Wednesday, November 07, 2012

2012 Brookings South Dakota marathon

Rob had mentioned Brookings to me several months ago. I was pretty excited about going as it was another state I could mark off my list. I had looked at the elevation map and it was pretty flat, though it was at 1600 feet of elevation. I typically run at 1100-1200 here in the Ozarks. We left early on Friday morning and we knew it was going to be a long drive since it was 615 miles. As usual we enjoyed some movies and our typical sophomoric humor on the way up there. We stopped at the border to take a picture of the South Dakota sign. Rob had booked the accomodations for him, me and his friend Mike McMahon.
We arrived a decent time and Mike arrived shortly thereafter. We went to the expo and picked up our packets and walked to a restaurant nearby to taste some of the local flavor. We could tell the weather was going to be shape up to be for a cool race morning even though there had been some higher temps in the region recently.

I was cautiously optimistic about the event from a time perspective. My plan was to do a 5:1. I started out a little too fast and Rob kept seeing me on the course and telling me that I needed to slow it down a little. He was running with Mike and I was so cold at the start I was just trying to stay warm. Sometimes it is so hard to make yourself slow down. I got to 13.1 after a quick stop at the port-a-potty. The course was decent but there were a lot of curbs and sidewalks that we had to step up and down on. My optimistic goal was to run a 4:10 or better. By the time I got to 23, I realized I had slowed down too much to accomplish that. After the race I scored some chocolate milk and tried to fight off the nausea. We headed back to the hotel for a quick shower and started our journey home. The swag was nice, but the course was nothing special.

Monday, May 14, 2012

2012 Derby Festival Marathon

The original plan for this race was concocted last fall and Rob and I had planned on running it together. We were going to drive over stay with Joel and participate in the marathon. Well, my work plans changed slightly and I was going to be in Lexington, KY the week before making me unavailable to split resources/driving with Rob so he opted to save Kentucky for later.

Joel next to the course map.

My good friend and co-worker Lynn loaned me her car to drive over to Joel's place and Joel and I headed in to pick up our race packets on Friday. After an early lunch at Q-doba, Joel and I picked up our packets then walked around downtown Louisville. We stopped by the Louisville Slugger museum and store. We each took turns in the batting cage. It's been awhile since I've hit in the batting cage. We headed back to Elizabethtown and Joel met his sister for a brief visit at the local truck stop (she was traveling with her husband the truck driver). 

KC Maniac and friend Amy Reed (met her in Jackson 1/2012) 
Cade and Adam. I met Cade at Myrtle Beach. Adam is from Springfield, MO
We enjoyed a great meal at Cheddars and went back to his place to chill and get a good night's rest. We headed to the race early Saturday morning and found a parking spot about 3/4 mile from the start. The weather was shaping up to be pretty nice for the day. I hustled to the start for the Maniac picture. There I saw Adam Irvin, Cade Remsburg, Amy Reed, and Tim Nave as well as quite a few other maniacs.

The day was shaping up to be a fun time. I had decided to change my strategy a little. I was going to run 4 minutes and walk 30 seconds. Adam and I talked about how fast he would be running. He had never tried run-walking before.

For the first 13.1 I yo-yoed back and forth with him as we passed the miles. We ran through Churchill Downs at mile 8 and it was pretty cool. The biggest climb in the race came at mile 11.6. This was when I stopped to use the port a potty. After spending about a minute in the port a potty, I was able to charge up the hill and quickly caught up to Adam. The next several miles Adam struggled to keep up with me. I had changed my strategy to 4:1 and around mile 15 Adam caught me and I asked him if he wanted to run/walk with me the rest of the way. He agreed and we had fun running the next 11 miles. I spent time bringing up some good music on Spotify to include the Beastie Boys. Our pace slowed a little, but I was having so much fun that I didn't care about my time. I wanted to get Adam in under his recent best time. 
We came around the corner and I actually did a 360 at the finish line. We came in under 4:20 and he was very pleased.The food at the finish was pretty disappointing. Joel quickly found me and we walked back to the car to head back to Elizabethtown to his place. 

After grabbing a quick shower at Joel's, I drove back to Lexington to where I was staying with Lynn and her husband Dwight. They cooked me an amazing steak dinner and we had some great conversation. Lynn graciously gave me a ride to the airport the next morning. 

