Showing posts with label Cape Cod Marathon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cape Cod Marathon. Show all posts

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Last year a baton, this year a DVD case

Today's run (street): 4 miles

I was surprised to feel as well as I did after I got up this morning. Despite yesterday and Friday's hard runs and a later bedtime last night I was up at 4:30 this morning. I waited a few hours to run and by then the temperature was heading to 60 degrees. I didn't plan to go out too far today so I targeted 5K to 4 miles for my distance. We'd taken out a couple of DVDs this weekend so I followed a route that passed the library so I could return them. As I ran along holding the DVD cases I realized that exactly one year ago I was running in the Cape Cod marathon relay. Instead of a DVD box, that Sunday I held a baton as I worked to complete my second relay leg (6 miles) and hand it off to Adventure Girl who ran the final 11. We all had a great time that weekend and I believe that event still represents the most miles I've covered in a single day.

After swinging by the library's outdoor drop bin I turned back into the neighborhood  to complete my run. I didn't feel as strong as I did during yesterday's Cow Harbor do-over but I had more than enough energy to cover my distance. I ended up running about 9:30 per mile, mostly due to a steep drop in speed on mile 4. I guess the Central Park and Northport runs finally caught up with me. Between Friday afternoon and this morning I've covered over 15 miles. Most were run with hard effort. I really do need to put a couple of 6+ mile runs together next weekend to get back in line with my distance goals. I felt good this morning but tomorrow I may feel differently. It's been my experience that the pain of running Widow Hill can take a couple of days to manifest.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Relays and races

Last Sunday's Newsday carried a story about a team of runners that participated in the annual Ocean to Sound Relay that's held each year on Long Island. The course is 50 miles in length, starts at Jones Beach State Park and ends at the Sound in Oyster Bay. Each leg of the race is between 5-7 miles. I ran my last long training run for Cow Harbor at Bethpage State Park the same day of this year's race and encountered numerous relay runners who were coming through at that time. It reminded me that my experience running with a relay team in happened almost a year ago. It was the Cape Cod Marathon Relay in Falmouth, MA and our intrepid team of four (actually three as one member had contracted H1N1 virus) covered the 26.2 mile course. It was the longest distance I'd ever run in a day, 9 miles, with AG leading the charge by running 11 miles straight through. It was a great weekend and a very fun experience and I hope to participate in another relay of that type someday. I'm considering fielding a team for next year's Ocean to Sound race. It might be a great training exercise for the 2011 Cow Harbor race that's run the following weekend.

In the spirit of running two races on consecutive weekends, Dave and I are looking to run a 10K in Babylon on November 14 (Run for the Warriors) and then race in the Turkey Trot in Long Beach the following Sunday. It's really great to have a race on the calendar because it gives you something to train for. I love the whole race experience, the nervous energy before the start, the race itself and the great feeling of completeing another test of one's capabilities at the finish. I don't always like how I've performed but I've never finished a race and felt my time would have been better spent doing anything else. I'm planning another midday run in Central Park today. I'm hoping that the weather holds and that the rain that's been predicted doesn't show up at noon.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Cape Cod Marathon race report

As I mentioned last night, the Cape Cod marathon race weekend was an amazing experience. Heading to Massachusetts always makes me feel like I'm going home and the Cape is a special place for me because our family spent many a summer there as I was growing up. We arrived on Friday night in the dark and cold and barely had time for anything before getting to bed. Saturday morning was overcast, cold and rainy but that didn't matter because we weren't running until Sunday. My wife and kids explored the hotel while I organized my gear. When I opened the shades to our room I was happy to see the ocean view and it reinforced that we were actually here on the Cape for the relay.

We met up with Adventure Girl at the Expo where we got some guidance from the race organizers on where things would be happening and where my family could situate to watch the race. The Expo was fun and I tried on a few pairs of ASICS and Mizuno running shoes that were temptingly priced but I didn't bite. I still have a some miles left in my Brooks. AG went off to drive the course while we went into town and had lunch at Liam Maguires pub. We met up with AG for a little time before we headed back to our hotel. We all met up again later for dinner at the British Beer Company where we had a great meal and AG and I had a pints of stout and porter respectively in the name of pre-race carb loading. Later that evening the kids quizzed AG for one of her mid term exams and during that time we got a call that one of our teammates was diagnosed with Swine Flu and he would not be able to make the race. AG reassigned our routes, swapping my second leg to the 3rd segment instead of the 4th. This way it ensured that AG, me and MM (our third teammate) were all able to run by the ocean at some point. In so doing AG took on legs 4 & 5 so she ended up running close to a half marathon.

