Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Nashville Marathon Photos

Here are a few photos we took before, during and after the Nashville Marathon.

Me, Annette, Gary, Kelly & Robert on Thursday night

We were acting silly Thursday night!

This was pickle juice! Night before the race so no alcohol was allowed. A new traditiion!

Thursday night we were carb loading and checking out the German beer

Me at the big Expo on Friday

Annette at the Expo

Friday night and my gear is all laid out and ready

The marathon gang - Kelly, Michele, Annette, Gary, Robert, Brenda and me

It was raining just before the start on Saturday

Kelly, Annette, & Michele trying to keep warm

Brenda, Michele and Gary after completing their marathons

I couldn't sit down, I was afraid I couldn't get back up!

Saturday night celebrating our victory at The Stage in Nashville

One word summed up our time in Nashville - FUN!!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Nashville Report

Thursday - Gary, Robert, Kelly, Annette and I drove up and arrived Thursday afternoon. After getting settled into our rooms we headed to the Gerst House for food. This was a little German restaurant about a block from our hotel. Let me tell you, this place was awesome and the service was second to none! Afterwards we checked with the hotel staff and found out that there was a pedestrian bridge to downtown Nashville just across the street so we headed downtown to look around. We were actually staying at the perfect hotel. LP Field was right across the street and this was where the finish line was. The shuttles ran from there to the start line also. So if anyone does this race, stay at the Ramada Inn at the Stadium. It’s really convenient.

Friday – we all headed down to the expo around 10:30. We drove down there and had to look for parking. We should have walked but we were getting enough walking in anyway. The Expo was awesome! It was so big and there were so many people it was hard to believe. Made me nervous about how many people were running the race. Brenda and Michelle arrived there just before 1:00pm so we all headed off to find some lunch. We ended up at a nice looking place called “Bailey’s Bar & Grille”. We figured with a name like that it would be an awesome place. Wrong. The service was terrible, but the staff told us up front that they were short handed and it would take 45 minutes to get our food. So we stayed anyway. It was over an hour later before we got our food but it was good. We decided then we would eat at the Gerst House again that night. Then we all went back to the expo for more walking. We attended the pace group meeting as some thought about running with them. Several of us bought shoes. I actually bought some Brooks racing flats for doing 5k’s. We were pretty wore out by the end of the day and again headed to the German place for dinner. This was when we started a new pre-race tradition. Gary has been swearing by the use of pickle juice so we asked the waitress if she could get us all shots of pickle juice. She looked at us kind of funny but she said let me see what I can do. Shortly afterwards she brought us shot glasses of pickle juice!

We all did a toast and drank our pickle juice, wondering what affect if any it would have on our race performance. Needless to say, I don’t think anyone had cramps! We decided then we would celebrate our race again at the Girst House on Saturday night. We tried to make it an early night but after getting everything laid out for the race I think it was close to 9:30 before we got settled in the bed.

Race Day Saturday – We were all up and getting ready by 4:15am. Gary called around 5 and said the people were streaming in at LP Field to catch the shuttles. The other problem was, it was pouring down rain! Oh well, we had trained in the rain so it really wasn’t that big a deal but I knew mentally it would slow me down. By 5:30 we were all in line to get on a shuttle. It was raining, Brenda had her trash bag for protection, and most of us had none. Luckily it wasn’t a driving rain. We didn’t have to wait long though. Once the shuttles came in, we were on the second group so we may have had to wait 5 minutes tops. It was nice on the bus till they turned the defrosters on which made us all cold.

When we arrived at the starting area at Centennial Park, we walked to see where everything was. It was very well organized with signs showing which way to go for gear check, corrals, etc. There was food, coffee, and other drinks available. Of course the next stop was the porta potties. The lines were not too long. There were plenty of porta potties so the wait wasn’t over 5 minutes at most. We all said our good lucks and headed for our corrals. Gary was in 3 I think, Brenda and Robert were somewhere around 9, Annette, Michelle, Kelly and myself were in 15. We stood there for probably 45 minutes in our little group shivering in the rain waiting on the start to come. Probably 10 minutes before the start the rain stopped. Then at 7am, the elite runners started. One minute later the next corral would move up and start. It worked this way through each corral which was nice because there was never a big crowd running all together. We were close to the front of our corral so when we finally made it to the line there was hardly anyone in front of us. Unlike Little Rock where you had to deal with walkers, there was none here. You just had to dodge a few runners so it was a very well planned start. Only thing I didn’t like was the long wait.

