Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Fall Marathon Streak: 7 in 7

In 2005, I ran a streak of marathons. 4 marathons (or longer) in 5 weeks totaling 104 miles. In 2007, I upped the distance to 139 racing miles in 5 weeks (50 miles, 100k, marathon, and a 5k).

So this fall, I couldn't decide what fall area races to run. So, I pretty much ran them all. 7 marathons or longer in 7 consecutive weeks. All in all, it went pretty well. Had a bumpy start on the first two, then I got into a groove.

Groundhog 50k - 9/12
YUTCC 50K - 9/19
Akron Marathon - 9/26
Johnstown Marathon - 10/4
Towpath Marathon - 10/11
Columbus Marathon - 10/18
Running with Scissors Trail Marathon+ - 10/25

Here are the stats:
194 miles
28 hours, 51 minutes, 38 seconds
268,305 heartbeats (taking an average of 155bpm into account)
90 enduralites
84% Avgerage Percentile Finsh Rate (not bad)
24 gels
7 shirts
1 jacket
1 mug
2 large containers of Perpetuam & Recoverite
2 States
1 massage

Monday, August 03, 2009

2009 Burning River 100: 100 Miles, 1 day

Originally written for a few running publications. Bit of a delay on this one...its been a busy fall!


The night was still. I can’t seem to find a better word for it. Almost as if we were in a vacuum. You could hear the stoplight above the road next to the entrance to a little uphill, rocky trail named Glenn’s Trail, humming with electricity as we ran under it. The air was so still you could hear the clicking in the light as it changed from red to green.

I was so happy to see that damn light. Its emerald glow illuminated a sign saying “Welcome to Cuyahoga Fall, Ohio” next to it. And how! That light was it…marking the final miles. I finally knew I was going to make it to the finish.

My pacer, Missy, and I jumped off the road and into the darkness of the trail only light by the headlamps on our heads. Shooting up the trail at a pretty good pace for having ran 99 miles. I just wanted it to be over. Everything hurt and I was experiencing a level of tiredness I had never experienced before in my life. But as we made our way up the trail…I was growing less and less tried as adrenalin took over.

“300 yards to the Road!!!” yelled a voice that pierced darkness as we passed him standing on the edge of the trail. Only 300 yards until we reached the road. So close. We pushed on up the rocky trail trying my best to stay upright and not trip on a rock. No need to blow it this close. As we climbed up, we seemed to be picking up momentum. “I hope Dan and Roy are watching,” I said. “This one was for them.”

We finally reached the top of the trail and popped out onto Front Street. Finally! 1.2 miles to go. I can’t believe it. We took off now. Running as hard I could. I rounded the last corner as I saw the big green Sheraton sign became visible. That sign is much like the famous CITGO sign on the Boston Marathon marking the final mile on the course.

Then I saw it. The last stoplight and just past it was the glow of the red digits of the finish line’s clock. I ran as hard as I could. As I got closer, I could hear Vince’s voice, “C’MON, PUSH IT IN! YOU CAN HIT 22:45!” As I crossed the finish line, I clicked the belt of my bottle pack I have had on all day and sent it flying as I yelled, “AND THAT’S A 100 MILES!”

I was done. Done done. Wow. I did it. My new friend, Greg, was there. He had finished just a bit ahead of me. I must have stayed just behind him since Station Road. Vince gave me a high five. And there was my crew, once again, with just what I needed.

A beer.

How it went down.

After pacing several people and volunteering at a few 100 mile races, people had been asking me when I was going to be a runner and not just a pacer. My answer had always been, “Pacing folks during a 100 miler is a grim reminder why I do NOT run 100s.” My friend Lloyd warned me that I was going to get sucked in. Guess he was right.

Last fall, I had gotten myself in some trouble. I had told some people warming up at the Inland Trail Marathon that if I qualify for Boston, I would reward myself by running Burning River 100. I had been under the weather all week and was pretty sure it wasn’t in the cards for me that day. I was wrong. Somehow I pulled a decent race out and sealed my fate.

