Saturday, November 7, 2015

Tecumseh Trail Marathon - DNF - 10-24-2015

Tecumseh Trail Marathon - DNF - 10-24-2015 - Details

On October 24th the Tecumseh Trail Marathon was held in the Yellowwood State Forest not far from Bloomington and Nashville Indiana. If you have read this blog during the year you might recall that this marathon was kind of a bucket list thing for me since I've wanted to run it for several years.

Actually, when I was much heavier and living in central Indiana, I remember hearing about this event, thinking it sounded very cool and also thinking that I would probably never be able to do it.

Well, when I looked at the calendar at the beginning of the year and realized that I would soon be 60 years old, I remembered crossing the finish line at the Chicago Marathon last year and thought, well, Tecumseh is the same distance as Chicago, just on trails. How tough could that be?  (later I found an elevation profile that showed 3,500 feet of climbing/ascent and 3,700 feet of descent)

You guessed it, I signed up for Tecumseh back in March and started training. Now, having a goal, every run had meaning. When it was nearly 90 degrees at 6 AM and I had a run to do, I was out the door. All the yoga classes and strength workouts were done to support my running. 

As I drove into Bloomington on October 23rd the thermometer in my car read 80 degrees. I was really bummed. So much for a chilly fall marathon. I had not slept good in the hotel bed the night before and was looking forward to getting settled in the host hotel, picking up my race number, grabbing a bite to eat and then going to bed. 

I did get to the packet pick up area at the hotel, got my number and sweatshirt and went to say hello to the race director. Turns out his daughter, a little blond girl of 5 or 6, had set up a table and was selling chocolate bars for some little girls group. Of course I had to invest $1.50 in this worthy cause. 

So, back in my room for the night, I had all my gear laid out, my alarm set and my trail shoes near the door. I had read for a while and then I remembered the chocolate bar. I figured I'd break off a piece to see how it tasted. It wasn't long before the chocolate was gone and the wrapper was in the trash. Oh well, it's time to turn off the lights and get some sleep. Except I couldn't sleep. I might doze off for a while and then wake right back up. I remember getting out of bed at 11:30 to go to the bathroom and realizing my legs felt fatigued. This really freaked me out. 

I met Sonny, who drove down from Indy, in the hotel lobby for breakfast the next morning. I didn't mention it but I briefly considered dropping down to the 5.5 mile fun run since my legs were already feeling tired. When the buses showed up to take the marathon runners to the start line I boarded and hoped for the best. 

The fall colors were very pretty but it was near 70 degrees at the start. The trails were very well maintained. I stuck with the fueling/nutrition plan that I had practiced on some of my long runs. I alternated Hammer gel with Hammer Perpetuem Solids. 

I was doing really quite well, running the rolling terrain as well as the down hills and walking the steep up hill sections. Around 12 miles we came out of the forest and had a short section on 2 lane county road. As I was turning a corner, I asked someone if there were any bathrooms nearby. He said the woods.

I passed the 13 mile check point and headed back into the woods and was soon on my way up what I believe was the steepest and longest hill on the course. As I slowed down, 2 guys passed me and asked if I was OK. I said sure and they kept going.

Half way up the hill, at 13.6 miles, the GI distress hit and I suddenly realized I was standing in the bathroom. I looked up the trail, saw no one, turned and looked down the trail, saw no one and then looked left and right. It was during this looking around time that I noticed being dizzy and light headed. I finally got far enough off the trail and ...............................................................

When I returned to the trail I considered that the next check point was probably at least another mile and a half away so I headed back to the 13 mile check point to drop out. On the way back I passed the trail sweep who was following the last two women. A realtor from the Chicago area and a rather frantic looking Asian woman. The trail sweep radioed in my race number indicating that I would need a ride.  

So if my memory is correct, Tecumseh 2015 is my 2nd DNF. Maybe I was right several years ago, when I thought that I'd never be able to finish the Tecumseh marathon. Or maybe I just had a bad day.

I will admit that while in a hotel room in Tennessee, on my trip back to Florida, I visited the Hoosier Hikers Website and read about their race series and started thinking about 2016.   

