Thursday, December 22, 2011

Hostess Half Marathon RR or holy crap I almost ran a sub 2 with 5 twinkies in my stomach and some powder sugar drool on my chin

On a whim I decided to the Hostess Half Marathon put on by a local runner. He likes to run a half or a full every month (been doing so for something like 2+ years now) and since there was no halves in December he created his own along with his love of Hostess products. The rules were you had to consume one hostess product at every aid station (there was 5) and then try and not throw up as you ran 13.1 miles (although there was an award for the person who threw up the most).

Sounds like fun and just craziness something to get away from the seriousness and uber competitive nature I find myself in all the time when I run. I went Christmas shopping for my wife with my sister who is down from Canada afterwords and she actually called me uber competitive in an unrelated story. I guess they have been watching the Biggest Loser and her husband came up with the idea of if you went on you would have a family member as your trainer and said he would like me as his trainer. My sister laughed at him and said I would be meaner that Dolvett because of my uber competitive nature so haha.

I actually had not even treated this race as like a pr race or a big calendar race at all and was just going to have fun with it and treat it more like a long easy run (my competitive nature totally nixed that come race morning but more on that later). I had done some speed work on Wendesday and did no taper at all for the race so my legs were a little wooden this morning for well over 3-4 miles.

I got up at 6:30am and headed out to Hurricane for the race around 7:20 as its a half hour drive. And boy was it bloody cold again this morning (28 degrees at race start and 39 and the finish). So now I am faced with the darn hoodie dilema again but decided to take the advice that was given here and wear it for the first few miles then tie it around my waist.

The first few miles were crap for me (looking at my splits on my garmin all my worst half mile splits came in the first 4 miles and after that I hit and maintained a steady 9-9:30 pace all the way to the finish after the first 4 miles). I had that foot asleep problem again because of how cold it is as well. It feels like your feet are asleep because of how cold it is and is an odd feeling to run on.

Aid station 1 comes up and I glance over the table of hostess products and decide on one of the little powdered sugar donuts as they seem the smallest. Tie my hoodie around my waist and take off once more. Somewhere between aid station 1 and 2 a chick passes me and gives me the thumbs up as she passes me it at this point I am still struggling to warm up and am really really grumpy about my race as it is not going well at all at this point and the thumbs up just made me so mad for some reason. Like kicking dirt on a wounded man, haha I am passing you and also giving you the thumbs up, I know it was just a good gestured thing but I was severly grumpy at the time at how bad my race was going. After that it became my goal to beat this lady if it killed me. She actually commented to me afterwords that I really pushed her the whole race and she ran a great race because of it.

The hoodie tied around my waist was also driving me crazy as I had to keep pulling it tight time and time again (I wouldn't think to knot it until like mile 10 so I didn't have to fight it) and trust me tightening a hoodie on your stomach with a belly full of processed sugar is not fun.

About mile 4 we come out of the shadows of the hills and actually got some sun and I finally seem to warm up at hit my strides.

Aid station 2 I grab another sugar donut thinking they are small and start my game of leap frog at the aid station with the lady who passed me. She took longer to eat her hostess products than me but was running slightly faster than me so I would hold her off as long as I could between aid stations then shoot past her at the aid stations. I decide to drop off my hoodie at aid station 2 that way at least I can be without it for 4 miles as its an out and back course.

Me and clothes are a weird thing because I was so big at times and how hard it was to get clothes I am like a hoarder when it comes ot them as I had so little of them at times. Heck I still have all my fatman clothes in boxes in the closet. So I don't like loosing clothes and it was hard for to me to leave my hoodie at the aid station but I was tired of tieing it and this decision would cost me later on.

Aid station 3 I decide to go with a twinkie because if you have never run with a powdered donut you would never know that the powdered sugar sticks in your throat and it becomes so nasty after awhile. The twinkie wasn't much better either but at least no powdered sugar clogging my airways.

Aid station 4 I am thinking I will go with one of those chocalate donuts because man that twinkie did not go well. But since this is an out and back and the leaders have already gone by as well as most of the stragglers all the tiny little donuts are gone. Crap you mean I got to eat another twinkie or something else. I decide to go with one of those hostess cupcakes not to bad but man they are big. Funny as I am choking down my cupcake someone started asking what all the calories were on everything and the cupcake was 200 calories and the twinkies only 150 crap I should have gone with a zinger maybe.

Take off and got a good lead on the lady again then about a quarter mile out I realize I forgot my hoodie at the aid station so back I go to collect my hoodie. They laugh at me why I am running back to them gran my hoodie and tie it back on (alas I wouldn't think to knot it for like 3 more miles). This wasn't bad because the course was short and my detour actually made it a full half marathon for me at least where had I not detoured it would have been .4 of a mile short. At this point the lady has got a good lead on me but I am doing everything I can to cut that lead determined to beat her (uber competitve me).

As I pull into aid station 5 she is just leaving. The volunteer laughs at me when I grimace at eating another hostess product. I go with a sugar powdered donut because I don't think I can take an other twinkie or cupcake as they are so darn big.

After that its just me trying to cut the lead of the lady in front of me. Trying to close on her, I never caught her in the end but I did give her a good run for her money thats for sure.

12 miles in its like I got a brick in my stomach ughhh a couple burps weren't very pretty and could have gone the wrong way for sure.

I finished in 2:01:41 which amazingly enough would have been a pr back in November before I ran my 1:55xx at Snow Canyon. My worst half mile split for the entire race were 2.5-3.0 and 3.0-3,5 (10:09 and 10:18) and the only time I ran over a 10mm the entire race, hence me being so grumpy. In comparison I ran a 9:00 at mile 11-11.5 and a 9:05 from 11.5-12 talk about finishing strong even with a belly full of hostess products.

I then went shopping with my sister and got some real food in me (we went to Chilis for lunch and I had their salad and soup). I liked the race and would totally do it again but just make sure I take the chocolate donuts next time. One crazy fool had 12 hostess products (you got an award for eating the most) I was happy with my bare minimum I didn't need anymore flair.

Snow Canyon Half Marathon

The short of it I ran Snow Canyon half marathon in the brutal freezing cold this morning in 1:55:31 smashing and shattering my pr from August by 13:16 and beating my time on the same course in a years time of racing by 35:04. The 8:49 mm I ran would equal to a 27:20 5k very close to the best 5k race I have ever run (so time to do a new 5k starting next Saturday :) ).

Now the long of it, somedays I think put a lot of pressure on myself to pr in every race and up this point it has actually worked very well. I have pred or auto pred in every race I have done going 14 for 14 now. So while the half marathon distance no longer scares me (it is still my favorite race to run) I still was feeling the pressure of pring and getting my goal of a sub 2. I was worried I didn't get enough sleep Thursday or Friday as I only got around 6 and half hours each day and I always put myself in a little of a tizzy prerace. But I felt good as I have been runnning lots of intervals the last few weeks (twice a week) to go for my goal half here.

I have also been looking forward to this half since January when I beat my time on a different half by more than 10 minutes on a much harder course. This half was the very first half I ever ran completely untrained on 5 weeks training with two 10's and one 8 as my longs and a week lost because of the flu. So I have been wanting to run this race so very bad for nearly a year now so just some added pressure there too.

I went and got my packet after work on Friday and as I am walking in the door someone commented that they see me running all the time in the neighborhood and how much weight I have loss and how much of an inspiration I am. I somehow evidently became the poster child for weight loss in Southern Utah as I seem to get these comments at least once a week if not more. Nothing too exciting happened at the expo and packet pickup, just walked around got my packet picked up some race brochures for ones I want to run and bought a cliff shot for the race.

Got home and got a good nights sleep even if it wasn't the 8 hours I'd like. Since the half no longer scares me I don't find myself waking up hours before the race anymore so excited and nervous. Got my normal premorning breakfast on (a banana, handful of peanuts) and headed out the door to the freezing cold. I had a throw away shirt again, my gloves and my beanie and I needed them all. It was freezing and a very cold wind was blowing through (it was in the high 20's/low 30's). I was glad it stopped raining in the middle of the night but it was still very cold.

The busses to the start didn't leave until everyone was loaded as it was even colder at the start and they wanted to let us sit on the busses as long as possible. Now had I known this I would have picked a different seat, I took a seat with the darn tire wheel cover on it sticking up meaning I was sitting at a weird angle for a very long time. Plus we had to be 2-3 to a seat because they weren't making multiple trips. This meant by the time we got the start I was a little stiff from the odd angle I had to sit at. Got to the start and their is snow on the ground, there should never be snow on the ground for the start of a race brrrrrrrrrrrrr. Walked to the portapotties and was glad I got on the first bus because of how late they took us up there wasn't much time before the race started.

Lined up close to the front but not at the very front as I didn't want to weave too much in the beginning. And it always surprises me some of the people who line up at the front, like a lady I talked to in the lines for the portapotties who told me she was walking the entire thing was right up there in the front. The gun goes off and I am so glad to be moving finally. About 500 feet in almost have a head on collision with the moron picture takers who for some odd reason are walking right into the start of the race.

