Sunday, April 2, 2017

Harrisburg Capital 10-Miler

It was April 1, 2017 the morning of the Harrisburg Capital 10 miler.  This was my third time running this event.  It was a cool morning, after a day a very hard rain.  In the morning I ran around the island spotting out where the "water hazards," there was a very large water hazard on the west side of the island.  I knew we would have to run a little off-road to get around it.  So I meant up with my coach, Lindsay, took a lap around the island with her, and then got ready for the race. 

I lined up just before 9:00, a few people back, I never want to start in the front, because I hate the feeling of being passed by everyone. So I started out just behind the fast people, and I wanted to line up on the right side so I could get around the "water hazard."  The gun went off and off we went I worked my to the right hand side of the pack, and worked my way around the water hazard and a few of the people that thought they were faster than me.  The coast was clear and I was ready to run, I got around the island and felt great I was headed across the Walnut Street Bridge and looked at my watch, and said "Oh Shit, too fast."  My watched said six minutes, I knew that would be way to fast.  I hit the first mile marker at 6:04, that was way too fast, but I felt good, and I knew I could slow down a little bit for he next mile.

The next mile was along the river front and the packs were broken up at this time, and I was settling into a pace that I could managed over the next nine and half miles.  I got to mile two and 6:18 was on my watch I was much happier with that mile, settle into this pace I told myself. I got to Phoenix Park, another spot that I was nervous for, since this is mostly gravel and dirt trail, and we had heavy rain yesterday.  I got around the park, we are on the fifth mile, and we have the long run along the river next.  The race heads north along the river front.  I slowed down heading up the river front, I was chasing two guys who were pulling away from me.  We made it up to the Sunken Garden, and I couldn't see them anymore.

They next part of the race was the Harvey Taylor Bridge, which I knew there were going to be cross winds.  I could see the two guys in front of me on the bridge.  The one guys was way a head of me, I knew I wouldn't be able to catch him.  I also thought I wouldn't be able to catch the other guy either, but I thought I would try.  But I kept myself together, and told myself make it to mile 8 and give it all you got. 

I got advice from my coach the day before the race, which was "you can do anything for two miles."  Which was the mantra that I kept telling my self as I was returning on the Harvey Taylor Bridge.  I ran as fast as I could for the last two miles.  I got to mile 9 and I finally passed one of the guys I have been chasing for the past 8 miles.  He passed me again on the Walnut Street bridge and I thought I lost him for good, he was pulling away from.  We got off the bridge, and I chased him through the commence part of City Island, and finally caught him on return to the finish line.  I gave it all I got, I didn't look back and I just ran, ran like I stole something.  I finished just a little after 1:04.  I was 4th in my age group, outside of any prizes.

I didn't make my time goal, but I do believe I did a little bit better with pacing this race, than my last.  I felt stronger near the end and I think that was the point. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Harrisburg Marathon 2016

I know this is my first post in a very long time, and I should get back to writing these race reports so I will try to.  I heard it can be therapeutic, and right now I could probably use it.

Anyways the Harrisburg Marathon 2016,  was 6th time running this event (which I calculated in my head so you know it is probably wrong). 

I had the goal of running a sub 3:05 which is a guarantee entry into Boston (also a guarantee into London, but I don't think the mini-van will be able to cross the pod), a 3:10 is a qualifier but you have to wait to see if the time meets the qualifying time to get in (to qualify for Boston you have to have a qualifying time to enter it, they keep the registration open for a week so everyone who has one can enter, then they calculate using some algorithm using the number of entries and the number of people they can have in, and they come up with some number between 1-300 which will be the seconds they will take off the qualifying time.  So when I ran it the number was 97 and I had a time of 3:07:53 which is more than 97 second off of 3:10 and so I got it. Got all that?). Now to the race and the race build up.

For this marathon I was training with my new friend Bud Hostler who I met though mutual friends Craig and Dee Ann Murphy.  We both had a goal of breaking 3:05, his was a 3:00, but said 3:05 as a back up. We had two training runs one was 20 and one was 15 with the last 5 being race pace.  So I met up with Bud Sunday morning and we did some warm up laps around the island, and then I did my usually porta-john stops for my warm up after that I stopped by my car to drop off my sweatshirt and I headed to the start line.  I met with Bud at the start line, which was on The Market Street Bridge, and the plan was to keep a 6:30 to 7:00 minute mile for as long as we could.  

