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March 16, 2009

Great River Run

Had a great race this past Saturday, especially considering my training has been seriously hampered the last 2 months because of the broken elbow. Little or no speed work and I still came within 45 seconds of my PR. My finishing time was 1:07:55.

My splits are pretty good. I went out kind of hard to find some room (never really did) and then settled into a nice tempo in San Marco. The splits then went down a bit with the Hart bridge, but nothing dramatic.

There are some folks griping online about the distance measured by their GPS watches. It is not surprising that the watches measured the course long. With so many people on the course, it would be impossible to run the shortest distance. And with so many turns, I can't imagine being on the very inside for every corner. The only folks with a chance to run only 9.3 miles are in the very front and I don't think they wear GPS watches. It was no surprise my Garmin 305 beeped early at the first mile because I had to do a bit of weaving and jockeying to find space. And I was seeded up front. I can't imagine being towards the back and trying to work to the front. Those folks could have run 10 miles!

All in all, a terrific event. Plus a great post-race party thrown by Jacksonville Running Company capped a spectacular day!

February 28, 2009

Ortega River Run

No expectations for this race. Since I broke my elbow 6 weeks ago, I've been able to run some but no speed or tempo work. Speed is always the first to go. I have endurance, as evidenced by being able to run the marathon 2 weeks ago after essentially a 4 week taper.

The goal today was to hit the first mile in 7:20 and then crank it down. I'm never one to stick to plans in the heat of a race. My first mile was a little under 7, and the next one was right around 7. The third mile is tough, going over the US 17 bridge. That one was slower, coming in around 7:23. I was hurting, but decided to hang on and tough it out. My fourth mile was 7:09 and then I finished it up with a 7:05 to come under 36 minutes at 35:47.

This was my first race in Mizuno Precisions and I love them. I can't wait to race in them with more speed in my legs. Very light and good feel. Plus, the just look dang fast!

Two more weeks until the Gate River Run. I am optimistic I can add some more speedwork in before then and have a respectable time.

December 29, 2008

2008 Jacksonville Marathon

Going into marathon training this fall, I was wondering if all of the miles I put in on the bike this summer were going to help my running. They did.

I began training the week of September 22nd, with 13 weeks to get ready. I developed a schedule based on 3 weeks of build followed by stepdown weeks. In the beginning, I did ramp up the mileage fairly quickly, which is not the best, but I backed off on the cycling so I think it balanced out. My running regime was based on the Furman First program, with 3 key workouts (long, track and tempo) plus recovery runs and/or cross-training. I also started getting weekly massages in November. I was able to put in 4 runs of 18 miles or longer, including 2 twenty mile runs. A PR in the Outback Half on Thanksgiving and a strong run nine days later in a warm OUC Half boosted my confidence.

The week before the marathon I was extremely anxious. The weather forecast was not good and it looked like it was going to be hot and humid. I took in a lot of water during the week, so much my wife started making fun of my frequent trips to the restroom. Tapering is not easy because you have trained your body to expect a pattern of work-outs.

The morning of the race was somewhat cool, but it still was not optimal running conditions. The only hope I had was that the skies would be overcast to keep the sun off. I had mentally prepared myself the days leading to the race, envisioning running strong in the heat.

The beginning of the race was comfortable. The goal was to do even 8:00/mile splits. There was a group I was hanging with that was doing 7:50. I decided to remain with them, because I knew in my head that if I dropped back I would find myself pressing to catch them again. Plus, according to McMillan, I was capable of running 7:37 miles for a marathon. I decided that even with the heat, 13 seconds over projected pace would not destroy me. Somewhere along Mandarin Road, between miles 8 and 10, I dropped that group and started passing folks. Running miles 13 through 15 is a blast because of the crowd support. After 15, I was still passing folks. Through 18, my average was a 7:52/mile and on pace for a 3:26 marathon. Unfortunately, this is where the happy part of the race report ends.

Because of the heat and humidity, I was sweating quite a bit. However, for some reason my bladder filled up. I needed to go as soon as mile 6, but could never find a port-o-let that was empty or didn't have someone waiting. Finally, at mile 18 I had my chance. My body felt really good after the pit stop, but I think my legs locked up a bit. After making the turn onto Scott Mill, my body started slowing down. There is less shade on this part of the course, and there were no clouds, so it started to get really warm. At the water stops, I took in a lot of fluid because I knew my body needed it, but it made my stomach gurgly. By the time I got to the next stop, I would be in dire need of fluid again and would feel like I was overindulging. I wish I had a water bottle at this point to sip on.

I continued to slow down and was eventually walking through water stops after mile 21. I saw Rick Patterson at 23.5 and he told me to pour water over my head. That felt good and gave me a boost. I started doing the math in my head to determine what it would take to still finish under 3:30. Once I realized that wasn't happening, I started doing the math to beat my PR. I still had a chance. However, with each passing mile, that goal also became unattainable.

In the end, I finished in 3:39:29, two minutes off of my PR that I ran in my first marathon ever in 2004. The weather in 2004 was absolutely perfect. I consider this year's Jacksonville Marathon to be on par or better than the 2004 because of conditions.

In the past, after a bad marathon I would immediately start looking for another race to redeem myself, but in the end would decide that would be a bad idea. This year is different. I know I am in really good shape and I owe it to myself to find another marathon and hope for good conditions. After talking with numerous folks, I think I am going to do the Tallahassee Marathon February 1 to go for that PR. Traditionally, the weather is very cool for the race and it is a pretty fast track. Apparently, it is even flatter than Jacksonville.

My recovery has been very fast. I ran 3-4 miles 2 days after the race, then did a 30 mile bike ride last Friday. I ran 5 miles Saturday morning, and another 5 miles this morning. Jenny Lindley gave me a great massage this morning and I feel like I am back to pre-race form. I'm shooting for 15 miles this Saturday morning. That will be 4 weeks before the race. A couple more long runs during the first half of January and then a stepdown week followed by a taper week and I should be ready for that PR.

It may sound weird, but my body is now conditioned to expect marathon training every fall. It craves the long workouts. I enjoy the experience, spending time on the road and track with friends. I am also thankful to have the support of my wife and daughters to allow me to be selfish and take the time to do the training (although they are rarely awake when I leave for my runs).

December 6, 2008

2008 OUC Half Marathon

2008 OUC Half Marathon

No races as training runs for Marshall.

Tried to reign it in, and I did for the most part, but I still averaged 12 seconds per mile faster than plan. The first 5 miles I started at 7:20 and descended to 7:14. At that point I made a conscious effort to not be an idiot.

I pulled back and ran very consistent and smooth 7:23 splits for the rest of the race except for the 9th mile, which was a slow 7:29. Finishing time was 1:37:18.

It was warmer and more humid than the Outback, but for the most part conditions were very nice.

I don't think I destroyed the legs. Even though the competitive nature of racing made me run harder, I am glad I was able to shut it down and not run as hard as I could have.

So, 2 half marathon in 9 days with a 20-mile training run sandwiched in the middle. I am ready to start tapering and run a strong Jacksonville Marathon!



November 27, 2008

2008 Outback Half Marathon - NEW PR!

2008 Outback Half Marathon

Didn't think I had the goods going into today's race. Perhaps I have more fitness than I thought, and coupled with great weather, had one of my best races in 3 years.

I'm especially happy about the negative splits. Started out in control, and slowly racheted up the effort. The only bump in the chart is a 6-seconf differential for mile 12 that was probably caused by a congested water station that services people going two different directions.

If we have weather like today for the Jacksonville Marathon, I might have a chance to drop another PR. My marathon PR is 4 years old, and it came in my first marathon. Based on today's time (1:34:38), the McMillan calculator projects a 3:19 marathon. That would drop my PR 18 minutes. I would be satisfied coming in under 3:30.

Great race. Great weather. Great time with family. Great food. Great day. I am very thankful.



June 23, 2008

Marineland Olympic Triathlon

Participated in the Marineland International Distance Triathlon yesterday.

Kevin Cofran, Jay Strates, Steve Matson, Clay Bruce, Lacey, Peter King and I left the condos a little before 0700 for the 0800 race start. This is a fairly small race, and transition was completely open. You could rack your bike wherever you wanted. Besides the International distance, there was a sprint tri, a sprint du, and an international du.

Everyone made their way to the beach for the start. A few pre-race instructions and then the national anthem. The national anthem CD skipped so badly, it must've been gouged with some deep cuts. This would prove to be a creepy omen. . .

As sprint folks lined up near the waters edge for their start, the fellow operating the inflatable boat being used to monitor the swim course hit a wave and was tossed out. Because he didn't have the kill switch attached to his life vest, the boat started doing doughnuts in the water at full speed. Right in the middle of the swim course. You just can't make this stuff up. But it gets worse.

A couple of folks decided to wade towards the boat to stop it. They were soon talked out of making such a foolish decision by lifeguards on long boards who were nearby. The boat was at full throttle and bucking like a mustang. At this point, a race participant decided he could no longer be inconvenienced by this delay started wading out to the boat armed with a life vest. In waist deep water. He got close enough to hit the steering wheel with the vest but missed the throttle. The boat spit the vest back at him. He must have been encouraged by his near success so he went in closer. Folks were either yelling at him to get away, or turning around to avoid witnessing the macabre inevitability. Like I said, you just can't make this stuff up.

The boat lunged at him and he disappeared. Then the boat slowed down considerably. After that, we saw someone in the water begin yelling and dragging a body through the surf towards the beach. Folks with medical backgrounds ran towards the victim with first aid equipment and calls were made to 911. The tension on the beach was overwhelming. We were told by a friend who is a physician that the outboard's prop had ripped through his thigh and almost severed his manhood. He was stable and talking, but in pretty bad shape. The ambulance arrived and I saw him as he was loaded in. He had gouges all over his legs, chest and back.

By this point, the out-of-control boat was heading north with the current and out of the way of the swim course. We were told the race would now start at 0900.

