Sunday, August 31, 2008

OBX Marathon

Ok, after several months of reviewing marathons and limiting down my list to marathons in the first couple of weeks of November, I have finally settled on a marathon.

I will be heading to the NC coast on November 9th '08 to run the OBX marathon. The OBX marathon fit nicely into my marathon time table. I was looking for a race which fell in the first few weeks of November because it will basically give me two months to recover. I would then have the spring to rebuild my self for the summer '09 racing season.

When I ran my marathon in the spring, I really only trained about 6 weeks and only did about 6 runs of 20 miles or more.

This time around, I am roughly about 8 weeks out and I have already put in a set of 20 milers. This past weekend, I ran 24 miles on the trails at Francis Beatty Park in south Charlotte by the Garmin. To translate what "By the Garmin" means, it means that I probably ran some where between 25 to 26 miles because the Garmin measures distance on a straight line. Most trails are anything but straight. In fact you are mostly running switch backs which causes the Garmin to really be measuring long miles.

But back to the topic at hand, based on the course and my training, I think I can run close to 2:38 again.

After reviewing the course, I only see a couple of trouble spots. Those spots being the 2 miles on a dirt road and the 1/2 to 3/4 mile on a wood chip trail. I am hoping my trail efforts will adqueately prepare me for it. There is also the causeway bridge crossing at 23 miles but I have already been practicing for it. I have similar raise up from house where the road crosses 485. Everytime that I run my Wedgewood course, I surge to the top of the bridge. By training for it in my daily runs, I will be ready for it on race.

It would be great if I could run faster than the Snickers, but whatever I do, I will be extremely happy to have completed my 4th marathon. But I do have a burning hungry in side to go as fast possible on race day.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Beer Run Recap 8.23.08

Last year I heard about a this event in Charlotte called the Beer run. Then a few weeks ago, I head from Chris that they were having it again this year.

While I am not a beer drinker, I am a huge supporter of the TrySports team.

When Chris and Mike signed up for the event, I couldn't miss it.

In doing my part to save the earth and to get in an extra workout, I decided to ride on my bike over to the race.

I got there a few minutes before the start. Chris and Mike were already warming up for the race - running that is not drinking.

The basic premise to the race is you drink a beer and run a 1/4 mile.

Chris wasn't the first out of the blocks. I guess that he needs to work on chugging his beers. But once rolling, Chris was much quicker a foot.

Mike was following, but he slowed on the beer chugging as well.

Chris ran 7:06 which is just short of the start record if you can believe they hold records for this sort of thing.

Mike was a ways back.

I seen people chug beer before but never while running. The looks on their faces were priceless. Everyone should take the opportunity to see this event. Maybe next year, I will record and post it on the web.

Greek Fest 5k Recap 8.23.08

On a late August morning, I packed my racing gear and headed across Charlotte. Late August has become the traditional race date for the Greek Fest 5k. This event is held in conjunction with the Greek Festival near the Church on East Blvd.

Many years this event brings the first taste of fall weather and with it cooler temperatures. While the temperature were not as cool as I has seen them in the past, they are indeed very nice.

I arrived around 6:20 so as to ensure a decent parking locations. The Greek race usually has between 800 and 1000 runners so parking near the church can become difficult.

As I started out my car, I saw Lamperski. He had parked two cars behind me.

We cycled by to pick up our chips, numbers, T-shirt, and goodie bag.

Then it was off to prep for the race. I changed shoes and headed out for a couple of miles warm up. I cycled around the outter loop of the course. I like running the first mile and the last mile of the race. This helps me familiarize my self with the course layout.

Then it was back to change into my racing flats.

At the start, I saw Megan, Stan, Cody, and Chris. Then, I did a few strides and made ready for the start.

Megan and I had exchanged race plans over the previous weeks. So I thought, we were going to head out together.

From the start she bolted out. I also lost track of Steve Spada. Some how, Steve and I usually end up running nearly the same race pace.

My race plan was to run 5:30s through the race. I was looking for a finish time around 17:15. I hit 5:23 and 5:24 for the first 2 miles and then a 5:33 for the 3rd mile. I allow myself to fall into no mans land between runners as we headed for the finish.

Megan ended up running about 17:27 after running a sizzling 5:15 to 5:18 first mile. Chris and Cody were well ahead of me. They ran about 16 minutes and 16:10. Both ran great times.

Stan is bounced back with a good 17:50 time.

We did some extra miles warm down and arrived back at the finish just as they were giving out the awards. I got a 1st place ribbon, a tiny Greek vase, and a Greek Fest water bottle - enough said about the awards.

Overall, I was very pleased with my race. My training had pushed the miles up to 80 per week in preparation for the OBX Marathon this November. This has left my legs feeling just a little fatigued. Fatigued legs never really run fast times but on this day I ran the fastest that I have run this year. In the end, it was a very good day

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Galax to Pulaski Mt. Bike 100 miler ride

If you read my blog a few weeks back you will remember that I did some riding on the New River Trail.

During the ride I noticed that the distance between Galax and Pulaski was 50 miles. So a round trip would be 100 miles.

Ever since this ride I have wanted to go back for one reason. I wanted to see if I could ride round trip between Galax and Pulaski in 1 day on my mt. bike.

Well, I am getting closer to setting a date for this ride.

I have some time off in Dec so I am going to take one of those days off and do this ride.

Currently, my plan is to start around 7 AM from Galax. If I can avg. 10 mph, I can reach Pulaski by 12 noon and then ride back. Reaching the finish I should arrive around 5 pm.

