Monday, January 30, 2012

It's Time For Her To Fly

It is bad when a race pacer becomes the pacee. This is what happened at the ING MEami Half Marathon yesterday. I was dropped by the person I was pacing. Yikes.

The past three half marathons I completed were playing the part of a pacer. I helped Kristen, a fellow BRA member, PR on all of them. At least 2 & 11/13.1 of them.

I was originally signed up to do the MEami marathon until I developed a knee injury about 3 weeks ago. At that point my training slowed and also my motivation. I then convinced Kristen to let me pace her to a 3rd PR at the MEami Half. She agreed. Not sure if it was reluctant or not but I didn't have to pressure her...much. Part of me still wanted to do the full. I would pace Kristen to the 12.8 mile point and then be a game day decision on left for the half or right for the full. This was on the assumption that my knee would improve. But I still didn't have the motivation for the full so I decided I would just do the half and save myself from any further injuries which could/would hamper much more important races around the corner.

So having that in mind, I also didn't care much about my nutrition the week leading up to the half. I ate at McDonalds several times during the week. On Saturday, the day before this race, I had a 24oz Corona at 8am on the ride to MEami. I had McDonalds for lunch. Several more beers later in the night. A sleeve of Girl Scout Trefoils at 10pm. I should have been better since I did have a responsibility to someone but I was thinking "it's just a half".

The MEami marathon was sold out at 25,000. Very intimidating to some. Including Kristen. We met at the corral and I told her the game plan. She was very nervous. She had also been having some ankle issues the past week and didn't want that to hinder her performance. I couldn't do anything about the ankles but I was able to calm her nerves about the race. Just run like it's a training run with your BRA friends. Run right behind me while it's crowded. If you start to fall back yell at me and I will slow down and pull you right back up. Take some type of liquid each chance you get except for the last mile unless your dying. I will set the pace so don't look at your watch.

Speaking of watches. I turn my Garmin on a few minutes before the start and I get the message batteries low. I have Kristen give me her Garmin and she takes mine. I was also wearing the GoPro so there will be video coming. I may need to do some editing first.

We start out towards the front of our corral which had been moved up to the starting line. We averaged about an 8:15ish through the first few miles. It was very humid. I think it was over 80% which as a Floridian we should be used to but it doesn't help. The first water stop was after the 3 mile mark. We fuel up and continue on. We start up one of the bridges when I hear Kristen yelling my name. I got lost in the moment and had picked the pace up a little bit and her ankles were also starting to hurt a little. I brought the pace down for her to get with me and then I gradually picked it back up some. Still hovering above 8:15ish to 8:30's.

I was starting to have some nice stomach cramps. I knew I needed to make a pit stop at some point. I decided to make that stop just after mile 5. I told Kristen to keep the same pace and stay on the right side and I will catch up to her.

I took care of business and I damn sure felt better.

An observation here. Running on South Beach at about 7 a.m., you see who some of the party girls are. There were women in tight dresses and high ass heels walking down Ocean. I don't know if they were coming from or going too breakfast. Or maybe it was the "walk of shame".

Off now to catch Kristen. She either had a damn good pace going or my break was longer than I thought. It took me 28 minutes to catch her. I thought for a while maybe I missed her at one of the three water stops I passed. I was running about 8:08 or better. I was so wanting to catch her hoping I could drop the pace at that point. My knee was also starting to hurt more than I expected. I should have slowed my pace and realized I had the miles to catch her.

I then saw her just after the 8 mile mark. I was happy. Turns out she was too. It was at this point when she starts to slow and needed me there for the push. I told her she was doing great.

We did slow the pace to just above 8:40, but we were well ahead of a PR on the current pace. My knee started hurting a little bit more. But I was also getting tired. I misjudged the "it's just a half". We kept the same pace to just about the 10 mile mark. Kristen was running strong. No complaints. Or at least she wasn't saying them out loud.

It was at this point I realized that she was now becoming the pacer. I gave her her Garmin back and told her that she needed to wear it in case I had to stop because of my knee. The truth was that I knew I was going to have to stop but not because of my knee. I was getting tired and she was wearing me out. This was her race. I wanted her to have her watch so she could get the time when she crossed the finish line.

She pulled away from me before mile 11 and I was able to catch back up but only for a short distance. I slowed and she didn't. It was time for her to fly and not return to the nest.

I ended up walking a little and then hobbled in to the finish. I shall race another day. I am of the philosophy that "I run because I want to. Not because I have to."

