Friday, December 26, 2008

T'was the Day After Christmas and...

I'm finally updating my blog. Haven't been too inspired or motivated to add anything here so it's been quite a while...almost three months. But...now...I'm motivated again so a short note!

I went to see the ortho doctor this last Monday and after a thorough examination and more x-rays, he told me I could start running again. Oh Yeah! At my last physical therapy evaluation, a week earlier, they had given me a training plan to slowly incorporate running into my regular PT sessions...but...I was to wait until the official OK from my doctor...and now I have it. An early Christmas present!

I was still a little apprehensive about starting running since I hadn't expected to get the clearance to run until the end of January. I was still getting some uncomfortable sensations in my lower leg during some of my PT sessions and although I could walk up the stairs, It was still difficult going down the stairs. But, according to the doctor, everything was healed up and I could start right away, with the realization that I needed to take it really easy.

Now I didn't rush home, change into my workout gear and go for a run. I had worked out quite hard on the elliptical, stationary bike and leg weight workout the day before and decided to be sensible and give my body a rest day first. But Tuesday, I was at the gym ready to try this running thing. My training plan called for a 10 minute walking warm up, then alternating one minute runs with one minute walks for 10 cycles and finishing with a 10 minute cool down walk. I deviated from the plan by warming up 12 minutes on the elliptical and then five minutes walking on the treadmill at 4 mph. Then it was time for the first run...Any sign of pain or discomfort I was going to stop. I set the treadmill for 6 mph and started running...I almost anticipated some type of discomfort during the run, but...no pain...a little tightness but no discomfort either. One minute was up in no time and I started my walk at 4 mph and continued my walk/run for 5 cycles when my leg did start feeling funny...no real pain but it was aching, so I decided to stop and did my 5 minutes of walking cool down. Then to the stationary bike for another 12 minutes and everything started feeling fine.

I planned to run Christmas day but too many things were going on so that didn't happen. So, after two days of rest I went back today and did the whole 10 cycles of walk/run with no problems what so ever. Also got in 22 minutes on the elliptical, 3 miles on the stationary bike and my PT prescribed leg workouts. Everything felt fine afterwards...a little tight in places...but fine!

So, the goal right now is to follow the PT training plan, which will take about a month to get to the point where I will be running for 30 straight minutes.

Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!
Now have a great New Year!
Charlie

Thursday, October 9, 2008

On the Road Back...Slowly This Time!

Well, I've started my rehab. I was given clearance from my orthopedic doctors to start riding the stationary bike and elliptical as tolerated, starting with no resistance and no elevation. Was also given a consult to start Physical Therapy to help get my knee and ankle more mobile and to strengthen my quads and calves...and freedom from my crutches and leg splint.

A week ago Wed was my first trip to the gym in eight long weeks of little to no activity. My first challenge was actually trying to get to the gym. Since my right leg was the one that was fractured and healing...my gas and brake pedal foot...I had been practicing for a couple of days putting weight on my right foot and moving it back and forth...like pushing on the gas and brake pedal. A couple of ladies from the gym had already offered to take me to the gym when they went if I couldn't drive so that option was always there. I wanted to go in the morning when there wouldn't be too many people at the gym and my gym mates of course worked during the day so hence my practicing. So with all the practicing completed I hobbled out to the truck and drove to the gym and it wasn't as bad as I thought it might be. I was extra careful to allow plenty of time to brake and keeping my distance from other vehicles. It was great to know that I was freed from the bonds of immobility now.

The drive to the gym was no problem and I pulled into the nearest handicapped space by the front doors...I was able to get a temporary handicap sticker...so that was very helpful. I hobbled through the doors and was greeted by the staff and a couple of folks that I hadn't seen for what seemed ages. After about 15-20 minutes of greetings and talking about my incident, I climbed onto the stationary bike and started my first ride in a long time. I started off slow with no resistance and no elevation but just the rotational movement and flexion on my right knee and ankle was stiff and uncomfortable. Even pedaling mostly with my good left foot and leg and letting the right foot and leg just cycle through the motion was uncomfortable but bearable. After about five minutes I was able to use both legs with equal effort, still with tightness but more bearable. I completed seven miles in 31 minutes on the bike and moved on to the elliptical thinking that since I'm all warmed up, I could put in at least 5-10 minutes. But the movement and pressure from the elliptical was to great on my ankle and shin and I got off after just one minute. But, not bad for the first time in almost two months of nothing.

I got home, showered and notice my ankle and lower leg was painfully swollen but with some ice and elevation while I worked out my rehab training plan, the swelling went down. My plan is to build on the first day with only working out every other day for the first few weeks increasing the time/distance in small increments. So this was last weeks rehab/workout:

Wed: 31 min cycle at 0 level, 0 elevation; 1 min elliptical at 0 level, 0 elevation
Thu: Rest
Fri: 32 min cycle at 0-2 level, 0 elevation; 5 min elliptical at 0 level, 0 elevation
Sat: Rest
Sun: Rest...actually I hobbled around the pool scrubbing the sides and bottom...it needed it and it was a good work out.
Mon: 31 min cycle at 0-3 level, 0 elevation; 12 min elliptical at 0 level, 0 elevation
Tue: Rest
Wed: 36 min cycle at 0-5 level, 0 elevation; 12 min elliptical at 0 level, 0 elevation

Not a bad weeks worth of workouts, considering. My discomfort levels are more bearable each time out and my hobbling is slowly becoming more like normal walking. Got to remind myself to take it slow and easy, those old bones aren't mended yet.

Yesterday, Wed morning was my first PT appointment where they took baseline measurements on flexion, extension and strength and explained what type of exercises I was to do there and on my own and how to do them. I also saw my ortho doctor and they fitted me with a pair of support socks...looks like knee high stockings but they help my ankle and lower leg swelling...and I got clearance to go back to work starting Monday...well actually Tuesday since Monday is a holiday! Life is looking good again!

Happy training!
Charlie

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Another Month Gone

Here it is the end of September and fall has arrived. I should be in my final weeks of training for the fall marathons but here I still sit, still broken. Here is a quick update since my last race and post.

Since breaking my right leg on 09 August at the Mud Run, I was in a long cast for a little over 3 weeks trying to see/decide if the cast alone would be enough to keep the break aligned or if surgery would be needed. At the three week doctor's visit the x-rays did not look good and it appeared the fracture site was shifting and it was decided that a rod would be placed in the tibia to keep the fracture site aligned and help it heal faster.

Surgery was performed the next day with a titanium "nail" being place the length of the tibia with six screws to hold everything in place. An incision was made just above the knee for access to the top of the tibia and another incision at the fracture site to help align the two jagged bones. Each of the screws also got their own incisions. I remember being in extreme pain five hours later in the recover room but with drugs and time things calmed down a bit and I was released the next day minus the long cast but in a plastic foam lined boot. I could finally bend my knee but it was sore from the surgery as well as being stiff from being immobilized for three weeks in the cast. I was able to shower for the first time since this happened and what a joy that was...I had been giving myself a wash cloth bath for four weeks...so this was like being in heaven.

Went back for a check up last week...three weeks post-op...for suture removal and x-ray. X-rays showed everything in it's place and all the incisions healing well. Was sent home with instructions to full weight bearing and walking as tolerated with encouragement to use the stationary bike and elliptical with no resistance in a week. Also got a consult to go to physical therapy to help my knee and ankle stiffness from the long time in the cast and splint, but no running or anything that puts undue stress on the leg for another 8-12 weeks.

I am now hobbling around sometimes with one crutch, sometimes with none, but the stiffness in the knee and ankle keeps me from walking normal. Also my ankle and lower leg swells up quite a bit after trying to walk around but goes down some when I sit down and elevate my leg. Hopefully with the start of mild exercise and the PT, I'll be walking normal before too long.

I plan on going to the gym tomorrow for my first cycle/elliptical session...we'll see how that goes.

Everyone have a great week.

Monday, August 11, 2008

ASYMCA 8K Mud Run, 09 Aug 08

The ASYMCA Mud Run is an 8K that combines lots of sand, water obstacles and running. A fun event that I had run last year and already had registered for quite a while ago. I had some reservations of running it because I had just come off rehabbing a stubborn right shin problem for the last three months. After running the Memorial 5K about 10 days earlier, my shin was still tender and after a couple more training runs they didn't seem to be getting any better. I gave them three days of rest from running and on the morning of the race decided to go ahead and run it but to take it easy and run it for fun. Besides I had convinced other people to run it and a few of my gym mates were running it too.

The race is held on and near the beach of Little Creek Amphibious base in Norfolk and in run in waves starting with the young up to the age of 40 and ending with various two people and five people teams. I got to the event in plenty of time and got my chip and hung out a while waiting for my gym ladies but couldn't find them in the 2000+ runners and non-runners. It was a beautiful sunny morning with the temps in the low 70's and a nice little breeze. I did my mile warm up running the last half mile from the finish on the mostly sand covered hardtop road. My shin was still tender but usually after a couple of miles of racing it loosens up a bit. I again looked for the gym ladies and and had a chance to talk with fellow blogger Steve and Ally before the second wave was called to the starting line...my group...and I also found one of the gym ladies and was able to greet her before heading to the line.

The horn sounds and we are off running in the loose sand headed to the packed sand on the ocean beach. We race down the beach dodging waves and tree roots for the first mile or so. We head back across the loose sand and some solid ground before fording a small stream that comes up about mid thigh high...it felt cool and refreshing. We weave through a wooded area dodging overhanging branches, tree roots and small stumps. I'm feeling pretty good and start passing the slower people in front as the opportunity presents itself on the narrow trail. We run through some more loose sand and areas where dunes have been piled up for us to go up and over. After a little over a mile we finally reach the parking lot of the start finish area and I think for a moment that I should stop because my shin is still painful but continue on thinking that the next mile is the easiest part because it's mostly on blacktop roads and I'm already almost half way done anyway. We come off the solid ground back into the sand and climb over a wall chest high wall. I'm careful jumping down the other side and we are then going through the first mud pit...but actually just dirty, sandy water. We come to an area with rope stretched low over the course causing us to low crawl out the other side. Back to running in the loose sand and now the unsure footing in the sand is making my shin hurt even more so I slow it down and make sure that I step solidly on the sand. We go up and down some more dunes on the winding hilly trail and finally get to the blacktopped road that leads to the finish. I think we are home free and step up the pace for a good finishing kick but soon are directed off the road to another mud pit with some rope to ensure the runners get down and muddy going through the obstacle. We go up and down a final dune and back onto the blacktopped road to the finish. I speed up again and the finish line with crowds of people on both sides is in sight. I pick up my pace some more and hear a big thud and pain in my right leg. I'm thinking that someone that I am passing has kicked me and I ran another step and another big thud and I fall to the ground with my right foot in a weird angle. As I look at my foot, I realize that I have broken my leg. The people are trying to encourage me to get up and run to the finish which is so very near but I can't and the pain starts.

