Tuesday, June 25, 2013

2013 Maritime Marathon Race Report

Wow - My body rebelled for this marathon!

Ok, maybe I helped a little by going out with friends Friday night, eating food that was not good fuel and drinking beer. 

Saturday the whole family headed over to Manitowoc to hang out with my Wife's Aunt and Uncle whom we had not seem for a long time.  Great family time, but we got going late to their house and stayed a bit too long.  Luckily we arrived at packet pick up 15 minutes before closing (4:00pm).

I went for a little 3 mile run after packet pickup and did a few striders.  I felt sluggish and uncoordinated.

I slept decently and the morning went smoothly.  Right before the race I chatted with Mike and Nic ~ 2 people I knew that were also going for a sub 3.

The gun went off and from the start it was hard.  I was working my butt off, I felt sludgy and stiff.  Mile #1-3 I was fighting to stay with a couple of people hoping my legs would loosen up.  All I could muster in miles 1-3 were 6:55-7:00 miles.  I knew I was in trouble and backed off. 

Even running 7:15's felt uncoordinated and hard.  At mile #5 I was passed by 3 people and I decided to tuck in behind and just try to relax.  The pace was 7:05-7:10 and I was barely hanging on.  I started to leave sweat foot prints before mile #6.

This was also the time I realized I had seen a guy with a sign "I don't know you, but your are a star #98 (My number) 3 times already.  I say him maybe 9-10 more times in the race, it turns out he was there for his wife, but had randomly picked a number to also cheer for.  I was close enough to her pace that I saw him a lot.  Weird, but nice and fun.

Mile #10 I let them go and went into survival or "Faking it" mode.  I relaxed and ran comfortable hard, I stopped looking at my watch and just smiled.  If I am going to be slower, I might as well enjoy the day.  I started to walk for 10 steps at aide stations to get both a cup of water and a cup of Gatorade.

I went through 1/2 Marathon at 1:34:35.

Sometimes smiling and deciding you are going to have fun works.  I was feeling much better and smooth at mile #17, so I started tracking mile splits again. It was a 7:17, I decided it was time to re-focus and finish as best I could.

I could get my pace down to @ 7:05 before I would get light headed, my legs felt like they could go faster.  I was fairly dehydrated at this point, so I just took what my body gave.

At mile #22 I saw 3-4 people ahead and just focused on them, although I did not pass the 4th person until near mile #24. 

The last 2 miles have some short but steep uphills, a pretty mean place for hills!  After mile #25, I saw 2 guys ahead.  1 was 2 bocks ahead and the other 2 1/2 blocks ahead.  I caught up to the 1st one with 1/3 mile to go.  He put the hammer down, so I just ran with him as we approached the 2nd guy.  I passed the them both just before a 180 degree turn 1 block from the finish line.  He immediately passed me back and I did not have the heart (Desire) to go after him again.  He ended up 3rd in our age group and I was 4th.

2nd half was 1:35:39 for a 3:10:14 12th OA.

Both Mike (2:56 3rd OA) and Nic (3:08 9th OA) finished ahead of me.

My wife's cousin Jody and husband were at mile # 23 and the finish line with my wife and kids - I was nice to spend a little time catching up.

After the race we went to Neshotah Beach in Two Rivers.  The wind was now straight from the East, making it fun to play in the waves.  We added a little volleyball and beer and had a great time.  The water was in the low 50s, making for a nice post race ice bath.

This was an amazing family weekend that just happened to have a race that I struggled running.

Good running to all -

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Maritime Marathon - Full taper - No madness

Usually I cannot stand the 2 weeks of taper to a marathon.  I get really irritable going from running a lot to very little running. 

My training level for this marathon was 2/3 the normal amount = 85-95 MPW.  This leaves me with a lot of time for other life activities.

I have not noticed any PMI (Pre-Marathon Irritability) yet and there are only 4 days to go.  I usually end up mowing the lawn 2-3 times, getting a haircut, getting the oil changed, edging the lawn and applying weed and feed marathon week.

The weather forecast is pretty average for late June, but we have had a really cool spring, so I was hopeful for a bit cooler temps.  Saturday night's low is forecasted for 62F and Sunday's high in the upper 70s with 75-80% humidity.  Winds out of the south 13 MPH.  The course heads North the 1st half and back south the 2nd half.

If I have a chance at sub 3 it will look like 1:27 / 1:32 with how the wind is forecasted.

I would put the odds 2/1 against.

But you never know.  I have had a couple of races where I was sure I would be 2:55 and my legs only wanted to do 7:15-7:25 pace.  I have had another couple race I felt I was in 3:05-3:10 shape and ran a 2:55-2:59.