The plan was working great we stuck together and a good solid pace just around 6:30-6:45 a mile (my watch would vibrate me if I went slower than 7:00 and if I went faster than a 6:45).  My watch was vibrating but I kept checking it, and as long as I was close to 6:45 time and if I felt fine I would just keep going.  At mile 5 miles my stomach started to rumble and I thought I might need to make a pit stop, which I did at mile 9 on the island I called out to Bud to tell him to go and I will catch up, I was out for about 20-30 second and got out of the porta-john as quick as possible.  I turned the corner on the north side of the island and could see Bud so I knew I didn't lose to much time and heard Dee Ann and Darrin say to take it easy and finish strong.  I kept my wits about me and just ran my pace I was already faster than the 7:00 minute mile so I knew I would be okay if I could keep this pace.  I slowly caught back to Bud around mile 18 or 19 we were back on Front Street at this time and could tell he was struggling, I was starting to struggle around this time too.  I told myself just run it mile by mile and I will eventually get to the finish line.  I slowly pulled away from Bud, Bud told me just to go and he would be okay.  I think Bud and I were on the same wave length here, if I was in trouble I would want him to go as well.  He also knew I was younger and my qualifying was faster than his time, and the ultimate goal if everything else failed was to get a qualifying time to Boston, and maybe that is why he told be to go (to be honest I really doubt any of us has a good memory of what actually happened, it just did, and I was grateful for him to be there to support me and I was glad to support him too).  I saw him at the turn around and he was still looking good.  This is when I started to feel the wheels falling off of the wagon.  I knew Mile 17 was the first mile slower than 7:00, and mile 20 was my first mile slower than 7:15 (which is a 3:10 pace) but I kept telling myself my first half was so good I have some time to loose if I needed too (and boy did I).  At this time I started hearing Bob Rudolf, Jason Foggleman and Susan Cappelli cheering for me.  They were on their bikes riding the course, I think they were following me, but again I can't be sure at this point of the race (I might of been delusional) .

At this point I remember what 6-time Ironman World Champion, Dave Scott, told me in a speech. Which was during any endurance event you will hit a point where you feel like stopping, but you will get through it, just keep going and you will get through it.  I believed that so I just told myself that everything was okay and just keep running these miles and this pain will pass.  I turned down Green Street and I saw my friend Emily, from HARRC and the River Runners, going the other way and I gave her a high-five and wished her luck (I think it was Emily, again at this point in the race things were getting fuzzy).

The aid station on Green Street was the first I walked though, I grab a water and Gatorade and just started running again (knowing if I walked the legs were just going to hurt more). I kept telling my self to push just to the end the current mile and I will feel better.  I was around mile 22 when I turned back on to Front Street, and just said one more mile and we only have a 5K to the finish.  My quads at this point were screaming for me to stop, begging me to just walk, and I just told them to shut the hell up I will stop when we get to the finish line.   Right before the 24 mile marker I met up with, Mike Rebuck a cross country coach, and a one of his other friends running the race too.  He kept me running, with words of encourgement and he was helping to keep my form together.  At this point there were two miles to go, and how two miles was really like 16 or maybe 17 minutes, I can survive 17 minutes, right?

At this time I remembered how I ran my first marathon with my friend, Matt Smith, and we ran a 4:40 and at this point of the marathon we just wanted it to be over, and at the finish line I told him "NEVER AGAIN!!" and I was looking up other races later that evening.  I also remember how lucky I was to be able to run, I was able to run a sub 9 minute mile pace when my legs are screaming for me to stop.

We made it to the river front and I broke up the race into sections at this point, and used land marks as starting position for the sections.  The first sections was the Walnut Street bridge, just get there and the next one will be the top of the hill, just a short few yards up a small incline (which everyone hates), then the Harvey Taylor Bridge where we turn around and make the final approach to the finish, then to Pine Street  then Second and then I will be able to see the finish.  I kept telling myself just a few more seconds and I will be there.  I finally made it to Second Street and Mike was cheering me on, and I can hear the crowd cheering for me to finish.  I finally crossed the finish line and the volunteer grabbed me and as I was trying to catch my breath, but before I could they took me to the med-tent.  I guess I looked really bad, I was trying to tell them that I was okay but they weren't having any of it, they took me in checked my blood pressure and my temperature, apparently I was okay, and then I got a massage and then I left the med-tent.  I then picked up my medal and saw my family, we chatted for a bit and they went off to the Whitaker Center, and I went back to thank Craig, Dee Ann, Darrin, Bud, Mike and anyone else I could find for helping me finish this marathon.  It was really tough and I really did want to quit at some points, but I knew I wouldn't forgive myself if I started walking.  I am truly thankful for Bud for keeping me on pace for the first half of the marathon, and training with me.  I am also thankful for Mike for getting me through the last sections of the race, I really couldn't have done it without you two.

I went back to my car which was parked on City Island, I went to reach for my car key which is always in the pocket, which has a zipper on it, that is attached to my shorts.  The zipper was open and there was no key to be found in it.  I lost my key, and my phone was locked in my car so to call my wife I needed to walk back to the finish line.  So I slowly walked back and found Dee Ann and used her phone to call my wife and thank God she had one of the spare keys.  I went to the Whitaker Center and got the key, and then I contacted my friend, Kelly who was working the finish line, to see if she found a key, which she did and it was mine.  So some really, really nice person found it on City Island and put it in the lost and found, thank you nice person I owe you one.

I really do want to thank everyone who came out to cheer for me, and cheer for the people running the marathon and the relay on that day.  It has been said by Katherine Switzer, "If you are losing faith in human nature, go out and watch a marathon."  I have to say I was starting to lose faith in human nature that week, and I was so glad to see everyone cheering everyone on.

