Monday, November 25, 2013

Not Everything's Flat in Kansas

Just got back from marathon #7 for 2013. I decided to throw one more in at the end of an amazing year. I had a look around what was available (and remaining state wise for me) and chose the Gobbler Grind marathon in Kansas City, Kansas. One of the major deciding factors for me was wanting to see Kansas City. Nothing else in Kansas (and yes I realize most of Kansas City is not in Kansas) looked particularly interesting. Not really interested in plain flat land for miles.

When I arrived I immediately headed east of the border to check out what KC had to offer. I went to about 4 museums and drove around. By far the best was the Harry Truman library. Everything else about that whole area was not terribly interesting to me (sorry Kansas City!)

The race itself will be remembered for two major things. First, it was cold. I means COLD. I think the temperature at start was about 15. It may have rose about 4 or so degrees in 3 hours, but I was cold the entire time. Just kind of miserable. The other thing was just how bad the marathon organization was. There were no mile markers (?!). The out and backs weren't labeled with things like signs (or markings). At mile 15(?) I re-entered the main course and got intercepted by 10k runners. Doing the math, I started to seriously freak that i missed a turn (no volunteers and not clear markings made me thing that along with not really knowing the course which is on me i'll admit). I jog with the 10k'ers for a while and ask a million people if i am going the right way. Finally about a mile before the 'finish', i get word from a volunteer that there is another out and back AT THE FINISH. That is not the best course design to put an out and back at mile 18.9 or whatever it was.

So enough of the complaining... 2013 marathon season is over. I have some very broad outlines for next year (and year after) but I don't want to get ahead of myself. Next up something i haven't done in years... trail season. Little worried my body isn't going to hold up, but I have a bunch of races included the Mac Daddy Uwharrie National Forest Run. After that, I am thinking I'll do a full triathlon season.... But that is that for now.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

30th Was Memorable

Just got back from Hawaii. I participated in the 2013 Maui Marathon. Very fun times. Hit up Maui and Kauai.

The picture to the right is a real picture i took with my iphone. It was taken at a ancient Hawaiian holy site. I had never seen a more vivid rainbow in my life (and it didn't look far off. It looked like it ended about 20 feet off land). It was unreal.

The race itself was SUPER hot and humid and the views were occasionally nice but not really my cup of tea. Reminded me of Tuscon in a lot of ways (mountains far off, unchanging land all around). There would be times where it felt like i was running on the beach, but they were weighed against an AMAZINGLY hot sun. Easily the hottest i have ever felt.

So the time was slow but I knew it would be. It was more about just being in the moment and being in one of the most unique and incredible places in the world. I soaked it all in and feel like that is a good period on the end of the year.

That being said, I am thinking about doing a 3-4 halves and maybe 3-4 10ks in the fall. I MAY drop down and do a quick marathon in Kansas. Not really sure about that yet. Hmmm.

For the first time in a while, I don't have a clearly defined athletic path. Not sure what is next (or how i feel about that). Time will tell.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Aloha Means Goodbye! (and hello... and i think pineapple)

When one sets out to do 50 marathons in 50 states, a very few marathons stand out as truly remarkable. Some are remarkable because they are events. New York, Chicago, Boston come to mind. Others are remarkable due to the fact that I would never ever go there otherwise. New Hampshire, Alabama, Arkansas come to mind. And then there is that final group of marathons. The destination ones...

Number one for almost everyone is Hawaii. And without further ado, it is time to start training for it. The 2013 Maui marathon: The hotels and flights are booked. The trip is planned. The race is signed up for. Now its time to start logging miles...

In other news, my mini triathlon season ended without much fanfare. Got three quick races in this summer between all these marathons. Hard to see what is after Maui right now. Hmmm....


Sunday, June 2, 2013

South of the Bend

29 marathons up, 29 marathons down. Just finished up the 2013 Sunburst (South Bend Indiana) marathon. This was the fifth and final marathon of my consecutive marathon goal. Over the past 3 1/2 months, I have completed 5 marathons.

I had a 3 week break between Providence and South Bend and I can say one thing for sure: having 3 w
eeks off is better than having 2 weeks off. My legs felt better (but really not 100%). To add to the misery index a little bit, the dew point must have been about 70 for much of the race. It was one of those 'sneakers filled with water' kind of days. But all that complaining aside, I enjoyed this race. There was about 500 runners, but really didn't seem that big. The scenery varied quite a bit. There were many very nice views of the St. Joseph river. And best of all was the finish in Notre Dame's football stadium. I really was thinking of Rudy as I entered and sprinted as hard as I could.

