Tracking

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Countdown to NYC : 7 Days - What Should I Expect?

What should I expect from myself at the ING NYC Marathon?  That's one question I really can't answer at the moment.  I learned a few lessons in Chicago and am hopeful that I apply the lessons learned during my race in New York.  I'm still not healthy, but better.  I haven't ran since Chicago due to my left knee issues.  In the grand scheme of things, it's not that long of a break when you consider I have been training since late January.  I am hoping my endless hours on the elliptical and a solid year of training will translate into a body willing to take one more 26.2 mile race before I hang it up for the year.  I am going in with no real expectations other than I expect to finish.  I'm not going to saddle myself with the hopes of a 3:50 marathon like I did in Chicago.  I'm going to take the first few miles easy and see how I feel.  I am really dreading the downhills because it's usually when the knee hurts the worst.  I will get a pretty good gauge of my knee the first 2 miles....straight up Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and straight back down before I even have the chance to enjoy a few flat miles.  I am expecting it to hurt.  How bad will it hurt?  That's the real question.

Talking with my coach, he thinks I will be fine fitness-wise, but he does think I will probably run into more muscle fatigue problems towards the end of the race due to the 4 weeks away from actual running.  He said to make sure I nail my nutrition and pacing in order to be focused and ready for the tough stretch at the end.  He said I may flirt with cramping more than normal, and I think the hills will eventually cause some issues since I haven't really trained for a hilly course.  The hope is to be conservative and follow my motto in my Chicago race report : patience and humility.  Respect the course, respect the distance, and respect my body.  Hopefully it all boils down to an enjoyable experience and another marathon finish.

Today was my last long sufferfest on the elliptical.  I opted for a little over 2 hours on the elliptical for my final long workout.  In order to motivate me, I watched several videos on YouTube and Runner's World's website about the NYC marathon.  It was great motivation to get my butt on the elliptical.  The fact I only have one more week before offseason was also a great motivator.

Here is the latest forecast from the Weather Channel.  It's going to be chilly.  I need to start thinking about what I'm going to wear since I haven't had the chance to run in cold weather in a while. 

Day Night


Sunny
High
48°F

Precip
0%

Wind: From NW at 15 mph
Humidity: 59%
UV Index: 3 Moderate
Sunrise: 6:33 AM ET
Avg. High: 55°F
Record High: 68°F (1994)



Partly Cloudy
Overnight Low
40°F

Precip
10%

Wind: From NW at 7 mph
Humidity: 67%
Sunset: 4:45 PM ET
Avg. Low: 40°F
Record Low: 30°F (1962)

Last Updated Sunday, Oct 31, 3:12 PM Eastern Daylight Time

Friday, October 29, 2010

Countdown to NYC : 9 Days

Over the past few days, the tri community has been in an uproar about a recent move by the World Triathlon Corporation (WTC) who owns/runs the Ironman events.  Basically, they introduced and quickly rescinded (within 24 hours) a program (Ironman Access) that allowed you to buy yourself into a VIP-type membership, thus granting you early registration for events that normally sell out within hours.  As a newbie triathlete, it sparked an odd feeling in me because I don't quite know what to think.  I don't know the history.  I don't have the appreciation for the "old days".  I don't fully understand.  I get the fact people are angry.  I may be wrong, but from what I have gathered it is because they feel greed/money has driven the WTC to make several decisions that are not in the best interest of the sport of triathlon and the age groupers who make it go round; most notably the Ironman Access program and the recent addition of the 5150 series.  Having never raced an Ironman event, I really can't comment on the organization other than what I have gathered from reviews, blogs, and several friends who have raced in their events.  From what I have gathered, they are well-run events for the most part, but they take away the athlete-focused feel of the smaller, more intimate independent events.  To the WTC you are just a number, to the independents you are special.  It made me start thinking about the marathon community. 