A couple of minutes after 0900 the race did indeed start, with the sprint wave. Two minutes later we were off with the international wave. The swim course was a 2-loop course, meaning we would be swimming with the current and against the current. New rules were also in place that were a deviation from the swim course used in April and May. In the past, once you swam around the northernmost buoy of the three buoys, you could immediately head for shore and run to transition. This time around, you had to swim back to the middle buoy and head for shore. Now I understand why the swim splits were so fast for previous races.

The swim was OK. I've never done a 1500 meter swim in the open ocean. Without a wetsuit, I knew my split was going to be in the high 30s and I didn't disappoint. Swim time was 38 minutes.

The run to T1 requires you to run up a sand dune and then through a parking lot. Once at my bike, I tried to pull my jersey on. I forgot my race belt, so I pinned my number to the jersey. Unfortunately, I pinned number without much give and had a time getting the jersey on. I ended up ripping the bottom of the number as I pulled it down. I had my shoes clipped in and ran out of transition. They didn't have a mount line marked so I wasn't sure where to hop on. I ended up jumping on in the middle of A1A. As I put my left foot down, my shoe immediately unclipped. Grrr. I finally was able to start pedaling and get my feet in. Surprisingly, T1 only took a mniute and 48 seconds.

The bike course was a 2-loop out and back. Based on conventional wisdom, I assumed we would have tailwinds one way and headwinds the other. Nope. The wind seemed to be more of a cross-wind, and occasionally in front or behind us. I immediately cranked it up to 22 and tried to maintain a cadence of 85-95. I was never passed on the bike. My heart rate stayed in the 150-160 range, although at one point it dropped down into the 140s. I immediately cranked it back up to the 150s. There was a considerable amount of roadkill up and down the course, so we were frequently treated to the stench of rotting flesh.

I passed Jay on the way down on the first loop. I saw Steve, Peter and Clay heading the opposite way on both loops, but was never able to catch them. I saw Kevin behind me for both loops. I was waiting for him to overtake me near the end of the bike leg but he never did.

T2 was a bit faster. I was in and out in 64 seconds.

The run course was another 2-loop out and back on a sidewalk running alongside A1A. There was a water station at each end of the course offering only water. It appears all of the sprint participants used up all of the Gatorade. It could have been worse, I heard a lady say that when she reached the far point of the course for her second loop, they were out of water. I remember getting my water at that point and thinking there would be nothing more for me until the end of the race. I can't imagine not getting that last sip of water.

My pace was stuck between 8:00 and 8:15. I wanted to run 7:45 splits but it wasn't happening. The run course, like the bike course, had zero shade. I only stopped for a couple of steps at each water station to make sure I got my water, but ran the entire course very consistently. I was picking people off at a pretty good clip. I passed Clay on the leg back of the first loop. He mentioned how ugly my Tri-Gator race suit was. On the last leg back, I could see Steve in front of me. I could tell on each leg of the run that I was gaining on him. With a mile to go he was maybe 200 meters in front of me. Every time he passed a road sign, I picked up the pace until I got to the same sign. I was really gaining on him and was planning on hanging back and pouncing right at the finish because I knew I had little left for a kick. He heard the footsteps and turned around and saw me with about 200 meters to go. He yelled at me "Oh no you don't" and kicked. I tried to hang on but was spent. He opened another gap on me that I couldn't make up. I finished 9 seconds behind him. Turns out we were racing for 2nd place in our age group. I'm disappointed my tactics didn't work, but still ended up with a third place finish.

According to the results, I ran a 49:06 for a 7:54 pace. However, I think the run course was short (my Garmin agrees) and when I calculate the pace for only 6 miles, it turns out to be an 8:11 pace. That's more like it.

Kevin was with Steve's wife near the finish cheering for us. He dropped out after the bike. We all congregated near the finish and cheered as Peter and Jay finished.

Like the run course, the sprint participants ravaged the post-race goodies. I was able to snag one of the last 2 cokes to replenish some energy. The oranges were gone and the remaining bananas were all green.

I am satisfied with my bike and run. I just need to work on the swim. Sounds like a broken record.

And what an interesting day it was.

Update:
From the St. Augustine Record:

Stephen Denny, 47, of Jupiter, was participating in the event and saw Rodriguez's boat circling in the ocean with no apparent driver. Denny swam over to try to stop the vessel, but the boat's Yamaha motor propeller cut both of Denny's legs and his chest, Hill said.

He was taken to Halifax Medical Center in Daytona and remained in satisfactory condition Sunday evening, a hospital spokeswoman said.

May 22, 2008

2008 Florida 70.3 Race recap

Sunday morning at 0530 Kevin, Steve, Tony, Clay, Jay and I were shuttled to the transition area by Clay's girlfriend and Rob. Around 0615, after body-marking and setting up transition, everyone headed to the swim start. Everyone except for Kevin and me. Our waves didn't start until after 0700. Instead of waiting in line for nasty toilets, we decided to catch the bus and retreat to nicer potties, namely the ones in our cabins. A much more pleasant experience, although Karen and Julie probably would have preferred to not have their sleep interrupted. A quick bus ride back (folks were looking at us like we were nuts. . ."Shouldn't you be at the race start?") and we still had to wait 20-30 minutes for our waves. Of course, I had been pounding water, so my nervous bladder forced me to use a stinky port-o-let at the start.

Once my race did start, sometime late Sunday morning, the swim felt comfortable. In my mind, I was making adequate progress. I checked the watch several times during the swim and felt good. The water was warm and didn't taste or smell of diesel nearly as bad as I remembered it last year. And just as sure as I though to myself on the way back to shore that the jostling was at a minimum, it seems like everyone wanted to be where I was swimming. As I neared shore and looked at my watch, I realized that my swim was going to be a bit slower than last year. In training, I didn't do enough interval workouts and it was showing. The swim was ultimately around 47 minutes, 2 and a half minutes slower than last year.

The run to transition is a little bit of a haul. Much of it is carpeted but the last bit is through mulch and mud. My feet were pretty nasty by the time I got to the bike and I didn't leave a water bottle to rinse them. I ended up using the towel I had everything laid out on. I did put on socks, which last year I didn't do until before the run. I'm glad I did because it rained on transition while I was on the bike and trying to get wet socks on later would have been a chore. Another longish run to the bike mount line and I was off. T1 was just under 5 minutes, a full minute slower than last year.

At the start of the bike I took a hit of Hammer gel out of my flask and washed it down with water. For the bike, I determined that I was going to keep the HR at 150 as much as possible to save my legs for the run. Even with the lower cap, I was passing lots of people (good swimmers but poor cyclists?). My speed fluctuated between 20 and 21 mph. We had some favorable tailwinds in spots and some nasty headwinds as we headed west on 192. Much of the bike was under overcast skies, and when we took a 5-mile spur on Porter Road the rain came. I found myself out of the aero position a bit to maintain control. At one point, I thought I was having some GI issues and stopped taking my Perpetuem. I had mixed up a 3-hour bottle and was nursing it with water out of my aero-bottle. Turns out, my race belt was a little too tight and was squeezing my gut. By the way, I hate having to wear the race number while on the bike. I guess having my race number on both arms, on my helmet and on my seat post just isn't enough? I moved the belt down around my hips and immediately felt better. Unfortunately, I had backed off nutrition for a while so I was a bit worried.

Surprisingly, on the bike course, I didn't see any crashes, but did see a number of flat tires. There was one little stretch as we left 535 to go to Overstreet Road where there was construction and we had to ride single file in a no passing zone on a temporary sidewalk made out of plywood. Some chick up front thought 10 mph was the prudent thing to do. That sucked. Then a little later there was a clown in a mini-van that decided to be part of the race and not give any room and DRIVE THROUGH THE AID STATION. All in all, the ride felt very comfortable. My Garmin did show the bike course to be 57 miles, and this was confirmed by several others. My bike split was 7:33 slower than last year, but this was part of the plan. My average heart rate was 148.

Back to T2, I found my wet shoes and cap. I guess I wasn't sweating fast enough and had to make a quick pitstop at the port-a-potty in transition. Transitions took a bit longer this year, and I think I just was a little too lackadaisical in my approach to transitions. T2 cost me an extra 2:22 this year, taking four and a half minutes.

2008FloridaHalf_RunHROut of T2 and into the run, I didn't feel I had the same stomach issues I had last year. The only nutrition I carried with me was a gel flask. I tried to slow down the run but still chalked up the first one in a little over 8 minutes. I saw Karen and the girls for the first time during the first mile. Feeling good. I did start to slow down, but even with walking through aid stations to take ice and water my pace was ~9:00/mile through the first 6 miles. Then the wheels fell off. The overcast skies were gone and it was clear and sunny. And folks started baking. I kept trotting along, but was getting slower and slower. Then a tactical mistake. At the last 2 aid stations I chugged some flat Coke. Oh sweet nectar! I was hoping the sugar and caffeine was the jolt I needed to finish this run. After the race I saw the Coke again. Yecch. Never again. I finished the run a little over 2 hours and 18 minutes. Almost 8 minutes faster than last year. Unfortunately, that only compensated for the extra time on the bike. The longer swim and transitions resulted in me finishing almost 6 minutes slower than last year. My finishing time was 6:03:49.

08FloridaHalf_runpaceI remember at parts of the run calculating that I could still beat my time from last year. And then that goal slowly slipped away. And then I just wanted to break 6 hours. And although the bike course was an extra mile long, that only accounts for 3 minutes.

As I look back at the race, I made a few observations. First, I always dismiss the effect of my poor swimming ability on my race. Just get through the swim and then hammer the bike and run. I'm a terrible swimmer and that isn't changing. But in retrospect, if I want to avoid the heat of the run later in the day, those 10 minutes less I spend in the water sure would help. Second, focus should always be maintained in transition. I got a little too comfortable and wasted time. Third, I remember during the run thinking to myself that I would never do another half. Well, a couple of hours after the race that mandate was forgotten.