I also want to thank Lind Beck, she is part of the River Runners, which is a Facebook group that has over 1,000 members and her and two other River Runners took the 47 members of the group that were running the marathon and wrote a small piece on them, which I include here:

Over the next few weeks, Jeff Paladina is profiling River Runners who are competing in the Harrisburg full marathon on November 13. The idea is for you all to get to know them, so you can cheer them along the course on race day. If you can't cheer them on race day, you can support them virtually. (Feel free to post a message of support below). Kelly Leighton and I are helping out since we are almost at marathon day, and still have quite a few runners left!
Allow me to introduce you to another one of our “fast kids,” Keith Evans. Not only is he fast, but according to Norbert Randolph, he is also “the nicest guy ever.”
Keith ran short distances when he was in high school into his early 20’s. But, he says, “Life kind of got in the way in my mid 20’s” and he didn’t run again until he was almost 30. Why did he start again? Because he had gained enough weight to have it affect his cholesterol; instead of going on medication, he asked for 30 days to prove he could start making a difference. (And, time has shown he certainly did.)
At first, he rode his bike until it had to go into the shop. That forced him to run every day which “made me think I could run a marathon—something I have always wanted to do,” he said.
Athlinks lists him as completing the Harrisburg Marathon on November 9, 2008 at a time of 4:40:48. Between then and now, he has completed 13 other marathons, including Boston in 2015. He said he felt overtrained and didn’t get the time he wanted there—especially with poor weather that day--so his current goal is to get back to Boston with a finish time of 3:05, hopefully on Sunday. (Talk about a little bit of improvement!)
Now, he loves “just running and letting my head clear of all the problems I may have.” He also said, “I think the reason I still run eight years going is the way I feel now compared to how I felt in my 20’s. I remember I always felt lethargic and now I don’t.”
Many know him as a dedicated triathlete. Keith says he enjoys the cross training of bike riding and swimming but he says he also enjoys triathlons because it’s a “lot of fun doing more than one sport.”
More than just a triathlete, he can also be called an IRONMAN, having completed Ironman Texas in 2012 with an overall time of 12:47:13.
Dee Ann Murphy had this to say about Keith: “He is a sweet guy who is dedicated to his family, uses races in triathlons and running to give back. And, he’s a total stud on the race course.”
He’s given back by raising thousands of dollars for Team in Training (Leukemia and Lymphoma Society) and the American Cancer Society. “When I was running, I always thought I could do more,” he said, so when Team in Training sent recruiting materials, he decided to get involved. Since then, he’s lost a family friend (Georgenna Pulitti) to Leukemia and his Uncle Larry this past summer to cancer. Those losses have prompted him to continue to want to give back.
Those opportunities have also given him two great friends, including Jason Fogleman and Bob Rudolph (aka Norbert Randolph). “I would like to give a shout out to Jason. In 2013, when I ran my qualifying time, he ran the last six miles with me keeping me on pace. This year, Bud Hostler and I are planning to run together for the whole race and I’m hoping I can stay with him.”
Keith has been married for 11 years and has two beautiful girls, with his lovely wife, Lisa; they often cheer him on at races and plan to be there on Sunday. He said family activities keep him very busy so that he often completes his training before 7 am!
Authors Note: Since I know his mom, I had to ask her for a few words and this is what she had to say: “His dad and I are so proud of him. He amazes us with his times. He doesn’t like me bragging about his races, but I do anyway.” Spoken like a true mom!
Keith, your whole family and the rest of us are rooting for you to get that BQ on Sunday. May the wind be at your back so you can nail down that 3:05 time!
When you see Keith on November 13, give him a loud River Runners cheer! Good luck Keith! River Runners Nation is behind you! Send Em! Ole Ole Ole!

Thank you for reading, 

Sunday, January 10, 2016

How to Manually Upload Zwift Rides to Garmin Connect

Since I am a primary Garmin Connect user, since I had a Garmin watch since 2008, I would like all my crazy and wild work outs to be in Garmin Connect.  With this past year I became aware of software I can use in my trainer that would prevent me from going completely mad, and prevent me from watching 2001 Tour de France videos on YouTube for the millionth time.  The one software package I choose to use is called Zwift, which lets you ride on a remote island somewhere in the Pacific Ocean, and also on the UCI 2015 World Championship course in Richmond Virginia.  I chose this software because it gave you a 50km free trial or 14 days whatever comes first.  So since I keep my workouts in Garmin Connect, and all Zwift will do is upload to Strava I don't have an automatic way to upload to Garmin Connect.  Zwift also saves a .FIT file out to your Document directory.  So here are the steps to manually upload to Garmin Connect.

To manually upload the .FIT file to Garmin Connect: 

  1. Open Garmin Connect in a web browser: 
  2. Log in if you need to 
  3. Go to the activities page
  4. In the upper right hand corner of the page you will see a link for Import, click on that
  5. A dialog box will appear, and then click on "Choose File" 
  6. Find the .FIT file you want to upload, on Windows they are in the Document/Zwift/Activities
  7. Click on the file that you want to upload
  8. Then click on the "Upload activity from file"
Don't worry if you have you Garmin Connect account linked with Strava, the new workout will not overwrite the current activity that Zwift sends to Strava. I also did ask Zwift if they are planning to create a process to automatically upload to Garmin Connect, and they said currently they are not working on it.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Harrisburg Marathon 2013

It was a cold morning in Harrisburg on November 10th, 2013.  It was similar to how it was five years ago, for my first marathon.  I got to City Island shortly past 6:30, and I parked the car.  Then took a warm up lap around the island going to the bathroom at each of the port-a-johns around the island.  When I was headed back to my car, I saw my good friend Ed.  Ed was taking the job of Matt Smith that day who was off defending the nation, part of is reserve duties that he has to perform.  We chatted a bit, he wished me luck on qualifying for Boston and I headed off to my car.  I then met up with the River Runners for a group photo and then headed off for one last bathroom break.  I ran into Andy Courtney and Howard Andrews we chatted and walked up to the start line together.  I tried to start up front, I saw the 3:25 pace group and definitely wanted to be in front of them (3:10 was the goal).