We met as a team on Sunday morning at 7:00 AM and tried to stay warm. Despite the 57 degree temps it felt chilly. Soon AG and MM went off to locate exchange #1 where I would hand off to MM. My wife and kids stayed with me and situated themselves in front of the Black Dog on Main Street. I got into position on the starting line and at 8:30 they fired the cannon to start the race and I was happy to high-five my family on our way up Main Street as I headed through my first leg. I came into exchange #1 after running about an 8:30 pace. The end of the leg has a big hill but that effort was mitigated by the most beautiful view of the ocean. The road split to allow relay-ers to do their hand-offs without interfering with the full marathon runners. I handed off to MM and AG then drove us over to exchange #3 where I picked up the baton for my second leg of 5.7 miles. That route was very rolling with a number of hills but I felt great and after passing under Route 28 I knew most of the big hills were over. Around that time I started talking to another runner, MG, who was not registered for the race but was running it as a practice for a marathon she's running in a couple of weeks. She was a strong runner and she helped me keep a good pace through the end of the leg. MG continued to run after I handed off to Adventure Girl and the two even ran together for a bit. MM and I made our way back to the start/finish area and waited for AG to come in and finish. My wife and kids joined us just in time to see AG coming through mile 26 and my kids took off with AG all the way to the finish while MM and I followed behind.

We ended up with an overall time of 4:03 but for some reason our team wasn't posted in the results. It was probably related to a problem reading the tracking chip on AG's shoe. It didn't matter, we know what we did and we had an incredible experience along the way. We headed back to the Lawrence School that served as HQ for the race and Expo. They served a great lunch featuring New England clam chowder (an Emerging Runner favorite). Pretty soon it was time to say our goodbye's and we went our separate ways. I can't wait to run again, this was so energizing and fun. We need to find another big event to run next year and I have a feeling I'll be thinking about this one for a long time.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

26.2 miles, three runners, a fantastic weekend

Wow. That's the best word I can think of to describe this weekend. We had a fantastic time in Falmouth, MA, at the Cape Cod marathon both on and off the race course. I've been so busy the last two days I haven't been able to post since Thursday. I'm planning to share details tomorrow but until then I'll just share some headlines:
  • We found out late Saturday that our 4th team member was diagnosed with H1N1 virus (Swine Flu) which forced us to split the five legs among three people.
  • The weather was perfect - 57 degrees and sunny at 8:30 AM
  • I did the first and third legs (8.75 miles) and AG did the last two (11.3 miles). Our third teammate did 6.15 miles.
  • The course was challenging, lots of rolling hills, some memorable. The scenery was beautiful, fully memorable.
  • We finished in just about 4:00 hours.
  • We celebrated with a great lunch that was put on by the race organizers.
  • It was a great weekend of food, friends and family!
More to come!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Decisions and anxieties

I just checked the extended forecast for Falmouth, MA on Sunday: 58 degrees and a 30% chance of precipitation. In my perfect world it would be a little colder than that but 58% with clouds could work just fine. I have a lot of decisions to make between now and Sunday at 8:30 AM:
  • What clothes should I run in?
  • Should I change between my first and second leg (legs 1 & 4)?
  • What gear should I bring along (HRM, Garmin, iPhone, gloves)?
  • Which running shoes should I wear?
  • What pace should I target for each leg?
  • How will I handle hydration?
  • How can I keep my legs flexible between my runs?
  • Should I do a practice run on Saturday or take advantage of rest?
I'm also concerned about following the course and not getting lost. I think the race people mark the route with CCM labels spray painted in prominent spots. I hope so because it would be humiliating to leave my teammates stranded due to a navigational snafu. I worry that I'm not worried about the first leg and too worried about the second. In the end it's just a race and I'll figure everything out or things will get figured out for me. Like I've said in previous competitions, I'm just going to run my race and hope for the best. In the end, if it isn't about having fun just why am I doing this?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Relay race ruminating

I was looking at information about the Cape Cod Marathon last night and read some comments from people who characterized the course as fairly challenging. Given the elevation profile they list on the marathon website I'm willing to believe that. I guess it would be brutal to face all those hills over 26.2 miles. As I ran on Saturday and Sunday I thought about that fact that I'm training for a marathon relay. If all goes according to plan on Sunday I will have run more miles in a single day than ever before. Still, my two legs only add up to a little more than a third of the marathon distance. As I attacked those hills on Sunday I thought about the 1,000+ people on race day that will need to run every foot of the course. That takes a combination of fitness and commitment that I cannot match at this point. Running a full marathon would involve some significant weekly distance although, according to the website Cool Running, you can get by with the 20 or so miles per week that I do now. I don't buy that since there is NO WAY that I could run 26.2 miles in a single day, let alone within 4 hours.

