Sunday, November 13, 2011

Monumental Marathon Race Report

So much for having a good race. I was cooking along well until mile 19, then at mile 20 the wheels fell off. I simply cratered. There really isn't much I can say, except I was not trained for the distance. But it wasn't all bad.

The expo was okay, though clearly not on the scale I saw at Big Sur, which was worth visiting every day for the good stuff that was free. The Flying Pig was also decent. But I really don't care much about the expo anyway. Check-in was a breeze, and I was quickly on my way to see what interesting stuff was around. I did see running legend Bill Rodgers at one of the tables, and picked up some shot blocks at the Runner's Forum "booth" which saved me a stop on my way home.

I ate well during the week, and had a decent night's sleep. I awoke and had my normal pre-race meal: oatmeal, bagel, peanut butter, and coffee. I arrived at the venue an hour before the start, and hung out at the Westin. I liked that there were corrals this time, though given my finish it didn't really matter...

The race started well, and I was able to move freely the entire time. There were no walkers or slow people around me, and the congestion was clear in the first half mile. Very cool. The temperature was such that I dumped my $4 Goodwill fleece before I got to Lucas Oil stadium and was beginning to question my Pearl Izumi arm sleeves. These I pulled down around mile 3. I was running comfortably and pretty steady, finally settling in at about mile 10. I realized I was going too fast, though to get a BQ again I'd have to average 7:49. I actually PR'd the first half, getting a 1:41:09, which leads me to believe I could have run a 1:38 or better, had I chosen the half marathon and entered the pain cave.

But by mile 17, the soles of my feet were beginning to hurt, and I was struggling to consume anything. Throughout the whole race, I consumed one gel, and six Clif Shot Blocks, all before the 1st half. I didn't have anything after that. My stomach and mouth would not have it.

Around mile 20, I was passed by a guy - actually at this point I was passed by at least a hundred people - but he commented on the cross I had on my back. He said, "God bless you" and gave me a fist bump, telling me he was in a dark place and it had lifted his spirit. I was glad to hear it, as it was the sole purpose for putting it there, as I had also been inspired seeing similar things in the past.

During the last six miles, I had to walk some, as shown by my pace. My feet hurt, and I didn't have the energy to run. Mentally I was spent and just wanted to get to the end. I had someone pass me and said, "Come on." She was also in distress, but I appreciated the kick in the rear. I ran for a bit, but the legs did not want to go with the rhythm. It was like I had forgotten the normal breathing rate, which had been a normal 3-step the entire time (until the meltdown),

Anyway, I finished the race at 3:48:08, a lousy finish for me. While the 1st half was a 1:41, the second half was 2:07. Ugly. And much of that loss was in the last six miles.

But hey, along with the finisher medal was a stocking cap. Sweet! And Jimmy Johns was giving away Scooby snacks too. I wasn't hungry, but saved it for later.

Overall, I learned something this race, as I always do. This was number 7 full marathon for me. When and where will number 8 be?

My splits:

Mi split HR
1 7:20 156
2 7:28 160
3 7:39 160
4 7:34 160
5 8:01 160
6 7:28 159
7 7:34 161
8 7:41 162
9 7:53 162
10 7:50 160
11 8:04 158
12 7:49 159
13 7:59 160
14 7:52 159
15 8:10 158
16 8:13 161
17 9:09 157
18 8:27 156
19 8:50 155
20 9:13 152
21 10:44 138
22 11:20 135
23 11:31 134
24 10:39 142
25 11:23 142
26 10:28 144
0.2 1:58 158

Sunday, October 9, 2011

A Cruel Two Seconds

Two seconds isn't generally anything to worry about, but sometimes it makes all the difference in the world. Here is a video of some close calls:

But here is an image of where two seconds really hurts. After all of the time and pain, the finish missed the closing window and it does not count. No finisher's medal. Just 17+ hours of pain and suffering, ending with a DNF and a huge bill for staying in Kona all week.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Powerman Muncie Race Report

Powerman Muncie 10k/61.8k/10k

Well I booked another sufferfest that is Powerman Muncie. The Tomboni team has a talent for having cruel and diabolical conditions, and this year did not disappoint. Last year was like 48 degrees and pouring rain. This year was dry - and windy. Really windy. So much so there were whitecaps on the lake. The poor folks who were signed up for the triathlon were going to suffer. The wind, whitecaps, and cold water (wetsuits mandatory) were guaranteed brutality, and clearly it was going to be too much. The Oly distance swim was cut to 400m for the safety of the competitors. Still, I understand many people required the assistance of the kayak safety crews.

And this wasn't in my head. Comments from the pros who won:

Returning female Champion Michelle Parson won the 2011 race with a time 3:18 on the 10k/61.8k/10k course.

