Monday, February 25, 2013

Round 3

Last time, I wrote about my disappointing results from my second marathon in September. Running is supposed to be fun and healthy. It was my point to make it feel that way. I did make a commitment to myself to not to run slower than a 9 minute mile anytime soon. There has been a lot of racing and running since then. I will now try to bring everyone back up to speed. This might end up being a novel so get ready.

I was not training with Rogue after the Panhandle Marathon (Lubbock, TX). I will be back though. Running can be an expensive sport. Training programs, race fees, multiple pairs of shoes, and apparel can add up pretty quick. I was just going to run/train on my own for the time being. I have been running on average 30-40 miles a week. I planned on ending my running season with the Austin Marathon. My wife and I had thought about moving, so I wanted to run that just in case we do end up leaving. I would have regret moving away without running the full here. I should have signed up for the Austin Distance Challenge because I ended up running 4 of the 6 races anyways.

On my 32nd birthday, I ran the Run for the Water 10 miler. It was a cool and brisk morning which is the perfect running weather. The course was a tad hillier than I thought it would be. When you run with Rogue, you run on streets you would have never run on otherwise. You get familiar with the streets and know where all of the “hills” are. Sometimes your memory fails you though. I went out a little too hard in the beginning because the hills came into play in the middle of the race. The hills felt like they were hiding at every turn. I love hills during training, but not on race day. I was glad once the course took us back to Lake Austin Blvd. Overall, I was happy running a 1:11. Every year, Red Lobster runs the Endless Shrimp promotion. So to honor my time, I ate 111 shrimps.

The Formula Run was not a part of the distance challenge, but I ended up running it because I won a pair of free entries. I brought my buddy Dave with me. We were fraternity brothers at Texas, and we trained and ran our first half marathon (2011 3M) together. The race was at the new Circuit of the Americas course. The race track setup is awesome, and facilities looked world class. I did not get tickets for the US Grand Prix which I was a little bummed about, but I will not miss out on it next year. The course length was a little bit over a 5K. I really do not like running short races. I have no idea how fast I can go for a short period of time. I do not even remember what my time was. Also when you “run a race with me,” I am more than likely to leave you. I am just too selfish and competitive when it comes to races. I feel like I only push myself really hard during race day. During training, I would push myself but never to my maximum potential.

In the month of December, I started to increase my overall mileage because the Austin marathon was only two months away. I started to increase my long run distance and started to incorporate speed and hill work into my running schedule. I used 3M Half Marathon to gauge how my “training” was going. Because I have lost quite bit of weight since running, I had a lot of clothes that did not fit. I had compiled a bunch of long sleeve button downs, perfect to wear to the starting line on cold mornings. It was f-ing cold the morning of 3M. I do not think I have ever raced in weather like that before. At times along the course, you had to run into a headwind, and that did not feel great. This was also the first time I ran a “long distance” race without fuel. I had some Gatorade along the course, but I had no gels or chews with me. My goal was to run an even pace throughout the race. The course was set up a little bit different when I ran it in 2011. The finish had a few more hills. I ended up with a time of 1:31, an 8 minute PR, so I was pretty happy with the results.

The Rogue 30K was coming, and I had no interest in it. I live in Kyle, and the race was in Cedar Park. That is a long drive early in the morning. I was now a full time Beef Team member which meant a portion of my race fees would be reimbursed. I saw that Rogue had a discount code for members, and then all of sudden, I was on board. I was bumping my long distance run by two miles each week. I was supposed to run 18 miles that week, so it just became a win-win situation. 30K is unknown racing distance for me. I did not want to push the pace too hard because the marathon was in three weeks. The plan was to meet up with another Rogue Manny at the start of the race, but I never saw him at the start. My friend Michelle was also running the race. I started the race with her, but left her pretty quickly. I always feel rude when I do this. She was doing all of the Austin Distance Challenge races so she can get her jacket. I wanted to keep the pace under an 8 minute mile because I had no idea what the course had in store for me. It was a really humid day. Once again, I forgo any fuel during the race. The course was also hillier than I expected. It was the story of my life. I kept a steady pace and finally ran into Manny during the run. I ran with him for a few miles and picked up the pace in the end. I finished with a time of 2:26. I really enjoyed the race and saw parts of Cedar Park I would never see otherwise. I think it is my new favorite distance. You would have to train a little bit for it, but nothing like you would do for a marathon. I run all the time so I feel like I would not need to train for a half marathon. It is like the perfect distance. I wish there were more 30K’s out there. Kudos to Rogue on the inaugural race.

