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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!

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….

Seymour Half-marathon race report

First race report of 2015!:  Seymour half marathon on Saturday May 16, 2015. I’m just getting around to updating the blog.  Had some lingering pains in my legs from the week and it was hot and muggy(70+) so I wasn’t expecting a whole lot out of myself.  Plus I am just getting back into good training after my IT band trouble this winter.   My initial goals were to get 1:35, which would be a nice PR.  With the week I had I was figuring under 1:40 would be good. 

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I started in the 2nd row behind the guys I knew would be fast.  (1:15-type runners). They shot out of a cannon!  I was doing sub 6s as well down the first straight.  I reeled that back in and hit the first mile in 6:48.  Too fast but got me thinking maybe I could hang on to 6:59 the rest of the race??  I did pretty well doing just that going back and forth with my mile 7:05… 6:55, 7:04,6:54 as we went up and then back down slow hills on the city streets.

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My overall pace was staying at 6:57 as I entered the out and back portion of the race.  Miles 6-9 or so.  I figured in my mind I could do this til mile 10 before I started to struggle.  I hit the turn around and was still under 7:00 and the wind smacked me square in the face. I hadn’t even noticed it til then and it dropped my pace a good 10s per mile.  I got to mile 10 and I could feel my pace slipping.  My overall was probably hitting 7:00 about this time.  I started to see another body in front of me after 10 tho.  I had ran miles 5-10 completely by myself. I dropped the guy behind me shortly after the 4 mile marker.  Anyways, the guy in front of me now didn’t help me speed up but gave me a rabbit if I needed one at the end.  Well just before the 11 mile marker I came around a corner and he was walking.  As I passed him I asked if he was OK.  Just tired.   And I move to 7th.   A nice reward for slowing down myself!  Pace dropping to 7:02 or so. Mile 12 goes by and I’m about 7:04/05.  As I turned on to stadium drive and the slight down hill I asked my legs for a little more and reached a sub 7 minute mile again.  I made the last turn and gave most of what’s left and finished with a great new 1/2 marathon PR of 1:32:41!  About 4-1/2 minutes faster than my previous best! 

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Under the circumstances I am super thrilled with my time!  I am pretty sure a sub 1:30 half is in my future.  Hopefully this fall at the Columbus half marathon. I am also excited because this was the first race I was able to represent my sponsor trisports.com and I was even able to get an age group podium for some exposure. (However little it may be for Seymour!)

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Where does the time go?!

I cannot believe it is May already!  The weather is finally warm and the trees and weeds are all blooming.  As for yours truly, training is in full swing.  Without injuries to boot!  The IT band injury that plagued me this winter is in the past.  My training tan lines are starting to develop and baseball is on TV!  All is good.

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Go Cardinals!!!

So, I just wanted to say what I am getting myself in to right now.  My race schedule is starting to fill up.  The current list of events is as follows:
May 16:  Seymour Half-Marathon (Seymour, IN)
May 30:  Toughman Indiana 70.3 (Richmond, IN)
June 6/7: Plainfield Sprint Tri (Plainfield, IN)
July 11: IM Muncie 70.3 (“Muncie”, IN)
Aug 13: Columbus Challenge Tri (Columbus, IN)
Sept 26: Mill Race Half Marathon Columbus, IN (Columbus, In)
Nov 5: Indy Monumental Marathon (Indianapolis, IN)

These are the ones I know of for sure.  I have had to change my sights towards the Indy Monumental for my first BQ attempt.  Again, at this point I don’t necessarily think I’ll get it on my first attempt but at least admitting that it is my goal will let you know what my mindset is heading into the race.

Training has been going well.  My current week is a 14 hr training week.  I only had one week that amassed more time during all of my IM Louisville training last year!  This week will be my first run week totaling over 30 miles since December. Next weeks half will be my first race of the season and also my first chance to represent my sponsor, trisports.com, during a race.

Race season is here, I hope I get to talk with you many times over the next few months and let you know how my events go.  It’s been hard to write in the evenings. After my daughter goes to bed, I hit the bike or run to get my workouts done.  Once done it is time for bed.  Like it is now.  Not much time for writing, but its my duty to do so.  Talk to you soon!  I promise.

Time to get real with myself

On December 5th I started a blog, Ebb and Flow. At the end, I was giving credit to my run coach for helping me through another ITBS injury. What I didn’t say is that the problem wasn’t completely gone. I was masking the pain and doing everything I could to force myself through runs without generating “run-stopping” pain. Sure, I was doing 14 & 15 mile long runs but they weren’t easy. I made it through the first month of my marathon training plan before I finally decided to call it quits.