After winning, Parsons said "The winds were incredible today and worse than the rain in 2010."

The same sentiment was shared by the 2011 Powerman Muncie men's champion Ryan Guliano (2:50). "Wow, the first half of each lap was brutal to say the least."

I signed up for this last December, as the memory from last year had faded enough that I forgot how much I suffered... (last year's race report) My buddy Dave (his race report here) also signed up, but for the Olympic tri. My preparation for this race was not good. I had not been on my bike in a month, and it showed. At least I'd logged some running miles (about 100) in September.

I prepped for the race with my usual pre-race meal of oatmeal, a bagel, peanut butter, and coffee. Thankfully the coffee worked to get things moving, so I wouldn't have to deal with it in T1 like last year. The weather was crisp and cold (mid 30s, but at least it was dry. I went to the start wearing my arm sleeves and bike gloves. I figured I'd pull the gloves off, and push the sleeves down a couple of miles into the run.

Run #1 10k 46:11 (7:27 avg) 28th

As usual, I went out [too] fast to simply try to get to an open zone to settle in. The first 2.5k is shared with the shorter course people, so it's a little crowded, but not too bad. Looking at my watch at mile 1, I saw 6:50 and knew I had to slow down. It was going to happen anyway, but I needed to get under control. Last year I had done a 5k and a sprint tri the two weeks prior to this race, so I had some measure on pacing for speed. I didn't this year, plus I was not as fit as last year when I ran 45:42 (7:23 avg). I was steadier and more even. But overall, I was satisfied with the first 10k.

My splits:

Mile Time HR
1 6:50 157
2 7:19 157
3 7:28 165
4 7:50 165
5 7:38 167
6 7:20 166
.2 1:46 168

T1 2:20

Uneventful, especially since I didn't have to hit the port-potty like last year. I had 3:36 last year. Did I actually poop in 1:16 last year? No way. I was much slower this year, as I had taken my gloves off and stuffed them down my back to store them. One was stuck under my tank top and I wasted nearly 20 seconds getting it. At least it was easy to find my bike, thanks not only to being on the first rack, but to the bright neon yellow of my TMat Pro. In a mindless state, it makes finding my stuff a little easier.

Bike 61.8k 2:04:57 (18.4 avg) 28th

Even with miserable conditions last year, I still had 1:56:59 (19.7 avg). This time the wind was brutal, and when combined with my lack of bike fitness, I was much slower. I found myself getting sleepy on the ride, after finally escaping the hard southerly wind on each lap. But I had my gloves and was only a little cold. I did actually find myself dehydrated, having consumed two bottles of water. Once again, I found that I knew I needed to consume more calories, but it was too much of a mental challenge. I think I only had 1.5 Roctane from my Gelbot (which I had thinned, but was still too viscous due to the cold, and three Clif Shot Bloks - so about 250 calories total. But I was fading, as you can see in the splits:

Mile Time HR

lap 1 39:35 147
lap 2 41:02 141
lap 3 44:02 145

T2 1:48

At least I was faster than the 2:13 of last year. And I could for the most part, feel my feet. Last year they were so cold I couldn't feel them, and worried about falling on my face.

Run #2 10k 51:35 (8:20 avg) 22nd

And this is where the reduced fitness shows. I ran 50:09 (8:06 avg) last year, and that's with a 10 min mile 1. At least I was pretty steady. As I approached mile 4, I simply wanted to finish. I was catching up to a guy, and I wanted to see age written on his leg. This would help me decide if it was worth the pain of trying to beat him. As I got close, I saw he was 43, so I just lurked a bit, not really caring about it. But then I reconsidered, as I wanted at least a better position in the overall standings. At mile 5 I had my chance. He slowed down to get water, and I passed him then sped up, trying to open a gap that he wouldn't be interested in closing. But the last 1.2 miles of the course are hilly. He kept pushing me, closing the gap. At mile 6 is the final hill and then a finish chute. All I could think was he is really close, and the distance to go is barely longer than the length of the street I live on. I had to look back in the last 30 meters, and was satisfied he would not catch me in time. I beat him by 4 seconds.

My splits:

Mile Time HR

1 8:11 151
2 8:11 154
3 8:11 153
4 8:48 153
5 8:38 156
6 8:04 158
.2 1:29 163

Finish 3:46:48 26th overall, 3rd in AG

I am disappointed with my time, though I understand why I was slower. I had a 3:38:37 last year, with much worse conditions and a long T1. I had five people in my age group, but two were on the podium and reduced to pool (I was still last). The guys faster than me weren't just a little fast. They were smoldering fast. Next year I will do better.