Fast forward 10 months to August 1, 4:59 AM at Squire’s Castle.
I had just said “see ya soon” to my awesome crew and was leading to the start line wondering what the hell I was doing. Once again, I was feeling under the weather and with a nasty quad strain from BT50K two weeks earlier on my last “training run,” not sure what was in the cards for me today. I mean, what could possibly go wrong???
“THREE…..TWO……ONE!!!!” went the crowd in the darkness as 155 runners and myself headed off towards Cuyahoga Falls about 101.7 miles away. I wedged myself comfortably towards the back of the pack. The back was a good place to start as I didn’t want to go out too fast which is something I am very prone to do in races.
The first 8 miles were on road. I kept an easy pace and reviewed my race plan in my head I had shared with my crew and pacers. Since everyone was on the same page, it would probably be a good idea if I was, too. Along those 8 miles, I met up with my brother-in-law and talked with him a bit. It wasn’t long before we hit the first water stop and there was Vince. I got an update on everyone, filled my bottles, and off I went.

We worked our way on roads a bit longer and headed to the Polo fields where we finally picked up some trails. It nice was along this section, I met some really nice folks. One gentleman had just finished Badwater. It was fascinating to hear about that race. I couldn’t help but notice his pink shoes. He had a full pink outfit on when he ran Badwater, tutu and all, on a dare.

Another person I met was a guy named Greg. Not only having a cool name, he was from Virginia and while we talked we discovered we had ran Bull Run Run 50 Miler together a few times. Small world. We pulled into Shadow Lake in Solon where I saw my crew for the first time. Got everything topped off and headed towards Alexander Road.
On the way, I got to chat to Greg some more. He has ran about twenty 100s so it was nice to get his take on things and I got to ask him about other 100 mile courses like Western States, Hardrock, and MMT. We made our way to Alexander Road where Paul was the captain. Paul gave me a good update from where I had last talked to Vince. Gave me some great words of advice, and then Greg and I were off towards Station Road in the Valley and the next crew pit stop for me.

This would probably be a good place to mention how awesome my crew was. I was totally spoiled. Jeff and Missy were on the spot at every point in the race where I could have a crew. They were up with me at 3 am and there still with me at 3 am the next day. Then my pacers, Kevin and Missy, were fantastic. Kevin got me through some lows and some technical spots. Missy took over and pushed me when I needed it the most, the rest of the way in when I wasn’t feeling it at points.

When I got to Station Road, the heat had started to creep up and I was really sweating. Of course, this also started some chaffing issues on my nipples. Trying to do anything to bandage them, however, I was sweating the bandages right off. Even duct tape wasn’t holding. That’s right. Duct tape. More on that later. Then comes Steve Godale, like MacGyver, and rigged a lube towelet I had by pinning it on the inside of my shirt. Wow! Worked like a champ. Well done, Steve!

Next issue, as I came out of Station Road loop I noticed that funny little stinging pain I rarely get in my shoes. The duct tape I applied earlier had given out and I felt like a blister. It was good timing with a podiatrist on hand at that aide station. While they fixed up my foot, I sipped on some water and tried to cool off a bit.

Once they were done, I was off and on my way to the Buckeye Trail, a section I know really well. It was there at Ottawa Point I ran into my buddy Dave. We cruised through that next section. Ironically, we had run this section several times this summer. Dave had been battling some stomach issues. But he was hanging strong and we made our way to the halfway point in just a little over 10 hours. On our way in, Dave asked, “Is it was better to puke before or after an aid station?” I answered, “Before! If you are going to puke after you might as not stop at all!”

I got my bottles filled back up and made my way towards the Boston Store. I figured it would be a good time to jam some tunes. Things were moving pretty good on this section as I played a little Dead, Strangefolk, and Marley. Before I knew I was at the Boston Store for the first loop. I was happy to see Elizabeth, the aid station captain, and her crew. She had promised to have a hotdog for there and sna sure enough, there it was. And it was quite possibly the best tasting dog I have ever had.

