Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A Great Weekend of Riding

Even though I've been close to a hundred miles ahead of where I was in terms of riding miles last year I still feel like it's just not enough. I want more time to ride! I recently read a news report (that I can't find right now) that reported that some scientists are working on changing the days to a 25 hour day instead of a 24 hour day. I'm not sure how that would work out. How can you change the length of a day that is based on the natural rising and setting of the sun. It seems like a freakishly unnatural science experiment that can't lead to good things. I guess if it means we get one more hour to do what we want with I'm for it. I'm just wondering how long it would take businesses to decide to go to a standard 9 hour work day versus 8, or basically just adding an hour on to whatever a normal workday is for everyone. I'm guessing not long.

Well I did have some time to get in some riding this weekend. Nice segue, no? Anyway I got in another commute on Saturday. It wasn't a complete commute to work and back, but I'm counting it. I have to be in by 11 am, so I left a little earlier than I needed to get in a few extra miles. I just love commuting in the morning before the heat of the day hits. I took my time and took a few side roads and detours to bring the ride up to 30 miles instead of the usual 25 miles. The ride home was an abbreviated trip, but for good reason: ice cream! There is a great little ice cream stand that serves excellent soft serve in Newtown, which is about halfway between work and home. I rode down to their to meet my wife for some refreshing chocolate soft serve. That may have to become the regular route for my commute every other weekend.

On the Monday Memorial Day holiday a buddy of mine and I went on a great 40 mile ride. Part of it being great was just having somebody with which to ride. I spend so much time riding alone that I often forget how much better riding is with a group or companion. We rode out of Batavia up to Milford where we caught the bike trail. From there we went on up to Loveland where we stopped for a bagel and a rest at one of the local delis. There were lots of people out on the trail despite the dark clouds and the spitting rain. It was really a great day for riding since the clouds and spitting rain kept the temperatures at a comfortable mid 60 range .

I tried something a little different with my nutrition for the ride. I ate more. I used S! Caps during the ride, which I am convinced now are helping with fatigue. I also brought along a packet of Gu, and a small baggy of almonds. I used one cap every hour, ate the Gu about an hour into the ride, and ate the almonds every time we stopped for a rest. I felt pretty good throughout the ride, and when it came time to attack the final hill heading home I had energy to spare. So there it is, my nutrition plan, eat more.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Recipe for a Disaster Run

The recipe for a disastrous run is very simple. First, you need the following ingredients: shorts with a liner that chafes, unpreparedness, a large carb filled lunch, knee pain, and heat. Take these ingredients and follow these easy instructions:

  1. Don't prepare for your run. These are instructions for a disastrous afternoon/evening run. So, when you're deciding what to eat for lunch choose something high in carbs and hard for your body to digest in a short period of time. Go get a big plate of spaghetti with meat sauce. That's what I did and it worked out just terribly.
  2. If it all possible wear a pair of shorts that you know from experience will chafe the crap out of you on a long run. When things start to fall apart you want that little bit extra pain in your ass, literally, to drag you down just a little bit further emotionally.
  3. Don't take water with you. Hey, it's only 10 miles and 90 degrees F. What could possibly go wrong? Forget about the fact that you haven't run in that kind of heat this year. Your tough.
  4. Now that you have no water, a pair of shorts that chafe, and a tummy full of half digested lunch. Run very fast. Run faster than you think you should. Take this long run, and treat it like a goal pace run. In fact if there are runners ahead of you try to chase them down.
  5. When the pain starts, in this case a knee pain you're very familiar with, don't stop running. Try to push through the pain. Even though you've experienced this pain before, and know for a fact that it isn't something that will go away, this time will be different.
I like to mix myself up a good disaster run about once or twice a year. There are many different recipes and variations on recipes to create a good disaster run. For instance, last year I cooked up a devilishly delicious disaster run, by substituting a big carb filled lunch with the exhaustion that comes from being up and working for almost 24 hours. Two distinctly different kinds of pain, but both equally suckilicious.

