October 27, 2012

Muncie Mini Recap - Operation Break 2 Hours


I have to tell you how it ends because it changes the thoughts and strategies that I had and used throughout the race. It ends with me realizing that my GPS was OFF the entire race, which means all of my splits data was being sent from my footpod (not entirely accurate)

It was a cold and windy 36 degrees at 8:15 when I arrived at Muncie Central.  Got my timing chip, geared up, and met with the gang.  The plan was in place, and I was feeling quite confident with my ability to execute.

Canon booms and we're off.  Tried to settle into a pace quickly, but the course forced us onto a closed sidewalk along Wheeling.  Very disappointed that they couldn't block off one lane of road for us.   Most were too crowded and couldn't pass.  I felt really bad for the 10k and 5k sprinters behind us who would have to navigate through the mini marathon walkers.

Once we broke off the sidewalk onto Riverside we were able to spread out and Pete, Amy Fletcher and I were together on pace.  Mile 1 clicked off at just under 9:00 which I was surprised at because I was just sure the congested sidewalk slowed us down, but as we got a little further and Pete and Fletcher started to pull away I was concerned.  I checked my watch and the pace was solid under 9:00 every step of the way, and that's all that matters!

I kept them in my sights the entire race.  Every single mile clicked off between 8:40 and 8:55 so I wasn't worried.  What began to worry me though was how quickly my watch was clicking off miles compared to the mile markers.  Mile 3 my watch goes off at 26:30, but I don't pass the mile 3 marker until 27:00 - quick math says 9:09 pace needs to have me at 27:27, so I'm good.  The problem is that it only gets worse.  By mile 6 on my watch it says 53 minutes, but by the time I get to the 6 mile marker the watch is over 54 minutes - still 9:09 math says I need to be under 54:54.  You get the idea.

Still, by the time we get to the turn around (7.3) I am a solid minute behind Pete and Amy.  The math tells me I'm "probably" holding a 9 minute pace, and so I'm not worried, and in fact am so proud of what Pete is doing.  Just hoping he can hold it together, and also hoping that I can still catch him.  One mile at a time.

Near the turn around I saw my faster friends, John Mickle, Shannon Cline, Mike Shunneson, and after the turn drew inspiration from my friends chasing me including Del Brinson, Amy Thomas, Amy Olson and Sara Fauquher.  I felt strong enough to start picking people off one at a time as I worked my way to my pacers.  The foot pod shows the pace picking up, but it's all relative.

Ultimately, I'm within 15 seconds with 2.1 miles to go (McGalliard), and believe I can catch them.  I spent all I had to catch up, and got to them as I witnessed them take their first walking steps of the race.  A water station with 1.5 miles to go was the point I finally caught them, and knew that I had to keep pushing as my own goal was still uncertain.

At the 12 mile marker, I knew I could get away with a 10 minute mile, but that only assumes that the marker is in the right place.  With the inaccuracy of my watch, I couldn't chance it.  The press is on, the pain is real, and I was able to pick off two more runners in the final mile.  With a half mile left I take the hard left onto the Walnut street bridge where the MAFS crew comes unglued cheering for me.  Luke literally slaps my ass on the way by, and there's only one person left that I can possibly reel in - and it's Zach Rozelle - yes, the former Yorktown Superintendent is the real deal!  I had battled with him between miles 9 and 10, and thought he got the best of me, and by the end...he did!

It was another uplifting moment as I came onto the track to find my children waiting for me to once again run hand in hand across the finish line together!  Smiles all the way, and I'm done in 1:57:36!  Check my shoulder and Amy is not far behind me, and before the clock strikes 2:00:00, here comes Pete!  Yes!  We both did it under 2 hours!

I had quite a bit of pain afterward, particularly in my lower back.  Once I hobbled to the car and got home, got showered, and got food, I was anxious to sit down and upload my Garmin data - as it came up on the screen I realized there was no map - and that's when it all made sense - no map, because, no GPS!  My mile by mile splits were being sent from the foot pod, and that explains why my watch measured the race at 13.5 while everyone else had it at 13.06-13.08.  Again, very thankful to have remained so focused to be able to know exactly where I was every step of the way!

I'm not going into quite as much additional detail on this recap for the following reasons...
1)  The Muncie Mini continues to struggle to increase participation.  As an athlete you want and need more people.  At one point I ran nearly 2 miles without anyone passing me or me passing anyone.
2)  The course remains sub-par  - The out and back is bitter sweet - It's nice to see people, but there are not enough people to see, so the greenway can get quite boring.
3)  This was the first time I actually felt like I was "RACING".  I was SO focused on the goal, that every spare moment was spent doing the math, focusing on my body, stride, breathing, etc.