I am hoping the 1st couple miles are 6:40-6:50 and feel easy ... But I will enjoy the exerience of another marathon.

Good running to all!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Maritime Marathon Taper

It is now 10 days before the Maritime Marathon in Manitowoc, WI.  Since it takes about 10 days to get value from training stimulus ... all the training is in the bank and it's time to taper.

What?  I really just started to train consistenly 6 weeks ago. I am just starting to make a little (very little) progress toward losing weight and getting a bit faster.  May 4th I ran a 6:40 pace 10k and June 8th a 6:24 pace 5 miler.

I am finally getting comfortable with training within the limits of less miles.  I have managed to match my eating to the lower mileage and I am starting to believe I can train and improve this way.

I signed up for this marathon to try and extend my streak of years with a sub 3 hour marathon to 10 years.  Things are clicking a little too late to be confident.  June 23rd is too late to expect great running weather, so I am a long shot at best.

10 days of doing everything right and I have a chance.

The other thing I like to keep in mind is hitting marathon times.  From 2:45 - 3:00, I still need 2:46, 2:51-2:54.  From 3:00-3:09, I still need 3:01, 3:02, 3:04 and 3:08.  I am not even going to entertain that I need 7 times in 3:10-3:20 range - I will be faster than that!

The time I have run the most often is 2:56 and I have run 2:55-3:00 9 times, so I am just hoping my body knows what to do.

I believe with decent weather I am in 2:56-3:04 shape.  More specifically 2:59-3:01 ...

Good running to all -

PS ~ Beer is evil until 10:00am on 6/23!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

2013 Walleye run 5 mile report

I last did this race in 1997.  It is a fun, smaller family focused event.  It has a 5 mile, 2 mile, kids 1 mile and kids 1/3 mile race.  Walleye weekend is a big event for Fon du lac with tons of activities going on.

This was a family race ~ DD#1 (12) did the 5 mile race, DW and DD#2 (8) did the 2 mile race.

The weather was great for June in WI ~ 58F, cloudy with a light breeze.  The only thing keeping it from perfect weather was high humidity, as sprinkles filled most the morning.

The last 5 weeks, I have had a little more consistency in my running and my weight is at 220 pounds, down 5 pounds from the 10k I did at the beginning of May. 

I decided to run comfortably hard the 1st mile. I usually over-run mile #1 and then suffer as I fight hard to maintain pace the rest of the race in races 5k - 10k.  My goal was to be under 32 and hoping to be near 31 minutes.

Mile #1 6:30 ~ There goes a 31:00.  I decide to relax, but try and pick it up a little.

Mile #2 6:30 ~ I guess I only have 6:30 speed, so I might as well find an efficient stride and focus on maintaining pace.  My limiting factor is getting oxygen.

Mile #3 6:33 ~ It dawns on me ... I am not suffering.  I decide I should suffer some race pain the next 2 miles.

Mile #4 6:17 ~ Some suffering as I struggle getting enough oxygen, but I decide I can suffer more.

Mile #5 6:09 ~ I might have been able to get 4-5 more seconds out of my body the last mile if I pushed to pass out territory, but not today.

Final time 31:59 ~ 2nd AG.

DD#1 was 2nd in her age group.

DW and DD#2 were @ 25 minutes ~ reasonable for non-runners.

We celebrated with Beer, soda and deep fried cheese curds.

Nice family day!

I does leave me at the bare minimum speed to hit 2:59:59 in the marathon in 2 weeks ~ Darn ... I am enjoying running a lot less, but I miss being in better shape.

Good running to all!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

24 Hour race fueling - The alternative view

   At FANS 24 I crewed Don, his brother Tom also ran.  They both hit 100 miles.  Tom is built like a linebacker, his idea of fueling is 3 square meals.  He eats 3 square meals every day, why should race day be different?

  I have thought about this for a few days.  Many runners have a big issue with their stomachs.  We pound highly engineered calories, along with some easier to digest normal food. 

  I am able to eat a pretty darn big meal and go home and do a long "Feeling Guilty" run.  It takes 3-4 hours for this big meal to empty out of my stomach.  If I run too fast, I will fight the food trying to come back up.  So a big meal pretty much forces me to take it easy.

  I am seriously considering experimenting with Tom's 3 square meal (Plus a late night snack) plan.  Eat a decent breakfast of eggs, bacon and waffles about 1 hour before the race.  Eating chicken or hamburger along with pasta around 6 hour into the race.  Having chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy 12 hours into the race and a 2am snack of 2-3 servings of Roman Noodles.  In between this bigger feedings, I anticipate drinking water for 3 hours and then taking some engineered stuff until the next big feeding.

