Monday, May 19, 2014

Experiences from a Cleveland Marathon Water stop

Yesterday, while enjoying a post race Summer Shandy.  I was surfing the inter webs and came across this post.  After my race yesterday, I volunteered for the rest of the day at a water stop.  What's written below mimics my experiences that I had yesterday afternoon.  So, I wanted to share it with all of you as it contains some excellent points on what was happening yesterday at the Cleveland Marathon.

To Whom It May Concern: 

I am a runner.  I have run marathons, 5K's, and everything in between.  Today I volunteered to help at the last water stop of your marathon.  I cannot tell you how important that last water stop is to marathoners.  Many times I have had volunteers hand me a beer to get me through my last mile, I've had people run with me for a while to keep pace through the last mile, I've had volunteers cheer me on with rowdy behavior and cowbells.  This is the most important part of the "marathon experience".  Period. Our group volunteers to work the last water stop every year.  We understand the importance of this stop, because we are runners.  We pace the elite to hand out water, we encourage people with our, sometimes, crazy behavior, we ring cowbells, we run with those that are having trouble finishing, and we have camaraderie with those that are running.  We are runners. Today, I witnessed what can only be called a gigantic train wreck at the last water stop.
First of all with the course changing this year, we were no longer placed at mile 25.  We were back closer to mile 24.  This is completely unacceptable at a marathon.  The last water stop 2 miles out, and the remainder of the course was uphill.  I am unsure if this was totally poor planning, or if our tables were dropped at the wrong location.
Our group was paired with another group, running the mile 11 half marathon water stop.  This group was not runners.  Here's a list of what I witnessed this group do today: Mixing Powerade with bare hands.  Yep, nothing but a hand all the way in the Powerade bucket.  One gentleman was smoking a cigarette over the water table.  Their volunteers were holding cups with their fists, or with fingers in them.  Several times, I witnessed cups fall to the ground, and they were picked up and reused.  The Powerade that was being poured was incredibly diluted, and in fact I actually heard one gentleman say, as he was filling up cups on the marathon side, "We're running low on Powerade. Just dilute it."  I corrected him, and the response I received was that he was told to do it by the head volunteer. Surely somewhere it is in the volunteer handbook it clearly states that diluting Powerade/Gatorade is quite simply, incredibly dangerous, especially if today would have been hotter.
The half marathon volunteers used all of the trash bags, when our group went to clean up, we could only rake cups into a pile, and had to wait until the very end to finally get trash bags.  (Even though they had been requested several times.)  Having the shoreline open during a race was ridiculous.  There were runners, running in the lane that was open.  Clearly no one explained to them that this lane had moving traffic in it.  Oh, and it's totally unsafe.  Once the half marathon side opened for traffic, volunteers were having to dodge traffic to get to the other side in order to  fill up water buckets, get more cups, and to move tables.  At ten minutes until 1, the gentleman came around to collect the porta potties.  Isn't the course open for 7 hours?  There are quite a few marathoners coming through still, and there are still volunteers and spectators.  He told me that he was told to remove porta potties at 1.  On the marathon course too?  Well, that's nice.  Let's remove the porta potty the last 1.5 miles.  I requested he leave it, which he did, and then witnessed volunteers and runners continue to use it until course was wrapped up.  
All and all, my day today was amazing!  I paced some of the most elite athletes in the World to hand them water.  I ran with a buddy on his way to a PR.  I ran a mile with a young man who was running his first marathon, and was about to walk the rest of the way, and kill his shot at a 3.5 hour marathon. I didn't know him, but watched him as far as I could and he ran.  HE RAN!  I watched the children at my water stop give hugs; hugs to sweaty runners that needed them.  I ran a mile with a lady who was about to give up.  She didn't.  That's what today was about.  Encouraging others to accomplish a goal.  A goal they have trained for.  A goal they have dedicated themselves to.  A goal they have sacrificed for.  A goal WE have cried, bled, and sweat through.  
Get it together Cleveland.  It's about the runners.  Not about not having enough Powerade, how soon you can take up the porta potties, or how quickly you can open up the shoreline.  It's about them.  Get it together Cleveland..........

