Thursday, May 30, 2013

Injury Time Out.

My ankle is messed up, swollen, hurts to run, shaped oddly in comparison to the other, so I went to my doctor for an X-rays.  Doctor says that I have no acute injury, but an old fracture that has healed and to tape it or wrap it.  I find this odd because I am having all sorts off issues now, and I don't know of anytime that I have fractured my ankle (not to say that it is not possible b/c I've had a tons of sprains).  I am playing things safe and scheduled an appointment with the orthopedist on Tuesday, and I am trying to prepare myself for the words: Stress Fracture.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Run Raleigh Half Marathon 2013 Race Report -- AKA The Beast of Ashe Ave.

I hadn't panned to run this race because of it proximity to both the Tobacco Road Half and allergy season.  However, Hiroko's former employer's were one of the sponsor and were were able to a free entry while she was still employed with them, so I decided to run. 
Prior to the Tobacco Road Half Marathon on March 17th, I was fighting injury and worrying about finishing the race.  Following that race, things got really hectic, and I decided to just give myself a bit of a rest until this race.  I ran some shorter runs, but nothing more than five miles.  I biked to work, and began stroller runs with Kaito, who would be turning 6 months old on the day of the race. During the Tobacco Road Half, I stayed with the 2 hour pace group in hopes hitting that mark and not pushing my injured calfs too much.  After the race, I felt like this might have been a mistake and that I could have run harder earlier in the race without really effecting the end of the race.  So going in to the Run Raleigh Half Marathon I had it in my mind that I might just run at whatever pace felt good and not worry about fading at the end.  This decision was aided by the knowledge that there a big fat hill  sitting right on the 12 mile mark that I was planning to walk up unless I just felt amazing when I hit the hill.
Start of the Race:
Start of the Run Raleigh Half Marathon: I am 759

Mile 1-3: I started behind the 2 hour pace group, but worked my way up to them by the end of the first mile.  I attempted to do as little waeving and dodging as possible before the everyone thinned out.  Luckliy, this race is still on the smallish side and run on pretty wide streets so I was able to keep on a fairly straight line.  Shortly after the 1 mile Mark, I passed the 2 hour pace group and decided that regardless of the outcome I was going to push myself and run at a pace that felt right.
Mile 1: 8:57
Mile 2: 8:48
Mile 3: 8:57
Miles: 4-6:
By the end of Mile Six, I was really enjoying myself, we were running in the morning sun and the weather was perfect.  Miles 4 and 5 had felt much better than they had a Tobacco Road and despite this race being run on concrete rather than the ultra forgiving compacted gravel of the Tobacco Trail, I was feeling really strong.  I had decided to wear my I-pod, and I found some serious motivation from Journey, Incubus, the Beastie Boys, and Massive Attack.  I took on a nice little hill a the end of the sixth mile without feeling any real strain and was beginning to have a good feeling about this race, if I could survive the Beast of Ashe Avenue.
Mile 4: 8:54
Mile 5: 8:55
Mile 6: 9:04
Mile 7-9:
At the end of Mile 7 Kanye West's Jesus Walks provided me with a nice boost along with Massive Attack's Teardrop.  Right around the 8 mile mark we left the roads and dropper down onto the Raleigh Greenway system, which we would stay on until just before Mile 12 and the Beast of Ashe Avenue.  I felt really dialed in and focused at this point.  I love when your running and get that point where your mind just kind of switches off and you feel like your body is just on auto pilot.  That is how I felt through these miles, like some kind of  running Buddha.
Mile 7: 8:58
Mile 8: 8:55
Mile 9: 9:06
Mile 10-12:
The time of struggles -- Mile 10 was mostly up hill.  I kept trying to convince myself that I wasn't slowing down, but I knew the truth.  As soon as I hit the 10 mile mark all of my mental focus kind fell apart and all that I could think about was that stinking motherless whore of a hill on 12 that was going to kick my ass.  Music wasn't helping, nor was Gu.  That hill was all I could think about.  Yeah, it's not really the best way to keep it together, but at this point.  I wasn't really keeping it together.  I knew that the 2 hour pace group was gaining on me, and I was sure that I wouldn't be able to fight them off.  As soon as I got off of the greenway I could see the beast, I decided to try to run up it, and got about a quarter of the way up when I just knew it wasn't going to work.  I needed to walk it.  I could see the two hour pace group gaining on me, but I knew I could get over the Hill before they caught me.  Just as I crested that beast, I made myself a promise to run this race again next year and run up that mofo!
Mile 10: 9:20
Mile 11: 9:32
Mile 12: 10:10
I would love to tell you how I was able to rally and fight off the 2 hour pace group, but it wasn't meant to be they caught me with less than half a mile to go as I struggled to run/walk my way to the finish.  I was able to muster up a small kick for the last two tenths of a mile that nearly caused me to puke but helped to secure a brand new shiny PR by 22 seconds!
Time: 2:01:18

