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.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Louisiana Missions Marathon 2011

This was a trail marathon on a single track mt. bike course in Shreveport, LA. The starting temp was around 55 with some mild winds. There were a mixture of half marathoners and 50k racers in this event. I started out trying to keep it under control and to allow the gravity to assist me on the downhills. I settled in behind some half marathoners and worked really hard to mix in my walk breaks. I decided to take in a gel every 45 minutes, that worked well for at least the first half. I came through the first loop in 2:16 and thought to myself, "I shouldn't have a hard time finishing under 5 hours". Once I hit the first section of the trail again, I began to realize that the first section of the trail was going to be the end to my momentum. I struggled to make myself take in gels in the back half, I drank gatorade, ate skittles but did not take in enough glucose, so by the time I hit 20 miles, I was feeling so nauseous. I pushed through and came across the finish line at 5:08:34. By the time I finished the nausea was gone and I was feeling much better than I had in recent races. Rob and I jumped in the car and drove back home. Rob did 80% of the driving, which I appreciated. We made it back late Saturday night and had a good recovery day on Sunday. State #17

Sunday, October 30, 2011

I needed this great run

Once in awhile you have an almost perfect run. I'm not sure if was the combination of an awesome pizza for lunch (thanks Rob), or the cool wind blowing in my face, but I had an amazing run today. I've been feeling discouraged as my knee as mysteriously been feeling pain just when walking around a grocery store, etc. I was considering scaling back my running thinking I had really messed up my knee with the marathon earlier this month and the trail race. In my head, my plan was to run out 2 and turn around and come back. When I got to the two mile mark, I thought well I'll do the loop and do 5. When I got to Main street, I thought well I'll run out to Richard's house and do 6.5. When I got out that direction, I thought well I'll run 4 
then turn around. It seemed like the further I got, the better I felt. I knew I had to help Susan with dinner, so I had just enough time to get a full 9 in. I walked 30 secs to 1 minute about every 5 miles. Once I turned around at 4.5, the wind was at my back and I felt the surge of confidence. I imagined my best speed days of 2009 and my 5k PR and my sub 4 hour marathon. I took several pictures of the beautiful foliage. I guess I had to trick my logical brain so my creative side could take over.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

2011 Dogwood Canyon 25k

Skinny Bear trying to convince me to sign up of for the 50k

Dwight ready to rip it up. Dick chilling in the background (red shirt).
This was the third time that I had signed up for the Bass Pro Shops Dogwood Canyon 25k. I had originally envisioned doing the 50k, but I got scared off by the thought of the hills and how tough a 50k this would be for me. I had offered to pay for Rob if he would run the 50k with me. After changing my mind recently to the 25k, I decided to extend the offer for that as well and Rob agreed to run with me and provide me some companionship. I knew he would really enjoy it. We met Dwight, Debbie and Dick at Dwight's clinic at 5:45 a.m. Dwight graciously volunteered to haul us all down there in his mini van. I wasn't expecting much in terms of how fast I was going to run. I planned on wearing my Nathan Road Vest with all of the needed fuel in the back pocket. We got there early enough to stand around and visit with some of the other runners. Rob jokingly was attempting to get me to change to the 50k. Interestingly enough, the temps were much warmer than the past two years races had been. It was about 55 at the start of the race and not much humidity that I noticed. We started out smoothly and ran for the entire first mile and a quarter. We hit our first major incline sometime soon and it was a hill that went straight up. We took it out smart and walked slowly on the hills, though these were so steep that you had no choice but to walk. We had a plan to do a little goofing around when we hit the last water crossing. By the time we hit the halfway mark, it was starting to warm up. We were having fun though, talking and whenever we hit an aid station we drank Mello Yello or Coke and I ate gummy bears. We continued to run smart and by the time we hit the last mile, we were able to pick it up and pass about 4 runners. When Rob ran downhill though, it was extremely difficult to keep up with him. We came across the finish line about 100 yards apart and the video below, shows some interesting footage throughout the race. Overall it was a very nice experience to share with my good friend.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

