Monday, January 28, 2013

My Style, My Goal

This blog post is part of a series of posts associated with the Hospital Hill Blog Team.  For more information, see my original post.  To see all blog posts, review those that are tagged as "Hospital Hill Blog Team".  To register for the Hospital Hill Run, check out their website!

I didn't really dig into my athletic background in my first post, but I thought it might be pertinent for this one.  It all started with Tee Ball when I was in elementary school, and then basketball in 5th - 8th grade..... ok ok.  Not that far back.

Actually, after 8th grade there really wasn't much until about 5 years ago.  In the pursuit of a healthy lifestyle, TKB and I joined the Platte County South Community Center YMCA.  I started running on the track and then eventually the treadmill when the track started making me dizzy.

Workout Thing
Two years later I finally started to get intrigued with this "workout thing".  What was I really doing to my body besides extruding sweat from it (known around these parts as the "Scotty Funk")?  I bought a book called "Smart Exercise: Burning Fat, Getting Fit" by Covert Bailey.  To be honest, thanks to a fast metabolism as a kid and into my early adult life, I really haven't had an issue with weight; however, I had been increasing curious about what the body does when working out.  What does it mean to be aerobic or anaerobic?  This book did a great job explaining it. I highly recommend it.

The book led me to the concept of working out in specific heart rate zones that are tied to aerobic or anaerobic energy burns.  The problem was, I didn't have a good way to check my heart rate.  Enter the Kansas City-based GPS company, Garmin.  I bought a Garmin Forerunner 405cx and this moved my runs that had been indoors on a treadmill, outdoors so I could take advantage of the GPS features.

Runnin' Runnin'
Within a month (and with encouragement from some friends) I had signed up for my first race!  It was the St. Patrick's Day 4 Miler.  A month later I took part in the Brew-to-Brew on a Relay team.  In fact, I ended up doing 11 miles of relay legs that day!  After the Trolley Run, I signed up for my first endurance race.  Can you take a guess which one?  Hospital Hill Run Half Marathon!

Push It
Before long, my pursuit to discover what my body was doing with this "workout thing" turned into seeing where I could go with it.  A half marathon turned into a full marathon.  Then in 2011 I started triathlons and pushed myself to a half ironman.  In 2012 I had my first true time goal at the Chicago marathon, but also pushed myself into the world of ultra marathons at The North Face Endurance Challenge 50K.  In 2013, I joined the Goofy Challenge club by running a half marathon and full marathon in the same weekend at Disney World, and now I'm pushing myself by training for a full ironman race!

What's your style?  What pushes you?
  • Are you trying to see what distance you can achieve?  
  • Are you trying to lose weight?
  • Are you trying to add years to your life or life to your years? (one of my favorite quotes)
  • Do you just want to see what your body can do?
  • Trying to regain that energetic "you" of 10, 20, 30 years ago?
  • Bragging rights with your friends?

Whatever your goal is, own it.  Let it drive you as a person.

If you don't have a goal, that's fine.  What I do tell people is make sure what drives you is internal.  Don't do something for external factors (boy friend, girl friend, husband, wife, job, friends, etc) because it may be out of your control.  What if something happens in which that part of your life is no longer there or becomes unsupportive?  Do you lose your workout mojo?  I realize this is kind of a depressing thought, but it is something to consider.

Once you have those internal goals, tell everyone!  Post it on Facebook, on twitter, at work, on the fridge, on the bathroom mirror, on the I-35 overpass!

Ok... maybe not that last one.

My goal?  For 2013 it is to survive a 2.4 mile swim, followed by a 112 mile bike ride, followed by a marathon!  I have 17 hours to finish this race and it very well could take all of them, but I'm determined to finish!

Up Next
As I mentioned earlier, I'm a fan of heart rate-based training.  In the next installment of my Hospital Hill Run Blog series, I will plan to discuss what this means and how you can use it in your pursuit to "Conquer The Hill".

Feel free to stop by and ask questions in the comments or hop over to Twitter to chat me there!  You can find me as @ScottyTris.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Week In Review: Jan 21 - Jan 27

Off Season
This past week was my second week of off season training.  For some people it may mean maintaining that base or building.  For me, it's a little bit of both.  I finally made it back to the pool for the second time in about 5 or 6 months (probably more).  I also got in a couple decent spin sessions on the bike.  I'm starting to build endurance in those sports while trying to keep up my running base.

