Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Gate River Run-15k National Championships

I was first invited to run the Gate River Run last year, but ended up passing on it. It was the same day as the Tom King Half-Marathon, which is a pretty big deal in Nashville.  And I wanted to break the Tom King course record, owned by my old college teammate, as well as break the state record for the half-marathon. This year, I planned to run Gate River instead of Tom King, but was glad to see they were actually on two separate dates. Win-win.

I've talked to a lot of people who've run Gate River in the past and they've all said that Richard Fannin does an outstanding job on putting on a high quality race and fun experience.  He makes sure to actively recruit a competitive, deep field and has a lot of love for the sport. Sometimes trying to get into races or figuring out logistics is a big headache.  But Richard is on top of it all and made everything very easy for me.

I was really nervous about this race, because there was going to be a killer field and I was really doubting my fitness level.  Most of the guys in the field are well into their spring training and I've been very up-and-down since the Houston Marathon.  A couple of months ago, I was expecting to be sub 45 at this race, but with how things were recently going, I felt like I was going to run between 46:00-46:30.  I figured I'd go out in 4:50ish, be forced to slow down to 5:00ish pace over the next few miles and then, do my best to hang on to that pace.  While I was looking forward to the weekend, I was somewhat dreading the race and nervous I would somewhat embarrass myself.

So going into the race I made a few goals.  Goal #1 was to beat fellow Nashvillian, Jeanette Faber.  She ran a marathon a couple weeks prior and with the women getting a  6:18 head start, I felt like I could maybe catch her late in the race.  But I mainly made this goal because I knew it would keep me going in the middle of the race, when things start to get mentally and physically difficult.  It's easier to push through things when you know you are getting a little bit closer as each minute passes.  Goal #2 was to not lose to Kevin Castille.  The dude is fast and if he were 39, I wouldn't care if he beat me.  But he's 41 and I didn't want to lose to him in fear that if I brought up this race to someone, they would be like "wasn't that the race you got smoked by that old guy in?" So, I didn't want to lose to him (but do you ever want to lose to anybody).  And I guess my biggest fear would to chase a girl down late in the race, only to be outkicked by her down the final straightaway. I really didn't want that to happen.

I didn't get to the hotel until almost 11:00pm and I was supposed to room with fellow Newton teammate, Stephen Pifer, who ran for the University of Colorado back in the day and I believe he may have broken 4:00 in the mile for the past ten years in a row. But he is training partners with my other Newton teammate, Tyler McCandless, so I ended up switching up with Tyler so they could room together.  Tyler was originally rooming with Chris Barnicle, who I met at the BAA Half last year.  He's a laid back guy and does his own thing. If I were a single guy, he would be living my dream. He spent some time running in Kenya, used to be in Mammoth, is now living in Albuquerque and is about to head to Ethiopia.  He's also super fast as he has run 28:10 for 10,000m.

After checking into my room, I let Chris know he had been downgraded and got my first night of 6+ hours of sleep in over a week.  After waking up, Chris and I headed down to get some breakfast in the hospitality suite.  I was both ecstatic and frightened because they had Nutella, which I haven't had in years.  I downed an Einsteins bagel, loaded down with the stuff, which made it more like a chocolate and hazelnut filled donut, instead of a bagel.  And then I downed another bagel with some of that fake butter crap on it.  It was such a good meal, I ate the same thing for lunch.

This wasn't my bagel but it looked like that. And are those boogers?
After breakfast,  I went on a run with Chris, lounged around, took a course tour, went on a run with Jeanette and some guy from the BAA named Harvey, who turned out to be a nice guy and then we went to some after school daycare program.  We did some relay races with the kids, along with some other stuff and it was a fun way to spend the afternoon. At dinner, we got to hear Dick Beardsley speak and a couple hours later, it was time for bed.  But throughout the day, I was pretty pessimistic about my chances and was continually dreading the race.  Being that I train mostly alone and don't have a coach, I have to figure out things mostly on my own since I don't have anyone to really plan race strategy with, talk about recent workouts, etc.  So I have to somewhat have two personalities as I'm the runner and the coach.  But after being pessimistic about my chances all weekend, my coaching self told me "well, it sounds like you have your mind made up then. You're going to run really badly."  That got my attention and made me change my outlook on the race.  Maybe I wasn't very fit but going into it with a terrible attitude would only result in a terrible performance.


