Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 - the year in review

Well this has certainly been a wondrous year.
I have made a lot of great strides in my running. Ha Ha, pun intended.
I accomplished many goals with some still out there.

My accomplishments are as follows: completed my first Duathlon, became a member of the Half Fanatics
One goal that I am looking to do is to get my half marathon time under 2 hours.
My last half that I ran in the course was short, so even though it is in the books as a 13.1 event in 1 hr 57 mins, I know the truth and I will be working to get under that 2 hour mark. I feel that I will be able to get there. Then I will be working to do it in the heat as well.
In looking at what I have done in the past I have seen the following.
Well I was finally able to get the data off of garmin connect website.
Some very interesting stats I will say.
My overall mileage is, to my astonishment, 1,385.15 miles. This does include running and biking. Although there were some times that I was not running with my Garmin so I know that the mileage is low but not that much. The mileage counted for 262 activities. My average speed while running was 5.7 mph and my average speed on the bike was 13.2. The mileage breaks down like this. Running was 684.84 and the bike was 700.19
So now I have some real goals to look at to try to improve upon. Obviously I am going to work on getting faster and improving my times, but now I can look to improve my mileage, activities and average speed.
I did go back and look at my 2010 results but the customize option was not working.
I am not sure what my goals are going to be, but I definitely want to improve my fitness on the bike. I think I am finally getting it tuned up correctly. I am looking at doing at least 2 duathlons next year, maybe more.
Of course I need to start updating this more frequently as well.
post later.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Gar Williams Half Marathon

Well I am not sure what I was thinking but I decided to take part in the Gar Williams Half Marathon.
It is put on by the DC Road Runners.
This was an out and back course on the C&O Tow path trail.
There was not much support on the course. They had 2 water stops.
There were no spectators but then again it would not be very easy for them to line the course. It was bad enough that it was very congested with the runners we also had to watch out for other people that were just using the path.
All in all is was a very good day to run. the event was put on very well. I did not get the time that I wanted but I was using it more as a training run and not a race run, if that makes sence.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Annapolis Half Marathon - race report

Well here we go.
This was my first race as a Half Fanatic (number 1509). I was really looking forward to it. This was the inaugural running of this event. So with that in mind I knew there would be some, shall we say, hick ups. And there were.
First, was the traffic and parking. We could not believe that there was so much issues with getting cars into the Navy Academy parking lot and parked. Well it was a good thing that we left with plenty of time to allow us to get prepared and into the corrals.
Speaking of corrals, there were none. Thought that there was going to be some there but none of us saw any. Well we took our position toward the back of the pack. No big deal really. this was not that big of an event. there was maybe around 2500 runners.
They started the race just a little bit behind schedule, but then again it was no big surprise. We get to running. The temperature was in the mid to upper 40s with a cool breeze every now and then. So with that I went with a long compression tech shirt with my Half Fanatic tee over that. Cotton gloves with tights. I was debating on going with shorts and a compression Tee with arm warmers. I am glad that I did not. There were times when it was down right cold, especially when we crossed the bridge.
So we start running around the stadium and into some of the back residential streets. These were very crowded. It might have been a little easier if we did not have to dodge parked cars. Maybe they can fix that for next year.
So as we are going along, we noticed that there were no mile markers. was not too sure what to make out about it. I actually missed the first water stop as they were really short of help and there was no water available and I did not want to wait for a cup so I continued on.
We later found out that the person that was in charge of setting up the mile markers broke his foot that morning.
Well at any rate, it was actually kind of nice not having the mile markers to distract me. I could actually focus on my running.
Another issue that came up on the course was a small out and back section on the Baltimore and Annapolis trail. It was very narrow and to have two lanes of traffic was difficult enough we had some people that were running two even three a breast when they really should not have. I was waiting for someone to run into someone else. Not sure if it ever happened or not, but that part of the course really needs to be addressed.
I will say that spectator support was very good.
Coming up to the end I was feeling very good. Coming in strong. I looked at the clock and it read 2:02 and change. I then looked at my Garmin, which I was trying not to look at the whole time, and it read 1:57 and change. I was really stoked! I did it. I was able to run 13.1 miles in under 2 hours, or did I? Upon closer look, my mileage read 12.7. As did other peoples watches. What happened?!?!
Well, the course was short. it might have been the fact that the mile markers were not out there but we missed a turn thus making the course short by .35 miles.
I did do some math and calculated my pace for the last mile and it did give me the time of under 2 hours.
However, I was having issues with the time and my wife finally told me to just get over it. Well I am, because when I look back at the goals that I set for myself I realize that it won't be long before I am able to get to a 1:55 or below time in the half marathon. Then it might just be time to start looking at tackling the full marathon beast again.
Only time will tell.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Hershey Half Marathon - Mission Accomplished

Well the title says it all.

I had two goals that I wanted to accomplish with this race.

First I wanted to finish as it was my last race that I was using to qualify for the Half Fanatics.

Two, I wanted to get a new personal record out of it.

Well, not only did I finish and get a new PR, I crushed my old PR. I will get to that in a minute. Let me break it down for you as to how things went.

So we leave Friday late afternoon on our way up to Hershey. Instead of staying at a hotel we stayed at the Hershey Campground. We love to camp, so tying in a camping weekend around a race was just too good not to pass up.

We check in at the campground and found out that they were still rebuilding after the storm that came through in September. They were really flooded out. The bathrooms were still not operational. They had to bring in bathrooms on trailers. These were not portapotties but very clean executive type bathrooms. They also had another trailer that had showers. They were very nice.

Anyway, we get our trailer all set up and call it a night. We get up Saturday morning and take our time getting breakfast as packet pickup is not until 10 am.

We finally start to head over to Hershey stadium on a clear, cool and windy morning. This was the second year for Hershey to be doing this event and the first year they had an expo with vender's. With that in mind I did not think that it was going to be anything to write home about, and it wasn't but it was good to see some vender's out there.

