Friday, October 29, 2010

T minus 12 days and counting...

Till my life gets turned upside down. Huh? As my title goes... 3 out of 4 things completed. Ran my first Marathon HERE, raced several triathlons, and I'm obviously a pretty cool dude in every post but one goal gets met in +/- 12 days.
Baby Boy arrives. Life is going to change. Hopefully for the better. We have been taking classes offered by the hospital for about two months now but I honestly don't think anything is going to compare to actually holding the little guy.

The last and final class this past Tuesday was all about what to do when the baby is at home. The instructors set up stations that we would rotate through to learn different things. How to wash a baby, change a diaper, put on a onesie, and other junk. One thing we forgot about is baby-proofing. Obviously that's still several months away but it hit me that there is SO MUCH stuff that they can't teach us in class. I'm just hoping for a healthy baby and we'll cross each obstacle when it gets here.

As I was leaving work last night, a coworker asked me to help her carry something out from one of the training rooms. I follow her and SURPRISE!!! they throw me a baby shower. (yes my wife was there too) Totally unexpected!
All I could think about was "how long is this going to take? the sun is going down and I need to get 7 miles in before the trick or treaters come" Obviously that wasn't going to happen since it gets dark about 6:30 these days. It was extremely nice of them and a total surprise to me. My first baby shower. We got a gift card for Target from everyone. I told them "I think this is enough money to buy a Wii and the new Big Buck Hunter game, or diapers... we'll see"

Did you guys see the new Big Buck Hunter game for Wii? That's my favorite game to play at the bars (when we used to go to the bars all the time) I'm tempted to buy it just to play that game, the same way I bought a PS2 for Guitar Hero. I'm more responsible now (because The Wife already said no).

So anyway, we got home around 6:45, turn the light on and wait for the trick or treaters. It was unseasonably warm so we sat outside and waited for them. We had a good night!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I think I found my HIM race!

I had this crazy goal this year of progressing through triathlon distances one year at a time. Even thought I spend 3 years doing sprint distances, this year was my first Olympic, no wait, that was a duathalon... This Olympic was an 'official' Olympic, next year I want to do another Olympic in the spring then a Half Ironman in the fall and eventually a full Ironman in 2012. Well, you know how it goes. You go to all these races and people start talking about other races. Ultra Marathon Trail runs? Sure they sound like a good idea except why are they always on the weekends you have other races?

I have been looking around a great website just putzing around looking for different races. I would love to do the new Pocono 70.3 Half Ironman but $275 entry fee? Really? That's too rich for my blood. So back on beginner triathlete and I found Cannonman Triathlon and as of this post, there are only 2 poeple entered. EASY AWARD ALERT!!!!!
The entry fee is reasonable at $130. The site is about 2 hours from me which isn't too bad but the only lodging listed on the website is a campground. I love camping just as much as the next guy but camping is reserved for staying up late, drinking beer, and having a good time. Not waking up early to torture your body.

But I'm really pumped about it and I think I can fit it into my race schedule. The only other 'A' races on my calander are a triathlon with Team in Training (not announced yet, but probably a sprint or Oly in early summer) and a Marathon with my sister. (her first)

So if you are interested in racing a cheap, low key HIM next fall, let me know (please note: not accepting M30-35 unless you are slower than me) SO WHO'S WITH ME FOR THE CANNONMAN 70.3 2011?

p.s. I also changed my profile picture to an actuap picture of me! This is me at my very first triathlon 3 years ago. I was also 60lbs heavier. I'm skinny(ier) now!

A special thanks to Sam for reminding me I can use hyperlinks in my posts! She's also here!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Compression Socks

With all the talk lately about compression socks, I really wanted to get a pair. But I really didn't want to pay $35 for them. I also thought about just wraping my legs with ACE bandages after a hard run as well, but luckly a friend of a friend is a rep for a sports clothing company and was able to score me a free pair! I got them in the mail yesterday and my wife forgets to tell me. This morning, as I'm finishing my coffee, she tells me I got a package last night. Of course it's like christmas whenever I get a package. I tear that shit open and put on a sock. It took me several minutes though, because they are pretty tight (obviously). I was going to wear them to work today but my wife thought otherwise. I can't wait to use them this weekend!

Here is a pic my wife took this morning (with the dog eating breakfast next to me)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Steamtown Marathon Part Deux

I’ve had some time to reflect on the events from this past Sunday and wanted to produce a list of pros and cons from my first Steamtown Marathon Experience.