Race morning, I got up at about 5:30 and ate breakfast.  It couldn't have been that good because I forgot what it was.  Temperatures were already in the mid 50s, with the daily high supposed to be in the upper 70s. Not exactly ideal racing weather but I figured the warmer conditions would help the Southern boy.   I did my warm-up with Jeremy Freed, who is another Newton guy and would be forming a team with him, and Josh Carson (another Newton runner).  We were supposed to have Fernando Cabada on our squad, but he recently found out he was going to represent the United State in the World Half-Marathon Championships, so he decided to take some much needed recovery. But even without Fernando, we had a nice Newton representation.

When the race started, I took my time finding my rhythm and and went from around 50th place or so a couple of minutes in, to the back of a big lead pack near the mile.  The pack had about 20 guys or so in it and I was probably three seconds off the lead.  With Shalane Flanagan getting such a big head start and with this race being Chris Derrick's longest race (I think), I figured the pace would start pretty slowly.  But I was hoping they would run faster so I wouldn't find a spot in the pack, only to slowly get the life drained out of my legs.  I went through the first mile in 4:47, feeling pretty comfortable.  The next mile, I worked my way past a few more people and split 4:45.  I even had a brief moment where I realized that I could be in the front if I threw in a short surge.  But I didn't want any of that.

Since the pace was increasing, I backed off a little bit so I could do my own thing and not be one of the guys who would turn into road kill a few miles down the road.  I was running by myself with the pack slowly leaving me.  I ended up catching Kevin Castille and ran side-by-side with him for a minute or two before pulling away.  The next mile was a 4:53, which was encouraging.  I was feeling really good and didn't expect to feel this strongly after running the first two miles in a little bit over 9:30.  But I also started to notice the increasing temperature, so at the next fluid stop, I poured some water on my chrome dome  I tried drinking out of the cup, but barely got anything out of it, so my plan was to water myself down at a few of the stops.

In the fourth mile, I saw Tyler McCandless start to slowly come back to me.  I eventually caught and then passed him a little bit under halfway through the race. I was hoping he would rally back and have a good race but my eyes were focused on the next guy ahead of me.  Once I hit this point, I knew I was running pretty well because I felt strong and I knew who all of the other guys ahead of me were. I noticed Brent Vaughn having some trouble and have heard he has a lot of trouble racing in the heat.  I went by him and then went on to pass Scott Macphearson and on a highway stretch a little bit before six miles, then ran behind Joe Moore for a minute or two before making a pass once we turned off the highway.

Continuing to pass so many tough guys was helping me push through the middle of the race, and I went through 10k in 30:05, which was much faster than expected.  Sometime during this mile, I ended up getting goal #1 and passed Jeanette.  Sorry Jeanette, it ain't personal, just business.

I could see a pretty big group of guys within 100m of me that I was slowly gaining on. I went on to catch Michael Eaton (I guess he's sort of a rival since he lives in KY), Elliot Krause (super tough but has been having a rough patch lately) and Scott Smith.  I really wanted to beat Scott Smith since we have the same first name.  Random stuff like that usually motivates me.  But I also liked running near him because I got over twice as many cheers.

I was still hanging on to the lowish 4:50s and had hopes of catching Craig Curley, Ben Bruce, Nick Arciniaga or Craig Leon.  They were anywhere between 5-15 seconds ahead of me and definitely would be good scalps to take.  Shortly after passing Scott, it was time for the famed hill.  Since we were in Florida and right on the coast, I figured this hill everyone talked about would be a dinky little 1/4 mile thing that wouldn't be an issue.  But that thing kept on going and going and going. It was probably about a thousand meters long, gained about 150 feet and I felt like I was absolutely crawling up it.  I expected someone to pass me but luckily, they never did. However, the guys I were chasing were now pulling away and I went through the eighth mile in 5:08, which was my slowest mile of the day by 15 seconds.
Green Monster Wikimedia
At a little over seven miles into a 9.3 mile race, this hill is placed in a bad spot

After cresting the hill, I was hoping to barrel down the downhill but my legs were too tired. Craig Curley was about 10-15 seconds ahead of me and Craig Leon was probably 6-7 seconds up on me when I passed the 1600m to go sign.  I thought they were both too far ahead to catch, so my goal was to stay focused so I didn't lose my position. This may have been the first race that I hadn't been passed after the first 1/4 mile and I didn't want to lose that.

