Sunday, December 5, 2010

Turkey Trot, Nittany Half Marathon, and Look Back at 2010

Since the title is real long let me start with the races first.  The Turkey Trot was the same 10K Turkey Trot I have done the past 2 years, The Carlisle YMCA Turkey Trot.  The course this year was modified, probably they were getting a lot of complaints about the 5K people were in the way of the 10K people.  The course was a flat out and back in Carlisle.  It was cold and wet that day, Thanksgiving day.  I dropped my daughter off at my parents, since my poor wife had to work that day, and I think Bex wanted to help cook the Turkey Dinner with my mom.

I left my parents house and headed right to the YMCA, since I didn't register yet.  I got there it was raining pretty hard, when I left the car to get inside the YMCA.  I signed up and the bad news was "NO MORE T-SHIRTS," I was kind of sad, but I already spent the $35 to sign up, and really don't I have enough racing T-Shirts, and there will be more in the future I am sure.  I went back to the car to stay warm drank some Gatorade and ate some Sports Beans for breakfast.   I text'd my friend Matt to see if he was coming, and he said he wasn't going to run in the sleet and the rain (So I had to call him a wussy and moved on with my day).  I didn't really think he was going to run, anyway.  You know hard core runners, run in anything (Who is the hard core runner now, Matt).  I was in the car for about an hour, and about 20 minutes before the race started I got out of the car and did some warm-up jogs, and lined up.  I am pretty sure I lined up between the 7 and 8 minute mile place.  The race started and I had to fight though some people before I got into my stride.  The first mile was at a 7:14 which I felt fine, but I wanted to go faster.   Right before mile one the 10K runners went there way, and the 5K runners/walkers went there own way.   It was an open road ahead, there were plenty of people ahead of me, but we weren't jockeying for position like we were before.  I keep my stride going, and according to the watch I kept getting faster.  I saw the leaders about 3/10 of a mile before the turn around, and eventually got to the turn around right around 21 minutes.  You headed back the exact same way you came, and I was passing people at a pretty steady pace, speeding up the last two miles.   I finished with my watch saying 40:34, and I did stop my watch a while after I finished.  

They were saying you could see your times on the computer monitor by the YMCA building, so I went over and there was a lot of people looking for there time, or there were trying to stay warm. I checked for my time, I waited for about 1 or 2 minutes and got bored so I left.  I told myself I know my time, and they should post the time online since it was chipped time anyways, so I left knowing I probably didn't win anything, and I was freezing anyways, and wanted to see my daughter.  To my surprise on Tuesday when I checked out the web site, and I won my age group (Age 30-39 male), my official time was 40:20, just twenty seconds shy of my 10K goal.  This was my first race I ever won ever (I know, I win the name group every time, the first Keith Evans to cross the finish line, sometimes I have to say the first Keith Evans from PA, but usually I can say the first Keith Evans).  So that was the Turkey Trot this year, it was the first time I did this by myself, last year my friend Mike did it with me, and the year before I did it with Matt and Ed, not this year I was alone in the cold and wet Carlisle YMCA. 

My final race this year, was one I signed up on my friend Jason recommendation.  He did this race last year and told me how great it was (I think he wanted an excuse to go to the Creamery though).  It was in State College, PA; it wasn't a large race, but wasn't that small either (about 600 runners is what I heard).  It started at the Ag Arena which is across the street from Beaver Stadium, if you didn't know.  The course description states that the course if relatively flat, which I guess it was, except for the hills in it.  The race started at 10 am , which is a late start for a race, but it was ok since it was about 25 degrees at 8 am.  So I got up around 5 am and went to get gas for the CRV and get Jason, we were on on way to State College.  The ride was quick and very uneventful, which is what I like in drives anywhere.  

We got the the Ag Arena about 8:30 or so, we were like the first ones there, and got our race stuff.  No bibs in this race, you had a timing chip and that was all you needed I guess.  Oh maybe this is a good time to tell everyone this race was $18, and you did get a pretty nice shirt for that $18.  Jason and I stayed in the car until about 20 minutes before the race started, and then we went for about a half mile warm up run, and tried to find something to block the wind (we didn't find anything).  We find our way to the start line, and without much notice the race started.  It was cold, windy at race start, and my left hand felt like it was going to fall off.  I had a pair of gloves that I got from the Philadelphia Marathon the year before, but the weren't working in the beginning of the race.  I kept trying to shake it out but nothing was working.  We finished our two loops that were in the beginning by the Ag Arena, and we were on mile four, and my hand finally started to warm up.  I don't know if it was because I was going faster, than I was before, but what ever it was it was working.  I got behind two guys that looked like they were on some cross country time or just very fit runners, and I told my self just stay with them.  I did that for about a mile, and noticed that they were going slowing than I wanted to go (I know I am an elitist prick who nobody ever wants to run with), so I passed them.  I kept a pace around 6:58 or 7:00 minutes for this part of the race, about mile 7 I got faster, I dropped my pace to a 6:40 for mile 7 and a 6:25 for mile 8 and 6:22 for mile 9.   This completed the downhill, and as they say every downhill has an uphill.  I climbed the uphill, at a more reasonable pace of 6:55.  I did the last 2 miles which was a mix of up and downhill at a sub 6:50 pace, and finished with an official time 1:30:59.  That is a PR for me, but as you know I want to be faster and won't be happy until I am.  My friend Jason set a PR as well around 1:40 or so, all in all a great race and one I will probably do next year. 