So Kristen, can you pace me on my next half? Great job.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Good Guys 4...Bad Guys 0...or a PSA

This post is a few weeks overdue. I had to wait til the dust, bonds and attorneys settled.

I spent the week after Christmas with my daughters and family in Georgia. Two of the days during the week were spent skiing in North Carolina. I was sort of in mid-training form for the Miami Marathon. I counted the two days of skiing as cardio but couldn't log my miles because I forgot to wear my Garmin. Oh well. I know I sweated none the less.

I wanted to get atleast one run in while out of town. The only day I had available was the last Friday of the year. I was going to go to Kennesaw Mountain National Park and use my GoPro to film my run. I was actually excited to do this run. I should also mention that I love my new GoPro. You should check out some of my videos on Youtube. Santa brought it to me. Thanks again Santa.

Kennesaw Mountain was the site of the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain during the 1864 Atlanta Campaign of the American Civil War, in which the Union forces of General William Tecumseh Sherman launched a bloody frontal attack on the Confederate Army of Tennessee, which was commanded by General Joseph E. Johnston. Federal judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis, the first commissioner of Major League Baseball, was named after the battle, in which his father nearly lost his left leg. That's a brief history of the mountain.

I checked on line and found out that there were over 15 miles of running trails in and around the park. I needed to do a long run but did not bring my trail shoes for this trip. Should I use that as an excuse to shorten my mileage. Hey why not. I figured I would do the one mile up hill run for starters and then head to The Varsity for my chili dawgs, onion rings and a frosted orange.

I got to the park in the mid-afternoon only to discover this place was pretty damn popular with the tourists, local runners and turns out the thugs. There was no parking in the main lot so I had to drive to the new overflow parking lot. This lot looked like it would hold about a hundred cars. There were probably 30 or so cars scattered about. Some people were leaving from their cars to go to the park and some others were returning to their cars.

I found my place to park and was finishing up a call with a friend when something in the rearview mirror caught my attention. I continued my conversation and started scanning my rearview mirror and side mirror. I saw a guy wearing a black hoodie standing between two cars. He was facing one of the cars making a punching motion. He also had something large and white wrapped around his hand. For a brief second I thought he was brushing snow off the back of the car. I only thought this because I had just been skiing for two days. I was quickly brought back to reality when I remembered the temperature was in the mid 60's. He then pushed his hand towards the car again and made a circular motion. He was clearing all the broken glass from the car window. I told the person on the phone that I would call them back because someone is breaking in to a car. I called 911.

I then saw the hoodie thug climb in to the car he was facing. He was then out of my view. I was on the phone with a 911 operator. This was the first time I ever used my cell phone to call 911 and it worked like a charm.

I then saw two purses being thrown from one car to a white minivan that was next to the car that was broken into. This made me furious. People work hard for their stuff and no one has a right to take it without their permission. Do you hear that Congress and POTUS. The thug with the hoodie then climbs out the car window and falls to the ground. He then gets in to the white minivan and the van starts to drive away just as a woman is walking to her car which was parked in front of the van. She was not aware that something had even happened.

I pull in behind the van as it exits the parking lot. I am still on the phone with 911. I then notice that the tag on the van is from out of state. I needed to do what I could to make sure these thugs get caught. If I lose sight of them, they may never be found.

I have spent a lot of time watching CSI, Car 54, Starsky and Hutch and COPS so I knew what I needed to say to the 911 operator so she didn't tell me to stay away.

I stay behind the minivan for the next 8 or so miles while saying the right things to 911. The van's occupants had no idea I was on the phone behind them. It was my duty as a citizen to be the best witness I could be. I could have turned the other way and got my run in. You know there are some out there that would have. They were no physical threat to anyone so there was no need for me to take physical action. Now had they been robbing someone that would have been different.

The calvery finally stopped the minivan blocks from the interstate entrance. I was now in a live COPS episode of my own. Four guys busted. All belongings returned to the owners. If I am going to miss a run this is a good reason for it. I still got my Varsity in though. A chili dawg. Onion rings. A slaw dawg. A large coke.

My PSA for you is to remember to put your belongings in your trunk or under something in the backseat. Dont just leave your stuff out for all to see. When someone is breaking in to cars, they look in the car from the outside first. If nothing is seen then they will move on to the next one. Or you could just leave an opened dirty diaper in the driver's seat. Thugs don't like dirty diapers.