Tag Archives: half marathon

The Great Pumpkin Race at Buckelew Farms 2011

It’s been four weeks since my injury and three weeks since I’ve posted anything new. In the meantime, I’ve still been training and “racing”. To recap the last month, I was registered for four races:

  • Omaha Half Marathon – September 25, 2011
  • Jim Click’s Run n’ Roll 8k – October 2, 2011
  • TMC Get Moving Tucson Half Marathon – October 9, 2011
  • The Great Pumpkin Race at Buckelew Farms 5k – October 16, 2011

On Saturday September 24 I was supposed to board a flight from Tucson to Omaha for my half marathon. Like usual, I woke up early, around 5 A.M. My flight wasn’t until noon and I was already packed, so I had nothing to do. Being slightly crazy, I decided to do some hill repeats on the bike. I wasn’t too worried about my legs since the Omaha Half was only a “C” race; I was planning on just pacing my sister in her first half. (She finished without me. And she wants to do another one! I’m so proud of her.)

Near me there are only weak hills. There’s one on 1st Ave that will work in a pinch, but I had plenty of time so I decided to head out to the northeast side where there are some decent hills. To get out there I forsake the roads and used the multi-use path (MUP). About 5 miles from home I crashed. The last thing I remember before the crash was reaching down for a water bottle near Brandi Fenton Park and noticing someone behind me. When I awoke in the ambulance, I was told that they found me near Brandi Fenton Park so it made sense. It wasn’t until I looked at my GPS data did I discover that I crashed near George Mehl Park about a mile down the path. So I’m not sure exactly what caused the crash or how my bike ended up making its way back home. I ended up with some road rash and a concussion.

But enough crash talk! Let’s talk racing! How did this affect my running you ask? You didn’t ask? Well, I’m going to tell you anyway. While in the hospital, I was under the deluded impression that I would be able to at least fly to Omaha and see my sister and mom while they raced. Uh, no. I was in the Emergency Room until after my flight left, but I was in no shape to fly. So I did not start (DNS) that race.

The first week after the crash I had a hard time walking. I had the Jim Clicks 8k on Sunday; would I be able to participate? On Sunday morning I got up, picked up my packet at the race and lined up at the back of the line. I tried jogging right at the start but was unable to even maintain a 12 min/mi pace. So I walked. And I was getting passed by people walking the 3k fun run that started immediately after the 8k. As it turns out, I finished last. Dead Fucking Last. (DFL) Hopefully that’s the last time that happens.

Two weeks after the crash I was supposed to run a half marathon. I was contemplating trying for a personal record (PR) in this race. I would have been lucky to even finish. A good race day decision on my part saw me change to walking the 5k instead of the half. I didn’t finish last, but close.

That brings us to two days ago, October 16. I had registered for The Great Pumpkin Race at Buckelew Farms. It’s an off-road race through a pumpkin field and corn maze! I got to the race, pinned on my bib, and started a short jog. The pain in my hip was intense and I thought I might just walk the course like the last 2 weeks. As race time approached, I positioned myself near the back of the pack. Then I thought, “what the hell, I’ll go for it”. I snaked my way up to mid-pack before the starting horn went off.

As we started off on the dirt road, the pain in my hip wound was intense and I thought about stopping and walking. But then I remembered Jens Voigt and said “shut up wound“. After about 3 minutes, the pain became bearable and I started running faster; passing people. Then we turned into the rows of the pumpkin field. I’m not sure how many of you have run in a pumpkin field before, but it’s not easy. It’s less easy to pass people. So I ended up slowly picking people off, one by one until we hit the corn maze.

The corn maze part came at the 3 mile mark, and as it turned out we had a half mile to go. Someone messed up the course distance. Anyway, there was no room to pass in the corn field so I bid by time and “drafted” off the runner in front of me while my heart rate came down a bit and I waited for the final sprint to the finish.

