Spacecoast half marathon

I ran my 6th half marathon on Sunday (11/27).   This is me near the end, alongside the Indian River lagoon. My time was pretty average for me (2:24).  Plantar fasciitis was killing me later that evening, but 24 hrs after run, heel is almost back to normal.

Run, Fish, Sing

Makeshift was booked for a private anniversary event in Rockledge Sunday afternoon.  Seth planned to meet the Wickham Park runners for a multi-lap ultra trail run Sunday morning, and invited me to join him.  I wanted to get some fishing in while near the coast. A plan emerged.

I loaded up my car Saturday night with fishing gear, barbershop costuming, running shoes, a jug of water, and a towel, plus my kayak strapped to the top. Seth was to arrive at my house for a 5:45am departure.

My phone somehow went into hibernation and the alarm failed to go off. I happened to awake and notice the time was 5:40am. No time for food or caffeine, I pulled some shorts on and grabbed a shirt and found Seth waiting in the driveway. I took a few minutes to get my phone rebooted and we were on our way.

Got to Melbourne and grabbed a black coffee at a Macdonalds drive through.  Seth provided a powerbar for me, and we got to the Wickham Park race site 15 minutes before the 7:30am start.   This informal running group is made up of hardcore long distance runners. They prefer running in the Florida summer because its harder. And the more sand on the trail the better. Their plan was to run 9 laps for a total of 56 kilometers.    The trail is poorly marked and runners frequently get off track. The dozen participants broke into two groups and I ran the first lap with the “speed is overrated” group. For the one lap it was not terribly challenging, quite scenic, and I generated a good sweat which soaked my clothes.  See a facebook collection of photos, and full race results here.

Seth on lap 4

After the lap, I bailed from the group, re-hydrated, and drove off to find a put in spot for the kayak. Across the river near Patrick AF base, I launched the yak for nearly 2 hours of paddling and casting. I was armed with a top water plug on one rod and a 1/8 oz jig on the other. It was a pretty barren area with dirty water and no seagrass. I worked my way out to a couple of mangrove islands and drifted and cast around them. I hooked a healthy 20″ trout just a few feet from my boat, fought and thrashed with it a bit, and pulled it on board to pin it between my calves.  She was unhooked and released.  I only had one other strike, but I call it a success.   It was the 2nd largest fish I’ve ever landed on the yak.

Headed back to Wickham Park to pick up Seth after his 4th lap, stopping enroute at a 7-11 for a sandwich and some gatorade.  We set out for Rockledge and stopped at a YMCA on the way to shower and change for our Makeshift gig at 2pm. We arrived in plenty of time for the 1pm setup and soundcheck.  It was a 60th anniversary party for Pete Anderson’s inlaws, and the Knights of Columbus hall was packed. We sang  The Lords Prayer for the vow renewal ceremony, then during supper had a 30 minute stage show, and followed up with some tableside singing.  We included some straight up barbershop material (at request of the honorees) but also had beatboxer Scott P. with us to support some of our rocking contemporary repertoire.  All in all, a great afternoon with good food, good friends, cold beer, and some great singing.

Home and collapse by 6:30pm.


race report, 2/13/11

It was the National Marathon to Finish Breast Cancer, and it was an ocean of Pink.   4,000 runners in the half, and 1600 runners in the full marathon.  Plus many more doing the marathon as a relay event.

I was worried because of my plantar fasciitis problem, I haven’t trained for the last 6 weeks.  The longest I’ve run is 3.2 miles.  My foot held up fine for the race, although I’m limping several hours afterwords.  My difficulty was the pain and lower body fatigue in the last 3 miles from failure to train.  I walked the first mile and a half with daughter and her friend Nicki from UF.   Nicki was not an athlete, and Gina hung with her and walked the entire half marathon.

It was in the 30’s at the start of the race, but warmed up nicely.