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Tobacco Raod Half Marathon Race Report

Pre-Race Goals:

  1. Sub- 2 hours -- Not yet, but soon!
  2. Beat My PR of 2:03:33  Race time of 2:01:40
  3. Not get injured and run the whole race No injuries to report.

Going into this race, I was on edge because I hadn't run a race since November, and my last Half Marathon was in May of last year.  I had been on a race hiatus since Hiroko entered her third trimester of pregnancy.  After Kaito was born I ran in our local Turkey Trot because it is next to my house and one of my favorite local races.  I kind of promised that I wouldn't run anything until March just because the logistics of a family with two working parents and a newborn living in area with no family support, just doesn't really need race day stress added to it all that often. 

However, I was able to train for the race fairly well by getting up at some ungodly hours and fitting in lunch runs and home workouts.  In fact, I was feeling rather good about the prospects of a PR until I went for my 12 mile long run three weeks before the race and ended up limping home with a calf strain.  From that point on my nerves were on edge and I was going a bit taper crazy.  However, by race day, I got myself to a point where I thought that I had worked out my leg issues enough to carry me through the race.

The Race:  The Tobacco Road Half Marathon is an out and back race run mostly on the American Tobacco Trail, which is a rails to trails project here in the Triangle and is Shalane Flanagan's favorite place in the world to run.  The course is pretty tight, and is a series of long slow inclines and declines, and is run on a very forgiving compacted gavel surface.  Some people don't like the cramped feeling of this race or the out and back nature of the course, but these aspects really appeal to me.  Plus, I having everyone bunched so closely together helps to balance out the lack of crowd support.  The only thing that I don't really like about the course is the up hill at the very end of the course as you enter the USA Baseball training facility.

My plan was to find the 2 hour pace group and try to stick as close to them for as long as possible.  I knew that the nature of the injury I was carrying into the race would allow me to run pretty much pain free until around eight miles.  After the eight mile mark, I had no idea, but I hoped that a lot of taping and the softer surface than the pavement I had trained would make a difference and keep my calf from acting up.  Luckily, I was right.  I got a little tight, but nothing worse than you would expect from a half marathon.  The weather was all you could ask with temps in the mid 50's, and aside from a little cross wind at the end of the race, the day was just perfect.

Most of the first three miles were run with the Full Marathon folks and were on paved roads.  During this portion I just tried to avoid getting caught up in the crowd and boxed in .  I'm no fan of the first miles of any race and this one is no different.  Personally, I find the first two mile of this race a bit of a drag, but that is only because I just can't wait until we hit the turn onto the ATT.

Mile 1: 9:01
Mile 2: 9:12
Mile 3: 8:52

Miles 4,5,6: saw the course get a bit more cramped as the faster runners began to make their way to the turn around and come back past us.  I like this part of the race because I get to lose myself in a bit of in race spectating.  A few times I did have to work my way through groups of runners, and water stops are always an adventure.

