Thursday, November 28, 2013

Race report - 2 for 1

Yes you read it correctly.  This is a two for one.

On Saturday November 23rd, I took part in the 3rd annual Annapolis Half Marathon.  I have run this race since its inception and I must say that they have definitely made some strides.  To give some background, the first year was riddled with issues.  First off the traffic was horrible as they had major issues with the parking and getting that organized, we did start late but not too late (Virginia Wine Country half).  Also, they did not have any mile markers because the person in charge of putting them out hurt himself, he broke his foot or ankle I think, and was taken to the hospital with the keys to the truck which had the mile makers stored in it.  This made the course short by about a half mile.   Anyway, year two saw some improvements in the course layout and was in fact the correct distance. They still had some traffic issues but it was a little better.
Well bring on year three.  Traffic was extremely smooth. No real issues there. We were able to drive right in and park very quickly.  One big difference this year was it was very cold and very windy, but you cannot put that on the race organizers.  Anyway, I went into this race without a well-executed training plan.  I had gotten sick and lost about 3 weeks of training, not to mention that I started feeling some pain and tightness in my left calf.  There were thoughts in my head about not running as I know how hilly Annapolis is and I did not want to injure myself any further, but I started to rest my legs, ice my calf, use compression and elevate when I could.  I was also using “The Stick” to massage both my legs. 
All of the above seemed to help, because come race day my legs felt good, not great mind you, but good.  Now for the race, I was wearing Zensah calf sleeves, shorts, Tee shirt, arm warmers and baseball style hat.  I was a little chilly but I knew that once I got moving that I would be warm enough.  It was a bit of a windy day but the temps were up in the 40s so it was not too bad.  I went into this race with the mindset that I was not going to race it.  I was just going to try to maintain a solid pace. 
Well within the first 5 miles I was between a 9:30 and a 9:50 pace.  Then came the trek over the bridge.  There is where the course gets hilly. My pace went down to between 10:20 and 10:45 pace for the rest of the race.  They changed the course, again, for this race.  It’s hard to explain, but being that Annapolis is not that big of a city there were a lot of turns and the course double backed on itself in a couple of places. This year they added a 10k and I think they might have waited a year or two more to do that.  All was fine as far as support on the course except for the last two aid stations.  They ran out of water.  The half was capped a 4,000 runners and the 10k was capped at 1500 runners.   Other than them running out of water I thought that the race went well.  I know that I was very pleased with my performance especially with how my training went the last 3 – 4 weeks leading up to the race.  I do plan on doing this race again next year. Last year I ran this race in 1:56, this year I was not going to get near that and I knew that going in.  I finished in 2:15.  I was very happy with my performance due to my training.  Oh and I got my name announced as I crossed the finish line.  Bonus.

Now for race report number 2.
on Sunday I ran in the Columbia Turkey chase 10k. I also ran this race last year. Columbia is not as hilly as Annapolis.  With that said, this course was not flat.  More like rolling hills.  Now I will say that when I first signed up for this race it was not the day after Annapolis.  It was actually the weekend before Annapolis.  It was changed after I signed up, and while I believe I might have had the option to opt out I decided not to.  Again, I almost decided to back out of both races but decided to go slow and not to race the race.  
Now I was watching the weather and knew it was going to be cold and windy and it was.  I originally had on a cold gear turtle neck and my long sleeve plodder shirt. I put on a "throw away" sweat shirt and went out for a warm up run.  I was cold.  I took off the sweat shirt and was really cold.  I decided to swap out the plodder shirt and then put on the sweatshirt and then put the plodder shirt back on.  
Anyway, I was still a little cold but figured it should be good enough it I keep moving, and that was the plan.  This is an out an back course with plenty of aid stations. With the rolling hills it makes it a fast course as well.  There really is not much to say about this event. Last year I ran a 53:42.  this year I took it easy and ran a 1:02.  Very happy with my time and performance. I hope to do this race next year but honestly not sure what I am going to do if it is the same weekend as Annapolis half. 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

And so begins my training

So my training has begun.
Honestly I am not feeling it so much.  Not sure if I have been focusing on the biking too much or not.
My legs have been feeling very heavy. 
But I know that things will change. 
I was actually surprised at how well my 9 miler went last week as well as today.
Last week we went to a winery concert the night before.  I woke up early to go running but felt like crap.  No real big surprise there.  So I went back to sleep for a couple of hours woke up and felt better.  I went out and did my long run at a slow pace and felt pretty good. 
Yesterday I went out and had a horrible run.  It was hot, I was tired.  I was planning on ridding a bike afterward but when I returned from the run one of my tires were flat.   Well I wont lie I was actually a little happy about that. 
So todays run I did the exact same course that I ran last week.  I felt pretty good but ran this course 5 minutes slower that last week when I was hung over.  Weird! 

