Category Archives: Runs

Badass Running / Walking Profile : Don Lhati

1383556_679266478775016_232238227_nName: Donald Lahti

Home State: Suitland Maryland, although I lived in Duluth Minnesota longer. Now I call San Antonio, Texas home.

BAR: When did I start running?

DL: The late 70’s early 80’s.

BAR: I’ve noticed that, though you participate in all of the running challenges we share on Facebook, you are a walker?

DL: I’ve always enjoyed walking, so when health issues and injuries ended my ability to run, I just switched to walking.

BAR: What motivates you?

DL: My biggest motivation is my health. I’ve been living without a pituitary since 1991 and dealing with worsening neurological issues, possible MS, since 2008. So, if bodies in motion tend to stay in motion, I’m afraid if I stop I’m doomed.

Longest Race: 50K Aug 2012

Hardest Course: The Decker 1/2 marathon in Austin, Texas–Monster Hills Hardest Race: Saturday & Sunday full marathons.

Favorite Race: 3M 1/2 Marathon in Austin, Texas during the month of Jan.

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Favorite Course: The Decker 1/2 marathon. Even though it was horribly hilly I loved it.

Favorite Distance: The half marathon–long enough to be challenging, but still able to finish in less than 4 hrs.

Least favorite Distance: The marathon–6.5-7 hours is too long on my legs and feet. Walking PR’s: 5K–42:05 1/2 Marathon–3:04:00 Full Marathon–6:40:32.

BAR: We see you in pictures with a lot of other runners and walkers. Who inspires you?

DL: Where to start?  First is my family. All of us race for Team Beef; including our granddaughters. My wife works 40hr weeks on her feet, but still gets out and logs 3+ miles in the evening with me, as well as a weekly long walk.

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Our oldest son has completely turned his diabetes around, thru diet & exercise.  In fact he is training for his first full ironman this fall. My youngest son balances work, time with his daughter, and still manages to run or bike regularly. I’m also a member of Team RWB & the I Ran Marathons family, whose many members I’d have a long way to go to match accomplishments with. And of course, there are all of you on team badass. On top of that I always try to live a life worthy of the sacrifices my fellow military members have made.

Bucket List: Grandma’s marathon in Duluth, Minnesota & the Disney World 1/2 marathon.

Favorite Shoes: Due to size 14 4E very flat feet, I wear clunky walking shoes, but my favorites are Brooks Addiction Walkers.

Other Gear: I either wear a hydration vest, or a fitletic quench belt depends on how I feel that day. I also use 2 trekking poles for stability; They’ve kept me off of my face more than once.

Apps/GPS: I’ve been using Map My Walk, but lately it has been really acting up. According to the app, my wife & I walked a 13 second mile the other day; not sure I believe that. I also use a Garmin hand held GPS unit. Not fancy but pretty accurate.

Advice: Just because you are a walker doesn’t mean you have to stroll.10849725_908910649143930_6877550262441194479_n

Badass Running Profile : Joseph Leon Guerrero & Yeti

 


11329653_10206997627689734_270779767_nName: Joseph Leon Guerrero

Home State: Texas

BAR: When did you start running?

JLG: In 2002, I started long distance running after my wife of 22 years suddenly passed away and not long after a coworker said to me, in the middle of my usual five mile run, “Lieutenant, you should sign up and run the Kolekole Pass Half Marathon.” I told him that I couldn’t run that far but he convinced me that I could. Two months later I completed the half marathon in about two hours 45 minutes.

Not long after that, he then said, “Lieutenant, you should sign up for the Honolulu Marathon and run it this December”. Again I told him there was no way I could run a marathon. He said that if I could run a half marathon, I could run a marathon. And sure enough, three months later, I completed my first marathon in 5 hours and 59 minutes. My first three marathons were the Honolulu Marathon.

BAR: Why do you run now?

JLG: I run now because I am addicted to it. I love getting all the medals. I enjoy seeing my friends at all the races and it’s great to get out and exercise.

BAR: What motivates you?

JLG: Challenges motivate me. I am very competitive and get a rush when I complete a challenge.

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Longest race: My longest race was a 50K that I ran in August of 2012 in San Antonio and it was held by I Ran Marathons on Leon Creek. It took me 7 hours and 57 minutes. The race director has a “No runner left behind policy”. This was perfect since I’m not fast.