The first mile might have been on of the toughest I have ever run, because I was so cold my foot felt like it was asleep. You know that tingly sensation you get right when it wakes up that is what my foot felt like. Took all my will power to not stop and walk. Hit mile 1 in 8:32 which is absolutly perfect as I wanted to run 8:30-845 most miles as I planned to walk the water stations and those miles would be perfect for the sub 2 finish I wanted with the water station walking.

I finally warm up sometime between mile one and two and decide its time to ditch my throw away. As I am taking off my shirt my beanie comes off my head and I am like that's ok I will stuff it in my pocket. Throw my shirt to the side of the road and continue to run then I go to stuff my beanie in my pocket and realize its gone. Oh crap, I can't leave my beanie because it was a birthday present from my wife. A pr is cool but a birthday present from your wife is more important. So I turn around and start running in the other direction. I check to see if its in my shirt and its not, then I decide I got to just continue running back up the course tell I find it. Luckily I find it in the middle of the road and stuff it in my pocket glad I found it. I probably wasted a minute right there but somethings are more important. I hit mile 2 at 17:50 and realize yep I lost sometime as mile 2 is probably one of the few if not the only mile I run slower than 9mm but I can live with a 9;20 knowing I got some fast miles coming up.

I continue to hit my 8:45 miles and take my first water station walk at mile 4. I am doing really good and feeling great so much better than last year. At mile 6 I followed a very nice looking lady for nearly a mile and the Klown will be happy to know I was not looking at her swing pony tail at all but other things .

Also about mile 7 and the next water station I have a guy say to me hey didn't you run this race last year (going to need to look him up he was bib # 51) and weren't you heavier. I was like yea that was me, and he tells me that we passed each other a lot around those miles playing leap frog for quite a ways. I actually ended up talking to him off an on tell nearly mile 10. Which was cool because I commented you must be a lot faster this year as we are well under a 2 hour pace and he told me his time last year was 2:18 and that he wanted to run it this year in 1:54 as he is 54 (sadly he didn't get that time I am sure).

So we pushed each other for the next 3-4 miles and I kept clocking sub 9 minute miles one after another. We were on pace for the 1:54 tell right after mile 10 and he was like you go on I gotta walk and then I never saw him again sadly. It was around mile 10 I realized sub 2 was in the bank, I don't know if you have ever felt that euphoria knowing you have got your goal beat with miles to go and just seeing how much you can beat it by at that point. I came in to mile 10 around 1:26-27 or so so I knew I had around 33-34 minutes to run the last 5k which I was confident I could do (ran them in 27-28 in fact).

I really felt like a runner I mean a good runner that was reaching their full pontential at this point. There was hardly anyone stopping to walk and it felt like I was with some of the faster people and not so low on the totem pole plus I was picking off people left and right. That felt great to just be picking off runner after runner in the last 5k of a half marathon and with almost no one passing me (I probably passed several hundred the last 5k and got passed by maybe 10 or so).

When I hit mile 11 and my watch was showing 1:36 its like holy crikey I got 22 minutes to do the last 2.1 miles then you hit mile 12 and it shows 1:45 and your like wow now I got 15 minutes for the last 1.1 miles. I mean it is such a great feeling and at that point I just embraced the pain cave and was like let see how much I can shatter my goal by and how many people I can pass.

Best race I have ever run (even with losing a minute to go find my beanie and the freezing cold), I raised my hands in triumpth as I crossed the finish line having shattered every goal I set out for. This race is the closest I think I have ever run to my full current pontential in the 14 races I have done and I think it might be hard to beat for a little bit and my stop my streak of pr's the next time I run a half. Despite the comedy of errors and the bitter cold I ran my single best race ever and it's an amazing feeling.

Stuck around and cheered on the late finishers as I had a coworker who ran it and I wanted to cheer her on. But it was so cold and at around 2:40 on the clock I gave up as I was freezing and needed to get out of the cold even though I hadn't seen my coworker yet (she said she hoped for sub 3 but not sure if I missed her or if she just hadn't finished yet).


Run Run Reindeer new 10k pr.

Just like Tebow who all he does is win all I do is pr wheeeeeeee

The short of it, holy crap it was cold I mean like dear lord cold, hard course and finish time of 51:11 (first in my AG although there was only 4 people on my AG).

The long of it, I had been a little worried about this race because I started to ramp my base for 2012 this week and did two days of hill repeats with the increased mileage as well. I took it easy on my Thursday run though lowering my pace to closer to 10mm versus the 9mm I had been running lately as my easy pace and nixed the hill repeats and then took Friday off. Even with the easy day on Thursday and the day off on Friday my calves were sore Friday and a little this morning too.

It was a race day packet pickup with the race scheduled at 9:15am. So sadly it meant I had to get up at 7am ~internal groan~ as I was still tired from last weeks Black Friday craziness and a long work week and increased miles. I crashed hard Thursday night and was sound asleep before 10pm which meant I wasn't as tired Friday meaning I didn't fall alseep tell midnight. A couple snoozes later and I was up and ready to go. I got out of the house at 8pm and got a mile from my house before realizing I forgot my toy. It was a toys for tots race and along with your race fee you were supposed to bring a toy. So I swung back and picked up my toy to donate.

Got there around 8:25 and picked up my bib and it was freezing arse cold. I mean it was probably on 28-30 degrees but there was this bitter bitter cold wind blowing that just chilled you to the bone and froze you to death. I have found since I lost all the weight that I freeze somedays and just can't get warm (only time i ever miss my fat). So I decided to go pin my bib in the car as I am too cold to want to stay outside for 45 minutes. Funny thing is they only gave me 3 safety pins and one broke but being a runner I have extra pins in my car which made me laugh. I also got bib 55 which made me smile as I was like ok gotta run faster than my bib number.

I pin the bib to my shirt under my hoodie planning to do my normal ditch the hoodie in the car prerace. But when I get out of the car at 8:45 and I am just shivering I change my mind and decide to pin my bib to my hoodie and wear the hoodie for the race. I have never ever run with my hoodie normally I warm up on my runs and I sweat a lot so I never worry about such things. I usually just run with gloves and a beanie and ditch the beanie a couple miles in when I warm up. Just before the start of the race I start thinking maybe I should pin the bib to my shorts instead in case I want to take my hoodie off but by that time its too late to make another change.

It's one of those moments when you start running you are so glad to be running. You are so cold it feels so good to finally start moving. My shoelace came untied like a quarter mile in and I had another one of those runner moments as I had double tied them having learned my lesson in my first 5k to always double time them so you don't waste time retying them. So I ran with the shoelace loose the entire race. Which is funny as this older gentleman who ran with me almost the entire race commented that my shoelace was untied like 2 miles in. I did kick it the last mile and beat him by like 30 seconds though.

I again had that your foot feels asleep for the first mile moment again i was so cold. It almost feels like running on extra cushion or a foot that is all puffed up. I admit I went out way too fast the first mile as it felt so good to be finally running and the first and last miles were the only downhills in the course the rest was bloody and relentlessly uphill. I hit mile 1 with a 7:13 time and I was SOB where was that mile time for the first mile 2 weeks ago when I ran my 5k. I am always a little of slow starter and really kick it into gear like miles 3 and 4 normally on my runs. It actually wasn't hard to ease back after this because after the first mile the next 4 were relentlessly uphill

It was at about mile 2 I got really hot and so wanted to take off my hoodie but because of my bib I could not. So I ditched my beanie instead and that helped a little but I was sweltering the rest of the race.

The course was kind of boring it was what I would call a typical incity suburb run. It was all pretty much done in neighborhoods and since there was only like 40 10kers for the race it was me and the older gentleman and lady I got chicked by as she really flew from miles 4 on. Mile 2 was my mirage moment I thought I saw the water station ahead of me and it kept getting further and further away then I realized it was runners ahead of me I was seeing. Also I saw a guy that made me think of these forums at mile 4 too. I hadn't seen him all race and he comes up on me at mile 4 and passes me and then proceeded to beat me by 2 full minutes. He had one heck of a negative split for the race easily running the second 5k way faster than the first 5k.

Mile 4 was the toughest for me as it had the steepest climbs and at this point I am like dear lord do these hills ever end. I had looked at the elevation chart and knew we had a little of dropoff at the end and I kept looking for that dropoff like darn hills please end.

Once I did hit that downhill stretch I took off and this is where I lost the older gentleman (who had a pretty good time for a 54 year old I think like 52:xx so he beat his age in the 10k). Passed a single 5ker on my way to the finish as they were mostly done.

Got my pr by over 8 minutes and was a little disappointed I didn't get the sub 50 I wanted but the course just beat me up. I had a chance around mile 4 or so when I hit mile 4 at like 34 minutes and knew if I cranked out sub 8 minute miles (gotta make up for the .2 at the end) I could get it but I just didn't have that kick at mile 4 and that is where the worst hills were.