This is where things got a bit rough.

As I left Boston Store, I made my way up to Brandywine Falls. There isn’t much shade on this section and it was HOT. I couldn’t seem to cool my core down. Climbing up Standford road in the heat with a John Denver song on my iPod just wasn’t getting me to a happy place. Add in that there was this family out for hike and I kept passing on different points. At one of the points, I noticed one of the kids had a popsicle! Oh man did it look good. However, I figured stealing the popsicle and shoving it in my shorts to cool down would be in poor taste, so I moved on. All the while and kid was eyeballing me as if to say, “Don’t even think about it mister!”

I made it back to the Boston Store. Got some foot work done on my blisters and changed into my night gear. I had made it 60 miles and it was time to pick up my first pacer, Kevin. Man, was I glad to see him. I had paced him at Mohican in June, so he knew all to well how I was feeling. I said bye to my family, friends, and my dog who was out eating food at the aid station, and we worked our way to Pine Lane, then to Happy Days.

Kevin pressed me to keep on moving as he wanted to get through the ledges in daylight. This proved to be a great idea and I think help gain a lot of ground. We then inched our way up and down the rock formations and eventually made it out. He headed out around Kendal Lake and up to the Sound of Music Hill aid Station at mile 75. A quick refill and a grilled cheese sandwich and we were off and it was time for the headlamps to come on.

Kevin and I arrived at the covered bridge after going the longest distance without aid on the course and through some of the worst mud on the entire course. Through this section we lost a bit of time and I was now just coming in on pace for 22 hours.
Last year, I had noted that the Covered Bridge station was a bit of a rough place for runners. Many runners there don’t leave and DNF. We filled up quickly. In fact, I was starving and ate quite a bit. Still having a an appetite was a good sign. We then headed out on the most technical part of the course. I know if we got this behind me, it was smooth sailing to the finish.

After four very hilly, muddy, and rocky miles, several water crossing, some stumbling, and lots..and I mean LOTS…of swearing (NOTE: the level of swearing went from Drunken Sailor level to Wounded Pirate level) we arrived back to the Covered Bridge. There, I had to get some more blister work done and then switched to my road shoes. It was time to say goodbye to Kevin as pacer #1. Missy, Pacer #2, was ready to go and we headed off on the country roads in the Valley and headed towards downtown Cuyahoga Falls. 15 miles to go!

Missy and I worked our way out of the Valley and onto the Towpath. We passed the Sewage treatment plant and the fire in the sky and as we made our way and were approaching the Merriman Road aid station when we crossed paths with a skunk. Great! Less than ten miles to go and I get sprayed by a skunk. Luckily, the little guy scampered away and we quickly moved on.

I was really looking forward to the final aid station. Sean from HPL, who played a major part in getting me to Burning River, was there to see me off the finish line. He was there along with a group of HPL folks. It was great seeing them as they really lifted my spirits. They even had one last hot dog for me as I requested. No time to sit back and enjoy it. I took it to go with less than 4 miles to go. We worked our way up and into the park where we hit the path taking us to Glenn’s Trail. And you know the rest.

I need to also mention, I am very lucky to have the friends and family who puts up with me and my running and supports what seems absolutely crazy to them. However, they know it means a lot to me, and again, I am very lucky. I am also very lucky to have had some friends like Vince Rucci, Lloyd Thomas, and Dave Peterman who have given me tons of great advice along the way and really help the day be what it was.

Running a 100 mile race has been a dream of mine for quite some time. As sadistic as it sounds, I had a total blast. I am also in total gratitude of the volunteers who came out who made it all happen. It would not be possible if it wasn’t for all the folks that who made it happen. Everyone was amazing along the way. I have to say I am totally hooked. Now, I don’t have an entry form right in front of me for another race or anything, but I am sure there will one soon!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

2009 Buckeye Trail 50k: Third Time’s the Charm!

The BT50K, as it is known to by the locals, is pretty much THE ultra event in Northeast Ohio. Pretty much everyone runs it. Over the years it has grown from an almost FA event to a full blown race which caters to seasoned ultra runners to folks running their first ultra.