What makes an Ironman/WTC event any different from a Rock 'N Roll series event in the running community?  They are both huge organizations who buy out local races and turn them into a branded, almost mechanical event.  Most races lose their local flair and become overly crowded and more expensive.  To me, they are near perfect parallels.  Why aren't runners throwing their hands up in disgust when Rock 'N Roll goes out and buys another race?  Or are they?  I don't know.  It's a legitimate question I think.  Is it due to the fact that there are more independent events to choose from in the marathon community?  Nowadays, marathons are around every street corner.  Has it always been that way?  No.  It all started with the growth of the sport. It used to be crazy to even think about running a marathon.  Now, people who don't have any business lacing up the shoes and toeing the start line are out there giving it a shot.  In my opinion, it sounds like this recent controversy is a sign of growing pains in the 140.6 and 70.3 triathlon event community.  In recent years, the sport of triathlon has experienced explosive growth and events are becoming harder and harder to gain entry into at this level.  The number of events to choose from in any given month can be counted on one hand most of the time.  Take for example my current predicament with next year.  I have a 4-month time frame open for my event, and only have about 12 events that even fit that window.  If you then consider that each event can usually handle no more than 2K to 3K people, you have a pretty small number of race slots available for a tri-hungry population.  If you take that same 4-month time frame and search for marathons, my options are nearly unlimited.  Not to mention, you have races easily accommodating thousands and thousands of runners.  My point is that the reason for the current predicament is simply supply and demand and the growing pains of an exploding sport.  Who knows if the WTC was actually making this move in an effort to free up more spots as they claim?  Who knows if it was purely a bottom-line enhancing move?  In my opinion, I could see the benefits for some people.  It would make sense to fork over the $1,000 if you didn't want to spend vacation time and money for travel, lodging, and food to go volunteer at an event.  In my case, it would probably be cheaper to fork over the $1,000 rather than travel from OKC to Louisville, Arizona, or Florida for a few days to volunteer.  Do I think it's the best answer?  No.

The recent controversy will soon come and go, and Ironman/WTC knows this all too well.   For the time being, people are going to have to deal with expensive entry fees, limited access, and sometimes ill-advised moves by the operating bodies.  Controversy will breed innovation and growth.  Someone down the line will start organizing more events, see the opportunity at hand, and start making money just like the WTC has done.  Until then, it looks like we are all in this predicament together.  Fork over the money gang, it's going to be an expensive season.  I still haven't decided which race I will call mine, but I do have to admit that this recent controversy will have almost no bearing on my final decision.  Between Rev3, independent, and Ironman events, my options are still pretty limited. 

Here is the latest update on the ING NYC Marathon weather:

Day Night


Few Showers
High
55°F

Precip
30%

Wind: From NW at 11 mph
Humidity: 58%
UV Index: 2 Low

Sunrise: 6:33 AM ET
Avg. High: 55°F
Record High: 68°F (1994)



Scattered Showers
Overnight Low
40°F

Precip
30%

Wind: From WNW at 6 mph
Humidity: 68%
   
 
Sunset: 4:45 PM ET
Avg. Low: 40°F
Record Low: 30°F (1962)
Last Updated Friday, Oct 29, 10:12 PM Eastern Daylight Time

Monday, October 25, 2010

Countdown to NYC : 13 Days

First of all, I want to say thanks to Big Daddy Diesel for the comments on my Ironman selection post.  You should click his link and go check out his blog as well.

It looks like I am going to have to have a "Come to Jesus" talk with myself and see if I can man up for the heat in Louisville or endure a long season if I choose Arizona.  Anyone that has read my blog this summer knows that I don't like the heat.  I am all fine and dandy for the heat on the bike, but when you put me in running gear and send me out in the heat I get whiny.  It's either going to be time "put up or shut up" or avoid it altogether.  Personally the thought of chasing my heat demons is kind of appealing in a sick, twisted way.  I know wherever I go it's not going to be easy.  I know there are a lot of elements out of my control.  Hopefully I can make a decision that I am happy with and move forward with my training plan.  It's all going to boil down to how much I am willing to put into my training.  Preparation will be key.

As far as marathon training goes, today is a rest day for me.  I am going to spend some time with the foam roller and ice my knees.  I will plan on jumping on the elliptical tomorrow and maybe even take my bike for a spin on Wednesday.  It's been nearly 2 months so I have ridden my bike.  I stopped because of the knee, but a nice, easy spin might be in order.

Here's the latest forecast from Accuweather :

Temperature History for November 7

Forecast Normal Record Nov 7, 2009
High 53° 56° 78° in 1938 53°
Low 43° 44° 29° in 1930 35°

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Elliptical, Again : 14 Days to NYC

Two weeks,  Two short weeks.  I finally received my official handbook for the ING NYC Marathon on Saturday.  I have already read it front to back and am well-versed on all of the in's and out's of marathon weekend.  I went to the local bookstore today and picked up my Streetwise Maps of Manhattan and have started doing research on what I want to do will in NYC.  My cousin has also decided to come with me for a few days so it looks like I will have some support on the course!  Woo hoo!