I'm thinking about next year's running goals and a half marathon is definitely under consideration. I will need to expand upon my personal distance record of 7.6 continuous miles and that, perhaps, is another goal for 2010. I'm planning to run about 8 more miles before Sunday and give myself one rest day before the race. I've learned a lot in the four races I've run this year and I hope to apply this experience and knowledge on Sunday. I'm excited for a lot of reasons including the fact that I'll be competing, for the first time, in my home state.

Monday, October 12, 2009

I relay want to go fast

We're getting closer to race day and all I can think about is getting through this week. Between budgets and industry presentations I'm very oversubscribed. At least running provides a good channel for dissipating stress. My work colleague, whom I'd mentioned in Saturday's post, ran the Baltimore half marathon in an impressive time despite her leg injury. I'll need to ask her how close she kept to her race strategy. I'd be thrilled to come anywhere near her pace in the relay.

AG gave me race info today (she's the team captain). We got our race number and lots of other info about race day. I'm thinking about going out fast (for me) for my first leg since it's only three miles. I'll have 90+ minutes to recover before my second leg. AG is planning to pace me on the six miler and that will help because at that point I may have trouble motivating myself. She will be running about 11.5 miles in total. Almost half a marathon and I'm worried about doing nine! Of course AG has previously completed three half's and is a far more experienced runner than her teammates. That's why she's the captain!

My plan tomorrow morning is to get out and run some tempo paces. I read in Runner's World that decreasing distance (during tapering) while increasing speed/pace is an effective way of improving performance on race day. With the early morning cold temperature a little fast running will be a great way to keep warm.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Six miles in the morning, party in the afternoon

I heard from Fred Haslett, the president of the LIRRC, the running club that organizes many races on Long Island. Fred said that they had sent out email and set up a hot-line as well as putting information on their website to tell participants how to deal with the triathlon that interfered with access to the 4 mile race on September 13. I guess once I participate in an LIRRC race I'll get put on that email list and get a heads up on conditions. I appreciated Fred's comment and I look forward to participating in their run series.

Last week I received my SpiBelt (SPI = small personal items), a runner's version of a fanny pack. It's a nice design, basically a zippered compartment made of stretchy material that can hold money, keys, ID, or even a cell phone. The SPIbelt is built to hug the runners body at the belt line and does not interfere with running motion or balance. I took it with me during a six mile run yesterday and included some cash and my identification card. I completely forgot about the SPIbelt while I was on my run. That's certainly the idea. I was thinking that I may put some GU in it for a boost during the second leg of my relay at the upcoming Cape Cod Marathon. I'll be covering my experience with the SPIbelt in greater depth on Runner's Tech Review after the marathon.

After yesterday's long run we headed to out to Adventure Girl's housewarming party in New Haven and had a great time. With the kids, we arrived early and left early but by the time we left the place was filled with Yale grad students, good friends and family (some four legged). Quite a few runners in that group. The great food and home-made desserts will hopefully power me through my runs today. My plan is to try a two-fer again, but not too long in terms of distances. I'm feeling a little sore after yesterday's run so a little stretching is probably advised before I head out for today's workout. Only 21 days to the marathon relay...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Two-a-day training for my marathon relay

Back when I started running I would often go out two or three times a day. This activity was performed primarily on weekends as my daily run was often limited to 15 minutes on the treadmill. On weekends I'd go out early and do a mile. I'd often try to stretch that to two miles but it took some time before I got there. Later in the day I'd do another short run (or two) so that I'd cover a total of 3 miles on Saturday or Sunday. Stretching out the time between runs was essential to that because in my early running days I'd need a lot of rest between activities. More recently, as runs have become longer and my conditiong has improved, I'm less apt to do multiple runs in one day unless the second run is a modest two mile jog with my daughter on a Sunday afternoon.

Training for my marathon relay brings back the idea of two-a-days and in my case that means two runs within two hours. Last Sunday was an interesting experience because it revealed my limits very quickly. My first segment went fine, a 3.1 mile run that would normally serve as a typical weekend distance (at the shorter end). I stayed in my running clothes to simulate the conditions for the race. I'm not expecting that I'll have access to a changing room during the actual event although I may change into a clean jersey in the team car. After toweling off I did swap shirts and then had a bowl of cereal with dried fruit as I waited to run my next segment. Exactly 120 minutes after I finished my first run I set out again for the second leg. The lesson I quickly learned was that two hours rest allowed me to recover well enough to go out with some energy but the wall comes up hard 30 minutes later. I struggled to continue at that point and came up short of my 9 mile total distance goal.