Ok so those are the two final races this year, and since it is the end of the year I would like to take a look back on this year.  This year started with a new challenge for me, a baby on the way (we will get to this later).  But late last year I signed up for Team In Training, I wanted to put some meaning behind my running, and maybe met some new people.  I wanted to do a Marathon, because I was use to them, but since I heard I would be running by myself, and they really didn't have any programs for me to get to Boston, I decided to do the Philadelphia Triathlon instead.  I took this challenge to heart (and boy does my wife regret letting me do my first triathlon, because I am hooked)  Even though the Philadelphia Triathlon was changed to a Duathlon I still finished my first Olympic Triathlon at Fort Ritchie, MD.  To look back and to see just how far I came from the guy who was really shy of the pool (ok maybe scared to death of the water) to an triathlete is nothing short of a miracle.  I knew I could get through the swim part, but I didn't know if I would have any energy to do the bike (I probably could muscle through it, like I normally do things, but with great friends and coaches I got through it without any problem at all).  On the running front I set a whole number of PR's this year.  My Marathon PR is 3:15 down from 3:40. I set my Half-Marathon's PR twice this year, three if you take my first split at the Shamrock Marathon (don't ask about the second one, it is a sore subject) my new time is 1:30:59, previously it was 1:41.  The 10K PR which was previously 44:10 is now down to 40:20, and the new 10 miler which was set at the Army Ten-Miler is down to 1:10.  Also this year I guess I can say I assisted with Stacie Zozos finishing her first Marathon (the Marines Corps Marathon), this was a dream of her to do this race to honor he boyfriend, who we lost over in the War in Iraq, it was a great thing to see her running strong all the way to the end (without complaining at all, Matt you can take a lesson from her), and an honor to run with her the last 10 miles of the run (also Stacie you beat my first Marathon time, so great job).  I also saw Ange (a.k.a Ange the Brit) finish the same Marathon, with a great time (even though I think she could have done it faster, I'm just joking), and she is preparing for her first Ironman next year.  One more thing I helped my nephew finish his first race, the Harrisburg Half-Pint Half-Mile.  With my favorite line to him "Your mom is that way, you can run or walk, but if you walk you don't get the medal?"

Also this year brought my first child, the greatest daughter I think I could ever had.  She cries a lot less than my nephew who is about the only benchmark I have to compare kids with.  Even after rattling off all the accomplishments I did this year in my racing, I have to say they are way behind having my first child coming to this world.  I think I am probably one of the luckiest person in the world to have a great wife you lets me do all these crazy endurance races, and a great child who does not seem to mind that I do them, or at least yet she doesn't.  So a special THANK YOU to you two for this year.     

In training for the the triathlon I met a ton of great new friends.  All I would like to say thank you for helping me out this year, I could not have done any of these things without your guys help.  I would like to first thank my Team in Training coaches Joe and Bob, they helped me get through the triathlon this year especially with the bike part.  Also some of my teammates from TNT this year Shannon, LeAnn, Justine, Troy, Bob, Don, Cory, Larry, Kayla, Amy, Sam,  Sam and John G, and many others.  It was great to hear stories of were the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society is helping others, and was great to be motivated by the people that couldn't be there with us anymore.  And one person I will never forget this year, and maybe me new best running partner, Jason.  Just on a side not, Jason really helped me with my speed workouts and without his help I could not have done the NYC Marathon as fast as I did.  

Last but certainly not least was the great people at the HAMS swim team.  I got hooked up with them, because I joined the gym to get some swimming in, and I was turned on to master swimming that way.  I will probably never be as good as these guys, but with some practice I will probably be able to finish an Ironman some day.  Coach Andy, there is no way I could have finished a triathlon without your pointers for me, and all the drills you had me do.  Also everyone else I met through HAMS who gave me encouraging words of support.  Just to mention a few and I may forget a few so please excuse me: Georgia, Karin, Danielle, all the Johns, James, Brad, Dave, Joe, Howard, and Ange (my favorite non-American friend).  