Swim: 1,000 meters
Bike: 23 miles
Run: 17 miles
Strength: 4 sessions

What what?  4 strength sessions?  OK, one of those was mixed in with a spin session and the other was about 15 minutes of "Homework".  Why do I have homework?  I have started using a personal strength trainer at the gym.  My first session was two weeks ago where we started some initial tests and then the two sessions this week were working on lifting form.

Needless to say, I've been sore and we really haven't been putting on a ton of weight. I don't think that's exactly the plan.  I'm not trying to bulk up but trying to manage surviving a full ironman.  Nearly every training plan I have used incorporates some form of strength training, which I referred to them\ as "rest days".  I need someone to make me accountable and this is the best way to do it for me.

New Bike?
My favorite bike shop announced 25% off 2012 bikes.  I made two trips to the shop this weekend to drool but unfortunately there were no bikes that were in 58cm frames and carbon fiber.  I'd love to have gotten a deal on a bike but being 6'4" makes it difficult to buy a bike that is in stock.  If I'm going to be dropping some serious cash on a bike, it's going to fit and it's going to match my criteria.

My plan was to purchase a new bike mid-summer but doing this research has helped me realize how much 2013 bikes cost and that they are still attainable now.  If I waited until mid-summer, I might be able to use it in one or two races before the ironman.  If I were to buy now, I'd be able to use it in all my triathlons.  It's not really a mind/pocket book struggle.

2013 Schedule
I'm nailing down my schedule for 2013.  Hopefully should have it ready this week.  I got registered for my second triathlon last week.  More on that upcoming...

Photo of the Week
TKB took a photo of me while on the bike this week.  I got a couple bike jersey's this past year and this one was given to me by my parents for Christmas.  It's my undergraduate alma mater!

I'm working on my Peter Sagan "Running Man" pose.

This is making me look forward to "Le Tour" 2013.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

2012 Year in Review - A Quick "Run" Through

No no no.  This post isn't late.  It's perfectly timed.  When this year evolved, I added the Walt Disney World Goofy Challenge as a late entry into the 2012 season.   It was so late that it wasn't scheduled to occur until January 2013.  So here we go...

So how is the best way to some up this year?  One word: Fail.  Go ahead.  See for yourself.  Read my goals for 2012.
  • Sub-20 5k?  Not even close.  I was closer in 2011, when I missed it by 2 seconds.
  • Sub-40 10k?  Did I even run one in 2012?
  • Boston Qualify?  I managed the sub-7:14 qualifying pace for 16 miles before it all feel apart.
Queue the "wah wah" sound effect.... NOW.

So what came out of 2012?  This is one thing:

Bib #126: 1st Place Age Group - Bringing Up The Rear 5K
Bib #509: 2nd Place Age Group - Heritage Park Duathlon
Bib #175: 3rd Place Age Group - Head for the Cure 5K
Bib #102: 3rd Place Age Group - Blues n Brews 10 Miler
Bib #11: 4th Place Male Team - Trolley Run 4 Miler (I left the "award" at work since it was a work team)

It was a humbling experience because for the short distance races I was actually faster the previous year.  It was 2011 when I hit 20:02 for the Head for the Cure 5k.  This year it was 20:53, yet I jumped up 5 positions.  Some would say that you need to race against people and not the clock.  I guess that's the case.  I'd say that I was racing against the pain in my legs and lungs, though.  5Ks are PAINFUL.

So here is what I'm taking away from this year:

Proper Recovery - This year I incorporated compression recovery socks, compression calf sleeves, foam roller, The Stick in my post-race, mid-race, and pre-race routines.  The compression socks and compression calf sleeves help control muscle vibration during the run to reduce damage to the legs and improves blood return to clear out the junk that builds up in the legs.

Make It Count - I prefer to run in the morning but I also did plenty of runs half asleep.  Make sure you are focused in your training.  If things are getting monotonous then change it up.  Speed sessions, hill sessions, treadmill intervals.

