Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Disney is GO!

Up Next
Besides a 5 mile run last Wednesday and a 5 mile run on Sunday at the park with TKB, I mostly took the week of Thanksgiving off following The North Face 50K.  So, basically, I didn't take last week off.

Anyway, I'm back into the training mode for my next race races.  In January I will be running the "Dopey" Challenge.  That is the unofficial name of the Disney Goofy Race and a Half Challenge plus adding in the Disney Family Fun Run 5k on Friday.  So added it up: 5k on Friday + Half Marathon on Saturday + Full Marathon on Sunday = 42.4 miles.

Training Plan
So how does someone train for such a race?  Good question.  I'm basically just executing my Chicago marathon training plan.  It is Hal Higdon's Intermediate II marathon training plan.  He stacks the weekends up by running fast, decently long distances on Saturday and long slow distances on Sunday.  The peak weeks have 10 miles on Saturday and 20 miles on Sunday.  So it's a pretty good plan to prepare for running 3.1 more miles on Saturday and 6.2 more miles on Sunday.

The problem is that the Chicago marathon training plan is 18 weeks long and I have 7 (including this week) until race time.  With having just completed a 31 mile race 1.5 weeks ago, I should have plenty of base to handle starting at the peak mileage weeks for Disney.  This week is 34 miles, next week is 50 miles.  I repeat that 1 more time and then I'll start that tapering for three weeks.

I'm hoping to add a few workouts a week as well, such as cycling on Monday's (which I did yesterday) and maybe some weight training.  We'll see if that actually happens.

My last two 5 mile runs have been an average 7:28 minutes per mile and 7:19 minutes per mile.  I think with it getting cold has motivated me to pickup my pace.  We will see what happens when I use the treadmill inside.

Speaking of Hal Higdon

I did actually chat with him for about a second and shake his hand.  Unfortunately I forgot to bring my iPad for him to sign his book.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Race Report: The North Face Endurance Challenge 50K

The North Face Endurance Challenge 50K

Google Search - define:endure
I think I should have done that search about 4 months ago.  Patiently suffering does not sound like a good idea.

The North Face Endurance Challenge is known for its trail courses of 5K to 50 miles.  Last year they added a road race in Kansas City and I put together a relay marathon team.  Tons of fun.  I decided to give the 50K a shot this year and convinced Joe VI to do the same.  A 50% off coupon made the cost of the 50K and marathon the same.  So if we decided to go down to the marathon, no big deal!

If you are wondering, another quick Google search will let you know how many miles is 50 kilometers:

It is only 4.8 miles more than a marathon (if you don't know the distance of a marathon, I'll let you Google that).  Could running 4.8 miles more be that more difficult? Let's see.

Leading up to the race I started my carb loading by boiling a full pound of whole wheat pasta to eat with every meal.  I also throw in some smoked chicken meat to add some protein. I start to over hydrate myself this week as well.

Energy in a box

On Friday I had many people asking if I was excited about the race.  I really was indifferent.  It was as if I had no race at all.  It was really weird.

TKB and I went to Italian Delight for dinner.  Since I had been carb loading all week, it wasn't that critical to actual eat pasta, so I ordered a Chicken Parmesan with a side of spaghetti.  I really like their Chicken Parmesan and definitely recommend it!  We went back home, watched a movie, and was in bed by 10pm.  I slept surprisingly well.
Probably not the best advertisement.

Typical pre-race breakfast and we were on the road by 5:50 to stop at the local barista for my last pre-race pick-me-up.  I love Pumpkin Spice Latte season!
Smile now.  Not later.

Pumpkin Spice and Everything About To Get Painful.
Doesn't have the same ring to it.
I dressed in the same outfit as Chicago, but I added my Zensah calf-sleeves and the free The North Face arm warmers.  While I was a little worried wearing the arm sleeves causing overheating, they were much thinner than the ones I wore for Beach2Battleship at warmer temps.