I cannot thank everyone enough for this year of great racing, and great friendships this year.   I will keep with this until my body gives out or my wife yells and screams to stop, which will probably come first. 

Thanks you all and enjoy the holiday season.

Monday, November 8, 2010

New York City Marathon

Well marathon season came and went with one marathon this fall.  Last year if you are wondering I did three marathons in two months (Baltimore 4:12, NYC Marathon 4:18, and Philadelphia 3:40), this year I wanted to focus on one marathon, and really give qualifying for Boston a go.  I chose New York City because I wanted to do it again, because last year I was coming back from vacation, and I don't think I trained that much the two weeks before the marathon.  I also died on the Queensboro Bridge and I wanted to prove to myself that I could do better than I did last year and make it further than that Bridge before I die.  Also my friend, Matt, wanted to run it and I thought it could be a pretty cool weekend in NYC with Matt, since he loves the city.

Well this weekend went much better than last year.  Matt picked me up a Sheetz on Saturday morning, I wanted to get my free Mocha and some money out for NYC.  We left Sheetz and on the way to NYC, we went through the Lincoln Tunnel and parked somewhere on 10th avenue and 46 street, or somewhere close to that.  We walked to the Javits Center for the expo, picked up our race packets and shopped around, I didn't buy anything, and then we left.  We arrange our bags, so are we were caring is are clear bags, for the bagged check for the race, and really nothing else.  I took a pair of shorts, shirt socks, racing shoes, sweat pants and sweat shirt (to donate to charity).  I had on a pair of sweat pants and sweat shirt to, and that is what I planed to wear after the race.  We were staying at this place, that Matt found for service men and women (Matt is a staff-sergent in the Army if you were wondering).  It was basically a very big house in Manhattan, and you rented beds at a very low rate (it was $45 for Matt per bed so).  I will be honest with everyone here it was no Marriott (basically my wife would hate that place, but I can sleep anywhere and it was nice an very affordable).

We could not check in until four so we watched some college football at the house, and waited till four to check in.  We checked in and unpacked then went to a local Irish Pub to watch the first half of the Penn State game.  After that we went to some Italian place from a pasta dinner , the place was across the street, and we met some other runners there, and chatted with them for sometime.  After that we went back to the hotel finished watching the Penn State game (if you don't know Joe Pa won his 400th game), and we met some other people running the race, and they were from Mechanicsburg.  We chatted with them for a while, and made some arrangements to meet them in the morning.  Then the showers and straight to bed.

Slept well that night, woke up at 5:00 am,  double checked my bag, put the sweat pants and sweat shirts on and went down stairs to meet Mike from Mechanicsburg.  Mike had a bagel and a trash bag ready for us, we hit the street and headed to the NYC Public Library were the buses to take us to Staten Island. It was about 5:30 when we got on to the bus, the bus was full so we didn't really get to sit next to each other.  I didn't catch the name of the person I sat next to, but he lived in Princeton, NJ and is originally from Holland, and had a sore back, and complained about it.  After the bus ride we arrived at Fort Wadsworth on Staten Island, We headed off to the villages we were staying.  Mike wasn't in our village, he was in the orange village and Matt and I were in the Blue village we said good bye and we went to the separate villages.  Matt and I went to the Coffee tent and the PowerBar tent.  I had a small cup of coffee to stay warm and drank some water and gatorade to stay hydrated.  Matt engineered a chair out of a few skids we sat there in our trash bags trying to keep warm until about 8:30 until I needed to get in the corral for the start.  I was in the first wave and Matt was in the third wave so we started about an hour apart from each other.

I had to go the bathroom a few times in the corral, thankfully they had port-o-pota in the corrals.  They dropped the ropes and let us start walking to the start lines.  (I don't want to sound racist or insensitive to people from other countries, I do love everyone, and I love to see everyone there, so please don't take this as a negative comments because it is not suppose to be) "I feel like a foreigner in the corral", I am surrounded by people from South Korea, England, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, France, Holland, Mexico, and many other countries I loved it no one was speaking english with an American accent.  I did walk by someone with a "Liverpool Runner's Club" shirt on so I held on to my Garmin Forerunner 305 really tight until I passed him (I'm joking here, and I know only the English got that joke)