So we go to the main tent and pickup my packet. Part of the package was that we were given two tickets to Hershey after dark plus we were able to get up to 4 more at a reduced rate. This was a good deal as we had our kids with us as well. As it turned out the person that was suppose to be selling the extra tickets weren't there yet. Being that the park did not open until 2 this was not that big of an issue. So I looked into my packet, so that my bib was in there, verified that I had 2 tickets to Hershey after dark and I saw a safety pin so I thought all was good. More on that later.

So we had some time to kill. What better way to spend it that take a stroll down memory lane and visit the place were my wife and I met. So we did. We drove down the road a piece to visit Lebanon Valley College. We went to the College center and to the bookstore. A lot has changed but a lot also stayed the same. We talked to our kids about the kinds of things that we did, where we hung out and just how things were. The campus was a buzz as it was homecoming. The Marching band was warming up in different areas of the campus and then they came together and marched around before going over to the football stadium. It was a good time. We think the kids got a kick out of it as well. Anyway, we got some lunch at a known college hangout, which brought back more memories and then it was time to go pick up our extra tickets for Hershey after dark.

We head back to the expo and actually pick up coupons for $7.99 off regular admission for up to 4 tickets. So instead of buying the tickets at the expo, we use the coupon and buy the tickets at the door. Ok. That works too. So anyway, while there at the expo I decide to visit a vendor and get some knit gloves and arm warmers. I did not look closely at the weather report. Am I glad I picked up those items.

So we had a good time at Hershey after dark, rode some rides and played some games. Then we went back to the campground to have some dinner and sit around the campfire. While dinner was cooking, I decided to get my gear ready for tomorrow. I pulled my bib number out of my packet and realized that there was only one safety pin in the packet. I started to panic but kept it together. I found two more in the trailer and figured I would be able to get one tomorrow before the start of the race. So after dinner I was surprised that no one was interested in going back into the park, which was fine by me. I already told my wife that I was not going to. So we let the fire die down and we all went to bed.

I had set my alarm for 6 am, it went off and I hit snooze (I thought) and closed my eyes. I woke up a half hour later and realized what happened. I almost went into a panic but then realized that all was ok for now. It was a chilly morning. I got the hot water going for my oatmeal and coffee. While the water was heating up I went to the rest rooms. When I came back the water was not quite ready yet so I got dressed. I ate breakfast and had a couple sips of coffee and then got my wife up so that she could drive me over to the start. I will say that I was very glad that I bought the arm warmers and gloves. They came in real handy as the temps were in the high 40s low 50s. It was a bit breezy but not like it was the day before.

So my wife drops me off and I walk over to the packet pickup tent. I was able to get a forth safety pin so that my bib would lay correctly on my shirt. So I go through my warm up routine, jog a bit, visit the portapotties, jog some more and do some stretching. I was feeling a bit nervous. This was my A race. I wanted to do well. Going into this race my ultimate goal is to get to a 2 hour time, but for this race I wanted to get 2:10 or under. Being that I got a 2:13 at a very hilly Freedoms Run a couple of weeks before I figured this should not be a problem.

So the runners are getting in the corals. An announcers voice comes over the air and makes some comments about the course and general information. I am listening to him but honestly not really paying attention. I am listening just closely enough to hear if there are any course changes or any other important things to keep in mind. Nothing. Time to really focus and concentrate and a last review of my game plan. That game plan was to run as comfortably as I could while keeping it under a 10 min mile pace. I figured that if I did that I would be under a 2:10 finishing time.

So as race reports go this is going to be real short as there is not much to say about the course itself. That is from what I can remember. I spent 4 years of my college life around Hershey that I knew what it looked like so I was not doing a lot of site seeing. I was focused on moving my feet forward, keeping my breathing under control and looking at my Garmin watch. The only thing that I was looking at my watch was the minute area of my pace. If it read 10 I was too slow, if it read 9 I was just right. If it read 8 I would evaluate how I felt. I only remember seeing an 8 once and I was going down hill so I did dial it back a bit. I felt focused. I took water at most aid stations and every other one I took Gatorade. At mile 10 I saw my wife and kids. She tried to take a picture of me, then ran a head. She told me to slow down so she could take a picture. I said, "no, I got this!". I was feeling really good. Taking it nice and relaxed. I saw them again around mile 12 and I knew it. I got this. But I kept to my word that I told my self before the race. Don't look at anything except for your min per mile pace, and maybe your heart rate every now and then.

I knew that I was going to get a PR. I was stoked. I turn the corner into the stadium and I am feeling good. I start to push it a bit. Instead of finishing on the field we run along the track and finish behind the end zone about in the middle. So I turn the corner and I look at the time. I am almost in shock. It read 2:02 and change. 2:02!!! I screamed in my head. Holy cow! I almost could not believe it. My official time was 2:02;36 not far off of my garmin time of 2:02;43. That is about 11 min PR from the Freedoms Run that I did 15 days earlier. I was beside myself. Now I am most confident that I can get under the 2 hour mark sooner rather then later. I can not wait to start focusing on that goal.

Speaking of goals, this was my third race that I was using to qualify for the Half Fanatics. I had my email draft all ready to go. All I had to do was enter the Hershey Half Marathon and the date and hit send. I did that. With in 24 hours I got a response back.

Hi Jim,You definitely qualify for the Fanatics at the Neptune (1 Moon) Level with your 3 races in 37 days.Congratulations.

All that I have to do is go through the process of completing the application on line and then I am in. I will up date with my id later once I receive it.

Now. Whats next. Not sure. I do have a couple of races planed but they are far enough out that I have not put down a clear training schedule yet. I am going to miss the Turkey Trot this year and I am rally down about it. I figured with what I was able to do at Hershey then I wanted to see what I would do at a shorter race. I am looking for a 5k or 10 for this winter but have not found one yet. We shall see what transpires.

Well that is all for now thanks for reading.