There are some guys from a rescue/ambulance unit near the finish and they rush over to me and I tell them that my leg is fractured. One goes off to get a splint and stretcher while another cuts the laces on my shoe to get it off. They also notice the chip on my leg and give it to someone and tell them to run it in for me...what a nice gesture! They get the splint on my leg and get me into the stretcher and as I'm wheeled to the ambulance I get to see the concerned but familiar face of Steve as he offers his help. They get me in the ambulance and as they are getting all the vital information from me, they try to clean up the mud, sand and sweat so they can start an IV but have trouble getting a vein. After four tries in my left arm one of them finally get the line started in my right arm. They give me my first shot of morphine for the pain but it doesn't seem to help and tell me they will give me more every five minutes. My first ambulance ride takes me from the race site slowly weaving through the crowds and off the base to the hospital. I'm still in pain and they give me the second shot of morphine but it still doesn't seem to have any effect on the pain and I joke with them that it's probably a bad batch. During the ride to the hospital we keep it light and lively and they keep injecting me every five minutes with the morphine until my max dose of 10 mg is reached but by then I am being wheeled into the emergency room.

I am seen by various nurses and doctors and each one asks what happened and I tell my story over and over again. They seem skeptical that my fracture is that severe and I'm also beginning to feel that maybe I didn't break anything. They order some X-rays and the technician seems to have no idea how to handle a suspected fracture trying to move my leg into various positions. I keep telling him to be careful and the need to support the area that he is moving around. At one point he lets go of my heel while still holding my calf and my foot flops sideways cause a wave of pain and a very surprised look on the tech's face. I tell him to get some one to help him support and move my leg. They take the first films and are a lot more careful after seeing the results. Both bones of the lower leg a few inches above the ankle...tibia and fibula...have complete breaks with the fibula broken in two places. I see it on the screen as they wheel me out of X-ray and back to the ER. The doctor gives me two options. One...they cut an incision just below the knee so that a titanium nail can be driven down through the fracture in the tibia to secure it. The second is that they can try to align the breaks and cast it hoping that the bones will keep their alignment and if they don't they would go to option number one. I don't like the idea of them cutting anywhere near my knee and opt to try the second option first. They give me some more IV pain killers and I am wheeled into orthopedics where they pull, push and twist for quite some time before everything looks aligned...Yes, the procedure hurt a lot! They are afraid of swelling and compartment syndrome so they cast me but cut the cast in half with a lower half and upper half and tape them together. This will give them easy access in case of swelling. I am admitted for 24 hours so they can check for swelling. They put compression leggings on my other leg and give me shots in the stomach to prevent blood clots. Every hour or so one, two sometimes more nurses, doctors come in to check for swelling and wiggle my toes, so I don't get any sleep. All goes well and I am released late the next day with a pair of crutches and box of more injections to prevent blood clots and some pain meds. I am to follow up next Monday so they can check to see if the bones are still in place.

Race Results:
There were 27 runners in the Male 50-54 age group and 1753 total finishers
Overall place was 445 of 1753
Age group place was 11 of 27
Time: 57:24 for an overall pace of 11:32 per mile

Of course I really didn't finish the race but some kind sole did run my chip over the finish line and the above results were recorded and since it will be my last race for a very long time, I feel compelled to list them.

Next race...probably none for long time...but there will be a next.

Happy running you all!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Memorial Scholarship 5K, 29 July 2008

I was working out at the gym and had just finished 30 minutes on the elliptical and was just about ready to jump on the treadmill for about 5 miles but I knew that the Strider's had a scheduled 5K...The Pam Edwards Memorial Scholarship Run...that evening starting at 6:30 and I was itching to get back to racing...and...it was only 3:30. So I jumped on the stair stepper for 12 minutes and then headed out to the Norfolk Botanical Gardens for the race. The heavens opened up with buckets of rain on the drive over but it ended by the time I got to the garden gates.

I registered and got my bib and chip and then ran about a mile for my warm up through part of the garden trails. The trails that we will be running on are blacktopped but are narrow with lots of twists and turns with a couple of small bridges to cross. A couple of places in the trail was covered in water from the passing rain storm but overall it wasn't bad. The storm had cooled the 90+ degree weather some but as the sun came out the humidity started to climb but I planned to run the race easy and try not to race it too hard. My expectation was to maintain a nice easy pace early and slowly pick it up during the later part of the race. The last time I ran this trail in the garden was in the cool of December and finished around 19:34. It's not a place to expect a PR because of the many twists and turns so I was hoping for a time around 20 minutes or less. The warm up wasn't too bad...my right shin did complain at first but settled down a bit as I finished my warm up and came back to the start line.

The walkers started off at 6:00 and we got our race started at about 6:35. I found a spot about 5-6 rows back from the start line...I didn't want to rush out fast and starting back in the crowd of runners would ensure I would start out slow and steady. But it was a mistake because when the race was started, the initial surge of runners had me about a 70-80 runners back and I had to weave through a lot of slow runners on the narrow, twisting trail and it was difficult to find a nice easy pace that I had hoped for. Slowly I gained speed and started passing groups of runners and finally got to a point where I had running room. By mile one I noticed that I had forgotten my watch. It would have been nice to check my splits but it really didn't matter to me today and I just concentrated on catching and passing the runners ahead. By mile two the runners ahead of me had thinned out a lot and instead of passing groups of runners I was picking them off one at a time. I came through the three mile marker wishing I had my watch to see what my splits were but pushed on trying to catch a fellow age grouper that was about 20 meters ahead. We race to the finish and he beat me by a few seconds and the clock read 20:40.

Race results:
There were 26 finishers in the Male 50-54 age group and 282 total finishers
Overall finish place was 40 of 282
Age group finish place was 6 of 26
Time: 20:40 for an overall pace of 6:39 per mile

Overall...I was happy to be racing but my leg was not feel too good at the end. There were a lot of very fast 50-54 AG races in this race...one finished in the 17's, one in the 18's, two in the 19's and two of us in the 20's. I wish I had been a bit more competitive in this race but there will be other races and some of those guys are going down! :-)

Happy racing you all!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

End of Rehab...What's Next?

It's been almost a month since my last blog entry and decided I needed to get one in for the month of July. :) I wish I was more consistent in my blogging but it's been pretty discouraging the last couple of months and I didn't want to moan and groan.

I finally ended my rehab of my right shin after six long weeks of no running. I'm not happy with how it still feels but...I can't/won't wait any longer for it to feel better because I need to start my training for the races this fall. The nearest race I'm registered for is 9 August which is the ASYMCA 8K Mud Run, then the Rock n Roll Half Marathon the end of the month and then the real fun starts with the Marine Corps Marathon, NYC Marathon and Richmond Marathon from the end of October till mid-November...so I can't wait anymore. I am thinking of dropping one of the marathons (MCM since they have a deferment/transfer policy) and adding a third marathon in December to give myself more time to recover between the races.

I started some fast walking on the treadmill about two weeks ago and didn't like how the leg was still tender and made me walk with a limp...What the heck is going on? It could be that even without running on it, I was still doing some heavy cross training and not really giving it the rest that it needed, but six weeks of no pounding should have felt a whole lot better than it did. I started running on it a week ago Sunday with a two mile run sandwiched between some walking warm ups/cool downs. It felt pretty good while running but when I stopped to do the walking cool down, it was painful enough to make me limp... Not good I thought. I stretched, took some Motrin and iced it down good when I got home and it felt pretty good again the next day. I ran four miles on Wednesday and the same discomfort when I did my walking cool down...perplexing and really starting to feel discouraged about the whole thing. Again stretched, took Motrin and iced it real good after the run and it felt good the next day. Ran four miles again on Friday and this time less discomfort and I could actually walk fairly normal afterward...beginning to feel better about running now. This last Sunday I did a five mile ladder, starting at 7 mph and increasing 0.5 mph every mile until I was running 9 mph the fifth mile then jumped it up 0.5 mph every minute the next two minutes for a finishing kick. It felt good to let it out at the end and the cool down walk at the end felt almost normal...no pain...I could walk normally...the tenderness was still there but it didn't seem as bad...maybe it was the endorphins kicking in, but what ever it was I hope it keeps improving.

Even with the no running I was still able to keep my Kindzia challenge streak alive and have exercised at least 30 minutes everyday since the beginning of the year...which was officially at 209 days Sunday...actually I started the day after Christmas which comes unofficially to 215 days.

Happy running everyone!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Weeks of 09-30 June 2008

Nothing exciting to post about so hence the absence of a post last week. I still have not run...and have only walked once, going around the block...since the two mile warm up at the Women's Distance 5K. Things do seem to be feeling better, although it seems they are healing a lot slower than I like since I'm really really anxious to start running again. It's been three weeks and it is still tender around the right calf, but if things progress like it has been, in three more weeks it should be pain free. That also is the same time period that my 16-week training plan is to kick in for the New York City Marathon. The only other races I am signed up for between now and then is the Rock n Roll Half on 31 August...My birthday...and Marine Corps Marathon on 26 October. I also just registered for the ASYMCA Mud Run 8K on 09 August...so I better be healed and running by then! There are other races that are begging for me to run, but we'll just have to wait and see what it's like by the end of July. I have continued doing my cross training on the elliptical, lifecycle and stair climber with some swimming thrown in. I thought I would try Aqua jogging, so I bought an Aquajogger belt and we'll try that out sometime this week. I finally took my old 10 speed road bike into a bike shop for them to put new tires, tubes and all new cables, so I can start some real cycling...just need some aero bars and maybe some clipless pedals and I should be set for some road work.

