Thursday, October 21, 2010

Been a Long Time...

Wow! I haven't posted anything since June! Been very busy though. Where we last left off, i was setting my gaze onto triathlons. The season is now officially over and it was amazing! I went from being a truly poor swimmer and biker to being an average swimmer and slightly below average biker. And as to not bury the lead, i made it to the US Long Course Nationals (as well as qualified for next year) AND did well enough in the nationals to be an alternate for the U.S. team! I find out next week if i made it (not looking very likely), but overall felt like it was a good season.

All in all, i did 8 triathlons this season! That is kind of amazing considering i had done a grand total of 3 before this season. Being new to the sport, i improved in nearly every way. In the sprints, i got better at starting faster in the swims. I still get a little panicky in the water, but hopefully that will go away completely with practice. I did 4 sprints, 1 international, and 3 halves. The highlight of the year may have been the international distance. I swam a mile in 28:27 (wetsuit legal) and ran a very hilly course in sub 40 minutes. I hadn't run sub 40 in 4 years (and only did it once before ever).

The entire season was shadowed by a knee injury i sustained in the 24 hours of booty charity ride. Unfortunately, my bike fit was not correct and caused the injury. I have since had the problem corrected but some pain still persists. The doctors tell me it is nothing to worry about. I don't believe them, but it hasn't slowed me down much. This underscores my poor cycling that occurred this year. I simply did not practice enough. In fact, in the National Championship, when i got off the bike, i almost couldn't run at all. This is because the adjustment to fix the problem with my knee worked fine. But i had never practiced with the bike since the adjustment and it caused me to use WAY more quad then i ever had.

Goals for next year are to first off improve cycling. I need to practice with the new fit. If i can get off the bike and run as well as i did in Asheville in the international distance or as well as i did in Williamsburg in the half there, i will be happy. Next, i need to kick this fear of open water. That will come with more practice. I already qualified for next year's national championship team. I have a VERY strong desire to make the national team next year (since it will be my last year i can qualify for the 30-34 age group and 35-39 is basically impossible.

Ahh, but now it is fall and time for half marathons. I ran one last weekend and felt good. Got 15th in Greensboro (if i was in half marathon shape, i could have gotten top 10). Then it is on to a couple of marathons early in 2011 - Mississippi Blue in Jan and Jersey Shore in March or April. Please no Snooki or Situation jokes.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

McCoy v Hatfield

Ran the McCoy/Hatfield marathon yesterday. Couple things. First a little about signing up for the race. They do a fun thing every year by assigning each runner that runs to a team (Hatfield or McCoy) and whichever team has a better cumulative time wins. A few weeks after signing up, I checked the website and noticed that i was placed on to team Hatfield. Unacceptable! My mom's maiden name is McCoy and i had to represent the family.

So i gave a call to the race director, David Hatfield. I informed him that I would like to be switched from team Hatfield to team McCoy. Now you would think that a race like this that pokes fun of the feud and even goes so far as to assign the runners to a family would have a good sense of humor about this whole subject. But i apparently hit a nerve with D. Hatfield. He asked me (unironically) why i would want to switch and made a huge deal about it. After hemming and hawing he said he would make the change if he had the time and wasn't too busy. Thanks Hatfield. I heard nothing from him for months and sent a follow up email. No response. Feud back on.

I get an email months later from David Hatfield's wife. Responding to my follow up email, she informs me that the change had been made. I was now on team McCoy. There was one detail that she found confounding however. She had always thought that the name 'Adam' was a male name. The Adam Burke she saw signed up (now as a McCoy) was a female. I did the math. David Hatfield switched me to team McCoy and then passive-aggressively also stripped me of my manhood. Thanks Hatfield. Feud escalating.

I performed a search on the registrants area of the website and could not find my name. I responded to lady Hatfield and was told that my name had been switched to Adam McCoy-Burke. I had been branded. War declared.

All in all good times though. The race itself was actually really great. And by great i mean horribly difficult. It was hot and humid, hilly and curvy, rainy and thundery, sticky and sweltery, and rocky and craggy. Really tough course. I feel like an idiot, but i really thought it wouldn't be that hilly. The hill at mile 23 was a groin punch from David Hatfield. It was the smallest marathon i've done in a while and it makes me remember why i really like the small ones. No fanfare, no perks, just you, the road, and the competition. I got 5th place in the marathon. I might have been able to get 4th, but decided to hold up at mile 25 to see if i could run with someone for support. Didn't work out great, but still happy with 5th.

