Monday, January 31, 2011

Race Report: Groundhog Run 2011

Nutrition:  Cliff Bar, OJ, and Water.
Met up with Danny, Ben, and Kristin before the race at B&K's house at 8am.  Arrived at the SubTropolis around 8:30am.  Parking at the SubTropolis isn't designed for 4,000+ people.  We had a good half to full mile walk to the entrance of the cave.  In 20 degree temps, that rather sucked; however, once we hit the cave it warmed up quickly to 65 degrees.

(I should have bought some gas.  $2.80!)

Danny, Ben, and Kristin started the 5K at 9:00am and we waited to meet up with Mike for our 10:00am start of the 10k.  Once we met up I decided a pit stop was needed (for some stupid reason I had planned to skip it).  So about 9:30 I cozied up in line, which was about 30 - 40 people deep.  I stood behind a volunteer who chatted with me briefly.  When I told her I was running the 10k she seemed to notice a little concern in my face about the line and offered to let me go in front of her.  I wasn't sure what that would really save me, so I declined and did what all respectful participants do, thanked her for volunteering.

I did think the line was moving along rather slowly.  I think I was in line for about 20 minutes.  I started doing some math in my head.  20 people left, 45 seconds per person (I thought that was a good average seeing there were 4-5 port-a-pots available for our line).  It's not like everyone was decked out in full body compression gear for the temperatures.  Once I was about 10 people deep I started noticing only two of the port-a-pots actually were active with people going in and out.  Not sure what was wrong with the others, but I hope the people in them were OK.  Maybe a little too nervous for the race?

The mass of humanity for the first mile was fairly typical but you didn't really have sidewalks to aid in passing some of the more optimistic racers.  You had about 30 - 40 feet between columns of solid earth to make a pass if you were trying to avoid mowing one of these people down.  If you didn't duck back in time, BAM!  DNF!

Aid stations were separated out just far enough.  I took in water at almost every one.  There was an oddly placed aid station just a quarter mile into the race that Kristin, Ben, and Danny commented about.  Odd indeed, but this wasn't a typical race.  This was my first two loop race and that aid station made much more sense the second time around.

The course being indoors made it a little disorienting not knowing the direction we were traveling.  For some reason that is important to my brain.  There were plenty of switch backs on the course which I thought would be fun to watch the 5:15 pace racers run around.  Wonder if anyone slipped.

I had a great time running with Mike.  There were a couple times he urged to take off but I enjoyed having time to chat and catch up.  I figure my next big endurance event is next weekend, so I'll save energy for that.

I don't have high expectations for an event that's longest distance is 10k, so I didn't mind only having bananas, oranges, water, and bagels.  They all tasted great.  The real post-race food was at Ben and Kristin's house.  Mimosas, Bloody Mary's, and Donut King donuts.  I think I ate a third of the donuts.  I considered it training for next week's race.

I had a bloody mary and donut race induced 2 hour nap and it felt damn good.

Overall: 353/1160
AG: 48/90
Chip Time: 52:59
Pace: 8:32


Looking off to the right of the screen you will see an indigenous KC Groundhog emerging from his sleep.  Let's watch to see if he is scared by his shadow to indicate another six weeks of winter.

We were cruising at a blistering 8:30 pace, so the SLR couldn't pick us up.

Today's crew: Danny [congrats for making the photo! ;) ], Mike, Me, Ben, Kristin. 
Photo Credit: TKB

Cropping does wonders but I couldn't get that creepy dude out from behind Kristin's shoulder.  The guy to the left of Danny with a banana being shoved down his throat made the cut.  This blog is PG, you know... (no it's not).

Saturday, January 29, 2011

A family that runs together....

TKB and I hit the road this afternoon for a two mile lap around the neighborhood.  She bought a Garmin FR110 (lady style) a few weeks ago, so we gave it a spin run.

She commented halfway through that it was the first time she had ever run when there was snow on the ground.  I'd love for her to write up her accounts of the run because I knew she was cursing me throughout, some internal and a few out loud.  The route we took has some hills on it that can try any devout treadmill trainer.  She was a champ on them.

I don't consider myself a trainer/instructor/coach/drill sergeant at all but I tried to push her to challenge herself, even if it was to make it to the top of the hill while running.  We tried to focus on the distance and not the speed and I think she is happy with the results... well, at least she is now after a nice warm shower.

While I had toyed with doing a short run after our shopping today, I had decided against it.  I'm glad TKB brought it up because I really needed it.  Today's seven hours of work added to my current weekly total of 65 hours had zapped my running mojo.  Today's run should hopefully get my goove back for tomorrow's 10k.