Today was another torturous 2+ hours on the elliptical.  I am really just focusing on maintenance and recovery.  The knee still isn't right, but it is progressing slowly.  It may be one of those things where I don't actually run again until marathon day.  At this point I know the fitness is there, I just need to be healthier.  I may or may not try to run this week.  I haven't really decided yet.

It's now officially time to start looking at the weather forecast for Nov 7th in NYC.  Here's our first look ahead from Accuweather: 

Temperature History for November 7

Forecast         Normal Record Nov 7, 2009
High    57°            56°          78° in 1938                  53°
Low    49°           44 29° in 1930        35°

Friday, October 22, 2010

Louisville, Arizona, or Redman? That is the Question

I have really been struggling on picking "the one".  I am stuck at the fork in the road.  I have three options for next year's big Ironman quest and they all have their pros and cons.  I can't seem to wrap my head around one that is a perfect fit.  The problem is I can't really decide what is most important to me.  I have assurances from my parents that they will travel to whatever location I choose.  I have also been told by several friends they would be willing to travel for the Ironman to come cheer me on as well.  Now, I am not really sure all of them would follow through, and I wouldn't really expect everyone to spend vacation time and money on my selfish pursuit, but the more, the merrier!

Here is where you all come in.  I need some help.  If you have any advice or know anyone who has competed in any of these 3 events, please chime in.  Here is how I see it:

Ironman Louisville (Aug 28th, 2011) : 
  • Pros
    • Timing-wise it's great - before football season and about 11 weeks after my Kansas 70.3
    • Travel would be relatively easy - no direct flights but connections in Memphis/Houston/DFW
    • Know someone who raced it last year - tips and info would be easily accessible
    • Course isn't as difficult as some Ironman events - run is flat which is great
    • Ironman-branded event = large crowds, sold out entries, great support, spectator friendly, fun for everyone involved
    • General entry is still open as of today - not sure how much longer though
    • Time-trial swim start - I count this as a pro b/c you don't have to fight the mass start hysteria
    • Lots of local events and training groups to slug out long brick days during the summer
  • Cons
    • Will have to fly
    • Timing in the month is bad for my vacation time from work (last week of the month is hard to swing)
    • HOT - it is August after all (although avg temps aren't extreme) 
    • Not wetsuit legal
    • Cost - entry fee is expensive and have to sign up relatively soon.  Cost of transportation and hotel will add up in a hurry
Ironman Arizona (Nov 21, 2011) - Tempe, AZ
  • Pros
    • Great race by most accounts - online reviews and reports
    • Seems to attract pros after Kona 
    • Ironman-branded event : see above
    • Weather is supposed to be great that time of year
    • Relatively flat course and very spectator-friendly according to most
    • Flights into Phoenix are not too expensive out of OKC
    • Middle of the month so easier to get away from work
    • Cooler temps for some of my training (not all would be in the dog days of summer)
    • My parents probably favor this destination - at least that's what my Dad said
  • Cons
    • Timing - training would go all the way into November - loss of football season, daylight hours, and not as many people training around OK at that time.
    • Travel would be difficult for those not wanting to fly 
    • Maybe too long of a break between Ironman Kansas 70.3 in June
    • Cost - entry fee and travel/hotel (Ironman events are expensive!)
    • Mass swim start - don't really enjoy the cluster of the mass start
    • Sells out VERY QUICKLY - will have to stress about actually getting into this one
Redman Triathlon (September 24, 2011) - Oklahoma City, OK:
  • Pros
    • Very familiar course - live, work, and play here all year round
    • Flat and "fast" course
    • Weather is usually really nice this time of year in OKC
    • Friends and family could all come to support 
    • My company pays entry fees, no travel, no lodging - definitely cheapest option
    • Know a few people who have done the half-iron distance and loved it.  I am sure I could find a full iron distance person who has done it as well
    • Training groups in OKC - I could use them for Louisville and AZ too though
    • Non-branded event - I know I said this was a plus too, but the independents need some love
    • I have heard nothing but great things about the organization and course support
  • Cons
    • I think it would be anti-climatic to do my first one at a non-Ironman event
    • Course is a 4-loop bike and run - mentally I think this would be draining but some think it's a positive aspect
    • Spectator support is pretty minimal 
    • Participant count is low - only 150 full distance in 2010 and about 1000 total between the half, full, and aqua bike participants
    • I went after dark this year and it looked really lonely on the course at a time when I would think you need as many people cheering you on as possible
    • Probably will conflict with OU and OSU football games - will be hard to pull away friends and family from those games
    • Race doesn't give me the feeling of excitement and anticipation I have hoped for, but seems to be the most logical one to choose - not sure logic wins out though
So there you go.  This is why I am stuck.  The most logical choice is probably Redman here in OKC.  I really think doing an Ironman-branded event would be special though.  If you have any pearls of wisdom, please feel free to share.  Hopefully I will come to a decision soon!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Back at it : Countdown to NYC (19 days)