Anyway, I am sure that things will start to feel better once I start getting back into it full swing of things. 

More to come.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Virginia Wine Country Half Marathon - Volunteer report

For the past two years I have run the Va Wine Country half marathon.  This year I decided not to run it.  I made the decision to try to make a difference.  I decided that I was going to volunteer and run a water stop.  It was also part of Boy Scout Troop and we were also doing as a service project.
It was a lot of fun and a lot of work.  I had a deep respect for all the volunteers of all the races that I have done in the past.  However, this made me have a new view on things. 
As a runner I know how important it is to arrive at a water stop and get what you need.  Our stop had water as well as sports drink, Accelerade Advanced Sports Drink.  It was orange flavor.  Personally, I don't like the stuff but as the adult in charge of the scouts at the aid station I had to guide them in mixing it up correctly.  There have been times at races where the sports drink on course was mixed very strong and gave many runners upset stomachs.  I did not want that to happen.  We purposely made it weak but tried not to make it too weak as I know that some people will rely on what the sports drink will do for them.

Well we got there in plenty of time and got things set up.  Started mixing up the sports drink and filling up the cups.  I was coaching up the boys on how to pass out the water cups to the runners.  I felt that we were ready to go.  We heard that the race was late to start, shocker.  This is one of the main reasons why I decided not to run in this event this year. Anyway, we had things ready to go and the first runners started to come through.  The boys were handing out water and sports drink to those who wanted it.   Then it happened.  Shit started to get real as they say.  We had a swarm of runners.  I knew it was going to happen and I thought that we were prepared enough. We weren't.  What I did not what to happen, happened.  We ran out of filled cups on the table and runners who needed water and sports drink had to stop and wait for us to fill up a cup to give them.  I felt so defeated. 

I made apologies to those who were stuck waiting.   Some were thankful that we were out there.  Others seemed to be oblivious that we were even out there. 

It was tough but we got through it.  It was a very warm day.  We made some notes about what we could work on for next time.  It was a good time and again I have a renewed respect for all of those folks who volunteer at an endurance event.  One thing is that we could have used a couple of more boys out there. 

Bike to work day

Ok, so this a post that is long over due.
On May 17th it was bike to work day.  Last year I rode half way in and then rode all the way home from work.  It was a good day.
This time I was hell bent on ridding to and from work.  I was ready for it.  Had my nutrition and hydration all set up.
My wife was also interested in biking to work.  The good thing is that she is on the way to my work, so I would follow her in and make sure she got to work ok then I would be on my way.
It worked out well. 
She rides slower then me but that is ok.  There was only one questionable road that we had to travel on to get to her work that is the main reason why I followed her in. 
I dropped her off at her work and went on my way. 
So after making sure that she got to work safe I picked up the pace and made my way in.
It was a great morning and really there were no issues. 
Rode by a couple of "pit stops" and made my way to my pit stop that I registered for. 
Signed in and continued on my way.
Again, the morning ride was great, and the day went on great. 

At the end of the day it was time to head home.  It was a great ride home as well.  No issues.  I was really worried that I was going to get a flat on the way in or on the way home. 
There were a fair amount of people ridding in the morning, but not that many going home. 

I am looking forward to next year as well.  I have really enjoyed the biking. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Ocean City Half Marathon Race report

Here is a report on the Island to Island half marathon.  This is a point to point race from Ocean City to Assateague Island.  This race has been on my bucket list for some time now. 
We went down Friday night and hit packet pickup.  It was held at Francis Scott Key Motel in West Ocean City.  This is a very nice motel.

Anyway, we pick up our items and meet up with Pams sister Wanda and her Husband Dennis.  Dennis was the one responsible for getting involved in running in the first place.  We talked about our plans for race day and then said our good nights.