(Note: I tried to come up with a good end to the saying that is the title of this post.  What can you come up with?  Leave a comment!)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Groundhog Run 10K

This weekend marks the official return to the running world with the Groundhog Run.  This 5k or 10k (2x 5k course) race is rather unique in that it takes place in the Hunt Midwest SubTropolis.  The course is entirely underground!  I signed up for this race mostly to see what it is all about, as my races this year appear to more about the venue than the actual sport.

The weather on Sunday calls for a high of 34 degrees but it will be a roasty 68 degrees.  Cool, eh!?  Well, I guess it's warm.

I don't know how prepared I'm going to be.  My Garmin indicates I've traversed 28 miles this month.  I did that in two days in December.  I don't have a time target so i didn't train for one. I just want to take this one all in.  I've always loved the sound of running during an event.  Listening to 3,000+ pairs of shoes hitting the pavement is amazing and I'm curious how the caves will impact it.

The plan calls for meeting up with Joe, Lauren, Danny, Ben, and Kristin at Ben and Kristin's house at 8 and carpooling to the venue.  They plan to run the 5k at 9am while I hit the 10k at 10 with my brother, Mike.

Afterwords, it's time to celebrate the start of the running season with post-race adult beverages at Ben and Kristin's house.

So come back early next week and I'll tell you what I thought.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Website Update

Is it web site or website?  Whatever... anyway...

I've made a change to the site design.  I have added a logo graphic!  I'm sure it has absolutely blown you away, my one dedicated visitor. You know who you are :).

An awesome friend of mine, Michael Perry, has flexed his talented brain muscle to move those creative juices and produced a logo for me.  Sounds like he has some more in store, so come back again!

Once I find out how he'd like me to post his contact information, I'll put it out there so you can contract him into doing work for you.  He's great and has a brilliant graphical artist mind.  I mean...  he actually made me look athletic!!!  He's a miracle worker!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

"Put In" Run

OK.  This wasn't "Put In". It was "Forced In".  While nearing the end of hour 13 of my work day, I turned and around saw this:

I realized I had used my road bike as a coat rack.  Seriously?!  I needed a workout.  In addition, I'm sure TKB hasn't been thrilled with me working all these long hours, so I decided to rectify both.  I slammed shut the laptop, put on my running gear and off I went.  Now you will remember I made a comment about not running when there is a chance of slipping?  Well, I threw that rule out the door... as well as my body, for that matter.

I wasn't sure how far I was going to go.  I had just planned for going "around the block", which technically means a quarter of a mile.  I mentally mapped out a quick two mile route.  When I hit one mile, I pushed it out to a three mile route.  Just before I turned back to the house, I decided to do the "Riss Lake Gauntlet".  A valley that means you'll hit a huge hill twice.  It's bad.  I sometimes avoid it on certain runs.  By the time I was done, I had logged 5.23 miles.

Well, the coat is still on the bike but at least I feel better now.  I'll make sure I put it in the coat closet tomorrow.  How did I rectify missing out on quality time with TKB?  We cozied up to make fun of the latest offering of House Hunters/Property Virgins/whatever on HGTV.  

2010 Season - From four to twenty six point two

As promised from my initial post....  This will be my race reports for 2010.  I don't ever plan to have posts this long, but I'm consolidating a full years worth of race report here.

St. Patrick's Day Run - 4 Miles
THE first race.  Met up with Joe, Danny, and Shane before the race, which started at 10:00am.  This was a good start because the pre-race jitters weren't further complicated by a pre-dawn start (of course I wouldn't know what that meant for many months).  After hanging out in Kelly's at Westport, we finally made our way to the start.  The weather was chilly.  I stripped off my running pants at the last minute (don't worry, I luckily had shorts on).  Wore a long sleeve shirt with gloves.  My training would place me in the 7:30 pace group by I decided to hold back and see where Danny, Joe, and Shane lined up.  Off we went!

After the first mile I ended up getting lost in relation to Danny, Joe, and Shane and knew I was on my own.  My second and third miles averaged 7:30 pace and I hit 7:00 on my fourth.  I crossed the line in 30:17.

Post-race food: Banana, Krispy Kreme donut, Yogurt, and Water.  Oh.... and about 6 beers at Harpo's and Sharps 63rd Street Bar and Grill.

I remember thinking how everything was so surreal during the first mile.  Hearing nothing but foot steps was hypnotic and tantalizing all at once.  I was hooked.