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Old Sonny's Birthday Run - 5 Miles - 8-11-2015

Old Sonny's Birthday Run - 5 Miles - 8-11-2015 - Details

I celebrated Shoeless Sonny's birthday today with a 5 mile run after work. Although, now that Sonny has reached an age that would tend to indicate an abundance of life experience, he has concluded that running shoes are in fact appropriate when selected with caution. So, now that Sonny is wearing running shoes, with the other 99.9999% of runners, it seems like the Shoeless nickname needs to be retired.

So that leaves us with just the name Sonny, which of course is a perfectly good name, but really, it just doesn't seem fitting for a man with such an abundance of life experience. A man that has likely very recently put an AARP card in his wallet and can order the senior coffee at McDonalds. 

It seems to me that we need a concise word that describes Sonny's ah...abundance of life experience...and really, what better word than Old. So, I propose that Shoeless shall starting now and forever more be known as Old Sonny. I know, it has a nice ring to it...

So, Old Sonny and I will be racing in Chesterton, IN on 9/27/2015 at the Hero 10K. Sonny has made the bold prediction that he and I should both win our age group. I'm starting to wonder if maybe he's lost his marble.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Race Report - Moon over Croom - 21 mile - 8-1-2015 - (WTHWIT)

Moon over Croom - 21 mile - 8-1-2015 - Details

The link above will take you to the Garmin Details page for my participation last night in the Moon over Croom 21 mile trail race in Brooksville, FL. I actually had signed up for this event several months ago, I believe in April. Several weeks ago, Jackie (like Onassis without the $$$$) from Jacksonville Running Company stated after one of the Sunday morning runs that she wanted to do the Moon over Croom trail race in Brooksville. I told her I was signed up and that if she wanted to go she could ride along.

We both had a room at the host hotel and arrived about 3 pm on Saturday after a 3 hour drive, mostly in the rain. We both ran into several people we knew and since Jackie knows most everyone who runs in Jacksonville, she introduced me to several that I didn't know. Later, as we were walking to the start of the 21 mile, one of the ladies that Jackie had introduced me to asked if Jackie and I were sharing a room. I quickly told her that I didn't think my wife would approve so Jackie and I had separate rooms.

We left early for packet pick up and drove to the race site. Again in the rain. As I was driving and reading the step by step directions, approaching the start area, I saw a note on the directions that said location of 22.5 mile aid station. As we were waiting in line for packet pick up I made a point of asking the race director why he needed a 22.5 mile aid station for a 21 mile race. Let's just say his answer was less than convincing.

Speaking of packet pick up. We were in a wildlife management area over 20,000 acres in size. For some reason the race management company brought like 5 little laptops and a stack of race numbers. The plan was to connect all the laptops by wi-fi, have the runner type in their name, take a race number and assign it to themselves. This might have been a good idea for an urban location but the best they could do on wi-fi was a very weak signal not strong enough to do what they wanted. Finally, after 45 minuets of ah....technical support......with runners standing in the rain, they got 2 of the laptops working and got the race numbers assigned. I hope this system is refined for next year.

As the announcements for the 21 mile race were being made the race director said the only technical portion of the trail was the first 3/4 mile. He suggested that if someone was comfortable with mud and roots that they might move to the front and that those less comfortable with this terrain might consider moving to the back for a slower start. I was already so far back I was near the Georgia state line, I didn't budge.

The start of the race was an air horn and off we went, on a short road section, into the park area and across the timing mat. I very gingerly danced my way through the opening technical section crossed a dirt road and was into a more typical Florida forest trail section. The course was mostly rolling with occasional roots, tree limbs and downed trees to keep it interesting.

At about the 3 mile mark, I started remembering the left over spinach roll ups from Zoe's Kitchen that I had for an early lunch. By 4 miles I was wondering how quickly my GI system could process spinach roll ups, if I would ever see an aid station and if there might be a portable restroom. At about 4.5 miles I finally viewed an aid station on the horizon. A quick survey confirmed what I expected. No portables. I passed one more water station on the way back to the start where I crossed the timing mat and immediately headed to the parking lot where I had seen portables prior to the start.

