Sunday, October 4, 2015

Day 3,199: Michelob ULTRA 13.1 atlanta Half Marathon

Wearing the Team BEEF shirt for my second race!
There was one thing I knew coming into this race -- if it was raining hard before it started I would stay at home nice and dry.

But when I woke up at 5:30 a.m. it wasn't raining. So I decided to get my gear ready -- a poncho that folds up into a square, a hat, a ziploc bag for my cell phone -- and drove over near the Cobb Energy Centre to get ready to race.

This race was one of the few times in which I didn't feel 100 percent -- my left glute/hamstring was slightly sore coming into race day and I wasn't sure if running 13 miles would aggravate it.

It was still dark when I got to the race start and there wasn't really much places to do a warmup (I decided I wasn't going to do too much of one anyway because of the distance) and when I did it was disconcerting to be running against the stream of people headed to the starting line.

When the race started it was cool and a little misty, nearly perfect conditions. I actually felt like I needed to use the bathroom during the first mile but I told myself to just wait. Usually in hot races by Mile 3 the urge would go away, perhaps by dehydration? There were portapotties at nearly every water stop and by the time I reached the first one I didn't need to stop.

The hills in this race were no joke.
I didn't get too fast of a start in the race and by Mile 2 I could see that this would be a long race, so I just decided to stick to running by feel instead of any particular pace.

Just after Mile 7 thankfully my hamstring wasn't sore anymore. It also started to mist hard enough that I pulled out my hat, and then put it away just after Mile 8. At that point my legs started to feel a little sore so I ate a gel (this one was a green tea Clif Shot that I got in last year's Honolulu Marathon) and it tided me over the rest of the race. I also drank a cup of Powerade at the Mile 6 station.

Although the hills were monstrous, I knew I had a bunch of energy left in me since I was running slower than my typical pace so I started to pick it up at Mile 12. Only I dropped my hat at Mile 12.7! I was able to kick it in front of me then stoop to pick it up.

I made it over the final hill and thankfully it was downhill to the finish! My time was probably typical for hilly races but like the Hotlanta Half Marathon I felt pretty good afterward. In both races I felt like I probably could race three more miles beyond the finish.

It was a nice race with dedicated volunteers but the insane hilliness of it probably will make this a one-and-done race for me.

Time: 7 a.m.
Temp: 64 degrees
Gear: Technical T-shirt, short (Team BEEF), shorts, cep compression socks, Skechers Go Run 3.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Day 3,191: Red Hare Chase 5K

Trying a sample of Red Hare's Long Day Lager after the short race!
MARIETTA, Ga. --  I'd been looking forward to this race for quite a while, mainly to get a race shirt from the Red Hare Brewery.

Racewise, I wasn't sure what to expect. My last 5K was two weeks ago on a hilly course that I ran in 22:31. And that race had left me with a minor case of plantar fasciitis that luckily had managed to go away before race day.

And then there was the rain. Although I brought rain gear and a change of clothes with me I didn't think it would be raining on the morning before the race. But it was on the drive up and when I went to get my race bib.

Luckily right before the race started it seemed like the rain had gone away except for a minor mist so I ditched my windbreaker prior to the start.

The night before I had four different pairs of running shoes out, not knowing which ones I should wear in case of rain. Since my foot felt better I decided to wear my Saucony Type A6 racing flats and it turned out to be a good move since the outersole is made of rubber, which gave me excellent traction on the wet course.

When the race started I felt crazy running fast up the first hill but it felt ok. I wasn't sure if later on I would be caught by faster runners like in my previous race but I continued on anyway.

The race format involves two "hares" -- one male and one female -- in the race. The female one totally dressed the part (I overheard her say after the race that she lost her tail somewhere in the middle of the run), while the male just wore rabbit ears or a mask. If you finished before your gender's hare, you would be invited to take part in a special cask sampling after the race. I passed the male hare early before Mile 1 (but didn't stick around to crack the cask).

After running on Delk Road past Mile 1 (6:51 for me) of the race, the road goes up a short on ramp to Cobb Parkway. Here we ran for a half mile and it seemed like forever until we turned and I was sure I would get passed by someone.

