Well this weekend was the annual pilgrimage to Miami to run the half marathon. Arriving Wednesday I figured after 5 years I might actually get lucky with the usual dicey Miami weather. Thursday, good; Friday, good; Saturday, heating up; Sunday = race day = hot and very humid. Exactly as planned.
At the start I was about 20 feet from the guest starter, Ryan Hall. Pretty cool. Feeling good at the start I quickly realized any great race was not happening with the rising humidity. I found myself guzzling two cups of water at each water stop, something I wouldn't normally do. About mile 10 we had light showers, something I just take for granted in all my races. I finished with a respectable 1:44.
This is an ING event that had over 18,000 runners yesterday. Very well supported and organized. Will 2011 be the year for a FastTracks club trip to Miami?
I have been thinking about this all the way home. I think the real reason I didn't PR down there is I was distracted. Who wouldn't be? The day before the race I was hanging out with a bikini-clad babe who was literally drooling all over me. I couldn't stop thinking about her. (see below).
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Well, another B&A Half & Full marathon races were attended by over 20 Fast Track participants and about 10 supporters to make quite an outing.
PRs were set, Boston qualifiers were made, first time marathoners have one now on the books, and about eight age group awards were won by Fast Track members. Chances are you know one of the above so congratulate them if you do and find out from them what makes the B&A a regular occurrenc on so many Fast Tracker's schedules.
As signs of spring were in the air, a trip to Severna Park was just the right setting for the races, while a large number headed down on Saturday to visit the Annapolis area and get a good night's sleep. Although sightings of snow were around, the bike trail course was clear and ready for the close to 900 runners.
Nice duffel bags were the schwag for the race which made the entry fee well worth the cost. The Annapolis Striders run a well organized race with good set of volunteers, course, and after run spread of food and snacks.
First of all, if you are reading this, then it means that you are not responsible for one of the 35 "BOXBE" emails that will instantly show up in my inbox. And I am grateful. If you are all BOXBE-ed up, then not only will you miss this thrilling race report, but you are also probably paying way too much for your PerCO$$seT and viaGaRa.
Two races this weekend.
The Fightin' Irish 5K at Forbidden Drive. Lovely day, nice course, finished in a blistering 33:45. Normally, nothing to write home about. Except for this race I ran with my Uncle Jack, who managed to sneak this 5K in between chemotherapy treatments for leukemia. Some of you may still have your red "Down with the Devil" t-shirts that I sold a few years back to raise money in his honor. Same Uncle Jack, same cancer, still kickin' ass.
Well, of course you already know that race two was the Caesar Rodney Half Marathon in Wilmington, Delaware, due to my horrific "Reply All" faux pas last week. (A thousand apologies again.) A more challenging distance than Saturday's race, but the same lovely weather conditions. Personally, I think Wilmington has a lot of nerve being so freaking hilly. Come on. I think it would benefit them greatly to be flatter. Better for tourism than tax-free shopping. I will be writing a letter to the City Council. The race itself was hilly and hot. I beat a hung-over Sarah German (that's going in my diary), and brought up the rear to impressive performances from Christian, Suzanne, and Stacey R. I think I ran behind U.S. Representative Mike Castle (R-DE) for a little bit. That's cool. And I didn't throw up in the car on the ride home---bonus.
Next week I am riding a metric century in Wilmington. Let's hope they get this whole "hilly" thing worked out before then.
The Devil Does It Again. A Race Report, by Laura Pyott
For those of you who are regular readers of my column, you may remember my story from May of 2007, entitled “I Can Top That, Cornhusker!” (Of course, I don’t have an actual column. I just write race reports and torture you with them via email. I don’t have a pony either, but that doesn’t stop me from standing in the back yard with carrots in my hand…hoping…). Anyhoo, that report detailed my experience at the 2007 Devilman Triathlon (half-iron distance). Long story short, it was ridiculously, obnoxiously, &$^#%-ly windy. A Nor’easter had just rolled through and we enjoyed the lingering 25-30 mph wind gusts. I say “we” because Mary Wood was fool enough to join me in the venture. I vaguely remember muttering something like “Never do that again…” before I passed out on the ride home.
