2013 ING Miami Half Marathon

Travel & Lodge

IMG_20130125_093053My wife and I flew into Miami, Florida on the Friday before the race at approximately mid-day.  We were greeted by a beautiful blue sky filled with popcorn-like, white puffy clouds, and a $40 cab fare from the airport to the hotel.  I booked our hotel several months ago based basically on a single criteria, its proximity to the start-finish line.  Luckily for us, the Holiday Inn Port of Miami was 3 blocks from the start line and 2 blocks from the finish.

My stomach had started feeling a little uneasy the day before our trip but I wasn’t too concerned since I wasn’t suffering from any other symptoms such as headache, fever or sinus issues.  I already had enough on my plate stressing over the recent shin splint appearance, not to mention the normal first-time big race paranoia over training, fitness, and whatever else could theoretically throw a wrench in my plans.

IMG_20130125_134858We arrived too early to check in to our room so we headed across the street to the Bayside Market Place where we decided to have a single, large splurge meal before I had to go on pre-race lock down.  We settled on the Bubba Gump Shrimp Factory and while I didn’t necessarily care for the over the top Forrest Gump theme or the lack-luster service, the shrimp scampi was filling and tasty.  We also each enjoyed a Corona-Rita, which is a bottle of Corona beer suspended upside down over a glass partially filled with margarita mixer. If I wasn’t registered to run a half marathon two days later I could have sat right in that chair for the duration of the weekend.

Unfortunately, my stomach’s previous rumblings were not a false alarm and for the next 3 days, no matter what I ate or drank, I would have to make a direct path for the bathroom within 30 minutes or risk public humiliation.

The Expo

I had planned on just relaxing after lunch on Friday and heading over to the Expo on Saturday afternoon so I could catch a talk by Matt Fitzgerald, co-author of one of my favorite books on running.  But as it turned out, the hotel employee who was checking us in was also running the half marathon and we struck up quite the conversation, during which he constantly recommended that we go to the Expo immediately so we could register my wife for the Tropical 5k, scheduled to be run at 7:30 am on Saturday morning.

We took the free shuttle over to the Expo and it was a nicely laid out event with all of the typical and expected vendors hawking their goods and offering free samples of their products. I was adamant about not trying any of the energy gels, shots, gummies, etc so as to avoid any bad reactions, and instead we focused on purchasing a few items of clothing and other memorabilia.

And then it happened! While I was collecting my registration packet my wife told me she was walking over to sign up for the 5k event.  I was excited for her but honestly also slightly concerned about the logistical issues since the race did not start or finish near our hotel.  We wrapped things up fairly quickly at the Expo and headed back to the hotel turn in early after starting the travel day at 3 am.

Tropical 5k & Expo Day 2

We woke up at 5 am on Saturday, choked down some coffee and a PowerBar headed out on our adventure hunt to find the 5k race. We ran into another couple about 15 minutes into our trip, and then a runner visiting from Germany, and then another couple, from Brazil. No one knew how to find or get to the Miami Children’s Museum on foot from where we were. I knew we were in deep trouble when a BMW pulled up beside us and the occupants rolled down the windows and asked us if we knew how to get to the race because they were official event media personnel and were lost.

IMG_20130126_165115We walked about 5k through less than ideal neighborhoods and highways overpasses before running into a shuttle service at Parrot Jungle that took us to the race.  I stayed on the bus and rode it to the finish line of the point to point race so I could wait for my wife. She cruised through in a personal best for her, all smiles, and looking great. Congrats baby! Great atmosphere at both the finish line and the after-party which took place at Nikki Beach.

We left pretty early to get back to the hotel, clean up and shop a little for the kids and extended family before heading back out to the Expo so I could catch Matt’s speech about the “art and science of pacing.”  He gave a great talk, took questions after and I even managed to pin him in a corner for some last minute strategy advice as well as an autograph for my copy of Run Faster from the 5k to the Marathon.

Rookie Mistakes

I did the best I could avoiding common pitfalls that sabotage unsuspecting or undisciplined racers.  I didn’t drink any alcohol other than my single beer on Friday. I stayed away from sampling new and exciting products from highly energetic Expo vendors, and then I let my goofy, dumb-ass pride kick in.