Life has returned to normal after the week of traveling.  I have settled back in at work and have resumed training.  Well, I have resumed cross-training.  I still haven't gone for a run since the marathon, but I don't know that my knee would have allowed me to before now.  The good news is that the knee is starting to feel better and I have become best friends with the elliptical.  I logged a torturous 2 hours on that dreadful machine on Sunday and just knocked out another hour today.  I am staying active so I should be good to go in 2 1/2 weeks as long as the knee still feels up to it.

I keep waiting and waiting on my ING NYC Marathon guide, but I still haven't received it.  Pretty much everyone I follow on Twitter that is running NYC has already received their info packet.  Most of them even got it last week.  Maybe mine got lost?  Hopefully it makes it way into my mailbox soon.

Nothing else really going on at the moment.  I am really just focusing on recovery, maintenance, and mentally preparing for the next marathon.  I am really going into NYC with a more laid back attitude.   I think the fact it's number two in only four weeks time puts less pressure on me.  If I run well, that's awesome.  If I don't, I want to enjoy the experience still.  It's still a little too early to be obsessing about weather because the 2 week forecasts don't quite reach marathon day.  The one thing for certain is that it will be cooler temps than Chicago.  Cool runners are happy runners!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Chicago Marathon Race Report

Home - finally.  It's been a week full of fun, food, and laughs with family and friends in Chicago.  I had a great trip to Chicago and have had ample time to reflect on what was and wasn't on 10-10-10.  I really had mixed feelings about my result at first, but now I am fully embracing the marathon for what it is and what it teaches me every time I toe the start line.  It's not about the time on the clock that matters.  It's what you gain from the journey.  Sure, PR's and fast times are what we all crave, but in the end the whole reason we do this is because we love it.  No one is going to remember what time we ran in our races except ourselves.  Everyone will just remember that we are marathoners.  A label placed on people who are willing to sacrifice, endure, and conquer.  We are all fighters and I truly think endurance athletes possess a special trait that will never let us give up.  It's great being part of such a special community.

As far as the race goes, it's one that I will look back on and remember what it felt like to suffer.  I really did suffer in this race.  In the grand scheme of things, it's probably one that will help me grow as an endurance athlete and hopefully help me take that next step to a sub-4 hour marathon.  I learned some tough lessons on the course and learned that patience and humility are needed to reach your full potential.  My race strategy was a little too aggressive and I think I paid for it in the end.  I learned that tall buildings inhibit Garmin watches from accurately calculating distance and pace.  I learned that pace bands are a necessity of life in big city marathons.  I made some rookie mistakes in this race.  Something that only experience will help me overcome.  I have to remember that this is only marathon 2 and my racing career is very short-lived.  As much as I may think, I don't know everything.  Patience and humility.

Race day arrived innocently enough.  We really didn't do much of anything Friday night or Saturday besides watch football, go pick up our race packet, and carbo load.  It was exactly as I had hoped and planned.  Race morning didn't come too early because we were really close to the start line.  The alarm went off about 5 AM and both Katie and I had our pre-run ritual of coffee, bagels, and peanut butter.  I had all my race stuff prepared from the night before so it was a pretty quick transition from sleep to being race-ready.  We took the red line subway to the start area and hopped off to join the waiting lines of runners at the porta-potties.  I really didn't drink much in the way of water, coffee, or sports drink at the apartment so the restroom break was more of a ritual and a way to release nervous energy.  After the porta-potties Katie and I parted ways as I headed to the seeded start corral to join my fellow runners.  The seeded start corrals were a cluster to get into, but once inside it was rather roomy so I plopped down on the pavement and tried to conserve some energy.  I stupidly threw away my bottle of Gatorade Endurance formula before I got into the corral and I really needed something to drink by the time the starting gun went off.  Oh well, another rookie mistake.

I lined myself up near the 3:50 pace group because that was my initial goal.  I should have adjusted when the temp was 70 degrees at 7:30 AM.  I should have been more conservative and stuck myself with the 4:00 group and adjusted as I went if I felt good.  However, I was dead set on the fact I could hit 3:50 that I stuck with the group.  Rookie mistake.  The starting gun went off and I crossed the start line about 7:35 so it only took me about 5 minutes to get to the start.  Not too bad in a mass of 37,000 people.