In 2005, that was first ultra. I was in process in training for my first 50 mile race and figured this was an important step. Up until then, it was the toughest race I had run. And I loved every miserable mile of it.

Again in 2006, it gave me another first. My first DNF. For non-runner types this stands for Did Not Finish. It beat me down like never before. I went into the event and had not trained like I had should. Plain and simple…didn’t give the distance the respect it deserved. This is still my one and only DNF.

After 2006, I have volunteered mostly on the course. From Aid station caption, to trail marker. I even measured two of the three sections of the old course.

Now back in 2009, I was really looking forward to running it again. The date being so close to my first 100 miler, I didn’t want to push it too hard. However, I had a good base and was feeling really good and had been running pretty well.

The trick now was, run it hard, but not too hard that I jeopardize running Burning River 100 in two weeks. So, based on that, I figured around 5:30 would be a good pace and also allow me to test out some of the gear I was planning on using during BR100 this year and also test out my nutrition plan I was going to use that day as well.

The Course

The course is an out-n-back which almost entirely on the Buckeye Trail. The BT in this area (close to and in the CVNP) is mostly single track trail with a little road. The course is surprising tough due to in part three factors: Hills, Heat, and Humidity.

The Hills – the course is always doing something, going up or down. Very little flat. Some of the climbs are big. The total elevation gain/loss is about 8,000 ft.

The Heat – July is one of the hottest months for Ohio. Tough thing is it is one of the first HOT months. Most people who train for this, train in June which is not usually as hot. Usually just before the race every year, the weather steps up.
The Humidity – Same as the heat, mid-July can be bad. Also jumps just before the event each year.

The best way to breakdown the course is with the major or “manned” aid stations. There are a few newer water drop spots, but those don’t count. The major aid stations are broken down like so:

Aid StationApprox. Miles
Boston Store5.5
Boston Store5.5

The Race
This year the forecast was looking really good. I was getting bummed I knew I had to hold myself back, but really wanted to race it as it would have been THE year for me to break 5 hours on that course. But, BR100 was more important. However, Mother Nature still got a good jab in. She rained on the course for two days before. Most of the course was still in good shape, but the first section to Snowville was a mess.

Things went really well this year. I maintained a very consistence pace and felt great the whole way. I hit the half way point at about 2:22. On for a Sub 5 even though I wasn’t looking for it. Hit Snowville just under 4 hours on the way back…still on for a sub 5 and never really felt like I pushed it. However, the mud at some point jacked up my quad a bit and I ended up walking in the last two miles for a 5:12.

Best part, except for the quad, I didn’t even feel like I ran 10 miles let alone 30 miles. I KNEW finishing that race I was ready for BR100. Being my last real training run…that had better been the case!

As for my splits, I think this is good for a sub 5 race plan there. The goal would have been to hit Ottawa Point by 4:40 and running the rest in. These are about as accurate as I can get them from my Garmin…

Aid StationSplit Time (min)Clock Time
Boston Store431:40
Pine Lane422:22
Boston Store393:01
Ottawa Point504:45

Being more of a training run, I wanted to keep things fairly relaxed and even paced. Hitting the split a little fast than expected, but felt great the entire way. I spent more of my time in Zone 3 with an average heart rate of 153. The time spent in zone 2 is from my last miles back where I really backed off with having some quad muscle issues.

Now, from a nutritional aspect, I basically executed what I am planning on doing at Burning River. I ran with my new Nathan double bottle pack which worked out GREAT. I love it. I kept one bottle filled with water the other with Hammer Perpetuem. Ths was a little much for a 50k, but again, wanted to get some time in with it on before BR. Along with water and Perpetuem, I also had a flask of Hammer Gel which I sipped on along the way. This seemed to fuel be pretty good. In hindsight, I should have drunk a bit more water. The day was a bit more humid than how it felt.

