Saturday, April 25, 2009

I had to....

So we were scouring the internet for any do-gooders that took pictures of the mustache brothers in Boston - we found none... but I did find this, which came up due to Will's awesome mustache from the Boston marathon he ran while filming anchor man. Seriously though this is a pretty interesting blog with some research done on some famous folks and their marathon performances (times and all)!

Click here

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Safe Side of the Explosion.

As you have already read from Brett's previous post, the marathon is not always your friend. This is probably more true for the Boston Marathon. There are a lot more hoops to jump through at Boston and therefore more variables to try to control. A lot of these were mentioned in Brett's post. Everything from getting in lines to be shuttled to the start, to jockeying for your proper position within your corral. There is a lot going on and everyone there thinks they deserve your spot in line. Not that people weren't nice, they were very supportive, but it is just that everyone at Boston has long since solidified their pre-race routine and tries hard to stick to it.

Under the circumstances I think my brother and got pretty close to doing everything right, especially for our first time at the big dance. Even getting most of it right didn't save Brett from a rough ride. This further proves my theory about the the end it comes down to luck. You can do everything right...all the training, nutrition, sleep, etc...and in the end it is still just luck. Your body has to work with you that day. Other factors like weather can also torpedo your whole race.

Lucky for me Monday was a day that my body decided to behave itself, at least for the most part. I never felt as good as what I hoped I would at certain points in the race, but the discomfort was very manageable. My legs just seemed to latch on to 6:05 pace and hold on. In the end my time was not what I know it could be, but it was a very good showing. One advantage to getting stuck in the back of our corral was that I never ran out of people to gobble up. I seriously only recall one or two people that passed me the whole race. That means I gobbled up well over 1,000 people during my 26.2 mile trek.

Of course the fans were great too. They loved my manly mustache. The girls at Wellesley were begging for a kiss from the mustache, but the BaddRunner shot them down. I did them a favor. There is only one girl that can tame the mustache and that is Mrs. BaddRunner. Pretty much the entire race I felt like I was on TV because that kind of race environment you always picture on the big screen.

The last marathon I had done, my quads locked up at mile 20 and I was toast. So with 16 miles to go at Boston, I felt pretty good, but didn't want to get cocky. And of course the infamous heartbreak hill is about mile 20 or so. It wasn't really until mile 23 or so that I knew I was safe and was probably going to finish. It seemed like every time that I thought it was inevitable, something would creep up. I had a brief blurriness in my vision, a slight cramp, something that would remind me that I had to focus all the way through the finish line. Finally I began to recognize buildings in downtown Boston. After that I got a slight boost of adrenaline since I new the pain would soon be over. Plus the crowds grew even thicker and noise of their cheers seemed to propel me. Then suddenly my Boston was over.

I didn't think that I was in that much pain while I was running, even in those last miles, but once I stopped and walked the aches and cramps started coming. The one huge down side to Boston is that after you finish you have to walk a long way through a series of stations. You have to get your chip taken off, get your finishers medal, get your fluids, get your snacks, get your metallic blanky and finally get your bag that you checked at the start line. All of these stations seem like they are a half mile apart (they aren't really but after you complete a marathon everything seems far.) By the time I got to my bag of clothes the 15 mph wind hand blown my metallic blanky away and I was cold and staggering. Even then I still didn't lock up as bad as I had at my last marathon. It was just bearable enough that I was able to walk around until I found my wife, or I guess she found me? Then it wasn't long until Brett came by and we all boarded the train to go back to our hotel (technically a bed and breakfast.)

At first I wasn't overly satisfied with my race but the more I thought about it and the more others congratulated me, I began to be quite content. My goal was to turn in a faster time and higher place, but I guess sometimes you've got to accept the smooth ride and good fortune. So I'll take what Boston gave me this time, but Boston better not be surprised if I take more when, or if, I come calling again.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Wrong Side of the Explosion

So I went to Boston for the overall experience. I really wanted to see the city, visit the sites, run the marathon, see the spectators... you know, really soak it in and not miss anything. And the city was great, I enjoyed the many different historical sites we were able to visit, I ran the marathon, was cheered on by many spectators... but perhaps I soaked in too much of the marathon itself. This post is an update on the marathon according to Brett (I'm sure Bryan will post his own update as well). The picture to the right is us trying to make it down the subway stairs after the race.
I've never seen so many people all gathered for the same amazing event before going to Boston. The whole process is really something and the people that put it on do a great job. Carting 25,000 runners from one place to the next and keeping them happy on race day is not the job I want, but they do it as well as probably it can be done. Bryan and I made it through the transportation and waiting fine - it was hard getting up at 5 am and waiting for hours outside before the race, but we made it.

