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.