Monday, December 22, 2008

End of Road Races This Year

If you know the races in the area, you know that there are two big lulls. The first lull begins in late April and lasts until the first week of September. Last summer, I decided to take up Swimming and biking (did the 24 Hour Booty Bike Ride in Charlotte and got 200 miles in!). During the summer lull, there are no distance races (maybe a overly warm 5k here or there). I used to do track work in the summer and do the Ultimate Runner track meet in Winston, but I think my track days are now over (due to injuries and a shift of priorities to larger distances).

The second big lull starts just before Christmas and lasts until late February. During this winter lull, i have traditionally trained for trail runs. The top shelf trail run in the state in the Uwharrie National Park 20/40 Mile trail run. I was able to get registered (sold out in 6 minutes this year) and will be running it on February 7th.

I had my first trail run of the year on Saturday (i train over at Umstead in Raleigh). I took my time and did 7.2 in about 57 minutes and felt really good. I haven't run on a trail since getting a DNF at Uwharrie back in 2007 with IT Band issues. I need to shake the rust off my shoes a bit beause took a major header after misjudging a tree root. Hopefully, i will be able to continue to built on Saturday and do about 5 more longer trail runs between now and Uhwarrie.

As far as this past road season, it ended fairly well. I was able to get into the 1:26's at the Mistletoe run and PR'ed in Huntsville with a 3:08:34. After trail season ends in February, I'll be back to road marathon training and will be doing the new Atlanta marathon in late March, the Flying Pig in Cinncinatii in May and maybe Chicago in the Fall (if not 2009 then 2010 for sure).

Sunday, November 2, 2008

City of Oaks Half

Just got back from the City of Oaks Half Marathon. The combination of the race being in Raleigh and the start time being at 7 is REALLY nice. I was home and showered by 9:30!

As for the race, it was good to see Raleigh have a major race again (I ran the last Raleigh Half Marathon back like 4 years ago). And by major, i mean MAJOR. There were thousands of runners for this thing. And forget about getting anywhere downtown until late afternoon on the day of the race.

I like the guys who organized this race, but they may want to consider a few changes. First, having the marathon and half start at the same time, it seriously dampens the start times for all involved. my first mile was about 7 minutes (And that was with a lot of effort to get around people). Not horrible, but not ideal. Second, placing the start/finish so close to a speed bump is going to lead to problems. Especially for average marathoners (could trip and cause havoc).

I liked the downhill at the end. I was able to pick people off at the finish which is always fun. My time was around 1:28:30. My first 10 miles were relatively slow. I felt fairly dehydrated for most of the race - entirely my own fault for drinking so much at Halloween :( - In fact, didn't do paint ball like i was thinking i would because i felt so crappy Saturday. So, could have been better, could have been worse.

Next up is Pinehurst which is always a tough course. I am not totally sure I can reach 1:26 this year given the halfs i have left. I have to start worrying about Huntsville too.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Cannonball Half

Just got back from Greensboro where i ran the Cannonball Half marathon.

Temperature was pretty much perfect and i felt pretty good going in. I was surprised not to see the gang of usual runners (like Steve Cowie) who usually tear this course up. But they still seemed to get a decent turn out.

I felt some slight shin issues early, but nothing major. Did the first three miles at about a 6:30 pace and was starting to remember the course (it features a dead straight slight incline/decline which i really like).

After mile 3 though, there was some slight course confusion. Its always frustrating when the course is not totally clear, but i realize this happens in races. The most difficult thing is pushing forward knowing things weren't perfect - reminds me of the Marine Corp the year i did it where they botched the start and let the slow and fast people all start down this narrow road. After posting a first mile of over 10 minutes, i never could shake the feeling that i wasn't going to run a PR. It seems the better i think i'm doing, the better i end up doing (which is totally mental and ridiculous).

Anyway, next up is the Raleigh Oaks half marathon. This will be the second race that i don't have to pay for in a row (because i had to drop out last year due to injury). Not sure what to expect with this one. Playing paint ball the day before so maybe it will be another instance where i can practice not running for a PR.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Marathons Chosen

I was unable to do the race in Richmond last weekend due to illness. But have a big half tomorrow in Greensboro.

I've also decided on my next marathons (yellow on the map)

Essentially, my goal is to do Chicago in Oct 2009. Between now and then i will be doing three marathons (in an effort to break 3:11 and get into Corral A)
1. Huntsville, AL in December: I hear they are kind of nazis about people wearing mp3 players. Super. And i also heard that the first 8 miles is so full of turns that its hard for some people to get going. But i've also heard that its a fast course. so we'll see. and how hot could it be in AL in December? hopefully not very.
2. Atlanta, GA in March 09: There are 2 atlanta races and this is the one that someone seems to be crazy about. BUT, the course seems much more interesting (not an out and back like the other one is) and they seemed to have learned from their past mistakes about not having enough water stops. That said, late march in GA may be warm. lets hope not.
3. Cincinati (flying pig) in May 09: People all rave about this race. i'm not too worried it will be too hot in OH in May, but you never know. It will be my first mid western state.

hopefully one of these 3 races will get me my sub 3:11 time. we shall see.

