Sunday, November 22, 2009

Route 66 Tulsa Marathon

The purpose of today's adventure was to attempt to become a sub 4 hour marathoner. I brought Rob along to mule for me. He carried all of my gels and my water bottle. He kept the time and set the pace and provided me with motivation. Through the first 10 miles, Rob was becoming concerned because I was running pretty fast. I hit the half marathon split at 1:54 and some change. I wanted some time in the bank because I was concerned about fading in the end. Rob was convinced that we could drop the walk breaks in the last 10k, but I proved him wrong. The last 13 miles of the marathon were on a very flat course, but the temp got up to about 65 and there was little shade. I fueled well up until 18 miles. By the time I got to 22, the thought of eating anything sounded disgusting. At mile 23 I started to feel nauseous and knew that if I vomitted, that would be the end of my quest for a sub 4 hour marathon. I slowed to a crawl and told Rob that I needed to walk some. He gave in, but knew we were going to be cutting it close. I did terrible at mile 23, 24 and 25. My pace slowed to 10:36, 10:53 and 11:39 respectively. Rob pushed me at the 25 mile mark to take it up. He said "no more walk breaks". I ran the 26th mile in 9:42. The watch showed 3:58:24 when we hit the 26th mile. We had 0.2 to go. Rob said "you've got to find another gear". We rounded the corner and turned another corner and could see the finish line. I could see the time running out on my goal. I pushed it as hard as I could and finished in 3:59:59. I ran the last 0.2 in 1:34 which is around a 6:20 pace. I don't know how I did it, but I did. It was nice to make that goal, but I don't like feeling like I did.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Dogwood Canyon 25k Race Report

From Dogwood Canyon Trail Run
I was so happy to be done!
From Dogwood Canyon Trail Run

This past Sunday October 25, 2009 I ran the Bass Pro Shops Dogwood Canyon 25k. A little background is needed to completely tell this story. Thursday night, I started to feel a scratchy throat coming on. Friday morning I woke up with a chest cold and called in sick to work. I had taken the week off from running to rest a left ankle that was giving me some irritation. I felt better on Saturday and heard that for completing the trail run we would receive a North Face Fleece Pullover. I took it easy on Saturday and woke up early Sunday morning and took Mucinex DM and headed to meet Dwight, so we could drive to Lampe, MO. The Dogwood Canyon Nature Park is a beautiful place and has some gorgeous scenery. The hills were the longest and toughest I've ever run in my life. I ran the first 2-3 miles on pace with Dwight, we walked the first major hill we came to. Everyone had to walk portions of this course. Before we reached 4 miles we had crossed the water 15 times. I had worn both compression garments for my lower legs and they actually absorbed a fair amount of water during the crossings. This made my legs quite heavy. I did wear wool socks and they managed to keep my feet warm even when they were wet. At about 4 miles, I decided that I couldn't keep pace with Dwight for much longer so I let him go. I passed a co-worker of mine, Jill Tillman about 5 miles. I knew that I wasn't running much faster than her and eventually she would catch back up to me. Throughout the run, I ran with several other runners for periods of time as we conversed about various subjects. Jill caught me about somewhere between 7 and 8 miles and we ran for a mile together. I was trying to converse and I could tell that she wasn't used to talking and running. She was really pushing it and I was content to run slow enough to talk. I let her go ahead and figured that I would see her after the race. On any other day, I would have stayed with her to the finish. But, I just couldn't maintain that pace she was running. About the 8.5 mile mark, I was starting to feel sick to my stomach and not wanting to take any calories in. I had packed some fun size snicker bars and swedish fish. I was carrying my hand held water bottle and was sipping on that every so often.Around the 9 mile mark or so, it started pouring down rain. It really didn't bother me except for the size of the drops. The cold rain drops actually cooled me down a little. I trudged through and mind was kind of going numb. I walked the uphills and the downhills were so steep, that my quads were completely "trashed" by the end of the day. The surface on several downhills was very treacherous and I found myself hoping that I wouldn't fall down one of these hills. Once I reached 9.3 miles, I thought "okay, now you just have a 10k left". That was a long 10k. When I got to 11 miles, one of the other runners had hurt her knee going down the hill in front of me. Myself and another runner assisted her down the hill where there was an aid station before we got on a 1.5 mile stretch of asphalt through the nature park. This is where I really was able to make up some time. It started to rain again and pretty much stayed raining off and on for the next hour. I was hoping that these last 4.5 miles were on the asphalt, but I was pretty sure that it would go back into the wooded trails. I started taking a walk break after 4 minutes of running from that point forward. I just kept thinking to myself that I wanted to finish in under 3 hours. People were starting to pass me quite regularly, so I could tell that I was slowing down. By the time I crossed the finish line at 2:48:33, I was so relieved to be finished. Then the pain in my back started. Dwight was feeling pretty cold since he had been waiting for me for 26 minutes. He finished 14th overall with a 9:05 pace. That was amazing! I finished 51 out of 149 runners and 7th out of 14 in my age group of 35-39 year old men. My legs are so sore now 2 days later I can barely walk. I definitely didn't help my cold at all and have started on an antibiotic for bronchitis. Well it made for a great story.