Happy with my 51:11 though, loaded up on donuts and ice cream haha I also won a $25 gift certificate to the local sports store and as I was leaving the guy asked me if I had won anything and I told him the gift certificate. He said well here you go you won these too because the person didn't pick them up so I also got a pair of reindeer sports socks (who knew they made reindeer sports socks).

Ok I may do the hostess half marathon in 2 weeks for pure fun (you have to eat a hostess product at every aid station to earn a medal) and if I do that may end my pr streak as I would do it more for fun but I am now 16 for 16 on prs in races. I like the 10 distance this is only my 2nd one and the first was when i was struggling with ITBS my next one will be in March.

Turkey Trot new 5k PR

The short of it, I ran 23:05 good enough to beat my race day pr by 3:11 and beat my pb by 12 seconds. This actually was the first race I ever ran sub 30 coming in with a 29:49 last year.

I forgot how much I hated this 5k in a years time though and the only reason it seems I sign up for it as its so cheap and close to home. Last year it was just 3 cans of food, this year 3 cans of food and $5. I think I need to swear it off next year as it is easily my least favorite 5k I have done.

This is only the second race I have ever done more than once (the first being the Snow Canyon half I ran 3 weeks ago) so I was at least familar with the course. And I like that it is a STG race meaning it is measured accuratly something that wasn't done last week.

My son didn't want to go to sleep Thursday night probably because of all the excitement and the Tebowmania that was going on in the house (yes I am finally sold on Tebow and asked the wife to get me a Tebow jersey for Christmas). Lots of screaming at the tv was to be had and a riled up 2 year old who wouldn't go to bed tell almost 12:30. So I got less than 6 hours of sleep all night and was so tired at work Friday. This did mean I went to bed early on Friday and got a nice 9 and half hours of sleep being so exhausted from the previous day.

Woke up around 7:30 and had the usual morning breakfast, banana some peanuts and leftovers from the fridge (spaghetti pie). Left the house around 8:30 and got to the race just a little before 9. Signed up and then chilled while I waited for the start. I realized on the drive over I had forgot my ipod but was ok with that as I wanted to set a pr and honestly a 5k is less than 25 minutes I can run easily without music for that short of time.

Met up with my usual stalker lady from my local races (not sure if its me stalking her or if she is stalking me) that I see in almost every 5k I do as well as a few halves and the one 12k. We talk for a bit and she tells me she is not going for a time. It seems so odd a year ago she smoked me at a 5k when I flamed out the last mile and had a 31:xx and now I am beating her by 14 minutes (stayed around and cheered her at the finish and she came in at 37:xx).

They announce for us to line up and they are doing a 5k and fun run 1miler and they are both starting at the same time. This means the entire front of the lineup was all kids running the mile. Inner groan goes off but I know most kids will flame out soon enough and I can get past the mob soon enough. Sure enough I did pass every kid before we hit their half mile turn around.

This is an out and back course and about a half mile in you hit the area that makes me hate this 5k so much. It's a farmers dirt track road for a half mile (and of course a half mile on the way back too) that just makes my shins ache running on it. I am city runner all streets and sidewalks for me I hate trails and dirt tracks. I just never seem to be able to kick it up on these dirt tracks and I know that while a pr is going to be in the bag I am going to have to kick butt on the rest of the race to insure a pb as well.

I am so glad when get back to the street just before the mile marker and I notch it up a little. I clocked a 7:45 mile for the first mile a little slower than I wanted to go. The first mile would actually be my slowest mile of the day as I would end up averaging a 7:26 pace for the day. Being back in the city streets I kick up the second mile to a 7:30 and come in to the 2mile mark at 15:16. Still a little slower than what I want to be knowing I have to deal with the darn dirt track once more.

When I hit the dirt track just shortly after mile 2 I so wanted to walk, I really hate that thing and it just makes my shins scream. But I deny that urge really wanting to run my first 5k without any walk breaks (I can't count last week as it was not a full 5k and I actually did stop for 15-30 seconds at the water station trying to see if I needed to turn around). I am glad the galloway walk thing is behind me as I also didn't walk at all in my half three weeks ago.

Once we get back on the road again with half a mile to go I decide to take off once more. That whole half mile I could hear the guy behind me urging someone else on. It was almost like a drill seargeant screaming at me the whole time. And I am kicking it up a notch to not let this guy pass me or whoever he is urging on either. I think we might have kicked it up several notches that last half mile stretch and it was easily the fastest half mile stretch I ran all day. Sadly he did catch me just before the 3 mile mark but I held off the person he was urging on it seems he left her to finish strong himself. Saw her cross the line and she looked to be about 12, cmon ya gotta let the 12 year old beat ya if your pushing them (not me I am glad I beat her). That guy trying to pass me easily made me run what had to be less that a 7mm pace the entire way to the finish I just didn't want to let him pass me so I kept kicking it up.

So I got my new shiny pr and pb which is good as I have no 5ks in sight tell at least March or May (next 3 races are a 10k in 2 weeks, a half in January and a half in February). I thought I ran a much better race last week which sucks as they didn't measure it right. If I run this race again next year it will be because I forgot once more how much I hate that dirt farmers road and only look at the price again. You gotta take what you can get and a pr is always nice when you have to fight for it.

I did a 5k cool down when I got home to get my miles for the day and yea the second 5k was much harder than last weeks second 5k. Felt like I was dragging wooden legs the entire time.

Saint George Matathon

The short of it oh dear lord I thought I had the electrolyte issue down but the last 6 miles taught me otherwise. Best thing on the day was my smiling son's face at the finish line so happy to see me (I didn't get to see him at all yesterday because for the short time I was home he was napping). Best sign I saw of all the signs was a little 8 year old girl holding a sign somewhere between miles 23 and 24 that said "you're not almost there" made me laugh and smile. Time should be somewhere around 4:58 or so as I forgot to start my watch and stop it and it read 4:58, the clock said 5:07 but it took us more than 9 minutes to get across the start line, so I got my sub 5. Oh and the heat hammered me I didn't expect that what moron dressed me all in black today oh that's right it was me. Final time ended up being 4:58:55.

The long of it stick with me here.

Strangest thing yesterday and today is I never really got nervous, I had this manic energy about me all day yesterday but I never got nervous. I am ADD and OCD so I am always a little manic but I just had this palpable energy all day yesterday like I wanted to run circles around the building and everywhere I went I couldn't help but speed or get frustrated if things too long. I am sure tagalong or happyutahrunner some of the people I met from Runners Wolrd who went to a couple clinics can attest to my manic persona haha.

I had arranged for yesterday to be a half day so I could attend a couple clinics, go to the expo and meet some RW peeps. It seemed like I was running behind all day, I swear I was cursing the sonic people and my wife for wanting sonic for lunch for taking so long as I wanted everything to be quick quick and snappy. I got to the clinic around 2:45 and me and JordanLee walked around and checked some of the merchandise. I got not 1 but 2 26.2 stickers so haha there (ok one came with our packets but I bought another so did Jordan). I also bought me a short sleeve STG marathon shirt as I find it hilarious that they do a long sleeve shirt when in STG you can wear that for like 3 months.

Had the hardest time getting my bib as we went to the one guy who was doing the 3000 range bibs (your bib number was assigned by your projected time so the higher up the slower you are, giving people complexes I see at the marathon expo). He then sent us to the Washington County area for bibs who then again sent us back to other guy saying sometimes they file them wrong. Then they sent us to the weight division as I had signed up as a Clydesdale. I then promptly failed the weight test for being a Clydesdale so they put me back in the regular divisions.

Me, Jordan and Happyutahrunner went to the first timers clinic after that, which was pretty much fun but since I had run two of my training runs on the course it really didn't tell me anything except allowing me to make snarky comments. Tagalong joined us at the end and then her and Jordan left to get some dinner. Happyutahrunner (please forgive me if I got you and tagalong mixed up I remember your real names and am not sure if you want those posted her but can't remember your online names as well) and me then set through the pace group meeting which was useful but since I didn't use any of the info again just allowed me to make snarky comments.

After that I went to the all you can eat pasta dinner and said hello to runningute who had a table of ice cream, I mean that is the way to party in style. Runningute was like a ghost he was hard to track down, I did see him at the finish line and know his time but I will let him tell you his story. After that I went home and actually for the first race ever set out all my running stuff for the morning so I didn't have to do anything the next day. I picked my old fatman shirt for my throwaway and made it into bed around 8pm.

Surprisingly enough I actually slept ok, I think because of all the manic energy I had going on all day I was just plain exhausted by the time it was time to go bed and I just crashed. Alarm was set for 3:15 and got up pretty easily and grabbed all my stuff and headed for the 4am shuttles so I could be entered in the early bird prizes. I was suppose to meet up with a few of the others to ride shuttles with them but didn't see anyone so I got on the second bus heading to the start line and let me tell you that was a great decision. If you do that there isn't many people there when you get there and no lines for the portapotties and you can pick out a sweet spot on the fences to lay down on so you don't have to stand around for two hours.