Monday, September 26, 2011

No Boston Marathon for me

With the new registration process I still qualified, but slots were filled by fastest in age group. Given my qualifying time of 3:30:24 (which was 35 seconds from the qualifying cutoff), the registration cutoff ended up at 3:28:46. I missed getting in by 0:1:38. Under the new standards, for me to qualify again, I have to get 3:25:00 max, but it looks more like 3:20, to be on the bubble, and 3:14:59 for a sure thing. Then again, will everyone who qualified this time be able to reduce their times by 5-10 minutes? I don't think so. I might still have a chance at 3:24, the theory being the last two minutes of qualifiers got cut from registration, and the more stringent times will reduce the pool.

Yea, whatever. If I actually trained for these things I might actually get in. Maybe 2013, if I can get my act together in the next month. Powerman is this weekend, and then I have a month to work on speed. We shall see.

And just to clarify, I am not upset with being squeezed out by faster runners. It's only fair; they earned it.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Eagle Creek Sprint Triathlon (Duathlon)

I chose to do the duathlon at the last minute for two reasons: 1) I have not been swimming much, and 2) I figured I could do well in the duathlon.  The race was a 2 mile/10 mile/3 mile format, with legs two and three identical with the triathlon.

Run #1 (2 mi) 13:58 1st

Though I was 1st, my speed was slower from where I should be at this time of year.  The first 1/3 mile is uphill, and I nearly stopped at one point trying to understand where the course went, but with 6:47 and 7:11 miles, I was a minute slower than what I'd like.

T1 1:56 8th

What the heck happened here?  I did stumble a bit by taking the long way out of transition, but that couldn't have cost me more than 15 seconds. 1st was 1:06.

The Bike (10 mi) 29:31 20.3mph avg 1st

The course is hilly, but there are some fast sections.  Last year I was 29:12.  I need to practice hammering.  I am simply not riding enough.  It really helped when I was able to ride to work.

T2 1:28 4th

I just tried to be quick...

Run #2 (3 mi) 23:35 7:52 avg 2nd

Last year I ran this in 22:48.  I am just not as fit as I was.  I was running in zone 4 HR, but I have yet to find the drive to enter a pain cave of redlining.  Splits were 8:08/8:02/7:28.  I either need to be chasing, or being chased.  Something to work on.

Result 1:10:28 1st overall

It's an overall win, but honestly, the field was not very deep, and I should have done better.  Powerman Muncie duathlon (10k/60k/10k) is on 1 October, and I have much to do to be prepared for this sufferfest.  My goal is to beat last year's time of 3:38ish, though it seems a bit unrealistic at this point.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Tri Indy

I signed up for the duathlon (2 mi/20k/5k), and arrived a bit unprepared, as I had not picked up my race packet in advance, and left little time for prep. I was starting a bit fatigued, having been in the Cicero triathlon the day before, but primarily due to the CASA relay ride not much more than twelve hours prior. I rode about 38 miles in high heat and wind, didn't get much sleep, and was a bit fatigued.

Run #1 (2 mi) 14:47 31st
My legs weren't there, and I felt tired. I should have cut 45sec-1min off this. It was really humid, and I was already hot and soaked at mile 1. I just kept going as I thought about the course.

T1 1:14 41st


The Bike (20k) 34:54 19th 21.4mph avg

I just hammered the best I could. There were times I slowed down, but after being passed by people whom I had already passed sparked me back into the race. My legs were tired. The course was smooth most of the way.

T2 1:23 36th

Run #2 (5k) 24:40 20th 7:57 pace
I ran alone most of the way, though some people I passed were about a minute behind and appeared to be closing the gap. My goal was to avoid getting "chicked." The odd thing about this whole race was my inability to push my pace. My effort seemed high, but I could not get my heart rate beyond the bottom range of zone 4. My pain cave is in zone 5, and I can get mid-170s, just not today. Must have been the fatigue.

Result 1:16:58 1st in age group (m45-49)

I won my age group, and was 14th overall (131 total field). It worked out okay, though I should have been faster. Still, it's nearly six minutes faster than the last time I raced here.

Cicero Triathlon Race Report

I signed up for this race on a whim. I have not trained well for anything, as there have been too many work/life things that have kept me from any routine. Going into this race, I have not been swimming all year... I was shamed into signing up by some friends. Never mind that I had another event the same day, and two more on Sunday. I was riding a two-hour leg of a 24-hour relay Saturday, and another Sunday, with the Tri-Indy (duathlon) sandwiched in between. But this was a short race (.2 mi/9.5 mi/3.1 mi), so why not??

The race started in three waves: Wave 1 was men younger than 40, wave 2 was men older than 40, and wave 3 was all women. My goal this race was to simply not get "chicked" by the women starting 5 minutes behind me. Some may better my time, but I didn't want to get passed.

Overall, I think I had a decent performance.

