Apr 25 2012

Training isn’t always hard… and… Hospital Hill Run… sweeps!

(If you are looking for a free entry to the Hospital Hill Run see the bottom of this post)

Ok… so I’m just sitting here at the moment, having a nice glass of wine, writing on my blog — the great news is that I’m training hard, right now. I didn’t run tonight and didn’t run yesterday but – yes! I am training hard!

So I took two days off. It is warranted and believe me, over all else – it is NEEDED! I ran the second leg of the three legged monster the Heartland 39.3 series which consists of 3 half-marathons in 5 weeks. Well the first two are done and now a welcome 3 week break until the next run. Because of this extended break I’m taking a couple of days off and more-so really because my body has demanded it. Oh I’m not feeling too bad, but after the Kansas Half-Marathon this past Sunday, my legs were a little sore and then disturbingly in the evening my right heel began to exhibit a peculiar behavior while I walked around — it felt like a tendon was flapping around loose in there! Sounds scary; (and it is actually) when things are normal they’re normal, and when things hurt they hurt… but when things feel just downright weird you uneasily wonder. Well thankfully I never had any pain, and as I’ve tried to go extremely easy on it – it hasn’t been a problem since. In conclusion though I could yes, tell that one week after my new half-marathon PR had been established at the Rock The Parkway run that I wasn’t quite 100% a week later. I was 90% or so… I felt ok and still ran the half in 1:50:38. Not bad.

Well because of this “weird” sensation I decided to take 2-4 days off completely. I’m on day two now and feeling fine. Yesterday though I was driving home from work and it was a beautiful day out. I really wanted to go out running. I knew I would enjoy it and gosh was the weather nice… just perfect. No though, no. Rest is needed. This was one day after the race and I KNOW I will benefit more from sitting on my butt than I will going out there and logging some trash miles. Yeah, I said it… trash miles. You’ve heard of them before but weren’t certain where they go? That would have been them.

Now don’t worry, I will hit the trails soon enough (and believe me I’m itching now) and training will continue; this rest will have been an important part in it in the long run (haha) I’m certain.

Well what am I training for? Many many more runs. A lifetime of runs. Two in particular at the moment though – the Running With The Cows Half-Marathon and the 39th Annual Hospital Hill Run.

The Running With The Cows will be the third and final leg of the 39.3 series. I’m looking forward to see how the series all wraps up!

The 39th Annual Hospital Hill Run will be my 6th consecutive running of it and I’m looking forward to it just as much as ever. I plan to write more and more about it as it draws closer, but tonight I have something special to offer you. Maybe you’re on the fence about running it or just trying to find out more information about it (I do have some Race Reports written about it)… what would make you run it for sure what would make you pull the trigger? My site is frequently hit up as a result of the search phrases: “Hospital hill coupon code” and the like.

I can offer FREE — that’s right ABSOLUTELY FREE ONE SINGLE ENTRY to the Hospital Hill Run. It doesn’t matter if you’re running the 5k the 10k or the Half-Marathon. Any distance will do. The race is coming up and from what I’ve heard it’s now nearly 75% sold out.

Ok, so what do you have to do to get this free entry? Not much. All you have to do is leave a comment on this blog entry and tell me why you’re running Hospital Hill this year. Any reason will do of course – there are no wrong answers, I’m just genuinely curious! BUT THERE IS ONE CATCH!!! I will not give away an entry unless there are at LEAST 9 total unique visitor comments! So what you might possibly need to do is leave a comment yourself and then have a friend of yours leave a comment and so on and so forth. Hey… 1 of 9 odds is pretty good right? And uh, its pretty easy to tell if you leave all 9 yourself. Just be sure to include your email in the process (it won’t be shared).

So, why are you running (or wanting to run) The Hospital Hill Run this year?

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Apr 22 2012

2/3 Half Marathons completed for the 39.3

Kansas Half-Marathon 2012 Medal

Completed … Unofficial Result: 1:50:41

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Apr 20 2012

…and training continues; the weeks are short!