As promised by the race director in his announcements, the first half of the race was indeed uphill. I just worked the best I could, although it did feel like these hills were less strenuous than the ones in my neighborhood during the previous race.

You eventually turn through an apartment complex and then just after Mile 2 (7:12) it turns onto Franklin Road, which is basically downhill the rest of the way.

Since I hadn't really burned myself out yet, I was confident that I still had a fast mile in me. Another guy passed me halfway down the hill to the end and I trailed him, keeping him in my sights and keeping my pace up.

Near the final turn back to the brewery, I passed another guy who told me jokingly that my shoes were untied. I ended up gaining ground past him but was worried that eventually he might catch up at the end.

So I kicked a lot earlier than I usually do and crossed the finish line in 22:01 (Mile 3 was 6:46). If I hadn't been following the guy who passed me, my race time easily could have been identical to the 22:31 that I ran two weeks prior.

The after-race party was great. Runners received a special Red Hare pint glass for the race and a pour (or more?) from the taps there. They also had pulled pork sandwiches, hot dogs, and 'jangles sausage biscuits.

I changed my clothes and waited in the rain for the awards. It turned out I was 16th overall and first in my age group. I think I missed being the Masters winner by about 30 seconds and two runners.

It was a great race and one I'll look out for next year, although I'll keep in mind the hills!

Time: 8:30 a.m.
Temp: 64 degrees, rain mist
Gear: Technical T-shirt, short (Big Peach Sizzler '09), shorts, Saucony Type A6.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Day 3,179: 1,000 miles for the year

It kind of looks like we're scouting for an episode of The Walking Dead but this is the Beltline trail near Ansley Park.
A one-mile double stroller run to K's preschool marked my 1,000th mile this year. 

I returned home to switch to the single BOB stroller and then ran through a crowded Piedmont Park (from the prep for Music Midtown) and onto the unimproved portion of the Beltline trail north of Piedmont Avenue to find a geocache and run a little more than six miles for the day.

It went from rocky trail to a little rockier to very rocky with two sets of train tracks! I had to stop and walk because it was way too bumpy for the stroller's sleeping passenger.

It will be great, though, when this portion of the Beltline gets paved!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Day 3,177: Legal Runaround 5K

This classy plaque belongs in a law office, if I worked in one.
I heard about this race through a neighborhood listing. Since it was in the neighborhood (and because of a strange loophole on that enabled me to have the early bird price of $25 eight days after the early period ended) I signed up for it.

I came into the race with a lot of confidence that I could do well in this. The course was similar to that of the Inman Middle School 5K, a race that I PR'd in 2009.

So the race started and, since all races are different, I found myself with something that I'd never before encountered -- one of my safety pins on my race bib went missing and I found myself with the bib flapping horizontally (left to right) in the wind.

I usually only use three safety pins on my bib, a practice that dates back to when I lived in the Pacific Northwest. Over there, I would constantly wear windbreakers because of the rainy climate but many times would find myself taking them off mid-race.

So I learned to just pin the bib with one pin on the left side (usually on the windbreaker) and two on the right (usually on my shirt), so it would be easier to remove mid-race.

Anyway, the race continued down the hills of my neighborhood and it felt fast, although for much of that first mile a guy and his dog were ahead of me.

Near the end of the first mile, on the first incline, a couple of guys passed me as we approached the big hill at Greenwood. I continued on the best I could, trailing the lead pack of about 10 runners. I worried a little as I ran onto Courtenay Drive, since it would be downhill much of the way and I felt like it would be here where I would be passed by other runners.

I heard the clip-clopping of feet on this portion of the course but wasn't passed until it turned into Amsterdam Avenue, where I was passed by a couple of high-school kids.

We all went up the hill to Elkmont and then I remembered from the 2009 race that I waited until the second hill near the end to try to kick.

Just before this, right after turning onto Elkmont, I saw the young woman who was in the lead to be first overall female walking up the hill behind the middle school. I crested the steep hill and when I came down it I thought she would start running again and I'd get passed.