Hardest course: My hardest course is the Chosen Marathon in New Braunfels TX because of all the rolling hills. It is an out and back that follows the Guadalupe River along the mostly shaded River Road. Despite being difficult, I’ve managed to get PRs on 2 of the 3 times running this marathon.

Hardest race for you: My hardest race was the Tulsa Route 66 Marathon in 2012. The reason it was hard is because the day before I ran the Warmup Marathon in nearby Jenks OK.

Favorite race (location / dates in case people would like to try it): My favorite race is the Seabrook Lucky Trail Marathon in Seabrook TX. I have been running that race each year since 2007 excluding 2012 when I ran the Shamrock Marathon in Virginia Beach VA. Seabrook is held during Spring Break and is a two day event. The first day is a half marathon and you have the choice of running another half or a full marathon the next day. If you complete both days, you receive a third medal.

If you run a total of 10 marathons or 20 half marathons or any combination totaling 262 miles on their course, you become a member of their Hall Of Fame and receive a plaque to commemorate your achievement. This past March, I received Hall Of Fame status.

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Favorite course (same): My favorite course is on Leon Creek in San Antonio where I Ran Marathons holds many of their races. It is a 3.275 mile out and back course along a nice paved trail. It takes 4 round trips for a half marathon and 8 for a full marathon. Because of this, you get to see your friends frequently and there is an aid station on each end. I volunteer at and run many of these races.

BAR: What are your favorite and least favorite distances, and why?

JLG: My favorite short distance race is the 5K because it’s over with pretty quickly.

My favorite long distance is the half marathon. When I run it, I’m usually done between 2:30 to 3:00. It’s a decent time and there are still plenty of runners behind me.

My least favorite is actually the marathon despite completing 38 of them. I’m slow and it takes me an average of about 6 to 6.5 hours. It takes a toll on my body and I’m usually one of the last runners to finish. Many times everyone is already gone and very little food and snacks are left. Kind of depressing.

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BAR: Tell us about running with your dog Yeti. All of us on Team Badass have fallen in love with him – the pictures, his medals. What made you start running with your dog? How many races does he have behind him? Medals? Do you have any tips for people who might want to try running with their dog?

JLG: I received Yeti on Easter Sunday 2009 from a friend of a friend named Michelle. He was 7 months old and came from a breeder in Tennessee. I took him on a two mile run that afternoon and he loved it. He also attracts a lot of attention. We’ve been running together for 6 years and have logged over 2,000 miles. Last year Yeti ran 54 races with me. All total, he has about 100 races under his belt or let’s say “leash”. He has 40 running medals and one trophy. He has completed at least 20 half marathons and his longest distance is 16.4 miles. He also enjoys tubing down the river with me, fishing on shore or on a boat, hiking, running beside me when I’m on a bike, and going to the dog park to run around with his other buddies. There are very few races I run without Yeti, and when I run into my friends, the first thing they say is: “Where is Yeti?”

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My advice on running with a dog? Well, the dog will like running or simply will not. Test the dog out at first. If you do long runs, feed him well the day before and get plenty of rest. Also make sure you give your dog water just as you give yourself. They need to stay hydrated too.

BAR:  Care to share your PRs?

JLG: PR 5k 26:17 Schertz / 5 Mile 49:39 Whine Run/ 10k 52:00? / 10 Mile 1:40:55 Austin/ half 2:10:17 Moe’s Half / full 5:09:16 Jenks / 50K 7:57:20 I Ran Marathons.

BAR: I’ve seen you running with your children in a lot of races. Have they always been runners?

JLG: My kids (4 boys/1 girl (youngest)) are all grown and are either in the Navy or the Marines. They run in the military but not long distances.

Did they start because of your inspiration?

Yes, I did my first marathon in 2002. Two years later my second son Mike, a Marine ran the Honolulu Marathon with me and we finished in 5:57. In 2013, my oldest son Joe, his wife Melissa, and my daughter Jessica ran the Virginia Beach Shamrock Marathon with me. I have run about 5 half marathons with Jessica and 1 with Joe.

BAR: What is it like being part of a family who can share those moments?

