Going the distance

Life is like a long distance run. Most of the time you're looking forward, but occasionally you look back at what you've covered… You know there will be obstacles throughout the journey - but deep down, you know you can handle anything that comes your way. Most importantly... you keep putting one foot in front of the other and let 'NOTHING' stand in your way!!!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Why do "Half" of anything?

I have never done a "Half" marathon because of a stupid thing I read once on why a full was better than a half. The logic was why do half of anything? Then I here people say things like, I'm "ONLY" doing the half.

So rewind back to New Years eve 2012. I set a resolution to do a official 13.1 race in honor of the 2013 year. So on New Years day 2013 I started of the year with a rainy 13.1 mile run.

Fast forward past the Sultan 50k, Columbia Marathon, Umstead 100, 12 hours of independence, Hinson lake 24 hour (100). Now October and I still have not even looked at a half marathon.

Monday October, 7th. I'm wasting time on Facebook and see a question from Greenapple Sports and Wellness. First two to answer a question win entry into the Rock-tober Fest half marathon. I won.

Race Day

Shoe decision was going to be a start line decision, settled because I only had one pair in the van. Hokas. Not exactly a speedy shoe.

I get to the race and pick up my Greenapple shirt. Then had to make my way to the Porta jon. I made it out with 3 min to the start. I pushed my way along the outside to get as close to the front as I can, and were off.

I don't put to much work into being fast. But never having done a half marathon my first would have to be a go big or go home effort. I set my sights on 1:45.

Pre said "The only pace is a suicide pace..." So I had to go for it. If I crashed and burned I would crash and burn. Everyone always says don't go out too fast. Since when do I listen to anyone?
1 7:31.3 1.00 7:31
2 7:40.9 1.00 7:41
I felt great for only being two weeks after my 100 mile finish. I started passing people and moving forward.

The first water station was not maned well. I held up 2 fingers to indicate I wanted 2 waters and had to grab for my second one. As I did I took the cup intended for the guy right behind me. I apologized and handed him the cup.

3 7:48.1 1.00 7:48
4 7:40.1 1.00 7:40
5 7:53.9 1.00 7:54
6 7:55.4 1.00 7:56
7 7:49.5 1.00 7:50
I kept pace along Josh James. He kept trying to talk but I was concerned with holding my pace. At that point I didn't know if I could hold it. And the music was keeping me moving.

Then my my hip flexor got cranky about mile 7. That is also when the hills started.
8 8:11.5 1.00 8:12
9 8:17.5 1.00 8:18

Then Josh took off past me. Then someone else passed me, and another, and another.
10 8:02.5 1.00 8:03
11 8:18.3 1.00 8:18
12 8:05.9 1.00 8:06

The finish was set up so you could see it from a long way out. With a little help from Metallica, I put the hammer back down. I pushed through the finish with everything I had left. had.
13 7:56.2 1.00 7:56
14 1:24.9 0.19 7:28

1:44:18 Just under my goal. I was ecstatic.

One lesson I learned after the finish was... Let someone else bend over and get the Gatorade for you. I held my own but definitely saw stars. I hit the free ART treatment from Greenapple. Then picked up some SWAG.

Will I do another? I don't know. But now it's done. It is a respectable distance with a dumb name. I think it is a great goal distance to train for. And will encourage people to do one.

Five weeks until I pace at Thunder Road Marathon. I better make a plan and get training.

Thanks to Scott Greenapple for setting me up with the entry.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A little less conversation...

Going into this years Hinson Lake Ultra Classic I decided it was time to focus. If I wanted 100 miles, I would need to simply shut up and run.
I camped at the Lake on Friday night. Staying in my van with no air mattress and a warm sleeping bag could have been worse, but I survived.
Pre race I mingled and got my stuff together. I packed as light as I could for a event like this. I had a box of Roctane energy GU 4 gallons of Nuun, and 3 pre filled bottles. I had a box full of medical supplies, tape, bio-freeze, sunblock, baby-wipes, ect...
Five minutes to the start I confirmed my goal of 100 miles, removed my hearing aids and started weaving my way to the bridge.
Jerry the RD was giving some pre race instructions... Wait!? Did he just say belt buckle for hundred mile finishers?

My focus just became a bit tighter.