First Mile, Photo take by
Bob Rudolph
The national anthem was sung and then the horn went off for the race.  The first mile was way too fast for me 6:20 and the second one was even faster 6:19, I had to slow down there is no way I could keep this pace going for 3:00 hours.  I stopped in the first port-a-john I saw (I sort of had to go) and I knew I would be with slower runners when I got out, and maybe that would slow me down a bit.  The third mile was 7:11 and and I felt like I was at a good pace we were just entering the green belt section of the course where you go through Phoenix Park by PennDot.  We got out of that and I still felt good and my pace was still under 7:00/mile pace.  We headed back to the island to take a lap around the island and then back out along the river.  I was telling my self just keep a good pace like I was doing and I will make it just fine. 

I was feeling real good up until Industrial Road where the wind started picking up.  Around mile 14 I saw Josh Beck running past me while pushing Donna Mummert, an ALS patient, the entire marathon.  I thought at this point I was in trouble, but I looked at my trusty Garmin and saw I was still on pace, and I told myself only 12 miles to go.  I headed into the HACC parking lot feeling a little run down but the parking lot had a tail wind and I was picking up the pace a little, being glad that I would have a tail wind for the hills of Wildwood.  I eventually hit the hills at Wildwood and told my self just to hold on until mile 21 where we will meet up with Jason and he can pace me through the rest of the race.  I climb the hills of Wildwood  and was running out of the Wildwood park, I average a pace around 7:20 or so through the hills, so I knew I needs one or two more miles that were going to be below a 7:15 pace to finish the course in a time of 3:10.  

I climbed the final hill on Industrial Road and saw coach John Leftko, one of the Team in Training coaches, he shouted out that I was looking good and Jason was waiting for me on 6th Street.  I turned the corner saw Jason and signal to him to start running.  I finally caught up to him and we started running together like we do every morning.  I was in a lot of pain at this point and had five more miles to go, we then saw Shelly Sandom and the Team in Training support crew behind her to cheer us on, and that lifted my spirit until about Green Street.  Jason kept me going and I kept trying to keep pace we finally got to Vaughn Street and turned onto Front Street for the final stretch of the race.  My legs were hurting and I was just wishing this could be over.  

At this time of the race I remember something I heard Craig Alexander said to both Pete Jacobs and to Luke Mackenzie (2012 Ironman World Champion and 2013 runner up at Ironman World Championship respectively), which was "You will have to put yourself in pain if you want this".  So I knew I was in pain, but I didn't want to give up so I kept running.  When that finally wore off I remembered what I read in the book called "Running with Kenyans"  by Adharanand Finn.  It said in the book that Paula Radcliff, a British marathon runner (and world record holder of the marathon), said when she hits a rough patch in the race she would repeat "I Love you Isla" (her daughters name) and for some reason that would help her through the rough patch.  So I figured if it works for the British is should work for me too.  I said to myself "I Love you Bex, I Love you Belle" and it was helping.  I finally hit the water stop at McClay Street stopped and got a quick drink and headed off to finish the run.  Jason was telling me not to stop and to just stop the bitching for the rest of the run (I'm glad I taught him so well) [Jason if you are reading this I hope you are laughing] We finally got around the sunken garden and headed down along the river.  Jason reminded me of a conversion we had there.  He said "remember when we ran here a few months ago at a 7:15 pace," and I said "no," he continued "you said then all we have to do is do this pace for 3 hours and we will qualify for Boston."  We went under the Walnut Street bridge and all I had to do was climb the hill and run across that bridge, about half a mile to go.  I checked my watch and I was at 3:06 at the top of the hill I had four minutes to run across the bridge.   I heard the Team in Training family cheering "Go Keith!!"  

I said a few more time "I Love you Bex, I Love you Belle" I finally crossed the finish line the clock was reading 3:07:56 or something.  I beat my BQ time by 2 whole minutes.  Thank God it was over, and I met my goal.  I caught up with Lisa and Bex and gave Bex a huge hug and a kiss and said to her "I love you Bex!" she hugged back and said "I Love you daddy." I caught up to Jason and thanked him for helping me out for the last six miles.  

Jason, Lisa, Bex, and I went down to the pavilion got some food (I wasn't that hungry but thought I should eat something), and then decided we had to go since we were getting family pictures in the afternoon.  As we were leaving they were posting the results I was 5th in my age group 27th overall, not to bad since the first time I did the race I was 574th (4:40:48).  As we were walking back to the car I saw Andy Courtney he also beat his qualifying time of 3:30, and later we found out Howard also beat his qualifying time too.  I drove Jason back to his car and headed home.