If you want to get faster, then run faster... occasionally.  Seems simple enough but you need to train for the faster speeds occasionally.  Don't overdue it, you got to make sure you body recovers.

Cross Training - I'm adding this because I was not successful at cross training.  This year I focused on running and I neglected my swimming and biking.  This became painfully obviously when comparing my 2011 Head for the Cure time with my 2012 Head for the Cure time.  Both races occurred during the peak of my "A" race base building.  2011 was during my half ironman training and 2012 during the Chicago Marathon training plan.  In 2012 I was 53 seconds slower.  Cross training helps!

My biggest take away from 2012?  HAVE FUN!
While in the "A" races I was thinking more about strategy and hitting my paces but I didn't forget to seek out some high fives in the crowd (assuming the flu season isn't running rampant).  If people were near me, I'd fling out a hand to grab some high fives or joke with the spectators whenever I or we (Joe VI) could.

My other race bling
Goofy Challenge, Bringing Up The Rear, Chicago Marathon

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend - Marathon

Marathon Day!
Total morning replay as Saturday.  Early alarm, bagel, banana, and put on my costume.  Ok, not exactly the same as Saturday.

Now one of my biggest question was answered.  How would my legs feel after PR'ing the day before?  Most people say that you should save your legs during the half-marathon portion of the Goofy Challenge so the marathon is manageable.  I threw that caution out like a used gel packet.  I did try to help myself by wearing my recovery socks pretty much all day Saturday and all night (yes, I slept in my recovery socks).  My legs felt like I spent a day at the parks, so I was very content with that.

Speaking of costumes.  I provided a few hints of our costume over the previous month (and a full on picture last week)....

Calf Sleeves



Tweedle Dee (me) and Tweedle Dum (Joe VI)

Bring on the Race!

Today's running crew is Jill (who also ran the 5k), Jess, Joe VI, Ron, and Maureen.  We never did see Maureen until after the race.  It was all the same timing as the half marathon but we didn't have to wait to move from the port-a-potties to the start corrals.  Pretty much everyone did a bag drop today.  I decided to do so as well so TKB didn't have to lug around a bag of clothes for me all morning.  Once everyone had finished prepping their fuel belts, we started the long trek to the corrals.

Ron, Jess, and Jill filling up their water bottles.  Joe VI is probably in the bathroom for the third time.

A road sign on the way to the start corrals.  Right before you enter the start corral area, they have another 50 or 60 port-a-potties.  Of course we stopped.

Me (4th marathon), Jess (3rd marathon), Jill (FIRST Marathon), Ron (FIRST Marathon), Joe VI (2nd marathon)

This shot is of corral "C".  We all hung out together for the start.  Once 5:30 hit the first corral took off and about 8 minutes later, so did corral "B".  We slowly inched up to the start line and after another 5 minutes, we took off (we were lined up in the very back of corral "C".

Jess and Jill talking race strategy, I think.  It wasn't me taking a photo of their butts... I promise.

I'm pretty sure there is a better map out there than my Garmin data.

The route started the same as the half marathon.  At the mile marker 9 is where the route deviated.  We ran through the speedway and then south towards Animal Kingdom (mile marker 14).  Then a long run towards ESPN Wide World of Sports (mile marker 19).  We then head into Hollywood Studios (mile marker 24) and then a nice scenic run by a river into Epcot for the finale!

At the entrance of the Magic Kingdom.

After the Magic Kingdom, trying to speed this thing along.

The entrance to the speedway.

From the RunDisney Facebook page.

This was a very muggy day.

Joe VI took a picture of Tweetin' Dee.  Actually, we had just taken a photo with the Queen of Hearts and a RunDisney social media person took a photo of us and tweeted it.  I was looking for it.

Found here.

Somewhere around Animal Kingdom, I needed a Tweedle Dum-p.

Around mile 16, looking back at all the runners.

Apparently mile marker 20 was suppose to be something spectacular.  Meh.

Heading into Hollywood Studios.  Tower of TERROR!


We stopped for a stretch in Hollywood Studios.

After four and half hours of having fun, we crossed the finish line!

Another very hot and muggy day.  There were alerts from the Race Director to stay hydrated and "know your limits".  I heard that local hospitals were overstaffed in case there were major issues.  There were a lot of medical staff in the chutes encouraging people to drink.