Of course, my daughters had a great time at the race and at Disney. Emily suggested we come down for the race with our friends again next year even if I don't do the race. I told her I would be doing the race again and she looked at me like I was crazy.

At least my 7-year-old has sense.

February 23, 2008

2008 Ortega River Run

Here is a quick overview of the race. Complete race report after I finish up my Breast Cancer Marathon Report. . .

August 6, 2007

2007 Tour de Pain

Low expectations. That's what I had going into this year's race. Looking at my logbook, my running mileage is down 100 miles from last year, and I haven't run nearly as many races. I have spent a lot of time working on the bike and swim, and really have neglected the run. A lot also has to do with the hip problems I had earlier this year.

With that caveat out of the way, I really was surprised with my overall performance. The format for the race is a series of 3 different races within 24 hours. First up is the 4-mile run on the beach Friday night, followed by a 5k road race Saturday morning, and finishing up with a 1-mile out and back sprint in downtown Jacksonville Saturday afternoon.

Combined, I only lost 4 seconds in the 4-mile and mile races. Last year, my 4-mile time was 29:10, this year it was 29:11. Last year's mile was a slow 6:18, this year was a bit slower at 6:21. The 5k is where the destruction occurred. I lost 41 seconds over last year. This year I finished in 21:39. Yecch. Overall time was 57:11, 45 seconds slower than last year.

Still,with the emphasis on things other than running, I can't be too disappointed. Hopefully, I will still be faster on the run at the HOT if I pace myself correctly on the bike and have fresher legs for the run. I should be able to go a bit faster on the bike and still accomplish that goal.

The other thing that bugs me year over year is my dismal mile performance. I was once fast at short distances, but it seems that is history. I lost two places this year because the guys 4 and 9 seconds behind me going into the last race creamed me. Both went under 6 minutes. Might need to rethink some of my track workouts.

Here are the HR graphs for the first 2 races:

2007 Tour de Pain 4 miler
2007 Tour de Pain 4 miler

2007 Tour de Pain 5k
2007 Tour de Pain 5k

James ended up on the podium after a heated battle in the mile. He was tied for 3rd going into the race and shadowed his competition to the 1/2 mile mark and then turned the screws of pain. According to the official results, he tied Chris Brock in the mile as well, but the race was that close at the finish.

Mike had a very strong performance in his first TDP, finishing 7th in our age group. He turned in a blistering 5:40 in the mile.

Erin and Josh ran the 4-mile race bandit, and Josh also ran the 5k (actually, he started the 5k and took a shortcut to the finish).

Looking forward to 2 hard weeks and then a one week taper to prep for the HOT.

June 9, 2007

Team MetaMarshall!


Go team! Great race today for the relay team.

James and I left the neighborhood at 0600. Got checked in and body marked. Saw Freddy (the registrar) and confirmed I was doing the whole race as a relay. Yep.

Great swim, although it seemed like every time I got into a rhythmn I was banging into someone. Swim was 7:23 and T1 was 2:08. T1 seemed to take longer than in the past but I think they moved the timing mats. I don't remember timing mats on the beach before the sand path in the past.

The bike was pretty good, and I passed a ton of people. Since I was a relay team, I had to start in the next to last wave with the Clydesdales, Athenas, Physically Challenged and all of the other relays. The only group to start after my wave were the novices. No one passed me on the bike. There were some pretty good groups of congestion, and several instances of folks riding 2 abreast. Coming into T2, I was taking my feet out of my shoes when one of the shoes came unclipped, after I had taken my foot out. Grrrr. I had to circle back towards the shoe and a volunteer picked it up and tossed it to me. I had to run the last 30 yards before the dismount line pushing my bike. The bike section took 27:31. T2 was a snappy 42 seconds, only because I was ticked about losing time at the end of the bike.

The run felt comfortable, maybe too comfortable. I think I should have pushed a little harder. I passed a bunch of people on the run, and was only passed by a couple of guys I had already passed a quarter of a mile before the finish. The run was a pedestrian 22:55. Definitely could've done better.

The goal was to break an hour, and I came in at 1:00:38. It was a close call, and the shoe mishap would've made it even closer.

This was also the first time I have raced with the Tri-Gator uniform. It's a lot of fun to hear folks yell "Go Gators" as you go by. This includes spectators and other racers.

Karen, Molly and all of the girls showed up shortly after I finished. Did a little socializing with Chris Neri, Richard Fannin, Greg Umberger, Lyndon Box, Doug Skiles and Lori McLamb. I went to check the results and immediately started laughing. I had won the men's relay division. During the awards ceremony, one of the volunteers gave me a little guff when I went to pick up my award. Not my fault, my runner cancelled.

I laugh when I think about Freddy telling me to keep it quiet that he was letting me do the entire race. Oops.

UPDATE: Here are the full results.

May 24, 2007

2007 Florida 70.3

My cell phone rang at 2 AM. Who the heck was calling me 3 hours before I was supposed to wake up for my first half Ironman. It was Nunu. There was a problem with my Dad. He was sick and there was something wrong with his heart. Mom had told him not to call me but he did it anyway because I needed to know. I'm glad he did. Mom got on the phone and told me to stay put and not get on the road at this time of the morning with her granddaughters. She said the were going to do a catheter and determine if he needed open heart surgery. She would call me as soon as she had news. By this time, Karen had woken up and come into the living room. I was sleeping on the murphy bed that night so I wouldn't wake everyone up as I got ready for the race. I explained the situation to Karen. I remember laying there trying to take it all in and not being able to go back to sleep. I think between 2 AM and 4:30 AM I got 15 minutes of sleep. The phone rang again at 4:30. Again it was Nunu. They had put a stint in Dad's artery and he had been stabilized. Again, Mom got on the phone and told me to do the race and then come home. So I was going to do the race, but would I be able to do it?

I stayed in the bed for the next 20 minutes with my mind racing. Finally, I got up and started eating breakfast and getting ready. I ate a Clif Bar, a yogurt, and drank some Gatorade. I ran out the door to meet Kevin Cofran's friends in front of their cabin. They were giving me a ride to the race start. I hopped on the back of the cart with Tony. Robert was driving and Jay was up front with him. We started chatting and then Tony asked me how my night was. Bad question. I didn't want to unload on new friends, but I needed to get it out. They were really great. I appreciate the support those guys gave me before the race. It really helped me get through a lot and get ready for the race. Robert dropped us off and was going to circle back around in 15 minutes to pick up our bags. When I got to my bike and started setting up, I realized my aero-bottle was back at the cabin. I finished getting ready and ran back to meet Robert. When he arrived, I explained the situation and asked him if he would give me a ride to my cabin to get the bottle. He gave me the keys to the cart instead because Jay had not yet arrived and told me to go get it while he waited for Jay. I scurried home and got the bottle and used the bathroom one last time. What a relief!

The waves were spaced pretty well, going off every 4 minutes. Our wave was announced and we gathered on the beach in the starting area. As always, I stayed near the back and when the gun went off I walked into the water. I think I'm getting comfortable enough that I might run into the water one of these days. I started swimming, and breathing every stroke. The first couple of hundred meters are always the toughest until I get in a rhythmn. Finally, I found myself in an open space and started swimming faster. I never had an anxiety attack and felt great throughout the swim. I did find myself off track on several occasions and worked my way closer to the buoys. The turns were a bit hairy and I got clocked in the left eye by some clown as I turned to breathe. Fortunately it didn't knock off my goggles. I remember thinking I was really moving and then looking at my watch and realizing maybe I wasn't going as fast as I thought. I did feel better earlier this week when quite a few people posted on Slowtwitch that the course seemed long. Someone even posted the swim split times of the top pros, and they were about 2 minutes slower than last year. Swim time was a bit over 44 minutes, with the goal being somewhere between 38 and 40 minutes.

Out of the water I ran and headed for T1. Not everyone was in the mood to run and there was quite a bit of congestion on the path. I sprinted, ducked and weaved my way to my bike. When I got there, Karen, Emily, Maggie and Pete were at the edge of the transition area and started yelling for me. The adrenaline was really pumping. The mount line for he bike was down another path, and then you had to push your bike through some deep sand. Not ideal, but I clipped in very quickly and took off. T1 took 3:46.

FL_HIM_BikeThe start of the ride was uneventful, but my heart rate was up around 150 and I couldn't get it down. I think it was up for the first part of the bike because of the excitement, and then later on because it was taking a bit of effort to fight the headwind. I was maintaining my 21 mph pace, and was doing my best to avoid drafting. Not a lot of people passed me, but the ones that did were really moving on very fancy bikes. I encountered quite a few packs of people. It didn't seem like they were trying to avoid drafting. The course really was uneventful, which is a good thing. Based on what Drew Johnson told me, I didn't take a spare tube. If I had a flat, my race was over. There were a couple of trying times on the course in terms of cars. One was on County Road 545 when a car and some motorcycles were nearly forcing people off the road, and another was on 535 before we turned onto Reams Road when there were a bunch of cars in the lane and no shoulder to ride on. The problem on 535 was especially troubling because there was nowhere to go and some of the cyclicts were riding down the center of the road. Towards the end of the bike leg, a guy came up behind me and asked me what 'RRB' was for. I told him it was my Dad and he had just had a heart attack. He yelled "God bless!" and kept going. The emotions were pumping again. As I entered Fort Wilderness again, my stomach started feeling funny. I didn't like the feeling at all. I remember dismounting and having to push the bike through that thick sand again. Grrrr. Total time for the bike was 2:41:31, a little slower than I wanted, but not too bad.

I ran into T2, but not quite as fast as I ran into T1. Again, Karen and the girls were there along with Pete. I racked the bike, slipped on my running shoes and ran to the fence real quick to kiss the girls and get an update on Dad. Karen said she had spoken to Mom, and Dad was stable and OK. What a relief! Time for the run. T2 took 2:13.

