Race Recap: Wallis Sands Half Marathon

I know it has been weeks since the Wallis Sands Half Marathon took place, but here is the recap of what happened on May 7th.

 

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Pre-Race

The one fear I couldn’t control was prevalent, the wind. But I was okay with it, basically because I threw out all my expectations as I headed over to bib pickup and my “B” goal moved up in ranks to the “A” goal. I tried to do a warm-up with the girls 10-15 minutes before the first wave went out, which I was in, but got stopped to many times by other runners to talk.

 

 

 

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My Splits

As the gun sounded, I patiently waited in the back of wave 1 trying to avoid the inevitable bottle neck effect as the runners headed out on to the street from the Wallis Sands State Park parking lot. Once I got out onto the street, I picked up the pace. I thought I would see how long I could sustain a pace around 7 minutes per mile. For the most part, things were looking good despite the head wind I faced. As mile 6 was logged and the one hill on the course approached, I tried to gain momentum and stay with these 2 guys climbing the hill. Unfortunately, I had to walk half of the hill and restart the engines. I was able to stay composed for the next few miles, but then I started to show signs of fatigue and mental weakness to keep fighting the wind. It was at mile 11 and onward where I broke. I was running, then walking, then running. This would be the pattern for the rest of the race, until the last quarter-mile when I saw the finish line.

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Post Race (Big thanks to random runner Eric, who gave up his medal so both girls could have one)

Was I happy as I crossed the finish? Yell Heah! I was able to push all the negative thoughts over the past few weeks out and just give it all I could. Hindsight would tell me otherwise, but I am happy with the results. Little Bear, Speedy and I crossed with an official time of 1:33:49. We also placed 2nd in our age group, super stoked about that. Overall, despite the wind, the mental games and lack of training the last few weeks leading up to the race, the girls and I conquered and achieved our original “A” goal of running a sub-1:35 half marathon giving us a new PR.

We might not of caught the unicorn, but we became stronger through the process and prevailed to give it our best, the best we could give for that day. Reflecting on the miles during the race and the things runners said were completely different from the first 6-7 mils to the last 6-7 miles. In the beginning as we were passing other runners, we would receive jokingly comments about how I was pushing a double stroller and running a faster pace. Basically, like I was trying to shame them in some way. When I myself was unsure how realistic this pace would be for us. Then as the second half of the race appraoched, I started to run with Eric, the random runner, for most of the time until mile 11. I would pace with him and talk a bit, then end up passing him only to start walking and then run with him again. I just couldn’t mentally keep pushing onward, no matter how much he tried to get me to stay with him. But I still had some other runners trying to encourage me as the finish loomed in the distance. Unfortunately, I felt like I was stuck in this run/walk rhythm. As I stated earlier, overall, it was nice to run a race again and be surrounded by such an amazing community. Not only being able to run my first chip timed half marathon in 3 years, but to share the experience with my girls. Memories that I will be able to look back on and smile on all the miles we shared.

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Speedy holding her race medal

I don’t know what’s next for us, most likely some individual goals, especially since Little Bear is getting bigger and less willing to sit through longer durations in the stroller. Until then, keep chasing those dreams and dont ever stop trying to catch your own unicorn.

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2nd place AG medal (30-34 years old)

Chasing the Unicorn

Well, I’ve been talking about the unicorn for sometime now and here I am the day before the Wallis Sands Half Marathon. I’ve been running like a mad man with the girls since October with the slight hope that I can catch the unicorn!

What is the unicorn, it’s not just a personal record (PR) in the half marathon. It’s the Guinness World Record running a half marathon with a double stroller (double pram), which sits at 1:26.37. My PR is 1:35.05, which was at the Safari Park Half Marathon in San Diego back in 2011. That was a long time ago, back when I was single.

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Race Kit: Runner’s Alley Singlet and Hat, Darn Tough Socks, Garmin Fenix 3 HR, BOB Revolution SE Double Stroller, Tailwind and Salomon Sonic Aero

The last time I ran an organized half marathon was back in 2013. It has been a few years and I don’t know what to expect from myself. As I think about this insane goal of catching the unicorn, I can’t help but think it is achievable. My optimistic logical thinking is that when I ran a PR back in 2011, I had little training and was pumped off of adrenaline in pursuit of an “Age Group” medal. I’ve had solid training, which unfortunately started to fall apart as race day approached. It has been more training than I have ever done since I started running. It’s a positive. There are a few factors that may prevent me from achieving this goal, but I have to believe in myself come 8 AM tomorrow that I will be as ready as I can be. The factors range from ones I can control to the ones I wish I could control. The big one that gets me, which I have no control over is the wind. It is predicted to be 16+ mph during the race. Another issue is in regards to my right foot, turf toe. All that is left weighing me down is…..ME.

