Wednesday, October 08, 2008

I Hate Baby Cows: 2008 Detroit Goals

I don’t know why I even bother setting marathon race goals anymore. They are rarely accurate. My s.o.b. traitorous calves have submarined my marathons lately. If I could find a way to remove them and walk around without my feet flopping around like two recently de-streamed trout, I would do so.

I won’t attempt to put together a full dossier of my calves' crimes against my running career. It’s well documented in my archives. Let’s just say that they are currently under house arrest but still full of insubordination. If the pain sensors weren’t transmitted to my central nervous system, I’d have pistol whipped them by now.

Though I espouse the value of positive thinking going into a marathon, I’m torn between visions of (a) small, thatched roof villages under air assault amidst scream of pain and fear and the phrase The Horror The Horror repeated endlessly versus (b) a heroic vision of me gliding easily to the finish with a new PR, calves joyously reunited to the Great Nitmos Cause, and my stallion ride up and away into the air leaving an adoring crowd below.

Really, it could go either way.

Obviously, I prefer the airborne stallion ride because, you know, a flying stallion. Awesome! I’d be a regular Harry Potter at a quidditch match* but a flying horse trumps a frickin’ broom.

Based on my training for the previous 5 marathons, I have posted faster training times at similar distances. The faster times have felt easier. The post long run leg discomfort has been minimal compared to the other training sessions. Basically, from 18 miles and under I feel like I’m in the best shape of my life.

Unfortunately, there are two problems. First, for those of you not "in the know", a marathon is NOT 18 miles. It happens to be 26.22. Really, the first 18 miles are just warm-up for the last 8 when the race really starts. If I could convince the race directors to let me finish the marathon at the18 mile mark and then go ahead and extrapolate my official race time out the remaining 8 miles, that would be really helpful. But they are sticklers for the ‘run the entire race’ thing. That’s a bit assholish, I thought, but, hey, it’s not my race to set the rules I guess.

Second, and more importantly, those damn calf muscles! I’ve had 5 long runs in between 17-21 miles. Three of them were great! Two of them ended with me sucking my thumb and blubbering the kind of blubber that involves streams of clear nose-cry snot running into my mouth due to some calf cramping. It’s never the cardio. I feel great. I can knock off 20 miles with barely a labored breathe. In fact, on my 20 miler a few weeks ago, I took up smoking at mile 12…finished 3 cigs by mile 16…decided to quit at mile 17…spent much of mile 18 in withdrawal before getting the monkey off my back for the final 2 miles. No, the cardio is fine. It’s all about the calves. Will they or won’t they revolt? (Yes, I’m aware "calves" could be humorously confused with, like, cows. I’ve made this joke before and won’t get sucked in just for your sophomoric amusement.) I wish the answer was in black and white. It’s spotty though.

So, here I’ve assembled, as promised, a Two-Pronged approach to my 2008 Detroit Marathon goals. If you were thinking ‘hey, he just can’t make up his mind how this will turn out’, you’d be right. See discussion on black and white calf revolution in the preceding paragraph. And (fist raised) Moo, Fight The Farmer!

Two Pronged Goals

Prong One: Baby Cow Goal

Let’s face it. There is a 50/50 shot another defcon 1 situation will emerge somewhere around the 20 mile mark. Despite my assortment of anti-cramping products I’ll be lugging around like a mule in the Peruvian mountains (i.e. Gu, Endurolyte salt tabs, voodoo amulet), the old familiar tugging and twitching may begin. If this is the case, my Baby Cow goal will simply be to beat my best cramping PR, currently set at 3:59.

3:58


Prong Two: Beardsley Goal

The man is a menace. He defeated me once on the slopes of Heartbreak Hill. I seek retribution. To return, I need a 3:16 or less. Minus calf revolution, I should be in position to challenge my 3:12 PR.

3:12 or less

I’ll be curious as all of you are to see how this turns out. I’ll be coddling my calf muscles over the next 10 days. They like deep tissue massages and walks on the beach. Yeah, they are wimps.

Happy trails.


* That’s cool, right?
_________________________________________

Update: I forgot about my own Race Goal Setting's post. You don't think I remember any of this crap I type, do you? Viper's recent post reminded me. It appears my Detroit goals fall into the "Fight or Flight" category. I even used the "two pronged" term in the description.

37 comments:

Betsy said...

You really milked those cow puns, didn't you? Be that as it may, I think you'll do great and that the other runners will cower in fear.

joyRuN said...

Maybe if you coo'ed & whispered sweet nothings to your baby cows in addition to the massages & beach walks...

Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

Well, first, good luck in Detroit. Don't let your calves - those bovine delinquents - psyche you out, man. Don't let those calves get into your head, because, to do that, do you realize where your head would end up? I do. I've crunched the numbers and believe me, you don't want to know. Because to tell you would be to invite puns involving donkeys, not cows.

And true: I can't wait to see how this goes for you.

Best of luck!

Laura said...

I like the two-pronged approach! Personally, I've given up on goals for races, because they never happen due to a variety of factors. I like to do my goal setting at mile 25.

Russ said...

First of all, much luck at Detroit, you are well prepared for a return insurgency on Beardsley and the ladies of Wellesley.

And just think if you hit the 3:12 and then eat at Slow's, you can honor my blog title.

I've been thinking about your calves (and not in any wierd kind of way), and have a recommendation...cut the bastards off...ok, not so good....but..might i suggest a trip to a sports massage or even a physical therapist (after the marathon of course)....they can probably figure out what may be causing them. surprisingly our bodies are somewhat interrelated, so calf cramping can be caused by something as innocuous as a misaligned shoulder (maybe a little exaggeration, but you get my point). I was surprised how the pain on the outside of my knee was caused by hip tightness and weak ankles. Just a thought.

