Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Columbia Turkey Chase

On November 18th, I decided to travel up to Columbia, MD an participate in the first annual Columbia Turkey Chase 10k.
I am glad that I did.  I had a very good race.  This was an out and back, fast and fairly flat course.

This was put together by Rip it Events.

This is a fairly new organization that started up a couple of years ago.  I participated in the first event that they put on, the Maryland Olympic Duathlon.  It was called Duthe2.  It was, in my opinion, a well run event.

Well the Columbia Turkey Chase was no exception.  I did packet pick up the morning of. I had a little issue getting to the start only because of my GPS.  Packet pick up was no issue.  I got my swag bag and headed back to my car to drop off the stuff.  I had enough time to hit the porta potties.

I would like to just say that when I sign up for an event, I like to know as much as possible about what I am getting myself into. I try to familiarize myself as much as possible with the layout of the start area, the course itself and the finish line.  This would include parking, packet pickup, aid stations, porta potties etc.  
Well while I was standing in line, some people were talking to each other about whether or not there were aid stations on the course, if there was parking at the relay point, and if there were porta potties on the course and at the relay point.  All of this was covered on the website.  I decided to do my good deed for the day and answer their questions without judging them.

Anyway, I did my business and was able to warm my legs up a little bit before the start.

So the details of the event was a 10k run, 2 person relay and a kids fun run.  With the run they had three waves.  The first wave was for physically challenged athletes, the second wave was 10k and relay runners and the final wave was the Kids fun run.

The course was out and back with minimal hills. In fact the elevation gain was only 164 feet.  There was no cut off time and I was a little surprised about that but was also not worried about it.  With regards to aid stations this is the first time that I felt there were too many.  For a 10k, I would think that 1 maybe 2 would be enough.  Well they had 4.  Anyway, one great thing about this event is that it was benefiting Little Things for Cancer.  Honestly I don't know a thing about this organization and I was not doing this race because of the charity but I was happy to be able to support it. 

Over all this event was excellent.  RipIt Events is a top notch organization that puts on some great events.  I am looking forward to what they have up their sleeve next. 

I ran very well and looking back I probably had more left in the tank but I did not want to go out too strong as I was focusing on my Half Marathon coming up on December 1st.   I actually recorded a personal best in the 10k distance at:  53:48

Annapolis Half Marathon race report

Ok so I wanted to share with everyone my experience in running the 2nd Annual Annapolis Half Marathon on Saturday December 1st.
So I ran last year, along with some other plodders, and there were some issues that came up. Mainly the parking was a big mess and the course was short by about a quarter of a mile.
This year was a vast improvement. The only issue that I have is packet pickup, but I will cover that at the end.
I was actually able to secure a place to stay Friday night so I did not have to worry about driving to Annapolis Saturday morning. This helped out greatly.
The parking issue from last year seemed to be fixed, but then again I was coming in from the opposite way then last year.
Well I got myself parked and started to go through my routine and get ready to race. I had plenty of time. It was a beautiful day for a race. The temps were around the high 40's low 50's. it was very foggy. I was prepared either way. (last year it was a bit colder and a lot windier.) I had packed tights and a long sleeve shirt, but I opted for a short sleeve shirt, arm sleeves (love these), cotton gloves, and shorts. I brought a throw away sweat shirt that I was wearing so I was comfortable.
So I had some time before I needed to line up in the coral for the start, which was at 7:10.

I have been trying to get a grip on my hydration and fuel. I tend to drink too much water in the morning as I am trying to calm my nerves etc....Well a trick that has helped me is to chew gum, but I started to have that do I need to pee feeling. So I walked over to the line for the porta potties, and there I stood for a while.

Well after a while I decided that I really did not have to pee so I started to make my way to the starting coral.