Had the breakfast I had packed last night around 5:30 and was actually glad I brought some throwaways as it was a little cold but not cold enough for the bonfires. Did get back in line for the portapotties around 6 again and they were taking photos of people in the line for the crappers. I mean seriously who is going to buy a photo of themselves in line for the crapper made me laugh. I then lined up with the 4:30 pace group where I ran into happyutahrunner again (again sorry if I am mixing you and tagalong up I remember your real name though so forgive me). She was going to stay with the 4:30 pace group and we started together for the first half mile or so and I thought about staying with them too but decided to run my race and not the pacers race. I actually didn't see either of them tell I started to cramp around mile 19 and was doing great up until that point.

I don't remember a lot of the miles and actually was just enjoying everything around me while just running my race. I took the first couple of miles slow like I wanted too which was easy as it's like a cattle call at the start. It took us 9 minutes just to hit the start line from the 4:30 pace group in the back. I didn't want to waste a lot of time in the beginning playing the weaving game and wasting all that energy trying to weave in an out so I just took it casual until it thinned out.

Everything went to plan and I just enjoyed myself looking at the signs people had made and enjoying the crowds and my other runners. 2 miles in I saw my first runner head for the bushes instead of the portapotties and this was a bold runner too as there was no bushes or trees so basically he pulled of the road and said screw it don't look people. Saw my first cell phone at mile 5. Saw road kill at mile 6 and me and two other runners joked the elites must have come through pretty fast to squash that squirrel or raccoon like that.

Veyo surprised me as they had a marching band and tons of people out to cheer you on it was pretty cool. I did exactly what I wanted on Veyo I had decided miles 7-12 would be taken easy and walk breaks if I needed them so I could save energy for the fast downhills at the end (I flew through Snow Canyon) and I could make up anytime lost if I did so.

I kept resisting the urge to pull over to a bush and pee but somewhere just after Snow Canyon and mile 14 I came up to the portapotties and saw no line and was like sweet. But then some jacktard cut in front of me, is it illegal to commit homicide if someone cuts in line for a portapotty because it shouldn't be. So I lost a minute or two there, I really should have just used a bush but there was no line until I got cut in front of.

I ran a positive split, I came into the half way point around 2:20 but more on that later or right now for that matter. Like I said everything was going pretty good until mile 19 or so, I stayed in front of the 4:30 pacer but then I started to cramp. I had taken gatorade at every aid station but it just wasn't enough. After mile 21 I started to take two gatorades at every aid station which actually got me to the finish line but just barely. It became that run as far as I can go before I started to cramp then walk tell the cramps went away and then rinse and repeat for the last 6 miles or so.

Mile 23 aid station was pretty odd and sureal, last night during the first timers clinic the guy mentioned how the aid station at 23 had people on a waiting list for 6 years to man it and that everyone on there had been manning it for years and years. Well I take an ice water and all of a sudden I hear a Hi son, my mom was the one who handed me the ice water and I was so out of it at the time I didn't even notice. I guess she volunteers every year and is at the coveted aid station.

The last 6 miles hurt so bad but I just powered through them. I knew my goal of 4:30 was gone because of the cramps and only being able to run in spurts but I was he!! bent on getting the sub 5 at all costs. Best mile marker ever had to be mile marker 25.2 they even told you it was the best mile marker, funny they did a 25.2. There was also a mile marker for 26 and I tried to sprint in and did my very best I probably looked like a wounded duck as I was cramping severely but I am sure I got my sub 5.

I saw runningute at the finish line, grabbed an ice cream bar that I had no appetite for and walked around for a bit. I did win an early bird prize a STG marathon tech hat which is cool and worth getting on the early bus for. And then headed to the car as my wife waited longer than I told her (didn't expect the slow time to get started and then i finished 28 minutes later than anticipated). My dad brought me a gatorade best gift at the finish line as it wasn't a lemon lime gatorade I never want to drink that stuff again as long as I live. I was downing it like crazy after mile 21 taking two at a time. I would have drank ditch water over lemon lime gatorade at that point.

Even though we walked around a bit I found I could not sit in the car as I cramped up something fierce the moment I sat. So I downed the whole gatorade my dad brought me and a gu and walked around some more. Plan was to get up to Smiths to get another gatorade and apple. But because all the traffic was diverted it was slow as heck. At one point I had my wife let me out and I walked another block as I couldn't sit in the car any longer or I cramped. Funny thing is a lady stopped and offered me a ride while I was walking which made me smile. Finally got to smiths where the cashier gave me this dude is crazy look as I had already drank an entire gatorade before I checked out and asked her to charge me for it and throw it away. I did still have my medal on so that counts right.

Things I learned, A work more on the electrolyte issue try some other solutions than gatorade and GUs. B marathons are fun and crazy and for crazy people as I can't wait to do another even though I spent the last 6 miles in utter misery. C the heat was more of a factor than I thought it would be sure 91 doesn't seem that bad when you trained in 100's but put 20 miles in front of you before you hit that 90 and it sucks monkey balls. D a smiling baby boy is the best thing at a finish line ever.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Ironman Ivins Fitness Festival 10k and Volunteering for the Ironman

This was a race that many more experienced runners probably could have a I told you so moment. I had waited to sign up for this race to see how I felt after my half marathon the weekend before and found out they had actually closed registration on the Thursday before. Still determined to get in and not wanting to give up I emailed the race director and begged to get in and was allowed a late entry. So I signed up Tuesday morning and went for my normal five mile run afterwords and came up a little sore in my left knee afterwords. Tried to run on Wednesday and was only able to get two and half miles in before realizing I had a case of ITBS in my left knee. I went to the running store on Thursday and bought a foam roller and took the day off. I then just went for a walk on Friday with some mild running and each time I tried to run my knee hurt a little. I decided to do the race anyways because I had begged to get in and was hoping with the extra rest I would be ok. I figured I could drop out and DNF if it got too bad and then take the next week off from running. The short of the story is that I did pr by over a minute despite my knee and the single worst course known to man (I got to stop running courses designed by sadomasochists), final time 58:46 good for 2nd overall men as it was a small event of a 100 runners.

I felt great Saturday morning, zero pain, zero discomfort so I decided to go ahead with the 10k. I decided to see if it was my new shoes that was causing the pain as it is one of the few things I have changed in the last couple of weeks. So I switched back to my old shoes that had 760 miles on them and had done me so well. Once again I woke up 10 minutes before my alarm went off despite it being a 5am alarm, typical race morning anxiety. I had trouble using the restroom and it sucks to have to go the bathroom mid-race so I waited around tell I could actually go which had me running late. I rushed out of the house knowing packet pickup was at 5:45 and not really sure where I was going. I got there around 5:55 and didn't really need to worry about being late as it was a small event and was easy to get my packet.

It was about this time that I realized in my rush to get out of the house I forgot my ipod. I was like oh well this a great race to not have my ipod so I can listen to my body and my knee plus it might be fun to try and run without one for once and feel like an elite. I heard a funny conversation waiting for the race start as a lady was telling one of the volunteers she was running the Saint George marathon this year. I mentioned I was running it too and was a little flabbergasted by how lightly she was taking it when we got to talking about training. I told her it was not a good idea to run a marathon so soon into your running life and her answer was "oh I have been running since January and am doing a race a month until then." I didn't want to get more into it with her because obviously she is set on doing it and good for her I hope she doesn't crash and burn she did mention she is going a Galloway plan.

It was also pre-race when I had my first groan as the announcer mentioned mile 4 for the 10kers was on a dirt road. Funny thing is I was bib #1 (not sure if it is because I begged to get in but I got a lot of hey #1's during and after the race). We start off and I am feeling great, I had no pain the first two miles or so. For the first half mile I am running behind Sam and Adam from the Biggest Loser but I think they went out too fast for themselves as they seemed to blow up and slow down around half a mile in and I passed them and never saw them again in the race. I actually thought they ended up doing the 5k as the 5kers ran with us for a mile and a half before turning off for their finish. But then I saw Sam come in after me at the finish line as he was the 3rd overall male and Adam came in several minutes after that.

This course was beyond horrible, I think there was a quarter mile downhill and maybe a half mile straight stretch near the finish and after that the rest of the course was completely uphill. The first two miles were on a steady uphill that never seemed to end. At mile 3 we hit a really large uphill and this is where my knee first started to hurt. It was also where I got passed the only time in the race, I actually did catch the lady a little further on and we talked for like a half mile about knees as hers was hurting too but then she passed me at mile 4 on the next horrible hill. I had thought about DNFing if I hurt but since it was such a small race there actually was nowhere to drop out so I just kept plugging along.

Mile 4 we hit the dirt road and that road was the thing of nightmares and what ended up making my knee hurt more than anything else in the world. It was also at mile 4 that we had the worst uphill in the entire race, not as bad as last weeks half hill but pretty darn close (it was just shorter is all same elevation change but only a half mile instead of full mile last week), I had to walk potions of that hill and the lady once again passed me. Around mile 5 we got back on paved roads and I have never been happier in my life to see a paved road. By this time my knee was in agony but I knew I was close to the finish line and I didn't want to get passed again.

