Author: hypergt

Eagle Creek Sprint duathlon

On June 10th I participated in the Eagle Creek duathlon.  I decided not to participate in the sprint triathlon.  Partly because I had only had about 5 pool swims under my belt at the time, but also because I thought the water was going to be really cold!  Haha.  Low and behold we had a string of warm days before the event and the water ended up being 74°.  Oh well.

Looking at last years duathlon results I figured I could place fairly well if the participation was similar.  On arrival, I saw one guy that I knew from Strava and figured he would win the duathlon(he did).  Everyone else was up in the air.  

The first run was a 2 miler.  I took off in the front and about 4 of us showed our pace at the beginning.  The guy I mentioned earlier was an extra step in front of the rest of us.  I stayed in 4th through the run and averaged 6:45 pace.  In tranasition I happened to be racked by the guy who was 3rd.  I left transition in front of him.  And I wasnt even that fast.

I pushed as hard as I was able on the 10 mile bike course.  My heart rate never dropped below 170.  One guy passed me on course and that was it.  He wasnt a duathlete, though.  It was a decent bike but I was a little slower than I had hoped.  No big deal, back to my run shoes.

I pushed back up the hill out of transition and settled into a pace under 7 min/mi for the 3 mile run.  I was hoping for a little more pace but it was all I had.  I saw the guy in 2nd place and knew I wasnt going to be able to reach him.  I was closing in on him but the gap was too far.  Back to the hill at the end and this time it was down hill.  I heard footsteps beating behind me and didnt want whoever it was to pass me.  I gave all I had left.  Whoever it was didnt pass me.  I pegged my HR and was fighting back throwing up as I crossed the line.  Yes, like really close to puking.  Haha.
I finished 3rd in the duathlon.  I was happy with my time and know I can work out a few more minutes off my time.  I wasnt in great shape this early in my shortened season.  Yes, it wasnt a fast field, but I dont care!  Haha.  I doubt I will be doing the duathlon this year again, but I had a lot of fun and wont say I wouldnt do it again.

2017 Glass City Marathon 

Sunday, April 23rd was the culmination of 6+ years of running, 2-1/2 years of marathon, 4 months of dedicated training while covering 1031 miles in that time, and one giant step towards running the Boston Marathon.  I ran the 2017 Glass City Marathon!

My story starts 2 weeks prior to the race.  It was my first week of my taper.  It was a small drop off in miles, but a drop none-the-less.  The weekend involved a long run of 17 miles.  16 to 18 miles is normal for the 3rd week out long run.  The long run ended up being one of my fasted, long runs.  About 1pm I went on my run with maybe 150 calories ingested that morning.  I kept the run at a pretty decent pace. I think it ended up being 7:45/mi.  I normally have been doing my long runs just over 8/mi to keep them fairly easy.  I was pretty wiped out by the end.  It happens and didnt think anythibg of it.  I woke up the next day with pain in my butt and right calf.  I ran the whole next week with this feeling.  The weekend before the race I had 13 miles on my long run and I stopped at 10 frustrated.  The pain hadnt gotten any better.  On Monday I feel like I finally figured out I had a case of Piriformis Syndrome and finally could make a plan to fix it.  In 6 days!   I foam rolled, I stretched, I stopped running and I did lots and lots of clamshells!  I ran on Wednesday and the feeling was still there.  It didnt slow me down but I knew 4 miles wasnt the same as mile 20 of a marathon.  A few more days off followed…

My friend Jeff, my wife Meggan, and I all headed up to Toledo Saturday midday.  The drive was uneventful and we got to Toledo about 3pm.  Straight to the Expo and we all grabbed our packets.  Jeff and I for the marathon and Meggan for the 5K.   We grabbed some early dinner and went to the hotel.  I drug Jeff outside to go for a real easy 2 mile shakeout.  The piriformis wasnt bad but I knew it wasnt 100%.  I guess I will try to ignore it as long as possible.  Heck, my calf was hurting more than the piriformis.  I wonder if they are related from a sciatic nerve standpoint?

So….race morning.  Alarm goes off at 4:30am.  Again, I drag Jeff outside and we trot a 1 mile out-and-back.  I ate a slice of bread, took down some Infinit MUD and had a cup of coffee.  I normally like to eat a touch more than that but my nerves were getting the best of me by that point.  About 6am we took off for the start line.  It was a short drive and a little traffice but we were parked and out by 6:30.  A quick trip to the port-os and I do my lunge matrix and leg swing warm-up.   A kiss good-bye to the wife and I get in my corral up front.

I knew I was going to stick with the 3:05 pacer and hold on as long as my piriformis would let me.  When I got into my corral the 3:05 was nowhere to be found.  It was advertised but no one showed up.  A 1:30 half pacer was there but I didnt want to be that quick.  Well, I did but probably not going to happen.  The race was supposed to start at 7:02am but it went a little late with some guest speakers.  A fly-over later and we got the green light to go.  I stayed reserved at the start, unlike my normal tendencies to blast off.  There were plenty of halfers in the mix that i knew were going faster than me so I kept reminding myself to settle down.  It didnt take long and I found my rythym.  7:02 on the first mile, win!

Mile 3 had the first hill that I knew about.  It came and went without much trouble.  We turned into a nice residential area for miles 4-9.  There were a number of twusts and turns and even a few small hills through here.  This was the section of the race that I skipped during my 20 mile training run on course back in February.  During this time my pace had quickened.  I clocked off several 6:48 miles.  During this time the Sub 3 goal started to flash in my head.  6:51-6:52 was needed for that. I would quickly try to shrug it off and say that 7:00 or so was my goal.  I’ve still got a looong way to go.

Running through the Preserve, first time

After mile 9 the half-marathon split off to go towards the finish and we, marathoners, went into the Nature Preserve to start the rest of our journey.  The scope of the event was starting to weigh on me at this point and how much longer i still have to go.  But i kept going and my pace fluttered around 6:55 pretty consistently.  My breathing was efficient and the pace didnt feel hard.  Ok good.

After crossing the timing mats at 12.9 miles(WTF kind of time split is that?) we turned north to run along the side of a street.  I knew the wind was out of the north.  It was only supposed to be 2-5mph but i could feel it.  About then a group of about 6 or 7 guys caught and passed me.  They were cruising and from a short convo I overheard it sounded like they were going for a 3:00hr finish.  Me and the guy I was runnung near both sped up to catch the back of their pack.  I stuck with them for over the next mile to block the wind.  Their pace was a little fast but I figure it was worth it.  After we turned back east I noticed my pace was in the 6:30s so i let their group go and went back to my own pace.  During that time we also crossed the 13.1 and a guy yelling out our splits as we passed.  1 hour 30, 11 as I passed by.   “Woah!  I’m going quick!   I feel great and maybe this sub 3 is a real thing now!   But it’s only the halfway point.  It’s gonna get the best of you if you keep pushing.  But maybe if i only need to drop 12 seconds to get enough…..ugh, stop it!”

Miles 14-17 briefly snake through a residential area and a large pond in a park.  As I was circling around the pond I came up on one of the guys from the pack from earlier.  He looked like he was cramping.  “Yeah, 17.  That’s where things start to go downhill.  That’s as far as I made it last year at Carmel.  Not this year, I’m still feeling good not even breathing hard.”  Another 6:48 mile at 17.  I started to chuckle.  “This is where that park ranger pulled me over yesterday to scold me about the park having a 10mph speed limit.  Hey buddy, I bet I am braking your speed limit right now! Haha”  It was also at this point I started getting a little giddy about my BQ chances.  Mile 19 was coming, though, keep it down.