As we started, it was all I could do to try and keep myself in check and not run too hard.  The pace group was really erratic and dodging people made it nearly impossible to get into any sort of rhythm.  Also, being downtown and going underground in the first mile my Garmin was all kinds of screwed up and was worthless as far as keeping pace.  I was trying to run by feel and by the pace group, but neither was very helpful.  I should have pared back my pace.  Something I will make note of for NYC.  Start slow, Bryan.  The first few miles were all downtown and the crowds were amazing.  People were stacked 4 to 5 deep along the entire first few miles.  My parents and friend were waiting at mile 3.5 near our condo and I was super happy to see them so early in the race.  We really didn't know if it would be easy to spot each other, but they did a great job of being visible and I made an effort to get myself to the side of the street I thought they would be on at each point.

After seeing my folks, I settled in behind the 3:50 pace group and tried to run with them.  My plan was to stick with them and just see how it went.  Again, the pace groups were very unpredictable.  They would speed up, slow down, and go all over the street.  I guess when you are among that many people it's to be expected, but I eventually had to say screw the pace group and just do my own thing.  I could tell it wasn't doing me any good so why bother and stress about staying with the group.  The first 10 miles or so of the course were well-shaded, had great crowd support, and were entertaining.  Tons of stuff to look at and it didn't feel oppressively hot yet.  Our alert level on the course was raised to yellow (moderate alert) about 10 miles in and after we left the taller buildings I could tell why they had raised the level.  It was a glimpse into things to come and I really would regret that decision to try and stay with the 3:50 group later on in the race.

Up until the halfway point, I was feeling pretty decent, but even then I knew it was going to be a tough day.  It wasn't that I was struggling really, but I could feel that I may have went out too fast.  My time at 13.1 was 1:56:13 and I was still on pace to break the 4 hour mark, but the 3:50 race was becoming a distant reality.  After the 13.1 marker, the heat really started to settle in on the course.  All of the shade provided by the buildings and trees was gone and it was just us, the road, and the sun.  You would think that training and running in OK all summer would have helped, and I thought so as well, but apparently running a marathon in the heat is a bit different.  About mile 15 or 16, I really began to feel that I was in for a rough finish.  I was starting to feel like I had run a lot further than I really had and the doubts began to creep in about my ability to hit the sub-4 hour mark.  I knew I was still on pace, but I wasn't sure if I could actually keep my pace at that level.  I never imagined that I would struggle that much, but I did.  The positive note is that my Garmin started working properly the 2nd half so it was much easier for me to see how my pace was doing.   As you all know, when you are struggling with heat and distance, you feel like you are running a lot faster than actually are.  It was good to look down at my watch and see that, yes, in fact I was struggling to keep a sub-9 minute mile.  It was a reality check.  The last 10 miles were going to hurt.

It's funny in a way, and kinda scary in a way, that I don't remember much about the last 7 to 8 miles.  There are parts of the course in some of the race photos that I don't ever remember seeing and I couldn't tell you at what point we went through the different ethnic neighborhoods late in the race.  For those of you who don't know, that is one of the highlights of the Chicago marathon.  At this point I was also having to walk through every aid station and take multiple water and Gatorade cups to stay hydrated.  My sweat rate was really low which is scary for me because I normally sweat buckets.  It crept into my head that I might get into trouble, but I was going to have to be forced down before I actually gave in to any sort of heat issues. I was dumping water on my head every chance I got and was taking multiple sponges when they were offered.  I don't know why I was struggling so much with the temps.  They weren't extreme, but did reach the mid-80s very quickly.  I read in a report post-race that it was the 3rd hottest Chicago marathon in history.  It felt like it too.

The one shining spot for me from mile 20 on was seeing my parents and Holly at mile 23.  I knew they were going to be there and it kept me moving.  They had even went to make signs for Katie and I during their journey to the south side of the course!  It was great to see their faces and afterward they said I looked stronger at mile 23 this race, than I did in Dallas at the same point.  I laughed because I felt like crap.  I must have had a good poker face on.   After seeing my folks, it was only a few more miles to go and I kept bargaining with myself to try to keep from walking.  I was really, really struggling at this point and my pace just kept getting slower and slower.  I was walking through every aid station and even walked a little beyond the aid stations at times because I just felt like crap.  I knew I was getting close to the finish, but I also knew I was getting close to pushing myself over that slippery slope of heat-related issues.  I wanted to push as far as I could without jeopardizing my health.

