Sunday, February 14, 2010

Palm Springs Half Marathon (Valentine's Day)

I'm not a runner. One reason I played baseball back in the day is you don't have to do a lot of running. Things have changed since my baseball playing days and I'm actually starting to look like someone who runs, at least my wife now calls me a runner...and sometimes a triathlete. As I train for IMCA I've noticed that my running has really improved. It's hard for me to imagine that I now go out for a ten mile training run on a regular basis. With Valentine's Day coming up and my training schedule calling for a twelve mile run I thought it would be fun if my wife Liz and I ran the Palm Springs Half Marathon together. With my training times I felt I could do a P.R. (personal record) and build confidence for IMCA. This would be my third half marathon and first since 2007. My previous best was 1:57:03 at the SIlver Strand Half on Coronado. My goal was to run a 8:50 mile pace. The course was advertised as a flat fast course. My wife having come off of a Boston qualifying performance at RnR Arizona decided to run with me at my pace to encourage me.
We started too far back as the gun went off to start the race and my first mile was painfully slow at 9:15. Of course once we had open ground to run I turned it on wanting to make up the time and then some. Liz cautioned me "You don't have to gain it all back on mile two!" The course turned out to be much more up and down than I expected and at miles nine and ten Liz was concerned I was not going to stay on pace. To add to the concern there was a dead black cat that appeared in the road in front of me that I had to run around. "I'm glad I'm not superstitious" I said, getting laughs from none of the runners around me. I managed to pick up the pace and someone in the crowd cheering said "ninty minutes!" I looked at my GPS and had three miles to go. As I did the math in my head I knew it would be close if I wanted to P.R. WARNING TO THOSE USING GPS! Don't rely on your mile readings! Make sure you validate your running time. I have this habit of looking at the mile time on my GPS and calculating where I'm at with my goal pace in my head. I do this just to preoccupy myself while running. Anyhow, I had myself running an 8:44 pace according to Mr. GPS, the reality was I was running an 8:51. A big difference in time. Fortunately I realized this at mile 12 and kicked in to my reserves and finished at a personal best of 1:56:06. The best part was I beat Liz by one second! ;-) Actually Liz and I crossed the line holding hands. I must have put my foot on the timing mat just ahead of her. It will probably be the last time I ever finish ahead of her in a running race. The race was a success and setting a P.R. while training for IM is icing on the cake.
I just want to thank my heavenly Father who made all of this possible including blessing me with a wife that will run with me for 13.1 miles. Lord, you are so loving and gracious. I thank you and praise your name.

Pre-race nutrition - One banana and small muffin.
During race nutrition - GU drink from water stops. (I've decide I'm not using a fuel belt or carrying a bottle for IM)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Ironman 70.3 Training

I’m now six weeks out from Ironman California (IMCA) and just received my “Athlete Information Guide” from Ironman with all the Do’s and Don’ts and course information I will need. Two things caught my eye. This paragraph:

There will be a NO PASSING / NO SPEEDING zone on the first long descent on Basilone Road (approx 39 to 40 miles into the bike course). The speed limit on this dangerous descent will be 25 miles per hour. ANY RIDER SEEN PASSING OR DEEMED TO BE RIDING TOO FAST OR OUT OF CONTROL WILL BE DISQUALIFIED - NO EXCEPTIONS. This descent will be well marked with blinking lights and signs. Volunteers will be shouting verbal reminders.

Although I know this rule is due to a fatal accident at IMCA a few years ago I couldn't help but feel disappointment that I can’t bomb past all of the tri-geeks that swim way faster than me. Having raced mountain bikes and road bikes there is nothing more satisfying than to go flying by someone on a fast and tricky decent who was probably putting on their bike shoes and helmet while I was still rounding the first buoy on the swim. I've never been told to slow down during a bike race.
The second think I noticed in my “Athlete Information Guide” was this:

Rohto Ironman 70.3 California will offer a limited number of slots on a first-come, first-served basis for the following races:
2010 Ford Ironman St. George
2010 Ford Ironman Coeur D’Alene
2010 Ford Ironman Lake Placid
2010 Subaru Ironman Canada
2010 Ford Ironman Louisville
2010 Ford Ironman Wisconsin
2010 Ford Ironman Florida
2010 Ford Ironman Arizona

Could it be that I might still have a shot to register for IMAZ??
I guess I will find out on 3/27!

Here is a quick snapshot of what my training looked like this past week.
Monday - Recovery Day

Tuesday - Bike one hour with hills.
Wednesday - Run four miles speed work. Swim 1,250 yards.
Thursday - Bike one hour with hills followed by a two mile easy run. (Brick)
Friday - Swim 1,250 yards.
Saturday - Bike 60 miles. 40 miles at race pace.
Sunday - Run 11 Miles. (8:48 mi. pace)