Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Ultimate Frisbee

Ultimate Frisbee started this week here in Harrisburg, PA and with the warm weather coming in, it was tons of fun. My team, bumblebee tuna, is off to a 1-0 start. We had a fun time last night and managed an 11-7 win. The only thing I don't like about playing is the bloody toes. Running around in soccer cleats making cuts all day just tears at my feet.

This is what I felt like last night.

This is what I probably looked like last night.

Anyone else like to play 'Ultimate"?

Monday, April 8, 2013

Mt Penn Mudfest 15k – Race Report

Last Saturday was the 19th running of the Mt Penn Mudfest 15k. Not a mudrun or obstacle course, just a good ole fashion trail run. I drove into Reading, PA that morning, stopped at my parents' house to drop off the dog and made my way with my brother in law and dad to the race start. Luckily we get there about an hour before the race start because of the parking situation. 800 runners expected at a tiny park. I was sure to grab a spot with easy exit access.
After the usually tee-shirt pickup I ran about a mile to warm up. I ran into the woods so I could also use God's bathroom, a tree. The race was originally supposed to start at 10am but again, because of the parking situation, we didn't get started till 10:20. The first ½ mile was on pavement to let people space out a bit. I remember hearing one guy near me say 'look at all these people blowing their loads so early.' I thought, 'look at this idiot lined up near the front and getting passed by everyone.'
As soon as we hit the trail, things turn into a cluster-fuck. The trail is mostly single track for the first 1-2 miles and ½ mile isn't enough time to space out the eventual 550 finishers. I just hung out and watched people try and pass and get hit by branches. I wanted to say something like 'calm down, it's still early' but found people tripping over rocks much more enjoyable.
The course is designed to be an out and back with a lolly pop at the top. This worked out really well until the leaders were coming back the other way. I only saw 1-2 people until I turned off the course for the lolly pop at the top. Coming back the other runners were very nice and stepped to the side to let us pass. This went on for about a mile until we saw the sweeper come through to remove the trail markings.
Coming back towards the finish area, the ground was rock-free and relatively flat so I was able to open it up to what I imagine was about a 7 minute mile. I forgot my GPS so I was going on feel alone. I was also running by myself at this point with several hundred yards between the runner in front and the running behind me. Trying to catch the runner in front while not being caught was my plan. I came to the final steps up to the ball field and with just about 100 yards to go, I sprinted to the tape to finish in about 1:29.
I can't really compare this time to my time two years ago because it's a totally different course. For a 15k it felt like I was putting in a lot more effort than the 9:37/mile shows. It must have been due to all the super steep up hills and down hills that needed to be navigated slowly (read: walked).
After the finish I grabbed some Gatorade in my finisher's pint glass and checked on my place. Turns out I placed 3rd Clydesdale and one this sweet award.

I had to high-tail it out of there to meet some friends who were on their way to a beer fest of sorts. Great day to race and I picked up some pretty sweet hardware.
Thanks for reading.


Thursday, February 21, 2013

It’s been awhile…

I've been here on blogger for a few years and typically just post race reports. There are about 5-10 blogs I read on a daily basis but it's hard to find the time to create blog posts of my own. I'm going to try and change that. I'm going to try and post at least weekly with things that I am doing. I doubt anyone is really interested but I'm just going to ramble. Maybe even post some cute pics of my kid.

Currently my race schedule consists of mostly running with a few triathlons in the mix. My hopes this year are to focus on ultra running and trying to complete my first 50 miler. Tentatively the JFK 50. My current race schedule looks like this:

March 30 – Mt Penn Mudfest 15k trail run in Reading, PA

April 20 - Hyner View Trail Challenge, 25k trail run

April 28 - Nike Woman's Half Marathon in Washington, DC – Team in Training even

June 2 - Rothrock Challenge, 30k trail run in State College, PA

July 12-13 - Musselman Triathlon (double mussel) Spring on Saturday, Half Ironman on Sunday in Geneva, NY

Early August Brigantine Triathlon – Sprint distance

October 5 – Blues Cruise 50k trial run in Reading, PA

November 23 – JFK 50 mile

December – Nittany Valley ½ marathon in State College, PA

I assume there might be a few 10ks and other ½ marathons thrown into the mix but the above are the main races I am focusing on right now (read: getting management approval).