There was a beautiful blue, race-themed tech shirt for sale. And I started rationalizing how it might be easier for my wife to spot me in the race if I wasn’t wearing the official orange shirt like 25,000 other runners.  Plus I could then puff my chest out and wear the orange shirt during our flight home on Monday, bragging to the world about my exploits.

IMG_20130127_051338Well, what do you know?  By about mile 7 my nipples were raw. So raw that I was occasionally grabbing at my shirt to pull the fabric away from my chest rather than let it drag across my chest again.

Since I was feeling flat from all of my digestive issues I made a last minute to decision to abandon my strategy of running with a pace group targeting a 2:20 finish.  Instead I decided to program a 13.1 mile workout into my Garmin, and assign various pace ranges to several segments so I could be reminded of an overall strategy without feeling the pressure of running with a group or constantly glancing at my watch.

Unfortunately, I did not realize or forgot that this would cause the Garmin to not give me 1 mile split times but instead provide only 3 splits referencing the 6 mile, 4 mile and 5k segments I had programmed.  A real bummer not to be able to waste a few hours staring at my first ever half marathon split times from start to finish.

The Race

Finally! We get to what you came here for.

The corrals opened at 5 am and I walked outside the hotel with my wife at about 5:15.  It was literally 10° hotter than it had been the past 2 days and I immediately shed my jacket and took a few last sips of water.

We walked around a bit together as I jogged and performed some dynamic stretches. She snapped photos and did a great job of capturing the atmosphere.  I decided to search out my corral and she climbed the stairs of the American Airlines Arena to stake out an observation post for the start.

IMG_20130127_054044After the requisite opening ceremonies, we were off and walking…..shuffling….walking…….the wait wasn’t too bad however and by the time that I made my way to the timing mat I was actually running.

Maybe the best decision I made the entire weekend was to abandon the pace group idea and just let the race come to me.  I didn’t feel great and the adrenalin wasn’t jacking me up either.  I felt ok, but guarded and cautious, and I was happy that I had programmed a somewhat more conservative approach into my Garmin, as opposed to hitting my goal pace right out of the chute with a group of strangers.

It literally took me until mile 3 before I felt somewhat relaxed. I also made a promise to drink at every aid station, thinking that my constant bathroom issues plus the higher temperatures would drain me faster than I had prepared for.  At the first aid station I grabbed a cup of Gatorade on the run and promptly spilled the majority of it down my shirt on over my face. From that point forward I would walk whatever distance was necessary to drink the actual contents of whatever cup I decided to grab.

As a big race rookie, navigating the aid station mayhem was a bit disconcerting. Large groups of people mobbed the first table at each aid station creating human blockades that obstructed runners who were caught on the inside lane.  Timing my dash into the later tables at each station became a fairly technical game of guess-timating angles, speeds and distances in order to successfully hydrate while avoiding crashing into other runners.

There were a couple of aid stations throughout the course that were not prepared or re-stocked by the time I came rambling by, but for the most part I’d have to say the volunteers, aid and effort were great and I can’t really complain that anything they did or didn’t do had any effect on my results. They had a hard job all day and performed it well. Thanks!

My only other critical observation during the race is in regards to the Galloway, run-walk interval participants. They were strong, disciplined and plentiful.  But they also seemed to insist on running shoulder to shoulder, spanning a large width of the available course at any given time.  And of course, just like clockwork, they became a walking roadblock.  If you’re in a group of 6 plus people who know that you’re going to walk every 4 minutes or whatever your schedule is, can you please be aware of the fact that a long narrow rectangle of people is easier for other racers to navigate than is a wide, unyielding mass of elbows and backsides?  Please?

ING Miami is a beautiful course!

ING Miami is a beautiful course!

I was determined to follow the advice of going out slow and running the first half of the race conservatively.  I ran the first 6 miles without even considering an increase in pace.  And interestingly enough I felt better physically at mile 6 than I did at mile 2.  Over the next 4 miles I knew that I wanted to make a slight effort at increasing my pace but each time I tried to hold a new pace I’d find myself zigging and zagging among the crowd and feeling like I was wasting a lot of energy.  So instead I decided to start surging between every second or third stoplight.  I was feeling great and noticed that I was seeing mostly 10:xx + on my watch instead of 11:xx.