Friday, June 12, 2009

A great friend.

When I was 9 years old, I met a boy named Jimmy Jarvis. He was a very nice kid and we struck up an immediate friendship. For the next three years of school at Forest Park Elementary, we were the best of friends spending a lot of time together. His family invited me on camping/fishing trips. I spent countless Friday nights at his house. Jimmy and I were kindred spirits. In the summer of 1983, we moved away and it would be 6 years before I would see Jimmy again. Fast forward to May of 1989, I had just graduated high school and was heading to my grandparents house to visit. I called Jimmy and went by and saw him. We spent a couple of hours reconnecting and I went on my way. He was heading off to college at MU and I was moving on with my life in the Army Reserve and then college at Southwest Missouri State. Life happened over the next 20 years and we, like many people, lost touch. Thanks to the miracle of Facebook, I found Jimmy a week ago and was able to visit him this afternoon. He has a lovely wife and two great sons. I must say that Jimmy is one of those friends that I will always treasure. I look forward to spending more time with Jimmy and his family and hope to not let so much time go by between visits.
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Friday, May 08, 2009

The Cincinnati Flying Pig

Susan and I left town on Friday afternoon to head for my big marathon weekend in Cincinnati. We spent the night in Effingham, Illinois at the Hampton Inn. The next morning we headed about 5 hours southeast toward Cincinnati and arrived at the expo to pick up my race packet. The expo was huge and we wandered around in there for about an hour before we left to head for our hotel at the Sheraton North Cincinnati. We settled into the hotel and called a friend of mine from high school, Sarah Whitten. We met Sarah at Applebees and had a nice conversation while we watched the Kentucky Derby. After dinner, we headed back to the hotel to relax. I had intended to go to bed early but Rob had a plan to come by the hotel and stay with me, instead of me picking him up early the next morning. Unfortunately for me, Rob had promised his boys that they could stay at King's Island until 10. By the time I finally got to sleep it was after midnight. We got up and left the hotel about 5:15 a.m. It was raining ever so slightly. We found a place to park and by the time we got to the starting line it was 6:15. Rob shared with me later that was cutting it a little too close for him. I had to take care of bathroom business before I got run/walking. As I was coming out of the bathroom at Paul Brown stadium I could hear the countdown to the start of the race. I knew I had plenty of time, because the starting line was packed with 16000 people preparing to run or walk the full or half-marathon. I finally was able to squeeze into line and approximately ten minutes later I was crossing the starting line to my first marathon. Since I hadn't run for three weeks, I was feeling good and I decided to run until my right achilles started causing discomfort. I had proactively ace-wrapped it. I was wearing my Salomon Pro X3D trail shoes with speed laces to keep from irritating the ganglion cyst on the top of my right foot. I was wearing my Swiss Gear hydration backpack with two quarts of hotel tap water in it (nothing but the best for me).