We arrived at Theis Park around  6:30am and my first pit stop to the port-a-johns.  After which we met up with Joe VI & Lauren (running the 10k), Kristen (running her second marathon!), Bryan (another co-worker who just finished a 50K trail race a few weeks ago and doing the 50K here as well), Ashley (running her second marathon since having a baby about four months ago) and Ryan (first 50K).
Joe VI, Lauren, Me

Eventually Joe, Ryan, and I made our way over to the start line.

Race time was 7:00 and sunrise was 7:05.  Fortunately it was light enough so I could wear my sunglasses.  It was going to be a long day without them.  Unfortunately, something else wasn't working so well.  My Garmin had been "starting up" for about 20 minutes.  It was still stuck on the start up "Garmin" screen.  My pleas to the race director to hold off on the race were ignored, granted I didn't actually say anything.

A little after 7:00am, we were off!  This time they started the race on the street.  Last year they started and finished in the park.  Apparently that was a little too "traily" for some people?  This is a road race after all!

After about a tenth of a mile I heard my Garmin beep and it was ready to start recording the oncoming 31 miles of torture fun.

Miles 1 - 15
Yeah.  I'm covering the first half of the race in this section.  This was probably the most fun I have ever had on a race.  Joe VI and I were having a great time joking around with pretty much everyone we saw.  We were debating on what would go out faster, our legs or our attitude.  Didn't matter, we were enjoying things.

Mile 13.2 Split: 1:57:49 or 8:56 Pace.
I took gels at miles 5, 10, and 15 (+/- a mile)

Pretty good pace.  While I had sketched out a race pace plan, it was really more about not running too fast/hard and we were being successful with that.

One issue we discovered is the mile markers for the half marathon and those for the full and 50K were switched.  Ours were showing at the half mile point on our watches. Something was amiss. Since we didn't really have hard time goals, it didn't matter but was rather annoying.  My watch was already off by a .10 of a mile because of the startup issues.

Some of our jokes were leading to the various "don't poop yourself" variety.  We were both having some issues there.  I guess I should have only eaten half of that chicken last night.  We debated on running into stores or malls.  We stopped at one aid station but there was a line for the bathoom.  Eventually we stopped at the aid station in the River Market and took care of some business.

After a mile of the aid station, I realized I still needed to pee.  What?  I spent so much time taking care of the #2, I forgot about #1.  My priorities were definitely in reverse order.

Miles 16 - 24
This was pretty much all uphill. It was disgusting but the scenery was beautiful.  I will say that there was some weird misdirection going on for me during Cliff Drive.  I knew it was uphill but it actually felt flat to me.  It was at this point that I lost Joe because I was probably running faster than I should have.  When we got to the end of Cliff Drive, I heard footsteps behind me and turned to talk to Joe and it wasn't him.

I ended up catching up with a guy who was from Bismarck, ND.  We chatted for about 4 miles or so as we matched pace pretty well.  He then dropped me on another nasty hill. At this point I dumped my gloves at an aid station, hoping I wouldn't regret it.

We started the eventual turn back towards the finish.  I was doing surprisingly well.  I was hitting a decent pace and had caught back up with the Bismarck runner.  I was starting to think about the fact that I was about to run farther than I had ever run before!

Around mile 23 is when we met back up with the marathoners.  It was good to actually have some more company on the road.  Because of the pace I was running compared to the marathoners, I was actually running a minute per mile faster.  This meant that I could entertain myself by catching and passing people. Also known as the runners fishing game.

It was also this section of the course that we could tell it was the high point of the elevation.  Any time we got into a clearing there was a strong wind.  Unfortunately, it wasn't at our back but our front.

I ate a gel at mile 20.

Miles 25 - 28
I was also getting close to the last relay station.  This means I was running the one part of the course I was familiar with as I ran the last leg in 2011.

The Bismarck guy stopped for a bathroom break at the relay station and I trudged along.

Mile 25 Split: 3:40:25 or 8:49 pace -- Nice! A negative split!