Flash forward to 2010. As we all know, the memory of pain eventually fades over time. This would explain why we are not a world of only children, why people sport multiple tattoos, and why there was more than one Billy Ray Cyrus album. I, along with Mary Wood again (talk about your gluttony for punishment), Debbie Gordon, and Candace Gantt ventured to Cedarville, New Jersey in another attempt to take down the Devil. I’m pretty sure he saw us coming.
The Devilman distance is now called a “half-lite”, 0.8 mile swim, 40 mile bike, 8.8 mile run. All the fun, half the calories. And double the cursed wind. I’m sure at some point on Saturday you experienced the “wind advisory” which is what the National Weather Service called it. Maybe some branches down in the yard. Maybe the windows rattled. Maybe even the power went out for a little while. These three valiant ladies and I battled the wind from any and all directions. The wind was gusting at times to 30 mph. I worry about the crop yields in Cedarville this year because I know we brought home many pounds of wind-blown farmland in our hair, eyes, mouths, and clothing.
We all survived. Candace and Mary brought home age group hardware-hooray! I raced using my girlfriend’s bib, so I got to be 35 again for a day-hooray! If I mention the word "Devilman" to any of you in 2013, please slap me. Hard.
I Lost count at 40 at the number of Fast Trackers that ventured up to Poconos to participate in the marathon or marathon relay (each does a half marathon) and support ...
Seven relay teams and 15 marathoners saw at least three time first Boston Qualifiers ... Megan Morris, George Hughes, and our president Andi Lieberman. A number of PRs were also set in addition to those three as a first half net drop, a second half rolling course combined with decent weather provided for a perfect
day of running ... Our cheering crowd support on bikes and on foot had us hearing our names throughout the race.
The FREE pasta party for runners the night before had us all carbo loaded and ready for the races.
Congrats to all who made this outing another memorable fast tracks adventure ... Pictures were taken by many so they should appear on the shutterfly account we have with a link from our website.
Bob Potts Marathon in York, Pa was a great event. About 400 runners on a flat grave trail. Plenty of water stops and good crowd support for an out and back trail run. I felt awesome to the 13.1 and 20 mile point running on track for my sub-four goal. Legs did get heavy around 22 and running gods left me at 24 mile point where I really couldn't push off my left knee. That's the thrill of the marathon, we never know what will happen. I did not make my time but it was a great day. This was the most enjoyable course I ran in my 10 marathons and would strongly suggest it. Thank you to all who I ran with me to get ready for this marathon. It truly makes a difference! My best to all, Mark
Mark C. Goodwin
Certified Wellness Coach, Personal Trainer and Executive Chef
What a beautiful day for a run! A handful of FT'ers represented at the Delaware Marathon including Ethel and Keith, who have run all seven Delaware Marathons, Christina DiMarco, new Fast Tracker Laurie Ernst, Charlie West (running the half) and myself (my apologies if I missed anyone). That big hill from Caesar Rodney is tough to run up twice, but such is the requirement of the Delaware Marathon. The course inlcuded mileage along the riverwalk, a peek at llamas in the Brandywine Zoo, a suspension bridge, and rolling hills through some beautiful leafy green Wilmington neighborhoods. The last mile included a significant hill, a block or so over from the Caesar Rodney finish so not quite so grueling, and a nice down hill to the train station. I didn't get that elusive Boston Qualifier, but I got just a little bit closer with a :30 PR so I'm not complaining!
Congratulations to all who ran this weekend!