Once we made it through the corrals, we stopped by a second tent and got our Goofy Challenge medals!  We eventually made it out to the family meet-up area and found Lauren and TKB.  Soon after we finished, Jess, Ron, and Jill crossed.  We found Jill but not Jess and Ron:

Joe VI, Lauren, and family had left by this time.  We eventually went back to the hotel to wait for everyone to show up.  Jill decided to stink up the bed in our room.

TKB ran around and made ice baths for our feet.

All of my four medals... fully earned!

The plan for the rest of the day....   OK, there might have been some additional beverages consumed that had been put on hold for about four days.

Marathon Recap
  • It was hot and muggy.  Disney Marathon weekends have been known for their potentially crazy weather.  A few years ago it was sleeting.  This was one of the hottest marathons in the last 10 years.
  • If you find yourself assigned in a late corral, move up if you can.  I consider this marathon the "everyman's" marathon.  That's not meant to be an insult.  It's Disney!  They do things awesome and many people choose this as their first marathon.  This also means that you will find more walkers in the crowd.  In fact, the recommended training plan is Jeff Gallaway's walk-run-walk plan.  Move up if you don't want to deal with people walking every few minutes.
  • Joe VI's costume idea was a major hit.  We had people pre-race ask to take photos of us and with us.  People cheered us on when running by crowds and through the aid stations.  I felt like a little celebrity.
  • "I PR'ed that Pit Stop" - Scotty B, January 13, 2013
  • I need to learn how to use the locks better in the port-a-johns.  No reason.
  • Giving High Fives is a good interval workout.  Whenever we were in crowds I took off to give everyone high fives (or high fours, for people with Mickey Mouse gloves), unfortunately I kicked up my pace when doing so.  Besides that wearing me down, it is generally the worse route you can take around corners.  I didn't care, I was having fun (and potentially acquiring the flu at the same time).
  • I need a new fuel belt.  I was wearing 4 gel packets.  Once I took one out, the third one dropped. I gave Joe VI one of my remaining packets when the last one fell out.  Oops.
  • Specifically for Disney races... bring a camera!  I had just purchased a Lumix TS4.  It was fun to bring but I'm still learning how to use it.  Too many blurry or foggy photos but that's likely a factor of the dark sky and muggy day.
  • Do more photo race reports. Less chances for typos.

My Favorite Photo

This was taken from my Lumix camera so no need to spend $40 for it!

Monday was our last day at Disney.  We all went to Magic Kingdom to ride some roller coasters and then off to Epcot for Fish and Chips and drinking around the world!!!

Magic Kingdom!

Taking the mono-rail to Epcot!

Jill enjoying beer #1 with some Fish and Chips

Jess doing the same.

Epcot at Night

Rebecca and Jake, waiting for the Illuminations show.

TKB and Jess


Jess, Jill, and Jaime... getting comfy.

This is it for the Disney trip!  It was so much fun and I hope we built some great friendships over this as there are many of races to run together!

Also... be sure to check out Jill's blog for her race/spectator reports!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend - Half Marathon

Last time we talked, I was off to bed with visions of sweet PRs in my head.   The task seemed easy enough.  I trained at paces that would allow for a PR, so a PR should be attainable during a race.  The biggest piece of contention was the weather.  I had been training in the 30s and 40s.  The temps were to start in the 60s and increase to the 80s.  Factor #2 was the humidity.  It was Florida, after all.  I could train indoors to simulate the heat; however, the gym would surely frown upon me taking the treadmill into the sauna.

Alarm buzzed at 2:45am and I was off to the showers as my physical wake-up call.  Today I had planned to wear my orange barrel outfit (see bottom of this post). All fretting about the weather aside, I was quite happy to put on my running singlet again.  I downed my usual bagel and banana.

Today's running crew was Joe VI, Lauren, Rebecca, and Jaimee; however, everyone kept to their respective hotel running mates.  Mine was Jaimee.  We left for the buses shortly before 3:30 am.  Buses for runners started at 3:00am.  After 4:00am, the busses were for spectators (although I'm sure they would still allow runners to board). For our hotel, we only had to wait for 2 buses and it was not long.  I counted 8 buses lined up waiting to pickup runners.   Joe VI reported they waited for 18 buses from their resort.