We got up at 5 and started to get ready.  Wanda and Dennis showed up at 5:40 and off we went.  We stopped off and picked up some coffee and something small for breakfast.  We make our way down to the inlet parking lot.  Not very many people were there yet.  We park and started to go through our pre-race routine.  and then we saw it.  Sunrise. It was unbelievable.  Watching the sun come up over the ocean.  What a scene.  

Dennis and I continued with our own pre-race warm ups and then decided to make our way to the start.  They made some announcements and did their thank yous of all of the sponsors etc.  They sang the National Anthem and then we were off.

We ran around the parking lot and then on the boardwalk.  This was a bit weird for me.  I have walked the boardwalk many times in the past but never ran on it.  It took a bit of an adjustment, but I was able to get into a groove.  We head down the boardwalk for a bit and then we make a left and head straight for the Rt 50 bridge. This is one of the two bridges on the course. So aside from the bridges this course is flat.  

Well before you know it, we are at mile marker 3.  The aide stations were plentiful, however there was very little crowd support. As we were running on some major roads it was not very easy to have the streets lined with cheering spectators.  We did make a detour and run in a small neighborhood where some people were out cheering us on.  This was almost at mile 4 where I got a very bad side stitch and had to stop, walk a bit and stretch out my side. Up until then I was feeling very good, almost great.  This is also where the 1:50 pacer went by me.  I was a little upset but knew that it was still ok.  I knew that I would start moving again so that I could make it under 2 hours.  And so I started to get moving again.  I did have my garmin on but was not looking at it. Trying to learn to run by feel, anyway more on that later.

I started getting into my groove again, and like I said there was very very little crowd support out there. It actaully helped me a little to try to focus more on my running then on the crowds.  So, there really is not much else to say but I did get another side stitch between mile marker 10 and 11 and had to walk it out a little more.  I started to move with determination that I needed to finish before the 2 hour mark.  At around the 11 mile mark we make a turn toward Assateague Island, and there it is.  Like a monster on the horizon.  The Verrazano Bridge that takes you into Assateague.  I envisioned myself flying over and down the other side.  Well it was a pretty picture, inside my head.  I did make it over and started on my way down the other side.  I was hoping that the finish line would have been in sight, but it was not.  Mile 12 was on the crest of the bridge so we still had a mile to go. I was hoping that the downhill was going to allow me to pick up speed and cruse into the finish line.  Not so much. 

Well within that last mile, it was a very narrow path.  It was a bit difficult that we had to dodge other runners but we also had to dodge horse droppings as well.  I heard behind me somebody giving encouragement to "Nicole".  I could tell that she was giving it all.  He kept on saying that we are almost there and that the finish line was right around the corner.  I felt myself fading, when he came up close enough for me to look back and see him. He was the 1:55 pacer.  Well I was not letting him, or Nicole, pass me. I picked up the pace and finish I did.  1:55:39.  Yes a new PR for me.  This is equal to just under an 8:50 pace. 
After downloading and looking at my data, I know why I got a stitch in my side between mile 3 and 4.  Mile 1:  8:15 pace  Mile 2:  8:16 pace Mile 3:  8:18 pace.  I was just going out a little too quick.  Something to keep in mind next time. 

Well now for some other news.  Pam and Alex ran the 5k.  They started at the same place we did and went on an out and back course on the boardwalk.  This was Alexs first 5k.  She did not do much training at all.   She finished in 30:09.  this was good enough for 4th in her age group, out of 11. Pam finished a second in front of Alex.  They both had a great time, and there is talk about doing this race again next year.  Pam is even asking about half marathon training programs.  

Oh, I forgot to mention that my brother in law place 2nd in his age group.  He also got a PR. 

We all had a great time and hope that we can do this one again next year.  If we do I will try very hard to do what I did at the Rock and Roll in DC.  I am very happy with both times, but the RNR race I ran at a more consistant pace than the OC one.  Next goal.......1:45  

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Virginia Duathlon - Race report

I participated in this event last year and enjoyed it so much that I wanted to come back and du it again. Ha Ha.

This event was held at Chippokes Plantation State Park in Surry which is across the James River from Williamsburg. This is a win win for my family as there is a campground at the state park. So we can camp for the weekend and I can race.