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JLG: It’s a great experience being in my mid-50s and being able to go the distance with my children. In April, Jessica, myself and her friend Sarah hiked 120 miles of the Appalachian Trail that runs the entire length of Shenandoah National Park in VA in 10 days.

BAR: Are you a member of any running groups. If so, can you tell us a little bit about them?

JLG: I’m am  currently a member of Marathon Maniacs, Half Fanatics, The 2015 SunRype Team, and Texas Beef Team, I coach for I Ran Marathons and also for Girls On The Run Bexar County. I was also a 2014 U.S. Road Running Ambassador.

BAR: What other runners, professionals, friends, etc. inspire you and why?

JLG: My two favorite runners are Larry Macon and Parvaneh Moayedi, both hold multiple Guinness world records for marathon running and both live in San Antonio. Larry is 70 years old and has completed over 1,400 marathons. Parvaneh has at least 700 marathons and has a goal to be the first woman to complete 1,000 marathons.

BAR: What are your bucket-list goals as a runner, this year and beyond?

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JLG: My goals are:

Double Half COMPLETED 2014 Double Full COMPLETED 2012 twice Double Half and Full COMPLETED 2008 Triple Half COMPLETED 2015 Triple Full Quad Half Quad Full 50K COMPLETED 2012 50 Miles COMPLETED 2015 as a hike in 5 days. 100 Miles COMPLETED 2015 as a hike in 9 days. Section Hike the entire Appalachian Trail (109 of 2,174 miles completed) Bike 100 miles COMPLETED 2011, 2012, 2013. (Sound like you’ve already completed most of them, and the year is young!)

BAR: Do you have a favorite pair of shoes, or brand of shoes? Why?

JLG: I have run in Mizuno since 2002 and switched to Hoka One One in 2013. Last year I did a gait analysis had went to Newtons. I own 3 pair and switch out depending on what I’m wearing. My hiking boots are Merrells MOAB.

BAR: Is there any other gear you consider essential?

JLG: I carry a hydration belt with 2 ten ounce bottles. The pouch holds my car keys, inhaler, SunRype, and poop bags.

On trail runs I carry a hydration vest with 2 twenty ounce bottles. I also carry the same items as when I wear my belt.

BAR: Do you recommend one over another? Are there brands / items you’d like to try?

JLG: I use the belt more often since I’m only carrying either 10 ounces or 20 ounces and when water stops are available. I use the vest when I don’t have water stops. I now carry a 20 ounce filtering bottle on my vest so I can get spring, river, run off or lake water on longer runs or hikes.

BAR: What apps / GPS equipment do you use. Are there others you’d like to try?

JLG: I use my MapMyRun app on my phone. On long distance I use that and my Garmin 310XT or when I want to view splits and average total pace.

BAR: Any advice for runners trying to catch up and keep up?

JLG: My advice is to take it slow and enjoy the run. Lately I have walked or run/walk many of my half marathons alongside my friends and talked the entire way. You will be surprised how fast the time goes by and how much you learn about the person you’re beside. One of the things I preach concerning long distance is: “It’s not how fast you go, it’s how long you can go slow”

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2014 – The Road to 1000 Miles, A Marathon & More

aimhigh2014 has been quite the year for me, as a runner.  Back in January, I was sweating the approach of April, and my first 1/2 Marathon. I was averaging 8-10 miles a week … long runs were in the 6-7 mile range and I was mostly on the treadmill.  In March, I did what has become a traditio for me.  I went out to run the 13.1 to prove to myself it was not beyond my reach.  I ran closer to 18 miles that day.  I got lost.  I learned a lot and got so dehydrated I was a wreck for days.  In April, I ran the Dismal Swamp Stomp (already registered again this year) and ran it in two hours and forty or so minutes.

I have dropped from 235 pounds to 195 and stayed there.

In May, there was the 5K a day in May challenge.  I started strong, and I was kicking major butt through the first 3/4 of the month, but in the last week, I injured my foot (I think it was a stress fracture).  Inestead of resting – I had a 5k race I’d signed up for – I powered through.  That cost me the 5k a day in May, and it cost me what would have been my first 100 mile month.  I was out of commission for nearly three weeks, and had a major paradigm shift in shoes from minimalist Vivobarefoot shoes (which made my feet strong but offered little protection) to zero-drop Altra shoes (which I still love).

