Monday, April 28, 2014

Hall of Fame Half Recap

What a week.  What a weekend.

The wife, wee tots, and I were in the great buckeye state since Easter weekend.  Stayed with family, met with friends, had a couple of good runs, ate a ton of local cuisine, and took my friend to his first baseball game.  All of that will be talked about in a later post.  You're here for a race recap.

One word to describe it: Epic.

Thanks for reading everyone!

Just kidding.  You can't get away that easy...

I didn't train too well for this one.  A few weeks back I went out on that ten miler and felt competent enough to continue with the race, and I'm glad that I did.  The race weekend started, for me, on Saturday at the football hall of fame.

The expo wound it's way through the history filled halls.  After picking up my expo bag I learned about the history of the game.  Checked out a couple booths and walked through the hall with all the player bronze heads.  After that I made my way to the Akron Marathon booth, shuttered, and continued to the history of the super bowl.

The shirt and bib pick up was on the field that the race would be finishing on.  You could tell that they put a lot into the expo.  The only complaints I heard were about having to go through the hall of fame to get their race stuff.  Oh no.  How horrible.  There's always one whiner...

Bib action
I did my best to lay low on Saturday to rest up for the race.  I have a history of doing a lot of stuff the day before a big race.  Not too smart.  The week had been rough, in terms of quality of sleep.  I was sleeping in a bed I wasn't familiar with and there was an evil pomeranian (which doesn't need to be specified since they are all evil) who liked to bark at 5:30 in the morning.  It had made me a little grumpy throughout the week, when I was in the same house with the yapping mutt.  With that being said I made an effort to go to bed earlier on Saturday since I knew I'd be up at 4:15.  I did my usual pre-race ritual of pinning on my bib and setting out all of my clothes.  Included in the ritual was me packing since I would be driving home after the race.

Sunday morning came and I woke up and got to the field much earlier than I had to.  The temperature for race start was in the upper 30s with a light breeze.  My running ensemble included shorts, a long sleeve under shirt, Active:Water jersey, throw away gloves, throw away shirt, and the normal shoes and socks.  I wasn't too worried about the bare legs but many appeared to be.  This choice of clothes is fine for running the race but waiting an hour and a half outdoors this is not the best idea.  In an effort to conserve body heat, and fight off hypothermia, I ducked into a bathroom under the stadium stands.  There were port a johns so I was worried they'd lock the running water bathrooms.  Luckily for me they did not.  When I entered there were already 3 other guys standing in there with the same idea.  They were from Chicago and had just came in the day before.  Felt good knowing that there were some out of state people venturing into Canton, Ohio for a race (even though I guess I fit that mold now).

I reluctantly left my toilet clad paradise to find some friends from the High Mill running group.  Moments after leaving the commode zone I spotted Duane Acito.  We got to catch up for a while and after a good half hour we made our way to the start corrals.  I put myself behind the 2:10 half marathon pacer.  Going into the race I put myself at between 2:10 and 2:15 for a finishing time.  Spirits were high in the corrals.  I hit someone with my arm when I removed my throw away shirt and they were fun about it.  Gotta love the runner community.  A few minutes later I overheard them talking about how to get rid of their throw away clothes and I gave them my way.  Throw it and then look in the opposite direction.  That way if you hit someone they won't know it was you (unless they saw you throw it of course).  I may or may not have done this in Chicago.  In all fairness it's hard NOT to hit someone in the sea of people of Chicago.

There were no speakers so I didn't hear anything about the countdown or national anthem.  A few minutes before the gun went off (which we could hear) I saw another HM runner, Shane.  He was running his first half and was nervous.  He told me how unprepared he felt.  His long run was a 13 mile treadmill session that made him feel like crap.  Ran it at 10:00 a mile.  After that the gun went off and away we went.  I did my usual start slower than most strategy and it went well.  Saw some people I knew in the group of racers and looked forward to mile 4ish when I would see my wife, kids, and mother in law.  There was a good mix of up and down hills for first third of the race.  On Market St., before seeing my wife, I saw a co-worker of mine, from Nationwide, named Kyle.  It's always a pleasant surprise to see people you know on the race course.  He was there for a family member.  Soon after I approached my girls and made a slight mistake.  I took off my throw away gloves and gave one to each of my daughters.  It was definitely an aw moment.  My mother in law handed me my Active:Water bracelet that fell off removing gloves, I kissed my wife, and I was off again.  A few steps later my great friend Jermaine was there snapping a photo.  I probably ruined his photo by running straight towards him and getting a high five.

This brings us to mile 6.  I saw Kyle again (he was biking the course) and then another friend Matt.  I got myself another high five, he complimented my form, and then ran a few steps with me.