Another long straight stretch of road and no one around me.  It was a little boring for a few minutes but I knew mile 19 was coming.  I’m going to try to get a little rest on this coming downhill.  The hill of the race is coming up.  Hills kill me.  In each of my last 2 BQ attempts the short hills late in those races zapped my energy.  I had run up to a couple other athletes as we started downhill, briefly.  I relaxed my arms and flopped down the hill.  As we approached the base of this hill at 19 I told myself to just stare at the ground at my feet, keep my effort and i’ll never even know there was a hill.  It seemed to work as I cruised uo the hill without even as much as slowing down.  Towards the top of the hill I noticed a female athlete I had ran with briefly at the beginning.  She was walking right before the hill and now i had caught her as she resumed her run.  “What is that on her leg?  That’s a weird spot for a tattoo.  Oh wait, is that???  Aw man, this chick let a fart get sloppy.  Gross.  Oh even worse her butt is wet!   Ok, pass her quickly and get that visual out!”

Back up to the top of the hill and my good pace had resumed.  Actually, i had sped up and was again running high 6:40s at the time.  I correct and got back into the 6:50s.  I had accomplished my goal of owning the hill but I still had a 10K to run.  “Don’t fool yourself into thinking you had won.”  We made our way back into the Preserve and on the same path as before.

Right before the covered bridge around 19. Photographer dropped his camera so I didnt think he got me.

  Another time passed the mansion and the short little climb in front of it.  On this little climb was the first time I had felt the fatigue in my legs.  “Mile 21 and I am just now starting to feel something.  This is going pretty well!  You may just do it.  5 miles, 7 minute pace….wow Im going to be just over 3hrs!  3:01 maybe, can I push and get under 3?!  No wait, you still have to finish. 3:01 is a great time!”

Before the race i had told myself that once I got to 21.5 the bike path back to the finish would feel downhill.  Yeah, i must have looked at it wrong on my training run because it didnt feel that way!  It is net downhill but you can’t tell.  

Mile 22 looking ahead down the bike path thinking, “I thought this was supposed to feel downhill?”

Again past the 22 mile mark, quick math in my head(if I can still do math I know my head is in the right state of mind) and i know I am still close to 3:01.  “Ok, 22 miles…lets try to push this thing a bit now.  Woah, I just felt dizzy for a second, I need water.  Man, I havent seen an aid station in a while.  Shrug it off and keep pushing.  Ok, what is my pace now?  7:02?!  What??  Im going harder and slowing down?  And I can tell I am breathing hard now too.”   Getting close to the end and i was mentally pushing myself harder but all I was getting was just to maintain the pace I had been keeping.  But the good news was I was passing miles in the 20s and still hadn’t faded.  Maybe my bonk-test long runs and 70 mile weeks are paying off now!

Mile 24…”only 2.2 miles to go! I still see 3:01 as my finish time.  Ok, man i am getting tired now.  I want to stop.  I could run a couple 9 minute miles and still get under 3:05.  No, push!  Get under 3!  It’s too late.  Just keep running! Only 1.5 miles to go”

Mile 25. “1.2 miles to go.  You’ve got this. Just keep oushing itll be over soon.  Catch up to that young man in front of you.  His friends just told him the finish is around the corner.  Did they say downhill?   Ahhhhhh, down a hill!!  3 minutes to the finish that guy in the bike said?  That doesnt sound right?”  As I passed the young man going down the hill, I told him he was doing a great job and that we were on our way to BQ.  Didnt get a response but that’s ok.  I was feeling great, maybe he wasnt.

I could see the stadium by this point.  I had just entered a blocked off area of the finisher party for the runners. 

Hitting the last .2 and knowing I was about to complete my journey. Smiles building and fighting back the tears of pride.

 I took off the sock hat I was wearing and knew I must have been grinning ear-to-ear.  I heard someone say, “Yes, keep that smile all the way to the end!” Why, yes I will, thank you!  I was also trying to fight back tears at this point.  I knew I had accomplished my dream.  I was going to qualify for the Boston Marathon.  A few turns and a short little uphill into the stadium and i was onto the turf of the football field.  I looked up and saw Meggan screaming on the side of the path and I looked at her and shouted.  Woooo!!!!!!  I continued on to the 50 yard line pumping my first and yelling “BQ baby!!!!”  I heard the announcer say my name and let out another yell and reached my hands to the sky as i crossed the line and the clock.  I reached up to jump and touch it but held myself back and just stretched.  I pointed to the sky to thank God as I had prayed for him to give me the strength to overcome my injuries and tfor the wisdom to run a smart race and He delivered for me.  A volunteer told me good job and handed me a medal.  I put it proudly around my neck and took a blanket and crouched down on all 4s to kiss the ground and to say thank you one more time.  Another volunteer cam up to me concerned and asked if i was doing ok.  I grinned real big and said, “Yeah, i’m doing great!”  I quickly hopped back up and started walking down the chute.  I still had energy left. I stood back up without any pain.  I disnt feel drained at all.  I’ve always felt so wiped at the end of marathons i couldnt believe how aware and connected I was feeling.  A few seconds later i saw Meggan running into the finishers chute and she gave me a biiiig hug.  I just said, “I did it,” and I returned her embrace.  

Yeaaaaah! BQ!

Arms up! I did it!

My official finishers time was 3:01:16.  It averaged out to be a 6:55/mile pace.  Good enough for an automatic qualifying spot for Boston this September when registration opens for the 2018 Boston Marathon.  I finished 58th overall and 7th for my age group.  My first mile was 7:02 and my last mile was a 7:00.  My fastest mile was 6:48 and I had no fade.  My first half and second half splits were within a minute of each other.  I honestly couldnt have asked for a better race.  The weather, in the 40s the whole time, was perfect.  There was no wind to factor.  This winter has been the mildest i can ever remember and therefore the best for me to train in.  This race was definitely one to remember.  Thank you, Toledo and to the Glass City Marathon.  The celebration will continue in Boston next Patriot’s Day, Marathon Monday.

Time to celebrate! My wife and also my good friend, Jeff, who went with me.

No Luck 1/2 Marathon recap

Pre-race, kinda cold waiting for the start!(Im in the grey tshirt and shorts)

Walk around, stay warm, talk to people

Great race today. Race time temps were about 5° higher than predicted.  Helped me decide on shorts and a tshirt(36°) with arm warmers.  Goal was to hit 6:3xs each mile.  I started up front but behind the guys I knew would run sub 1:20.  The race went off and within the first 1/2 mile as expected Im doing 5:50.  I purposely slowed down to 630-645 and ran along a guy matching me stride for stride. I thought maybe Id have company as the other 7 in front me were gone!  Before the first mile, though, my partner had slowed way back and was gone. I was about 20yds behind #1 female. At least I felt like I had a target. I thought to myself that she was going to drop back the pace by mile 4. Sure enough, at 3.5 I started gaining on her and passed her. I was on my own the rest of the race!  I hit a few miles in the high 6:20s but I was feeling fairly relaxed as I approached the turnaround. I was seeing 1-6 coming back at this point. I felt like #6 wasnt too far ahead of me but a minute is deceiving. Turned around grabbed my first water drink. The next few miles were nice as I saw all my friends on the course and lots of “good jobs”. It was a slight downhill.  I intended to use this to my advantage and gain some speed.  I ended up maintaining the pace and relaxing some.  Once back on the flat, after the time spent relaxing, I sped up as i was feeling good.  Mile 8 was the fastest in the 6:18 range and I could tell it put the hurt in my lungs beyond that.  After mile 9 we went up the middle school hill on Stafford. I tried to use my quads and hammys more to go up the hill.  I felt gassed for about a 1/4 mile after the hill.

Right turn off Stafford and the 3 mile sign.  I know I only have around 21 minutes of running for the final 5k. I look at my watch and read 1:04. Im on target!  After this right-hand turn I realized that I was starting to notice the wind for the first time.  I looked at the flags nearby and could tell the wind was from the north.  The way the last stretch goes to the finish.  I power through the next mile going down under 267 again and up a short, steep grass hill.  Watch those footsteps!  There were some big dirt mounds i almost turned an ankle on.

