Monday, May 16, 2011

Marine Corps Historic Half Race Report

This past Sunday, May 15, 2011 my wife and I embarked on the Marine Corps Historic Half Marathon in Fredericksburg, VA. It was a very successful race morning for both of us.  My wife managed to meet her goal of running the 13.1 miles in under 2 hours. This was her fouth time running this event and has always come in under 2 hrs.  She's a badass but won't admit to it.  She was a bit upset that Comedian/Actor Drew Carey beat her by a few minutes.  She said they ran neck in neck for a couple miles before he pulled away from her.

As for me, things went better than expected.  I like the phrase my good friend Steven Montoya used "Way to start off the year of the run bro." This year is the year of the run for me and I'm fully into it 100%.

Here is a quick recap of the race.  I'll start of by posting my mile splits then get into a few details about the actual run.

Mile 1 @ 5:41 min/mile
Mile 2 @ 5:43 min/mile
Mile 3 @ 5:57 min/mile
Mile 4 @ 5:52 min/mile
Mile 5 @ 5:46 min/mile
Mile 6 @ 5:59 min/mile
Mile 7 @ 5:58 min/mile
Mile 8 @ 5:58 min/mile
Mile 9 @ 6:06 min/mile
Mile 10 @ 6:12 min/mile
Mile 11 @ 6:49 min/mile
Mile 12 @ 6:41 min/mile
Mile 13 @ 6:04 min/mile

The course itself is very deceiving.  My wife and I drove it the previous day and the rolling hills didn't look bad, even the famous "Hospital Hill" didn't look too punishing by vehicle. BUT I should know better, because even the most non eventful hill by car can look monumental on foot.

You can tell by my mile 3 and mile 4 splits that I encountered those first few hills which drastically dropped my pace compared to my first 2 mile splits. At mile 4 I was sitting about 6th place right behind the guy in 5th.  The first four guys were well up the road. At mile 5 I finally passed the guy in front of me who was sitting 5th.  I could tell he was fading and fast. So there I was, sitting in 5th all alone.  At around mile seven I caught up to and passed guy who was up the road early in the race. I was trying to stay with my original plan of keeping a 5:58 min/mile pace.  I was hitting my mark well until about Mile 9. 

The course became a series of short steep hills which made it hard to keep a consistent tempo. It became obvious I wasn't going to hit sub six minute miles anymore.  At around mile 9 I got passed so it put me back in 5th place.  I tried to keep this guy's pace as he passed me but I couldn't manage it. I didn't want to blow up and end up losing another place.  I let him go up the road.  Then came mile 10 and we both passed one of the front runners who was with the leaders early in the race.  By my calculation, that put me back in fourth place.

Mile 10 was also the place where the course started to get hard.  You can tell by my mile 11 and 12 splits I was running up the infamous "Hospital Hill." At that point I knew my goal of running an 1hr and 18 minute half marathon was out the window. The new goal, to keep my 4th place.  When I started mile 13, luckily the road leveled out and I was able to put out one last good effort for a 6:04 min/mile split.

HOLY SHIT, I just finished 4th place overall.  I really was surprised.  A race of this magnitude and with the 8,000 participants I never in my life would have thought a top 5 was possible. BUT there it was. To hear my name as I'm crossing the finish line with no one else in sight is exhilarating.  As my old man always said "Hard work pays off. When everyone else is sitting on the couch and you're out there training in the cold wet rain good things happen."

Thanks for reading and stay tuned because the year of the run continues June 4 with a 15k run.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Why I Started Running

There really is no one answer to that. I don't consider myself a runner at all.  I'm definitely not built like a runner. The only reason I ever did run in my early life was because someone always said we had to, for conditioning be it for football, basketball or baseball. While others complained about it, I always secretly enjoyed it.  I loved that burning feeling in my lungs when you're just about tapped out from doing sprints over and over and over again.
I think its when I went to Junior College to play baseball that I truly discovered running.  I mean running on my own without anyone telling me I had to. I can still remember running from my dorm room to the Cochise College Rodeo grounds early in the morning.  The sunrise, the smell of a fresh morning rainfall, and so on. It just became second nature to me.  I loved it.  Even if I was hung over from the night before, I would still make myself go out and run, because quite honestly nothing cures a hangover like a long hard run.

I continued my running ways even when I transferred to New Mexico State University to continue playing ball.  I would run around the campus at night to clear my head a bunch. What I remember most about those night runs was passing the married with children housing and being able to smell whatever Mom or Dad were cooking up for dinner.