During the race, I heard a song (that cheesy 'California' song from the OC tv show). This song always symbolizes my goal - California being a kind of nod to my personal manifest destiny of getting all 50 states run. When I heard it this time I realized that my next marathon will be in Maui, Hawaii and this made me feel really good. Maui will be marathon number 30 and by far the biggest marathon adventure to date. I love this 50 in 50 goal more and more every race.

Next up for me some personal todo's. Getting married in 2 weeks, then a honeymoon to St John. Then I will be doing just a very few triathlons in the late summer (just so I can say I did some). Then in September comes Maui. Cannot wait!


Monday, May 13, 2013

Yipes

This picture sums up my Rhode Island experience. The bear chasing me was my really good showing in Kentucky two weeks prior. The look on my face was my inability to escape it.

From the very beginning of the 2013 Cox Rhode Island Marathon, my heart wasn't really in it. My legs were hurting and I knew it was going to be a long day. Since i decided to try to turn around and do 3 marathons right in a row, I knew I would have some trouble. Add a dash of rain and humidity and you have a subpar day.

At any rate, I'm happy that race is over. There wasn't vey much to it. The beginning was not pretty at all (after we left downtown Providence). Once we reached the prettier ocean homes, it improved. The trail back to town was pretty. My heart was beating too fast and my legs were hurting too much for me to get an effective time.

Next up in the pain express... Indiana. I have 3 weeks. Not expecting anything better than RI. I may just go out and, since I PR'd this year already, may just take it easy. Will I enjoy that though?

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Marathon PR!

Just got back from Louisville, KY. And not to bury the headline, I PR'd! 3:03:38. Felt good going in and new it would come close to Austin last year. The race itself was a little confusing (I think they messed up a few mile markers in a row(?)) But the last half was smooth and felt good pretty much the whole time. I imagine a young Cassius Clay running in front of me and telling me to go faster. I pictured the guy in front of me to be Joe Frazier. I always loved Ali's admission that he was so tired he literally thought he would die at the end of the 'Thrilla'.

So seeing the Mohammed Ali Center was a a major highlight. I am definitely a fan, but even if i was not, the museum was amazing. The presentation of data was interactive and very entertaining. Who would expect much else from Ali?

I also visited Churchill Downs and the Louisville Slugger Factory. VERY cool stuff. So that is done, now on to Providence in (gasp) 2 weeks. Then a few weeks after that is Notre Dame Marathon (what i call it, really is the Sunburst at Southbend or something like that). EXCITED!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

6 Marathon Goal for 2013

2013 is a big year for me. Last year I participated in the ITU Long Course World Championships. It was the my unbelievable experience of my life. Not only did I travel to Europe, I also slapped the 'Team USA' logo on and then literally motored around Europe. It is something I can not possibly top.

This year I've decided to try in step it up in another direction. I really want to complete more marathons in one year than I ever have. I can't top last year in terms of experience, but I can create a new challenge and set of experiences!

I have now planned through September and I will have completed at least 6 marathons in 2013:

  1. February: Mardi Gras. The town was still recovering from the Super Bowl and Mardi Gras double punch. I saw everything the town has to offer. Amazing.
  2. March: New Jersey. Meh. Enough said.
  3. April: Kentucky Derby Marahon in Lousiville. VERY excited about this race this coming weekend. Not only do I get peruse Louisville, visit where Mohammed Ali grew up, and preview the Kentucky Derby (which takes place a week after the race), I get to run in a bigish city which is always my favorite type of marathon.
  4. May: Providence. I visited this town for about 4 hours back in my AAU basketball days. Look forward to visiting the colleges of the area and getting a taste for life in one my of my last New England states.
  5. June: South Bend. We finish in Notre Dame stadium. Any questions?
    • Marriage: Going to take a weekend off Mid June and get hitched. Then the following week taking a NON race holiday to St John USVI. Epic Honeymoon planned.
  6. September: Maui. Time off is confirmed. First hotel is booked. This is happening. Hawaii. The jewel in the crown of any 50 stater's journey. 
Then I'll always have October, November, December if i want to get one more in. But 6 marathons in one year... that will be the most for me. It will be an amazing feat. What am I going to do in 2014? Rest.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Wind

Just got back from NJ for the 2013 Ocean Drive Marathon. I had a thought beginning about mile 12 of this race. That thought was 'This is the God-Damnest thing I have ever done.'