After passing the nine mile marker, I went by Jen Rhines and felt like I could catch Craig if I went after it some.  I had to at least try because he literally ran like 150 miles the week before the race. I ended up passing him within a hundred meters and with about that much distance left, I kept on pushing and went by Amy Hastings.  There was another girl just ahead of me, so I passed her in case there was a live feed or something so it wouldn't like she was smoking me down the final straight away.

Finishing up in my Newton Distance Elite's, the shoe I wear pretty much everyday

I crossed the line in 45:25 and figured I was around 15th-20th place and was really happy with how I ran. After results came out, I was 15th.  Results show 14th but Nick Arciniaga wasn't listed.  With the head start the women got, I finished behind 17 of them.  Not too bad of a day.

Stephen used his sub 4:00 mile speed to put a whooping on Jeremy down the final straightaway as they finished 9th and 10th overall, both running 44:51.  Tyler finished up in 45:54 and Josh ran 51:06.  When the race was over, I started cooling down with Jeremy and our group quickly turned into a Field of Dreams moment as more and more people starting joining the group.  After I got in my couple of miles, we had about 15-20 guys in the group, including Ben True and Chris Derrick, who finished 1-2 overall, with Ben running a 3:59 last mile to pull away.

In the women's race, Shalene Flanagan broke the American Record for 15k by a couple of seconds and took home something like $30,000.  My old college teammate, Janet Bawcom, finished as the second female and was stuck in no-man's (or no woman's) land for pretty much the entire race.

They had some timing issues, which delayed results.  But it was a good opportunity to eat some donuts, drink some Gatorade and even devour a surprisingly good hot dog.  I even met a guy who reads my blog, who I believe was wearing Newton's.  And while waiting for Pifer and Jeremy to get their top 10 award, I also spent some time talking to a guy from Florida who also wears Newtons.  For some reason, the shoes result in me meeting a lot of cool, new people.

While I was happy with my race, I was a little bit bummed because this was Jeremy's last race as a Newton runner.  He's pretty much immediately moving to Oregon to work for Nike.  He's doing something with online marketing and interacting with customers or something.  I was hoping he would tell me exactly what it was so I could go and troll him some, but he wouldn't give me all of the info.  I've only met him twice, but he's a teammate who will be missed.  We are both similar in the fact that we have both found our best running, post-college and also have a similar outlook on our mental view of things.  Too many people are too emotinally attached to running.  When they run really well, they are ecstatic and on top of the world.  When they run poorly, they are down in the dumps and to them, life couldn't be any more worse.  Running is a pretty stupid thing when you think about it and when the race is over, it's over. That's not to say I don't care about things, because I do. But I never let one race, workout, etc. affect the big picture or how I feel about things as a whole.

After the race, I bummed around, ate some pizza and relaxed some before the dinner and post-race party. At the dinner, they had fried alligator, which was really good and they even had a picture book of the guy you were eating.  Normally, gator meat isn't very flavorful and is really chewy but everything tastes better fried and it was loaded down with a ton of spices. They even had an ice cream place serving free ice cream and my dilemna of the night was choosing between Maple Nut or Salted Caramel.  In a closely contested ice cream battle, the tie breaker is always the toppings, so Salted Caramel reigned supreme.

That wasn't my ice cream.  I was just in need of a picture since I have too many pictureless paragraphs.

After the dinner, we went to the post-race party at some bar near the hotel.  They had both a DJ and a band and my old butt spent a couple of hours talking to Craig Curley, who is a super nice guy and is training for the Boston Marathon.  He can't be more of a inch or two shorter than me, and said all the mileage he's been doing for the marathon has made him lose some weight, and he's down to 109 pounds.  I haven't been that light since seventh grade!  While a lot of people were out until 3 or 4 in the morning, I was in bed before midnight. With an early flight, I knew I needed some sleep because heading home and then taking a nap after being gone for three nights while my wife watched the kids, would be a death sentence.

