25 Days until Louisville

I know that it has been a while since I last posted a blog.  No good reason for my lack of posting.  Just haven't taken the time to put pen to paper or fingers to keys.  

I haven't posted since April so let's recap what's happened.  After getting over my Achilles strain, I have been slower than normal.  Almost a full minute per mile slower.  I am stumped at the cause of my slower pace.  But I am not going to complain about it.  There are too many others who would love to have this pace.  

In May, I signed up for my first OWS race.  It was at the Jordan Lake, the site of Ironman Raleigh 70.3.  Going into the swim, I felt pretty good.  It was just supposed to be a practice.  No pressure.  No worry about speed. It was also a wet suit swim.  So no worries, right?  Wrong. It was supposed to be a 1.2 mile swim.  I waded into the water and had a serious panic attack.  Never even started.  Turned around and got out of the water with my tail between my legs.  Sad, sad, sad.  

In June, I had Ironman Raleigh.  After the fiasco of the OWS, I was really nervous about the Ironman.  This was a race.  This was a big step up.  Arrived at the park, the same place as the open water swim.  The same start line.  It was June in NC and we didn't expect this race to wet suit legal but were pleasantly surprised to find out it was legal and fortunately I had my suit.  This time I actually made the swim start.  After several moments of panic, I was able to get going.  Stopping to visit many kayaks along the course, I was able to finish the swim.  Unfortunately some where along the way, I lost my timing chip so, I do not have an official time.  :(  I finished the bike and the run but without a timing chip, nothing was official.  Happy day. 

On July 1, I joined with Hope on 2 Wheels for a ride from Camp Joslin, Oxford, MA to Camp Nejeda, Stillwater Township, NJ.  It was 216 miles. This ride was to raise awareness of T1D.  Overall it was both an awesome day and dreadful day.  It rained all day.  At times we thought we were going to see Noah and the Ark.  We broke up into 3 groups and did the 216 miles in a relay.  Each leg was about 20 miles. There were some serious climbs and almost no flats.  I felt like I was riding in the Tour.  We had every category climb.  At the end of the day, we ended at Camp Nejeda and the welcome received from the older kids made it all worth it.  

Now here we are Aug 1st and Louisville will be in another 3 1/2 weeks.  I am both excited and completely scared out of my mind thinking about it.  I am going to take the Ironman in bite sized  chunks.  Get through the swim and then worry about the bike.  Get through the bike and then worry about the run.  Keying on drinking and eating on the bike.  And drinking on the run.  I have been working on drinking on the bike and have come a long way with it.  I have also been working on running with a water bottle. Also made huge strides with feeling comfortable.  Now I just have to put it all together.  

I am going to try and document how I am feeling over the next 3 weeks and then after Louisville.  No more 4 month hiatuses.  

Injury bug

Well I have been bitten royally by the injury bug.

The week following the Tobacco Road Marathon, I was out for a little run.  Nothing too intense, just getting back out there.  With about 2 miles to go in a short 6 mile run, I notice a pain in my left Achilles.  I thought it was just a twinge so I slowed down and finished my run.  Nothing major.  That night I had an event and was on my feet all night.  Not able to rest or treat it.  The next morning pain was intense and I could not really put any weight on my foot and again, I had another function that required me to walk around.

This was last Wednesday.  I thought I would take a couple of days off, R-I-C-E it and then get started.  Well as the week ended and my gait was ok, I thought I was safe.  Sunday afternoon, I go out for a run.  I tell myself to take it easy the first couple of miles just to ensure that everything was good.  I make it two miles and the pain once again kicks in.  Full blast.  So bad that I had to stop.  I actually had to call my wife to pick me up.  Talk about being bummed out.

But I am an optimist.  I think this is just going to help me with the other disciplines.  Lord knows I need to work on my swim and cycling so for now that is what I am going to focus on.  I think the extra time in the pool will definitely help.  I know that the extra time on the bike will help.