It was at this point that I finally saw someone I knew on the course.  Kristen!  I almost missed her too but managed to say "hi" as I passed.

I was also playing leap frog with a female runner.  As we were approaching Crown Center (ie, Hospital HILL) she said something like "almost there!" to me.  I said, "not until after this hill".  Apparently she had not run a race that included this hill before because she started asking all about it.  Once we hit Hospital Hill I immediately turned to a fast walk while she kept running but eventually walked.

I had planned to take a gel at mile 25 but never did.

Miles 28 - 30
Eventually my fast walk passed a couple guys hanging out at the aid station, appropriately placed at the mid-point of the hill.  It was Bryan who was running his second 50K in about 3 weeks.

It was really at this point that I kept up sustained walking.  I had done really well trying to keep up the running because I was afraid that once I started I couldn't get back to running.  Since I was on the home stretch I knew I had plenty of motivation but I decided to walk anything that resembled a hill.

The mile markers appeared to still be messed up.  They had the marathon and 50K mile markers on the same sign post (granted about 5 mile different) so I was curious which one was correct since 50K is a smidge over 31 miles and a full marathon is 26.2.  Was I going to run an extra .2 miles?

Mile 31
Still walking the hills when I found them.  I was eventually in ear shot of the finish line music and decided that was enough motivation to keep me moving.  I remember this part of the race very clearly from last year.  Which is the last quarter mile is all downhill.

I could easily see that I missed my goal of 4:30 by 7 minutes.  It didn't matter.  I was done!!

They turn you through a chute where someone hands you a bottle water.  The lady asked me if I wanted two, in which I replied no so as to leave some for others behind me.  She probably had 1,000 bottles of water with only a couple hundred people still on course. Oh well.

I picked up a space age mylar blanket and entered the post-race food area.  They had bananas and apples, as well as more Gu Brew and water.

Finish: 4:37:53 / 8:57 pace
Overall: 40 out of 218
Age Group: 13 of 47

I'll take a sub-9 average pace for a 50K.  It's funny how running 4.8 more miles required over an hour of running compared to Chicago; however, we met the total elevation gain of the Chicago Marathon within the first mile.  We were also racing this to do the distance, not meet a time goal.

My legs were definitely not happy.  They had ice baths available, so I stuck my feet and ankles in them for a few minutes.  I didn't fully emerge my legs because it was simply too cold out and I was feeling miserable enough.

After I got out, I saw Kristen's husband Jeff heading over to the food tent so we waited for Kristen to get through.  Just standing there talking for a few minutes was horrible on my legs.  I had to keep moving.  So we meandered through the booths and I found the food trucks with the post-race food.  Since I ran the 50K, I got $10 in food vouchers.  I bought red beans, sausage, and rice.

We met up with Lauren and the kids by the finish chute.   She had finished her 10k, gone home, showered, rested, and returned to the race while Joe and I were on the course.  With the Glympse -- GPS tracking -- software that we use, it was easy to see where Joe was on the course.

Tucker, the husband of one of my friends from my high school years, stopped by as he was waiting for Breann to finish her first marathon.  We chatted a bit while I watched Ryan and Joe cross the finish line... with my legs still screaming at me.  I don't think my legs have ever felt that miserable after a race.

I finally decided it was OK to sit down to see if it helped.  It was pretty windy at the park and Joe had found a nice place to block the wind.  We eventually took off for his house to clean up.

During the post-race, Joe commented how blue my lips were.  It wasn't until 2pm (2.5 hours after I finished) that they returned to normal color.

After we got home I immediately got in bed since we had an evening of socializing ahead of us.  I had been wearing my compression socks since getting out of the shower and also took a Meloxicam (like taking 18 Advil).  When I got up from my 3 hour nap, my legs were doing quite well.  I think wearing my calf compression sleeves aided in that as well.  I never had the "my calf muscles are going to fly off" feeling during the race.