 Pre-race notifications were great, although I had to find them first(find the asst race director’s twitter page and click on the link to the newsletter.
 Website tracked weekly entries until the race was sold out.
 Lots of options for hotels and restaurants in the area that were not $200/night
 Held a pre-race meeting at the expo talking about the course
 Race morning there were tons of busses ready to heard everyone 45 min to the start line
 Forrest City Middle School was well organized. We had a guy with a sign saying “Follow me”, cheerleaders screaming cheers and handing out water.
 There were plenty of volunteers and water stops along the way, even random water stops
 At almost every water stop there were 2-3 port-o-pots (I’m a guy, I pee in the woods)
 They had plenty of photographers along the course and even after the finish line
 They gave us a plastic bag to put our food in.
 They had showers for us at a local college

 Stupid Mother Nature made it 30 degrees at the start.
 The expo was lacking in merchandise to sell.
 The goodie bag included one crappy pair of really small orange sunglasses from an eye doctor, and lots of junk paper.
 The start line wasn’t spaced out enough, took almost a minute to cross the start.
 I didn’t know your ‘official time’ is clock time, not chip time.
 There were no energy gels on the course, just apples and oranges (and gummy bears that I only noticed after I passed them) Good thing I bought some gels at the expo
 I found my new best friend/running partner Tim’s name but could not find him on Facebook to thank him.

I found some pictures also!

My legs have been pretty beat up these last few days but I went out last night and did a real easy 3 miles. The first mile was slow, and downhill. I felt like my dad running. (limping mostly) Then the road flattened out and went slightly uphill and I could pick up the pace and work out some of that lactic acid and I actually felt pretty good at the end.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Steamtown Marathon Race Report

The weather report for Scranton, PA was 40 degrees at 8am rising to 65 by noon. Perfect day for a run. The drive from Harrisburg to Scranton took about two hours but just flew by because of all the fall foliage on I-81. The leaves are not changing as dramatic in Harrisburg as they are just a few miles north.

We arrived at the Expo around 2:15pm. Scranton HS is this amazingly modern high school with crazy colors and curvy lines. Parking was a disaster. There was a pee-wee football game going on and I heard students were also taking SATs Saturday. We drove around the entire school before finding a parking spot around back that probably wasn’t really a parking spot. Entered the Expo and went to pick up my packet. Number 665. Got my tee shirt and poster and went to walk around.

Reading different blogs and hearing people speak about compression socks I wanted to pick up a pair for myself. Apparently everyone else heard about them also because there was only one pair left and they were $35! For socks? Really? Oh well. I bought some Gu packets and a pair of cheap running gloves. They had a sign up that said it would be 30 degrees at the start! Thanks to Steamtown for not charging more than $2 for a pair of gloves.

We left the expo and went to the hotel to check in. The Super 8 was maybe 15 minutes from downtown Scranton. What a dump! But for only $55 a night, I didn’t complain (much). They said they were going through renovations. The hallways smelled like shit and the bathroom was so dirty!

We went to Arby’s next door because it was around 3pm and we haven’t eaten since breakfast. Having a 36 week prego with me, she has to eat every couple hours. Couple things off the dollar menu felt kinda good. I waited an hour and went on a light 3 mile run around the area.

The race committee hosts a pasta dinner the night before but we didn’t feel like driving back to Scranton just to eat some pasta. We ended up going to Ruby Tuesdays one exit down at the base of Montage Mountain (ski ‘resort’). We wanted to go there mainly because of their delicious salad bar. Apparently everyone else decided to go there also. I think we waited longer for an table then it actually took to order and eat!

Race morning started at 5am when my alarm went off. I heard lots of doors opening and closing and knew it was time to get up. I dress and we jump in the car for the 15 min drive to the finish line. Being a point to point race, we all loaded in school busses for the 45 minute drive to the start line 26.2 miles away. They did a great job with cheerleaders there cheering, handing out water bottles and just wishing us well.

We all sat around in the gym for about an hour till it was time to start. It was an extremely brisk morning but I still felt comfortable wearing shorts, a tee shirt and my newly purchased running gloves.

There is a huge downhill within the first mile and everyone does the ‘Steamtown Shuffle’ down it. “Don’t go out too fast” and Don’t try and bank time” was the theme from everyone this weekend. Everyone was passing me the first few miles but I was on my pace and knew I would be fine. I’m not going to go into detail here about every mile and what happened, because I really don’t remember. I kind of just zone out and try to keep my breathing in check. There were some bands and lots of people cheering so that made time fly by also.