FL_HIM_RunMy stomach was really starting to act up, and my legs were feeling wobbly. Shortly into the run, I saw a girl holding a poster that said "Put me in your race report." There you go. (By the way, I just Googled that with no returns. I must be the only one.) Shortly before the first mile, I saw the Cofran clan and their friends. They gave me a huge shout-out that helped immensely. At the aid station just after a mile, I peed at the aid station to see if it would help settle my stomach. Not really. I downed quite a bit of ice water on the run, and would put ice in the bottle of HEED I was carrying. In the past, if I drank as much water at an aid station as I was in this race, my stomach would start sloshing. It never felt like that in this race. Did I become dehydrated on the bike? I couldn't force myself to down a gel, in fear of an explosive eruption. In retrospect, I wish I had dared my stomach to puke by taking a gel. Instead, I resigned myself to a slow, post-bonk trudge. The second lap seemed to be one of my strongest laps, but I think I might have taken Coke at a couple of stations. I can't believe I was dumb enough to think I could run a half-marathon at the end of a Half Ironman without taking more fuel than a bottle of HEED. Then again, I think I completed the first two parts of the race on a lot of emotion and had so much on my mind, I neglected to think rationally as my body ran out of juice.

I finally dragged across the finish line. I saw everyone lining the chute and yelling for me. I made it under 6-hours. Unfortunately, I didn't meet my goals for the race. I might have been able to make the stretch goal of 5:30, but the 5:45 should have been easily attainable. The "run" took me 2:26:00. Ouch!

It certainly was a learning experience. I found Peter King and Kevin Cofran and told them this was the hardest thing I have ever done. At the time I couldn't imagine doing another one. Now I'm ready to avenge this poor performance.

Heart Rate Graphs:
Bike
FL_HIM_Bike_HR

Run
FL_HIM_Run_HR

UPDATE: For posterity, even though I have them via my Garmin, I wanted to save the course maps. Here they are:
Bike course
Run course
Transition area

March 11, 2007

2007 River Run: It was ugly

Greetings from the hurt cellar. Actually, I am no longer in the hurt cellar, but I spent 70 minutes there yesterday. Seventy freakin' minutes. Two minutes and 54 seconds longer than last year. It was bad. It was ugly. It was no fun.

The morning was uneventful. Mike and Lori picked up Pete and me around 7:15. Once at the race Pete and I headed over to the Team Gate hospitality area, got ready, checked our bags and used the potty. It was around 8:15 at that point and I wanted to get to the start area before they dropped the rope to let everyone move up. Slight problem at this point. . . I didn't do any kind of warm-up. Not sure if that matters. Met up with Erin and Josh in the starting area. The gun sounded and off we go.

Mile

2007

17:12
27:13
37:19
47:30
57:28
67:34
77:40
88:21
97:20
Finish2:27

Erin and I passed the first mile marker with a 7:12 split. Pretty good. The goal was 7:10, right on target. However, I didn't feel good, but attributed that to the lack of warm-up. The second split was 7:13. Still felt like there was no need to panic, but I still didn't feel comfortable. Maybe it was just the exertion from the Main Street Bridge. Unfortunately, Mile 3 wasn't any better, clocking in at 7:19. At this point, we were back in the neighborhoods of San Marco and I was hoping the shade would help speedup the pace. Last year it was warm and humid, but we had cloud cover to prevent the sun from beating down on us. No cloud cover this year, and even the tree cover of San Marco could help. The split for mile 4 was 7:30. This race was going downhill in a big way. Somewhere in the fifth mile, I started to feel a little better. Maybe it was a short-lived adrenaline rush. Then Bill Rodgers passed me before we turned off of Belote onto Atlantic. He didn't pass me last year until the downslope of the Hart Bridge. Icontemplated taking a gel at mile 5, but held off until mile 6. It didn't help much. The slowdown continued through the neighborhoods of St. Nicholas. Erin and I stayed together until mile 7. Not sure if she picked up the pace or maintained her pace and I slowed down even more. Running up the bridge was as tough as always. The weird thing is usually the wind is really blowing on top of the bridge. This year, it seemed very still. A stiff breeze would have been welcomed to help cool things off. Running down thebridge allowed me to clock my fastest split since mile 3. The last three tenths took 12 seconds longer this year. Doesn't seem like much, but from a pace perspective that amounts to 40 seconds over a mile. Sheesh! I was crawling to the finish.

Split

2006

2007

Difference

16:44:007:12:000:28:00
213:37:0014:25:000:48:00
320:39:0021:44:001:05:00
427:53:0029:14:001:21:00
535:03:0036:42:001:39:00
642:25:0044:16:001:51:00
749:50:0051:56:002:06:00
857:55:0060:17:002:22:00
964:55:0067:37:002:42:00

Finish

67:10:0070:04:002:54:00

Trying to look back and analyze the difference between 2006 and 2007 is difficult. It was hot, but I took water at every station. Unbelievably, my hip really didn't bother me. It just seemed like I didn't have it in the tank. Looking back at the training log, I'm only 29 miles behind last year. Not sure if I did more long runs last year, but endurance shouldn't be a factor based on the additional cycling mileage I've logged this year. The chart to the left shows the aggregate loss of time during the course ofthe race. A little over a minute for the first 5k, a little under a minute for the second 5k, and then another minute for the last 5k. Maybe I just chalk it up to a bad race day.

Hats off to Erin (Liger!) for smoking me in the last 2 miles. However, I think we can both agree that our performances were well below our expectations. Jay missed his goal of 60 minutes by 77 seconds. Mike McLamb was two minutes off of his goal and Pete was several minutes off of his goal. James was actually 9 seconds below his goal, but he's a sick puppy and actually likes the weather we had yesterday. Josh was about 4 minutes behind his expectations and John Womack was 81 secondsslower than his goal.

Meb won his 6th River Run title, but couldn't catch Deena Kastor for the equalizer bonus. The elite women started 5 minutes ahead of the rest of the pack and she finished 80 seconds ahead of Meb. She missed breaking her American record by 4 seconds.

As for me, it is now time to back off running for a couple of weeks to see if I can get the hip to heal. I will ramp up the cycling volume and ease back into the running after a couple of weeks. I might even go see a doctor or a therapist.

UPDATE: Google Earth file

UPDATE 2: HR data.
Race - River Run 3-10-2007, Heart rate - Distance

February 26, 2007

Ortega River Run 2007

Saturday was the perfect day for a race abd a race party. Nice and cool at the start. Beautiful sunny sky, no chance for showers. Folks starting arriving at the house a little before 8. We jogged easy over to the start and enjoyed running with some of the kids in the 1 mile fun run. Stood around and talked for 10 minutes and then hopped into the throng of 2000 for the start. I was standing in a sea of red as I was surrounded by the famous El Guapo Running Club. Really nice people.

Every year I tell myself I am going to start closer to the front for the Ortega River Run. This year it didn't seem so bad dodging folks. It also helped prevent me from starting way too fast. Ran the first mile with Erin and we clocked it a little under 7. She told me she had run the race a couple of years ago and averaged 7:15s. She said she would like to do that again. Little did I know she was sandbagging. Heh.

Ortega River Run 2-24-2007, Heart rate - PaceI was very proud of Woodmere. Lots of folks out, lots of Corrigan signs, and my cheering section at the end of Oleander. Gave Emily and Karen a high five on my way to a quick second mile split of 6:45. I was still running with Erin at this point and I made the decision to slow down and maintain a 7:00 pace. She maintained the faster pace and put some time on me. Running up the 17 bridge was a little tough. I had to keep reminding my self to lean forward. I would find my self running upright and would immediately look down at my shoes to force myself to lean into the incline. I cruised down the bridge, passing the 3-mile mark on the way. My third mile was a 7:15. Yikes.

The momentum from the bridge helped me cruise McGirts at a comfortable clip. I was maintaining the pace going up the little inclines and running down them hard. As usual, there was a terrific group of kids yelling on the last incline before the 4-mile mark. Like last year, they really helped me get up that last little climb. Mile 4 was somewhere around 6:50. I felt like I had a bit still in the tank and my hip wasn't hurting too terribly bad. Erin had about 100 meters on me and there was no catching her. She was running a great race. I kept pushing and when I hit the flashing lights at the Grand Avenue curve I knew I had a quarter-mile to go. I increased the leg turnover but kept it under control. I crossed the finish line in 34:49, my last mile was around 6:52. My finishing time was only 10 seconds slower than last year, even with the problems I have had with my hip and reduced mileage on the road.

Everyone met up near the finish line and we started a slow jog back to the house for our reward. Once we were home, there were lots of breakfast goodies and I think everyone had a terrific time. I really appreciate the work Karen put into hosting the party. I jokingly refer to the annual Ortega River Run party as my birthday party since I would rather celebrate a great race with friends than I would my birthday.

Finishing times of party attendees:
James Cardozo -- 30:37
Jay Millson -- 31:34 (PR!)
Josh Allen -- 32:26
Mike McLamb -- 34:15
Erin Moore -- 34:25
Greg Umberger -- 34:31
Leah Pust -- 37:36
Lori McLamb -- 40:08 (I think this is a PR)
Jane Mondadori -- 42:10
Marla Stearman -- 56:49 (running for two, no less)

A special bonus at the party was an appearance by Rodney Brown. Rodney and Kelly didn't run the race, they ran on their own earlier, but he still dropped in to visit. Rodney works for the Department of Justice and he returned from Baghdad this past Thursday. He assisted the Iraqi government in the trial of Saddam Hussein, as well as others. He was in the courtroom when Saddam was convicted. Rodney found himself looking Saddam face to face as Saddam left the courtroom. Wow! Rodney also ran the Baghdad Marathon and had his second best marathon ever, despite coming under small arms fire at mile 5. Amazing! It was great to see him at the party.

Now we have 2 weeks until the grand-daddy road race of them all in Jacksonville, the Gate River Run. Looking forward to a good race in the 15k.

February 5, 2007

Winter Beaches Run 2007

Wbr07What’s a gel worth?  A couple of minutes at the end of a 10–mile run?  That’s what I have to wonder as I look back at yesterday’s Winter Beaches Run. 