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon 10K training - Week 20

As I write this we are now under 14 days till the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon.  I hope everyone's training has gone well this Spring and for you endurance runners.  I hope the taper craziness hasn't been too bad.

Despite what has been an abnormally cool Spring.  I've continued to get in some strong work this past week.  I've been sticking with my same program of rides and runs.  It's continued to provide a good benefit to me as I lost another 2 pounds this past week.  Bringing my training total to 18.  I'm looking forward to this year and seeing what benefits the lighter weight will provide.  I also added some hill work into my runs this past week.  If you're not adding it to your training routine, then you should.  As its a great way to add power.

The weatherman keeps promising a warm up this week.  We'll see if it actually happens.  Hopefully everyone is finishing strong with their training.

I got another run in this week with Mack.  He's now up to 3 miles and doing great!

Monday:  22.23 mile ride

Tuesday:  16.41 mile ride / weights

Wednesday:  23.11 mile ride / 4.30 mile run

Thursday:  11.79 mile run / 2.50 mile run

Friday:  Rest day

Saturday:  6.25 mile run

Sunday:  Rest day

Total Miles:  86.60

Calories Burned:  7,574

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon 10K Training - Week 19

The countdown to race weekend keeps getting smaller and smaller.  This was probably our best weather week yet in 2014.  My fingers are crossed that we've finally turned the corner.  I'm pretty happy with how this week went.  I was off this past week and took advantage of the free time to get in some solid training.  How do I know it was solid training?  I lost 5 pounds this past week, which makes for a total of 16 pounds lost this training cycle.

My primary focus this week was both brick work and weight training.  Doing this type of training provides me with several benefits.  Not only does it help me prepare for multi-sport races, but it also helps a lot with my running.  My plan of attack for this coming week is to begin extending some of my runs.  I will be focusing on the 10K distance and finishing endurance for miles 5-6.2.  Hope everyone's training is going well and you're taking advantage of this nice weather.

Mack joined me for part of my run this Sunday.  He's getting really good and is ready for more miles.  Maybe even a 5K someday. 

Monday:  Rest day

Tuesday:  22.13 mile ride / 3.19 mile run

Wednesday:  5.29 mile run / weights

Thursday:  4.22 mile run / 16.30 mile ride / weights

Friday:  3.25 mile run / 18.23 mile ride

Saturday:  6 mile run

Sunday:  6.23 mile run.

Total Miles:  84.84

Calories Burned:  8,581


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon 10K - Week 18 training

Rejoice people of Northeast Ohio.  I looks like Spring is finally here, or atleast judging be the end of last week.  It was a rough start with rain on Monday and snow on Tuesday, but I was able to get outside to train the rest of the week.  I've begun to focus on a few different things in my training.  Not only is the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon approaching, but also a couple duathlons.  For those of you who are not familiar with a duathlon.  Its like a Triathlon, but instead of swimming the first leg.  You do a run.  So, it's typically a run/ bike / run.  I've also started lifting again to help with my races and also to get ready for a vacation I have shortly after the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon.

This was a good block of training.  It's a little different from those of you who are training for the marathon as when taper begins, those of us doing shorter races are ramping things up.  Hopefully everyone's training is going well and your excitement for race day is starting to build like mine.  My plan for this week is to continue to build on last week.  

Meet my running buddy last week, Mack.  He's the new girl's 9 month old Golden Doodle.
Excuse the alien eyes as those are from the camera's flash. 

Monday:  4 mile run.

Tuesday:  4.50 mile run.

Wednesday:  6 mile run / 30 minute weights

Thursday:  4.50 mile run / 30 minute weights

Friday:  22 mile ride

Saturday:  22.23 mile ride / 30 minute ride. 

