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)

Monday, January 26, 2009

Mardi Gras Marathon Week.

This is the week where all my hard marathon training comes to fruition. The 7 days leading up to the race is all about REST. Rest means no new home projects, heavy lifting (like snow shoveling), staying up late, or any other strenuous activities that causes me to stress my body or mind.

Monday will be either 3 easy miles or no workout. Tuesday calls for 4 x 400 repeats at 5K pace. Wednesday an easy 3 miler and travel day. Thursday and Friday is getting acclimated to the heat wave. Saturday is a 2 mile leg loosener. Sunday is race day.

My nutrition plan for the week will be to cut all sweets including my favorite dark chocolates. To increase my carbs with more fruits, veggies and some pasta stuff. Otherwise, I won't try anything new in my diet including a detox cleansing.

I will try a "news fast" but look for inspirational words and videos about running. I will remember to smile and have a good time from now and while running the race.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Taper Time!

After 15 weeks of consistent marathon training I have made it to the final 3 weeks of taper training. Today's run was a 20 miler and that was followed by a 10 mile marathon pace run on Saturday. The run seemed especially hard today because of the 2 inch snow covered trails. My legs felt and feel like they ran 30 miles. But I'm sure running a hard 10 miler the day before didn't give my legs much recovery time. I think Hal Higdon did it that way for the Advanced II program on purpose to toughen the runners up. The totality of Hal's program gave me the confidence and physical shape I need to run a good marathon. I missed 2 workouts early in the program, shortened a 19 mile to 15 mile run, but ran a 22 miler instead of a 12 miler. The quantity of the runs is out of the way but the quality will continue up to race day. And my focus now is getting to the starting line well rested. Yoga is my choice of recovery to get me prepared mentally and physical for race day. If I can do a little every day I'll be happy.