The Day after:

It's a day after that lovely run. I'm feeling a little better today. The knee is still bothering me a little bit, but after a good ice session last night it isn't bothering me enough to keep me from going on a bike ride. Geesh, I'll never learn. The run was not really a total disaster. Every bad run is a learning experience. The biggest thing I probably learned this time was about preparation. Had I put a little bit of thought into getting ready many of my problems could have been avoided. It's not looking like such a big disaster in hind sight, that is, unless my knee continues to be a problem and screws up my race season. If that happens I will look back on this run all summer with more than a little anger. For now though, I'm going to keep an optimistic view. Just remember, a bad run is better than no run at all...most of the time.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

In Between Races

My original intent was to set up a training plan that would span the next 21 weeks starting right after the Tri for Joe Du. I worked on the plan for about a week, but kept running into these blocks. There is only a 2 week period between Tri for Joe and Deer Creek. That doesn't leave me a lot of time to start a new plan. I have a consistently shifting work schedule. That makes it kind of hard to stick to a strict training plan. We also recently canceled our gym membership. It was a bit on the expensive side, so I'm going to have to find a new place to do my strength training. I'm kind of sad to be losing that membership, because it was such a great facility. Planning for 21 weeks is hard!

Instead of setting down a strict schedule for the next 21 weeks I'm going to set some guidelines and break it down into smaller chunks and work toward goals along the way. For instance, right after Deer Creek I'll have about 5 weeks until my next "A" race at Caesar Creek. In that 5 week period I'll start up some speed and endurance work for the bike and run again. I'll keep my runs relatively short until mid August to September. At that time I'll start ramping up the runs toward October's half marathon and on up to a winter marathon.

My general training plan is to get in approximately 3-4 runs a week. I'll concentrate on short to medium recovery runs, mixed with bricks, tempo runs, speed workouts and long runs. I'll try to get in 3-4 rides in as well working similar areas as the runs.

It all sounds kind of vague right now, but I think I need vague for a while. After the strict workout schedule all spring I need a bit of a break to mentally recuperate and have some fun. It's called the Wheelie Fun Series, so let's have some fun...and kick some ass.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Tri For Joe Duathlon

My initial impressions of the Tri For Joe go a little something like this: Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy, Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy....and so on and so forth. The official results aren't posted yet, but there are a couple of certainties: I finished 3rd in my division, I pushed through the pain on the final 5K and finished strong, and I took at least 4 minutes off last year's time. Those are enough for me to celebrate a great first duathlon of the year!

Let's break it down:

I was pretty nervous before the race. I wanted to have a good showing for the race and hopefully repeat last year's 3rd place division finish or do better. At the very least I wanted to improve upon last year's time. I got there about an hour early to get a good place in the transition area. Apparently I wasn't the only one, because there were already lots of bike racked up in the transition area. There was still plenty of room, but the end spots were taken, so I was stuck in the middle. I set up my bike, shoes, helmet, etc. then returned to my car to finish getting ready and stretch. I'll do a separate blog on transitions for those of you that are first timers to duathlon/triathlon. It can be the most nerve racking part of the race for a first timer.

It was a cool, but sunny morning that would warm up quickly. I started the race with my race shorts, the wicking shirt I wore for the Flying Pig with my cycling jersey over top for pockets. I couldn't figure out a way to stow a couple packs of Gu that wouldn't involve tossing the empty packs on the ground afterwards, and that's just not cool in my opinion. I'll have to work on that before the next race. It will have to be the least expensive means to take care of the issue. The other extra piece of clothing I started out with were my arm warmers. The nice thing about duathlons is that you go through transition twice. You can ditch clothing as you heat up over the course of the race. I ditched the arm warmers during transition 1 and the jersey during transition 2.

The first run was fast. My goal was to run a 21 minute first 5k, and save some gas for the final 5k. It would be great to be kicking it on the final 5k instead of struggling to maintain pace and fighting cramps. I took off fast clocking in the first mile at 6:34 and the second at 6:17. I pulled it back a little on the 3rd mile and into the first transition to conserve a little bit finishing up at just a bit over 20 minutes. I was feeling good. I was feeling strong. All was good.