They did not have any pacers but they did have signs in the coral that pointed out if you were going to run a certain pace to line up here. My goal was to come in under 2 hours, which is a 9:10 per min mile. Did I make it? We shall see.
They did sign the National Anthem and then we were off, early I might add. We started at 7:00 not at 7:10 like it was advertised. The course was not much different then last year. We started at the Naval Academy Stadium (outside of the field) and ran through the parking lot. We covered more ground in the parking lot this year then last. We continued around the stadium and went into a little residential area, came out and continued on the roads around the stadium.

We started to make our way down to the water front. The fog was still thick in the air. I tossed my sweatshirt and was feeling really comfortable all the way around.
When we got "downtown" we went down Dock Street, which was added on from last year as they decided to leave out the out and back on the B&O Trail. Many people complained about this last year. The B&O is similiar to the W&OD but I think the B&O is much more narrower. Having people running 2 -3 wide on an out and back course was just a little dangerous.
Anyway, we make our way next to the Naval Academy on our way to the bridge to cross over the Severn River. I was still feeling very good at this point. I would look down every now and then at my Garmin just to briefly look at my pace. I wanted to make sure that I was not going too fast but that I was going faster then a 9:10 mile.

I did not carry water with my but I did carry some Gu energy gels. I took one gel before the start. They recommend taking a gel 15 min before and then every 45 mins during. Back when I ran the Rock and Roll in March I had some side stitches and stomach cramping so I decided to note follow the instructions to the letter.

I did not take water at the first aid station I was looking at doing an every other aid station.

I was coming up on mile 7 when I decided to take my first gel since starting and I only took about half of it. After that, about mile 8.5 my side started to hurt. I am guessing that either Gu does not agree with me or I really don't need it. Or it could mean that I need to start working more on my core (which I still plan on doing).
Other then that there really is not much more to say. The fog stuck around the whole time. While there were times when I felt a little cold I feel that I made the right move in what I wore. I think I would have been too hot if I wore tights and long sleeves.
So to recap from last year, my garmin reported a distance of 12.77 and a time of 1:57:30. I put a side note on this as the course was short, and the organizers did admit to it. Anyway, my time this year? Well I will say that this was a pretty hilly course and it had a lot, and I mean a lot of turns that we did. With that my garmin, as a lot of others, came up short again but it was 12.95. the course was certified and there is an arguement to be made that GPS watches are not 100% perfect, especially when you are making a lot of turns. Anyway, my time you ask? 1:56:35. So yes I am going with I made my goal of getting under 2 hours in a half marathon. I even beat last years time. My calves were extremely sore for a couple of days after.

so will I run this again? yes. It really is a great run and they have made a lot of improvements from last year. The after party was a blast as well.

I am starting to think that I might not need the extra gels, does anyone else have any input?
thanks for reading.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Back on the wagon

Ok.  Summer is over with.  Time to get back to what it is all about.
So what have I been doing?  A lot.

I was doing some running training for the Virginia Wine Country half marathon, which I completed.  Was not happy with the overall running of the event and will probably not do it again.  It was put on by destination races and this was the second year that they put it on here in Virginia. Anyway, not to dwell on the past too much.
After that I started to bike a lot more.  I am looking at doing some more Duathlons so I am trying to improve my cycling.  I started to notice that my heart rate was elevating during my work outs.  Well it started happening more and more, and when I say elevated it was peaking around 220 bpm.  I started feeling weird and was feeling like my heart was racing.  So I made an appointment with my doctor.

So I met with my doctor.  They did an EKG and scheduled a stress echo.  Bottom line.  No more exercise for me.

So this is when we scheduled our family vacation to Tennessee.

After all of the tests that were done it was determined that I was just fine.  More then just fine. My heart was better then average.  It was doing everything that it was suppose to be doing.  Good news for me.  I was given the ok to get back to exercising. 

So what was the issue? 

Well anyone with a Garmin knows this.  The battery in my heart rate monitor needed to be replaced.  That is what was causing my heart rate to go all haywire.

So with that I got a new battery and was off and running.  Pun intended. 

This was kind of a good thing as I had signed up to run in the Super Spartan in Leesburg VA. 

It was brutal. 