This is also my 5th event fundraising for Team in Training. If you would like to visit my fundraising page, or even make a contribution, please do so here.







Sunday, October 7, 2012

Chesapeake Man 140.6 race report

It's been eight days since the race and I think I'm ready to start running again.  That was one long run.
Let's start at the beginning. 

Last Friday we left for the 3 hr drive through Annapolis, over the Bay Bridge, then another hour south to Cambridge,  MD.  We arrived at the high school and drove around looking for everyone.  I asked a guy on a golf cart where the expo was, and he told me it was at the Hyatt 2 miles away.  Thankfully we found it.
I got some pretty sweet swag from this race.  In our bag was a tech tee and a long sleeve jersey, but had to send it back and get a bigger size.  I was thinking the entire drive down that I forgot my race belt but luckily they gave us one.   But I did forget it. I also got a nice visor.

After the expo we went to the park to rack my bike and go for a swim.  I saw a lot of people wearing wet suites but opted for just my jammers because I didn't think it would dry in time.  I swam to the first buoy and back which was about 800 yards.  Dr. Dave and I  went for about a 10 mile bike to listen up. Checked the tires before I left and we went to set up our accommodations.

Back to the high school we went. We quickly found a nice piece of grass under a tree and pitched our tent.  It was about to rain so we didn't put anything else in there till after dinner. A quick 40 minute pre race meeting and we were off to dinner.

We decided on a gastro pub near the start.  What's a gastro pub? No worries, I had to look it up too.  It's defined as fine dining food in a relaxed atmosphere.  We went to the bar and each got a beer while our table was getting set up.  We sat down and started with chicken confi with white cream sauce nachos.  It looked like a lot when it came but we (I) managed to kill 90% of it.  Emily ordered chicken and waffles (upscale of course) and I got the surf and turf, which was just sirloin tips and not much crab meat stirred into a pasta with a brown gravy like sauce.  The beef was excellent but the sauce was over seasoned.

Back at base camp, I packed the rest of my transition and special needs bags, checked it about 3 times and we went to bed.  One thing I was concerned about for the weekend was the weather. It poured that night. A lot. I finally fell asleep around 10 and slept pretty good on our air mattress.  The alarm went off around 4:30 am to a beautifully clear morning.  I forced myself to eat 1.5 bagels with peanut butter and drink a bottle of Gatorade.  I dropped my special needs and T2 bag off and we hopped on the shuttle to the park.
The wind was howling and Choptank river was super choppy.  The announcer said it was much worse 1.5 hours ago but it still looked pretty bad.  7am soon arrived and it was time to get in the water.

2.4 mile swim - 1:11:44 -- 1:51 per 100 meters

Getting focused for a long day
Even though it looked pretty bad from the shore, the waves were not that noticable.  Thankfully the race director said at low tide you can stand in the river.  It was about 4-5 feet as we all walked/swam out to the first buoy for the in swim start.  The distance between the start buoys was at least 50 yards so it was very spread out.  I found some open water and sited the first buoy and I was off.  I just swam nice and easy trying to stay calm and not get kicked in the face.  I didn't really fall into a rhythm until about 15 minutes.  I looked at my watch as we started the second lap and it was at 32 minutes.  I managed to swallow a very large gulp of salt water and almost threw up half way through the second lap.  The entire second lap someone was also on my feet.  I don't think it was the same person but throughout the entire lap, someone was right on me.  I came out of the water feeling good and graped my bag and heading into the changing tent. 

T-1 - 7:09

A 112 mile bike ride takes some time to get ready.  I wanted to make sure everything was on and fit well to set myself up for a good day.  I got a few karma points when the guy next to me realized he forgot his towel so I gave him mine because I was done with it.  He asked for my number so he could return it but I laughed and said "don't worry about it, I've got about 10 of them."  I grabbed my bike and set out for a long day in the saddle.