By 4am, we had arrived in the Epcot parking lot and proceeded to walk about 5 minutes to the bag drop off.  Given the time, I couldn't really get my bearings compared to the day before.  It was not the same place we were staged for the 5k.  Jaimee dropped her bag in the bag check tent and we hit the port-a-potties.  This place was CROWDED.  It wasn't claustrophobic, but extremely crowded.

I had read and heard that there was a 20 minute walk to the start corrals; however, I had no freaking clue if we were at the start corrals or not.  The day before we were waiting right by the start corrals but I couldn't see anything that resembled a start line.

I finally asked around and was told by a volunteer that we were going to head in "that direction" once they opened a gate.  So Jaimee and I popped a squat and just waited.  People were literally stepping over us, it was that crowded.

Right in the middle of the port-a-pots in the distance is where all these people were headed.

Eventually they opened up the gate and there was a slow half mile hike to the start.  It was nearing 5am at this point, which is when corrals were to be closed, or so the pamphlets said.

Once out of the port-a-pits, you marched to the start corrals.
Jaimee was in a different corral, so once we got the corrals we wished each other luck and off we went our separate ways.  The corral was probably at 50% capacity so I managed my way all the way to the front.  Even so, I matched up with the 2:00 hour pace group.  Not a good sign for someone wanting to go sub-1:45, but I knew I would be toeing the line for our corral start.  Plenty of open space.

I do not envy these people carrying pace signs.
Once corral "A" moved forward to the start, I saw a couple people jump out of our corral to join them.  The RunDisney people were on it and forced them back into our corral.

At about 5:30am, corral "A" was released and about 8 minutes later we were too!

Miles 1 - 3

Goal: 8:00, 7:45, 7:30
Actual: 7:52, 7:45, 7:32

(Note: these are GPS miles.  I forgot to change my watch to manual laps.  Oops)

These miles were pretty boring and slow.  It was dark and we were running on the highway system within the Disney parks.  Considering I was at the start of the corral, there wasn't much in front of me.  A couple guys took off to catch the first corral (see ya!) but it wasn't long before I started to catchup with corral "A" myself.  Mostly walkers (not sure how they qualified for the first corral).  It was around mile 2 that they started having photo stops.  Aid stations were about every mile.

Close to the end of Mile 3 is the entrance to Magic Kingdom.

I hit my timing pretty much right on and I was feeling great.  PR is in sight.

Miles 4 - 6

Goal: 7:15, 7:15, 7:15
Actual: 7:21, 7:25, 7:39

It took two more miles before we actually entered the park.  Roads were starting to become narrow and harder to pass people during mile 5. I was in the thick of corral "A".  It was still dark out and actually eerie because of the fog.  It was like Disney had fog machines going for the photo stops.

Going through Magic Kingdom was pretty cool.  It was too early for a ride on Space Mountain though!

By the time I hit the end of mile six, we were out of the park and it was still dark.  I hit mile 6 in about 46 minutes. While not hitting my planned goals due to the park being hard to navigate at speed with the turns and people, I'm still on target for a great PR.    Let's just not lose it.

Gel at mile 5-ish.

Mile 7 - 9

Goal: sub-7:15 pace
Actual: 7:28, 7:26, 7:38

We are working our way through some of the access roads back towards the highway system.  Still dark out and we started running through some of the darkest parts of the route.  They did provide mobile lighting for some areas but there was about a half mile stretch that with the combination of darkness and fogged up glasses made it easy for me to run someone over.  Luckily, it never happened.  We were coming up on 6:30am.

I knew I wasn't hitting my paces but I knew I was going to PR if I could keep things under 8.  What did cross my mind is that, while I'd kill my PR, I'd probably miss some milestone, like going sub-1:40.  So I kicked it up.

Mile 10 - 12

Goal: Run to a PR!
Actual: 7:46, 7:47, 7:36

Finally back on the highway system and I could see people still running towards the Magic Kingdom.  Some of the later corrals didn't even start until after 6:30am.  The sun was starting to lighten up the sky and we were beginning to hit some real inclines as we were taking entrance ramps.

