SOSH Running Dogs

Kremlin Watcher

Member
SoSH Member
Sep 20, 2005
4,243
Houston, TX
Understood on the free place to stay.

Hyannis is a nice little race. I've done the half a couple times (the marathon is two laps of the half course) and know the course - it's pretty easy as marathon courses go, and has some lovely scenery. But the weather can suck pretty hard if it's not a nice day. I'll probably do it in any case as it fits my Ironman training schedule nicely, but it'll be a slow day for me. It's such an early-season race that the field is pretty small and the crowd is sparse, so it's a low-pressure, low-intensity day. Let me know if you change your mind.
 

Hildy

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
2,730
Frog Hall
Is there any '5K to Half Marathon" equivalent of the 'couch to 5K" training regimen? I would really like to set this as a goal, but am not sure how long I should train for, and frankly, how to do it. I'm guessing I don't just start throwing more miles at the problem; I know I need to do stuff to strengthen my abs and lower back muscles as well, but don't know how to proceed.
Then there is upper body and strength training--no clue. Pretty much clueless all around, as a matter of fact....
 

Kremlin Watcher

Member
SoSH Member
Sep 20, 2005
4,243
Houston, TX
Hildy - there are many, many online training programs for the half-marathon distance, and the one you are looking for would be called a beginner's plan or a first-timer's plan rather than a 5K to half-marathon plan. Examples are available at some of the following web sites:

- Runner's World
- Cool Running
- Hal Higdon (a legendary running guru)

to name but a few. If you google "beginners half marathon training" you'll find many options. Some are better than others.

PM me if you'd like more specific advice. I am a professional endurance sports coach so can help you more if you want to provide me with more information outside the forum.
 

WinRemmerswaal

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Feb 21, 2002
282
I'm actually leaning more towards the Half at the Hamptons and then Providence in May, mostly because I have a free place to stay for both those races
FWIW, I ran Providence the past two years and think it is overall a good race, two notes for you:
- In 2011 they started the marathon and the half together and the roads were way too congested for the first mile or so, they split up the starts this year which helped a lot
- In 2012 my only complaint was that they were sloppy with mile markers, some of them were wrong by quite a bit, which can throw you off, especially in the last couple of miles if you are struggling as I was...

It's a nice course, some hills but not too bad, impressive number of people out on the course giving encouragement for a "not big city" marathon. I won't be running it this May since my daughter's bat-mitzvah is that weekend, but if it fits with your training schedule I would recommend it.
 

Hildy

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
2,730
Frog Hall
Thank, you, KW, I will take a look.
I must admit, I was reading the Frat get in shape thread and was quite intimidated, particularly by the food restrictions. We do eat healthily, but on the other hand there are chips in the house as well....
 

Kremlin Watcher

Member
SoSH Member
Sep 20, 2005
4,243
Houston, TX
Yeah, Frat is taking it to another level because he not only wants to be in great shape, but to have a very low body fat percentage. Like super low. So his diet will differ significantly from someone who just wants to be in good shape and be healthy. You don't need super-low body fat to be healthy and in great shape. A good, healthy diet very low on processed crap and sugar is enough, even if it includes the occasional bag of chips. You don't have to eat like Frat to be in great shape (NTTAWWT).
 

TheYaz67

Member
SoSH Member
May 21, 2004
4,712
Justia Omnibus
I'm actually fairly shocked they are going to run this Sunday - might only get half of the expected/registered turn out, given all the screwed up flights and subway system also down (and bridge & tunnel restrictions for drivers). The cops have got to be thrilled to have to turn out en masse for the race, given all the long shifts they have been putting in this week in neighborhoods with no power & looting - I would expect some of them, and some of the scheduled volunteers will be no-shows. Lots of people are still going to be suffering on Sunday - I think canceling would have been the right move....
 

bosoxsue

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Aug 16, 2001
1,563
Some good comments on this in the hurricane thread. I have noticed, though, and I feel comfortable bringing it up here among my people, that a lot of FB remarks seem to be directed at runners themselves. Like that they're selfish and elitist. Mind you, much of that commentary comes from people who would get winded from a light jog to their mailboxes and back. But the anti-runner schadenfreude seems to be out there. I get questioning Bloomberg's decision, but if the event is on and I've trained for it for a good six months, I wouldn't feel bad about showing up and running it.
 

steveluck7

Member
SoSH Member
May 10, 2007
3,350
Burrillville, RI
but if the event is on and I've trained for it for a good six months, I wouldn't feel bad about showing up and running it.
From the vile i've seen directed at runners i know who are running on Sunday, this is the exact reason why they are being ridiculed (and threatened according to one of my friends). People think that it's selfish that runners will use "i've trained so hard" as an excuse to run in the "race".

