Wednesday, December 30, 2009

and so it begins...

318 days until the beach to battleship iron distance event. The fact that it's not called an ironman is one of the reasons I am doing the event. It's not a branded event, and thus I don't have to commit to it a year in advance, it won't sell out in 1 day, won't cost an arm and a leg, and won't be filled with 2000 people. I won't go into all the details about how much I dislike what is going on with the leadership at usa tri and how they are trying to get triathlon to be a more mainstream sport and ruin it like the NFL ruined football by making it more about the money and less about the sport. The owners of the ironman brand have been doing a great job of that for a while now and I don't see an end with their events selling out so fast even though the fees are going up and the quality going down people are still flocking to it. That at least is a good thing.
With my daughter turning 7 next year I suspect this will be my last chance for the next 10 or so years that I will be able to selfishly put in the hours to train for an ironman so it's now or wait and since you really never know what is going to happen I am going to do it now. I'll be tracking all my training miles on the blog and hope to update it regularly. Even though my training for this really started over 10 years ago, this years training started today with an easy 1 mile swim.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

2009 Recap

I started off the year with a goal to complete the national marathon in March. I had been training since November, doing long runs in the cold, rain, snow, cold rain, you name it I ran it in over the winter. I had logged a couple runs ~20 when I started my taper and my right hip started acting up. Well it had been acting up for some time, but now it was affecting my running and a quick trip to the ortho yielded a cortisone shot and 4 weeks no running. So there went the marathon and first half of the year...

After recovering from the hip problem, I had an awesome sprint tri at white lake in May, I was in third for master Clydesdales until getting passed by 2 guys in the final quarter mile. I stayed with the second guy that passed me and he just got me at the line. After that I knew it was time to work on run speed. At the end of may I decided to do the woodlake sprint tri again. I had a great race there last year and was looking forward to an even better race this year. The race was going great until the run when the dreaded stomach issues hit, but at least I finished...

Well at least the 2nd half of the year was amazing.

July 4th I did a 5k in Virginia and got a new PR on a tough hilly course.
September came and I got 2 new PR's. Did a 1 mile run in 7:06 and a 10 mile run in 1:28:07. Never had done either of those distances, so the PR is not as important, but still very good times for me.
In October I had two more 5k's and got two new PR's. The first 5k was a bit of a let down as I really wanted to break 25 at this race, but fell a bit short. But the 2nd one the weather was very friendly and I blew away the 25 mark by 20 seconds.
Next up the Thanksgiving day 8k. I've done this race the past 3 years and each year have taken 2 minutes off my time. This year was no different and a new 8k PR was born.
I decided that since I was running so well I should do a half marathon and go for a PR in that too. On to December and the Mistletoe half marathon. 30 degree temps and rain. Broke 2 hours for the first time ever and a 12 minute PR.
that just leaves my 10k PR waiting to be broken, Looks like it will have to wait until March. For now it's time to relax till January and just have fun.
So while the first half of the was not looking good, a little goal adjustment and some consistency saved the year.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Entitled

I just have to get this off my chest. I want to write up my year recap, but this is really buggin me so it has to come first so I can move on with my life. Last Saturday 12/5/09 I did the mistletoe half marathon in Winston-Salem NC. After the race I got an email from active.com asking me to go rate the event, I waited a few days and decided to go out and write some comments. I followed the link to here http://www.active.com/running/winston-salem-nc/mistletoe-5k-and-half-marathon-2009 and read some of the comments. Most were positive, but I was surprised with the number of people wanting the race to be chip timed. The half marathon had about 800 finishers and the 5k had about 900. I was surprised at the turnout considering how bad the weather was, but also impressed that so many would show up even in those conditions. The chip time is not used for rankings or for official times but in larger races where it takes a long time to get to the start it is a nice benefit. I started mid pack of the half and it took me 2 seconds to get over the start line. We were able to use the whole road since we didn't have to be crammed into a start corral to make sure we went over a mat to start our chip time. I'm not sure of the actual dollar amount, but chip time also increases the cost to run a race. While that bothered me slightly it wasn't really what set me off. After I left my comments another runner 'lady Runner 1959' left hers and that is what got me down this path. She gave the race 2 stars out of 5 and complained about everything. The post race party, the music was too loud, the food was too spread out. She said the course was too difficult, the weather was terrible, she criticized the volunteers "They may not have wanted to be in the cold wet weather but they volunteered to work like we paid to run". She says we should have gotten an award for finishing, they were handing out ribbons, but I guess she finished too late or just didn't see them handing them out. Then she says "We should have gotten what we paid for."

You paid between 25 - 35 dollars for this race depending on if you were a YMCA member and how early you signed up. I looked up the Rock n Roll half in Virginia beach and it costs between 85 and 125. This race offered use of the YMCA locker rooms and showers before and after the race, the Rock n Roll offers port a johns. This race donates proceeds to local children's charities, I could not find anywhere that Rock n Roll donates any of it's entry fees. This race had on site child care if you called ahead, Rock n Roll has nothing like it. The course was well marked, there were arrows on the ground at every turn. They had the course maps available on the web so you could see the elevation gains before signing up to determine if it might be too hard for you. They had maps at sign in that you could have taken with you so you wouldn't get lost. They had better food and drinks after than most races in this price range which only offer bananas and water.

What do you think your $30 pays for? An escort in a golf cart that you can sit in when you get tired. It's a race, it's up to you to know the course and prepare yourself. All those things you are asking for, chip timing, finishers medals, more "workers" giving directions on course, they all cost money. If you want all that, pay your $110 and go race in Virginia beach with 10,000 other runners.

For $30 this race far exceeded any expectations I had for it.

The only thing you are entitled to is a big kick in the ASS!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Mistletoe Half Marathon Race Report

So before I begin let me say this race is well run. the YMCA does a great jog, the volunteers were awesome, they had someone at every mile yelling out the splits, there were even people out on the streets cheering us on in the cold rain. The course is not easy, but it is rolling and there is really only one tough climb mixed in with all the rest. You run through some nice neighborhoods, and Wake Forest University, but the best part is the last 5k is mostly downhill and then when you get back there are a ton of people to cheer you home. The Y also allows you to shower after and provides towels. This is the 26th year for this race and the community really supports it. I would definitely recommend it.

I wanted to get that out before my race report as it might appear that I had a bad race, but really I had one of the best races of my life, only it sucked. The reason why it was one of the best is because it sucked so bad and I still hung on to break my 2 hour goal by 1:12, and broke my old half marathon PR by 12 minutes. It gives me confidence to know I can overcome all that sucking and still perform. In better conditions I'm sure my time could have been 1 or 2 minutes faster, but I don't think that would be as satisfying in the end. ( at least that's what I keep telling myself ).

So without further adieu, on to the action.
Woke up early and had my normal Grape nuts and raisin breakfast at the Greensboro Sheraton. I had a 30 minute drive ahead of me so I decided to leave at 6:45 to arrive around 7:15 for the 8:15 race. When I got up it wasn't raining yet, but after watching the radar on the weather channel I knew it was only a matter of time. So waited for the normal bathroom activities and headed out. Arrived right on time and the rain started. Got my race packet, noticed it wasn't in the 20's like they kept saying all week, but in the upper 30's, so I changed out of my running pants and into shorts. Good idea. I left my jacket on with my long sleeve shirt, bad idea, but I was cold. I kept feeling like I needed to go to the bathroom again, but every time I tried, nothing, not a good sign as I would find out on mile 4. At 8 I headed out for a quick warm up then lined up for the start. I will try to look back at the plan I did at the beginning of last week to see how I did. But I can tell you that pre race plan I did saved my ass on this one.

splits:
mile 1: 9:07 - plan says hold back at the start and ease into the race ~9 min pace. Worked out perfectly, but I noticed I was too hot and starting to sweat. So off came the jacket and I found a spot on the return route by a tree where I could pick it up on the way back.

mile 2: 9:30 - 18:37 - this looked to be one of the hardest miles on the route and it probably was. The people were still going by me so it was hard to hold back, but I wanted to do btwn 9:15 - 9:30. Felt like I was doing 9:15, but ended up with a 9:30. But still I felt confident as I was on plan and running well now that the jacket was off.

mile 3: 8:52 - 27:30 - I wanted to do an 8:50 and then keep that till the end, so I was really happy with this mile and didn't freak out. Passed some nice houses and realized that the turn around was not at the end of this road as it appears on the map, but at a traffic control circle instead which explains the mileage discrepancies.

mile 4: 8:54 - 36:24 - Wanted to stay sub 9 and I did but my stomach was now starting to grumble and groan like I really needed to find a porta john. But we were in the middle of a subdivision and I didn't spot any, in fact I wouldn't see any until the finish. I was hoping the stomach would settle down if I slowed a bit.

mile 5: 9:07 - 45:31 - Went back to 2 hour pace in hopes of releasing some stress off the GI issues, but no luck. I was happy to see all the people coming out of their houses and cheering on the runners, but not happy about having to use a lot of energy holding in something that really wanted out.

mile 6: 8:54 - 54:26 - We cross over coliseum blvd here and the path flattens out and ends with a long downhill, didn't really pick up the pace, just the downhill allowed a quicker time. I was really just trying to keep it close to 9 min pace and not blow up. We ran on a nice trail here, it was all paved, but a not too wide so when the leaders ran by on the way back I could reach out and trip them. Did some cheerleading here for the leaders and that took my mind off the problem for a bit, but then mile 7...