The goal was to run 7:30 splits, nice and steady.  Last year I shot out running 7:00 – 7:15 splits, only to explode and finish at a 7:36 average pace.  The first mile, as always, I got caught in the surge and ran a little faster than I wanted.  After passing the first marker in 7:10, I slowed it down a bit and did the next mile in 7:36.  Closer to the goal.  I stayed on pace until the 7th mile.  Then the slowdown began.  I have to believe if I had taken a gel atthe halfway point, I could’ve finished stronger.  My hip started to nag me as well, but I’m not sure if that was enough to sabotage my race.  I tried 15–second surges on the minute during mile 9 to try to reel some folks in, but couldn’t sustain the effort.  I finished in 1:16:33, 36 seconds slower than last year’s 1:15:57. 

I did run a much smarter race this year, but in the end, I think nutrition was the difference.  Aside from not using a gel, the only meals I had prior to the race included Grape Nuts for breakfast and a Clif Bar an hour before the race.  Although Karen and I had to keep nursery at church yesterday morning, I still thought I would have a chance to eat lunch.  I also thought the race started at 3 pm.  Nope, 2 pm start.

Next year I will have a gel and I will know what time the race starts!

January 29, 2007

No speed in the 5k, nice ride home

MMB -- Matanzas 5000 1-27-2007, Heart rate - DistanceRan the Matanzas 5000 on Saturday.  I was a bit cynical going into the race because I have been more focused on long, slow, endurance-building running workouts.  The race didn’t disappoint.  I ran the first mile in 6:40, and then promptly laid down consecutive 7:00 splits.  Final kick was OK, but man was I gassed.  Looking at the HR data, i jumped straight to the low Matanzas 5000 1-27-2007170s and stayed there for the entire race.  Also painfully apparent is my inability to start slow and run negative splits.  The race was fairly large with around 1400 runners.  I ended up finishing in the top 150.  James beat Josh by 45 seconds (but finished behind Mills, yikes!) and Mike McLamb ran 20 minutes flat.

After the race, we took the kids to the carousel and park to play for a while before heading home.  Karen and Molly took the girls home and Josh, James, Erin and I hopped on our bikes for the 50–mile ride home.  Riding along US 1 can be hairy, but for the most part cars gave us plenty of room.  The 1st Place Sports van and trailer heading back from the race actually gave us the closest drive-by.  Not a very nice way to treat customers!  From US 1 we went to Racetrack Road in St. Johns county, and then to Bishop Estates where we encountered another cyclist-hating rube. 

Bike ride from StA 1-27-2007No traffic at all on the road.  This guy pulls up behind us, honks his horn at us, and then guns his engine and flies past us.  Just so he could pull into his driveway a quarter mile down the road.  Josh pulled up to the gate of his house and yelled for himto come out of his garage.  Wasn’t happening.  So we continued on.  Then 5 minutes later, he comes up behind us again and pulls the same stunt.  You really shouldn’t pull that garbage when you have a vanity tag and you let people know where you live.  Harry Madden, who lives at 3345 Bishop Estates Road Jacksonville, FL 32259 is a creep and needs someone to tell him about the recently passed Florida law

The rest of the ride was uneventful.  My back tire went flat with a mile to go.  I rode it in. 

Fun day of racing and training.

December 17, 2006

Another marathon in the books

I've now run three marathons, and I still can't beat my time in the first one I did. Granted, the weather was perfect in 2004 and I finished in 3:37:30. Last year I blew up at the halfway point and crawled home in 3:50:10.

This year the weather was fairly nice for the first half. Then the fog burned off and the sun started to bear down on us. It was pretty warm 2 hours into the race. I started out just like I planned. Very conservatively. My hip has been causing me problems the last month and I wanted to shoot for even 8:00/mi. splits. Earlier in the fall the plan was for me to run 7:40/mi. splits, but the hip forced me to revise the goal. I was golden for the first 15 miles, averaging somewhere around 8:00. The fastest mile I had was on;y 7:51. I was very happy with my self-control.

But then the wheels fell off. After the race, Rick Patterson told me when the marathon is on your back, there is nothing you can do to recover. He is right.

I started clicking off laps north of 8:10/mi. By mile 21 splits were over 9:00/mi. My finishing time was 3:42:00.

While it is easy to attribute most of the problems on the weather, I think the hip caused me to falter in terms of endurance. I was unable to finish a couple of longer runs over the past month, and I think that had a lot to do with it as well.

Race - Jacksonville Marathon 12-17-2006I was happy to see Karen and the girls, along with Beppy and Nunu at the 13 and 14 mile marks, as well as around mile 23, and finally at the finish. They were holding up signs and cheering for me. After mile 14, I was on the same side of the road as them so I was able to stop and give Emily and Maggie what they call "sweaty, runner kisses" on their foreheads.

Unfortunately, John Womack was hoping to qualify for Boston in this race. He has been running great and looking strong at the track. He needed a 3:15 and I think he finished somewhere around 3:22. Still a great race given the conditions.

The plan is to now take a couple of weeks off and go to a spin class here or there and maybe jump back in the pool.

Then, starting 1/1/2007 it is time to start training for my first half-Ironman!

UPDATE: Race photos have been uploaded.

UPDATE 2: Google Earth file (also viewable at Google Maps).

November 5, 2006

PR in the 10k

Still recovering from the back issues, which have now become left hip issues. The back is fine, but I think I strained muscles in the left hip compensating for the recnt back problems. Went to the chiropractor on Friday and got some electrical stimulation, as well as some adjusting. Wasn't sure how I'd feel on race morning.

Race morning I woke up and took 600 mg of Motrin. Rode over to the race with James, Josh and Mike. Ran a short warm-up and did a little stretching. Doing 7 minute splits was the goal. Here are the splits:

Mile Split AvgHR LapHR
1      6:45 159    170
2      6:51 170    171
3      6:59 170    171
4      7:08 169    171
5      7:17 170    170
6      7:03 171    173
6.2   1:25 174     175

Went out a bit too fast. Backed it off a bit for mile 2 and 3. My hip and back felt fine, but during mile 4 I developed a stitch in my right side. I had to slow down a little to work it out. Picked it up again in mile 6 when I saw I was really falling off of the pace. Finished in 43:28, a new PR for me. Mike was right behind me, finishing in 43:37. I was his rabbit. I figured he was back there somewhere.

James finished in 39:33. Josh did 39:47. James was a bit disappointed with his time and vowed it was time to get serious about running. He has been spending lots of time in the pool.

View the race course and splits with Google Maps.

October 31, 2006

Pumpkin Run misery

Tested out the back Saturday morning with an easy 2-mile run. Sharp pains the rest of the day. Karen didn't want me to leave the house Sunday morning with my running clothes because she was afraid I would do something dumb.

I ended up getting out of the house with my running stuff, but was reminded to "make good choices." I saw a bunch of my friends before the race and wished them all well. Once the race started, I decided I was going to only do the 5k as promised and not be tempted to do the 10-mile race. I caught up with Erin just before the one mile mark and ran with her. She was doing the entire race and shooting for 8:00 splits. We hit them all pretty close. At the 5k point I headed for the finish line and she kept going. Honestly, it was very tough not to do the entire race. But then I thought about the big picture.

After I finished, I grabbed a bagel and some Gatorade and found a spot to watch the rest of the 2-loop race. I cheered on a bunch of friends through the first loop and then when the leaders came by on the second loop I went to the finish line to see the finish.

Everyone I talked to had a great race. Conditions were perfect. I ran my 3rd slowest 5k ever and ended up with an age group award for 3rd place. Ha.

I haven't run since the race, but I think I'm going to be able to start training again tomorrow. The back is feeling much better.

Big picture, remember the big picture. . .

August 29, 2006

2006 Hammerhead Olympic Triathlon

Raced in the Hammerhead Olympic Triathlon (AKA "The HOT") this past Sunday. It was hot.

The race was held on Camp Blanding, a military base just south of Middleburg. There were a limited number of cottages available to rent, so I reserved one for us so I didn't have to drive 45 minutes the morning of the race. Worked out very well. Emily enjoyed swimming in the lake the day before and it was nice rolling out of bed an hour before the race started.

The swim was pretty good, I felt comfortable. My time was a hair under 35:00. Slower than a rough St. Anthony's this year, but that was a wetsuit race in salt water. Also, I heard a couple of folks saying that the course was a bit over 1500m. Not unusual for this race.

T1 was a quick 1:31, and then off on the bike. The course has a bunch of rolling hills and some false flats. Nothing super steep, but much of it is not very flat. I played a game of cat and mouse with Jay's friend Chris, who has comparable skills to me on the bike. It was fun to have a bit of back and forth to break up the monotony. Chris was nailed for a drafting penalty on the second loop. We finished within seconds of each other, my official time was 1:08:37, my best olympic bike split ever. Going into T2, I had already taken my feet out of my shoes, dismounted and starting to run into transition when a girl cut me off with her bike. Stopping quickly caused me to stub 2 toes and knocked a shoe out of my clips. A volunteer tossed me my shoe and I motored into T2, not looking forward to looking at the toes.

060827_HOT 030One was a bloody pulp. I remember thinking as I put on my running shoes that this was going to be a lot of fun. I had to get it out of my mind and just run. T2 took 54 seconds.

The first couple of miles felt pretty good. I was passing quite a few people, but soon after the 3rd mile, the wheels starting falling off. The fourth mile takes you up a pretty good hill and then you turn around and go back down. My stomach started rumbling and gurgling, and I couldn't tell if it was because it needed liquid or if it had too much. I hadn't taken on a lot of liquid, just a full Aero Bottle on the bike and a little out of another water bottle to wash down a gel. I wasn't taking in a bunch at the water stations, just a little at every one.

The last 2 miles seemed like a death march and I was passed by a few people. The last mile has some rolly hills that were no fun. Just before the turn to the finish line I saw Karen and Emily with Pete and Amy with their boys, and Mike and Susan.

