Monday, July 25, 2011

A Shot in the Dark - Race Report

Ok.  I know I kind of left everyone hanging at the end of last week's race report, but I have been crazy busy.  Plus,  I'm always distracted this time of year watching the Tour De France.

I think a quick recap is in order for what had happened so far this day.  I had just completed a 64 mile bike tour called the Ice Cream Odyssey and was about to run A Shot in the Dark.  A 4 mile road race in downtown Cleveland.   My time  for the 64 miler was 3:29 and the bulk of it was into a 10 mph head wind.  The heat was almost unbearable and the Garmin was reading temps on the road of 105.6.  I had done a good job of keeping hydrated through out the morning.  My main issue at this point was lack of time.

When I came up with the idea of doing these two events in one day.  I thought there would be plenty of time in between to relax and rehydrate.  Unfortunately, that wasn't so.  I spent a bit too much time at the rest stops waiting on friends.  To be in Cleveland, I needed to leave my place in Stow around 3:30.  By the time I had wrapped up the ride.  It was 1:45 and I was still in Medina, which is about a 40 minute drive from where I live.  I hadn't planned on being this time crunched.  By the time I had grabbed a bite and made it home.  It was 2:45.  That gave me 45 minutes to eat, get cleaned up, and hydrate as much as possible.

I was able to get all of it done, but only took in a couple glasses of water and grabbed a powerade on the way out the door.  I made my way up to Cleveland and quickly chose a parking lot by the race.  How do  you know you picked the wrong lot?  When you give the attendant your money and he says to hide all your valuables.  Nice.  I quickly hid everything, grabbed my powerade and headed to the race.

Out of the 2,000 plus runners that were competing in this event.  I was fortunate enough to run into fellow run buds @CleCraftBeerRun and @Mojamala2.  We posed for a quick picture and made our way to the start.  I ended up starting towards the back as I really didn't know what to expect.  Shortly, the race began and the sea of people moved forward.  This race was in Cleveland, so of course walkers and slow runners lined up front.  It was a controlled chaos along Progressive field as people were not trying to trip over each other.  I established a nice pace at 9:00 per mile and was politely weaving amongst the people.   Everything was going well initially and the legs were feeling surprisingly decent.  The race began at 5:00 and the temps at this point were still above 90.  We made a right hand turn and began one of two climbs on the route, which was a bridge.  I started off well, but was zapped by the time I crested the bridge.  This climb took a lot more out of me than I had expected and the heat was already taking a toll.  I began to labor a bit and was thirsty.  The good news was that a water stop was only a half mile away.  I took my time threw it, taking in a lot of water and set back out on the course.  By this time, the pace was fluctuating between 9-9:30 per mile.  This portion of the route was flat and was similar to portions of the Cleveland Marathon route.  It was nice to see some of the route again and reflect back on the day.

The next water stop was just before mile 3 and things were going pretty well at this point.  When I did reach mile 3.  Things began to unravel.  I began to cramp bad in my right quad.  I stopped and tried to stretch.  Immediately, I cramped in my hamstring.  The next few minutes was spent walking it off and resumed running again.  About 30 seconds later, the cramp returned.  This cycle repeated several times and the cramps began to get worse.  It was beginning to feel like I had pulled a muscle.  At this point, my race was done.  Instead of quitting and achieving my first DNF.  I walked it in the rest of the way.  finishing with a blistering time of 44:56 for 4 miles.  The worst part was hearing the announcer state the final runner was a minute away as I crossed the finish line.  I was pretty embarrassed.

** Thank you Brightroom for catching this moment of me fight leg cramps.

The best part of this race was the block party afterwards.  It was a really nice atmosphere with a live band, beer gardens, and food.  It was great to spend some time with run buds and make new friends.  The best news is that it was cramps and not a pulled muscle.  I took the next day off to rest and have been training pain free since.  Hopefully both these events are on different days next year.  As I will have to think twice about doing a metric century and a 4 mile road race in the same day.  If you do live in the area.  Definitely do this race next year.  Probably the most festive race in the area and was a blast.