April, while not over yet… has FLOWN by. Those 82 days I wrote about until the Hospital Hill Run has been reduced to 43 days! While that still sounds like a lot… it’s really just barely over a month. Luckily I shouldn’t have to cram this time around or worry since training has been going extremely well. I’ve been training and running like a madman and keeping up with it well.

Had Rock The Parkway last weekend which went as good as possible… got everything I wanted which was a PR. The day and days following, I was filled with thoughts of — “wow this 39.3 is killer after all” and “why in the world did I sign up for ANOTHER race next weekend?!?!” Yep… another half-marathon on Sunday. I’ve kept loose this week though, going running 3 times one of which including a 2.5 mile route I usually do at the quickest pace I can muster, and ran the fastest yet! It has two major hills in it and I still managed an average pace of 7:11, which for me is quite good. Pretty pleased.

Now the only real dilemma is – what do I go for this weekend? Do I try for another PR? Do I take it REAL easy and just enjoy myself? That’s always hard to do… just run easy… but I might try it. I could also try for a “Kansas Half-Marathon” PR … beat my time of 1:46:29… but the couple problems with that is I feel the 2009 race in which I ran that time may have been slightly short, and I believe the course could be different this time. Hmmm… I guess I can check let me see… ok after a little investigation I have the 2009 map compared to the 2012 map… so it is quite different:

Kansas Half-Marathon route comparison


I also ran in 2008, but that was before I had my Garmin 405/Mapping agent 🙂 Back then it was the “Lawrence Therapy-Works Half-Marathon” and I’m quite sure the event that year was a different course still.

After this weekend there is a 3 week breather before the tertiary leg of the 39.3 series, the Running With The Cows Half-Marathon… after that its another 3 week break and then the Hospital Hill Run. I’ll have more to say on that after this weekend. Till then… run.

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Apr 16 2012

Rock The Parkway 2012 – Race Report

Well I haven’t written a race report in while it seems like, so why not?

Arriving around 6:25 or so we’ve got roughly an hour to go, parking in the southernmost lot which seems quite accessible! Don chip, number, vaseline, shed jacket and head off to the staging area.

This morning has gone perfect so far. I didn’t oversleep… which rarely happens (happened two times over 60+ races and one of them I didn’t care about and might have overslept on purpose) – but it’s important today because I’m carpooling. Woke up a couple of times in anticipation… 3:25am and 4:50am were the times I believe… well the 4:50 ends up being it because the alarm is set for 5 anyway. My usual ritual is coffee and cereal so I go for that but today I’m trying something a bit extra too. I fry up an egg (over medium!) and eat it with a little hot sauce. Next time I think I’ll have two. Protein is good! And I did eat some cereal too so I have some fuel for the day. I didn’t make coffee at home so I quickly stopped for some at a gas station en-route to picking up my running partner. For some reason I opted for “french vanilla with X-tra caffeine” — I reasoned that if I was just getting one 12oz serving this would be not only adequate but welcome.

Picked up partner without incident and we made it there no problem. Near the end of the ride though I begin to feel a bit of unwelcome jitters which I attributed to the “X-tra” coffee I was drinking. I didn’t drink the rest.

Ok… so we’re back to the staging area. They have a lot of stuff set up looks like. Quite a few tents in a small area. And… what’s this? 90 porta-potties. We literally had our pick. I entered one that was “still sealed” all the toilet paper in their wrappers, everything squeaky clean untouched. It might have been manufactured that morning. Exiting we made our way around the staging area and I found a nice cup of regular coffee. See this morning was too perfect…(to follow up the perfect training, if you’ve been following along) the weather was supposed to be torrential showers if not worse and it was cool and calm. Bathrooms accessible, everything on time, normal breakfast + protein, complementary coffee. Good to go!