Next Morning
My legs were probably equivalent to that of the day after the Chicago Marathon. My left ankle felt "weak", which I actually experienced after Bringing Up The Rear 5K a few weeks back.


Friday, November 16, 2012

Race Preview: North Face Endurance Challenge 50K

Tomorrow is the North Face Endurance Challenge's 50K!

This will be the first time I will run more than 26.2 miles officially (pretty much all of my marathons have been completed in 26.4 miles due to poor routing on my part).  Sadly, I really don't have the same level of excitement or worry about this race.  It has nothing to do with the North Face people, it's purely because I'm running the distance to run the distance.  I have no finish goals in mind.

I mentioned to Jill this morning that it's likely because I'm subconsciously freaked out about it.

Let's take a look at my training:

This shows the number of miles per week in the six weeks prior to the Chicago Marathon.  Then the next 6 weeks is leading up to the 50K.  You'd think I'd have more mileage per week after Chicago.

Following Chicago I was having calf issues that took over a week to relent.  Interestingly enough, the week I hit the most mileage since Chicago (Oct 29 - Nov 4) I also put in about 70+ hours of work due to downstream impacts of Hurricane Sandy at my day job.  How did I manage 42 miles?  I had a 15 mile run on Friday and 18.5 mile run on Sunday. Since Chicago, I really only had 3 runs more than 10 miles and those were two of them.

Needless to say, this race is going to hurt.  What can I do to help that?  Take it easy... as much as the KC hills will allow.  Pretty much all of my training runs (including the 15 and 18.5 milers) have been under an 8:30 pace.  So I think I'm just going to target that pace and see what happens.  If I were smart, that would mean starting slow for the first 6 miles and then running 8:20 - 8:30 the last 25 miles.  What will probably happen is I will run slow for 6 miles then go sub-8:00 minute miles for 10 - 15 miles and then struggle to stay under 9:00 for the last 8 or 9 miles making it average to 8:30.  (Didn't I say I had no finish goals earlier?)

Post-race I plan to spend a little time on the bike trainer and maybe one really short run and that is it for the entire week.  My next race is the Disney Goofy Challenge and 5K.  So I'll be re-evaluating my training plan and picking it backup after I stuff myself with turkey.

Good luck to everyone!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Race Report: Bringing Up The Rear 5k

Bringing Up The Rear 5k - October 28, 2012
Also known as the "race that almost didn't happen".

As I mentioned in this post, I found out about this race when I bumped into a friend of mine at the health expo for Hospital Hill.  She was helping a friend run a booth about the race who had lost her husband to colon cancer in October 2011.   It was a pretty easy decision to signup for this race. Good friends, good causes, and the race was within running distance of my house.  It's literally about 5k away!

So if this was such an easy decision, why didn't it almost not happen? Work.  I had a project scheduled for implementation on Saturday (the day before the race).  We do this project every year but this time it took longer than normal.  I started at 3am on Saturday but I got the final "all clear" at 8am on Sunday. One hour before the start!  Fortunately I was home and had already changed into my running gear.  If this race had been somewhere other than English Landing Park, it would have been a no-go!  Whew!

I did have a banana and bagel while I was waiting for the "all clear".  It did help that this race was at 9am so I would be able to take my time in the morning.  Also, I did get a decent night's sleep even though I woke up every few hours to check in on things at work.

I decided to dress up as my mobile orange barrel (see the photo at the bottom of this post).  With the weather was upper 30s I did elect for a short sleeve orange top and a long sleeve base layer.  Normally I would not have worn my new calf sleeves for a 5k but there was talks of Joe VI and me doing a long run after the race.  They were nice leg warmers in the meantime.

TKB and Morgan had already taken off for the race while I was working.  I managed to get down there when my Mom had arrived.  So we walked to the coffee shop in Parkville, which is where TKB and Morgan were cooped up to stay warm.  This being my Mom's first race, I helped put her timing chip on and TKB helped with pinning her bib to her sweater.  It was fun showing my Mom the ropes!

