Monday, December 22, 2008

2009 begins Today!

I have made my New Year's resolution a bit early. Well, its not that I made it early, more like I've started working on it early. 2009 will be the year of the "Marathon", and training begins today!
This week's training looks like this:

Monday - 3 miles plus 500 yd swim
Tuesday - 45 minute spin class plus 3 mile run
Wednesday - 3 mile run plus 500 yd swim
Thursday - Off - Merry Christmas
Friday - 3 mile run plus 500 yd swim
Saturday - 6 mile run
Sunday - Strength

I have spelled out a 16 week plan with specific workouts and rest days throughout. Allowances will be made for any modifications that need to be made. All days will have a run followed by a swim or a bike ride / spin class followed by the run. There will be one rest day and one strength day during the week.

It is my goal to register and run the Country Music Marathon on April 25, 2009. It is my intention to have at least one full 26.2 marathon before training for and participating in the Ironman 70.3 triathlon. Now, with that being said, if I can simultaneously train for both and later in the summer be in shape to do justice to a 70.3 then, that will be.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

It's Official...

Official results for the Memphis St Jude's Half Marathon have been posted. My time was: 1hr, 58min, 57 seconds. A new PR!

Memphis St Jude's Half Marathon

We arrived in Memphis as planned, mid afternoon on Friday. After checking in at the hotel, we proceeded to find our way to the Convention Center to pick up the registration packet and to walk through the expo. I was assigned number 9634. After a couple of passes through he exhibitor booths we ran into some of our HEAT friends and we made plans for dinner.
At 6 pm we gathered to make a decision as to where we would go have our pre-race meal. Our first choice turned out to be very crowed so the group opted to walk across the street to a place called Mesquite Chop House. It appeared to be a fine, upscale restaurant and they had a table ready for our group of twelve. Other than being sat next to the front door where the cold breeze from the outside would send chill up our spine every time the door would open, the table seemed appropriate for our needs.
This post is not about the restaurant experience so I will just say that the server was awesome and the food was good... once we were served. Enough about that.
Made it back to the hotel around 10pm and hit the sack shortly thereafter. I slept well until somewhere around 3am when I woke up thinking about the race and how my body would perform in the cold weather.
We arrived at the race site and scrambled a bit to find the location of the start. We thought it would be best to follow the crowds but at first it looked like we were all lost. We asked a police officer if he could point us in the right direction, but he had no idea. So we just followed where people seemed to be going.
We finally found the spot with about half hour to spare and proceeded to do my stretches and warm up. Then I posted myself in corral number six. According to my estimated finish time, this is where I needed to be. Slowly the corral got crowded, very crowded. The estimated eleven thousand marathoners and half marathoners were all anxious and ready to run. There were some fifteen corrals in all was my estimate. One corral was supposed to be sent out every couple of minutes to give the runners and opportunity to spread out and find a pace. Not sure at this point what happened but the first 4-5 miles of the race where crowded, very crowded. It was very difficult to find a pace for the pace was pretty much dictated by the pack. I found out after the race that two corrals were sent out at a time and that the time between corrals was no where near the two minutes.
The first few miles of the run where good for me. My pace was steady and increasing as I had planned. By mile 5 my pace was at 8:40, which game me plenty of room to be able to accomplish my sub two hour finish time. To do this, I figured I needed an average pace of around 9 minutes.
The run course itself was pretty nice and at times it had a few challenges. The toughest portion, I thought, was around the area of the Memphis Zoo. Could also have been that the miles were adding up quickly. Then we came to the Poplar Avenue stretch. A long stretch of road that seemed to go forever.
At this point I knew that I didn't have much time to spare if I wanted to make my goal. My "slow down and catch my breath" zones would have to be managed very carefully. I remember reading about how to get over the need to slow down when you know you shouldn't. I picked a spot some twenty blocks down the road and focused on it. It was my intention to make it here and then decide if a slow down was what I really needed. After arriving here I just kept on going. This plan worked and it worked great.
There were plenty of water stations throughout the course One every mile or so. This seemed to be adequate for most everyone's needs. These, however were very crowded and at times impossible to take advantage of. I have thought that it would be a good idea to bring my own fuel belt, fully loaded to these events. After today, I think I will make it a practice. Additionally, this will also give me a place to store my energy gels.
The last couple of miles were difficult in as much as it took more mind than matter. My pace had slowed down close to the 9 minute and I knew I didn't have much to spare, so dig down deep I had to.
As I crossed the finish line, my gps read 1hr, 59minutes. As it appeared I had made my goal. Now I wait for the official results. Shouldn't be to different. I hope.
My overall opinion of this race is that it was a well managed, well planned event. Nice course, not to hard, not to soft. The crowds were big and very helpful to the runners. If you're serious about achieving a personal record, I'm not sure this is the place to be, specially once you get into the 8 minute pace due to the fact that the crowded field makes this very difficult. This however, is a great race for a wonderful cause, so support it if you can.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

You Know You're Hooked...