My Race – I really wanted to run negative splits on this one but I knew the way the race course was laid out this may not be possible. Plus the tendency is to go out too fast and then slow down at the end. My goal time was a 4:45. I ran with the girls during the first ½ mile then got separated from them. I saw the 4:45 pace group so I decided I would just try and stick with them and see how it goes. Well, it didn’t take long before I saw that the pace group was not running at a 4:45 pace. They were much faster. Each mile I would look at my time and I would be ahead, at first maybe a minute but as the miles went on it grew. Not really a bad thing I guess but I knew it was bad to bank time. I tried to walk the water stops which were all very well organized. They were even kind enough to put the water stops on a lot of the up hills. That was awesome. At mile 3 I started seeing the faster runners coming back at us from their turn around. I was staying with the pace group. I would lose them at the water stops but then catch them on the hills. This continued to be the case on to about mile 11. The half marathoners turned off at mile 11 then things thinned out quite a bit. There was lots of crowd support, too much to mention. There were cheer groups, little kids, very very good support which really kept me motivated. I couldn’t wait to hit the next mile marker to check my times. The course itself was rolling hills, most were not as bad as the hills here in Cabot. When I hit the half point I looked at my time and it was 2:19:48. I was amazed to see that I almost had a ½ PR, missing it only by 1:30. I knew I might be in trouble then. I had gone out too fast, and now I had over 3 minutes in the bank. I needed a bathroom break so I knew this would cost me 2 minutes. Just before 15 I hit the porta pottie real quick. Lost most of my bank time. Then I was on the river trail section of the course which was kind of isolated, no cheer support and the sun was coming out. The weather had been almost perfect till now, not too hot but not cool and cloudy. By the time I hit 17 the sun was out in full force. And I could feel my time slowly dropping. I think I was actually running the same pace, I just couldn’t hold it for as long which would cost me a walk break. I kept trying to keep these just to the water stops. By 20 I really hadn’t seen a wall but I knew my hopes of a 4:45 were dropping quickly. I really didn’t have any pain, my quads and my legs were just wearing down. The struggle to finish was on. Between 22 and 23 Michele caught me. She looked like she was just running a 5k. I tried to run with her for a while but told her to go on. My legs just couldn’t keep going. So it was run walk, run walk. I didn’t feel too bad as that’s what most everyone was doing at that point. I think the heat was getting to everyone. At that point I saw almost no one running hills at all. Luckily the water stations had plenty of fluids. We always had accelerade or water. 22-24 was around a small lake in a park and this reminded me of the 20 miler we had in the driving rain when I was at Indian Head Lakes. It was not a good left-right brain experience. Somehow I shut the left side down and kept moving forward. By that time I just wanted to finish. Then at about 24 I started calculating again. I had to come in under 5 hours. If I didn’t I’d probably just quit running. There was no reason I couldn’t do that. Still the legs were tired and wouldn’t keep going. I’d run to one point fairly fast then walk to another point. I kept adding up the numbers making sure I could make it under 5. With less than a mile to go I knew I had it in the bag. The crowds were amazing coming in to the finish but I couldn’t really hear them. I just wanted to finish and be done. At this point I knew I was giving it everything I had. As I hit the turn going to the finish I heard Brenda yelling my name which gave me a little last boost but there was no sprint left in my legs. I crossed the finish line feeling I had given it a 99% effort staggering to get my medal and some water. Official time 4:58:03. I was not happy that I missed my 4:45. I felt like I had let everyone down but I had to consider the weather change and the hot sun the last several miles. It was much hotter at the end so that was the one factor I could not control. Needless to say, it was a learning experience and will make me better on the next one.

