Saturday, August 23, 2008

OROC 5K Run was a rockin' n rollin'

A very good race for a very good cause! The night before the race as I lay in bed thinking how I haven't run much or had any quality runs lately and the scary feeling of how was I going to run 18 minutes for the 5K but then a thought came to me, "why don't I just run the race for the very reason the race was put on in the first place"?

From the race ad, "OROC is dedicated to creating an active community of hope and empowerment for those touched by ovarian cancer through awareness, education and early detection". I said to myself, "this is a race that I will run strong and in support of those who were touched by ovarian cancer". After I said my little prayer for those touched by ovarian cancer and of thanks and appreciation my mind was at rest and I was out like a light.

On race morning, down at the Cleveland Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, at the registration area I met a fellow co-worker, who was the one who told me about the race, and her son. They were volunteering for the race. We did some chit chatting and they wished me luck in the race.

I thought the course would be and easy one to run but we had hills to run up and down, head winds coming off the lake, the bright sun shining in our face and heat and humidity, all to keep the pace under control. I was able to settle in my pace after the first mile and was able to hold my overall 5th place. Along the course we had a High School marching band, a man playing the bagpipe, and 3 or 4 Rock Bands to entertain the runners and walkers.

The finish area was one big party area with food, giveaways, live music and dancing. At the awards ceremony I won first place in my age (45-49) finishing in the time of 17:44. They gave me a ribbon and a 50 dollar gift card for Dicks Sporting Goods. Yes!

It's good to remember why we do the things we do and in particular how we are here for one another. This race reminded me of just that.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Roscoe Ramle the long route.

I considered this organized biking event as my "epic weekend of biking". The event was a 2 day bike tour of a 110 or 150 mile route to choose from. I chose the 150 mile route because I planned on putting in good effort on both days as part of my training for my half ironman triathlon in September. You couldn't ask for better weather. The sun shone both days with temperatures in the mid 70's.

Saturdays ride started at Northwest High School, between Clinton and Canal Fulton. We made our way south to Coshocton and camped at Lake Park campgrounds. I saw more Amish buggies on the roads Saturday then I ever saw in one day. I got to race buggies up and down the hills of Amish country and even passed a few of them too. Some of the roads were pretty beat up from the wear and tear of those horse and buggies. Lunch was hosted by an Amish family farm and it was the best. They have been hosting lunch for a number of years for the Ramblers. We had garden fresh fruits and veggies, baked goodies, various cheeses and trail bologna and turkey ham sandwiches. Saturdays ride totals were 78.39 miles in 4:51:37. Max speed 40.1 mph and average speed was 16.1 mph. After the ride the only thing I needed more than a good meal was a neck and shoulder message. I got a good meal that was hosted by a church in Coshocton for all the riders but no message. After dinner I walked around downtown Coshocton and watched a live band play Elvis tributes. I could only take so much of, "I'm all shook up" and made my way back to my camp site. It was around 8:30 and I was ready to hit the hay.

Sunday's ride started out in the fog. Although it wasn't too heavy and after 5 to 8 miles into the ride, with the sun shinning brighter, the fog lifted. I didn't see any buggies on the road on Sunday. And the roads were in much better condition than Saturday. Lunch was host by a church in Beach city. They had fresh fruits and veggies and baked goodies. I wasn't too crazy about my choice of hot dog, chili dog or sloppy joe's. I was hungry and wanted/needed protein so I went with the sloppy joe. Sundays ride totals were 77.30 miles in 4:49:39. Max speed 38.9mph and average speed was 16.0 mph. After the ride I ran 3 miles on the Canal Towpath in 21:50. Then I treated myself to a peaches and cream ice cream cone. On my way home I stopped at the store to buy a bag of ice. As soon as I came home I ripped open the bag and tossed the ice in the bath tub and filled the tub with cold water. I jumped right in and had my burning legs enjoy the cool refreshing feeling.

Epic ride for the weekend was 155.69 miles on the roads of Amish country.

This is me on Saturday at the 68 mile point of the ride.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Greater Cleveland Triathlon debacle

I am so mad that I don't even want to write about my experience of yesterdays triathlon. To get my thoughts together and to write about it is hard. But I'll do my best to put something down. Maybe I'll learn some lessons.

I get to the race, park my car and get out my racing gear. I hear a volunteer shout, "you can keep your wet suit in the car because there will be no swimming today". He said something about the coast guard not setting up buoys, because the early morning thunderstorms brought in high waves (and probably high bacteria levels, which no one ever really mentions) and made for unsafe swimming. I could see the waves crashing on the beach and the high winds blowing sand all over -not to mention the skies looking like a storm would blow in any moment. I could understand the safety concerns and wasn't bother by the swim getting canceled. The volunteer said the swim would be changed to a 1.2 mile run and then the rest of the race would be the same distance you were signed up to do.

I made it over to the registration area and asked for my race packet but the nice volunteer said, "didn't you read on line that there is NO RACE DAY REGISTRATION OR PACKET PICKUP"? My heart sank. I realized I couldn't convince her to give me my packet so I asked her where the race director was and she said "He's somewhere walking around". I found the race director and apologized for my oversight and asked if he could please help me. He told me to hang on while he resolved some other issues on hand. Eventually, he took me back to the registration table and somehow my packet envelope appeared. Thank you Mr. Race Director.