After an 11 minute pit stop I headed back to the start area where I changed out water bottles from my cooler in the drop area and then started lap #2 of 3. By the time I hit the technical area it was noticeably more muddy since most of the 21 milers had gone through for the 2nd time and the 14 mile run had started at 7PM.

Things were more spread out now but I could see 3 of the ladies from Jacksonville up ahead that I had met earlier. They were taking occasional walk breaks as was I but their walk breaks seemed less frequent and shorter than mine. Even so, I finally caught up with them and said hello. They thought I wanted to pass and I quickly reassured them I had no intention of passing. As we approached the 4.5 mile aid station I heard one of the ladies say to the other, well your just a dirty dirty girl, (everybody was pretty muddy by this point). I told them that was why I was trying to keep up with them which solicited a good laugh. Not long after they pulled ahead out of view. (note to self, next time keep mouth shut)

It was at this aid station that I pulled out my Petzl headlamp. My headlamp is several years old but it is high quality and was fully charged for this event. As the daylight started to slip away the light seemed quite adequate. As I approached the start/finish area it was now pretty dark. I heard someone shout finisher coming, when I crossed the timing mat, the timer asked if I was still going, I would have been very happy to stop; however, I had only run 2 of the 3 laps I was signed up to run.

I knew Jackie was still out on the course so I told the timer that I was going to give it a go on the 3rd lap. So by now, the technical section was pretty much a big mud pit with roots and rocks in it. I knew better than to try to run through this section. I was able to stay vertical and get through the mud pit, cross the little dirt road and get to the more typical Florida forest section. By now my shoes were so full of mud they felt tight and heavy and like I had rocks under my socks. 

By now it was quite dark. I could see the glow lights in the trees which were used to mark the course. I focused my lamp on the trail a few feet in front of me and very carefully started a slow jog. Ok, jogging now, going well, and I was able to get in a fairly good groove. I don't know how long this lasted but before long, my right foot caught a tree stump which caused a more horizontal position eventually bringing me to a position where I could get a very up close view of the trail surface. Nothing new here, it was dirt.

OK, I got up, brushed myself off and started walking for a bit. Now this was going well and I may have even thrown in a few brief jogging intervals. I do know that I was walking when my left foot hit a gnarly root right on the left edge of the trail and again with the horizontal position. This time I kind of rolled on my back and got a cramp in the back of my left leg. I rubbed it out a bit and then remembered that I had told Debbie I would arrive home on Sunday in 1 piece. I decided that since I tend to have a somewhat difficult time staying vertical trail running in full light, that future running at night was not a good idea. From here on out, I walked until I got to the paved road.

As I approached the start/finish area for the 3rd and final time I could see Jackie wrapped up in her beach towel. When she realized it was me she started cheering. Probably because I had the key to the car and she was ready to go back to the hotel for a hot shower.

After a little chit chatting with the folks we knew, we headed to the car, hotel and shower. After eating my veggie burrito from Chipotle in the lobby I headed up stairs for a shower. After my shower I had to get the eyeglass cleaner from my car and by this time there was a crowd of the Jax runners gathered in the lobby. I sat down and chatted for a while and before long it was 1 AM. Way past my bedtime. I excused my self and headed for bed.

I got home today a little after noon, Jackie is already talking about moving up to the 14 mile distance next year and I have this new acronym (WTHWIT) bouncing around in my head. So, just What The Hell Was I Thinking.....maybe 14 miles wouldn't be so bad.

At the end of the day I had a new T-shirt, a moon pie and Croom trail flask to show for my efforts. 


Friday, July 10, 2015

Allan Running - Year to Date - 2015

When I posted last week after the 4th of July race I intended to include my mileage through the first half of the year. Just kinda forgot. So, after a quick calculation, I am happy to report that I have ran 442.64 miles so far this year. My goal for the year is 860 miles so I am pretty much on target with marathon training in front of me. I just need to stay healthy and make sure I get out there 3 or more times each week. 

