Monday, November 17, 2014

Turkey Trot 5K Recap

Turkey Trot 5K/10K
Fergus Falls 11/15/14

In late August, I signed up for the 5K Turkey Trot with my sister.  She had won the 6 race series in her area, and the award was going to be presented after the Fergus Falls Turkey Trot in November.  My sis is pretty awesome, and naturally she is my hero.

I was in rough shape.  In the two weeks after Surf the Murph, I had tried three runs, and I had not been able to get to two miles on any of them.  I took the week before the race completely off.  

It snowed the week before the race.  The streets/sidewalks had a lot of hard pack snow and some ice on them.  It was going to be a slow cautious race for a couple reasons.

My nephew also wanted to run, so we all also signed up for the one mile run before the 5K race.

My knee didn't feel too bad on the one mile run. Maybe taking it easy for a couple weeks was going to do the trick.  We ran together for the first half mile. After that, my nephew took off in a quest for the podium.  He passed third place with about 4 blocks to go, and he held on to take the bronze position.  I ran about a nine minute mile; I felt pretty good and optimistic.

My nephew wasn't going to run the 5K.  He found a warm spot to wait it out in the school, and my sis and I went to line up for the 5K.  It was in the teens but there was nearly no wind.  It was reasonable weather for a run, but the footing made it a pretty silly idea.

At the go signal, my first step tweaked my knee.  I started off slow and tried to loosen it up.  It didn't help; it was the same pain on the side of my knee, and it felt like I had a bruise behind my kneecap. A mile into the run, I knew this was going to be the last run of the year.

I stuck it out with a time of 29:00.  My knee felt a little better in the third mile, but I was doing more harm than good.  Around the last corner, I decided to catch the lady in front of me.  She was about a block ahead of me, so I sprinted as best I could (idiot) and caught up.  It seemed like a dick move to pass right at the line, so I pulled up and finished one second behind her.

So that's it; I'm probably done running for the year.  I'm definitely out for the half marathon in a couple weeks.  It's been a good year.  I did a few 5K races, one 10K, two sprint triathlons and one long trail run.

Below are my totals since I signed up for the Lake Marion Sprint Triathlon in February.

Total:                   340 miles
Average length:  3.3 miles
Average Pace:     9:39

Total Road:          182 miles
Average Length:  11.3 miles
Average Speed:    16 mph    
Total Stationary:  13:27 hours
Avg. Stationary:   33 minutes

Total:         14.6 miles
Average:    0.54 miles

Total:        11:15 hours
Average:   29 minutes

Me with my sis and nephew
before the 1 mile run.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Surf the Murph Recap (a.k.a. I'm an idiot.)

Surf the Murph
25K/50K/50 mile
Savage, MN 8/25/2014

Oy, I'm an idiot.  Everything was telling me to skip this run, but I really had my heart set on it.

Since the Burnsville 10K, I had been slowly  adding distance to my runs.  By mid October,  I was over 20 miles a week, and my longest run was just over 11 miles.  I remember commenting to my wife that my left knee felt hollow after one of long runs.  That probably should have been a hint to pull back, but I thought it was just a quirk of a long run.  About two weeks before the Murph, I jazzed my left knee after a 6 mile run.  It didn't happen during the run. I felt fine that night, but the next day I could barely walk.  I tried one more 6 mile a few days later, but I was in trouble.  The side of my knee was killing me, and it felt like I had a bruises behind knee cap.  I took the whole week off before the Murph run.

The Friday before Surf the Murph (Saturday run), I concussed myself.  I hit my head on a cabinet.  I was dizzy and couldn't stand up with my eyes closed.  I took the day off work and slept.  I didn't see the doc because I didn't want her to tell me to skip the race. Like I said, I'm an idiot.

In September and October, I was averaging runs of 6 miles with an average pace of 9:11.  My long run was 11.2 miles in about 1:43:00.  I did not do a single trail run practice before Surf the Murph.  I had hoped to break three hours, but mostly I wasn't concerned about time. The temp was in the 40°s, no rain in sight, not much wind. It was a beautiful day for a long run.

By the morning of the race I felt pretty good. I wasn't dizzy anymore, and the vertigo was gone.  My knee didn't even hurt.  I thought it was going to be a good day.

The run takes place about two miles from my house.  So, I figured I could just run to the site in the morning and walk back when I was done.  Idiot.

The run there actually went pretty well.  I was testing out my knee and things were going pretty well.  I got there about 10 minutes before the start.  I picked up my bib, stashed my shirt and was ready to go.

Trail Run
Goal:      Have fun, don't get hurt.
Actual:  Got it half right.
The three races each start an hour apart with the 50 mile group going off at 6:00am.  At 8:00am, at least we didn't need the head lamps for the 25K.

