Tuesday, March 15, 2011

2010 Multisport racing review

     Back in late 2009 in decided 2010 was going to be a year of variety as far as competing in multi-sport. My first challenge was to "Tackle the Tower". I trained for about 2 months a couple times a week climbing as many stairs I could find including the 19 flights at Rhodes Tower at CSU. I even had two opportunities to practice run the "Tower" race. After the two practice runs I had an idea how to pace myself and what kind of time I could shoot for. My goal was to run sub 5 minutes to the top. The 38 flights of stairs at the Tower at Erieview was in early February. On race day I was amazed how many people showed up and how well the race went off considering we had a staggered start where each person was let off every 10 seconds. I made it to the top in 4:34 for 7th placed overall. It was a lung buster. I remember having the taste of blood in the back of my throat. Even though it's a fast lung busting race I think I'll do that race again in the future.

Next was my attempt of an Ultra-marathon 50K race set at the end of March. The race was on the trails of Cuyahoga Valley National Park in the Peninsula area. I didn't train specifically for this race by knocking off countless miles but rather I depended on my aerobic fitness and my previous experience as a pacer for a friend who runs the 100 mile Burning River Run. I've run with him for the past couple years during the night completing 35 to 40 miles. I also figured I've completed two Half Ironman Triathlons this past 2 years in a time of 5:07 and 6:30 and that I should be able to keep moving for that long during the ultra marathon. My goal was to complete it in five to five and a half hours. On the morning of the race the weather was cool with some cloud cover. The rains were expected to come late morning. I completed the first loop in around 2:40 but then the rains came. At times it poured and the trails were thick with mud. The conditions slowed me way down. I finished in 6 hours and 4 minutes. I enjoyed this kind of long running and would do it again but next time spend more time on the trails.

I wasn't about to give up the trails just yet so I entered the Xterra Trail Running Race Series. I signed up for 4 out of the 5 races. The races were in April, May, June, and August at various places in Ohio. At the end of the series the 4 best results of an individual determined who the Regional Champion was in each age group. I also signed up for the 331 NEO Power Mountain Bike Race Series. This also was 4 best out of 5 races to determine champions. The races were one in July, two in September, and one in October. In between trail running races and mountain bike racing I entered a Kayak Triathlon and 2 Sprint Triathlons. After triathlon season I signed up for the Ohio Outside Trail Running Series. Finally, I ran the Reindeer 5K in Lakewood to get an idea what kind of road race shape I'd be in after all the trail racing I did this year.

The results from the series and triathlons were spectacular. But I did pay a price. I twisted my left ankle very badly during my second Xterra race. It happened about a mile into a 4 mile race. I must have hit a hidden root just right and I heard a popping sound and knew I did some damage. I continued run-limping along to win my age group. I completed the Xterra series and won first place in the 50-54 age group regional. I qualified for Nationals in Bend, Oregon but did not go for it.

The mountain bike racing was so much fun. No serious mishaps while racing but during training I did have a couple spills that caused my right ankle and left shoulder some pain. I finished 3rd place in my age group for the overall series. Not bad for my first year mountain bike racing. Next year I will have a mountain bike that fits me and with front shocks that work. I should be faster, I hope.

The Kayak Triathlon was my first kayak racing. The park provided the kayak's for those of us who didn't own one. During the race it was pouring rain. I got out of the kayak 5th and managed to inch my way up in the bike and run to win the overall race. What a surprise. I won a pair of kayak paddles, now I need a boat to go with it.

The Ohio Outside Trail Series races were at Munroe Falls Park. The first one was October followed by November and December. I managed to win my age group for all 3 races. Even the first race I started dead last after everyone was off and running 5 minutes into the race. I was out on a potty pit-stop and didn't have a watch on me. I had fun coming up from the rear blasting by people. Some knew I started late and wished me good luck.

The last time I ran a 5K road race was the summer of 2008. My expectation was to win my age group and not worry about the time. I took first in my age with a time of 18:23. Not bad for no speed training or track intervals.

Life is good and I'm thankful for a great 2010.
And I have to say, oh what fun it was to run, ride, and tri in a variety way.