We entered the chute with about 25 minutes to go. It was sparsely populated. Made it up to the 1:50 where we stood for a moment and I hemmed and hawed for a moment deciding that I’d take another run for the plethora of porta-pots instead of wait out the 20mins doing nothing. As I raced off for them they seemed a bit further than they’d looked and as I approached I realized it wouldn’t be a quick turnaround. Despite the 90+ PoPs there were ample lines at each. I waited in one for a bit. I didn’t even need to go I realized. At all. It was now 10 minutes to race time. With the massive congestion every where getting worse by the second I decided to head back to the chute.  About 7 minutes to go at the 1:50 pace markers and no sign of my race buddy. He’d probably moved on to suit his own needs I presumed so I stood around for a few moments getting ready for the race… then it dawned on me… What was I doing at the 1:50 anyway? Being overly conservative, that’s what! I remembered my goal: 1:44:xx. So if that was my goal, why the heck was I lined up at 1:50? Good question Bob. Ok, so I move up to 1:45. Great. I think I did this once before though… lined up at 1:45 and then eventually fell impossibly behind. Maybe that was my hold up. In any case I felt ok standing there for the next 5 minutes. The gun sounded and we were off.

Pace very comfortable and I’m pleased to look at the splits on our SmartPacing strategy that takes the 8/mi pace and let’s you slack off the first couple miles. That’s exactly what I need, it’s perfect and rightly so of course! It’s quite crowded at the beginning but not unbearable. I edge up to one of the 1:45 pace leaders Roger Samuel and mention to him that I remember him from the 2007 KC marathon pace group that he lead. That was the 4:10 group. So, anyway… had a minor conversation and then just continued to run. He was quite enthused overall and tried to get the crowd into it… which they did comply somewhat. I will say the crowd was lacking at times… but forgivable. Roger receives top marks in all categories though!

Well the first aid station comes up and yes I do want to partake not only because of pace group leader urging but the fact that despite the cool temps it is humid and I’m sweating a LOT through mile 1-2. Then, somehow it looks like as I grab a cup and drink and slow to drink it Roger slips behind me. I try to help him back up but it seems like hes already back up never really fell down so I don’t think anything of it and race on ahead.

Follow the other pace group leader on his heels the next couple miles.

Roger seems to be missing though…

Pace group leader drops back for about a minute to look for him but hes gone.

We do mile 6 which is scheduled to be 7:45 its nailed in 7:42…. yeah so now its actually looking like this thing is doable. I’m kinda worried about the pace leader though. Did I trip him up? Did he strain something and drop out?

The other pace leader is on a tear and is kinda putting me behind a bit… I’m staying within striking distance though, only slightly worried.

After worrying some more I believe I can hear Roger’s voice behind me at about mile 8. He’s back.

About mile 8-9 shoe is untied. I ran with it like that for a while.

Mile 10, aid station. Partake… eat the last of my cliff shot bloks and tie my shoes. Now feels like I’m 45 seconds behind pace group leaders but I don’t think its that far.

And I keep on running. Not giving up, and yes, speeding up.

And would you look at this. About 1 mile to go and I’m easily gaining on my pace leaders who seem to be slowing. They’ve overcompensated (on purpose I think, and only slightly) and I’m finally able to close the gap with them and surge ahead. This was their plan though by design all along. At this point on the “out” they commented that this is when we’d be “leaving the nest” 🙂 Well it worked out exactly true. I was quite scared I would have to log a 1:45 something but I was comfortably in the 1:44s. I even picked up the pace enough to where if I had really hit it, really gave it all, I might have stupidly dead sprinted across the line to get a 1:43:barely. My calves however had other ideas. As I sped up to a moderate trot over the last 400m they told me “no heroics. or we’ll cramp” and that was that… I trotted it in. Saw some friends too about 400m out… and that was a nice adrenaline boost. Definitely shaved another couple seconds.

Post race was great. Rock the Parkway really put on a phenomenal run.