But it didn't happen. I finished 11th overall in the race. I wasn't really sure how it would play out when they read the awards -- they awarded overall, masters and then first in age group. Including me, there were about five people who potentially could be in the 40-49 category, and they all finished ahead of me.

I really didn't think I would get the age group win and I started to move away from the awards announcements were when I heard the announcer stumble over my name.

It was a great race but one in which I know I need to work on my hill running in the future.

Shoes: One of the changes I made for this race involved not wearing my Saucony Type A6 racing flats. I opted for my Skechers Go Run 3 shoes since my left foot has been sore since running in the Big Peach Sizzler just six days ago. The Skechers shoes were great in the race, however, and gave my feet a nice amount of cushion.

Time: 8:30 a.m.
Temp: 66 degrees
Gear: Technical T-shirt, short (Big Peach Sizzler '09), shorts, Skechers Go Run 3.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Day 3,174: Turn miles into dollars ... The Run For Good challenge

I just joined Saucony's Run For Good challenge. Basically this month if you run 26.2 miles using the RunKeeper app, the shoe company that makes my Type A6 racing flats will donate $26.20 toward "causes aimed at keeping children healthy and active."

When I saw this, I thought, "Why not?" I run every day anyway. The only thing I hadn't done in the past was use the RunKeeper app. For several years when my Garmin's batteries are dead I've used competitor endomondo instead.

Signing up and accepting the challenge was easy. I used the app while I ran this morning. Like the endomondo app, if I wanted to do other things with my phone (like check an Ingress portal on my route, for example), I'd have to end the workout and close it out.

But still. It's a great way to help others while doing something that I'd normally be doing anyway.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Day 3,172: Big Peach Sizzler 10K

It had been six years since I've run in this race but today was the day to do it!

I had pretty high hopes of breaking my 46:29 PR from the 2011 Charles Harris 10K with two recent 5K times in the 21-minute range and even my 46:42 time in the July 4th Peachtree Road Race.

But it was not meant to be. I started off way too fast for what I assumed would be my banner race and only slowed down from there. My splits were 7:05/7:12/7:21/7:31/7:45/7:49.

I finished in 46:48, which was only 19 seconds off from where I wanted to be but next time I think I just need to calculate a pace to make a PR (7:29/mile) instead of swinging for the fences. And doing more longer runs to build my endurance with tempo runs to be accustomed to that pace.

In the 2009 race I ran it in 50:25.

It was great to see my geocaching friend Anna (who placed first in her age group) and Frank from Running for the second half of my life and his wife, Bonnie!

Time: 7:30 a.m.
Temp: 70 degrees (94 percent humidity)
Gear: Technical T-shirt, short (Big Peach Sizzler '09), shorts, Saucony Type A6.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Day 3,168: Run a marathon for "nuun" at all!

I saw this on Facebook today -- a promotion by Seattle-based Nuun (which happens to be my favorite electrolyte replacement) in which the winner will get a free admission (up to $300 value) to a marathon of their choice. That is, one that isn't already sold out or one that you have to qualify for to gain admission like the Boston Marathon.

Basically you have until Sept. 15 to like their page on Facebook and fill out basic information about yourself. If you enter via this link, I'll get an extra entry!

In the last week since the Hotlanta Half Marathon, I've felt pretty good about running. I've been running with the double stroller a little bit, even in another rain bath on Sunday.

Although I worried that my smartphone would bite the dust during the half marathon, it didn't -- it waited a week to do that. So I've been without a phone for the last four days until today, when I was thankfully able to get it replaced.

I've been looking forward to the Big Peach Sizzler coming up on Monday -- it will be my first 10K since the Peachtree Road Race and what likely will be a good chance for me to break my 46:29 PR set in 2011 at the Charles Harris 10K.

Trying to keep my workout timetable going, since I have between three (Michelob Ultra 13.1, Atlanta Half Marathon, JG 13.1) and five (Jekyll Island Under the Oaks, OUC Orlando) half marathons to go in the next three months. But I really want to work hard at possibly dropping my 5K time even more, although the timetable in my mind would take about a year to do so.