Speaking of staying healthy, I indicated in my last post that I would be in Columbia, SC this weekend for the Xterra Harbison Trail Half Marathon. Well......on my way home after a stressful day at work yesterday I could tell my upper respiratory bug/issue/cold or whatever, had come back with a vengeance. I realized that a trail half marathon would be a little much if I am trying to recover from (I'm avoiding the word infection). 

I skipped dinner because I didn't feel like eating and was in bed by 7PM. I slept pretty much straight through to 7AM and then had a pretty productive 7 hours at work today. 

I thought about going to the event and dropping down to the 5K instead of the half marathon. In the end it didn't seem like a good idea to drive all the way to South Carolina and spend two nights in a hotel to run a 5K.

So, I've updated the right side bar with the removal of Xterra Harbison Trail and am now looking forward to my next event, Moon over Croom in Brooksville, FL on the evening of 8/1/2015.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Weekend of Running - July 4th & 5th, 2015

Independence Day 4 Miler - July 4th, 2015  Garmin Connect - Details

I started off the holiday weekend by sleeping in on Friday July 3rd and having a lazy day at home. On Saturday, July 4th, Independence Day, I was up early and heading to the Nocatee Community in Ponte Vedra Beach for the Independence Day 4 Miler which was promoted by my friends at Jacksonville Running Company.

I had been hoping to do well at this event because the age group winners were to receive a free pair of shoes. I grabbed a choice parking spot and got out of the car to walk around, stretch a bit and warm up. Always observant, it was during this time that I concluded a little decor goes a long way on Independence Day. Yes, sometimes less is more. 

Before long it was time for everyone to be herded to the start line. I wanted to be close enough to the front to avoid being bogged down but not so close that I would be swept away at a pace much to fast. Soon the gun sounded and we were off. 

I fell into a comfortable pace and covered the first mile in 8:15. Mile 2 was about 8:30 and miles 3 & 4 were about 9:00. I went to the results table and told the young man my age group and number and he said I was first. I told a few friends I had won my age group and planned to wait for the awards ceremony. Free running shoes is very cool. The official results indicate my time to be 35:02:09 and Garmin says my pace was 8:42/mile.

As the awards were being handed out, there was a long pause and a little meeting of the officials around the awards table after the men 55 to 59 age group. I knew this was not a good sign.

The next announcement was for the men 60 and up age group. Turns out there was a speedy 67 year old man in the next age group that actually ran quite a bit faster than me. I was 2nd in the 60 and up age group and ended up with a pair of Shock Doctor Compression Socks. At this point I felt bad because I had told several people that I had won the age group. Still, considering how much running I've been doing I was pleased with my time and ended up with a new pair of compression socks at the right price. 

This morning I was at Jacksonville Running Company by 6:30 for the usual Sunday morning group run. It was a small group, likely because of the holiday weekend and fireworks late last evening. I ended up going 7.45 miles as indicated by the Garmin Details page and was soaking wet by the time I finished. 

After the run I went out to the Lululemon store at the local mall for a free yoga class at 9:30 as recommended by my massage therapist during the week. All of their clothing racks are on wheels. They just slide all the racks out of the way and turn the entire store into a large yoga studio. The store was totally packed by the time yoga started and massage therapist Bruce was in the front row with wife and daughter. 

Next Sunday I have the Xterra Harbison Trail Half Marathon in Columbia, SC. I was hoping for cooler weather but it looks to be quite similar to what we have been experiencing here. So until then.........

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Weekend of Running - June 20th & 21st, 2015

The weekend started with the Urban League - Springfield 5K in the Springfield neighborhood on the north side of downtown Jacksonville. I signed up to run in this event because the young man that owns the barber shop I've been going to said he was going to be running. Also in the back of my mind was my 60th birthday less than 2 weeks prior and my entry into the 60-64 (geezer) age group.

At the time I signed up for this event I didn't realize the start time would be 9 AM. Anyone that would schedule a running event in Jacksonville in the middle of summer to start at 9 AM quite possibly doesn't do much running. This time of year the running needs to move inside by the time the sun comes up.