Two comments:

My friends that ran the 5k told me a disturbing story. They were waiting in line to a porta-pot prior to the start of the Half-Marathon which was 0730. 5k started at 0745. So presumably quite close to 730 staff goes through the porta pot area shouting “ALL BLUE BIB WEARERS (blue bib=half yellow bib=5k) TO THE FRONT OF THE LINES NOW!!!!! THEY’VE GOT TO GET TO THE STARTING LINE NOW!!!!!!!” so by the account I heard all 80% of blue bibs immediately jumped the line on all yellow bibs, some of whom who no doubt had been waiting a long time suddenly were once again at the back of the line.

I understand the logic in this, I do. But I can tell you at any race of any large size I’ve been to… the porta pots always have lines. Up to and including and over the race start time. If you wait to start the race until the lines are clear the race will never start, ever. Look, I have to piss just as bad as the next guy… but its on the runner to plan it. Start the race on time, and afford no special circumstance especially in stride to any particular group as it will not win out.

Ok that’s all I have to say on that matter.

Only other complaint? Same medals for all runners. Huh?

1. Half-marathoners cannot distinguish themselves from 5kers medal wise
2. 5kers have nothing higher to aspire to, they should WANT a larger/better medal
3. Multiple medals are cool. You get to check out what everyone else got and the small upgrades can be cool to observe
4. Hospital Hill & KC Marathon have this mechanic down. Learn from them.
5. Leaves Half-Marathoners feeling cheated and 5k runners feeling sheepishly overqualified.

I mean that is once nice medal. There could have been two really nice iterations of it. Next year?

In wrap up: Great race. Set PR. See ya next year.


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Apr 14 2012

Rock The Parkway 2012 – Completed!

Pretty good run today, set a new PR which was pretty much my goal.

Unofficial Finish:

1:44:20    377/4018 overall, 58/262 age group.

BIG THANKS to Roger Samuel and Paul Bajich who paced the 1:45 group using Smart Pacing. They did a superb job and really helped me accomplish my goal! There’s been races where I’ve had varying degrees of success with and without pacers, but this was definitely a good one. The splits were right on the money. If I had tried to even split this thing (which is a terrible plan no matter the circumstance, at least for me) it would have been curtains after I tried to do mile 1-3 at 8:00/mi — not being warmed up. Well the pacing worked out perfectly. I wanted 1:44:59 and I got 1:44:20. More than 2 minutes better than my previous PR of 1:46:59. I even entertained going for 1:43 something… but that’s another story… maybe I’ll write up a race report?

Here were the splits:

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Apr 12 2012

Rock The Parkway 2012

Training… COMPLETE! I really feel like I nailed this training. Sometimes I’ve been woefully inadequate in training in some areas (long runs) I feel… but this time I’m pretty sure I did everything right. I didn’t follow any certain schedule to a T, but I was kinda sorta halfway loosely following the FIRST program for 1/2 marathons which takes 3-4 runs per week and puts them to use. If you did the program for real you would be training like a beast. I’ve trained “ALMOST FIRST” before though (my own invention). When FIRST calls for:

10-20 minute warmup
2 x 1200m
4 x 800m
10 minute cooldown

I train:

5 minute warmup
1 x 1200m
2 x 800m
10 minute cooldown.

As you can see I’ve cooled down correctly. But I digress! Other than THAT… I did speedwork, long runs, short runs, medium runs, biking, weight lifting, sleeping, eating, resting (even when I wanted to run a couple times, seriously! I made myself rest!). You CAN overdo it of course.

I’m really excited for Saturday though. This is a HUGE race that just came out of nowhere. 7,500 runners and sold out for two months! Wow! Part of that has got to be because its part of the 39.3 series… which yes I’m signed up for so I’ll see you at the other two right?

Are you excited for Rock the Parkway? Have you done it before?

Still looking forward of course to the Hospital Hill Run coming up June 2 too! That oughta make for a 52.4 series. That sounds a lot more impressive than 39.3! It’s TWO fulls! Ok well… more soon… I need that rest ya know.

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Apr 12 2012

It was over before it began.

Sorry folks, but:





It’s been a debacle in the past and looks like this year they decided to cut their losses.

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