112 mile bike - 6:15:04 -- 17.89 mph

Start of lap 2
We were warned the the course was flat.  We were also warned that the course was windy.  I really felt like there was more head wind than tail wind.  Just like every tri, people start passing me on the bike.  I'm ok with that.  I've got time to become a stronger biker.  I looked at this race as a guaranteed PR, and the main goal was to finish.  I basically kept my head down as much as possible, tried to eat and drink about every 15 minutes and watched the miles tick away.  The last 10-15 miles of each of the two bike laps was dead into the wind.  That was probably the hardest part of the bike, knowing I had to do it again at mile 100-112.  I rode almost the entire second lap with my competitor one number higher than me, Bridgette, who was also participating in her first Ironman.  Sorry, Ultra distance triathlon.  We were still working but talked pretty much non stop.  That was what got me through the bike.  I had to fall back the last 10 miles because my knee was starting to hurt and I wanted to conserve some energy.

T-2 - 6:43

Another complete wardrobe change in the tent because again, I wanted to be comfortable on the run.  I greased up, threw on the had and sunglasses and was out.

26.6 jog - 5:12:00 -- 11:54 min/mile

The run course was an out and back 3 times of about 4.3 miles each way.  The first lap started out pretty good averaging about 9 min/mile pace.  I kept thinking to myself 'keep an even 9-9:30 pace and you'll be done soon enough.  Keeping up a 9:30 pace turned into trying to keep it under 10 around mile 9.  Things were starting to fall apart.  My knee was really the only thing giving me problems.  I'll learn later during the after race massage that I had a knot in my quad and a micro tear in my meniscus.  I've had problems in the past about drinking too much at the water stops so I decided to carry a pack of gum with me to keep my mouth from becoming too dry.  It worked for about half the race until I was sick of it.  I ran alone for the entire race.  I didn't talk much either, just some words of encouragement here and there whenever I noticed someone was struggleing.  The sun started setting about 1/4 through my last lap.  The fellas at the far water stop promised a beer to everyone that watned one but only on their last lap.  It sounded like a good idea at the time.  I had about 1/4 can of Fat Tire and that really helped me, for about 1/3 mile.  I counted down the miles from 3 and really wanted to run strong the last mile.  The finish was a blurr.  I remember the lights and the announcer saying my name but I was almost sprinting the last 400 yards.  I remember seeing the photographer and wondering "how bad am I going to look in this picture?"  I tried to smile and look good but only time will tell until the pictures come back.


Holy Shit this hurts!

Total time to go 140.6 miles - 12:53:38

I hung out at the finish line for a few minutes to make sure I was ok then headed to grab my stuff.  I took a shower, ate some dinner, and got a massage post race.  We went back to the car and had a Sam Adams Octoberfest until I felt I was just too tired and had to go to sleep, not before updating my facebook status and returning some texts/emails that I finished.

I found out the next day before the awards ceremony I was 9 minutes out of 3rd place for my division.  We didn't stay for the awards. 

It was a great weekend and the three things that I was most concerned about, flat tires, chaffing, and stomach issues, didn't happen.  Even though that was all I could give for that event, I think I can get better and go faster.  Until next time...

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Mountaineer 1/2 Ironman Race Report

The weekend started with a four hour drive from Harrisburg, PA to Morgantown, WV saturday morning. I arrived at the expo to pick up my race packet and tee shirt. The start/finish is at a park downtown so, in a college town, there were lots of bars. We decided to go to a bar for lunch but not before a quick dip in the river. I did a quick 12 min swim out to the first marker and back. Then went to the bar.

It was a microbrew pub so we got to sample some of the local beers. Had some apps and decided we should probably drive the bike course before checking into the hotel. Bad idea.

The bike course for the 1/2 Ironman was three loops of 9ish miles out and 9 back. The first mile or two was taking out out of town. Then the first hill came. "Not too bad", I thought. Then we turned off onto the back roads and we started heading down. At the bottom of the hill our friends in another car pulled off and stated that we should be almost there. I looked at my odometer and said we only went 3.3 miles. Then we started up the hill... and kept going, and going and going. Not even a false flat to catch your breath. The hill was just over 2 miles long. There was about a mile of flat and then the Olympic turn around sign. This is were things got shitty. It was up and down, up and down, up and down about 5 more times in 3 more miles. Not a good sign.

We found our hotel and checked in to our room before dinner. We were there for about 30 minutes before we drive the 5 miles back downtown to have some italian for dinner. Not a bad place. Went back to the hotel and set my alarm for 5am.