As I made my final push to the finish, I kept wondering how everyone else was doing too.  I wondered if it was just me.  I looked around to survey the people around me and it wasn't just me.  Everyone looked like crap.  Ambulance sirens were going non-stop and runners were scrambling to find any slice of shade possible.  At one point after mile 16 or so, I heard one of the aid stations announce that the alert level had been raised to red.  Red meant we were one level away from extreme conditions.  Here is a snapshot of the alert levels for those who are not familiar:


EAS table


We were really at a point where it wasn't really a choice to slow down.  You were slowing down to stay safe.  I tried to keep up with hydration the best I could and when I hit mile 25 I tried to give it my all.  I knew I was so close, but it felt like I was so far away too.  I wasn't going to walk the last 1.2 miles.  It just wasn't going to happen.  I was pumping my arms and churning my legs as fast as I could get them to move.  It's very telling when 9:13 and 8:51 pace was the best I could muster at that point.  I knew sub-4 was out of the question, but a PR was definitely going to happen.  The last 800 meters really felt like an eternity.  Not only was everything in my lower body on fire, they decided to throw in a hill on the way to the finish as well.  The crowds were huge, but I was miserable.  I was so ready to be done.  I turned the corner on Columbus Drive and was so happy to see the finish line.  My body was done.  I had left it all out on the course.  As soon as I crossed the finish line, I got really dizzy and couldn't walk straight.  I found the first curb I could find and sat down.  If it hadn't been for that, I would have fallen down.  I took a while to gather myself and try to cool down before a very demanding race volunteer came over to me and told me to stand up.  I tried to explain that I was dizzy and couldn't stand up, but she forced me to my feet and told me to move along.  She said I would thank her later.  I didn't.  I was actually quite annoyed.  Regardless, I made my way through the chutes gathering up every ounce of water, Gatorade, and ice I could possibly find.  I put ice bags on my head and just tried to keep moving.   After about 15 to 20 minutes, I was finally back to feeling decent and made my way to our predetermined rendezvous point to meet up with Katie.  

So, all in all, it was a good experience, but a tough experience.  I continue to learn things about myself with each race I run and learned quite a few lessons out on the course.  I need to be more conservative with my race strategy when temperatures aren't conducive to fast times.  A 3:50 race would have been tough on a good day.  It was nearly impossible on a bad day.

Post-race recovery has gone pretty well with the lone exception of my left knee.  My left knee, which gave me fits all race, has been hurting all week and I am nervous that recovery for NYC is going to be pretty hit and miss.  It's only 3 short weeks until NYC Marathon.  At this point, it's going to be tough to get much running in between now and then and expect my knee to cooperate.  I am resting and icing all I can this weekend since the stairs of the subway in Chicago didn't do me any favors.  I already feel better after relaxing today and am hoping that a few more days of no running will help put me back in semi-decent shape.  I will go for my first post-marathon run late next week.  Until then, the elliptical and I will become close friends.

Sorry for the super long post, but a race report is never short it seems.  Thanks for following along and send some positive vibes my way for NYC.  Happy thoughts about the knee!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Quick Update : Chicago Marathon Finisher!

I just wanted to throw out a quick update to let everyone know I survived and finished marathon number two.  It wasn't exactly what I wanted, but Chicago decided to throw us a curve ball and give us 80 degree temps.  It was a pretty rough day on the course, but I set a new PR and I know I left it all on the course.  I will write a full race report when I get back from vacation, but until then, it's time to enjoy the sights and sounds of Chicago.  Thanks to everyone who has been following along.  Only 4 short weeks until NYC!  Wow, can't believe I have another one so soon.

Official finish time : 4:02:47

More details to come soon.  Run happy my friends!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Countdown to Chicago : Final Pre-Marathon Post (4 Days)

Well, it's here.  I am about to embark on my trip to Chicago for the 2010 Bank of America Chicago Marathon.  I actually don't leave until Friday morning, but I am packed and ready to go.  It's amazing how much space can be taken up when you are packing for a marathon trip/vacation.  The race alone took up an entire backpack and then I had to pack for a week of playing in Chicago as well!  I am very excited to get on the road and see what happens.

Before I can get to Chicago though, tomorrow I am going to catch Sugarland and Little Big Town in concert at the OKC Zoo with my younger brother (17) and his girlfriend.  It should be a good time and I am hoping I can score a nice spot on the lawn somewhere so I don't have to stand for hours.  I've seen Sugarland more times than I can count, but it's always fun.  I don't expect tomorrow to be any different.