Monday, October 3, 2011

2 down - 1 to go Freedom's Run Race report

Well there is number 2.
On October 1st I participated in the Freedom's Run Half Marathon in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. It actually started on the campus of Shepherd University and headed into Maryland.
this is a running festival where they have a 5k, 10k Half Marathon and Full Marathon. They also have a kids run. All of the races start on the campus of Shepherd University except for the Marathon where they started at Harper's Ferry in the National Park.
For the Half Marathon we cross over the Potomac and run on the C&O Canal. We were told numerous times that even if you feel good to keep your pace down as there is a big hill at mile 3.
Well they were not kidding. But let me back up a bit.
I was not able to make it to packet pickup on Friday so I had to get up early to get up there for Saturday morning packet pickup. I live just under an hour away so instead of leaving at 6:30 for an 8:00 am start, I left about 5:45 as I really did not know where I was going. I wanted to make sure I got there and got myself squared away. I have a habit of not being a very good traveler especially when it comes to going somewhere that I have never been to and being alone.
Anyway, I got there with no issues as it was in the dark and raining. It was not raining very hard so that was a good thing. I had some oatmeal before leaving the house and I brought a peanut butter sandwich to eat a little later on.
I was able to find a parking spot in a lot right next to the start and portapotties. I went and picked up my packet and went back to my car to chill out and relax. I ended up going to the portapotties a couple of times before hand so it was good that I was parked close as it was still raining. It was not a heavy rain, it was more like a misting rain, one that is more of an annoyance then anything. The rain did help to keep the temperatures down. When we started it was in the high 40s to low 50s.
As it got closer to gun time, the rain let up. I got out of the car and started warming up a bit. With one last stop at the portapotties I made my way to the official start line. So there were a few announcements before the race got underway, one of particular was that when you are running on the C&O Path and are feeling good, so good that you want to up your pace....DON'T!
There is a big long hill coming up at mile 3 and 4. And just before gun time they sang the Battle hymn of the Republic.
And we are off.
I was set in my ways about just running a nice comfortable pace as I was not going for any specific time plus I knew that this was a fairly hilly course, and not that there were a lot of hills just steep ones.
So we cross over the Potomac and head down a steep hill toward the C&O Canal. There were police officers along the way that were holding up traffic. I try to make eye contact with them and say thank you for their time.
So we are running down the C&O trail and it is a narrow trail with some obstacles like branches and mud puddles that we have to deal with but nothing major.
So we exit the C&O trail and there it is. The big hill that they were telling us about.
It is a steep one and goes on for what seems like forever. I did hear a familiar voice behind me and it turns out that it was Doug from the local running group that I run with. I knew he was running in it but being that our schedules for before and after the race were different it did not make sense for us to car pool or we would have. Doug is training for the Marine Corp Marathon and was using this as a training run in preparation for the Marathon. He was looking to keep as close to a 10 min mile pace as possible and I was right there with him so we ran together for a bit.
We chatted a bit about things in general and nothing in particular.

I started to get into a zone and really started feeling good. We talked less and then all of a sudden I noticed that he was not beside me anymore. Well there was a water stop up a head and when I got up there did a quick turn around and he was no where to be seen. Well I kind of felt bad but kept on going. I figured that my orange hat would be a beacon for him to pace off of, plus we really did not discuss running together before the race anyway.

By now I was around mile 8 and still feeling good. I was not looking at my watch because I did not what to know anything. I was feeling good and therefore did not care what the time or the pace was. I figured I would analyze after the fact.

So I kept on plodding along and figured I would try to push it a little bit. I was really feeling good. My energy felt good as did my legs. I figured I would push for some negative splits and thought that it should be fairly easy to do as it was mostly down hill the second half of the race.

Well it seems that I was on pace to do just that.

We travel through the historic town of Sharpsburg and we are a mere 5k away from the finish. I start to push a little more, but not too much.

I see the bridge, I pick it up a little bit more. I start to pick people off one by one.

Here I go, coming across the bridge. I pass another person. I look ahead, there is someone else.

Coming into the home stretch, I look to the left and I can see into the stadium and the finish line.

I start to pick it up now, but not too much as there is a down hill that takes us to the stadium floor. I don't want to go too fast and fall forward. I have seen that happen and it is not a pretty sight.

There it is, the finish line.

I look at the clock and it read 2:13 and I think I AM GOING TO PR?!?!?!!? NO WAY!!!!!

I pick it up even more and cross the finish line. My garmin time was 2:13;30 but the official gun time was 2:13;58 I will take it. I was not trying for a PR but the weather was great for running in and I just felt great overall.

This goes to show that I fair better in the cooler weather then in the warmer weather races.

So at the half way point I figured I would try for negative splits, and I did that.

Here are my times:

Mile Time Avg Pace

1 10:12 10:12

2 10:19 10:19

3 10:30 10:30

4 11:09 11:10

5 10:13 10:13

6 10:39 10:39

7 10:39 10:39

8 10:31 10:31

9 10:07 10:07

10 10:03 10:03

11 9:32 9:32

12 9:30 9:30

13 9:04 9:04

14 0:56 7:48

Can not wait until Hershey. Hope I can improve on the time above. I know that Hershey is a fairly flat course so I am hoping that things go as well as they can.

That is all for now. Thanks for reading.

I don't feel that I am a very good writer so please provide any and all comments. I am hopping to improve my writting skills.