Dark & Dirty 6.66 Mile Trail Run
May 14th, 2010
What a beautiful night for running. The Fast Tracks contingency of myself headed for Mt Penn Reading around 6 and got there before dark and light enough to find the Start line for the Dark and Dirty. The race started about 8:30 at the Halfwit start. Who says I can't make an 8:30 race start time. A little light yet but as soon as we entered the trail at the pavilion the woods were dark. Beginning at the Halfwit start also turned out that the first part of the race was the Halfwit. For those who haven't done it, it was a long uphill climb with downed tree after tree to jump only separated by rock after rock to jump. After that I have no idea where the race went. I forgot my watch and have no idea where we were. We went through some mud area that left my legs black to the knees as I discovered afterwards in the light of the Leiderkratz, the local German beer house and race central. Somewhere in the middle and at the bottom of Mount Penn we got to climb a very long hill to eventually circle the brightly lit Pagoda and enjoy a beautiful view of Reading as if there is one. Then it was back into the dark woods to look for the finish. I did carry my bike light so I wasn't completely blind. Very intense running since you were so focused on the ground and could only see the beam area you completely lost sense of time and distance. Injury report - none! A few stumbles and many close calls but stayed up the whole race. Can't say the same for many others. Party afterwards was the best. Beer and dogs plus the usual stuff. Ron had a German accordion player who was hilarious. As young pretty women bought him more and more drinks his songs got raunchier. A great night was had by all survivors. Jim Donaghy
What a weekend! I travelled to Connecticut for a half ironman race organized by Revolution3. This is by far the best race organization I have ever seen. They offer other races in Knoxville and Ohio, so if you have a chance check them out. http://www.rev3tri.com/
These races attract a lot of pros since the prize money is generous. But, I felt like a pro. Not only was my bike rack space numbered, but it had my name on it, making me feel like a pro! (see attached pic).
On to the race. I did learn a new golden rule--always, always, ALWAYS do a swim warm up. Gets rid of the race jitters, which messed up the first 300 yards of an otherwise very strong swim for me.
I seem to consistently underestimate bike courses. Flat turns to hilly, hilly becomes mountainous so when I tell you the course was very hilly you get the picture. Keep that in mind if I ever invite you on a bike ride. I haven't been training hills so this was a bit tougher than I thought. Fortunately I had a lot of company. But who could be ready for climbs of 2 and 4 miles in length?
The run was just as hilly as the bike and I opted for the saner strategy of walking the uphills. During the last 2-3 tenths of a mile a guy in my age group very slowly passed me on one of these hills I had chosen to walk up. Something primordial awoke in me and I made the decision there was no way I would move down the age group rankings in the last couple tenths. Needless to say I kept my place just 8 seconds ahead of this guy; just one small victory on the day.
Overall I finished at 6:30, which was quite good for me on this course.
None of my race reports are complete without a weather report. Humidity over 90%, temps mid to upper 80s. Miserable. Only one hour of rain (!) on the bike but with strong winds. Tornado watch, but after I was off the course. I just know Andi will get a kick out of my weather-consistency.
After Saturday, November 6th, I am a three time Ironman finisher!!! Finishing time at Ironman Florida was 15:57:21 (hh:mm:ss).
This was to be my second IM distance race in six weeks. I had signed up for IM Florida last November, but with the oil spill I was concerned the race would not be held. So I signed up for a similar race, Chesapeakeman, held on September 25th. When the oil spill never materialized I could see I was gonna wind up trying to do both. Not a smart move, but consider the source.
Similar to Chesapeakeman, I had a cold going into IM FL. Add to that I broke a toe the previous weekend and I arrived at the starting line a mess.
The morning started with a pre-dawn weigh in at 4:30. Starting weight was 170.6 lbs. Breakfast was followed by a short walk from our condo to the transition area with my intrepid girlfriend, Sara. After the sun started peaking over the horizon I could see the water conditions. "Gentle" rollers, meaning non-breaking waves were coming in. We would have to swim through the swells. The swim course is a two-loop rectangle and the only break from the rollers was about 50 yards at the short turn. Most of the 2.4 mile swim was tough and when I could see the bottom I noticed my progress was painfully slow. Through the first lap, I started out on the second lap thinking it was odd I had seen no wild life. At that moment I noticed a baby ray on the bottom, looking up at me.
My hope was to finish the swim in about 1:30, but it took 1:52 to drag my body to land.
Now on to the bike. I got to the change tent and put on every stitch of clothing I had packed. Shirt, arm warmers, long sleeve shirt, gloves. Even thought about my balaclava, but just put it in the saddle bag, in case. Y'see, it was cold in Florida. Very cold. Low 40s. Out I pedaled wondering what had happened during the swim (and now cognizant of the cut off times, something I had hoped to not be concerned with).
IM Florida is a pretty boring ride, with virtually no relief from flat roads. Which should make it pretty fast, but we fought strong headwinds for most of the ride. In my last two IM races I had bio-mechanical problems around the 80 mile point so I was expecting some sort of bio-mechanical meltdown around then. I never imagined my left IT band at my knee would start killing my at mile 20. Oh boy, now only 92 miles left on a bad knee! I started popping Excedrin Migraine right away. I had smartly packed a whole bunch of them with my bike stuff, eventually to run out well before the end of the race.