Here's how the last three weeks training has gone...pretty boring...but got some good training in.

Week of 09-15 June
Mon: 45 min Elliptical, 40 min Cycle, 9 min Stairstepper, 10 min Swim
Tue: 40 min Elliptical, 45 min Cycle
Wed: 35 min Elliptical, 37 min Cycle
Thu: 35 min Elliptical, 30 min Cycle, 15 min Swim
Fri: 30 min fast walk around the block, 15 min core exercises
Sat: 35 min Elliptical, 32 min Cycle, 15 min Stairstepper
Sun: 35 min Elliptical, 32 min Cycle, 15 min Stairstepper

Week of 16-22 June
Mon: 35 min Elliptical, 45 min Cycle, 20 min Stairstepper
Tue: 37 min Elliptical, 35 min Cycle, 20 min Stairstepper
Wed: 35 min Elliptical, 35 min Cycle, 12 min Stairstepper
Thu: 33 min Elliptical, 17 min Cycle, 12 min Stairstepper
Fri: 65 min Elliptical, 70 min Cycle, 15 min Stairstepper
Sat: 35 min Elliptical, 32 min Cycle
Sun: 35 min Elliptical, 30 min Cycle, 15 min Stairstepper

Week of 23-30 June
Mon: 30 min Swim, 15 minutes Core exercises
Tue: 31 min Elliptical, 40 min Cycle, 20 min Stairstepper
Wed: 35 min Swim
Thu: 60 min Elliptical, 45 min Cycle, 16 min Stairstepper
Fri: 30 min Elliptical, 33 min Cycle, 12 min Stairstepper
Sat: 35 min Elliptical, 36 min Cycle, 20 Stairstepper
Sun: 35 min Elliptical, 35 min Cycle, 12 min Stairstepper
Mon: 65 min Elliptical, 65 min Cycle, 12 min Stairstepper

Feels like I've been a trapped hamster in a cage. I try to vary the exercises on the elliptical and cycle by varying the speed and elevation...doing tempo exercises as well as speed sessions...anything to keep me somewhat sane and motivated.

This week I hope to get more swimming in and when I get my bike back, some road riding on the Dismal Swamp Trail...if they don't have it closed because of all the smoke from the fires down south of us.

I added some statistics for the first half of the year from 01Jan - 30Jun:
Number of consecutive days with at least 30 minutes of training: 182
Total Races run: 17
Total Race miles: 212.8
Total Running miles: 760.94
Total Elliptical miles: 534.3
Total Cycle miles: 1202.41
Total Stairstepper min: 2227 (37:07 hrs)
Total Swim min: 140

Happy training and good racing to you all!

Monday, June 9, 2008

DNS and Week of 02-08 June 2008

I registered for the Strider's Women's Distance Festival 5K held Saturday, back in early May. It is also a Strider's Grand Prix event so I wanted to make sure that I ran since it was one of my goals to run all the Grand Prix events. I already missed one in April and really didn't want to miss another one. But...I have been having some issues with my foot and legs for about a month and I was a bit concerned. I only ran once for a little over three miles two weeks ago but was able to run 5.25 miles Tuesday and again Thursday of this week in preparation for this race. After each run training session, my calves and shins were painful during the run and even worse in the morning after. Also noticed lingering arch tenderness to both feet. I thought my new shoes were the culprits but running in my old shoes on Thursday didn't seem to help any. I still had hopes that come Saturday evening, I would be ready to run the 5K race.

Saturday dawned hot and it only got hotter as the day progressed. The forecast was for near 100F afternoon temps. The race is run at Fort Story in the northern part of Virginia Beach so the temps should be lower with a nice ocean breeze. The women race first at 6:00 p.m. and then the men race after the women are finished at 6:45. Since this was my first race not run in the morning, it was hard to figure out when/what I should eat before the race. I decided to eat my normal lunch around 2:00 and to hydrate really well during the day. I also took two Motrin to ease my leg pain.

I drove down a bit late and with the somewhat heavy beach traffic, I got to the registration late and could hear the horn blow for the start of the women's race as I picked up my race number. As I was handed my bib they mentioned that because of the heat the race was being scaled back to a 2 mile run instead of 5K...which seemed reasonable but what difference would 1.1 mile make? I had wanted to watch the women start and finish but decide to do a couple of miles to warm up. I figured I needed at least two miles for my legs to be warmed up enough so the pain would be bearable during the race but by the end of mile one, the pain seemed to be getting worse and not any better. I jogged the mile back to the start area and the leg pain was too much and I decided not to run...even if it was just two miles. I could easily jog it but decided just not risk my going out fast and injuring it even more. So I unpinned my race bib and walk to the start/finish area to cheer on the racers. It was the first time that I have actually watched a race with out racing in it. It's quite a different perspective standing on the sidelines cheering runners on...kind of cool to see the racers go out and come back, but jealous that I could not be out there racing them. My first DNS (Did Not Start)...at least it wasn't my first DNF...I hope there never will be a DNF but anything can happen out there on the racecourse.

Here's last week's training:
Mon: 50 min Elliptical, 50 min Cycle, 12 min Stairstepper
Tue: 5.25 miles run, 25 min Elliptical, 12 min Stairstepper
Wed: 31 min Elliptical, 31 min Cycle, 12 min Stairstepper
Thu: 5.25 miles run, 25 min Stairstepper
Fri: 35 min Elliptical, 31 min Cycle, 15 min Stairstepper
Sat: 2 miles warm-up miles run, 30 min Swim
Sun: 35 min Elliptical, 35 min Cycle, 30 min Stairstepper

Even the Stairstepper seems to aggravate my calves and shins. My plan now is to stop running till the pain and tenderness is gone...at most about 5-6 weeks...but continuing with the cross training on the Elliptical, Cycle and Swimming with some fast walking as tolerated on the Treadmill. I have plenty of time to heal before I start ramping up training for the fall and winter marathons starting middle or end of July. I'll just need to take this a week at a time till all is better again.

Happy training to you all!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Training for 26 May - 01 June 2008

Not really anything to note in my training for last week. I haven't been running much because of some aches and pains to the bottoms of both feet around the arch and both shins since after the MCH Half. It is puzzling because even with the rest from running they seem to stay about the same and doesn't seem to be improving any...and hurts more after running. I have continued with my cross training on the elliptical, cycle and stair stepper, which doesn't seem to bother my leg and foot problems. I have added swimming since we opened the pool a couple of weeks ago, so fitness-wise, I feel okay. Not super, but okay.

My next race is the Strider's Women's Distance Series 5K this Saturday in the early evening, so we'll see how that goes.

Training for the week:
Mon: 36 min Elliptical, 35 min Cycle, 12 min Stairstepper
Tue: 40 min Elliptical, 40 min Cycle, 12 min Stairstepper, 10 min Swim
Wed: 45 min Elliptical, 45 min Cycle, 20 min Stairstepper
Thu: 32 min Elliptical, 35 min Cycle, 25 min Stairstepper
Fri: 30 min Elliptical, 21 min Cycle, 12 min Stairstepper
Sat: 3.35 miles run, 32 min Elliptical, 32 min Cycle
Sun: 35 min Elliptical, 35 min Cycles, 12 min Stairstepper, 10 min Swim

Only a little over 3 miles on Saturday which didn't feel good at all. I have run twice this week for over 10 miles...still painful but got it done. I'm beginning to think it's the shoes. I've been running in my new Kayano 14's since the beginning of May. I've switched back to my Kayano 13's for my last run and it felt a bit better. Hopefully that's what it is. We'll see how it does on Saturday and after.

Happy training to you all!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Elizabeth River Run 10K 24 May 08

Ran the Elizabeth River Run 10K last Saturday, another one that I ran last year. The race course is a looping out and back, first making a couple of loops in Olde Towne Portsmouth then along the waterfront called Portside, looping through the Naval Hospital waterfront and finishing near the Ntelos pavilion. Weather-wise it was raining a bit during packet pickup but cleared up well before the start of the race. The temps were in the low 60's with just a bit of wind. A very nice day for a race. I ran about two miles along the waterfront as a warm-up and then went looking for a port-a-potty...couldn't find one so had to go back to the area around the pavilion and got in long line.

The race starts at 8:15 with a kids 1 mile run starting at 8:00. We cheered on the kids as they came racing past us to the finish...our future runners in action. We get to the starting line and we are off to make our first loop though the Olde Towne section with a group that included Steve and some others including a couple in my age group. The first mile was about 6:00 and I was feeling the effort and backed off. We continued on through our second longer loop and mile two was 13:00...for a 7:00 min mile...and the wheels started coming off. We started our run along the walkway following the waterfront and even with the slight breeze, I was still feeling sluggish and the legs were heavy and mile three is in 20:07 for a 7:06 pace. We go through the Naval Hospital gates for our loop around hospital point and mile four is 27:27 for a pace of 7:20...looking real ugly now and runners are passing me that I normally beat pretty handily...not today. We make our way out of the hospital and mile five is 35:10 for a 7:43 pace. The final 1.2 miles and I try to kick it in but the effort is too much and I coast to about the last mile marker and kick it in for the finish and cross the line in 43:37. I waited around the finish for my two gym mates and cheer them on to the finish...a PR for both of them! Way to go ladies!

Race results:
There were 59 finishers in the Male 50-54 age group and 758 total finishers
Overall finish place was 67 of 758
Age group finish place was 7 of 59
Time: 43:37 for an overall pace of 7:00 per mile

Weekly Training:
Mon: 35 min Elliptical, 33 min Cycle, 20 min Stairstepper
Tue: 63 min Elliptical, 45 min Cycle, 21 min Stairstepper
Wed: 7 miles run, 20 min Elliptical, 18 min Stairstepper
Thu: 36 min Elliptical, 40 min Cycle, 15 min Stairstepper
Fri: 4.5 miles run, 25 min Elliptical, 20 min Stairstepper
Sat: 8.2 miles run with 10K race with 2 mile warm-up
Sun: 35 min Elliptical, 37 min Cycle, 20 min Stairstepper

No races this weekend, but I feel I need the rest.

