Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tough Day on a Long Run

With the Monumental Marathon just under three weeks away, I figured I had better get some long runs in. I also figured I should have actually trained for this event. Last Sunday I ran 14 and change, at an easy 8:30 pace. I could have easily run longer, and though I wanted to, had to be back to help get the kids up and ready. Today I had planned an easy 18 miles. I put a water bottle drop at a point roughly 7.5 miles, knowing I would need it. I never carry water, and don't even bother with a drop, unless I'm going longer than 14. Since I drink about 1.5 gallons of water every day, hydration issues are generally not a concern. I had planned on running about 4:30 am, but by the time I got back from dropping the water, I didn't really have enough time. I decided to go after church.

The weather was really nice: about 71 or so, very low humidity, and a beautiful cloudless sky. I felt great the first few miles, but started to feel a bit off. What's this? I was running 7:50s, then 8:30s, and still slowing down. My HR was higher than it should have been, and before long I was have=ing to make an effort to slow down to keep my HR in zone 3. This continued until I was running a 9 minute plus pace, with my HR in zone 4. What the heck? I drank the water at my drop, and had a gel and some shot blocks on the way, but couldn't wait to finish this run. Something wasn't right, and I ended up cutting out a loop near the end, so I could finish at 16.25 miles.

We I got home I was drained, and confused as to what had happened. I had a drink, walked for a few minutes, and went into the house. The scale told the story. I was really dehydrated, as I was down to 150.4 lbs. That's pretty low for me. The part I don't get is why. I have been drinking plenty, and it wasn't hot out. The air was very dry, and the fact I started feeling it early in the run tells me I was not hydrated well to start. But why? I have been drinking about the same amount of water as usual, and I don't think I am eating more poorly than usual. The weather change? The amoxicillin I have been taking for the sinus thing I had? I don't know.
What I do know is had I not felt fine on my longer run last week, I would be more stressed about the race than ever. I'll take it as a bad running day, but a good lesson. Next weekend I'm planning on a 20 miler, as it will be my last long run before a short taper. I'll be out of time. I'll prepare a bit for this one, and it should tell me a little more about what I can expect on the Monumental Marathon.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Powerman Muncie Race Report

This is a long race report, but Powerman Muncie Duathlon was an experience. I signed up for it early in the season, partly because I thought getting ready for this would help me be ready for the Monumental Marathon a month later, and partly for the Aerocat bike drawing they were having after the race. This is a sweet ride, one which I can't possibly afford, as it was decked out with Zipp everything. This ride was worth $10,000. So, I was influenced to sign up early. Anyway, I didn't do near enough to prepare for this race (story of my life). Seriously. My bike shoes were still in the pedals from the Fishers Triathlon two weeks earlier. I only rode 63 miles in September, and 94 in August. My running mileage was off for September as well. But this race would still be fun, though maybe a sufferfest. I had targeted 3:35 as a finish goal, thinking it realistic and achievable. I talked a buddy (Dave - his blog) into the race as well, as he has a solid training base after Ironman Louisville. These events are always more fun to share with a friend. I didn't expect it to be a shared war story. There were three options for the Powerman Muncie:sprint 5k/20k/5k, Olympic 10k/40k/10k, and Powerman 10k/60k/10k. We signed up for the Powerman distance.

Race Day

The start time was pushed out about forty minutes due to the pro race being moved up to the start of the event. This gave us even more time to look at the field against who we'd be competing. Unlike local sprint events that have folks from all levels, from weekend warriors to elites, this was different. We weren't close to anything, competing in a harder event. There were expensive bikes and Zipp wheels everywhere. There were no overweight people. These people had trained. I felt so outclassed. Having had sinus "glue" issues for a couple of days didn't make me feel better either.

It was cold, and was going to stay cold. The temp was low 50s, which is great for running, but not so great for a ride. I purchased Pearl Izumi thermal arm warmers just two days prior, thinking I'd need them on the bike. I think they saved my life (certainly my race), but more on this later. Dave was checking the weather radar, and my quick glance made me look away like I had seen something terrible, which I had. The radar showed a solid weather front coming our way, hitting us about the time we would be starting the race. It was ugly, and about the size of Texas. We were going to be rained on, in 52 degree weather, while half naked. Terrific.