In June I got the belt buckle that I wear to this day – 100 miles in one month, and I had to do it (basically) starting on the 13th with almost no miles logged.  I passed the 100 mile mark, and have gone more than 100 miles every month since.  I am still learning to properly take care of my feet, but I work at it, and I will not go through that injury mistake again.  Somewhere along the middle of June I signed up for the Rock ‘n’ Roll 1/2 Marathon in August in Virginia Beach, and continued running.  As often as I could, I stretched the distance,  eight, nine, ten mile runs.  They were hard, but I found my 5K and 10k times getting better.

In August, I cut twenty minutes off my 1/2 marathon time.  I ran on, and I continued to up my distance.  I think it wsa in September when I signed up for the Newport News One City Marathon – even signed Crossroad Press (my publishing company) up to sponsor mile #13 (at that time it was as far as I was certain I’d go).

I ran a lot of miles in October, working my way up.  I did a 17 mile run and felt fine at the end.  Went shopping and mowed the lawn.  Still, that thing that always itches at my mind…itched at my mind.  I asked for (and got) a Camelback hydration pack for my birthday in October.  In November, I strapped it on, filled it with water and snacks, and headed out to run a marathon.  Just like the first time…I got lost.  Then I got found and figured out where I was, and I made that course stretch to the 26.2, despite having missed a major turn.  At mile 23 the love of my life brought me a bottle of Power-Ade.  I ran on, and I finished the marathon in 5:32 … so now I know.

Today, I broke my 5K record.  Last January I was hovering around 30 minutes on my best day for a 5K …  Today, I ran one in 25:42.  To cut off five minutes in only 3.1 miles…not as easy as it might seem.  Particularly when you ar 55.  I can see myself trimming it farther in the year to come.  All of my running  goals for this year plus one have been met.  Below is a small photo gallery of the year’s fun… and here are my stats since I started running seriously again a year and a few months ago.  Thanks to all of you who have helped, encourged, laughed, and even those of you who doubted…

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1509252_627002177385562_2339177033203130631_n 1560418_666679526751160_3530911555378125794_n 10153147_723186664433779_4494383650738960157_n 10288702_776483342384576_379417839108321102_n 10307388_697833150302464_424842975923841996_n 10371733_648796958539417_379936933376732447_n 10624577_708439112575201_3167275576885964716_n 10629559_705252976227148_8680488976994091742_n 10658897_705283222890790_844512759714725799_o 10659225_699883833430729_9128987897942379913_n 10662178_705283239557455_6222798063712425941_o 2014-11-18 15.23.17 2014-11-15 15.34.41

26.2 Miles – What I Learned from Them

26.24On Monday, 11/10/2014, I set out from home at about 8:30.  I had on my Altra Torin shoes, my Camelbak “Marathoner,” a birthday present from the family, several protein bars and Gu packs, my MP3 player, loaded up with part III of SWANSONG by Robert McCammon, and my game face.  One of the things that has characterized my running is the desire to get past the “I wonder if I can” stage of preparing for a race.  My first marathon was supposed to have been in March – The Newport News One City Marathon, which I’m looking forward too.  Still, that’s a winter away, and winter is the worst running time for me.  Right now I’m coming off hundreds of miles of training over sprint, summer and fall, and I just could not wait for March.

I had a plan (If you’ve read my posts about running long distances on my own before, you know that was futile).  I had a course set that should have brought me home just over 27 miles.  It was a reasonably simple map, and I carried the instructions with me, but there was a point – no road signs – where it just says, left, right. left right, and then turn right.   There were, of course, more options in that stretch than there should have been, and on that crucial final turn, I went…left.  Somehow.   I was supposed to run in to Elizabeth City, NC, and then loop back around toward home on familiar roads. Instead – when I finally poked my head back out onto Highway 17 about halfway into the run (a little over, maybe 14 miles) I was almost in HERTFORD, NC – the exact opposite direction from Elizabeth City.

By this point I had already nearly been blown off the road by a truck, chased by two packs of not-exactly friendly dogs, and gotten directions from people in two very “rural” yards.  One couple informed me I was way off track, but still better off than they were.  Their car woul dnot start, they were stranded, and they could not RUN all the way to the highway…made me smile.