Everyone have a great weekend!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Marine Corps Historic Half 18 May 08

Ran the Marine Corps Historic Half on Sunday in Fredericksburg. I signed up for this inaugural half when registration opened way back in Nov and it was no surprise when the 5000 slots filled up very rapidly since this event is put on by the same people who put on the annual Marine Corps Marathon (The 25,000 slots for this one sold out in five days...and I have one of them!).

I drove up the day before to attend the Expo and pickup my race packet. Later after checking into my motel and doing a brief workout and shower, I met up with some runners from the Runners World forum for a wonderful dinner at the Poppy Hill Tuscan Kitchen located in the historic downtown section in Fredericksburg. My expectations for this race was initially to try to run it for a PR, but after riding around the city going to the Expo, restaurant, motel and looking at all the not so gentle hilly terrain, I was hoping for a sub 1:30. I would still start out running for a PR and would see how the early hilly miles would affect me.

Woke up Sunday to cloudy skies but checking the weather, it said the temps would start in the high 50's with highs expected in the low 70's with some wind, clouds and rain...but the rains would hold off until after 9:00...the race starts at 7:00, so everything should be good.

We were told we could park in the area shopping center parking lots if we didn't utilize the shuttle service from and to two outlying Park n Ride lots. I chose to drive and parked in the Wal-Mart parking lot and walked the 3/4th of a mile to the start line. I got to the starting area in plenty of time to take care of business...a few times...and chat with some runners. The starting area was corralled with expected finishing times and I staged myself in the under 1:30 corral and met and talked with a couple of runners from Virginia Beach staged one corral behind me. It was now about 6:45 and I had this urge to go and the port-a-potties were way back at the end of the last corral...too far away, but I noticed a good size trailer with Men's and Women's signs on the doors...bathrooms on wheels for the dignitaries...but I and the two from the Beach went and utilized some very fine toilet facilities! We got back to the starting line just as the Marine Color Guard marched to the front and the singing of the National Anthem.

The race starts with a shot from a flintlock rifle from a revolutionary uniformed militiaman, confetti gun firing and the release of some white doves, and we were off to the races. We race down the street passed the Wal-Mart, take a left running under a large American flag set up by a ladder fire truck and under a balloon banner and down a rather large hill...same hill we will be coming back on...and the first mile is 6:22...a bit fast but we are headed downhill so it shouldn't be too bad. After the first downhill, we come to a small up hill and then down another stretch of hill. I miss mile two but mile three is 12:50...which comes out to about 6:25 splits and a total of 19:12 for the three miles...so still doing pretty good. But we come up on some good uphills as well as downhills and mile four reads 6:36...still doing good but starting to feel it every time we get an uphill section and mile five comes in at 6:47. I feel myself getting fatigued and it surprises me that I'm feeling this way so soon. Usually in half's I start feeling it around mile 10-11...not in the early miles. The first five miles has a net loss of about 250 feet but there are numerous little uphills that I'm feeling the effects from. I miss mile six but mile 7 is a total of 14:12...which means my pace is now about 7:06 and I'm losing ground fast and I feel I have no energy. I try to up the pace and mile eight is in 7:o1 but I slow down again the next mile to 7:22 and things go down hill from there for me and the course starts to go uphill. the 250 feet drop in elevation has to be made up in miles 10-12 and these are two long and rather steep stretches. Mile ten is actually quite pleasant running by a raging brown river and then through a small path through a canopy of trees but my watch split reads 7:26 for a total of 1:08 for ten miles. 3.1 miles to go and it looks like even 1:30 will be a real struggle to get...and here comes the two big hills. The first winds up through the University of Mary Washington Hospital...how appropriate...there is an Emergency Room direction sign pointing the way we are turning to go up the first long hill...I think it's trying to tell us something. I slow considerably going up this hill and mile eleven split reads 8:22...ugly! A small downhill and we are going up the final hill and it gives me some energy knowing that this is the final hill and then only about a mile to go and I try to up the pace and the split at twelve reads 7:37. We are back on somewhat level ground now and again go under the huge American flag draped off the ladder of the fire truck and make the turn headed to the finish and mile thirteen is 7:05. I try to sprint the final tenth and cross the finish line as the time on the race clock reads 1:32:24...chip time was 1:32:23. We receive our medal, a cool towel and another finisher coin. We are directed into the back of the Expo building to get food and fluids...I grab some in a bag and head out to the Wal-Mart parking lot to unload my stuff and then head down the course looking for two runners...one from the dinner who expects to finish around 2:00 and another from my gym who expects to finish around 2:30. I find the first runner just past the flag draped fire truck and run with her back to the finish line. She has had a very rough run starting around mile five where she got dizzy and week and had to stop for awhile...even thought of dropping out but she was just topping the last hill when I found her and she did well all the way to the finish. I went out again looking for my gym lady and find her near Wal-Mart. She tells me her friend is still out on the course so when we finish and she gets her medal and drink, we head out to find her friend still on the course. She texts her but doesn't get a reply back so we get worried. We are going past Wal-Mart again when we get a text that her friend is at the finish, so we head back to join up and find her.

The race was actually very scenic running through quaint old town Fredericksburg with it's shops, pubs, restaurants and boutiques, through neatly maintained neighborhoods, through tree lined paths next to raging rivers and starting and finishing in the modern large shopping centers, with broad streets, large motels and chain restaurants...and...lots of rolling hills...some not so rolling. The people were great cheering us on in the early morning. A fun race and I actually had a real good time...one to do again next year!

Race Results:
There were 210 finishers in the Male 50-54 age group and 3826 total finishers
Overall finish place was 77 of 3826
Age group finish place was 4 of 210
Time: 1:32:23 for an overall pace of 7:04 per mile

Weekly Training:
Mon: 6.7 miles run, 20 min Elliptical, 10 min Stairstepper
Tue: 31 min Elliptical, 30 min Cycle, 10 min Stairstepper
Wed: 9 miles run, 25 min Elliptical, 20 min Stairstepper
Thu: 40 min Elliptical, 47 min Cycle, 20 min Stairstepper
Fri: 8.2 miles run, 20 min Elliptical, 20 min Stairstepper
Sat: 36 min Cycle
Sun: 18.8 miles run, including 13.1 MCHH in 1:32:23

Next race is the Elizabeth River Run 10K on Saturday...My quads are still sore and my left shin is tender from the half so I don't know what to expect from this race...depends on how much I have recovered.

Have a great week you all!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

New York City Here I Come!

Move over Lance...Save a spot on that starting line for me!

I had registered for guarenteed entry into the ING New York City Marathon , to be held on 02 November, about a month ago since I had about five different qualifying times and received this in my email today:

"Dear Charles,
We are pleased to confirm that you have been accepted for entry into the 2008 ING New York City Marathon. Our records have been updated to reflect your acceptance. Your entry number is 281703. Please include this number along with your name in any correspondence pertaining to the event.You can check your status or update your personal information by clicking on the link below and logging in with the username and password you created when you registered."

Oh Happy Days!

Only problem is that I also registered for the 33rd Marine Corps Marathon on 26 Oct...which is a week before the NYC marathon. What to do you ask? I could defer the MCM till 2009 but...I'm going to do both of course! The plan is to run MCM at a leisurely pace having fun and then do NYCM for time. And then of course I will need to do Richmond but that's at least a couple of weeks after NYCM, so hopefully I will be rested enough to go for a great time there. :) Why oh why do I do this to myself?

Not much else happening on the running front for this week. No races...did look at some options but decided I needed the break from races. Training was scaled back a bit to allow for more recovery from the last three weeks of racing and in preparation for the First Historic Marine Corps Half Marathon coming up Sunday.

Weekly Training:
Mon: 30 min Elliptical, 30 min Cycle, 20 min Stairstepper
Tue: 6.5 miles run, 20 min Elliptical, 10 min Stairstepper
Wed: 50 min Elliptical, 50 min Cycle, 14 min Stairstepper
Thu: 8 miles run, 21 min Elliptical, 14 min Stairstepper
Fri: 36 min Elliptical, 31 min Cycle, 20 min Stairstepper
Sat: 8.2 miles run, 10 min Stairstepper
Sun: 20 min Treadmill, 10 min Elliptical, 30 min weights and core

Training for this week will probably look pretty much like last week with runs on Mon...Ladders, Wed...Speed session, Fri...Tempo and MCH Half race Sunday.

Hope everyone had a Happy Mother's Day weekend!

Have a good week you all!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Frederick Marathon 04 May 2008

Ran the Frederick marathon Saturday which of course is held in Frederick, Maryland. I ran this marathon last year with a disappointing 3:57, where I barely survived finishing and hoped to do much better this year. They changed the course this year for various reasons and after looking at the new elevation chart, could tell it would be a very challenging course with some big hills from miles 16-20...but...I like hills...yeah right! I had just run the CMM marathon a week, which was also billed as a "hilly course" and thought it was rather tame with it's rolling hills. A more pressing concern than the hills was doing two marathons in a week and how much the first would take from the performance of the second. I ended up running CMM in just over 4 hrs, which was a bit more than a minute per mile slower pace than my last two marathons, so reasoned that I could be fairly ready for this weeks marathon. I still placed high expectations on my performance and set some goals: 1. Sub 3:10, 2. Sub 3:20, 3. PR 3:22:56, 4. BQ 3:35:59, 5. Finish sub 4 hrs. I planed to start off slow with a 7:15 pace for the first few miles and then step it up to 7:10 and then 7:00. I do a lot of ladder training runs in most of my speed sessions and thought this strategy would be fine. On to the race.

Drove up the day before and picked up my race packet and then checked into the motel. I needed to do my daily workout for my Kindzia challenge and was in luck to find a fitness center in my motel. It had two treadmills, an elliptical and a stationary bike. My last training run was Thursday and I had some issues and shortened the run from 8 to 6.5 miles because of some foot pain. It was puzzling and I didn't know where it came from since it was fine on my 9 mile run a couple days previous. So I didn't want to run on it again until race day. So I did 30 minutes each on the elliptical and bike and the foot was feeling fine. The race starts at 6:30, so I woke up my usual 4:00 and was able to prepare for the race without being in a rush. Parking at the fairgrounds was easy and I roamed around looking for people that I knew. I found two runners from Virginia Beach...one was doing the half and the other the full...and talked with them a bit before making my final pit stop and headed to the start line.