After crossing the finish line, it took me forever to recover and "get it back together." It seemed like all of my body's energy was focused on my somach. I alternated squatting, walking, sitting, standing under the rain tent, drinking water, Gatorade and Coke. Finally, I pulled it together. I only used 2 gels in the race, one at the beggining of the bike and the 2nd halfway through the bike. Did my body not process those? I'm not sure what happened, but the run ended up taking 52:09.

All three splits were my fastest ever for the course, and my finishing time of 2:37:59 was my best in the race by about 12 minutes. I'm still disappointed with the explosion in the run, and wish I could pinpoint the root cause. The other variable was obviously the weather, but we had cloud cover and while it was hot and humid, we did have the searing heat beating down on us like last year. During the run I remember thinking "And I want to do a half ironman in October?" I guess the difference is pacing and not hammering the bike leg. Eight weeks until the Florida Challenge. . .

UPDATE: Race results

August 4, 2006

Tour de Pain begins tonight

The Tour de Pain starts tonight with a 4-mile run on the beach at 7:30. Tomorrow morning at 7:30, we will run a 5k at the 1st Place Sports store in Baymeadows. The series concludes tomorrow afternoon at 4:30 with a 1-mile sizzler at the Jacksonville Landing. I've been drinking water all day to prepare myself for the hot conditions.

UPDATE: Finished the 4-mile run in 29:10. Very disappointed with my time. Wasn't as hot, but it was very gusty. Thunderstorms were rolling in and the wind was swirling. Although it was an out and back course, it felt like we had a tailwind for a brief time after the turnaround. The rest of the time it was either in our face or blowing from the side.

UPDATE 2: I broke the 21-minute barrier for the second time ever in a 5k with a time of 20:56. Folks have said the course is pretty fast. I have to agree. Splits were 6:34, 6:48, 6:57, and :37. My aggregate so far is 50:06. I would like to finish under 56 minutes, so I need to rip off a 5:54 mile tonight. Possible? I suppose. Likely? Unsure.

UPDATE 3: Sub-six wasn't happening yesterday afternoon. My legs were aching, and in a pre-race jog, we discovered how nasty the course was. The first quarter mile of the out and back course was a gentle decline. The second quarter featured a flat section and then a short gentle incline. Turn around and now you have a short decline, a flat section, and then a quarter mile running gently up to the finish. It starting raining lightly just before the start. After a couple of false readys, it was time to go. Our heat (men 39 and under) took off like a rocket because of the pent up anxiety waiting at the start. Just before the quarter mile mark, we came out of the shade of the buildings and you could feel the steam rising from below. The first quarter took 1:17. Way too fast. I turned around at the halfway point somewhere around 2:45. I was losing gas fast, and the guy I had a one second advantage over in my age group went past. I tried to hang on, but he surged and left me in the dust. I tried to dig deep, but there wasn't much there. I ended up finishing in 6:18. I finished 10th in the age group for the series. James won our age group and Josh took 4th in the 30-34 age group.

July 25, 2006

Vestcor Bridges 5k

Ran the Vestcor Bridges 5k Saturday night. Not a very fast course, especially for us flatlanders here in Florida. The race starts in front of City Hall, does a quick out and back and then heads over the Main Street Bridge to the Southbank. Then it's over the Acosta Bridge back to the Northbank and finishes in front of City Hall. The two bridges slow folks down, especially the Acosta. I think it's around an 8% grade for a half mile. Of course, it can be quick coming down, but when you hit the bottom you still have a little over half a mile to go.

I started the race too fast. At the first turnaround, James yelled at me to pace myself. I wasn't too far behind him. I clicked off the first mile in 6:20. Yikes, way too fast. The second mile takes you over the Main Street and to the top of the Acosta. That mile was obviously slower, a 7:10 split. Going up the Acosta was tough. I haven't been doing much hill work recently, and it shows. The mile coming down the Acosta and back to City Hall was a little faster, around a 7:04 split. I tried to pick up the pace for the last tenth of a mile, but it was a :43 split. Finishing time was 21:17.

Actually, that was a good time for me in this race. Last year I ran it in 21:56. It was hot this year, but right before the race started some cloud cover rolled in to keep the sun off of us.

I did the Saturday morning Open Road group ride the morning of the race just like last year. It was a fairly up-tempo ride. I think everyone was inspired by Floyd Landis and wanted to get home to watch the time trial.

James finished 2nd in our age group with a 19:05. My friend Richard Fannin finished 3rd. I finished 4th.

Also running was Josh and Leigh, plus my friends from the Y, Bill Bishop and Leah Pust.

Next race: Tour de Pain.

UPDATE: Race results posted.

July 10, 2006

BFAST #3 turned into BFASD #1

No triathlon, but a duathlon instead. Really rough ocean conditions forced the race organizers to ditch the swim on Saturday. I didn't go down to the beach, but apparently the strong winds from the northeast were really churning the water. When this happens, we typically start the race with a 1-mile beach run. Not this time. The tide was so high from the strong winds, there was no place to run on the beach except for the really soft sand near the dunes. Instead of turning the race into a miserable sufferfest, Charlie O'Brien mercifully had us run a mile on the same road used for the run portion of the race.

My wave started second, and I decided there was no need to wear out my legs at the beginning of the race. According to the results, my mile split was 7:18. I don't think the run through the parking lot to transition 1 was taken into account, making the mile a bit long. I yanked my shoes off and was getting ready to take off on the bike when I noticed that my inserts were bunched from taking the shoes off. I quickly straightened them out so I wouldn't have to do it in T2. Now or later, it was going to have to be done. T1 took 57 seconds.

Having a run at the beginning of a race instead of a swim appears to cause some bunching. A huge mass of guys were all leaving T1 at the same time. Most of those guys decided it would be a good idea to stick together for the entire 11.5 miles. It was like a stinkin' peloton. I passed a bunch in the first 2 miles and then came up on the pack of offenders. I muscled around them but couldn't maintain enough speed to stay in front. They all passed me again. I decided I would ride 3 lengths off the back on this stretch of the course that heads north into a headwind.

As we approached the right hand turn for the 2 block section that takes you back towards the ocean I jumped in front again. As I was making the turn, another rider passed me and was actually griping at me about the pack. "You know you have a ton of guys behind you?!?" Like it's my fault. He then griped at the volunteer waving the flag at the last right hand turn before the home stretch. Like he can do anything either. I was disappointed I didn't see ANY race officials on the course. With a tailwind at my back, I was able to get up to 30 mph while just spinning. It was awesome. Unfortunately, I didn't get enough of a lead and a small group passed me again. The packs were nuts. The didn't just pass on the left. There were some yahoos passing on the right as well. What a @#$%! goat rodeo.

I saw my friend Jay Millson up ahead and tried to surge to catch him but couldn't. Needless to say there was another lovely pack of guys all trying to get into T2 at the same time, and one guy wiped out. My bike split was 27:07 for an average speed of 25.4. Very happy with that. T2 took 48 seconds and it was off on the run.

Grabbed a water on the way out and tried to pick up speed. My legs were cursing me. Jay was just ahead of me, as was another friend of mine, JB Long. The bike had taken it's toll and I didn't have much left for the run. I finally got into a rhythmn just before the half mile mark. Running into the headwind was tough, and the group slowly pulled away. I passed Tony Boselli at the turnaround and with the tailwind, was able to start picking up some more speed. I passed a fair number of people, but none from my age group until a half mile before the finish. I thought about blowing past him, but wasn't sure if I could hold him off if he did have something left. I hung on behind for a while, but it meant I had to slow down. I did this for about 50 meters and then I decided I had to pass him. As I did, I started to pour it on, and as I was making the left hand turn into the final stretch, I began my kick. The announcer at the finish commented that #82 was finishing strong and didn't mention anyone else. I ended up beating the other fellow by 3 seconds. That was good for a single digit place in my age group, lucky number 9.

Finishing time was 59 minutes and 8 seconds. I did the 5k in a pitiful 22:59.

While this race can't be used for apples to apples comparisons with my other races, I was very happy with the performance. I finished 50th out of 442 participants.

After the race, chatted with a bunch of friends and even won a jug of Hammer Gel in the drawing. James won our age group and Josh finished third in his. Josh beat James by 6 seconds, abit of vindication after losing to James by 38 seconds in the last race.

Good race, fun series.

June 9, 2006

Harpoon 5-Miler

Beginning blog entries with personal best finishing times is becoming so cliche' on this website. Oh well. . .

34:09

I ran the Harpoon Brewery 5-Miler on June 3. It was rainy. It was cold. It was nasty. And I still dropped my 5-mile PR by 30 seconds. The race organizers tried to delay the start several times, but the rain wouldn't let up, and everyone was soaked hanging out by the starting line anyway.

I registered for the race in early May when I found out it was capped at 1,500 entries. Good thing since the race was full by the end of the month. And how many of the original 1,500 were crazy enough to run in the rain? Over 1,200.

Fun race in BostonIt was a neat race, starting at the brewery near the harbor and just south of the airport. From there, we made our way down to Castle Island, a local recreation area that featured a neat causeway that looped around a bay and is home to a civil war fort, Fort Independence. Then it was back to the brewery. Some parts of the sidewalk near the fort were underwater. Like 2 or 3 inches. The first time I encountered this, I ran through the grass. The water was just as deep there. The next couple of times, I just ran right throught the water. Almost felt like a steeplechase.

Pacing was pretty consistent, the slowest mile being the one where we ran along the harbor. There was no protection from the wind, and that is also where the steeplechase part of the course was located. I felt pretty strong the last mile and picked a couple of people off in the last 1/4 mile.

My goal was to place in the top 50 men. I did that, coming in 44th. Overall, I came in 51st out of 1,217 runners. Complete results are online.