Why? This race was a triple threat. First off, the wind. It wasn't especially windy in NJ that day. But the fact
was that no matter what direction we ran, it was in our face. The terreign seemed to be specially designed to blow wind straight at us. Whenever you are at the ocean, you expect a breeze. But the fact is the roads were SUPER wide and SUPER straight. And no trees. There was just nothing to divert it. And I'm 6'6" btw.

Second, oh boy it was dull. I don't expect a lot in a race. I once stared at cactus and dirt for 15 miles straight. But this race... The houses we ran next to were uninspired beach homes. The small towns we ran in and out of were super generic. And I don't need spectators. But these were literally ghost towns. There's a difference between no spectators and post apocalyptic hellscapes. But what did i expect from NJ?

Finally, it was just me. I passed a guy at like mile 12. And that was it. That was pretty much the end of me seeing anyone. At about mile 19, there were fewer and fewer police and volunteers. I would see a traffic cone and think... 'hmm... probably not one of the construction cones, but probably a race cone?'. At a certain point, it stops feeling like a race and starts feeling like I'm alone in the middle of Nowhere, NJ running to God knows where in a cold wind tunnel.

And when I drove home, I got stuck in a blizzard. But other than that, marathon #26 was great ;)

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

New Orleans!

Just got back from New Orleans. I don't think I am necessarily New Orleans' target audience with the way the city is. The food i thought was just ok, Bourbon street was a tourist trap, and I couldn't shake the thought that they have the highest per capita murder rates in the nation :(

That being said, I did manage to have a really good time. I did the cliche'd Bourbon street stuff after the race and saw pretty much everything the city had to offer. Oh, and there was a race!

The Rock and Roll New Orleans Marathon was a very well organized race indeed. The expo/start/logistics were everything I have come to expect in a large, well run marathon. The only thing that was an annoyance logistically was the lack of gatorade at every water stop. Some had it, others did not.

The race itself was nice. It seemed to be a good showcase of the city. We didn't do much running in the French Quarter, but that was fine since I was spending the rest of the weekend there. The weather was definitely on the warm side, the sun was ever present and the wind out by the lake didn't help much. But really, my legs past mile 16 were just not all there, mostly due to my lack of long runs (due to illness) this go round. Given that, getting back to under 3:07 (3:06:41) was a good accomplishment. A lot of good momentum heading into NJ.

It turns out that this was #25 for me (almost exactly half way through!) Up next is the Ocean Drive in NJ, Kentucky Derby, Providence, then a major one that I'm REALLY looking forward to... Deadwood. There is some talk about possibly doing Maui in September. That would be epic. But first things first. Time to view the hurricane Sandy damage in South Jersey :-/  Actually can't wait to go! Looking forward to it.







Friday, January 18, 2013

Thinking Ahead

Ok, here we are smack dab in the middle of the offseason. I've developed some knee issues that I am working through. Basically just a bad case of runners knee. I *think* I get something like this every winter and I really don't understand it. But nevertheless, I am powering through.

To address this, I have taken a serious look at my footwear as well as started a pretty strenuous leg-muscle building campaign. Wall sits, leg extensions, the whole shebang. I've dialed it down on the swim (like I typically do in the winter) so I'm just doing going a couple times a week to make sure I don't forget how to swim. I've also cut out the bike. Mostly because I hate it. Ugh, why do I hate to bike so much right now. Well, it's cold and biking to me is my worst event. So there's that. BUT...

I'm super excited about my five marathon plan this spring (see! triathlons offer diversification  so i can be excited about one thing and come back to the other stuff later). I know my triathlon times will be weak in the spring. I'm actually planning on doing more sprints and less long distance (especially in the summer).

Anyway, New Orleans is a done deal. All signed up with the fiance coming too! And then NJ OD is on (just barely thanks to Sandy), then KDM, Providence, and then the one I TRULY can't wait for... Deadwood.

Also some halves and 10k's to get fast again. And btw, I may be closer to getting back to where I was last spring (running-wise) than I thought. Posted a couple of super fast training runs last week. If i can just run during the day and have it not be too cold, I can post some good numbers.

More soon...