So I made my way to the starting line, they played the national anthem, we listen to Deanna Kastor, the Chilean Minner #11, Mary Wittenberg (NYRR President and race director) and Mayor Bloomberg all wishing us luck or something I wasn't really paying attention I just wanted to run.  They fired the cannon and started playing "New York, New York"  and we were off, it took about four minutes for me to get to the start line it was a slow go weaving around people up the Verrazano-Narrow Bridge, the bridge is about two miles long and my time at mile one was 8:03, much to slow to qualify for Boston, but I didn't want to race back right away, I told myself do go off and try to make up the time in the next mile.  I did speed up the next mile was around 6:55, and we were in Brooklyn.  The crowd is great in this race, many people cheering us on by yelling "Get Out of Brooklyn", "Get Out of Here", "Forget About It", and many other Brooklyn sayings.  We ran up through 4th Avenue I was counting down the street as the number went down (it started at 92nd and went all the way down to 1), and kept telling myself keep this pace.  My Garmin was saying I was running around 7:20 or 7:25 I'm not sure, a Boston Qualifying (BQ) is a 7:15, and I knew if I could keep this pace, I was lowering my average pace according to my watch by about a second every two miles or so.  I got to the Pulaski Bridge and I made all those wonderful people at the beginning wish come true, because I got out of their Borough.

I was in Queens and feeling pretty good, I know we have about three miles in Queens and then the dreaded and very painful Queensboro Bridge.  I know many people think this bridge cannot be that bad, but the world record holder in the marathon, Haile Gebrselassie, quit after that bridge, and then retired from running, which proves the bridge makes people quit!

Well I made it through it and got onto First Avenue.  On First Avenue I changed my name to Jared and became British, because all I heard was "GO JARED" (I though it was for the former fat guy, who told everyone they could loose weight by eating Subway Sandwiches, but I didn't see him and he finished way behind me so I am thinking it wasn't him), and a whole lot of British Flags waving (this is way I changed nationality briefly), so I rode the wave of First Avenue and kept pushing my self up the hills to the Bronx.  In the Bronx I turned back into to Keith and back to an American, Thank God.  The Bronx is only a two mile run, and there isn't much to it, the crowd of course was great, but in this part of race I notice my time slipping, and really noticed my legs starting to hurt,  I didn't know what to do, but I kept pushing.

I made it out of the Bronx and back into Manhattan, and I noticed there was a hill on 5th Avenue for about two miles.  I was really sore and looking for anything at this point to get me though the rest of the marathon, I got to a water station a grab two gatorades and a cup of water I walk though the water station, I knew at this point I wasn't going to do it, I wasn't going to make Boston in this race.  I got out of the water stop and started running again.  I told myself even if I don't make Boston I will set a PR and hopefully make it under 3:20.  I got into Central Park I told myself it is okay to walk through the water station, but don't take to long, and start running again when I was finished.  I finally got to Central Park South the crowd was loud, and my legs were sore, and starting to cramp up.  I started seeing the signs 1/2 mile (800 meters) to go, I had to keep going.  The next sign was the 400 meter then to 26 miles, then 300 meters, 200 meters, 100 meters and then finally finished.  The final time was 3:15:36.  Not a BQ but a time I can be proud of.

I was really sore and I knew I had a long ways to walk to get my bag at the end of West Drive.  I got my medal, my nice bag of food, and then a space blanket (or whatever you call those things).  I then kept walking and walking.  It wasn't as crowded as it was last year, I presumed that is was because I finished earlier.  I made it down to were my bag was picked it up and called Lisa.  I told her all about the race, and she told me all about Bex.  I called a few more friends and was waiting for Matt to finish.  I was walking around to prevent from cramping up listening to the "No Agenda Show" with John C. Dvorak and Adam Curry.  By the time the podcast was over Matt was finished and we met up at 76 and Central Park West.  Then came the long journey to the car somewhere on 10 Avenue and 42.  It was a long walk and we mostly just bitched about the Queensboro Bridge and Fifth Avenue climb.  We stopped by a pizza shop got a few slices and then to the car.  Got the car and we went home.  That was my weekend in NYC, a failed attempt at Boston, but a good time, and something to be proud of.  I don't many people that qualified for Boston with a time of 3:10, I am sure I know a few, but I do still believe it is in my reach, it is possible and I have to keep training.

I started this journey just a little over two years ago at the Harrisburg Marathon when I finished with a time of 4:40:48.  I have come a long way from that marathon, and maybe if I chose a flatter course I may have been able to do it, but it wasn't my time not this year anyways.  I will run Boston some day.