The Swim (.2 mi) 7:49 128th 2:26 pace

Slow, as I expected. Not much to say, except training does actually help...

T1 1:48

I easily found my stuff, mainly due to my TMat Pro, with it's dayglo yellow color. I might have shaved 20-30 seconds, but that takes practice.

The Bike (9.5mi) 26:55 45th 21.2mph avg

I liked the course. It was smooth and fast and I was passing people the whole time (and was passed as well).

T2 1:05

The Run (3.1 mi) 22:53 57th 7:23 pace

I should have been faster on the run, but I had a stitch for about half of it, and didn't get into a groove until the last mile. I was then ready to hammer it over a longer distance, just too late.

Result 1:00:28

55/282 overall

13/33 in age group (m45-49)

I know I can shave time from this race. Next year...

And I didn't get "chicked."

Blacksnake Duathlon

I competed in the 26th annual Blacksnake Duathlon on July 16th. This was my third time here, and though this is about the smallest, no frills race I can find ($25), it's also one of my favorites. This used to be a three-race series, but low participation has cut it back to one race. The field is also smaller each time, and I wonder if there will be a 27th annual race.

It's a sprint duathlon, with a longer ride: 2mi/20mi/2.5mi. The run course is not scenic, but flat. The bike course is a bit hilly at first, but most of it is smooth, and very fast in sections. Being in the middle of nowhere, there is little traffic, and the traffic control (intersections) is excellent.

I went to this race not at all prepared, having barely ridden my bike this year. In fact, my training has been terrible, as it consists of getting a run when I can. I figured I'd just try to have fun. I thought I'd also try out my Gelbot again (it worked well). I thought my goal of beating last year's time of 1:30:57 was not realistic, but I'd give it a shot.

Run #1 13:18 (2 mi)

I went out steady and tried to keep an even pace. There were some fast people out there, but I found a couple of people to stick with. This was still tough, as I watched my heart rate tick into zone 5 during the second mile.

T1 0:53

The transition area is small, and I found that my Tmat Pro mat was muck better than the towel I had been using. It is smooth and easy to spot.

Bike 59:44 (20 mi)

I was hoping for a better time on the bike, but the wind was not in my favor. The northbound leg is generally very fast and you can really hammer on it, but wind (and lack of training) slowed me a bit. Still, I think it went okay.

T2 1:16

I was a little confused on the exit, but mainly due to being in a mental fog.

Run #2 17:10 (2.5 mi)

I was pretty much alone on the run. There were people ahead of me, but really far ahead, and there was no way I'd even be able to get close. And there wasn't anyone catching up to me. I settled into a pace and though I could have gone a little faster, lacked the will and motivation to enter the pain cave of a zone 5 sustained effort (redlining). I can't seem to be able to do this, unless I am chasing someone or a time. Given we all started at the same time, changing my speed wasn't going to change my position.

Results 1:32:19 2nd in AG

I still placed, and weeks later the official results still are not posted online. I suspect my field was very small...

Friday, August 5, 2011

Races and updates

I have been too busy to write anything lately, but I was in the Blacksnake duathlon a few weeks ago, and have yet to write a race report. I will say I was a little slower than last year (a minute I think), but I did get 2nd in my age group (the field was small).

I have a busy weekend, having signed up for three events: Saturday morning is the Cicero Triathlon (sprint), followed by a 24-hour cycling relay supporting CASA for Kids, and during that I am in the Tri-Indy (duathlon) Sunday morning (I am riding a two-hour leg Saturday and another on Sunday).

I'll post an update when I have a chance.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

RIP Sadie 2004-2011

We really miss you. We did everything we could, yet the outcome was unexpected. Though the doctor gave you a 50/50 chance, I really thought you were coming home.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Carmel Marathon Race Report

This was marathon number 6 for me. I don't know why I sign up for these things in the spring, since I can't seem to get ready for them. The hard winter and later back pain really delayed my training. Realistically, if not for that it would have been something else. Anyway, I was delusional about what I did to get ready for the 2010 Monumental Marathon, in that I didn't seem to remember the long runs I had completed. I may have not had any structure last October (I didn't), but I did log necessary miles. This time I had just one long run, and I didn't start logging decent miles and training until May.

So why was I doing this race? I signed up for it last summer. Why would a person who usually waits until the final days before the price increase sign up six or eight months before necessary? To use it as motivation to train well in the off season, ensuring better preparedness for the race, ensuring another BQ? Nope. To get a low bib number... That's just plain stupid, and I am not saying anything more about it.

As I entered race week, my plan was to get a run or two in, eat well, hydrate, and get rest. My race strategy was to simply not suffer, and to finish under four hours. Further, I wanted to minimize the post-marathon recovery, as this is the beginning of the du/tri season, and I have other events I want to do in June and July, yet have not spent any time in the pool or on the bike. How did my plan go? I managed to eat well, hydrate, and get one run in. Rest was a bust, including the night before the race. I was glad to at least have my weight in the range where I wanted (154), as useless lbs make a difference over distance.