The funny thing is without an ipod I could hear everyone behind me and it helped me from getting passed and kept me motivated to keep running. The people I heard at mile 5 were actually rabbits for the race and funny thing is I held them off not knowing they were rabbits tell the finish line. Around mile 5 we actually caught back up with the 5kers the hour long ones at least. I swear I saw 3-4 camelbaks on those 5kers and just had to chuckle. I tried to encourage them to run to the finish line but none did. I did congratulate them as I ran past them though. My knee was hurting but I finished strong and it wasn't tell afterwords when I realized how much it actually was hurting when I was limping severely afterwords. Finish time was 58:46.

I cheered some of the runners in and that is when I realized wow Sam and Adam were a couple minutes behind me the entire way. I kidded with Adam that they didn't train the Biggest Loser people well enough that if a gimpy person like me outran them, and I was truly gimpy by this point.

Limped over to the awards ceremony where I was surprised that I took 2nd overall for men and since the first place winner actually donated the prizes he deferred and I got the first place prize pack. I got a biggest loser cookbook, a BL workout video, a workout bag, a camelbak waterbottle, a bl t-shirt, a bandanna, a biggest loser resort shirt, bodyglide, chap stix, those nice fancy socks everyone talks about and I even got the race shirt as they included it in my packet even though they said I wouldn't get one since I signed up so late. Sam took 3rd overall for the men which would have been my prize if the winner hadn't differed and its funny as I think I saw a shirt and a workout video from the biggest loser resort and he works for the resort.

I ended up talking with the same lady who has been running since January for the marathon. And she mentions the expected time you have to write on your application form of when you expect to finish and she said 5 and half hours, I think she was like an hour 30-45 minute finisher at the 10k today, that makes a time time goal for me of three hours seem optimistic (this is a joke goal me and someone had on facebook as it is my BQ time). I also talked to Adam who ran the Boston marathon for a charity last month in six hours, I love hearing Boston stories. Got to see Sionne again but he didn't run as he said he surgery last week (he didn't say what kind of surgery), and Sarah and Sam's fiance was there too.

I honestly don't regret running it because my knee felt fine tell mile 3 so there was no way I could have known the terror those hills and that stupid dirt road would do to me. I could have likely done the 5k pain free as that didn't seem anywhere as nearly hilly as our course. Plus how often am I going to get to finish 2nd overall and outrun Biggest Loser contestants for a second race (I smoked them all in the 5k last month too) and win a huge pack of prizes for $10. Plan is now to take a week off and just walk, foam roll the heck out of my IT band and try and get back healthy before marathon training begins at the end of the month. I will reassess next week to see if I need another week off.

Watched the ironman for a bit too those bikers are super speedy holy crap. Worst part is I drove out before they closed the roads to race this morning and on the way back it was a nightmare trying to get home because I ended up behind enemy lines and had to get past all the closed roads.

I also volunteered for the 11pm-midnight shift for the Ironman so I could see the last people coming in and cheer them on. I picked the last shift because I wanted to cheer the people coming in trying to make it in before the cutoff and I thought they needed it the most. As we were cleaning up they told us volunteers to take whatever extra supplies we wanted. This I did not expect at all I just wanted to volunteer and cheer those ironman on. I ended up with two boxes of gels (48 total thats like $50 at the running store), two boxes of powerbars, half a dozen Ironman performance drinks (wish I had grabbed more I wasn't sure what they were), a bag of chips, a dozen oranges, half a dozen bananas and a huge box of pretzels. I totally didn't expect that and I ended up making off like a bandit with like $70-80 worth of training stuff or more. If I ever get healthy I am totally set for marathon training.

It was a blast to watch them come in and I learned some things I didn't know. Like most of the ironman at the end preferred soda instead of gatorade as they were coming in (I am guessing for the calories and sugar and carbs) I had never seen soda at an aid station before. I just wish I knew if that guy who came through at 11:41pm booking to make the cutoff (he had 19 minutes and just less than 2 miles to go and he seemed to be running a 9-10mm) made it. Most of them were walking but it was fun to see them booking it too. Had one guy I offered water to tell me no eyes on the prize made me crack up. I tried to stay way from the cliche "almost there" and instead would say two miles to go. I felt really bad for the three people who got swept at the end. At 11:55 they told us there was four people on the course still about three miles from the finish and they were debating on whether to let them finish or not. They let one guy finish because he was running and he came through at 12:05 after the cutoff so he won't get an official finish but they swept the other three of the course who were walking. I can't imagine how heart breaking that would be 17 hours in and three miles from the finish after finishing 137.6 of the 140.6 miles and getting swept off the course and not being allowed to finish.

All in all in was an amazing weekend and I came away with like $150 worth of stuff for a $10 entry fee and volunteering, WOW.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Hurricane Half Marathon

This weekend I ran my third half marathon, I am loving half marathon's more than any other distance I have run and can't wait to my next. I picked the Hurricane half marathon as my third and have been looking forward to it for several weeks now not knowing what was in store for me. Follow my logic here someone was drunk one night and was like man let's invent the craziest half marathon ever. Lets put a mountain (I am not calling that darn thing a hill) around mile 5 oooooh and lets do it out at Hurricane (I get the name now geebezus above and below who the freak turned the wind on) and make sure it's a headwind or crosswind the entire way and crank it up to like 20-30 MPH. Ok maybe they couldn't have planned that last part but dear lord I never want to run in the wind again as long as I live.

Oh and I kicked the trash out of that course, I set a 7:05 second pr despite the wind, despite that freaking mountain (not gonna call it a hill), and despite I think a road called pothole central that or you might as well be running on a trail this road sucks. Final time 2:13:15 and I cannot imagine running a better race on a worst course than today.

Now the down and dirty and long winded details. I have become a hypochondriac the last week or so freaking out about this race. I like desterilized my desk when I found out the other IT guy was sick and was freaking out about a little tightness in my calf and thigh this morning. If you sneezed around me I probably rushed to the bathroom to wash my hands the moment after. I don't think i would have worried so much had I known how horrible this course was or how bad the conditions were going to be this morning.

I tried to get into bed at 9pm the night before with my alarm set for 4am. I know I wasn't asleep tell well past 10 though, I even watched a little tv at 9:30 hoping it would put me to sleep. I never sleep good before a race and despite a 4am alarm I still woke up at 3:55 and just waited for my alarm to go off like permission to get out of bed or something. I got a new morning ritual for long runs or races and I knew we were being shuttled to the start line so I just made breakfast and planned on eating it at the packet pick up or on the shuttle. I made it out of the house by 4:35 all ready to go and packed up and go to the shuttle area (also the finish line) just a little after 5am. I really like their race shirt its the first race shirt I have ever seen with zero advertisements on it and its a nice black tech tee.

I had time to kill before the shuttle so I ate my breakfast there (my new routine a PB&J sandwich, a banana, packet of peanuts and a gatorade). It was nice to stay inside as it was bloody cold outside. Around 5:30 we loaded the buses to get taken to the start line. After getting off the bus I was like dear lord I should have stayed on the bus it's too fraking cold and windy for anyone in their right mind to want to stand out here in this but the buses left to shuttle the 5kers so it was like crap I guess we stand out in the wind. I was standing around and I realized everyone was lined up for the porta-potties and I was like sweet I stood between two lines and let the lines half shelter to me from the freezing wind. It was a 20-30 MPH freezing cold wind and the sun wasn't up yet.

Best thing happened right around 6:30 we were told we could finally run and hopefully warm up although there was no escaping that wind. The first half mile was a cruel joke it was the only time in the entire race we were running in a tailwind after that it was nothing but headwinds and crosswinds. I had decided to take the first few miles pretty easy like suggested by some more veteran runners knowing I had what at this point I was thinking was a hill at mile 5. It was cold and the wind was blowing hard so I think for the first 3 miles I looked at nothing but my feet trying to stay out of the wind. It's pretty bad when you see people wearing trash bags in a race. I think around 25 minutes in I looked over and was like hey we are running next to a lake didn't even see that (Sand Hollow reservoir) where did that lake come from.

I didn't see any mile markers tell mile 3 and looked down at my watch and was like good 28:30 we are right where we want to be. At mile 4 I made the mistake of looking up and was like wait where the heck did that mountain come from. The first 4 miles were on a pretty steady incline and I was thinking the hill would be similar, nope that thing was gargantuan.

I walked through the aid station and grabbed a gatorade at mile 4, I skipped the aid station at mile 2 as it was too early and was crowded. I made sure I got a gatorade at every aid station during the race after that too. I decided when I hit the bottom of the mountain it was a good time for my GU so I took a small walk break there too. I tried to run that mountain but it was short bursts of running then walking and I don't even feel bad, I would look around when I was running and I was the only person running that monster everyone else was walking and was like screw this thing.