That's when the real adventure began. We got fully boarded on my return trip to Chicago. We taxied all the way out to the runway and then they informed us that there was an instrumentation error and that we were returning to the terminal to de-plane. They were canceling our flight because the repairs were going to have to wait for a part to be flown in from Chicago. Due to all of the happenings at Lexington that week, there were no available outbound flights for the next several days. I spent the next 45 minutes on the phone with United trying to secure a way home. I was able to get a flight out of Cincinnati getting me home around 8:15. I had to get a cab (courtesy of United) to drive me the 80 miles from Lexington, KY to Cincinnati. I had plenty of time to spare as my flight didn't leave for another couple of hours. I finally made it back home around 8:15 and Susan was waiting for me at the airport. It was an enjoyable trip but I was glad to be home.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

2012 Go St. Louis Marathon

The Go St. Louis Marathon weekend started early Saturday morning as I picked up Rob at his house around 8. We both were working booths at the expo, which was on the St. Louis University campus at the Chaifetz arena. This was my first road trip in my 2012 Ford Focus SEL. I was anxious to see how the mpg would do on the highway. As usual we enjoyed the conversation on the road, mixed in with some on-screen entertainment via Rob's Galaxy Nexus. I, of course kept my eyes on the road. We stopped in Cuba for a bathroom break and to get some food. When we ordered our food at the McDonalds the counter staff asked Rob his name and he responded "Frodo". After she took my order and asked my name, I responded "Bilbo". We thought that was pretty funny when they called both of those names out loud to get our food. 

Our McDonalds receipts. 
We experienced some pretty heavy rain on some sections of I-44 between Rolla and St. Louis. When we finally got to St. Louis, the rain had let up a little. We milled around the expo after picking up our packets. I really haven't seen anything at the last several expos that have "rocked my world". I did meet a couple of contestants that were from Season ? of the Biggest Loser, Jay and Jen. We spoke briefly for a few moments and I took a picture with them to send to Susan. I was slotted to work the Team Beef booth from 2-4. Rob was working the Pacer booth from 1-3. After Rob finished his shift at the booth, he spent some time setting up his brand new MotoActiv watch that was given to him to try out. The features of this watch seem really cool and I am a little jealous that he has such a great new toy. After my time at the Team Beef booth, we headed over to the hotel where I was going to drop Rob off. He inquired for me if there were any rooms available. I had originally planned on crashing at my brother's house in St. Charles, but logistically this made so much more sense that I opted to stay at the same hotel where Rob was staying. After chilling for a couple of hours in my room, Rob and I headed down to Lombardos with the rest of the Pace team. I was Rob's plus one. We had a very enjoyable meal and I was absolutely stuffed after the meal, I just knew that I was ready for a good day on Sunday. I was noticing that I was having a little cough, so I took a small 1/2 tab of Benadryl to fight off  any pollen issues. 

Being so close to the starting line has so many benefits. You can sleep later and you don't feel the stress of finding a parking space, etc. After a small breakfast of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, I walked with Rob and the pacers toward the start. I was hoping to make the Marathon Maniac picture at 7:15 but wasn't sure where the St. Louis Memorial was. After getting to the starting line, I milled around watching all the people gather. About 7:10 I saw Brian Wright and he was trying to find the MM picture too. We actually jogged down about 1/2 mile looking for it and then decided to turn around. After coming back to the starting line, I attempted to connect with Stephanie Davenport and Cara Whitney. Cara was doing her first marathon and I wanted to give her some encouragement. The corrals were so packed that it was impossible to catch up with either of them. I was able to get close to Rob and his pacing group. This was a huge day for him as he trying to redeem himself from an overheated pacing at the same event last year in which he through the pacing sign in the trash. He was thoroughly prepared for this one and I was sure that he would do great. 