Brew to Brew - 11 Miles (3 Legs)
Two races in a row that revolve around beer.  LOVE IT.  This race is a 44 mile relay race between Boulevard Brewery in Kansas City to Free State Brewery in Lawrence, KS.  Joe asked TKB (aka, Wife) to organize the event back in February and she did a great job. There were 16 runners to manage.  We ended up running two people at the same time.  I signed up for two legs but was designated as sober runner for Kyle and Joe on the last leg.  If you haven't heard of Beeritas, you need to.

This was the most fun.  Ken and Kyle flew in from Greensboro and that's always a great time.

Due to our start time and the fact that we actually completed the 44 mile race, we came in last and too late for the post-race food.  That's no joke.  We crossed the finish line and the timing clock put away.

It was a great time and plans were started for 2011.

Trolley Run - 4 Mile
My first early morning race.  Pre-race meal was my fruit smoothie with protein powder.  Start time was between 7:30 and 8:00am and it was cooooold.  I still wore running shorts and short sleeve tech shirt. The best part of this race was it was the first with my brother Mike.  We all met up around 6:45 to take the buses from the Plaza to 75th Wornall Road.  Along with the cold, it was rainy but by the time the race started the drizzle subsided.

After St. Patrick's Day run, I definitely left a lot of energy on the course.  This time I started fast and ended fast.  I averaged a 6:54 pace.  I definitely felt spent by the end of the race.  Even felt nauseous part way through the run, so that means SUCCESS!

With my brother's family there, we had a great time watching the niece and nephew do their fun runs!

Hospital Hill Run - Half Marathon
I decided to sign up for this race after Brew-to-Brew because I figured if I could run 11 miles over a 10 hours, maybe I could 13.1 around 2.  After getting fitted for a pair of kicks and a physical with the doctor, the race was on.

This was the first race that I actually devised a race plan for and did a decent job sticking to it.  My biggest issue was a shin splint.  This caused me to cut pack some of my training but I took the advice of "if I can still run on it.. run on it".

(note:  The rest of this report came from my race report I posted on Facebook)
Clock Time 1:54:32 
Overall Place 699 / 2966 
Gender Place 519 / 1502 
Division Place 104 / 258

My first half-marathon! This was apparently one of the warmest Hospital Hill runs with the temperature at 76 degrees at the gun. The day before I attended a seminar by a running coach who talked about what to do during the race and talked about hydration, especially in the heat. He helped re-affirm my strategy. Start slow! Like so slow you think you'll never finish.

My goal was to finish under 2:00 hours, so I lined up behind the 2:00 hour pace group and stayed with them until after two water stations (3 miles). My plan was to then catch up to the 1:55 pace group and, if able, continue to the 1:50 pace group. So for each water station I walked, drank two cups of water or PowerAde, and then dumped one water over my head (and in my hat). I only grabbed the third cup because of the high heat and humidity of the day.

The other advice I took to heart was to take it EASY on the hill ups and go fast on the downs. This helped me catch back up to the 2:00 hour pace group by the Nelson Art Museum (more on that later).

The route was still very tough. Just when you thought you had crested a hill, it just kept going and going. Just when you thought there couldn't be anymore hills left, there was one waiting for you and it was worse than any previous hill.

Overall, I executed my race plan quite while. Obviously, I did make it under 2:00 hours. I separated from the pack after the 2nd water station. I took advantage of the downs whenever possible. I hit the right song on my play list when I started to separate myself from the 2:00 hour pace group (Black Eyed Peas: Let's Get Started). I admired "Pace Booty" when I could ;). What I didn't count on was my "wardrobe malfunction". 

After I had officially warmed up by the 2nd water station, I began my pursuit to pace group 1:55.  I noticed the small bag on my race belt was flopping around a bit more than normal. This bag is just big enough to hold my cell phone, which was in it at the time. The loop that held the bag to my race belt was ripping. I really didn't want it to rip off and then have to deal with retrieving it, so I popped over to the sidewalk and started walking while I attempted to rip the bag off of the belt. Unfortunately, that took about 60 seconds. So for nearly 10 miles, I had to hold the bag, with my cell phone, in my hand. While doing this I had fallen behind the 2:00 hour pace group instead of running to the next group. Eventually I caught up to the 1:55 pace group around mile 8 and stayed with them the rest of the way.

Now I am looking forward to doing no training for one or two weeks to allow my shin to heal fully. While I could tell shin splint was there, it didn't bother me at all or impact my form.

Susan G Komen - 5k
TKB and I have done this event many years but this was the first time it was a run... for both of us (TKB had finally gotten into running events by this time).   By now I was 6 weeks into training for the Kansas City Marathon.  My weekend training partner, Kristen,  had also signed up for the marathon as her first race ever, so I convinced her to sign up for this race to get a race under her belt.