Things are starting to get tough, now. I make the 2nd to last turn to head north to the finish and like a clap of the hands the wind hits me!  Woah!!!!  The records show the wind was never more than 6mph in the morning.  No way that was 6.  I would guess a steady 15mph, honestly.  Everyone was commenting about that section post race.  My effort level goes up another 20% and I cant even maintain 6:40 anymore, crap!  One last water drink and push. I redlined to keep my pace in 630s. Turn the final corner and kick it. As I approached the finish I could see my wife and she was tugging a little hand behind her.  She had brought my daughter, Lillian!  (My wife did the 5K so she went back home to get her after her race)  They smiled and waved and I got a big grin and smiled and waved too.  Then I turned back to the finish line and looked at the clock.  It just ticked over 1:24! So much faster than I was expecting of myself!  As i crossed the line I grabbed my sock hat off my head and flipped it up into the air not knowing where it was going. I didnt care, haha.  I put my hands on my knees for a second and then took my medal from one of the ladies.  I turned around to the race director who was congratulating me and asking if I was headed to Boston next month.  I had to tell him, “nope, but I’m qualifying the weekend after in Toledo!”  I briefly looked for someone that might be handing me my hat but nothing.  I didnt care one bit I lost it.  Come to find out I flipped it back over the finish line about 20ft away right by my wife and daughter!  Haha, they had it.  I finished in 1:24:08.  I was 7th overall and 2nd in my age group.  I was 2+ minutes faster than this race last year and lost 2 spots, hah.  The course read short on a lot of Garmins but I dont question the RDs ability to measure a route.

I wasn’t nervous going into this race but I had a lot of question marks about how well I would do.  I am putting in 65-70 miles a week pretty regularly.  More than ever by a long shot.  I’ve stayed healthy and have hit all my hard workouts.  This was kind of the payoff for all that work. Now, though, the real treat awaits at the Glass City Marathon on April 23.  

Boston awaits.

Go time!

Podium shot! Billie(3rd), Zach(1st AG 1:19), stand-in leprechaun guy(he’s a super fast runner), Me(2nd)

I was ready for an Ironman, but I wasn’t ready for that!

I have been a slacker this summer.  Not with my training, no, that has been going well.  With my blog!  I have done several races since Chatt70.3 and I did nothing to mention them here.  I apologize for that, but here I am to talk about my latest adventure.

IRONMAN CHATTANOOGA

This was my 2nd attempt at the full 140.6 distance.  I completed IM Louisville in the fall of 2014.  I got the green light to do another in 2016.  My training started 5 weeks prior to the 70.3 event in the city that I posted about back in May.  Through the summer my workouts had their ups and downs.  The last 2 big build weeks were very good, though.  I hit my highest miles, highest durations and felt good through the long bricks.  I went into my taper/peak period with a very good plan.  I was going to be ready to dominate this race to the best of my ability.

Race week had come upon us and I was hitting my taper/peak numbers exactly where I was wanting to me.  The wife and I headed down to Tennessee on Thursday afternoon.  Friday was spent sight-seeing in Chattanooga to enjoy ourselves a bit.  October 1st will be our 5th anniversary so this was kind of our getaway.  Somehow I don’t feel like it did the moment justice but we both had fun.  We went up to the top of Lookout Mountain and saw the civil war memorial there and got a great view of Chattanooga.

 

Lookout Mountain view of Chatt

 

5 years of marriage with this girl

Saturday started out with an easy bike ride of the run course.  I stayed on the flat side of the river.  I drove Barton Ave the evening before and didn’t want to take my bike over there.  It was fairly hilly.  I came back to the hotel and put on shoes and ran a couple miles.  Afterwards, I got my bike ready and realized that I wasn’t able to shift into my big ring on the crankset!  Crap, I don’t have tools to adjust the derailleur.  I only brought allen wrenches.  I came to the conclusion that I would have to let the onsite bike tech take a look at it.  When we got to the Ironman village the bike techs were scrambling around like crazy!  I asked if they could look at it and after a couple minutes of hee-hawing one of the techs grabbed my bike and put it on a stand.  He made a few adjustments to the limit screws on the front derailleur and had it shifting better than ever!  I thanked the guy.  He smiled, winked and said that the wheelset I was using was topnotch!  Thanks ENVE!  I then racked my bike and my bike/run bags.  I had a good spot on transition.  Nearer to the exit/entrance than most.

 

Looking back at the changing tents

Fast forward to the morning of the race.  I’ll say I got about 5 hours of sleep the night before.  It was very spotty, though.  I keep myself up at night worrying about the swim starts.  I had a banana, a couple pieces of bread that I dipped into a hazelnut spread, and filled up a water bottle with a serving of Infinit Jet Fuel for some calories and caffeine while in the wait line.  I got to transition around 5:15am and was out by 5:30am.  I had turned my computer on and let it sync to my power meter and cadence sensor.  I saw it do it!  Me, my wife and my friend Doug all loaded into a bus and we went to the swim start line.  There, my friend Chuck had been holding a spot for our little group.  We could see the starting arch we were so close!  Billie was there, Robert, Chuck too.  Shortly after Jim joined us and a couple guys he knew that were racing too.  We sat there for almost 2 hours waiting.  Just waiting….

It got close to 7:30.  The pros had just started so we were getting ready and the line was filing out to the pontoon to jump in.  By this point we were right under the Ironman arch and could see the pontoon.  We got together for a group photo and our canon went off around 7:26am.  Time to make some PRs!

 

Chuck, Billie, Robert, me, Doug, Jim

I’ll use this spot to fill you in on what I had hoped for on this day.  I knew the swim was with the current the whole way so I knew I was going to PR this leg.  I had a mediocre swim of 1:20 at Louisville so I was figuring I would swim maybe 1:15.  I had a longshot goal of getting to 1:10 but wasn’t trying to over do it.  After talking to Chuck and seeing his swim time from last year I started thinking I could go faster.   Using Best Bike Split I calculated out a bike time of around 6:11 with very favorable winds like we were supposed to have.  I said a 6:30 would be ok but my best goal was a 6:12.  And then on the run, I was hoping my run training I had been doing over the last couple years would benefit me and help me reach my goal.  My soft goal was to run 4:30 but I really wanted to get under 4:00.  After seeing the heat for the day I knew that was most likely not gonna happen.  Back to 4:30.  Overall, I wanted to reach a 12:30 time.  With a good race I think I would be capable of breaking 11s, but 12:30 is what I wanted to beat.

On to the swim.  The swim is so lonely.  You can’t talk to anyone.  You can’t smile at anybody.  You’re just there in your head taking each stroke one at a time.  Thankfully the buoys were easy to spot.  I took an alright line and most importantly avoided congestion!  My goggles never leaked or fogged up.  I only had a couple touches with other people.  And some guys fingers coming up from under me and poking me in the belly.  How does that happen?! I didn’t know how many buoys there were but I figured when they changed from yellow to orange that that must be the halfway point.  After going under the 3 bridges I turned around the final red buoy and headed to the exit ladders.  It didn’t feel painfully long.  In fact, I was sort of enjoying it!  *gasp*  After climbing out I looked down at my watch before hitting the lap button and saw 1:07.  1:07!!!  I smiled and pumped my fist running down the concrete walk.  Yank the goggles and cap off and pulled my Blueseventy PZ3TX swim skin down to my waist.  The ramp up to transition was STEEP!  I didn’t remember that from the 70.3.  I shifted from a walk back to a run a couple times.

 

Turn to go up the hill

Grabbing my bike bag

 

 

 

 

 

 

After grabbing my bike bag I went into the changing tent and let a nice volunteer dump the contents of the bag out and get my shoes ready.  I put my socks on and heard a familiar voice, “Hey buddy!”  “Oh hey, Jim!”  I had beat him out of the water!  That was a first.  I put my chamois cream on, shoes and helmet and rolled my arm sleeves on and trotted out the tent.  I had the sunscreen volunteers spray me down.  Ouch, little burn on the front of my neck from my skin.  As I ran to my bike I looked over and saw Jim running to his.  I yelled across transitions, “Hey Jim, you better slow down!”  I then grabbed my bike off the rack and as I rounded the corner there was Jim coming to meet me and making an attempt to cut me off!  All in good fun of course so for the final 30-40yds we were in a race pushing our bikes to the mount line.  He beat me and was off fairly quickly.  It was a good thing to have a little fun in such a long race!

