Chicago Marathon Countdown. 11 Days.

The Bank of America Chicago Marathon is NEXT Sunday!! For 16 1/2 weeks, I have been training. Nights out on Fridays have been replaced with 9:45 bed times. I have seen an incredible amount of sunrises thanks to the 50 or so consecutive days of 100+ degree weather here in Oklahoma. I have had training runs in Turks & Caicos, California, Wisconsin and California again. I want to say that I may have missed out on things throughout the summer because of my training, but looking back, I think I only missed hangovers.

Running was the constant this summer and now going into fall. I rarely missed a scheduled run… No more than 5 throughout the summer. I ran three 20 mile runs, two 18 mile runs and too many to count double-digit training runs. My goal since beginning running back in January of 2010 was to break the 4:00hr mark in a marathon. My first marathon, The Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial Marathon, I clocked in at 4:11:16. The New York City Marathon was 11 minutes faster at 4:00:08 (8 SECONDS!!). Since I have taken training seriously this time around, I am shooting for a 3:30 marathon time… 8 minutes per mile. Insane to actually think about especially since my last full marathon was more than 9:09 minutes per mile. But like I said before, training has been my main focus this summer.

All my activities have been documented on my RunKeeper page.

  • June – 39.97 miles (a little low in the mileage due to training for a triathlon)
  • July – 116.27 miles
  • August – 126.7 miles
  • September (through Sept. 27) – 153.7 miles

Through 2011, this puts my New Year’s Resolution of 1000 miles right at 712.79 miles (Marker B) with 3 months left. Will be close!

Chicago is 11 days away. I’m tapering and looking forward to seeing what I can do next Sunday. I’ll have a race recap when I get back. Look for me in Chicago wearing my Russell Westbrook Oklahoma City Thunder jersey!

Sidenote: I have seen a ton of running blogs on wordpress that look much better and are way better organized than my current one on Tumblr. Thinking about mixing it up and trying WordPress or try to make mine look a little better here on Tumblr.

2011 Route 66 Sprint Triathlon

Last August, I bought a 2009 Specialized Allez from a local bike shop on clearance. I bought it with the idea that I would start adding cycling into my routine and hopefully get into triathlons in the future. The triathlon season kind of dies down around August/September so I wasn’t able to get into a routine in enough time to try out a triathlon last summer so my first opportunity to get involved in this sport happened this past weekend in El Reno, OK at the Route 66 Sprint Triathlon.

I have had this in my sights for a few months now so I began training, well, I began to add to my training. I had always been running so I threw in some cycling and swimming in the mix to try to up my fitness level in those events. The swimming, I always had been in the pool and I am a decent swimming. Not super fast, but not slow and am able to knock out 500 meters without drowning so I figured I would at least be able to finish that leg. I was trying my best to get in an open water swim before the event, but I came down with my first cold in a year and a half last week and was unable to get out there and practice. That came back to haunt me.

The cycling portion of the triathlon was where I thought I could at least hang. Again, I wasn’t a fast cyclist and I haven’t been doing it too long so I had no idea how I would actually compare to others in a racing environment. I got together with a local bike club to do a few group rides before to get the feel for riding with others. Like I said before, running is my thing….

Race morning: I wake up at 4:55 pretty amped up. I had everything out that I needed for each leg of the race. I made sure my water bottles were chilled, my Clif Shots ready, tires filled, etc. I make a stop to grab a coffee and granola bar and I’m on my way. I make the drive from the southside of OKC to El Reno which is about 40 minutes away and check in to get marked, my chip and instructions for the transition area. This being my first triathlon, I did a lot of people watching to try and figure out how to properly set up my area in order to come out ready to go without spending alot of time in the area. Once I had everything ready to go, it was time to start.

Let me tell you know, open water swimming is absolutely insane. By yourself, it’s not tooooo bad. But with 200 other people in a muddy muddy lake, it’s absolutely ridiculous. I could not see anything and I kept hitting/kicking people which freaked me out. It took literally 300 meters to be able to put my head down comfortably and actually swim. Before that point in time, I swam with my head above the water in fear of dying. It was absurd. Once I got the hang of it, I had no problem and was able to finish….alive in 10 minutes and 50 seconds.