We left to go back to TKB's car to drop things off and we met up with Aaron and Jenny (who you may recall ran the Blues and Brew 5k in September) and Lauren.

Aaron, Mom, TKB, Morgan, and Jenny.  Sorry, I guess we did our photo shoot before Lauren arrived.
 We took off for the start/finish line, which was priceless:
Boxers!  Good thing they weren't brown.
We ran into many friends near the start line, including people I knew from high school  (Hi Amanda!).

With about 5 minutes to start I moseyed up to 'toe the line'.  That was a challenge because their were about 20 kids across it.  The emcee asked the kids to move to the side so they didn't get run over by the big kids.  hehe. This was undoubtedly the smallest race I have participated in, so it was fun to see kids having a good time here.  It definitely lightened the atmosphere.  I said "Hi" to Dave (Jenny's husband) who was in it to win it.  So I lined up behind him and a few other fast looking people.  After the national anthem, we took off!

1st Mile
Once things got settled after a 1/4 mile, I was probably sitting in 7th or 8th place.  I'm not used to being able to see the race leaders for a good portion of the race.  The course is on a crushed gravel trail with some areas of pavement near the start/finish line.  While I was familiar with the park, I had no clue what the course route would be like.

The first mile involved running the first smaller loop so we actually did a big circle and ended up having to run around all the walkers.  I would probably complain about this but I actually didn't mind it at all.  I preferred the grass than the gravel.  I enjoyed running by people I knew and tapping them on the shoulder. hehe.

My first mile was 6:19 pace.  Waaaaaaay toooooo fast for me.  Oh well.  I did the first 1/3 of it under 6 minute pace.  Oops.

Given all that, it felt OK.

Mile 2
So now we are on the longer stretch of the trail that sort of U-turns back along the river.  It was about this point where I got passed by 2 guys.  One looked older than me and one looked way younger.  Fine with me!  Not in my age group!

There was another turn around a circle drive where there was a water stop.  I, however, didn't. I kept cruising along.

7:07 Pace

My first 1/3 of a mile of the race caught up with me.  Since we had doubled back on the trail, I got to see Aaron, Jenny, and Lauren working their 2nd mile.

Mile 3:
I had caught up with the younger guy that had passed me earlier and I must have given him the motivation to take off because as soon as we hit that u-turn again, he was gone.

I tried to muster all the turnover I could so as to not leave anything on the course.  I did see TKB and Morgan, as well as Mom walking with Bob and Nancy (Jenny's parents).  As the tunnel vision started to close in on the finish, I heard another person say hi to me and it was the Officer of my department at work.  Well, I had to confirm it on Monday at work because I wasn't looking around much at this point.

7:01 pace.

The last 1/10 of the race was on pavement but I seemed to keep slowing down.  Mostly because I allowed myself to look back and no one was closing in.  No PR for this race anyway.  That sub-20 minute 5k will have to wait until next year.

Time: 21:14 / 6:50 pace

Not my best 5k performance of the year (by 21 seconds) but this crushed gravel does slow me down.

They had water and chocolate milk waiting for finishers as well as a big bucket of protein bars of various brands and flavors for your taking.  I did grab one because of the impending 20 mile run with Joe VI (although, I was definitely questioning it now); however, the pancake brunch and make-your-own mimosas and bloody marys were on the menu next.

I waited for Aaron, Jenny, Lauren, TKB, Morgan, and Mom to finish before heading over.  Eventually Joe VI came over as Lauren was finishing and we decided to nix the run from Parkville to Roeland Park with a potential run later in the day.

After a while they posted the results:

From TKB's instagram
1st Place in Age Group!  Woo hoo!

According to the official results, I was 9th overall as well.

Apparently I didn't get the blue memo.

Pancakes and Sausages from Chris Cakes.  So good.

My 1st Place Trophy!  And Bloody Mary!

Bob, Mom, and Nancy!

Mom, Nancy, and Bob flying into the finish line!