 

Smiling at Jim as we raced to the mount line

As soon as I got on my bike I realized my power meter wasn’t synced!  This has been a reoccurring trend in my races this year.  I know I sync’d it in my setup that morning.  Anyways, I figured I would just use my watch to make do.  The power numbers on my watch were being just as stupid.  I’m pedaling away and only seeing 60watts on my watch, then 200w and down to 0.  WTF.  After about 15 minutes I decided to turn my computer off and back on and it instantly found my power meter and cadence sensor.  Jeez!  So, no big deal and I could deal with that.  The ride was going well.  I wasn’t quite up to my goal avg power yet and my NP was a little high but those would equalize as I settled down into the ride.  Dang it!  Popped my chain off shifting up to the big ring.  My fault I believe.  Threw it back on in about 10 seconds.  Again!  Around mile 50 I dropped it going into the little ring.  Ugh, another sticking point of paying attention what rear gear I am in!  I didn’t drop it again after that.  At mile 52 was special needs.  I made a new nutrition bottle and went on my way.  As I started lap 2 I noticed something.  It was hot.  And now I could feel it.  I had recently started making the decision of grabbing 2 water bottles at each aid station instead of 1 like I normally do.  Did I start too late?  By mile 70 it occurred to me that I haven’t had to pee yet.  Yeah, I started too late.  I began drinking as much as I could.  I was feeling fairly blah at this point.  My nutrition had gotten warm and half the water at the aid stations were warm bottles too.  This wasn’t sitting too well in my stomach.  Around into Chickamauga again and I am really feeling some dehydration.  This was about mile 90 and I can no longer hit my power numbers.  On the last highway leading back into town 60-90watts was the norm.  Luckily the wind was behind me and pushing a little bit to give me a decent mph still.  I knew the first lap was real good (about 3:05 at the halfway mark) but the second lap remained to be seen.  Those last 30 were painfully slow and painfull as well.  I had started to develop a cramp in my right hamstring that when I kept my leg in its most upright position and tried to move my foot in the bike shoe I would temporarily seize up and I would have to pedal and stretch it out.  In town I couldn’t hold myself in aero any longer, nor did I have the strength to hold the bullhorns.  I was done!  I rolled into T2 with a frown and a distant look on my face.  Even my wife could tell by this point that I was hurting.  I slowly dismounted so that I wouldn’t seize up my leg. My bike split was 6:23 so it was still well within my goals but what did that matter at this point?  I gave my bike catcher my bike and took my bike shoes off.  I then proceeded to walk to get my run bag.  There was no running in me…

 

Right before dismount

Walking to the changing tent, not amused

I came into the changing tent and sat down in a chair.  I put my bag on the ground and just sunk back into a seat.  I was completely out of steam.  My head was spinning.  I  sat there for what seemed like minutes and minutes without moving.  A volunteer had dumped my bag for me and got me water.  I had one shoe on and wasn’t moving.  Several volunteers asked me if I was alright and just laughed at them and said, “Yeah, I think so.  I’m just gonna sit here for a minute.”  I saw guys come running in and out to take on the rest of their days.  I felt jealous they still had so much energy.  I saw other guys with the same look on their face as me.  Just out of it.  I tried to do math in my tired head.  What would it take to walk a marathon?  8 hours?  Could I even walk once I got outside?  I came to the conclusion that I could walk the whole thing and still finish in time.  I mustered up some strength and finally put my other shoe on and stood up to walk out.  Blah, this doesn’t feel good.  As I walked out I made myself go to the restroom and it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be to pee.  I think I was catching back up with my fluids but the damage had already been done to my body.

I came down the run exit shoot and saw Meggan smiling and waving at me, but after one look at me that quickly turned to concern.  I wasn’t doing well.  My feet ached.  Each step hurt and I still wasn’t totally in the moment from my dehydration.  She asked me what I wanted to do as she walked beside me.  I turned to the grass and say I just wanna lay down.  So I plopped down onto an embankment and laid there.  I don’t know how long it was.  Maybe 5 minutes.  I sat back up and said I gotta try to see if I can walk this stupid thing.  If I can get walking then I can finish it.  I will be fine.  She walked with me for the first mile and a half or two.  She was still pretty worried about me but I assured her I was going to be fine walking at this pace.  Around mile 2.5 I found another guy walking and we chit-chatted for a while and stayed together til about mile 12 when he started running and I just couldn’t yet.  We tried a few other times and my stomach was still in knots.  My legs were ready to slow trot but my stomach was so full and upset.  I got to the point where I couldn’t even drink water anymore.  I switched to potato chips, pretzels, coke, chicken broth.  I tried everything!  Yes, even the silly BASE salts didn’t save me.

The walk was long.  I ran a few other times on the second loop.  I was just getting tired of walking and after 10-15 seconds I could find a stride and feel good for a minute and then my heart rate would go up and I would get cramps in my lungs and I was forced to walk again.  The 2nd time up Barton Ave heading home a familiar voice came from behind.  Doug said, “Hey what are you doing?” Or something similar.  I think he was surprised to have caught me.  I couldn’t keep up with his walking pace.  This was his first IM and looked poised to finish.  Good for him.    His first…..crap, I can’t let him beat me!  Haha, I needed something to spur me on, right???  So at the top of Barton I started running the downhill, I ran to the aid station and walked to grab something.  Heck I don’t even remember now and I started running again.  Probably about 1.5 mile from the end.  And I didn’t stop!  I caught back up with Doug as we made the left turn to go on the pedestrian bridge.  He made a comment about not letting me go and started running himself.  We ran over the bridge, encouraging each other and got lots of compliments as we ran to the finish.  As we turned to head down the hill I started to seperate from Doug so I slowed down to keep him beside me.  I didn’t want him to walk at this point.  I didn’t know where he was mentally or physically but I had made up my mind that I would let him cross the line in front of me whether I had to push him across or he ran over it.  Just before the shoot I saw my wife and I went over and gave her a quick kiss.  I looked back to the finish and was hearing the announcer yell out, “Doug Burkmire you are an Ironman”  (Yes he said it Doug cause I was listening to see if he said it was your first).  I looked behind me to see if anyone was sprinting in.  I had the floor to myself.  I was thankful at this point.  It took me 7 God-forsaken hours to walk this marathon but damnit was I proud of myself for not quitting.  I was able to do it and if I would have quit at T2 I would have never known if I had the power or not.  I would have convinced myself it was right but now finishing I know the real truth.  I AM tough.  I CAN do this. I DO belong here.  I AM an Ironman.

 

Deuces, y’all.

Ironman Chattanooga 70.3

The Carmel Marathon just ended, I’m sorta injured and I’ve gotta half ironman distance triathlon in 5 weeks?!  Oh crap.  Add a little rest after the marathon and a few days rest before the 70.3 and we are talking 4 weeks of real triathlon training.  Ok.  Let’s do this!

So, yeah…with 4 weeks of good training I came in to Chattanooga trying to be realistic with myself.  Don’t set crazy goals on what you think you could do, what your friends think you could be capable of or some random number that you would like to be in the future.  I had two purposes for this race.  See alot of the course that will be Ironman Chattanooga in September(double the distance) and to PR the run leg of a 70.3. 

Meggan and I left Saturday morning at 6am to drive to Chatt.  We dropped Lillian off at her mom’s place so she could spend Saturday and Sunday with both sets of grandparents.  The drive for us went smooth and we got in town with plenty of time.  We went down to transition to setup my bike.  I loved where my bike would be located.  I was near the bike exit/bike in.  Which would mean I would have the least amount of time to actually run with my bike in hands.