Friday, September 16, 2011

That's one in the books

So I am on my way to completing my next goal. Become a member of the Half Fanatics.
I took part in the International Peace Half Marathon.
This was an event that took place in Washington, DC on the C&O Canal tow path.
I was not looking to break any records, but I did have a good time.
I ran with a couple of "Purcellville Plodders". That is the group of runners that I am a part of.
I will say that I knew from a couple of people that this event is very low key. In fact they have a limit on the number of runners that can register. they will only allow 250. It was one of the cheapest half marathon events that I have run in. I was only doing this event so that it would count on my way to gaining membership in the Half Fanatics.
Anyway, there were a couple of items that came up that was a little upsetting. One was that fact that there were no bathrooms available. When asked about it we were told go and ask some of the shops or restaurants down the street. Really? Well it ended up not being that big of a deal. The other issue that I was going to write about I have decided not to as an email from the race director came out that covered it.
So now lets get to the meat of the story.
Race report.
It was a nice morning. Not too hot yet and almost not a cloud in the sky. This was not a chip timed event but rather timed by the clock. Again, not that big of a deal.
So part of this event was to acknowledge the lives that were lost on the attack of the US 10 years ago on Sept 11th. They rang a bell for each of the lives lost at the Pentagon. The National Anthem was sung (quite well) and then we were off.
Well for the past week we have had nothing but rain. So needless to say there were some puddles that we had to run through. The C&O is not a paved trail. It is more like crushed stone. So these puddles were more like mud puddles. Some of the runners were trying to run around then acting like they did not want to get their feet wet. Well for me I was more concerned about splashing the muddy water up on another runner. I was not too concerned about getting my feet wet. I did in fact bring a change of socks and an extra pair of shoes.
This was an out and back course with water stops about every 2 miles or so. The two other guys that came along were Dan and Mike. Well Dan is a faster runner then Mike and I so he went on ahead. Mike and I stayed with each other for quite some time. We were just chugging along having some very light conversation, taking in the scenery and just enjoying the moment. We did have to be mindful of the trail as it was not closed for our use only. There were a fair amount of other people out there ridding their bikes, running and walking and just finally enjoying a day without any rain.
Well like I said, Mike and I were keeping a very good pace until about mile 8.5. Mike had to take a break. I slowed down with him to keep him company. He urged me to go on. And even though I was not running for a specific time, I just wanted to have an official finish time. Which was good because this event did not have a time limit on it. Yet, I was torn. I enjoy the company of other runners, especially runners that I know. But I really did not want to slow down. I was feeling good. I was not pushing myself too much. Mike reassured me that it was ok to go on without him, so I did.
After a bit I felt myself getting tired. Well I only brought three Gu's. One I took just before the beginning of the race, one at about mile 5 and the last one at mile 10. I could feel myself getting tired. I could also feel the crust of dried sweat/salt stains on the side of my face. ***note to self - look into adding some electrolytes on the next one. The aid stations that they had set up were only providing water. Again, not a big deal.
I ended up learning a lot about myself on this run. This was a C race for me. I went out there enjoyed myself greatly. My A race that I am building toward is the Hershey Half in the middle of October.
Now I will say that my overall goal for my Half Marathon time is 2 hours. Right now my PR is 2:15 (and change).
I have been having some very goods runs as of late and feel that goal is definitely obtainable.
Not sure if I am going to try to get that accomplished in Hershey but maybe within a year.
Well that is all for now. Thanks for reading.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Earthquake then Hurricane.......

Well this certainly has been a very interesting week.
I started upping my mileage in preparation for my half marathons that are coming up. I have been feeling really good too.
Well on Tuesday we had an Earthquake. So there I was in my office at my desk and we hear this loud rumbling. Well for some reason I yelled out "it's an earthquake". At first it sounded like a helicopter was landing on the building and no we don't have a helo pad.
Now I did spend some time in Northern California and have experienced a couple of quakes so it was really no big deal for me. Some people were really shocked about it.
Then up comes Irene from the south. It was really no big deal for us as we were far enough away from the center of the storm. It was like we had a big thunderstorm. We had some debris in the road but that was it. I was able to get my run in on Saturday and Sunday with no issues. The one route that I was going to do on Sunday does flood quite a bit so I changed my running plans. I did miss going out with a group of people that I run with on the weekends but from all of the emails that were going back and forth it did not look like many of them were going out on Sunday anyway. Most decided to do their long run on Saturday. I was doing a short distance so I opted to run by myself on Saturday. I will say that I had a great run on Sunday. I kept it slow and steady. I have noticed that when I go out with the group on long runs that I end up going out too fast and have to walk a fair bit. Well not this past Sunday. I was able to keep my own pace and not worry about keeping up with anyone. I ran the whole time. Now I will say that it was a bit difficult to do as it was a hilly route and the wind picked up every now and then.
Well all in all I had a great week of running and looking forward to next week.
So my training is set up that I have two hard weeks then a light week. So next week is a light week so I hope that I wont get too anxious.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