Sunday:  4.13 mile run. 

Total miles:  83.74

Calories burned:  7,790

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

2014 Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon 10K Training Recap

This month began with a lot of excitement.  I had hoped the worst of winter was over and that it was time for some warmer temps.  Well, that's how March usually is around here.  Instead we had another month of freezing temps and snow.  I had hoped for  two "50+ degree" days a week, but it felt like we had two all month.  Apart from the crappy weather, my training went really well.   As I was able to string some solid runs and rides together.  I had been fighting some slight discomfort in my hip, but I dialed things back a few times and I do feel better now while riding and my stride seems to be much smoother when running.

Lots to look forward too in April.  Depending on the weather, I hope to get in some solid outdoor workouts and maybe a race or two.   I need to log some outdoor workouts to get ready.  I also need to focus on getting to my race weight by Spring.  The best news of March is that I'm down 6 pounds for the month.  Hopefully we have some dry weekends

Running:  42.13 miles

Cycling:  201.10 miles

Total:  243.23 miles

Calories burned:  27,598

Monday, March 24, 2014

We have a winner.

Last Monday I started my contest to win free entry into the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon.  I am happy to announce that Kelly Heller won the contest!!!  Congrats Kelly and thank you to all of you that have entered.

Training continues to go well despite the weather.  I competed recently in St. Malachi 5 miler.  This was my 4th year doing this race, but it was extra special to me as the new lady was cheering me on at the finish line.  It was hard for her to be there to support me and it meant so much to hear them cheering me on at the finish.

Despite Spring beginning last weekend, it continues to feel like winter.  This past block of training,  I've been focusing on running and riding.  Those are my two favorite workouts to combine and it seems to help with my running.  According to our 10 day forecast,  we should see a warm up in a couple days.  Hopefully this forecast holds true as I am sure we are all anxiously awaiting Spring.  It won't be too much longer before we are cheering on those Cleveland Indians.  So, hopefully mother nature gets it together and the weather improves.

Today marks 54 days till the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon.   It's time to finish strong with your training and not to get your head down with these inclement weather conditions.  Lots of fun things to look forward too as race day approaches like taper, picking out your race outfit, new race shoes, and seeing everyone on race day.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Win free entry to the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon

Hey everybody

I hope everyone's training has been going well.  This has probably been the most frustrating winter I can remember.  Good news is that we've had a couple 50 degree days recently and a few more coming up in our 10 day forecast.  Speaking of news, lots of big news recently from the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon.  For those of you who aren't aware.  This year's race will feature all new routes!!!  Recently, the organizers for the race reach out us runners for on feedback on route changes.  It was an overwhelming response that the race switch to an all Westside route.  It was really nice of them to take our opinions and change the route based on our feedback.   I'm a 2-time Rite Aid Cleveland Marathoner and admit there will be pieces of the Eastside portion that will be missed, but I think everyone will be pleased to see more of what the Westside has to offer.  I've been a resident of the Westside for 17 months now and know that it will be an amazing setting to host the 2014 Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon.

To celebrate the new routes, the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon has graciously awarded me to opportunity to give away a FREE ENTRY to either the 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, or Full Marathon!!!!!!

This contest will last until Monday 3/24/14 and is only open to those who have not registered.  To enter:  please leave a comment with your name, direct message me @Beal88 on twitter, direct message me on Facebook, or leave a comment on my Facebook post.

I had wanted to post some route photos, but my phone is being a jerk and won't upload them to my computer.  So, below is a link to the website where you can find the routes.  Hopefully I can get them uploaded and add them later.  I also hope to bike ride these routes prior to race day to provide some feedback.