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My bike in front with blue tape

After setup, we went back to the hotel to crash for a few hours and so I could get off my feet and relax.  We met some friends for pasta/pizza/beer dinner.  Afterwards we had to make a quick stop at Walmart for breakfast foods because I had forgot to bring stuff and our hotel didn’t have anything.

4:00AM ring ring!!!  Phone alarm goes off and I feel like I haven’t slept at all.  No time to worry about that.  I ate my banana, bagel with hazelnut spread and got everything ready.  Meggan and I went down to transition to finalize my gear setup and take the bus across the river for the swim line up.  We waited about an hour in line and it was our turn to jump in.  “OK goggles, dont leak.”  I thought to myself.  I had problems, recently, with them leaking. I jumped in and was instantly surrounded by a dozen other swimmers it seemed.  I didn’t dare put my head under water and I quickly grabbed for water.  Of course my heart rate was pegging at this point.  I moved 20 yards and finally tried to get into a rhythm. As soon as I out my head under water, bam, goggles leaking and another rush of panic hits me.  I start looking for the nearest canoe so that I could fix this.  I tightened up my goggles and prepared to get going again.  6 strokes later I am mentally struggling and head to a floating platform.  “What the hell am I doing??”  “This is going to be a long day,” “am I going to make it if I keep acting like this?”  Negative thoughts are swirling through my head.  One more time I grab a canoe.  This time taking deeping breaths, waiting a bit longer and calming myself down.  I head off one last time.  I am pretty much in my own little area at this point and that helped big time.   I kept wondering how much time I had spent holding on and wasting seconds.  The rest was uneventful and as I got on shore, struggled to unzip my wetsuit, I look at my watch and see 38:xx on it as I hit my lap timer.  “Holy crap, still a 4 minute PR.  Thats some current,” I thought to myself.(swim goal: sub 40, actual: 38:27)

T1 was slow.  Too slow really.  I ran the whole way after getting my wetsuit stripped off.  Got my stuff on in decent time.  I struggled with my sunglasses for a minute.  Ran out and got on the bike.  (T1:  7:10 ouch)

The bike course isnt difficult.  It isnt flat like a Muncie 70.3 course, though.  I had a power plan that would net me a 2:48 split and a stress score of 170 that would set me up for a maximized run.  I was planning t be a little conservative so that I could run well off the bike. 

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Clipped in and ready to roll

I knew the wind was at our back on the way out.  Within the first 30 minutes I dropped my chain going from little to big ring in the front.  I’ve never dropped a chain going that direction before!  I stopped and got it back on in 10 seconds or less and got going.   There is really only one short climb on the course.  The rest is rolling.  There was a bit more car traffic than I would have liked to have seen.  Several times the cars slowed me down.  They get stuck behind slower bike riders and can’t pass.  I’m quicker than that bike rider and have to pass the car on the right to keep momentum.  At one point going through a town, I had to ride my brakes behind a car because there was no way around.   Anyways, for the ride back you could feel the headwind hit you as we got back onto the highway home.  Ugh, it was heavy.  As I came into T2 I could tell I would disappointed with my bike time.  The headwind slowed me down and I didnt quite maintain the power I wanted. Still, I felt like I passed a lot of riders. (Goal: 2:48, actual: 2:55:22)

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Coming in from the bike course

T2:  I flipped my bike back up on the rack and got my Newton Tri-Racer shoes on.  Had a few chuckles with the guy beside me and as I turned to make the long run out of transition I noticed my legs were feeling great.  I got to the end of transition and decided to make a stop at a porta-potty.  It seemed like I had an endless supply!  I actually yelled at myself, “Aren’t you done yet?” at one point. (T2: 3:42)
Back on the run, I had a really good bounce in my step.  I was happy to be running.

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Start of the run

I pulled up my top right from the get-go.  Yeah, it looks kinda odd/silly.  But, it helps keep me cool.  About a half mile in I looked down at my pace showing on my watch and just chuckled.  It was showing 5:50min/mi!  Not gonna happen!  So, I reeled my excitement in and went for 7:30-7:40s. This run was fairly hilly. Especially coming from a flat area like Plainfield.  I kept a good pace through most of the run.  The one steep hill I chose to walk the 2nd time through.  It was fairly hot and each aid station I would take 2 cups of water.  Take a drink and dump the rest down the back of my neck with each cup.  I had 2 servings of Infinit Napalm(2 gel replacements).  The stuff worked great!  First time I had ever used it, actually.

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Holding a cup of ice with my Infinit Napalm flask

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Grimmace and fight the hurt

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2nd lap, final bridge and final mile. Exhausted.

Coming down the final hill I looked at my watch again to realize I wasn’t quite going to get a 70.3 PR but my run was going very well.  It was to be a 10 min run PR!(goal: sub 1:50, actual: 1:45:09)

Coming down the chute I see and hear Meggan yelling at me and smiling so I swoop over to her for a high-five.  It would have been a quick hug and kiss at a full Ironman haha.

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Coming across the chute for a high-five.

Cross the finish line and I am exhausted and happy.  I felt pretty good all things considered.  I didnt want to collapse at the end like I have in the past but I know I gave it a 100% effort. 

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Where's the beer?

Looking back, I am very happy with my race.  I was within 2 minutes of a PR on a much more challenging course and with 4 weeks of proper training.  I maximized my run effort and know my nutrition is where it needs to be.  My recovery is going slow.  I’m still very sore and it is now Thursday after the race.  But again, that is to be expected.  Up next will be a local sprint triathlon next weekend and then IM Muncie 70.3 in about 7 weeks.   Until then, run strong.

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Carmel Marathon race report

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Here I am finally writing about the Carmel Marathon that was on April 16th.  It sort of reflects my disappointment with how my race ended up.    Don’t get me wrong, the event was great and I am pleased with my performance for the day.  The end result is not what I was looking for.

This was my 3rd attempt at a Boston Marathon qualifying time of under 3 hours and 10 minutes.  My goal was to run a 3:07.  I had trained well since January and even had a half marathon PR by 3 minutes a month prior.  That race suggested I could go 3:02 even.  Not on this day.

My plan was going to be blown up 3 weeks before the marathon started.  I made a bad training choice.  I had just come off one of my best long runs.  22 miles with about 10 miles at race pace or faster.  I was feeling very confident after this workout.  My poor choice came 3 days later when I did a 12 mile trail run in Brown County State Park.   Within the first mile of that run my calf muscles were screaming!  I was still tired from my long run.  I kept pushing through and the pain eventually went away.  I went on enjoying the evening not knowing anything was wrong.  The next morning I woke up with severe shin pain in my right leg.  I was limping with every step.  Shin splint.  Ugh.  As with most stubborn runners I tried running through it.  The pain would go away after about a quarter mile of running.  It wasnt a stress fracture.  On top of that I strained a calf muscle in my left leg during an easy run.  After a week of running I decided to take a whole week off.  I stretched, I foam rolled, I iced, I Mudd’d.  I tried everything.

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Primal Sport Mud

The pain lowered a bit, but it was slow going.  I started running again the Sunday before the race.  I didnt run more than 4 miles.  26.2 seemed like a far stretch. Beyond the first 100 feet I felt fine but after 2 hours on the road how would I feel?  I went into the race not really knowing if I would even be able to finish.

Race day came and I woke up at 4am, put on some running clothes and went straight out the door.  “Hmm, this doesnt feel too bad this morning,” I thought to myself.  We’ll see.  I went thru my morning routine and got to the race about 45 minutes before the starstretchaid hi to a few friends beforehand and went to a quiet grass field to do some warm ups.  I ran around the empty pool in front of the government building. Still not too bad. Better than Ive felt in weeks.
I lined up in the starting corral still planning to go after a 3:07.  I found myself near the front.  Only a few rows behind the top runners.  When the word go was sounded I quickly fell behind everyone starting out way too fast.  I had a slow start so that I didnt upset my shin.  As always, I planned to run the first couple miles a bit slower than marathon pace but that didnt happen.  I fell into my 7:07 pace right away.  The first mile was mostly downhill, in my defense.  I was feeling good, though.  Pace wasnt hard and i stayed pretty consistent.  7:05, 7:05, 7:08 7:05 7:04.

