Thursday, February 25, 2010

WARNING... dork alert!

Ouch... triathlete alert! So I finally got a look at my pictures from the Mercedes Half Marathon and sure enough, I look like a total dork. Exhibit A was taken somewhere around mile 9, IIRC.

Surprisingly enough, in Exhibit B, taken 4 miles later just before the finish, I was still wearing the same apparel!

Now then, we'll have to dissect the ridiculousness one piece of apparel at a time. First, the arm warmers. Mr. Stover thinks running in a singlet and arm warmers is akin to running around in Newtons with an M-dot tattoo on your leg. However, note Exhibits C and D, Ryan Hall and Dathan Ritzenhein. Both are my age (coincidentally), both are very fast runners, and both have worn arm warmers and singlets recently in races. Additionally, neither of them run or swim. While I'll agree this is foolish in training, this is a very effective choice in racing as it enables you to stay warm without being constricted by a long sleeve shirt.

Now, on to offense #2, the compression socks. The recent rise of compression socks has been well documented talk of a ban at Kona last year caused quite an uproar, leading to its reversal. I had never considered racing in them before, mainly because there was now way I was going to try to swim in them or try to put them on during a race. Furthermore, I actually enjoy running without socks in my racing flats, so I really saw no point.

However, this winter has been especially cold here in the southeast and there were a few weeks where I was doing everything I could to keep warm on runs. One of the solutions was to run start running in my Sugoi R+R Compression Socks. I really dont like cold weather and quickly found I could run in colder temps with them and shorts where otherwise I'd have to wear pants (I dont run in tights). I dont like to wear shorts under 40F so when the temperature at the start of the race was 30F, compression socks it was.

As a bonus, I have more photographic evidence that compression socks are, actually, OK to wear. Exhibit E: Simon Whitfield in Maui:

Monday, February 22, 2010


S: 24,700yds
B: 2h 45min
R: 3h 30min

Total: 12h 45min

Yeah.... so that happened. Not a great week of training due to the necessity for some recovery from the half marathon on the front end and the Timex Multisport Team Camp on the back end. While camp wasnt exactly great for training (NY, no pool, no bike, etc.), it was a lot of fun and as usual got me really pumped for another year of racing. I'm really grateful to Timex for providing the funding and Team Sports for putting everything together and selecting me to race with such a talented group of individuals. I'll hopefully have a little summary up later but for now you can check out the team blog as a couple of people have already offered up their summaries.

Monday, February 15, 2010


S: 24,700 yds
B: 2h 30min
R: 5h 4min

Total: 14h 4min

Only 2h 30min of biking? Ahh yes, thats my kind of week!

Mercedes Half Marathon Race Report

Yesterday morning I ran the Mercedes Half Marathon in Birmingham, AL. Although racing a half marathon usually ends up being pretty painful, I had plenty of incentives to run. First and foremost, racing a half on Sunday morning meant I didnt have to go biking on Sunday or Saturday which is a huge bonus in the winter. Biking sucks in general but biking in the winter is just plain awful. Additionally, this race had Jim & Nick's BBQ and AYCD free beer at the end, so what else could you ask for?

The morning started with a nice jog with fellow Huntsvillian Tim Vinson who was "just using the race as a tempo run" and "wanted to get in four before the start." So I jogged a couple of miles with him before finalizing my clothing decision. The weather at the start was around 30F and sunny, so I went with shorts, a singlet, arm warmers, a Headsweats running hat, and, yes, compression socks. As silly as they look, I am not embarrassed to admit that I actually really like running in my Sugoi R+R Compression Socks when its cold out as they really do a nice job keeping my lower legs, especially the achilles, warm.

After a few brief words by the mayor, we were off. There was quite a bit of activity the first mile with people figuring out how fast they wanted to run but I was happy to come through in 5:27. The field was still sorting itself out so I set off looking for someone with whom I could pass a few miles. I came on one guy but he was already breathing pretty heavy so I left him pretty quickly.

I came through the second mile in 5:29 feeling nice and relaxed. By this time a group of three guys had formed about 20 or 30sec ahead of me. I wanted to run with them but at the same time didnt want to expend too much energy to catch them if it would only lead to a blow up later in the race. So I tried to reel them in over the next few miles but it seemed to be a rather fruitless pursuit. I was closing the gap a bit but not nearly fast enough. I did manage to keep them in sight and keep the gap pretty constant through about six miles but then they started to pull away a bit. The course was getting a bit hillier and it seemed that the uphills were outnumbering the downhills. Of course this couldve just been fatigue setting in, but who knows. Regardless, I just tried to focus and keep a good rhythm. I really just wanted to get to mile 10, telling myself it would just be a 5k to go after that.

Finally I came through 10 in around 54:40 or so and I hopeful that I could kick it in and finish around 1:11:30. Shortly after that we headed back into downtown and I knew we were getting close. Also around this time I saw another runner who must have been falling back quite a bit because he was not one of the three I had seen for the majority of the race.

