could be at the wrong place at the wrong time. And a reason to pursue everything that you want and can in life and to not hesitate in so doing.

Week of Recuperation Post-Tucson Marathon

It is now 1 week post-marathon and I'm starting to feel better, not 100%, but maybe 80%. Went out today for my longest run since the marathon...only 35 minutes, about 4 1/2 miles, and felt fine. It has been raining literally non-stop today and that included my run. Got fairly soaked but felt good.

Tucson sunset night before the marathonI was extremely sore in my quads the first couple days post-marathon, to the point I couldn't walk down stairs without holding the handrail and going one step at a time. Some people walk backwards going downstairs to ease the pressure on the quads. I was tempted but didn't go quite that far.

The 3rd day post-marathon I alternated walking with jogging for several miles. Still sore and tight, and later that morning my lower calves had a sharp pain. Must have been due to the awkward way I was running.

The 4th day, Thursday, I jogged slowly the whole 2 1/2 miles and ended up with a new pain, this one a sharp pain in the middle of my right quad. Felt like someone stabbed me in the leg. But luckily, it pretty much went away on its own overnight.

Friday and Saturday were uneventful. With the pouring rain outside, I opted to "sleep in" until 8 a.m. and I didn't go out for my run until 10 a.m. Body felt like it was hit by a truck. Extremely sluggish. Guess my lack of adequate sleep caught up to me. Left calf was sore this time.

Today I ran around 8:30 a.m. after sleeping a bit late again. Had a chance to run a 10 miler with some friends who also ran the marathon but felt my body wasn't up for it. While I felt fine for the 35 minutes, I just didn't feel like running further. Two marathons in 4 weeks...I deserve a holiday break :>

Tucson Marathon Post Mortem

It is Tuesday night and I've had 3 days, 2 nights to contemplate my marathon performance on Sunday.

But before I go there, let me tell you that Tucson has the coolest looking cactus growing all over town called saguaro. I immediately thought how cool would it be to have some of these growing in our yard. But apparently they only thrive in the Sonoran desert of Arizona a handful of other places. They are growing in center medians, the airport, shopping centers, yards, you name it. They are awesome.

And then there is the Tucson Marathon host hotel, the Hilton Tucson El Conquistador Resort. For only $145/night, it was quite a beautiful setting. The room was nice, clean and comfortable too. Plus, the busses picked us up directly at the hotel lobby that morning, which was nice (others had to drive to a parking lot for pickup).

Driving up to the hotel.View from the outdoor courtyard of the Hilton, near the pool areas.I ran the marathon Sunday morning and my flight got me to LAX at 7 pm. With some Advil in me, I was able to move along fairly well that night. I even managed a burst of energy to catch the parking lot shuttle bus.

By 10 pm that night, the soreness in my quads really started getting ugly. Comicly ugly. As I kneeled down to grab something out of the closet, I realized I was too sore to get up. It hurt too much to stand up, and there was nothing to grab on to to help me. So I literally shuffled on my knees across the room to the couch, and with some effort finally pulled myself upright. Now I know what it feels like to be an invalid.

The soreness was worse the next day as my coworkers laughed. I usually fly down the hall, but I was walking like a 97 year old man. Advil in moderation helped me, but I didn't overdo it - I limited my intake to 2 or 3 a day.

I did walk a mile on Monday morning and a few miles this morning to get the blood flowing. By Thursday I'm hoping I'll be able to do some light jogging.

A visitor to this site asked me what I thought caused the trashing of my quads (and by the way, every other part of my body feels just fine...hamstrings, calves, knees, arms, etc.). Here are my thoughts on the matter:

  1. First and foremost, I didn't do any downhill specific training, name downhill running on a paved surface, for this marathon. I do run on plenty of hills, but nothing anywhere near as significant (2000+ foot drop) to the Tucson course. Why? Well for starters, I only decided to run the race 2 weeks ago.
  2. My base mileage was quite low. It had been nearly 3 months since I ran as much as 50 miles in one week. This is more than most casual runners run, but to run a sub 3 hour marathon, most people need 50+ miles a week in running or possibly a lot of aerobic cross training.
  3. Though I felt pretty good only 2 weeks after the Malibu Marathon, I probably never FULLY recovered. But additionally, I spent 2 weeks recovering from Malibu and then had only 2 weeks left to train for Tucson. Those final 2 weeks are usually relegated to tapering, not training. So basically I was attempting to fool my body into a sub 3 performance...but there's no fooling this old body!
  4. Admittedly while I felt I was holding back the first half of the race, I didn't hold back enough. My half marathon split was 1:27, nearly 3 minutes faster than an even 3 hour pace. My average split was 6:39 but only should have been running at a 6:52 pace. I felt good and fine, but that pace on that course obviously was not sustainable for me.
  5. I wore my 5K racing flats because I discovered that my longer distance racing shoes were too small for me. That might have contributed to the hammering of my quads, though the alternative was to run in my training shoes, which I didn't want to do.

It is easy to point out your mistakes...but much more challenging to DO SOMETHING about them. The main thing I need to do to run a FAST marathon is...STOP WRITING and START RUNNING. I think I'll do that. But first, I'm going to bed. :>

Tucson Marathon Today - There's No Fooling This Body

29th marathon down the hatch. The good news is that I finished today's Tucson Marathon. Around mile 17 I was having some doubts.

I digress. Two weeks ago I decided to sign up for ANOTHER marathon, 2 weeks after the Malibu Marathon. This was kind of an experiment to see how many body would respond so soon after the last marathon. My hope was to run a sub 3 hour marathon.

Today's 26.2 miler was basically 2 runs. The first half of the marathon I ran in 1 hour, 27 minutes and felt just fine. That feeling lasted until about mile 15, at which point I noticed my quads could no longer respond.

By mile 17, my quads were TRASHED and I started alternating walking and running. And so it went for the next 4 miles...walk 20 steps, run as best I could.  Around mile 21 I was able to take in more fluids, namely a sports drink called "Xood" that the race was serving up, and I was able to regain some composure with a slow paced "death shuffle" to the finish.

Yup, it was one of those days. The weather was fairly warm and dry and once again I wasn't getting enough fluids in. But while that did impact my running, I'm not going to kid myself.  I did not do the base mileage homework for this marathon, and there's no fooling your body into running a fast marathon. But I enjoyed trying, as painful as it was.

I was also happy that I ran a very comfortable 1:27 half marathon over the first half of the course. I was running at a moderate effort.

Overall my time was 3 hours, 14 minutes. Talk about crash and burn! 1:27 1st half vs 1:47 2nd half.

Time to recuperate...and think about 2011.