Big said...

cow insurrections aside, Detroit should be a great race for you. just remember, the smell in the tunnel is just rotting puke from drunken American teenagers coming back after a night of 'legal' drinking in Canada.

Xenia said...

I can't figure out if the stallion is supposed to be a euphemism or not. If so, you're a sicko, but that's well documented. If not, you're just a weirdo freak. Again, well documented.

I really hope the calf insurrections are at an end. Mission accomplished, right? Er, wait a minute...

Marlene said...

Here's hoping the baby cows cooperate. I'll be sending good vibes and hoping to read about a PR!

Roisin said...

Beardsley will need to moooove over.

AKA Alice said...

Since baby cows like to be pampered, I think your strategy of coddling them this week is a good one...

tfh said...

Oh, no. You are going in the wrong direction by coddling your calves. As far as I can recall from doing the vegan circuit some years back, the protocol is to shove them into a dark pen and allow them little to no movement.

Trust me, if you wear long pants and shoes, no one will ever know you're wearing compression stockings...

Marcy said...

Hmmmmm maybe you just need a new voodoo amulet. You can borrow one of the 20 I have sitting around here. I know there are a great many voodoo dolls out there with my name on them :P

I think you're due for a good race :-)

Vanilla said...

I had a friend who had a similar problem and he said that he fixed it by running on his tippy-toes for the entire race, you should try it!

Chad in the AZ Desert said...

Per your previous race posts, don't take a walk break, whatever you do. Baby cows hate walkers...and make no mention of how much you love veal.

Blyfinn said...

I like Vanilla's solution with the tippy-toe's running. If you go that route we all need pictures! I hope you have a crampless race.

*aron* said...

good luck!!!! i hope your calves behave!

Kristina said...

My advice is to avoid eating veal until after the race. I'd also watch City Slickers and be sure to say "awwwwwww" really loud when the calf is born. You need all the good karma you can get.
You better BQ, though, or else I'm gonna have to find another use for the giant GO NITMOS! sign I've started working on.

seejessrun said...

Have you tried physical therapy? You might need some special exercises and stretches.

Marathon Me said...

I think you're training points to a very solid time. I just ran a 3:07 off slower training than what you are doing. Just don't psyche yourself out. You've done the training, now just be like the karate kid and Sweep the leg!

Also be glad your cows don't have guns:
http://www.livaudais.net/cowswithguns.html

Charlotte said...

I so hear you about wanting to extrapolate from Mile 18!!! I'd be under 4 hours for sure, then. Durn rules.

Good luck with your calves!!

Al's CL Reviews said...

I really didn't get past the visual of "clear nose-cry snot running into my mouth," to think about much else.

Good luck with Detroit!

Jess said...

Good luck and take care of those calves!

Amanda said...

Very interesting...I ended up in the ER at one point because I had months on end where every night I ended up with charlie horses in just my calf muscles that lasted for hours. I tried everything and never found anything that worked... eventually it just stopped.

What is it with these calf muscles? Don't they understand how inconvenient that pain is?

theloosemoose said...

You will be "udder"-ly amazing...and if you're not, it will just make for a funnier post-race blog.
Have a great race.

Marathon Maritza said...

As a vegetarian who does not support cruelty to animals, I'm for the Beardsley goal :)

Michelle J said...

Good luck dude! I know when you speak of calfs and i do not like it either!!!!

Meg said...

You sure did leave yourself a lot of room in the middle!
I think I'll be at Detroit for a friend so I'll be sure to scream GO NITMOS to any guy that passes by on a 3:12-3:59 schedule.

Viv said...

Wine and down those calves just stay away from milk and meat. OK I had no cow puns left whatsoever.

More importantly.....dossier
Are you a Project Runway fan??

Viper said...

I'm glad that I can serve as your partial memory. Good luck with the cows. If they mount an insurrection mid-race, I say turn 'em into ground beef. Cheers!

Tricia said...

Are your calves too tight? Can you devote some time to stretching them?

Also, here's a trick to get your calves loose fast: take a golf ball or tennis ball, put it on the floor and press one foot into it. roll it all over your foot for 10-15 seconds, then do the other one.

By loosening your feet, your calves get looser too. (I think it's some kind of reflexology, but it really works).

Vava said...

Pistol whip? You mean you own guns?!?!

Oh wait, you are from Detroit, so I shouldn't be surprised. Don't whip, for reasons already stated, just threaten!

Good luck on the race. I can't wait to read the report, sure to make me feel nice and slow, but inspired!

The Laminator said...

Hmmm...maybe you just need to feed the animals better. Cows (and calves) are animals too, no?

I'm sure you'll b-slap them into submission when the time comes!

I'm not worried. Have a good race!

Frayed Laces said...

Maybe if you stopped treating your beef like veal and toughen up a bit you wouldn't have that problem.

Have you tried any sort of weighted calf raises to condition those muscles?

Marci said...

Good luck this weekend. I enjoy reading your blog for two reasons. 1) Its hilarious and 2) You are such a hard worker with your training, and I find it inspiring. I hope your hard work pays off!

KimsRunning said...

I think you're not tapering enough before the big race. I'm tellin' ya Nitmos...TAPERRRRRRR...it's the other white meat!

Ovens2Betsy said...

Sending karma your way for your calves to behave (hey -- that rhymes!)

Also, I forgot to tell you -- guess who's the motivational speaker at the Royal Victoria pasta feed? That's right, it's your nemesis: Mr. Dick Beardsley. Any smack talk you'd like me to send his way?

sRod said...

Slacker here, finally catching up. I haven't gotten to the race report yet, but hopefully you've learned your lesson and didn't stop to walk at any point because walking = death in a marathon...well, as far as I'm concerned.