I am typically a late registrant for races. I always think I will get hurt and wait till the last minute to register. I am okay with paying the extra cost as oppose to me losing out on money if I cannot make the race. For once, my procrastination paid off. The Austin Marathon was offering a buy one entry this year and get one free entry next year. Before the marathon, I only planned one 20 mile run. In my prior training, I would do 4-5. I felt crappy after the twenty mile run, and I also took no fuel again during the run. The confidence I had after the 30K was shattered. The following week I had a taper run, and race week was suddenly upon us. I ate out all week that week. Most people would advise against this. I wanted to change it up this time around. My throat felt weird on Valentine’s Day, and I felt like I was getting sick. I was like oh no, this cannot be happening. I knew I could not drink Saturday night so we went to happy hour at Moontower Saloon on Friday evening. It was co-owned by a fraternity brother. The place is pretty chill, but it is mostly outside. It was cold that night, and I forgot my jacket at home. I would love to go back once the weather is pretty.

On Saturday morning, I felt like crap. I was achy, coughing, running a fever, and had chills. I napped and watched Teen Mom 2 all day with my wife, +Amber McGee. I tried to keep it really low key and not over extend myself. I loaded up on Costco pizza and Wingstop’s wings for dinner. It took me awhile to fall asleep, but I got a solid six hours of sleep in.Cereal was my go-to breakfast on race days. Because I was sick on Saturday, we did not go to the store. Crap! We were out of milk. I ended up eating pancakes with syrup and Greek yogurt before the race. Lol. That is the breakfast of champions. I was feeling a little bit better this morning. After breakfast, Mother Nature was right on cue. You guys do not want to hear this, but I am glad I am regular. If not, my races could be literally crappy. Amber dropped me off near the finish line. She got me some Lululemon running shorts for Christmas so I was sporting those. They are awesome because they have a zipped pocket big enough for my iPhone and also side pockets too. I wish they had built in compression shorts though.

The race temperature was ideal. It was cool enough that I had to sport a button down to the starting line. I must have looked funny. My wife calls me a trickle runner. I am not fast so I finish behind the main pack of runners. I wanted to run around a 3:20, but there was no pace group for that. I just started a little behind a 3:25 group. I ran with a plastic water bottle to avoid the crowd at the first few water stops. I saw Ruth England, my Rogue coach, and Amber around mile 7. Because I ran the Austin Half last year, the first ten miles were pretty uneventful. I did eat a whole bag of chews within the first ten miles. I have been avoiding any fuel during my long runs so during race day, my body would hopefully treat the food as rocket fuel. When the half and full marathoners split, the vibe changed. My mentality at that point was all business. Right after the turn on to Enfield, it was an uphill climb. I was like what I am getting myself into; this is not going to be easy. The crawl along Exposition was tough, but I got a quick break when I had to stop at a port a potty. Going in, I knew the course was hilly, but I did not expect to see so many inclines.

My wife is awesome. She is always out there in whatever weather Mother Nature throws at her. I always tell her that she can stay home. I always appreciate it when she is out there supporting/cheering me on. I saw her again at mile 14, so I was able to get rid of my gloves and arm warmers. I sucked down a gel right after that. I took on some kind of liquid every water stop to insure I did not cramp. The run up Great Northern was not bad at all, but I did not expect to see anymore inclines expect for the ones on Duval and San Jacinto. I was wrong again. I ate one more gel around mile 20 and was gearing myself for the home stretch. I started to slow down a tad when I turned on to Duval. I struggled up any incline, but I was able to recover pretty well after the peak. I wanted to turn it up along Duval, but it never happened. My pace slowed down noticeably the last 2 miles. I just wanted to finish this thing. Walking crossed my mind a few times, but I am too mentally tough to succumb to do that. The last climb on San Jacinto was terrible. I felt like I was walking up it. I turned on to 11th and was able to give it little bit of gas towards the finish line. When I crossed the line, I was relieved. I ended up running a 3:24:09, a 7 minute PR. I was definitely happy with my result. The pace over the last few miles was never over a 9 minute mile. After races, I normally hit up a brunch buffet like Trudy’s or Iron Cactus. I was still sick so I thought a little soup would not hurt. We went to Pho Saigon, but it was nothing amazing. I have had better.

So what’s next? I might enter a local 5K in March, but my racing season is pretty much over. I will keep a 30 miles running week. I plan to start up with Rogue in September because I plan to do the Austin Distance Challenge next time. The entry fee for the Austin Marathon is already taken care of so that will probably be my next marathon. I hope one of my partners in crime, Cassundra, would get healthy again so she can push me. Amber and I have some big plans for the future so running marathons might take a backseat to that.

Until next time, happy running.