Transition 1 was very smooth. Helmet, shoes, bike, and off running out of transition 1 with a smooth jump on to the bike. Hi Ho Silver!!! I used the first couple of miles to settle in. I put on the gloves that were secured to my bike. I took some sips of Gatorade, and some sips of water. Early on I held my pace to between 19 and 20 mph. I did not want to blow myself up on the bike. It was tough letting people pass, but I just had to keep reminding myself that some of these were triathlon, while others I just couldn't keep up with on the bike, and some I would see later in the race. I was certain of that. The course is entirely flat with the exception of a few small inclines. Usually there is quite a bit of head wind on this course, but there was very little wind on today. The race gods were totally with us today. Around mile 7 I ate one packet of Gu and pushed my pace up above 20 mph. I was hoping to keep the pace above 20 mph for the rest of the course. Everything went just as planned. The only bit of concern I had was around mile 12 when I started to feel the twitches in my left calf that indicated the onset of cramps. Luckily they never materialized. Score one for the S! Caps and zero for cramps. I took 2 caps about 15 minutes before the race.

Coming into the second transition I was still feeling good. One more smooth change, and I was off and running...sort of. The twitches were still there as I was leaving transition 2 and getting stronger. I knew that was only a matter of time before they went full blown. I didn't push hard during the first mile and a half. The twitching came in waves getting stronger until....they were gone. Thank goodness, score 2 for the S! Caps and zero for cramps. The rest of the run was a test of determination. I was tired, and had that nagging voice in the back of my head saying, "hey slow down, you've put up a good effort, now just cruise on to the finish." It was at that moment that I knew I had to dig deep. What can I control? My breathing, okay let's do some belly breathing, blow it out, suck it in. Don't gasp, just breathe through it. Relax, starting from the head, down to the shoulders and on down. How is my form? Thumbs up, in a fist that's not too tight, move those arms. For the last mile and a half I was a machine. Pick them up and put them down. There is a runner 20 yards ahead, let's catch them. Okay there is another runner 10 yards ahead try to catch them. It was the strongest finish I've had, and felt particularly sweet after the shambling, cramping, painful finish at the Flying Pig.

Excellent race! Is there anything I could have done differently? I don't know, maybe go faster? Seriously, though if anything I will probably take a couple of the caps with me next time and pop them about mid-race. That might help with those cramps going into the second run. It is a promising start to the season. Now it's time to turn my attention to Deer Creek!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Getting Ready to Du

I'm a confirmed, lifelong proctrastinator, and I don't think it will ever change. Going back to school when I would wait until the last minute to write a paper. At work when I wait until the last minute to turn in paper work (although I'm not nearly as bad about this as I was at school). At home I don't get my clothes ready the night before, don't get my lunch ready the night before. I'm always fumbling around in the dark early in the morning for clothes, and throwing things in a lunch bag on my way out the door when I pack a lunch.

There is one area that this procrastination does not spill over, and that is my sporting life. It is amazing even to me sometimes that I have no problem whatsoever making sure that I'm signed up for races well ahead of time (at least for races I think of as "important"), doing my training in a timely manner, and getting race ready during the days before the race with little to no procrastination. The one area that I do fall down in when it comes to procrastination is with bike maintenance, but that is a blog for another day.

Today is all about what I do to get ready for my race tomorrow. The first thing I make sure I have ready is my food for pre-race, during the race, and post race. Well, not so much post race. That is usually taken care of by the race directors. There are usually bagels, bananas, and other snacks at the races I attend. I do usually throw in a banana and a granola bar just in case though. I'm still doing a bit of experimenting with my pre-race meals. There are a few things I can eat that are reliable, and I make sure I have available. My staples are: peanut butter and jelly on wheat, bananas, instant oatmeal, and occasionally eggs. I also like Starbuck's Frappucino if I have enough time before the race to get things moving along. That's only for the days I have a couple of hours before the race. During most races I usually stick with a pack or two of Gu Gel. I don't like to eat a lot of solids during races. There is a greater chance for something to upset my stomach. I usually use a shot of Gu for every hour I'm on the course. For hydration I alternate between water and Gatorade cut with water. This might be changing soon. I'd like to find something more effective than Gatorade. During longer races I use Gu and Clif products.