I am........A Duathlete

Well I did it.
One more notch on the shoe.
On August 7th I started and finished the Duthe2 Duathlon. It was great. I really enjoyed myself.
I can not remember how or where I heard about this event, but for some time I had been thinking about doing one. It all started way back when I started training for the Marine Corp Marathon, maybe even before that.
Anyway, the point being is that I started to do some cross training by riding my bike. I have 2 road bikes now. The first one that I was using I got off of craigslist a couple of years ago. It is a 1977 Fuji S10-S. It is a nice bike and I like it a lot, but as I started to increase my riding mileage I noticed that I was having some difficulty on some of the more challenging hills. This is a 12 speed bike with the Front crank set being 42 x 52T and the rear cluster/flywheel being 14 - 30T. I will say that who ever I bought it from either really took care of it or hardly ever rode it. It shifts really smoothly and just seems to glide down the road. I did some research and it would appear that it has all original components. Now that is not to say that they might have been replace with OEM parts at one time but it is hard for me to tell. Even the tires still say Fuji approved on it. So in looking at the Duthe2 Duathlon the distances are as follows: 2 mile run, 26 mile bike, 4 mile run. I am not sure if this is considered an Olympic distance or a Sprint. I started to look at the Fuji and the rides that I had been doing and thinking "I need more gears". I thought about looking at trying to upgrade the Fuji with a three ring crank and possibly doubling the flywheel at most but later decided that I did not want the change the vintageness of the bike. Who knows, I might even ruin the way it rides and I don't want to do that. So I started my search on ebay and craigslist. Why not go to a local bike shop you say? Well for a number of reasons, one major one is that I am not rich. Now granted I am not an expert on bikes and not sure if I am getting a good deal or not but I did ok on the Fuji so figured I would give it a shot.
Well I found one. A Trek 420. It has a three ring crank and a seven ring flywheel. It was very close by to my office so I stopped by on my way home. I took it for a little ride around the block. It felt ok. It would need some adjustment but not much. The brakes worked and the gears seemed to shift ok. I did not ride for a long time as the wheels were flat and he did not have a pump to inflate the tires. I did notice that the tires would probably need to be replaced. No big deal. Its time I start getting my hands dirty. I attended a couple of bike maintenance classes at some of the different bike shops so I have some knowledge about different things. Just enough to be dangerous.
Anyway, enough rambling. I guess when you don't post for a while you have a lot to say.
On to why I start to post to begin with. Race Report.
The Duthe2 was put on by Ripit Events and even though this was my first Duathlon it was not my first race. This event was top notch. From the day I registered (October 29th) until I crossed the finish line I was impressed about everything. The communications that they provided was excellent. Now lets get down to business.
I get up to get ready. I am nervous as hell. Kind of like that feeling you have when you toe the line for your very first race, or your first marathon. I was not sure how things were going to go but I did have a goal. I want to complete this in under 3 hours. Lets see how I did.
At first they said that there were about 550 participants, so they had about 6 waves. I was in wave 3. I arrived at the venue, get my bike off my car and start gathering my stuff. I was alone. None of my family or friends were able to make it. Yea this bothered me a bit but what are you going to do. As I opened my trunk to get my helmet out I noticed that I put my bike pump in there. Good thing. My tires needed air. I filled the tires with air, gathered my things and started to make my way to the transition area. After a good walk, I get my bike set up in the rack and get everything set up. I have clip in shoes on my Fuji but the Trek had shoe cages which I decided to keep those and not switch them out. I did not want to slip or hurt myself as I never got comfortable running in bike shoes. Well I get my water bottles set up and mix up my nutrition, just enough time for me to hit the portapotties and get to the corals.
So here we go. Wave one - off, wave two - off, wave three - its on!
The two mile loop has 2 water stations, one right after the start line and the other is at mile one. They have water and Gatorade. I get some Gatorade at the second water station and I am able to complete the first run in 19:05 that was good for 308th place. I get in and out of transition fairly quickly with a time of 1:16 and 56th place. I did not have to change out my shoes so that helped. I know no one has ever won a race with a good time in transition but you can certainly loose one. Not that I was even thinking of winning anything, I just wanted to finish.
So now we are out on the bike course. A 13 mile loop that you complete twice. This was a very hilly course with two really steep hills to deal with, which made me kind of glad I had the extra climbing rings on the Trek and that I was not on my Fuji. I finished the bike leg with a time of 1:44;09 this was 263rd. I was tired but ready to plod along for the last 4 miles. From my training I knew that the first mile or so would be a little tough getting the legs to move, and it was. I came out of second transition with a time of 1:54, 182nd fastest time. The run course was set up to where there is more downhill on the first mile so that made the second mile more uphill. I keep my feet moving forward. I make my second loop and here it comes, the finish line.
The time on the counter read 3:01 and change, but keep in mind, I was in wave three. Each wave started 4 minutes after the previous. So I actually had 8 minutes to play with.
My official time was 2:53;43. I was stoked! But then I was sad as I had no one there to celebrate with. Well I did get over that. I got my medal, a bottle of water and a banana and walked around to try and keep loose.
So when it was all said and done, my time of 2:53;43 gave me 36th in my age group and 269th overall. There were 389 finishers. I am happy. I got my base time and now I am looking to improve on that. The trouble is there does not seem to be many duathlon events around where I live, and I think I mentioned before that I am not rich.
So to end this I would definitely recommend a duathlon to anybody that is thinking about it. I had a great time and felt a wondrous sense of accomplishment.
I don't see myself doing a triathlon but I have also learned to never say never.

Next on the "bucket list" is to become a member of the Half Fanatics. This should happen by October so stay tuned.
Thanks for reading and let me know if you have any comments.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Happy Memorial Day weekend

Well here we are.
I am one week away from my A race for the year. And I will say that after taking off a month from being injured I don't feel so bad. Of course, now that summer has decided to show up has really but a damper on things.
My original plan was to hit it hard after Cherry Blossom and go for a 2:05 time, but then the Holy Spirit decided to mess with my plans. Not to get too religious but we recently had confirmation and in the Homily the Bishop mentioned that the Holy Spirit like to mess with your plans. It just seemed to click with me.
Anyway, I will have fun and enjoy myself when I am running in the Virginia Wine Country Half Marathon next weekend. Its the inaugural running of this event, plus it is literally almost in my back yard. In fact, I have run part of the route numerous times over the past years. I am sure that it will be a warm day and the humidity will come out, but I don't think there is anything that is going to stop me from having a good time.
The group that I run with be participating in the group competition. Not real sure what that is all about but we shall see. I am glad that my calf seems to be feeling much better now. I have been doing some self massaging as well as stretching some. Last week was when I got back into running. Chose a very hilly course as my first real run. It might have been part mental but I did feel my calf a bit.
Ok so I am rambling a bit and I am all over the place. It has just been such a crazy past couple of weeks.
So in the up coming months I have a half marathon in June (next weekend), nothing in July (yet), my first Duathlon in Aug. and nothing for the rest of the year. I am unsure if I am going to do anything yet. There is a duathlon in Oct that I have been thinking about doing, as well as a couple of half marathons. Oh, can not forget about the annual turkey trot that will happen in Nov. Almost got a PR last year. In fact I missed it by 36 seconds. Come to think of it I probably would have PR'd if it weren't for the fact that the weekend before I ran the Marine Corp Marathon. Oh well. Had a great time though. This year I will try to best that. Looking to get as close to 25 min for a 5 k as possible. That would be an 8 min mile pace. Something to work on.
At any rate that does bring me up to my goals/plans that I have been thinking about. I am going to start focusing on the half marathon distance. Ultimately I want to get under a 2 hour half, and for that I am going to look at "qualifying" for the half fanatics club. It looks like I will have an opportunity to do that by next spring time.
So that would be for 2012.
And for 2013, are you ready? I am putting it down on paper. I will look at running another Marathon. Which one? unsure.
I don't want to try to make too many plans because who knows what the Holy Spirit has in store for me.