It basically comes down to people who don't run, not understanding and equating runners' decision to run with some inherent disrespect towards those affected
 

pedro1918

Member
SoSH Member
Mar 5, 2004
4,218
Map Ref. 41°N 93°W
Instead of the NYC Marathon, I ran the Harrisburg Marathon today. I finished in 3:47:18. shaving a minute and a half off my PR. Considering that this was my first marathon since I injured my hip last year, and I set a new PR, I should be happier than I am. I was expecting more. It just wasn't to be. I'm pretty sure I'll feel better about it in a couple of days, but right now I'm a little disappointed.

I really need to figure out how to sleep better the night before a race. I went to bed early, but I was awake a little before 1 AM and couldn't really fall back into a deep sleep. I also need to figure out a better nourishment plan for before and after races. I also wonder about my unexpected added week a tapering. I had not run more than 15 in three weeks.

I was cold pretty much the entire run and whoever decided to advertise this course is "flat and fast" has never run it. The advertised hills between 18 and 20 were killers and there were a couple of hills before and a short but steep uphill near the end.. After I finished, I told my wife there were more hills than I expected and a woman in a thick Irish brogue said "Flat and fast my arse!"

As I hobbled back to the hotel, I saw marathoners sitting in bars and restaurants, enjoying food and beer. That's just not me. As in I am physically incapable of eating or drinking for a couple of hours after a race. I'm doing better now.

Thanksgiving 5 miler coming up, but I will take a few days off and start slowly later this week.
 

ibrewbeer

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 27, 2003
2,004
1st State
I ran my first marathon Sunday

Classic athens, Greece


Will provide a nice update between flights on way home.

Lets just say it was one from 6-20.

Regardless fabulous once in a lifetime experience
 

Kremlin Watcher

Member
SoSH Member
Sep 20, 2005
4,243
Houston, TX
Instead of the NYC Marathon, I ran the Harrisburg Marathon today. I finished in 3:47:18. shaving a minute and a half off my PR. Considering that this was my first marathon since I injured my hip last year, and I set a new PR, I should be happier than I am. I was expecting more. It just wasn't to be. I'm pretty sure I'll feel better about it in a couple of days, but right now I'm a little disappointed.

I really need to figure out how to sleep better the night before a race. I went to bed early, but I was awake a little before 1 AM and couldn't really fall back into a deep sleep. I also need to figure out a better nourishment plan for before and after races. I also wonder about my unexpected added week a tapering. I had not run more than 15 in three weeks.

I was cold pretty much the entire run and whoever decided to advertise this course is "flat and fast" has never run it. The advertised hills between 18 and 20 were killers and there were a couple of hills before and a short but steep uphill near the end.. After I finished, I told my wife there were more hills than I expected and a woman in a thick Irish brogue said "Flat and fast my arse!"

As I hobbled back to the hotel, I saw marathoners sitting in bars and restaurants, enjoying food and beer. That's just not me. As in I am physically incapable of eating or drinking for a couple of hours after a race. I'm doing better now.

Thanksgiving 5 miler coming up, but I will take a few days off and start slowly later this week.
Hey Pedro meant to comment on this earlier. This sense of disappointment is something many of us go through when we set ambitious goals. It's part of any racing experience. The best advice I ever got is very simple: you should focus on enjoying the experience more than any other thing about it. Goals are important and they provide us with a concrete set of training milestones, which makes training better and more efficient. But the experience of racing itself should be enjoyable, or it's just not worth it. And you find that the more you enjoy doing it, the better you will do. I've had those really shitty long races where you're just beating yourself up for a poor performance, and it's just not worth the trouble. Racing is hard; it should be fun as well. When I focus on enjoying myself in the moment, I always have a better racing experience. And if I set a PR, all the better. But making and missing your goals, if it becomes too consuming, can make racing a miserable experience. Before your next race, keep your goals in mind, but try to be more mindful of associating with the sensations and experience of racing, and have fun. Racing is the reward for all the training.