Since I had run a 13 mile long run the day before I used this run as an active recovery; therefore, I didn't put a major effort into it.  So my official time was 28:35.  Slower than my Trolley Run time, which was .9 miles longer.

Kansas City Marathon
This was a year of firsts.  First race.  First half-marathon.  First FULL marathon.  I had been debating this since the end of Hospital Hill.  Doing another half marathon to end the season just didn't seem good enough.  While walking the dog one late June evening, I got a call from Joe.  "Let's do the KC Marathon."  "OK!"  Training plan was set the next day.  The race was already 15 weeks away, so we started week 3 of Hal Higdon's plan.  Work got in the way during the second half of training and I ended up getting the sick the weekend before the race (DOH!).  But I managed to get in most of my long runs (weekend and midweek).  I hit 346 of the 430 miles I planned to run.

I normally train by myself but ever other week or so I would meet up with Kristin and TKB on my training runs.  It was nice to have someone to talk to during the runs.  I generally prefer to train alone but it was a nice change.

The night before we had a pasta party in which we had a fun guest as part of the invitee list.

(5lb Gummy Bear anyone?!)

I'm very much a control freak when it comes to pre-race now.  I have my routine.  I don't want pre-race stress to cause any additional stress.  We parked at 6:00am and waited 45 additional minutes for friends and family to show up.  I would have preferred to start hitting the porta-potty and doing my pre-race mental checkin.  Instead, I ended up running towards my pace group, downing my pre-race gel on the way.  I wasn't able to hit the bathroom due to lines and the fact that I only saw a small set of them (apparently there were a lot more a block away from the start.  I figured I'd have to eventually anyway, so no big loss. I would just have to do it earlier than expected.  At 7:30am, our pace group was on its way!

To be honest, I really don't remember a lot of the race.  I think my brain has mentally erased it so I'd be willing to do it again (Of course it helps to do the race report within days of the event, not 3 months later).  Here are the highlights:

  • I fortunately knew the one of the two pace group leaders for the 3 hour, 55 minute group, I had met Ashley at work just a month before. It was nice to be able to chat with someone.  The other pace group leader was her sister.
  • The first couple miles were exciting and slow.  Ashley and I got behind her sister and the rest of the group at an aid station but caught up with them by the time we hit the first hill.
  • This course is hilly.  It follows many of the same streets as Hospital Hill Run, so I was at least familure with a third of them, even if we were running them the opposite direction.
  • About mile 4 my brother and I caught up to each other and so I got to run with Mike (who was running the Half) for a while.  He is such a great person and very supportive.  I look forward to running races with him whenever I can.
  • Miles six through 12 were through Westport, the Plaza, and on to Ward Parkway.  About this time I noticed my legs were starting to talk to me.  After being sick the week previously,  I was afraid I had lost some strength but eventually that went away.
  • About mile 16 I noticed I was no longer with my pace group.  I had pulled away from them and was heading towards 3:50.  I still hadn't hit the bathroom.
  • Mile 21 brought another aid station and my time to take a minute.  I stretched, took in extra fluids, and stared down miles 21 - 26.2.
  • The last couple miles were tough but I loved seeing people along the path cheering people on.  Having aid stations every mile was great.  Having people's names on their bib was great too.  In fact, I even congratulated some half marathon finishes watching the full participants come in.
  • Seeing the finish line and my family at the end was great.  I kicked it up pretty hard for a strong finish (which means I left a lot on the course.  I'll work on that).  

Considering I had just completed a marathon, I was definitely expecting a lot more.  One bottle of beer and beef sticks.  Seriously?  They need to work on that and could learn a thing or twenty from Hospital Hill.

Race Photos
Luckily you can't see my feet shuffling along.

Myself, TKB (5k), and brother, Mike (half)

Mike coming in strong!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Poor Timing?

This blog was supposed to energize my interest in triathlons.  I had been doing a decent job with my training schedule and then I hit a "Wall".  This wall is called "Work".  My day job seems to go in phases.  About every 3 to 6 months it goes into crazy mode.  This session's crazy mode included 150+ hours in the last two weeks.  I anticipate the next three weeks to be crazy as well.

The last three workout sessions were as follows:

  • January 18 - 2000 meter swim.  My best one yet.
  • January 16 - 1.5 hour weights session.
  • January 15 - ScottyB Invitational YMCA Triathlon (2000 meter swim, 12 mile stationary bike, 3.1 miles) at my UMCA.  I got first... but I didn't invite anyone else to participate.
Since then, nothing.  nada.  zilch.  