The day or two before the race I also get my bike ready. I clean it up, and lube and/or clean the chain if needed with my Pedro's products. When I get out on the course I don't want to worry about chain issues, or adjustment issues if possible. Besides that every race is like taking your bike out on a date. I want to look and feel my best and I want my partner to look and feel her best. This is what we spend all our time training for right?

The night before the race I lay out all my gear exactly as I'd be wearing it during the race. What's the weather supposed to be like? Do I need my arm warmers or shoe covers? I want to see all my clothes and gear in front of me. If I have my race number I either attach it to my jersey, or race belt depending on the situation. I don't need to wake up in the middle of the night in a panic wondering if I have my gloves ready, my cycling shoes in the bag or where my sunglasses are. I also put my tools and tire pump in the car, and the bike rack on the car the day before. I usually make a few last minute adjustments and pump up my tires at the race site. Most of the races I attend require some driving, so once I'm there...I am there.

If I am well prepared I can relax the night before the race, and if I'm going to be worrying about something it's not going to be my gear. On race morning I am usually just barely coherent, so there is no way I'm going to trust that I can get everything ready and not forget something. There are few things worse than spending weeks or months training, weeks planning, and days preparing for a race only to find yourself panicking over a forgotten piece of clothing or equipment on race morning.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

K.eep I.t S.imple S.tupid

I've been living with a sort of online split personality over the last year and a half. I post personal blogs on Yahoo 360 while using this blog as a workout log with a few observations now and again. What I'm finding is that I am tired of living dual lives. I'm tired of it, and quite frankly I don't have that kind of time anymore. I think I'm going to shift everything over to this blog. I need to simplify.

It will save me time, and I've decided to track the nitty gritty workout information through Buckeye Outdoors. That will give me a little more freedom to write whatever strikes me here, or nothing at all. I really don't have enough interesting stuff going on in my life to split between two blogs. Hell, I don't have enough ego or interesting stuff going on to fill one blog really. That's not going to stop me from trying though.

I plan on starting Buckeye Outdoors after Sunday's race. In the meantime I should post up my early morning run from Thursday. It comes down to this: it was dark, it was 5 am and I ran 3.3 miles in 28:29. I felt pretty loose considering it was 5 am. I think my legs have finally given up the pains from the marathon....finally.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

5/16/2007 Strength Training and Tri for Joe Goals

The goal for the rest of the summer is to do one strength workout per week. This might prove a challenge since we are ending our membership to the gym at then end of May. I have no idea what I'm going to do after that. Hopefully I'll be able to pick up a membership at the YMCA or somewhere else that I can get a discount through work. Gym memberships are freakin' expensive. I'll miss the Healthplex.

5 minute Dynamic Warm-Up:
(All done Across Basketball Court and back)
  • Lunge Twists
  • Side Lunges
  • Walking Knee Grabs
  • Toe Touches
  • Butt Kicks
  • Medicine Ball Toe Touches - 8 lb ball 2 sets x 15
  • Medicine Ball Twists - 8 lb ball 2 sets x 15
  • Supermans - 2 sets x 15
  • Walking Lunges - Width of Court with 15 lbs
  • Ball Leg Curls - 2 sets x 15
  • Dumbbell Step-Ups - 15 lbs 2 sets x 15
  • Hammer Strength Seated Chest Press 45 lbs 2 sets x 15
  • Hammer Strength Seated Row 45 lbs 2 sets x 15
  • Hammer Strength Lat Pull Downs 35 lbs 2 sets x 15
  • Dumbbell Bicep Curls (seated) - 20 lbs 2 sets x 15
  • Bench Dips - 2 x 15
  • 4 way Shoulder - 5 lbs 1 x 20
    • Fly
    • Front Shoulder Raise
    • Lat. Shoulder Raise
    • External Rotation
I'm of two minds in my approach to the Tri For Joe Duathlon. One mind knows this is really a warm-up for the Wheelie Fun Series that starts in two weeks. It should be treated as such. I should concentrate on form on the run and bike, and getting the transition right. Time should not really be a factor at this point. The other mind looks at the time that I had last year, and thinks about the third place division finish, and wants to crush that time! I guess they'll have to battle it out until race day. Then I'll decide how I'm feeling that morning, and decide how to treat the race. Hopefully I can strike a balance between the two minds: do some crushing, and think about my form and transitions.