I’ve been stressing out all day about tomorrow and I can’t recall another time where I felt like this for an race. I know it boils down to whether or not I will fail. It’s part of that fixed mindset I’ve been dealing with and not wanting to challenge myself enough to an outcome that may be far from my goal. I can’t even put my thoughts into words as I ponder about tomorrow and how I feel about it. It’s going to be up to me to believe in the training and the miles I logged. It’s going to be up to me to overcome the doubts and the feeling of pain during the race. So, I’ll leave you with my initial goals and not change them, not matter what the weather brings and focus on the things I can control. Or at least, I’ll try.

The Unicorn: 1:25.00

A-Goal: Sub-1:35.00

B-Goal: Sub-1:40.00

 

 

 

P.S. – I’m scared!

 

Weeks 10-11 and 12 Training Recap

So, it’s been a blurry 3 weeks and this is where I stand as we head down the final stretch to May 7th….JUDGEMENT DAY!

I have turf toe, which has been bothersome, more so on trails than road. I haven’t done any speed work in a few weeks, basically avoiding it like the plague. I also have been running sporadically, throwing the training plan into the trash. Mentally, I don’t know where I stand, I probably won’t have an idea until the gun goes off at 8 AM on May 7th. As I look at the weather forecast for this upcoming Sunday, it doesn’t look favorable to the girls and I. It says there is potential rain and winds somewhere around 16 mph. This has also started to play with my mind and what I was hoping to accomplish with the girls.

There are a couple of thought processes I am having reflecting on the past few weeks. Unfortunately, none of them are positive and to say the least portray a fixed mindset. One is that I gave up and didn’t have the resilience to push through the lows of training and finish the training plan strong. Another lingering thought, which lands right into the fixed mindset mold is that these last few weeks wouldn’t have improved me in any way. The skill set that I have is what I have had and will have come race day. The last thought is a combination of failing miserably and not walking away with any positives over the past 8 months. Basically an overall, you are incapable of being more than you are. Yeah, these thoughts are as real as can be and the current mindset of someone who wishes to be more, not just in running but in life. (deep sigh).

Here is the recap over the past 3 weeks and I’m sure you’ll notice the huge gaps in the training, compared to the previous 9 weeks. I don’t know what the future holds and what type of runner will show up to toe the line, but I’m hella nervous.

RECAP:

Apr 09 – Rest Day

Apr 10 – 64 minute Cruise Intervals – 7.54 miles (81 degrees and sunny)

Apr 11 – 65 minute Foundation Run – 7.61 miles (82 degrees and sunny)

Apr 12 – 40 minute Foundation Run – 4.18 miles (61 degrees and cloudy)

Apr 13 – 39 minute Long Intervals Run – 4.60 miles (52 degrees and sunny)

90 minute Recovery Run <SOLO/Trails> – 6.14 miles (55 degrees and sunny)

Apr 14 – Lazy Day

Apr 15 – 10 Mile Long Run with Fast Finish – 10.11 miles (45 degrees and sunny)

Apr 16 – Lazy Day

Apr 17 – Lazy Day

Apr 18 – 120 minute Foundation Run – 13.69 miles (54 degrees and sunny)

Apr 19 – 60 minute Foundation Run <SOLO/Trails> – 5.19 miles (50 degrees and raining)

Apr 20 – Lazy Day

Apr 21 – Lazy Day

Apr 22 – 16 Mile Long Run with Fast Finish – 16.37 miles (39 degrees and cloudy)

Apr 23 – 90 minute Recovery Run – 7.84 miles (64 degrees and sunny)

Apr 24 – Lazy Day

Apr 25 – 80 minute Foundation Run <SOLO/Trails> – 7.80 miles (46 degrees and raining)

Apr 26 – Lazy Day

Apr 27 – Lazy Day

Apr 28 – 75 minute Foundation Run – 8.30 miles (75 degrees and sunny)

Apr 29 – 10 Mile Long Run with Fast Finish – 10.19 miles (59 degrees and cloudy)

Week 9 Training Recap

I am feeling wrecked in so many ways. I thought I was putting in some good work this week until I started to get a head cold and stomach bug. I also lost a lot of confidence in myself after previewing the whole Wallis Sands half marathon course during today’s long run. But leading up to Saturday, I was getting reassurance in my training.