If I am being real with myself I would say I hadn’t committed myself to the process yet. I was doing hip strengthening, but only enough to maintain my current state. I needed to step things up! I quit running on New Year’s Day, took 2 weeks off and focused on my rehab. Yet, at the same time I don’t think I was doing enough. I started riding my TT bike on the trainer again and doing my normal post run core and rehab routines. Still, only enough to maintain my current shape. It got to where riding my bike would aggravate my IT Band. Not while riding, but the day after there would be an increased ache.

So after 2 weeks I ran 1 mile. That went OK. Then, it was 2 miles. Fine. I tried 3 miles a couple days later. Aghhh! There it was again. Outside knee pain. What the heck?! That next week I did my workouts and added in foam rolling every single day.

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These things hurt, but they can help serve a purpose.

That Tuesday I ran 3 miles at a fast pace and was pain free. I thought I was getting somewhere only to be put back in my place that Thursday, Saturday and Sunday with successive failed/painful runs. Now mind you, I stop fairly quickly the moment I feel the pain pinpoint the outside of my knee. I don’t want it to get any worse!
So here we are up to last week. Finally it hit me. I’m half assing these hip strengthening exercises! I’m doing the minimum and not strengthening anything. I made it my goal that Monday to be running pain free by March 1 and do these exercises everyday until March 1. I also grabbed some of my wife’s resistance bands to increase the challenge. The one band I had been using was way too tight to be any help.
Week 1 I started using the “Medium” resistance band on all my moves.
30 leg lifts(each side)
30 clam shells
5 side shuffles(10steps each way)
20 hip hikes
25 single leg glutes bridge thrusts
50 weighted deadlifts some nights

After a week of doing that I stepped it up again.

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Fully stretched clam shell with heavy resistance band while typing this post

I switched to a “Heavy” resistance band for my clam shells and did the leg lifts and clam shells pretty much until my legs couldn’t do them anymore! I think this is what started getting me results. My glutes would scream and I could feel the soreness the next day. I ran 3 miles this past Tuesday with zero pain. I increased my side shuffles to the “X-Heavy” band. Then, tonight I did 3.5 miles. I’m trying to stay reserved about the results, but I’m also feeling positive about this progress. I’m gonna kick this ITBS in the tail this month!

A short introduction

My name is Craig Findley. I was born an 80s kid.  I grew up being one of the smart kids in class, always got good grades, and always played sports outside of school.  I wasn’t ever good enough to make teams for anything I tried out for but I kept playing at home because it was what I liked.  I liked to think of it as being decent at just about any sport I tried to play but not really good at any one thing.  Except golf, I stink at golf.

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That's me running to the finish at the 2014 Columbus Mill Race Marathon!

Fast forward to 2011.  I was a happy guy, I was engaged to my now-wife, I played softball a couple times a week, I smoked and I drank (moderately).  I didn’t have anything wrong with how I lived my life.  A friend of mine on one of my softball teams asked me to join him on his indoor soccer team.  I love soccer!  I hadn’t played since elementary, though.  I remember that first game well.  August 2011.  I struggled running to keep up in the game.  I damn near passed out!  I made my wife drive home after the game I felt so bad!  I made the decision that night that I was going to quit smoking.  I was so embarrassed by how difficult that game was for me.  I indulged myself that weekend and on Monday I quit smoking cold turkey and went for my first ever voluntary run.  It was for 1 mile and the start on the best adventure of my life.

As far as milestones in my running/multi sport career goes, I completed my first half marathon in May of 2013.  My first sprint triathlon was shortly after in August, 2013.  In May, 2014 I did an Olympic triathlon followed by a 70.3 Ironman in July.  In August I jumped all the way up to doing Ironman Louisville!  A full 140.6 miles!  One year after my first ever triathlon and 3 years to the month after quitting smoking.  A month after IM Louisville I finished my first marathon.  Yes, an Ironman has a marathon distance run at the end but the two don’t really compare.

What does the future hold for my multi sport career?  Well, in 2015 I am training to qualify for the Boston Marathon.  At my age, I will need to run under 3 hour and 10 minutes at a sanctioned marathon to be able to register for Boston. (commonly called a BQ for Boston qualifier)  I will probably make 2 attempts at it through the year.  Training takes a lot of time and it doesn’t make sense to run more marathons than this to reach my goal.  I’m currently sitting on a 3:35 first marathon so I’ve got some work to do!  I plan to do more Ironman events, also.  Both 70.3 and 140.6 events.  I may return to Louisville or end up going elsewhere for a new challenge.  I’m also thinking about doing some ultra distance marathons.  Hell, 26.2 miles beats the crap out of you!  Why not keep going!!!
OK so this might have ended up being longer than I thought it would be.  I hope I can inspire people who want to quit smoking, people sitting on their couches and just everybody thats looking for a little extra boost.  Some of the best rewards and compliments I can get are when friends ask me for advice or just gain something by following me.  Come hang out with me here.  We’ll have some fun and learn some stuff together.