As I look over the packet I noticed they had me in for the sprint distance triathlon. Oh, boy another glitch. The kind volunteer directed me over to the timing truck to have my timing chip registered for the correct distance that I had registered for online. I was supposed to be signed up for the Olympic distance triathlon (it's a 1500 meter Swim, 40 K Bike, and a 10 K Run). I got that fixed and I was on my way to get ready for the race.

The duathlon form of the race suited me well since running is my specialty sport. The gun went off for us to start the run and sure enough I was up there in the lead with the young kids and with no other 45 or older runner around. I didn't have a watch on so I had no idea how fast I ran the 1.2 miles and I made it into T1 with a few other runners. I hopped on my bike and was off with the lead riders. It looked like we had a lead motorcycle to escort us on the course. I saw he had his flashing lights on and I was able to keep him in my sights until about 2.5 miles into the ride where he made a left hand turn at an intersection. A patrol officer was waving us bikers to make the turn. I wondered why we turned when the green arrows were clearly pointing us to go straight. Oh well, maybe something happened the last minute on the course and we had to ride the route backwards. After riding 4 miles we got stopped by a train. No problem. An official was there to record our wait time and would report it to the finish line. It didn't take long for us to figure something was wrong when no other riders were coming in our direction. Then the official tells us we are riding the course backwards and that we need to turn around. How could we turn around and restart our bike split? Some bikers turned around but I chose to continue with some others to ride the course backwards. As we continued on our way race officials told us to turn around because the patrol officers were not directing the traffic for us. What frustrations we felt. It was down to me and another guy who continued the course backwards. I don't know what happened to the rest of the riders. After getting stopped 3 or 4 times I was loosing interest in the race but continued to finish the bike portion of the race. I even considered dropping out and going home, but then I thought I'm out here why not just make the best out of the run. If anything I'd get a good workout for the day.

I started the run feeling strong but with no motive to run fast. After about 2 miles into the run and passing all kinds of people, who were mostly in the sprint distance, I began to run faster. The second half of the run went well for me and I had a strong finish.

In the end I had no heart to collect my 3rd place age group award. I went home feeling like I never want to participate in the Greater Cleveland Triathlon again. I'll see what I think a year from now.

Lessons hopefully learned:
* thou shalt read ALL the race registration info.
* thou shalt not be led astray by lead motor vehicles (yes, I was also led astray in the Cleveland Rite Aid 10k in 2007)
* thou shalt not let negative emotions frustrate a race.

Race Results

Monday, August 04, 2008

Burning River 100 - Pacer

I don't know how they do it. And I don't know how I did it either. But those ultra runners are some amazing people. Those guys and gals are not only tough physically but tough mentally to keep their bodies moving to the finish. I had the joy of running 40.6 miles, in about ten and a half hours, as a pacer for my friend Dustin in the Burning River 100 mile Endurance Run.

Before I met Dustin in the early evening on Saturday I was able to get in a morning bike ride of 36 miles through some of the areas the runners would be making their way through. The race began 5:00am and I was able to cheer some of the runners on at the 30 mile marker. It was exciting to watch them come by.

In the afternoon I was a volunteer at the half way point of the race. We treated those runners like kings and queens providing food, drinks, and first aid. I would watch the runners come in to the aid station and look and listen to what the runner needed and or asked for. I would fill ball caps with ice for them to put on their heads, sponge off dirt and clean wounds from trail spills, and guide them in the direction for them to keep running.

Some runners didn't waste much time. When the lead runner came in he was not only met by us but by his support team who provided him food, drink and supplements. He stuffed his mouth, with food falling out, he mumbled thanks and took off running.

Third place runner who came to us was a women. I was amazed how strong she looked. She wanted to know how second place looked and I told her if she took care of herself she could catch him. She must have listened because she was second overall. Congratulations Connie!

I stayed helping out until 4:45 and then drove home expecting to eat dinner and take a nap before I'd get the call that my runner would be ready for me at the 60.6 mile point. But his wife called me at 5:00pm to tell me Dustin was ahead of schedule and would be ready for me by 5:30. I had no time for dinner or nap so I grabbed my running gear and drove back to the course to meet Dustin by 5:41. He came in at the 60.6 mile mark in 31st place. His goal was to finish in 24 hours or better. My goal was to make sure he would break 24 hours. We ran either side by side or with me in front. The highlight of our conversations was family, church, and God. I would also try to speak words of encouragement at the right moments. He asked at one point if I was in pain and at that time I had no pain but just tired legs. I guess I wasn't thinking about my pain but was focused on bringing Dustin home to the finish. During an ultra run I don't think runners think too much about the distance but rather getting through to the next 4 to 6 mile aid station. It's refreshing to have helpful people feeding you and cheering you on.

Dustin finished in 23:17. And went from 31st place at the 60 mile mark down to 20th place overall. Congratulations Dustin!

I'm on the left ready to help the lead runner at the 50.6 mile mark.