mile 7: 9:42 - 1:04:09 - Worst mile for me, it started with an uphill coming off the trail and then a water stop. I decided to get some water and walk a bit hoping it would help. but once again, no luck. And when I started running again it just felt horrible. I remembered my prerace plan was to be under 64 minutes here, so I was only off by 9 seconds here, so I knew I still had a chance to break two hours if I would just keep it close and hang on and hope the pain would go away. Mean while the rain had finally stopped, but that meant it was going to get colder from here on in. I was soaked from the first hour and the wind started picking up and now to go along with the stomach, I was freezing and my jacket was all the way back at mile 1. This mile was the low point for me. I really wanted to stop and walk the whole way back. the only thing that kept me going was listening to the other people and watching everyone else struggle to keep pace. I kept repeating now over and over to myself, just keep it close.

mile 8: 9:13 - 1:13:22 - backed off from the sub 9 pace and it seemed to workout. Of course now we are on wake forest campus and on the flatter section of the course. I knew I was supposed to go for an 8:40 here, but really this was the best I could do. I tried to latch on to some other runners here, but I was unable to find a steady runner, it was always pass them going up the hill and they would pass me going down, or I would never see them again. I got some inspiration from an older guy, 70 something I think still out there running and he was talking to a friend and said they last time it rained during this race was in 96, and that was his first year doing it. 9:13 was close so it kept me going into mile 9.

mile 9: 9:11 - 1:22:34 Now when the stomach cramps would leave me I would pick up the pace and try to make up some time, unfortunately, they always came back and I knew the next mile was going to be tough. I was hoping to get a gel, but I knew that would just be suicide, so it was just water at the aid stations. my core muscles were tired now from constant activation but I dared not let them out. I did back off a bit at the end of this mile because I knew mile 10 would be tough and I needed to keep it low 9's if I wanted to get my goal.

mile 10: 9:11 - 1:31:46 - no holding back on this one, started off going down to the trail back, but then a long uphill, I knew it was make or break on this one and I needed to get down under 1:33. If I could leave myself with a 27 minute 5k, I knew with the downhill finish that I would have a chance. The last half of this mile was uphill, with the steepest hill, IMO, on the course. I passed a ton of people on that hill which fueled my confidence. My legs were not feeling bad and my stomach issues seemed to be subsiding. At the top of the hill I felt the best I had the whole race so far. I made it at 1:31:46, so I knew a 28 minute 5k was all I needed. I thought I can do that no problem, I just ran a 24:40 5k a month ago so 28 is a piece of cake.

mile 11: 8:51 - 1:40:37 - my whole attitude changed here, I started talking to people again, cheering them on, saying weird things that people say to each other after running 10 miles. It became fun again. the stomach problem came back only 1 more time on this mile, but after that it was gone forever. 8:51, fastest split so far, and now with 2.1 miles remaining I only had to do 9 minute pace and I was in.

mile 12: 8:33 - 1:49:10 - This mile is just about all downhill. I was now passing people left and right, I knew most of them at this point were all trying to break 2 hours. I would encourage as many as possible and had some tag along with me for a while, but my legs were starting to respond. I actually had to hold back. I had nothing to eat since 6 am and we were going on 10 now so I didn't want to bonk at the end after having my goal in the bag. At the end of this mile came upon my jacket. I told myself to leave it if the goal was too close, but with 1.1 miles and 10:50 seconds I thought no problem. I bent down to get the jacket and my hamstrings were this close to cramping up. That was a close one, next time leave it.

mile 13: 8:40 - 1:57:51 - This was actually a tough mile for me. I wanted to ease up to a 9 minute pace, but I was too nervous and the Adrenalin was kicking in. I could hear the cheers from a half mile away, but I was seriously on the verge of bonking. I was getting light headed, started having the numb feeling in my legs, but I was not going to let this slip away from me so I keep my pace steady, kept picking off runners, but let others go by. I did not need to chase, just finish my race.

mile 13.1: 0:56 - 1:58:47 - Now it was definitely in the bag, I wanted to pick it up here, but realized it was as up as it was going to get and cruised across the line. Walked a bit to cool down, then went to the car to get some dry clothes to change into. I was really frozen and felt like I was going to die. The guy next to me in the locker room must have agreed with me since at one point he looked at me and said "Are you ok?" I said sure, he said "You're not going to get sick are you?", I laughed at him and said, "oh no, I've been much worse than this, but this has to be the coldest and most miserable I can remember being". He says "so you didn't have a good race then?" and I replied, "I think it was on of my best". I think it was then that he knew I was nuts...

Total Time: Watch - 1:58:47 / Official - 1:58:48

Monday, November 30, 2009

Mistletoe Half Marathon race plan

So I was running with Cindy on Saturday and telling her that she should map out her half marathon on the usatf map site( http://www.usatf.org/routes/map/ ) or another that allows you to see the elevation and do it mile by mile so you can get a sense of the elevation changes. I also told her I used to write out a plan for each mile and review it each day leading up to the race so mentally I knew what was coming on each mile. I haven't done the writing it out part in a while because I've gotten better at the visualization so I now can just map out the route and save it and just go back and view it each day. I've decided that I would write out again and do it as blog post so I can go back and look at it after the race and compare the plan to what I actually did to see if/how it helped. I just noticed the Hybrid functionality will allow you to see the satellite image and street names at the same time, making the visualization even better. Note, while mapping this, the mile markers on the mapping site do not line up with the markers on the race map, but here goes...

Mile 1: Looks fairly flat, starts outside the YMCA bldg. Remember to hold back a bit and not get caught up in the adrenaline of the start. Want to do a 9:00 minute pace here to make sure I'm warmed up before getting to any bigger hills. Elevation goes up about 70 feet with a small bump at the .5 mile mark.

Mile 2: This mile is mostly uphill, about a 125 feet of elevation change up with only two small downs to recover. Looks like we will be running by some nice houses to help distract from the climb. Want to remember to not push too hard this early in the race on the hills, so a 9:15 - 9:30 would be good here.

Mile 3: Is a rolling out and back so after recovering a bit, need to get into race pace. If I can hold an 8:50 for this mile I should be able to keep that up the rest of the way, if not I need to remember to be more conservative. Remember the goal is to break 2:00 for the half and that takes a 9:08 +- a second or two so if you're not feeling it, don't push it.

Mile 4: Another rolling mile, but not a lot of elevation change. Should be able to hold a sub 9 here. Looks like a hill is starting at the end of this mile as we approach the turn onto Forest Drive. Warwick and Arbor would be a good place to drop any extra clothes so I can pick it up on the way back.

Mile 5: Oaklawn is a very long straight road for the first .75 of this mile, looks fairly flat with a false flat up, then a quick down up down over the last half mile. Might be a good place for a gel if they have a water stop somewhere on this mile.

Mile 6: Looks like we are entering Wake Forest University here. If I didn't get my gel on mile 5, definitely do it here as this mile so far appears to be the easiest of the bunch, a slight up, followed by a long gradual down. Should be on sub 9 mile pace now if feeling good, otw, stay at 9 - 9:05.

Mile 7: This appears to start off on a trail similar to the umstead fire roads before reconnecting to streets on the other side of WFU. Starts with a long climb then a short down and finally flat. Stay strong on this hill as the downhill after will allow plenty of time to recover. Do a time check here, should be less than 64 minutes, if not, time to pick it up. Also looks like we will be crossing with the leaders who will be on their way back at this point so remember to cheer them on.

Mile 8: This is an out and back on Faculty Rd. the out is gradual up, the back is gradual down. Good time to gauge how I am feeling and try an 8:40 if feeling good or if just holding on, stay with a 9 to save it for the end.

Mile 9: Heading into the meat of the university, take some time and look around to distract from the pain that will start any time now. Once again this mile starts with a hard uphill, but followed by a long gradual down, if stomach allows take a gel here, stay strong on the first part, try to pass some people if possible.

Mile 10: This is an important mile, really pay attention to how the body is feeling during this mile. It starts with a nice downhill, then ends with a long uphill. We are now back on the trail and the return trip to the start. If you see the trailing runners keep cheering them on. At the end of this mile do another time check to see what kind of 5k is needed to get your goal.

Mile 11: at the start of this mile we have a 5k to go. Anything under 1:33 minutes is good, meaning we have a 27 minute 5k to break 2 hours. If I'm feeling good, pick up the pace, if bad, just keep it steady and hang on. After the long uphill end to mile ten we have an easy downhill to recover once again. Then we leave WFU and head back into the city.

Mile 12: This mile looks nice. a couple climbs, but mostly downhill. Time to pick up the pace. Near the end of this mile keep an eye out for the sweatshirt I dropped at mile 4. If time looks tight, don't stop for it, just keep going. With two miles to go should be able to keep at least an 8:45 pace.

Mile 13: Last mile before the finish, adrenaline should be kicking in now, but don't start to sprint yet, control the pace, pick it up, but don't over do it, there is still a mile to go. This mile is mostly downhill, so an 8:30 or better is in order. That is, if the legs are feeling good still of course.

Mile 13.1: Looks like there is a little bit of a hill before the end, push up this hill, make it a goal to pass some people here then when you see the finish line give it all you got.

When I mapped it out, http://www.usatf.org/routes/view.asp?rID=338503, it came out to 13.4 miles and the mile markers didn't quite line up with what was on the event websites map, so I'm a bit nervous about that part, but it is registered as an official half marathon on usatf site, so I'm hoping the mapping software is just off.


The McMillan running calculator, ( http://www.mcmillanrunning.com/mcmillanrunningcalculator.htm ) says that based on my 5k and 8k times I should be able to break 1:55, but my original goal was 2 hours so that is still my goal. I will adjust my race, before and during based on weather and race day events but since I have a 5 minute cushion I feel very confident that I will break 2 hours finally for the half marathon and should beat it by even more.