Packet pick up and Expo

Packet pickup was simple and efficient, after which I toured the expo. I don't know why I even bother at the expos, since I generally don't purchase anything. I just look to see if there is anything that interests me. The Big Sur Marathon expo was awesome, as it went for days, was huge, with all kinds of free stuff. The Flying Pig marathon was also pretty good, huge, and with useful free stuff. Last year's Monumental wasn't bad either, though I didn't see much of interest. The Carmel Marathon expo was small, but had the usual players you'd expect. But I did see one that interested me: St Vincent has an anti-gravity treadmill. And they were giving out coupons to promote it. I learned there are three of these in the city. I simply have to try it. And the cost for future visits isn't bad. There was a bit of irony in all of this: my reason for signing up early. I don't think I had a low bib number (unless the numbers started at 5,000, which is entirely possible).

Race Day

I woke up around 4:30, and made my usual pre-race meal: oatmeal, bagel, peanut butter, and coffee. I had my race gear out the night before, and quickly got things ready to go. As a member of Falkee Triathlon, I had some body stickers to apply, but found the ones applied to my arm and legs did not stay on long enough to even make it to my car (I tried, Ryan - same thing happened at Geist). Though I left the house a bit later than planned, I arrived at the race site about 30 minutes before the race. Parking was easy and uneventful. The walk to the start was maybe ½ mile. I found the line to the facilities to purge some of the fluids I had consumed, and while waiting ran into an old buddy, Steve Martin, whom I haven't seen in years. Crazy stories of Spring Break Fort Lauderdale 1985 were going through my head after I saw him. I will not endeavor to repeat those here.

I headed to the start line and lined up around the 3:40 pacers - not that I was using the pacers. There was a half marathon starting at the same time, and it seemed most of the people were in this group. Note to race directors: I like differentiation in the bibs between events. The single line color and name difference isn't much. Why does it even matter? Vanity. When the full and half courses join again at mile 12, sharing until mile 17 or so before splitting again, then joining again in the final couple of miles, I keep catching the walkers and don't want there to be any question as to why I look red-faced, sweaty, and perhaps a bit uncomfortable, as I pass a 250lb person on the short course. Does it really matter? Of course not. It's stupid on my part, but I'm running a long course, and I want credit for it - from people I don't know, or will ever see, who wouldn't even notice different bib colors. I know. Stupid.

The Race 3:48:54

The race started on time, and I was close enough to the front that things moved out pretty quickly. The field opened up enough in the first ½ mile where I had room to maneuver and find a spot. I found myself passing people for the first mile, and just settled in for a long race. The first mile went by at 7:39, which I knew was too fast, but we had been going slightly downhill. When mile 2 split at 7:34 I thought, "What the heck am I doing?" I needed to slow down. And then the next at 7:52. I knew this would be a problem. I wanted to run in the 8:50 range, but it wasn't happening. As the race progressed, I did slow down. It just happened naturally... One of the problems for me running slower is this: I have a natural stride length and cadence/leg turnover. For me to slow down (or speed up), one of these has to change. Shortening the stride tends to start bothering my hips over distance, and slowing the cadence too much is bouncy, wastes energy, and is hard on the knees due to braking. So how do I maintain stride length and leg turnover? Training, which means in this case I can't maintain it. Eventually, the form and stride degrade into a geriatric shuffle. Well, maybe not that bad, but running efficiency goes out the window when fatigue increases. Which makes the second half of the race interesting... And I mean second half in the sense the first half is 20 miles. The second half is a 10k.

I have to say I really liked the course, with just a few areas of concern (though not worth mentioning specifics). It was pretty flat, open, and nice. I used to live in Carmel, but the course went places I've never seen. The volunteers were plentiful, and I was thankful for so many water stops. I had a drink at almost every one of them. I was thankful for the weather having cooled due to an overnight storm. The sun was behind the clouds for most of the race, except for the last two or three miles. I did see a traffic control issue when some dingbat woman pulled her minivan onto the course and attempted to drive through the runners. She was supposed to cross over the northbound race course on Carey Road, then turn south. Pretty obvious with the cones and runners. Nope. She turned north into the runners and tried to drive through them. I was about 100 meters behind her, and almost caught up, as she couldn't get around some of the people, since they were not moving over for her. Moron. I had almost reached her with the intent of yelling at her through her driver's window when she decided to bail out and turn into a neighborhood.