Garmin Data

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Army Ten Miler

This weekend I did the Army Ten Miler in Washington D.C. This was the first year I did, and let me say I'm really glad I did. I was 1 of 30,000 runners that ran the race today, and many of them were service men and women, which was really inspiring to me. I almost got so caught up in the whole thing I was about to sign up for the Army at the Expo (That isn't really true I think my wife would of killed me if I signed up, but I really did give it some thought of why I didn't sign up in my younger years). The expo was great we really didn't have to wait in any lines since we had Bex (my daughter if anyone is wondering) and a stroller with us. We got to go in the military / handicap entrance, and we got right in. I picked up my packet and my friend's packet, Matt (or should I say Staff-Sergent Matt). Matt decided to come down the day of the race, leaving his home around 3:30 am. My wife, Bex, and I were with our friend Stacie, who has run this race many times before, after picking up our packets and T-Shirts we purchased some stuff at the expo, and we went back to our hotel.
Bex learning about Butterflies

For the rest of the day my wife, Bex, and I were hanging out with our friends John and Sam at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum, we got to see the butterflies exhibit. The butterflies were alive so it wasn't a boring dead butterfly exhibit like I have seen before. You walked into this chamber type thing and the flew all around you it was pretty cool. One actually landed on Lisa and did not leave her shoulder for like 10-15 minutes it was so cool. After the museum we went to Chilli's for dinner, and then we said good night and I went back to the hotel room. I got all my stuff ready for the next day, my bib on the shirt the tag on the shoe, everything out and ready for the next day (just like to say in Runner's World).

I went to sleep around 11 or so watching something on the TV, I really don't remember. I was awoken by a text message from Matt saying "I'm leaving now" that was around 3:30 or so. I promptly replied back and said "Ok." I got up and got my shorts on, and then still discovered I was tried so crawled back to bed for about two more hours or so of sleep. My alarm went off at 5 and promptly, I hit the snooze button a few times, and then I was texted again by Matt telling me he was in Washington. I replied back and said I will be down in a few minutes so I got the rest of my stuff on, it only took a few seconds, and headed down. I met Matt on the Street and we needed to get Stacie before we headed to the start area. So we got Stacie and we were off to the start line. We chatted a bit about the race, well Matt and I asked Stacie a number of questions about the race since she has done this race before, and Matt and I were new to it. Stacie was also doing this event for a Charity called, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), this charity raises money to help families who lost a family member or members in the wars. She has done this for the past three years raising more than $500 each year for TAPS. She is also doing the Marines Corps Marathon for TAPS next week. So we had to find the TAPS tent, which we found out wasn't set up until about 7:00 am, and it was around 6:30 when we got to the start area. So after walking ten miles around the Pentagon, which was the starting line, we noticed them setting up the tent. After taking a some pictures of the the TAPS team, Matt and I headed to the start line, and Stacie stayed with the TAPS team since she started in the second wave.

Matt and I walked to the staring line stopping only for the national anthem, and me tying my shoes. We got into the start area, and I swear there was at least 20,000 people starting in the first wave. It took us about 5 or 7 minutes to get to the start line of the race. We were packed in there like sardines, the pack broke up a bit and I said good-bye to Matt and I was off. My time goal for this race was one hour and ten minutes (7:00) pace. The race was so packed it took forever to get my stride going, and would say around mile four or five I got my stride together. I ran on the grass the median of the road and everywhere I could to just stay at a steady pace. Mile 1 went by at around 7:11 (or that is what my watched said, it was a little behind the mile marker probably because I weaving in and out of everyone trying to get a head) We crossed the Arlington Memorial Bridge right after mile 1, then by the Kennedy Center, then the Lincoln Memorial, then the Washington Monument, then the Smithsonian Castle, then the Capital building, and then the Jefferson Memorial, and then finally we were on the George Mason Memorial Bridge and then you were at mile 9. We raced to the finish line and I finished, according to my watch a 1:09:36, I set a new PR for the ten miler. I walked to finish area got some water and met my loving wife and child at the finishing area, we walked backed to the TAPS tent were we said we would all meet up, Matt finished after me, and then Stacie finished.  We took some pictures and then headed back to the hotel.

Just one thing I noticed during this race, they had the wounded warrior category, these are service men and women that have been injured during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I saw many runners that were in wheel chairs some with prosthetic limbs. Even though I do watch the news reports about how many of our service men are coming home injured, it really never hit me like it did when I saw just a few of them today. This young men and women are going over to an unknown land to protect our freedom.  Just something I noticed and thought we should think about.

Army Ten Miler at Garmin Connect - Details

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Harrisburg Half Marathon

This is my second year doing the Harrisburg Half Marathon. Last year I brought my wife's friend, Dr. Jen Lutz, but this year she couldn't make it because she was working.   This year I brought my wife's other friend, Stacie Zozos.  I am helping her to train for the Marines Corps Marathon in October, if any one is interested, she is raising money for Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) and you can read more about that here.  I wasn't really nervous except for over sleeping or doing something stupid like that.  But I didn't do any of that.  So this is how my morning went.