After that, it will be time to get some shut-eye and hopefully sleep in a tad before my flight heads out for Chi-town.  As far as plans for my stay in Chicago, I don't really have any beyond the marathon.  I am going up with my friend, Katie, who is running the marathon as well, Holly, and my parents.  We rented a condo in "Near North Side" and are about 2 blocks west of Michigan Ave.  When I went to Chicago in September for business, I went by the neighborhood and scoped out the area.  We are in a great spot and I can't wait to spend some more time exploring.  One thing that is definitely on the agenda is to watch the Oklahoma State University football game on Friday night and then hit the expo on Saturday to get the goods.  Our plan is to cook in the condo on Saturday night to avoid the crowds and hopefully rest up.  Sunday is marathon day and everything after that is up for debate.  I am definitely looking forward to relaxing a bit, drinking a few beers, hanging out with friends/family, and enjoying the city.  It's been a while since I have been off work for more than a week so it will be a very nice break.

As far as marathon goals, I have really struggled with this the past few days.  I am not 100% healthy which concerns me, but I am healthy enough I think.  It's a different mindset going into this one than I had going into my first at Dallas.  I have expectations this time.  Dallas was definitely just a survive and advance type of deal for me.  I wasn't even sure I was going to be able to run it about 2 weeks out.  The fact I ran and finished was good enough for me.  My time was 4:14 so that's the barometer for this year.  I am in much better shape than I was last year, but with the knee crap, I am not really sure what to expect.  Right now, it seems like my pace is going to fall somewhere in the 8:45 to 9:15 range based on most of my long runs.  Given that I think I am going to shoot for a 3:50 finish.  Why not?  I will be happy with anything sub 4:00, so getting close to 3:50 will be icing on the cake if it happens.  My race strategy is to start somewhere near the 3:50 pace group so I can keep an eye on them and know where I am in relation to them at all times.  I will probably start off a little slower than the pace group, but hopefully I see them down the line somewhere.  My 20 mile run went fairly well so my hope is that the knee responds pretty similarly to what it did there.  It wasn't comfortable, but it wasn't unbearable.  All bets are off after 20 miles, so at that point it will just be time to dig in and get the task done.  I am hoping for a good race.  I am cautiously optimistic that a few more days of rest will do the knee good, and then I will show up on race day ready to go.  It's so hard to not be nervous before the marathon though.  I hope that all of the training this year will pay off in a nice 26.2 mile run on Sunday.  Thanks to everyone for following along.  I will check back in post-race.

Here is the latest forecast.  It just keeps getting warmer.  Two weeks ago it said it was going to be 55 for a high!
Day Night


Partly Cloudy
High
77°F

Precip
20%

Wind: From SSW at 7 mph
Humidity: 61%
UV Index: 5 Moderate
Sunrise: 6:57 AM CT
Avg. High: 67°F
Record High: 86°F (1962)



Partly Cloudy
Overnight Low
55°F

Precip
20%

Wind: From SSW at 3 mph
Humidity: 72%
Sunset: 6:17 PM CT
Avg. Low: 48°F
Record Low: 32°F (1964)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Countdown to Chicago : 5 Days

Today I managed to make a packing list and have started to make sure everything is in order.  I will have to pack tomorrow because Thursday I am going to the Sugarland and Little Big Town concert at the OKC Zoo.  After that, Friday morning will be my flight out to Chicago for some marathon fun!

Today was a run day for me.  I went for a quick 4 mile run after work.  The weather right now is great.  Fall has to be the best time of year for runners.  The run was a little harder than I wanted, but it seems like a lot of the shorter runs have been that way lately.  The knees are still pretty achy, but at this point there is nothing else to do other than rest, ice, compress.  I think I will scratch my run on Thursday and just try to get a bit healthier.  Hopefully 4 days of rest will help heal me up a bit.

Here is the latest weather update.  It gets a little milder every day.


Day Night


Partly Cloudy
High
72°F

Precip
20%

Wind: From S at 7 mph
Humidity: 64%
UV Index: 5 Moderate
Sunrise: 6:57 AM CT
Avg. High: 67°F
Record High: 86°F (1962)



Partly Cloudy
Overnight Low
55°F

Precip
10%

Wind: From SW at 5 mph
Humidity: 71%
   
 
Sunset: 6:17 PM CT
Avg. Low: 48°F
Record Low: 32°F (1964)

Monday, October 4, 2010

Countdown to Chicago : 6 Days

Another day closer.  Today flew by actually.  Work was really busy as I try to get ahead of the curve so my return won't be quite as hectic.  The downside of being gone for over a week is that you have a week's worth of work to catch up on when you return.  I will take it though. I am overdue for some extended time away from work.  It's been way too long since I have been gone from work for a full week. 

