Thursday, November 5, 2015

2016 Schedule

I am sitting here at my spending way too much time thinking about my race schedule for 2016.

I have already committed to Ironman Chattanooga and now I am trying to plan a schedule that will help me best prepare for that race.  

With that in mind I know that I need to spend as much time in the open water as possible.  I also know that I will not be able to do that until at least April.  The first large open water race is also in April.  Where do these people train in NC for an April open water swim.  I know that the water temp will probably be in the mid 60s.  That is just crazy, wetsuit or not.  

This offseason or between now and March, my goal is to swim at least 3 times a week and to try and improve my swim speed.  I know that this is a  tall order because just swimming will not always do it and I HATE drills.  I am debating about participating in a Master's swim group but I can only freestyle swim.  I know that I need to work on other strokes but is now the time for that?  Or is now the best time.
But there is so much more to deciding a schedule for me.  I know that I am going to need to decide on a Spring Marathon and a fall Marathon.  I also know that I want to participate in a number of sprint.  My goal will be to make the majority of my sprints OWS. Like I said earlier, that is going to be the key to me getting more comfortable in the water.  

Monday, November 2, 2015

City of Oaks Marathon

Yesterday I ran my 4th full marathon, City of Oaks Marathon.  This was another local race held here in Raleigh.  This course is a beautiful course going from the campus of NC State University through the downtown area out to Meredith College and down a beautiful greenway.  Sounds wonderful, right?


For whatever reason I was stressing this race.  For the first time in forever, not only could I not sleep before a race, but I also was having nightmare about it when I was able to sleep.  I was unusually uptight about it.

Woke up at 5:30 and had my normal PB&J with coffee and headed out to the race.  About 3 miles from home I realized that I left my Garmin.  OMG.  I am kinda weird about turning around and going back home.  I think it's because my grandmother was superstitious and it rubbed off on me.  But unless it's a dire emergency, I wouldn't do it.  The thought of running a marathon without a my Garmin made me pause.  So I turned around and went back home.  

Pick up my Garmin and head back out.  I get to the parking lot and couldn't remember which parking lot was the best for walking to the start line.  I eventually find a spot and set off to find the group at the Bell tower.

Previously whenever I was racing, I was the lone ranger before races.  I would go, find a spot and just wait for the start.  Now that I am part of BMR, we met before and took pictures and really encouraged each other to have a good race.  This really helped me because I was a ball of nerves especially after the whole Garmin thing.

Finally, I go to the start chute.  Here is another point where my nerves normally get the best of me.  However seeing the others around, knowing that they were in the same boat, help me to relax and just get ready to go.

It's is go time and we are off.  My goal was to maintain a pretty consistent 7:25 pace.  This would help me to conserve energy for the finishing hills. Well once the gun went off, I was pulled out much faster. My first mile was 6:56.  My second mile was 7:04.  I was just shaking my head and trying to slow it down.

Well the first 5 - 6 miles were all really quick.  We were through the downtown area in a flash and heading up Glenwood.  My perception on the elevation was that downtown would be flat.  Well it wasn't as flat as I imagined.  There were more climbs than anticipated but nothing major.  It was all good (in my head).

I was cruising along still clipping off 7:10-7:20 miles and feeling great.  Going out of Meredith and on House Creek going out was all good.  I was excited at the turn around knowing that I was ahead of my planned pace and time and was still feeling great.

Then everything went to pot.  On the first hill on House Creek, my right leg from the knee down, cramped up.  I thought I was going to be able to power though it.  Every step became torture.  The cramp went from my knee all the way to my toes.  I wasn't going anywhere.  So I started walking.

Finally it went away and I started running again.  Then I hit another hill and another cramp.  Mre walking.  Finally at the next water stop, I grabbed water and gatorade.  Took off again and said to myself I can make this.  WRONG.  Over the next 2 miles I was more of the same.  Run a couple of steps and more walking because of cramps.  I was hurting everywhere now.  My head was spinning because I could not believe this was happening.

Finally I was back at Hillsborough and I was telling myself to finish strong.  Well my body and my head weren't on the same page.  My cramps became more intense and I was slowing down instead of being able to pick it up.  Well I wasn't going to stop.  I keep moving and finally was able to run through the finish.

Final time was 3:21:38.  Looking back at my last 6 miles and I see that I must have banked a lot of time because after all the cramping and walking I still was able to BQ.  I am so thankful to the BMR crew for the encouragement.  Lots of lessons learned from this race.

Monday, October 26, 2015


Last week was a really good week.  Enjoyed a nice vacation in lovely Denver, CO.

I love the scenery in Colo.  The mountains in the background makes for amazing sunrises and sunsets.   Unfortunately the first two days I was there we had steady rain.  It was completely miserable.

I had just left NC where we had 12 straight days of rain is it finally sunny.   But it was vacation and I was visiting my grandson so I will not complain anymore (right now).

Since I am just over a week away from my first marathon in 3 years, I had to continue to run while I was out there.  The first day it was pouring, so I had to find a gym.  Fortunately I am a member of a gym that's a national chain and they had a nice facility in South Denver.  It was a great place for my run.  Only 7 on the dreadmill.

Day 2, I had just 5 miles so I woke up early and found it was only slightly misting so I went ahead and ran out side.  It was great other than the puddles.  I thought since Denver had so much snow, they would have better drainage.  They do however have bike lanes on almost every street so I was able to avoid the sidewalk ponds.

Day 3 was just a 4 mile run.  Once again only a mist so it was back outside.  I decided to run around a park.  It was nice.  No issues.  No puddles.  Easy run.

Day 4 was a long run.  12 miles.  Fortunately the sun was out and I was loving it.  Like I said earlier, Denver has great bike lanes so I was able to run mostly in bike lanes.  I did run into a running snob.  I do not like to run on the sidewalk.  It really hurts my knees.  So wherever possible, I run on grass, dirt or the street avoiding sidwalks.  Well this hero yells at me while I am running to run on the sidewalk.  I just smile and kept going.  For there it was smooth sailing.  I only thought I was lost once.

All in all the altitude didn't had as big an effect on me as I thought.  My times were pretty comparable to normal times.

Back home now and the marathon is just 5 days away.  My heart is pounding just thinking about it.