Friday, December 17, 2010

To swim or not to during out season is the question

I recently came across this article and posted it on some friends Facebook page and got some eye brows raised. It appeared I pricked some traditional triathlon athletes awareness so I thought I might share my two cents. I have been using my out season for the past 7 years to focus on my swimming technique, strength and confidence and I have to say I have improved in all these areas but my swim times haven't really come down like they have with my running or biking. I do plan on hitting the pool at least once a week but I will focus more on biking and running and when I'm not S.B.R. I will go outside the box (pool) and continue to build my aerobic capacity with snow shoeing, cross country skiing, mountain biking, stair climbing, ice skating, weight lifting and yoga just to name a few. Having fun doing these other activities won't bring my swim times down but I'll at least get a chance to enjoy other sports and when the pool goes back to long course in March I'll be ready to specifically train for my up coming triathlon race season.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

New York City Marathon 2009

This year the New York City Marathon was the largest marathon field in the sport's history - 43,741 runners and 43,475 finishers (a 99.4% completion rate). And I am proud to say that I was one of the 43,475 finishers. Running New York is like No other race. The big apple puts on a mega marathon event, with the largest crowd support bar none. If this race wasn't a day's drive away and the amount of money spent for the race and hotel I would love to run it again. But, it sure was worth the experience.

The race organizers and volunteers did an exceptional job in transporting us runners from the Ferry on Manhattan Island to Staten Island to be bused to the runners village where we waited around for a few hours before they called us to line up in our starting corrals.

Running with so many people reminded me of my rock concert days at the stadium where we were packed against a pushing crowd, except the runners gave you more room to run. The start was an up hill over the Verrazano Narrows Bridge. I hardly noticed it was an uphill because the excitement of all the runners took me up and over the bridge. The cheering crowds carried me through 15 miles at around a 6:40 pace but then all my little problems began to wear me down. I think traveling to a race and the logistics of getting to the start line played a big toll on my performance. I was told from other NYC marathon finishers not expect a personal best. I tried to ignore that and wanted a PB anyway. But then another little problem I've been nursing during my marathon training, my plantar fasciitis, began to complain. And no matter how much the crowds were cheering us runners on my focus was on finishing the race with what strength I had left and in 3:22:48 I was happy to be done. If I were to run New York again I might not have high hopes of running a fast race but I would try to just have all the fun I can get from the cheering crowds.

I'm not giving up that sub 3 hour marathon goal just yet but I look forward to turning 50 in a few months and giving the marathon another go.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

How I survived a 20 mile run.

Twenty minutes before the start of the 8 am run I consumed 2 Endurolytes and 2 ounces of Perpetuem all washed down with water.

My wife came on her bike to accompany me for the run. She had her CamelBack which was half filled with water the night before and placed in the freezer and in the morning I topped off the rest of the bladder with water.

I wore my knee high compression socks. The result is I get NO calf or shin soreness after a long run.

The miles flew by because we did a lot of chit chatting on various topics on life and family.

To hone in on the perfect nutrition: I used two 24 ounce bottles of water (sip every 15 minutes), a 5 ounce flask filled with a pasty consistency of Perpetuem (sip an ounce every 20-25 minutes), 4 Endurolytes (take 2 tablets every hour) and I thoroughly enjoyed sips of ice cold water from my wifes CamelBack she had on her back.

I thought the weather was perfect with cool temperatures and some overcast clouds.

After the run (2:33:17) I had a bottle of Recoverite and a banana which were waiting for me in the car.

Having great companionship and the right amount of fuel made for a perfect long run.

Monday, July 20, 2009

XTERRA O.N.E. Triathlon

On my list of things to do this year was to do an xterra race. I can check that off as I have completed my first off road triathlon race this past Sunday July 19th.
I have to admit I haven't had much time and experience on the trails with the mountain bike but I did get a chance to ride the course the Thursday before the race. I am so glad I did. I was impressed with the group of riders who were there to ride with me. I probably would have done more damage to myself if I didn't have the experienced riders clue me in on how to handle some of the tricky parts of the trail. I did fall off a narrow serpentine bridge and smack my head into a tree, good thing I had my helmet on. That one ride helped me to ride faster and safer on race day.