He takes his job very serious. LOL
I had originally committed to attempt to run with Rob and the 4:30 pace group. I wasn't sure how I would do that using my 4:1 strategy. I really didn't want to falter at the end, so I took off pretty quick in the first 13.1. The first 6 miles weren't too bad. I had to stop and pee at mile 5.5 and that was my slowest mile (10:33) in the first half. With the temps already in the high 60s, I was already dumping water on myself when I got the chance. At mile 6, I noticed that my bandaids had come off my nipples because they were wet. I was starting to get some abrasions. I decided to take off my shirt and run with it in my hand. I came through the half at 2:09:33 and was pretty sure that I could hold that or be really close. The section through Forest Park was tough as it had some hilly sections. At mile 15, I finally saw a guy with vaseline on some sticks that he was passing out. I grabbed that stick and put the vaseline on. I put my shirt back on and had no more chaffing issues. I knew if I could stay strong until mile 20, the last 6 wouldn't be too bad as they were mostly downhill. 

After hitting mile 20, I was able to keep gutting it out at the 4:1 pace. I felt confident that I would be in under 4:25, so I gave myself permission to add a couple of extra walk segments at mile 23 and 25. I came in at 4:22:25 and was really glad to be done. This was my 4th marathon of the year and was very enjoyable. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Shamrock Virginia Beach Marathon 2012

I have been noticing the Shamrock Yuengling Marathon Advertisements in the Runners world magazine for the past several years and I always thought it looked like a lot of fun. When I discovered that I was going to be in Washington DC that week for work, I quickly figured out a way to get the race on my agenda. The girls were on spring break that week and I thought it would be fun to take them back to DC as teenagers. Brittany couldn't attend this year because of soccer practice. Susan had to work as well.

Emily showing her power in DC.
The girls had fun touring DC while I was working on Thursday. The girls and I managed to sneak in a quick 3 miler on Friday morning before we left DC. My left gluteus was bugging me and I started to worry a little about how I would feel during the marathon.The race was scheduled for Sunday, so Friday we got the rental car and headed southeast towards VA Beach. Our plan was to relax Friday evening and the girls wanted to shop on Saturday. The traffic heading out of DC on Friday was insanity all the way to Richmond. Heading into Norfolk on Friday was also pretty crazy. We got to the packet pick up. I was feeling anxious about this marathon because I was coming off a small case of influenza 1 week prior. I knew I could do the distance, I just wanted to feel good after the race.
Courtney and I at Ruby Tuesday

Saturday the girls and I slept in a little bit and had a nice breakfast. We headed out to the local mall. I caught a flick (21 jumpstreet) and they shopped for spring clothes. After the movie, I grabbed some pizza at the food court and caught up with the girls. The weather was starting to change a little outdoors and we headed off to the go-kart track. We had a very brief but enjoyable visit to Motorworld. The rest of the day we debated on whether or not to do any more activities. Bowling was ridiculously expensive in this region, so we focused on finding a nice restaurant to eat for the evening. We settled on Ruby Tuesday very close to our hotel and headed over there. It was a fun evening and I loaded up on pasta as I like to do. Emily continued to read the Hunger Games and was having a very hard time putting the book down.

We got back to the hotel and relaxed the rest of the evening. The next morning, I had decided to forego the free shuttle to the race area, because I was concerned about getting back on time. I drove over to the starting area and attempted to look for a parking spot. I was hoping to find a free spot, but I wound up paying a guy $10 to park at his dad's business lot. This concerned me a little as I didn't want to get my rental car towed (if the guy was scamming me). But there were others there as well, so I figured it would be a safe bet. I walked over to the beach area and found the other Marathon Maniacs for the picture.
We had a nice picture with King Neptune and I headed over to drop my gear check bag. I still had a little cough that I was battling and I vowed to myself to try and take it easy.

After dropping off my gear, I had about an hour or so to kill. I walked over to the starting line area and milled around trying to keep warm. I had my arm warmers on but it was a little chilly. I spoke with a couple of runners for about 15 minutes, chatting about college basketball, etc.

It was finally getting around to lining up for this thing. The half marathon had started at 7, so our start was at 8:30. That is a little late for my tastes.

1 hour until the race
The race started promptly at 8:30 and I started my interval timer on my watch. What I had not realized was that my watch was still set from my 1/2 marathon settings from Little Rock (run 4: walk 30 seconds). I decided to not attempt to change it and went with the 30 second walk segments.

The first 3 miles, I completely missed the mile markers and by the time I hit my split I was around 27:45. I knew I was running a little quick. This course was essentially flat and had a bridge we had to run over at mile 2.5 and then again at 10 miles.