There was lots of running through fields, jumping over walls and horse jumps and going under and through things. That was not that big of a deal. I was good with that. I did have some issues getting over the 8 foot walls.

So we are just under 4 miles in and we come up to the barb wire crawl, or what ever it was called. Basically it is a mud pit that you have to crawl through under barb wire. the issue was there was nothing but rocks in the mud. Not sure if that was how it was suppose to be, but it is what it is I guess. then we come up to the monkey bars and this was my first obstacle that I could not complete. My hands were still covered in mud as was the rest of my body and my hands slipped off. 30 bur-pees for me! I won't lie I was tired at this point. For me, 3 water stops was not enough, or maybe I just did not hydrate enough before hand. Oh well. There were two obstacles that I was not sure if I was going to be able to do but I got past them. They were both rope walls. The first was much like the roof of an A frame house. Now some people might not thing that bad but for me, I have issues with heights. I got over it though and was very pleased at myself that I did. The next one was a straight up vertical rope wall. I thought I was in trouble on this one. Going up was not too bad, going down was not bad either, it was the getting over the top. As long as no one else was on the ropes or if they were still enough it was not too bad.

So at this point we are at about 6 miles. We were coming up to the last water stop. Here we flip those big tires over twice, turn around and flip them back and make sure that they land flat and that the block of cement was in the middle. Not really an issue, it was easier then I thought it was going to be.

So here we go past the start/finish line on to somewhat of a home stretch. This obstacle was tough as I was having issues getting my footing. You go into a pool of water that is waist deep and you have to get out by going up a muddy hill. my shoes were old running shoes that had very little tread left. Well once you get up, you have to go through two more pools. After the third pool then there is the soapy wall. A wall at about a 45 degree angle that you have to climb up using a rope, all the time they are putting Ajax on the wall and rope. I tried three times to get up. Set number 2 of Bur-pees for me. There were a couple of more obstacles that we did then we have the last two. One you have to throw a spear into a figure made of hay bales. the spear has to stick. Mine did not. 3rd set of bur-pees.

the last one you had to climb a rope and ring a cowbell at the top. Well I tried, I got about half way up and could not go anymore. Into the waist deep water below. 30 more bur-pees for me and then on to the finish shoot. I was exhausted with battle scars to boot.
All in all it was not bad considering that I did not train properly for this event. Had I did a better job at preparing I am sure I would have had a better time, but honestly at the end I was thinking that a marathon would have been more fun.

I was under the understanding that it would be about 8+ miles, well it turned out to be around 10.3 miles.

So that is it in a nut shell.  I am back to getting into a routine of things including exercising.  I am also going to be trying to get into a more stable routine of cross training, as well as updating this blog on a regular basis.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Hagerstown Duathlon #1

Well on April 21st I participated in the Hagerstown Duathlon #1.

This was the 5th year that they have put this on and in the past this race had been plagued by not so good weather. Cold, rainy and windy, much like what we are having right now as I type this up.

Well this year was their year.  It was almost the perfect day. The sun was shining, very low humidity and no rain.  It was a little warm for me though.

This event was put on by  They put on a lot of events in the Hagerstown MD area. On this day they were also doing a kids duathlon as well as a 5k.

So I drove up to Hagerstown, which took about an hours time.

I was able to get checked in, get my bike set up and start trying to relax and go over my "game plan".

My plan was to run pretty hard for the first run leg, just under 2 miles, then comes the bike leg. I was thinking that I could rest a bit on the bike leg as it was not that hilly of a ride. Then with the last 5k just try to survive.
So for my time goals, I was looking for about 17 min for the first run, 33 min for the bike and 30 min for the 5k.  All in all I was hoping for a time better then 1:30 and more along the lines for a 1:20.

So here we go. After the kids du and the 5k, they start the Adult Duathlon.

I stuck with my plan and was running hard, but not at a "sprint".  I would call it just shy of being uncomfortable.