New routes

Good Luck!!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon Training: Weeks 7 and 8

The past two weeks have been pretty frustrating to say the least.  Old man winter still has a firm grip on Northeast Ohio.  It seems like we keep going from days with negative temps to days with snow storms. This has been the worst winter I can remember.  I guess I should be happy that I am focusing more on shorter distances this Spring instead of endurance races.  I'd be staying away from sharp objects if I was trying to do long runs every weekend.  I still have been able to ride outside yet this year.  Being prepared for Barry Roubaix this year has turned from reality to a dream.  One bright spot over the past two weeks is that I been doing more outdoor runs.  Even got in some sweet hill work this past week.

Enough with the negativity.  There are some positives to look forward too.  March is finally here which means we will finally see temps creep into the 40's and 50's every now and then.  High school swimming is now complete, so many of your local pools will be free during the afternoon.  It feels pretty good that the worst of it is now over.  The focus over the next 2 weeks will be getting back on track with training and weight loss.  Also, I will be getting back into the pool and getting outside as much as possible.

Look for a new post next week where I discuss the new race route and give away a free entry!!

Total miles:  104

Training time:  8:54

Calories burned:  9,954

Monday, February 24, 2014

Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon Training: Weeks 5 and 6.

This was another decent block of training for me.  The good news is that I was able to get outside for some runs.  The bad news, its still been entirely to cold to ride outside.  In my breakdown you can see that i've been focusing more on running lately as it is what the weather has been dictating.  Hopefully in March  I will be able to get outside full time running and riding.  Plus, the local high school will be done with the pool and I will have more access to swim.

This really has been a frustrating winter.  Hopefully things get better soon.  So far it doesn't feel like I am getting behind as I was pretty satisfied with my transition from treadmill running to outdoors.  Each year I've used March 1st as a date in which you can get outside pretty regularly.  Hopefully that holds true again this year.

Week 5

1/20:  25 mile ride

1/21:  6.48 mile run.  

1/22:  6.34 mile run.

1/23:  6.43 mile run.

1/24:  6.50 mile run.

1/25:  6.22 mile run.

1/26:  30 mile ride.  

Week 6

1/27:  6.78 mile run. 

1/28:  6.54 mile run.

1/29:  rest day.

1/30:  6.46 mile run. 

1/31:  rest day.

2/1:  6.86 mile run. 

2/3:  15 mile ride. 


13 workouts

147.61 miles

15,547 calories burned. 


Monday, February 10, 2014

Snow?!?! Again!! Tips to stay on track despite this weather.

Lets face facts.  This is the point of our training when it's time to ramp things up a bit.  Unfortunately, Mother Nature has been doing the same.  2014 has been nothing but below zero temps and snow storms every weekend.  It has been easy this year to get frustrated and even behind in our training.  As a Triathlete, winter can be a hard time.  So we get creative to keep workouts fresh and exciting.  All while doing most of the work indoors.  I thought it would be fun to share some sample workouts of mine that would translate well to running.  Adding some of these will help keep your training on track while keep things fresh in the gym.

A dip in the pool can be a great way to improve your running.  You don't necessarily need to know how to swim either.  All you need is a pool and a kick board.

I've found that kick drills can be a great way to improve your running.  It builds strength in your hips and can provide you with that extra umpth when tackling hills in races.

All you need to do start at end of the pool.  Put your kick board in front of you like the video below and kick 25 yards to the other side.  You can stop with a 15-30 second break before heading back.  Repeat these for 30 minutes.

Spin classes can be a great way to break up the monotony of indoor training.  You can find these classes at your local gym or a private spin studio.  I prefer the private studio as they tend to be more fun.  I get asked a lot about spinning during the winter.  I lot of people are curious about spinning, but are apprehensive about it being too intense.  Let me be the first to tell you, spinning is really only as intense as you make it.  Essentially, you dictate the resistance on the bike.  It's up to you to push yourself.  So, if you're new to it.  Don't worry about making it through class as you can dial back the resistance, but the only way you'll get better is if you keep it on or go harder in your next class.  Another benefit of studios in our areas is they are private, lights are off, and it's not a race.  Many studios are a sanctuary for your work out.  Not a place that fosters competition.  Spinning can help your running as not only do you keep fit, but your heart rate will be elevated like running.