Mile 4: 8:53
Mile 5: 9:09
Mile 6: 9:21

Mile 7,8,9: I was dreading this portion of the race.  I knew if I were going to have injury issues the would happen here, but the only thing of any real interest to happen was a near fight between two guys.  I'm not sure what happened, but a guy and a girl got tangled up just past a water stop and another guy didn't like it.  I started puffing ups his chest and trying to start a fight.  Other people shouted him down and everyone kept running.  My take is if you got that much energy to start a fight.  You're not running had enough.  The whole thing was just dumb.  I have no idea if he said something or what, but that is not what anyone came out to see.

Mile 7: 8:52
Mile 8: 9:05
Mile 9: 9:08

Miles 10, 11, 12:  The slow incline began to take a toll and I had to watch the pace group slip past me.  But, I did my best to keep them in sight, knowing that I was still heading for a good sized PR, regardless.  I hooed that I would be able to real them in, but as much as I struggled to keep up, I just couldn't find the gear that I needed to pull them in, so I just tried to stay focused on running the race that I had in me. 

Mile 10: 9:26
Mile 11: 9:34
Mile 12: 9:30

Mile 13 and .1:  I wanted to give a kick, but there was no kick.  It was just time cruise in and be happy with my finish.  The last portion of the race on the road was just punishing and I was glad to get through it.  But, I had no complaints at all considering I was PR-ing by nearly 2 minutes.

Mile 13: 9:45
.1: 1:52 (9:33 pace)

Hiroko's co-worker Paul and I at  the finish

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A Few Photo's From The Tobacco Road Half Marathon

I'm still trying to put together my thoughts for a full race report.  But here are the photo's that Hiroko took of the Half.  I ran a good race and set a PR of  2:01:40, which I am pleased about.  The day went much better than I hoped, and I enjoyed this race more thatn any of my other half marathons. 


My Biggest Fan

My Cheer Squad

Did I mention that this was his first race.

At the finish with Paul

Friday, March 8, 2013

Holy Half Marathon Freakout!

Well the Tobacco Road Half Marathon is finally here!  It will be my first half in nearly 10 months and I am going . . .

. . .
. . .
My right legs has picked this time to basically fall apart.  My Hip flexor has a knot in it the size of a double A battery, My Peroneus muscles are in full on riot.
At this point, I just want the next Sunday to hurry up and get here.  Once I am running, everything will work itself out.  I'll either be able to run the race that I want or I won't , but at least the worrying will be behind me.

Monday, February 25, 2013

To Get Involved or Keep Running?

I've seen the plot line played out countless times on film, in books, on tv, someone needs help and countless passersby keep their heads down and keep walking.  I've always thought that I would stop.  I would help out.  When I was younger, I was certain that I would not put my head down and keep to myself no matter what the risk.  But, as I have gotten older and have more to risk (a wife and a small child), doubts have begun to keep in.  If I faced that situation what would I do?  Would I stop?  Would I keep going?  I've thought about it many time, but I was never tested until Sunday's run.

My wife works on Sundays and I stay home with our son.  She needs to be at work by 9am, so if I want to get in my long run, I must get up around 3:30am.  It's awful, but I do it so that I have enough time to get home, shower, and watch our son while she gets ready for work.  My alarm went off at 3:30am just as the sky opened up and rain began to pour, so I waited about 15 minutes to see the weather would change, which it did, so I got up drank my coffee and got ready for my run.  I was ready to leave at around 5:15, told my wife I loved her, checked on my son, and left.  As I stood outside my apartment in the dark waiting for a satellite signal for my watch, I look at the clouds moving across the darkened sky and wondered the rains would return.  I thought about taking my phone with me, but I loath carrying it on a run.  It took a while to catch a signal, and I thought about going in and getting the phone, but our cat has been making a mad dash for the door lately and the thought of chasing after a cat for the next hour while should be running was enough for me to leave it behind.  Now, I can't believe it.  I left my phone because I was afraid of letting my cat out.  Really!  Really!  How silly.