I found Gary, Brenda, Michelle and Robert a little while later. Gary was bummed because he missed his BQ by 7 seconds. 3:36:07! He did AWESOME! Brenda had missed hers by just over a minute. 4:02:52 WOW! These two are SUPER STARS!! I told Gary that the heat had its affect on everyone so don’t be bummed about it. Brenda was actually very happy with her time because she knows now that she can BQ in a cooler race. And miss speedy negative split Michele; she had an awesome race too. At the half she was 13 minutes behind me then passed me at 22.5 to finish in 4:52:49! Brenda had great negative splits also. Maybe we all need to listen to the coaches more. (me) Robert had a great race especially considering he didn’t get any 20’s in for training. Kelly did awesome for her first marathon, only deciding to run the full at the last minute. Annette had a great 2nd first marathon along with a very happy birthday and really enjoyed the marathon.

Afterwards we all got cleaned up, got our feet in the air for a while and then walked downtown for shopping! I think it actually helped our recovery. Later a nice dinner at the Gerst House again then another walk downtown where we heard a great band playing at The Stage. Total post race miles, 5+ walking! After the injury during my first marathon it was nice to be able to walk afterwards!

We all had a great time at a great race event. I would highly recommend Nashville as a “must do” marathon. Thank you Gary, Brenda, Robert, Kelly, Michele and Annette for a great time in Nashville!!! You guys ROCK!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Nashville is done!

We just made it back home from the Nashville Country Music Marathon and I'll have to say this is one of the best organized and fun events I have ever been to.

I did not hit my ultimate goal time but I did come in below my minimum. I wanted a 4:45 but ended up with a 4:58:03 final. That's a new PR by 34:42 for me! The weather was a big factor, the sun came out at about mile 15 and by mile 20 or so everyone started struggling.

Full race report to follow. We did so much and had so much fun it might take a while to get everything wrote up.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Taper Madness is here

Saturday I will be running the Nashville Country Music Marathon. This week I am pretty much worthless. With the running of Boston yesterday, I could barely work. We watched the live video on the computer and our good friend Rock finished in just over 4 hours. It must have been an awesome feeling crossing the same finish line where all the great running legends have crossed.

So taper madness is here. All the questions start popping up in your head. Did I train hard enough? Did I run enough long runs? Did I get enough mileage in each week? At least one thing I do know for sure, I can finish. And I have done the distance before, not fast but I have been there and know what lays ahead of me.

So whats my goal? Whats my pacing plan? I'm still bouncing this one around and will be probably until the start. I would love to break 4:45. Which means I need an average pace right at 10:50 per mile. Sounds pretty slow at first, but by mile 15 on things start hurting and the head starts playing games with you.

Then there is the pacing plan. There seem to be two coaching theories on this. One is to just run a steady pace from start to finish. A lot of coaches say this has the best results. The other way of thinking is to run negative splits. Start out slow, then pick it up, then really pick up the pace the last 6 miles. The problem I have with this plan is starting out slow. They want me to run an 11:19 pace for the first two miles and that seems to be impossible for me right now. Only way I could do that is to take at least two walk breaks in each of the first two miles. Maybe I should try it.

What to do, what to do. Then there is what to carry. Water pack or none. I am leaning towards nothing this time, but I have to be able to carry my gels, phone, endurolytes, etc. Shoes I am set. Socks I am set. I will run in the same brand that I did my last 20 in when it rained for 4 hours solid. If I didn't get a blister then those are the socks to wear. Running shorts I am pretty much set. Shirts, could depend on the weather but it will probably just be my Cruiser singlet.

So the other big question that looms is if 4:45 is an achievable goal? Coach Dennis told me that based on my training I should be able to run a 10:45 pace which would put me under 4:45. But, two factors that can affect that will be race course and weather. We know Nashville has some hills, how big and how many I really don't know. I feel like I am ready for them hopefully. Weather, well we have no control over that one. I just hope its not sizzling hot. If so it will be a long slow race. I did run almost 8 miles Saturday afternoon in 80 degree sunny heat. It was tough but good for training.

It would be much easier to not have a goal, just to run. But the competitive side of me kicks in so I'll have several goals. All of which are subject to change as the race unfolds. On to more taper madness!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

26.2 Miles of Inspiration Video

This is a video I made of the 26.2 miles of Inspiration Run we did last month. Jackie started this run last year. We ran to 13 schools in the Cabot area on March 14th with the goal to inspire the youth to move, get fit, and take ownership of their health. This has made a difference in our community! Thanks to Jackie Clinton for coming up with the idea and putting it into action.