Woke up after the strangest dream I ever had before a race.  The dream is just too weird to explain, just take my word for it, it was strange and I was glad to find out it was just a dream at 4:30.  At 4:30 am the alarm sounded and like normal I hit snooze four time before I got out of bed (On a side note I went to a wedding in Gettysburg last night that we did not leave until about 8:30 or so, which meant we couldn't stop at Bruster's on the way home, and we didn't get home for 10:00 or so and after my nightly ice cream snack it was around 10:30 or 11:00 before I went to bed.  The wedding was very nice though)  But anyways after I got up, I got dressed kissed my beautiful wife and beautiful daughter good bye, and told them both I loved them.  Then I went down stairs ate a Cliff Bar, and checked the Weather Channel (Not the normal Weather Channel, but the Weather Channel that Verizon FIOS has that just has the local weather on a loop), I noticed the rain was breaking up and should probably stop before the race starts, but I figure the course would be wet and a number of puddles would be on the Island and around the river front.

After the breakfast and the putting baby powder on my feet (This is suppose to help prevent blisters, and it normally works for me), I text'd Stacie and I was on my way over to her house.  I picked Stacie up and she was somewhat nervous but not to much.  This would have been the longest run she ever did so I was thinking she would be a little more nervous, but she seemed fine.  We got to the island around 7 am, and it was raining, but not to bad and we were off to pick up our chips.  (Here is a little side note, why is the Harrisburg Races not using the disposable chips like the big races, I was thinking it might be the cost, but even Frederick Marathon and Half Marathon had them, and that race wasn't any bigger than this one).  After I got my chip we had to figure were Stacie's chip was, and when I say "we" I mean the people running the race, had no idea were her chip was, but after I made a bathroom stop and I was back she had the chip.

After we got all the stuff we needed, and I saw Kathy (The mid-wife that delivered Bex), and exchange greetings with her we went back to the car and sat there listening to some 90's on 9 on the Sirrus radio and got ready, and about 30 minutes of that we started walking toward the start line (By the way no one knew were the start line was because it wasn't marked).  I took a warm up lap around the island, and then I met back up Stacie and my swim coach Andy, and later by another friend Howard, who also swims with us on Tuesday and Thursday nights at Central Penn Fitness (Well they swim, and I am not sure what you call what I do in the water is, but I am pretty sure it isn't swimming but they are much faster than I am). After talking about some race strategy, both Howard and Andy were taking this easy because they were getting ready for Chesapeake Man (that is a full ironman triathlon if you didn't know), I was trying to see if I had a shot in hell of qualifying for Boston when I run the NYC marathon so I was going to go fast.  We then were trying to listen to the race director, but we really couldn't hear him, and then we were off.

Will almost we had to get Stacie's watch working and then we were off.  We went around City island and then we took the Market Street Bridge and then down front street.  My first mile was slow around 7:29, I like to think that was trying to work around the crowd.  My second mile was faster at 7:04 and I was getting into a comfortable rhythm, well after I had to tie my shoe I was getting into a pretty good rhythm.  The race went by pretty fast after that, I remember running a section of the Green Belt by that park at PennDot, and seeing Stacie's Mom at PennDot and Bob Seacord, from the Team and Training.  The race went along the river just past the Harvey Taylor Bridge and then we went back up on to Front Street.  We stayed on Front Street turned right onto Vaughn and then left onto the 2nd Street and right onto Edwin Dr and then another right on Green and then back on to the Vaughn and then back onto Front Street.  I saw some of my friends on the way back to the island, and exchange the common "You are doing great keep it up."  I was pretty much moving at this point only, after mile six there wasn't a single mile over seven minutes, most of them were around 6:55 or so, and I was feeling pretty good at the end of the race, I felt like I could probably go another three or four miles, probably not another 13.1, but I may give it the old college try at NYC especially if my training goes well.

At the very end I did get a "friendly" elbow from a fellow runner, I don't think it was on purpose, and I was raised to forgive instead of holding a grudge (even if I don't practice all the time, I should).  At the end I congratulated him, and told him it was all good.  I took at my timing chip off and picked up my medal (which was really nice this year by the way).  I dropped the medal off at my car and then headed back to the course to make sure Stacie was doing okay.  I was almost sure she would be doing fine with Sue, but I told here I would meet back up with her on the course and I needed to get a few more miles in anyways, so I was running backwards on the course to see if I could help her and Sue finish.  After getting many weird looks from other runners, many of them telling me I was going the wrong way, and seeing Andy and Howard and some of my other friends, I finally caught with them.  It was somewhere around mile eleven and half or so, and Stacie was telling me she was hitting around a 10:30 mile pace which is really good.  We kept up that pace as we went back by the river, we got up on the Walnut Street bridge and we were flying, Stacie sprinted the last 300 feet or so, and we finished.  We met up with her family took some photos.  Then we went to the pavilion, for some food, but none of us were hungry and then we headed home for a nice nap and some professional football (I'm not a big fan, but really it is that or some dumb show that the Discovery Channel is showing)   

