Thursday, November 10, 2011

Some struggles............but "Life is Good!"

The first pic of me running with BOTH feet off the ground!
Since Hy-Vee in early September, my life in the multi-sport world has slowed down and I have been able to concentrate on family and work. All I have left in the 2011 season are some road races. I managed to complete the Wicked 1/2 Marathon on September 24th. I had a real "reach" of a finish time hoping to finish in 2:50 and managed to complete the race 3:04:15. Though I did hit my target, I was able to finish 7 minutes faster than last year, so I had to be pleased with the PR.

I tweaked my right calf while running at the Y about a week later.  I immediately stopped and stretched it out.  I then finished my run and things seemed fine.  Leading up to the Witch City 5K on October 23rd, things seemed to be going well.  I prepped for the race like usual with the same morning routine and pre-race breakfast.  I hydrated well, got to the race, stretched and prepared as usual.  I got ready to race.  Beth form the Y gave the start signal and off I went.  It was seriously only 200 yards or so into the race, and both calves seized HARD.  I slowed down to a walk and did not know what do do.  Hundreds of people were going past and I could barely walk.  I thought for few minutes that stopping would probably be the best choice.  This would then be my first DNF.  I chose to continue on.  I walked along until the first mile marker and was surprised when I reached it in a little over 16 minutes.

A lot of the same police in Salem do the race marshaling, so as I reached each controlled intersection it was encouraging to hear them try and nudge me along.  They could easily tell I was having a real struggle.  I started my old trick from the 1/2 Ironman and would run to a pole and then walk to the next and that seemed to work quite well.  I reached the water stop around the Boys and Girls Club and then headed back along Derby towards the Willows. 

I continued most of the race using that same pacing and then a managed to run for about the last 200 meters or so.  My finishing time was 0:50:06, which in fact was a lot better than I was expecting at the start of the race.  I figured it would take more than an hour.  At that rate I was only 12 minutes slower than my best time.  So, was not hurt that bad, or was I really a pretty slow runner to begin with?  What does it matter, I finished.

I got in my car and got home and immediately took a Epsom salt bath.  A couple of days later I managed to see a massage therapist who was able to determine I has some tightness in my IT  band.  I continue to stretch and do so some fitness ball, roller and mat work.  I have managed a couple of 2 and 3 mile runs and still I get some slight tightness in the calves, but things are getting better.  I really want to run though since I just purchased a new TIMEX -GPS - Triathlon watch and want to full get to use some of it's great mapping and training features.

A couple of real cool things happened to help with next year's race season.  The NYC Triathlon had a contest where you could enter a pic of yourself and the one with the most "likes" would win a free entry.  There were 16 photos and I ended up winning with almost 700 likes.  A pretty amazing feat and it sure showed the power or exponential growth and connections in social networking.  I had quite a few friends posting on the their own sites to try and get their friends to help.  It all worked, along with quite a few of my own students checking out the picture, on their own time off school campus of course.  About 4 days after winning that contest, I was contacted by the Hy-Vee Triathlon organizers and was given a free entry into next year's race in Des Moines.  We are working on trying to organize a family trip to Minnesota to coincide with the race.  

A very inspiring thing happened to me last weekend and it has somehow left me speechless.  I made a contact through the photo contest who is friends with one of my online friends.  He presently weighs close to 400 lbs and has started to exercise, lose some weight and someday soon compete in his first 1/2 Marathon.  On the Saturday where we changed from Daylight to Standard time he was planning on doing a 5K at 1:50AM.  This way when he finishes he is right back at the time he started.  He was able to finish the race in under and hour.  The amazing thing to me is that he wants me to send him an autographed picture.  He has followed my blog and says that something about what I am doing is inspiring to him.  That was sure a humbling request.  I never thought I would ever be asked for something like that.  I haven't sent him one yet, but that's only because I don't have a proper picture printed up.

Next up for me is the Feaster Five in Andover on Thanksgiving Day.  I was emailed by Dave McGillvary and was invited to race there this year.  I am doing my best in the hopes that my calves are ready to have a really good and solid race.

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