Superbowl's of Running

I just watched one of them this morning. The Women's Olympic Marathon Trials was today and after doing our run this morning, several of us sat in Starbuck's and watched it on computer. Deana Kastor had a great win! Tomorrow is the Boston Marathon. I have my DVR set to record the race but I might get to sneak some computer time in at work and see it too. Rock and Kirsten are running Boston tomorrow so we will be thinking about them. To run Boston is the ultimate goal of most marathoners. With these two events leading up to my marathon in Nashville next Saturday, I should be pumped. Heck, I am pumped right now!! It's going to be hard to work for three days this week thats all I know.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Rockin Boston 2008

I made this video for our good friend Raquel "Rock" who is running her first ever Boston Marathon on Monday April 21st. This is the "Super Bowl" of running. You cannot buy a spot into Boston, you have to earn it and it's not an easy task. I have to run a 3:35:59 marathon to qualify. That will probably never happen but you never know.

Good luck in Boston Rock! Hope you have a great race.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Back on the Bike

I officially started back on the bike this evening. Since I am tapering for Nashville some good cross training was the perfect choice. The temperature was 70 degrees but it was extremely windy. It felt good feeling those quads burn a little for a change. If it wasn't for all the traffic around here it would have been a very fun ride. Afterwards I did about 30 minutes of core work and did some of the leg firing exercises that Coach Dennis suggested.

The bike worked flawlessly. I had been having some trouble shifting from the small ring to the big ring but a few weeks back I did some adjusting. I think it's better now than it was when it was new.

Not a long ride but burnt a little fat off anyway.
10.14 miles
Average speed - 15.3 (includes heavy wind and stop signs)
549 Calories

Need to run Thursday night.

Your Never Too Old To Learn New Tricks

I'm pretty old but still pretty new to running. Last night at the Tuesday Night Flyer's Clinic Coach Dennis took me to the side and gave me some tips.

First, he wanted me to swing my elbows back more. He explained that this would help my legs kick up and force my mid section to get in much better form. Sounded good to me. Anything to be smoother and faster.

Second thing he wanted me to work on kicking my legs up more and pushing off more with my toes. Made sense that pushing off more would give me more speed and distance with a single push of my leg. He said he wanted to get me out of the "marathon shuffle" that so many runners have. I know I have it, its just old age and stiffness, but I'm willing to work to get better.

We were suppose to meet at the High School Track but luck has it may, there was an unscheduled track meet there so we had to meet across the street at the community center. Dennis had a talk with all of us most of which centered around motivation and positive thinking. He showed us a picture if himself in a book when he was an elite runner for Nike back in the '80s I think. Pretty cool.

The workout tonight consisted of 6-12 200's at interval pace depending on which group you were in. We have a lot of people out injured right now and with Nashville next weekend, I elected to do an in between of 8 intervals. We a 2 mile warm up including 4 strides to get us pumping good.

Concentrating on really pumping my arms back and kicking my legs up, I started flying on these 200's. I should have been doing a 200 in about 1:05. My first one with the new method was :51. Wow. And I wasn't even huffing and puffing. It was amazing how much faster I was without any extra effort other than just firing my legs and kicking my arms back more. Dennis stop me on the 5th one and made the comment that my right leg must be tight because it wasn't firing back like the left one. Weird. He gave me some exercises to try to help it fire better. I concentrated on it more during the last three intervals and that seemed to help. Everyone kept commenting that I looked like a different runner. Wow. How could I have missed this before? I guess we never really talked about kicking the legs back that much, if we did I must have missed the class.