I want to give a big THANK YOU to Jason who without being there there was no way I would have done that good.  I'm sure  he was probably just tired of me talking about qualifying for Boston, but thank you anyways, and I will keep prodding him to qualify.  I also was so thankful for everyone that was cheering for me, all the Team in Training people that were screaming my name and telling me to go.  I joined Team in Training hoping to put some purpose behind my training, which I did, and I also found a ton of friends which are like family to me, one of which was Jason.

Thank you all,

Monday, July 15, 2013

Double Mussel

I haven't posted in a while, and I had such a fun weekend in Geneva this weekend I thought it was time for me to post again. I returned to Geneva, NY this weekend to tackle the double mussel.  Which is a sprint triathlon on Saturday, and half-iron triathlon on Sunday. 

The family and I packed up the car Friday morning and headed up north US-15.  We arrived at our hotel around 3:00 pm or so and unpacked everything.  We picked up dinner, and then headed to the packet pickup.  After that we headed down to watch the Micro-mussel which is a super sprint triathlon (100 yard swim, half-mile bike ride, and quarter mile).  It was quite amusing to watch and was a good way to start the weekend.  We headed back to the hotel for a good night sleep.

On Saturday I got up around 5 am to make sure I had everything I needed for the sprint triathlon. I got everything mounted R2D2 (my bike) on the roof of the car and drove down to transition.  The transition area was a little wet probably from the early morning dew, I set everything up and was ready to go.  Joe Saultz (Team in Training coach) was there preparing to race this triathlon.  We chatted for a while and waited for the rest of our Honey Badger team to show up.  We had Kelly Hoffman, Erin O'Brien, Alana Bortolin, Jason Fogelman, Phil Shar, Joe Saultz, and Bob Rudolph (the assistant Team in Training coach).  After I met up with everyone we headed down to the race start, and took a practice swim.  We listen to the race director's and the official's instruction to race.  I met up with Jason at the start and we proceeded into the water for the race start.  Eventually we got to the start line and the race started.

The swim was in a channel of Seneca Lake, 750 meters.  It was a tough swim with a lot of people trying to get into position, I got kicked and hit a few times, but I made it through in about 14 minutes (Which isn't bad for me).  I got out of the water and ran up to transition area to get my bike shoes on and get the bike out on the road.  I mounted the bike and I was out like a rocket.  The bike was a 16 mile ride, and I felt really good.  There was pretty severe bike accident around mile 6.  As I road by it I could see a lot of blood and people yelling for someone to get help.  I saw people going to the firehouse down the street and to a house up the road to get help.  I later learn that evening the racer did not survive the accident as he hit a park car head on.  I rode on though and I was aware of everything around me, I looked for any rough patches and the road or any tight corner.  I got to transition my bike split was around 49 minutes average speed around 20 mph.

Off to the run (my event), it was an straight out and back along the lake.  I ran out pass my many supporters (team honey badger, beautiful wife and daughter) cheering me on.  I ran out saw Jason was only like 2 minutes behind me on my way back, and saw Coach Joe (he started in a later wave), just behind him.  I finished the run and the race in a time of 1:26:50 just one second after Joe.

We waited around for the rest of the honey badger to finish, and then headed back into town for lunch.  Bex and I took a short nap, and then headed back in to get our new race chip at the packet pick up.  Then headed to the race information meeting, and then to dinner with some of the honey badgers.  We also met up with Lisa's friends Matt & Stacey Fisher who were doing there first half iron distance triathlon.  We enjoyed dinner, and also heard the horrible news of the death in the morning race.   After we finished dinner Lisa, Bex, and I headed back to the hotel room.  Lisa got Bex ready for bed and I dropped my bike off at tranisition.  When I got back I prepared everything for the next day, and got ready for bed.  I turned the Tour de France on and drifted off to sleep.  I got up at my normal time 4:00 am and packed everything up and got dressed for the day.  I walked across the street to Bob's hotel, and he drove me down to the race area.

We got down there shortly after 5 am and I set up my transition just like I did the day before met up with Shelly who brought me the most important part of my daily ritual the Twizzlers.  I put the Twizzlers in my Bento Box and ate a few before the race.  Jason and I headed down to the practice swim and swam a little.  Then we heard the national anthem and the race was going to start.  The elite athlete went in the first wave and then we were off in the second wave.  The swim felt really long to me, and I went off course at least once, but I got my self back on track and headed into transition.

When I got into transition I got my bike shoes on and headed out on the bike.  I wanted to catch Jason on the bike, but I wasn't sure how far ahead of me he was.  So I put the hammer down and I was moving.  Every time I looked down at my computer I was going around 18 to 19 mph.  I eventually caught up to Jason around mile 32 and went past him.  However I didn't make much time between us, because he ended up in transition right after me.  When I finished the bike and got off the bike I felt the cramps in my legs.  I knew I went way to hard on the bike, and I also noticed my shorts were turning white (which means I was losing a lot of sodium) which was causing the cramps.  I started the run feeling okay small cramps in the quads but other than that I was feeling good.  Saw my supporters and went out on the run.  I got to mile 3 where the cramps starting to get really bad in my calf's and quads.  I walked up the large hill at mile 4 and started running again when I got to the top.  For the next 5 miles it was really a blur, I remember walking up the hill at mile 7 which is a huge hill and then I started walk running 1 minute running and walking for 30 seconds.  I did that till around mile 10 where Jason caught me.  He decided to be a friend and walk in with me, since every time I started to run, Jason told me it looked like I was 90 years old man trying to take a dump.  The cramps were so bad at this point I was surprised I was walking.  When we got closer to the finish I grab Bex and jogged into the finish line with her. Jason took Bex from me, afraid I might drop her and he handed her back to Lisa.