The distances were 5k run, 23 mile bike, 5k run. So last year my first run time was 26:33, bike was 1:19:59 and my second run was 29:59 for a total time of 2:19:21. So my goal was to beat those times.  I feel that I am a stronger runner and I have improved my bike by upgrading.  Last year I was on a Trek 440, but it was about a size and a half too small. I am now on a Focus Varido 1.0, but more importantly, the correct size.
So here is how things went down.

So we make it to the transition area and I get my bike set up. No issues there. Also, I have been working on my hydration.  More specifically not taking too much in.  My wife is shocked when she tells me to line up at the porta potty and I tell her that I don't have to go.  Anyway, she runs with me for a little bit to help me warm up a bit.
So the time comes and I line up for the start. The waves that they had were Males 44 and younger in the first wave, Males 45 and older in the second wave, females in the third and the final was all teams.

I was in the second wave which went off 3 minutes after the initial gun.

Off we go and I felt good. We get to the turn around at the campground which is a little more then a mile into the race and the first female catches us. At Mile 2 the second female catches us. The third female catches us at about 2.5 and the forth female just before mile 3. I won't lie it was a bit humbling.

So I hit the transition area, stop my watch and switch it to bike mode. I did not look at the time but it was 26:00 flat. 33 sec faster then last year.  I felt very good and ready for the bike.

I did not feel like my transition was very smooth, and I am sure it was because I did not "practice" as part of my training. Now we all know how well Mother Nature treated us this winter, not to mention that rodent from PA, but anyway, I won't lie I was a bit concerned about doing well on the bike as I was in the basement on the trainer for most of the winter.
So I am off on the bike. Had a bit of trouble getting on the bike and going but off I went. Now this was a no drafting event and there were many bikers in front of me so I was trying to pace myself but also make sure that I did not get a penalty so close to the start of the bike. I did not want to ex-spell all of my energy within the first couple of miles.

Well I was able to get past them and get into a nice groove (without a penalty, yea). The rural roads of Surry are not too bad. Lots of different farms to look at but not the most pretty either.  Nonetheless I was more focused on what was in front of me the around me. I was feeling really good and pedaling strong. Not really much to say about the bike, except that by mile 20 I was starting to get tired and I forgot about a hill toward the end.  I got over that and was on my way to the bike finish. I was able to stop without an issue but had a bit of trouble getting off the bike and getting my legs to move forward.

Well I got into transition and after fumbling to change my shoes I was finally able to get things going. Not sure about my official time as it did not record correctly. Neither did my transition times.  I got in touch with the race director and he thought that I might have taken my race bib off.  The timing chip was on the back of the bib.  Well I did not remove my bib, there was just a glitch.  However, per my garmin, my bike time was probably about 1:11.

So my goal for the second run was to just keep moving and above all try not to walk. My next goal was to finish it under 30 mins. Main goal, was to keep as close to a 9 min mile as possible.

As I am running along, I came up to a female.  As I got closer I could tell she was struggling and she started to walk. I provided her some words of encouragement to keep going, and she did. We played leap frog for a little bit and then after mile 2 I just saw the back of her. Anyway, as we were coming into the campground I saw my family cheering me on. It was a boost. I was feeling good and kept my legs moving.

Well I was coming into the final stretch and I saw the clock. Well I was a little disappointed. Last year I completed the event in 2:19. The clock read 2:11. I was hoping for under 2 hours. Well I got my office time and it read 2:08:37. I forgot that I was in the second wave that started 3 mins after the initial gun.

I was feeling better about that.

My second run was 28:14 for a pace of 9:06.
So to break things down, my first run was 26:04, pace of 8:23 per mile and 96th place overall, 6th in my age group.  My bike time did not record properly, but it had me at 2:44:25.  My second run again was 28:14, pace of 9:06 per mile and 88th overall and 7th in my age group.
If I go with 1:11 for the bike it would have me at 5th in my age group, which is where I finished overall. 5th in my age group.  Very stoked about that.

Over all I am very happy with my performance and I am looking forward to doing this event again next year.

I did some math and adding up the two runs comes to 54:19.12.  If I take that time away from my overall time I figure that my two transition time and bike time would be 1:14:18.37.  Still is not that bad, plus my run time is a minute off of my PR for a 10k.