The professional race started, and we listened to their progress during their first run. They were running a smoldering pace, and would finish the first run around 32 minutes. Holy smokes these guys are fast. Meanwhile, we were trying to stay warm in the car. I was trying to get another potty break in, but the movement wasn't with me; I was too cold. I just hoped the one I had earlier in the morning would be sufficient. I knew there was more, but hoped a wave wouldn't hit me, as I had very recent issues with the "wave" being undeniable during a run, forcing me to become one with nature. As it came time to line up at the start, I decided to wear my arm warmers for the first run too. I thought they'd be too warm for this, but didn't want to mess with them at T1. If I got too warm, I'd pull them down to my wrists. While milling about, I saw a guy I see at every race. Every one of them. He's an older guy, and wears the same race suit every time. I was going to go talk to him to finally ask his story, but I ran out of time.

The Race

Run #1 10k 45:42 7:23/mi

The start was fast, and crowded (all distances started together). I was trying to break through to an open spot, which took about a mile. I had already pulled my arm warmers down to my wrists, when I started feeling the first drops of rain. Dave popped in next to me and we ran together for another mile, when he pulled ahead. My heart rate was 168, and being a long race, I was pushing too hard. My HR would go even higher if I tried to stay with him. I stayed within about 50m of him, and started "chatting" with the two people by me. Before long, I realized I had lost focus, and Dave was 100m+ ahead. Get back in the race! I kept a steady pace for the rest of the run, but started feeling a "movement" starting to churn. This is one of my worst fears for a race. First, having to stop and pooh, while the clock is ticking, is not good for PR. Second, and far worse, I don't even like to pee in a Porta Potty. Now I had to pooh, and in a heavily used (pre-race) facility. I considered waiting for another down course, while on the bike, but 1) I didn't know if there would be one, and 2) this couldn't wait.


1 - 6:52
2 - 7:12
3 - 7:08
4 - 7:42
5 - 7:38
6 - 7:25
.2 - 1:46

T1 3:37

I put on my helmet and glasses, changed shoes, stuffed my gloves in my arm sleeve, grabbed my bike and headed to the Porta Potty halfway towards the T1 exit. I saw Dave, as he had finished his run in 44:07, and was on his way out. I hit the facility, and it was bad. I was being timed, and wanted to get away from the horror as quickly as possible. Fortunately, what need to happen did so, and quickly. But now there was no paper. WTF!!! I have always heard to bring paper, and to leave it for good karma. But this advice is pre-race. I wasn't carrying a roll. Panic? There's two wrapper from rolls of paper. They'll have to do. Finish up, hand sanitizer (thank God), and get the hell out of Dodge.

The Bike 60k 1:56:59 19.7 mph

By now the rain was getting heavier, but I wasn't yet noticing it too much. The wind was in my face, and I was trying to get settled in. As I looked at the Clif Shot Blocks in the snack bag stuffed in the top of my Aerodrink container, I thought that I should stuff it in my pocket. One mile later the thought was moot, as a bump bounced it out and it was gone. Okay, I'm stupid, but did bring extra nutrition and should be fine. I had two gels on the bike, and two in my GelBot. I also had my Aerodrink filled with GU Electrolyte Brew, which I had never tried (yes, I know, no new stuff on race day). I was thirsty, but the stuff wasn't going down as easy as I had hoped. The rain was picking up, and as I hit the westbound leg could really see it. The pavement was new, so there was more water on the surface. My feet were soaked, but I could feel the water washing through my shoes. Good thing there were drain holes. I passed a couple of people, and was passed by some others, but overall didn't see many people on the course. Starting lap two (of three), I saw my heart rate data was kaput. Figures. I thought about changing the battery yesterday, but decided not to, since it wasn't in very long. It was probably getting close to time to change, but the cold killed it. And I thought how nice it would be if I had signed up for the Oly; this would have been my last lap. The rain was really coming down now, and mentally I was on borrowed time. I tend to check out while racing, so much so that even simple math challenges me. I still had my gloves (soaking wet) stuffed in my sleeve, and hadn't consumed near enough calories. I hit the GelBot, which worked great, having slightly thinned the gel when I loaded it. It was just hard to hold the bottle, since my fingers weren't very functional. Coming around the middle of lap two, the hills were taking a toll. I made it around to start lap three, and had to focus on getting some fluid in me. I finished the 2nd gel in the GelBot, the Gu Brew, and most of my water. I looked at the two other gels, and though I knew I needed them, couldn't work it out on how to open one and wash it down. It was too hard. The final hills killed my pace, and standing to pedal was not helpful. Previous climbs I had made the rear wheel slip. Not now. And it was really raining. I was freezing, and couldn't wait to run just so I could warm up. I was so glad I had the arm warmers. I figured I must be in last place, and that the SAG wagon would be behind me soon. The end of the ride was coming, just a few more miles.