The first six miles (you can see by looking at the graphic) went very well. My foot didn't hurt. I stopped between mile 4 and 5 to remove my long sleeve shirt with my number on it. At mile 7 the elevation changed so I started my walking plan. I began to walk the uphill portions and run the downhill portions. As I'm typing this I'm starting to remember my frame of mind during this portion. I decided to keep running until 13 miles and then walk the rest of the marathon once I reached the halfway point. I was carrying my cell phone with me and Susan told me she, Robin and Rob's aunt were around the 13 mile mark. As the next few miles unfolded, I became frustrated because I came past 13 and still no sign of Susan. At mile 14 or so I rounded a corner and a fraternity had a table set up with a sign that said Free Beer. I wasn't so excited about that but I spied a Krispy Kreme box on the table. I walked up and asked if I could have one and they said "yeah man, get one". I slowed to a walk and ate that stale donut. I finally reached them and they were at mile marker 15. She explained that a cop had told them incorrectly. I sat down in the chair that Rob's Aunt Gayle provided for me and changed my sock and took off my ace wrap. My ipod was dead after 2 hours and 50 minutes of playing (I need a new battery). I gave Susan my ipod, a kiss and headed back down the road. I put my headphones in my cellphone and started the music up on it. I must have looked kind of tired at this point, but I was determined to finish. I had been receiving text messages regarding where Rob was on the course and I had just received that he had passed 19.7 miles. I told Susan and Robin that they better head toward the finish line because Rob would be crossing soon. I headed around the loop and by the time I got to 16.5 I stopped to use the porta-potty. It was nice to not be so focused on time that I couldn't go to the bathroom if I needed to. The technical details of the race are here. Around mile 17 I saw a young lady starting to stagger like she was going to pass out. I asked her if she was okay and she said she was and put her hand up giving me the sign to leave her alone, so I did. Around mile 18 they were passing out gels so I grabbed about three and didn't use any of them. I gave them to Rob after the race. The last time I used Gels it upset my lower GI tract too much. About mile 19 I was walking off and on around a 13 min/mile pace. I called both of my brothers to let them know my progress. Once I hit mile 20, I knew I was going to finish under 5 hours. I decided to run as much as I could tolerate. Taking walk breaks turned out to be the key to my success. I crossed the 26.2 finish line in 4 hours 50 minutes and 18 seconds. I became emotional after I crossed, getting a little choked up at the thought of my accomplishment. I was now officially a marathoner. I wandered around and got my mylar blanket and was more concerned about connecting with Rob, Susan and Robin than I was getting my finishers medal. Eventually I found Rob and we connected with the girls.
We went to the merchandise tent and got in line to get a finishers hat. While in line I met Biggest Loser contestant Bette-Sue Burkland. She told us that Ali (Vincent) was over in the Prevention tent. Ali was the winner of Biggest Loser season five. We headed over to the tent and met Ali and talked with her for several minutes. She was very nice and down to earth. We chatted with her for about 5 minutes and the girls had their picture taken with her. After the marathon, Rob and I headed to the hotel to take a shower. I'm sure that no one wanted to ride with us anyway. We stopped at McDonalds and both got a Big n Tasty and a Coca Cola. We eventually made it back to Rob's Aunt and Uncle's house for afternoon lunch of Lasagna and salad. Aunt Gayle had a friend who was a massage therapist. She came over and worked on my right leg and achilles for about 20 minutes. I wore a compression sleeve on it all day Monday and Tuesday it was feeling fine.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

My running story

The early years
When I was a freshman in Cape Girardeau, I, like many other kids, decided that I would participate in track. I just wanted to be a part of something. I was chubby and not fast so I decided my event would be the two mile. I did not enjoy running, because I had no fitness. I would run with the group on training runs but always had to walk after several minutes. I took part in a couple of track meets running in the two mile, but I don't even remember my times. All I know was I was slow and after that track season my running career died. I ran a small amount in Army basic training and advanced individual training. My fastest two mile time in the Army was 13:54. I pretty much decided that I disliked running. When we would do the yearly physical training test for the Army Reserve I would run the two mile and throw up after running it. Over the years I would attempt to run, but never any distances greater than two miles. I particularly remember running on a treadmill at the YMCA one day and actually running three miles. I was surprised that after two miles, I started to feel different. That was my first clue that running longer distances had a different feel.

Adult Onset Athletics
In the winter of 2006 I made up my mind that I was going to start running, but I wasn't really sure how I was going to do that. I knew I wanted to lose weight and I thought running would be a great way to burn some calories. An injury while skiing to my right shoulder prevented me from getting started until June. At that time I weighed about 192 pounds. Despite being out of breath often and extremely hot, I soon realized that I would enjoy running and started training to run my first race (a 5k in October). I finished that first race in 26 minutes and 45 seconds. I didn't have an official time because I was carrying the timing chip in my pocket. I continued to enjoy running 3-4 miles 3 days a week until I did another 5k on Thanksgiving of that same year. My time was slightly improved, so that was encouraging. My friend Dwight asked me if I wanted to start meeting the group to run long on Sunday mornings. At first I was really intimidated by running 8 miles. After my first long run, I can remember feeling a huge sense of accomplishment. I realized that I might be able to run longer distances.