My friend Trevor was at the finish line. We headed over to the post-race party tent. Apparently, this race is the beginning of a huge party weekend called Harpoonfest. However, the only thing I wanted was to get warm and dry. It's also important to note that the Harpoon Brewery makes some dang tasty root beer!

I'm glad I did the race. I met lots of nice people and had a very good time.

May 14, 2006

2006 BFAST #1

1:03:39

Ho-hum. Another breakthrough PR. ;-)

This one by nearly 10 minutes. It should be noted that this breakthrough can be partially attributed to conditions and timing more than anything else. My previous PR for this race was my first triathlon ever in July of 2004. The three BFAST races in 2005 are not true apples to apples comparisons. One race I was the running leg of a relay and the other two races had horrible ocean conditions (we ended up doing a run-bike-run duathlon in one). Because of this, the PR stood too long. My abilities and fitness levels last year far exceeded my abilities of the previous year, but other factors impacted the results.

That being said, I broke my PR by 9:54, and I'm not apologizing.

Going into the race, the goal was to break 1:06:30. This was a very doable goal, but for some reason I felt the bike prediction was a bit of a stretch. When James and I arrived at the race, a sign was posted saying the water temperature was 70 degrees. Wetsuit legal. Awesome. You also can't see the ocean from the registration and transition areas, so we didn't know just how good the swim was going to be. James and I were near each other in transition, so we went and set up. James then met up with eventual women's champion for the day, JC Hanley-Pinto. I needed to stop off at the pottie. Good move on my part (pun intended).

Race time was getting near, and I wasn't sure what wave I was in. I was a bit worried about missing the start, so I ran down the sand trail through the dunes to the beach. Oh my gosh. Is that a lake? The ocean was eerily calm. Sweet. As a I walked down the beach to the starting area, I didn't see many white swim caps. Uh-oh. And I did see a bunch of guys lined up in front of the water. Keep running. Finally, I saw that my age group wasn't the first wave, but the 34 and under men were. The 35 and over men would be the second wave. As I put on my swim cap and goggles, and noticed that I was one of the few wearing a wetsuit, someone pulled my zipper cord. It was my neighbor Peter King who had just returned from Europe after a 10-day trip. He complimented me on my race at St. Anthony's, and fixed my zipper so it wouldn't kill me in the swim (something Karen forgot to do at St. Anthony's).

The first wave went off, and it was time to start mentally prepping: find the buoys; determine where to start; comment on the smooth water conditions to a couple of the other racers; 3-2-1-GO!

I ran into the water in the middle of the pack. Finally, when the water was at my hips, I started swimming. No dolphin kicks for me yet. Maybe soon. I got into a rhythmn pretty quickly, but I couldn't find any free water or someone to draft. I kept hitting feet. Whenever I did find a free space, I was quickly joined by some others. I don't think I was passing a lot of folks, I think I was just in an uber-pack of mediocre swimmers. I was passing some, but it seemed like there was a large pack that stayed together for the entire swim. I guess this would be a new phenomenon for me, since I'm used to being the tail end of the swim, with the only traffic concerns being presented by the wave that starts 5 minutes behind me. I ended up crossing the mat into T1 at 8:56, an improvement of 4:08 over my previous best swim. I was also 19th out of 32 in my age group in the swim, so I am now a member of the middle of the pack on the swim.

I grabbed some water while running into T2, and yelled out my friend Sherri O'Brien, wife of the race director (he is an excellent triathlete). I had stripped the wetsuit down to my waist as I ran to the rack, and jumped on my ankles a couple of times to get out of the wetsuit. On with the shoes, helmet and sunglasses, and off we go. T2 took 2:00. Not bad, but it could be improved.

Again, I had a problem clicking into the pedals. Either I need to practice clicking the suckers in, or I need to practice starting with them already clicked in. Maybe the latter. The bike course is a big rectangle, with the first and third stretches the shortest. I started picking people off immediately. I started thinking that I might be a little anxious, and these people were going to catch and pass me immediately. Never happened. My speed fluctuated throughout the course, depending on what the wind was doing. There were a couple of good stretched where I ratcheted it up to 25. Then there were some other stretches where it was an effort to keep it at 21-22. Thak goodness my bike computer decided to work for the entire ride. I paid more attention to cadence, and made sure I didn't let it drop below 95 rpm. On the last stretch home, I passed my neighbor, Peter. He is a great swimmer and a very good biker. I knew I was kicking butt if I was able to catch him before the run. We yelled encouragements to each other and sped towards T2. I think on the entire bike course, maybe 4 or 5 folks passed me. And the ones that did were absolutely flying. I felt very good about that. Not sure exactly what my time was for the bike leg. Nobody does. If you look at the results, there was a serious glitch with my bike time.

T2 was a nightmare. As I ran towards my rack, I couldn't figure out which one was mine. They were so empty. I couldn't find my shoes either, because I has thrown my wetsuit on top of them. I went to the racks on either side of my own before I finally found mine. On with the shoes, and off I go, putting on my cap and race belt as I ran. Peter and I left T2 at the same time. I was griping about the time I lost, with him laughing at me. Not sure what my time was for T2. Not sure I want to know.

The run felt good from the start. As the running muscles started to warm up and stretch out it became more comfortable. Again, I started picking off some more people. Just before the one mile mark, the leaders from the first wave were heading back. As I pass the one mile mark, I look at my watch. I think it said 48 minutes and some change. If I average 8:30 miles I'm going to make my goal. A little while later, I saw James heading back. During the run, I have realized that today's conditions are about as good as it's going to get: calm ocean, slightly breezy bike course, and cool temperatures for the run. There is no doubt I will break 1:06:30, but can I break the stretch goal of 1:05:00? I reach the turnaround, and realized I haven't seen my friend JB heading back. I have never beaten JB in a race. As I start back towards the finish, I pass JB heading for the turnaround. One and a half miles to the finish. Knowing that JB is behind me motivates me to pick up the pace. He is a terrific runner and I would like to beat him. With less than a mile to the finish, I hear footsteps. I try to hold off whoever is behind me, but ultimately I get passed. Not JB. As I get closer to the finish, I really start picking up the pace. As I near the curve to the finish, there is about 200 meters to go, I start the kick. I cross the finish line with my arms raised triumphantly. Woo-hoo. 1:03:39. I finished the run in 22:10.

Walking through the finish area, Sherri O'Brien and Guy Cudihee are collecting the chips. I chat with both of them and then go looking for a drink.

I think everyone had a really good race. Bill Bishop finished in 1:12:00, which is right around his goal. Peter was very happy he broke 1:10:00. JB told me he has some training to do, specifically on the bike. I ended up beating him by 30 seconds.

Looking back at the results, I completed the bike leg in 42:44, and didn't have a time for T2. However, if you add my swim, T1 and run times together and subtract from my finishing time, bike and T2 took 30:32. Based on the problems I had in T2, I don't think it's unreasonable to estimate that transition taking 1:32. That leaves 29:00 for the bike leg. Smoking! And even if T2 was less than 1:32, I had a sub-30:00 bike leg. I thought it was a stretch before the race, but perhaps my bike fitness is stronger than I thought.

Except for the transitions and the bike mount, it was a terrific race. Looking forward to June's race, I willl continue to work on the swim and spend some time practicing jumping on the bike.

May 1, 2006

2006 St. Anthony's Triathlon

2:32:28

What a race! The conditions were not as good as last year and I STILL destroyed my Olympic Tri PR by 14 minutes. All of the yardage in the pool paid off. I dropped 7 minutes off of my swim time in rough conditions. Add in incrementally faster transitions, and 2 minute improvements over last year in both the bike and the run, and you get a 9% improvement in performance.

We left the hotel at 5:30 am and walked over to Vinoy Park. I got body marked and went into the transition area to organize my things. On the way out, I spotted fellow blogger and triathlete Joe Reger. I have read Joe's blog for a while, and it was cool to get to meet him. On a funny note, I finally remembered how I found Joe's blog later yesterday afternoon. In a past sprint triathlon, the goodie bag included a sample of Nair for Men. I did a Google search to see what other triathletes had to say about this goop and found an entry on Joe's blog. Joe's Nair entry is the 3rd result on Google for the search "Nair triathlon."

Karen and I then casually walked over to Spa Beach and waited for the start. No lines for the potties so I took care of business and put on the wetsuit. Next thing you know, I'm swimming. For the first time ever, I didn't freak out 200 meters into the swim. I was confident in my ability and knew I belonged there. Speed of course is a different story. With this confidence, I didn't worry about swimming wide. I stayed right in the middle of the pack and got into a rhythmn. I did get off course a couple of times with the rough seas, but for the most part I didn't stray too far. The only blunder was forgetting to start my watch. I remembered about 3 minutes into the swim, but didn't know for sure what the difference was between my watch and the race clock until I asked a guy on the run.

Climbing up the stairs at the seawall wasn't as difficult as last year. There were volunteers pulling folks up onto the stairs, and I didn't see anyone fighting to get on the right side of the railings. Swim time was 31:13, as opposed to 38:17 in 2005. I heard Karen yell at me as I ran into T1. Yikes! Lots of bikes missing from my rack. The wetsuit came off very quickly, shoes and helmet on, and I'm ready for the bike leg. For some reason, the rest of my body had not yet caught up with my head. I couldn't get my shoes to click in to save my life. Finally, they did and I was rolling. I saw Karen on the left after the first turn and yelled at her. She wasn't expecting me to be off so quickly. T1 time was a snappy 2:13, 2 minutes faster than last year.

060430_StAThe bike portion featured some wind, but it seemed like I really hammered on the sections where I had a tailwind and just kept it steady when I had a headwind. I know I had some serious adrenaline flowing because I never felt like I was getting tired. The only downside is I forgot to bring a Gu. I had placed one in my bike shoe so I wouldn't forget. In the future I am taping a gel to my bike. Having the aero bottle also helped. It didn't affect bike handling and I was able to stay hydrated without reaching down. My cadence was very consistent and it seemed like the bike portion flew by. I knew I was doing well when I heard the Garmin beep for mile 22 and the timer was at an even 60 minutes. The goal was to average 21.5 mph and I was at 22 mph with just 3 miles left. I had a duel going with a guy on a Cervelo P3. Seemed like we passed each other a dozen times. I also need to remember to time passes better back in the area around the golf course. A couple of my passes included fun rides over the speed bumps.

