Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Ella's first swim meet

This past weekend Ella competed in her first ever athletic event! She's been swimming with the city team for about a month. It's a very laid back setup, they practice twice a week. The coach has to keep up with 20-30 kids in 4 lanes, so it's a bit crowded and they don't get much individual help with the strokes, but overall it gets the job done. She gets some regular, structured exercise, and has made some friends that she really likes. I like the team, and I love that Ella enjoys going to practice and getting active. Really, watching your kid pick up something you love doing and seeing them enjoy the same thing is incredible. I can't convince either of them to run with me, or learn to code web sites, but this really hits me right in the feels.

She did ok! She swam the 100 freestyle in 2:34, good enough for 2nd place in her age group. Then later she swam the 50 backstroke in 1:17 and got 5th place. She's been faster than that in warmups, and got really teary after the free. I think that wore her out a bit. Clearly she wasn't used to the adrenaline of being in the competitive environment. Overall she did a good job and put out a strong effort. We are all proud of her for competing.

My little swimmer!

Going in for the freestyle event. too funny!

Finished! crazy times

EG knew there was a picture going on. Ella is about to cry

Starting the 50 back. Such a cool shot!

panoramic of the pool - so cool!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Hello November

October 2016 has come and gone, and what a time it was. Slightly warmer than I would really like, it was pretty comfortable all month. I got in the first 2 races in my 12 in 8 streak completed with the New River Trail 50k and the Triple Lakes Trail Marathon. Here's how the numbers shook down:

Swim: 19,800 yards, 7 swims
Bike: nothing again!
Run: 120.2 miles, 10 runs, 2 races
Strength: 4 times
Yoga: 8 times

Swimming and yoga was my recovery strategy between the marathons. With races of 31 and 26.2 miles, almost half of that monthly total running miles came from there. I still got in 16 and 18 mile long runs in between, and plenty of others. Overall this was a solid month of training and I can't complain a bit about my performance in either race. And the 50k put my annual mileage over the 1000 mark for the year, well on my way to getting that 1200 mile goal.

This may be the latest monthly recap I've ever written (the 20th? really?) so now I have to remember what else happened. At least there are some pictures. oh wait, some of those are really horrible.

Trail running!

Beautiful day, beautiful Umstead State park
For Halloween this year, Evil Genius wanted to be a Generic Greek Goddess, and Ella wanted to be a Cheshire Cat. Mom sewed EG's dress and sent it to us, then Kelley added some decoration and built Ella's costume from scratch. It's insane. Mad respect for her pulling off the costumes this year. The only thing I did was wear Ella's shirt so it would be stretched tight enough to apply duct tape. We went trick or treating with EG's best friend and her whole family. One of the best Halloween's yet. for sure.

The whole crew in costume

trick or treating action shot

with the haul at the end of the night
 Topless Year
I did get one photo for the Topless Year project. It was warm some, but there was a disturbing lack of pictures.

Outside of swim practice on 10/10

there was some bad. and I'm writing this the week of Thanksgiving, so I already feel sorry for my pants and the amount of stretching that they are about to go through. Buttons will be pushed to their limits, possibly because of their starting point.

oh, that's bad

that's just a shadow

I have man-tits now. must get a sports-bro to contain those moobs. protect your children!
i'm fat again. Not as big as I was before 2011, of course, but well over the happy weight maximum. The stack of fat pants that I kept in the corner now fits pretty well. You see the water belt in that top picture? that flap of belly fat hanging down below it usually isn't there. And I look like I have man-boobs now. ugh. nobody wants that. Normally a summer full of triathlon training would have put off the weight gain until the offseason. Instead I just kept gaining. I don't feel like I'm eating that bad. Maybe I'm drinking too much beer, but usually not more than 2 at a time. The really strange part is that I don't feel bad about it until I have to put on a suit for swim practice or see pictures like those. it's just something that has happened over the last several months. I'm numb to it. And the week of thanksgiving is not the time to start any kind of nutrition change, so I'll address it later. But it does need to be addressed and I need to stop hiding.