And there is no such thing as a flat marathon course. They do not exist in nature.
 

pedro1918

Member
SoSH Member
Mar 5, 2004
4,218
Map Ref. 41°N 93°W
Thanks, KW. I know pretty much everything you said, but I appreciate the perspective. I was just expecting more on Sunday. I just needed to vent a little and put some perspective on my run. I mean, it's the best marathon I have ever run and there were some factors that were against me (first in two years due to injury, extra week of tapering, unfamiliar course) so I have already turned my view of it around.

I'm going out for a short run today.

First run on the road to the next marathon!! NYC 2013???
 

Kremlin Watcher

Member
SoSH Member
Sep 20, 2005
4,243
Houston, TX
Welp - we are off to Viejo Mexico bright and early tomorrow morning. Spending a week relaxing with the family and resting up. Then on Sunday the 25th the gun goes off at 7 am for Ironman Cozumel. 140.6 miles of swimming, biking and running under the Mexican sun. Been training for this for 14 months and really looking forward to the big day.

Ironman doesn't necessarily lend itself to spectating, as it is a 10+ hour event for most of us. But if you are on your computer next Sunday and want to keep up with action (such as it is), Ironman.com generally does a good job of tracking athletes and giving splits. So if you are so inclined, my bib number is 251.

Should be a fun day.
 

Trautwein's Degree

a Connecticut bicycle attorney in General Motor's
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jul 20, 2005
11,689
My Desk
Just registered for the 2013 NYC Half lottery. Getting to run down Broadway through Times Square? Fingers crossed.
 

TallerThanPedroia

Civilly Disobedient
SoSH Member
Jul 19, 2005
17,188
Boston
I just bought two more pairs of VFF Bikilas on clearance. Vibram seems to be discontinuing them, or at least the original versions without laces. I understand people have oddly shaped feet but my feet are perfect and if I never have to deal with laces again while running it'll be too soon.

So now I have my original pair, which after tomorrow morning will have 1500 miles and counting, a second pair I bought as backup over a year ago that I've been wearing to the gym and also wore on one 16-mile run recently just to make sure they're broken in and ready for emergencies, two pairs that I bought a few months ago on clearance, and now these two additional ones.

I'm not a hoarder by any stretch but clothes and sports clothes in particular seem to be an area where companies can't just stop and realize they have a good product and insist on changing things constantly, and not for the better. And I'll always regret not stockpiling these wonderful simple little MP3 players from Creative when I could. They were perfect for running when everyone was still using iPods with spinning hard drives that would die from all the jostling.
 

Kremlin Watcher

Member
SoSH Member
Sep 20, 2005
4,243
Houston, TX
Hey everyone - I made it! Will do a detailed write-up this week (currently in transit). Short version - absolutely brutal conditions on the swim and the bike; two catastrophic mechanical failures on the bike; finished with a strong marathon. No PR but ended up turning a negative into a positive with a big effort on the run. I will bore you with the details when I have a chance to write it up. Appreciate your thoughts.
 

Kremlin Watcher

Member
SoSH Member
Sep 20, 2005
4,243
Houston, TX
Three Races and a Stranger Named Herbie

Ironman Cozumel - 140.6 miles of swimming, biking and running under the blazing Mexican sun. I had been preparing for this day for almost 14 months. A detailed training plan including work, rest, recovery, nutrition, weight loss, race planning and strategy, equipment tests and re-tests - I was by race day pretty sure I had everything covered. But this Ironman had something else in store for me. Often, long races like halves and full irons blend into the day, as the end of each leg serves as a kind of prep for the next, and the overall strategy for the day plays a role in how you get through each part of the race. Not so today. The day ended up as three almost completely distinct races, and part of the goodness of the day turned on the simple selflessness of a stranger named Herbie.