The bridge at mile 2.5
There were a lot of runners out there and it was fun to run through all of the military sections of
the course. There was one portion around mile 8-9 where we ran through what I think was Marine barracks. Several of the guys came out and cheered for us as we ran by. Pretty good considering it was Sunday morning.

I came through the half split in 2:03:55 and was thinking to myself "I did that way too quick". By the time I hit mile 20, I was texting Rob and Susan and letting them know I was slowing way down.

The sun was out and was beginning to warm up. There was a very nice breeze still blowing. Around mile 21, I gave up the 4: 30 second ratio and just focused on running short segments and walking. I was still hitting my splits but my miles were slowing way down. I really wanted to finish under 4:30 but I knew it would be close. I really wanted to feel good at the end, but wasn't sure how it was going to play out.

I came through the finish really struggling to maintain a run as people spurred me on. It's funny how spectators really have no idea what might be going on with a runner when they are cheering words of encouragement.

After finishing up the marathon, I proceeded through the chute, got my medal, food and headed straight for the gear check truck. As I was attempting to get the zip tie off my bag with a pair of safety scissors a massive wave of nausea hit me and I had to run over to the bushes and puke. As I was wrenching, my abdomen cramped up into a ball and would not release for about 20 seconds. This told me that I was severely depleted in electrolytes. After throwing up a small amount, I got my bag and slowly walked to my car. I got to the rental car and sat inside for a couple of minutes trying to recover. I plugged my phone in and charged it as it was almost dead. I got back to the hotel and walked in around 1:45. The lady at the front desk said they were offering 3 p.m. checkout. I got up to the room and the girls were getting restless and hungry. They knew immediately that I was feeling pretty bad. I went to take a shower but was so wiped out that I wound up sitting down in the tub and just laying in the water for twenty minutes. I finally was able to get out, get dressed and get on the road back to DC. By the time we got back to DC, checked into our hotel and walked to the nearest restaurant, it was nearly 8 and I was getting really hungry again. We had a great dinner at Chilis and we went back to our hotel (Sheraton Crystal City) and crashed. It was a very enjoyable trip and I was glad to have the girls with me. 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

2012 Myrtle Beach Marathon

My quest to run a marathon in all 50 states continued in Myrtle Beach, SC on 2/18. When I set this thing up in early January, I was looking to use my AirTran reward miles to make the trip out. The best airport option appeared to be Raleigh/Durham in NC about 220 miles from MB. Fortunately my co-worker Julie lived close by and offered me some hospitality for when I was traveling in. I arrived on Thursday evening and we enjoyed some conversation. Friday morning, they made me a great breakfast of bacon and eggs and we sat around the breakfast table having more enjoyable conversation.

Me and my new buddy Lauryn.
A rest stop in NC
The weather was shaping up for a beautiful weekend in SC as I traveled south east towards the coast.
My friend Joel Maxwell had offered me a bed to crash in but I have an aversion to hide a beds and I politely declined his offer. I had booked a hotel room at the Springmaid Beach Resort on Hotwire for about $50 but really wasn't thinking that it would be that great for that price. I arrived to the expo between 1 and 2 and wasn't really impressed with anything there. I decided to drive to my hotel to see if I could check in a little early to chill in my room. They let me check in but told me my room would not be ready until 4. I walked out on the pier and took some pictures and then decided to drive back out to the strip to obtain some food for the next morning.
I settled on a Dollar General and was able to get some Jif 2 Go packs and a loaf of bread. I scouted out the strip for a place to eat some pre-race pasta later. I had tentatively talked with a couple of Maniacs from Springfield about meeting up with them for dinner but they weren't to arrive for some time later. After getting back to the hotel around 3:45 the front desk staff continued to insist that housekeeping wasn't done with my room and I spoke with a manager about getting me another one. He was very accommodating but you can tell that rooms booked with Hotwire definitely are given a lower status because the hotel doesn't make as much on those rooms. After getting all of my clothes laid out for the next day, I decided that I wanted to get the pasta meal done earlier than later.