I'm excited to work on this technique more and just see how fast I can do a mile or more at a moderate pace. The cool thing was every interval I did was 5 - 15 seconds faster, and I wasn't even really pushing the pace as hard as I could. My final stats on my garmin showed my active intervals to be for 1.04 miles with a 7:31 average pace. The last intervals I did a couple weeks ago my average was 8:38 and it was much harder. Mmmm.......maybe we are on to something here.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

101 Year Old Completes Marathon

Some of you may have heard about the 101 year old man in England that was training for his first marathon. Well, he made history this weekend completing the London Marathon. Pretty amazing that at his age he can even walk, much less run a marathon. Below is a link to the story by NBC. Pretty amazing and his hydration program makes you wonder. By the way, the video doesn't show it but the reporter on NBC tonight said he did finish in just under 10 hours. Now how many 101 year olds can even stay on their feet that long. AMAZING!

Check it out -

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Taper for Nashville is on

This morning was officially my last run over 10 miles before Nashville. I guess I could say it was my last long run. I was actually suppose to be in taper mode anyway but today I elected to run 15 miles. Last weekend was suppose to have been my last 20 but since we did the 1/2 Marathon I was a little short. I figured the hills and race counted for added miles though, at least through effort. So really I should have only done 12 today but what's 3 more miles?

My goal was to run 15 miles and maintain a minimum of a 10:40 pace, which if it was a marathon at that pace would get me in around 4:39. I know thats not going to happen but I have a long shot at a 4:45 I think.

We met the cruiser group at South Side at 7am. There was a large group this morning and there were several new runners from the Women Can Run Clinic. Of course they were not doing 15. Brenda, Annette, Michelle and I were really the only ones trying to do 15. Gary, Curtis, & Rock were doing 10 plus and Cindy and Lisa joined us along the way. We did what I call the big loop around town. Hwy 321 to Mean Pig, then down S. First to Elm, then Left to the High School and right on Belemy to Linda Lane, Dietrich, then Bradley and back on 89 to the school. I like this route as its pretty flat but there are a few smaller hills and one bridge.

I ran this one pretty hard. Annette and Michelle didn't even go down 321, they opted to cut down Kerr and meet up with the others on S First. I didn't realize till later that the other group with the new runners took a different route. Gary, Brenda, Rock and Curtis were flying at the start. David and Rick joined them for the first couple miles then they turned back. Eventually Curtis came back and ran with me. Then after a mile or so he decided he would try to catch the others and he would take off. He would catch them and then come back and run with me some more. I met up with Annette and Michelle about half way down S First. However, I took off just after meeting up with them. I was trying to maintain a pace so I kept pushing.

I pretty much ran by myself through most of the 15. About 10.5 I hit the parking lot and refilled my water bottle. Then I took off looking for Annette and Michelle. I ran a couple miles and couldn't find them. Then shortly after mile 13 there they were. I ran with them till about 14. Then I looked at my garmin and I was 2 minutes behind pace. I told them I was going to have to burn this mile to hit my goal so I took off. Well, I barely missed my goal time but it was still .50 seconds per mile faster than my last 15 miler about a month ago.

Final stats - 15.02 miles in 2:40:17 with an average pace of 10:42. Could I hold that for another 10? Tough question. I was not motivated today other than trying to hit the time. If I had not had my Ipod I would have probably been slower since I was running alone and when I do that I usually end up taking way too many walk breaks. I took too many today, but it was getting pretty warm. Between walks, I would many times be running a consistent 9:35 pace. The more I do it the more I can stretch it out. My 1/2 marathon time for today was 2:19 which was just a minute slower than the race last weekend. Probably the fastest 1/2 I have ever done in training anyway.

I am paying for it this evening, my legs are sore and my feet hurt. Its nice to know that the miles will be considerable less until the marathon on the 26th. I think I'm ready, though you never know what the marathon will hand you on that day.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Crazy Spring Weather

I haven't had a chance to write about all the storms we have been having lately. Last Thursday we had 7 tornadoes touch down in the Central Arkansas area and one of them hit about a block from my house. Luckily in Cabot the damage was minimal. The weather service said it was an F2 tornado.

Yesterday we were under the gun again. The National Weather Service called for storms worse than we had seen last Thursday. Early in the morning I received a call from one of the other Captain's at my Fire Department asking me to be prepared to respond if we got hit in this area again. He also told me that MEMS, the ambulance service for all of the Little Rock area had called in all their people and had every ambulance in the city staffed just in case.