On Saturday some of us rode our freshly-tuned bikes about five miles down the highway to the swim start to keep the legs warm and also to get some time on the swim course. Cozumel has a reputation for being one of the most difficult Ironman swim courses when currents are strong, so a bunch of us were down at Chankanaab Park for a swim to check on course conditions; best not to experience it for the first time on race day. And it was lovely. Warm, crystal clear water with a bit of swell and a light current. Nothing to worry about on race day. Then it was back to the hotel for R&R and final race set-up. Put together my bike and run bags (the bags that hold the stuff you need for the bike and the run have to be checked in the day prior), then check in the bags and rack the bike overnight in T1. Spend the evening eating, drinking water and making final preparations for the race. The final hours leading up to bed before an Ironman are both anxious and calming - I had done so much preparation, so much planning, so much time thinking about and executing on things like training, equipment and nutrition - there was just no way I wasn't ready. I did my pre-big-race shaving of the legs in a hot bath, drank some more water, checked the charge on my bike computer, gave the race-day bags a final once-over, and hit the sack.

Woke up at 3:20 after about 5-51/2 hours' sleep. Not bad the night of a big race. Felt great - full of energy from a week of rest and a good taper. Had a good breakfast: three hard-boiled eggs, cottage cheese, yogurt, two bananas and about a liter of grapefruit juice. Finished eating by 4:00 give myself time to digest. Got dressed, grabbed the bags, kissed my wife, and headed for Start at 5:00. Arriving at the start, 2,800 eager athletes of all ages and abilities fanned out into the bike paddock to complete their race set-up, change into racing outfits and swimskins, spend some time socializing, and make last-minute mental preparations for the long day ahead.

Race One - The Swim


The swim in an Ironman is both the least and the most intimidating part of the race. On the one hand, it takes the least amount of time and effort, less than 10% of both for the average age grouper. And it comes at the beginning, when you are most ready and full of energy. On the other hand, there is something about seeing an entire 2.4 mile swim course, knowing that you have to go that whole way, just to get to the 112-mile bike course. It is different when you can see the whole course. It looks like it goes on forever. If you could see an entire marathon course laid out in front of you, all the way from start to finish, I think it would be much more intimidating. But you can't. You can only see as far ahead as the next bend in the road. In your head, you know it's 26 miles, but you can't see all 26 miles, so it's easy not to think about it. Just get to the next bend, the next mile marker, and you're good. But an Ironman swim - you can see the whole 2.4 miles laid out in front of you, orange and yellow buoys marking every yard. And 2.4 miles on the open water looks like a really, really long way.

But that's what we train for. It's why we're here. The day is beautiful, the breeze is mild and the chop is minimal. Dolphins are jumping in their pens next to the starting line (it's at a marine park), and it is time. All 2,800 of us shuffle out on the big dock toward the entrance to the water. It's an in-water start, which in theory means we are all supposed to walk in an orderly fashion to a low entrance point to the water, get in the water calmly at about 6:45-6:50 (for a 7:00 start), and wait patiently for the gun. Those kinds of instructions tend to go by the wayside for several thousand type-A triathletes, so pretty much as soon as we have the chance, most of us make the 15-foot leap off the side of the dock into the sea and head for the starting line to try to get position. And, as you might expect, when 2,000 swimmers try to get into a small space, it can get a bit crowded. The start corral is like a blender of arms and legs as we try to edge forward for position.

It is then when we start to realize that today may have some surprises in store. As many of us try to edge forward for a good starting spot, we find it difficult to make progress. And not because there are too may people, but because the current is already taking its toll. Cozumel can be the easier or harder depending on the current. Get lucky with the current, and you'll see a lot of sub-1:00 swims. Get crosswise with a bad current, and kiss your PR bid goodbye. Weaker swimmers on bad days try to hold on and not get disqualified on time. It can be bad. And today is already looking rough. It's work just to stay in place at the start. Some people are swimming in place just to maintain their starting spot. I breaststroke, trying to stay even with the dock. After a couple of false starts, the gun goes off and 5,600 arms and 5,596 legs start the swim (I counted three paratriathletes - one paraplegic and two single-leg amputees) in earnest.