I enter the transition area and get to my bike. I am feeling really good and am excited to see what I can do on the bike route.
Now I am not an expert or elite athlete to the multi-sport event venue, however I am no newbie either.   I feel comfortable with the different "rules" around the event. It was interesting to look around and it was easy to pick out those that have not participated in a high profile event. Not a complaint mind you, just an observation.  Now I did go back and read the website and it says that it is going to be chipped timed and that there are no additional sanction charges for the race.
It does state that you need to have an approved helmet with chin strap fastened.  Drafting is not allowed, not that I saw any race officials on the course.  Also, the courses were open to vehicular traffic and that you would need to obey all traffic rules/laws etc. 

So some of the things that I saw.  Girl got on bike while still in the transition area. A couple of people wearing headphones - on the run, did not see any on the bike.  I did see a couple bikers pass on the right instead of the left.

So I get out on the bike course and go out on my way. We traveled on roads that were opened to traffic but no big deal as they had volunteer there to assist us.

The bike was fairly easy as there were no real hard climbs. Just had to watch out for traffic that's all.  There was one instance were I was making a right where a semi truck (coming towards us) was making a left. As he made the turn wide I had to slow down and almost stop so I would not gotten crushed between him and the guard rail.

So I come into transition off of the bike. My legs did feel a bit wobbly as I had suspected they would. I rack my bike get my shoes on and start on the last run.

It was a little difficult getting started.

I could tell that the heat was starting to get to me. My calves were starting to twinge, so I backed off a little bit. The run was not too hilly but it did have some elevation change.

I felt a bit defeated as I did stop to walk a bit, but I mustered on.

So I took a couple of deep breaths and started to move forward slowly step by step. I started to feel a bit better and started to get into a groove.

It was tough and I think the combination of the heat and the pollen bothered me more then I wanted to let on.  But the water stops help as I was able to pour some water over my head and splash some in my face.  They had indicated that they were going to have Heed sports drink on the course, but all everyone was yelling was water.

Well I finally was able to cross the finish line.

In my age group there were 13 of us. For the first leg of the run I was in 8th place with a time of 15:02. My first transition was 1:38 (need to work on that) For the bike leg I was 9th in a time of 32:44 my second transition was 1:30 and the final run I was in 11th with a time of 31:11. My final total was 10th place (age group) in a time of 1:22:02

There were 107 participants and I finished 77th.

Over all I was satisfied with my performance. I really enjoyed this event and I am looking forward to doing another one either number 2 in Oct or this one again next year.  There is also an event in the summer and it is listed as a USA Triathlon sanctioned Event.  (so no riding your bike in the transition area).

Well that is all for now.  This was my third duathlon. Looking to get more in.  I guess I will need to become a member of USA Triathlon

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Virginia Duathlon - Race report

Here we go. My Second Duathlon.

Sunday, April 1st.