Side note: Having people you know cheer you on during a race is a great feeling.  I've invited people out, thinking that most people won't do it (from experience), but man did Sunday feel great.  The lesson from this is that I should run more hometown races.

The next few miles didn't have much to write about.  I saw Kyle again.

Miles 9 through 10 we were in the park below the Hall of Fame.  I saw Kyle again.  Right after mile 10 was when my legs started feeling heavy.  I could feel the lack of training.  It was at this point someone body checked me from behind, it was Shane.  After he apologized for checking me we talked about how he was feeling and he had a big smile on his face.  He said he felt great (rub it in) and I gave him a good luck shout before he kept going.  He was killing it for sure.

It was before mile 12 that I felt like I had run out of energy but I kept going.  I struck up a conversation with someone to get my mind off of things but once he sped up I told him good luck and let him go on his merry way.

The last half mile goes in front of the hall and around a practice field.  Once we button hooked the field you could see it.  The stadium entrance.  I'm just going to come out and say it.  Approaching the finish always chokes me up.  I'm even getting choked up right now thinking about it.  Luckily because of dehydration from all the running no one ever notices!  WIN!  I entered the stadium turned to the finish, gave Kyle a high five, and pushed it through the finish with my arms up in the air.

Final time: 2:05:58.  Did better than I thought.  Not my PR but only a couple minutes off.  After this race I really want to get back into endurance running.  The race experience was that good.

You couldn't tell this was their first year of putting on a race of this caliber.  I will definitely be doing it next year.  Probably going to do the half.  It will be two weeks after I run 29 miles with Daren Wendell on the Run Daren Run cross country run.

I highly recommend you look into the Pro Football Hall of Fame marathon and REALLY look into Run Daren Run.

Football medal has actual pigskin on it
My goal now is to get an under 2 hour half and then train well for a full Marathon by years end.  Either Richmond or Columbus.  I've got the running itch and I'm going to scratch the crap out of it.

Thanks for reading everyone!

Saturday, April 12, 2014


So my first volunteer experience turned out pretty good.  I had a touch of nerves at first, staring at the map hoping that it would tell me what to do, but came away with a good experience.  A few notes from the event:

-I need to drink coffee next time
-Teenage girls, who are forced to volunteer, are not great at following instructions
-No one looks happy while competing
-Keep note of the course closure times
-I put 105 miles on my car...

Throughout the bike portion of the race I did my job of making sure volunteers were in their spots and no cyclists needed help.  I gave all the volunteers my phone number and told them their duties: A. tell the runners where to go with a bright orange flag and B. Call me if anything happens.  I stopped a couple of times for stopped cyclists but was waved off both times.  One was for a woman with a broken clip and another just stopped to readjust.  A couple hours after the race start there were two cyclists left but I noticed something a bit off.  The police were leaving their posts.  The volunteers then left too..

That's not good.

I called the coordinator and they quickly got the police back out for the two remaining riders.  They were about a mile from the dismount.  One of the two was the cyclist with the broken clip.  She couldn't get up hills because her feet had no traction on the clips.  I offered to help or take her and her bike back but she declined.  This isn't surprising.  Regardless of circumstances she was set on finishing.

Arriving back at the YMCA I stood and watched the award ceremony, while waiting for the volunteer coordinator.  During the ceremony the swim captain came up and said something along the lines of "I wonder if that cyclist who got hit by the car is ok."  WHAT?!?  An 80+ year old cyclist got hit by someone blowing through a light.  The car clipped the back tire of the bike and he was fine, but due to his age was taken to the hospital for observation.  The same intersection had three teenage girls with my phone number (that doesn't sound creepy at all).  Not once did they contact me.  There were police there to apprehend the idiot driver though.  Score one for the good guys.

Regardless of someone getting struck on the course I was told I did a great job.  I didn't believe it but she followed it up saying she wanted me to captain again and said she wouldn't tell someone they did a good job if they didn't.  Signed up for the May 18th tri as bike captain again.

The Chasing Chicken triathlon had a the racers actually chasing a chicken..

Now 600.  It has nothing to do with bike captaining a race.  It's a countdown.

When I got back from the race my wife went and laid down because she wasn't feeling good.  This continued to Monday and I had to stay home from work.  A nasty stomach bug worked its way into our home.  I was bored Monday so I did random searches online.  I've mentioned this in the last couple years but I had this crazy plan to complete an Ironman by the time I was 30.   I made this "bucket list" type goal before I was even running.  Wouldn't you guess it but searching for November 29, 2015 told me I had 600 days till my 30th birthday!  Imagine the motivation and excitement that flowed through my veins?

The motivation flow ran dry pretty quick because I came down with the same stomach bug...