View the Garmin Map

Sunday, August 22, 2010

32 miles on my 32nd Birthday

This is the second year I tried this, running the number of miles of the year I am turning.  For example I turned 31 years-old last year so I ran 31 miles on my birthday August 22.  (I got this idea from the book Ultra-Marathon Man by Dean Karnazes, a must read for any long distance runner) Last year was different though I was about 30 pounds heavier and I had some friends help me (Tim, Matt, and Ed).  Each one of them ran a set distance with me and they traded off cars and met back at my house, so everyone got back to their car without a problem.  One other thing last year I didn't have a beautiful new born daughter, and was glad I was able to run the 32 miles this year.

This year was very different since my daughter's due date was suppose to be the day before my birthday August 21, I didn't even plan on doing it this year, but my daughter came 9 days early and after speaking with wife she encouraged me to do it.  I was thinking about calling my friends up and asking if they wanted to help, but I figured it was such short notice I didn't want to bother them with this crazy idea once again.  Also I planned to do this at extremely early in the morning, this is so I could get back, before my daughter was awake and if she needed fed, or just held I could be there for her (I was thinking any time before 9 should be good).  I got up around 3:00 am and went to the bathroom and packed my Camel Back hydration pack (I packed some money incase I needed to stop somewhere to get something to eat or drink, my mobile phone, some gels, and some Jelly Belly Sport Beans).

I started with a loop around my neighborhood at 3:30 it was drizzling when I started running and I knew it would only get worse as I went along. The run around my neighborhood is about 4 miles or so then I was debating with myself if I should go the same route I took last year or head east like I normally do on my bicycle, I headed east on US route 22 and was headed down toward PA Route 934, which is the Fort Indiantown Gap exit.  I have rode my bike down there a number of times, this is a normal bike route for me it is about 26 mile round trip so I knew as I was heading down there I would have to add a few loops at the end to equal the 32 miles.  US-22 from Mountain Road to PA Route 39 is actually moderately populated you have a few 24 hour stores on the way down, but after PA Route 39 there is one restaurant and that is it, and that isn't open at 4:30 am.  So after passing the stores on 22 I told my self I have to get by with the stuff I brought (water, gels, and sports beans).  I wasn't to worried about it, and I told myself I would be okay.

On my way down it was pouring, and I was soaking wet.  At some points the rain slowed down a bit, but would come back to a pouring rain.  I ate two Sports Beans about every two miles, and I was feeling just fine, except for being soaking wet.  I made it down to 934 without any major problem, I was down there around right around the time I believe the sun was to come up, the sun really didn't appear, the sky just got lighter.

So nothing major happened on the way down, it must of been around 6:15 or 6:30, I wasn't really paying much attention to the time of the day it was, but the mileage that was on my watch.  I was at mile 17 maybe 18 (I wasn't pay that close of attention and really I am writing this 12 hours later) when I turned off at the Fort Indiantown Gap exit. and ran to the other side of the road and was back on US-22 I had a long way to go to get home, and a long way to go to see a store, where I could give myself a small break. I told my self don't stop running till you get to the Turkey Hill which is about 4 miles from my house.  The rain slowed down on the way back, and eventually stopped, I then passed the 26.25 mile marker (this is about a marathon, and about one mile from the Turkey Hill it turns out) it was just under 4 hours (this is a pretty good time for me for a training run, which is what this was for me).  I kept running till I got to the Turkey Hill, I stopped and got a gatorade.  I walked about a little bit and drank the gatorade (Fruit Punch) and when I finished I was off running again, I stopped later to throw the bottle away at some banks recycle bin.  I was going between a 9:30-10:30 pace at this time, my legs were sore but not too sore, I knew I could finish this.

I made my way down 22 a little bit further studied my watch and figured out if I can kept a 10 minute pace for the rest of the journey I could finish this in under 5 hours (This was 30 minutes earlier than last year).  I though to my self that would be crazy I should take a moment to catch my breathe and walk up a few of the upcoming hills.  Then I told my self my daughter and wife are waiting for me to get home, I should give it everything I got to get home for them.  Hell, my wife let me do this crazy ass adventure anyways, so I was off holding a pretty steady pace around 9:15 or 9:30 I believe, and I kept telling my self I can do this. I ran past the Sheetz (I was dying for one of there Mochas, or maybe just chocolate milk, but I skipped that and kept running down 22)  I noticed that there was a number of people leaving Holy Name of Jesus Church (The Catholic Church in the area) and was wondering do they have Mass this early, it was around 8am Mass must of started around 7am or so?  I guess they do because they had a number of people leaving.  I turned left onto Arlington Ave, and into the shopping complex there.  I was on my 31st mile and I knew if I just run through the shopping center and though the park I should be at mile 32, before I got to my house.  I did this and I ran a loop around one of the parking lots in the park (adding about .2 miles to the total), and then I ran through Lori and Mollie Drive to ensure I would make the 32 miles.  At this point my legs were hurting a lot more now, the blisters on my feet were awful, I was running with soaking wet shoes and socks, and I was dying for this 32 mile journey to be over, and then it, was my watched beeped the final mile was 9:00, and I stopped and started walking back to my house.  I took off my Camel Back and checked my phone and made sure I didn't miss a phone call and thankfully I didn't.