I ran through my neighborhood and turned onto Hillsborough Street and the corner of Gorman. The street is a high traffic street and runs from the Capital building westward, past the NC State Campus, and into Cary. I began to run toward NCSU.  From where I run it is well lit, but there are often a few homeless people and drunks that will cause a stir, but they are mostly harmless because the street is well patrolled by both Raleigh PD and Campus Police.  Also there are a few coffee shops that open early, so I feel fairly safe running on the street.  However, since I work at the University and receive the campus crime reports in my work e-mail, I know that there are some robberies and traffic accidents involving pedestrians, so I know that I need to remain alert.  As I ran past Cup A Joe, I could see the clock on the wall and that it was still well before 6am.  My mile marker was just up ahead and I was feeling good about the first mile.  midway through the next block, I saw something laying in the street in the middle of the right hand turn lane.  At first I couldn't make it out.  But then, I saw the shoes.

My mind began to race, and my first though was that the person had been hit by a car and was dead.  He was near the cross walk but not in it.  I thought someone hit a person and just left them to die, but just as I thought it I heard him call out "help me, someone help me."  As I got closer I got the feeling that he hadn't been hit by a car.  Maybe he's drunk.  He was young , collage age, he could be drunk.  But also somewhere in my mind fear started to creep in.  What if this is a trap.  The way he was laying and holding himself I couldn't see his hands.  He kept yelling and I didn't know what to do.  He wasn't looking at me a I approached, and I was kicking myself for leaving my phone.  I wanted to move him out of the street, but I didn't want to touch him if he was badly injured, and I was scared.  I'll be honest.  I couldn't see his hands and was afraid of what might be in those hands and somewhere deep inside I thought it.  Just keep going.  Put your head down and keep going.  Someone else will be by and help.  I am not proud of it, but the thought was there.  The street was dark, I was alone, and it wasn't one of the situations where things just happen and you don't have time to think.  I had time to think and part of me was saying "this is not you're problem.  But, it was my problem.  There is a person laying in the street yelling for help, and if it were my son, I would want someone to stop and help.

Just as I got right next to him, I saw the lights of a store on at the next corner, so I decided to run there for help.  He wasn't bleeding, and if he had been, I wouldn't have known what to do so I kept running and thought that if a car comes I can step into the street and direct them around him.  I hadn't spoken to him as I went by and when he saw me run past, he began to yell for me to help him.  I felt awful.  Even though I knew that I was going for help, the fact that he thought that I was leaving him, made me sick to my stomach.  His voice sounded more desperate and I yelled back that I was going for help.  Just then I saw a man and a woman walk out of the store just ahead of me.  I asked them to call 911, which the man did as we walked back towards the guy laying in the road.  He was young, holding his stomach and saying that it hurt.  I couldn't smell alcohol, didn't see vomit, and his voice wasn't slurred.  However, he wasn't saying much and wouldn't tell us what was wrong.  His clothes were dry, so he hadn't been out in the storm, and they were disheveled, but it was hard to tell if he was homeless or a young skater kid without the best personal grooming.  He was shaking and talking, but he never told us what was wrong the entire time we waited for the police.  Cars drove by, none stopped, they looked, slowed and kept on going.  Once the police, fire truck, and rescue squad arrived, I told them the little that I knew and asked if they need me to stay.  I was told I could go, so I continued on with my run without finding out what was wrong.  Over the next 10 miles I kept thinking about what had happened and one thing finally came to mind.  I am glad that I stopped.  And I hope that I will next time, but I won't be able to say for certain that I will until I find myself in that moment.  There are just to many variables, and I can understand the temptation to not get involved.  