As we came out of the corn maze, there were four of us bunched together and we all started to sprint toward the finish about 200 meters away. I came out the winner of the sprint, but finished 66th overall and 7th in my age group at a time of just under 25 minutes. It’s not that impressive of a time, but considering the course, my injury, and the extra distance I think it was pretty good.

The post-race schwag was non-existent. There was some Go Girl Energy Drinks and then the usual bananas and bagels. I guess no one else wanted to drive out to Three Points, Arizona to give away their product. I took advantage of the Go Girl drinks and taste tested each flavor along with plenty of bagels. I can’t say I was impressed with the energy drinks. Just 2 days later and I can’t remember anything about them. They probably were OK, but when I saw the price of them in the store yesterday, I didn’t even think about buying any.

After the race, I came home, changed into my cycling kit and headed off to O2 Modern Fitness for my usual Sunday morning spin class. It was good. 60 minutes of zone 4 intervals keeping the heart rate in zone 2 during recoveries. The day earlier saw me ride the famous Shootout Ride and then a 90 minute yoga session. It was a good weekend. Then on Monday I ran 21 miles. It’s Tuesday now and I’m feeling it. And it feels good. 🙂

Next weekend I have two races scheduled. And I can’t wait! I love race season.

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Should I try for a PR at Omaha? Semi-random musings

A few days ago, I was musing about trying to set a new PR at the Omaha Half. Don’t worry; procrastinator that I am, I haven’t made a decision yet. But I’ve been thinking about it. I have two competing thoughts on the matter. On the one hand, the only half marathon I’ve run has been the Lake Havasu Half. I signed up for it on a whim about three weeks prior to the event. At the time I was training for the Whiskey Row Marathon in Prescott. There was no specific training that went into the Havasu Half besides showing up and running. There was no taper period involved since the week preceding the event consisted of a full running schedule. Even so, I was able to mount a very reasonable 1:42:06 for a first half-marathon. Since then, I’ve continued to run and am in much better shape now than I was then. Therefore, all things being equal, I should have no problem breaking my record set at Havasu.

But all things are not equal. The most important difference is that I am not only training for a running event. I am also training for cycling. At the moment I am not swimming because I broke my arm a few weeks ago. It wasn’t a serious break and it was in a location where they can’t cast it, so all I could do was take pain medication. It still hurts once in a while, but I’ve been riding and running for the last two weeks. The broken arm hasn’t slowed down my running that much. It’s the training hours I’m putting in biking that have me worried. I spend about 75% of my training hours on the bike. In terms of distance, it’s a lot more due to the speed differential. But the load on the legs feels about the same for each discipline. So at the moment I’m basically training for a marathon – twice! I’ve also added a weight lifting routine that I didn’t have before.

Last week alone I had 17 hours of training on the bike. That doesn’t include the average 34 minutes daily commuting to and from work. I also had 4.5 hours of training scheduled running. I don’t have easy access to my TrainingPeaks account right now, but I think I was pretty close to hitting all the biking hours and I was right on for the running. So it was a hard week. This week’s load is lighter, but not by much. For instance, I have today completely off besides commuting!

Last night I ran 8 miles in the rain. In 80 minutes. Yes, you read that right: 10 minutes/mile. That was what I put on the training plan, so that’s what I did. But it was slow running because I had lifted immediately prior. And because of my broken arm, I am restricted to leg work in the gym. Actually, both the gym and run yesterday went great and I’m sort of bummed I don’t get to do anything today. Although that’s mostly because I like eating, and when I workout I get to eat a lot.

So I’m not sure what I should do. Any random passersby have comments?

Life on the road continues…

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Havasu Half race recap

At the starting line of the Havasu Half MarathonIt’s now Wednesday, and I haven’t blogged yet about running my first half marathon. Due to weather conditions, I, along with my sister and her fiance, arrived in Havasu at around noon Friday. They wouldn’t let us check into the hotel yet, so we had to find something to do. This turned out harder than expected; there’s not a lot to do in Havasu besides spring break. We ended up bowling. And I kicked ass. Okay, not really. But I did beat my sister, and that’s all that counts, right?