Forgot to update! Huntsville is not a great town, but was a great running event. They were Nazis about the headphones, but i ended up getting my PR of 3:08 and change! That means that I qualify for Corral A in Chicago (which i have already signed up for and confirmed to be in Corral A). Next up, Atlanta.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Clarence DeMar

Just got back from New Hampshire where I ran the Clarence DeMar marathon. I found the race to be more difficult than i was expecting. Going in, I thought the course would be downhill the first 13 and rolling hills thereafter (which is what their elevation guide suggests). If the first 13 were down hill, it was lost on me. It seemed we went up and as much as we went down.

The conditions were less than ideal. It was close to 70 with 100% humidty. My legs were tired from Salem Lake (which i knew they would be) but that with the weather equaled an undesirable time. I realized with about 5k left that i was not going to have the muscle to go sub 3:11. So i finished with a pretty strong 3:11:57(actually, i was quite surprised that i broke 3:12).

Anyway, my real goal is to get into corral A of Chicago so i need to do a winter race that will get me sub 3:11. I'm leaning towards Huntsville, but will see what is out there. I probably wont be doing the triple lakes half this weekend but plan on doing a trail half in Richmond in 2 weeks. i should be well recovered by then.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

New Season

So the fall race season has begun. In the off season i took up swimming and biking. I'm up to a couple of miles a week swimming and biking a couple of times a week. Did a 24 hour charity bike ride in July and that it was a blast!

But enough of all that. Its running season. Just got back from running the Asheville Half and have a very aggresive season planned (including the Clarence DeMar marathon in a couple of weeks).

Now if i can only stay healthy.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Vermont Checked Off the List

I completed the KeyBank Vermont Marathon up in Burlington yesterday. It may go down as one of my best marathon experiences.

I was nervous going into the race. I hadn't raced in about 11 months (at any distance) and hadn't done a marathon in over a year. I was quite concerned that I wouldn't be able to compete or even finish. I was still nursing my tendonitis and was dealing with the return of my IT Band issues.

But strangely enough, everything worked out! I didn't have any pain during the race (just a trace of the usual muscle aches that go along with 20+ miles). The air was dry and cool and I felt like i was running too fast the entire race. The funny thing was, I couldn't slow down. Or to be more precise, slowing down to run slower than I was was not providing any benefit. And it stayed that way for about 25 miles! Even the last mile wasn't all that bad.

I rarely RUN the entire marathon. Usually, i'll stop and stretch and get several glasses of water, etc. Especially if i'm not in the best of shape. But i think my slowest mile was 25 and that was about a 7:45 or so.

So now its on to decide which marathon is next and which races are possible during the usually slow June-August stretch. I've already decided against shorter distance because I'm convinced it was the rapid decrease/increase in mileage that contributed to my tendonitis that lasted almost 10 months. I feel especially energized after speaking with a couple of marathon experts. One guy I spoke with has done 143 marathons! I swear he said he did one last weekend (the weekend before Burlington yesterday). The other guy I spoke with started running when he retired in 1998. He is on the verge of meeting his goal; doing his 100th on the 10th anniversay he did his first. After he retired!!!

Truly Inspiring.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Burlington, Here I Come

Running the Burlington marathon

So my 8 mile runs seem to be getting better and better (and by that i mean less and less pain). I have a big test today when i run 12.

I feel confident enough though that i already signed up for the Burlington, VT marathon. It will be state 10/51 (i include DC).

Sunday, March 23, 2008

On the Mend

After 8 months of working through my injury, i am finally making progress with my posterior tibialis tendinitis.

In July of 2007, I played two beach volleyball tournaments and ran 13 miles in two days. My posterior tibialis tendon has not been the same since. Three doctors, two physical therapists and dozens of physical therapy appointments later, I'm finally starting my comeback.

I ran my standard 8.4 mile run once last week and then again yesterday. The good news is that I think I can get back into good shape in about 6 weeks. The bad news is that there is still some lingering pain. The pain has to do with the varying angles of the running surface. If I run on a slanted surface, i pronate one way or the other. Even with orthodics, there is still some strength that needs to be built in those areas.

If anyone is going through posterior tibialis tendinitis, I feel your pain (literally). Be prepared for a long recovery. Also, I recommend:
1. Getting orthodics. You are overpronating and that needs to be corrected.
2. Go to physical therapy. You have a muscle imbalance. You need to build up a lot of muscle in the areas of your legs, core that you are weak on now. For me that meant a lot of squats and then eventually calf work. I got serious about core strength training too.
3. Exercise bike will become your friend. Hit the bike and then slowly work up to walking, then jogging on the treadmill. After a while, you should be able to run with minimal pain.
4. Once you can run on the treadmill will minimal pain, its time to get back out on the roads. Become familiar with how your foot hits the pavement and make adjustments. Realize that since you have orthodics, you will have to re-examine your stride and make changes.

As i mentioned, the step that i'm on now is adjusting to the curvature of the roads. I've read its important to alternate so that you don't always overpronate with just one foot. But since you can't avoid a slight curvature of the running surface in the real world, the only thing I can think to do is continue to build muscle. Hopefully that will get me over the final hump.

And finally, I made the mistake of looking at the race calendar today. And BTW - 6 spring half marathons in NC/VA area? That is about 5 more than is typical. Almost wept when I saw that. I have to resist going back to soon. We'll see.

As far as marathon goals, its still my goal to run a marathon in every state (i usually do a spring and a fall marathon and have 9 down including DC). I didn't do a fall marathon for 2007. A spring marathon is looking more possible, but maybe not until late may.