The goals:

1st 5K= 22:00
Transition 1= 1:00
Bicycle= 50:00
Transition 2= 1:00
2nd 5K= 20:00

Total: 1:34:00

Here are the results from '06:

1st 5K= 21:25.52 Pace= 6:55
Transition 1= 01:06.87
Bicycle= 53:23.48 Avg= 19.7 mph
Transition 2= 01:05.85
2nd 5K= 24:25.28 Pace= 7:53

Total= 1:41:27

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

5/15/2007 Cycling Intervals

I had a good cycling workout today with no soreness at all! I think I pushed it a bit in the days after the marathon, so it actually took a little longer to fully recover than I would have liked. I'm back in action now, and getting pumped up for duathlon season to start! I'm going to use Buckeye Outdoors Training Log to set up my schedule and keep track of workouts. I like using the blog to write about the workouts, but I'm missing a calendar type view to just look at the details of the workouts.

I did an interval workout today on the bike. I didn't have any specific plan in mind, so I just kind of winged it. Over the course of the 30 miles I picked areas that I know would be similar to the course I'm riding on Sunday and picked up the pace to over 20 mph for a mile or so. The distance varied based on a random end point that I'd choose for each interval. Overall I did 4 intervals on flats. There was also two descent climbs that should count for something.

Dist: 30.02 miles
Time: 1:50:46
Avg: 16.2 mph
Max: 36.9 mph

In terms of weather it was perfect. I got out about 9 am when it was still relatively cool in the mid 60's and amazingly sunny. There was quite a bit of head wind over the course of the ride. I have no love for a strong head wind, but I figure it would be helpful. I know there is a couple of spots on Sunday's course where I can count on head winds.

It's also worth mentioning that I tried some electrolyte replacement capsules for the first time today. I can't remember the brand off the top of my head, but that's not really important. The important question is how did they work? I can't say for sure. I only took one. Within the first 5-10 minutes of taking the pill my mouth started to water and I had a salty taste in my mouth. I also gagged a bit, but I don't know if it was from the pill or the fact that it was so dusty out today. Other than the caps I only took 2 bottles of water with me to drink and one Gu packet. I can't say that they worked for sure, but I felt pretty fresh at the end of the ride. Usually after a ride of that length or longer I need a little rest afterwards, but in this case I felt pretty good. The real test will come on Sunday. I'll try them again on a run this week to be sure they don't make me sick, but I'll probably be testing them on Sunday.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

5/7 - 5/12/2007 Recovery Week

If I wasn't entirely prepared for the pain that I felt in the last 5 miles of the race I wasn't ready at all for the amount of pain that I was experiencing in this past week. Every time I stood up my quads were screaming. Walking down a flight of stairs was near impossible the first couple of days, and forget about walking down a hill. My knees wanted to unhinge with about every third or fourth step. Good times...good times.

The day after the race, May 7th, I went out for a recovery walk. I figured walking would be better than doing nothing. My legs couldn't possibly hurt any worse. I walked the Center Field 1 1/4 mile path twice very slowly. The 2.5 miles took about 45 minutes to complete. I felt marginally better than when I started, but at this point just getting in and out of the car is difficult.

After a rest day I decided to get out on the bike Wednesday. I really wanted to work the knots out of my muscles, but the thought of the pounding of running wasn't really all that appealing just yet. It also gave me the opportunity to get my bike out on the Tri for Joe course. I'm really looking forward to this race this year. I'd love to get out there and just crush last year's time. Part of doing that will be in preparation.

Dist: 18 mi.
Avg: 16.49 mph
Max: 25.2 mph
Time: 01:05:29

On Thursday it was time to get back into the gym. I had taken some time off from strength training right before the Flying Pig, so it had been over 3 weeks since I'd hit the weights. The lower half of my body was still quite sore, but I pushed through the various lunges and step-ups that really worked the quads and hamstrings.