Monday, April 18, 2011

week of firsts

Well it certainly has been a very interesting week.
It has been a week of firsts for me.
To back up a little bit, on April 3rd I ran in the Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10 miler. Had a great time and earned a PR!
I took it easy for the week after before I started getting back into training.
My sites were focused on participating in my first Duathlon and the next day doing a 10k. The same 10k course that I set my current PR on. I was getting excited. However I did have on my schedule a half marathon that I was focusing on as my "A" race.
So there I was a week and a day after Cherry Blossom and I was planning on doing my long run that I put off from the day before. I had time now as I got back involved with the Church Softball team and our games are on Monday nights. So I figured while I was waiting for the game to start I would go for a run. So I drove to the sports complex where the games were held, got my shoes on and off I went.
I ended up doing 7.5 miles on a warm and somewhat humid early evening. I was not out there looking to break any records, just wanted to get some slow easy miles in. I felt good.
So I went to the car to get my softball gear and get more water and to try some Hammer products. I bought some individual packets of the Recoverite to try. It was not bad. It says to mix with water but I am wondering if that is just a suggestion. I have used EAS protein power in the past and it says to mix with Milk or any of your favorite liquid. Anyway, it seemed to agree with me with no issues. Now to warm up my arm for the game.
So we are now into our second game and I am on first. The ball was hit and I was off. In looking at our third base coach he was waving me on to third. I touch second and start moving toward third and that is when I felt the pain. My calf. Now, I am not sure if I heard a popping sound from my leg or from my foot hitting the bag. I was in pain but able to limp over to third. I got someone to run for me and immediately put some ice on it.
The next morning I decided to stop by and see my doctor. Well I could not get in first thing but set up a time to come back later that day. After talking about a few things I guess she was concerned about my having a blood clot so they sent me to the hospital to get an ultrasound done. That was a fun experience. Well the technician came back in after and said that I did not have a blood clot. I thought to myself, duh! I am a little too active and I don't fly so........ anyway, I know that they were just being cautious. I mentioned to the technician that I was concerned that I might have tore something. She said that she could not tell that but that they would be sending the images over to my Doctor and I could discuss with them.
So the next day the doctors office called and confirmed that there was no blood clot and that I should rest the leg and ice as needed and to basically stay off until it feels better. I asked about a tear and they said that they could not tell but believe that it is only a bad sprain.

Ok. So I am following the RICE program. Its working pretty good. I am doing some cross training and upper body workouts just to try to stay as active as possible.
I do plan on visiting a physical therapist here in the next couple of days to see what he has to say. Just did not get that warm and fuzzy from the doctors office.
I will update on that later.

So not to cover the firsts that have happened for me.
I feel that I am truly injured, at least I am treating it that way. A little more then a year a go I hurt myself and was only out for about a week and a half. I feel that this is a little more serious then just a sprained muscle. I plan on being out for another week and a half to two weeks just to play it safe.
I was suppose to do my first Duathlon. Well I did not, but as luck would have it I was able to defer until the fall. I have never deferred an event before but they put on a Duathlon in the spring and one in the fall. So now I plan on doing a fall Duathlon.
I was suppose to run in a 10k, well that did not happen either. I was not able to defer on that one so count that as a DNS - Did Not Start. Another first. So I was talking to a couple of people and found out that there was a guy that wanted to run as his wife was running but they could not afford the entry fee. Well I let him run in my place. Was not concerned about getting the money back. It was good to see someone using it, rather then sitting on the couch.

Monday, April 11, 2011

tough week

“ A road well begun is the battle half won. The important thing is to make a beginning and get under way. ”Soren Kierkegaard (1813–1855) Danish philosopher and writer. When I first read this it struck a chord with me. This has been a mentally tough week for me. Not to bore anyone with the details, but it does help for me to write this down like I am talking about it. On April 3rd I participated in the Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10 miler in Washington DC. I had a great run and tore up the course. This was my third time running in this event and I have improved my time each year. Back in 2009 I had just started running for a number of reasons. I remember it so clearly. I was so nervous. All that I had in my mind was "don't let the sweep bus get you". In my training leading up to it the furthest distance that I ran was 8 miles and that was tough. Anyway, I did get through it finishing before the 2 hour 20 min time limit with a 1 hour 54 min (and change) personal best and longest distance yet. Last year I took 10 mins off of that time. This year I completed it in 1 hour 35 min and 58 sec. I was so proud and excited. So were my wife and friends that were down there. Well, our kids were with my parents so my wife and I decided to go to a nice restaurant and then to a winery after we got home and I had a chance to get cleaned up. We had a wonderful afternoon and evening. The kids did not have school the next day so they were spending more time with the grandparents. Monday morning. Here comes the tough part. My wife gets a text from a co-Teacher, "check your group wise''. My wife logs in to her email, and there it is. Here Principal had lost her battle with Pancreatic Cancer and past away the day before. The good news is that she did not suffer that long. She had been diagnosed with it just this past February. The bad news is that my wife's Mom, my mother in law, lost her battle with Pancreatic Cancer in April 2003. Being that we went through this before we knew what was coming, but it is still hard to deal with. With that in mind it has been very tough to get a work out in. There had been days that I felt that I needed one to try to clear the cobwebs from my mind and just try to get some of the emotion out. It pains me to see my wife in such sorrow and pain and there is nothing that I can do to relieve it. Our schedule has been so crazy as well. We both have had different activities come up with our kids that it has been hard to sit down and take everything in and talk about things. Everyone at the school has been crushed. Some were under the believe that she was going to beat this thing. Unfortunately, my wife and I saw the writing on the wall all too clearly. So this has been a really tough week in focusing on exercising in general. This coming weekend I have a Duathlon on Saturday and a 10k on Sunday. Crazy I know. What was I thinking when I signed up for those?!? Well I am still in decent shape from my 10 miler that I know I will complete both events. This will be my first Duathlon that I will be participating in. The distances are 1.9 mile run, 10 mile bike and 3.1 mile run. I don't think that I will go all out at the Duathlon as this will be my first time. I just want to take everything in and be able to complete the course. The 10k I ran last year and it stands as my PR of 59:19. I want to keep the momentum going and try to get closer to 55 mins. I will update next week as to how the weekend went. Thanks for reading. It helped me greatly.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Cherry Blossom 10 miler - Race report