By this point I was well ahead of the 3:10 pacer and the 3:05 wasnt too far ahead of me.  We entered a park to run on a people trail and this is where I started getting real close to the 3:05 guy.  I backed off a bit because I didnt want to catch them at such an early state.  Mile 9 had a short steep incline that I had mentally prepared for.  I easily climbed the hill and continued on with my pace into some more flat miles.  7:11, 7:04, 7:04, 7:09, 7:06
Miles 13 and 14 showed up on elevation charts as being generally uphill.  Within the race it didnt feel like it.  My fastest mile was at 14.  Then the course went onto some more people trails.  I saw a camera guy at this point.  I was getting ready to make some stupid gesture when I took my picture, but before he did he stood up and started walking into the woods.  Jerk! 7:08, 7:04, 7:09, 7:03, 7:05
Another short steep hill with 16 or 17 was met with a little more resistance.  A cause for concern but i kept my pace up.  At the end of 17 is where the course gets harder.  This mile ends with a slow hill climb, has a brief downhill and then another equal climb plus another ramp beyond that. I dropped about 15 seconds on that mile.  I was never able to recover my pace beyond this point.  As we entered a small business park, leading into mile 20, I could feel the end coming.  I was still hold 7:30-7:40 pace but as I got to 20 it was over.  I knew it in my head that I couldnt hold on for another 10K.   I slowed down quite a bit at this point.  I had an official on a bike watching me pretty closely by this point. He watched for a couple minutes and then took off once he knew I wasnt in trouble.  7:10, 7:10, 7:26, 7:24, 7:44
The last miles were a battle.  I ended up walking probably 6 times. I only gave myself 30 seconds to walk, though.  I had to run again.  I watched the 3:10 pacer quickly gobble me up and the 3:15 guy a bit later.  Once I finally made it back to downtown Carmel i was feeling a bit better because mentally I knew I was almost done.  My pace slightly quickened.  I crossed the “Sprint to the finish” marker and kind of chuckled.  I didnt have a sprint to give for the last half mile.  I imagine I picked up to a 7 minute mile again, though.  I saw my parents waving at me at the top of the hill before the last turn.  I was happy to see them at this point.  I knew I might have a rough race, and didnt know if i wanted my parents to see me fail.  It was a selfish thought but they decided to come anyways.  At the moment I saw them I knew finishing this race was a big accomplishment regardless of my time and they were there to cheer me into the finish line.  I had gotten myself to the finish.  Shin splint, muscle strain, and self-doubt beforehand….nothing held me back from finishing and i am proud of that. I have disappointment for sure.  I was confident I had the ability to BQ at this race. My injuries leading into my taper proved otherwise.  My final finishing time was 3:17:47.  74th place overall, I believe.

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Dueces, cameraman.

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Recapping the race with my mom

I learned alot about myself with this training segment.  It all came down to workout fatigue and recovery.  Hard workouts during the week and my long runs; when I can do them and when i shouldnt!  I have been marathon training since July with a 2 week break in late December.  I’ve made some huge progress in my running paces but I am glad to take a break for a while.  It’s time to start focusing on triathlons and Ironman Chattanooga this fall.  Next up, Ironman Chattanooga 70.3 here in a few weeks.  Time to start biking and swimming!  A lot!

No Luck Half Marathon Race Review

So, I suppose I should make a post about my first real race of 2016.  I need to stop being a blog slacker.    The race was last Saturday, March 19 2016. It was also my first race to be sporting my Maverick Multisport team top.

The week leading into the race was a scheduled cut back week for me.  I designed it for week 12 even before i knew when this race would take place.  I had just come off my first ever 60 mile run week.  I was dealing with a few aches and pains and so I ended up skipping my Thursday 7 miler.  I did run on Friday for a short bit but I was going into this race fairly well rested.

Race morning came and I had my usual pre-race breakfast.  Worth noting, since this was a local race and had a generous start time of 8:45am i didn’t have to wake at the crack of dawn.  I got to the race start about 10 minutes before 8.  I grabbed my race packet and got ready to warmup.  Chuck and Nikki were parked next to me so they started out on my warm up too.  They ducked off after 1/2 mile but I wanted to run closer to 3.  You gotta get a pretty decent w/u in to be primed for a half marathon.  After about 15 minutes I did 4 15-20 second strides to wake up my legs.   I returned to my car with about 2.2 miles of warmup.  Ok, I’ll take it.

At the starting line i started evaluating the competition.  It was a small race so I knew there were only a handful of guys that were going to be faster than me.  Top 10 I knew was possible.  We got ready for the horn to go off shortly after.  No one approached the timing mats.  The front row was a good 5 feet back.  Anyways, horn, start watch, and GOO!!  I knew my goal pace was around 6:45/mile.  I also know I have a bad time pacing the first mile(too fast).  As we blasted off I let the lead 5 go on thinking I was holding myself back.  I looked at my watch and im still doing 6:18.  Yikes, slow down!  I quickly found myself in 8th position if my body count from the front was correct.  The guy to my side asked what I was hoping to pace.  “645 i guess,” was my response.
“Ok, I will try to keep up.” 
I let him stay a few steps in front of me for just a bit.  We turned onto Stafford Rd past the first mile and he was already slowing down and I was staying at a 630s pace.  I passed him and never saw him again.  7th.

An older gentleman was in front of me now.  He had passed me shortly after the beginning.  Loud footsteps in his Hoka’s!  I think it was around the first water stop that I passed him.  6th.  We crossed over the busy intersection of Ronald Reagan blvd and started down The only hill on the course. The downhill wasnt too harsh but I knew we would have to come back up this sucker in the 11th mile.  I got near the guy in 6th place as we got to perimeter road around the airport.    He was running the same pace as i was so the gap didnt dwindle.  The 2nd water stop came up and i grabbed a drink from Curtis, a fellow PCS Multisport member handing them out.  I had got a bit closer to 6th by this point, but it wasnt until the 6.55 mile turn around that I got on his heels.
He must have saw me, heard me or whatever because on the 90° he put a good 10 meters on me once I got back to speed.  I could have passed him but we were in the low 6:40 range and I was ok with letting him block a little wind for me.  We came back upon the water stop with Curtis and my friend Dominick also, and by this point I was done following him.  I asked him if he needed water and the stop to see if I should move for him.  He said no so I stayed to the right and gave it a little kick.  The wind was behind me now so my pace was in the 6:20s and felt fairly comfortable.  The other dude didn’t hang.  5th. 

I got off of Perimeter road to come back towards the climb to Ronald Reagan.  The hill loomed large as I approached it.  It was probably about a 70 foot climb in under 2 tenths of a mile.  Nothing terrible, but at mile 11, running my heart out it was tough.  I was still doing 6:20s leading up to it.  Perhaps banking a bit of time on my per mile pace.  I climbed the hill and didn’t slow down considerably.  My legs sure felt the burn once I reached the top, though!  It was the first time all race that I started to struggle with my effort.  I grabbed a 2nd drink of water ffro the last water station and looked towards the end.  The wind took me by surprise as I headed back towards the north.  It took all I had to keep mile 13 on target.  Once I saw the finish line and made a calculation in my head of my finish time I started to grin.  I knew I was going to beat my targeted goal.  At the last turn I saw another friend, Jeff, cheering my on.  He was asking how I was feeling, but I just gave him a ‘no, Im not talking right now’ motion and kicked it on for the final straight.  I listened to the announcer as I got near the line, “Is that Craig?” He said.  I was smiling and nodding my head in excitement as I reached out my arms in celebration.