I continued to train running two days during the week and doing a long run on the weekend. I continued this pattern and started thinking about some longer distance races in the fall of 2007. My 5k times continued to improve. I completed the Kitchen run in May of 2007. My time was improved quite a bit. I ran a 24:57 which was an 8 minute and 12 second per mile pace. I hadn't run that fast since my Army days. My weight was starting to come down a little. I was around 185 when I started training for the Bass Pro Shops Half. While preparing for the BP Half I ran the Sunshine run in October of 2007 and completed in 52:59 which translated to an 8:33 pace. My weight was slowly inching down close to the 180 mark. November of 2007 I completed the Cohick Half marathon.
I ran it in 1 hour 59 minutes and 19 seconds. It was my most significant athletic achievement in my life. I had a taste for more of this challenge. During the 2007 training period, I ran into an old friend from church who I hadn't seen in awhile, Patrick O'reilly. Patrick and I started running together as often as we could. He had completed a couple of marathons in his transformation from an overweight guy to a new thinner runner. I appreciated his experiences and he helped me learn how to run conversationally. I had hernia surgery in December 2007 and it took awhile to get back into the swing of training for another race.


Once 2008 rolled around I wanted to do a marathon but didn't feel like I had enough time to train after the hernia surgery. I battled various discomforts in my knees during these runs. After a hot summer of training, I settled on running the Sunshine Run again in October of 2008 and participated in my first duathlon (bike and run). My time for the Sunshine run was quite a bit faster than the year before (48:07), but I found out that it was 0.3 mile short. The first Sunday in November, I ran my second half-marathon. I ran in 1:49:46.
A significant thing happened in September of 2008. My best friend Rob Horton returned to running after a 18 year hiatus. Rob was a pretty special runner when he was younger but like many before him, life happened and he went another direction. For those who know Rob, it was no surprise to find him quickly obsessed with all things running. He inspired me to take my workload of running to a new level. I cautioned him about not starting too fast, but Rob moves to his own beat. I spoke with him about doing a marathon in the spring and we settled on the "beginner friendly" Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon. He was also about 265-270 pounds when he started so he had some work to do in that area. My weight had gotten down to 171 by the fall of 2008 and with my best friend now concentrating on running, it was time to take it to another level. Rob was progressing rather quickly and I was concerned that he was going to soon pass me in time. I knew I just had to beat him in at least one race. The 2008 Turkey Trot was the one. I ran it in 22:25 and Rob ran it in 22:48. That was a 7:14 pace and I beat Rob by 23 seconds. That will be my one claim to fame in our running journey together.

Through the months of December, January and February I logged more miles than I had done in the previous nine months combined. Every time I looked at Rob's mileage, my competitiveness kicked in and I would add more distance. However, I couldn't keep up. My body just couldn't handle all of those extra miles. Little did I truly know the eventual outcome of this foolishness. By the time February was over, my weight was down to 158 and I was starting to look like a high school kid again (I'm only 5'9). During this time, my aches and pains were minimal. Rob and I were following the Jeff Galloway training plan for our long runs which included taking walk breaks at every mile. We had started doing some trail running and decided to run a 10 mile trail race called the Psycho Wyco in the KC area on Feb 14. We both had a phenomenal time. Rob wrote a nice detailed race report. Eight days later on Feb 22, we ran 22 miles on the Frisco Highline trail. Our original plan was to run 20 but we were feeling so good that we added two miles. After that run, I started experiencing some discomfort in my achilles in my right leg. I also started experiencing pain on the top of my right foot which turned out to be a ganglion cyst. I decided to take 3 weeks off to let my achilles rest. In the mean time, I started swimming and biking to maintain my fitness. As soon as I returned to running my pain returned and I was developing some scar tissue back there. I spoke with my friend Justin who is a physical therapist and he told me to be careful that I might be developing achilles tendinosis which is a chronic condition. With the marathon a month away, I cut back the running. After a couple of weeks off I attempted to run two days in a row on a weekend 3 weeks before the marathon. I was convinced that I needed to see how it was going to feel. I could hardly walk on the next day. I officially scrapped the idea of running the marathon. I was bummed because I had already paid and Rob and I were supposed to run it together. I decided to skip the marathon and take 6 weeks off from running to allow the ankle to heal. I went to see an orthopedist and during my exam, he discovered something about my right foot. He told me I had a congenital condition called tarsal coalition. Essentially my right foot's bones are somewhat fused together. It causes serious rigidity which in turn creates severe shearing force agains the achilles because my flat foot overpronates so badly. He said I could still run, but I may not be able to put in the mileage I was doing before. He encouraged me to focus on shorter distances. I explained my plan of taking six weeks off, etc. and he thought that was a good idea. I still planned on going to Cincinnati to have a weekend away with Susan and support Rob in his marathon quest. I was biking and swimming and not having any discomfort. I decided that I would focus on doing triathlons instead of marathons. After a couple of weeks off of running, I was feeling much better. I went for a walk at Wilson's Creek with Rob. We walked 8.5 miles and I felt great. The walking didn't irritate the achilles like running did. Rob encouraged me to walk the marathon so I could get the finisher's medal. I was hesitant, but thought I could always quit if it got to painful to walk.
We went to Cincinnati as planned and I ran/walked the marathon in 4 hours and 50 minutes. For a more detailed account read my race report. After this event I can say with confidence that I would like to run one of these again. I was concerned at one point that my long-running days were limited. I realized that with the right strategy and preparation I could do more marathons. I'm looking forward to doing more.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