We started near the back of our corral which kind of pissed me off a little bit especially considering that we went over when we were supposed to go - apparently others get there early (there's a sidenote for next time). But no big deal, just meant we had to start off a little easier and work our way through the countless jerks that somehow have managed to get themselves where they do not belong. I mean seriously it was ludicrous the number of people we had to run past at our given race pace that we qualified with until I was near people running the same pace. However we managed this part fine and were running just dandy.

And that's when my race explosion happened (explosion)! Around mile 9 I realized I was not going to make it without a bathroom stop, or as Bryan calls them, a bowel movement. Damn! I told Bryan to go on and I stopped. Talk about trying to keep your mind focused when you feel the clock raging in your mind - tick, tick, tick, tick, tick... DAMN! But I get moving again and with every ounce of my energy I try to stay on the same pace and not move too fast - still a long way to go.

But the explosion had happened and I was on the wrong side of it. From that moment on my stomach played games with me. Cramp after cramp came and went slowly building in my side and then fading away. My right arm pit start chaffing even though I had administered ample supply of body glide to all the right areas. My left pinky toe was obviously unhappy and I wondered if it was bleeding. And my neck of all things grew tight and I felt like it was locking up... and yet I was only to mile 14 or so... what the heck. I had done plenty of runs longer than this with no problem yet here I am and everything is falling apart. I thought to myself, "You've got to be joking." No, the joke had barely begun.

At mile 16 I stopped again - bathroom break number two and equally as necessary as the first one. Now it was hard to keep my mind even believing a good time was possible. I saw my mile splits slowing, my body kept inexplicably breaking down around me, and I couldn't even keep my insides still! I just kept telling myself - enjoy it, take it all in, absorb the fans and their calls, see the sights... but the pain was blinding me.... oh, and the cramp had come back but this time when I got to mile 20 it was unbearable. Now the joke was really starting to piss me off, I mean, come on! I had to stop again to walk the cramp off because I literally could not run through it - not unless I was going to count 8 minute pace as running. I walked, downed a cup of gatorade (oh, by the way I had been taking in fluids regulary), stretched my arms to the sky, and then after a minute or so started running again.

Not perfect but better. Just after this at mile 21 I saw Sarah - what a perfectly terrible moment to see her - did she see me walking? But at the same time her voice came to me, something she said before we left, "You are going to get that finisher's medal. I don't care if you have to crawl across the line pulling yourself with your elbows." It sounds harsh but it's actually what a marathoner needs to hear. I kept going even though it was barely a run. I did not even mind the chilly headwind that came at me the whole race, not compared to the pain.

Mile 23 t0 mile 24 - definitely the worst. Now the pain in my forefoot on both feet was getting so bad I was contemplating walking again. But at some point a fellow Memphis runner Scott Newberry came up from behind me. He was hurting pretty bad too and we tried to encourage one another by momentarily telling the other how bad we hurt. He passed me and I lingered behind him a few moments and then slowly realized something that I would not have if he had not got my mind working again. Two miles to go - I can run two miles. I CAN RUN TWO MILES! I started picking the pace back up, mostly because I knew if I ran faster the pain would end sooner.

Two miles never hurt so bad but never felt so great at the same time. Finally I knew I would finish and when I saw the time on the 24 mile mark I realized I could somehow still salvage a sub 3 hour performance. The math was not working too well but I new if I ran two 7 minute miles I would be just under 3 hours. I pressed on hard - well, as hard as I could. I'm sure it looked funny.

People yelled, "Go mustache," or "Hey, it's Pre" or "That's what I'm talking about - ya Mustache," and it all helped. But never have I done something, that I can remember, that was so much harder than it was supposed to be. The marathon reared it's ugly head at me and decided that on that day I was going to have to give more than usual just to finish. It was agony, it was terrible, it was surreal, it was unfair, it was challenging - I guess it was just a marathon.

But I got my finisher's medal, my wife shared my joy, I stumbled with my brother back to the hotel, and I had run the Boston Marathon. 2:53.33 - Boston took it to me... who knows if I will have enough courage to ever try and take it to Boston, but we will see.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Follow The BaddRunners During Boston!

The Boston Marathon is scheduled to start at 10 am/ 9am central time. On race day you can go to the event's website and search the last name "Baddorf" and you can track our progress throughout the marathon. There will be four checkpoints, every 10k.