I managed to push my way to the start line and line up with the elite runners. Savage and Bobby Cordell, Bobby asked me my plan. I told him my goal was to not think about it. I was here to run, and thinking would get in my way. And the horn went off. I went way to fast on the first lap at a 8:32 pace.

After crossing the bridge there was some initial confusion on who my lap counter was. I made sure someone documented my lap then continued on. Every lap through the day I tried to get confirmation my lap was counted. A few times I had to get the attention of some of the younger volunteers. When they changed shifts I tried to get their names and introduce who I was to them and thank them for helping count laps.

By lap 5 or so I found my grove and started sticking to a strict plan of walk the dam, walk the big bridge and up Mt. Hinson. Late in the day I decided running the bridge and walking up the hill to the turn and descending Mt. Hinson by running was better.

The day rolled on well, I stuck to my plan. Smiled for the camera, thanked the volunteers. Gave some high 5's and fist bumps. Hey wait that volunteer chatting with Jerry is Jason and his lovely wife Katie just handed me a drink. Cool they made it. But instead of stopping to chat I kept going.

But kept focus on the goal. I wanted to have 50 in before 6 pm. it was important to have 14 hours to get the back half of this done. I had watched Bobby Cordell and Jonathan Savage crash hard during the afternoon laps. I just prayed I could keep my pace up.

I have no Idea when Derrick arrived, but he was a welcome help. He was able to do a few laps here and there. His son Jake (10) was helping me keep pace but no way I still had his energy.

Side note: I have to really thank the Lashway family for their support the last 3 years at the lake. Derrick and his kids have been awesome in pacing, cheerleading and volunteering at the race. I never asked him for help this year but they took time to drive out on their own.

Miles 50-70 got a bit shaky and slow. I took a time out to get a 15 min massage before I needed it. My Garmin died so I had to set up a charger for it. I took a break to eat some solid food. Sent a few text. Chatted a bit and put on a shirt.

Around 10 PM I had slowed to 2 laps per hour and my right quad was getting tight. I took some Tylenol and bio-feezed the muscle. Derrick came out with me and we walked a lap. He tried to get me running again, but it was short burst. I started to do some math if I could finish in time with this pace. Then we did a second lap. At the first bridge I put my music back in and told him run the wood. We ran each wooden bridge until the the Hill, Then at the down hill I kept going. We made it back around and after I checked in on my lap Derrick was sucking wind and said GO! I can't keep up with that.

I picked up my now charged Garmin and cleared the first part of the run. Reset it to zero and I was off. I had to stay in the 12 min mile range to make this happen. 3 laps per hour. I really trained well for this part of the run doing numerous solo dark runs to prepare. I started lapping people overnight. I was wondering if they got tired of seeing me pass.

From that point on I only stopped to check in and get some cheers as I walked the dam. Charles, Jerry, Kelly and Derrick were there every lap. Cheering me on. The clear view of the night sky was perfect, it would be easy to sit and hang out for a while.

By the time I made 56 laps I started counting backwards on how many to go. After checking in on each lap my phrase was, "And there were 10, 9 , 8, 7,..."

As I came past the table around 5 am I finally made it on the leader board. I yelled out a loud YES! I didn't care if I woke anyone up.

With four laps to go I told Derrick I wanted him to come with me on my final lap. As I reached the end of the dam it happened. My I pod died. I remembered there was someone charging theirs on the porch. So I walked past back to the lodge and hijacked their plug. I put in my ears and slowly made my way back for a lap with out music.

As I passed people I heard some great jobs and words of encouragement. It made me wonder how many of those I missed through the day by being plugged in.

Now with 3 laps to go i picked up my I-pod hoping I had enough charge to finish. I found my 5k speed play list and blasted "Stone cold crazy" to push me through. My last mile was at a 12:19 pace. 22:05 on the clock as I crossed the bridge. 100. miles

I could have added some more miles to my total but was happy with my "HUNDO"

I hung out at the finish watching the sunrise and catching up with friends I had missed over the day. It was fun to watch the energy level pic up of those who had slept and wanted to get in just one more lap. I walked my banana to the end of the dam and walked back.

My Elvis Plan of , A little less conversation, certainly brought me plenty of satisfaction.