5 minute Dynamic Warm-Up:
(All done Across Basketball Court and back)
  • Lunge Twists
  • Side Lunges
  • Walking Knee Grabs
  • Toe Touches
  • Butt Kicks
  • Medicine Ball Toe Touches - 8 lb ball 2 sets x 15
  • Medicine Ball Twists - 8 lb ball 2 sets x 15
  • Supermans - 2 sets x 15
  • Walking Lunges - Width of Court with 15 lbs
  • Ball Leg Curls - 2 sets x 15
  • Dumbbell Step-Ups - 15 lbs 2 sets x 15
  • Hammer Strength Seated Chest Press 45 lbs 2 sets x 15
  • Hammer Strength Seated Row 45 lbs 2 sets x 15
  • Hammer Strength Lat Pull Downs 35 lbs 2 sets x 15
  • Dumbbell Bicep Curls (seated) - 20 lbs 2 sets x 15
  • Bench Dips - 2 x 15
  • 4 way Shoulder - 5 lbs 1 x 20
    • Fly
    • Front Shoulder Raise
    • Lat. Shoulder Raise
    • External Rotation
One more rest day on Friday followed up by a short recovery run on Saturday. All the soreness that was fading from my quads and the front of my body came back with a vengeance in my hamstrings and butt on Friday and Saturday. I set on Saturday to test the running legs for the first time since the marathon. It really wasn't such a pleasant run at all. I ran the 2.3 miles in 22:16 struggling to keep a pace at all. Hopefully I'll start to get my legs back over the next few days, so that I can get into full swing of duathlon training.

Monday, May 07, 2007

5/06/2007 Flying Pig Marathon

The alarm went off at 4 am. With a 6:30 am start time and a 45 minute drive to the start area I wanted to be sure I had plenty of time get something to eat (pb&j, a banana, and a coffee), get dressed, and take care of any last minute business. I was feeling exceptionally good having slept well for about 5 hours. I had accepted the fact that I wasn't going to sleep well the night before the race since I usually have pre-race jitters, so I just relaxed and settled in for a long night. Apparently I tricked myself into falling into a deep sleep. I wonder if I can trick myself into that again in the future!

After an easy drive downtown due to very little traffic I found a great parking space near the finish area of the race and made my way to the start line. The race day plan was to meet my friend, Jennifer, at the start line and run with at the beginning of the marathon. She was running the half marathon, and had time goals that were slower than my own. This would be a perfect way to slow myself down at the beginning of the marathon. I knew the worst thing I could do is get swept up in the excitement and the rush at the beginning. I really needed to slow down, and save as much as I could for the end of the race.

I felt surprisingly relaxed as we lined up in the middle of the pack off the start line. I could see the pace groups with their signs sticking up above the crowd. A short distance ahead of us I could see the 3:30 pace group sign. If I could catch the 3:30 pace group at some point, run with them for a while, and then propel myself forward for a glorious finish. Visions of crossing the finish line amid cheering masses filled my head as we stood there watching the sun peek over the horizon, making small talk to fill the time before the start.

Looking back my first mistake came within the first two miles of the gun going off. Since we were in the middle of the pack the start was slow, but not so slow that we didn't cross the start line about a minute after the official start. We jogged the first half mile on the wide road heading east toward the first bridge to cross into Kentucky. I watched the 3:30 pace group pull away and turn the first corner. I forced myself to keep it slow and stay with Jennifer. We laughed and joked to keep things light, but my legs wanted to go. I started to pick up the pace and weave through the crowd Jennifer encouraging me on. I was thinking we would weave up until the crowd thinned out, and then slow it down to a nice comfortable groove. Shortly after the first mile marker I turned to check behind me to be sure that Jennifer was still there, but she was gone. Oops. I slowed and looked over my shoulder for her to no avail. Maybe I could've stopped and waited, maybe I should have been more patient, but the legs wanted to go! I pushed on ahead and picked up the pace.

I eased in to a nice pace and the miles began to pass by easily. I put in my earbuds, and turned on Phedippidations to ease myself through the early miles. What a bit of good luck that a show about first marathons was released in the same week that I was running my first marathon. I tried to listen as stories of first marathon triumphs and disasters were shared, but I was really so far absorbed in the moment, the sounds of the spectators on the sides of the roads, and the good vibes of the runners around me that most of the podcast was lost on me. Those early miles are kind of a blur as we crossed the bridge into Kentucky wound through Covington, crossed back into Cincinnati and headed out of town toward the east side of town.