So, anyway, there I was.  What I did was start calculating in my head.  I turned and ran back toward home, and just before hitting 16 miles, I turned left again, crossed back over the highway, and took the route I normally take on my 12 mile track (the one I got lost on LAST time).  26.21 26.22

I figured it like this.  No way I was not running the full 26.2 after all the preparation, and after telling everyone I was going to.  I planned to run half of what was left, turn around, and run back to that same point on the highway, then make it the last couple of miles to home and be well over my 26.2.   Except, what happened was that before I had quite hit that halfway point, I hit the final turn on my 12 mile course…and I took it rather than getting lost (lol)  So… on I traveled.  More dogs … a caterpillar … By this point I was at about 20 miles and speed was no longer an option, but I was still moving.  I stopped for a moment and called home at about 22 miles.  Trish was kind enough to drive out and bring me a bottle of Gatorade at mile 23.  I also gave her my camelback at that point, which helped.

The Gatorade was like magic.  I’d had a lot of water, and I still had water left, but it was no longer really rejuvenating me at all.  Of course, when I gave her the Camelbak, I forgot that my phone was in it – so I was then cut off, and had sent my “Mapmyrun.com” app home.  I kept going.  I had the Garmin watch, and it was going strong.  When I hit the turn to home, I started thinking.  I was going to be short.  Not a lot, but it was going to be – like – 25.78 … no good.  In the hardest running decision of my life, I turned AWAY from home and ran anouther 3/4 of a mile.  That was the defining moment.  After that I swung toward home, and I still felt okay…end in sight.

I walked / ran / stumbled the last mile … managed to remain upright through a shower … and plopped into my chair.  Then I got UP and drank a root beer, and a pepsi, ate an “Outshine” fruit bar, and got back IN to the chair.  Trish had gone to get Katie from school at this point.  Then I got UP again, ate a baloney sandwich and took the dog for a short walk.  The next time I got into the chair, I stayed until dinner…

So now I know.  I can go the distance, and complete it.  It feels good to be part of the 26.2 club…and today – after one day off – I’ll head out for my recovery run smiling.  25 miles from now, I will post again… that is when I will hit 1000 for the year, and I think I’ll take a look back at it for highlights.  Feelin’ kind of #badass today.

I did this (without planning to) on the USMC birthday.  To all my marine buddies, active and retired… Ooo freakin’ rah.

-DNW

Motivation – Challenges – They Help Runners Excel

When I started out a little over a year ago, running sad little mile and a half bursts from  my house, I had motivation.  I was getting too heavy.  I felt tired all the time.  I needed a “comeback” and so, I set a goal.  I wanted to run 100 miles from August when I started to my birthday that October 28th.  I came in ahead of that challenge, and so, I set another one.  I signed up for the Dismal Swamp Half Marathon in April, trained all winter, and again – I succeeded.  Then there was the 5K a Day in May challenge (I fell slightly short of that, three days, I think, because I injured my foot).  In July I signed up to finish 100 miles in July and get a nifty belt buckle.  I wear that buckle every day, and have exceeded 100 miles a month ever since.

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 More recently we had a team challenge in one of the Facebook groups I’m part of.  We were supposed to pick a mileage goal from August 1st to October 1st.  Unfortunately, I thought it sayd August through October, and I said I’d go 300 miles.  I only got 237, but that’s fine… it was the challenge that did it.

Now I’ve set myself a new challenge.  I’m not only a runner, I’m an avid football fan.  I’m not only an avid football fan – I’m a rabid SAN DIEGO CHARGERS fan.  I live on the east coast now, and that makes it hard.  I haven’t seen them live since one of the companies I worked for a while back took me to see them in the new Redskins stadium.  We lost, but that didn’t matter.

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This year, I’ve decided that, since I can’t stop myself from saying “WE” are going to go all the way this year, and since I know I can’t get out on the field and help, that I’ll do SOMETHING … because it’s better than nothing, and because it is a new goal. I have several now, and I’ll see them all complete about the same time.  I will run 1000 miles this year (probably by early December).  I will also run 254.6 miles between the 1st of October and the Superbowl – the distance down Highway 8 from San Diego to Phoenix.  I figure, if they are going to work all season to get there, the least I can do is put in some personal effort.