There's much conversation going around the tri circles that the sport is such that "once you try it, you're hooked for life". Well, I'm not here to dispute this claim, heaven forbid, for I am probably as hooked on triathlons as I have ever been hooked on anything. Well, except for my daily cup of Colombian Coffee.
So I did a small informal research to find what the classic symptoms are of Triathlon Addiction. Here's what I've found out:

* You find a way to bring up your triathlon training, competition and events during any conversation with anyone.
* The spare tire on your vehicle is a bike.
* Your favorite kind of car is one with a USAT sticker.
* Your bike costs more than your car.
* Your new circle of friends is made up of triathletes.
* Your Internet social network's list of friends in mostly triathletes.
* You know what heart rate zones are and you know what yours are.
* You know what VO2 is.
* Your web browser's bookmarks are 90% triathlon sites.
* Your Children call you a geek... but not the tech type kinda geek.
* You never train with the same outfit twice in one week.
* You're okay with a 5am, sub 30 degree weather training run.
* You have next year's races all planned out.
* You have registered for next year's races.
* Your favorite store is your multisport supply store.
* Your multisport store has your personal information handy... really, really handy!
* You spend your annual clothing budget all on training / racing apparel, all in one visit.
* You find justification for spending $300 for a gadget the size of a kitchen timer that straps to your wrist that gives you all the information you need to get you where you're going.
* You claim you "just want to finish the race" but you find yourself looking at the race results for your age group and think that you could have been in the top three, if only...
* You have a collection of bib numbers decorating a wall in your house.
* Your tee shirt collection is second to none.
* You convince yourself that you look good in your new Spandex.
* When buying a new car the first consideration is how will it look with your bike on the back.
* When looking for a new house the first three questions to your realtor are: Where's the nearest pool?, Where's the nearest bike trail? and where's the nearest track?
* You know what carb loading is, and you're okay with that.
* You're a man, and you understand the importance of shaving your legs.
* Your daily diet includes Powerbars, gatorade, protein bars, gels, water, smoothies.
* You know what "bricks" are.
* When you're almost drowning, after you crash your bike or puke on the run, your only question is: "When's the next tri?"
* Your favorite day of the month: The day your "Triathlete", "Runner's World" and "Bicycling" magazines arrive in the mail.

This list may sound, to some of you, like a confession of sorts. I must agree that I am experiencing some, but not all, of these symptoms. So I guess I have a long way to go to be truly addicted, right?

Becoming addicted to triathlons is completely understandable. Competitions, losing weight, enjoying exercising and meeting a bunch of new friends is all addicting. This sport is really about each person finding out what they and their own body can accomplish, but sometimes with the encouragement of others.

My hats are off to all the newbies, rookies and first timers who are quickly becoming addicted to triathlons. Be smart, be safe and keep on tri-ing.

I also found out that there's no cure for this. The only support group you'll find is one that'll get you deeper and deeper into this addiction. So, by all means... enjoy while there, there's no ride quiet like it.

Please let us know what symptoms you have experienced and how you're coping with them. Do so by hitting the "comments' link button at the bottom of this post.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Memphis... Here I Come!

In just four days and a few hours I will be in Memphis running in the St Judes Memphis Half Marathon. From the reports on their website, the race has been sold out, which means that some 8,000 runners will be taking it to the streets on Memphis on Saturday at 8 o'clock in the morning.
My training journey for this event has been uneventful. My long run was two Saturdays ago. On Thanksgiving Day I ran the Indian Lake Loop 5 mile run in my hometown of Hendersonville, TN, and the morning after I did another run with a group of friends. In between, before and after all these, I followed a training plan as I have done in the past. On Saturday I hit the pool for an easy 1700 meter swim and yesterday afternoon it was the gym for a round of light weights.
Later this afternoon I plan on an easy 4-5 mile run, tomorrow a spin class, on Wednesday some 2-3 miles and on Thursday and Friday I will rest. A routine similar to this I have followed on my previous events and has worked beautifully.
My goal for Saturday is to have a good race. To do my best and to run safe. However, I wish to have a time of 1hr50m but I will be happy with anything under 2hrs.
Although I feel a bit sluggish, I feel that my energy level is high. My back pain, on a scale of 0-10 is around the 6 - 7 level. It tends to get this high specially right before an event. Could be the build up from all the training. My ankles feel good and my knees are pain free! Knock on wood! After this race, there will be time to rest, but for now...Memphis, Here I Come!