The miles were ticking by, and my pace seemed to be okay. I did the math in my head and thought I could finish comfortably around 3:45 or so. I was consuming Clif Shot Blocks every 30 minutes or so, and had a Roctane as well. A funny thing happened around mile 9: I suffered an injury, caused by a Shot Block. I popped one in my mouth and as I tried to chew it popped my jaw. It hurt on the right side enough that I couldn't chew for a while. And my jaw hurt for the next two days. Really.

The rest of the race was uneventful, though I walked for a minute on two occasions to try to stretch my hip flexor. I never had any dark places, as I have had in other races. I felt pretty good. The speed wasn't there due to lack of training, but I was okay. And I never pushed my heart rate. Final time 3:48:54 (8:44 average pace).

My splits:

mi lap HR
1 7:39 149
2 7:34 153
3 7:52 152
4-5 16:16 154
6 7:58 156
7 7:40 153
8 9:08 151
9 8:22 151
10 8:25 152
11 8:24 152
12 8:22 153
13 8:39 154
14 8:42 155
15 8:22 157
16 8:32 158
17 8:50 158
18 9:14 156
19 9:08 157
20 9:15 155
21 9:33 152
22 10:37 143
23 9:37 151
24 9:23 154
25 10:24 149
26 9:21 155
0.2 1:42 166


Every previous race had some level of soreness or sensitivity on Monday. This time was different. I had a little sensitivity, but felt good enough to go running. I might have been different had I pushed harder, but I have felt fine all week.

So what's next? I am already signed up for Powerman Muncie (10k/60k/10k), and the Monumental Marathon. I am trying to figure out the others. I am planning on the Blacksnake Duathlon, and a couple of the Eagle Creek sprint triathlons. I am also looking at Tri Indy, provided I am back from a trip in time. And a big one on 9/11: Rev 3 70.3 Cedar Point. I am also planning on the Fishers tri and Cancer Free Lungs 5k. We'll see what I can swing this year.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Geist Half Marathon Race Report

My report, along with any other information, is very late, as I have been just too busy with other stuff, especially with my new position at work. My "training" has been lacking, though the back issue seems completely gone. That was months of chronic pain.

So, this was my fourth Geist mini (of four held), and I always like this race. First, it is well-organized, with lots of volunteers. Second, it is not too crowded. And third, it is my home course. I regularly run the lake, and even when I don't, my shorter runs share about 3-4 miles of the same course.

And how did it go? On Thursday evening prior to the race, I started to get a sore throat before I left work. By the time I got home, it really hurt. On Friday I didn't feel so hot either. It probably didn't help that I hadn't had more than 5-6 hours of sleep each night for the previous ten days either. I woke up on race morning and had my ritual of pre-race oatmeal, bagel, peanut butter, and coffee. I wasn't feeling terrible, but not so hot either. I actually felt a bit nauseous, and my throat was hurting. Not much I could do about it. After parking and finding my way to the start, I waited for a long time to use a porta potty, and barely made it to the start in time. I had planned on using the trees and woodline, but there is a new fence making this all but impossible. I wasn't in a hurry either, but I cut it a bit too close, as I made it to my starting corral with less than five minutes to go. This was the first year for corrals, which I liked. Had I been that late before, I would have started way back.

My plan for this race was to not push it hard, as I had a full marathon two weeks later (later look at the calendar made me realize I had three weeks), and being at least two months behind in training to be ready, I wanted to make this a training run. Alas, the race started and I just ran a pace by feel, which means I was going faster than I should have gone. I didn't care, I thought I'd just go, and see what happened. The miles were ticking by, and I just couldn't help think about my ability to hold a pace on a full marathon. My endurance base has not recovered from the long wither and back injury. This should have been an easier race. Not that I was suffering, but I recognize the higher effort for the given speed. My lack of sleep and slight illness probably didn't help either, but my fitness has clearly slipped.

The race was uneventful, and my splits are below. I wall also mention it was warm and humid, which has a definite effect. My finish time of 1:43;38 is consistent with my previous races here (1:42;12, 1:46;08, 1:44:37). What was different is I was tired when I got home. Yet another sign of my endurance base slippage.

As far as the race organization, packet pick-up was super smooth, and the change to a short sleeve shirt appears to be the remedy to all previous race long-sleeve shirts being too small. I had resorted to getting an XL, just to have sleeves that almost reach my wrists (no exaggeration). The expo was just okay, and there was no schwag bag (a little disappointment). The busses to the start, and then from the finish back to the parking area, were quick and had friendly drivers. There were plenty of volunteers on the course, and there was never an issue or inconvenience getting water. There was enertainment on the course, which is always cool. All in all, this is still one of my favorite races.