Monday, July 18, 2011

Ice Cream Odyssey Recap

I decided to challenge myself this past Saturday.  One of my favorite rides of the year is the Ice Cream Odyssey in Medina Ohio and my new favorite road race A Shot in the Dark happened to fall on the same day.  A bike ride in the morning and a road race at night?  Sure, I can ride a metric century then spend the afternoon resting before a 4 mile road race.  Read on to see how it all went.

Falling asleep on a Friday evening when it is still light out does not do much for one's social life, but I needed to get some major rest before this day.  I was able to fall asleep fairly easily as I did a 25 mile ride after work to aid my recovery for Saturday's double header.  I was lucky and ended up with a good night's rest and arose early to enjoy some coffee while watching the tour.  Saturday was a mountain stage at the tour, so coverage began at 6:30.  Fortunately, I was able to soak in about 45 minutes of cycling inspiration before I had to leave.

I made my way to Medina despite a Garmin fail.  Not sure why I had to take route 8 to 303 when I could have easily taken Wyoga.  I arrived just before 8 and went to registration to get my map and coupons for ice cream.  This year they gave us a water bottle, which was really nice.  The past two years we received shirts and I am a little disappointed that we didn't get another one this year.  I made my way back to my car to get ready to go.  I was riding with my two trusty domestiques and the plan was for us to leave at 8:15.  We were running a little behind and did not make it out till 8:30.

The route we were on was 62 miles and we started by heading South.  That was South into a 12 mph headwind.  I was feeling pretty good at the start.  My domestiques ran into some friends and the paced slowed a bit.  I spent the next few miles riding ahead and then waiting for them to catch up.  The plan was to take it easy and I still was, but we were still on different paces.  After doing this for awhile, I decided to forge ahead on my own.  Fellow twitter ballers and blogging rock stars Heather + Jason Mursch were on the ride doing the 42 mile route.  I decided to see if I could bridge the gap before our routes split off.

The next few miles were a mixture of flats and rollers into the headwind.  I was still taking it easy and riding between 20-22 mph.  Having a blast while passing people.  I came to stop sign where a fellow cyclist said I sounded like a car coming from behind.  That's the second time I have heard this and Zipps do have a distinct sound that rock.  At about mile 23, I was quickly approaching the final climb before the rest.  I lifted the pace to around 25 when I passed to riders that may or may not have been Heather + Jason.  I didn't want to slam on the breaks and it not be them so I stopped at the next street and waited to see if it was them.  It certainly was and I was lucky enough to ride with them to the stop.  It was nice to get to meet them in person and we discussed the ride, cycling, and running over ice cream.  Well, I had gatorade and they enjoyed ice cream.  No dairy for me on a double header day.  You can see Heather's event recap here A Kick in the pants

After getting back on time with my trusty domestiques.  We headed for the middle part of the ride.  This portion is easily the most scenic portion of the event.  It wasn't long before everybody was dropped, except my buddy Mitch.  We road the next portion of the route together.  I was really taking it easy at this point as the heat was starting to get bad and the past two years, there was a large climb before the last stop.  We averaged between 18-20 mph and I did about all the work.  I didn't care as this was his first ride at this distance and was conserving energy as well.  We made it too the next stop with no climb!  I was greatly disappointed as I felt cheated by taking it easy.  We waited for everybody to catch up and headed back out to finish the ride.