It was during this 3 to 4 mile stretch that I began fantasizing about what it would take to still hit a 2:20 or better finish.  Could I turn a fartlek style second half into a respectable finish?  Or if I found an opening in the course could I sustain a smooth transition to another gear and cruise through the final 5k at a 30 minute or better split?

I’d never find out.  Somewhere between mile 10 and 11 my right hip began to tighten significantly.  It was becoming harder and harder to drive my knee through, and I felt like I was leaving my right leg behind me at times.  I’m proud that I didn’t panic or just give up but it would be a lie if I said that I wasn’t frustrated knowing that my chance to turn an average effort into a respectable PR was disappearing quickly.

Garmin 610 Run Data

The final 2.5 miles or thereabouts were really just about not slipping into crash and burn territory.  I kept trying to remember a quote I read somewhere along the lines of, “the runner who can run the longest, and the fastest, while in the most discomfort, while staying the most relaxed will be the winner.”

My idea of winning at that point was digging in for a final, sub 10:00 mile or squeezing through the 2:20 window somehow but it wasn’t to be.  I just lacked the extra gear that more focused training wold have provided and I lacked the mental fortitude to ignore my hip for the final 5k.

IMG_20130127_095205I’m not necessarily disappointed. I beat my realistic goal of 2:30 and I did so knowing that there’s a lot more potential waiting to be exposed. But it won’t happen magically or just because I want it.  I have to make it happen.

Running may very well be the most honest game on earth. It won’t give you anything that you haven’t earned but it will give you exactly what you deserve.

The After-Party

Bottled water. Bananas. Bagels. Fruit cups. Medals. Pictures. Some band playing. Rice and beans. A beer tent that was too far away. A bright sun and green grass. Stretching against a tree. Finally finding my wife. A shower and change of clothes. Three cheese ravioli x 2. A 3 hour nap.

Gear

Brooks PureConnect

CEP Progressive Compression Socks

Garmin Forerunner 610 w/ HR monitor

Splits

Split 1, 1:07:07, 6 miles, avg pace 11:11, avg HR 156, max HR 171
Split 2, 42:09, 4 miles, avg pace 10:38, avg HR 170, max HR 177
Split 3, 32:07, 3.1 miles, avg pace 10:27, avg HR 178, max HR 182

ingmiami2013

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Now that 2012 is a little over a week in the bag it’s time to get serious about planning for 2013.  About three months ago I started mentally preparing for 2013, especially since my first half marathon is right around the corner. But before we get any farther into the New Year why not go ahead and throw down a preliminary look on paper, if you will, of what the entire year might look like.

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  1. January 27, 2013 – ING Miami Half Marathon – This race basically represents the culmination of my 2012 training, as haphazard as it was. Originally I had hoped to pursue roughly a 2:10 finish time based on McMillan’s calculator analyzing my 54 minute finish in a 6 mile race. Unfortunately my training, as well as my injury downtime, held me back from properly preparing for the distance in a manner that would allow me to attack and sustain that goal pace for the duration.  Being flexible and realistic, I look forward to now using the ING Miami as a training race, an experience that will give me valuable practice at properly pacing and understanding my body’s feedback during a 13.1 mile effort. I will consider any sub 2:30:00 finish a victory.basilica de los angeles
  2. February 10, 2013 – La Candelaria 10k – A classic race in Costa Rica that everyone here should run at least once. 2013 will be the 32nd running of the fast course with a major downhill bias, dropping approximately 300 feet from beginning to end, after a mild 65 feet of elevation gain during the first 2 miles. La Candelaria passes through downtown Cartago, which was the original capital of Costa Rica until 1823. Cartago sits at an elevation of roughly 4700 feet above sea level. How I approach this race will completely depend on my recuperation from the ING Miami Half Marathon. If I feel energetic and full of bounce then I will attack the course early and hold on for dear life.  If still feeling a bit tight, brittle or fatigued from Miami then I will enjoy the 10k simply as a fun training run through an area of Costa Rica that I have not explored on foot before.
  3. March 2, 2013 – Chattahoochee Road Runners Club 10k – The CRR 10k will prove to be a challenge; I’m sure of it. Although the course is primarily flat, with a modest elevation gain during miles 4 and 5, and finishing with an aggressive downhill surge, this trip back to the United States will also be somewhat of an emotional event as well as a physical test.  Two of my older brothers and my sister in law will also be racing. I haven’t seen one brother in over 5 years, and the other in close to 10 years. All three of my competitors have raced this course on multiple occasions, and as runners have years of experience more than I. This event is potentially a trap for any specific goal, other perhaps than the challenge of reigning in my pride and running my race.rock clev
  4. October 5, 2013 – Rock ‘n’ Roll Cleveland Half MarathonThis is my 2013 A race!  The October race date provides plenty of time for me to focus on expanding my aerobic base as well as fine tuning my strength program before diving into one of Jason Fitzgerald’s custom, half marathon training plans. There is no course map yet, however Rock ‘n’ Roll describes the course as flat and fast. Cleveland has an average temperature of 52.8 ° F, with an average maximum temperature of 62.1 ° F, and an average minimum temperature of 43.5 ° F. In Cleveland I will aim to apply all the lessons learned from the ING Miami Half Marathon, as well as taking advantage of the course, climate and a much better chassis and engine combo to blow through a 2:15:00 finish and target the original McMillan goal of approximately 2:07:00 or thereabouts.