Current half marathon PR = 2:10:16, back in 2007 so I'm psyched to get yet another PR broken this year.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Turkey Trot 8k Race Results

It's just not thanksgiving until the turkey trot is run. I was a little bummed as my nephew who has beaten me every time we've done the same race was not going to make it. I was ready to kick his butt this time. I've PR'd all my short course distances this year and the legs have been feeling good. The last race we did was a 5k back in July and he beat me by only 3 seconds. I ran this same race the last 2 years and I know the course well. It's hilly and hard with a tough climb on the last mile. I had entertained the thought of breaking 40, but then remembered how hilly it was and changed my goal to 41.
First up was the 1 mile fun run. Lined up with the girl, her two cousins ( 9 and 13 ), and her grandma and grandpa. When the gun went we all took off. I was just going to use this as a warmup and since I love to run with the girl was quite happy to do it. She ended up with a 13:10 which was a 40 second PR for her for the mile. She did much better this race than the last on Halloween too. I was so proud, especially of her finishing kick :-).
After we finished, I had 15 minutes to get ready for my race. I needed to use the facilities and they were about a 1/4 mile away so I ran over, got in line, and ran back with 2 minutes to spare. I was looking for Cindy and Frank, figured they were in line already and close to the front, so I squeezed in and tried to work my way forward. Didn't get very far, but I did see Eric W. ahead and new I had a good carrot to chase.
Mile 1. 7:56 - planned to run this about 8, so right on target. I was a bit too far back at the start, so I was weaving in and out to get a better position. I kept thinking I was going to pass Cindy and Frank as I thought they must be ahead of me, but I guess they ended up behind. Felt really good at the marker but knew that 2 and 3 were the toughest miles, so eased up a bit.
Mile 2. 8:24 - This is a hard mile and I felt really good about that pace. Jordan H, passed me here, he is the son of a good friend of mine and a freshman in college, I thought he was running well as he was able to talk to me as he flew by.
Mile 3. 8:26 - I saw Eric ahead at a turn around point here and he was still about the same distance ahead, I thought I might be able to catch him on the downhill of mile 4 but this was another tough mile. I picked up a few pacers here and was able to keep a good solid pace on the hills. At this point I was trying to do math to figure out what I needed to do to get my 41 and I figured an 8 for the next mile which is mostly downhill would leave me an 8:15 on the last mile to shoot for.
Mile 4. 8:02 - right on target, I was leap frogging now with a couple people but still feeling really good, even though I just ran an 8 minute mile it was mostly downhill and I was able to recover so my confidence was high that I could make the 8:15 for the last mile.
Mile 5. 7:53 - This mile starts with a tough uphill, before rolling to the finish. At the top of the hill I caught Jordan again, he looked like I felt, said hey and he said he was going to run with me for the last mile. I said cool, but I wouldn't be able to talk as I was in extreme pain. When we were about a quarter mile left I looked at my watch and knew I had to give it all I had left to make the 41 so I left him and started passing people. I made it to the final turn and heard my coach yelling for me, and the surprised tone of seeing me this early, I told her I was going for 41 but she thought low 42's was where I would end up, then I saw the finish line clock which said 40:40 and sprinted with all I had left to cross the line at 40:59. My watch time was 40:39 so I was super psyched and ready to die all at the same time. Jordan crossed right behind me so I congratulated him on his race and set off for some water.
This was a great race for me and I'm really excited about the half marathon I have coming up on the 5th of December. I am hoping I can finally break 2 hours for the half, and then take the rest of the year off before starting all over again next year.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Born to Run

I stayed up late Wednesday night to finish the book "Born To Run" by Chris McDougal, I think that's how you spell it, because I wanted to return it to the library and because it was such a great read. If you are a runner, want to be a runner, think you can't be a runner, READ THIS BOOK. If you know someone who wants to run but always says I can't run because my knees/feet/ankles always get injured when I try. Get them to read this book. Really it's just that awesome.
It's been raining in the Raleigh area since Tuesday and I had a tough looking tempo run scheduled for Thursday. I was thinking I would have to do it on the treadmill since I didn't want to have to deal with the wind gusts up to 30 mph and rain and the flooding that always happens on my on "flat" route when we get this much rain. I ended up sleeping in until 6:15 Thursday morning and when I woke up I saw that the rain had subsided and was supposed to stay away until lunch. I decided I would just go out and run the neighborhood hills and try my best to make the times my coach said I should get. My workout was:
7 miles total-
Miles 1, 2 @ 10:00,
Mile 3 @ 9:30,
Mile 4 @ 9:00,
Mile 5, 6 @ Sub 9:00,
Mile 7- Cool down

Before heading out I went to the usatf website to remind myself of where the mile markers would be for the 5 mile loop I have mapped out. My plan was to do the loop, then do the 1 mile loop that is not as hilly for mile 6. I was most concerned about mile 5 as that features a very long hill. I was not terrible excited about this workout or running in the 48 degree windy overcast morning, but thought that if I didn't go now I wouldn't get the run in, so out the door I went.
Mile 1 starts off with a slight uphill and today it was into the wind. I was just not feeling it today and was not happy, but then I started thinking about the people that want to be able to run but can't and how they would give anything to be able to run and started to change my attitude. I remembered many times in the book how the author describes people running with a look of joy on their faces so I started to smile. I had no GPS, no Heart rate monitor, no IPod, just my clothes, shoes, and watch. Amazingly I started to feel good, I focused on keeping my form good and just ran comfortably. When I hit the mile 1 spot I was at 9:55. I thought that's odd, I've never done that mile this fast and waited until my watch hit 10 to hit the lap button.
Mile 2 starts off downhill before rolling during the middle and up at the end. At this point when the wind was really gusting I could feel some water pelting me in the face. It was cold, but I didn't care. My run was feeling so good I had to hold myself back to stay at 10 / min miles so I could save some for those last two sub 9 miles. I'm running uphill into the wind with some drizzle hitting me and I have this big smile on my face. I just had to laugh at how this must look to the people driving by me. I saw the mile 2 spot and saw I was at 9:30, this just made me smile even more. I decided to take a 15 second walk break and still had a 9:45.
Mile 3 is uphill first, then flat then down. At this point I'm feeling the runner's high big time and concentrating on my form and thinking about some of the lessons learned from the book and trying to run slow so I can get a 9:30 mile. I was still concerned about that 5th mile. The best I've ever done on this 5 mile loop is 48 something and when I did that I was dying. Other that that I've never broken the 50 minute mark. Mean while I'm about to finish mile 3 and the world is a better place. 9:04! I'm shocked, this mile felt so good, how could it be 9:04?
Mile 4 is supposed to be 9, but mile 3 was supposed to be 9:30 so I decided to switch them. This mile has a lot of downhill so I have to really concentrate on slowing down. This time it's easier because mile 5 is looming ahead. I am still feeling really good, I take time to evaluate the different spots that normally give me problems, feet good, ankles no pain, knees a little pain since I'm going downhill but I wouldn't notice if I wasn't paying attention, hips feel good. Now I am thinking about my foot strike. Keep the stride shorter and let the feet land under you and don't land on your heels after 100 of so yards of this my slight knee pain is gone again. The shoes I run in are not meant for my foot type, but they are the only shoes that I can run in and not hurt my knees. I remember in the book about a study they did with a group that wore shoes that cost over 95 dollars and another that were under 40 and found that the expensive shoe group had over a 2x injury rate. They claim that the cushioning in the high tech shoes cause you to run incorrectly by hiding the pain and if you run barefoot or in harder shoes your feet will tell you that you are running wrong and you will adjust. It's starting to make sense now, but enough of that for now here comes mile 5. Mile 4 - 9:33.
Mile 5 - I've run this mile many many times, it's part of the 5 mile loop and the 5k loop that start at my house. The first 3/4 miles of it are long steep up, short down, long gradual up, then the last 1/4 is gradual downhill. It's still cold, the rain is drizzling, the wind is gusting and the hill is rising ahead of me, but a quick reminder to myself of how the best runners in the book always smiled and enjoyed the hard parts got that smile back on my face and while the pain was there it still felt good, made the first hill and started to ease up to recover on the short down but then realized I didn't need to recover so I pushed down before starting back up again. I concentrated really hard and kept my pace up this next hill. When I made it to the downhill section I opened up the stride again and snuck a peak at my watch. I was at way ahead. This just made me smile even more and slow down a bit to save some for the last sub 9 mile, Mile 5 ended up 8:52, and my time for the 5 mile loop was under 46! And I still felt good.
Mile 6 - I've done this 1 mile loop many times as well since it's part of my day before race brick. It starts off gradual up, then a nice downhill/uphill combo before the gradual down to the finish. I've done this in the 8's before, but never after 5 miles, but now my confidence is so high with mile 5 done that I just decided to go for it. I noticed that while going uphill there was a part of my brain that was telling me I was feeling pain and I should go slower, instinctively I slowed, but then a quick check from my logical side found no pain, sure it was hard, but it didn't hurt, so back up to pace. When I got to the next and final hill I expected the pain signal, but when it came I just ignored it and half way up it went away, more eye opening and something to remember for later. Finished with that nice gradual downhill and an 8:14 mile.
I wanted to do the full 1 mile cool down, but I was already late for work and running slower I got cold faster so I called it a day at 6.5.
With my half marathon coming up on Dec 5, I only wish I can bottle up this run and take it with me for that day. I broke my GPS by swimming with it a while back and I think it was the best thing that could have happened. I am really enjoying running technology free, it makes you focus inwardly and really tune into your body. I can't say I won't ever get another GPS, but for now I'm good.

There is so much more in the book that I really didn't cover or even touch on, but I do want to say it was very eye opening and challenged a lot of what the shoe companies are trying to sell us. It also tells a really entertaining story about some great people. It inspired my run above and hopefully more to come.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

5k for Healthier Babies race report

What a difference the weather makes. Last race 78 with 90% humidity. Today 54 with 70% humidity. Really wanted to break 25 in a 5k this year and this was my last best chance to do it.