My Garmin had the elevation change on the course as 900ft.  The website for the race says it's 2000 ft of uphill. Hard to say which is correct, but it's definitely a hilly course. The first third of the course is in the trees and all hills.  The second third is in the open and much flatter.  The last third is back in the trees and hilly, but not as many hills as the beginning.

The first 5 miles didn't hurt.  Over the next 7 miles my knee started hurting pretty bad. I walked the majority of the last three miles with periodic stops to stretch out my legs.

It's a beautiful course, and I loved running through the trees. But, I should have walked off the course at the aid station around mile 12.  I felt terrible after the race, and then I still had a two mile walk home. It was brutal.

I finished at 3:43:25. Many people finished after me, so not a total failure.  Hard to say how much damage I did.  I can still barely walk, and I can't even lay on my left side at night because of knee pain.

I'm Doing a 5K with my sis on 11/15/14. We'll see how that goes, but I'm thinking the half marathon on 11/29/14 is probably out.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Burnsville 10K Recap

Heart of the City 10K
 September 6, 2014 

Triathlon season and summer have come and gone.  I’ll say it was a success.  After the Lake Marion triathlon I had to sit down and decide what was going to be next.  The fall schedule ends up looking like this:
                Heart of the City 10K,        9/ 6/2014
                Surf the Murph,               10/25/2014
                Moustache Run,               11/29/2014.

I chose the Heart of the city 10k in Burnsville to make-up for the 10K race that I dropped in May (due to injury and illness).  I can’t say it was a big deal of a race, but I wanted to check the 10K of my list of races.  Surf the Murph is a 25K trail run that takes place 2 miles from my house.  It sounds fun; it’s really close; I couldn’t resist.  It’s listed as having 25K, 50k or 50 mile race options.  The length depends on if you do one, two or three loops of the course.  The distances actually work out to be about 16.7 miles, 33.4 miles and 50 miles (25K=15.5 miles, 50K=31miles), but I guess 25K and 50K just end up looking better.  The Moustache Run is a half marathon.  It seems like a good next challenge.  I’ll have to pack on quite a few miles in the next couple months, but this will bring me closer to the races that I actually want to run. 

I don’t think I’ll ever be fast.  Also, I don’t care if I’m ever fast.  Instead of working towards increasing my speed, I have chosen to shoot for increasing my distances.  I’ll shoot for the half marathon this year, maybe Olympic triathlons next year and sooner or later hit the long races (marathon, 70.3…).  It’s a lofty goal, but I’m not on any time limit.  Maybe it will be a few years before I hit a marathon; maybe it will be five or six years before a 70.3 triathlon, but it’s something to shoot for and it’s something to keep me engaged. 

Leading up to the race, I was averaging runs of about 3.9 miles with a pace of about 8:50.

My time breakdown and predicted reactions were as follows:
                Over 1:00             Failure
                0:58-1:00              At least I did it.
                0:56-0:58              Good enough
                0:54-0:56              Happy
                0:52-0:54              Awesome
                Under 0:52          Able to retire as champion of the world

The t-shirt for the race was a black long sleeve run shirt.  It’s pretty nice. I’ll probably wear it a lot because it says 5K/10K, and it’s not going to be often that I am on the long course for a race.  I drove the course after picking up my packet the day before the race.  The first mile is all downhill and the second is pretty flat.  After that, there is a gradual uphill that runs for quite a while, and the last couple miles are mostly flat with a finishing downhill.  The race is about ten minutes from my house, so the 7:30 start time made for a leisurely morning and commute.

Goal:     Don’t leave anything in the tank.
Actual:  I didn’t time it quite right.
I knew the first mile was all downhill, so I decided to try to light it up and see what kind of mile split I could hit.  My Garmin said I went out in 7:46.  I was actually hoping for a little quicker, but I shouldn’t complain.  There were only 78 people signed up for the 10K, so it felt like I ran much of the race on my own.  The race was largely uneventful, which isn’t a bad thing.  It was a nice quiet run. 

At one point, I was running down a curved street and I could hear someone coming up to pass me.  It just so happened that I was running by a “No Passing” street sign at that moment.  As the runner came up on me, I pointed to the sign and said “Obey the rules of the road!”  Once he got past me, I noticed that he was wearing ear buds.  I’m assume he didn’t hear me.  To him, I probably just looked like a crazy person waving their arms running down the street.  It’s a shame when a good joke goes to waste.