Final time 1:43:38

mile time HR
1 7:24 153
2 7:24 162
3 7:36 162
4 7:35 164
5 7:56 166
6 8:04 164
7 7:49 164
8 8:17 165
9 8:08 167
10 8:16 167
11 8:17 167
12 8:19 168
13 7:48 171
.1 0.48 174

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Delayed Race Season

Well, today should have been the kickoff to my race season, but my light November, followed but a paltry December and January (ice), and then made worse with the back issues I had, meat racing today would have not only wasted my $, but burned a race marker. Further, I'd have just felt bad with the result, as my time would have merely confirmed what I already know. I was not prepared. I haven't been swimming or biking.

That said, the back thing is much better, and though not completely gone, doesn't seem to hinder me. What I do have is hip flexor issues, which extend into IT band issues. I think this is caused by the six mile daily walks at work, with huge clunky work boots. I have to stretch at work four or five times per day.

So, I have simply delayed the start of my season. I am signed up for a few races already, and will pick others as the calendar progresses. My revised list is this:

  • Energy2Action duathlon*
  • Energy2Action Time trial
  • **Geist mini-marathon (already signed up)
  • **Carmel Marathon (already signed up)
  • Blacksnake Duathlon*
  • Indianapolis Sprint triathlon
  • Energy2Action Time trial*
  • Energy2Action Time trial
  • Indianapolis Sprint triathlon*
  • Tri-Indy
  • Indianapolis Sprint triathlon*
  • Rev 3 Cedar Point 70.3 triathlon*
  • Fishers Triathlon*
  • Cancer Free Lungs 5k*
  • **Powerman Muncie duathlon 10k/60k/10k (already signed up)
  • Monumental Marathon*
I have to really look at being smarter with training. I have regressed a great deal, but and slowly getting back to feeling normal.

And lastly, I noticed the time revision impact for the 5-minute reduction in Boston qualifying times isn't five minutes, but 5:59. Bummer...

Thursday, March 24, 2011


One of my concerns after laying low for the December ice, was that January would be the same. It was. To make it worse, my back started giving me problems, which I made much worse while pick-axing my way through the ice to get to my front door. It was like mining. Six weeks later, and I feel I've just turned the corner. It still hurts a bit, but mostly in the morning, and I can at least put socks on while standing up. And I am trying to ramp my running back up. One thing I have found is that I have regressed my fitness level by a bunch. My running pace has slowed by a full minute. I am hoping this will bounce back and soon. My heart rate at a nine minute mile is what it was at an eight minute pace last November. I'd feel better about it if I had gained ten pounds (like I did a year ago). No, my weight is just a few pounds above my training weight from last summer.

When I have been able to get out to run (like once per week), I have at least gone between 7-10 miles, and felt okay. Mentally, I can't help but think, "How in the world did I qualify for Boston?" while I'm out running. I really have regressed. And I have a little more than two months to be ready for the Carmel Marathon. I don't know why I sign up for spring marathons. I must be some sort of an idiot. Every spring I go through this, and skipping a spring marathon last year was a smart call. But I signed up for this race last summer, just so I could get a low bib number (I really am an idiot)... Today I dropped my truck off somewhere so I can try to sell it. I ran home from the place, which was roughly seven miles. For some reason, by mile three, at a low effort, I felt like I was bonking - really. What the heck? I was just really tired, and was working way harder than I should. I had forgotten to bring my Suunto, so I didn't have HR data, though it had to be up. I just know I had periods where I wanted to walk - yes it was that bad, but I didn't, in part because I didn't want to be a pansy, and also because I simply wanted to get home. Somewhere about mile five I started to feel better, but I couldn't wait to get home.

So, my training is way behind, which means my spring race schedule will have to be gutted. I don't want to use my race "markers" on races for which I'm not ready. I want to race the Carmel Triathlon next month, but will have to see how well I get back in the groove. Sam Costa is a bust, as I am nowhere near ready for it. I am already signed up for the Geist mini. I'm just going to wait and see with the spring races.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Boston Marathon Plans Torpedoed

As you may already know, or not, the registration process for the Boston Marathon has changed. From the press release:

The Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) announced today a change in its registration process for the Boston Marathon, allowing the fastest qualifiers to enter the earliest and with a rolling admission system while also offering all eligible runners an increased registration period. The changes in registration are a response by the B.A.A. to greater than ever demand by runners to gain entry into the Boston Marathon and culminate more than three months of analysis, including input from the running industry. Rather than accepting runners who have met the qualifying standards on a first come, first served approach, a more systematic, performance-based process will be employed.

What does this mean for me? My race time from last November qualified me for the 2011 and 2012 events. Since 2011 was already sold out, I have to wait until September 2011 to sign up for the 2012 race, which I had planned on doing. Since the 2011 race sold out in eight hours, I figured I'd have to be at my computer as soon as registration opened.