Woke up the next morning to several text messages that my twin sister had a baby! So the day started off on a good note. I had a quick breakfast of a honeybun and coffee from the hotel lobby. Drove over to the park and started setting up my transition. I went over and got body marked and got my timing chip.

There were four different races going on, five if you included the dualathon. The woman's only race was about 1/2 a sprint, the sprint, olympic and half iron. We started last.

Almost 8am came around and we were finally called down to the dock. Everyone started by jumping off the dock after walking over the timing mat two at a time. The course was two laps and with the water temp at 76, pretty warm for a wetsuit. I still wore one, though. Swimming smooth and long I came out of the water in 39 minutes. Ran to transition and got my bike. Then the fun started.

I've talked so much about the bike course to friends already that I'm tired of it. The first look took about 1:10, followed by the second around 1:20 and the third lap around 1:25. The two mile hill just kept getting harder and harder. I was either going up the hills at 5mph or screaming down them at 45mph.

I felt suprisingly fresh after the 4 hour bike and ready to run. I ran with two people for the first mile. My time was right about 8 minutes. The sun went away and the temp came down a few degrees. I was having some chafing issues on my arm so it felt like I was running with a chicken wing sticking out. The run course was again a 3 lap out and back of 4ish miles on a bike path. I really only saw one person that had a smile on her face.

Each mile kept getting slower and slower and I was averaging around 9:30 miles nearing the last lap. I hooked up with an runner who was walking and decided to walk with him. Not that he slowed me down but I really didn't have the motivation to run. I was getting bloated by all the water, coke, and infinit they had. They had pretzles but with a dry mouth, they were really hard to get down. I also had to make two stops at the port-o-pot to try and make some room for the liquid. I was on my third lap and he was only on his second. We ran/walked those four miles and I left him at the turn around. I ran another .25 miles and finished in 7:03. A terrible time but considering my 14 mph average speed on the bike, not too bad.

I checked my time and to my suprise I was actually 3rd place for clydesdale! But the bad news was they were all out of awards! I wrote my name down and they are going to ship it to me.

I went over to the post race food and was dissapointed. From what I can remember, they had carrots, grapes, trail mix, pretzles, oranges, apples, watermelon and PB&J sandwiches. I filled my plate but wasn't hungry. I had two slices of watermelon and a coke and threw everything else away. Nothing seemed good to me. We packed up our stuff and started to four hour drive home. About 20 minutes in we did stop at Wendys and that's where I got my hot, salty food that I craved.

My thoughts on the race? I knew it wasn't a big race but it fit my schedule so I did it. I understand WV is hilly but I wasn't expecting all the hills. The elevation map didn't do it justice. I guarantee I'm not going back to defend my 3rd place finish next year!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Black Bear Olympic Triathlon Race Report

It’s been awhile since I posted, so I figured I would get back into it since the racing season has begun with my race report from Black Bear Olympic Triathlon last weekend in the Pocono Mts.

This is my second year participating in this race and both times with Team in Training. You can check out my website here. Saturday was a travel day consisting of 1.5 hours. First I had to mow the lawn and run some errands. We left for the Poconos around 11am. We hit some traffic because of an overturned tractor trailer and got to Beltzville State park just shy of 1pm. My wife, son and I headed over to packet pickup and got our stuff. Nothing too exciting. We were on our way back to check in to the hotel when I came upon Coach Joe in the parking lot getting his bike ready to ride the course. We said our hellos and got back into the car for the four mile drive to the hotel.

There were open water swim clinics at 2pm and 3pm and a few of us were planning on attending to check the water temp and get acclimated to the water. We all drove over around 3pm and swam for about 20 minutes. They had some smaller boys set up to practice sighting, but they were only about 50 yards apart.

We went back to the hotel to get ready for our prerace dinner in Jim Thorpe. We had a beer or two at the hotel, then a beer or two at dinner, then came back to the hotel and had another one. Just something to help us sleep.

Race morning started at 4:30am with the alarm going off. Nothing too out of the ordinary since I hit the gym most days at 5am. The hotel was serving a hot breakfast so mine consisted of French toast, sausage, a hard-boiled egg and a toasted bagel. Carbo loading (plus I love breakfast). We headed over to the park around 5:45 and got transition all set up and just hung out until 7:15 till the race was starting. I took a few strokes in the water to warm up. My wave started at 8:04ish.