Luckily for us, the storm never quite developed as bad as predicted. It passed just south of Little Rock and tracked about 6 miles south of Cabot. We did get a lot of rain. Probably 1.5 inches in about an hours time. I heard of some trees down but no tornadoes were reported on the ground. I think everyone was expecting the worst all day. Luckily we were missed this time.

Here are a few pictures of last weeks damage in the Cabot area.

This was a used car lot in downtown Cabot

Whats left of a metal building about a mile from my house

Another metal building wiped out. Less than 1/2 a mile from my home.

Tree and debris along S. First Street

This house had a tree take out their carport. Very lucky. About a block from me.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Pictures From The Hogeye

Here are a few photos of the Hogeye. Wish I would have taken more and thanks to Jackie for sharing some of hers. This was a lot of FUN!!

This was the medal. Pretty small for the hills we endured

Pre-race - Michelle, James, Annette, Jackie

Ironman Gary coming in to the finish with a 3:47 full marathon!

Another shot of Gary about to cross the finish line

Annette and Michelle running to the square for the finish

The ladies in pink, Michelle & Annette

Gary's secret formula :)

Post race celebration, Curtis, Jackie, Rock, Gary

Michelle and Annette acting silly, well we were celebrating. The race was over!

Monday, April 7, 2008

CCC & Hogeye Race Reports

Wow, it has been a whirlwind weekend. Back to back races and back to back PR's. First I'll start with Saturday's race at the Capitol City Classic 10k.

Saturday my plan was to "race" this one and use Sunday as a training run. Annette and I met Bailey and Robert at Team 1 so we could car pool to Two Rivers Park. It was somewhat chilly but not bad. Low to mid 40's. If the wind would stay down it would be perfect. This is a pretty flat course and very fast. I think I raced 3 or 4 10k's last year and my PR was on this one at about 1:04 and some change. My goal was to break 1 hour. Anything below that and I would be happy.

The race started and we were off. I ran for a little bit with Annette and Michelle but I was feeling good so I went on. I had plans to run solid to the water stop at about mile 2 or so. It was warming up pretty fast and I was ready for a drink when I got there. One thing I cannot do is drink from a cup and run at the same time. I can with a bottle but not a cup. Quick walk, drink and I was gone again. I could hear Annette and Michelle behind me every now and then so I figured they would be passing me soon. I think it helped to push me some too. I slowed a little after mile three and they did catch me. We ran pretty close till the water stop around 4. Michelle's husband James had been close to the girls most of the time also but about here he started speeding up. So Michelle took off to stay with him. Annette picked up speed and so did I. I ended up passing Annette at about 5 then pressing on. I knew she was trying to catch me all the time so this kept me runnig strong. No spectacular race to the finish here but I did set a new PR of 58:01 which I was very happy with. Annette came in at 58:17 which was a great time for her. Several of the cruisers had PR's also. I almost had a perfect split time, wish it would have been a negative split. Here they are.

6.2 Miles
Time - 58:01
Avg Pace - 9:21

After the race, we headed home to shower and pack so we could drive to Fayetteville for the Hogeye 1/2 Marathon.

Bailey met us around 1:00pm and then we headed to Jackie's to pick her up. We always try to car pool when possible plus its always fun to ride with a group. We met more of the Cruisers in Conway along the way. Michelle, James, Robert, Rock and Brenda were at Chic Fila when we got there. Also Marianne and Heather were there. James had done a bike ride after the 10k with Marianne, Heather and some others. They are training for Ironman Couer Delane. (I'm sure that is spelled wrong) The trip from there was uneventful, we had a 3 car caravan pretty much all the way. One thing for sure, with three women runners in the car the conversation never stopped.

After we got to Fayetteville we headed to the Expo at our hotel. All I can say is WOW. This was the smallest expo I had ever seen. I think there may have been 7 booths set up if that. Well, that was fast getting in and out of there anyway. From there we all got checked in and made plans for dinner.

We all met about 45 minutes late in the lobby. Since we were only 2 blocks from Dickson Street we walked down to the restaurant. It was the Hog Haus Cafe and we were on a 35 minute wait. Gary and Curtis had been at the hotel waiting for us but we lost Marianne and Heather as they had other plans. It didn't take long to get us in for food. With 9 runners there is always conversation going on and we were already having too much fun!