The only other notable things to happen on the bike course was a SOB in a big Cadillac who decided he needed to back out of his driveway in front of me. To his credit, he punched the gas to back out, but I still had to slow down a bit because I didn't want to get creamed. Fellow Hammerheader and future pro Will Pearce passed me at mile 16 of the bike. Finally, a squirrel with a death wish darted in front of me right before the turn at the airport. If he had been a step slower, we would've both been toast. Even with these adventures, bike time was 1:09:19, another improvement of 2 minutes.

Hopping of the bike at T2 was an adventure. Putting your foot down on the bricks is like stepping on ice. I thought about sliding my feet out while rolling, but again, I didn't want to wipe out on the pave'. Run in, rack the bike and slide the shoes on. My insole slid when I put my left shoe on, so I had to take it off and put it on again. I made sure I grabbed a gel, my race belt and off to the run. T2 was a respectable 1:26.

The first mile featured a nasty headwind. I saw the lead women heading for the finish. At the first aid station, I took the gel with some Gatorade. I think my first split was around 7:36. Not bad considering the headwind. My pace remained even until about mile 4. I could sense my body slowing down. It was around mile 2 when I had a chance to ask a guy who was my age what his watch said. I determined my watch was off by 3 minutes. It was good that I now had that information because it allowed my brain to focus on splits and calculating what I needed to do to hit my goal and my stretch goal instead of how my calves were feeling. At the 5 mile mark I knew that 2:30 wasn't going to be possible, but I could still beat 2:35. What a sense of excitement knowing that I was obliterating my PR. Of course, I kept wondering if my calculations were wrong and it wasn't as good as I thought. Or maybe I wasn't 3 lengths back somewhere on the bike course and got a penalty. None of that panned out and I crossed the finish line with thumbs up for my girls in a time of 2:32:28. I finished the run in 48:18, a full 2 minutes faster than last year. Karen forgot about the 15 minute delay in start time and wasn't sure I was happy with my time until I explained to her how the time is calculated in a triathlon.

Race day was a very pleasant experience. Staying downtown made a world of difference, as did leaving Emily and Maggie with my parents. Karen was now able to concentrate on helping me get ready for the race and actually watching the race. Afterwards, she was very excited to tell me about everything she saw. Describing how fast the pros are, telling me about the bike wipe outs on the bricks, and actually getting to see her husband 5 different times during the race.

The good news is I get to mark off another goal from my list for 2006. The goal was to break 2:35:00 in the Olympic distance. Based on the confidence I have right now, I might get to check another goal off in 2 weeks and go under 1:05:00 in my first sprint of the year.

Hmmmm, and there is also that lofty goal of completing my first half Ironman.

UPDATE:
Google Earth file now available.

UPDATE 2:
Forgot to upload my heart rate statistics. My average heart rate for the race was 158 bpm. The highest it ever got was 171 bpm. I haven't modified my zones since I had to reset the watch a couple of months ago, so my default Zone 1 is still 80 - 160 bpm. I was in that zone for 1:38:33. I was above 160 bpm for 53:44, and below the zone for :11. The only place I can imagine having time to allow my HR to drop below 80 would be in one of the transitions. Might just be an anomaly. I think I might need to invest in the new Forerunner 305 with built-in HRM so I can actually see my HR as it relates to where I'm at. ;)

March 12, 2006

Emily runs her first race!

Emily participated in the Adidas Junior River Run. As the start of the race neared, Emily was still in line to have her face painted. She wasn't leaving that line she had stood in for 30-40 minutes until she had a butterfly on her cheek. It wasn't helping, as Pete noted, that the kids in front of her wanted the Last Supper painted on their face. Finally, the butterfly was on the cheek and it was time to line up for the race.

Emily had never done anything close to running a mile. I had her run some laps in the backyard in the past, but she was always tired after 2 or 3. Of course, the motivation to run the race was the fact her buddy Maddy was running it with her Dad. The gun went off and Emily started running. I told her to slow done and pace herself. I held her hand for a little while, and then she got into a rhythmn. Maddy had to stop and walk for a bit, but Emily kept motoring on. Near the halfway point, Emily decided to walk a little. Then she held my hand for a while, and for a couple of stretches, was really hanging onto my arm. But she kept moving along, slowing down every now and then to walk. I told Emily to pump her arms and shake her booty. She thought this was really funny and resulted in a burst of speed. Near the finish line she saw her Mommy and Uncle Pete. This really turned on the jets and then then finish line was in sight and she wasn't going to slow down until she crossed the finish line. Finish time was 11:42, a time that her Mommy would be hard pressed to beat.

Emily's spoils for running the race included a t-shirt, a coupon for a Wendy's Frosty, a Publix backpack, and an adidas lunch bag. Very fancy.

Congratulations Emily on your first race! I am very proud of you.

River Run 2006

Woo-hoo! New PR for the 15k in the River Run! I finished in 1:07:10, shaving a minute and 31 seconds off of my PR.

Towards the latter part of the week, all the talk was about the weather forecast. Come racetime, the thermometer wasn't the killer, it was the humidity. The sky was overcast at the start, and not just a little. It was filled with heavy cloud cover. I guess that was a good thing to keep the sun from bearing down on us, but at the same time, the air was thick. I think I heard 90% relative humidity. I can believe it, my singlet and shorts were soaked by mile 3.

I never felt comfortable during the race. I hit the 1 mile mark around 6:45, about 15 seconds faster than I wanted to. Mile 2 was 6:53, still faster than the 7:00 to 7:10 pace I was aiming for. Finally, miles 3, 4, and 5 were in that range, ranging from 7:02 to 7:13. The heart rate was pegged at 171, not bad. Mile 5 down Atlantic Blvd. seemed a bit slow, there was a light wind in my face. Miles 6 and 7 with all of their turns were not fast, coming in at 7:21 and 7:25. Grrrr, I was giving some of my banked time away! No matter, whatever banked time I had left, it was all gone going up the bridge. The snowman, not just a familiar sight to my golf game, appeared on my watch. Mile 8 took 8:05. Coming down the bridge, I opened my stride a bit, but never really felt like I was doing as much as I could. The nagging reminder that there is still 3/10 of a mile of work to do once you hit the bottom still held me back. Mile 9 was clocked at 7:00, and I did the finally 3/10 in 2:15 (7:30/pace). Finishing time was 1:07:10. I really wanted to come in under 1:07:00 so I could use the time for a seeding in next year's race. Oh well, that will come in a race later this year. I did get a Top 10% cap. Turns out, I finished somewhere around 425 out of over 9,000 participants (can't call them all runners).

I did have a funny moment coming down the bridge. Thursday night at dinner, Gil Weise, one of the River Run streakers, told the story of the time he was coming down the Hart Bridge at the end of the race and heard footsteps behind him. He looked back, and it was Bill Rodgers. Gil was amazed that he was leading the original River Run champ and 4-time Boston Marathon winner 8 miles into the race. He looked over and told Bill that he couldn't believe he was ahead of him. Bill fired back, "This is my second lap!" Well, coming down the bridge yesterday, I look over my shoulder, and there is Bill Rodgers! I asked him if this was his second lap and he said "Nope, it's my third!" I continued to run with him as long as I could, and Bill commented that they certainly don't have bridges like this in Boston. He was still running smoothly, and I has doing my best to keep up. I wanted to cross the finish line next to Bill. Unfortunately, Bill had a stronger kick and finished 6 seconds ahead of me. It was funny shadowing him that last part of the race and looking at the spectator's faces as he came by. There were the "Hey Bill!" shouts and others murmuring to each other as he went by. Many knew he was someone famous, but not completely sure.

Overall, I can't complain about a PR. I think I could've done a little better, and I'm certain I could've done a lot better of the weather was cooler. I also scored well for the River Club in the Gate Governor's Cup competition. I was the first finisher from the River Club. Does that mean I'm club champion? I finished ahead of some folks from the other clubs that our club had tried to recruit runners that could beat them, but never succeeded.

Race - River Run 3-11-2006.jpg
Associated files:
Race results
Google Earth file: 060311_riverrun.kml

February 25, 2006

Ortega River Run 2006

Ortega06 New PR today in the Ortega River Run (5 miles). I wanted to break 35:00. I finished in 34:39. Very satisfied with the race, although there is the ever-present nagging in the back of my head that I could have done better. My pacing felt pretty good, I was between 6:50 and 7:00 splits for the entire race.

The start of the Ortega River Run continues to frustrate, as there is always a large number of folks that don't race often and are unable to self-seed. Two years ago, I remember a contingent of walkers starting at the front and forming a human wall. This year it was a guy with a double stroller and headphones 5 feet from the start line. Fortunately, Doug Alred was either tipped or spotted him and sent him to the back of the pack. Running through the ‘hood was fun as usual with family and friends cheering at the end of Oleander.  It felt like I was flying going up the Ortega Bridge. I think all of the bridge work downtown is paying off. Not just running over the bridges, but running up and down them hard. Going down McGirts, I knew I had some time banked and wanted to pick up the pace, but I didn't allow myself to do it. I could just see myself blowing up and missing the goal.  The time banked would allow me to break my goal decidedly, and there was no reason to be greedy.  I also felt I had an advantage over others since I run the course so much. I knew where all the dips and hills are, and I know the tangents to take to shorten the course.

Lots of folks were out cheering, and we had a great party afterwards at our house with tons of food (Karen did a GREAT job with the food!), a cake from Sheila’s and a massage therapist.

Race - Ortega River Run course 2-25-2006

Associated files:
Race results

Google Earth file: Race - Ortega River Run 2-25-2006.kml (17 KB)