I was politely asked if I would pace everyone the rest of the way.  I was feeling good, so I asked what pace would they like.  They responded with a you chose.  The sooner we get back the better.  Well, that was bad news as the perfect storm hit.  The start was flat, this was the first portion without a headwind, and I was running way behind from spending time at the stop points.  I didn't think they could keep up at too fast of a pace, so I started at 18.  Still there.  Then 20, still there.  Then 22, still there.  Ok, so I haven't said much about it.  But the past few weeks, I've been really fast on the bike.  I'm not sure if its being in cycling shape or the weight loss.  Maybe a combination of both.  So, I decided to hammer and see what happened.  The pace was lifted to 28 and I was doing great holding it for a few miles.  Now, the road was flat and there was a tailwind.  Still, we were hauling the mail.  This led to one of the funnier moments of the day as a triathlete tried to keep up.  He told me later he felt good at 28 and wanted to show off by passing me.  Except when he jumped out of the pace line he couldn't pass.  This made my day.  I did more work until one of our riders had a tire issue.  It was quickly fixed and we headed back out again.  At this point we were in some rollers and back around 20 mph.  We then hit a climb.  Dialing it back to around 18 mph, I blew apart the group and they were gone.  The problem, was that this was the start of a 5 mile climb into a headwind.

I labored hard up this climb.  Looking back at the Garmin, the temp on this climb was 105.6.  I was literally cooked and still baking at this point.  The bike went into the 34x25 gear and I felt like Cav.  Trying just to survive.  I made my way back to the finish and waited for everybody else.  Garmin said the route was 63.3 miles and my time was 3 hours 29 minutes.  Unfortunately, I had wasted too much time stopped on the route and it was already 1:30!!!  I needed to leave for Cleveland in 2 hours and I had a 40 minute drive back to Stow.

At this point, I had not had lunch.  Was dehydrated from backing in the sun for 63.3 miles.  Had no time to rest.

What was I going to do?  How was I going to survive?  Tune in too the A Shot in the Dark report to see how the rest of my day went.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Absolutely Beautiful Country Ride

This past Sunday, I participated in the ABC Ride.  ABC stands for Absolutely Beautiful Country and is the Akron Bicycle Club's main fundraising ride for the year.  This is the 3rd time I have done this event and the second time it has been on this route out of Medina.

I road again this year with my trusty domestiques, Mitch and Lisa.  We ended up doing the 65 mile route.  It is a nice route with a couple minor climbs.  It begins in Medina heads through Medina County and Wayne Counties.  It also passed through Orrville, Doylestown, Wadsworth, and Norton.  Its nice sometimes to get out in the middle of BFE where you can ride side by side in peace.  We did have an old guy go nuts on us in Medina.  We were riding single file, which was not good enough as he swerved to scare us off the road.  Sometimes I wonder why a cyclist has to be so hated.  I'm just out enjoying a beautiful morning trying to be fit.

I took it pretty easy on this ride and came through the 65 miles in 3 hours 47 minutes.  Not too bad for riding at about 70 percent.  The temperature was pretty bad the second half of the ride as my Garmin hit 98 degrees the last 30 miles.  My only complaint was some of the road marks were hard to read and they didn't color code the different distances.  Other than that, it was a great ride and I'll be back again next year.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Week 7 of Akron Marathon Training

This was another great week of training.  The weather was good here all week and I took advantage of having two days off to put in some quality miles.  I also completed a 5 mile running race and a Metric Century bike ride.  Only had two issues this week.  This first was battling with the humidity.  I found myself struggling to stay hydrated at points this week.  I probably need to look into intaking more sodium as I feel like I am not retaining what I am intaking.  This has led to a couple points last week where I was light headed and irritable during the day.  The second issue was that I didn't lose any weight this week.  I know I shouldn't be disgusted after loosing ten pounds the past month, but I burnt over 11 thousand calories during the week.  So I am disgusted and must have ate more over the holiday weekend than I thought.  Another big week is planned with a metric century and a 4 mile road race in the same day!  I'm looking forward to it.  Should be a great day.

Running miles:  24 with an average pace of 9:27

Cycling miles:  197 with an average speed of 16.5

Total miles for the week:  221

Time spent training:  15 hours 41 minutes.