So there you have it. A quick, preliminary view of what’s facing me in 2013. Keeping these dates and races in mind will give me a broader context within which I can plan my training and analyze my progress and or challenges, as they might arise.

Let’s see how much better 2013 can be!

The Good. The Bad. And the Ugly.

Well, it’s official. 2012 has come to an end. Maybe not quite as dramatically as the Maya had allegedly predicted, but it’s over nonetheless.

As best as I can tell from my records I began my running experiment in late July, completing 5 runs between 1 and 1.5 miles each. Things started picking up quickly come August, and despite numerous injuries and setbacks early on, I’ve maintained a fairly respectable schedule (by my fairly lax standards as a former couch potato.)

August: 57 miles

September: 81 miles

October: 57 miles

November: 56 miles

December: 74 miles

561884_367390530006994_782436028_nSeptember’s significantly higher volume came as the result of never taking more than a single day off between runs, as well as running on quite a few consecutive days.  In addition, 13.2 miles of the 81 came on a run-walk effort on 9/11. It’s ironic that since my A goal is the ING Miami Half Marathon in January, that the 9/11 run is the only time I’ve ever covered the full distance.

September’s miles came with a high price however as I was constantly plagued by plantar fasciitis, bone spurs and Achilles tendonitis.  Eventually I was forced to receive a series of corticosteroid injections in my ankle and the sole of my foot. Fortunately I discovered that via aggressive stretching, primarily the heel-drop protocol, as well as daily rolling of a tennis ball under my arches, I could eliminate a majority of the issues.

2012 monthly totals

I participated in two official races: the ECO RUN 10k and the City Tour Race.  The Eco Run surprised me by taking us off road for a stint over the sand of the Pacific coast beach at Playa Herradura. Combined with some major late race elevation climbs and the heat and humidity, I was happy to survive and struggled through in roughly 68 minutes.  The City Tour Race was a 10k that wasn’t. The day before the race some logistical issues shortened the race to 6 miles, but along with an obstacle free and mostly flat course, the shortened route provided a great confidence boost as I felt like I was finally ‘running,’ crossing the finish line in 54 minutes.

I experimented with quite a few different training ideas and theories, everything from low heart rate training, run-by-feel, to more aggressive pace based plans. They all provided some benefit and unsurprisingly also had their distinct shortcomings (all as a result of my execution, not their design.) As I continue to grow in both practical experience, knowledge and theory I’m sure I will find or create the recipe that respects my limitations while still challenging me to progress.

2012-11-11 city tour race 10kMy strength training was more consistent but not necessarily any more effective because I mostly remained focused on the same, basic strength exercises that I’ve performed for general fitness. They certainly did not hurt or inhibit my progress in any way. But from the perspective of becoming a better runner, in 2013 I will fine tune my efforts to more closely match my specific running goals.