Jason and I went into the pools that were at the finish to cool off and I was just having major cramps in my legs and my chest (Don't ask me why my chest was cramping).  I eventually got out of the pool where my legs just seized up I was is such pain I laid on the ground and decided not to move until the pain went away.  Some people asked if I need medical help and I waved them off, but someone knew better and grabbed one of the doctors in the medical tent and they helped me over to the tent, where they took my vitals and  told me I looked dry (I still don't know what"You look dry" means though).  They weighed me and I lost 15lbs from my weigh in on Friday.  They hooked up a IV and put three bags of fluids in me.  Lisa and Bex came into the Med Tent with me and Bex took care of me kissing my "booboo" (where the IV was) and pretended to take my blood pressure and take my pulse.  I eventually left the med tent feeling a lot better and got my flip flops and had to go to the bathroom, which is what the doctor wanted me to do anyways.  I hung out at the finish with the rest of the team honey badgers and cheered the final competitors into the finish line.

Later that evening we met back up with Dave Erb, and his wife to have some dinner and some s'mores at their camp site. We had a lot of fun where Ginny made Bex and the other Honey Badgers hats out of paper plates.

In all except for the medical tent I had a great weekend.  I had one great race, and a good swim and bike in the other race.   And a great time with some really great friends.  I just need to know if I ever do another two race day weekend again to hydrate, hydrate and hydrate after the first race.  When I went to clean up my transition I noticed my arm rest on my aero-bars wear white as well from the sodium leaving my body.  I always wanted to know what it felt like to give it my all, to have nothing left in the tank, and I think I was there this weekend.

So lesson learn triathlon gods, I will hydrate next time I do the Double Mussel.  I want to thank Team Honey Badger (Central PA TNT crew) that where there cheering us on.  I also want to thank my wife for letting me do these crazy races, and not yelling at me when I put my body into some kind of disgusting position.  I also want to thank Jason for walking in with me, he had plenty of energy to finish the race 20 - 30 minutes earlier, but decided to walk in with me.

Thanks for reading this blog and I hope to see you at the next race.


Garmin Maps



Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Marines Corps Marathon

It was the day I have been waiting for all summer and fall long in 2012.  It was October 28th, the day of the Marines Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C.  I trained with the Team in Training Central PA team, and raised money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  I was lucky to have such great friends and family that I raised over $2,500 for the cause of finding a cure for blood cancer.  I was raising money first for a family friend Georgenna Pulti who was diagnosed with AML earlier this year.  I am glad to say after a stem cell transplant and some bouts of radiation she is doing good.  Later in the summer I also learned that my Aunt Sue was diagnosed with Lymphoma, and currently she is finished with her treatment and has to wait a little for a future check out.

That was the reason I ran this, and to get a Boston Qualifying time, but the first reason was the main one and more important   On the eve of the weekend we got news of the pending doom that was to fall on the Mid-Atlantic region, Hurricane Sandy.  Since I know they never cancel a marathon (this isn't baseball) we had all the stuff packed for the weekend on Friday night, and we had Bex stuff packed (she was staying with Lisa's parent for the weekend, this would be the first weekend or the first night we spent without her ever so I know this would be a tough trip for both of Lisa and I).  So Saturday morning came and we had the CR-V packed with everything we needed and dropped Bex off at Lisa's Mom house and said our good-byes, then headed over to our friend and fellow Team in Training (TNT) teammate, Jen's house.  We then went over to our Mentor Shannon's house and picked her up to come down with us.  We got down to the Marriott Hotel without any major problems except for a little accident on I-83 where we had to detour around an accident (probably should have gone down 15 and listen to the girls) but we got there.  We checked into the hotel, unpacked all the stuff and headed to lunch with some of the TNT staff members and coaches.  We ate at a place called Chopt'd that had salads and wraps. I had a wrap that was like a well chopped up salad in a wrap, I actually liked it, which is rare for me because I never ate a salad in my life.

After lunch we headed to the Metro to go to the expo.  The expo was guarded like it was Fort Knox or something, everyone's bag was checked and everyone went through a mental scanner thing, but we got in and a felt super secure (actually I think it was a bit of an overkill but who am I, just a stupid runner anyways).  Got the shirt(a really nice thick turtleneck), bib and walked around the expo with my wife and waited to for Jen and Shannon to finish going through the expo, and we headed back to the hotel.  We caught some of the Ironman World Championship on NBC and three quater of the way through it we headed down to the inspirational dinner (for my Tri friends I did DVR it at my house and watched in Monday afternoon, it wasn't like a planned a wedding on the day of the actually event or anything). 