The weather was forecasted to be sunny skies with temps around 51 at the start with the temps climbing into the mid 60's at the finish and winds in the 12-15 mph range. A bit warm and windy for my taste but still reasonable.

While waiting at the start line I see fellow runner and blogger Steve and went up to him to say hello and wish him a good race. Usually I like to start with Steve and run a couple of miles with him but today I really wanted to start slower than his sub 6:30 pace so backed up in the crowd between the 3:10 and 3:15 pace groups so I wouldn't be tempted to go out too fast.

The race has both marathoners...about 1200...as well as half marathoners and relay teams ..about 3500... all starting at the same time with the halfers spliting off at 13 miles like CMM the week before but a whole lot smaller. The race starts with the wheel chairs being sent on their way and a few minutes later we are on our way. As we get settled in our paces the first quarter mile I see this lady runner running past me and on her top she has "TARA" imprinted. Last year I had run almost 21 miles with a runner named Tara who had just given birth four months prior...she paced me with her Garmin and she had had some issues around mile 21-22 and she never finished. I waited around the finish and went back up the course to run her in but never found her. I knew her husband and family were out on the course tracking her at various spots so was certain if something had happened to her, her husband would find her. This year while I was at the grocery store around the corner from the motel getting some stuff for the next morning I see this lady talking to the cashier about running a marathon. Her voice was familiar and she looked familiar but at the time I just couldn't place where I had seen her from. She had a name on the front of her shirt...Bebe...but that didn't ring a bell either because I didn't know any Bebe's. At last year's race she had worn a shirt that had "Tara" on the front and everyone on the course would yell out her name, so Bebe just didn't ring a bell. She must have thought I was a weirdo staring at her chest. So I go back to the motel and in the middle of the night I realize who she is. Back to the race...So I catch up to her and tell her who I am she tells me how she had to drop out of the race last year because of leg pain that later turned out to be a fracture that took her out of running for almost six months. We decide to run with each other for a few miles since her primary goals are about the same as mine...3:10-3:15. We miss the first mile and the second mile reads 14:33, so a 7:16 average...right where I want to be. Mile three split is 7:12, mile four is 7:23 and mile five is 7:15...so far so good and I want to speed it up a bit to 7 minute mile splits and she falls back with the 3:10 pace group as I go on out ahead.
Mile six split is 7:02
Mile seven at 6:55...ops, too fast but it's still feeling good.
Mile eight back down to 7:00
Mile nine is 7:04
Mile ten is 7:02
Mile 11 is 6:52...where did that come from? The hills are coming and I need to save some for them, so I try to slow it down.
Mile 12 is in 7:14
Mile 13 is in 7:46...didn't feel that slow...pick it back up. The half marathoners split off to their finish and we continue on through the fairgrounds where we started and out the back. The half split is 1:33:58...and felt a whole lot better than the 1:30 half split at Shamrock in March.
Mile 14 is 7:21
Mile 15 is 7:40
Mile 16 is 7:35, but here comes the first big long hill.
Mile 17 is 8:33, and after a bit of a down hill here comes the second long hill.
Mile 18 is 8:19...not bad but then my problems start. My legs apparently didn't like the two long hills and start to rebel and cramp up as I make a turn after 18 to go up another steeper hill. I have to stop to massage the leg and walk a bit and mile 19 shows it with a big fat 12:14. I am devastated...I only have about a mile to go until most of it is down hill and I limp across mile 20 in 11:59 with a total time of 2:37:04. If I can recover the last 10K I could still make 3:20 but it's not to be, as at every downhill or uphill and changes of direction my leg cramps stop me, so mile 21 is in 9:27
Mile 22 in 9:24
Mile 23 in 9:12
Mile 24 in 9:32, even though most of the course is now mainly down hill, we still come to some roller and another rather long climb and mile 25 is in 10:02. I only have 1.2 to go and most of the hills are gone and I try to speed up as best as I can and mile 26 is 8:52 and crossing the finish line the clock reads 3:35:55...Chip time 3:35:51. Hey at least I still made another BQ by 9 seconds! I waited around near the finish for Tara and she arrives a couple of minutes after...she also had problems with the hills and ran out of gas.

I don't like my final time. I feel at my current training and level of fitness I have no reason to be over sub 3:30 but then I have to factor in that I just ran 26.2 last week and this week's course was very challenging with some very tough hills from 16-20. And I did run it 22 minutes faster than last year. I like the course...I like hills...I will come back next year on fresher legs and see what I can do. Now that's what I call Hills!

Race results:
There were 75 finishers in the Male 50-54 age group and 928 total finishers
Overall finish place was 116 of 928
Age group finish place was 11 of 75
Time: 3:35:51 for an overall pace of 8:14 per mile

Weekly Training:
Mon: 35 min Elliptical, 32 min Cycle, 25 min Stairstepper
Tue: 8.82 miles run, 20 min Elliptical, 10 min Stairstepper
Wed: 35 min Elliptical, 35 min Cycle, 10 min Stairstepper
Thu: 6.75 miles run, 21 min Elliptical, 25 min Stairstepper
Fri: 50 min Elliptical, 46 min Cycle, 10 min Stairstepper
Sat: 30 min Elliptical, 30 min Cycle
Sun: 26.2 miles run, Frederick marathon 3:35:51

Next week there are no races scheduled so a time to regroup for the Historic Marine Corps Half Marathon on 18 May in hilly Fredericksburg, VA.

A special shout out to Steve on his awesome 3rd Overall finish! Go read his post...Now that is how a marathon should be run! Congratulations Steve!

Happy training all!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Country Music Marathon 26 Apr 08

Saturday, I ran the Country Music Marathon held in Nashville, TN. Land of the Grand Ole Opry and the heart and soul of Country Music. The CMM is one of six Rock 'n' Roll marathon/half marathon series run by Elite Racing, which is a fun series where if you run multiple events in the different cities around the country in the same year, you can earn extra Bling. I didn't run it for the extra Bling...but I will take when offered after I run the Rock 'n' Roll Half in Virginia Beach on 31 August. This race has both the marathoners and half marathoners starting at the same time in 30 or so corrals in 2-3 minute wave starts and the course is basically a three loop course with the start line a few miles from the finish line so parking was provided near the finish line outside of the LP Stadium…where the Titans play…and buses were provided to bus runners to the start line. The first loop heads south of the city with the half marathoners breaking off around the 11-mile mark near the stadium to run a separate section to their finish with the marathoners continuing on a westerly loop which takes us pass the stadium again and then on to an easterly loop which finally brings us back to the stadium for the final time to our own separate finishing area.

I drove to Nashville Friday, which was a rather pleasant drive considering the 10 hrs it took to get there. Rolling through the Smoky Mountains impressed the heck out of me. Real hills...or rather mountains...it was real tempting to stop my truck and see if I could run up some of them...but good thing there wasn't any room alongside the road filled with whizzing cars and trucks or I might have tried to. The Dogwoods and Redbuds were in bloom and the trees were just getting their green leaves, all amongst the jagged boulders and sheets of sandstone...quite beautiful. The only concern I had was not the steep curving ascents and descents of the road, but the signs that said 'Beware of Falling Rocks'...Rocks!?! These were huge boulders and sheets of limestone that come cascading down the mountain. I didn't actually see any come down but there was plenty of evidence along the side of the road.

I made the trip in good time and even had the benefit of an extra hour from the time change. So I was able to get checked into my motel and then decided to do a quick 30 minute run...not because I wanted a chance to run the hilly roads but to fulfill my Kindzia streak challenge...besides it was a good chance to stretch my legs from the long ride. I don't know how far I went but I went 16 minutes out and back for a total of around 32 minutes...so probably 4 miles...and after a quick shower, headed downtown to the Expo to pick up my race packet. The whole downtown area was very congested and hard to navigate because of all the cars trying to get in and out of the expo the last minute…like me…but I was finally able to find public parking almost next to the Convention Center. The expo was wall to wall people with lines at each area but the lines moved surprisingly fast and soon I had my bib, chip and goodie bag. I wandered around the expo and got some souvenirs for my girls and then headed out to have dinner with Nat, her good friend Fishstick (just her nickname and running the half)...both had driven up from around Atlanta and another good friend of Nat’s Chris...at Germantown CafĂ© also owned by Chris. We had a wonderful dinner and the food and drink was plentiful and good. If you ever go to Nashville…be sure to stop by and take in the great view of the city while enjoying a wonderful meal. Thank you Chris! It was great to meet Nat and Fishsticks…Nat and I have been visiting each other’s blog for over a year now and finally getting a chance to meet her was fantastic! She’s as wonderful a lady in person as she is on her blog!

After dinner I got back to my motel and laid out my stuff for the next morning, set the alarm and asked for a 4:00 wake up call and tried to get some sleep…Yeah Right! It’s always difficult to sleep in a strange place with strange sounds and smells but I was able to drift off to sleep eventually but was suddenly awaken to the sound of thunder and pouring rain early in the morning around 3:00. Unable to get back to sleep, I got up and got ready for the race and drove to the LP parking to ride the bus to the start line. I took a plastic bag with me to help keep my shoes dry since it was raining on and off…sometimes hard but mostly just a drizzle and misting. I don’t mind getting wet but wet shoes just doesn’t do it for me. I noticed some people tied plastic shopping bags to their shoes but I only had one bag and just tried to shelter my shoes to keep them dry while waiting for the bus and at the start line to wait for the start. There were plenty of buses so thankfully there was little waiting in the rain. The buses did get crowded with people standing in the aisles but everyone was cheerful and upbeat and it was great to talk about running and to talk with the locals to get the scoop on the course. We arrive at the start line and there is very little shelter from the rain except for some large trees but the rain seems to be slacking off with only an occasional hard rain. I got in my bathroom break in a group of port-a-potties…good luck…no lines…and then went down to near the start line and waited under some large trees. After a bit nature was calling again and since by this time the port-a-potties were too far away to walk to in the rain and crowded by now, I selected a nice large tree away from the crowd of people. I wasn’t the only one…every tree had one or more guys relieving themselves. It’s good to be a man…but later…I was told…the ladies were using them too! After finishing my second call to nature and waiting under a tree, I spotted Nat with her umbrella! I had thought of bringing an umbrella to rainy races before but I always never knew what to do with the umbrella when the race started. Nat buys a cheap umbrella at the Dollar store for a race and when the race starts she hands it to a volunteer or spectator…What an excellent idea…a great investment of a dollar which keeps you dry and a volunteer or spectator happy and dry!