Diet and nutrition improved but were not consistent; a recurring theme in my year in review analysis. I made a concerted effort to implement a Paleo inspired diet, and lost about 20 lbs.  When asked, I describe my approach as 80% paleo, 80% of the time. I am carrying 170 lbs on a 5’10” frame, but am still a bit soft and know that my body fat percentage is higher than it should be or needs to be.

As far as shoes, apparel, gear and accessories are concerned I spent way too much money.  But on the other hand, the monetary commitment is a motivating factor in my desire to now reap dividends from properly utilizing my tools, toys and indulgences.

I have a high-end GPS watch with heart rate monitor, and enough shoes, shirts, shorts and tights to last until this time next year before considering any additions or replacements. The priority now (as it should have been all along) is on making it happen!

I will save my 2013 goals, plans and aspirations for another post. But I would be remiss if i failed to mention and thank some of the people who have made my running a positive and life enriching experience.

Let me conclude by offering my sincere wishes that everyone can look back on 2012 and if not necessarily happy with every race, result or effort, can at least recognize what happened, why and how to make adjustments that will improve your chances for continued and greater success in 2013!

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Ancient geometers proposed a challenge known as Squaring the Circle, in which one had to construct a square with the same area as a given circle, using a compass and a straightedge, and within a certain number of finite steps. By 1882 the task was proven to be impossible.

As the expression is used in causal conversation and more specifically in regards to my running it may be interpreted to mean that success will prove impossible if I limit myself to the proverbial aids of only a compass and straightedge, and a finite number of steps. No pun intended.

And with that observation tucked away in my magician’s top hot, it’s time for a major adjustment in my training. You might say I am coming full circle.

I have improved noticeably over the past 8 months in terms of fitness and performance. The progress has come however at a substantial cost calculated in time lost due to multiple injuries and lesions, including bone spurs and plantar fasciitis.  As best I can determine, these injuries were the result of the common runner’s plague of trying to do too much too soon.

My primary influences up to this point have been the POSE Method for technique, combined with the knowledge, tactics and strategy employed by the likes of Jason Fitzgerald at Strength Running, as well as what I consider a running bible: Run Faster from the 5k to the Marathon, a book by Brad Hudson and Matt Fitzgerald.

There is no fault to be laid at the feet of these individuals or their methods for my injuries and setbacks. Those are all completely and entirely due to my negligence, ego and contempt for one the most basic tenants of running success: build a proper foundation via base training.

My eagerness to run farther and faster bypassed the basics and I paid dearly for it. Instead of learning from my mistakes I compounded them. With each new injury or week of recovery I felt more desperate to make up for lost time, and though I might give a cursory acknowledgement to ‘easing back into my training,’ I would inevitably overextend my current level of fitness and experience only to find myself in the same situation three to four weeks down the road.

Enter stage left: Phil Maffetone and heart rate training. As per his biographical intro at naturalrunningcenter.com:

Dr. Philip Maffetone is an internationally recognized researcher, educator, clinician and author in the field of food and nutrition, exercise, sports medicine, and biofeedback. He was named coach of the year by Triathlete Magazine, and honored by Inside Triathlon magazine as one of the top 20 most influential people in endurance sports.

Following Dr. Maffetone’s method I can attempt to build the base and foundation that I most likely never acquired while playing ping pong between running too fast and too far, and recovering from aches and pains. Read the specifics regarding Dr. Maffetone’s method known as The 180 Formula.

Being the supremely hard-headed, wanna-be athlete that I am, I could never completely commit 100% to the 180 Formula and run at an uninspiring slow pace on every run. So below we shall review my new and improved bag of tricks.

Each week I will alternate running either three or four times per week. Weeks that call for four runs will be broken down into the following schedule: 3 runs that implement Dr. Maffetone’s heart rate monitoring, forcing me to remain below 150 beats per minute. One run per week will be at any pace I desire based on how I feel that given day, and it may include any of the techniques advocated by Jason and Matt Fitzgerald (no relation) and Brad Hudson such as negative splits, strides or hill sprints. The distance of the four runs is to be considered short to moderate and should be completed in a time ranging from 30 minutes to 1 hour.

During weeks in which I run three times, 2 runs will be short or moderate in length and will fall under the 180 Formula. The long(er) run of the week will be approached via the methods of Fitzgerald and Hudson.