The Cozumel swim course can give and it can take. Today it would do both, but mostly on the taking side. It's 800 yards straight north, against the sometimes fierce ocean current, then 100 yards west, then about 2,800 yards south with the current, then a 100-yard turn to the east, then north for about 600 yards to the swim finish. And today, the current was having none of it. The first leg north was a beast - a multi-knot current mixed with an incredibly crowded field made it impossible to get into clear water and pass the slowpokes. Very hard work getting to the first turn buoy, but I felt strong and full of energy as I finally pulled into open water at the turn, leaving behind most of the pack and heading for the southern portion with the current. The water was absolutely crystal clear and we could see the 30-40 feet to the bottom the entire way. Just beautiful. The south leg was as advertised - boosted by the current, with minimal swells, the course marker buoys seemed to fly by at twice the speed as those on the northern leg. Felt fantastic as I focused on my stroke length and efficiency, going long and smooth to conserve energy while maintaining speed. Made it the 2,800 or so yards to the end of the south leg in great shape, ready to turn for home and start mental prep for the bike.

Make the final turn to go north - only about 600 or so yards to go. I sight on the finish area. Looks like about 10 or 12 minutes of swimming to me. Done that distance in open water what seems like hundreds of times. Put my head down, start the stroke. But the bottom doesn't seem to be moving as fast as it was a minute ago. Strange, but I'll keep going. No problem. Swim for maybe five more minutes, lift my head up to sight on the finish, and it's the same distance away. What? After a few more minutes of work, the problem is clear: a big bunch of us has been pushed by the current off to the right toward shallow water, and we are getting absolutely hammered by the current. As I push on, looking at the bottom for signs of progress, it occurs to me that this is about as slowly as you can be moving in the water and still be considered as "swimming". And it is a real struggle. Swallowing more and more seawater (one of the worst problems for open water swimmers), my mouth is getting parched and sore. Working hard against the current, I am maintaining my stroke but not moving much at all. What looked like 10-12 minutes turns into about 30 as I and hundreds of other athletes fight against the worst current we've ever been up against. So today, Cozumel taketh away, at least on the swim. After about 30 brutal minutes of work against the current, I finally reach the lee area of the finish and haul out onto the steps. Cozumel's current claimed its fair share of disqualifications on time this year, one of the hardest day's swim in Cozumel history.

Race Two - The Bike

I climb out of the water, peel off the cap and goggles, headed for the bike. My watch says 1:28. Holy crap, a 1:28 swim. That's not good. Puts my PR goal in danger. So I need a good bike. Can do. Trained for this. Run under the showers, grab the bike bag, head for the changing tent. Peel off the swimskin, don the glasses, helmet, number belt, jam the swimskin in the bag, drop the bag, run out, grab the bike. Feeling great. Despite the work on the swim, my energy level is very high. Have a great fuel plan and a detailed, mile-by-mile strategy for the bike. All ready to set a bike PR. Hit the mounting zone. Jump on the bike. Feet in the shoes. Take a few strokes. Shift to a bigger gear for some power. Shift to a bigger gear. Shift into a bigger gear. Shift. S. H. I. F. T. ... OH SHIT. No shift. No shift at all.

As an equipment geek, I spend a lot of time and money making sure I have the right tools for the job. I don't spend extra money just because something is new or cool, but if it can be demonstrated empirically that a piece of equipment can, if deployed properly, improve performance, I am likely to use it. So I spent a few bucks on my bike, including a Dura-Ace Di2 rig. Bike people will now what this is. For non-bikers, this is a stupidly expensive electronic system for changing gears. It may seem ridiculous to spend a lot of money for a servo motor to change bike gears, but at the margin of high performance, it makes a difference always to be in the right gear, and this system pretty much means that you are always in the right gear. But it is battery-powered. I had charged the battery to 100% on Friday night, and Saturday morning it registered as 100% on the bike. The manufacturer says that a full charge lasts 1,500 miles, and in the 10 months that I had been using it, it had worked to perfection. As of race day, all was good. Or so I thought.

So there I am, standing at the bike mounting station, with a bike that doesn't work. I run around like a crazy man, trying to get the emergency mechanics to help me. They do their best, but an inspection of the wires and connections seems fine. But nothing. No shifting. I am devastated. I've been working for this for over a year. This cannot be happening. I have spent thousands in hours and dollars and planning - there is just no way a simple, stupid, 100% PERFECTLY FUNCTIONING PIECE OF EQUIPMENT 24 HOURS AGO CAN BE RUINING THIS FOR ME. At one point I drop the bike and fall on my knees, smashing my hands on the pavement, screaming expletives at the top of my lungs. I am absolutely devastated. This just ... no ... cannot be happening.