New Adventure

I have started a new chapter in my life. I joined the U.S. Triathlon association (don't get too excited, it saves me money for the events). I am going to participate in my first triathlon on May 31 in Carthage, MO. It consists of a 250 yard swim, 15 mile bike ride and a 3.1 mile run. I have been training hard and look forward to this new chapter in my adult onset athleteticism.
I recently discovered that I have a congenital defect in my right foot called tarsal coalition. It basically means that my right foot is not as flexible as my left. This in conjunction with my overpronation puts me at risk for achilles injuries. I am currently resting my achilles for 6 weeks. My first run will be May 24. I am walking the Flying Pig Marathon this coming weekend (May 3). I am logging all of my workout mileage on it is a great way to keep a journal of your training.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Wanted to get back to running so bad that I could hardly stand it. Nice tempo pace for me. Ran without my shirt for most of the run. My right achilles is sore now.

Route:--Elev. Avg:1289 ft
Location:Republic, MOElev. Gain:+6 ft
Date:03/09/09Up/Downhill: [+252/-246]
Time:03:58 PMDifficulty:2.8 / 5.0
 67 F temp; 37% humidity
 67 F heat index; winds SE 15 G 24

Distance: 6.00 miles
Speed:6.8 mph
Pace:8' 50 /miHeart Rate:154 bpm (Avg)
Calories:797169 bpm (Peak)
Elevation (ft)
Pace (min/mile)
Heart Rate (bpm)
Heart Rate Zones
In Zone
In Zone
Zone 5176 - 1950h 00m0% 0.00 mi
Zone 4156 - 1760h 29m55% 3.37 mi
Zone 3137 - 1560h 31m58% 3.13 mi
Zone 2117 - 1370h 01m1% 0.10 mi
Zone 198 - 1170h 06m11% 0.06 mi
(none)out of range0h 00m0% 0.01 mi
MilePace (min/mile)Speed (mph)Heart
actual+/- avgactual+/- avg
18' 44-0' 066.9+0.1148+39 ft
28' 47-0' 036.8+0.0155+4 ft
38' 48-0' 026.8+0.0156+13 ft
415' 47+6' 573.8-3.0150+10 ft
58' 41-0' 096.9+0.1157-23 ft
end8' 42-0' 086.9+0.1160-36 ft
Versus average of 8' 50 min/mile

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Route:--Elev. Avg:0 ft
Location:Republic, MOElev. Gain:+0 ft
Date:03/08/09Up/Downhill: [+0/-0]
Time:11:40 AMDifficulty:0 / 5.0
Weather:Mostly Cloudy
 54 F temp; 74% humidity
 54 F heat index; winds W 15 G 24

Distance: 12.28 miles
Speed:14.3 mph
Pace:4' 12 /mi
Elevation (ft)
Speed (mph)
MilePace (min/mile)Speed (mph)Elevation
actual+/- avgactual+/- avg
14' 23+0' 1113.7-0.6-- ft
23' 43-0' 2816.1+1.8-- ft
33' 05-1' 0619.4+5.1-- ft
42' 41-1' 3022.4+8.1-- ft
53' 36-0' 3516.6+2.3-- ft
63' 24-0' 4717.6+3.3-- ft
74' 10-0' 0114.4+0.1-- ft
85' 12+1' 0011.5-2.8-- ft
95' 22+1' 1011.2-3.1-- ft
103' 57-0' 1415.2+0.8-- ft
116' 02+1' 509.9-4.4-- ft
124' 14+0' 0214.2-0.2-- ft
end5' 40+1' 2810.6-3.7-- ft
Versus average of 14.3 mph

Friday, January 30, 2009

New Year, busy times

I started 2009 off with a vacation and then flowed right into training for two weeks in Virginia (just outside of D.C.). I returned back home on the 17th and jumped right back into the daily routine. My marathon training continues as well as my goal to get to 155. I am currently 161 pounds (as of this morning). I have an 18 mile training run scheduled for Saturday with Rob. We ran 6 miles last night in the snow. I have started my next class in Grad school, it's online so I have to be disciplined. I currently have two races planned. The psycho wyco trail race (10 miles) on Feb. 14 and the Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinatti, Ohio on May 3.