Day started at 3am when I woke up and realized the AC i turned on at 11 because it was too hot was still running. Had to go outside and throw the breaker so it would turn off. Then got back in bed and woke up at 4:45. Not the best night of sleep, but since I slept well yesterday I wasn't too concerned. Got out of bed around 5:30 and ate breakfast, then tried to fix the Heat pump again, but the blower just didn't want to turn off. Gave up around 7 and got ready for the race.

Got there nice and early and it felt cold, picked up the race packet and chip and dropped it off at the car. It was 30 minutes to race start and I was cold so decided to do my warmup. ran 1.5 miles and then back to the car to drop off the sweat shirt and then back to the start to do my strides. A bunch of people were now headed to the start so I joined in. Was expecting Cindy to just show up right before the gun as usual, and was not disappointed. With about 3 minutes to the gun I see her walking over.

We were fairly close to the front so I was hoping for a nice clean start, but as usual of late there were a bunch of people sprinting out at the gun, then at about a half mile they just died. I was trying to find some clear road and had to run around a bunch before I could find a good spot and then got into my rhythm. I felt like I was running a bit slower than last time, but when we hit the one mile marker the guy yelled 7:45, a bit fast, but I felt good, still I decided to dial it back a bit since I didn't want to die at the end. A couple people ran by me and I fell in their draft. I ran up next to one guy who was constantly checking his garmin and asked how we were doing. 7:52 pace he said. Then he said, "I'm an 8:20 runner so it's a bit fast for me". I told him I just wanted to get under an 8 minute pace so it was perfect for me. I lost him at the next hill. Mile 2 was harder than 1, but I still felt good and was running strong on the hills. Passed mile 2 at 15:55, so an 8:10 pace, but still under 8 for the 2 miles. I had been following two pre high school girls for a while and at this point, one of them just stopped dead in her tracks and told her friend to go on without her. I ended up running next to her and she started talking to me about how her nose was running and her eyes would water when the wind blowed. It was a nice distraction, but then someone she knew flew by us and she went off with her. A few other people passed me on this downhill part, but I knew there was an uphill coming so I just kept my pace steady. We turned into the Lenovo parking lot and started going up. It wasn't steep, but it was a long gradual uphill. Those people that just passed were now getting passed by me. I caught up to one guy just as the hill was ending and went by him. I guess he wasn't happy about it as he looked at me and then passed me back, ok with me, I'll just sit back here in your draft for a while. When we hit the final turn and passed the 3 mile marker it was right on 24:00 for an 8:05 mile 3 and 8 minute / mile. With just .1 to go I sprinted by my draft partner and managed to stay ahead of him to the finish and a 24:39 ( watch time, 24:44 official time ), 5K. That's about 40 seconds faster than two weeks ago and a new PR. But the best part of it was that when I as done I still felt good where as last week I was about to pass out. Did my 1.5 mile cool down and just hung out and people watched for a while until they posted the results.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

5k run/walk for Autism race report

This race was last week, but life has kept me busy so I am going to try to fit this in while the wife is in the shower and the kid is occupied with Sponge Bob before we have to go out grocery shopping.

Had big goals for this race, break 25 minutes for the first time ever. My current 5k pr is 25:17 and that was on the 4th of July this year in Virgina on a hilly ass course, and my track workouts of late have been right on, so I was very confident going into this one. To ruin the suspense, I finished in 25:21. That being said I don't feel like I could have run any faster. The fall arrived here in September and we haven't had a really warm/humid morning in a long time. Not to go into too much history, but I don't do well in warm and humid. My only DNF ever was on a hot humid day where I passed out on mile 3 of the half marathon part of the half ironman I was doing. So when I work up Saturday morning in the it was 75 degrees at 5 am with 90% humidity I was less than pleased. I decided to race anyway ;-). Arrived at the race site and got ready, then did my warmup. I put the weather out of my head, after all it was just a 5k and I would only have to suffer for 24:59 anyway. Race started and I was feeling good, did the first mile right on 8 minutes, then started downhill. This race was supposed to be flat, but this downhill was lasting way too long and eventually it would turn up. when it did I was still pushing the pace but could feel the heat and my legs were starting to slow. Got to mile to at 16:18, that's not good, but I need an 8:03 average and I'm still at 8:09 so I told myself to just keep going as hard as I can. Finally made it to the top of the hill and had a 1/2 mile downhill to the finish. Had no idea where I was on time and didn't want to look at my watch, just wanted to push as hard as I could and have no regrets. When I saw the clock at the end it was just turning to 25 minutes. That meant I had 9 seconds to get there, I tried to sprint, but I was already sprinting. And the clock seemed to be going too fast. Finally after what seemed like 10 seconds I crossed at 25:30 with a chip time of 25:21. I was disappointed, but really there was nothing else I could have done. I started feeling the first signs of the "I'm going to pass out now" feeling so I told Cindy I needed water and to walk away from the crowd. Luckily I got away quick enough and after 5 minutes began to feel better again. We walked a bit more before doing a 1 mile cool down. There will be other 5k s, in fact next week end, and I'm sure I break that 25 in one of them, but for now, it's onward with no regrets.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Anna's Angels 10 miler RR

Today was the Anna's Angels 10 mile race. I wasn't sure what to expect so I was trying to down play my chances of breaking 90, but after Friday's many conversations with cindy and frank and my coach telling me I was in good condition and she thought I could go faster then 90 I decided that I would just go for it and see what happens. I haven't really done a lot of long runs over 10 lately so the nagging feeling about what is going to happen at mile 9, the hardest mile of the race, was in the back of my head the whole way. I got to the race site, got my chip and found Cindy for our pre face warmup. I commented to her that long ago I would think people were crazy doing a mile warmup for a 5k and now here we are going it for a 10 miler, as if 10 miles wasn't long enough.

So on to the race. It had just stopped raining and we were nice and warm for the start. For some reason they had blocked off the whole street, but were only using half of it for the start, so even though we were only about 10 yards from the start it took us about 30 seconds to get over the start line. Eventually the crowd thined out and I was able to get into my rythm, I heard Cindy and Frank behind me talking but I was just concentrating on running a 9 min pace for this first mile and I figured Cindy would just pass me when she started going fast.
Mile 1 was mostly uphill and I managed about 9 minutes. There wasn't an obvious mark so I missed it, but I knew it was before the turn that started us downhill. Cindy caught up to me somewhere during mile 2, I was trying to find someone running a consistent pace to draft/pace off of, but most just kept slowing on the uphills so I would pass them, then flying on the downhills so they would go by me. I just wanted to run a consistent pace. Lucky for me once Cindy caught me she decided to run with me, I had thought she was just going to go by me because she looked like she was running really well with an easy stride. We went by the mile 2 mark and were running about an 8:50 pace, I thought this was a little fast, but felt good so far so just worked at keeping this pace.
Mile 3 was nice and flat and I think we ran another 8:50 mile without too much agony. My aerobic condition felt really good and I was able to talk and point out the weird people and their conversations around us, but my left ankle was starting to give me problems so I had to alter my foot strike from the inside to the outside until it went away and I could get back to my natural gait. I guess this was a good thing as it kept me from picking up the pace. Mile had two rolling hills on it, but still on the uphill we would pass people on to have them pass us going back down. I think we hit mile 4 with another 8:50 pace and then mile 5 was going to be flat before the uphill mile 6. I felt at this point that Cindy was slowing for me so I told her if she felt good to just go on ahead. She said something like, "I'm good with this pace".
Mile 5 felt great, but we had some problems at the water stop as I guess a big group had just gone through and they didn't have any water ready. We did not see the mile marker indicating mile 6 was starting but I knew it had since it just got difficult, this mile was hard and I really had to concentrate to keep the pace up. We went by the end of mile 6 at 53 minutes and then I knew we were having a good race. My 10k pr is 55 minutes something so I broke that and I still felt good. So I said to Cindy, "now we are doing well", she says "yeah for now", always the optimist. ;-). My ankle pain was gone now so I think we started picking up the pace around here, but my math and memory from the last 4 miles is bad, which is why I think we picked up the pace. I knew mile 9 was the hardest and wanted to get two fast miles before then so we wouldn't have to push too hard. We passed a few more people now and my confidence for finishing strong was increasing, not sure what the splits for those two miles were, but our converstion had just about stopped but we were still running side by side and Cindy still looked awesome.
I could see the start of mile 9 ahead so I started to mentally prepare for it, and when we hit it my breathing starting going all over the place. I finally relized that I needed to get into a rythm to make it up this mile long hill so it was two in, two out. I think cindy was counting and we both were hitting the same pattern. Once I got going on this the hill it was much easier and I think our pace increased. then came the last water station. I grabbed a water and drank half and dumped the other half into my hat and started going again. I heard Cindy behind me say "Go Bill" so I figured she was going to take a longer break. I hit the 9 mile mark at 79:59 and that was all the motivation I needed as I knew if I could do an 8 minute mile on this last downhill mile I could break 88 minutes. I really pushed as hard as I could on the downhill and I'm sure my heartrate was higher than the last uphill and I was starting to make up ground on the group that was ahead of me. Then it was the turn onto the finishing stretch which has two little hills which I didn't think were going to be hard, but when I hit the first one my legs felt like they were stuck in mud and it was so hard to keep my pace up. I recovered on the down and saw my coach, her husband, and the rest of her family cheering me on so I had to push harder, also I knew Cindy was just behind me and that helped me get up that last hill to the finish, but I just missed 1:28 and got a 1:28:07, officially probably a 1:28:35 for an 8:48 ave pace.
I was thrilled with that and when I turned around Cindy was right there. After I was finally able to breath again, Frank came in 2 minutes ahead of schedule. Coach B won the women's race and everyone we talked to seemed to have had a great race so even though it was rainy, foggy, misty, humid, at least it was cool.
Now I'm ready for a nap...