Nothing too exciting to report today.  I didn't do any sort of running or cardio today.  I did foam roll the heck out of my IT bands, quads, calves, hips, and hamstrings.  I also iced both knees and have tried to keep my focus on not doing anything stupid this week.  My knees are really tight right now.  Both of them.  They have that burning sensation on the outside of the knee.  Sitting at a desk all day isn't the best recipe for loosening them up either. 

In other news, I have narrowed down my Ironman races to three choices.  I am very, very close to pulling the trigger and will update you all as soon as that happens.  I have spent the last few days doing research online, talking to some people who have competed in 2 of these races, and watching video after video on YouTube.  I have to admit I tear up when I watch the finish line videos.  It's very inspiring to watch people accomplish such an incredible feat.  It makes me want to jump all in, but my body is asking me to take a break.  After NYC, it will be time to focus on getting healthy, doing some strength training to help alleviate my injury bug, and building that base for next year's journey.  Until then, keep dreaming the dream gang.  It's inspiring to read about your journeys online.  You guys are a big source of my motivation.  Keep up the great work.

Here is the latest weather update: 
 
Day Night


Sunny
High
70°F

Precip
0%

Wind: From SSW at 9 mph
Humidity: 62%
UV Index: 5 Moderate
Sunrise: 6:57 AM CT
Avg. High: 67°F
Record High: 86°F (1962)



Clear
Overnight Low
55°F

Precip
0%

Wind: From SW at 5 mph
Humidity: 70%
   
 
Sunset: 6:17 PM CT
Avg. Low: 48°F
Record Low: 32°F (1964)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Countdown to Chicago : 7 Days

It's close.  Very close.  Close enough that I am now beginning to feel the nerves of another marathon race day.   I told my mom on Thursday that I have just now started to remember what I felt like those last few miles of marathon number one.  The pain, the fatigue, the constant thought that any minute I could cramp and be forced to the sidelines like so many of my running friends.  I think it's good that I am having these thoughts and memories though.  It will keep me grounded.  It will make me focus.  It will require me to stay on top of my nutrition, be deliberate in my pacing, and make me respect the marathon distance.  It's such a long race.  There is a lot you can't control in a 26.2 mile race, but the areas I can control, I hope to nail.  It's race week gang.  I am getting nervous.  I am getting very excited.  I am ready to go.

As far as this past week, training was pretty minimal.  I did some elliptical early in the week, ran 6 miles on Wednesday, and went for my last semi-long run this weekend.  I had originally planned to run 12 miles this weekend, but the knee wasn't happy so I didn't push it and called it quits after 8ish miles.  I could have logged the full 12, but my thinking was that it wasn't doing me any good to try to cram in a few more miles this weekend.  It's time to get healthier, rest up, and hopefully have a good race next Sunday.  The knee is not 100%, but it hasn't been 100% in nearly 2 months.  My hope is that it cooperates on Sunday and I can run the race I want.  I don't want to be forced to grind through 26.2 miles, but I will if I have to.  There is one thing that I have learned about myself over the last 28 years : mentally I am strong.  If I put my mind to it, it's going to happen.  Mind over matter. 

For those of you interested in tracking my progress on race day, here is the link:

Bank of America Chicago Marathon Runner Tracking

Bryan Sloan ; Bib #7773

Goals will be revealed later this week after I see how the week progresses.  There will be lots of foam rolling, icing, stretching, and carbs.  Oh how I love endurance sports.  It makes me feel alive. 

Here is the latest weather forecast.  I pulled from The Weather Channel today.  Turning milder.  Shaping up to be a great day on the course:

Day Night


Mostly Sunny
High
69°F

Precip
10%

Wind: From WSW at 8 mph
Humidity: 70%
UV Index: 5 Moderate
Sunrise: 6:57 AM CT
Avg. High: 67°F
Record High: 86°F (1962)



Mostly Clear
Overnight Low
54°F

Precip
10%

Wind: From WSW at 6 mph
Humidity: 73%
   
 
Sunset: 6:17 PM CT
Avg. Low: 48°F
Record Low: 32°F (1964)