Anyhoo, my full mile splits were
                Mile 1    7:46
                Mile 2    8:21
                Mile 3    8:43
                Mile 4    9:03
                Mile 5    9:08
                Mile 6    8:32

Around the final corner and on the downhill to the finish line I kicked it up a little, but it was too late.  I should have picked it up sooner; I had a lot left in the tank after the finish line.  My Garmin had the last bit as 0.34 miles.  That seems like a big difference from 6.2.  Anyhoo, my pace on the last bit was 7:51. 
Race Time:  54:17 with an 8:44 pace 

I was a little bummed that I didn’t break 54:00, but I was close enough to be happy.  Surf the Murph is up next month.  I’ll have to add some distance to my training.  I’m going to try to stick to adding no more than 10% to my run total each week. That’s what a lot of the sites use as a guide.  We’ll see how it goes.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Lake Marion Sprint Triathlon Recap

Lake Marion Triathlon
Antlers Park August 17, 2014
0.25 mile/ 17.3 mile/ 5K 

I had been looking forward to the Lake Marion Triathlon since February.  I signed up exactly six months before the August 17 race date.  I thought it would be fitting end to a year of exercise; my first run (in seven years) had been on August 19, 2013. 

Leading up to the race, I was averaging the following during training.
9:00 pace on runs that averaged about 3.4 miles
16.7mph on bike rides that averaged 13.4 miles
1100yd training swims split two or three ways 

My time breakdown and predicted reactions were as follows:
Over 2:00             Failure
1:55-2:00             At least I did it
1:50-1:55             Good enough
1:45-1:50             Happy
1:40-1:45             Awesome
Under 1:40          Able to retire as champion of the world 

It’s probably obvious by my listing of the training averages above that I purchased a new watch.  I got the Garmin Forerunner 10 and quickly became obsessed with time, pace, speed, distance, elevation and the splits thereof.  I teach in the math department at a local community college so it’s easy for me to get obsessive over the numbers.  For example, if my transition times don’t change and I swim, bike and run at the same rates as in the Chaska Triathlon, then I would end this race with a time of 1:47:20.   Similarly, if I maintain transition times and hit my training averages with a cut equivalent to three minutes off my embarrassing Chaska swim, then my total race time would be 1:42:40.  I was feeling good going into the race; I had no aches or pains holding me back. 

I picked up my registration packed on Saturday afternoon (Sunday race).  The t-shirt for this race was awesome.  The other ones I’ve received throughout the year are a little too “Look at me!” for my taste.  This t-shirt is a darker green and is going to get worn a lot.  Also in the packet was a tri race belt for your bib number.  I was thinking about buying one of these, so that was a nice surprise.  I didn’t use the belt for the race; I went with the same two shirt combo as in the Chaska race. 

The race takes place only about 20 minutes from my house.  I ran the 5K loop for practice a couple days before the race, and I drove the bike course after I picked up my registration packet.  Flat, flat, flat!  This was so much different than the hills on the Chaska course.  The bike only has about three short climbs, and the run similarly only has three short uphill sections.  On my practice run, I even broke twenty seven minutes (just barely) on the 5K.   

After the swimming debacle in Chaska, I did get in one open water practice before the Lake Marion Tri. On the practice swim (in the same lake as race day) the first go was a mess, but the attempts after I warmed up went smooth. I decided that the key to race day was going to be getting in a little practice swim before the start of my wave.   

On race day I got up early and got to the park just after transition opened up.  When I was topping of my tire pressure, I heard a sudden hiss sound and my heart skipped a beat before I heard the accompanying cussing from the fellow whose tire had sprung a leak.  Poor guy, I’d say a flat tire is my biggest worry going into race day.  Maybe it was lucky that he had it happen to him in the parking lot and not on the ride?  Nope.  I unpacked my stuff and headed to transition.  After I was set up, I took off for a short warmup jog.  When I got back to transition the same guy was changing another flat tire.  That’s some rotten luck; it couldn’t possibly happen again. Could it?  Yup; I saw him walking his bike back when I got on the bike course later.  I felt bad for the guy.

Anyhoo, going down to lake for the pre-race meeting I saw the buoys for the Olympic swim.  Wow, that is a long swim.  I had actually sent an email in the spring with a request to be change my registration to the Olympic race.  Luckily, no one got back to my until race week, and by that time I was only training and ready for the short course.  I thought about dumbing it up and trying for the long course, but I was able to work myself out of that stupid decision.  After seeing the length of that swim, I was very happy with my decision.  The sprint swim, on the other hand, looked short and quick.   

It was humid, warm but not hot and there wasn’t much wind.  It was race time.

Swim: ¼ mile
Goal:     Don’t embarrass yourself.
Actual: Awesome.
After the pre-race meeting I got in the water and did a little swim.  The water was chilly, but not cold enough to be uncomfortable.  It was probably similar to the temp of the lap pool at the Y.  When the waves started to go off everyone got out of their way, but there was still a little area off to the side where you could get in the water.  I waded in and took a few strokes here and there right up until my wave was about to start. 