Meanwhile, I'd train to improve my marathon time, in hopes to qualify again. But the bigger issue is 2013 on - qualifying times have been reduced by five minutes across the board. This was necessary, but the impact for me is significant. More about this below the rest of the press release.

2012 Boston Marathon
For the 2012 Boston Marathon, registration will extend for two weeks, beginning on Monday, September 12 and continuing until Friday, September 23. The qualifying times for the 2012 Boston Marathon will not change from recent past years since the standards had been previously announced and have been in effect since last September. However, the new registration process addresses the increased demand among qualified runners to participate in the Boston Marathon and will accommodate those who are the fastest qualifiers first.

Registration will occur on a "rolling admission" schedule until the maximum field size is reached, beginning with the fastest qualifiers. On the first day of registration for the 2012 Boston Marathon, those who are eligible for entry by having met the qualifying standards for their age and gender group by 20 minutes or more will be able to enter on the first day of registration (September 12). On the third day (September 14), registration will open for those who have met their qualifying standards by 10 minutes or more. On the fifth day (September 16), registration will open for those who have met their qualifying standards by five minutes or more. During this first week of registration, applicants will be notified as they are accepted and their qualifying performance verified.

If the field size is not reached after the first week and additional space remains, then registration will open to all qualifiers at the beginning of Week Two (September 19) and those who have met the qualifying standards by any amount of time will be able to apply for entry. The application process will remain open for the entire week, closing on September 23. At the conclusion of Week Two, those who are the fastest among the pool of applicants in their age and gender will be accepted. Accepted athletes will be notified on September 28.

Registration Process for the 2012 Boston Marathon First Week Day 1 (Sept. 12) Qualifiers who have met their age/gender qualifying times by
20 minutes, 00 seconds or faster may apply Day 3 (Sept. 14) 10 minutes, 00 seconds or faster Day 5 (Sept. 16) 5 minutes, 00 seconds or faster

Second Week
Day 8 (Sept. 19) Qualifiers who have met their age/gender qualifying times by any amount of time, including qualifiers who could have registered in Week One.

Day 12 (Sept. 23) Registration closes for qualified applicants

September 28 Qualifiers from entry during second week of registration are notified of their acceptance.
If the field is not filled at the conclusion of the two weeks, then registration will remain open and qualifiers will be accepted on a first come, first served basis until the maximum field size is reached.

2013 Boston Marathon
For the 2013 Boston Marathon, in addition to the new "rolling admission"
process for registration which will be in effect for the 2012 Boston Marathon, the B.A.A. will adjust the qualifying times by lowering them by five minutes from the times which have been in effect in recent past years. The adjusted qualifying times will go into effect on September 24, 2011, and are as follows:

18-34 3:05:00 3:35:00
35-39 3:10:00 3:40:00
40-44 3:15:00 3:45:00
45-49 3:25:00 3:55:00
50-54 3:30:00 4:00:00
55-59 3:40:00 4:10:00
60-64 3:55:00 4:25:00
65-69 4:10:00 4:40:00
70-74 4:25:00 4:55:00
75-79 4:40:00 5:10:00
80 and older 4:55:00 5:25:00

So what changes? The new registration process forces me to wait eight days to sign up, allowing faster qualifiers first dibs on the slots.

Fair? Sure. Am I bummed? You bet. But what really hurts is looking at it from my qualifying perspective. I am currently a blade runner qualifier. I made the cutoff by 35 seconds. That puts me in the last registration pool for 2012, meaning I probably won't get a slot. I can work hard in training, and cut off five minutes plus from my current PR (a questionable feat for the Carmel Marathon just three months away), but that would only improve my registration access by three days.

Worse, future prospects are even more brutal. My 2013 qualifying time has to be 3:25, which is five minutes better than my current PR. I'd be stoked to get 3:25. But for 2013 on, that puts me where I am right now - a bladerunner qualifier who has to wait until day eight to sign up for any remaining slots. In a race that sold out in 8 hours. For me to be able to sign up at day 3, I'll have to run a 3:20 this spring, or 3:15 in the fall.

That is an order of magnitude improvement that will require a completely different training strategy. Like a serious one. None of this figuring out what I'm going to do as I get my shoes on. A smarter, efficient approach. My time is limited like everyone else. My challenge is that training in the afternoon simply doesn't work for me, for many reasons.

So, that leaves before work and during lunch. And I don't really have enough time during lunch anymore, which brings me back to before work, meaning workouts need to be COMPLETED no later than 4:40am, leaving just enough time to stretch and shower, before heading to work. Though I like getting up early, getting up at 2:30ish to get a ninety minute run in gets old. I used to do this. And doing this creates family tension, as your level of commitment to the family is compared to the commitment to training.

In the end, I just want to run Boston for the same reasons as most everyone else. I want to train to do well in multisport, and the result will be better run times.