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All smiles at the finish line

Official finish time was 1:26:27 and good for 5th place overall and a 1st place age group.

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Age group victory mug shot

Oh, and that older guy that I passed near the first water stop….he came flying in behind me by like 20 seconds!  If there would have been another mile he might have caught me.  Haha, good for him, though!

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Finish line with the race director, Lee

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PCS Multisport finish line

Super excited by my finish time!  It was a PR by 3 minutes and 13 seconds over this past fall.  Lots of hope leading into the Carmel Marathon in April, and my Boston Marathon qualifying attempt.  That will be my next race, and my next blog update. 

Peace.

2015 New Year’ Eve

It would only be fitting that here it is 8:20pm, on New Year’s Eve and i am sitting on the couch ready to write a blog.  I looked back at my entry last New Year’s that I wrote at 8:17pm.  The only difference is this time I am watching the Cotton Bowl instead of the Orange Bowl.  My wife is asleep downstairs because she again has to work tonight.  The kids are home at the moment, but I expect Hunter to leave at some point.  Lillian, of course, is in bed.

2015 turned out to be a year of big personal accomplishments in running and triathlon, hard times raising children, and lots of good times raising the same kids.  There are times where I wondered if stress would affect performance.  As it turns out, this year, it didnt seem to faze me come race day.

My first race of the year was he Seymour Half Marathon in early May.  This race came at the tail end of me getting over an iTBS injury.  I didnt get to start training well until March sometime but I managed to PR with a 1:32.

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Finish of the Seymour half

Next up was the Indiana Toughman 70.3 in late May.  I had high hopes for this race as i was learning to use power on my bike.  It proved to be a game changer and I set a 70.3 PR by 36 minutes @ 5:33!  I had a great race and only faltered going up the final big hill.

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Finish line of Toughman 70.3

Then came my A triathlon of the year.  I had a score to settle with Muncie.  In 2014 I was disappointed with my time, to say the least.  I felt I let myself down and everyone that I had told my predictions to.  2015 was all about proving to myself that I could whip this course.  The swim went to plan but as I reported in my blog on the race, Muncie tried to strike me down again.  I traveled the first half of the bike course without my power meter.  It could have been a huge set back but luckily I had ridden enough “pace effort” training rides that I just buckled down and went at the effort I thought was best.

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Looking down at my computer in disbelief that my power wasnt working!

I ended up riding the course just 1 minute faster than planned!  I ran a decent half marathon but was still about 10min off where I think I can get to.

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Cups of ice, my new fav of 2015!

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Thumbs up for the victor!

5:27 finish time.  42 minutes faster than last year and validation.

After that race I switched gears to start training for the Indianapolis Monumental to try to BQ.  But in early August I squeezed in one more race.  An Olympic Triathlon, the Columbus Challenge.  I did this in 14 and will try to make i a staple race.  Its a hometown race, I know a good number of racers, my family can easily attend and its a fast course.  I PRd my Oly distance with a 2:33 and room to improve.

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This is my favorite pic of 2015

After the Olympic my next race stayed in Columbus for a half marathon effort.  I went into the race fatigued from training without a taper for a bit of a simulation for racing on tired legs.  I had a great race to the tune of a 1:29:40.  I was thrilled to break 1:30 and be sub 7min/mi.
(No picture right now)

The Monumental marathon came next. I trained harder for a run than I ever have.  A 3:10 was my goal to qualify and a 3:07 was my goal to be able to race in boston.  I missed just barely with a 3:11:13 finish. Still a 24 minute marathon PR so i couldnt be too upset!

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The look of agony and pain!

I was so close that shortly after Monumental I wanted to give another shot, and soon!  I had put in the training; I didn’t want it to go to “waste.”  Plus, I didn’t want to train 50-60 miles of running per week in the dead of winter!   I quickly signed up for another race in Huntsville, Alabama.  The Rocket City Marathon.
This proved to be an unwise choice.  Whether it was too soon, being 5 weeks after the Monumentalor my training in between was too hard i don’t know.  What I do know is that I bombed that race and by mile 7 my body shut down on me and by mile 10 I wanted to walk off the course.  I had to battle my mind for the next 16 mind-numbing miles but I eventually finishes the race.  Proud that I fought myself and kept going but disgusted that I failed the run.  A good 35 minutes slower than Monumental.

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My smirk of defeat.

This race was the first race of the whole year that I did not set a PR.  I was bummed, but in hindsight that is an awesome statement to make.  I PRd every distance and every race that I completed in 2015 prior to that marathon.  I have to give a big shout out to a sponsor of mine that was with me this year also.  Trisports.com selected me to be a member of their Champions Team and it was a great honor to wear their kit this whole year.  The team for 2016 hasnt been announced yet, but I hope to remain with them again.

As I end 2015, I look into 2016 with high hopes!  My race calender is already being filled month-by-month.  I am part of another awesome age group team!  I will be a member of Maverick Multisport for 2016.  Maverick was a pro team that I have been following the last few years o I was excited when they chose me to be with them this year.

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I will be attempting to qualify for Boston again at the Carmel marathon.  I will be visiting Chattanooga twice this year for the 70.3 and 140.6 races.  A half marathon in March in Plainfield and a spring triathlon in June will be local races.  I will try to tackle Muncie 70.3 onceagaien and try to get the Columbus Challenge in their as well. 

Again, PCS Multisport and its members are always there for me and you guys make all this training, excitement, accomplishments and even the disappointments worth every minute!  Here is to a great year of racing in 2016!

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PCS gang pre Muncie

Indianapolis Monumental Marathon

How do I put into words all of the feelings, thoughts highs and lows of my 2nd marathon that would be my first attempt at a Boston Marathon qualifying attempt?  It was such an incredible day that I feel like I need to write about it now before I forget any of my feelings. 

As I do more of these blogs I start to feel like I should have taken pictures at opportune times that would go well with a story.  A rookie I am…

Race morning started off differently this time than what I normally do.  My alarm went off at 4:30am. No surprise there.  But I woke up wearing some run shorts and a tech tshirt.  I threw on a pair of socks and a long sleeve shirt, my running shoes and a sock hat and immediately went out the door.  I “ran” a mile as soon as I woke up.  The idea is to get the blood moving early.  I ran at a 10min/mi+ pace so it was very very easy.  I wasn’t worried about the effort hurting me.  It was just to get things moving for what was in store.  I got back home, showered, ate breakfast and slowly got my things together.  I gave myself plenty of time!  I made a 1/2 serving of a custom Infinit Nutrition blend and headed downtown. 

Parking was already pretty busy when I arrived around 7:10am.  I parked farther away than I expected but it wasn’t a big deal.  I was still by the circle downtown.  I ran a few blocks to the start.  I immediately went to the port-o-potties as the bottle of Infinit was making its way out of my body.  I got in line at a decent spot and waited maybe 10 minutes.  After that I got out in the grass at the start and did some dynamic stretches.  After the National Anthem I made my way to Corral A for the start. I ditched my long sleeve shirt on the barrier gates and hopped around to stay loose.  Then the start came!

I went out with the 3:05 pacer.  I figured I would keep him in sight for most of the early part of the run and see how long I could hang.  It turns out that he (admittedly) went out too fast.
Miles 1-4: 6:59 7:21 6:51 6:58
Mile 2 was under a parking structure that lost satellite for a little bit so it read slow.  Well under pace those miles!  I found a guy in a Captain America shirt that was running in Skora running shoes that I was talking with. It made the time go by nicely in the beginning.  I remember the sun beaming down on me early on and as the first beads of sweat started dripping down my face I was thinking I should ditch my sock hat.  I was hoping for someone familiar to sling it at on the course but the opportunity never came.  I am glad I never did because at the later stages of the race it was chilly in the shade. 