I was pleasantly surprised with Monday’s cruise intervals. I was aiming to run around a 8 minute average pace for each of the (4) 10 minute intervals. I was halfway through the first interval and I was around a 7 minute pace, so I decided that would be the goal for each interval. I was so stoked by the end of the run as the average pace for the splits were (7:11, 6:58, 6:59 & 6:51).

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Thursday’s Long Intervals (Warm-up: 10 min – 6x 5 min/3 min rest – Cool-down: 10 min)

I was able to meet up with some friends for a little trail run Wednesday, which was nice to see some old faces and be out there not really caring about training metrics. I should have went easier and not accrued so much elevation gain, since I had my long interval run the next day but it was hard not to feel carefree on the trails. As for the long intervals, I wasn’t looking forward to them since I had to run 6 intervals instead of 5, like last week. The good thing is I ran better than last week, although I was drained before the last interval. I believe a big part of the success this week compared to last week was my breathing technique. Last week my core was so sore and painful. I know that when I was breathing, I was practically gasping for air, mouth opened wide and trying to suck every O2 molecule out of the air. This week though, I noticed when I had more of a “controlled” breath as I gasped for air I had no core pain or soreness. I can only hope I remember this moving forward.

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Little Bear and Speedy feeling the wind on Saturday’s Long Run with Speed Play

I threw in a sick day since the head cold got the best of me and rendered me useless Friday. I also thought it would benefit me on Saturday when I preview the half marathon course. Unfortunately, Saturday’s long run was all sorts of wrong. I felt queasy on the drive out to the coast, which could of been nerves or that stomach bug. Most likely, it was both of them. I was excited for the warm temperature, but the wind being at 16mph made it feel like the low 30s. As the wind made it a rather blustery day, I struggled the whole time trying to push the stroller with all the head wind. It felt like I was trying to push a tank. My body took such a beating today, physically and mentally. All I know is if, a big IF, the wind is anything like today on race day, I can kiss my goals goodbye. I know I should only worry about what I can control, but after running the whole course with today’s conditions and my own ill symptoms, race day doesn’t look bright. I don’t know if I am going to be able to find the spark I need within the last 4 weeks of training. So all I can do is keep my head down and keep to the plan. I’ll worry about the mental aspect the day before the race. As of right now though….it’s looking bleak!

RECAP:

Apr 02 – 50 minute Foundation Run <SOLO/Trails> – 4.71 miles (46 degrees and sunny)

Apr 03 – 72 minute Cruise Intervals – 8.86 miles (50 degrees and sunny)

Apr 04 – 60 minute Foundation Run – 6.13 miles (39 degrees and raining)

Apr 05 – 70 minute Foundation Run <SOLO/Trails> – 5.42 miles (43 degrees and cloudy)

Apr 06 – 68 minute Long Intervals Run – 7.48 miles (36 degrees and raining)

Apr 07 – Sick Day!

Apr 08 – 14 Mile Long Run with Speed Play – 14.00 miles (43 degrees and cloudy)

Week 8 Training Recap

I definitely felt this week’s training toward the end. It could also be potty training too. I’m super happy for Little Bear to grasp the concept very easily, but after 2 weeks, I wish she would go on her own without having the need for me to be there. I can’t wait until both these trainings are over with. It’s the first time in 5 weeks where I ran more than 50 miles in a week. A part of me is happy, but the realist in me knows I’m technically short by 30+ miles if I was able to follow the original plan. As they say….”SHIT HAPPENS.”