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Magnificent Mile RR

I ran this race last week, but haven't had time to write up a report yet since my 6 year old daughter had her birthday on Thursday and we had a party at our house for her on Saturday. This has not been a good year for me as far as injuries and weird things occurring to cause me to not make it to races, so around June I had decided to take it easy the rest of the year and just do sprint tri's and running races for the rest of the year. I really want to improve on my running speed so I set this race as one of my 2nd half of the year goal races and wanted to break 6:30. I think in my whole life the fastest mile I had ever run was 7:40 so it wasn't going to be easy. But then another one of those weird things occurred and I had to take 1 week off from running and 2 weeks off from hard efforts right in the middle of training, so I adjusted the goal to break 7 minutes. I knew also that the adjusted goal was going to be hard to get and if the weather did not cooperate it probably wouldn't happen. Another thing against me is this was a Sunday at 2pm start time. I hate Sunday afternoon races. So here it is one week late with memory lapses and all...

Woke up Sunday morning early as usual and had that strange nervous feeling. Not really sure why I was so nervous for a 1 mile race but there it was, and I had to deal with it until 2pm. Did I mention how I hate Sunday afternoon races? So I decided to get ready and head over around 12:30 since I usually feel better once I am on site and can start feeding off the nervous energy of others. We show up, get the family settled and go for my warm up, the route feels flat and legs feel good. I'm a bit hungry since I ate a small lunch to keep the stomach settled, did I mention I hate Sunday afternoon races?, and didn't want to take a gel since I didn't know what that would do to me but I found the Gatorade stand and had a cup. Then did my strides and saw that my sprints were about as fast as the fast runner's easy pace. Not too encouraging, but I wasn't really there to race them, I was there for me and to support the other people running and walking to help the Spastic Paraplegia Foundation.
Finally it was time for the race to start, it was mid 80's and slightly humid but I wasn't really thinking about that, just trying to remember to start fast and get faster. The start was crazy, all the young kids took off at a dead sprint, then most of them just stopped dead after 100 yards or so. It was a slight uphill to start and I did the first .25 in 1:44, so I was happy that I was right on pace, but my breathing was off, I was wheezing and that was not normal. I decided to back off a bit as the 2nd quarter was downhill and I wanted the wheezing to go away and as long as I was around 3:30 at the half I thought I would be able to make it. I hit the .5 mark at 3:32, so a little slower, but the effort was more sustainable and now I was running with people on the same pace so it just felt better. That of course did not last long as the 3rd 1/4 was mostly up hill, funny how I didn't remember any of these hills from the warm up. I was passing people and being paced by a 13 year old boy who really wanted to finish in front of me, not sure why I inspire that in 13 year olds, but happy to have someone keeping pace. hit .75 in 5:21 due to lack of oxygen going to my brain I was luckily unable to calculate how fast I had to do the last quarter mile I just ran as fast as I could. The finish is a slight downhill, so as soon as I hit the downhill section I started to sprint. I saw the clock at the finish and it said 6:45, I thought I could make so I tried to run faster and almost went over but stayed up and kept right on that edge. Half way to the finish I looked at the clock again and it said 6:57 and I thought I must have entered a time warp because that 12 seconds felt like only 5 but since I was almost done I just kept going and finished in 7:06. It really felt like I just got started and I wanted to run it again. It was really painful, but it was over so quick it wasn't so bad. I do think if the race was in the morning I would have made it under 7, but I can wait for next year...

Monday, July 13, 2009

Triangle Tri Race Report

First the results...
in the master Clydesdale division there were 28 starters
rank time
total 10 1:42:39
swim 6 16:44
T1 3:22
Bike 8 53:16
T2 2:21
Run 9 26:58

Feel pretty good about the results, thinking about it I might have been able to break the 1:40 barrier if I hadn't sprained my ankle on tuesday, but given the conditions it still would have been tough. On to the race report.

They moved this event to Harris lake this year so it was the first time at this site. In my opinion the site is not big enough to handle the 1000 participants, volunteers and spectators. I would say 700 would be better, but they seemed to pull it off so I doubt the number will be reduced especially since it sold out. Arrived at the site around 6:15 and the park was already filled and they were parking the outside lots. waited in line for 15 minutes and got one of the last spots in the lot just outside the entrance. The rest had to park at the visitor center at the nuc plant and either bike or take the shuttle.
Got to transition and picked up my chip, then did my warmup and while running noticed my ankle was not happy. I had taped it before I left hoping it would be ok, but this run was not giving me hope. checked out both the swim start and finish, then went to get body marked. After body marking it was getting close to the race start at 7:30, my wave was at 8 so my plan was to hit the porta john, then do my final prep of transition and do a quick swim warmup at the start before my wave. While I was in line for the porta john they announced the race was about to start and everyone would have to exit transition. Apparently while i was in the john they announced the start and to clear, so when I got out they were saying if you were caught in transition you would get a penalty, but I needed my cap and goggles and to take off my shoes so in I went, did what I needed and left with only a warning by a USAT official. Headed to the lake to get in a warmup, but when I got there the race still hadn't stated yet, and no one was allowed in except for the wave that was starting. so no warmup and the start area was way too small. I heard they had some electrical problems that delayed the start, so I planted my ass down to wait. When we were called on deck I got up and started loosening up my arms and shoulders for the swim.
The Swim: The water was warm, but at least it was cleaner than the old lake. Moved far left to get a good line and started off strong, made it to the first buoy just behind the first group, but after the turn we were facing the sun and my goggles were starting to fog up. This made sighting really difficult which meant more siting and slowed me down quite a bit. After we passed the next buoy I decided to clear them and wow did that make a difference, wish I had done that 5 minutes earlier. Starting swimming stronger again and hit the final buoy and turned for the final stretch in. The water was rough here and coming from the left, but since I prefer breathing on the right it was not a problem for me. Sighted in on a straight line and started working some kicking in to get the legs ready.
T1: Had to take my time getting out of the water and jogging to transition so as not to risk the ankle so my time was slow, think at full speed could have saved 45 seconds here, but not worth the risk in the rocky water or the long ass run on the grass barefoot to the bike. Once at the bike I got my shit taken care of and started. When I finally got on the bike the computer said 1:18, so it took me 1:18 to run from my rack to the mount line, that's a long way and I was in the middle of transition.
Bike: Had a great bike, felt really good and on the climbs I was able to get into a good rhythm. It's about 1.2 miles to get out of the park and 4 speed bumps. They put some wood in front of the bumps that made it much better getting over them, but I still saw tons of sponges and water bottles lining the road. The first part of the bike is up hill so I got aero and tried to get into it. I could tell it was going to be a good day on the bike, I was thinking I could break 54 on a good day based on my practice ride a couple weeks ago. The one rough spot on the route is when you turn onto friendly road, and still it was not that bad but saw more water bottles at the rough patches. There was a long downhill followed by a really long climb but the road was recently paved and it went better than I remember doing it during training. This is where I started trading spots with another MC, he would pass me and then stay about 20 yards ahead until a climb came up and then I would pass him back, we did this for the last 15 miles. I remember the last half as being a long downhill to the lake, and it was, but there was a strong headwind on this morning so I did pick up a bunch of speed, but not as much as could have been. Then the short speed bump filled 1.2 miles back to transition.
T2: Tell you the truth I don't really remember T2 except that due the length of the transition area there was a lot of running, oh and I almost rolled my ankle leaving T2.
Run: The run was quite an adventure. Started of very tentative, the MC I had been trading spots with on the run was about 10 seconds ahead of me and I gradually came up on him and passed in the first 1/2 mile. I was really looking for someone to pace off of so I could concentrate on not landing funny on the ankle. A 27 year old girl passed me and I latched on to her, after another 1/2 mile she stopped to walk so I had to move on. It was hot, but the trails were shaded and they had 4 or 5 chances to get water on the trail so I was quite happy. At the turn around with 1.2 miles to go my confidence in my ankle had increased so I picked up the pace to get a negative split. It was starting to hurt now so I knew I has at the right pace :-). finally made it to the road again and had one more left turn onto a grass finish shoot that was about 20 yards. I made the turn and tweaked my ankle, the pain shot up my body and caused me to jump in the air, when I landed I had a couple strides of limping and then both my hamstrings cramped up and I must of looked really funny. I had enough momentum to get me to the line but it wasn't pretty. The race director was in the shoot and he looked at me and said, "Are you cramping up?" All I could say was yeah and keep limping by...

Post race they had red beans and rice, soda, water, heed, bananas, oranges, bagels and assorted cookies.

I liked the new course much better than the old, but in my opinion the site wasn't big enough to handle that size of event. The parking, the transition, and the swim start with no warmup area were the only down side, but other than that the race was run well, volunteers were awesome and plenty of support.