We heard a great speech from John Bingham (a.k.a. the Penguin), which was funny and very informative for the first timers, and for me (I always say we never stop learning, ever).  Then we heard a speech from an honor team mate who battled through blood cancer, and was getting ready to run his first 50 miler.  We left the inspirational dinner and headed up for a team meeting were we met our honor team mate Jeff Allen who has been battling cancer off and on since 1992.  He gave us some candy, and we had one more group picture and all headed to bed.  I flip through some of the TV stations on the hotel TV and really couldn't find anything to watch, so I turned on Netflix and started watching the "Spirit of the Marathon" which is a story of about 5 people running the Chicago Marathon, which I have seen about 100 times, and half way through it I was thinking of another move to watch which was "Running for Life" which is about Fred Lebow, the former race director and president of the New York Road Runners, and was on Netflix.  Fred Lebow, died of a brain cancer in 1994, and ran the NYC five boroughs marathon only once in 1992 (with Grete Waitz which also died of cancer I guess this is way we raise money), but anyways sometime during that I feel asleep.  

I woke up around 4am (we were meeting in the Lobby around 5:30), and got everything ready, which included my running shirt, which is pictured here. I had everything ready, kissed my wife good-bye and told her I would see her at the finishline, and headed to the Lobby to meet the team.  We all met up I think we took another picture, we love pictures at TNT, and we headed to the jam packed Metro to get to the Pentagon.  We got off and we headed to the running festival area, it was still dark outside, and you could tell it was going to be a somewhat windy day and possible rainy day to, since every weather report in the area was calling for morning shower.  I went to the bathroom and then I headed over to the baggage check area, and checked in my bag.  I saw the pacer for the 3:05 group and talked to him for a little bit, and then I saw him heading to the starting corrals.  I followed, but stopped for the morning prayer and the singing of the national anthem, and we final got to the start line, where Olympian Shalane Flanagan started us off.  For everyone who told me it would be crowded and I wouldn't be able to start at a decent pace, you all lied.  I was right up front, the only people in front of me were the US Marines and the Royal Navy.  So the moral here is to start in the front of the race if you want to do good. 

The race started great, for the first two miles we were right on a 7:00 minute pace, couldn't ask for a better start, a kept going need to take a nature break for a few seconds around mile 5 or so, but caught right back up to the group with no problems.  Around mile 10 I was running along side a Royal Navy person, and chatted with him a bit.  He said he was the Captain of the team that was challenging the US Marines in the Challenge Cup.  He told me then that everyone better be up the ways a bit.  I was feeling really good at this point, like nothing was going to stop me.  It was around mile 16 where I started feeling it slip just a little bit, similar to how I felt in NYC two years ago, but my pace was good and I thought if I could keep around a 7:20 or so pace the rest of the way I could make it.  We hit the bridge at mile 20 (this was the cut-off bridge, if you were not here at a certain time you were stopped from completing the marathon).  John Bingham brought this up in his speech the night before, and told us that, the bridge is said to be two miles long but it will feel like 11 miles long. He wasn't wrong!  The only thing I had to compare it to was the Queens Boro bridge in NYC, it was quiet and lonely, and at that time I really could've used a pick me up.  I finally got off the bridge and we headed into Crystal City, and met up with one of the TNT coaches, and he ran along side me for a little bit he offered me a salt tablet but I refused, and boy do I regret that.  He told me some of the conditions that I was facing like a massive head wind and he would catch me on the way out of Crystal City.  Another Royal Navy guy passed me, and I gave him a heads up that his Captain was up the road thinking all the guys were up ahead of him, and he was in major trouble if he didn't catch up.  He told me he had a nightmare time, and wished me luck.  I finally got out of Crystal City, and I was falling apart.  I stopped at the one food stations that was handing out doughnuts, I refused them as well thinking my stomach at this point didn't want to digest anything.  I started running after the water and gatorade I got into my system, and started cramping really bad.  I saw a group of people that were handing out oranges and ran to them hoping that the organes could get me through the last two miles.  

I struggled really bad the last two miles, but I told my self don't walk.  I told everyone my goal in this race was to qualify for Boston, which is a 3:10 for me.  Well I will never say that wasn't my goal, I did have one other thing I wanted to do was to see what I would do when if I hit the wall.  If you ever read Chris McCormick's book he talks about trying to psych your self out of bad spots in the race, and using positive thinking to get through the rough parts (even though he dropped out of Kona this year, guess sometimes he cannot do it either).   I wanted to at least try to get myself out of this bad part and keep going to the finish line.  There were so many times in my past were I would hit the wall and just start walking the rest of the marathon, and just give up there.  But this time I kept running, or jogging as many people would say.  I was in total pain legs cramping stomach cramping, I wanted to lay down and not move any more, but I kept pushing and kept pushing to the finish line.  I finally crossed with an official time of 3:15:54, not good enough for Boston, and no I don't think I will ever give up the hunt for a entry into Boston either, maybe I just need to get older so I get more time to qualify.  I finished with sore legs and really nothing else to show for it but some awesome medal they were giving out, but I know I can push on now, and just need that push to be faster next time.  