It was located at Chippokes Plantation State Park in Surry, VA. Surry is directly across the James River from Jamestown. In fact you can see Busch Gardens from the shore.
Anyway, this is a very rural area and luckily for us there is a campground right there at the State Park. As a family, we love to camp so it was a no brainer.
This was going to be my second duathlon that I would participate in and I was looking forward to it. This particular event was a 5k run, 24 mile bike and a 5k run.
My goal time that I was shooting for was 2 1/2 hours. I figured that I should be able to do the bike in about an hour and a half leaving me an hour combined time for the two 5ks. The corals were as follows: Male 45 and younger, Male 46 and older, All Females, All teams.
So here we go. The first 5k. I was feeling really good, and I knew that I was going to get this first run done in under a half hour, what I was not expecting was to actually get a PR. My official time was 26:33, however I did not know this at the time. I was in transition and trying not to trip over myself as I get ready for my bike. My wife was cheering me on and I think she might have asked me what my time was. I just said, "don't know".
I switched my shoes out, got my helmet on and buckled it, removed my bike from the block and started moving out of transition. I was feeling good.
Off we go on the bike course. I actually drove the course the day before so I was somewhat familiar on what to expect. The route was clearly marked with the turns to take plus there were police at the major intersections helping us out. This was a very flat course so I really was not sure how I was going to do. I have been able to ride 8 miles in about a half hour over a somewhat hilly W&OD (Washington and Old Dominion) trail so given that I was going to have to constantly be pedaling to move myself forward I was not sure if I was going to be able to keep that pace up for 23 miles. Well I completed the bike in 1:19:59.02. I saw this on my watch before I reset it for the run. I was well ahead of my goal but at the time I did not know how far.
Now for the second transition and the final run.
I dismount from my bike and half expecting to fall flat on my face from my legs giving out I was quite surprised at how well they felt. I was able to jog into transition instead of a quick walk. (On the very big plus side the transition was on grass so I did not have to worry about walking/running in my bike shoes on the road surface.) I rack my bike, un-clip and remove helmet, switch out my shoes and away I go.
I start out the second run a little faster then my jog into transition after the bike. I wanted to move slowly at first to get into a rhythm before trying to lay down the hammer. What was nice about the run was that it went into the campground so I was able to see my family at the turn around, that was motivation. A secondary goal that I had was not to walk any part of the second run. I accomplished that. I did, however, have to stop to tie my shoe, that made me mad. Anyway, here I come up to the 3 mile mark and around the bend into the home stretch. I look up at the clock and I am very happy. I cross the line in a gun time of: 2:19:27.79 and a chip time of: 2:19:21.75
I was well over my goal and I felt really good afterwards, a little tired but not too sore. Which makes me wonder if I was selling myself short on my goal time.
The first duathlon I did was in Columbia, MD back in Aug 2011. It was a 2 mile run, 26 mile bike and 4 mile run. I did that in 2:53:43 it was a hillier bike course then the one in Surry.
They had a fantastic BBQ party after the event. We then packed up our trailer to go home. Pam, my wife, drove home and I slept most of the way.
So for my records, there were 24 finishers in my age group. I finished 18th. There were 189 males and I finished 108th. There were 343 finishers and I finished in 135th place overall.

So I am starting to think..........whats next.....hmmmmmmm.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Rock and Roll USA half marathon

Well it has been a while hasn't it.
On March 17th, St. Patricks Day, I participated in the inaugural Rock and Roll USA half marathon. This was my A race. I was looking forward to it. Many of the plodders were running in it. Some were even doing the full.
We travel down to RFK stadium parking that morning. It was a cool morning but not as cool as the day before.
I had been drinking water on the ride in and thus had to use the bathroom many times before the gun went off.
We met up with a lot of the other plodders before hand and had some social time and took some pictures.
So it was time, and off we went.
My goal was to finish in 2 hours or under.
I started of feeling very good. I was behind the 2 hour pace group. I knew that they were in front of me but unsure as too exactly where they were.
As we were making our way down Constitution Ave, I caught up to the 2 hour pace group.
I was feeling really good at the time. I did not push too hard but did not feel that I could stay with them, so off I went.
I wasn't until I got around mile 7 near Harvard St where I started to fall apart. I was starting to feel really tired. Then the 2 hour pace group went by. I was a little disturbed by it but then realized that I caught up to them so I do have some time in the bank.
I tried not to let it bother me. But I started to really feel it in my legs.
I had to walk a bit. I did feel defeated.
I continued to plod on. I had a time to meet.
Well as it turns out I did not make my time. I came in at 2:05.
I feel that I left it all out there on the course.
In looking back at the day, it started out a cool morning but then it did grow warm. The pollen from the trees were very high as well. Not that I am trying to make excuses for why I did not make my goal but just looking for answers.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Censorship - what is it all about

Well it is about time for me to start educating myself.
I will be honest. I do not know what specifically all this talk about SOPA and PIPA (Stop Online Piracy Act and the PROTECT IP Act) are all about. From what I gathered to begin with is it was focused on the sharing of illegally copied material. So what is so wrong with that. That is what I need to find out.
So I will be trying to read up on these two bills and try to make a decision for myself if this is good or bad.

stay tuned if you can........