Calories burned:  11,152


Monday, July 11, 2011

Bay Days 5 miler Race report

This past July 4th I ran in the Bay Days 5 miler.  I decided to do this race for 2 reasons.  The first was I had heard it was one of the flattest races around.  Second, I had never been to Bay Village and wanted to check it out.  The race was 5 miles in distance and was hosted by the Cleveland West Road Runners Club.  This was my 3rd CWRRC race i've done and they always host a great event.  My only complaint on the first 2 were the lack of a computer timing system.  They did have a timing system at this race and will at future races.

I made my way up too Bay Village the morning of the race and was impressed to see someone riding a S-Works Shiv.  For those of you not familiar with cycling.  S-Works is a high end division of race bike made by Specialized.  You don't see too many S-works around here apart from mine and fellow buddies Jeff and Kent.  I was also impressed by how nice the area was.  The start/finish line was at the highschool and it was nice to have access to an actual rest room before the race versus a port-o-pot.

I made my way over to the start and the race quickly began after the national anthem was played via a trumpet.  As the race began, I established a fairly easy pace.  I had been riding a lot and the legs weren't rested.  The race itself was a winding course through some pleasant neighborhoods.  I was surprised at the amount of support from the town folk.  There were lot of of people on the route cheering us all on.  Even a few people had sprinklers out for us to cool off if we wanted.  Yes, it was hot and a lot more humid than I had anticipated.  At the finish, we completed a lap on the highschool track and that was a nice finish.  As it gave all the people a good opportunity to see everyone finish.  I ended up with a time of 41:55.  Not too bad considering the amount of running and riding I had done the 3 days leading up to the race.  They weren't lying about how flat the course was either.  My garmin showed a total elevation gain of 26 feet!  Now that's flat.

Overall, this was another great event by the CWRRC.  I had a great time at this event and will do it again in the future.  I was also very impressed with the area and how well the supported us runners.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Week 6 of Akron Marathon Training

This marks the 1/3 point of my training and September 24th will probably be here before I know it.  Overall it was another decent week for me.  My major fail of the week was not playing the weather right on Friday and Saturday.  The plan was to run 13 miles on Friday and then do a long ride on Saturday.  Well, I didn't realize it was going to be as hot as it was on Friday.  Temps were close to 90 and the humidity was off the chart.  So, I bailed on the run after 7 miles.  On Saturday morning it was much cooler and raining.  I got out late for my ride and only get 40 miles in before I had to be somewhere.  If I would have swapped workouts.  Things would have been perfect.  As a result, I was down on miles this week.   The good news is that I have made up for it the past 2 days.  The best news of the week is that I lost another 3.2 pounds this week, which makes for a total of 10.6 pounds during the training.

Running:  18 miles with an average pace of 9:40

Cycling:  148 miles with an average speed of 16.6

Total miles:  166

Time training:  11 hrs 49 minutes

Calories burned:  8,043

Weight lost:  3.2 pounds


Sunday, July 3, 2011

Stats from the first 6 months of 2011

Hard to believe it is July already.  Just seems like yesterday that I was climbing onto the treadmill to kick off the training for my first ever marathon.  Despite the weather in Northeast Ohio.  It has been a pretty good year for me.  I've completed 10 races, one of which was my first ever marathon.  I thought I would take a quick second to share some data from Garmin Connect on my first 6 months of training.

Race breakdown:  1 Marathon, 2 Half Marathons, 2 10 Milers, 1 4 miler,  3 5Ks, and 1 100K Cycling Tour.

Total miles:  1,895

Running:  765

Cycling:  1,130

Time Training:  200 hours 46 Minutes

Calories burned:  187, 857

Weight Lost:  12 lbs.

Overall I am fairly satisfied with training.  It is hard to be upset when you've completed your first marathon, but I am roughy 1,000 miles short of my goal for 6 months.  That is the fault of the weather as I haven't gotten out on the bike until late May.  Good news, I have 6 months to make up for it.

So, what's planned for the rest of the year?  Some of the best events of the year are still to come.  Akron Marathon, ABC Tour, Ice Cream Odyssey and Shot in the Dark in the same day, MS 150, Sweet Corn Challenge, and LAS VEGAS at night!!

Stop back and see how it goes.