If you’re a fan, and you have some bit of Chargers memorabilia – shirts, hats, bandannas, whatever, and you want them to go with me on one of my runs, send them along.  If you have suggestions on how I can use this running to benefit a charity, I’m all ears.  If you happen to know Philip Rivers, let him know I’m out there, pounding the pavement and thinking about February.  Heck, I even have a Jackalope decked out in all my running “Bling” – race medals, a Chargers pennant – and who knows?  Virtually running across the mountains into Arizona, I might see a relative of his…

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If you are a runner – keep finding goals.  You are welcome to join our Facebook Group –Team Badass, Miles & Smiles.  We’d love to have you.   Me?  Time to hit the road.  I’ve only done 11.5 miles in the last two days, and I have a LONG way to Phoenix…

David Niall Wilson

9.11 Mile Freedom Run 2014 Dismal Swamp Trail

911Yesterday morning I got up at 5:30, walked the dogs, gathered the few things I had not prepared the night before, and headed out.  I had about a 35 minute drive to the starting line at the  beginning of the Dismal Swamp Canal Trail – and I didn’t want to be late.  This race allowed pickup of packets / shirts / etc. at race day (for me this is a wonderful thing, because the closest organized races are at least as far away as Virginia, and I hate having to either make two trips up there in two days, or paying for a hotel every time I want to run. This way I was able to be there on time, get my stuff, and have some time to prepare mentally for the beginning of the race after I was there.

There were about 200 runners, spread across the 9.11 mile run, the 5k and the “cub” run for the kids.    There were 116 runners in the 9.11 mile run that I participated in.  I came in 47th.   That said, the spread between myself and the upper groups was a lot smaller than usual.  I finished with a time of 1:27:47 – my average pace was 9:39.  My personal goal for this race was to finish in 1:30 so I cracked that, and felt good all the way through.

One thing about races – I started in a pack and felt as if I was pretty much running where I was comfortable.  This is where the Garmin 310x comes into play.  We were running in the 8:45 per mile range.  While I can do that in a 5K now I think, I am unlikely to maintain it through a longer race.  I knew I had to slow down somehow, and shortly it all spread out a bit.  I moved to the outer edge of the trail and slipped into my more comfortable 9:15-9:30 range.

Those of you who read my somewhat longer posts on my way to my first 1/2 Marathon, on this same trail, will remember that I ran that race “with the butterflies” – Tiger Swallowtails, and Black Swallowtails hovered around  me, flickered out over the patch, and generally kept me smiling through that first long race.  This time out – there was a single large butterfly.  I saw him at about the 8.5 mile point.  It was a big Black Swallowtail that flitted out, waved its wings at me, and flew on off, like it was saying “you got this” – I ran the last 1.1 miles at a 6:40 pace… (according to the watch) so there was gas in the tank.

This race was run by http://www.mettleevents.com/ and was very well supported.  There weren’t a lot of water stops, but it’s not that long a race, and those that were there were well stocked, well manned, and well policed.  There was pizza, beer, ice water and the standard bananas, as well as other fare available at the few sponsor booths.  Not a huge race, but a fun one, and one I will remember because it’s an indicator that the unofficial strategy is working.   I am able to maintain the pace I need (first) for a 2: hour 1/2 marathon for longer, and longer runs.  I can also now run a 1/2 marathon quickly ehough that if I walk a lot of the second half of a full marathon, I’ll make it under the time limit (runner, not a racer).

The Garmin 310x synced and worked great, while last race I had the Forerunner 110 and it was absolutely unable to get a sattelite fix.  Mapmyrun and the gps also managed to stay in sync…the time from Chronotrack and my watch were very close….  Great reace, and I will definitely run it again.  Come on out and join me!

The Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach 1/2 Marathon 100% humid!

VB14_MedalRevealHalf600x600This will be a sort of long post, because I want to try and get my impressions of my first race of this scale down and share them.  I saw a lot of different numbers tossed around on how many people were involved, but when I went to get my results, it appears that just under 8000 runners ran the race.  That’s more by four time than the largest event I’ve previously entered.   There were a number of elite runners, and the start was done using corrals.  I have no idea how many there were.  I was supposed to start in #10, but I ended up in #13.  The lines for the facilitiies were really long, and my hotel was just across the street, so I cut it close and ran back.  Glad I did.  They were already moving the corrals forward when I slipped in through the #10 gate.