Two weeks to the big day…Burning River 100!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Muddy Paws 10 Mile

My key blocks of training for Burning River was rounded out in a fun local race called Muddy Paws. It is a hilly 5 mile trail loop that is ran once for the 5 mile event and twice for the 10 mile. They also have a 2 mile with your dog which is always a riot to watch that start every year.

My plan this year was to run it smooth and even. I wanted to run each of the 5 miles in the same time. It being the end of a 300 miles in 3 weeks block and only seven days out from BT50K, I didn't want to kill my legs.

Things went pretty well and first lap was 43 minutes and the second was 44. Right there! Ended up catching some folks in the second lap that had gone out a bit too fast. Good for 2nd place in my age group.

After the run, I ran the course two more times with Dave and E-Speed. While we were out there the biggest storm of the summer hit and it rain buckets down on us. Looked like waterfalls coming down the trails!

Saturday, July 04, 2009

2009 Davey Tree 5k/10k

After months of planning, the big day finally arrived for the Davey Tree 5k/10k. Being the first race I formally sat on a committee for, I was really excited. We had made some changes to the event this year and the outcome was a great turnout and excellent responses from the runners.

As for me, I was able to sneak in and run both the 5k and 10k. Being right smack in the middle of some big 100+ mile weeks getting ready for Burning River, I just didn’t have the spring in my legs like I usually do. But a true “double” was a first for me and also a great training run. Not at all easy, but I still managed to pull down some hardware taking 3rd in my age group in the 10k for the second year in a row.

We are already working on plans for next year’s event. All I can say is expect some BIG changes to the event and taking it to the next level. See you all there in 2010! You don’t want to miss this one.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Hatfield-McCoy Marathon

As the sun rose in the misty hills of West Virginia, (mountains for us flatlanders), I found myself heading south, once again for another hot race. This time was the Hatfield-McCoy Marathon. I first read about this race a few years ago in the Running Times and have been interested in it since. Loving history this would be great to visit the area known for it's famous feud between the families of Hatfield and the McCoys.

Wikipedia has a great summary here of the origin and history of the feud. The marathon does a great job going past the famous landmarks outlined in the article. Two interesting things on that page: 1. Notice the number of mercenaries who were sent down to break up the fight that were never heard from again and 2. Notice any thing kinda strange with one of the family trees? Yeah, that isn't a's a diamond...get my drift.

The Course
Known for being a very hot, humid, and hilly course, The Hatfield-McCoy Marathon course starts at the Food City in Goody, Kentucky and twists its way through the hills and hallows (think they called it the haller) over Blackberry Mountain, to Matewan, West Virginia at the halfway point. Over more hills. Through a trail section. Over a suspension bridge. Through more hills. Finishing in Williamson, West Virginia.

Along the course, you past several historical spots from the Hatfield-McCoy feud and the Matewan Miner Massacre. Aside from the historical aspect, the course is very rural and scenic. You get to see Appalachian America at it’s finest. It is a whole other world down there.

You are not going to beat the hospitality on this course. I though that the OBX was by far the friendliest course. This was a close tie. There were 25 (yes 25) aid stations along the course. With the heat and humidity, you are very happy to see single one. I start every road marathon with a bottle of water I toss at the second or third aid station. I kept this one around the whole race. This one isn't a bad idea to carry a hand bottle on.

The Race
I decided early on that this race would be a great race for some heat training for Burning River. Looking at the times, I wanted to take a run at top 10. To get a strategy together, I emailed Chuck “Marathon Junkie” Engle. Having won the race several times, I could not think of a better source. He gave some great advice:

1. Drink a lot and Drink Early
2. Watch the Hills. You never get out of a hill what you put into it

I really liked the hill comment. And the advice made complete sense.

