Friday, December 25, 2015

End of the 2015 Season

It's been quite a year. I had scheduled 5 marathons this year but unfortunately was only able to get to 4 of them: Disney, Lincoln, Boise, and Estes Park. However I had a strong showing in triathlons and PR'd in some of more important distances to me.

I found some extra motivation at the end of 2015. I hit the pool extra hard and was EXTRA consistent with my road training. As a result, I pr'd in the half marathon by more than two minutes (running a 1:24 at Mistletoe). I also managed to PR in my bread and butter 8 mile run (that I've been doing for 16 years about twice a week).

I think in the near term, I'm going to stick with my pool/gym regiment and decide soon what 2016 looks like. I think I'm going to be doing less races this coming year (probably 2 marathons but as many halves as I can find).

I think for a long time, I used races as training because I was losing my ability to focus on training. What I'm seeing now though is that my motivation is back and training is going really well! Look forward to 2016!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Colorado!

Just got back from Colorado. The entire trip from the time I left to the time i got back was 47 hours long. In that time, I:

  1. Explored downtown Denver 
  2. Drove a scooter to Red Rocks Amphitheater,
  3. Saw Buffalo Bill Cody's grave site on Lookout Mountain
  4. Explored Golden, Colorado
  5. Ran a marathon
  6. Explored Estes Park
  7. Drove a Jeep through EXTREME mountain trails all the way up 10,000 feet to Storm Mountain,
  8. Explored Boulder.
It was an extreme trip with little sleep. After landing and getting my 2 stroke Taiwanese scooter (that could hit 44 MPH) I headed out to Red Rocks. The scenery was amazing. The trip turned into an adventure when I took a right hand turn on a dirt road and went all the way up to the top of Prospect mountain. 

This is a shot on my way up the mountain:


After I returned the scooter, I headed up to Loveland, Colorado. This is where the marathon would finish. The race logistics were a little difficult but the organization was pretty good. They bused us up to Estes Park, elevation 7600 feet. The finish was at 5000 feet. We lost most of our elevation in the first 13 miles. The second half of the marathon was very exposed to the sun and (apparently unusual for the area) heat. I think my miles were slowed between 10 and 15 seconds per mile due to the elevation. My breathing was ok, my legs were ok, but I just couldn't get as much out of them per breath. I didn't fall over gasping or anything. It was noticeable though.

After the race, I went back up to Estes Park. I rented a Jeep and took on what has to be some of the world's finest Jeep trail riding in the world. I had NO IDEA what i was getting myself into. I have never done anything like this with my Jeep. Here is a little video snippet:



It took about 90 minutes to get up the 10k feet to the top of Storm Mountain.





Sunday, August 16, 2015

2015 Fall Preview

In the absence of a really well thought out and focused goal, I have decided to just go completely insane with races this fall. But first wanted to recap the year thus far.

This has been kind of an amazing year for races for me. I don't think my times are particularly earth shattering, but I have been placing really well. I have gotten either top 3 in my age group and/or top 10 overall in 10 out of 15 races so far this year (including Disney which I jogged). In addition to 2 outright wins (which were obviously 1st place in Age Group), I have 5 additional 1st place age group wins (all in my last 9 races). I only did 4 triathlons this year but easily qualified for Nationals in the Sprint and International distances.

So triathlon season was really short but really enjoyable. Doing well definitely helps. That being said, I hate the bike, swimming is sometimes tough to motivate for, but I am still enjoying the hell out of these. I don't have any ambition to qualify for Team USA any time soon, but just doing them and competing is still fun.

So with triathlon season in the rear view mirror, I had to come up with a plan for the fall. Here it is: Everything. I am going to do races like Sarah Palin reads magazines. I'm going to do all of them. If i stay healthy and stick to what I have planned, 2015 will go down as a 30 race season (7 more than last year which was a record by 1). Injuries and life get in the way, but that is the plan.

The highlights begin with tackling the High Country Half up in Boone in a couple weeks. The race is a good excuse to get some mountain and elevation training. This is something I will need to tackle Estes Park next month (pictured above). Then I plan on hitting some more halves before heading up to Mount Desert Island in Maine for the marathon there! Can't wait.

Unfortunately, they cancelled the Hallowed Half so I will be unable to defend my crown in that race. However, I have 6 more halves to hit including several new ones. So while I search for my next goal, I plan on staying busy until then.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Potato!


I was very discouraged after Lincoln. I really was starting to question everything! Did I not understand my body? Was I not in good shape? Was i too old to run?