Tobacco Road Marathon Recap

Well this was my second time running this course and to say that I had high expectations would be a definitely understatement.

Before I start sounding like the spoiled brat that I am, let me tell you about the race.

Woke up around 5:00 and had my normal breakfast PB&J.  I was rested and ready for the race.  No really issue.  Linda and I left to pick up her niece who was also running the race with me.  She was staying a little closer to the race site.  It was nice to have her along.

We arrived on site at around 6:00, so I had plenty of time to stretch and get ready.   Bathroom break, then off to the start line.  The start of the race was really different than in previous years.  The start line was pushed down a little and people were congregating well back from the start line.  I worked through the some of the groups and started looking for the "my" pace group.  As per my norm, I was going to try and run with the 3:15 pacer.  Well guess what, no 3:15 pace group.  So my original plan of just zoning out and running went out the window.  Now I would have to pay more attention to my pace.

I had my Garmin and music, so I felt that I would be okay.  I said my prayer and started trying to get relaxed and ready to run.  Cleared my head and listened for the race start.  As with all races people upfront take off like they were shot out of a cannon.  Then you have to people upfront who are not in a hurry to get anywhere.  So I spent the first 1/2 mile just weaving through the crowd trying to find open space.

I ended up running the first mile at a 7:05 pace.  Whoa, way too fast.  This is a marathon.  Mile 2 was still really quick since it was mostly downhill.  7:10.  By mile 3, I was able to get into a rhythm.  Slowed to about a 7:15 pace and decided to try to stay there.  It was good.  I was comfortable, it was open pavement and all was great.

Then about half way through mile 4, my laces came undone.  I looked down and saw that my shoe wasn't really moving around so I was going to just run unlaced.  Then I started worrying about it.  Lost my rhythm.  So I stopped and tied it as quickly as I could.  And took off again.

Started talking to myself at this point.  "It's ok."  "Not a big deal".  "Didn't lose too much time."  Breathe.  Concentrate on mechanics.  Relax.

Then I started feeling better.  Running easy.  The next 10 miles just clicked off.  No worries.  Easy running.  On pace.  In rhythm.  I was running with a smile.  I am sure some of the volunteers were surprised at my smile.  Even though I was running easy, I was still mindful of my pace.  I tried to keep it right at 7:20.  There were a couple of times when other runners would run with me and I could feel them speeding up and I had to fight the urge to continue to run with them.

By mile 18 I was still good.  I felt like I had done a good job with my pace and everything was good.  By mile 20, I realized I was going back up an incline and my legs started yelling.  I could feel myself slowing down. Looked at my watch and I was running around a 7:45.  And I couldn't speed up.  I decided that maybe I needed a cup of water.  So I actually stopped at and drank water.

That helped.  I think the next 2 miles were back on pace.  I felt much better.  Then mile 23 I started struggling again.  So I felt like, hey it worked once, let's do it again.  So I did.  I walked through a water stop and then started again.

Didn't quite speed back up but still felt much better than before.  Once I was back on the street, I felt like I was able to get back into a rhythm.  Felt like my turn over was better.  I finished feeling much stronger than I did in previous races.  No cramps. That doesn't mean I didn't have twinges, just no real cramping.

My finishing time was 3:21:54.  While it was a PR by about 30 seconds, I felt like it was a much better race than that.  I was on pace for a 3:15 up to mile 20. Again I feel like I fell apart at that point.  Before my next marathon, I am going to have to force myself to do more 20+ mile runs.

Like I said at the beginning I know I sound like a brat not  being happy with a 3:22 marathon.  But when I look at my training, I know that I can do better.

I totally appreciate Linda again, soldiering out to the park and just hanging around for the 3+ hours waiting for me to finish.  It was nice seeing her as I finished.  Loved the welcome. I know how bored I get so I am not sure how she does it.  Fortunately this year it wasn't as cold so hopefully it wasn't too bad.

I finished 59th overall.  Net time:  3:18:18  Finish time:  3:21:54. 6th in my age group.