My expectations with this approach are to address my need to build aerobic fitness and efficiency via slow, controlled running within a certain heart rate percentage of my max HR. In addition, with 5 of every 7 runs conducted at a more conservative pace I am much less likely to self inflict stress injuries on my bones and joints. In contrast, a single shorter run and the long run both will be conducted on a perceived effort basis, allowing me to continue to build strength and the ability to improve and sustain pace.

Wish me luck.

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Running through Historic Downtown: San Jose, Costa Rica

The City Tour 10k was designed to take runners on a tour of San Jose’s historic points of interest, while providing the opportunity for fast finishing times due to a flat course with a slight downhill bias. I can confirm that one of the two claims is the absolute truth and the other is subject to debate.

Approximately 465 runners toed the line at 7:30 am on November 11, 2012 for the inaugural running of the City Tour 10k. We took off from the intersection of the University of Costa Rica and the commercial center, Mall San Pedro. The street was narrow and jammed with runners. My plan to pace mile #1 no faster than 10 minutes per mile was quickly abandoned as my concentration was focused on simply finding a clear path. My efforts to move around, rather than through, the crowd were rewarded for the most part. What I will never understand however is why runners line up at the rear of the starting line if they plan on running at a world record pace right from the sound of the starting gun. I was elbowed and jostled more than a couple of times as back of the pack runners decided that the fastest manner to reach the front was to blast directly through the crowd. Not cool.

The streets opened up after about three quarters of a mile and I was able to relax and focus at the same time. Relax because I was no longer concerned about being pushed or tripped by the running of the bulls. Focus because I finally settled into a breathing pattern (thanks Darren,) a cadence, and a rhythm that felt comfortable and sustainable.

The sun was high and bright, even at this early hour. But there was a slight, yet constant breeze that never allowed you to feel hot. In addition, the downtown streets with their tall buildings on either side provided ample long shadows that covered most of the road. If at any time I found myself running in the direct sunlight I could immediately angle my path into the cooler temperatures of the shade without any extra effort or concern.

I potentially made my first mistake of the day at approximately mile #2. I saw a line of runners jogging in place at the first aid station and I decided that I did not need water badly enough to interrupt my thus far, efficient progress. Later in the race I cursed this decision, though hindsight is always twenty twenty.

When I reached mile #3 I was happy, excited and concerned all at once. I was happy because I had not experienced any pain in my foot or knee. I was excited because I was on pace to at least match my 5k personal record time. And I was concerned when I began fretting about whether I could maintain that pace over an additional three miles. I can trend toward the neurotic and slightly pessimistic. And that is not where I wanted to let my mind go.

At approximately mile #4 my second mistake of the day reared its ugly head. Although to give myself the benefit of the doubt, this was a result of simple bad luck and not necessarily a bad decision or choice. I was focused on the long train of runners ahead of me, watching a large group about 100 yards ahead as they crossed from the two right hand lanes over the center median and began running on sidewalk on the left hand side of the avenue. Being a proactive, intelligent athlete I decided, “why wait to cross all the way up there?” I made my move across the lanes without having to dodge any traffic and was feeling pretty good about myself. You might even say smug. That all ended when I heard a voice calling out, “Agua! Agua aca!” Water! Water here! The problem was immediately obvious. The aid station was about 25 yards behind me and on the opposite side of the road. The side I had just abandoned. There was no way I was going to turn around and backtrack, so forward I charged. Into the dry and parched unknown.

I have to admit that I have tunnel vision while running. Rarely do I look around and enjoy the scenery. I’m still cutting my baby teeth on this running experiment and it’s all I can do to stay focused on my newly found mantra of ‘ball-heel-knee.’ There was no mistaking, however, when we reached the mercado central or central market. I didn’t recognize my surroundings so much via sight. But the smell was overwhelming. Urine, alcohol and rotten fish. Not necessarily in that order, but maybe so. It’s all a blur to me now. Literally, there was an audible, collective sigh from the runners as we raced past the unfortunate indigents, drug addicts and fish market workers, who were leaving greasy trails of rank fish oil and slime trailing behind them as they hauled out the putrid and replaced it with the fresh.