12 in 8 update
I did add 2 more marathons to the 12 in 8 list. Looks like we're going back to the Myrtle Beach marathon, my 3rd time running the full there. Looks like there are several friends going down this year so I'm looking forward to seeing some people. Also added the Skidaway Island marathon to the schedule. This race is in Savannah, so the family will get a week-long beach vacation while the kids are out of school in March. I think my mom is going to come down too, it's going to be a blast.

The Raleigh Runaround was cancelled, so those 2 marathons fell off of my schedule in October. That means I currently have 3 races completed, and nothing else on the schedule until march. 3 marathons in March and 2 in April might actually finish off the streak.

The four other marathons that I have yet to register for might not happen. I think the first Oak Island marathon in February on the NC Coast would be a good fit, but getting a weekend at the beach might not be worth it. The others are the triple to finish the streak from the Mainly Marathons crew, and those are expensive too. A trip to Oregon in September 2017 is also likely for the Boring Marathon outside of Portland, and maybe even trying the 100k at Javelina Jundred in Arizona in October. So I might save for 2 plane trips instead of 4 driving marathons. All opinions are welcome on that.

Cheers to a great november! and have a happy thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

City of Oaks

Every year it seems I end up racing on back to back weekends. This year doing full marathons on consecutive weekends made it extra special. Only 8 days after finishing the Triple Lakes Trail marathon it was an early Sunday morning for the 10th annual City of Oaks marathon in my hometown of Raleigh NC. The course actually came about 2 miles from our house at one point.

That Sunday morning also contained the time change, when we on the east coast roll the clocks back magically overnight and gain an extra hour of sleep. This would prove lucky for me, as I was quite well rested at the start.

The start line ahead of me

and the starting crowd behind me

Running for the company line
We started at the NC State Bell Tower on Hillsborough Street, something I run past all the time. We went into downtown and came up to the Capital building with the sun directly behind it, which was really cool. This was a beautiful course. I took the phone with me and tried to get some pictures, but eventually it ended up in the pack.

Starting strong

I'm ready to run!

Huge pack of runners going down!

This is going up to the State Capital building. You can't see it for the sun

It was great to get into downtown for the first few miles. Yes there were some hills, but I kept seeing mile splits on the Garmin like 8:34, 8:41, even a few in the 8:20's. Getting out of downtown and more into West Raleigh, I did stop at a port-a-let for a quick poop, so that mile was about 10:20. Hopefully that won't happen again? I was ahead of the 4 hour pace group when I stopped, then behind them when I finished.

I did pass the 4 hour pace group again, then in mile 9 ran past the church as well. They had an aide station setup there, and I got cheered on from one of the preachers (who just signed up for his first full marathon) and plenty of other friends and their kids. That was really cool.

Around mile 10 we ran through Meredith College, and then the halfers turned left to head back down Hillsborough street to the finish, and we went right onto the Reedy Creek Greenway for some time on the paved trail. I had to stop again right around here. Again, I was ahead of the 4 hour pace group, and they passed me again while I was on the crapper. Again, I passed them not long after I was back on the trail.

We actually turned onto the House Creek trail, which I have never run before. I didn't realize how long it was, but this was a big out and back section. It goes up towards the North Hills area, and under Glenwood Ave. Again, this is where the real hills are. Going down in mile 14 or so wasn't too bad. I hit the halfway point in 1:57, which is pretty decent.

By mile 18 I had already made the last turnaround and was still ahead of the 4 hour pace group. So guess what I had to do for the 3rd time? yeah. that. This time they passed me again and I couldn't catch up. I was still clocking some decent miles, plenty of 8:47 to 9:20 miles. In mile 21 the wheels really started to fall off. I could feel the lactic acid building stock and it wasn't clearing out the way it should be. So I upped the fluid, kept my head up, and just kept going. Mile 23 was the worst. It was mostly straight uphill, including that bomber from mile 14 in reverse. That was over 11 minutes.

Still eventually the hills subsided and we got back onto Hillsborough street heading to the finish. I clocked mile 25 in only 9:10, which may be the first time that has happened.