I drove down the strip and found a little local joint that had pizza and pasta on their sign. The spaghetti was respectable and a perfect size. The waiter was a local runner and we chatted about the race the next day as there was no one else even in the restaurant at that time. After I finished eating I headed back over to the expo to meet up with my local running Maniacs and while I was there I ran into Joel. He was heading over to the 5k area to watch his son Jeremiah run. We talked about heading to the race together the next morning and we settled on me picking him up at his hotel so his wife wouldn't have to get up so early to drive him in. I chilled at the expo for a few more minutes until Brian, Adam and the other Springfield runners had gotten there to pick up their packets. I met up with them at Carrabas restaurant to enjoy some conversation and meet some new people. I had a great time as watched these guys stuff themselves with pasta and I sipped on water. It was such a great time. I headed back to the hotel, hoping to get some sleep as the morning would be coming quickly.
Race morning
Joel and me
Brian Wright, Adam Irvin and myself.
After some decent sleep, I got up and ate a peanut butter sandwich. I didn't drink any coffee as I usually do because I wanted to use my 5 hour energy for the race and I didn't want the diuretic effect. I headed down to pick up Joel and we had a nice chat on our way to the race. The parking was about 1/2 a mile away from the starting line. It was still pretty dark when we arrived. I decided to use a drop bag because I didn't want to carry the car keys the entire race. I wasn't sure what to expect of myself for today's event. I knew the course was flat and the weather would be decent. Right before the start of the race, I drank the 5 hour energy.

The first few miles I did my best to settle into my plan for the day, attempt to run another negative split marathon. The first mile I looked down and my split was 9:09 and I thought to myself I really need to back it down. My next mile I did in 9:41 so I had done a good job in reeling in my pace. For the first half I held that pace around 9:35.

Around mile 9 I started having some back pain. I had forgotten my little bag of tylenol that I usually carry for a halfway med stop. Another maniac offered me some Ibuprofen 800 and I gladly accepted it. I thought her name was Magda but I can't seem to track her down now. I hit the half split at 2:05:05 so I thought my dream of a negative split was in serious jeopardy, but I decided to keep pushing hard. At mile 18 it was a little bit sad to see another runner had collapsed on the course and there were other runners as well as paramedics who were doing CPR on him. I'm not sure if that person made it or not. I think they were getting ready to load them into the ambulance so I think they probably did live. I caught up to Adam at 18.5 and we exchanged greetings as I moved past him. We had talked the night before about his strategy of going hard as long as he can then walking it in. He wasn't walking at this point. At mile 20, I was still feeling pretty good though the sun was out and was beginning to heat up. I made a point of dumping a cup of cold water on my head at every water stop to keep me from overheating. To this point in my running career I had only one time run faster than 4:17 and that was a brutal 3:59:59 marathon in 2009 in Tulsa. I had a feeling that today was going to be a good day from a time standpoint.

As I got closer to the finish, my hunger for the negative split was still there though I was pretty sure I wasn't going to get it. I hit the 26 mile mark right under 4:10 so I knew I was going to be a tad over. I finished strong through the chute and hit 4:11:38. For the first time in many marathons, I wasn't nauseous but I started yelling "chocolate milk" and I had a big smile on my face. For the first time in many marathons, I had not carried any water bottles and I had successfully fueled on Clif Shot blocks and water.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