Kiwanis 5k Race Report

This race is in Charlottesville Va in the forest lakes subdivision where my brother lives. I did this race one time back in 03 and ran a 28 even. It's a tough course so i wasn't expecting a great result, but I knew I would be able to beat the 28. My nephew who is 20 now was going to run it with me. He claimed to be recovering from a knee injury and hadn't run more than 3 miles in two months. I suspected he was sandbagging, but played along anyway.
start the race and it's a downhill start for 1 mile so I wanted to be right around 8 minutes. At the mile marker it was 8:03. The next mile is rolling with and out and back on a cul de sac. I was able to see that I was a good 40 seconds ahead of my nephew at this point so I felt like I could take him. wanted to do mile 2 at 8:15 pace and when I hit the marker they were yelling 16:16, so once again right on, mile 3 is the killer, there is a steep climb coming out from the lake area, then it's a gradual climb all the way back to the start with only one short downhill for recovery. I was hoping for an 8:30 here. Last time I did this race there was an 11 year old girl that passed me on the finish stretch and she beat me by 1 second. This time I had caught up to a 13 year old boy and tried to pass him, but every time I got close he would sprint up ahead, then slow down until I got close again and repeat, to make matters worse in the last tenth my nephew goes flying by me and says "HA HA" he gets about 20 yards on me and just ahead of the stupid kid and slows a bit so I start my sprint and just as I get within 5 yards the stupid kid sees me and starts to sprint really loudly, my nephew hears him and takes off again and beats me by two seconds and the stupid kid beats me by 1.
On the positive side, I got a new PR for a 5k by about 15 seconds on this really tough course and now am looking forward to breaking 25 in the fall :-)

Monday, July 6, 2009

Adventure Race Camp - Day 3

Day 3 arrived and we had a practice 5 hour adventure race on the schedule followed by some other little things. We were getting kicked out of our hotel and decided to just head home instead of staying another day and mtn biking. I think we were all ready to sleep in our own beds again and I was dead tired and didn't think I would be able to mtn bike on Sunday anyway. So we packed up and checked out. Crossed our fingers that Tim's truck would start, it did, and headed over to pura vida adventures to meet Joe. After our prerace briefing we got our map and headed to the race site. We decided to do the mtn bike part first and I would hold the map, and Tim would have the passport.

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Getting way behind so I'll have to cut this short...
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we did really good on the bike, we started to crack a bit in the heat on the way back to transition, but still made a good time. My legs were not going good and the heat was not helping at all so I knew we wouldn't be doing much running on the trekking part and we probably wouldn't be able to get all 4 targets.
Long story short, we made a huge error at the start, but luckily we recognized it in time and decided to skip #1 and go for #2 and #4 and if we had time #3, made it to 2 ok, #4 was at the top of stone mtn and I just about died getting up there, the way down was cramping time, but when we got back to the road we had 30 minutes to get back, luckily we were able to run the flats and downhills and made it back with plenty of time to spare.

We then had lunch and a short debriefing about what we did wrong and right.

All and all a great trip. I would highly recommend Pura Vida to anyone interested in learning about adventure racing.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Adventure Race Camp Day 2

My plan for this morning was to not set an alarm and if I got up early I would go mtn bike on some easy trails and if I slept in then I would just sleep in. Well I got up at 5:05, so once again banana, some water and out the door.
It was still a bit dark, so I put on the rose lenses for my glasses to help me see and started out towards the forest again. Found a trail I "thought" I could handle and headed up. Well, I ended up pushing the bike half the time and when I got to the top of the trail, it said it was a "medium" difficulty. Luckily the trail I came out on was marked easy. I headed up a bit more then turned around and headed back down.

At the bottom I found the exercise trail again so did a loop on that, then coasted back to the hotel. When I got back to the entrance I went to take my helmet off and it wasn't there. My first thought was it fell off, but then I realized I had never put it on. Went in for a quick shower then breakfast and a talk with the hotel staff to see if we could get rooms. Luckily someone cancelled and the room Tim and Michael were in was going to be available through Friday and we were able to get another double, but had to switch rooms, so Eric and I moved our stuff into Tim and Michael's room and headed to camp.
On tap for today is rappelling in the morning followed by navigation after lunch. We were warned that for the navigation we might want to wear long pants since we would be going through some thick brush. We asked what he was wearing and he was like just shorts and since we didn't really bring long pants we would all be wearing shorts. The rappelling was really cool. After some safety instruction we did one quick one then we were to learn a self rescue which meant stopping half way down, pretending that something was stuck in the ATC, create a foot hold, step into it, cleat the ATC then continue down, all while hanging 35 feet in the air. How much fun is that?
We asked what ATC stood for and Joe told us Air Traffic Controller. I thought he was messin with us, but a quick search later found that he was being straight. We ended up going 5 or 6 times each, then headed back for lunch. Today's lunch was at another local place which had mexican and american food. I got a big ass burrito and woofed it down. There we found out that for navigation we were going to the mountain and hiking, on the way we got a map and learned we would be hiking close to 3 miles. I wasn't expecting that much and had I known I would not have gone out mtn biking that morning, but off we went.
We started down the trail and I hear this high pitched scream and Michael comes running to the back. I look up ahead and see a big snake headed into the woods.
The first part wasn't bad, I was leading with Tim navigating. I was thinking this is going to get a lot worse very soon, but for now I'll just enjoy the ride. Eventually we went off trail and the real fun began. We went straight up a steep hill and started getting into the thorny bushes. Wasn't long before my legs were covered in scratches. But we made it to the top and found the first target. At this point Tim took over the front and Michael was navigating. This was almost all off trail and took forever and we had to go up about 1200 feet over a 1 mile trek. let's just say it was more than painful and my legs were done when we got to the top. "luckily" the next part was all downhill, once again all of trail, but not as bad. Until I got stung by something. It felt like fire ants were all over my ankle. I was told it was probably prickly Nettles and it would go away soon. I have non idea what it was, but I suspect a wasp or some such creature since now that the rash has finally dyed down I can see a sting site. Finally we made it down to the road and Joe hitchhiked back to the car to come get us. Another tough day and I was beat, we headed back for pizza and beer, but first we had to go pick up Tim's truck and get some Bourbon for Tim and Eric. Tomorrow we had a 5 hour simulated adventure race so there would be no morning workout.

Adventure Race Camp Day 1

After yesterdays fiasco with the hotel room, I got up early, scarfed down a banana and some water waited a bit, then headed out for a run. I had emailed Joe earlier about an easy trail run for the morning since we were doing kayak and classroom I thought I could handle an hour. He said there was an exercise trail about 3 miles from the hotel that was flat and ran along the river. Never really found out how to get there so I figured I would just run 30 minutes then turn around and come back. Started out downhill from the hotel and saw a sign for the Pisgah forest and followed it. The next sign I see is.

First thought I had was oops, wrong way, but then I was like this is supposed to be an adventure so why not, and I only had 20 or so minutes to go till I turned around so it can't be that bad. Anyway I kept going and while it was uphill, it was just a slight uphill and the scenery was keeping my distracted enough that it didn't matter. After a mile I see a trail off to the left paralleling the river I have been following so I decide to take it.

After a few minutes on the trail I see the sign for the exercise trail, amazing... So I follow that a while taking it easy and taking pictures. When I arrive at the English Chapel I'm at 34 minutes and decide to turn back so I can get breakfast #2 in before camp starts.
Turn around and it takes me 26 minutes to get back, I guess it was a bit more of an uphill than I thought, but I was moving much faster and the temp was a brisk 63 so feeling really good.
After the run had breakfast at the hotel, eggs, sausage, and biscuits. Then headed off to camp. Tim when to get the truck and meet us out front, but he comes walking back in and the truck would not start, so we had to take Michael's car. Met Joe from Pura Vida Adventures at his office which was just around the corner from the hotel and right next to the Indie Coffee shop. Started with some admin/paper work, camp itinerary and then some kayak classroom instruction. next we packed up the van and headed out to the lake for some on the water learning. We learned to do a boat rescue where you after purposefully roll over, then get out and then push the kayak onto someone Else's kayak upside down to get the water out and flip it over. Then you have to get back in with out filling it back up with water.
Then we learned a self rescue with a bilge pump and floaty. This was more of a challenge especially for me. I could get the kayak over ok, but then every time just before I got in, I would flip it over again. I think it took me 6 tries to finally get it. Next there was some basic paddle instruction and we headed to the waterfall.
I was amazed that we only went about a mile but the water was much colder and cleaner near the falls. We hiked up to the top and I swam out to the middle almost to where the water was landing. I felt like I was in my endless pool because the closer I got the harder it was to keep moving forward.
After a few minutes we paddled back, then headed back to the office for lunch and some rappelling instruction so we could head directly to the rock in the morning.
Got back to the hotel and Tim called AAA to come look at the truck after it still wouldn't start when we got back. We headed off to a local place to eat and he waited for the tow truck.

At the restaurant it was taking more than 45 minutes to get our dinner so I talked with the manager and got our appetizer and drinks taken off the check. When the food finally arrived, it was really good or I was really hungry, or both. And this ends day 1, I really needed this.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Adventure Race Camp - Prelude

Earlier in the year we signed up for Adventure Race Camp, Tim, Michael, Eric and I. We had originally planed to do the Black Beard Adventure Race and asked Joe at Pura Vida Adventures to tailor the camp to that race. It would include Kayaking, Rappelling, Mountain biking, and trekking. We had received a special rate with the Holiday Inn Express that was about a half mile from his office. He had sent the itinerary a few weeks ahead of time and it was setup like this.
Thursday day 1 - Admin stuff and kayak instruction in class, followed by a trip to the lake / river to put our skills to the test and learn on the water, then back to the class room for some more instruction.
Friday day 2 - Rappelling in the morning, then navigation class after lunch
Saturday day 3 - Mtn bike instruction and training and maintenance.

Since day 1 was just kayaking and class I decided to get my weights in and do a swim workout on Wednesday before leaving. Tuesday I had done a 5 mile run and Monday I did some mtn biking, can't remember when my last day off was, but I'm sure it was when I was sick. I was feeling really good after my forced week off so didn't really think about the extra workouts and really the camp on paper didn't seem that hard. We even booked an extra night so we could go out Sunday and ride after camp was over. Michael was driving himself and Tim, Eric and I were car pooling. Left around 4 and made 2 stops for food and gas on the way. At about 9, Michael calls us from the hotel and tells me they don't have our reservation. We get the confirmation number and are told that they were canceled due to an "issue" with the credit card. They could not tell us what the issue was just that the first night did not go through and when that happens, they cancel the reservation. Also it was not them that canceled it so they knew nothing about it. They at least had two rooms for Wednesday and Thursday. They bumped us up to suites because that's all they had, then tried to charge us more but Michael spoke up in a calm manner that Tim, Eric, nor I were capable of and we ended up with the original rate. One of the rooms was a King and the other two queens. Michael was a little too eager to sleep in the king with Tim, but Tim was ok with it so that was our room assignments.


