Monday, January 05, 2009

Six Days

Six days..... just over 156 hours.... Disney Marathon will begin. I will for the first time I will be at the starting line of a marathon that I've signed up for, paid for and trained for. I will for the first time see if I can push myself further than I ever have on my feet. 17 miler done..... 20 miler done... am I prepared!?! I'm still not sure. I've felt SO sluggish the last few runs I'm not sure that I'm ready. I have these doubts that I've somehow lost everything from the twenty mile run two weeks ago to today. I have had a reasonable time to taper. I should be completely healed as far a fatigue goes.... but am I ready. Well kids we will see. Till next time.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Thursday Night Twilight Trail Run

So it's Thursday the 14th and I've had three days to recoup from the festivities on Sunday. Let's do a little recap Sunday night after passing out in the car on the way home from Mentor - we had just gotten on the highway (good think Bridge came to watch and cheer me on... I would have had to nap at the park and then drive home) I woke up as we exited the highway - about 35-40 minutes later. It was a nice nap. Bridge was stopping to get me some food. We got home we ate laid around watched TV and went to bed at 9pm.

Monday upon waking up I pulled myself out of bed and boy was that fun... all the cramping Sunday had put quite a hurtin on my legs. I was walking like Frankenstein all day. Bridge got me to try the stairs down to the basement... I was doubtful, however with the assistance of my upper body I was able to negotiate the stairs down and up again. By the afternoon I was walking better, but if I sat for more than 20 minutes I was back to starting point one. Icing my legs for the second day in a row was helpful.

Tuesday I was hobbling around better than Monday, but not "well" yet. After a rough day of work and sitting all day I went for a walk... thought it would be a good idea to stretch them out and work the soreness out.... since I was signed up for a race on Thursday. So I went for a walk around our block about 1.5 miles. It took me about an hour. THAT'S RIDICULOUS! But I did feel better after. So back to sleep... Icing once again.

Wednesday I took some time during the day and spun... put in about 20 miles.... it was good for my psyche. I was afraid I would be completely sore and unable to keep up on the ride on Saturday and Sunday (MS-150). I felt quite good and surprisingly without pain pushing the pedals. That made me feel good about the weekend and better about Thursday.

Thursday, rough day at work.... left late to meet bridge at the Twilight Trail Run because of a conference call that went late. Traffic happened to actually cooperate and I made it there with almost no issues and quickly as well. I arrived and met Bridget there - she was sitting on the ground stretching talking to a girl she knew form high school (first time I met her - Lindsey I think). She had already checked me in and picked up my packet. We pinned on our numbers... I paced around the field a while and she went for a warm up run with E-speed and Solar Squirrel, and Daisy Duc. When they came back we headed for the start. This may have been the strangest start to a race I have ever been part of. The women all started waves based on age... and I assume there was some elaborate statistical analysis done to come up with these start groups and spread times... I assume this is the only way one could come up with this seemingly convoluted set up. Ok so here's how this works if I understand it right.... your time really doesn't matter. If you finish first you win. The age groups and spread times are meant to level the playing field. You can also register as a single person or as a team... male-male, female-female, or male-female. Winning as a team you take your finishing places and average them... and who ever is higher wins. Ok so your sitting there going..... seems pretty straight forward so far. Well the convoluted sounding section is the age groups and the start times... I'm going to try to find them and add them later to this blog... but some age groups got 1 minute head start some got 2 minutes. some categories were like 35 to 45 year olds and 14 to 18 year olds (or something like that). Like I said must have taken some very extensive statistical analysis feeding into some nonlinear second order differential equation. You'll see if I can find it.