As we pushed up north along Pennsylvania, along rows of houses, I remember saying to Capt America that I could hardly even notice the headwind.  Great!  I grabbed a gel at mile 5 and ended up loosing one at the same time.  I didn’t stop to pick it up.  I had a feeling that would happen. Running down Fall Creek Pkwy the 3:05 pace was finally slowing down to the pace he should be keeping.  He was saying he would slow down to get back on pace.  For me, he was slowing down too much.  At this point I wanted to just keep up with the pace I was going.  I kept plodding along around 7mim/mi.
Mile 5-10: 701 706 703 711 654 657
I picked up an extra gel at mile 10.5 to replace the one I lost.  We went thru some residential areas of Broad Ripple and neared a house where my friend Chad, spent some time at while going to IUPUI.  It made me smile and around that area a spectator was handing out cups of PBR.  Haha!  I didn’t grab one but someone beside me did.  He didn’t drink the whole cup before ditching it.  We turned onto College and made our way thru Broad Ripple and the Half way point.  I made the comment to Capt America that “We are halfway there, let’s do this again!”  We were making great time and hit halfway around 1:32.
Mile 11-17 658 702 702 708 705 716 704
As we turned to go back south I thought, “this is where we turn around and put the wind at our back.  It’ll be good from here!”  Man, what was I thinking?  I never felt the wind pushing me!  Mile 15 held the hill that I prepared for.  The hill that I deliberately put a hill at I’m my long runs.  I cruised up that hill.  I slowed my pace and kept my effort level.  The 3:05 pacer and Capt America took a lead on me at that point but I was OK with. I was happy with how I felt going up that hill.  I didn’t know that they would never let me catch them again after that point.  There were several short, quick rising hills after that that took me by surprise.  They were short but put some damage on my legs.  I was feeling good through that point.  As I passed by the Butler university campus I could feel the fatigue in my legs for the first time.

Mile 18-23: 725 714 719 734 816 800
I pushed on through the campus, only really losing a few seconds per mile.  It felt a lot worse than that.  Into the IMA, my mind started to get a little fuzzy with the fatigue building.  I crossed the 30k marker around 2:12.  I tried to do some quick math in my challenged mental state.  I first though 10k in 50 minute, I got this!  Oh wait, no I still have 12k to go!  12k in 50 minutes I thought.  Hmm tougher.  What pace is that???  7min/mi and about 7 miles is 49minutes.  Crap I better stay on top cause I know I can’t do 7:00 anymore.  Running down the hill at mile 19 was good.  I tried to talk myself back into the race. I sped up down the hill and passed a few people.  I remember reading the signs on White River Pkwy saying my legs will forgive me.  I just laughed.  Shortly after I saw my friend Brenden, waiting up ahead short of mile 20.  I smiled and veered to the side of the road so he could see its me.  I had been planning his arrival since mile 5 of the race!  I almost think it backfired because as soon as he started running with me I just wanted to throw my arms around him and say I was done.  Like making it to him was the finish line.  He pushed forward.  He kept telling me to keep my foot cadence high and not to quit.  All I could do was whisper words to him.  Most of those words were “I wanna walk”, “I can’t make it”,  “I’m slowing down”, “I’m so tired” etc.  I can’t believe how quickly the mind can go south.  I wanted to tell him to shut up and quit talking many times!  But he kept going telling me I was doing good, still making good pace and to keep my cadence up.  Having him talking to me kept me from jumping off the ledge, so to speak, many times.  I would have quit running long before without him there. I think I almost blacked out one time before mile 22.  My head and eyes did something really funky that made me shake my head to clear it up.
At mile 22 I ended up walking thru an aid station.  I snatched a Carb Boom out of a volunteers hand(I swear she tried to pull it away as I grabbed for it!) I took some water and immediately started running again.  My pace quickened for about a 1/4mi+.  Then the mental battle would begin again.
Mile 24-end: 758 746 741 702(0.2)
I ran to the next aid station at 23.  It seemed to take forever.  My friend Kettie was there handing out water.  I never saw her but, damn, I sure heard her!  She yelled so loudly I thought she was going to scare people.  I heard her but couldn’t make much of a move to acknowledge her.  I do believe I gave her thumbs up.  I remember a half-marathon lady respond to Kettie’s  yells with something like, ” I don’t even know you Greg, but you are my hero!” I kinda chuckled on the inside as I heard her yelling.  The end was getting close and I knew my time was getting short.  I ran thru the mile 24 water stop.  It wasn’t too much longer that I saw Chuck and then Nikki and they joined me running
In all honesty, in my deranged mind my first thoughts were, “no I don’t want you guys running with me!  I just got used to Brenden being with me…” I think deep down it was because I didn’t want them to see me struggling like I was.  I wanted to be alert and happy when they found me. I was the guy about to BQ.  At least that was the feeling I wanted.  Instead, I was dejected and about to collapse from exhaustion.
We all made the last few corners and they yelled at me to push hard if I wanted to make it on time.  I had no idea how close I was at this point.  Last I looked I was around 3:08.  I still thought I had it. I started running with all that I had left down the second to last straight.  I felt my right hamstring and calf twinge a little bit like it could cramp anytime.  It did that twice so I didn’t push any harder.  I was running 6:30s anyways. Not too bad.  I looked at watch and saw 3:09.  Oh shit, I’m not going to make it.  I can see the finish line ahead after my next right turn.  I’m not going to make it.  It’s too far!  I made the final turn before the 200yds to the finish and there was an official clock at the turn.  It had already flipped over 3:10 and change.  I kinda gave a sly smile and knew I was short.  I quit my sprint at that point and coasted in to the finish line.

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Final straight at Monumental Marathon

I crossed the line with an official time of 3:11:13.  Just barely over a minute off my BQ qualifying time.  About 4 minutes slower than what my goal was.

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Clock with "gun time". I was about 20 seconds off the gun.

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Somebody shoot me! This horse is dead.

I crossed the line in a bit of a daze.  I remember Meggan yelling at me just before the finish line.  I remember stumbling up to the medal presenters.  Then I made my way over to the nearest thing I could sit down beside.  A concrete block holding up the medical tent.  A nice volunteer handed me a water bottle and a medical attendant came to me to check on me.  She gave me a bottle of milk that I asked for and stayed with me for what seemed like a long time.  I’m sure it was only 5 minutes, tops.  She told me I was starting to look better at that point and that she was going to move on elsewhere.  I thanked her and clawed my way back up to a stand.  I found my family, chatted with them and made my way out of the chute.  I fell down at the first spot of grass we could find.  Time to get a coat and warm back up!

All things totalled, I am happy with my race on the day.  I gave it so much and a 3:11 is what I ended up with. I am OK with that.  I didn’t qualify on my first try.  Plenty of people dont.  Even more never even get as close as I have.  I’ll have to give it another shot.  When I give it that next shot, that will remain a mystery for the time being…

Short update for Mill Race Marathon

I raced in the Mill Race half-marathon on Sept 28th and had a darn good race.  I went in without any sort of rest, or taper if you will.  I wanted to run fatigued and see if I could reach my goal of a sub 1:30 13.1. Well, I made it by running a 1:29:40!  I am so excited about this pace and it gives me a lot of hope/motivation for my BQ attempt next weekend. It equaled out to be a 6:51/mi pace. Faster than what I used to think I could run a 5k!  Just 3 or 4 years ago.  Hard work paying off!  Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures of myself in the race.  I didn’t buy any of my finishers pics.  I usually don’t like them anyways!  Here is a snap of my official finishing info.

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My watch showed a distance of 13.2 and a pace at 6:46/mi. I like that better so I’ll go with that pace.  Haha, but I’ll have to keep an eye on those kids DS of difference come race day on a 26.2. Could end up being a lot of time difference!

I will let everyone know here in a few weeks how the Monumental Marathon goes.  My goal is to run around a 7:08/mi pace and finish under 3:07.  Cross your fingers for me.  This is uncharted territory so I will be nervous as hell come Nov 6&7th!

Until that time….