I quickly put on my cycling shoes with the clips, helmet and sunglasses and took off. This leg is where I thought I could at least hang on and hold my own. This portion of the race ended up being the most difficult and most demoralizing part of the race. I was being passed by everyone and I felt like I was doing all I could to maintain the speed I was going (which apparently was not fast at all). The guy with one leg even passed me. It was an out and back course and we finally made the turn back. I kind of picked it up a little bit now that I knew where we were in the race. I only gained ground on 2 people the entire 13 miles of that cycling part of the traithlon. Made it into the transition area again/finally. It was a very good learning experience.

In the transition area, I put on my socks and running shoes and FINALLY I was running. This was the area that I knew I could excel. I started out with the idea that I could keep a 7 minute pace. As I was running the first mile, it sure didn’t feel like I was running very quickly but I could tell I was because I was passing people… alot of them. I guess I didn’t have my “legs under me” on mile 1 because I ran it at a 6:38 pace. I stayed strong and kept pushing on that run and ran mile 2 at 6:59 and that final mile at a 6:46 pace. It was pretty awesome and after crossing the finish line made me strongly consider just sticking to running from now on.

My first Sprint Triathlon was over and I finished with a time of 1:21:21 which was good enough for 64/183. The results came in Sunday night and I wanted to see how I did in each event, so I dropped that results sheet into a spreadsheet and this is how each leg broke down.

  • Swimming: 10:50 (71/183)
  • Cycling: 46:46 (136/183)
  • Running: 21:02 (18/183)

All this for an overall finish of 64th place which I didn’t feel bad about one bit. I now know what I need to work on for the next one. Yep, I said it. There has to be a next one. I need to improve on my time so in order to do that, there is going to be a next one… just have to find one now.

2011 Guinness Challenge

Let me start by saying this, I like Guinness. I enjoy it quite a bit. Last Saturday however, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I usually do. (Sidebar: This is going to be a short short recap)

Me and my buddy Cole participated in the 2011 McNellie’s Pub Guinness Challenge. A timed 4 mile event where you had to drink 3 beers along the way. One beer at 1.5 miles, another at 2.5 miles, and another one at mile 4 before crossing the finish line. These weren’t just Dixie cups full of Guinness, these were full 16oz pints of thick, dark, room-temp Guinness Draught. It was quite an experience.

The race began at 10:30 in the morning. Cole was primed from the night before (hungover) and I was ready to get after it. Our thinking was we’d go out fast and just hang on because it was only 4 miles. The gun went off and we were out of the gate. You know how adrenaline kicks in at the start of the races and for distance runners, the key is to bottle that adrenaline for later? Well, when you actually plan to go out fast and adrenaline kicks in…. you go out even faster. Cole and I both ran the first mile in 6:35 and got to the first beer stop quickly. Downed the first one and discovered that this was indeed going to be a challenge. Got after the next mile and back to the same beer stop to knock out another one. This one being a little tougher because I was out of breath and trying to drink. Only had a mile and a half to go….. until anooottthhheerr beer. This last leg was the toughest. By this point, I started to have side cramps and I was struggling to keep things down. I still had a quick pace going and then there was the finish line. I only had one more beer to go. I was out of breath and not thirsty, that’s for sure. I stomached this final one and crossed with a time of 27:10 finishing 10th out of 253.

It sure was a fun race, but it was very hard for a “fun run.” I hope to do it again the next time an event like this is held.

(my) Runner’s Guide

Congratulations are in order to all those who ran in the 2011 Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon. It was a remarkable day in miserable conditions. It was cold, rainy, windy, hail-y… I was not a happy camper and I was only there for an hour cheering. I can’t imagine running 26.2 miles in that… or even 13.1, or the 5k, or the 1.2 miles for the Kid’s Marathon. Good job to all those that ran!

My training is about to officially kick off at the end of the month and it got me thinking about the things I need in order to train properly. I don’t necessarily need these things, but I have them and I use them and some of them have actually helped me improve so I wanted to write about them and tell everyone (you six people) my opinions on them.