Ok so the race... I'm in the last group (assumed to be the fastest group)... I was worried leading up to the start of the second to last heat... you see there's something else you can do in this race.... you can buy up one age group to put yourself into a better position to win... and I heard a bunch of guys my age buying up... so I was worried that I alone would be starting 16 minutes behind the first group... BUT I wasn't there were about .... 10-12 of us? So we started out across this big open field and had to run a Z shape to the opening in the trees where the Bridal trail was. We entered the trees... with yours truly in DEAD last. Legs were pretty heavy and I didn't warm up much at all... I was afraid that my legs being so tired already wouldn't make it through any extra miles. 5 miles was going to push me to my limit as it was. Once you entered the trees you had about 20 feet and then a creek crossing. There was a guy taking pictures and you can't puss out and run the rocks when there's a camera to capture the moment. So there was a little mostly flat run followed by a hill... and I would call this a heck of a hill. Quite the height gain... so I passed on guy just before the hill. I was following another up the hill. Just before Mile 1+ water stop I passed the second guy in my group. Feeling ok so far.... kind of surprised that my legs are feeling this good. I'm moving quite well... we pass mile 2 and there's a guy who keeps bouncing between walking and running quite a bit faster than I... and there are two guys that I'm keeping my eyes on trying to keep up with. so we running and running and running and running through the woods, and we come to this...hill.... now this hill is some of the steepest grade I've ever run... and certainly the most steep I've run on loose gravel. After making my way down we popped out by Squires Castle. As I run up to the water stop the woman tells me that I'm almost to mile 4.... my head starts to race... Mile 4! I haven't been out here long enough to be at mile 4.... have I? Did I just run right past the mile 3 marker with out seeing it? Oh well maybe she's wrong and just miss understood where we were.... we ran around the castle and I passed the my second woman of the race.... and as I headed to the trail again there it was mile 4 marker. I picked up the pace a bit to try to reel in the two guys in front of me... however I think that they had a similar game plan... once we hit mile 4 they sped up as well. As we headed down the last mile - they pulled away and I lost sight of them.... however, I was still feeling pretty good and moving well for me. I came across a road and recognized it as the entrance to the park were we started, which went I was really close... time to turn on the kick and push to the finish.... yeah ... so that's what should have happened... about 6 steps at a quicker pace and longer stride and my body revolted it said "Um... no, no thanks.... you're going back to this comfortable pace now or you're walking through the field"... so I slowed back down.... till I hit the opening heading back into the Z shape run back to the finish. I picked up the pace and finished as strong as my legs could pull off. I was hoping to break 60 minutes which was my last 5 mile trail race time..... as I got closer I could see the clock I could see the the time 1:04:something. I had two minutes to get to the finish and I would be right around 50 minutes... yeah that's right FIVE ZERO! Ten minutes faster than the last one! Sure hope I can keep that up for a while and get my times down.... but over all fantastic job based on my ability to walk on Monday and Tuesday. I felt good about this old man bouncing back so quickly.

Ok... so it's late and I need to sleep. So later kids!
see you on the roads.... I'll get you an update on MS-150 soon.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Sunday's Half Ironman.....

Sunday Morning... The weather was less than for cooperative us the morning of the Half Ironman. The winds kicked up quite these wonderful waves causing the coast guard to strongly urge the race director to cancel the swim portion of the race... For me this was very disappointing. I was shooting for finishing the swim in about 20 minutes, giving me a nice start and should have given me a lead over at least a few people. The start would be delayed for 30 minutes while they prepared to start us with a run instead. However, running 1.25 does not help me either get ahead of the field or keep my legs fresh for the bike portion.....GRRRRRrrrrr. So with no swim do to danger we had a uneventful start right? Well that would not have made for a humorous story now would it? So. we are all lined up at make shift start which was an inflated arch....and with about 30 seconds to the start.... the arch began to deflate..... so this was a funny site.....look at our legs as the arch falls.... I guess when you're running a gas powered generator to inflate the arch you should be sure that there is enough gas in the generator to at least get you through the start. Unfortunately the racers commentary was not recorded, we were having very detailed discussions about not knowing removing the swim meant having a"Limbo" start. There was a woman standing next to me and as the height of the arch fell to just below the height of my head she turned and look over (she is about only up to my armpit in height) and says "well that's it for you...but I'm still getting through fine". After about 5 more minutes of playing around the start arch was re-inflated...most of us had already moved to the other side of the arch for the start, but there were a few stuck on the back side of the deflated arch... so we waited for it to completely re-inflate after some additional gas was put into the generator.

I completed the 1.25 mile run in 10:42. Transitioned out in 1:35.... I probably would have been out a bit quicker BUT I decided to try to change into Amie's stuff... which as you can tell from this picture.... would not have worked out so well....I mean seriously her stuff would have been falling off of me right?!? What on earth was I thinking. She has the same size shoes, and same size bike and I really do think she might have copied me when she bought the pink helmet... Ok so yeah there's no way any part of that was true, except I did run up to her bike and take my shoes off.... I missed my rack by one.... one rack too early.... so I got to run over to my bike in my socks. So I'm not disappointed in the 1:35 transition at all.... I guess I could have cut 30 seconds off if I had went straight to my bike and had a clean transition. Oh well. At least Amie didn't beat me for trying to steal her bike. Now that would have been a funny story for the paper... 33 year old man in stable condition after being beaten by 29 year old woman... the altercation began at the Greater Cleveland Triathlon where the man accidentally missed his bike rack by about 8 feet.... but as I said luckily that didn't happen... thanks Amie. So now were off and biking.... Amie and I exit the corral at just about the same time... and got some bad news about Janet... she blew a tire exiting the corral, how about tough start? Janet made a great come back as she flew through the bike.