I have about four weekends left to train with these two-a-days. The biggest concern I have for the race relates to the unknown elevations of the course and the level of heat and sun that day. I'm going to assume it will be hot and hilly but I really hope I'm wrong. 9.05 miles, even broken up into two segments, would still be a record distance for a single day. I'm up to the challenge and hoping for the best.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Who put that 5K in the middle of my run?

I'm training for the Cape Cod Marathon that takes place on October 25th. Impressed right? Barely a year under my belt as a runner and I'm already tackling 26.2 miles! Well, the race itself is that long but my participation is limited to two legs out of five and I'll be sharing the course with three teammates. I'll be the starting runner covering 3.05 miles before handing off to a teammate who will be facing 6.15 miles. The next leg is 5.7 miles then the baton comes back to me for six more before I hand off to the last runner who needs to cover 5.3 miles to finish. The course winds around Falmouth and appears to have sections near the water so it could be a visually beautiful race. As a matter fact the website states that "Runners' World called this race one of the ten "Most Scenic" marathons in America." I've got concerns about covering my distances competitively so I officially started my training today.

My plan was to simulate the effect of doing two runs within 2 hours of each other. Based on a nine minute pace I'd have about an hour and forty-five minutes to rest between legs. I went out around 8:30 AM and my plan was run the nearby industrial park because it has a long uphill stretch. From what I saw of the elevations of the course it looks to be hilly and I want to be prepared. I had a surprisingly difficult time during my first race, a four miler, that had a long hill near the beginning of the run. That challenge took a lot out of me and I never want to be caught like that again. I made my way to the Park and as I came around the corner towards the main road I saw a row of orange cones and a bit further on were people setting up what seemed to be a water station. As I got closer I saw signs that the "Angels on the Bay 5K" was happening this morning starting from Sysosset-Woodbury Park. I was tempted to see if I could sign up but there really wasn't time and I wanted to follow the training plan I'd worked out. I was frustrated that with all the time I spend looking for local races this never came to my attention. I think some better marketing would draw a bigger crowd next year.

I ended up covering 3.4 miles for my first "leg" this morning and came home to re-hydrate and have a small breakfast. I went back out at 11:00 hoping to cover at least 5 miles and I felt good at the start save for some sharp pressure on the top of my ankle from my Brooks. I stopped to re-tie that shoe after a quarter mile and reset my Garmin and my MotionX back to 00:00. I ran with the Nike+ chip on my earlier run but I hadn't calibrated it so it thought that I was running 20 minute miles. I decided to leave it home for the second run. Once I restarted I took off in a different direction than this morning and felt very good until I reached the 3 mile mark when I started to fade. Fortunately I was far enough from home that I was forced to extend the run and I ended up covering 4.55 miles (not counting the .25 before my reset) for the second leg. All totaled it was 8.2 miles, not the 9 I'd hoped to cover today. I'm still pleased with the training and I'll build on it over the next month. I feel very good after all that but I'm looking forward to bedtime tonight.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Going for distance

After covering almost 15 miles since Friday afternoon I decided to skip my usual Monday elliptical workout and give myself a rest this morning. Between Friday and this Sunday I ran a total of 15 miles, the longest distance I've run within that time period. I've definitely increased my weekly mileage in the last couple of months but I'm still averaging about 2.75 miles per day. I try to do a couple of longer runs (right now defined as 3 miles or more) on the weekends and my weekday schedule limits my morning workouts to less than 25 minutes. I typically average around 2 miles for those runs.

I'm getting better at running longer distances but the work week doesn't provide too much opportunity for that. Through city running I've been able to incorporate a longer weekday run into my schedule so between that, a rest day and my elliptical workouts I only have two "short run" days. I would be interested in expanding those two milers into three milers but I refuse to get up any earlier than 4:00 AM to do that. The only other way to do it is to run a lot faster!

In terms of distance I'm looking ahead to October when I hope to compete in the Cape Cod Marathon in Falmouth , MA. I'm in no way capable of running a marathon or even a half but they offer a five segment relay and I can probably handle 11 miles when it's broken up in some way.  I have a friend who runs marathons (he did Boston in April) who could possibly join me. AG is game to run some longer routes and she has other friends that are likely to compete. It's supposed to be a beautiful course. More to come on that.

I'm happy with my decision to forgo exercise today. I don't want to over-train and I'm expecting to do another Friday through Sunday long distance span. Tomorrow I plan to hit the road at 4:00, headlamp on.

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