It may be the worst idea / biggest blow up ever, but I think it is worth the experiment.

Now I just have to find the desire to run another one of these puppies.

Good running to all!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

2013 FANS 24 Crewing Report

June 1-2 was my 6th year involved with FANS 24 in some shape or form.  I have participated three times, volunteered twice and this year I crewed a friend for the 1st time.

It is the 2nd time I have crewed for someone and I think crewing is hard.  When I run, I am a very demanding runner and my wife is one of the best crew people on the planet.  When I crew, I compare myself to the high standard she sets and I just cannot come close to her attention to detail and being on the ball all 24 hours.

My friend Don is a pretty good runner and has potential to hit a high number in the 24 hour.  He came in with a nagging hip problem, but still anticipating a solid day.  Secondarily, I was helping another friend Chris when his parents were not around.  I was not much help, but it was nice seeing Chris in action ~ his attitude is always excellent. 

This year the event is being held at Fort Snelling.  Lots of room and parking, but the parking location made for a long carry of supplies to tent city.  As always the FANS 24 hour organization and volunteers were as good as it gets.

The day started out warm and humid.  The start was offset .135 miles, making the 1st lap 2.307 miles and the laps following were 2.17 miles.  This allowed the 100 mile mark to be exactly at the start / finish line.

The course was 2/3 eight foot wide paved bike trail and 1/3 a little wide dirt / gravel trail.  There were many places with opportunity to run in the grass alongside the trail.  In my opinion this course was a little harder than the previous Lake Nokomis location, but still a good course.

The 1st mistake I made was not getting an exact time on all of Don's early laps.  He was running @ 9 minute miles ~ Which is well within his skill set, but with the warm and humid temps it was a pace that was too fast.  I did end up recognizing the pace versus the weather and eventually asked him to slow down to make sure he could Rock and Roll at night.

At the 4 hour mark we ran into a problem to solve.  Don had lost 4% of his body weight.  The race weighs you every 4 hours if you lose more than 5% they can pull you until you are back in range.  Think of this as expiration date on beer.  The beer may be fine, but they pull it from the shelf just to be safe. 

A slower pace, S-Caps and drinking more than we would have liked solved this issue and he was up 1/2 pound at 8 hours.  Between the faster starting pace and the solution to our weight problem, lead to issue #2 = Sour stomach.  I also think that Gatorade and its simple sugars were a major contributing factor.

We fought sour stomach most the rest of the race.

Between 4 and 8 hours we had a pretty good storm roll through with heavy rain for an hour or so.  It did cool things slightly, but it took a few more hours for the front to move completely through to give us relief from humidity and some really cool air moved in.

Somewhere between 8-12 hours we had issue #3.  His hip was getting really tight.  His calves were also crampy, but I think that is pretty normal in a race of this distance.

I have run enough 24 hours races (8) and suffered through 5 bad races that I understand the mental and physical battles.  If we have only 1 issue to deal with, we are pretty blessed and almost anyone can handle it.  But as the issues start to pile on one another, it takes more and more mental fortitude to not let them effect your race results.

Starting the race too fast is one issue that is difficult to overcome.  The problem with pace is our bodies have something different to give every day.  It can feel really easy, but even 15 seconds per mile too fast for a few hours and you have a mountain to overcome.  Mountains can be conquered.

Injuries - Series or Nagy injuries going into a 24 hour race often will doom your chances.  Sure you can gut out a marathon or 6 hour race with a bad hamstring, hip or knee issue.  The 24 hour race is not so kind, to have a chance to achieve 90% of your potential you need to be injury free.

After 12 hours, Don continued to fight, hoping things would turn around.  He continued to lower his goal, but set the new goal high enough to force himself to focus on his race.

In the end, he had to settle for the goal of "100 mile sweatshirt" they give to 24 hour people reaching 100 miles.  He hit this goal with around 80 minutes left in the race, then pulled the plug to not cause further damage.

24 hour races are hard.  There are 10 things that can go majorly wrong and blow up your race.  If you hit 90% of your potential you have hit a home run.  Like 100 mile race, often the person who problem solves the best wins the race.   Something will always go wrong, but the goal is to resolve the issue quickly as possible.

I believe Don and myself  are a little wiser through Don's suffering (Thanks Don).  I think we are a little better equipped to be better at our next 24 hour race from the experience.

In the end being at the FANS 24 hour race was a really cool experience, but did not create any fire in my belly to return to racing the 24 hour.  Next year is the 25th anniversary of FANS 24 ... and I do need 101 miles to get my 500 mile vest ... so maybe.