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Before the race, I had the pleasure of meeting fellow badassrunning.com member Joseph Leon Guerrero, as well as Katrina Gay, whose challenge back in May – the 5K a day in May challenge – helped me get my miles up over 100 a month, and introduced me to a whole team of dedicated runners and great people that have become friends.

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Left to right – myself, Joseph, Katrina, and Tabatha Navarra

This was my first chance to meet any of them in person – except for Roland Curit, who served with me in the US Navy back in the day.  The thing that makes it all fun, and possible, is the community – the opportunity to share something you are passionate about with like minded others.  Not everyone loves running, I can tell you – and fewer still like to hear me go on and on about it (my wife is a saint, and my daughter only gives me occasional eye-rolls).

I think they released each group of runners 1 minute apart.  We had announcers from FM 99, WNOR, one of the local rock stations, and they were pretty entertaining, but everyone was focused.  I set and started my “Mapmyrun” app to record my miles, and got my Garmin 310x read to go.  Finally it was our turn, and we were off.  For the first mile, I think almost that far, anyway, it was hard to break away from the group, and they were running slower than I wanted to run.  My normal pace is right around 9:30  per mile.  They were running 11:00 and you had to be very careful not to bump people, trip people, etc.  Once it stretched out, I picked it up, and started moving up.

The weather was great at the start.  It was in the upper mid 70s – overcast a little – and my hope was this would continue through to the finish, since I expected to be there by about 9:30.  What I didn’t count on was the humidity.  Here is where my lunch time training has come in handy.  I have been running in 85 degree weather with high humidity since July, and I was pretty much used to it.  I drank at every water stop and every gatorade stop, and I sipped my own supply as I went.  I’d carried a washcloth from the hotel to keep my face wiped…that was soaked by mile five, along with all my clothes and my hat…but I felt strong.

I think I spent a little too much time walking through the water stops, but honestly, there were so many people that if you tried to run through you were a danger to yourself and others.  I kept my pace as steady as I could.

Having the bands there was amazing.  At one point, according to my garmin, I ran a stretch that was a 7:21 mile pace.  I’m sure it was crossing in front of one of the live bands provided, though I don’t know which one, or which song.  I swear I almost danced when the music was loud.

There is a bridge you run over, once on the way out, once on the way back.  When I hit it on the way out, there were two girls next to me.  Nice tattoos, and looking strong.  They sort of looked at each other and said “kill it” and took off up that hill.  I followed, and it was a good move.  It cleared out a lot of the people in front, and at the top, I still felt good.  I did the same thing on the way back, and it was a real motivator to be running hard then – at about 12 miles – and make it to the top.

I passed couples.  I passed a lady with a shirt that said “if you are reading this you were just passed by a pregnant lady” and I congratulated her.  Same with  another lady whose shirt said “If you’re going to pass me, at least wish me a happy birthday,” and I did…so did everyone.

At about mile 9,  I started getting twinges in my right calf as if it might cramp.  I fear the cramp.  I know it would have put me down, and likely out.  I eased up.  At one point, when it threatened again near mile 12, I walked a bit, and of course that is when my son and his buddy showed up to take my picture.  I had them run on a head, and got going again…   Despite the water stations and the short bouts of calf-babying, I managed to keep on pace for a new PR.

The end was amazing.  Signs, cheering familes, clubs, churches, any group you can imagine was there – all of the encouraging the finishers, fast and slow.  The winner passed us all on the way back at about 5 miles in.  He finished in just over an hour…amazing.  He was absolutely flying over the course at slightly over 5:00 per mile.  I can’t imagine running that fast, but I can imagine what it feels like, because I think it’s probably not that different from being a come-back kid, 54 year old man  who couldn’t finish  a mile and a half one year before this race without walking – and finishing 13.1 miles with a personal record.  I finished at just over 2 hours and 27 minutes.  My previous best in an official race was 2 hours 32 minutes and some changes.   Every time I run that distance, I feel stronger and faster, and I hope that’s true because I’m on my road to the full marathon next March.  It feels more like a dream than reailty.