I went into this race with very low expectations. Not just about my run but also my enjoyment of the run. I expected it to not be beautiful and I expected myself to not perform very well. Happy to report both of these things turned out not to be the case.

First off, it was beautiful. When we flew in I was worried because it looked like Tuscon to me (mountains and flatness). However, the race started at this state park that is also a HUGE dam. We started out running on the Boise river and cut through canyons. Next, we hit some residential areas. Next, back on the greenway which was surprisingly beautiful (especially the first 8 miles). There were moments of pure joy during the run and I remembered why i love doing this (running, the 50 state thing, etc). One memory of big beautiful green mountains ahead of me, the river to my left and a small stream to my right. Between the path and the river to the left were bushes and dense foliage. It looked like Anne of Green Gables.

The dew point was in the 40's (which was actually high for the area apparently). To me, it felt good (not saying I loved the 72 degree start temp but not bad for June). I felt like I was running down hill the first 10 or so miles. My heart rate was real low.

After the half marathoners peeled off, the real race began. I was in 10th place at the 6.5 mile turn. My strategy was to stay within myself, hydrate a ton, and keep eating my shot blocks. I don't understand it, but all water volunteers hand you one 2.5 oz of water cup and everyone else starts eyeing the next runner. HELLO, I'M 6'6'' 200LBS, I NEED LIKE 4 OF THESE! I ripped these out of people's hands so many times.

Anyway, I was in 10th and feeling really good (not Kentucky Derby Marathon good, but still). I started picking off people one by one. Towards the end, I saw the first female. I knew she was in 4th and she was flailing. I decided to go for it and had to fight her off. She feel back by the end though so I got 4th place! I got a potato guy and a ribbon! So great.

I felt so good at the finish, I just hopped in my car, showered up at the hotel, got some food and went right to Horseshoe Bend for some whitewater rafting. Then came back and got some pizza downtown Boise. One of the best marathon adventures yet!

Not sure what marathon will be next. I'm glad I ended on this note though. I was starting to lose a little of why I do this.





Monday, May 4, 2015

36 down, 15 to go.

Just got back from the 2015 Lincoln Marathon. This race was very difficult for me. Let the complaining begin! It was sunny from the very start. I hate sunny runs (especially when the temperature is in the 70's). It just makes for a long, hot day. And since we were on the Great Plains, there wasn't much of a break from it.

Also, the wind! My God the wind. At mile 14 i hit a wall. It wasn't a figurative wall either. Also in the Great Plains, it is super windy (because there is not anything to block it). When i was driving from Omaha to Lincoln, my rental car was swerving like crazy. Took me a second to realize it was the wind that was blowing me all over the place. Not to state the obvious, but at 6'6'', i am more of a wind sail than anything else.

So this race was a disappointment in terms of getting a good time. It doesn't totally add up to me though. I have been running extremely well lately. In fact, I won my last two races and placed third in another.

The two half marathons where I placed third and first were very competitive. My times were also very good. The Vac and Dash night half marathon is through the mountainous Albamarle area (up Morrow Mountain). I ran a very smart and strong run and won it with a time below 1:30 (good considering the terrain). The half marathon I got third I nearly PR'd in and out paced a guy at the end.

The race I won last weekend was a 10 mile run. It wasn't very competitive but I did go sub 6:30 miles the entire time.

I felt like i was poised for a big run in Lincoln but only managed a 3:14. Maybe that is not so bad given the head and wind but I don't know. I didn't run Disney hard and it was a similar time.

Next up is Boise. I have to think it will be warm considering it is basically in June. I have some other small races too and then after all this is triathlon season!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Disney Done!

 I just got back from the 2015 Disney World Marathon! My goal for this race was to just jog it and enjoy the spectacle. I was shooting for a 3:15 and i got 3:15 on the button! But I have to admit, running this marathon was actually very difficult.

I think for me, running marathons is an internal journey rather than external. I definitely see the scenery for the marathons, but they are in the background. For this marathon, the external was squarely in the foreground. I was constantly thinking 'What is coming next?!' I think this made the marathon seem twice as long for me. Usually, I am surprised how quickly the miles come. Not for this race.

But the race was only part of the trip. The other part was going to Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and Epcot. I definitely got them all in and got to all the rides I wanted to. But I probably did too much each day and am pretty exhausted now that I'm back.

Next up is the 'off season' for me. I have set up a very aggressive race schedule for 2015. VERY heavy on half marathons. But I have still thrown in about 10 triathlons and 4 more marathons. Sounds good on paper, but maybe the lesson from this trip is to not do as much and enjoy.