Overall, it was a really fun race and overall experience.  Next year, I'll be back for some revenge and will be ready to attack the hill.  It also gave me a chance to meet a lot of the runners I've competed against but never really talked with.  Tyler Pennel and Matt Llano are both really nice guys and will also be representing the US in the Half-Marathon Championships, along with Fernando, Josephat Boit and Shadrack Biwott.  And maybe I'm finally coming around because I know all of those guys now.

After this race, I went from taking a low-key approach to the spring season to wanting to jump in the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler, which is also the USA 10 Championships, three weeks later.  Based off my current level fitness and what I've done so far, I feel like I will be able to maintain this pace for a half-marathon in 4-6 weeks, even with the warmer weather.  Hopefully it's a sign of good things to come.

Monday, March 24, 2014

March 17-23 Training

Monday: 4 miles (6:39); Planned on doing 11 or so in the afternoon but started feeling sick and after a six hour nap, woke up with a 102 fever and flu-like symptoms. Guess the lack of sleep finally caught up to me.

Tuesday: No running. Still sick

Wednesday: 5 miles (6:27); 10.2 miles (6:30)

Thursday: 10.1 miles with attempted workout. Planned on doing 10x2:00 on/off and after almost two minutes at 5:00 pace, I axed it because I was dying.  Hopefully I get my mojo back; 6.3 miles (6:37)

Friday: 5.6 miles (6:34); 4.1 miles (7:01)

Saturday: 8.8 miles with 5k race in 14:57. Man, this was tough.  Second mile marker would have been 9:35ish and I was really hurting at that point.  Backed off some the last half mile but doubt I could have run much under 14:45, all-out; 6.3 miles (7:04)

Sunday: 20 miles (6:09). Felt good from the start, despite really strong winds. 6:10 average at halfway, got up to a 6:13 average over the next few miles because of some massive headwind and with the wind at my back, started running 5:50s to get down to 6:07.  Started getting really thirsty at 17 or so and slowed down about 30s a mile the last two miles. I found a hose at the end of someones yard, but the jerk had the water turned off.  Probably would have been 6:05ish with some fluid, so a decent run.

Week Total: 80.4 miles. Pretty similar to last workout during the week with a race on the weekend.  I'll end up running Cherry Blossom if I get my running legs back this week.  If I'm still struggling, I don't want to get whooped in front of Obama.  Also have some old man aches going on.  There's something going on deep in my right glute that is really painful for the first few minutes of each run.  I also have a really tender spot on the outside-top of my femur. I'm sure those are related some how. And I can't forget the tendonitis in my left foot and feel a ton of creaking when I move my toes. Hopefully this week, I'll get back into triple digits with a couple hard workouts and a long run.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

March 10th-16th Training

Monday: 9.1 miles (6:37); 6.3 miles (6:55)

Tuesday: 5.9 miles (6:48); 11 miles with attempted workout. Planned on doing 10x2:00 on/off but my quads felt like wet sponges on the first one and I knew I wasn't ready for hard running.  Shouldn't have done the half-marathon/fast trail run combo.

Wednesday: 5.3 miles (6:53). Skipped second run because I had running club after school and then a massage

Thursday: 10 miles with 8x.15 fast with .35 easy (6:10). Ran 4:22 pace on the fast portion.  Legs feel much better, post-massage.  Skipped second run because I had to head to Florida.

Friday: 6.6 miles (7:00); 6.3 miles (7:44)

Saturday: 14.9 miles with 15k race in 45:24. Good effort, considering I expected to run 46:00-46:30. Started out slow and started catching people after 5k.  I felt strong and in control, but I just didn't have the wheels to run faster. Finished 15th overall and beat some tough guys.

Sunday: No running. Travelling and fatherhood

Week Total: 75.4 miles. Good race but not a good week.  My training has been very up and down the past few weeks and as I type this, I've been sick the past two days. I was hoping to get in about 110 miles this week, with a good workout, 5k race, and long run but until I get better, it's up in the air.  I'm far from fit now, so I was hoping for a good week to get ready for Cherry Blossom.  Hopefully I'm not losing fitness because I only had one hard workout last week, with low volume and I may repeat that this week.