Perception and self awareness are highly suspect qualities, and I was amazed that when I reviewed my race data that it did not confirm my belief that there would be a marked increase in pace during the interval through the Avenida Central. In fact, it was during mile #4 that my pace slowed to 9:25. I don’t recall any specific physical challenge at that point and there was no elevation change worth noting  either.

The toughest moment of the race for me occurred at approximately the transition from mile #5 to mile #6. My legs were feeling heavy. The previously smooth cadence of 1-2-3, 1-2-3 was replaced by asymmetric strides and a breathing pattern that lacked, well, any pattern at all. My breathing more closely resembled the start and stop hiccups of a novice driver facing a manual transmission for the first time. And there’s no doubt that my oxygen exchange abilities were as equally inefficient as that driver’s clumsy stabs at the clutch, accelerator and brake.

What ‘saved’ me was an act of generosity, on my part no less. A few feet ahead of me a runner decided to start walking and as I came even with him I slapped him in the shoulder and told him, “follow me.” It took a few steps before he committed, but after I had had him locked in tow on my right hip I felt a strange sense of responsibility, as if I had no choice but to finish strong after encouraging a complete stranger not to follow the completely rational advice his brain was relaying at the moment.

Once I felt confident that my new, random run buddy was motivated to finish, (and I had recovered from my brain-lung disconnect) I decided that there was no other choice but to run hard and ugly for the remainder of the race. It turned out to be my fastest mile of the day, covering the distance in 8 minutes, 33 seconds.

The City Tour 10k will be a memorable race. The weather was great. The course was agreeable and I ran my best race and finish time to date. Some of my math is a little off, as I am drawing data from both the race organizer’s information as well as my own sports watch, leading to splits not adding up exactly to the second. But you’ll get the idea.

The male winner finished in 32:09 and the female winner finished in 43:34

My official chip time: 54:28

I finished 181 out of 281 total male runners and 227 out of 465 total runners.

Splits: 9:40, 8:57, 8:54, 9:25, 9:02, 8:33

Splits Average HR: 160, 169, 174, 179, 180, 182

Avg/Max HR: 174/185

Shoes: Inov-8 Road-X 233

 

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The sad story that is my attempt to run continues, one demoralizing chapter at a time. Right foot: bone spurs and steroid injections directly into my ankle and sole with 3 inch needles. Left foot: bone spurs and plantar fasciitis. And most recently, not to be left lonely and unnoticed, my left knee has developed an intense pain and tenderness directly beneath the kneecap.

But hey, this blog isn’t about feeling sorry for myself, so let’s get to the good news. I am still young and handsome, after all. What’s that? Oh, damn! Never mind.

I took an anti-inflammatory, Celebra, for three days when the knee pain appeared last week. And I’ve adjusted my schedule by reducing my total runs to 4 over the past two weeks. The Celebra eliminated the pain and I did not run while medicating, hoping to bounce back and not look back. Unfortunately things didn’t work out that way, and yesterday after two more days of rest the pain reappeared while walking up the stairs.

On Sunday of this week I am scheduled to run in the City Tour 10k. My performance and preparation are going to be suspect, at best. But that’s life. You do what you can, when you can, and the rest is the randomness of living on a planet that rotates on its axis at roughly 1000 miles per hour.

I received an update from the race organizers stating that due to safety and security concerns the route for the 10k had to be slightly altered. So it looks like we will be running 9.5k instead, which equates to 5.9 miles. That should help me accomplish my goal of a sub 1:00:00 finishing time, but over an incomplete distance.

And now, for those of you who demand to be entertained by a real runner, a guy who is out there running marathons, ultra-marathons and sprinting up Pike’s Peak, I bring you Mr. Sage Canaday of Vo2Max Productions, who recently filmed an adventure run in the Grand Canyon: Rim to Rim to Rim.

Enjoy, and may you have the best run of your life each and every time you lace up your shoes.

 

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10 Miles on a Chilly Day

A great little highlight video of the 2012 Great South Run. 19 minutes total time and includes coverage of both the women and men. One race is decided and won right from the starting line, while the other plays out in a game of cat and mouse until a final sprint separates the finishers.

Enjoy!

 

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