Friday, September 14, 2012

The Standoff

There is a local college campus that a good majority of my runs take me through. I have seen many different forms of wildlife over the years there. I've seen foxes, racoons (Which are surprisingly violent animals towards runners at night), possums, and many many deer.

This particular night as I entered campus, there were deer standing in the road. Like I said, I have encountered deer in this locale here before, but they have never directly affected my running course and never this many at once. As there were six to seven deer blocking my course, I stop about twenty feet away from the pack. (Or is it herd? group? flock? gaggle?) I have ran very close to deer in the past and they always seem to be more afraid of me than I am of them. Not this time!

I stand staring the leader in the eyes for what seemed like minutes but in reality was probably 30-45 seconds. His eyes burn into mine with a fierce determination to protect the group. I stand my ground, he stands his ground. Never, while running, have a thought that I was going to have to defend myself against a wild animal and punch it in the face. (Sorry if any of my loyal readers are PETA members, but if a deer charges me, I'm going to defend myself.)

After a long dramatic pause the battle of wits intensifies. A move is made, and it is not mine. The leader takes a couple of steps toward me! Not the move I expected. I tense, fists tightened, determined to land the first punch. Then, as fast it the throw down started, it came to an end. The herd slowly move off the road to let me pass. I win!

I decide to walk past (no sudden moves), and as I do they all stop feet from me and stare. They give me the evil eye and show me they are not scared of my little chicken leg self. I survived! After getting through this, my speed workout stunk. I'm half tempted to put the blame of my failed workout on the fact that I wasted all my adrenaline a few minutes earlier. 

So, all this deer talk makes me want to ask you all a question. Have you ever had an encounter with a wild animal while running? If so, comment below!

As always, Praise the Lord and run on!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Parlor City Trot Half Marathon Recap

This past Saturday I ran my first half marathon in two years, the Parlor City Trot. I had never participated in this race in the past, but I had heard many good things about it. This is the recap of my race experience.

The Parlor City Trot is the first of two halves I have signed up for in the month of September. My original intention for the Parlor City Trot was to make it a training run leading up to the Fort4Fitness Half Marathon. This changed slightly when a friend of mine, Todd, asked if I wanted to tag along as he trained to lead a pace group for the Fort4Fitness. His pace was going to be 48 seconds/mile faster than my original plan, but still 40 seconds slower than my goal pace I was planning to run at the end of the month. I agreed enthusiastically!

The train wreck that was my half marathon all began to derail the night before. I am a big fantasy football fan. One of my league's I am involved in had it's draft set for 10:45 on Friday night. Being a responsible adult I told myself that I would set my team up for autodraft, knowing I needed all the rest I could get for the race. As the evening progressed, the mindset shifted to, "I'll just draft the first few players and then let the computer pick." Right before the draft began, I broke. I attended the entire draft and did not get to bed until 12:30 in the morning. Bad move! Four hours later, I awake. Groggy, I stumble around preparing. Todd arrives at 5:45 to pick me up to car pool to the race.

The forecast stated that it would be in the 70's and rainy. This was opposite of the actual weather that presented itself. It was 75-80 during the race itself, insanely humid, and not a drop of rain. The warm-up itself made my breathing rapid. Not a good sign.

The race begins, and my legs feel heavy. This isn't unusual at the beginning of a race. I figured they would loosen up after a mile or two. I stick with Todd and his friend Jon who is also training to lead the 8:00 pace group. Things go fairly smooth for the first 5-6 miles. We even pick up some other runners shooting for 8:00 miles and form a small band of runners striving for the same goal. Then...derailment.

I'm used to the intake of sports drink and gel packs during my long runs. I went without during the race expecting at least the sports drink to be found along the race course. All the race offered was water, which I took with each opportunity. This was not enough to sustain me. After 6 miles with nothing but water, very little sleep, and the heat and humidity, I broke off of my pace group. I knew I could not sustain the effort for another 7 miles.

I tried to play it smart and back off 15 seconds. This worked well for a few miles, but eventually I lost my willpower. 8:15, 8:30, 8:45, 9:00, the times crept slower and slower. I began to take small walk breaks at each water station. By the end I felt as if I were one of the Ironmen I watch on tv on a Sunday afternoon. They are hobbling along, walking/running, doing everything they can just to finish. With one last push, I cross the line.

Thank goodness! It was over! Though I had a horrible race, I did feel accomplished in the end. I know that not everyone can go out and complete 13.1 miles. It's a good step toward my upcoming first marathon in April 2013!

My final results: 40/117 overall, 5/7 in my age group, finished in 1:50:16 with an average mile pace of 8:25.