So I have a lot to look forward to.  I really like the multi sport events and look forward to doing more.  Still not sure about a Tri but I have learned to never say never.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Rock and Roll Half Marathon - Race Report

This was a race that I had a mission.  Last year my goal was to get under 2 hours.  Well I did not make that goal.  In looking back I believe I was issue was my nutrition.  I took in too many calories and started to get side stitches.   I finished in 2:05.  Still respectful, but I was so disappointed, and pissed off,  that I believe I signed up for the 2013 race within a week of finishing the event in 2012.

Anyway,  I felt that I needed to redeem myself.  I was more then a little pumped.  I was, however,  concerned about the weather report as I felt that it was on that fine line of wearing too many layer or not enough.  So upon waking up that morning and looking at the weather report I went with calf sleeves, shorts, plodder T-shirt arm warmers, knit gloves and baseball running hat.  If this was a training run I probably would have worn long sleeves or even a jacket.  I will say that there were a couple of times where I felt a breeze and a chill ran through my body, but over all, I was just fine.  I think I made the right call, as opposed to long pants long sleeve shirt, skull cap, etc.  

So lets get to the meat of this post.

I hitched a ride down to the Metro with a close friend.  We crammed into Metro and made our way down.  Bob and I both had a bag to check so we said our peace and waited in our separate lines to drop off our bag to pick up after the race.  I will say that I don't think I will ever use bag check again if I don't have to.  It seemed extremely unorganized.  The lines were unbelievably long.  Anyway, I dropped my bag off and made my way to my corral.  Now in the past I have had an issue where I hydrated too much and had to use the bathroom many times before the start of the race.  Well my "big trick" this time (as I knew the lines would be long) was that I  brought with me a small Gatorade bottle so that I could use, for,  well,  you know.  Anyway, I ducked behind some bushes instead of waiting in the long portapotty lines.  TMI I know, but I used a bottle and threw it away when I was done.  moving on. 

 I made my way to my corral and I was getting pumped.  My legs were ready to go and I felt strong.   I heard the national anthem and I was ready. One by one the corrals before me were set loose.  Then came Corral 11.  the count down was made and then we were off.   Running down Constitution Ave, White House on the right, Washington Monument on the left.  I was feeling a bit patriotic as we ran underneath the huge American Flag.  My goal was to run as consistently as possible and while there were some 30,000 people running, I did not feel that I was weaving in and out of traffic too much.  I guess they had broken up the crowds in manageable corrals.  So with that, I was able to get into a groove early and was able to stay with it.  

We went out and back on the Arlington Memorial bridge and made our way up Rock Creek parkway.  (This is also part of the Cherry Blossom 10 miler which I have done before.) We make our way under the Kennedy Center and continue on Rock Creek Parkway.  I am feeling good, but I know that there is a hill coming up as I had looked at the elevation chart beforehand.  AND THERE SHE BLOWS!  So this hill brought us up to Calvert St.  Per my Garmin, at mile 6 we were at 19 feet, by mile 6.3 we were at 160 feet and by mile 7 we topped off at 198 feet.  Not that I am say my Garmin is gospel, but it can not be that far off.

Well I got up and over that and started to work on recovering. I knew that was the worst of it as the other hills were not as bad, so I started to get back into my groove. There were a couple more little bumps coming up but I knew I would make up some time.  I still felt great and knew that it was mostly down hill from here.  

Coming down mile 9 on N. Capitol I was able to focus on the Capitol Dome as I was starting to feel a little tired.  This was the first time, and before I knew it I saw the marker for Mile 11.  Where the heck did mile 10 go?  Never mind I told myself and started to focus more and picture what the finish should look like.   We came up to the split from the full and half and I knew it was coming, the finish.  I was glad too.  My legs, rather hips, were starting to feel it.  I saw RFK and knew it was right around the corner.  I started to see banners. I started to hear the crowds yelling.  I was trying to kick it in, but honestly I felt like I moving slower.  Finally I crossed the finish line and then looked at my Garmin for the first time the whole race.  1:56.  I did it.  Not only did I beat last years time but I came under 2 hours.  Mission accomplished!