I lined up in the back of the pack for my wave, and walked into the water when we got the starting signal.  This swim went great!  This was everything the Chaska swim was not.  Once I dropped in and started to swim I had no problems.  I got kicked and accidently kicked others a couple times, but nothing that threw me off too much.  It was easy strokes and easy breathing.  It was a triangle course, and I stayed out wide most of the swim.  That probably added a little extra time, but that’s where I ended up being comfortable.  Rounding the last buoy, I picked up the pace a bit and even passed a couple guys from the heat that took off before us.  Getting to shore I looked at my watch and it said 8:15!  What a change from Chaska.  After the swim in Chaska I wanted to quit, and after this swim I felt like the king of the world.  My official swim time was a little slower due to when I started my watch and checking the time before crossing the mat to T1.
Swim Time: 8:33 with an average of 1:57 per 100 yards
Chaska Comparison:   an average of 2:31 per 100 yards
Goal:     Less than three tries to put on my shirt.
Actual:  Three tries.
The run up to transition was a little further than I would have liked to jog without my shoes.  I suppose that’s probably always the case.  My idiot thing about T1 was that I messed up the timing on my watch.  First, I reset the timing, so I wasn’t going to get an accurate total time for the race.  Second, I noticed that I had the watch set to “auto pause”, so my stationary time in transition was not going to be recorded on my watch either.  Nuts.  Otherhows, T1 went off without too many problems.  It is tough getting my shirt on when wet.  I’ll have to figure out a better plan for T1 next year. 
T1 Time:              3:35
Chaska Time:     3:07

Bike: 17.3 miles
Goal:     Less than one hour on the bike.
Actual:  Less than one hour on the bike.
The bike went well.  The course starts off riding through Lakeville, then you head into the country and finally you loop back around to the lake.  The course is mostly flat and fast.  I’ve never had an average speed as fast as I did on this course.  The flats had to be the key.  By my watch, this bike course had about 300 ft of elevation change, and my typical 16 mile training loop has about 450 ft of elevation change.    

At least I thought I was fast.  I must have been passed by 20-30 people on the bike.  Every time a group passed me I would check my watch to confirm my speed, and it kept saying I was ahead of my goal.  It didn’t look like I had any reason to try to speed it up (it’s not like I was holding back anyway).  So, I figured bully for those fast folks, and I stuck to my pre-race goal of getting off the bike within an hour.   

I had a water bottle on my bike and I brought a gu packet of the type that I had been using on my longer training sessions.  I took the gu about 45 minutes into the bike.  I was sipping water throughout the bike, but I didn’t end up taking down much of my bottle.  Coming back to the lake, I saw my family waiting at the last corner before the turn into transition.  My oldest boy (Cooper, 3 yrs) was pretty jazzed to see me, as I was to see them.
Bike Time:  57:21 average speed 18.1mph
Chaska Time:        average speed 16.5mph

Goal:     Quick
Actual:  Quick
T2 has been quick for both races.  I suppose my T1 is too slow and my T2 is fast, so it balances out.  I had pinned my bib to my run shirt again, so with the rack of my bike and a quick change I was off.
T2 Time:             0:44
Chaska Time:     0:42

Run: 5K
Goal:     A minute faster than Chaska
Actual: Missed it by that much.
As I left T2 I saw the family again and the cheered me on my way.  My wife is a trooper.  It’s not easy trying to corral two little boys in a big park with lots of people while dad runs around and has fun.  She did it both races this year without any complains, and it wouldn’t have been the same if they weren’t there.  She’s an amazing woman, and I love hear dearly.   

I had run the 5K course as practice a few days before the race.  I knew it hit the same hill twice on the out and back and that there was an incline on the turn around.  I decided that I was going to take the first half mile a little easier that balls out; I didn’t want to have to stop or walk.  My splits ended up being 8:50, 9:30 and 9:10.   

The run was mostly uneventful, and for the most part it felt like I was running alone. I know there were racers around me, but I just wasn’t noticing them.  I did see one fella ditch into the trees to relieve himself (vomit or potty, I don’t know).  And, there was another guy who I traded leads with about four times.  In the end, he pulled away toward the finish.   

In the last few hundred yards, the course winds through a wooded trail.  I’m sure I was alone in there.  It was darker, cool and quiet before you run back into the sun and the finish line.  It was a great end to the race where I had lots of fun. 
Run time:            28:39 with a 9:15 pace
Chaska Time:     29:36 with a 9:32 pace

The clock at the finish line read around 1:49:00.  I had reset my watch after the swim so, again, I wasn’t sure of my total time.  I went off in the 5th wave so I figured that I was around 12 minutes behind the clock.  It looked like it was going to be a really good time, but I was going to have to wait until I could find a results board (never did) or some internet access.  Great race!  Good weather, good event times, great to see my family at the finish line.  Without a doubt, I’ll be a Marion again next year; maybe I’ll try the Olympic length.
Total Time:  1:38:51

Time Comparison

Packing up after the race.
Pic from the race's facebook page.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Chaska Sprint Triathlon Recap

My first triathlon!  The Chaska River City Days triathlon is a 1/3 mile swim, 16 mile bike and 5K run.  I signed up for this triathlon as a back-up plan.  Originally, I had only signed up for the Lake Marion sprint triathlon in July, but I figured that I should do a couple races in case one had bad weather or I monkeyed things up. 