Well another race in the books along with a new PR! It was a great event. I had a negative split and finished with a time of 1:35;58 I am so exicted. In looking in the future, I am doing a 10k in a couple of weeks along with my first Duathlon. I am really excited about that but also a little nervous. Kind of like how I felt when I did my first 5k. I know I won't have any issue with the running part, it is just the transition to and from the bike. I believe it is just a sprint duathlon as the distances are 2 mile run, 10 mile bike and 3.1 mile run. I have signed up for another Duathlon which is 2 mile run, 26 mile bike and 4 mile run. Although I am very excited about how well I did at the Cherry Blossom and very excited for the future races, I am sad today. We found out this morning that my wifes boss past away yesterday from Pancreatic Cancer. This is the same evil beast that took her mother away 8 years ago. This will be a trying time for us as we both deal with the tradegy and try our best to support each other. I would like to write more and I do hate to end on a down note, but it is all that I have to say about this today. I will try to get some pictures up from the race to hopefully add some color. does have a marathon training team. Team Hope. They were just approved to be a charitable organization for the New York Marathon in November. I am thinking about joining. We shall see..........

Monday, March 21, 2011

What a week

Well I have had a wild week.
So for the past couple of weeks my training has been as follows.
Monday rest, Tuesday hill repeats, Wednesday 4 miles, Thursday speed work, Friday 4 miles Saturday Brick workout Sunday long run.
With the every now and then extra cross training days during the week.
My Saturday brick is usually a short run, usually less then a mile, then a bike ride of anywhere from 10 to 15 miles then another short run of about a mile or more.
I am slowly working up to do a couple of miles before the bike then at least 4 miles after the run.
anyway back to my original idea.
Until this past week my training was ok.
This past week something seem to click.
I had a great run on Wednesday and on Friday. Thursday was not so good at the track.
Lets not forget Sundays long run.
It was great.
The goal was to do 7 miles at an easy pace then to do the last 3 miles at race pace.
The 7 miles I averaged around a 10:30 pace. I then kicked it up. Mile 8 was averaged at 9:08 pace, mile 9 was a 8:59 pace and mile 10 was at a 8:47 pace.
I was so stoked.
I am really looking forward to the Cherry Blossom run in a couple of weeks.

Can not wait to see what I can do................

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Falling Behind

Well I am falling behind in my New Years Resolution of posting more often.
At any rate, this past week was my first week back in full swing.
I was sick. I felt very run down, low energy and very congested.
It felt great to get out there and be active. I barely had enough energy to walk.
However I will say that it gave me some time to really think about my training.
I am going to continue to do as much cross training as possible. I have an indoor trainer that I have my bike hooked up to right now. Really can not wait until it gets warmer and dryer outside.
I have some weights that I will be using and some different aerobic programs that I will be using to help build up my strength and core muscles.
I also will plan on incorporating speed-work as well as hill repeats through out the week.
I really can not wait to get things going but I have learned enough that I need to take it slow at first.
I also will be looking at earning a spot with the Half Fanatics.
After running two Marathons last year, I am thinking that it is just not the distance for me. I really enjoy the Half Marathon distance and under.
I am impressed at the people who are part of the Marathon Maniacs and just recently found out that there is another group that is focused on the half distance.
I have found 2 that are within 30 days, one of them I am already registered and the other one will open up next week. I just need to find another that is close enough within 90 days of the first one. I believe it is possible but I need to double check the dates.
Well I had a great 7 mile run this morning in preparation of running the Cherry Blossom 10 miler in April. Really looking forward to it.
Well I am going to cut it short for now. I think that is some of my issue. I want to make sure that I have enough to write about.
Thank for reading.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Happy New Year - 2010 in review

Well Happy New Year!
2010 sure was a great one. I ran in some good races with no regrets.

Well I am going to start off with a post that should have been put up 2 months ago.
This is my race report for the 35th annual Marine Corp Marathon.

I woke up and was very excited. This was my second Marathon that I was running. The summer was hot and the training was hard. I don't like running in the heat, but I was happy when I saw that the temperature was forcasted to be in the low 50s. NICE!

So I got myself dressed and organized my gear. I had already arranged to hook a ride with a buddy who was running as well. I met him at the local shopping center and we drove to one of the DC metro stops. We talked about the training that we did, how hot the summer was and how great the weather was going to be. We also chatted about what our goals were. My goals were as follows:
Always to just finish - or beat the bridge in this case.
knock it out of the park 4:30
main goal: 4:45
what I would live with: 5:00

So just to cover it, the beat the bridge is getting to the 14th Street Bridge just after mile maker 20 at a quicker then a 14 minute per mile pace. If you are not able to keep that pace then you will be required to board the straggler buses, taken to the event finish area and thus not completing the marathon.
Well that was not going to happen to me! And it didn't but we will get to that later.

So we get to the Metro stop and I felt a little like I had to pee but decided not to for what ever reason. This will come back to haunt me a little.
The ride on Metro was fine. A lot of other runners and spectators were riding so it was empty but not jam packed either. We had to switch trains and that went fine, no issues, except my bladder was starting to feel full. There are no public restrooms available in any of the Metro stops we were at and with the amount of people that were around there was no way to tastefully relieve myself.
So we get to the final stop and I am starting to look for a place to pee. We were let out at the Pentagon and I just did not feel comfortable just peeing anywhere. The good news if you will, was that I was moving and not standing still so I could distract myself a bit.
We walked for a while and then had to go through a check point. No big deal. The lines moved very quickly. Then we got to the runners village and the portapotties where I got in line.