I noticed around mile 12-13 that this guy and girl were waiting at a port-o-pot and she just jumped in front of him. He stood there for a few seconds and just started running again. I said to him “that’s pretty cold, leaving here there like that.” He said “I’m not with her, she just cut me off.” So we continued on, talked about race goals and whatnot and he was shooting for the same time as me. So I asked him “do you want to run together and we can work together?” Thankfully he said yes and it was a combined effort. He is also a math teacher so I let him do all the math for our calculated finish.

The miles just seemed to fly by. I remember hitting the ½ way mark in about 1:49 which put me right on track for my 3:40 finish. I didn’t know until waiting in the gym that no water stops would have any Gu. I only brought two with me. I took one at the 13.1 mark.

We hit the 20 mile mark and I took my second Gu. We kept asking each other how we felt and honestly, I felt amazing. A slight pain as I could feel a small blister forming on my right foot but that’s it.

Those of you that have run a marathon before always talk about ‘hitting the wall’ and honestly it didn’t even occur to me that I was going to hit one until about mile 22.5. I started feeling it in my quads and him flexors from running downhill for 20 miles. There was also a huge hill around this time that thankfully was filled with people but that was my worst mile split at 8:55 (besides the first mile where we were so backed in and I had to keep dodging people).

Another 3 block hill in downtown Scranton at mile 25.5. Just cruel. Tim, my new running buddy told me that I was 15 seconds back from hitting my goal of 3:40 so I told him I’m going to push it and I’ll see him at the finish. I powered up that stupid hill only to notice that the finish line was still at least ½ mile out. My legs were trashed. My HR was through the roof and I had to wait till that came down to make my final push. I hit the finish line in 3:40.45. I was happy. Start the cramping.

Tim finished about a minute behind me and we got are pictures taken together at the finish line (coming soon). Hips, quads, calves, hamstrings, all throbbing in pain. I had one of two options, 1) sit on some chairs to the right or 2) stand in line and get some food. My total calories consumed were a mere 200 so of course I opted to wait in line and eat something. I knew if I sat down I would never be able to get up anyway. They were handing out shopping bags and I asked Tim “what the hell is this for? A puke bag?” Nope, just for food. Good. I had nothing to throw up anyway. Loaded up on food and found my wife. I sat down in the grass for a good 30 minutes, just trying to stretch and eat something. When we finally decided to leave, she tells me she parked 4 blocks away. Oh what an awful walk that was. Luckily she parked next to the place we could take showers at. Of course the showers were up 3 flights of stairs. Just mean!

Showered and dressed I hobbled my way down the stairs, got in the car and found the nearest McDonalds to chow down! I deserved it!

It was a great race and a very positive experience for my first (of many) marathons! My sister already signed up for Pittsburg on May 15th so I guess that’s my next one!

Final stats: Chip time 3:40.45 8:25 avg pace. 45 of 85 M 25-29

If I were an old man or a woman, I would have qualified for Boston!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Marathon this Sunday! TnT is dyno-mite!

Steamtown is this weekend! I'm pretty confident that I'm going to succeed and hit my goal time. My training is going excellent thanks to the last few long runs done with Team in Training. Although I already completed my race with TnT, they still encourage alumni to come out and continue to train. My friend told me to find a guy named "Steve" and run with him because he can keep up with me. I met up with Steve, and after introducing everyone we were off. 18 miles was on the agenda.

Steve is one heavy breather! When we hit the first water stop, around mile 3, he turned to me and said "can you believe I used to be 318 pounds!" He just started walking then running and now he's about 200lbs maybe 6'1".

Around mile 9 we started hitting some hills and he slowed down. I left him. I continued on my way, stopping at the water stops and having some water and Gu. Nutrition was perfect with no stomach or ankle problems! I had to get home ASAP and finish our fence with the inlaws.

Monday morning I was off to Irvine, CA for a few days for business. It was beautiful and I took a few pics with my camera phone on the beach.

Not too bad for a camera phone!

This past Saturday was my last "long" run before the race. I ran with a woman who called herself Cindy from TnT. She qualified for Boston. What she didn't tell me is her qualifying time was 4 hours. Regardless, she made a great running partner. We chatted the entire time and ended our 14.58 miles at an 8:35 pace. That really gave me a boost of confidence for this weekend.

Another TnT alumni training for IM FL on Nov 6th returned a book to her called UltraMarathon Man by Dean Karnazes. If you have not read this book, read it. It's amazing. Don't ruin it for me. I still have a few more chapters to go. I basically read it all weekend. He's a great story teller. Makes me want to run an ultra! (in fact, i think i am going to run a 50k trail run next year)