Leading up to the race, I was averaging the following during training.
9:00 minute pace on standalone runs of 3-4 miles
9:30 pace on brick runs of 2-3 miles
16mph speed on bikes of 9-16 miles
1100yds split two or three ways for training swims 

My time breakdown and predicted reactions were as follows:
Over 2:00             Failure
1:55-2:00              At least I did it
1:50-1:55              Happy
1:45-1:50              Awesome
Under 1:45          Able to retire as champion of the world

Packet pick-up and pre-race
I picked up my race packet on Friday afternoon (Saturday race).  There was a sign noting that, due to flooding, the bike course would be altered and the distance would be 15.4 miles instead of 16 miles.  Since I hadn’t participated in the race before, I didn’t really care.  Also, I figured my time would have to be a bit faster, so this had to be a good thing.

I had bought a bike rack off Craig’s List that was supposed to fit on the trunk of my car.  I tried hooking it up, but I can’t get it to a point where I trusted it not to fall off on the drive to the race.  So, the night before the race I took the car seats (2) out of the family car (Dodge Journey) and flipped down the back seats to lie my bike in the cargo area. 

I bought Zoot triathlon shorts for the race, but I don’t have any sort of tri shirt/jersey.  I decided to go with a sleeveless compression run shirt for the bike and a sleeveless loose run shirt for the 5K.  If I wear the loose shirt on the bike I can feel the parachute effect, and I didn’t want to wear the tight shirt on the run because it makes me look / reveals that I am scrawny (6’5” 195lbs).  I packed everything up, didn’t forget anything, I set my alarm for 5am and had a good night sleep.

In the morning I got up, filled the water bottle, had a couple waffles with a banana and hit the road.  It’s only about 30 minutes to the race site from my house.  When I got there, I unpacked, topped off the tire pressure (my bike is an brick, 30lbs) and set up transition.  I had been looking forward to and planning for this for so long I was a little surprised that I wasn’t more nervous. I got my timing ankle band and my numbering without any problems.  This was all new to me so I didn’t know that they write your bib number (225) on your arm and your age (35) on the back of your leg.  The pre-race meeting had a moment of silence to hope/pray for no rain, they played the national anthem and said a few cheeky jokes about the hilly nature of the course. 

Hope:    Don’t embarrass yourself.
Actual:   Embarrassing
I waded into the water before the swim to check out the temperature.  COLD!  Maybe it wasn’t caps lock cold, but it was cold enough to be uncomfortable.  When the elite wave started, everyone got out of the water and stood around waiting for their time trial start.  The starting order was by bib number which meant that I had about 220 people ahead of me and about a 12-20 behind me.  Everything says that you should be sure to get some open water swims in before you try a race, and they are all correct.  I, however, did not do any open water swims before race day. 

As soon as I hit the water, I couldn’t breathe.  I don’t know if it was the cold water or just being over excited/nervous, but suddenly I couldn’t inhale deep enough to exhaling under water.  After a couple minutes, I tried to calm myself by turning over to my back and taking some deep breathes.  That didn’t work.  I couldn’t catch my breath to get in a normal stroke, and when I did try to exhale underwater seeing the weeds was freaking me out.  I ended up swimming the entire thing with my head out of the water.  I might as well have been doggy paddling.  At one point, I was swimming past a lifeguard and she offered me her floater for a rest, I felt like an idiot.  Just a little bit later, a racer swam by me and asked if I needed help.  I almost quit right then and there.  Luckily, at that point quitting and finishing the swim were about the same length, so I finished it out.  Coming out of the water I was tired, and a little dizzy.

My posted time was 13:53 with a 2:31per 100yds average.  I did start off with a watch, but it didn’t like being in the water and it was not working by the time I returned to land.
Hope:    Don’t forget your helmet.
Actual:  Mission Accomplished.
As I reached my first transition ever, I first noticed that there were nearly no bikes left in the transition area.  Again, I almost felt like quitting.  It would have helped if I had remembered that only 10-20 people started after me, but that didn’t register at the time.  I splashed some water on my feet to get rid of the sand and got my shirt to slide on after only three tries (I need a better plan).  I wore socks and my running shoes.  I’m told some people go without socks, but I’m pretty sure they must be crazy.  The MC announced some people by name as they left the transition area (maybe he was using a referencing sheet with bib numbers?), but I wasn’t lucky enough to hear my name.
T1 Time:  3:07

Hope:     No flat tires and 16 mph
Actual:   No flat tires and 16.5 mph
The bike course was nothing but hills.  I overheard someone saying before the race that this was the most challenging sprint bike course in the state, and without any frame of reference I would say that he was correct.  About half a mile into the bike, I met the leader coming back to T2.  I suppose that could have been discouraging, but I actually thought it was pretty funny.  I know it's unlikely that I will ever be competitive in a race; I’m only racing my expectations. 