At mile 11 he had 20 sec on me but I decided I could catch him. I set off, really focusing on keeping a high tempo and running faster. Shortly after passing mile 12 I had a bit of weird sensation, as I kind of started hyperventilating. I'm thinking maybe it was due to the cold air but I'm really not sure. Luckily though there was less than a mile to go so I just had to put if out of my head and keep running.

Finally, at about 12.5, I caught and passed him right before a right turn which proceeded a ~0.5 mile uphill stretch to the 13 mile mark after which we'd have a sharp left, right, and finally the finish line. So coming out of the turn he came back past me and I tried to go but started tying up. I really tried to quicken my stride but the slight uphill just sapped my speed and the legs really werent going to move any faster. I missed my 13 mile split but really just wanted to get to the finish.

I finally stumbled across the line in 1:12:12, about 6 sec behind the kid who out-kicked me. As for the group of three I was running behind earlier in the race, it appears that one of them ran the marathon and the other two ran 1:11:12 and 1:11:15. Too bad I couldnt have stayed with them. Finally, Tim Vinson, the guy I warmed up with, ended up 13th overall and 1st Masters in 1:17:32. All in the middle of a 21 mile day and a 100 mile week. Not too shabby!

All in all, I'm pretty pleased. Although I would've loved to out-kick that kid and/or go under 1:12, I cant complain about being 10sec off a PR as other than two tempo runs, I've only done easy running up to this point this year.

Finally, full results are here and my splits are as follows. Incidentally, I think the fast third mile was primarily downhill and not fully compensated for until the last mile. 5:27, 5:29, 4:19(!), 5:31, 5:32, 5:34, 5:41, 5:40, 5:31, 5:32, 5:24, 5:28, 6:58 (1.1)

Friday, February 12, 2010

What to do???

When originally perusing the workout schedule for this week I noticed something odd: only one workout on Friday. Thats right, a swim was listed and then... nothing, nada, negative in the biking and running categories. So then the question naturally turned to what to do with the extra time?

Sit on the couch and watch TV. A plausible way to spend some leisure time (and therefore not entirely out of the question) but I can do that when I'm totally wiped from a long tempo run, so why waste it on a night with so many other possibilities? Plus, there isnt anything on TV on Friday nights anyway, so why bother? (And no, the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics dont count. While I'm all about the actual competition, watching a bunch of Europeans, Americans, and Canadians walk into a dome just isnt that exciting.) Odds: 8:1

Finish painting the family room. Shocking, I know, but I did actually start a home improvement project. Last Friday I started painting my family room and got most of one coat done but still have to knock out the other coat. Clearly this is the responsible choice but then I wouldnt be able to procrastinate anymore... what fun would that be? Odds: 5:1

Attempt to rob someone with an air pistol. Oh wait, thats what Tennessee football players do on Friday nights... sorry. Odds: 100:1

Go to the bar and drink beer. By far the most likely scenario. It will be, after all, Friday night and if that isnt an excuse to drink, I dont know what is. Odds: 5:2

Go to a party by the roommate: Just checking to see if you are still awake. For those of you who havent had the privilege of meeting Zach, well... lets just say he has his quirks and isnt exactly the social butterfly. But hey, he pays the rent on time and hasnt tried to kill me yet so what else could I ask for? Odds: 1.78E10 to 1.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


S: 27,500 yds
B: 6h 40min
R: 6h 25min

Total: 20h 18min

Ugh. It was another cold, rainy weekend and the motivation for bike riding just wasnt there. Saturday I managed some trainer time but Sunday I had to get outside. The weather sure wasnt helping but at least I had a SB party later in the day to get me out the door. 3h later and without feeling in my fingers and toes I was home and ready for some homemade chocolate chip cookies and beer.

On the bright side, I had a nice little 4 mile tempo run on Wednesday which I ran 5-7 sec/mile faster than I planned at the beginning. I felt good and just kind of cruised through it so I was pretty pleased to see my splits along the way. This was especially good news with the Mercedes Half Marathon in Birmingham coming up this Sunday. Initially I was a bit worried as I've only done a couple of hard running workouts but after that tempo run I'm hopeful for a reasonable performance.

Monday, February 1, 2010


S: 27,600
B: 6h 30min
R: 6h 10min

Total: 19h 56min

I had a bit of a scare with a slight but acute pain on the side of me at the end my run Monday but after a couple of days of hitting the IT hard with my TP Massage Quad Baller (foam roller on steroids), the pain has thankfully subsided. If it was anywhere else I wouldnt have thought much of it but after spending the first few months of last year not running due to a similar issue, I wanted to make sure not to push things.

Other than that, the highlight of the week had to Sunday morning's run on the mountain during which David, Chris and I saw the goats! This is pretty exciting due to the rarity of the occurrence. That event almost made up for having to spend close to 2h on the trainer on Saturday due to the crappy weather... except not really at all.