With my big-ass spinning medal

Finish line is back there
Officially I finished in 4:06:48, a 9:25 pace. Just good enough for 183 / 509 overall, 140 / 345 men, and 23 / 53 men 40-44. That's solidly in the first half of the mid-pack, and I'm dang happy about that. I really felt surprisingly strong through mile 21, and thought I could break 4 hours. Without losing about 2 minutes at each of 3 poop stops I would have been a lot closer. Still, I'll take it. This is quite a win for me overall. I got 2 marathons in 8 days and 3 marathons in 36 days for the win. This is #3 of my 12 marathons in 8 months streak.

Overall this was an amazing, well organized race on a beautiful day and a beautiful course. Since I'm used to running these roads I didn't think the hills were too bad. This is a wonderful way to see Raleigh on foot. My 24th marathon is in the books and I couldn't ask for anything more.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

More Single Track Please

No! I meant No more single track please. This past Saturday was the 2016 Triple Lakes Trail Race, a full marathon (and a half marathon and 40 miler) in Greensboro, NC. I got up at 5:15 am, drove over from Raleigh, race started at 8, finished in 4:57 and drove home in time to take the kids to a Halloween party that night. The best part of the experience was taking a shit in a gas station about 5 minutes before getting to the park. This is a short race report.

That sounds harsh. It was a beautiful day to be running in the woods. The trail was absolutely gorgeous. The race was very well organized, plenty of parking, packet pickup was a breeze, the medal and shirt are incredibly cool, and the post race party was hopping.

Packet pickup, small crowd

Happy trail runner at the start
This is a small race, even by trail standards - only 60 finishers. It was advertised as mostly flat, wide trails, a boston qualifier course on trails. It was actually a series of trails connected by roads so you got some of both, but at least 18 miles of it was my dreaded single track. I didn't expect the trail sections to be so technical. Pretty much all of it was very rooty. I had to pay attention, and that means I didn't get very many pictures.

The half marathoners started first at 8:00, then we took off uphill on a road at 8:05. It was about 55* at the start, so I layered up. By mile 2 I was heating up and it was time to take off that long sleeve shirt. The day ended up getting up to about 81*, which is way to hot for marathoning. I was sweating so hard that by mile 8 the tank top hand turned into sandpaper and filed my nipples away. So I ended up running shirtless for the last 2/3 of the race even though I'm way too fat to get away with it and it's the end of October. smh.

Beautiful trail

half dead trail runner
I took those sometime in the second half of the race when I realized I hadn't taken any pictures on the trail at all.

The problem with heavy roots like that is that it alters my cadence. Well, there are lots of problems. It's easy to twist an ankle, trip and fall down, or tweak out a knee. I managed to avoid falling this time, but my knees don't exactly let me barrel down the steep hills like I could 5 years ago. I was not prepared for the trail to be this technical, and it really slowed me down.

I finished in 4:57:43, good enough for 34/60 overall and 5/9 in the men 40-49 age group. If they would have gone with a 5 year age group, I would have been 3/5 and snagged an award. Eventually if you make the field small enough it looks like I did well. It's also worth noting that the Garmin didn't maintain satellite reception the entire time, I think. When I saw the 24 mile sign the garmin said 23.4 miles. Then we rounded two more corners and saw the finish line so apparently the marathon was only about 24.25 miles long. Or 23.47 miles long, if you believe the Garmin. And that's really the best metaphor I can make about the entire day.

Glad to be done!

The medal has a sparkly pirate face
Overall I'm very glad I did this race, it's #2 in my 12 marathons in 8 months streak this season. My 23rd marathon is in the books. But I don't think I'll go back again. It's just too much single track for me.

Coolest part is that the race photos are all free for download, so I'll wrap up with some official photography from the start & finish.

Middle, yellow long sleeve shirt. I should not have started in the front row.

Did I mention an uphill start?

Out with the leaders
They did get one good shot on the trail - down to the tank top made from sandpaper
fat man finishes happy

Glad to be done

also me