Tim and Michael's love nest.

Scary, isn't it?

Monday, June 8, 2009

Impossible Panther Race Report

This was a 6 hour adventure race in the uwharrie national forest. The race was to start at 1:30 and run until 7:30 so lodging was not required, although it probably would have been a good idea to have something for after as I didn't get home until after 11pm and with a 5am wake up, 4 - 5 hours in the car and the 6 hours of race I was exhausted.

note: I started this entry with the above a week ago and then my daughter got the flu and gave it to me so I am just getting back to this now.

got to the race site at 11:30, checked in and got our map and passport. Mapped out the checkpoints and decided to canoe first, then head to the rappelling section, then come back for the orienteering course. We had some time to relax and prepare before the race briefing at 1. They informed us that the rappelling was only open till 6, that there would be 2 ropes and that at least two members had to do it to get full points. Answered some questions and told us that the O course map would be handed out just before the start. We moved the canoe into position and got our canoe gear ready to go. At 1:30 we got the O course map and race number and were ready to go.
After the gun went off we headed down towards the water with the canoe on a hiking trail that said it was about .25 miles. Started off on the canoe with me in the back, Eric up front and Tim in the middle on map duty. We had 3 paddles but really only 2 could paddle and the canoe was smaller then I expected or that we had at the Flying frog so we were taking in water the whole time and when we hit a big wake from the water skiers we would almost sink. Remember next year, kayaks would be a better choice. We made our first of many mistakes in the canoe and went to the wrong Island, and wasted about 15 minutes searching for the target and even more time as we went about a mile out of our way. We managed to figure out our mistake and headed to the correct Island where the target was waiting for us. Tim was now in front and Eric in the middle as we went to the next of 3 targets, found those easily and then Eric took over the back and I got a break on the way back in.
When we got out of the water we started heading back up to transition with the canoe and missed our turn, we got to carry the canoe and extra bit and added some more missed time, not the best of starts, but we got all three water targets and were on our way to the rappelling section.
We planned to hit one of the mtn bike targets on the way but after a series of missed turns and then when we got to where we thought it was, we couldn't find the target, we back tracked to the road and tried to come in from the other side of the trail. No luck from that side either and now it was time to head to Rappel before it was too late. Got to the rap station and there was a line. We were told there would be two lines running and that it wouldn't take that long, but when we got there the lady said it would be about an hour. luckily she changed the requirement from two members to only 1 member had to do it to get full points so we say and waited.
After Eric went, the plan was to head back and try to get as many orienteering pts as we could before the end. The road back to camp was long and very hilly, by the time we got to transition we had about 30 minutes left.
Found the first target ok, the second target no luck, we looked for an easy one and thought number 8 would not be too hard since it was by a re entrance and a building, but once we got there we had 5 minutes to find it and... no luck. So we hauled ass back and made it in with 30 seconds to spare.
It was a bit frustrating not to find the targets, but we are still gaining experience and learned some valuable lessons from this one. All in all the race was well run and we had a awesome time. Only complaint was with the rappelling section only having the one rope going.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

chase run race report

ok so this wasn't really a real race, but it sure felt like one. The idea is that there are a group of crazy runners at 6am on a tuesday morning that all decide they want to torture themselves and get together to do so. Each runner gives the pace they think they can run this 4.75 mile out and back route. Someone does the calculations to get start times for each pace so that we all end at the same time, if we were to actually stick to that pace. There was a 1.5 mile warmup and 1.5 mile cooldown as well. I am still recovering from hip bursitis so I wasn't ready for 8 miles especially with a 5 mile tempo in the middle, so I parked near the start of the tempo part and ran back towards the group until we met, then back to the start for my warmup. This was a very good idea as when we were done, I was done.
I was running an 8:45 pace, I figured this was doable, but was still not sure since I hadn't done a 5 mile tempo in months. Luckily Cindy was also doing 8:45 so i had someone to share the pain. Our coach says to push each other and to not chit chat. There was one guy ahead of us at 9 min pace or a 1:11 min head start. I'm ready to get going because I see all the speed people waiting around and don't want to get caught.
finally we get going. We start off on a slight downhill and with all the adrenaline at the 1/4 mile mark we are doing a 7:50 pace, Cindy's like "I thought it felt fast" I was like "You are a step a head of me and every time I pull even you speed up", Cindy's like "I thought you were speeding up and pulling a frank", I was like "yeah right, you are pulling a Vivian". This slows us down a bit and now we can chit chat. If you are reading this coach, ignore that last sentence ;-). We hit the 1 mile mark right on 8:45, it feel hard, and we have just started. I try to relax into the pace and just not think about it. We continue to talk and run and when we hit mile two we did 8:40, this is good as the next mile starts with a short but steep hill up to the damn dam, then a flat to coach's parents and the turn around. I see her dad is the marker and once we do around him I tell him to back up about 20 yards. I look down and see this mile we are slacking and at 9:10 pace so I pick up the pace to around 8:30 till we get back to the short hill and Cindy says something like "if you keep this pace up I'm letting you go" I told her I had to surge to get the pace back where it should be. This is the last thing I say that can be considered a real sentence. I remember saying something like, I have to say this now while my brain can still speak with logic, we then pass our coach who is still on the out part and the 3 mile mark at an 8:46 pace. I think that we still have a 3 second cushion to work with and if we can just do a 8:50 for mile 4 we will make it to the end on pace. I tell Cindy we only have 1.75 miles to go and Cindy replies with f$%k, that word will make several repeat appearances over the next 1.75 miles. After about 5 minutes I realize Cindy is no longer talking. I am thinking to myself, please leave me, please leave me so I can slow down. But since she is not talking and only speaking in expletives, I know she is in pain. I try to keep steady and not say anything that will stop us because I am ready to stop and puke, or die or both. We do mile 4 in 8:39, This was a little surprising but since I wasn't looking at my watch as much and just concentrating on keeping the pace I guess it snuck up on me. And I have to give my partner a lot of credit, just a year ago she would have stopped and or slowed but she kept up and didn't quit, even though I know she was hurting. I think she was counting as I kept hearing numbers in my head, but mostly she was just running solidly beside me.
About this time i start hearing footsteps behind us. Everytime I turn and look, nothing, nada, no one, but i keep hearing the footsteps. We pass the 1/4 mile to go sign and the guy that started after us goes by. I say Come on cindy, she says something and we pick up the pace to try to keep him in sight. We go over the last bridge and I thought the end was a 100 yards away so I start picking up the pace again, but then I see it is not over in 100, but more like 250, so I slowed a bit until I really saw the end. I didn't want to get passed again so I had to keep going. Finally the end. stopped the watch at 40:59, or an 8:41 pace. No sooner than I looked at my time then the rest started coming. Everyone looked like I felt, it was hard, but it was supposed to be hard, so mission accomplished. This is one of those workouts I will look back at and know it made a difference. Not only physically, but mentally. We will do this again at the end of June and I'm looking forward to it already. the chance to push yourself to the limit and realize that not only can you survive, but you will get better and faster is worth the pain.

Come on out and join us, you won't be disappointed :-)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

woodlake tri race report

Morning started out at 4:45 with the alarm blasting, got up made breakfast and had a half cup of coffee. packed up the car and got dressed for the race and was out the door at 6:15. Google maps said I had a 1.5 hour drive, but it was only 55 miles so I was suspicious. The first part of the drive was as I remember from last year, it's just when you get close and the major roads get fewer that it gets a little confusing. So I come up to the turn off hwy 27 onto some back road that is supposed to take me to one of the roads that the bike course is on and make my turn. I see a sign that says "no outlet" that's not good, but I'm only supposed to go 3 miles so it's worth the risk. about 1 mile more and I see "pavement ends ahead" also not good. then when the pavement ends there is a sign for a business, I think it's a tire recycling center, but in the morning in a rush I can't be sure what it was, anyway time to turn around. Pull out the IPhone and reroute, it uses google maps, so it wants to send me back down the dirt road through the plant, I don't think so. I make my way back to 27 and start looking for a road south, I mean I'm only 5 miles away can't be that hard. after a couple more dirt roads I find the one I need and am back on track. There were more than a few people lost, I guess they were using google maps also, because I saw a few people making wrong turns and I pointed the right way to them, and they ended up following me, had a whole convoy by the time I got to woodlake.
I was still early so I got a good spot on the racks, no numbers here, first come first serve. picked up the race pack and went to body marking. the two ladies there were quite entertaining. the put my race number on my arm and my leg, the one on my arm was wrong so she crossed out the 0 and put a 2 at the end, she said want anymore? I was like they usually put your age on the back of your leg so you can see who you are racing against. They laughed and said, not here we don't. Then added well maybe on the good looking ones. that just seemed to crack them up even more. I later relayed this story to some women at my rack and they thought it was funny also, I guess i was having a bad hair day ;-). After getting all set up I still had an hour to kill, so I hit the picnic benches to relax for a while before warmup.
Did my warmup run and was feeling good, had a hard time making the decision as to wearing the wetsuit or not as a bunch of people were saying how warm the water was. I finally decided not to and headed down to do my warmup swim. Got in the water and changed my mind. Went and got the wetsuit and put it on just in time for the first wave's 5 min warning. Since I was in the last wave I still had 13 minutes to go. Swam out and over so I was out of the way and did some warming up. Felt really good in the wetsuit, glad I went and put it on.

so on to the race, finally...