Training Plan
While I am registered for a couple events, they aren't ones for which I have specific training plans.  So I established a general training plan to keep me in shape until I ramp up for a specific event

  • Monday AM - Laps in Pool:  Current target is 2000 meters with reduced rest periods.  I really need to structure it in order to improve my form and efficiency.
  • Monday PM - Rest but willing to do an easy run.
  • Tuesday AM - Upper Body Weight. I'm not trying to bulk up but do want increased strength and tone.
  • Tuesday PM - Rest
  • Wednesday AM - Core Weights
  • Wednesday PM - Midweek Long Run.  By March I'm hoping to be around 10 miles.
  • Thursday AM - Lower Body Weights.
  • Thursday PM - Rest but I play volleyball in Spring and Summer. 
  • Friday AM - Cycle.  Up until last month, I've been attending Spin class at the Y but now I use a trainer on my new bike.  I'm still trying to figure out how to effectively use the trainer, so right now I ride until I need to hop off to get to work.
  • Friday PM - Rest.
  • Saturday AM - Long Run.  By March I'm hoping to be around 18 - 20 miles (or twice the Wednesday distance). 
  • Sunday - Rest

I will run in bad conditions.  I have hit the road in 16 degree weather and I finished a run in a thunderstorm one time; however, if there is a possibility of slipping on ice I'll focus on something else.  If it is a Saturday, I'll try something indoors, such as my ScottyB Invitational YMCA Triathlon.

While I do have access to a YMCA Express a block from my office, I do not workout during lunch.  I wouldn't turn down a run to mix things up.  We'll see how this goes this year.

Eventually I'll start including brick workouts, especially on Saturdays.  

I'm sure my "base" training plan will adjust over the year. 

Saturday, January 22, 2011

I Am A Triathlete

"I am a triathlete"

This is something I hope to say at the end of the 2011 season.  Not that I competed in an ironman distance triathlon or even a sprint, but I want to be able to say this knowing that I have immersed myself in the multi-sport, competed to the fullest extent, and left nothing behind.  This blog will log my journey into the sport this year and into the future.

OK.  Enough of that mission statement junk.  Let's really get into what this is about.  First here is some background info on me:  I'm early 30s, married, dog lover, software developer, geek (love gadgets), contract web site developer, Kansas City Royals and Chiefs fanatic.

About five years ago I started running outside.  It lasted a week.  Starting in July wasn't the best idea but, hey, I tried.  Three years ago TKB (Wife) and I joined the local YMCA and were mostly successful at keeping a schedule.  In August 2009, I forced myself into a routine and started going every morning before work.  This put me in a position to run on the indoor track or treadmill five+ days a week.

In my effort to "actually get something out of this workout thing", I picked up some some "smart exercise" books and then a Garmin Forerunner 405cx.  Now I had all the motivation I needed to get outside.  You know, to see where I ran on a digital map and devour all the data (remember: geek).  The books got me going in terms of how the body gets fit and how to put it in practice.

So that's how I started my inaugural 2010 season.  I'll dive more into the actual season in a later post.  As for looking forward, I'm wanting to do more than lace up the shoes and hit the pavement, triathlons became my next event in mind.

To keep myself accountable and to have an outlet, I decided to start this online journal.  Here are my goals for it and what you may see (besides typos, grammatical errors, and poorly structured sentences):
  • Lessons Learned: Knowledge I've gained about endurance sports.  Most people will recognize this as advice in what not to do during endurance sports training.  Needless to say, this is way too generic of a category.
  • Gadget Speak:  Hopefully more focused about gadgets/technology in the endurance sport arena; however, I've been known to gush about the latest Apple or Google offerings.  You've been warned.
  • Race Reports:  2011 is scheduled to be a big year... and it's not even a leap year!
  • Nutrition and Metabolism:  I seem to really enjoy this topic but I rarely talk about it.  What you eat and how it effects your metabolism and your ability convert fuel into energy.  Metabolism is probably the wrong word there but it's late, and I'm being lazy.
  • Training Schedule:  I hope to provide a weekly snapshot of what I did.  Which will likely be "No time to workout, day job got in the way".
  • Life: If it IS going to get in the way of my efforts, might as well talk about it.
This whole thing will evolve over time and I just hope to keep it up.  I plan to post a couple times a week.  Once to update my progress and a second time to discuss whatever is on my mind.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you get some enjoyment out of it... and maybe learn a thing or two.  Please feel free to comment and let me know what you think.

Time to strap on the goggles, saddle up, and activate the GPS.  Let's go!