I hit mile 6 around 1:02xx and knew that any shot of a sub 2 or even a 2:10 might be impossible in the conditions but I decided I still wanted to pr and run the best race possible. The first downhill we got to enjoy just after mile 6 was ruined by the nastiest crosswind of the entire race like the gods were laughing at us stupid runners.

I think around mile 9 I was like dear lord I don't even want a downhill or a flat stretch just for the love of all that's good and right can we just run away from the wind instead of into it. That's all I want stupid freaking wind go away, I even cursed during some of the worst gusts like come on leave me the frak alone. Miles 8-10 were on pothole central, that road was horrible it was like some backwoods bumpkins joke of a road, hey its paved but haha its paved like a drunk person.

Mile 10 was all nice and newly paved and awesome but the wind still mocked us. At this point some runners I know would have come up to me and gave me a hug and a kiss because I realized despite wanting to take walk breaks there was no way I was going to pr in the wind if I took any so I said screw the walk breaks and just kept on running. I was finding it hard to maintain a 10 minute pace at this time as the wind had me thoroughly exhausted. Mile 7 was 1:12, mile 8 1:22, mile 9 1:33, mile 10 1:44 and mile 11 1:55. So I was bleeding a little time even without walking.

At mile 11 I went to the pain cave and was like screw it I am finishing strong wind be darned. I ran the last 2.1 miles in 18 minutes by best miles since miles 1-4. I don't think I have ever been as exhausted as I was at mile 12 as I was here but despite being so tired I could just lay down I never got a single muscle spasm and cramp. So for those who say it was an exhaustion thing and not an electrolyte imbalance can kiss the whitest part of my arse. I took gatorade at every station, had one pre-race and despite being exhausted ran my best half ever without a single cramp. It was strange as I have suffered some severe cramps and spasms in my two previous halves and to be at mile 12 completely exhausted and hammered and to not be cramping was surreal.

I could not believe the finish clock when I rounded the corner as it was showing 2:13, I hadn't even looked at my watch since like mile 11 as I was deep in the pain cave at this point. I took off at a sprint for the finish line and came across in 2:13:15. That is a 7:05 pr in 3 months on the toughest course I have ever ran in my life. I think I need to pick an easy course so I can run a sub 2, if I was doing the Snow Canyon half today and running that course again (minus the wind of course) with today's effort and race I would have easily done a sub 2.

I have decided that I am going to do the Parowan half as my next half in August. For one after making my subsequent halves noticeably harder each time it might be nice to do a much easier half for once. Secondly because it will be a nice precursor and warmup for the Saint George marathon (my first marathon) in October as the course drops 2300 feet. This should be a nice half to get used to the second half of the marathon that drops a similar distance in a similar amount of miles. Thirdly because it should be a lot cooler than Saint George which will be in the middle of full blow summer by then and most races dry up come summer time here in the desert. And lastly because I really want a sub 2 half this year and I will get it here or at Snow Canyon in November come hell or high water.

So wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee a new shiney pr on a mean and brutal course.

Monday, April 11, 2011

I will beat you long run if it's the last thing I ever do

Me and runs longer than 12miles don't get along. We are like two cats in a box and trying to claw each others eyes out too stubborn to concede victory to the other. Last week ended up being my first 40 mile week running week ever, something I attempted last month but failed miserably at but it seems I am making progress either with my stubbornness to not give up or actually becoming a better runner. I have been following a suggestion given to me on Runners World to increase one of my midweek runs so that my long run is not double or triple the rest of my weekly runs. This means I am still getting my 5milers in on Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday but I have increased my Wednesday run to 8miles. That meant this week to get my first 40mile week all I needed was a 12miler for my long run instead of the dreaded 15miler.

This 12 miler would also become my very first run at the butt crack of dawn to prepare for doing the same during the summer. This will likely be a fairly common thing come summer when it's still 100 degrees until after 10pm at night and the only way to get a long run in without roasting is to do it at the butt crack of dawn. Up until now all my long runs have taken place at no earlier than 10am and normally more in the afternoon around 1pm or 2pm.

But my wife worked Sunday at 10am and it was just me and the kid all day tell after 7pm so that means for my 12miler I set an alarm for 6:30am to get the run in before she went to work. I had hoped to do it Saturday instead and have the grandparents watch the kid but by the time they showed up all I had time was for my normal 5miler. They had cousins down for a tennis match and it kept getting rained out and they didn't want to take Oliver out in the rain and the cold.

The worst part was for some reason it decided to get cold Friday and rain all weekend. My run on Friday was 38 degrees and a slight drizzle rain the entire way. My run Saturday was 42 degrees but with a biting cold wind that made it feel 10 times colder than Friday and both of these runs were done in the afternoon which makes me go oh dear lord how cold is going to be at 7am.

It ended up being one of most single miserable runs I have had to date. It was 30 degrees yesterday morning when I started and the sun wasn't up yet, although it was up within 15 minutes of me running. I think it got to around 35-40 degrees by the end of my run near 9am. I also think I am getting old, not because of the run but because my body is getting one of those old men kind of schedules when it comes to using the bathroom in the morning. Race mornings I normally have to do two rounds because my body is like uh huh mister it's to early you need to wait but we will give you half a round and then see you in a hour or so. So do one when you get up and then round 2 when you hit wherever your racing but that doesn't work just for a training run. I got 3 miles in and was like oh dear lord someone kill me now, luckily I was only about a quarter mile from my house at this point as my loop takes me near my house at that point. I did have to walk that quarter of a mile or risk crapping my pants (too visual oh well sue me). So with a detour to the house and luckily being close enough I didn't have to resort to missing a sock somewhere on my run like some have mentioned (use your imagination where that sock disappears too).

At some point I realized I wore my beanie too long as I am not used to having a hat on my head and was getting very hot and light headed from it once I started to warm up. I finally pocked the beanie around mile 7 or so and that made me feel better. Mile 7 takes me past my house once more and even though I had a gatorade stashed in the bushes I was like I am not touching that nasty stuff right now as my stomach never really healed from the 3 miles of trying to get home to use the restroom. But I think I like my new idea of having a gatorade with my breakfast as it seemed to help no cramps even though I did 12.5 miles, I guess getting some electrolytes in prerun or race will help I am going to have to try that on my half on the 30th. I think it was somewhere around mile 8 that I got jelly like legs and was like how the heck is it so freaking humid when its not even 40 degrees (it did rain non stop the last two days, although the sky was clear and the sun was out Sunday morning) I didn't even think it was possible to get humid when it's that bloody cold.

Mile 9 resulted in me very grumpily at this point swearing at a car. For some reason people around here attack every stop sign with the intention of running them and only slowing down or stopping if absolutely forced to. Then they act all shocked and surprised when crap now I got to jam on my break because I just about hit someone running or biking. Well I was very grumpy by this point and I yelled very loudly STOP SIGN YOU %$&$& $*%&$*( emphasized with me pointing to where the stop sign was. Some days I swear I feel like I am playing a live action version of frogger and it's just a matter of time when these frakers who rush every stop sign actually hits me, oh wait that already happened last summer. That actually made me feel a little better and I know they heard me because I was very loud yelling and standing in front of their car from where they almost hit me, I was already in the intersection when they came rushing the stop sign had they bothered to slow for it they would have easily have seen me.

I don't know if getting to yell at a car made me feel better but the last 3 miles went by with ease. I actually ended up doing 12.5 miles with the half mile detour for the bathroom. So early morning run one down, sucky and miserable but still a success. Got home took a shower, fed the baby, played with him and once he was napping I also took a nap.

I am still daunted by the marathon and anything longer than 12 miles but I will beat this darn road block if it kills me. This week I have 43 miles planned M,T,F,SAT 5milers, WED 8miler and Sunday the dreaded 15miler once more, going to kick it's arse once and for all.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Sand Hollow Aquatic Center Sprint Triathlon, I'M A TRIATHLETE

I love that some days that I am still so new to this running and racing thing that I am a total goober at times. I did my packet pickup Friday night for my sprint triathlon and it was 3 lines, the first line you got your goodie bag and tech shirt, the second line you got your bibs and the third line you got your tracking chip.

I had my 18 month old son with me at first he was really good as he was in awe of all the new people around us but after awhile he just wanted down to go run around. So I am half listening to the advice and trying to keep an eye on him. There is two distances a sprint and a beginner (half the distances of all the sprint legs) distance. I hear the lady tell the guy in front of me black bibs are for the beginner distance and the red bibs are for the sprint distance. Well the lady gives me one of each a black and red bib and I am like huh. And I am looking at the back of the black bib and it's got tape on it and has the my number twice and i am like that is the weirdest bib I have ever seen.

I tell her I am not going to switch clothes for the bike and run portions and I don't need two bibs and I am supposed to have the red bib. I am such a goober the black bib is to go on your bike and the red bib to run in. Took me a minute to get that ohhhhhhhh moment.