Swim: 9:54, Started off to the left with a good line on the far buoy and a nice flag pole to site on. Hit the first 200 hard and was clear of the bunch, but in another 50 we were at the first turn and ran into the 2nd wave. Had to pick my way through 6 or 7 swimmers, and was in the clear again. The next turn was about 50 or so more, but a lot less congested and headed back towards the shore. never really found anyone to draft off, but the wetsuit was working well and didn't think I needed it. No foot cramps or major issues, sited well and felt strong the whole way.

T1: 2:06, had some issues getting the strap to pull down the zipper, but once I got it, the wetsuit came off easy and the rest of the transition was smooth.

bike: 53:57, not in as good a bike shape as I was last year at this time due to early season marathon training so my goal was to come close to last years time and hope my improved run would pull it off for me. Started up the first hill and my legs were just not into it. I think I was still sore from Thursday tough workout, especially the hip flexors so climbing was tough. After the turn around, they started to come around and I tried to really push the 2nd half back. When I rolled in I was only 30 seconds off last years time so I was quite happy and but my low back was hurting a little so I was a little worried as well.

T2: 2:03, could not run well right off the bike so I hobbled to the rack and started to changed the shoes, I had a hard time getting my left shoe on correctly, the back kept getting stuck, so this took longer than I wanted, but at least all the bending over helped loosen my back up.

Run: 27:27, Last year I did a 25:12 on this run course and I was hoping to break 25. It is advertised as 3 miles, but my GPS puts it at 2.85, so under 25 is definitely in my reach. Started off with upper 8 min/ mile pace and felt a little stiff, but knew it would come to me. After a half mile things started feeling good and I picked up the pace a bit. a quarter mile later my stomach said stop running or else. So I stopped and walked and started looking in the woods for a secluded spot just in case. Luckily the feeling went away after a minute and a half and I was able to run again. Even with the 1:30 walk I was at 9:45 pace. Mile two was going real well, I was running 8:15 pace and legs were telling me I could do more if I wanted. I was a bit concerned about my GI issues so I kept it where it was, but right at the end of the mile they came back and worse. This time I had to walk for 2 - 3 minutes and was really in danger of going, but once again it finally went away. I started running again right at 2 miles and it was right at 10 min pace, so even with the extended walk break mile 2 was still 10:20 pace. This time when I started running I only had .85 to go and I knew my time was screwed so I didn't push anymore and just ran a 8:40 pace. This felt too easy and I just got into a depressed mode as I knew I could have had an awesome run time if only...

I'm still waiting for that race where I can have all three go right, but for now it's time to put this one behind me and start preparing for the 6 hour adventure race coming up on the 6th of June.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

White lake sprint Race Report

oh so close to the perfect race for me. It's been a long time since I've had a race where the swim/bike/run have all come together and just been perfect. If not for the Swim, this would have been it. But I am getting ahead of myself.

Morning started off ok with breakfast and gatorade, was ready to go and was just watching tv. We headed out around 6:15 to get there nice and early to get setup, warmed up and ready. Felt good on the bike ride over to the race site, it was about 2 miles so I used it as my bike warmup with the first mile easy, then picked up the pace to race pace for the last bit. Racked the bike setup a little before going to get the chip and body marking. Found out that the swim was not going to be wetsuit legal as the water temp was 79 degrees. With a bike ride over I didn't have shoes to walk around in so I was barefooting it and normally that doesn't bother me, more on this later. After getting all organized, went for a quick mile warmup, legs were feeling good, not great, but good and it was still early so my hopes were up. After warmup and final check of transition I still had 30 minutes to wait, but I couldn't take the transition area anymore so I headed to the lake. With about 15 minutes to start I got in for a quick swim warmup. After warmup I was standing around in the water and my left foot cramped up. I walked it out and was thinking this is good because now it won't happen on the swim.

Swim: 18:26, started off great, had a good line and was out in front. Was just starting to settle in when my right foot started to cramp up. normally it will work itself out, but it just kept getting worse and worse until I had to stop and massage it out. I thought this was a bad omen, but once it was gone, I started back up and tried to stay on line and just go at a good pace. Got out of the water in 17:30 and crossed the timing mat in 18:26.

T1: 2:18 took a little too much time here, but was still sulking about my foot cramp.

Bike: 40:14, Ended up getting 2nd in my division on the bike, didn't think it was that great, but it was windy and it must have affected everyone the same as I was really pushing the bike, the first lap and the second even more. Can't wait to see the pics as my face was just in pain the whole way. The only time I wasn't pushing hard was the last 200 yards when I pulled my feet out of the shoes to get ready to transition. I was also happy to see that there wasn't a lot of drafting out there.

T2: 1:42 Was not expecting much on the run after that hard ass bike but still I didn't dawdle here, got my socks and shoes on, took off the helmet, got my race number and hat and jogged out.

26:10 Started running and I was like wow, my legs feel good, what's up with that. I figured it wouldn't last, but still I wanted to keep a 9 min pace and try to settle in and get right around 27. I just kept going and my legs kept getting better and better. Got to the turn around in 13:36. last year it was 14:11. half way there and I just needed a 13:24 to break 27 on the way back. When I hit the water stop I grabbed some to splash on my head, took a quick swallow and picked up the pace one more time for the last 1. I was averaging 8:40 at this time and new I still had some left. Made the final left onto the main road and turned it up again. I did not want to get passed on the final stretch. But as fate would have it I was passed by one guy in my division. He flew by me and I knew I wouldn't be able to keep pace. 3 seconds later another guy went by me. But he as going just a bit faster, so I slid in behind him and tried to get ready for the final kick. We hit the final straight away and I tried to go around him, we ran neck and neck for the last 30 yards, but my legs just wouldn't go any faster and he got me on the line.

Total time 1:28:48 good for 5th in Master Clydesdale's but without that foot cramp would have gotten third. I'm over it now, but it took a while. Very happy about my bike and run, not so about the swim which is usually my strong suit. I've got woodlake coming up on the 23rd. That was my best race last year so got to be ready

Sunday, April 19, 2009

First brick of the season

When I saw this one on my schedule I was like cool, first brick of the season. Sure it was 30 miles of biking and 2 miles of running, but since I haven't run in forever, any kind of running is good for me. Woke up Saturday morning and was not in any kind of mood to go out and ride. Lilyan had two birthday parties to go to so I had to hit the road by 8 in order to get done in time to pick her up from ballet at 11 and rush her over to the first party. Wanted to get going at 7:30, but procrastinated enough that I didn't get started until 7:45. I decided to do the 27 mile route I had done a couple weeks back which is fairly easy to not get lost on. While last time there were no dogs to be seen, for some reason there seemed to be a dog barking every where I turned. But luckily I was not chased by any of them. Of course it helped to get me moving faster each time I heard the barking. It was going really well and getting more used to my aerobars again so I was quite happy. I made the turn home and started to eat my powerbar. 30 minutes later I pull into my driveway and start the transition to run. I start off and my legs are killing me, I feel like I am running like 12 min miles and like it is so hard. After 1/2 mile I look at my watch and see I'm doing 9:45 / mile and I'm like woo hoo, no wonder why this hurts so much. At that same time I start a long down hill section so I slow down and let the heart rate come down a little. finished the first mile in 9:42. Start feeling good now and pick up the pace and finish the second mile in 8:55. Great workout, gives me some confidence for my tri coming up on the 10th.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Me, Myself, and I

The three of us went for a ride together on Saturday. I told myself it was going to be an easy 30 miles as written on our schedule, but myself objected and said we should go more since it's so nice out. I was not hearing any of it but me popped up and voted with myself and I was overruled. So I looked up the loop that we've done in the past and it was 36 miles. All of us agreed that was enough and out we went. I was a bit cold and I was bitching up a storm the first ten minutes. But finally I warmed up and got into an easy rhythm. The first 20 miles was a southeast route and the wind was out of the west south west so it was easy going and we averaged 19 miles an hour and kept our heart rate down. I knew we were going to be in deep doo doo on the way back but just kept it to myself.
When we hit the left turn and started the ride back our speed dropped from the 20's right to 15. The way back is also slightly uphill. Me told us just to put are head's down and just try to keep the ave speed over 16 so I hit the lap button on my watch and started to push. Myself, whose idea it was to do the extra 6 miles was in charge of the open areas where the wind was full on. He would get down into the drops and be as aero as possible and push as hard as possible. When he got tired, me would take over and sit up to recover before I would take over on the break heads and pedal a consistent pace. Me was in charge of the hills. There isn't a lot of hills on the way back, just some bumps, but with the wind, even a bump is a hill. The three of us would split time, at about mile 7 of the 16 I was dying and ready to quit. Myself had just given it all for a mile and still the average dropped from 16.4 to 16.1 and the wind just wouldn't stop. Just then me took over and did an easy pull and let our average drop. Somehow we manage to keep it at 16 and came to an easy spot. This gave us some hope and at mile 10 we must have hit the end of the climb because I was able to keep the pace over 16 without hitting to high of an hr. At mile 10 myself took over and did a hard pull to get us back to 16.3, then each of the next 3 miles the average went up .1 until we were at mile 14 and at 16.6. I knew we would make the goal of over 16 mph ave for the return trip so we sat up and coasted in the last mile or so.
It just so happened that the last mile was not into the wind anymore so we ended 16 miles at 16.6 and combined with the first 20 at 19 gave us a 17.9 ave mph. I was worried there at mile 8 on the way back that evil bill was going to show up and ruin everything, but we were able to keep him under wraps, at least for the time being.
It was tough ride at the end of a tough week with 4 bikes and 3 swims, and then 12 hours of yard work/staining was still ahead. I think I should have taken Monday off from work as I really needed a vacation from my weekend