Since I was at the race site early, I was milling around looking for my barber. I kept milling and looking and he kept not showing up. Finally with 15 minutes to go till the start I went to the board where all the entrants names were posted along with their race number and looked for his name. Nada, he was not registered. Must have been to hot for him.

So the thing I noticed as I made my way to the start line of my 1st race as a 60 year old was a lot of gray hair. The geezers had shown up in great numbers. I found a conservative position in the middle of the pack and forbid myself from letting the pace drop below 8 minutes per mile. I reasoned that given the heat and humidity an 8 minute pace would be exceptional for me.

At the start I settled into 8 minute pace. Man was it hot. I finished the first mile in exactly 8 minutes. Into the 2nd mile I saw the pace drop to 8:15 and pulled it back to 8:00. This happened a couple times. Finally at about one and three quarters miles I figured I'd benefit from a quick walk break. I took a quick 15 second walk break and then picked it back up. I took another 15 second walk break in the 3rd mile and then was running for the finish.

As I headed north toward the finish line some old guy goes sprinting by me like its the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles. I kind of figured he had been dogging me for a couple of miles and this was his big break. I let him go. After the results were posted I asked him his age and he was 65, the next age group. So the sprinting grandpa beat me by 7 seconds and was first in the 65 to 69 age group. I ended up first (out of 7) in the 60 to 64 age group which is the first age group win that I can remember. Since it was now mid morning I didn't hang around for the cheesy plaque. Garmin details below.

 Urban League Springfield 5K - 6-20-2015 - Details 

I went to Jacksonville Running Company's group run this morning but didn't want to wait for the 6:30 AM start time. I actually got started a little before 6 AM, got a 3 mile loop in and was back at the store for the official start time of 6:30. I then headed out with a couple of my regular running partners for a 5 mile loop. After 8 miles in that heat and humidity I was so soaked that even my shoes and Drymax socks were wet. Seemed like a good time to head for a treadmill in air conditioning. Garmin details from the JRC group run portion below. 

JRC - Group Run - 8 miles - 6-21-2015  - Details 

I walked into the YMCA soaking wet and it was freezing. I got myself organized, turned the GPS off on my watch and found a treadmill with a view of the pond. I was hoping to get in another 5 miles which would give me 13 for the day. It didn't take long for me to stop shivering and start sweating. Nothing special about running on a treadmill. Just ask any hamster. All I needed to do was keep running long enough to cover 5 miles. It took nearly an hour and my running was done for the day. Garmin details below. 

YMCA -Treadmill - 5 miles - 6-21-2015 - Details

Sunday, June 14, 2015

JRC - Group Run - Sunday 6-14-2015 - 8.80 miles - Details

JRC - Group Run - Sunday 6-14-2015 - 8.80 miles - Details

I went out to the Jacksonville Running Company group run this morning with the hope that I would have a good run but a little unsure since I've been nursing a pull of the soleus muscle in my left calf for a week or so. Since I was able to run 2 very easy miles on the treadmill at the YMCA yesterday my plan was to give the 3 mile loop a try. My thought being that if I had any pain after 3 miles I was done for the day.

We took it nice and easy and included a one minute Galloway walk break after every 4 minutes of running. As I ran along with Jackie and Dawn I guess we were discussing aches, pains and injuries. Finally Jackie blurted out that she thought runners were into S&M. This gave us a good laugh as we plodded along through humidity almost thick enough to cut with a knife.

When we got back to our starting point we found a late arrival, Meredith, waiting around for someone to run with. My left soleus was not giving me any problems and since Meredith had not run with the group before, Dawn and I escorted her around the 3 mile loop. Now it was really getting hot.

After 6 miles I was thrilled to be having my best run in a few weeks. I took a short break, filled my water bottle and then headed out for another lap by myself. I ended the day with 8.80 miles in just a bit over an hour and a half. I have the Xterra Harbison Trail half marathon in Columbia, SC in 4 weeks from today. The Harbison Trail half could take me close to 3 hours to complete so I will be working on increasing distance and time over the next couple weeks.