We finished up with dinner and headed back to the hotel to get ready for the 7:30am start. When we got back I realized that I didn't plan for breakfast. No big deal, I figured they would have something around there. Wrong!

I got up at 5:45am, made coffee and went out to find some food. I walked probably half a mile and there was nothing around there. The hotel didn't even have room service in the morning which I thought was weird. I ended up eating some of my peanut butter and crakers which proved to be a good choice. I had my doubts at the time.

The cool thing about this race is that the starting line was 100 feet from our hotel. All we had to do was take the elevator down and walk a few feet to the start/finish line. I liked that about this race. Also the hotel was allowing late check outs till 2:30pm for the runners.

There was a cool breeze at the 7:30am start time with temps in the mid 40's. I wore shorts and a technical t shirt along with throw away gloves and baseball hat. I knew it was going to get warm once we got started and we had 13.1 miles and about 2.5 hours of running to do.

Everyone in our group was doing the half but Gary was doing the full. He is training for Ironman Louisville and also will be running Nashville with us. He is an animal when it comes to training and this was suppose to be a training run for him.

I never had a goal time in mind for this race. We had decided that this was just a training run and would count for Grand Prix points so I didn't care what my time was. The race started and I ran the first mile or two with Annette and Michelle. Less than one mile into the race we had a big hill. Let me tell you, this course has some hills. For the first 4 miles it was nothing but one hill after another. With every uphill there was a downhill which was good. By mile 2 I was already feeling the hills. I quickly changed my plan of attack. I decided that if the hill was hurting running up that I would just walk up it and then take advantage of the gravity and run down them. We had practiced this many times with Coach Dennis and I knew how to properly run downhill. On every downhill I would pass people. No one passed me on the downhills. Very few on the uphills. Some of these were so steep that you just wasted your time and energy trying to run up them.

I walked a lot in this race and stopped at almost every water stop to get a drink. By mile 4 it was hot and we hit a semi flat area. I was starting to think about taking my gel. Before we hit mile 5 I could see the turn around in the back of the neighborhood. Just before the the turn around I also started seeing other Cruisers and Gary. I was cheering them on and this gave me an extra boost. I kept waiting for Annette and Michelle to catch and pass me. I had no idea where they were but I figured they were close. After I made the turn around I was about to get worried. No Annette or Michelle yet. After about 1/4 mile there they were. I must have been 1/4 to 1/2 a mile ahead of them. They said I looked good and they did too. Then I heard James come up behind me. He had been in front of me but took a bathroom break. We ran pretty close for a couple miles. I would run for a while then I would take a quick walk break. But when I was running I was running pretty good. For some reason this was working really well for me. I figured James would pass me on one of my breaks but it never happened. Still, I really had no time goal in mind. I just wanted to have a good training run.

That came to an end around mile 10. I looked at my garmin and started calculating my times. I knew I had a 5k left, say 30 minutes. Wow, I could possibly beat my Little Rock PR. Then I thought no, I still had all those big hills to deal with again on the way back so I would lose more time. Again, these hills were monsters. One of them was so steep walking up it was hurting because it was stretching my calves so much. By mile 11 I was calculating my pace remembering that when I did Little Rock I needed about a 10:25 average pace to finish around 2:15. Mmmm, I was very close to 10:25 now. I started smelling a PR. PR? How could it be? On this course? No way. I died in Little Rock and ran a 2:22 gun time and it was flat compared to this. But I was running strong and I was taking advantage of every downhill. Thats where I got my speed.