The website is They claim that if will be very self-explanatory on race day how to search for a participant. So check us out on the web and see if The Baddrunners are worth their name.

Bryan's bib number is 1521 and Brett's is 1460 just in case you need those for any reason. They cap the race at 25,000 runners and we are in the first wave of runners that starts at 10 (Boston time), while the next wave starts at 10:30.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Tick, Tick, Tick.......Boom!

Down time before a big race is enough to drive you mad. I find it strange that running is a great stress reliever for me and because of the taper for Boston I am doing less of it, but stressing more because of the upcoming event! It just doesn't seem fair. I always joke with Brett saying that "ten miles a day keeps the demons away!" Meaning my demons of course. I'm not really that screwed up, but you know what I mean.

So now it's a waiting game. I just keep sitting around wondering if my various little pains are getting better? Hoping that I'm not coming down with something. Watching weather updates in Boston. I like a quote from The Untouchables when Sean Connery says "Don't wait for it to happen...don't even want it to happen. Just see and react to what does happen." I also like the Fog of War idea where no matter how good your plans are, they're going to go to hell once the battle starts. Eventually you've got to put things in God's hands and just do what you do.

I'm probably making me sound like more of a head case than I really am. I've always thought that I'm not really that talented of a runner, but I've performed better than others because I'm more stable mentally and don't get rattled in races too easily. In college our team would work with a sports psychologist and he would always talk about finding your optimal arousal level. Which basically refers to your level of mental and physical excitement before or during a race. I've always been good at controlling my emotions. Sometimes I'll make myself nervous if I feel like I don't care about a race, or I'll have to cool myself off if I'm thinking too much about an event. Be sure to use that term in conversation this week. Tell someone you're trying to find your "Optimal arousal level." You might get slapped depending on who you're talking to.

The ticks are running out meow and it's time to see if the explosion goes in my favor or no. I've had this theory that in the end marathons come down to luck. Sometimes you do everything right and still turn in a sub par performance and other races you are barely in shape and just rock out. I know that my brother and I are as prepared as we can be considering some minor injuries and what not. Now we're just waiting for the Boom!

(Picture above is from the 2007 Memphis Marathon where the explosion went against me.)
Bryan Baddorf

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Tapering - convincing the body of the truth...

The Taper....

So we ran 11 miles, or just under, today for our long run of the week - a good 7 miles less than our average long run for the past three months - a good 12 miles less than our two longest runs of the training year.

It's always funny to me when I taper. It's as though I expect for everything in my body to say, "Yes! I feel amazing - how can running get any better." And although that is of course how I'm going to feel in a week and a few days as I run the Boston marathon, today I feel as I usually do when I intentionally taper... kind of crappy.

I've come to the conclusion that one of the worst things that has ever happened to me in running is when my mind tries to anticipate how I'm going to feel in races - especially when I think I should feel good. Sometimes when I feel terrible I go out and run the race of my life. Just when my body says, "Don't even run today you fool, it's not worth it," is when everything falls into place. Sometimes I feel terrible and run like it.

In short, the lesson I'm trying to teach myself is that no matter how I feel or think I feel, the race itself is the only true indicator of my ability on that day. Positive self-talk seems to be the key to my problem. Positive self-talk - not tell myself I'm the king of the world and I'm always feel good bull crap you might be thinking of right now. No, positive self-talk simply acknowledges that negative self-talk is going on and addresses it in a positive manner. For instance, "Oh crap, it's raining and I always run bad in the rain." Instead of replying something foolish like, "Sweet rain," you can say something intelligent like "maybe I've run bad in the rain previously but today is a new story" (or a variation of that).

More posts are necessary on this topic but for now all I wish to say is this - while listening to your body can be bad (referencing Bryan's earlier post - click here), listening in to the self-talk going on inside your mind is always a good idea because you HAVE to respond to it. I'll end this post with an example from the run this morning.

"This 11 mile run should feel much easier... are you sure you are ready for Boston," is what my mind said. Instead of ignoring this thought I said verbally out loud to the group, "well my bodies at it again thinking that just because I'm tapering everything's going to feel awesome." And then to myself in my mind I added, "My body is just storing up energy for the long Boston race ahead," or in the words of my friend Butze, watch out Boston because "I'm going long, hard, and I'm hear to get the friction on!"

Monday, April 6, 2009

Boston Just Around the Mile

I hope that miles are packed full of vitamin B and all of the other nutrients that one needs to live. As my training for the Boston marathon unfolds, I guess I could say that I’ve eaten more miles for breakfast these past few months than I have in a long time.