I was just about 500 feet or so from my house and decided to walk there hoping to give my legs a small rest.  I then got home took of my soaking wet shoes and socks and checked my feet out, there were a few blister nothing major, nothing I needed to pop.  I checked in on my wife, Lisa, and my daughter, Bex, and they were resting in bed comfortably and happy.  I jumped into the shower and then joined them for a little R&R, and about 20 minutes later my lovely wife cooked me breakfast and the day started like any other normal day for me.

I then had breakfast with my lovely wife, and then off to dinner at my Mom's house, my Aunt Sue came down from Allentown, and I had a great time.

Thank you Lisa and Bex for letting me do this wacky adventure this year.

Keith Evans

This is the data from my watch if anyone want to take a look:

Monday, August 9, 2010

Fort Ritchie Triathlon

This was the first year they held the Fort Ritchie triathlon.  There was two triathlon a sprint distance and the olympic distance.  If you know how I am, you know I did the olympic distance.  The olympic distance included two laps in Fort Ritchie Lake, 750 meters each.  The lake was dirty, like most man made lakes, and this one had an unusual amount of undergrowth (I use to just call it seaweed).  The first 200m of the swim was awful for me, I could not get into a good rhythm with my stroke, and was being clobbered by other swimmers.  After the second buoy I got into an open space and got into a rhythm, and then was attacked by the "Swap Thing" (a.k.a. the undergrowth).  It was explained to us in the beginning of the race to swim through it, if you stop swimming you sink into the undergrowth, so I just kept swimming, and kicking, and finally made it to the last buoy.  Then I swam to shore ran across the beach (or some sand they put there and called a beach), then to the pier and jumped in.  I did see a few people from the earlier waves before trying to catch their breathe on the pier, but no wasting time for me, I jumped in and started back into the rhythm.  I got into a rhythm quicker this time, and the second leg seem to go faster than the first, but all and all it was a slow steady swim for me.  I finsihed up with the swim with a time of 35:46, not a good time, but I wasn't the last out of the lake.

I quickly ran up the carpet and ran to the transition area, dried off my feet, put the socks and biking shoes on, swallowed a gel pack (GU chocolate), put my race belt on and took my bike off the rack and off I went. Put my ass in the Saddle and I was off.  The hill climb was first, steep hill, but not to long, and down we flew.  I was probably around 35 - 37 mph down the hill, then it got technical and I needed to slow down, and into the valley.  I kept moving through the valley with some rolling hills and then I made a right and went away from the mountain, then to the turn around, and back toward the mountain.  I did here people say it was about a 5 mile climb, and I thought they were joking.  But they were not I started climbing at a normal pace, passing some of the other riders.  The climb was tough, but wasn't that bad, I have climb worse in practice, and I finally did get to the top.  I went down the hill at a fast pace, and then a quick left turn and back into transition.  Bike time was 1:22:47, not that bad since most of it was hilly.

I quickly changed shoes, and I needed to hit the porta-john.  Took about 20 seconds in the john, and then was very relieved and I was off.  The run was two laps, through a hilly, rough course through the Fort Ritchie community.  Caught up to my friend, Jason, around mile two and half or so.  Then we hit the turn around and I didn't see him again until the end.  I was met by some nice people saying good job on the run, and my reply was the only one I could think of "This is the only sport that I am somewhat good at."  I caught to some 18 year old, and tried to pass him around mile four and failed.  We held a small conversion, and I learned he wasn't a runner, but he was going at a good pace though.  We went up the last big hill of the run and I told him just hang on my shoulder and we will be finished in no time.  Will he couldn't hold on I flew past him near the end of the sixth mile, and finished the race strong.  My run time was 46:09 not the best 10K time but the course wasn't that great either.

My final time was 2:47:48.3, not the time I wanted, but a time I will live with.  I know I still need to get better with my swimming, and the only way to do that is to keep practicing.  I will need to get ready now for the New York City Marathon on Nov 7, Eagle Man Half Iron Man in June, and the biggest event in my life my new daughter, Bex, which is due any day now.

Keith Evans