We got into corral #2 a few minutes before the 7:00 start and watch and cheer as first the wheelchair racers are sent on their way, then the elites and the first corral. They move our corral to the start line and drop the rope and we all start running but we’re halted again just before the starting mats with another rope…a false start…but about a minute later we are sent on our way.

The goals of this race is to get Nat a PR of under 3:37 and if all goes extremely well a 3:30, so off we go on a pace which I think is slow…I only have a chrono on my watch and Nat’s Garmin is broken so there is no idea of pace until the first mile marker…Oh…did I tell you I also forgot to start my watch until we were about two minutes into the race. So we ask around what the time is and someone says 7 something, which is way faster than the low 8’s we are trying for, and we try to slow it down. About this time one of my MCM forum friends races up and talks with us a couple of minutes before continuing on ahead…his marathon finishing times are close to mine and he is trying to go sub 3:20 today. We come up to mile two and it is still in the high 7’s and again I try to slow the pace down some more. We hit some gentle rollers and at the three mile the split is low 8’s and the 5K mat says 26 something and I think we are on a 8:30 pace but I forget that we started two minutes later so the real split turns out to be 24:26…which is about a 7:50 pace. I think we are doing great but Nat says she is feeling it a bit and we try to slow down the current pace some more. We reach the six mile mat and it reads a little over 49 which should be around an 8:15 pace and I think we are again right on pace…but again the real time, due to the 2 minutes delayed start, is 47:48 for a 7:58 pace. My watch splits seem to be steady in the low 8’s now and we continue our pace but Nat is still starting to feel uncomfortable and she takes a GU. The 10-mile mat reads about 1:22:30 (actual 1:20:39), which is still about an 8:15 pace with the actual being around a little over 8. Around the 11-mile mark the half marathoners split away from us to their couple of miles to finish and we start on our westerly loop and Nat seems to be still having issues and the GU seems to have made things worse rather than better, so we try to slow it down a bit and readjust our goal of a PR of 3:37 instead of going for 3:30. We come to the halfway mat and it reads about 1:49…we had wanted it to be between 1:44 and 1:45 but we are just going with the flow now and Nat wants a picture so we slow down and take a picture with her phone…but when she tries to save it, it says there is insufficient space to save. She deletes a picture and tries again and still receives the same message. The third time is a charm and she gets our picture and is able to save it and we continue on our way. We start taking it easy through miles 16-20, which has some long steady climbs as well as some good downhill’s. We try to cheer on the crowds and hamming for the cameras…something about rabbit ears over my head at one of the picture taking areas...and you should have heard Ms Natalie sing! She was belting out the songs from her ipod as we ran. We finish our westerly loop by the stadium and start our easterly loop and we crossed the mat at 20 in about 2:55. Around mile 21 I see Jimmy again…his mile 25…and we cheer each other on and he is looking good. Around mile 23 we go around a field with a large pond and meet up with one of the Runner’s World posters, and another fan of Nat’s blog, from Alabama and he joins us going around the pond. We pick up another runner from Alabama and our little group is growing but we lose the Alabama gal in the final mile or two. Between miles 24-25 I see another MCM forum runner going the other way and cheer her on. Mile 26 comes up lined with cheering crowds and we pick up the pace for the final 0.2 and as we round the final bend we see the finish banner and clock and make a final sprint for the finish to try to keep our time under 4 hrs.

Race Results:
There were 210 finishers in the Male 50-54 age group and 4373 total finishers
Overall finish place was 1225 of 4373
Age group finish place was 59 of 210
Time: 4:00:17 for an overall pace of 9:10 per mile

Weekly Training:
Mon: 6.7 miles run, 15 min Elliptical, 12 min Stairstepper
Tue: 35 min Elliptical, 32 min Cycle, 12 min Stairstepper
Wed: 8.2 miles run, 21 min Elliptical, 12 min Stairstepper
Thu: 35 min Elliptical, 31 min Cycle, 21 min Stairstepper
Fri: 32 min run
Sat: 26.2 miles run at CMM
Sun: 34 min Treadmill

This was probably the most enjoyable marathon that I have run. I was able to run relaxed, enjoy as much as possible and not worry about my goals, but I was disappointed in myself for not being able to bring Nat her goals. Also on the plus side, even with running a very strong half last week before this marathon, my legs felt great and I didn’t experience any leg/muscle cramps or any other issues. Today I feel some tightness from completing 26.2 miles but everything feels good and I feel confident that I can do well in the Frederick Marathon this Sunday.

Have a great week you all!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Dismal Swamp Stomp Half 19 Apr 08

This is the second year of the Dismal Swamp Stomp Half Marathon and also my second year of running this race. A race that is run on a two lane blacktopped road that was formally the old Highway 17 in Chesapeake. When they built the new four lane 17 they turned a portion of the old 17 into the Dismal Swamp Trail, a picturesque trail that runs next to the Atlantic Intercoastal Waterway...a waterway that runs from New York to Florida. The trail is flat and goes about 8.25 miles out so an out and back will get you 16.5 miles...and I frequently do my long runs there. Last year I had a big PR with a 1:32:26, which also netted me a surprising Age Group 1st place finish...The first AG award in my young racing career. This year I PR'd again at the Norfolk Half Marathon with a 1:28:01, and since my training had been going fairly well and I had had a big confidence boosting sub 40 PR at Ukrop's 10K, I was expecting another PR here and my goal was to at least go sub 1:28 with a secret (well not really a secret since it is a 2008 goal) if everything went right...goal of sub 1:25.

Woke up this morning to clear skies with cool temps in the 50's. The forecast called for around 60F for the 8:00 start with the temps climbing into the 80's by midday. Not my notion of ideal racing temps but at least it wouldn't be humid. I ate my breakfast and headed to the race early. Last year the parking was so limited that there were still lines of cars trying to park when the race started and a lot of runners started very late. This year the parking seemed to have expanded and I didn't hear of any problems like we had last year. I got parked and relaxed reading the paper while I waited for a couple of women from the gym who were also running. I hit the port-a-potty and met one of them there and the other shortly after. 30 minutes before race time, I ran my two-mile warm-up on the trail and everything seemed to feel fine. I got back to the start line and see Paul on his hand crank and talk with him a bit and wish him a great race. I join the crowd of runners near the front and look for people to pace/run with, thinking that if I stick with one of them I won't go out to fast. I found Colleen, Leisa and Charlie all in the same area and whom I knew are faster than me, but going out with them would prevent me from jack rabbiting my start. My plan was to stick with them as best as I could and was confident that they would give me more even pacing than if I went out by myself...besides, the time and miles seem to pass faster when with a group and talking.

Paul is sent off first on his hand crank a few minutes before the 8:00 start and we soon follow. I start off with Colleen while Leisa goes out ahead and Charlie is a bit behind. We talk a bit the first couple of miles and I miss the first mile marker but the second is in 12:52, which averages out to about a 6:26 pace and it felt easy and I had to keep telling myself that the first few miles always feel easy and I need to keep paying attention to my pacing. Colleen seems to be dropping off a bit and Charlie with a group of two other runners passes us and I decide to follow them. Mile three is in 6:30 for a total time of 19:22. Charlie's group seems to be picking up the pace and we bridge the small gap to Leisa and mile four is in 6:41 and I decide to stick with Leisa because in the past races she has always run me down from my fast starts towards the end with seemingly effortless ease and I figure I can do my best by running with her for a while. I see Paul ahead and we pass him around the five mile mark and it reads 6:34. I urge Paul along as we pass and he seems to be doing very well and on his way to a brand new PR because I'm surprised it has taken us so long to catch him. On the way to mile six, we see the lead pack of five Kenyans on their way back and then a few more runners...I try to do a Steve and count the lead runners going by but lose count at about 12, and mile six is in 6:38. We get to the turn around point and head back. This is my favorite part because I get to see all the runners coming towards me and am able to see a lot of runners that I know and we greet each other including my gym mates and I miss mile seven but mile eight is in 13:18 for an average pace of 6:39. Keeping with Leisa has really helped in my pacing but she seems to be falling off pace and I gradually lose her. I set my sights on the runner in front of me and slowly catch up to him and pass him and again set my sights on the next runner about 75 meters out and mile nine is in 6:40. I catch up to the second runner and we play leap frog for a bit and then we both settle into the same pace and we are able to talk a bit before he seems to fall back also and mile ten is in 1:06:04 for a 6:47 pace. I set my sights on the next runner that I can barely see in the distance. By this time the bulk of the runners still going out to the turn around comes to an end with only an occasional late starter or walker still heading out and the road is lonely and quiet and mile eleven shows it because it's my slowest split at 6:58. I get mad at myself for falling so far off the pace and try to pick it up but mile twelve is in 6:50. 1.1 miles to go and I try to concentrate on my stride and pace but can feel myself slack off and the final 1.1 is in 7:29 for a finish of 1:27: something. Later checking the race results my time is posted as 1:27:23 for an overall pace of 6:40/mile, 22nd overall and first in my age group. Another PR although only by 38 seconds...but hay...I'll take it! Paul comes in a few minutes behind me with a great PR in the 1:31 range. Great Race Paul! I went back to my truck for my camera so I can take pictures of my gym mates and was able to get a picture of both of them racing towards the finish. Towards the 2.5-hour mark I notice that the ambulance seems to make a lot of trips out on the racecourse and back. I learned later that about six runners needed medical attention on the course with one that they had to use the defibrillator on...currently I don't know how she is but I hope she and everyone else are fine.