But of course, it is happening. Because sometimes, shit just happens. And you either deal with it like an adult or you don't. And even though my race, as a race, had been blown at that moment, my Ironman experience was for today just beginning. So after a few minutes' reflection, watching hundreds of athletes pour past me with functioning bikes, I get back on the bike, clip in, look at my freewheel to gather what gear I am in, and set off on a 112-mile bike ride. It no longer seemed like a race.

In the event, it turns out that of all the possible gears I have on the bike, I was in one of the worst for the situation, a very easy gear. On a flat surface with the wind at my back, pedaling at 110 rpm (about the fastest you can pedal without bouncing out of your saddle), I was topping out at 16 mph. My race plan called for 22 mph on the flats. So you can imagine my disappointment in the initial miles as I pedaled along impotently as the entire field flew by me. I cried at one point. I was so bitterly disappointed that some stupid electro-mechanical failure had wiped out my race plan. I didn't really know what to do. Should I quit? At 16 mph, this was beginning to look like an eight hour ride. And then a marathon. As rider after rider passed me by, I sank lower and lower. Everything I had worked for, poof, gone. Yeah, I could finish, but would it be worth it? A 112-mile ride at 16 mph was really no effort at all.

But I kept going. Not for the pleasure of the moment, but for the knowing that you endure, knowing that you go on when the easy option is to quit. So I kept pedaling. Made it to the left hand turn to the north that marked the true testing ground of the Cozumel bike course, the eastern side of the island's north-facing leg, straight into the teeth of the stiff Gulf wind. The north wind on Cozumel can be easy-breezy or it can hammer you hard, and today it was hammer time. No idea what the mph was, but it was one of the hardest headwinds I've ever experienced, and the post-race consensus is that it was an absolutely killer day for headwinds. I did OK on this section as I was stuck in an easy gear, but it took quite some time to navigate the 12 miles of headwinds to the left-hand turn toward town and the last section of lap one.

Turning left onto the highway headed for town, I continued toodling along at 110 rpm and about 16 mph for mile after mile, musing and fuming about what a shitty day I was having, until about mile 30, when I passed an athlete walking with what appeared to be a carbon copy of my bike. I passed him, then for some reason, stopped after about 20-30 yards. I turned around and went back to him as he walked with his bike. The conversation went something like this (I am J):

J: "Hey man, anything I can do to help?"
H: "Not unless you have a spare tubular tire on you." (I did not.)
J: "Sorry, I ride clinchers."
H: "What about you? Can I do anything to help you?"
J: "Ha ha. Not unless you have a spare battery for my piece of shit Di2 rig."
H: "What happened?"
J: "Not sure. Just stopped working at the start. Probably the battery but I charged it Friday."
H: "What year is yours?"
J: "2011."
H: "So's mine. Take my battery. I'll just swap it with yours."
J: "Dude, seriously? You'll find a tire. A mechanic should be along soon and can set you up."
H: "Nah. Been walking with a flat tubular for over an hour now. No one who has stopped has been able to help. It's my own fault for not bringing a spare. I'm out."

So H pulls the battery off his Di2 rig and hands it to me.

Moment of silence.

J: "Dude, you can't do this. You can get a tire. My race is blown, your race is blown, but no reason to drop out."
H: "Don't sweat it man. Give me your battery. If it's a dud, I'll return it to the manufacturer and have them give me a new one. I'm done."
J: “Wow. That’s amazing, man. Thanks. What’s your name?” as I extend my hand.
H: “Herbie.” We shake hands.

And so with that, a stranger named Herbie gave me the battery from his bike and told me to get on my way. Herbie, I thank you for a source of inspiration that I will not soon forget. An amazing gesture between athletes who understand the essence of what we do: we endure. We finish. And when we can't finish, we do what we can so that others may. Thank you Herbie.