Will I do this race next year?  Maybe.  Unlike last year, I don't have that feeling deep down that I have to.  This year I trained and I conquered!  However, if I do come back next year I will not use bag check.  I might pay someone to be my pack mule.  Any takers?  Also I was a little disappointed in the water stops. Most of the stops were short on water when I ran by.  they only had Gatorade at what seemed to be every other aide station.  Even though I did not use the aide stations that much I think it helped me in the long run.  I (We) tend to get caught up in making sure we take in enough calories and water when we are out there.  For this race I only hit 3 aide stations, 2 for water and 1 for Gatorade and unlike last year where I took 3 Gu packets during the race this year I only took 1 and that was at the very beginning.

Oh, and supposedly they had bands through out the course (insert sarcasm), but honestly there were only three groups that I could really remember.  One was a brass quintet but I have no idea how they sounded as they were not playing as I ran by.  Another was a group of people that were all dressed similar and just jumping all around like they had so much energy. Come to think of it I don't believe they were a Band at all, I believe they might have been considered a cheer group.  Any way they gave me some of their energy. The last group was Batala at mile 8 I believe.  There were a group of kids banging on drums.  That just got me going. I really was not focused on the bands, I was more focused on my task at hand.  I will say that I have run the Rock and Roll Half in Virginia Beach, VA  and I remember more about the bands down there then the ones in DC.

Anyway all that I have to say about my experience on Saturday is that I had a great time. 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

training starts

Well as I sit here watching some great football, I look back at the past week happy that I was focused on keeping my fitness up.
There is a reason why we keep running in the off-season even though we are not training for anything specific.
As it turns out, I have caught something.  I have an upper chest/respiratory infection/cold.  I feel ok but I have some congestion in my upper chest and it has taken a bit of a toll on me.
I went on a run on Thursday and could tell I was very weak.  So I decided, with some encouragement from some friends that I should take it easy, relax and stay focused on what needs to be done long term.
So that is what I am doing.  I am not happy about it but I feel that I have kept my endurance going that I can take a couple of days off and not do too much damage.
So I hope that I will be able to get back at it soon.

Will up date on my progress.

Monday, January 14, 2013

A look back at 2012

So even though I have been extremely busy I am going to make a commitment to updating once a week.

2012 was a very good year.  I am on daily mile and recently received an email with my training summary.  Not too bad if I do say so myself.

I covered 2,433 miles in running and biking.  This was an average of 46 miles per week.  I logged 340 miles and burned 70 miles.
So I decided to review my Gamin stats.  It took me a minute to remember how to navigate, but I figured it out.
I had 165 Activities for running with a total distance of 726.27 miles in 123:29 hours/mins.  My average speed was 5.9 mph and burned 117,786 calories.
For Cycling I had 182 activities and went 1,729.31 miles in 117:52 hours/mins.  My average speed was 14.7 mph and I burned 128,236 calories.
I did spend 4 hours doing 12 "other" activities and burned 1,021 calories.  There was also 5 activities that I did for a total of 2:39 hours/mins.  I only burned 194 calories.  Not sure what they were but it counts.

In looking back I accomplished a great deal.  I have kept myself fairly healthy and have really improved my speed on my feet. 

I obtained 3 new personal bests.  My 5k, 10k and half marathon, in that order.
My 5k is 24:25 at Sadies race on May 12th, my 10k is 53:42 at Columbia Turkey Chase on Nov 18th and my Half is 1:56:35 at Annapolis Half Marathon on Dec 1st.

I have not done a full marathon since the Marine Corp in 2010.  I do plan on doing another one, maybe this is the year.  Maybe not.  We shall see.  I am wanting to get into duathlons more this year, but I have a lot of events on my bucket list.  Speaking of the bucket list, I did a Spartan race this past year.  Don't plan on doing anything like that again.  One and definitely done with that.  There are many different obstacle or themed events out there and I am just not interested in doing anything like that again.

Getting back to duathlons, this year I plan on doing 2 events that I have done before, The Virginia Duathlon and the Maryland Olympic Duathon.  I am going to hope to do both duathlons in Hagerstown but we shall see.

One thing that I have come to realize is that I need to do more stretching and work on my core.  I plan to do that.  I am also going to give the 100 push ups a try.

I am going to be giving a couple of different things a try this first quarter, training apps, work out routines etc.  I will keep you posted.

well thanks for reading. I will update more later.