When I got to the finish line I think I shook every Marine's hand and thanked them for their service, they all told me good job.I  even shook the Royal Navy guy's hand I saw in Crystal City and thanked him too (they are our friends aren't they).  I finally weaved/hobble my way through the finishing festival and walked about 100 miles (it was more like a half a mile but it felt like 100 miles, I laid down a few time in the grass to rest) to the TNT Tent to check in there.  I was told that they think I was the first TNT person to come in, I still have my doubt on that there were three people at the tent already that had metals (they may have been 10K medals through, I wasn't really looking) I drank some coke and sat there waiting for Jen to finish.  Lisa and I caught up to Jen and we finally headed back to the hotel on the Metro. Which was a nightmare and had to cut in line a few times so that it won't take us hours to get back to the hotel.  I didn't see my friend Andy who is in the Air Force, but we did text each other that evening, and he finished in just over four hours which is an awesome first time marathon time.  We went up to Anne the TNT staffer for this event and had some Tequila with her husband, then we went to the victory dinner (it was really just potato skins and chicken fingers) with some of the TNT people and later that night Lisa and I went out for some pizza, and then we headed to bed. The next day we were hoping to get some cupcakes from Baked and Wired but they were closed do to the forcasted storm.  Cupcakeless we began our race with Hurricane Sandy back to Harrisburg, we won by the way.   

Until next time race fans!!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Harrisburg Half Marathon

Ok I will make this short this time, since it was a short race. I guess I signed up for this race kind of out of jealousy, everyone else was racing this weekend the Nations Triathlon in DC, the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Nevada, and Ironman Wisconsin. Facebook was buzzing with racing fever and I guess I caught it. I ran the Harrisburg Half twice before and both times were PR so I gave it another go and to see how my training is going.

I waited until Saturday to sign up I guess I wanted to see how the weather was going to be, and it was awesome. I drove down to the "Y" and signed up payed the $60 entry fee and got my bag of stuff, and on the way home ate all the candy that came with in the bag.

So Lisa and I set out for City Island around 6:30 Sunday morning. I warmed up a little met with some TNT'ers Nate, Mary, and Chelsea. We chatted then we all had to go to the bathroom right before we started so I got separated from them at the start. I went to the start line and my stomach wasn't feeling right, but I told myself just suck it up and hope it gets better. So the announcer was announcing stuff (I couldn't hear anything the mega phone wasn't that "MEGA" I guess) eventually the gun went off and we started I worked my way around some groups and eventually got out of the large packs, and I was chasing the faster pack of runners, coming around Metro Bank Park (the baseball field). We took the Market Street bridge and headed south I hit the first mile marker at 6:24 or so. Now I wanted to PR this race and that pace was just about right for me (a little fast but good for the first mile). I settled down to about a 6:30 pace eventually and I was holding that pace for most of the race. We went around that park at PennDOT (I forget what that park is called but it is park of the Greenbelt if that helps anyone) and we came back up through Shipoke I saw Nate and I think Chelsea again and shouted "hi" at them. Then at mile 4 (the first water stop) I got some much needed water and noticed the stomach pains were not there anymore (maybe I out ran them). We ran up along the river until the turn up the bike path right after the Harvey Taylor Bridge, and headed north until Vaughn street I caught one more runner on that stretch and at the near then end we could see the leaders they were probably about 15 minutes a head of us.

Kept going north on Second Street saw Bob Seacord he tried to take a photo with his phone but he wasn't fast enough (Bob, if you are reading this, sorry but I hope you understand I am not slowing down so some person to can take my photo, ask my wife if you don't believe me). We turned and then we were on the back stretch of the course (the part were we start heading for home not the middle of the course) from Third Street back to Vaughn and back to Front Street I caught one more runner on Front Street and picked up a runner that was right on my shoulder at this point. I caught another runner right before we turned to go down by the river. It was a TNT'er named Steve (I heard some guys yell that at him). He passed me and I held on until the ramp by the Walnut Street bridge were him and the guy that was following passed me like Dave Geesemen passed me in junior high track (he was on his fourth lap I was only on my third, if you don't get this saying ask me about it sometime).  Both Steve and the other guy ran a great race, and they knew right when to pass me, guess I need to work on a kick in the future.  I chased them across the Walnut Street bridge but couldn't catch them. I noticed the clock right before I crossed the finish line the clock saying 1:24:50 (my official time was 1:24:44). This was a new PR for me by almost 5 minutes or so.  I remember what Lisa told me right before my last bathroom break, and that was "This will be a good race for you, I feel it" can't say she was wrong on that account, she normally isn't wrong on these matters.

I gave the two guys that beat me a hand shake and a good job, and Lisa, Bex and I went to grab some food. They had some fruit I ate an orange and some watermelon chatted with a few of the other finishers and then headed out. Had a chat with Steve the TNT'er we chatted about what races we did for TNT and I was kind of waiting for the results to be posted. Bex was getting fussy and we decided to head out. Bex feel asleep on the car ride home Lisa and I got Mochas from Sheetz and a doughnut for me. When we got back I took Bex for a 5 mile run around the neighborhood. The Marines Corps Marathon training plan said 18 miles this weekend (can't cheat on that). I got back and looked up the results on-line I was 4th in my age group (glad I didn't stick around) and 22nd overall not to bad for me.

I guess that setting a PR is a good sign my training is going well and I hope I can say I qualified for Boston on the 28th of October.

That is all from me race fans