2011 Wildlife Marathon. Concord, MI

We (Rob and myself) chose this weekend for the second straight year to travel a farther distance, since we had Columbus Day off.  Rob picked me up from work on Friday afternoon and we picked up Robin at work and headed toward Chicago. Traffic was decent and we got to our hosts (Brett and Carla Saffron) around 11:30. Brett and I were pretty excited because the Cardinals had won the NLDS against the Phillies. Brett is one of the only Cardinal fans that loves the birds more than I. The next day we took our time in the morning and drove 4 hours to Concord, MI. A funny thing happened to our Maniac flag. I was trying to be courteous and roll down the window after some flatulence. I completely forgot about the flag being on the window.  We were being put up by Mark "Doc" Ott. A marathon maniac in his own right. Mark was celebrating the beginning of his 50th state weekend which commences coming up next weekend. We visited during the afternoon and had a large pasta dinner that evening. I met John ( a barefoot runner) and Joel (a CC athlete from Jackson Community College, competing in his first marathon). We had a good dinner and running related conversation. I was a little nervous about the event since I hadn't had a 20+ mile run since the marathon in July. I knew I could do the distance, but wasn't sure how I would feel in the end. I planned on doing a 3 min run to 1 minute walk mix. The weather would have been ideal if the temp had stayed the same all day, but alas it was going to warm up. Prior to starting the event a runner came up to us to express her excitement about soon joining the Marathon Maniacs. April had confessed to Rob that she usually starts out fast and falls apart and walks it in. The event started and we were off and running. By the time I had hit 4 miles, I was starting to get bored. I missed having someone to chat with as Rob and I usually do our long runs together on the weekend. I had been passing April and she would pass me back when I would walk. About mile 4 I offered to help her complete her goal of a sub 5 hour marathon. I encouraged her to try the run/walk method and she said sure but she wanted to change it to 4:1. I agreed as I love to help other marathoners achieve their goals. At around mile 7 or 8 another runner (James Bowers) began doing our intervals with us and the next 45-1 hour passed quickly. We talked about world events, the economy, etc. It was awesome. Pretty soon, the gravel country roads came and it started to get tough. The temperature was beginning to rise and I could tell April was beginning to get tired. James let us go at this point, he was beginning to feel the hills I think. April was being a trooper, but I started to get the feeling that she wasn't going to make it. She told me at mile 17 that I should go on without her. I argued with her a little, but she convinced me to go on. The next 3-4 miles, I dropped it into a faster gear to make up for some time that we had lost. I think this section really took it out of me. By the time I hit 21 miles, I was starting to question my motivation for running. I had developed a large blister on my pinky toe on my right foot and it had been screaming for the past 4 miles.  I took a gel at mile 22 and by mile 23 my mental state was better. I passed 4 runners within the last two miles and I was pretty convinced that the heat played a major factor in many of our demise this day. Rob called me as I was approaching mile 23 and told me that the clock time was around 4:19. I knew that I had time to still make it in under 5 hours. Rob encouraged me to use 2:1 intervals. I came in at 4:55:55 and went straight for the shade and some water to drink. I experimented with Pickle Juice Sport to prevent leg cramps. I used it before, during and after the marathon. I went inside the school to take a shower and by the time I got outside after the shower I was feeling very nauseous.
Border crossing picture
Me, Mark "Doc" Ott,  Joel Medina, and John Yohe
Rob had left to go get us some Coca Colas. I crawled in the car when he came back  hoping that I wouldn't have to vomit anytime soon. After a few sips of Coke and 15 minutes of cool air, I was feeling a little better. Rob and I headed south (accidentally, Rob put his home address in the GPS). We stopped at a rest stop McDonalds and had our traditional post marathon burger. When we got back to Chicago, we celebrated with a large "Chicago style " pizza from Ray Malnatis. It was my 19th marathon and my 17th state.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Icebreaker Indoor Marathon 2011