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Thorniness of Going It Alone

I haven't gone on a group run or workout since early summer.  When I quit the Y last year, I thought that I would struggle to find the motivation to workout.  Nor did I think that I would be able to force myself to workout at home.  However, much to my surprise, I have been able to motivate myself and have actually been more diligent about my workouts than I was when I attended fitness classes on a regular basis.  I didn't think that running alone would be an issue.  I have always enjoyed my alone and time growing up as an only child has kind of prepared me to deal with long periods of solitude.  So, I don't feel The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (shout out to Silltoe), which is a major blessing.   I do tend to get bored running the same route after a while but that would occur regardless.

The main issues that I have about running and working out alone are that it is easy to get in a training rut.  I have made an effort to incorporate some of the exercises that I dislike into my workouts, but when going it alone it is very easy to just do the things that you enjoy day in and day out.  And when it comes to running, there is no one around to force you to push the pace or go a bit longer than you planned.   Over the past few weeks, I have had some over use strains that I think are the result of my lack of attention to stretching and an imbalance in my workout.  I am making an effort to correct the issues, but when your going it alone, it easy to fall back into the same habits.  Also, I think that running with other people might just be what I need to push myself out of my comfort level and grow as a runner.  Once the weather improves and the time change happens, I'll try to take advantage of some of the local group runs when I get the opportunity.  I'm not sure really need to return to taking fitness classes if I am able identify the exercises that I normally avoid and put then into my routine at times.  So far, things have gone much better than I  expected that they would once Hiro returned to work from the baby, and as long as I can pay attention to the needs of my body and my family, I'll be a happy running dad in 2013.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Hitting the Starting Line Cold

I'm not sure about you, but I like to run an 8k or a 5k a few weeks out from running a Half.  It is a good way to judge where I am physically and to get out some of my pre-race jitters.  Unfortunately, do to some self-imposed travel restrictions, and some baby imposed schedule issues.  I can't find a good race to run before The Tobacco Road Half Marathon on March 17th, which means that I have not run a Race since November and have only run that one since June.

I have trained and feel ready to tackle the distance, but I'm kind of afraid that I'll either flame out in the beginning of the race or run too conservatively because in an attempt to avoid going out too fast.  Granted, these are the same anxieties that I usually carry into every race, but I often use my previous race as a point of reference to quell my paranoia.  In this case, I am just going to have to adjust on the fly because I have no other options.  One thing is for certain, the race will quickly be upon me, and I am looking forward to lacing "em up and making yet another stab at a sub 2 hour half!  Sunday, I did a very icy 10 miler in Umstead park that felt awesome.  I had not run in Umstead since the start of my wife's third trimester some time in August, and I had missed those damn hills in a way that I could have hardly imagined.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Two Weeks of Baby Balancing Workouts

For the last two weeks my wife and I have been passing our son back and forth as we work around each others schedules, and I've been trying to get in my runs and keep my workout schedule where it needs to be.  Fortunately, I think that we have done well and being alone with my son has caused me to make some positive changes as well.  For one, if the weather is nice I am much more likely to go for a walk.  Kaito loves to ride in his stroller and a 3.5 mile stroller walk is and awesome way to get him to take a nap while burning a few calories.  Also, I am so busy around the house with diaper changes, feedings, bottle washing, dishes, laundry, clean ups, and playtime that I don't have time to sit around and snack.  When I do go for a snack it is usually something easy like an apple or orange.

My workouts and runs have dropped off a little, but a lot of that is to do with getting use to our new schedules and finding out what works and what doesn't.  Also, I lost one day due to a migraine, which pre-baby wouldn't have matter all that much but was more difficult to reschedule now.  It is interesting that in the past my schedule had nothing but flexibility, which sometimes led me to put off a workout thinking that I could do it later in the day, only to to delay again and again, until I ended up skipping it.  Now, I know that if I don't get up at 4am on Saturday morning, I am not running that day.  So in some ways the nature of my schedule is adding motivation to my workouts, which is something that I would not have expected.  We'll see if this continues but as of now things are going well, and I am off now, because I have no more time in my schedule for blogging today.