Well I was finally able to get into a portapotty to relieve myself, but not without missing most of the pre-race events. The one thing that I was able to see was the flyovers of the F18s and CH53s. I almost missed the UPS truck that I needed to drop my bag off with. They were closing the back doors as I was coming up to them.

Now on the way to the start line.

As I was making my way there, along with a lot of other folks, I was slowing getting my warm up cloths off.
I had a very baggy sweet suit on that my wife wanted me to throw out months ago. I don't much like throwing things out but I will save that issue for another time.
I was using this as a throwaway/donate outfit. It was keeping me warm but it was now time to get the blood moving.
I discarded the old sweet suit as I was very close to the start line. Music was blaring. Spectators were cheering. Blood was starting to flow. I kept telling myself "not too fast. not too fast. keep it slow."
My last marathon I went out too fast and could not keep the pace going and had to walk a lot of the second half of the race. I was not making that mistake again.
As I am getting close to the start line, what do my ears hear? Justin Bieber singing Baby.
Well my daughter is in love with Justin Bieber. So I crossed the start line listening to Justin Bieber, with A smile on my face as I had a picture of my daughter in my mind. What a way to start a 26.2 mile run in and around our Nations Capital!

So here we go. The first couple of miles were nice. I was going at a nice easy pace keeping in mind that the first 3 miles go up for an elevation gain of about 120 feet. As the elevation starts to go down we come to one of the most secluded parts of the marathon route. This is part of Spout Run Parkway and it is very wooded. There are not many spectators along this part of the route, but there are some. Now we are coming up to mile 4 and crossing the Key Bridge into Washington DC.
We come into the area know as Georgetown. I started looking for my Brother in law who was also running. He is one of the main reasons why I got into running and why I still continue today. Again, this we will hold off for another time. Well as luck would have I saw him. He was coming down from the Georgetown Reservoir and I was going on my way up it. This was just after mile 5.
Now, in my opinion this is one of the harder parts of the course. From mile 6 to mile 7 your elevation goes up just about 40 feet. That is not so bad, but then from mile 7 to mile 8 you go up about 80 feet. If that was not bad enough then you start to come down. From Mile 8 to mile 9 the elevation drop is about 100 feet, then you drop about another 40 feet to mile 10. We are now on part of the course for the Cherry Blossom 10 miler, which I have run before so there are really no surprises.
From here on out the elevation change is minimal, however we are now coming to East Potomac Park which is typically the dead zone. Not very many spectators. True to form, there were not many.
Well we come out of East Potomac Park and come around the Tidal Basin and head toward the Lincoln Memorial. This is on the Western part of the mall. We come around the Lincoln Memorial and start heading east down Constitution Ave. Just after mile 17 we pass by the White House on our left and the Washington Monument on our right.
What do my eyes see? My family and friends. What Joy! This was a good boost and pick me up that I needed. I was starting to feel tired and seeing them definitely picked my spirits up.
From here we are making our way on the mall toward the Capital Building. Here we had to deal with pedestrian cross traffic. It was not that bad. I had heard horror stories from some runners about how some people will walk right out in front of you while they are pushing a stroller and not even try to get out of the way. Well I did not see any of that here, of course I was also trying to pay attention so that I did not run into anybody.
Well we round the Capital and start heading back west. I was hoping that I might see some of my family and friends but I did not. The streets were really lined with people now, everyone was really cheering. It finally dawned on me as I turned the corner on to 14th street. We were headed toward the infamous Bridge. Here it is. Mile marker 20 at the start of the bridge. Well it was safe to say I beat the bridge, and no I really did not have any doubt that I would make it this far, but I am also smart enough to realize that anything can happen.
There was a sign that said something along the lines of "this bridge is your bitch". Well I could not help myself. I ran over and high 5ed the sign. I felt great. I accomplished one of my goals. By this point I was around 3:45. With just under a 10k left to go, I could see that my goal of getting in under 5 hours was there. Just needed to get over this bridge.
Well I am not really sure what happened after that. My feet started to hurt. My knees started to hurt. I was getting really fatigued. I did not feel like I was loosing energy, it was my body feeling tired. I tried pushing on but I felt the need to walk a bit. It did not help at all that the bridge was void of any spectators.
Well here I come into Crystal City. I am still hurting and now I am starting to look at my watch and focusing on the time. I was looking at my watch for most of the race, but earlier I was not looking at time, I was looking at my heart rate. I was trying to focus on keeping it as low as possible. For the most part I thought I did a good job at that. But now I was starting to get upset. As I was coming out of Crystal City, I started to see my goal of a 4:45 vanish, but I could still get under 5 hours. Had to press on.
Coming up on mile 25 near the Pentagon and the original start line my legs were really feeling it and I started to see the under 5 hour slip further and further. I started to get really down on myself.
After a brief absence of spectators while we were passing by the Pentagon, the streets started to fill up again. It was helping. I had taped my name on the front of my shirt and people were giving me encouragement. It was helping. There was a time where I wanted to sit on the side of the road and pout and cry like a little kid that did not get their way. I did not. I knew my wife was waiting for me at the finish, and so was my metal. I was going to finish!
Rounding the corner and up the incline to the Iwo Jima Memorial and the finish line.
I DID IT! I finished the 35th Marine Corp Marathon.
My official time: 5:05:37

My wife asked me if I would do another one. I was quick to answer. I said NO. Well, I have since changed my mind. I will do another marathon. I don't plan on in 2011 but I might in 2012.
I am going to change my focus now. I am going to work on improving my speed.
My PR for the 5k is 27:04. I would like to get down to 25
My PR for the 10k is 59:19 and I am really happy with that. Looking at getting under 55.
My PR for the 10 mile is 1:42:26. I would like to get it as close to 1:30 as possible.
My half marathon PR is 2:15:35. My ultimate goal would be to get it down to 2 hours.

So there it is in writing for me to look back at and say WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?!?!?!
No seriously. I feel that all of these are obtainable, but it is going to be a lot of hard work and cross training. I will get there.

Look for more posts from me. I plan on posting once a week.

thanks for reading. Any and all comments are welcomed.