You can see Amie in her pink helmet at the left of this picture and me in my bright yellow jersey off to the right.

It took me about 8 miles to get my legs into the ride, well leaving the park and hitting some head winds didn't help anything... but I barely broke 16 miles/hour for the first 8 miles or so... just after mile 10 there is a wonderful set of hills (the only real climbs on the course).... so after completing the climbs it was down hill almost all the way back to the start/turn around. I held over 20 miles/hour all the way back to the start (topping out at 38 miles/hour on one of the hills). I was finally feeling like all the hours I spent on the trainer at lunch almost everyday were paying off. I made the turn to head back out on to the course for the second long lap of the bike course and once again that head wind came on strong, however, with warm legs I held almost 18 miles/hr all the way back out to the hills. as I came upon the hill there were two women right behind me. we were up the straight part of the hill easily, then we were left with the winding portion, however, this time the one and only rain cloud had settled just over top of that hill... as I was standing to climb the hill the rain made the pavement slick and the tar patches even slicker... and well you might be able to guess what happened ..... I was pulling up with my left leg and pushing with everything I had with my right and the back tire hit one of those tar patches and shot out from underneath me and down I went. The woman right behind me fell trying to not run me over and the woman behind her fell trying to avoid the two of us.... after checking that we were all ok we walked up the hill.... this was not enjoyable for any of us either. Making it back to the start/turn around areas was as uneventful as the first loop. When we hit the turn around for loops 3 and 4 (much shorter loops, just around Heisley road) I was completing loop 3 when what I think was a wasp based on color and size decided that hitting my arm at over 20 mph was serious injustice.... and decided to sting me on the inside of my right thigh... right through my tri shorts. NICE! thanks! exactly what I needed. As I pulled into the transition and dismounted my bike I noticed my legs were a little crampy.... I completed the bike portion 56 miles in 3hours 9minutes and 52 seconds - (17.68 mph average) - not too shabby. I think I would like to hold closer to 19 next time so more saddle time I guess.

I left the transition to begin the run and something was wrong.... My quads started cramping at mile one. and when I say cramping I mean charlie horse every muscle in my quad completely balling up into a knot of pain and amazing amounts of discomfort. Bridget was very helpful running and walking with me to keep me company and keep my spirits high.... I was hoping to finish the 13.1 miles in 2:30... when the cramps started at mile one I gave up that hope and was shooting for ....... finishing.

The run was incredibly painful and had me questioning what went wrong the entire time I was out there. I stopped at one point to try to stretch my quads and as I stretched my left quad my left hamstring disappointed that I had been ignoring. It cramped up so tight that I was yelping and trying to stand and stretch it out now. Bridget was very concerned that asking if there was anything she could do, however, I do not think there was anymore she could do. She was already being so supportive helping me through the run that was just happy to have her with me.

I completed the run portion in 2 hours 49 minutes and 12 seconds.....for an over all time of 6:13:18. The question people have been asking is well what do you think your time would have been had conditions been ok for swimming... well I would say add no more than 10 minutes on to my time. I think that I would have crushed the 1 mile swim in no more than 20 minutes... why so confident? The two mile swim I did the other week with out a wet suit I finished in 49 minutes. I can swim MUCH faster with a wet suit and only swimming one mile I would not be holding back like I did during the 2 miles swim. I was trying to
swim "quickly" but not kill myself so.... there ya go. So I'm pleased with my time and very very very happy that I've completed this goal and it gives me an idea of where I am for the Ironman goal.. I still need to work on the running.
So some other thoughts on the race... IF you state the course will be open for 8 hours and you know for a fact that there are still people on the course...DO NOT PULL UP THE TIMING MATS AT 6 HOURS!!!!!! I'm a little disappointed in how they ran the event. The support personnel on the course were FANTASTIC, the volunteers on the course working the water stops and giving directions were wonderful. I do not think that we as athletes could have asked for more from the volunteers. I do expect more from the race director and those making the decisions. If the article in the paper was correct the decision to not swim was made at 6am, we should have started the run at the same time we were to start the swim not 40 minutes later. Maybe have a little more of an event after the event... so people stick around. I hear that Amie won an age group award... guess what when she finished (an hour before me) they had already done the awards ceremony.
Well that's all for now.. at this point I'll see you all as I hobble around trying to get my legs working again.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

3 weeks out.....