Today is 595 days and I'm getting focused.  That 140.6 will be completed.  I've got a long way to go but I'm going to start equipping myself, physically.  By that I mean getting better at swimming.  Still feeling like rubbish about my abilities.  I would sign up for one today if I had confidence in it but that'll come with practice and time.

On the social front, my family actually left our house last night to talk to other human beings!  GASP!  We made our way out to the mighty James river for an open water Richmond Triathlon Club "swim and social".  I was a spectator of the swimming and phew was the current going.  A good 7 to 10 people were swimming in place.  Call it an aquamill (don't call it that).  One of the Thursday trail running Dad's, Joe, came with his wife and kids.  While he was killing it on the swim we played frisbee, cleaned up boo boos, and I opened beer bottles for people without bottle openers (using the side of a picnic table).  After my sober foot was drenched with Sam Adams I had some good tri talk.  Heart rates, race plans, and much more.  It's downright therapeutic talking about endurance sports.  Aimee tuned this conversation out faster than I tune out camera specs.

In other news, I had my YMCA interview on Thursday.  Going for a part time member services position.  I felt like I did extremely well except one minor mistake... I'll elaborate on that in my next post.

Today I'm going to get some miles in on my Nikes.  Maybe 6 to 8.  HOF 13.1 in two weeks in Canton!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Out and Back

This is going to be a short post.

I'm just excited to share about today's run.  It wasn't my fastest or longest but it brought back that feeling I haven't had in a while.

I felt like a runner again.

Started Thursday with a 4 mile trail run.  It was the first time I've gone into a trail run voluntarily.  The last time, which I swore would be the last, was at my first 5k when half of it ended up being through the woods.  Thursday I met up with some local folk who I met on Facebook.  I'm used to running with other people and for the past few months I've been going at it solo.  Actually, every run in the entire month of March I completed on the treadmill.

The guys I ran with were there for their kid's tri practice.  That's right.  Kids tri practice.  There must have been at least 30 kids between the ages of 6 to 12ish taking part in strength drills.  I think 30 is the amount of triathletes in all of Canton.  We bobbed and weaved through a local park and our first two mile lap was around 9:30 a mile.  I wanted to quit at that point.  Many times I held back the "you guys go ahead!" comment I'm so used to saying.  The last tenth of a mile I fell back but I was able to hold my own.  I'll be going back at it next week.

Today's ten mile run was pre-planned a few days back.  I created the route to be on the bike course for tomorrow's Chasing Chicken Reverse Tri, the one I will be volunteering as bike captain.  My plan for the run was to check out the road and make sure there wasn't any debris or issues.  I woke up this morning (and once during the night thanks to my youngest wanting chocolate milk (which she did not get)) not feeling the best.  It's funny how when important things are planned things seem to get in the way.  I was also a good deal sore from Thursday's run (it's always two days after the work out when it hits you).  The illness subsided so I got my running clothes ready, which were half unclean.  I wasn't going to let anything else stop me from going out the door.  Once I put on my stinky clothes I couldn't find my water bottle sleeve or sunscreen.  I still wasn't going to let it stop me.  I put the bottle in my hand and took my pale skin out for a run.

1.4 miles in I stopped because my phone wasn't making any noise and I wanted to know when I hit each mile.  I couldn't figure it out so I kept going.  Most of the run was on a road with either no shoulder or an extremely narrow one.  The motor vehicle operators were courteous.  They would veer  away from the side of the road and I would follow that with a hand wave.  When Bryce and I started running together, a while back, he asked me why I wave to people.  My response was simple, "I wave to anyone who doesn't hit me".

This route had some hills:

I had an idea of the hills because I've driven the bike course a couple times, but it never matches the feeling of running.  I felt like I was keeping good pace though.  A while into the run I finally told myself that I was going to stop to see how far I had went.  It felt like I had gone a good distance but knew that I would overshoot how far I had gone, and follow up the overshooting with some good ole fashioned depression for having a long way to go.  I told myself I had only gone about 3 or 3.5 miles.  What I would see next was great.  5.1 miles!  Over halfway done!  I would fly above the clouds for the remaining 4.9 miles!

Just kidding.  The way back was good but it wasn't great.  I was hilled out and on the last one I stopped halfway up.  The pit stop lasted a good 5 seconds and I kept going.

Finishing the mileage was great though.  The confidence build cannot be measured.  Feels like I'm back.

Tomorrow is the tri.  I'm sure I will post about it.  It will be one of two posts:

1. The race went off well, I learned a lot about triathlons, showed the race director I was a worthy course captain, made some friends, and feel so excited that I can't wait to work another one!
2. Crash and burn

Enough optimism for now!

Thanks for reading!