The triathlon race began with a 1/2 mile swim on a calm and warm lake. I wore my new xterra wetsuit and felt like I swam fast and smooth while controlling my breathing, staying on someones feet for the draft and managing good sighting.

On the mountain bike I rode the serpentine bridge and escaped the smacking tree. My only problem was that I wasted too much time by letting tons of people who came up behind to pass me by getting to the side and off the bike. At least the passers were polite and appreciated my kindness. At one point I got off while ascending a hill and was unable to get back on my bike until I ran to the top. Next time, I'll ride and wait until I can move to the side without getting off the bike. I'll save tons of time. Another lesson I need to learn is to not apply the brakes as much. I think I rode the brakes too much, but that will come with more experience by riding the trails. I also will use a camelback for the bike portion too. I didn't enjoy drinking dirt that got caked on my water bottle and there just wasn't enough clear spots along the trail to safely drink.

But the best part of the race was the run. The trail began with a very rocky section that was up hill and at times you had to walk because of the rugged trail. Once we went through that section the trail was smooth but with lots of rolling hills and switch backs.

I had so much fun doing the off road triathlon that I am looking forward to more mountain biking riding and racing so that next year I can break 2 hours.

Race Results

Friday, February 13, 2009

Post Mardi Gras Marathon

My recovery from the marathon has gone well. I took three days off following the race and then ran an easy 2 miler on the fourth day. My hamstrings and quads were a bit sore the first three days but by Thursday they felt fine and good enough to run the 2 miler.

I finally got on the bike (using the trainer) six days after the race and I enjoyed a nice brick session of and easy 2 miler on the treadmill followed by a 30 minute spin on the bike.
I am looking forward to building back my biking strength and to improve my swim technique.

If my running legs are fully recovered and strong by March 14th I'll run the St. Malachi 5 miler. I am already considering my spring and summer and fall racing season and look forward to sprint triathlons, my first Xterra race, an epic century ride, and a fall marathon.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Mardi Gras Marathon Race Results

My winter training for the Mardi Gras Marathon has paid off. The last 10 weeks of training was through the cold harsh winter in Cleveland. During those long hard runs I would tell myself that "this will make me tougher and more prepared for the marathon".

So during those final miles of the marathon I really felt strong mentally and physically. And when I crossed the finish line I realized my legs are finally getting to the point of running through a whole marathon. This was my 7th marathon and the first time I didn't have to walk.

On Race day we had temperatures in the low 50's and over cast clouds. It was a perfect morning for a race. I positioned myself near the front and found others around me shooting for the 3 hour mark. I wore a marathon pace wrist band and immediately had a crowd around me when the gun went off. I was the pace leader and enjoyed the camaraderie. We stayed together until the half way point where we looped back into town. The crowds were large and cheering which helped me run a 6:38 (fastest mile) and to drop all my new friends by mile 14. For most of the second half I was running alone. Most of the crowds were at or near the aid stations which was every 2 miles.

The aid stations were in typical New Orleans fashion. A couple of them not only served us water and Gatorade but we also had the choice from a buffet of hot dogs, chips, and beer. The aid stations reminded my of the festive food choices along the Burning River 100 mile race without the beer. This was one fun race and the people down there do like to throw a party.

Another interesting course highlight was Bourbon street. It was was freshly soaped and washed minutes before we ran down the street. And the all night party people standing out in front of the bars cheered us runners on.

Overall this was by best marathon because of the good mental and physical shape I was in and the festive atmosphere the marathon had.

Mile Splits:
1. 6:39
2. 6:43
3. 6:53
4. 6:58
5. 6:47
6. 6:53
7. 6:48
8. 6:47
9. 6:50
10. 6:48
11. 6:44
12. 6:45
13. 6:42
14. 6:38
15. 6:54
16. 6:52
17. 6:56
18. 7:04
19. 7:04
20. 7:04
21. 7:20
22. 7:18
23. 7:26
24. 7:33
25. 7:46
26.2 10:10
Total time 3:04:34 (Second fastest out of 7 marathons)