Towards the end of my college baseball eligibility I met this group guys who called themselves triathletes. This is really when I discovered endurance running.  I thought I could run, but holy shit these dudes could run and run all friggin day.

Not to long after discovering Triathlons I moved to Washington DC, where I discovered bike racing.  I kind of left my running to go at this new venture. I still ran but not like I was accustomed to.  I did the bike racing thing for 4 or 5 years.  I then met Erin, my wife and got married and not to long after we had 2 beautiful kids.  All the sudden I wasn't riding or running much.  I really didn't notice much but I slowly started putting on weight.  Around 2008 I weighed close to 215lbs.

I think it was around 2009 that my wife decided to run the Marine Corps Marathon.  She asked me to help her train and before I knew it I was going out running with her with both kids in the double jogger. It was tough at first, but slowly my muscle memory kicked in.  As the Marine Corps Marathon came and went I continued running.  It is now 2011 and I weigh 182 lbs and can run a 5k in 17 minutes.

I'm going to make 2011 my running year.  I'm doing a 10 mile race, a half marathon and an off road half marathon all in the next two and a half months.  Its going to be a BADASS year.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Guess who decided to show up yesterday!

After blogging about how crappy my running legs have been feeling, they decided to show up for yesterday's noon run. Yesterday's workout was a double.  In the early morning hours I decided to jump on the rollers and do a 1 hr 20 min cycling workout. With the workout in the bag, I didn't care about how much my run would go as long as I got in a double.

The scheduled run was a 10k tempo run @ moderate tempo which is about 6:11 min/mile pace for me.  I decided to do the workout on the George Washington bike trail and start heading out south towards the 14th street bridge. As anyone who's run or ridden on the GW bike trail knows the wind can be relentless.  The way out was a constant headwind and based on how my running has been feeling I wasn't sure I was going to keep the 6:11 per mile pace. My warm up is usually from my office to the start of the trail which is about half a mile. I felt a sense of good vibrations during the warm up.  My legs felt alive but only time would tell. So here is my workout.

Mile 1 at 6:07 min/mile pace
Mile 2 at 6:08 min/mile pace
Mile 3 at 6:12 min/mile pace
Mile 4 at 5:59 min/mile pace
Mile 5 at 5:52 min/mile pace
Mile 6 at 6:10 min/mile pace

For mile 4 and 5 I got a bit off track and went a bit harder due to the tailwind on the way back. I decided to scale back at mile 6 and keep the tempo I was suppose to keep. I'm very pleased with the workout.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Changing Lanes

If you recall one of my 2011 goals was to run the Marine Corps Marathon.  I decided against that to once again run the Back Yard Burn 10 mile trail running series in the  fall.  This coming year they have added a 5th race to the series.  The 5th race is at Laurel Hill which is literally right in my back yard.  I can actually walk to the start of the race which is sweet for pre race jitters and prep.  Makes the morning easier. 

I still want to attain the goal of running a marathon in 2011.  I have to do some google searching and see which one fits my schedule the best.  It has to be somewhat local and easy to get to.

As for early season racing, looks like I'm still on track for the Chesapeake Bay Duathlon.  I have finally managed to lose those last 5 lbs.  That said, my running is not going as I would like in terms of feel.  Lately I feel I have cement blocks in my shoes.  I may not be drinking enough water or just not getting enough sleep.  I can fix the hydration issue by getting more H2O but the sleeping, well that's not as easy.

Its not easy to get a full nights rest when you have toddlers tugging at you in the midnight hour asking you for the potty or some water.  I was thinking I might just duct tape them to their beds to solve that issue.  On top of that they both end up in our bed anyways right along with an 80lb pit bull.  I shit you not, I end up going into my little girl's room to sleep in her bed which is accessorized with DORA THE EXPLORER.  Doesn't make for the best rest, but trying to get comfortable in a bed with extra bodies doesn't either. 

Well, I hope you're sleeping better than I am.  Have a great day.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Been a bit crazy lately!

Its been about a month since my last entry.  Continuing to update this blog should have been one of my new years resolutions.

So the month of January almost saw us making a huge decision to move to New Mexico.  I was offered two potential employment opportunities down there.  I can't tell you how excited we were at the possibility of moving to New Mexico.  That is truly one of my favorite states. Unfortunately reality set in pretty quick.  It became quickly apparent that selling or renting our home was not an option.  Doing so would have probably put us in some financial difficulty. Right now we live debt free so for me to up and move my family and create an unnecessary risk would be completely irresponsible. It is what it is.  Let's just hope the housing market makes some what of a comeback so when this comes up again it makes moving possible. Those sunny New Mexico skies will wait for us.