By mile 12 I was telling myself "you can PR, you can PR". This helped push me. When I hit the last hill going into the square where the finish was I did one last walk. As I turned the first corner on the square, there was a man and a woman just ahead of me. The man looked like he might be in my age group so I decided I better take him out, so I sprinted the last 25 yards to the finish line passing them both. That was exciting! Final time 2:18:16 and a new PR. I was very excited, especially on this course to be able to PR and even more so to have back to back races with PR's. Here were my final splits. You can see where the hills were.
Total miles - 13.1
time - 2:18:16
Avg pace - 10:33
1720 calories

I have some photos and maybe a post race story later. By the way, my good friend Gary finished the full marathon in 3:47. Awesome job for this course! Several Cruisers won age group awards for the 1/2 also. Too many to mention right now but you guys are awesome!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Racing Weekend

I did a 10K Saturday and a 1/2 Marathon Sunday. The Capitol City Classic was the 10k. I ran a 58:01. After racing that we turned around and drove three and a half hours to run the Hogeye 1/2 Marathon in Fayetteville. 2:18:16 was my official time there. Very, very hilly course.

Back to back PR's for me so I am pretty excited, especially on the 1/2 marathon as I was not even racing it. I'll try to get more posted about these races tomorrow.

Thursday, April 3, 2008


I had to make a business trip to Memphis and took these photos of the Mississippi and White Rivers. I have never seen this much water in either one and we have more rain coming.

This is the Mississippi on Hwy 55 in Arkansas just before going over the bridge into Memphis

This is normally land along the Mississippi

This is farmland adjacent to the White River along I-40

Another photo of the White River flooding

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


If you want to get faster, you might as well get used to them. Last night at the running clinic Coach Dennis told us that from here on out we would pretty much be doing 400's at interval pace and extending those out to 800's and on. Last weeks 400's were hard. My legs were tight and sore from Sunday's 20 miler so I was a little apprehensive about doing more. Since I'm really not in the advanced group Annette and I kinda did the intermediate workout along with Kellie. The workout called for a 1.5 mile warm up plus strides and 2 high knees. Then 2-200's, 3-400's all at interval pace, plus 2 more 200's and then strides with about a 1 mile cool down.

We started our warm up and Annette and Kellie were flying! My legs were crying and I was trying to talk to Josh along the way and I could barely talk. We ended up with the first mile at a 9:35 pace. Way too fast for a warm up when 400's were on the schedule.

The 200's seemed relatively easy. Annette and Kellie were basically suppose to run the same time as me so we stayed together. However Kellie is very young and even as a new runner, she is fast. Well, go figure, her husband came in third place at the Spring Fling and is on the verge of becoming an elite runner so it runs in the family! Both 200's were too fast. :55 each. Pretty much the same as last week. I was suppose to be hitting about a 1:05.

400's are always interesting. I would feel really good at first. At about 300 meters the speed and distance would hit and I would be huffing and puffing wanting more air. First 400 was way too fast. A 1:53 when it should have been about a 2:10. I told Annette that we would try to slow down on the next one. I guess I was dreaming. Next 400 was 1:55. Still too fast. Poor Annette was feeling them too, especially after that fast warm up they did. Third 400 hit another 1:55. Ok, something is up here. I am running the same on everyone. By the time I was done I was breathing as hard as I could. This should have been where we were done. The advanced group was doing 6 400's. No 200's for them. Annette said lets do one more. I thought no way, but I was still alive even though my lungs were screaming at me. So we did. Last 400 I hit at 1:56. Dang, still too fast, which I thought was not good.

Since we did an extra 400 we didn't have to do those last 200's. Coach Dennis had been watching everyone really close and said we all looked really good. He did complement us about our breathing. Annette mentioned to him that she felt like she couldn't catch her breath at the end and he kinda laughed and said, thats what this workout was suppose to do. If you didn't feel like that you weren't running hard enough. I told him the times on mine and he said that was great. My breathing was right where it should have been so I guess it means I'm getting faster. I know last weeks 400's were not as good and I had fresher legs. Last week I ran all of them between 2:00 and 2:15. Dennis mentioned that there is a method to the madness and I am really starting to see what he is talking about.

We finished up with our strides and Dennis cautioned us to keep moving. The object of the strides at the end was to slowly lower our heart rate. He said just stopping and walking was not good as thats what kills some elite athletes at the end of races because your heart rate drops down too fast. He said its much better to come down slowly. Mmm, this is all starting to really make more sense.

The other cool thing we did before our workout was hear everyone's race stories from the weekend. The amazing thing is that everyone keeps getting better and faster. Thank you Dennis for being a great coach to all of us. Tuesday Night Flyer's Rock!