Monday, March 10, 2014

March 3rd-9th Training

Monday: 7.2 miles (6:47); 8.9 miles (6:56)

Tuesday: 5.9 miles (6:59); 11 miles with 4800m in 14:40, 3:00 jog, 3200m in 9:27, 3:00 jog, 1600m in 4:30. I was going to run 10x3:00 on/off down my normal fast running road but I really wasn't motivated to get out at all.  Since we had another snow day the following day, I decided to drive to Nashville and join the Nashville Harriers in their workout.  Most of them were doing some 5k pace work, a couple other guys were doing their thing and I just did mine.  That was my first time running a workout with so many people in a long, long time.  It was motivating to be around so many other focused runners but it was also different because I'm so used to running track workouts on a lonely, dark track where I'm in complete self-focus.  But the workout went really well and we finished the day with Girl Scout Cookies and Bleinheim Ginger Ale.

Wednesday: 10.1 miles (6:29); 6 miles (7:16)

Thursday: 10.2 miles (6:19); 7 miles with 8x.15 fast stride, .35 easy (6:27). Ran a lazy fartlek to get the legs moving some.  I ran the four mile fartlek at 6:09 average and averaged a little under 4:30 pace on the fast portion.  Legs felt stiff and worn out.

Friday: 6.2 miles (6:42); 7 miles (6:38)

Saturday: 17.4 miles with half-marathon in 66:37. Goal was to win, without overdoing it. Connor Kamm was my main competition and he's coming back after some hip stuff and was planning on starting at 5:20.  I decided to start pretty hard, in hopes he let me go so I could back off late in the race.  Opened up with a 4:51 and then hovered around 5:00ish the next few miles.  I was a little more fatigued than I wanted and at the turnaround, a little over six miles in, I saw I had about 1/3 of a mile lead.  At nineish miles, I backed off and cruised 5:15s until the end to win by about two minutes.  Lanni also broke the Canadian record and ran 1:10:45.

Sunday: 5.6 miles (7:00ish); 11.8 miles on the trails (6:49). Headed to Beaman Park for the first time in almost two years.  It's pretty runable single track with constant small rollers.  I didn't struggle on any of the uphills until the long climb right before the finish.  I did two down-and-backs and used to call this 12.4, so maybe it was a little bit longer.  Great run and looks felt really good.

Week Total: 114.3 miles. Decent week. I can tell I'm a little behind schedule and am hoping I don't get smoked at Gate River this weekend.  After Houston, my goal was to run sub 4:50 pace there, but I don't think I'll be able to pull that off.  That being said, I'll still race my butt off because I have to try and catch fellow Nashvillian, Jeanette Faber (girls get a six minute and something head start). And does it count as getting chicked if I run down a woman then get out sprinted by her?

Cowtown Marathon

In January, I heard there was going to be a decent prize purse for the Cowtown Marathon in Ft. Worth, Texas. They had overall prize money, a pot for anyone breaking the men's and women's event record (too lazy to look those up) and then the incentive that appealed to me: a $25,000 purse to be split between all of the runners breaking the new course records (2:36 for the men and 2:47 for the women), courtesy of Marathon Guide.  Marathon Guide also donated American money to the Houston Marathon last year, which netted me $2,500.  In a sport where money is constantly being taken away, you have to appreciate companies like that.  But since I usually do my "normal" long run at around 6:00 pace on an empty stomach, first thing in the morning, I felt extending it 2-6 miles, while eating a big breakfast and taking fuel during the race, wouldn't be that much more stressful than a normal long run. And hey, I could hopefully make some money in the process.

I flew into Dallas on a Saturday afternoon, with the race taking place the next morning.  The cool thing was that there were going to be a lot of Newton runners there.  Stephen Gartside, the guy in charge of the Newton Elite program was running the full marathon.  Bob Weiner's (pronounced whiner, get your head out of the gutter) daughter was playing a soccer tournament in the area, so he jumped in the 10k on Saturday and put a whooping on everyone at 48 years young.  And Brenda Carawan was running the 50k.

I knocked out a few miles with Bob as soon as I got there (I was even an overachiever and ran that morning) and after scrambling around the city looking for a greenway, we ended up in some fenced over area underneath some stairs and a bridge that looked completely shady, so I did my best not to step on any HIV needles and after running around some more, we finally find the greenway and got in 5.5ish miles for the run.