Sometime around mile 8 I caught up with the 3:30 pace group. I was excited to see that I was running so well. I was feeling great, and obviously hitting sub 8 minute miles already. I was concerned for about a minute that I was running too fast, but then dismissed it. This was my second mistake. I should have taken that concern to heart. Instead I stuck with the 3:30 pace group for a few miles, and then pulled ahead of the pace group.

Miles 16-18 were amazing. I met up with my family around mile 16, which was a huge rush. Very rarely do I have my own cheering section at any of the races I compete in, but this was a big deal and I had lots of support. These were the best miles as I worked my way through Mariemont where the course was at it's farthest east point and turned back toward downtown. I was buoyed by my family support, but unfortunately the good feelings wouldn't last long.

It was at about mile 19 that I got my first cramp. My left calf seized up. I stopped and worked it out, then moved on. It was at this point that the 3:30 group caught and passed me. I moved back on to the course and followed the 3:30 group hoping that I would be able to keep up. It wasn't to be though. My quads began to burn then take on a curious feeling like they were turning to stone. This was the beginning of the end for me. By mile 21 I was battling off cramps in both calves and quads. I began to alternate by running to a mile marker, then taking a one minute walk break, then running on to the next mile marker. I was beyond hitting the wall. I was now throwing myself against the wall repeatedly in an effort to keep my legs moving.

Those final five miles were unlike anything I've ever experienced. The closest was when I bonked on my first century last year. Those final miles were similar in some ways, but this was far more painful. I think the problems I had in those final miles can be attributed to a combination of factors. The obvious factors of coming out to fast early on, and then continuing the quick pace through the middle miles. Less obvious to me at the time though was my sweating and loss of electrolytes. This may have been an even larger factor than my assumed too quick pace. I won't really know for sure, but I never felt overly winded throughout the race. I was taking in plenty of fluids and gels. The major problem was never exhaustion like I've felt before, but the cramps. It was a hard lesson to learn, but one I'll take to heart. I've been thinking about picking up some electrolyte supplements anyway, so this may be the final straw.

This is almost a week after the race. I've had some time to get things in perspective, and recover a bit. There is no doubt that I am going to do another marathon, because this was an incredible experience. Not only was it an incredible experience, but I think I can definitely do better, and I love a challenge. As a matter of fact I've already contacted the Team In Training group about doing the Walt Disney World Marathon in January 2008!

Split 1: 17:10 Miles 1 & 2 pace: 8:35
Split 2: 1:17:46 Miles 3 - 12 pace: 7:46
Split 6: 8:46 Mile 13 pace: 8:46 (restroom break)
Split 7: 7:21 Mile 14 pace: 7:21
Split 8: 15:20 Mile 15 & 16 pace: 7:40
Split 9: 32:50 Mile 17,18,19 pace: 10:56 (friends and family)
Split 10: 16:51 Mile 20 & 21 pace: 8:25
Split 11: 18:16 Mile 22 & 23 pace: 9:08
Split 12: 10:47 Mile 24 pace: 10:47
Split 13: 12:07 Mile 25 - 26.2 pace: 10:05

Half Split 1:43:41 pace: 7:54
19.3 Split 2:33:49 pace: 7:58
25.2 Split 3:27:24 pace: 8:13
26.2 Miles 3:37:14 pace: 8:17

Friday, May 04, 2007

5/04/2007 SRR - Counting Down to the Flying Pig "2"

One final run before a rest day tomorrow. I got out at about 5:45 in the morning. Hopefully these will be the same conditions I will be facing Sunday morning. I geared up with the clothes I talked about the other day and threw on a long sleeve t-shirt over top, which is exactly what I plan on wearing on race day. It will work out just fine based on what the forecast is so far.

I jogged a nice slow 2.3 miles through the neighborhood in 19:51 . It's great that it is getting light earlier so I am able to get in the early morning outdoor jogs again.