After 2 games, we decided that was enough and headed to the hotel where the race expo was being held. Unfortunately, it didn’t start until 3 PM, and it was only about 2:30. Doh. We went back to our hotel to see if they would let us check-in a half hour early. They did… but they told us they were upgrading the keycard system, or something, so we needed someone to let us in the room. Whatever. We hung out there for a little while and then headed over to the expo.

The expo really wasn’t much. Race check-in, get your bib, “free” tech t-shirt and goodie bad – which didn’t have much in it. Read: it didn’t have anything in it. Oh well. But the good thing was when my sister saw the excitement in the room, her eyes lit up and I could tell she wanted to run, even though she hadn’t been planning on it. All it took was one time asking (and me paying her registration) and she was in the 5k. Back to the hotel, get someone to let us in again, and relax until dinner. They never did fix the door.

Pre-race dinner was at Mudshark Brewery, who also sponsored the race. Thanks! Dinner was delicious. We started with a full order of onion rings. They were huge! And the batter that covered them was delicious. I ended up having the Salmon Tortellini. It came out on a huge plate, but I ate the whole thing. Yummy. Wish I would have taken a picture. Everyone enjoyed their meals, and then we headed back to the hotel room for a good nights sleep before the big day.

We got up at 6 for for the 7:30 start. Parking at the event was easy and just a short walk to the start/finish. After finding the start, I ended up doing a warm-up to the car and back to the start. On the way back, I ran into lil sis, so we waited together until the start and got some pictures.

Me and sis at the startlineRace start time! I was shooting for a time of 1:50, so I lined up right behind the 1:50 pacer. I thought that was logical. Turns out I was wrong, but more on that later. A toot on the air horn and we’re off! And I’m getting passed like I’m standing still! WHA!!! I look at my Garmin to check my pace. Yep, right on track. Where’d that pacer go? She’s now way out ahead of me. Darnnit. What to do? I go to the side of the road and let everone pass that wants to and watch as the pacer get further and further distant. By half a mile in I couldn’t even see her. Keep your pace. First aid station. Which side to choose? Left of course, there’s less people. Slow to a walk, get the water Gatoraid and get back to running. Keep getting passed.

Around 1.5 miles everyone starts stringing out and I’m getting passed less. Yippie. At the second aid station I start passing people. Yeah, y’all started out way too fast. I’m on pace. Nothing of note happened until about mile 5 when I caught up to the 1:50 pacer. I slowed my pace a little and stuck with her for about half a mile, then passed. At the time she was ahead of the 1:50 pace by about a minute and a half. By this time I was feeling really good and was going to try for 1:40, so I turned up the pace and started passing people left and right. From mile 6 to mile 10 I was running about 7:30 miles, which is pretty good for me.

At mile 10 I was feeling great and I started running even faster. I saw one of the miles on my Garmin was sub-7 minutes. Woohoo! I skipped the last aid station and poured on the gas. Crossed London Bridge for the second time, and we done with all the hills. It was literally downhill from there. I ended up crossing the line in 1:42:06. So close to catching the 1:40 group.

crossing the finish line of my first half!After the race I felt really good, but not tired. I think I could have beat 1:40 if I had started a little faster. Oh well, cest la vie. It was my first race afterall. Lil sis ended up finishing her 5k in 32 minutes, which I think was great considering that her previous longest run had been only 2.6 miles. Way to go Sis! Cookies, Gatoraid, and some bagels after the race hit the spot. We didn’t stay for the post-race ceremony, as we had 4 hours of driving back to Phoenix, and I had an additional 2 hours to Tucson. Ended up having dinner in Phoenix and getting back home at around 7. Had some food and went straight to bed

All in all, a great weekend! I can’t wait to do it again. Next race, Whiskey Row Marathon on May 14th. Watch out you drunkards, here I come!

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