Shoes: Nike Zoom Structure Triax, Brooks Racer ST5, Vibram KSO

Nike Zoom Structure Triax – The Nikes are the only shoes I’ve ever “ran” in. I bought a pair when I first started running and that’s what I’ve stuck with because 1. I finished a marathon in them and 2. I didn’t get hurt when training for it in these shoes. I’m on my third pair of Nike Zoom Structure Triax and that’s really why.

Brooks Racer ST5 – The Brooks Racer ST5 is a shoe I initially bought because I loved the way they looked. They feel amazing and are incredibly light. I run in these shoes on my easier days just to get a different feel. They are really awesome though.

Vibram KSO – I bought these because I wanted to try them out. They are different for sure, but I like them. They make you really run on the balls of your feet and in turn reeaaaallly make your calves sore. I would like to run trails with them honestly, but have yet to.

Accessories: Garmin Forerunner 405, Spibelt, Road ID

Garmin Forerunner 405 – I just bought the Garmin Forerunner 405 in December after finishing my second marathon. I only bought it because I finally admitted to myself that I liked running and I really enjoyed keeping track of my miles. I use RunKeeper to log all my miles and using this watch is amazing. It’s a GPS watch and can tell you all sorts of information during and after a run. I have it set to where it shows me my mileage, time, and heart rate (I wear a monitor occasionally). I also have it to where I set my goal pace and it shows me how far I am ahead/behind of that pace. It really is amazing and my speed has really improved. It also has helped me get to know my body a little better. I can feel speeds now and how my body feels. <--- That doesn't make any sense, I know.

Spibelt – I bought a Spibelt after reading an article online and seeing them at the expo in OKC. It has been a (potential) lifesaver. When driving to go on a run, I put my key in one of the pockets along with my Clif Shot. I also carry pepper spray because in March of 2010, I was bitten by a pit bull while out on a run and am now terrified of dogs while running. It won’t stop the dog, I’m sure but it could distract them… my thinking at least. I also put my phone in one of the pockets. This has saved me numerous times as well. I had it when that dog bit me so I could call my parents to come pick me up (as I stood on top of a brick mailbox). I have called my mom when I was caught out in a thunder storm that snuck up on me when I was 8 miles out. I had to call my aunt one time when I rolled my ankle pretty good 4 miles out and couldn’t make it back. Thanks the Spibelt, I was able to make it home alive in all those situations….

Road ID – I haven’t had to use this just yet, thank goodness but I wear it all the time just in case. It is a bracelet with my full name, hometown, emergency contacts and medical information engraved on the metal part of the bracelet. I like it a lot and highly recommend it to everyone

Nutrition: Clif Shot

Clif Shot – I admittedly have only tried 3 flavors. I’ve had the Razzberry Clif Shot, Chocolate Clif Shot and Lemon Lime Clif Shot. The Razzberry one was turrible but the other two were fantastic and that’s why I have only stuck with those 2 because I don’t want to risk being out on a run and trying a new flavor only to not like it. The chocolate one tastes exactly like chocolate and the lemon lime one tastes exactly like lemon lime Gatorade, which is fantastic. These give you a boost in the middle of a long training run.

Technology: RunKeeper

RunKeeper – If you are wanting to get into running at all, even just a little and you happen to have an iPhone or any kind of phone that has GPS capability… get this app. It is the BEST! I tell everyone about it. You can upload your run to RunKeeper and it will track your total miles, show your elevation change, heartrate if you track it and it will even show you your run on a map. I’m a huuuuuge fan. If you do join RunKeeper, be sure to join my street team. I used to use RunKeeper on my phone, but since I got the Forerunner 405, i just upload the runs from my watch to the website. The website is very easy to use also, so that helps.

I used to run while listening to music/talk radio but have since abandoned the headphones and now I really enjoy getting out there and listening to my breathing and my feet hitting the pavement. It’s just a simple way to not think about anything really. No stress, no worries (except being murdered by a car/dog). It’s just you and the road. Awesome. When I did have my headphones in, I only had my left one in (so I could hear those dogs chasing me). I only listened to talk radio while running outside for some reason. I never could get into music with beats because it would mess with my head. Talk radio just made me zone out and listen to talking. I liked it when I did do it.