Race Results:
There were 47 finishers in the Male 50 to 54 age group and 1124 total finishers
Overall finish place was 22 of 1124
Age group finish place was 1 of 47
Time: 1:27:23.40 for an overall pace of 6:40 per mile

Weekly Totals:
Mon: 30 min Elliptical, 45 min Cycle
Tue: 9.1 miles run, 20 min Elliptical, 20 min Stairstepper
Wed: 33 min Elliptical, 31 min Cycle, 25 min Stairstepper
Thu: 7.2 miles run, 20 min Elliptical, 10 min Stairstepper
Fri: 30 min Elliptical, 31 min Cycle, 12 min Stairstepper
Sat: DSS Half race with 2 miles warm-up
Sun: 31 min Elliptical, 30 min Cycle, 15 min Stairstepper

Next race is a marathon next Saturday, the Country Music Marathon in Nashville, TN
Hope everyone has a great weekend and week!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Week of 7-13 Apr 08

No races this week and not an impressive training week either. Was looking at a 5K yesterday but I have this backlog of things to do at home...mostly yard work...and badly needed to do a 20 miler on Sunday, which was more important than running a race that I probably would do well and enjoy...it was being run at my favorite place for racing at Ft Story. Friday, I thought I could get my training in and still get some of the home stuff knocked out but life happens. I'm just in the middle of my elliptical and I get a message from my oldest daughter that she has locked her keys in the car and needs for me to go home and get the extra set of keys. I get her the keys but now I'm two hours behind but I decide to go ahead and finish my workout at the gym. Friday night I'm checking Saturday's weather and see that it's suppose to rain off and on most of the morning so figuring my Saturday yard work is a no go, I look to race the 5K instead. So I think...if it's raining...I will go run the race...if no rain...I will do my yard work. I wake up early Saturday morning to sun with some clouds and get back in bed and get some more sleep. I spend four hours edging, weed whacking, mowing and pulling weeds but am able to get most of it done before it starts to rain about 1:00. I take a shower and take my wife to pickup a bookshelf she has ordered and after grabbing a bite to eat out, get home and I realize that I haven't done my exercise for the Kindzia Streak yet! I still haven't missed a day since the New Year...actually my streak started the day after Christmas...and I'm not about to miss one now. I try to convince myself that the four hours of yard work should count for something...and this morning I was convinced that I had a real work-out yesterday because my legs, back and arms are sore today, and even got some sunburn on my neck...but I think it's lame to claim it so I went to the gym for my regular work-out.

Today I wake to do my long run. I am sore. My back is sore, my legs are sore, my neck is burned and even my arms are sore but I need to get my run in. I eat my breakfast and head out to the Dismal Swamp Trail with two bottles of water and a squeeze bottle of Gatorade. It is going to be sunny today and somewhat warm...in the 60's but I forgo stashing my extra bottle of water up the road like I normally do and just carry a bottle with me. I don't worry about a specific pace since all I want to do is get the 20 in at a nice easy pace since it has been a while for a longer distance than about 10 miles since Shamrock. The first mile is really easy...I figure about 7:30-8:00 mile pace...I didn't wear my watch. I don't see very many runners, which seems odd because next week is the Dismal Swamp Stomp Half Marathon and I expected a bunch of people trying the course out or getting their runs in. I do see a lot of cycle riders...recreational as well as racers. I get to the end of the trail and head back. The sun is shining, there is a small breeze, butterflies are flitting around and wild flowers are blooming. A pretty serene morning. I have been trying to conserve water and my eardrums start crackling and I know that I am getting dehydrated. I start swigging my water at a faster pace and at about the 10-mile mark I notice that I am really low on water...maybe about 2-3 good swigs left. I try to convince myself that there is plenty left for the 6.5 miles. Around mile 12, my water is gone and I feel some twinges in my left hams. I slow the pace down and about a mile later there's another twinge...not a good sign...most likely I need more electrolytes and all I had was water and I seemed to be sweating a lot more than usual. I nurse myself till I get to the entrance to the park and my truck...16.5 miles completed in 2:08 according to my trucks clock. I get my Gatorade from the truck and take that with me on my 3 mile loop the other way and have completed that by the time I get back to my truck again as well as having three cramping episodes on the loop. I get my last bottle of water out of the truck and I only have half a mile to go and it's not going to be easy with all the cramping. I finally make it out to the quarter mile mark and back with one more cramp hitting me at the turn around...but...I was finished now...the whole 20. It took me almost 3 hrs but I got it done. I had thought today would be a lot easier than it was. I think all the work yesterday took a lot out of me and affected me today.

My training week looked like this:
Mon: 8.1 miles run, 15 min Elliptical, 13 min Stairstepper
Tue: 31 min Elliptical, 37 min Cycle, 16 min Stairstepper
Wed: 8.1 miles run, 25 min Cycle, 12 min Stairstepper
Thu: 30 min Elliptical, 30 min Cycle, 12 min Stairstepper
Fri: 22 min Treadmill, 35 min Elliptical, 35 min Cycle, 16 min Stairstepper
Sat: 31 min Elliptical, 35 min Cycle, 13 min Stairstepper
Sun: 20 miles run at the Dismal Swamp Trail

Next Saturday is the Dismal Swamp Stomp Half Marathon.

Hope everyone is doing well and training is on track.
Have a good week!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Ukrop's Monument 10K, 05 Apr 08

Ran the Ukrop's Monument 10K today...another race that I had wanted to run last year but waited too long to sign up missed out. Billed as one of the largest 10Ks in the country with over 25,000 signed up last year and over 30,000 this year. The out and back race is run in Richmond...our state's capitol...on Monument Ave which is a four lane city road split in the middle by a large median with about six monuments spaced at major intersections. We go up one side at a gentle incline and come back on the other with a gentle downhill. The monuments are huge but it's funny how I only remember running by three of them...my thoughts must have been elsewhere...the racers in front of me, the racers behind and of course the crowd of people on either sides of the road cheering us on. The race is chip timed and started in corrals with the elite starting at 8:00 and then corral A...which was my corral!...two minutes later and then the other 20 or so corrals every four minutes.

The weather forecast all week, and even up to the last day, painted a gloomy day with 70-90% chance of rain with thunderstorms. At least the temperatures were to be in the 60's and very little wind. Checking the race day radar showed intermittent groups of showers to pass over the area during the morning.

I woke up early in the morning, got my shower, ate my breakfast and drove the over 100 miles to Richmond. The race starts at 8:30 and I got there early enough to get a nice parking spot in one of the parking garages near the finish line...the start line is about four blocks over...and was able to visit the port-a-lets that lined one side of the small park where the finish festivities were to take place. I must have gotten into one of the potties that no one had used yet because the toilet paper was still wrapped and no stinky smell. But one disadvantage of being the first one is that the blue liquid they put in there may splash up and onto you...I know you wanted to know that...but it was quite a surprise when I hear this splash and then feel the cold wet on my bum...yuck! What else could go wrong on this day? The whole week I had been feeling tired and weary...and the last couple of days it seemed like I was catching something. My training hadn't been what it should have been either and I seemed to just go through the motions to get it done, so I didn't know what to expect on race day. My main goal was to break 40 minutes and today didn't quite feel like it would happen. The weather was bad, I was feeling bad, the roads were wet and slippery and the air was humid...and now the toilet splashes me.

I ran part of my warm-up running to the start line and then ran three laps up and down a few blocks on Broad St...where the race starts...for about two miles. On one of the laps I run into Bill...the guy who kept beating me in the Mud in Your Eye cross country series and we chatted a bit while warming up. He invited me to go out with him since he was starting at around a 6:30 pace. I get back to the starting corral A, which is already filling up and I can't find an opening in the railing along the sides so I just climb over it and then head to near the front of the corral. I see Bill and also see Jim...one of the top 50-54 AG runners in the area...about a row of runners in front of me. I look around for other familiar faces and don't see any but looking around I see all these really fit runners in my corral and start asking myself if I really should be up here with these guys and gals but I kept telling myself that I belong there just like the rest of them.

At 8:00 the elites are given the Go!...and they are off racing up the street. Our corral edges up to the start line and two minutes later we are off and running also. Up Broad St we go and then cut left onto Lombardy and then right onto Monument Ave. I'm looking for Bill to pace with but don't see him...later I found out he ended up behind during the first 1-200 meters. I also see Jim way out in the front pack of runners from our corral. The first mile comes up and it is 6:09...a bit fast but not my usual jack rabbit start of under 6 minutes...but I'm breathing hard so I back off a bit...there's still a long ways to go. My plan was to start slow...6:20-6:30 pace...the first three miles and at the turn around to kick it up a bit...so 6:09 was about 11 seconds faster than I wanted. We are also in a bit of a headwind which feels nice in the warm, humid feeling air. Mile two is in 6:17...getting down where I wanted but still a bit fast. About half way to the three mile marker we start seeing the elites coming back on the other side...they sure look smooth and fast...like greyhounds. After a bit we see the lead runners in our corral so I know the turn around is just ahead and mile three is in 6:29...oops...just a bit too slow now but here's where I kick it up a notch. We make the turn and now we have a slight tail wind and gradual downhill and we pass the 5K mat and the timer and it reads 21:35...which makes me think for a minute that I'm behind my goal, but I realize that since our corral started two minutes after the clock was started, it really is 19:35. I also realize that I need to maintain the same speed/pace or I won't be breaking 4o minutes this day...so I try to pick up the pace passing a few runners ahead of me and mile four is in 6:13...Yeah, I can do this...but fatigue starts to set in a few minutes later and mile five is in 6:21. Still doing good and about that time I hear someone cheering Bill on and I know that he is behind me so I will myself to go faster and mile six comes in at 6:11. Just 0.2 more to go and I can make out the finish banner down the street and just about that time I also see Bill passing me on my right...how could that happen? I tried to keep him near and then sprint for the finish but he beats me to the finish, but I don't really care...because the time on the clock says 41:02 and my watch says 39.02...Yeah! The last of my 2007 goals achieved! For the record, the last 0.2 was in 1:20. The rain is starting to pick up now but I don't care about that either. I congratulate Bill and the runners around me, get my chip off, get some water and food. Bill and Jim are talking about running the course a second time and invite me to join them but I bow out...I want to do a long run tomorrow. Oh...the final chip time is: 38:56!...a PR from my previous 40:34 by 1:38. So I not only got my 2007 goal of under 40 minutes, I also got my 2008 goal of under 39 minutes for this year...so it looks like I need to revise my 10K goal to break 38:30 now. It's raining harder now, but I don't really care!