I was definitely looking forward to this being done.  We still had to run through Epcot.

Mile 13

Goal: Run to a PR!
Actual: 7:31

I knew I had started 7 or 8 minutes after the gun clock but I didn't know for sure.  This would have been nice to know since all mile markers had timing clocks.  I knew I would beat my PR by 5+ minutes at this point but now I was eyeing "that" milestone.  Would I be able to go sub-1:40?  It was going to be close.  I'm not sure what the weather was but it was pretty warm plus the humidity was killer, or at least that's what I remember.

We didn't run around the entire park of Epcot but just enough to fill out the remaining 13.1 miles.  Fortunately, the last .2 miles was the same as the 5k. I knew the distance and it was time to kick it up!

Mile .1 (.21 as my Garmin recorded)

Around a few corners and into the finish chute!

TKB and crew were there to see me finish but I couldn't hear them amongst the other spectacle going on and the fact that my ears were drowning in sweat.


Time: 1:40:10
Division: 58
Overall: 461 / 23,125

Killed my PR by nearly 6 minutes but I missed that sub-1:40 by 10 seconds!!  Argh! I'm still thrilled get that PR though.

Everything post-race was exactly the same as the 5k in terms of the medal pickup, photos, food, etc.  I rested for a while trying to get use of my phone.  Everything was soaking wet in sweat, so it was a bit challenging to use a touch screen.  I drank all the fluids I could find and eventually worked through my goodie box before walking through the bag check to the other side.

The weirdest thing happened, or so it seemed.  The way bag check works is they have this 150 foot long tent with about 7 or 8 entrance.  You walk through the one with the letter of your last name to drop off and get your bags.  Only athletes are allowed in the bag check.  Even though I didn't check a bag, I walked through one of the tents to get the the athlete/supporter meet-up.  Everyone just slowly started clapping as I and another runner were walking through.  It was so weird... appreciated, but weird.

Almost immediately I found TKB.  That's the nice thing about the GPS tracking software I use on my phone.  By this time, Jaimee had finished so Jill, Jess, and Ron were walking around finding her.  We parted ways at this point to meet up later at the hotel room.

We were still waiting for Rebecca and Joe VI & Lauren to finish.  So I setup shop on the bleachers while everyone else was finishing.

Nice smile... dork.

Post-Race Saturday
Eventually I grabbed the change of clothes from TKB and found a handicap port-a-potty to change in. At this point my sweat was all dried up.  It would have been nice to take a shower, but we were getting too close to brunch time to go back to the hotel.

We watched Rebecca and Joe VI & Lauren finish.  Once Rebecca made her way out, we took off for brunch, which we had to go through Epcot to do so.  Luckily we purchased a 4 day park hopper to use.  Brunch was delicious and perfect for preparing for tomorrow.  Plenty of carbs and plenty of protein to repair the body.  The hotel that housed the brunch had a restroom with wash clothes, so I gave myself a little sponge bath while waiting for our table get ready.

Meat... potatoes.... chocolate milk.

Brunch was a character meal.  Got to hang out with my race's namesake!

We walked through Epcot a bit on the way out before we finally separated our ways.

TKB and I rested up at the hotel and then for a little swim so I could let my legs float in the pool.

Playing around with the waterproof feature of our new camera.  Hiding my hideous runners toes.

That afternoon we went over to Joe VI and Lauren's resort where I had another bowl of pasta (same as the day before).  Joe VI did the same but ordered a pizza for the family and we went back to their room for the evening (we were putting the final touches on the costume).  TKB then left around 7:30 to go spend some time with Rebecca and Jake.  Around 8pm I went back to my room for bed.

My heart rate was running really high, which I think was actually a problem with the heart rate monitor.  I don't think I hit 213 HR during the race.

Rebecca coming in for her finish!

Lauren and Joe VI... in green behind the team in training (purple) people.

Rebecca displaying her medal with Donald!
Seen while we were hunting a frozen beer.

The "Bowling Pin" buildings of Pop Century.  My namesake!

Up Next ->  Completed the Goofy Challenge  -- Full Marathon Style!

Also... be sure to check out Jill's blog for her race/spectator reports!