So it was a battle zone this past week mentally. I pulled out the lazy card on Monday. I was absolutely over training and running in general. I have had issues with my watch again and the heart rate monitor. I can’t seem to dial it in and it’s becoming a distraction, a frustrated one at that! Then I was able to sneak away for some trails, which I was trying to hold off on until after the race in case I end up twisting an ankle or whatever else may occur on the trail that would set me back. But it was relaxing and enjoyable. I felt free from the pressures of training and was able to just focus on my footing and not my heart rate and other metrics. I can tell my aerobic endurance has increased along with having stronger legs. I was able to run the trails without having to stop and walk up the 2 big climbs, which was different. Granted I wasn’t pushing myself, but it was still nice to be able to run the whole thing.

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Long Intervals: How I felt

A double run day? Yeah, that appeared out of no where. It was more of… the girls need a nap and my wife needed some down time. Thursday’s long interval session was brutal, absolutely stressful and a true nightmare all balled up.  This run was the first time I felt like I had to puke. It was like someone punching you in the stomach and then running for 5 minutes as hard as you can with a 3 minute rest period, then repeat for a total of 5 intervals. My core never experienced so much pain! I did noticed some lactate build up, which I could have mustered through. Unfortunately, the stomach pain was so bad, I forgot I had lactate build up in my legs. The only positive thing I could walk away from that day was a new mile PR, 05:54.4 and that is with the double stroller! The previous PR was 05:57 and that was without a stroller.

Saturday’s long run was completely off. I felt horrible the whole run. I wasn’t excited to be out running in the sloppy mess that was on the ground. Really, 16″ of snow in April? The roads weren’t too bad by the time I got out there with the girls, but between the stroller, the passing cars and my foot landing in slush, I was completely waterlogged. I was so unhappy with the splits and glad the run was over. It leaves me thinking if I’m going to be ready for May 7th or if I may just scrap the training plan and do whatever I feel like. Maybe find the pure joy of running again, since it has become such a daunting task everyday. I really don’t know what’s in store for me as the final weeks start to close in, but one thing is in for certain, I can’t wait until the last week or so to decide. I guess I will truly see how resilient and mentally strong I am as race day will be here before I know it.

RECAP:

Mar 26 – 90 minute Foundation Run – 9.22 miles (37 degrees and cloudy)

Mar 27 – LAZY DAY :o(

Mar 28 – 50 minute Foundation Run – 5.33 miles (36 degrees and cloudy)

Mar 29 – 65 minute Foundation Run <SOLO/Trails> – 6.58 miles (39 degrees and cloudy)

100 minute Recovery Run – 9.27 miles (45 degrees and cloudy)

Mar 30 – 55 minute Long Intervals Run – 6.33 miles (46 degrees and sunny)

Mar 31 – 35 minute Recovery Run – 3.10 miles (36 degrees and cloudy)

Apr 01 – 14 Mile Long Run with Speed Play – 14.40 miles (34 degrees and snowing)

Week 7 Training Recap

This week seemed like a blur, from home life to training. It may be because I’ve been potty training Little Bear and it has gone well except for #2. She’ll get it, hopefully sooner than later. I felt like training all week was mediocre and nothing more. I don’t have any recollection of feeling stoked about any particular run and then looking through my notes, I saw one run that I forgot about what happened.

It was Wednesday’s foundation run, which is the same day Little Bear started potty training. It was a super cold day and I waited until the girls were in bed. As the wife got home, I dressed up and was aiming for 45-60 minutes of being on the road. Unfortunately, the run was cut short. As I was running back toward my street, a car was approaching me from my back and as the head lights illuminated more of the road in front of me, it wasn’t at the posted speed limit. I was a little frustrated on why this truck was going so slow as it passed me, maybe 20-25 mph, in which the  posted speed limit is 40 mph. It wasn’t until the truck passed that I started to get warning signs flash in my head. The truck continued to drive the same speed as it passed and I saw all the patch work on the body of the truck, which didn’t help ease my mind. The truck was about 100-150 yards ahead of me when I saw it pull off to the side of the road, which at that moment I was looking at various routes to run. Should I dash up the hill and onto the highway? Do I turn around and head toward the closest neighborhood/house? As I was closing in on the truck, it started to pull back out onto the road, which at the same time, another car was coming in the opposite direction. I lost sight of the truck as it rounded the bend in the road and when I finally got there I don’t know if it continued along the road in the direction I wanted to head. So, I turned onto the only side street hoping the truck wasn’t there. I was able to make the last mile home without seeing the truck. It might have been the mind getting the best of me, but I have never seen someone drive that slow on the road I was on. Also, running at night on roads that are not heavy with traffic didn’t help the situation. I would usually run in the surrounding neighborhoods during night runs, but I didn’t want to run hills. Well, this blur of week is over and Week 8 has begun. I can only hope it gets better and my body starts to feel rejuvenated.