Highlights: the organization was absolutely amazing.   The EXPO was huge, with representative shops from Brooks and a lot of other big name running manufacturers, power bars, snacks, gel packs – you name it.  There was a lot of emphasis on charity and helping others with your miles.  There were dogs – and two of them ran the race (well rode the race) pushed in a stroller.   The support was fantastic.  There was a girl who went down on the track, not sure why, and she was immediately surrounded… people got out of the way, helped, let the ambulance in – everything was handled professionally and perfectly to allow those of us there to run … to run.  At the finish there was food, drink, every sort of refreshment you can imagine, and plenty of it.  The city continued the hospitatlity, church groups handing out icy water and more snacks on the street outside the gates.

I know there was an amazing afterparty – TRAIN played the beach, and I wish I could have seen that, but it’s a holiday weekend, nearly done now, and I mssed my family.   I got my run.  I got my finisher’s medal.  I got my personal record, and I got to meet some amazing people – some of whom I consider my friends, though I only know them from running – and on-line conversations – and challenges.

I would love to do one of these again one day, but a race of this magnitude is a big commitment of time and money.  Most of my running is solo and personal, but the friendships it’s brought me, and the excitement and intenisty of competetive runs are sort of my gauge progress.  When you finish a race like that – you know you have accomplished something.  I shared that feeling with 7,000 plus other runners, and that makes it special.

Next race?  The FREEDOM RUN – 9.11 miles on The Dismal Swamp Canal trail – where I ran my first 1/2 last fall.  More info by clicking HERE – come run with me.

 

Runner’s High, Batteries Low

 

sneaker

I did my daily run after dinner this evening. I probably didn’t wait long enough for the food to digest because I was huffing and puffing after 1/2 a mile. But I got control of my breath by the end of the first mile. As I was finishing my normal 4 mile route, I realized I was not out of breath and I was neither sore nor bored. So I kept going for another loop. Mind you I have never run more than 4 miles in my life and I only accomplished that feat last week. As I was closing in on 6 miles, I realized I was almost at 10K distance and still under 1 hour, so I picked up the pace and watched MapMyRun tick off 6.2 miles at 59 minutes and change, I started laughing out loud. I told myself “Keep Going!!” and I did – for about another couple minutes when I realized, this is nuts. Why ruin a good thing with an injury? So I hit pause on my app and admired my time. I kept it on pause so I could listen to music while I walked my cool down route. Half way through the cool down my phone battery starts dying and my app disappears. That’s when I realized, I never uploaded my run to MapMyRun. I was afraid I was going to lose proof of my best ever day of running. So I started SPRINTING home to get my charger. I was flying!! It felt effortless. For the first time in my life, I experienced a runner’s high. What will my legs feel like tomorrow?

Roland

Little Miami Half-Marathon Review

Ohio Running puts on great events.  They don’t put on many, but the ones they do put on, they give you quite a bit of bang for your buck! The Little Miami Half-Marathon and 10k is their “main event”.  This is the race that they put the most effort into, and it’s the race with the best turnout.  This is my review of the race.

Continue reading Little Miami Half-Marathon Review

A Fartlek by Any Other Name…

2014-06-04 07.54.32So, lately I have been fighting that age-old runner’s urge to run, and then walk, and then run.  I know there are people out there who advocate this as a method of running, and I am glad that it works for them, but for me it’s discouraging and not helpful.  If I am going to run…that’s what I expect to do.

Today I tried something different, and, as it turns out it’s just a modified version of something other runners have been doing for a long time – a “Fartlek”.  This is something developed by a Swedish running coach – random shifts in speed throughout a workout – not planned, like interval training, but more spontaneous.  What I did was slightly different, and yet, very much the same.

When the urge hit to walk, I did the opposite – I sped up.  Not to a sprint, but noticeably, letting myself go.  As soon as I started to tire, or my mood shifted, I eased back to my normal lunch-run pace.  Every time that walking urge returned, I lit out.

I don’t know if this is exactly a Fartlek, but here’s what happened.  By about 1.5 miles, I knew I’d better keep going or I’d hate myself. The reason?  I was really moving.  My pace increased almost dramatically overall.  By the time I hit 3.1 miles, I’d managed a 27:16 – only 9 seconds slower than my personal best (which was motivated by a young kid about to beat me).  This will bear more thinking, I know, but for now it felt great.  Finished off a very slow, almost leisurely 2.4 or so more miles… great workout.

I will call it  (instead of run /  walk)  Run / Run Faster.

It’s a thing.