During the long bike I had figured I would start stripping off clothes as I went, but I never did. It did get a bit warmer, but not not enough to shed clothes. I spotted Sara at the end of the bike which was the emotional lift I needed at that point. I'll tell you, my favorite part of the whole race is coming up to the end of the bike, because I know the swimming risks and bike mechanical risks are behind me, as is the longest part of the race. After I dismount I just have to get through the marathon--it's "only" a marathon. How crazy a thought!
And the run was on. The course is a two lap course that goes through a lot of residential areas where the residents are out partying and encouraging the racers. It's a real festive atmosphere that really helps at that point in the day.
I started with a race strategy of run 25 minutes/walk 5 minutes. With my IT band problem I could run without pain but could not walk without extreme pain, opposite what I would think. But persevere I did for 3 x 25/5. About 90 minutes into the marathon I did a 15/5, then another, and I found myself fighting to get through the first half marathon. The thought that Sara would be waiting ringing a cowbell kept me going. Around the corner and there she was, more excited to see me than I could believe.
Generally I don't like two loop races. Who wants to go back out there? But there is only one way to get to the finish line and that is to suffer through the second half of the marathon. By now it is dark and the temperature is falling. Winds are kicking up and things are getting quite dicey. My leg is killing me and I am long ago entered the miserable zone. About mile 14 I met up with Marianne Kennedy, who I would walk the last 12.2 miles with. We kept pushing each other, keeping the walking pace quicker than many of the runners on the course.
It is amazing how long a marathon is. It just keeps going and going. Fortunately it does eventually end and I made sure to savor the moment of crossing the Ironman line for the third and final time.
Final weight was 168.4, so I lost a total of 2.2 lbs during the race. My race plan was to immediately start regaining weight which I did in the form of a celebratory beer. Okay, beers.
This was my third and final Ironman. The amount of effort required to just get to the start line is more than I want to do again. The race really beats up your body in a way I can't believe is possible. Still, I think this is a wonderful sport and will continue racing shorter distances. Ironman is an accomplishment that will be mine forever. Now that I have completed my third I plan to spend my time on other goals, knowing that if I can do an Ironman I can do anything. There is a saying in Ironman that goes like this:
"Swim 2.4 miles. Bike 112 miles. Run 26.2 miles. Brag for the rest of your life."
Fast Tracks Running Club
Tel Hai 2010
One might presuppose the highlight would be the participation of over 30 Fast Trackers OR Keith dawning his red dress OR James Snyder accepting a 30" tall trophy for his first place finish (16:25).
Instead, Stacey separated herself from the pack by becoming a Tel Hai double winner . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . one for first in age group and the second for being the first door prize winner. Stacey knew it was her day when her Pilates instructor accepted an invitation to run Tel Hai. (Click here if you desire to privately congratulate Stacey on her accomplishments: firstname.lastname@example.org )
And Barb Leighton seemed overly ebullient for snagging a Road ID Gift Certificate. Barb, as most know by now, is a 2 time All American . . . in track. Barb can now feel safe, wearing her Tel Hai Road ID during her extensive track workouts.
Numerous other Fast Trackers fared well. Keith, Hannah, Barb, Sorita and Matt won or placed in their divisions, too. And if I inadvertently omitted anyone from this list, PAAAAALEASE Reply All to let us know. :-) :-)
Excessive traffic diverted to the distant, overflow parking lot nearly caused some racers to miss the start. To over 500 runners - making this the largest showing ever - even the sleet and light snow did not thwart racers' enthusiasm.
If you like your bib number pre-pinned to your T-Shirt, then Tel Hai is your race. (My personal opinion is that a number of Tel Hai Retirees - who are most certainly former runners - secretly miss preparing Flat Man the night before their Marathons.)
Typically, Tel Hai is to be only savored and indelibly etched in one's memory. Nonetheless, I've taken the liberty to attach one group photo. I promise, no further emails directing you to some, cumbersome photo-shop website where an overabundance of photos are offered. I am also asking all participants to refrain from posting Tel Hai photos on Facebook.
Only 364 more days left until Tel Hai 2011. Mark your calendars now.