Still I came in at 2:42 for the half marathon.     Not too shabby, my PR for a half marathon is 2:15.

so this is how it can happen

That is what I was thinking as I bounced off the hood of car while crossing six-lane Semoran this morning near the start of my run.   The light turned green while I was crossing in front of stopped cars, but there was one open lane and a driver came on through.   I thank god that he was paying attention enough to hit the brakes so it was a slow-speed collision, but a collision nonetheless.  I rolled onto the asphalt and then got to my feet.   I’m just fine.  I reassured the drivers and waved them on their way, and I finished my run.    I’m extra thankful today.

running update

The florida racing season has come to a close.  It was about this time last year that I set my sites on training for Disney.    The next big race I plan on is the local OUC half marathon on 12/4/2010, so its been a little hard to keep my weekly motivation up for running.  Its real easy to slip into only a couple of short runs to the Y every week   I definitely want to stay in shape, keep my weight down, and be prepared for a quick ramp up to 13 mile readiness.

Therefore, I’ve adopted two easily attainable goals:

  • run at at least 10 miles a week, something I can do with two runs and take weekends off
  • run a sub-30 minute 5K (which I’ve never done but I’m sure I can with a little effort)

So far so good, last week 12.3 miles, and this week I did a 6.3 and a 5.2 mile run on Monday and Wednesday respectively.  Easy.

NYC Marathon

I’ve applied for the lottery to enter the NYC marathon on November 7, 2010.   For non-qualified runners, there is a lottery for entrance.   This is a huge race, says that there were 43,000+ finishers in the 2009 race.

To qualify for guaranteed entry, I would need to have a certified marathon finish time of  3:30 or faster.  That’s not going to happen – LOL!.   The fee to enter the lottery is only $11, and if I fail the lottery 3 years in a row, I get in.  Therefore, if I persist with lottery applications, I’ll be able to run this event no later than November 2013.

Lottery entry deadline is March 15.   What are the odds?  In 2008, 57,000 people entered the lottery, but only 5,600 were accepted.   Similarly, in 2009 6,500 runners from more than 40,000 (were) …..selected. 2010 Lottery results will be announced before the end of March which gives plenty of time to train.  again.

Gasparilla half marathon

I set my alarm for 2:50am, picked up Seth at 3:15 and we drove to Tampa for the Gasparilla distance classic.   Seth and two other friends were running the marathon. I signed up for the half, which started and ran alongside the marathoners for about 8 miles. It was ultimately my slowest half marathon at 2:32, and I’m sure it had nothing to do with the screwdriver I consumed at mile 5 thanks to merrymakers with an unofficial aid station along the route.

See my photos on this public facebook site.

Marathon report

Mission accomplished.  Last January I set a goal to complete the 2010 Disney marathon, and in May I outlined a training regimen to lead me to the 1/10/10 event.  I finished yesterday with a time of 5:20.   I placed 9,474th out of almost 17,000 finishers.


They say above all else, don’t try anything new during a marathon.   But I did three things that I never did in training, and which were instrumental to my success.

  1. I walked.  I reduced my pace by walking about 10 minutes every hour in order to reserve resources for the last 6 miles.
  2. I gobbled some Tylenol from a medical station half way through the race.  They were handing them out like candy.
  3. I stuffed my face before and throughout the race.

The consequence was that my pace picked up throughout the race, and my last miles were the fastest of all.  This is called having negative splits.   I did nothing but pass people in the last 4 miles.  I was giddy when I crossed the finish line.  I finished the 26.2 miles feeling stronger than I did in any of my long training runs.

My error in training was that I never varied my average pacing as my distances increased.  I almost always run a 10.5-11.0 minute mile, even in 5k’s.  I thought I’d be able to maintain this for the 26.2 marathon and finish in less than 5 hours.  What happened in training is that by running this overall pace I hit a wall at about 20 miles.  I only learned in the week prior to the marathon that this is called ‘bonking‘, or completely expending all physical resources.  I also neglected to eat and keep my energy levels up for the 3+ hour runs.  I’d carry an orange, and gator aid, but that was about it.