The swim was a 1500m out and almost back. Sighting was easy since we were going away from the sun and the water was calm. There might have been 30 people in my wave so we were pretty spread out by the first sight boys. I took the swim nice and easy, nothing too fast. My HR was anywhere from 140-145. My swim time was 22:52. 64th out of 269 finishers. T1 was 2:30, about average.

Running out of transition to the bike was uphill for about 1/8 mile. We hop on our bikes and out of the park. The bike portion is rolling hills for the first seven miles. Fast downhills and slow uphills. Coach Blob and I were going back and forth the entire time. After the sprint people cut off the course gets fast. There was a stretch of about three miles where we could just open it up. I got down in aero and cranked. The extension for the Olympic course was a lollipop and my tire felt mushy as soon as I got back to the lollipop stick.

The tires seem inflated so I kept pushing. There was a long downhill followed by a very long uphill. We were probably averaging around 7 mph going up the hill. About 50 yards from the top my tire felt very low. I stopped and checked it and there was a nice spring sticking out of it. I stood there for about 30 seconds debating on whether or not to change it or just pump it up and see if it holds air. I decided to change it. Ripped the old tube out and jammed the new tube in and inflated it with the CO2 and I was off. I estimated from the time I stopped to check till the time I was off was about 5:30-6 minutes.

I was pissed and lost all motivation to place in my division. Plus there were still more uphills. After cresting the last uphill and starting on the downhills, I gained confidence and started pushing again. Coming back into T2 my bike time was 1:32.45. The Garmin with auto-pause had me at 1:26.

T2 was fast. Shoes, helmet off, running shoes on and gone. 54 seconds. The run was two loops all on trails of crushed gravel and dirt. I managed to strain my calf a few weeks ago and hadn’t fully recovered. My goal was to take it easy and kick it up at the end. The weather started heating up but I managed to put together a decent run of 51:04 or 8:14/ mile. If my calf was 100%, I could have run at least a minute faster, maybe more. Coming up to the finish I was able to pass coach Blob with 100 yards to go.

My final time was 2:50.05, about 2 minutes worse than the previous year, but when you add in the tire change, it was a PR. I figured I didn’t place because of the slow bike so we just hung out for a while and then headed back home.

I checked the results online a few days and I was right, I was 4th in my division. (Clydesdale over 200lbs) The first place Clydesdale had a finishing time of 2:44.30, so without the tire change, I would have had a real good shot at winning my division. Next year for sure!

Up next I have the Mountaineer Man ½ Ironman in Morgantown, WV on June 24th then it’s full on Ironman training (not that I’m not already training) for Chesapeake Man on September 29th.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I need your help!

Hey Guys,

I apologize for not being around as much as I used to be. I moved departments and I'm crazy busy all day long. I have just enough time to come on here and read a quick blog or two and maybe even write a comment. The phone's not ringing now so I'll try and make this quick.

I'm back for year two with Team in Training through the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. This year it's personal because Leukemia has struck my family. For lack of a better title, I'm going to call my wife's brother's girlfriend my sister in law. They have been dating for a good 5 years and about 3 weeks ago she went to the doctor's office for dizziness and being tired all the time. They did some blood work, sent her to Shady Side hospital in Pittsburgh and it was confirmed she has Leukemia. She's 28. It sucks. She's my honored teammate and the person I am fundraising for this year.

She's been going through chemo for about 2 weeks and has another two weeks to go. Hopefully she'll get to come home after her last round to spend time with family. I'm going out there in two weeks because they are hosting a blood drive to try and find a match for a possible bone marrow transplant.

Anything you can give would help. My personal goal is $1.800 and I'm about 1/2 way there after only sending out letters and emails for one week. I'm hoping to raise a lot more than $1,800 because cancer sucks and we need to beat it.

Please look at my website for more details and how to contribute. Anything you can give, even if it's just $5, will still help the cause.

If you are interested in Team in Training and fundraising for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, send me a message and I can hook you up with the right people!

click here for my fundraising webpage