Race review: Parlor City Trot Half Marathon
Organization: B- (A couple of the mile markers seemed to be off)
Course: A- (Beautiful location)
Perks: D (Only water on the course, no finisher's medal, no tech shirt)
Excitement: C+ (Nothing real thrilling, but not completely boring either)
Overall: C+ (I will personally not run this race again, but it's not horrible by any means)

Praise the Lord and run on!

The look on my face pretty much summarizes my race. I'm the one looking like a highlighter FYI.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Race #4, Two Weeks & Counting

Counting down to race #4 of the 2011 season, the inaugural running of the Frontier Run N' Fun 10K! This will be my first 10K of the season and I'm super excited! From the brochure it looks like it's going to be one huge party start to finish, sounds fun to me!

My training the last few weeks has gone very well, I just need to be more focused on my diet. Due to this being the inaugural running I have no place goals but my goal times are 48:11 overall with 7:45 miles.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Post Race Recovery

Post race recovery is a tricky kitty. I try to follow the one easy day for every mile ran rule. I took Sunday and Monday completely off, but decided to run an easy 4 yesterday. I can walk around all day at work and feel just fine, but this is where the tricky part comes into play. As soon as I left my home, I could feel every ounce of effort I had put into my race come back to my instantly fatigued legs. It hurt. The easy four miles quickly deteriorated into a painful shuffle. As I type these very words, I have a heating pad plastered to my back. Oh race recovery, how I loathe you.

Praise the Lord and run on!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Nutri-Run Recap

I awoke this past Saturday morning prepared to run the second race of my 2011 running season, the Nutri-Run 5 miler. It was a gorgeous day out, sunny, slightly chilly, and a slight breeze. Great running weather in my book! I ate my pre-race meal, grabbed my Brooks gym bag, and headed out the door.

Everything leading up to the race went incredibly smooth. I sat in my car right before the race and took a couple of pics, slid on my new Brooks T7 Racers, slid off the running pants revealing my shorty shorts, and headed to the starting line.

The race began, and as I normally go out too fast, I tried intentionally to slide into my goal pace. I clocked in at  mile 1 about 20 seconds faster then planed (even with the plethora of hills). I thought, dang, but decided to hold onto that pace for as long as I possibly could. Miles 2,3,4...right on in regards to my new faster pace. Hitting mile 5 was where it got tough. The hills had really worn on my legs and I was now running into a strong headwind.

Just as I started to lose focus, a fellow runner passed me. The thought of slowing down passed through my mind, but quickly dissipated. I latched on, and followed her through to the finish. My goal time for this race? 40 minutes. My actual time? 38:44!!!  Compared to my time last year this is very sad, but for where I am in my training right now, it made me very happy!

Not thinking I was anywhere near an award, I ended up 2nd out of 3 in my age group receiving a pineapple (see picture below). I also placed 20th out of 112.

The Nutri-run has always been a great early season race, and I plan on running it again in 2012. Maybe next year I'll be in shape enough to complete the 20K!

Praise the Lord and run on!

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Fast Track

Ran my first speed workout of the year last night! What a beautiful night for it too! Headed to the track and ran 3 x 800 at 3:44 pace. Even though speed work is by far the hardest run of the week, it always makes me feel so much more accomplished. One more week until race #2 of 2011, the Nutri-Run 5 miler!!!

Praise the Lord and run on!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Brooks Racer T7 Review

Todays workout:  3 miles @ 8:49

Happy early birthday to me! My incredible wife let me purchase my birthday present a few weeks early! This post is my initial review of the new 2011 Brooks T7 Racer.

I must preface this review by informing my followers that I have not yet run a race in these shoes. I have only worn them during a 4 mile run. The first thing you will notice as you take these racers out of the box, is they are CRAZY lite! The Racer T7 is by far the lightest racing shoe I have worn post high school, weighing in at an incredible 6.4 ounces.

Other than the fact that they are a work of art, the second thing you will notice is they run very small. I normally wear an 11.5, but I could have probably used a 12 in these. I became so attached though, I couldn't stand to ship them back, so I just sucked it up.

The Racer T7 is a very narrow shoe, and at first they hurt my feet somewhat. As I entered my first mile the pain increased. Uh oh! No worries though, after a couple miles on the road they broke in just fine and ended up feeling awesome! When I finished the run, my mile splits were much faster than normal. Was it the shoes? Who knows, but I'm sure they helped.

Finally, the wear factor on these shoes is not so hot. But really, what do you expect? They are insanely lite weight racers made of almost pure foam. After my one 4 mile run in these shoes, the bottoms showed some wear. I wouldn't expect them to last longer than one racing season.

Overall review (so far): I love these shoes! Yes, they have a few flaws, some of which can't be avoided when a shoe weighs so little, but they are amazing! If you have good foot mechanics, and are looking for light weight racers, buy these shoes!