In prepration for this ride I need to figure out some things like how to get water, food, and fixes for flats (crossing my fingers it doesn't happen) and lights for my bike. There was probably more stuff that I need to figure out as well, but that is part of the challenge in doing something like this ride.

As I prep for this ride, I will blog more about my learning experiences in case someone else finds the info useful or if someone has done something like this, they will share with me.

Race Tactics

Lately, I have been watching a lot of the Olympics. I find it extremely energizing to see each of these athletes pushing them selves to their very max as they strive to bring home a gold metal for their country.

On Saturday, I was glued to my TV watching the Women's Olympic Marathon. Later, I watched the men's 10,000 meter race. Then, today, I watched the Men's Triathlon.

All of these events unfolded in their own way and each lead to someone claiming a gold medal.

As I set back an think about how each of these events unfolded, I came to one conclusion.

All races have exactly one approach to race tactics. From the race start each peson will go as hard as possible to maximize their opportunites for success.

In the women's marathon, the pace was rather pedesterian for athletes of this caliber. Then, the lead women took and never really looked back.

In the men's 10k, I saw serveral men working together for the win. With the race finish in sight, they sprinted to the the finish.

In the men's Triathlon, they were bunched together through the swim. They remained bunched during the bike ride but maybe not as much as the swim. Then during the run, things started to spread out. The finish came down to 4 men sprinting out the finish after swimming, biking, and a 10k run.

What do all 3 of these events have in common for race tactics.

Basically, here's what I saw. In each event, the contestants executed their race until they reached a go point.

So what is a go point. My definition of a go point is the point in a race where I can increase the pace such that I can drop my competitors and maintain that pace to the finish.

For each person, the go point is different Just as each person has different strengths and weakness.

If you have a strong sprinter's speed, then you want the race to come down to a sprint finish. If you lack a fast closing sprint, then you want to push the pace harder earlier in the race to put some distance between your self and your competitors.

In the Women's Marathon the lead woman reach rearched her go point in the middle of the race around 15 miles. She increased her pace to the point where you could build a lead over her competitors and carry it to the finish.

In the Men's 10k, 3 runners pushed the pace to the point where they drop most of their competitors and then decided the race with a sprint finish.
Now, a go point is different for each person.

The Men's Triathlon followed similar to the Men's 10k.

We all have go point and we have to decide where is the best place to use it. So the next time, you are in race. Look around at your competitors. Make the decision on whether you have reached your go point that will carry you past them and to the finish.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Altitude Tent - is it Ethical?

This past week Cody A. called me on the my phone. He was really excited about buying an altitude tent. If you are not familar with altitude tents, it is a way to similute living at 10,000 feet. Basically, each night you crawl into this tent that limits the amount of available oxygen.

The thought process being that if you limit the oxygen, the body will adjust. It has been well documented that runners living at high altitude preform better.

However, Cody's delimia was not in the use of it but whether it was ethical.

I hadn't given it much thought up to this point in my life. It was not something that I was looking to try and they are still quite pricing for the average person. However, Cody's Ethics question did start me thinking.

I wrestled with the question for the better part of a week and then posed the question to the guys that I was running with on Sunday.

I am not going to go into all of the pro and cons of using an altitude tent. This would be a rather lengthy discussion and could only be done by exploring each of the pros and cons in detail.

But rather, I am going to briefly summarize my thoughts on this topic.

At this point and time, there are no known health issue of using an altitude tent. It has not been banded by any agency policing sports athletes at least to my knowledge.

Therefore, I have no issue with seeing someone use one. In fact to my knowledge, I see very little difference between using an altitude tent and actually living at altitude.

In my opinion, if you can afford it and want to try, I think you should go for it.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Blue Points 5K Recap 8.2.08

Run For Your Life put on the Blue Points 5K at BOA Stadium this morning. This event was held in conjunction with the Carolina Panthers Fan Fest.

Clearly having these two events together was a big plus for the race. The number of runners were the largest that I have seen this year.

Kevin Castille took home the win over Bob Marchinko. I believe Kevin was part of a Cross Country team in town from Lafeyette, LA. -btw I think Kevin must have been a coach on the team. Two of the high schoolers from this same team finished with some quick times, 16:25 and 17:14.

Not to be out done, some of the local high school talent show their abilities running 17:03.

For my self, Steve S and I hooked up no more than a quarter mile into the race. We ran side by side passing a number of runners in the first two miles. On the last uphill stretch by the Dowd Y, I was able to open a small gap on Steve which I was able to maintain to the finish.

When I was crossing over the top, Mike B. was not too far ahead of me. I pushed hard catch him but we ran out of race before I could significantly close the gap. He finished 5 seconds in front of me.

My splits for the race were 5:31, 5:30, and 5:39. I ran :46 for the final tenth of mile. Based on my Garmin the final tenth was .15.

After the race Mike B and I did the course backwards as a cool down. I then went to change shoes and by the time that I got back to the front of the stadium, they were calling out the awards.

As the first Masters, I got single shorlder backpack and blue points hat. My oldest daughter is already eyeing the back pack.

Before I forget, I want tag about the temperatures. It was already hot and humid at 7:30 in the morning. I suspect the temps were in the 80 or higher since we were running uptown Charlotte for this race.

About the course, the first mile is broke into about 100 yds of flat at the start, the maybe 200 yds of a slight hill followed by a gradual down hill to the mile. We continued running down hill for another 1/2 or so. At which point, we begin the climb back. This part of the course goes up Moorehead St. There is a tough section around 2 miles and the as you are going by the Dowd Y. Crossing over Tryon, the course is mostly down hill or flat to the finish.

Well this wraps up my my recap for this race. I am not racing again until the Greek Fest 5K on the 23.