At the first turn, the hill is very steep.  It’s so steep that at the pre-race meeting the MC told folks to pull over to the side of the road if they need to walk up the hill.  Yikes!  I made it up without walking, and I believe I even had one gear left on the bike.  I don’t know if I was amongst slower bikers because I was slow on the swim or because I started late in the time trials, but I ended up passing a lot of people on the bike.  I don’t know if anyone I passed was in my age group, but it felt good to keep saying, “On your left.”  I think I saw two people with flat tires, but I got through it without any problems.  I only brought water for the race.  I had a few drinks on the bike, but otherwise I tried to go the whole race without any fueling (might have hurt me in the end).  The bike started out uphill, so at least you end of the loop with a screaming fast downhill.
My posted average speed was 17.1mph, but that was based on the previous 16 mile route.
Bike Time: 56:13 with an average of 16.5 mph
Hope:    Quick
Actual:  Quick
Coming into T2 I could hear my wife and oldest son (Cooper 3yrs) cheering, I racked my bike, changed into my run shirt with the bib pinned to the front, waved to the family and took off. 
T2 Time: 0:42

Hope:    28:00 No Walking
Actual:  29:36 One Stop
I was so looking forward to the run.  I love to run; I wish I could run farther; I wish I could run faster; I wish I could run for ever.  The first mile of the run is a pretty steep up hill.  At this point I was having a lot of fun.  I passed a couple walkers and a couple runners passed me.  It felt like I had a pretty good pace up the hill, but my watch was dead so who knows.  The second mile is mostly flat.  At about 1.5 miles I was passed by a 51 year old lady who was moving at an incredible speed.  As she passed I said, “Wow, that’s fast.”  She said thanks and was on her way.  I looked up her time later; she did a 23:30 5K.  Awesome. 

The second mile went fine.  On the third mile I started to get some terrible stomach cramps.  The third mile is mostly downhill, so I hoped I could tough it out for a strong finish.  But, in sight of the final turn, I had to stop and take a breather.  It wasn’t long, a few seconds, but it helped a lot and I was able to run out the rest of the race.  As I approached the finish line the MC called out my name over the mic, noted that I was tall and asked if I could dunk a basketball.  I waved him off, finished the race and felt a great sense of accomplishment.
Run Time: 29:36 with a 9:32 pace
Total Time:  1:43:32
My watch had stopped working during the swim.  I had no idea what my total time was.  The clock at the finish line was only a reference to when the elite wave went off.  I didn’t know how long I went off after the elite wave, but I guessed had been about 10 minutes.  With that estimate, my time was going to be around 1:55-2:00.  I was a little bummed, but my wife and kids were at the finish line and seeing them made my day.  We walked around a bit while I had some water and post-race snacks.  We snapped a few picks and the family left; they had to take a separate car with the car seats and no bike in the back.  I changed into some less smelly clothes and got some more post-race snacks (great food, and lots of it).  At that point, I noticed there was a results board and anxiously went to check my time.  I think I actually did jump up and down when I saw that I had broke 1:45, but that’s hard to confirm. 

Fletch on the left 1year old
Coop on the right 3 years old

Monday, June 23, 2014

Dan Patch 5K Recap

Although I was happy that I finished a 5K race in May, I wasn’t terribly happy with my time.  The Dan Patch 5K takes place about 2 miles from my house, so I signed up with the hope that I could finish with a time that would make me proud. 

Also, I decided that I didn’t want to put all my eggs in one basket and only run the Lake Marion triathlon in August.  I figured that if the weather was bad or if I monkeyed it up good, then this would just be a big summer of disappointment.  So, I also signed up for the Chaska River City Days triathlon in July.  Both are spring distances, we’ll see how it goes.

I’ve been splitting my days pretty evenly between run, bike and swimming.  I’ve been trying to push a little faster for the runs. I’ll don’t think I’ll ever be fast.  I think I’m just too big, and I’m scared of busting up my knees with speed training.  Anyhoo, on one training run I hit 7:50 on the first mile out. I paid for it on the rest of the run, but I was pretty happy with where my times were going.

Race day for the Dan Patch was sunny, warm and little wind.  My goal was to break 26 minutes; I had gotten close to that in training runs, but I hadn’t broken through 26.  My 5K race in May was over 32 minutes.