So, I’d never completed more than 21 miles prior to this event, I was fighting a nasty head cold, and the forecast was for sub-freezing temperatures.  It was enough to make me toss and turn anxiously all night prior to the race.

For race day, I had the enthusiastic assistance of veteran Disney marathoner and friend Seth Elsheimer, who volunteered to transport and get me to the starting line.  Seth picked me up at 4am, negotiated the traffic backups, and got us to a favorable parking space.  Still we had almost a mile to walk through check in and get to the starting corrals.   Seth arrived there exactly at his 5:40  start time.   I crossed the starting line 22 minutes later at 6:02am.

It WAS freezing cold, about 28 degrees.  Runners dressed in layers and discarded things along the course.  While running, I shed sweat pants, a long sleeved shirt, and a hefty garbage bag.   Another pair of pants and socks I left at the starting line.  I saw some nice things tossed aside: technical gloves, parkas, windbreakers.   All the discards were collected for charity by Disney.  I was fine with the cold.  A cheap woven pair of  disposable gloves ($3 from the runners expo) served me well.  Once my core temperature gets elevated, it feels maybe 25 degrees warmer to me.  Nonetheless,  at the water stops the powerade was slushy and the water in paper cups was iced over. There was some hazardous black ice in shady areas of the course.

My mp3 player was not necessary, I used it for less than half the run.  There was lots of entertainment, Disney characters, and ambient music along the course, especially when weaving through the parks themselves.    In the middle of one long empty road, I came across Jeremy James, of Toxic Audio and The Caroling Company, singing a Beatles song karaoke-style.

The run itself was quite fun going through the parks: Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom and Disney Studios.  We jogged through public byways and backstage alleys.  There were Disney characters everywhere, and many runners stopping to line up for photos.  By midmorning, there were park guests cheering us from behind traffic cones.   Between the parks were long stretches; some quiet back roads, and one brutal 3 or 4 miles along a noisy highway which was totally exposed to the 15-20 mile winds. And the temperature never did get out of the 30’s.    At about mile 20, there was a deliberate turnaround that allowed runners to watch for and greet fellow athletes passing the other direction for almost a mile.   Seth was ahead of me and we hailed each other as we passed.

Co-workers and tri-athletes Jason and Kitzzy had told me they were volunteering at the 24 mile water stop, so I looked for them, and we exchanged greetings.  I was buoyant by this time about the prospect of finishing, and it probably showed.   Plus, I’d consumed some chocolate, and about 10 caffiene-laden gel tabs and I had started to turn it on.  I caught up and ran with Seth for a bit, and then took off ahead of him.  (Ultra-marathoner Seth did not have a strong race, but there is no shame in that; he was running against doctors orders and with an IV in his arm.  He refused to break his streak of 17-straight Disney marathons.)

Linda and Gina drove down to see the finish, and there was a big area in the last .2 miles crammed with bleachers, families and friends.   Gina reports that she saw me cross the finish line and get my medal with a huge smile on my face.  They both doubletimed around the stands to the chutes and called out and got my attention as I was walking it out.  Gina forced her way to the front and gave me a hug over the barricade.   I stopped at the ‘perfect 17’ check in to wait for Seth, and when he showed up, Gina snapped some cell photos.   I do regret that I couldn’t find coworker Kevin Yee who was volunteering at the finish line.

I still had to check out and recover some belongings, but eventually reunited with family, and we made our way to the car.  As I slid into the passenger seat and groaned at the discomfort, daughter grinned and said “oh, the first bending of the knees!”   4-year crew athlete Gina knows this one well.

I’ll do this again, maybe not the Disney, but all the work and training was totally worthwhile.  I’m in better shape than I’ve ever been in my life, and I can eat almost anything I want.    I’ll really do a better more realistic job of training next time.    I bet I can do a sub-5 hour marathon.  I hope to keep up with some modest runs (8-12 miles) and do some half marathons on a regular basis.    Thanks again to all my supporters, coworkers and friends for encouragement and advice along the way.

Now I need to set another goal.