Stephen almost made us go to a vegan place for dinner, which is pretty much a death sentence in Forth Worth, so we switched up to some fancy joint that scraped the crumbs off the table before you got your meal.  They didn't have any burgers or pizza, so I ordered some fancy stuff I couldn't pronounce that I got because it was the second cheapest thing on the menu. The cheapest didn't sound too good.  I also annoyed the crap out of the waiter because I drunk like seven or eight cokes.  I'm normally not a big carbo-loader, because if you're peaking for a marathon, you are normally rested enough that your stores are already nearly filled.  But I wasn't peaking for this "race", got in a decent amount of volume for the week and since I didn't switch planes on my layover, I was probably pretty low on calories and carbs for the day.  And liquid calories are a quick and easy way to get what you need.  During dinner, I learned a lot about the production of Newton and the market of running shoes.  And I also learned about Brenda's Spartathalon race she ran, which was over 150 miles long, through Greece.  No thanks!

After dinner, it was time for bed, followed by a 4am wakeup.  I forgot to pack my Powerbars (as well as phone charger and Benadryl), so I had to eat what they had there, which was a couple granola bars and some trail mix.  After getting to the race, there seemed like there were about 20ish people who were going for the record.  I was hoping no more than 25 would get it, so I could go home with a cool G.

After a short warm-up, followed by a quick pee in some shrubberies (this was harder than I expected because there were cops everywhere), it was time to head to the line.  I ran into Stephen again who asked if I was interested in going for the 2:17 course record, which would have resulted in even more money, but I wasn't really tempted.  The risk was too high, despite the potential payoff.

Finally, we were off.  I found myself in a pack of about 10 guys, who all came to Ft. Worth with my same plan.  I was hoping we would hang together and treat it like a nice long run.  I told them I wish they would run really well and feel good for the first 24 miles, followed by muscle cramping, severe diarrhea and vomiting.  There loss would be my gain!

I was hoping to to run 5:50-5:55 pace, which would let me take bathroom stops, if needed, and let me take my time at fuel stops if I had trouble drinking out of the cups.  The pack stayed together pretty well, with a dozen or so people racing ahead of us and some more behind us.  About seven or eight miles in, nature started to call. I was hoping someone else would need to stop, so I mentioned that I had to pee and was hoping someone else needed to, so we could be like women and go to the bathroom together and then run together again.  But when I stopped, everyone kept on going.  I wasn't looking forward to running alone but they were creeping into the upper 5:30s, which was faster than I wanted, so it was probably for the best. About a minute later (went from a 5:38, to a 6:31) I was out.  I looked to the left and saw a couple people 100m or so behind and debated waiting for them, but I just went on my way.

Eventually, the women's marathon leader caught me, and ran right behind me.  I was hoping she would pass but I guess she saw all of my muscles or something and felt like I would block a lot of wind.  I chatted with the person cycling beside her and a couple of minutes, they both left me.

At nine miles, there is a pretty big hill, which one of the coordinators sad was the only hill on the course (that didn't turn out to be the truth).  It would be a pretty nasty hill in the half-marathon, because at that point, you are just hanging on.  But nine miles is only 1/3 of the way into the marathon, so it wasn't bad at all. A half-marathoner caught me and I tried to talk him up the hill, but he fell behind and I caught and then passed the woman again.  No getting "chicked" today.

I was getting a little bit bored at this point and noticed that most of the roads were pretty cambered.  I did my best to run on the flat portions, but they were hard to find.  Eventually, I saw a hippyish looking guy with a super long pony tail way up ahead.  I looked at my watch and saw he had about 25 seconds on me.  To pass the time, I would time his lead at every turn. I didn't want to catch him if it involved me speeding up, but it was something to help pass the time.  I kept on closing the gap, until I caught him two or three miles later. I was hoping he would run with me, but he seemed like he was hurting, so I kept on my way.

At 18, I had to pee again, so I jumped back into a portajohn right near a water stop, and after getting out, chugged some water and noticed there were two guys about 50m ahead of me.  I decided to do a hard surge and caught them pretty quickly.   It ended up being Jason Simpson, Jenny Simpson's husband and some dude in a Brooks uniform.  The Brooks guy fell back as soon as I caught up and Jason and I chatted for the next few miles.  He turned out to be a pretty cool guy and was also a former DII runner (Truman State) as well.  I even had his wife cheer for me because I was running with him and she said "good job guys." So I guess that's the fastest girl that has cheered for me before.