So, I got to the start line and the temps were already over 70 and the dew point was ridiculous. It had looked like it had rained. Folks slowly showed up and after a talk from the race director (who is a real Hatfield) and a shot gun blast we were off.

I purposely went out fairly easy and wanted to see how things shaped up. The first few miles were down hill and the pack slowly began to thin out. I grouped up with another runner who was keeping about the same pace as me and we hung out and talked for a few miles as I waited for the “climb.” It soon came…Blackberry Mountain. About mile 7. A very big climb. Good new after the big climb…a big down hill! Once that leveled out we went a few more miles and next thing I know I was heading into Matewan. Halfway!

Upon entering town I was happy to hear I was in 8th place. Funnier to hear if I would have did the half-marathon I coulda been 3rd overall!

Heading out of town, I really began to notice something. It was really starting to get warm. Over the next few miles, a few guys caught me, and I caught a few more. After some more hills. Ok, a lot of hills. I got past the trail section which was much more technical than I expected. Past the swinging bridge in the golf course (this was crazy...). And into more hills. To make a long story short (too late) I found myself chasing the 10th and 11th places guys. 10th looked like he was hurting, but we couldn’t seem to pull him back. Why? Because we were hurting, too. But the last mile was pretty much all out 10, 11, and 12 (me) ran through the flood gate wall going into Wilamson. The crowd seem to like the chase and they were all screaming as we crossed the finish line.

I missed my top ten spot and but pretty happy I at least made someone work for it. In the process, I was able to win my age group and score a nice trophy! I sat in the town fountain (called the hog trough) cooling off (I believe I was the first runner to get in this year.) While cooling off I got to talk with number 11 for a while. Nice guy from the Bay Area. Slowly working on all 50 states as well.

Holding true to my other races I am really looking at my heart rate for the race. I had a basic plan which I believe was a bit aggressive to a course this difficult in this heat…at least for me.

It look like I ran this one the best I could in the conditions. I rally noticed my heart rate climb in the second half as the heat rose and my hyration level lowered. Pretty normal. I am still collecting data learning quite a bit about myself and my heartrate while running. Nice to have several shorter races in the year to look at, and now some longer races to analyze as well.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Pineland Farms Trail Challenge

Well, the summer is officially started for me with the Pineland Farms 50K. This race had been up in the air if I was going to run it or not, but with the plan of stacking races though the spring and summer for Burning River, it ended up being a prefect time to jump to a longer race.

Getting up to Maine was absolutely beautiful. I had not been to Maine in a long time and was pretty happy to mark it off my state list. My third state for the year already!

I had saw on the Ultra list that some folks, Mike and Paige, were going to be heading up there. I actually ran into them in the parking lot before the race. Mike’s colorful chili pepper shorts gave him away. I chatted a bit with them and it was time for me to get ready for the race.

While getting ready, I started talking the guy in the car next to me. His name was Blaine and he was a local runner who ran with the Trail Monsters running club who runs trails in the area. I got some course tips and advice from him. As we talked more, he saw my Vertical Runner shirt and realized he knew my friend and fellow VR runner Lloyd! Small world.

The Course
The Pineland race course is made of a 25K figure eight (or what felt like a figure eight) loop. Basically, about 10 miles on the first loops that weaves in and out of single track pine woods to tall grassy fields. The back 5 miles was mostly trail with some bigger hills.

The hills on the course were constant. You were either going up or down. No flat really. The toughest sections for me were the grass fields. The angle of the trail in those sections had you running almost sideways. But the change of terrain was pretty constant which helped.

The Race
We gathered in the start corral for the pre-race meeting. We got the low down on the course and also instructed not to bitch about the fields. Everyone got a laugh out of that.

Then we were off! I went out a bit fast early on. (Shocking I know.) But after 7 or 8 miles I settled into a good pace. It was about then my stomach started flip-flopping on me. After a bit, another runner started running with me. She recognized my VR shirt and ended up being VR’s Inov rep! This world keeps getting smaller! We talked for a bit while holding a pretty good pace. My stomach was still going nuts so I was quietly looking for a strategic place to puke. The company did me wonders and eventually, I got things under control.