I showed up way too early again, and I ended up sitting, walking around and stretching in the Lifetime Fitness parking lot for about ten minutes (registration and start line were in the parking lot).  I hadn’t had any real pain in training coming into Dan Patch, so I was ready to hit it.

I started at the back of the pack and decided I was going to try to get a fast first mile out.  I passed a lot of the pack in the first quarter mile, and then settled into a pace.  There was a spray paint line on the sidewalk to indicate the one mile mark; it’s anyone’s guess how accurate that was.  By my watch, I hit that mark at 7:40.  That seemed fast, but I was trying to push it.  The race is mostly flat; there is a little uphill on the second mile and a little downhill on the third mile. 

When I got to the third mile, I was tired.  Several people passed me in the last five minutes.  Once I could see the finish line I tried to speed up again, but I didn’t have much left.  As I came around the last turn, I could see that the clock was still in the 25th minute, and I couldn’t have been more relieved.  I slowed a little as I reached the finish line, and I clocked in at 25:43 with an 8:16 pace.

Looking at the posted results, I noticed that two guys finished at 25:44.  I don’t know if they just didn’t catch me, or if they were nice enough not to pass me at the finish line.  I like to think the latter is true, and I’ll keep that in mind if I’m ever in that position.  I would have felt pretty rotten if I had been passed right at the finish line.

My first tri is in a month.  I’ll probably pull back on the speed and try to get in some longer work outs.  I’m glad I did this 5K; I doubt I’ll break 26 minutes again this summer.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Lakeville 5K Recap

My first race!  

On February 17, I signed up for the Lake Marion Sprint Triathlon and the Run2Walk 10K.  The 10K was going to be on May 17, 2014 and the Triathlon was on August 17, 2014.   To that point I had been dinking and dunking with a max of 5K runs on my treadmill in the basement.  I started running on August 19, 2013.  I figured all the dates must be a sign. I wanted something to take up my obsession after finishing the fundraising for the 2014 Prior Lake Polar Plunge, and I figured that if I didn’t have a goal that I was going to quit running.

Anyhoo, after about a month of running and trying to increase speed and mileage too quick, I hurt my hip and knee on the left side.  I took a two week break from running, and came back without any pain.  After a couple weeks back, I took another couple weeks off due to a terrible spring cold.  The time off meant that I would not be ready for the 10k on the May 17 race.  I decided to work toward the race and try to transfer my registration to the 5K race. 

On the day before the race I stopped by the dance studio (that’s right, dance studio) to pick up my race packet and to try to change my registration.  I asked if I could drop down in distance and the lady at the front desk said it wouldn’t be a problem.  Well, that was easy…

On race day, I wore a long sleeve t-shirt and shorts.  I had never ran in a long sleeve t-shirt before, but it was a chilly morning and there was a bit of a breeze. I didn’t arrive too early, but I was early enough that I felt self-conscience about standing around.  I did my normal pre-run stretching and also felt a little silly.  Some say that stretching doesn’t do any good, but I always do it and I usually don’t get hurt so I’ll keep doing it. 

The 10K runner were sent off first, and I kinda felt like a failure when I saw them leave.  To this point, I had never actually run 5K outdoors.  Actually, I had only run outside twice for about 2 miles each time.  I briefly thought about taking off with them, but I was able to not be stupid this time.  That’s something that I’m not always able to do. 

When the 5K runners went off, I began at the back of the pack and started with a slow pace.  I really didn’t want to end up walking.  The race was an out and back on the same street.  Out on one sidewalk and in on the other.  There were three reasonably sized hills and you obviously hit each of them twice.  On the first hill, I gave up on what I thought was a slow pace (it was still pretty slow) and started passing people.  It was a charity race so there were plenty of walker and run/walkers.  The run out was into the wind and away from the rising sun.  COLD!  My hands were nearly numb after a mile.  I found my pace and kept going.  At one point I passed a couple teen boys and one said to the other, “Did Tom Brady just pass us?” and the other said, “I think it was.”  They were joking around, but it still made me feel good and it helped with the cold run motivation. 

There was water at the turn around.  It seemed silly to me to drink on a 5K so I ran by and started the back side.  The back side was with the wind and into the rising sun.  It must have felt like a 20° difference.  At this point the group had also thinned out, and I ran by myself most of the way back.

There was one teen boy a ways ahead of me that had dropped from run mode to run/walk mode.  He heard me coming and kept trying to stay ahead of me.  I just kept my pace.  I passed him on an uphill, and then he passed me shortly after.  I passed him again near the end, when he had slowed.  As I passed I said, “It’s that last tenth of a mile that always kills ya.”  I meant it to be friendly, but I realize now that I probably sounded like a dick. 