We finally made are way of the constant, cambered neighborhoods and ran on some greenway, until we made it downtown for the finish.  The Brooks guy always hung about 20m back, but was running the same pace.  He eventually caught us and I told him I was worried he didn't like us because he hung just behind. He then said he was just running and then picked it up.  Guess he didn't like us.

There wasn't much shade on the greenway and it was getting pretty warm.  If this was a real race, it would be a rough time to hit the wall.  We ended up catching up with Jeremy Daum and he joined up with us. Around 25 miles, I started seeing a ton of runners running pretty easily.  I guess since we were all going to make it under the 2:36 window, we treated the last part as a relaxed cooldown.  I crossed the line in 2:35:06, to lose to Jeremy in a photo finish.

I hung around, ate some ice cream and saw Brenda win the women's 50k.  I must admit I was a little bit jealous because she got a Stetson cowboy hat but I did get a pretty cool medal for finishing.  When all of the dust settled, 27 people ran under the old record.  That was a little bit more than I hoped for but at least I got to head home with a nice profit.

Shortly after the race, things got pretty stressful.  The night before, I was told one of the coordinators of the marathon would take me back to the airport.  But about three hours before my flight left, I was told it wasn't going to work out.  Luckily Brenda and her husband, Jason, drove to the race, which saved me a huge taxi bill (it's about 40 miles to the Dallas airport).

All in all, it was a fun 24ish hour trip and I was glad to see Stephen and Bob again, meet Brenda and her husband as well as some other runners from around the U.S. (and Canada).

Monday, March 3, 2014

February 24th-March 2nd Training

Monday: 7.9 miles (6:45); 6.3 miles (7:04)

Tuesday: 5.3 miles (6:42); 10.1 miles (6:29)

Wednesday: 5.3 miles (6:47); 3.3 miles with axed workout. My kneecap has been really stiff lately and has been getting progressiely worse the past couple of days.  I was planning on 10x800m at 2:15 with 400m jog rest and felt like that would thrash my knee, so I decided to not try it and relax for a couple of days.  The pain feels similar to my knee injury two years ago, which took me out for a while. But my knee doesn't hurt when squatting or lunging (killed it two years ago) and feels super tight when I flex my quad. Hopefully it's tight muscle.

Thursday: No Running. Super busy day anyway and was didn't get home until 11 hours after I left for work.  Good day to be injured.

Friday: No running.  Was debating a jog but the satellite guy's four hour window screwed that over.  Went to see Julianna for a massage and she tore me up. While working around my shin, I wanted to scream in pain and told her it hurt so badly, that I expected a baby to fall out.  But that wasn't 1/10th of the pain I felt while she was working on a knot in my glute med. Easily the most painful massage ever and hopefully it loosened my knee up.

Saturday: 6.8 miles (6:46). No knee pain and it doesn't hurt when I flex my quad...good sign; 9.4 miles. Ran to the track to pace Alan in a 5k time trial. His old pr was over 23 minutes and we were shooting for sub 22.  He ended up running 21:33 with a 6:40 last mile.  Boston qualifier is going to come soon.

Sunday: 9.3 miles with a bombed workout. My Saturday plan, before the injury, was up to 8x1600m at 4:40 with 400m jog. Since I missed some time, I wanted a little more strength and the plan was 4800 at 14:45, 3200m at 9:30, 1600m at 4:30, with three minutes jog.  Went through the first 1600m in 4:55.00 and on the second, the pace was getting tough, I was forcing things and I felt really stiff and drained.  I took it as my body saying I don't need to go through it, so I stopped with a little over 300m left in the second 1600m. Super frustrating because I expected to be fresh.  I was feeling a little dizzy with some brain fog, so hopefully my iron is ok.

Week Total: 63.7 miles. Almost 50% of the anticipated volume with no workouts.  But at least my knee is fine.  I'm nervous about Gate River in two weeks and am planning on running the Tom King Half-Marathon this weekend.  Hopefully it doesn't get ugly.