Three weeks out and feeling strong. August 10th I will be competing in my first half Ironman distance triathlon. The Greater Cleveland Tri will promise to be a trial of my physical and mental endurance. I hope the hours I've spent preparing will pay off in a sub 7 hour race. Typical weekly work outs for as of late....

4,000 Meters of swimming....
60-80 Miles on the ol'two wheeler.....
and as much running as my legs can handle... only about 8 - 10 miles a week...

I know I know... "10 miles a week you slacker!!!!" I agree completely, however, after the stress fractures I certainly do not want to go through that all over again. So I'm hoping that 8-10 miles of preparation per week will get me to the finish line in about 2:30... I completed the flying pig in about that. I'm hoping that the rest of athletic gains I've made will assist in getting me through the finish line. I'm considering competing in the open water meet on July 26th.... So that would be the last "training" before my taper.

Well That's about all I got right now....
Hope to see you out there!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Good Idea......Bad Idea

Good Idea.... Use trail runs to add mileage to your weekly totals and while recovering from stress fractures! Less impact, typically a slower pace and some darn good scenery as well.

Bad Idea..... Your first trail run.... the Muddy paws 5 mile race.... Not that I do not intend on doing it again next year, but I think I probably should have started out with something a little ..... hmmm how should I say this.... EASIER.... That is one heck of a run. If I counted correctly 18 wonderful hills.... and rolling hills would be an understatement. The switch back stairs (if you can call them that) were my favorite... as you got close to the end of the leg of stairs this fleating hope of ..... oh good the stairs are over would flash across your mind, just before you comprehended that NOPE in fact there is yet another switch back.

A big thank you to Virtical Runner for putting on a wonderful race - a truely well run, marked and supported event. I am looking forward to next year.

This race got quite a turn out this year. the 2-mile race started first, people running with their pooches. Smallest dog I saw was a Schipperke, largest was a Great Dane... so quite a variance in dogs. It was nice to see so many people out running for the summit county humane society. Beautiful day... but a little hot. We were all sweating like crazy - there was one poor dog that was dehydrated prior to the finish, one of the runners and her husband left with the humane society representative to take care of the poor thing..... three bottles of water, a water bowl, and a large piece of cloth to create shade if necessary (from what I remember - I seem to recall a completely full camel back as well). They left in a hurry and unfortunately I can not say how the dog is, I didn't get an update.

So... how did I do? I completed the 5-mile loop in just under an hour. And I can honestly say that was the hardest 5-mile run I have ever completed. I can remember back to the first 5-mile run of my adult life... and it was no where near as difficult as this race. Everyone on the trails were friendly and courteous... You kind of need both of those when there are over a hundred people running on trails that vary in width from only abotu 1 to 5 feet wide. The trails are very technical and for those of you who are thinking about trial running, it's fun, but you have to be sure that you pick your feet up. I never thought I was taking for granted the fact that I didn't have to pay attention to EVERY step when I ran..... well kids. I now know that I most certainly was taking for granted the surfaces that I'm used to running on. When your in the woods with rocks, roots and debris on the trails you are trying to run on you fast learn that you need to know exactly where EVERY step is going to land... and how your are going to push off to give you a place for the next step. There were several areas while descending a hill where the roots were so bad, in my opinion, that you had to be thinking about 4 steps ahead or you would literally have to stop running and walk through the area. Again... it was fun, and I recommend it for anyone who needs a change of pace, but be sure that you know your limits and don't go too far your first time out, or it will be a long walk back once your legs are dead.

That's all for now..... see you on the trails.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Flying Pig Half Marathon

My first half marathon back after 2 1/2 years of off of running.... with a lull in running as long as I've had I was unsure as to how I would do in the half marathon. I had some concern that half way through the race my shin would once again start hurting and I would have to stop running. There would be no larger deflation I could think of right now than a return of shin pain stopping me from running again. Not sure I would be able to handle another 2 1/2 year stoppage, luckily!!! We did not have such an issue. Bridge and I drove down on Friday night to visit our friends Dan and Claire who would be running the race with us. Dan, Claire, and Myself the half and Bridge the full.