T2 2:13

Getting to the end of the bike, I was relieved and tried to run to my spot on the rack, but I was just kind of hopping. I saw Dave in T2, and thought I still had a chance to beat him. I was surprised, as I thought he'd be way ahead, not having seen anyone for some time on the bike. I ditched my stuff, and tried to put my running shoes back on. My fingers weren't functioning, and I struggled to get my second shoe on, as the top by the heel had rolled, and I couldn't easily fix it. Once corrected, I ran (or tried to) run for the exit.

Run #2 10k 50:09 8:06/mi

Exiting T2, I found I couldn't feel my feet. It felt like my feet were hard bricks. I concentrated on just keeping my feet moving, hoping I'd warm up soon. I was scared that I might fall on my face, because I wasn't very controlled. I had passed Dave and was passing others. Everyone else had numb feet as well. Mile 1 was crazy slow, and seeing the split I was surprised, since I actually thought I was like, moving... I started feeling my feet in mile 2, but only in a way that made it feel like there was a block of wood under 1/2 of the outer edge of each foot. I saw Dave again after the turnaround, and by mile four had warmed enough to not be cold any longer. At mile 4.5ish, I hit the last turn, and was surprised enough to make a double take: Dave was hot on my heels. I was running a semi comfortable pace, and he had hit the jets of pain (and had to have been for the last two miles). I tried to lag behind him for a bit, but he was going too fast. He was going to beat me. I was beginning to feel the outer edge of a bonk. I'd finish okay, but there was little left in the tank. I hit the finish chute and Dave was at the end with a bottle of water for me. He'd gained a minute on me in the last 1.5 miles. He dug deep for that.


1 - 10:44
2 - 8:03
3 - 7:41
4 - 8:12
5 - 8:08
6 - 7:53
.2 - 1:42

Epilogue finish time 3:38:37

Within two minutes of finishing, I was freezing again, and shaking. We grabbed some of the hot pizza they were offering, and went to the car. I don't like to eat after a race, but hot anything was welcome. My finish time of 3:38:37 was a little slower than my goal. Dave beat me by 1:29. Maybe if I hadn't stopped for a nature break... I was spent, mentally and physically, and struggled to just figure out how to get changed and the bikes loaded. We loaded the bikes and went to the park's changing area/restroom to change. It helped to get into dry clothes, but I was still freezing and shaking. Dave headed back before me, as I was moving kind of slow. When I got back to the car, I didn't see Dave, but got in the car to warm up. A few minutes later Dave knocked on the window to say they called my name for an award; I was second in my age group. Huh? No way. By a strange twist of fate, the really fast people (like Smitty), signed up for the elite class to be eligible for prize money, and I was the beneficiary of some of them vacating my age group. Sweet! I got a "trophy" which is unique: a mason jar with printed stuff on it. Cool. We waited about 30 minutes for the Aerocat to be raffled. Well, we didn't win it. That would have rocked, but all in all, it was a good day, even though it was a brutal experience.

It just helps us to be better next time. This was a great race and I recommend it to everyone looking for a well-organized race at a reasonable price.

Next race: 11/6 Monumental Marathon

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Cancer Free Lungs 5K race report

20:13 4th overall, 1st AG 59 people

Sunny, 55 degrees

The course was the same as last year. There were a few folks at the start that looked like they were going to run a 17 minute 5k. The race started and I quickly settled into a rhythm. I couldn't hang with the lead pack (three people), but paid no attention as they pulled away. As I approached one of the few turns on the course, I realized the lead group had missed the turn. I didn't see them, an began to doubt my understanding of the course. I stuck with my gut, and as I approached 131st Street, realized I was correct. The lead group was heading my way to then turn around at a point 100m or more behind me. They were not happy, and running very fast. It wasn't long before they caught me again and opened the lead to 100m. As they almost missed the next turn, I yelled ahead for them to turn. The course markings were more clear at this point. As I approached a section that goes through the woods, a guy passed me wearing Vibram "shoes"; these are the newest rage in barefoot or minimalist running. This put four people in front of me. Looking at my watch, I saw my heart rate was too low. I wasn't pushing hard enough. Without having someone in front to catch, or behind pushing, it's harder to push at the highest level. Last year I was at my redline at the end of this race. This year I wasn't pushing as hard, since I was basically running alone. So, as I approached the finish and saw the clock, I knew the course had to be a little short. I finished in 20:13; my effort level felt more like a 21+. I figure it was just about 3 miles.

The odd thing is I finished 4th overall, which means one of the people ahead of me was a bandit runner. I can see someone being a bandit on a huge or restricted entry race (though still wrong), but this was small race (59 people) which is a fundraiser for a cancer group. And an entry fee of $20, with chip timing and a t-shirt. Cheapskate.