Today is April 6, 2009 and all I can think about right now is the Boston marathon. What a joy it is to step into such an historical tradition that this particular marathon offers. Finishing a marathon in general corrals a person into a special group of harriers that is esteemed and respected. After all the distance itself killed its first ever participant. I wonder how that conversation came up when folks decided to start the marathon distance again. “Sounds like fun. Sure it will be hard but in the end you will have accomplished something.” What would Pheidippides’ tell us on the matter? But there seems to be something even more special about the Boston marathon.

My mind remembers a comical yet dramatic running movie I watched called “Saint Ralph” that every runner should see (if you are not a runner you will miss some of the laughs). The movie follows a fourteen year olds attempt to train for and win the Boston marathon, who thinks that by winning will perform a miracle which in turn will heal his mother’s terminal illness. Ralph’s blind and seemingly misplaced faith that his performance will heal his mother gives him a single-minded focus on running the Boston marathon to win it. You will have to see the movie to find out what happens!

As I finish my own Boston training, I bring up this movie because of one simple fact. For this single race I have decided to train through and run through more pain that I ever have in my life. The pain I have felt in different places, and the amount of time that pain has lingered throughout my training, would have stopped me dead at earlier points in my career for fear of permanent injury. So what is it about Boston that holds my running entranced?

What is it about Boston that has even caused me to change my shoes from stability to neutral (which is big deal for me and makes me feel like I’m going crazy)? What is it about Boston that causes my running partner to train through what sounds like a stress fracture? What is it about Boston that compelled me to tell my wife months ago, “This is just something that I have to do darling,” when she reminded me that we could not really afford

the trip? And what is it about Boston that enabled her, through her disbelief at my stupidity, to finally say, “Ok. I’m going too.”

The more I prepare for this race the more mythical it feels. It is just another race after all, but somehow as it approaches it feels like I am embarking on a pilgrimage for authentic runner-hood that can only be found in a handful of places around the world. I suppose you could say that as a runner I feel like I’m getting ready to go home. Oh ya, and to follow up with Bryan's tradition, I hope I can control my bowel movements to a zero during the actual 26.2 miles at Boston!

And Ryan Hall is going to be there! Along with Kara Goucher and hopefully Bill Rodgers!

By Brett Baddorf

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Over The Hump or Over The Hill....

Well, it appears that our marathon training has finally turned the corner....the finish line is in sight. We've completed our final long run...or at least or last 20 plus mile run. With 20 days to go until Boston, now we are just concerned with maintaining fitness and getting fresh. If you ask me it's about time as well.

Our training has been good on paper, but it's been hard on the body. I'm only 26 but I can feel my body's regenerative capabilities slipping fast. I used to could do a hard effort and turn around the next morning and bust out a nice long run. Now I feel like I need 24 hours of recovery before I can do a run of any quality. So I am hoping that with the gradual taper that we've got coming up I'll begin to feel a bit refreshed. Overall I'm excited about the shape we're in but it seems like my body has gone in waves between nagging pains and smooth miles. I'm hoping that it's smooth miles from here on out.

Tapering has always been a sticky issue to me. In college I always felt like we tapered too much and my legs just felt confused and lazy. I think it is definitely different for each runner. One of my favorite coaches used to leave our workout schedules blank for the 24 hours preceding a race effort. When asked why he replied that we have to know our own bodies and learn what is the best way to get them primed for the big event. I like that approach. Some runners don't run the day before a race and some do. I like to do at least an easy 5 mile run to loosen the legs. You have to always put yourself in position to succeed in a race. That is the best strategy even after the race has started. Just keep yourself within range of success and sometimes you surprise yourself and pop a good one.

Since Saturday's 22 mile run I've been going through the check list trying to pick out which clothes I'm going to run in, how many energy gels, how much fluids, how many bowel movements I need to get out before I toe the line, etc. You've got to think of as many scenarios that might come up as possible. Nothing makes me more angry when I see a veteran runner make a stupid mistake that could have been avoided. It seems like every post I manage to work in my bowel movements. I apologize.

You get the idea....the finish line's in site and it's time to get everything in order. I always laugh inside when someone asks me if "I'm ready for the race." I try to answer honestly which is "not yet." Of course they act shocked and inquire why not. I explain that there is still a lot to do before race day. I have to hydrate, carb load, lube up, pack my bags, get my legs fresh, etc. I know I seem neurotic, but it's just the preparation mentality that I always go through before a big race. You can't skip ahead in the process....just gotta go through the check list.

I guess I'll see how the taper treats me and hope that I've drilled 6 minute miles into my legs enough for the long haul.