I finished at 32:10 with a 10:12 pace.  I was a little disappointed with my time, but for my first genuine 5K run I ended up being relatively proud of my accomplishment. 

I didn’t stick around for the results at the race; I just checked them out online.  When the results were finally posted, I was listed under the 10K racers with a 5:12 pace.  I felt like an idiot.  I called in and got the listing changed, but still felt like an idiot. 

There have been a few moments where, in my younger days, I would have quit running or working towards the triathlon in August.  My first outside run was started and ended with my neighbor razzing me by “cheering” me on.  He's a nice enough guy and he meant it to be fun, but in the past that would have embarrassed me into hiding. The same goes for the mis-listing of my 5K time.  Now, it doesn’t bother me so much.  I love running, and I’m not stopping.

Friday, March 7, 2014

First Setback

Well, I had to skip my first workout.  I was going to run some intervals on the treadmill last night, but I skipped out because of shooting pains in my left hip.  It’s a little odd, usually it’s my right hip that gives me the most trouble.  It feels a bit better today; hopefully it won’t take me out of running for too long. 

I ordered a bike trainer that I can use with my old mountain bike.  It was $70 on amazon.  It seems like a bit much, but with all the snow this year I probably won’t ride a bike outside until May (if I’m lucky).  I don’t plan of using my mountain bike for the triathlon.  I’m hoping to pick up a cheap, second hand road bike somewhere along the way.  There doesn’t seem to be any such thing (i.e. cheap) available right now, but maybe the spring thaw will bring some deals.

I did finally get my cholesterol and misc blood tests back, and everything was right in the sweet spot.  Not one problem.  So, we are go for full on training; we just happen to be in a holding pattern while I wait for my hip.  I hope this doesn’t happen too often; it will be tough not to overdue things, I’m a little obsessive. 

Speaking of overdoing things, I’m at about 80% to request that my tri registration get changed to the Olympic distance.  It just seems like I’m going to do a lot of work for only a 1.5-2 hour workout at the end of the summer.  I’m thinking of adding a sprint in July, and changing August to Olympic.  Maybe I’m an idiot. 

My goal for these races is to not embarrass myself.  I’m not going for an award winning time; I just want to finish and do so without being in a horribly distant last place.  I don’t think that will be a challenge in the sprint, but it probably will be one in the Olympic distance.  Maybe I should just raise my expectations, but I don’t really want to race other people I just want to beat the course (if that makes any sense).   I’m really not that competitive in athletics.  I assume I’m not competitive because I usually don’t win, and not winning is easier if you don’t care.  On the other side of the coin, I’m terribly competitive when it comes to a battle of wits.  Again, I suppose that’s because I sometimes (often?) win the intellectual challenges. 

Anyhoo, I’ll get back to running tonight, and hopefully get some biking in on the trainer next week.  We’re going to visit my folks for spring break next week, so I’ll probably just take those days off.  I still don't know if I'm going to tell the family my plans. 
10 weeks the 10k, 23 weeks to the sprint (Olympic?) triathlon

Monday, March 3, 2014


Last week was my first ever run week of 10 miles or more; I got to a total of 12 miles.  Also, on Sunday I did my first 4 mile run.  I was going at an easy pace, so the Sunday run took me 46 minutes.  The week before last I totaled 7.5 miles, so I was probably pushing it by running this long/far.  My rational for taking on the last 4 mile run was that most of my miles were pretty easy (slow) running.  Anyhoo, my knees and hips feel fine; my shoulders hurt, but that is almost always true.

I had a headache and felt a little light headed for most of last week.  It was worse in the morning and afternoon and better at night.  I thought I might not be eating enough, since I’ve dropped to almost 200lbs.  After a couple meals of gorging myself, I found that this wasn’t the problem.  I had chalked it up to a head cold, but after drinking a couple sodas today and feeling better I think the culprit has been caffeine withdrawal.  I have been trying to cut back on the diet soda; I’ll see if this gets any better this week. 

I would really like to get on a bike this week.  I think the high for the week is about 20°, so I’m pretty sure that hope won’t be realized.  I’m thinking of buying an indoor bike trainer, but I would also like to find a cheap bike to go with the trainer.  I have an old mountain bike, but it’s a junker and I suspect slower that a cheap second hand road bike.  I’ll keep checking craigslist for something good. 

I signed up for a lap swim class.  It doesn’t start until after my 10k, but it does run up until the week before my triathlon race.  It’s on Saturday mornings in the summer, only $30.  At least it will give me some water time.

I’m doing strength training tonight, and taking the night off from running.  Also, I’m going to use the same training schedule as last week.  It’s a 10 week plan, and I’m still about 11 weeks out, so a repeated week or two shouldn’t put me too far off.

74 days to the 10k, 166 days to the sprint triathlon