So then I get in the next line and I am like why are they giving out finisher medals before the race even begins. I nearly abandon the line and just go home thinking I can just grab a finisher medal after the race because my son is running all over the place and I am having to chase him down constantly. I toss my "finishers medal" in my bag and scoop up the rambunctious rapscallion and head home. I get home and go to look at my "finishers medal" and realize it's actually my timing chip. It is a little Velcro band that goes around your ankle and only half paying attention it looked like the ribbon for a medal. And I nearly left without it.

The mistakes would continue from there as I had planned to be in bed my 10pm with a 5:30 alarm already set. Well vegging on the couch and enjoying some Lego Star Wars the Complete Saga on the Wii had me missing my planned bedtime by 30 minutes. Which I didn't worry about too much because I never sleep that good before a race anyways with the butterflies and jitters doing numbers on me.

Woke up around 5:20 before my alarm went off, like I said I never sleep that good race night and everything was going good, got a quick shower, got all my stuff together, made myself a breakfast to eat at the event center (PB&J sandwich and a banana my normal pre-race breakfast of late). Loaded the bike in the car and headed over to the Aquatic center with the wife. Got all my stuff set in the transition area and went over to the picnic tables to chill pre-race and eat my breakfast. Since it is a pool triathlon they had set the heats to be in four different times and I got the last time 8:15am. So I had plenty of time to eat breakfast but that is when I realize I forgot my swim goggles (I keep them in a little black bag with all the rest of my swim stuff in the car hence it not being with my race stuff).

I make the trek back to the car, grab my goggles and head to stand in a line for the restroom. I swear this event was nothing but endless lines at time, from packet pickup, to the restrooms to waiting for your turn at a lap lane in the pool. The wife is a little grumpy and tired and I figure I would go get in line early for my swim so she didn't have to wait around as long. It didn't make that much of a difference as even though I lined up at 7:25 for my turn at a lap lane it wasn't until after 8:30 that I actually got in the pool and I was still nearly one of the last 50 or so swimmers in a race of 700.

I didn't train for the swim as much because I always knew it was my strongest discipline (plus right now the chlorine does hell on my allergies) but that didn't squash the fear of me being the weakest swimmer there. That was of course tell I watched some of the swimmers during the hour I waited for my turn, from back strokes to one kid that was in the way shallow end of the lap lanes and seemed to walk a good portion of the swim. There was tons of weak swimmers there and probably the reason it took so long to get a lane. I felt bad for the one kid because he obviously shouldn't have been in the sprint distance and someone should have just signed him up for the beginner, and I kept thinking what if he had been in the 12 foot water like I ended up being in he might have drowned, poor kid. I actually saw that I was easily in the top %5-10 as far as the swim went and even without a lot of training cranked the swim out in a fairly good time.

While waiting for my turn in the swim the Race director for the Saint George marathon who I have been talking on facebook with gave me several shout outs as she knew this was my first triathlon and was there last night at the packet pickup. This resulted in a lot of people congratulating me and knowing my name during the race and after the race. That was kind of cool, I almost felt like a celebrity and had at least three people come up to me and tell me about there weight loss and also gave advice to someone while I was there too. She also mentioned that I signed up for the marathon yesterday, gotta love shout outs.

Swim went great and headed over to the transition area. Who knew putting socks on wet feet with nowhere to sit might be one of the toughest things I did all day, it almost makes you want to be a barefoot runner but not sure if there is barefoot bikers.

In the race booklet and on the race website it said the bike was mostly flat with a few rolling hills. I cry liar liar pants on fire for that statement. The bike course was nothing but rolling hills, which is fun on the downhill but sucks every time you have to climb another hill. It was a minute or two of climbing for 30 seconds of wheeeeee like 20 times during the bike portion. On my first lap I had a volunteer that looked to motion me to turn which is what they were doing when turns came up but instead she was motioning for a car to stop so I did detour for a quarter of a block on the bike ride and had my goober moment.

Bike went pretty quick but at this point it seemed that I was almost DFL, it was two laps and you could see who was behind you on the second lap and there wasn't many people behind me (the joy of starting so late you feel DFL all day even though I was nowhere near being DFL in the overall standings). They also only had water stations on the run portion and man does a GU make you fraking thirsty ***note to self by a water bottle thingamajig for bike. I always knew the bike portion would be my weakest link but it was surprising by how much. It was a combination of me not being that great on the bike and not having the best of bikes to race with. You could see the difference people only putting in 3/4 of the effort I was were still passing me on their much better and much more suited bikes. Oh well I got my revenge and ran past them on the run with my more suited and much better legs haha.

Get to transition 2 and this went great, no darn socks to pull on wet feet. Wonderful wife who spent 4 hours probably bored out of her mind was there to hand me my water bottle and ipod for the race (did use the ipod just because I had the wife to hand it to me).

Hit my first aid station and I now have my water bottle so figure I would grab a Gatorade instead. Oh you hated Gatorade you are still my nemesis and enemy. One drink of that Gatorade and my stomach felt like a rock and I had to walk the first little bit of the run. Once my stomach decided to stop acting up I was actually able to get a good run going on (I know I was under 30 minutes for the 5k portion) and got to pass quite a few people a rarity for the day (I did pass two people on the bike portion but only two and I got passed by a lot more). It was all rocky music all the time during the run. Some people must have thought who is this lunatic running a 9mm punching the air like a nutcase (and yes I did punch the air, rocky music does that for me).

Race to the finish line and the wife who was so patient is waiting for me there. Mill around and wait for my results of course to find out they don't have my age group again and I have to update it at the scorers table for my 3rd straight STG race. Finishing time was 1:45:28, not sure on my splits and transition times (first transition time must have been horrible because of those darn socks) yet as I can't find those results online yet. I am extremely happy with the time because 1:45:xx was my stretch goal and my overall goals for the race was to finish in under 2 hours and have fun both of which I did.

I am not completely tanked, I am tired but I don't feel like I couldn't go out and get a run in. My legs felt a little stiff so I took my son on a three mile walk up to the grocery store and around the neighborhood in the stroller. I bought the wife her favorite Easter candy at the store and made her a note and will surprised her with it when she get home, she was amazing and waited for me for hours at the butt crack of dawn. I kidded with her at least for the marathon since we shuttle out you can just sleep in and meet me at the finish line. That is one great thing about a point to point race for sure.

I finally caved in and took some allergy meds around 5pm knowing it was going to knock me out and I was watching the kid but at least he is napping so I could lay down. My allergies did a number on me once more, no swimming until they are gone. Went to bed around 9:30 pm doped up on allergy meds and woke up so stuffed up I can't even blow my nose without having to use both nostrils at the same time. I can't wait for my run because that always clears me up a little, all the sweating and opening my breathing cavities.

it was a great day to become a triathlete.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Biggest Loser 5k

Ahhh the joys of running, doing things stupidly and hopefully learning from one's mistakes. Saturday morning I had my Biggest Loser 5k, something I had been looking forward to for more than a month now for several reasons. The first being the fact I haven't run a 5k race since November and in that time I have gotten vastly faster. And secondly as I would get to meet several of the contestants from the Biggest Loser, people I could relate to and wanted to talk to.

I have to admit the last several months of running since my half haven't gone very well at times and it has taken a lot to just keep plugging at times. I spent a week recovering from the horrible muscle spasms I suffered from that half and the moment I got better enough to do more than a slow miserable recovery run I got the flu which knocked me out for another week. Then another week recovery from the flu and then once I got better of course spring reared it's ugly head and my allergies set in with a force. But despite that I slowly increased my miles and actually have run seven straight weeks of 30+ miles.

But with training not going as good as I hoped and needing a shot in the arm mentally, I planned my last tempo and speed work for my race on Wednesday thinking I had a full two days to recover before my race. Many other runners called me out for this stupidity as I ran a 23:49 5k that day and followed it up by getting my full 5 miles in with another record pace of 41:31. The 5miler also resulted in a pretty good fall and tumble. Tired and about a half mile from my house my foot caught on a rock on the edge of the sidewalk as I was running past some of that rock landscaping. After several steps of trying to catch my balance you know your going down and there is nothing you can do about it. At that point it just trying to fall on the sidewalk rather than the darn rock landscaping. That wasn't to be my luck as I went down on the rocks instead. Bruised up and battered I got up and ran the last half mile home and a nice truck did stop to help and even offered me some water. So even with a minute lying on the ground stunned I still managed my best 5miler ever.

Ok on to race day details. I woke up about 10 minutes before my alarm went off at 6:50 am. Nervous like I always am before a race I only managed a banana and a handful of peanuts before heading out to get there before they closed the parking lot and to be eligible for early bird prizes. It was very cold I think around 28 degrees and I did not dress well for it only wearing a short sleeve tech t-shirt and shorts. Around 8:30 I went out and did a mile warm up run at an easy pace of around 11mm. And my hands were numb after just that one mile run.

Not to fazed about it I lined up at the front with a guy running about a 7mm pace and we kidded and had fun pre-race. Went out and everything went great first mile except I forgot to start my watch (so I had no idea how I finished tell Saturday night more on that later). After the first mile or so it was all uphill and not nice hills either. The gradual %2-4 grades that just wear on you after awhile. There is no mile markers so there is no clue how far you have gone at this point I said screw it lets just throw it to the wind and run what feels comfortable.