After hitting the back loop, I went through the first lap in 2:08. A bit fast, but I was very happy I was on pace to finally break 5 hours (my goal for the day.) Bad news was I had missed my drop bag somehow. DOH! Oh well.

I kept an even pace and ran all the hills until finally about mile 20 which has a pretty big hill. By now it was nice, the 25kers were out on the course with us and they were awesome to run with and being very encouraging.

As I headed back towards the final back loop I was starting to feel a bit tired. I needed those gels that were in my drop bag. As luck would have it, an aide station appeared! Perfect timing. I grabbed some food and left the aide station while they were playing one of my favorite songs of all time, Whipping Post by the Allman Brothers…

“Oh Lord, I feel like I am dying, yeah…” echoed from the station as I ran out towards the final back loop. Rather appropriate timing for that song.

Feeling better but still feeling a bit low once I got to the back loop, I decided it was time for the old standby. I hit another aide station and it was time for some tunes.

Funny how songs take on a new meaning when hear them in a new light. The first tune started playing and it was The Black Parade by My Chemical Romance. For the most part, I really hate most EMO crap. I mean seriously, how you can put Emo bands on the same playing field as The Sex Pistols, Black Flag, or Bad Religion is a joke. Anywaaaaaay, this song has a lot of meaning to me and got me moving again.

I pushed through the final back loop. It was then I was passed by the 50 mile winner, Leigh Schmidt! He said hi and hung with him for a bit. I was fighting off some quad cramping issues, but was still able to run some hills.

Next, I came up on Paige. She was doing great and running still very strong. I had read on her blog she was very happy to be there in Maine and was really excited. So, it was nice seeing she was having a great day, too. We talked a bit and I pushed on as she stopped to stretch out her legs.

The last few miles I ran with this guy who was hilarious. He was a 25ker. We kept playing leap frog. I would pass him, and he would pass me back. Each time he gave me the rocker sign and put his fist out to give me “knucks.”

I hit the last aid station and by my calculations (or as I call it, Finish Line Algebra), I was hoping I could finish in the 4:30s which would have been sweet. By now my legs were pretty shot so the last mile took a bit longer…ended up 4:41 on the clock. A PR by 31 minutes! Pretty thrilled with that.

The Stats

I am still collecting data about my races and using my heart rate is working very well. I had misjudged a bit in the early stages of this race and went out about 7:20 pace. Once I found a better pace I hung in the 8:30-9:30 pace for most of the race.
As you can see, I spent most of the time in Zone2 (132-147 bpm) and Zone3 (147-162 bpm) which is where I wanted to be. My overall average was 150bmp which is about 73% of my maximum heart rate based on a max of 192 and a resting heartrate of about 40.
For this kind of race, I think this is where I should have been. So, all in all, pretty good results. I am getting on track with where I want to be by August in the heat.

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Saturday, May 23, 2009

Great Kobe vs LeBron commercial

If you have not seen this commercial yet, it is awesome! I loved it!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Pacing at Cleveland Marathon

The email came in Tuesday morning…”Cleveland Marathon lost it’s second half pacer for the 3:20 pace group.” Being only days away, this isn’t good. Since I wasn’t going to run Cleveland this year and taper for the 50k the next weekend, I was like, what the hell. Nice fast run..1:40 half marathon then back off the rest of the week. Sounds like fun!

Ok, so for all you non-runners out there…a MARATHON pacer is a person who runs with a sign as a specific pace so people who are trying to run a certain speed or qualify for Boston have some one to help them. They are free of charge and supplied by the marathon for it’s participants.

So, I got the call from Kelly, who heads up the pace group. She informed me that 3:20 was covered now, but they had some problems with the 3:00 pacers. Hmmm. 1:40 half marathon a week before an ultra..sure…, but a 1:30 half might hurt a bit more. Doable…but would probably impact my race. We then worked out a plan to have three people instead of two cover the 3:00 group. Cool.