On the training end, I finally set a early season race goal.  I signed up for the Chesapeake Bay Duathlon in Maryland.  Race Day is April 17th.  I'm staying pretty consistent with my training schedule which has been tough to do.  Work has been crazy busy lately.  I haven't worked out at lunch in over a month. Lots of early morning and late evening training lately.  Still have about 5lbs to lose but once I start doing two a days I'll lose that in about two weeks.  One new thing I introduced to my training is Bikram Yoga or as others call it, Hot Yoga.  I fully recommend it.  I think twice a week will improve my flexibility by far.

Well, that's really all I have to say for now. I'm still trying to get into making some video entries, but as you can see I suck at updating.  Normally when I updated my blog its because I've had something brewing in my head that I want to put in writing.  Things have been so crazy lately, day dreaming took a back seat.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Misery Loves Company, when you can find it.

Yesterday I arrived home from work around 4:15pm and after much debating I convinced myself to go for my training run.  The run itself is a 7 mile loop through my extremely hilly neighborhood.  Normally I wouldn't debate with myself so much about going out for a run but at the start there was a light drizzle of rain and it was 30 degrees out. As I got started, it felt colder than 30 degrees.  I'm sure it was due to the light rain.  I dressed warm but there was still a chill that took me about 3 miles to get rid of.

With about 1.5 miles left I started noticing that my feet were slipping a bit.  I thought maybe I stepped in something and lost some traction on my shoes. At the same time I lowered the volume on my mp3 player and heard the very familiar sound that ice rain makes when it hits the pavement.  I knew they were calling for snow, but I heard nothing of ice rain in the forecast.  I started running on the grass, but I knew well that I shouldn't do that.  Folks in my neighborhood have a problem with picking up after their dogs. So I really didn't want to deal with picking dog shit off the bottom of my shoe so I took my chances and got back on the pavement.
Bad move, at about half a mile left on a down hill I went from having traction to non at all.  I hit a thin layer of ice that had already formed and went sliding down the hill. The only thing that saved me from landing on my ass was a tree. I hugged that thing as if I was some tree hugging, granola eating hippie.  So with the last few meters on my run I started doing the run shuffle just to stay upright.
Anyhow, this whole debacle reminded me of an article I just read in Runner's World Magazine titled "Foul Weather Friend, Only your best running buddy would shame you into lacing up for an ice storm."
In the article the author writes "Misery may love company, but stupidity loves it even more." Unfortunately I couldn't shame anyone into coming with me.  The only one stupid enough I know that will join me is Roxy our dog.  She's 6 year's old now, so I don't take her on anything longer than 4 mile runs.

Tonight is a nice hour long session on the rollers.  I may video that and slap it on here in a future posting just for no reason really.

Monday, January 10, 2011

A New Year

I've decided to kick start the blogging thing again. Like the title says, "From Every Angle." Everything from family, multi sport, running, bike racing and other interest will be fair game. With a new year comes a new me. AND I'm not off to a good start as I was reminded this weekend. I have some goals for 2011, but my main goal is to regain my easy going self or at least a modified version.  Somewhere along the 10 years I've been living on the east coast I kicked that easy going vato to the curb.
Goals for 2011 in no particular order:
Teach my boy to ride with no training wheels
Get the kids involved in more extracurricular activities
Run the Marine Corps Marathon under 3 hours
Read more (off to a good start. Just finished Matt Long's "The Long Run.")
Fix things that need fixing around the house
Visit family more
Take a family vacation
Have more date nights with my wife
Ride my motorcycles more for leisure and not just work
Make another baby (JUST KIDDING !!)

The list will grow with time, but for now patience is key.

I have the 2011 racing season upon me.  Racing will include trail running, duathlon, triathlon, bike racing and if all goes well a marathon. I have managed to keep the weight off this holiday season.  Last year I shed off a bunch of extra weight I was carrying around.  I went from 212 lbs to 185 lbs. I'm about 5 lbs over but come march I'll be back at my racing weight.
I'm still on the fence about doing Duathlon Nationals this year.  The race takes place April 30, 2011, in Tucson, AZ.  Last year, nationals was my motivation for the weight loss.  I'm not sure I want to spend that kind of traveling money this year if we want to take a family vacation. Last year they were in Richmond which is only 90 miles south of us.  For now, training is going well.  I'm getting in both my running and riding miles and enjoying it.

Thank you for reading.  I will also try to include some video entries, so check in from time to time. Hasta la otra amigos.