Now its time to set my gaze firmly on triathlons. First you get fast, then you go long. that is the strategy building to the national championships in October. First up, a sprint in 6 days. oh man.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Going to [YAWN] Nationals

So last weekend was interesting. I participated in my 2nd Half Iron (or Long Distance Triathlon) down in White Lake, NC. My goal was to participate in a half iron early in the season so that i could improve on my bike/run times (because when i morgantown last year, it was ridiculously hot). Funny thing happened on the way to doing that. The conditions (in May mind you) were hotter and windier than morgantown!

The temperature was definitely in the 90's for the run and the dew point must have been in the mid 70's. To top it off, the wind was howling due to a low pressure front coming in late in the afternoon. In other words, the worst possible conditions for a triathlon (windy and oven-bake hot). AND to top it off, they announced the lake temperature in the morning - 79. Ouch. So no wetsuit.

Knowing this was a possibility, i picked up a (pricey) speed suit to mentally compensate for the slower swim time i was expecting. Long story short, my swim was the best part of the day. I broke my morgantown (w/ wetsuit) swim time by a minute or two! Felt really good for 95% of the swim (especially the end). The bike was kind of miserable though. Windy and hot. And some jerkstore passed me on the right (illegal) and clipped my front tire. i was absolutely sure i was literally going head first into a ditch but somehow avoided it. Then the run. Oh man. You want to know what hot it. Body temperature already up from biking, sun beating down, reflecting off pavement. No shade. And i had apparently no electrolytes because i cramped severely. One guy i ran with tried to explain how he needed a new hobby. No kidding. Brutal.

But apparently my survival skills won out because i ended up PR'ing (by like a minute) AND i qualified for the Halfmax Long Distance National Championships in October. So I am SOOO going to that. I researched it a bit and it is legit. It is one of the 11 or so National Championship events put on by the USAT. I have a lot of work to do between now and then though. I really want to avoid getting bottom 10% (which is COMPLETELY possible given the fact i just barely qualified). 5 or 6 tris between now and then (including an olympic and a half 3 weeks before the event).

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Divided Loyalties Yield Messy Results

Was in Saint Louis this past weekend for the marathon there. The race is more of a half marathon event with thousands of people running/walking the half. They actually did a really good job keeping the runners separate (especially at the end where it counts). The city was nice and I enjoyed seeing the blue clubs and got to the top of the arch (which is no easy feat being freakishly tall and getting crammed into the elevator pod).

As for the race... ah the race. Lessons were learned. Yes, it was that bad. I knew going into this race that it would be a little different. Usually i focus entirely on marathon training and do not worry about other events. I decided to try out a plan that focused more on shorter speed workouts (halves mostly to complete my half iron in May). I hate making excuses so i will not here. But this strategy did not serve me well. I knew it was an experiment and knew it was a bit of a risk so I did go into it with eyes wide open. But now I know i definitely need a 16 mile run closer to the marathon date as well as a larger 21 miler thrown in. The sun and warmth of the day took their toll too. But it was the lack of training that was the main cause of my slowest marathon in years.

I doubt the time I get on a hilly marathon in W Virginia in June will help me feel better. I had planned on (and feel more committed too now) taking about 4 or so weeks after the half iron in May to work only on distance before going back to the triathlon training. The danger with this is increasing/decreasing mileage too drastically so that will be on my mind. Hopefully I'll feel stronger and have more will at the end of the WV marathon. If i have that, I'll count that as a win (and focus on Hartford to push the pace).

My sprint triathlon this weekend must also be put into perspective of being less than a week after a marathon finish. I really just need to get into the open water before my half iron in May. I have a strong feeling however that the half iron in a few weeks will also be a casualty of my dual focus. The one in September should be a better indication of my ability.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Out With the Trails, In With the...

Trail season is done. What a mess. Just finished up Uwharrie this past weekend. Banged up my body and turned an ankle as always. Was happy with my time and placement (despite -or maybe because of - the fact that 1/3 of the race was changed to allow for impassable streams). Multiple ankle injuries coupled with contentious weather conditions for the past month or so really has me wanting to shake things up next year. I think i'll still train trails as a nice break, but I may try a new trail race. We'll see.

Enough of all that, its on to... well two things. First and foremost is training for the St. Louis marathon in April. I have a couple of good warm up halves in March so that is priority numero uno. Simultaneously i will be getting prepared for the White Lake Half Tri in May. In preparation for that, i have decided to take a triathlon swim class. So far I've received feedback such as 'You have long arms-that's good. You have long legs - that's bad'. Hopeful i can finally feel comfortable swimming and its coming with practice. I have a very busy spring planned with biking/open water swims and a sprint tri in open water.

After that, i think i'll really sink my teeth into triathlons this summer. I'd like to do another half tri in late summer and maybe qualify for nationals! That is now my main running goal (besides continuing with a marathon in every state). We'll see how all that works out.