2012 Mississippi Blues Marathon

Looking back on 2011, my running had taken a little bit of a step back time wise. My last several events I had struggled to maintain a steady pace and finished just under 5 hours. I know it's not about the time you get but the time you have, but I had definitely experienced a drop in my marathon fitness related to ineffective training and mental preparation for those events. I was determined to start off 2012 with a different approach and went into this event with the goal of having a negative split. This idea was presented to me by Rob and he even offered me a free Frosty if I could complete the task. I had managed to negative split on two different events, 2010 Rocket City and 2011 Little Rock. I managed to pick up some new Zensa calf sleeves from the expo. They were the perfect size and seemed to provided a good amount of needed compression. When we walked out of the hotel, it was quite foggy and it looked like it might rain on us. The temp was 55 degrees with about 80% humidity. We were attempting to get to the capitol building for the Marathon Maniac picture. We got to the capitol at 6:30 but no one was there. We walked down to the race start and someone told us it was at the old capitol building. Bummer, we missed the photo. We hung out for a few minutes and conversed with the other maniacs as we got ready to gear it up. I was planning on using the timer on my watch and not use my Nike GPS app or my Garmin 310xt. I had a focus of marking my splits at the markers. The markers will well set up, but I did miss a few during the race. While waiting to start I met a maniac from KC by the name of Amy Reed, she was shooting for her 4 star streak and was excited about doing the event. We chatted about pacing strategy, etc. When I hit the first 4 minute mark, one of the local maniacs from Ozark, Chris Revoir asked to run/walk with me. I said sure as I always enjoy company during a run. Chris and I ran and talked about all kinds of things. The first mile split we hit at 10:53. At first I thought that was a little slow, but then I remembered my goal for the day and I thought that it might work out okay. Interestingly enough the 4:40 pacer was right in front of us and I wondered if I would have enough to come in ahead of him. Around mile 4 or so, we caught up to Amy and she started doing a run/walk mix with us. She hung with us for a mile or so but then decided our run pace was a little too quick for her. I started to feel the need to pee, but kept trying to put it off because I didn't want to wait in line at the port a potty. At mile 10, I told Chris to be on the look out for a place I can duck into to go. Pretty soon I spotted a trash dumpster inside an enclosed area. I ducked in there took care of my business and got back out on the road. I caught up to him just past the 11 mile marker. We ran together until we hit the halfway mark (2:17:30) and Chris thanked me and told me to go on without him. I obliged and stepped it up for the next several miles trying to be cognizant of my goal "Negative Split!" I kept an eye on my splits and they were very consistent between 10:15 and 10:25 every mile. Around mile 22, a volunteer said "you're on pace for a 4:32". I thought to myself, we'll see about that. Surprisingly, I continued to feel strong and was envisioning finishing the last mile without a walk segment. This course got tough over the last couple of miles as there were some difficult hills thrown at us. At the mile 24 marker, they were playing James Brown and started dancing for the spectators. I was feeling the energy and knowing that it was going to be a good day. Rob called me right before the 25 mile marker and asked me where I was. I think he was surprised that I was almost done and it encouraged me to hammer it in. At 25 I knew I had some time to play with but was just focused on finishing strong and not fading in the last mile. The last .2 was all uphill into the finish and it was very difficult. Rob was there at the finish line getting some video and I knew that I had accomplished my goal. I got my medal, water and we headed to the food tent as I did my usual "fight off the puking" feeling that I have after almost every marathon. We walked back to the hotel and to get showered before the road trip home. We were both basking in our accomplishments for the day. Rob got another sub 4 hour marathon state and I had negative split. We got loaded up and headed down the road. Saturday events are quite enjoyable as we knew we had a day to recover on Sunday. We saw a beautiful sunset as we traveled through northern Arkansas.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2011 Run for the Ranch Marathon

This was my 3rd year of participating in the Run for the Ranch marathon. The first year I dropped at the half due to extremely cold weather. The weather was a perfect 51 at the start though there was a slight breeze. I wore my jacket in the beginning and that was a mistake. I got pretty hot and after two laps around the course I was ready to shed it. I had parked by the sidewalk on National and had to only move 5 feet off the course to throw my jacket in the trunk of my car. My strategy for the race was to run 3 minutes and walk 1 minute. Somewhere around the 10 mile mark I stepped into the grass and felt a twinge of discomfort shoot up my right leg and into my gluteus. I took some tylenol not too long after that and waited for it to kick in. I stayed on my plan to take a gel every loop (around every 35 minutes). I came through the halfway mark at 2:12 minutes and was hoping to be able to catch Susan and her friends that were running the Half marathon. They were using a 2 minute run, 1 minute walk strategy and I was starting to hope I could run with them. I finally caught up to them at the end of my 5th lap and we ran the 6th and 7th lap together. Susan was struggling a little and I didn't want to leave her behind so I ran with her until right before she finished. Susan let Sherry go since she was feeling fresh. I wanted to finish under 5 hours again and I had to really pick it up for the last lap to accomplish that. When I finished my legs were starting to cramp extremely. Susan was in as bad a shape as I was. She was very dizzy and felt like throwing up. After a few minutes to recover we got our food and got out of there. Rob drove home and by the time we got back to Republic I was able to down some Mt. Dew and my leg cramps were subsiding. Thanks to Dave Mari for taking some great pictures during the event.