She then asked me if I had experience pacing. I told her I had. But it usually involved a head lamp, being up all night, and at least one person puking. Kelly informed me that it should be that bad. Bummer!

I went to the expo and got to meet all kinds of people and also met some folks who were going to try and break 3 hours the next day. Vince was there with Vertical Runner. Talked to him a bit while there too. Also got to see tons of the VR Training group folks. It was a total blast.

Some of the perks of the weekend was a hotel room downtown in the Radisson (great view of the city), valet parking, VIP access to everywhere, food, shirts, more food, more shirts…it was great. So, I got to do what I love doing and got paid for it. Sweeeet.

So, the next day was crazy. Got up and headed down to the Galleria to meet up with the other pacers. Found Sean, one of the other 3 hours guys (pictured above next to me with his tongue out Gene Simmons style), and headed to the start coral. Right up front and center. Right behind the elites. Pretty damn cool. Having trained with a few of the folks up there, I talked with them for a bit. Wished them luck and we went!

We shot out the start a bit quick and rounded the stadium at about 5:30 pace. A bit fast. The guys were going to back it down and get in a groove. I hit the first mile marker so my watch was synced and bit them farewell until mile 18.

We were then rushed to a car and escorted out to Mile 18. And waited.

I got warmed up and started running in reverse to meet up with the group. Saw the leaders going past. A bunch of the SERC guys came flying past. Everyone looked and was running very strong. Then I saw the balloons. It was Sean….RIGHT ON TIME!

I started running with Sean and got a quick briefing of how things were going. We were a bit a head of schedule, but we wanted to run around a 2:59. We were at 6:46 pace so things were looking good. He still had a group runners, and in the group was the first place female. I took the balloons and Sean dropped back to help another VR runner qualify for Boston (way to go, Sean! and congrats Howard!)

For the record, it isn’t easy running with those balloons in that wind. But, I found a way to rest it on my shoulder and pushed through it. The group pasted Mile 23 and we were still on time. At this point, I started to pick up people who were ahead of me and told them this train was pulling in BEFORE 3:00 on the clock. A few guys were hurting, but some encouragement helped and they were hanging with us. The group kept growing.

As we rounded towards the finish, the wind got worse and worse. I began to yell at people to get behind me so they could draft a bit and get out of the wind. I remembered how windy it was at Boston this year, so I knew it was beating on them pretty good by now. By mile 26, I had a line of guys in a train. Not realizing I had picked up about 5 guys. I guess I wasn’t joking about bringing this train in on time! They got a kick out of the “Pain Train” comment ala Terry Tate.

As we pushed down the home stretch, the crowd was going nuts. It was great. Then I could see the clock…oh yeah!
We did it! 2:59:16! On the money!!!!

I crossed the timing mats at the finish line and I walked to get a drink of water. On my way, I was tackled from behind. One of the "Pain Train" members was hugging me, completely out of breathe, and saying he could have not done it without me. What cool experience….except the whole guy hug thing and all…well, you know.

As for pacing, sign me up! I told Kelly, I had a great time and would LOVE to do it again. However, my next pacing gig is going to be back in the woods in June.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Divided by Night: New Crystal Method Album!

Finally! After 5 years, a new album from one of my favorite groups out there, The Crystal Method, has released Divided by Night. I grabbed it the day it came out on iTunes and listened to it at work all day. Great album! Not quite as good as their first album Vegas, but it keeps growing on me the more I listen to it.

If you jump on iTunes, check out tracks: Divided by Night, Smile?, Double Down Under, and my favorite Drown In the Now featuring Matisyahu (awesome song!)

Sadly, checking their website, no Cleveland dates have been released for the tour. I have caught them several times over the years and they still rank as one of the best shows I have ever seen.

However, there is one in Vegas…hmmmmm.