Around mile 2 somewhere who knows it was on the 2nd parking lot loop I am really starting to hurt and I decide to take a walk break but the guy next to me is like come on and encourages me and after walking for 3 steps I say screw it and pick back up running. I am cold and wet and miserable by this time but I go to the pain cave thinking I might still be in the range for a pr not knowing how long I have been on the course.

I finish and walk back up the stairs to get some refreshments and as I am getting my refreshments I notice they are calling out names and times and its been a minute or two since I finished and they are calling out high 26's and 27's. Now I know no pr there is no way I am likely somewhere in the 26 minute range and am totally depressed.

So I sit depressed and start to watch the runners finish. All the biggest loser contestants came in after me but I think they started at the back. But eventually watching all these first timers finish gives me a boost and I start cheering them on. It was so much fun to watch these runners finish something I barely found a love for just last August that it gave me the boost I needed. I sat there cheering in the rain and the cold and shivering with my teeth chattering for nearly 25 minutes tell I couldn't take it anymore as I was so freezing. I walked back to my car to get my phone to take some pictures.

And then I waited in each of the constants lines to talk to them and I showed them my before pic I had loaded on my camera pre-race. I waited in all 6 lines to get a pic with all of them and to get them to sign my bib. And since I waited in all the lines everyone else was clearing out because it was so cold and I got to actually talk with them quite a bit. Me and Ada a runner from season 10 I think who is doing marathons talked for a good 20 minutes and so did me and Daris another runner from season 9. It was so much fun to talk to them.

Still feeling depressed about my time I had to wait all day to find out my official time. Saturday night the results are finally posted and while the results are what I expected miserable I get a shocking surprise to see where I placed. My time was 26:37 but I was 22nd out of 572 runners. That was the huge boost I needed, it meant I wasn't the only one to struggled in the rain and the freezing cold and it was the first race I had ever run as a front runner one of the faster people. No awards but still wonderful to place 22nd.

I tell you what despite how miserable the race was and how cold it was and how I didn't even come close to my personal best time it was one of my favorite races I have ever done. to cheer on all those first timers and get to talk to former biggest loser contestants who are runners was amazing.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Milestones, wonderful milestones

This weekend I hit not one but two milestones. On May 19th of last year I found DailyMile and started plugging my mileage in there every day just like any OCD lunatic would. Friday I logged my 1000th mile in daily mile which was pretty exciting for me. It consisted of 883.99 miles running, 109 miles cycling and 7.21 miles swimming. Granted my the end of the day today I will be at 1031 miles as the miles do pile up quickly but it was so exciting to see daily mile say 1000 miles. And sometime by the middle of next month or earlier I should hit 1000 miles running by itself.

I do wish I would have started tracking back in January of 2009 as it would be fun to see what kind of miles I have logged in my 27 months of weight loss and craziness. 2009 was all about consistency and days in a row for me. I did a minimum walk of 1.6 miles 354 days out of 365 and it was always the goal to see how many days I could go without missing a day (longest streak was 169 days). So I know that I must have logged around 600 miles in 2009 as I also would occasionally do longer walks of 1.8 or 3.0 miles and in December of 2009 I started running and my pattern then was 2 miles running. That was also the month I joined the gym (yep didn't join a gym for 11 months and lost 110 pounds without one) and my typical day was 3 miles on the elliptical machines and 2 miles on the treadmill. So if I were to count elliptical miles I am sure I am well over 2000 right now but it was still fun to see my 1000th mile logged.

Sunday was another test run at the dreaded 15miler that has been killing me of late. My plan was good, my execution of plan was good and yet it still ended in disaster. During my 15miles I drank 34 ounces of water, 12 ounces of Gatorade, ate some GU chomps and had a GU Gel and despite all that I bonked severely around mile 14. Cramping badly I limped home once more humbled by a run longer than 12 miles. I am at a loss where to go next with trying to figure out this problem. A lot of solutions have been offered to me and the next test is going to be sodium tablets to see if it's just more than an electrolyte imbalance. After that maybe some hammer anti fatigue caps, and who knows what else. With six months to go tell the marathon the problem of runs longer than 12 miles still humbles me. But at least I know I got plenty of time to figure the problem out and do something about it.

There could have been a lot of other factors involved yesterday from the fact that it was very warm for the first time this year resulting in me getting quite the sunburn to the fact that I altered my route. Normally on a 15miler I do three loops of my normal 5 mile loop. But growing weary of the same 5 mile loop every day I increased my loop to 6.33 miles doing it twice and then doing a 2.33 mile loop to finish it all off. And the extra 1.33 miles of the loop alas were all uphill on a hill that could give the Veyo hill on the marathon course a run for it's money. It's a two mile hill on grades of %8-12 and just never seems to end. I think the Veyo hill might be more steep but at least it has the courtesy of ending after a mile or so. Adding these two additional factors in to what was already giving me problems probably was not wise. But that led me too milestone number 2.

Pre-run I weighed myself at 217 pounds and post run I weighed myself and I was down to 211 pounds. That means I lost a whopping 6 pounds in 2 hours and 50 minutes beat that biggest loser. It also meant for the first time I had lost more than 200 pounds since I starting losing weight making my grand total 204 pounds. I reweighed myself this morning and I kept 4 pounds of it off only going back up to 213 pounds making it official. I have lost 202 pounds in 27 months or 48.6% of my total body weight. This was my original goal more than two years ago and know I wonder if I can get down to 200 pounds or 190 pounds.

So two milestones in one weekend, sore muscles, cramps, sunburn and looking for a new strategy what more can one ask.

Monday, March 7, 2011

It never gets easier, so suck it up buttercup

Here I am again probably coming down sick once more (kids are germ machines I tell you) and it got me reflecting on how it never seems to get easier. They always tell you when you start running or working out hey it will get easier eventually. That or we try and fool ourselves into thinking that and I am sure it would get easier if we stopped trying to obtain new heights and always pushing ourselves further and further.

So yesterday was supposed to be my first 40 mile running week ever, I had already put the 25 miles in leading up to what was supposed to cap the week off a 15mile long run. Saturday night sitting on the couch chilling my son walks up to my wife who is sitting on the other couch and throws up on her and the couch. So I am already freaking out about getting sick again as I hate being sick and have already been sick twice this winter. Despite being a little tired and feeling a little under the weather I veered out for my long run determined to not let it beat me. The first 5 miles go ok nothing great as I have been fighting lead legs the last few days already. Knowing I want to switch to gatorade half way through the run I decide to run my 2 mile loop in reverse as I have a gatorade stashed in the bushes. This is where the wheels fell off the bus. Seven miles in I feel like I have nothing left in the tank but I refuse to give up but not being able to face the uphill on my three mile loop I also decide to run that in reverse as well.

Big mistake, while the first mile is all uphill going normal it does then turn into a nice two mile downhill run after that. Going in reverse only enjoys me a quarter of mile of downhill before having to face some serious uphills. About a mile in and running all uphill I am done and like a dog with its head between his legs I head back home enjoying the downhill I just ran up. Still determined to not be beaten I attempt my 2 mile loop in reverse again and only get a half mile in before giving up and heading home. All told I managed 10 miles of my planned 15miler which is quite the accomplishment with how bad I felt after the first seven miles.

It's been a very rough month of struggles first recovering from my half marathon and muscle spams then getting sick and having to recover from that to only be hit by allergies as soon as I recover from being sick. Then of course to finding myself getting sick once more. It almost makes you want to give up but then I got to thinking about it never getting easier and realized it has gotten easier I have just made it harder and harder as time went by.

This time last year I ran a 39 minute 5k several times a week with the other days just being two mile runs in about 25 minutes. That 13 minute mile wouldn't even be close to my slow recovery pace as my regular runs are at or just below 10 minute miles and my recovery runs are at 11 minute miles. My race paces are sub 9 minute miles as I have run several tempo runs at a near 8 minute mile pace several times the last month or so in training for my upcoming 5k. Not to mention my normal run is now 5 miles a day and usually under 50 minutes. I am sure if I were to run one of those 39 minute 5k's it would feel vastly easy and almost not even like a workout. So it has gotten easier but I have made it harder.

Last week I was surprised at what had happened to the person I had become. I got home from a bicycle commute from work and went inside put my bike away, kissed the wife hello, grabbed a handful of peanuts to eat and instantly left to go for a 5mile run. Two years ago I could have never imagined being that person who could so easily go from a 5mile bike to a 5mile run and not even need any rest in between. Or the fact that it had become so common place that I didn't even need to think about it anymore.

It does get easier but we always want to improve ourselves so sometimes we lose focus and get frustrated and lament why isn't this any easier. We forget we are no longer that 13 minute mile runner and that because we want to better ourselves we are always striving for new heights and new achievements.

If your doing it right it will likely never get easier, so suck it up buttercup and keep pushing yourselves because you may never know where you might find yourselves.