I'm sure everyone reading this has there own ways to deal with running indoors.  I keep things interesting with changing my runs up during the week.  I like to do 1 speed work session during the week.  Essentially, it consists of a 15 minute warm up at easy pace.  Then I do 6-8 intervals of 800 meters at slightly above my 5K pace.  I take a 400 meter rest between intervals and then do a short cool down afterwards.  If you want to add speed during the offseason.  This is the best way to do it.  Another change of pace I do is week is I start the treadmill at a decent pace and then increase the speed slightly each half mile.  I've found that adding these works to my treadmill routine spices things up from just logging miles away at the same pace.

I hope some of these sample workouts help if you are finding yourself in a rut or falling behind in your training.  There's no exact science behind these workouts.  They are just a sample of some things that have helped me with running and training.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon training: Weeks 3 and 4.

If I had a quarter every for time that I was thankful this winter for not doing a Spring distance race.  I'd be rich.  This continues to be the worst winter for training that I can remember.  I've managed to still be productive despite the conditions.  Look for a post later this week on ways you can still improve fitness while training indoors.  

My goal each block of two weeks is to build about 10% over the prior block.  Once I can get outside, I'll start to focus more on speed.  The past 2 weeks I did a much better job balancing running and riding, but I need start fitting in some swims.  I also need to mix in a day off once in awhile.  

Class photo from last Saturday at Psycle.  It was the instructors 1st and she's only 17!  Such an inspiration. 

Week 3

1/20:  6.66 mile run followed by a 18 mile ride brick.

1/21:  23 mile ride. 

1/22:  6.66 mile run.

1/23:  21 mile ride.

1/24:  21 mile ride.

1/25:  Speed work:  15 minute warm up.  6x800 at 7:53 pace.  400 rest.  10 minute cool down.

1/26:  23 mile ride.  

Week 4

1/27:  18 mile ride. 

1/28:  22 mile ride.

1/29:  4.23 mile run.

1/30:  20 mile ride. 

1/31:  Speed work:  15 minute warm up.  6x800 at 7:53 pace.  400 rest.  10 minute cool down.

2/1:  25 mile ride. 

2/3:  27 mile ride. 


15 workouts

246.46 miles

15,258 calories burned. 

Lost a 1 pounds and only 22 till 2014 race weigh goal. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon training: Weeks 1+2

Two weeks of training are already in the books and The Chase is off to a good start.  I stumbled out of the blocks a little due to an issue with a frozen lock and allergies.  Who knew allergens would survive a -40 degree windchill.  I managed to finish strong in week 1, but was disappointed in it being too ride focused.

Week 2 was a pretty solid training block.  I kicked it off with a 2 hour spin class on Monday.  I made a mistake on Tuesday and went to hard on my run, so I spent Wednesday doing a recovery ride to get my legs back.  I finally got back on the speed work bandwagon this past Friday.  I had been doing them on Wednesday's, but got out of sync with the holidays being on that day.

The best news is that I've lost 6 pounds already.  My goal this year is to race 20 pounds less than I did in 2013.  I hope this will help pick up some run speed and with cramping.

Week 1

1/6:  22 mile ride

1/7:  Gym was closed due to Polar Vortex

1/8:  Forced off day due to allergies

1/9:  27 mile ride

1/10:  25 mile ride

1/11:  4.16 mile run

1/12:  27 mile ride

Week 2

1/13:  2 hour spin class

1/14:  4.08 mile run

1/15:  10 mile recovery ride

1/16:  21 mile ride

1/17:  Speed work:  15 minute warm up.  6x800 at 8:00 pace.  400 rest.  10 minute cool down.

1/18:  6.67 mile run.

1/19:  25 mile ride.


13 workouts

218.55 miles

12,275 calories burned.