RECAP:

Mar 19 – REST DAY

Mar 20 – 47 minute Cruise Interval Run – 5.38 miles (39 degrees and sunny)

Mar 21 – 75 minute Foundation Run – 8.11 miles (48 degrees and cloudy)

Mar 22 – 30 minute Foundation Run <SOLO> – 3.48 miles (18 degrees and nighttime)

Mar 23 – 45 minute Short Intervals Run – 5.20 miles (36 degrees and sunny)

Mar 24 – LAZY DAY :o(

Mar 25 – 10 Mile Long Run with Speed Play – 11.00 miles (30 degrees and sunny)

Week 6 Training Recap

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Little Bear and Speedy watching Stella dump snow on us

Another mediocre week in the books. Is this the M.O. of this training block? I ended up taking 3 days off because of the abuse my neck and shoulders took from shoveling for 4 hours to clear the driveway. This was split up into two shifts within 12 hours. Yes, I do have a snowblower, which is nonfunctional right now and my wife kindly reminds me ;o) The day Stella came through was also the hardest run I have done this winter season, 2016/2017. It was so hard to maneuver the stroller time to time. I was hindered by most of the hills too.

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A frame by frame process of winter stroller running

There was close to 8″ of snow on the roads that was roughly snowplowed. I was struggling as my legs burned and my shoes dug in for traction that wasn’t there. I wore my Salomon Fellcross, which I never had a probably with before in the snow. The problem was a slick layer of slush underneath all the fluff. So spikes would of been a better choice, if I owned a pair. I always get excited to run in extreme weather conditions, but pushing a stroller that has road tires on it, definitely adds to the equation. I always view it as mental training. All in all, it was a great run since the girls were able to get a good nap in.

Today I wanted to preview the half marathon course in Rye, NH. Unfortunately it was a failure. I wasn’t completely sure of where I was or if I was going in the right direction, so I asked this gentleman where Ocean Blvd. was? He told me to stay right and I’ll end up on it. This all sounded like the map I briefly glanced at before I left the house this morning. Basically, I cut the last 3 miles off the course. I did do another mile but when I came onto Ocean Blvd. and saw the Start/Finish area I lost all motivation to run. The run didn’t end well, but it was so nice to run with a ocean view for the first 3 miles and smell the salt air. What I did learn today, besides where I went right instead of left, was where I will have potential problems with the stroller. As known as, HILLS! They are not big or long, but when you are pushing a fast pace with a stroller and using not just your legs but your arms, any incline in the road seems big. I also think there will be potential headwind within the last 5 miles, which will also take it’s toll on me, especially if I push the stroller without a weather shield. I plan on previewing the course one more time next month and hopefully I won’t go off course.

As of right now, my quads and hamstrings are sore. I’m tired from a busy day of bouncing around the state, from the beach to Grandma’s for lunch, then to Concord for a concert for kids, followed by dinner at home and bedtime for Little Bear and Speedy. I’m also feeling weak mentally and want this race to come. I want to get it over with and just be done with it. So much for the whole speil about enjoying the journey! LOL! I’m sure my mindset will change, but I think 6 months of training is starting to break me down and lose my inner desire to thrive. Maybe if I had other races thrown into the mix to help boost confidence in the training. Unfortunately, I did promise my wife that I would run one race only since we are buckling down trying to pay off the student loans by 2019.

Happy Running!

RECAP:

Mar 12 – 30 minute Foundation Run <SOLO> – 3.32 miles (21 degrees and sunny)

Mar 13 – 50 minute Tempo Run – 5.72 miles (30 degrees and sunny)

Mar 14 – 60 minute Foundation Run – 5.60 miles (27 degrees and heavy snowfall)

Mar 15 – INJURY REST DAY

Mar 16 – INJURY REST DAY

Mar 17 – INJURY REST DAY

Mar 18 – 12 Mile Long Run with Speed Play – 11.00 miles (30 degrees and sunny)