Race Results:
There were 840 finishers in the Male 50 to 54 age group and 24,055 total finishers
Overall finish place was 123 of 24,055
Age group finish place was 5 of 840
Time: 38:56 for an overall pace of 6:16 per mile

Weekly Training:
Mon: 51 min Elliptical, 51 min Cycle, 12 min Stairstepper
Tue: 7.15 miles run, 20 min on Elliptical, 15 min Stairstepper
Wed: 50 min Elliptical, 50 min Cycle, 12 min Stairstepper
Thu: 7.2 miles run, 15 min Elliptical, 13 min Stairstepper
Fri: 30 min Elliptical, 30 min Cycle, 13 min Stairstepper
Sat: 10K race with 2 miles warm-up
Sun: 36 min Elliptical, 36 min Cycle, 21 min Stairstepper

No scheduled race for next weekend. There is a 5K at Fort Story but I do want to get in a 20 miler instead.

Speaking of race scheduling...it looks like I maybe able to run the Country Music Marathon in Nashville on 26 April now. A trip that kept me from going in the first place for that weekend fell through and now will be done another week. I'm just wondering if I can do CMM one week and Frederick the next? The Frederick marathon has a deferral policy, so I could defer to next year...or I could go ahead and run it easy just to do it too! Of the two, I really would rather do the CMM this year. I hate decisions like these!

You all have a great weekend and week! I will!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Yorktown Victory Run, 29 Mar 08

The Yorktown Victory Run is a picturesque eight-mile point-to-point race starting at the Newport News Park and follows a bikeway/trail going past the Washington's Headquarters on the Yorktown Battlefield, through Surrender Field and finishes at the Yorktown Victory Monument in the Colonial National Historical Park. Most of last week the weather consisted of mild spring-like temps from 60-80's with sunny skies, but a cold front was to bring in colder temps in the 30-40's with wind and showers. The race starts at 9:00 but no chance of it warming up by then.

I had to leave home early since I hadn't pre-registered and got there in plenty of time to register, get my bib and drop off bag...they were to take the drop off bag to the finish. Since this is a point-to-point race I figured I would need the bag drop off since it would be cold and windy at the finish and I would need dry warm clothes...and I'm glad I did! I ran a nice easy two-mile warm-up through the park...a very nice large park with lots of trails and historic markers. It is windy and cold but no rain and the terrain isn't as hilly as I imagined it would be.

This is a gun time event with no chip, so as the starting time gets near, I drop off my drop bag and head to a spot a row back from the front of the starting line...mostly to keep warm in the midst of the other runners...but there is a brave soul with his shirt off at the start line in the windy 30 something temp. The starter gives us the "Ready...Go" and we are off. We start off on the paved road heading into the wind but after a short time we veer off to the left onto a packed dirt trail...I didn't expect this to be a trail run! We twist and turn on this trail going up and down some small dips dodging tree roots. This definitely wasn't what I expected, but it was beautiful with rivers, streams and the wooded trail . At the first mile marker the volunteer shouts out the time: 6:05, surprising me but looking at my watch it says 6:21...he must have received the wrong information on the start. We keep winding through the trails crossing many small wooden bridges and finally get to a wider and straighter gravel bike trail which we follow for another couple of miles and mile two comes in at 6:39...it seems this trail type run is taking a lot out of me and I'm wishing for the nice blacktop road. Mile three is in 6:39 again and we finally get onto a regular asphalt road and I get a good pace going and after a bit I see the front runners coming back to me so there must be a turn-around up ahead which is just before mile four and mile four is in 6:11...that can't be right and mile five comes in at 6:57 so I suspect one of the mile markers are off but it does give me an average of 6:34 for the two miles which is okay. We are still on the blacktopped road and I see a runner ahead of me and set my sights on him to draw him to me and I pass him just before the six-mile mark and it comes in at 6:27. We leave the blacktop and head onto the gravel trail again but there are only two miles to go so I try to keep the pace and mile seven is 6:28. One more mile to go and we get back onto the blacktop and to a main road. All through the race we have been heading north into the wind but have been sheltered somewhat by the trees but on the main road there is nothing to shelter us from the 15-20mph headwind and it becomes really hard to maintain pace...reminded me of the headwinds on the boardwalk but we race on knowing the finish is just up ahead. We finally make a right turn to the final stretch to the finish...up hill! Not really a bad hill but reminded me of the MCM final hill finish, so I charge up the hill and cross the finish line with my watch showing 52:29. So Steve...I guess we split the difference in your prediction of my finish time of 51:59 and my prediction of 53:00. I went through the food and water line grabbing something to drink and eat and head for the Drop Bag area, find my bag and put on a dry shirt, warm-up pants and hoody. I wait around cheering the others finishing for about 30 minutes but I'm still cold and getting colder so I head to one of the buses to take us back to the start line. I didn't wait around for the official race results so I'll have to wait for the official finishing time when the results are posted to put in all the results.

Official results are in with a finish time of 52:26, which put me in 1st in my age group because the actual 50-54 AG winner was 2nd overall.

Race Results:
There were 8 finishers in the Male 50 to 54 age group and 195 total finishers
Overall finish place was 10 of 195
Age group finish place was 1 of 7
Time: 52:26 for an overall pace of 6:33 per mile

Weekly Totals:
Mon: 31 min Elliptical, 31 min Cycle, 25 min Stairstepper
Tue: 9 miles run, 16 min Elliptical, 16 min Stairstepper
Wed: 31 min Elliptical, 30 min Cycle, 12 min Stairstepper
Thu: 7 miles run, 21 min Elliptical, 10 min Stairstepper
Fri: 31 min Elliptical, 31 min Cycle, 16 min Stairstepper
Sat: 10 miles run, Yorktown Victory Run and warm-up
Sun: 36 min Elliptical, 36 min Cycle, 25 min Stairstepper

Next week is the big Ukrop's Monument 10K!
Everyone have great races tomorrow...Natalie and Stephanie at the ING GA and Steve at the Virginia Duathlon!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Week of 17-23 March 08 and Spring Schedule

Nothing much to report for this week except for my weekly workouts. I'm happy to report that a week after the marathon and everything feels pretty good.

Monday, the day after the marathon, I went to the gym with the intention of just doing some easy cross training but after about 30 minutes on the elliptical everything was feeling pretty good so decided to run a couple of easy miles to loosen up the legs. Ended up running mile ladders starting at 6.5 mph and increasing 0.5 mph every mile. Wound up running 5 miles and finishing at 8.5 mph and then ended up the session with 16 minutes on the stairstepper.

Tuesday was just over an hour and half of cross training with 45 minutes each on the elliptical and cycle and 12 minutes on the stairstepper.

Wednesday was 30 minute warm-up on the elliptical and again one mile ladders on the treadmill. Again starting at 6.5mph, increasing 0.5 mph every mile ending with 6 miles and finishing at 9 mph, cooled down with another easy quarter mile more and then finished with 25 minutes on the stairstepper.

Thursday was again just cross training with an hour each on the elliptical, cycle and 10 minutes on the stairstepper.

Friday, 21 minutes warm-up on the elliptical and then ladders again on the treadmill. Started again at 6.5 mph increasing 0.5 mph every mile, finishing 7 miles at 9.5 mph. Ended the session with 21 minutes on the cycle and 12 minutes on the stairstepper.

Saturday was just cross training with little over 30 minutes each on the elliptical and cycle and finishing with 10 minutes on the stairstepper.

Sunday ran 12 miles at the Dismal Swamp Trail after church today. A nice easy relaxing run in mostly bright sunshine with a cold breeze. Didn't wear my watch with the intention of just running for the joy of running. Did note the time when I left my truck and when I got back for a time of 1:31 for a pace of 7:35/mile.

Have been trying to plan my race schedule for the rest of the spring and had been looking at both ING GA and CMM as my second spring marathon. Even looked at the National Marathon in DC on 29 Mar but decided not to do a second marathon so soon after Shamrock. CMM is also out because of other travel plans so that leaves me with running the Frederick marathon in May. So this is how my schedule is shaping up:

29 May - Yorktown Victory Run, a scenic point-to-point 8 miler starting in Newport News and finishing in Yorktown which is near Williamsburg, so promises to be another nice rolling hills course. The first point-to-point race I have run...they bus us back to the starting area in Newport News at the end.

05 Apr - Ukrops 10K Monument Run in Richmond...one of the biggest 10K races in the country which I wanted to run last year but registration filled up and closed before I could sign up. A great chance for going under 40 minutes on this one since the first half is a steady climb but coming back is all slightly downhill. One big disappointment is that it's on the same day as one of the Striders Grand Prix 5K race is to be run and I had made it one of my goals to run all the Grand Prix events but I hope it will be the only one I'm unable to run.

19 Apr - Dismal Swamp Stomp Half Marathon, the second year for this flat out and back run and one I have to run because it's practically in my backyard.

26 Apr - Chesapeake Bay 10K, a flat out and back 10K that I ran last year and one that I want to do again.

04 May - Frederick Marathon in Maryland...another rolling hills marathon that I ran last year. This year they changed the course and it promises to be even hillier...especially towards the end.

18 May - The brand new, First Marine Corps Historic Half Marathon, put on by the same people who do the annual MCM. Another hilly run and should be a fun one.

24 May - Elizabeth River Run 10K, a flat looping course and again one that I did last year and had so much fun...besides...it's one of the Strider's Grand Prix events.

There are a couple of weeks during this schedule that doesn't have a race...What am I ever going to do?!?! Don't worry...I'm sure there will be a race somewhere close to fill in those blank weeks if needed...but rest from racing those weekends might be nice too.

Hope everyone had a great Easter!
Have a great week!