This marathon was limited to 130 entrants. There were officially 105 finishers for the event. Rob and I left Saturday morning to drive to Milwaukee, WI. The drive was easy as a Saturday drive could be. The event had race day packet pick up and we were excited about not having to worry about finding the venue on the day before. We garnered some cheap lodging at the Motel 6 and enjoyed a dinner of PF Changs Chicken Lo Mein to load up glycogen reserves. The morning of the event we were very glad we weren't running outdoors as it was 4 degrees fahrenheit. We made it to the Pettit National Ice Center around 6:15 and went in to get our packets. With an 8 a.m. start we had time to relax, eat breakfast and walk around the indoor track to get familiar with the loop that we eventually would do 95.4 laps on. At 8 they started us and I managed to do a 4 minute run to 1 minute walk ratio for the entire event. I hit the 48 lap mark at 1:58:30 and I started to envision my second best time ever in a marathon event. That evaporated as the energy drained out of my legs over the next couple of hours. My glutes started to have some discomfort but I managed to finish strong. This event was interesting in the way that I saw Rob frequently throughout the event and had a chance to visit with various runners of different levels throughout the race. That is a very unique experience as the faster runners are usually way ahead of me. I was able to encourage Rob to finish strong knowing that I was getting closer to the end myself. After the race, I felt very nauseous and even went to the bathroom thinking I was going to throw up, but I never did. We had originally planned on driving back after the race, but we were both not feeling well and we went back to the Motel 6 and got a room for another night

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Monday, January 10, 2011

2011 Disney Marathon

Ever since I started running back in 2006, I had heard from friends about the Disney marathon and how much fun it was. For three years I didn't have the confidence to do a marathon and after break through in 2009 with my first, I knew I could do more. Brittany's birthday was 4 days after the event and I offered to take her to Orlando with me to watch me run the Disney marathon. The trip started out with an adventure of it's own. We flew out of Branson on Saturday and the packet picket up was going to be over before we could get to it. I asked Rob's sister Sarah if she could pick up my packet for me and she agreed. When we got to the airport in Branson, we checked in, got through security then I realized that I only had my military ID with me. Whoops, how was I going to rent a car without my driver's license? I called Susan and as we waited to board our plane, we called everyone from Hotwire, to the rental car counter at Orlando to figure out a way to make it happen. There was no way they would do it. I called my friend and co-worker Chuck and asked him if he was going to be in the Orlando area and by coincidence he was going to be there. I asked him if he could pick us up at the airport and take us to our hotel. He agreed. We arrived in Orlando without a hitch and Chuck picked us up as planned. After a nice dinner at Caraba's Italian, we got to the hotel and settled in for a quick few hours of sleep.

 Rob and Sarah picked us up at 3:15 so we could get to the parking area soon and not get shut out of the parking lot. The lot was well lit up and we saw a lot of Marathon Maniacs as we walked up toward the starting corrals. I was in corral C. I saw Utah Sue and Doug Care Bear and we had a good conversation before the race started. The race started at 5:35 and the corrals were being started in waves. Our wave started at 5:45 and I ran with Sue the first 9 miles using a 5 min run 30 second walk break plan. At about mile 2, Brittany called me and was upset that she hadn't seen me run by. I encouraged her to look for me about mile 10.5. When we approached Magic Kingdom, I got excited because I absolutely love Disney World and was looking forward to getting some good character pics. I had decided to take my time for this one. The miles came by quickly and there were so many characters to take pics with. As we ran through all of the parks it was such a neat experience. At about mile 21, I met another runner (Tim) who was struggling to finish his first marathon. He asked if he could run/walk with me and I gladly accepted. I think that I would be a great Galloway group leader/pacer. Maybe the 5 hour pacer. When we got to the finish line, I did my typical wings out finish. Brittany and I enjoyed the rest of the day hanging out in the hotel room as I recovered. It was really special to have her there with me. Brittany and I chose Epcot as our park of choice the next day with my free ticket. We had a great time checking out our favorite rides as I hobbled throughout the park. As a side note, we got stuck in Orlando for a couple of extra days because of an ice storm that hit Atlanta. On our extra day we went to Sea World and saw Shamu and the gang. We were supposed to fly out on Tuesday, but wound up coming back on Thursday.