We'll also be heading down to the Expo tomorrow to pick up my race packet and do the Kids Fun Run for Aiden. I'm very excited to take part in all the weekend's festivities! Hopefully I'll be able to get some good photos and have some stories to share sometime next week after I recover and get myself back together.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

5/03/2007 Goals - Counting Down to the Flying Pig "3"

What are my goals for my first marathon?

Aside from the obvious goal of finishing I do have some goals that I'd like to achieve for my first outing. Other than finishing time goals I also have some goals along the way. The first of which is to go out slow and finish fast. I've kind of secured a method for doing this by hooking up with a fellow runner for the first 8 miles. She will be running the half-marathon with a slightly slower goal pace than my own. This will work out well for me. I'll start the race with her, and let her set the pace for those miles. After that I'll hopefully feel fresh enough to slowly increase the pace over the remaining 18.2 miles.

My time goal is in three tiers. My ultimate goal is to run a Boston Marathon qualifying time of 3:10. I would be ecstatic if that happened, but it seems unlikely. Nothing in my training up to this point would lead me to believe that I'll be running a Boston qualifier, but I can dream. My more realistic time goal is to run a 3:30. That would fall more in line with my training. Plus there is the inexperience factor. The farthest run I've had is my 20 mile long run, so it will be interesting to see what happens in the last 6.2 miles. I'd still be ecstatic with anything under 3:30.

The third tier of the goal is based on a dream. I had a dream some time back that I ran the Flying Pig in 3:45. Is it prophecy? I guess we'll see on Sunday. My final goal if I don't reach the others is to beat my dream self.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

5/02/2007 SRR - Counting Down to Flying Pig "4"

I've found that the best way to make sure that I take a nice slow, short run is to take our dog, Gracie, along with me. It is guaranteed that we will have to make multiple stops along the way, and she won't last more than a couple of miles. She's built for speed not endurance. So we hit the road for a 2.3 mile 22 minute jog with a few stops along the way.

I've pretty much decided on wearing my Zoot Trifit shorts and Prana Enduro shirt for the race on Sunday. I'll probably take along a throw away long sleeve t-shirt and maybe some sweats or loose shorts to stay warm before the race. I might take along some throw away gloves as well. It could be pretty cool in downtown near the river. Right now the weather looks like it is going to be fantastic day on Sunday, but possibly on the warm side. With a high of 78°F and low of 56°F I will be thankful that we start at 6:30 am, and I'll be done well before the heat of the day.

Now I just have to figure out my food carrying situation. I'm thinking I can get away with using my race number belt to staple a couple of Gu's to for the beginning of the race. I should see some familiar faces somewhere around the halfway point, so I can ditch it with them. I'm going to stop by the Running Spot this afternoon to see if there are any better solutions that aren't too expensive. I should have take care of this already, but it's the procrastinator in me shining through!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

5/01/2007 SRR - Counting Down to Flying Pig "5"

I'm feeling the energy starting to build for the Pig this weekend. It was hard not to overdo it today on my run. It was a beautiful day, and I am feeling good. I have some minor pain in my lower back on the right side, but it is not so bad. I'm going to try to get in to see my long ignored chiropractor this week to get an adjustment, and I'll definitely follow up after the race if the pain persists. For now though, it's a minor thing, and considering I've now run over 400 miles since the beginning of the year my body is holding up very well. This is by far the most I've ever run in any amount of time.

The schedule calls for a 20-30 minute srr, but I felt so good I pushed it a little further. I did 4.3 miles in about 38 minutes, which includes a minor clothing adjustment. I decided to try and get my wardrobe worked out for the race today. I tried a pair of tri-shorts underneath a pair of running shorts to try and combat the chafing issue, but halfway through the run I realized I was being silly. I ditched the running shorts all together, and I'm just going to go with the tri shorts, and my tight running shirt. I'm really not going to care when I'm out there running about modesty or anything else by mile 20. I'd much rather be comfortable and cool. I've got a 2 more runs to make a final decision, but I'm pretty well set. Now all I have to do is figure out how I'm going to carry to Gu packs on me for run consumption. hmmmm....