Lost a 6 pounds and only 23 till 2014 race weigh goal.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

My 2014: The Chase

For most of the year we are very busy and often don't see friends who are training for different disciplines or on different training cycles.  So, the holidays are always a great time to catch up with everyone.  You can always script conversations.  They are divided into 2 parts:  How'd last year go and What are you up too this year?  This past year has been really good to me, except for a horrific bike wreck.  I put my main focus on completing a half ironman and I am happy to say that not only did I survive it, but I finished 2nd in my age group.  I will spare you further details on last year, because I want to talk about 2014 today.

I was lucky enough to be asked to share my Spring training experiences for a 4th year now for the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon.  For those reading my blog for the first time, I'd like to introduce myself.  My name is Matthew Beal.  My friends know me better as "Beal" and a few who don't know me, probably think my name is Bill.  A few years back I weighed over 330 pounds and almost drowned because I was too out of shape to swim to safety.  It was the wake call I needed and began living a healthy lifestyle.  Since that day I have lost over a 100 pounds and have completed in over a 100 races.  Marathons and Triathlons used to be things that were only dreamed about, but with hard work and dedication.  I now do them regularly.

My 2014 Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon blogger profile.

Enough about the past.  Lets talk about the future.  My plan for attack this year wasn't an easy decision.  I was targeting an Ironman in 2014 for the past 2 years, but after doing a half last year.  I needed a break.  Training 15+ hours a week crushed my social life.  I don't want to fall into that same trap this year and I want to keep my New Year's resolution of putting myself out there.  Unlike last year.  So, I will be pushing off the Ironman till 2015 and focusing on shorter races this year.  

2014 will be "The Chase" for me as I will be chasing the HFP Racing Age Group Championship this year.  I'm stealing the whole "The Chase" motto from the Ohio State football team, but it really fits.  We are all chasing something.  Some of us are chasing a goal, some a new distance, a personal record, weight loss, or a healthier lifestyle.  Regardless of what your intent this year is.  Chase it down.  Don't let anything stand in your way of what you set out to do.  

Ok, back to the HFP Championship.  There are 6 pre-selected events and I will need to compete in at least 4.  I will get points for where I finish in my age group.  The final race is in Akron this September and pays double points.  I can't think of a better way to finish off the year than head to my hometown and compete for a championship.  

I will be doing a lot of racing this year and have listed a schedule of events I plan to attend.  I will also be doing the 10K this year at the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon as it will fit in better with my program.  So, much last like year. I will be talking about running, cycling, and swimming.  Focusing on  how those activities will help you for your race experience at the Cleveland Marathon.  

Who else is ready for 2014?  Are you ready to join me in The Chase?  If you're ready to lay it all on the line this year and work harder than you ever have before to achieve your goals.  Then join me in The Chase this year.

Fellow marathon blogger, Jessica McCartney joined my in The Chase today.  Check out her blog to hear how spinning has helped her running.  Also, I regularly spin at Psycle and Harness Cycle if you'd like to join the pain fun. 

2014 Race Schedule

1/18:  Harmes Garage Sale 5K
1/25:  Blue Balls and Glass Cutters 5K
2/15:  Chili Bowl 5K
2/22:  Snowball 5K
3/15:  St. Malachi 5 miler
3/22:  Barry-Roubaix 36 mile bike race
4/22:  Buzzard Duathlon
5/10:  Nordonia Hills Duathlon
5/18:  Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon 10K
5/25:  Clays Park Triathlon
6/1:  Deer Creek Triathlon
6/8:  Sunday in June 100K
6/14:  Maumee Bay Triathlon
6/22 Bay Village Triathlon
7/6:  Lorain Triathlon
7/13:  Caesar Creek Triathlon
7/19:  Ice Cream Odyssey 100K
7/26:  Bay Village Triathlon 2
7/27:  Fairport Harbor Triathlon
8/17:  Vermillion Triathlon
9/14:  Portage Lakes Triathlon