October 25, 2012

Muncie Mini Plan and Play List

1:59:59 - That's the goal!  Anything faster than that and I've exceeded my expectation.  Anything slower than that and it's just not meant to be. 

A year ago at this race, I PR'd with a 2:10:xx and the course measured short.  This is my best chance to go under 2 hours.  The plan is to go out comfortably at low 9s pace and drop a couple sub 9 minute miles in there before the turnaround (mile 7.3).  Ideally I will hit mile 10 at 1:30; that will give me plenty of confidence to bring it home under goal.  It is an out and back course and I have a good handful of friends racing that will be uplifting to see them on the course.

I train with one earbud in, and so I will race the same way.  I realize I'm opening myself up to criticism here, but here are the tunes that get me going these days.  Yes, I like mostly newer music, but it's a pretty decent mix (no country) - Some are meaningful, some inspirational, and others just match a good running tempo for me.  There is exactly 2 hours of music here!  They are listed in alphabetical order, but I'll just press Shuffle and hope they hit me at just the right time as I need them!  (If you see one you don't know, google it, I bet you'll like it!)

All The Small Things - Blink 182
Beautiful Day - U2
Check Yes Juliet - We The Kings
Clocks - Coldplay
Closer To The Edge - 30 Seconds to Mars
The Edge of Glory - Lady GaGa
Everlong - Foo Fighters
The Fighter - Gym Class Heroes (Ryan Tedder)
Gangnam Style - PSY
Glad You Came - The Wanted
Good Feeling - Flo Rida
Good Time - Owl City (Carly Rae Jepsen)
I'm Not Afraid - Eminem
The Kill - 30 Seconds to Mars
Kings and Queens - 30 Seconds to Mars
Live Your Life - T.I. (Rhianna)
Lose Yourself - Eminem
More - Matthew West
Not Over You - Gavin DeGraw
Ocean Avenue - Yellowcard
One More Night - Maroon 5
Raise Your Glass - Pink
Rooftops - Lost Prophets
Run This Town - Jay-Z (Kanye)
Shake It - Metro Station
Starships - Nicki Minaj
Stronger - Kanye West
Titanium - David Guetta (Sia)
Too Close - Alex Clare
Without You - David Guetta (Usher)

October 19, 2012

#IMKONA inspiration and a commitment

I'll be the first to admit - I'm a little addicted to following professional triathletes these days.  I follow many on twitter, and I like many more on facebook; as well as all the companies that sponsor them.  I challenge you to find another sport or activity that, on any given weekend, you can toe the line and compete side by side with some of the world's best athletes.  You will likely never play a full game with Jordan or Kobe, You'll never tee up 18 with Phil or Tiger, and good luck scoring a single point off of Venus or Serena (unless they double fault).  Yet, in an Ironman, any weekend warrior (like myself) can pay the entry fee and go head to head with the best in our sport...every...weekend!

The difference remains, that aside from the elite athletes, very few of us are competing with each other; yet, we are competing only against ourselves.

As I watched the Ironman World Championships in Kona unfold throughout the day last Saturday I was obviously most interested in who was leading, who was fastest, who faltered and why, and of course who won?!  But the following morning I was anxious to scroll through the age group results and find even more inspiration.  The oldest finisher, the youngest finisher, the challenged athletes, and especially the last finisher (you must complete the course in under 17 hours).  The stories of many of these athletes will be featured on next week's featured broadcast of the race that I will record and watch countless times in the weeks and months ahead.    Highlights of the last hour in Kona!

I have bottled up this kind of inspiration for days, weeks, months, and beyond as I become more and more intrigued by the activity, I find myself on the edge of making a commitment.  A decision to chase a dream that just 3 years ago would have been laughable to anyone in my life.  I understand that this is not something I can do alone, and yet it is entirely up to me.  I understand that there will be sacrifices for myself, my family, my friends, and yet all will be better for having been a part of this.  I understand the challenge is as mentally taxing as it is physically exhausting.  I understand that it's not about the destination, it's about the journey. 

I am blessed with a career that affords me the time.  I am blessed with a family that affords me the time.  I am blessed with friends that lead by example.  I am blessed with a renewed body that is up for the challenge.  My mind is right, my heart is ready, and the stars seem to be aligned.

At this time I am committing myself to begin a training program on December 17th that will prepare me to complete the August 25, 2013 Ironman Louisville.  I understand that every mile I have completed to this point has been an important part of my training for this event, but it's now time to focus the effort.  The event traditionally does not sell out until mid summer, and I will not commit my dollars for entry until the Spring ,all assuming that the training is going well and my health remains strong.

I am looking forward to the structured workouts and having a plan.  Thanks in advance to my friends and family for understanding and supporting my journey to become an Ironman