Saturday we made the trip downtown to hit the expo... AND more importantly watch our niece run the 25 yard dash! She is soooo cute. she did excellent.. even though her mom and I had to run... literally run to the check in and packet pick up so we could get her there on time. So the run down to the start line went something like this.... I'm carrying the cutie pie, and her mom carrying a back pack.... and if you know her it's not a normal size pack is gynormous.... so Bets and I are huffing and puffing our way down there running as fast as possible with our respective weights.... hers flopping back and forth a bit on her back... and mine... cackling like a crazy person! It was hysterical. I was doing my best not to laugh at her because had I started laughing we would not have made it.

Sunday we got up very early and of course were running late getting out the door... we were there on time and got the girls into the corral at the 3:50 pace group... Claire was going to pace Bridge till the turn off. They were doing fantastic from what info I had.
So per doctors orders and the wife's angry looks (loving concern) and my own concerns for my legs I was dedicated to run two miles and then walk one and then run two etc, etc, etc. First Half marathon time 2:17 minutes... boy wouldn't that be nice... but not with this walking thing.... hopes? To finish in about 2:50 - 3:00. So we're running and walking, and running and walking, and running and walking.... I'm feeling surprisingly well for having a long run of only about 5 miles leading up to this race. My legs are light and springy and I'm actually climbing hills better than I ever have. Dan and I hit mile 9 where the Half and the Full split... knowing that Bridget's family and my mom had been there earlier watching as Bridge and Claire passed quite a bit earlier. I commented to Dan that I hope they left or else they wouldn't get to see Bridget later and I wanted her to have as much support as possible. As we passed mile 11 Dan and I ran into my mom. She was walking to the finish, hoping to see us. Bridget's parents had taken off trying to catch her out near mile 15-16.

Bridge has been working so hard and we all had some very high hopes as she passed the half way point which is the last update I received until she crossed the finish line.... she was on pace to finish in a 3:50.... Where does one get an update you ask? Well when family members are walking the course a head of you with a cell phone and are having the updates sent to them, they can update you. Very pleasant the text messages of progress! I think it's a wonderful thing - I thank whomever thought ...."ya know I get these text message thingies on my phone... and all of these runners are wearing chips... and we're recording the times... and ya know we could really automate sending these out to people who are cheering on these athletes so they know when to expect them and how quickly they need to move to the next place". We've tracked a few of our friends through Boston and other races to see if they are doing. It's nice to get updated. So in short thanks to my mom for walking from mile 9 to the finish so she could see Dan and I run and also update us on Bridget's progress.

I have to say that I was not disappointed in my completion time. I had A LOT of gas left in the tank when I rounded the corner for the last half a mile.... I did what every good friend would do when a buddy of yours was nice enough to run/walk a half marathon with you.... You take off running.... fast. Sorry Dan. I just wanted to finish as best I could.... I'm sure you'll destroy me next time like you did in Carlsbad.

Bib FName LName Age Sex ChipTime ClockTime Overall SexPl DivPl
17669 Steven Smith 33 M 2:32:19 2:35:04 4815 2289 163

Monday, March 10, 2008

Hello cruel siren. I know it's been a while since I've been to see you, however I have been busy... what with the marriage and honeymoon and all.... but I did keep working on the other things in life... the other goals, the driving force to get up and move every morning. The nagging canary that's constantly chirping in my ear... "Oh Steve..... it's time to get to swim practice.... it's time to spin for 2 hours.... it's time to run as much as you think your legs can handle with out breaking again....

So as I said been back at it for a while now. back from the hiatus that is a honeymoon.

Swimming at least once a week... at least 3,000 yards, my shoulder is causing me some heart ache and worry... the shin was one thing, but the separated shoulder didn't cause me that much pain when I was really putting in the mileage.... so hopefully the muscles will get back on program and my shoulder will get stronger.

Biking... I've been spinning very consistently, at least 4 hours a week, holding 18 miles per hour on number 3 resistance. The other day I pulled for 2 hours straight and was feeling pretty good.... except for my butt.... still don't have my butt quite ready to handle the hours on that stupid seat.....

Running... been doing as much as I feel comfortable doing with the leg history that I've had.... Ran another 5k this last weekend, and I'm signed up for St. Malachi 5 mile run this Saturday which should be another good test for me and my legs. Hopefully I can recover from this damn snow storm by then... My back and legs are so incredibly sore it's not funny... too much lifting of frozen water.

Till later. Off to the gym. Must lift and do some carido today and get up and swim and cardio tomorrow.....