So, with Herbie's battery locked and loaded, my derailleurs finally showed some life. I remounted, got some momentum, dropped onto my big chain ring, and the legs and bike responded like I was shot out of a cannon. 30 miles of no effort stored up in the legs showed up as 24 mph as I started to blow by people. Legs felt great. Energy level was great. I knew my race and bike PR were blown, but I could still have a decent race from that point on if I kept focused and consistent. I knew my wife and kids would be on the course as it passed by our hotel, and I decided to shut down my computer and stopwatch and give them to her when I passed. I wasn't going to set any records today, so I thought I would be better off going by feel rather than forcing a time. Went through downtown, hit the hotel and sure enough, there they were. Stopped and unclipped, explained the situation, told them my race was blown, but I was determined to go on and finish. Handed over the watch and computer, which was a big deal for me, as I never go without electronics. But today, I just needed to get it done without any more clutter. Just to be an athlete, just to run a race.

So I soldiered on. Made it through lap two of the bike in good time. Shifting smoothly just like in training, passing many of those who had previously passed me. Feeling like I was at my goal pace. Good aero position, especially on the northern-facing leg into the stiff wind. Hotter than hell (at least for a New Englander like me), drinking a ton of water. Fuel plan working perfectly, feeling full of energy. Pass through downtown and stop for the wife and kids at the beginning of lap three to say hi again and agree the schedule for seeing each other on the run. Head off from a goodbye kiss feeling better. Push it a little bit when I have the tailwind headed south. Feel the precursors to some potential leg cramps, an old problem that I have learned to deal with, so I back off a bit. Get through the gradual left hand bend headed toward the left turn for the last, dreaded headwind-from-the-north section, 12 more harrowing miles of hammering into the north wind. With about a half-mile to go, start to shift into an easier gear to deal with the headwind. Shift into an easier gear for the headwind. Shift into an easier gear. Shift.

You have got to be kidding me.

Herbie, where are you when I really need you, man?

Yup, it happened again. And now, not only am I stuck in the wrong gear, it's a different wrong gear, a hard one, and this time IN THE WORST POSSIBLE PLACE ON THE COURSE!


So my sour-to-decent mood now goes decidedly sour, as I am forced to ride another fixed-gear bike another 30 or so miles in a gear I would never in a million years choose for this situation. Just great. I struggle through this section, my speed dropping at times to probably 10-12 mph. Lovely. Just like I planned it. I finally make the left onto the long highway west, and I am pissed. How am I going to remember this? How am I going to write this up? Biggest disappointment ever? A uniformly awful experience all around? How I shat the bed in Cozumel? The possibilities for pity-party, sob story blogs seemed endless.

I power through the remaining miles and I am pissed. I have worked so damn hard, and even the unlikely, feel-good, kindness-of-strangers story gets cast aside by another mechanical failure. I'm left with a bad swim, a disastrous bike, and now I have to run a marathon?

Race Three - The Run

I arrive at the bike dismount, mentally spent. I haven't overtaxed myself on the bike, so at least I have some extra gas in the tank. I spend a few extra minutes in the T2 tent, getting my running stuff together. I focus for a moment. Self talk time. You had a tough swim. You had a really bad bike. But you always call yourself, at least to yourself, a runner. You always say that you love running the most. That you'd run 15 miles a day if your body would hold up.

So do it. Be a runner. Just run. Don't stop. Be a runner for the next 26 miles, and walk away from the finishing line, however many hours it may be from now, satisfied that when it came down to it, you ran an Ironman marathon like a runner. You didn't run-walk it, you didn't stop when you needed a break, you didn't slow down to chit-chat. You sacked up, you got focused, and you ran from start to finish without stopping.

I stepped out of the tent, saw my wife and kids, blew them a kiss, and I was off. And I became that runner. I didn't look up. I didn't look for my friends on course. I didn't high five the fabulous spectators. I just ran. Nothing mattered at that point in my life more than running, and I mean really running, those 26 miles. No stopping. No walking, not one step, not even at the aid stations. No capitulation. None. Just running. I have learned over the years to distinguish between discomfort and injury, and short of severe injury, no level of discomfort was going to prevent me from running all 26.1 miles.

I broke the course up into sections. The first was the initial 4.5 or so miles out to the turnaround. That was easy and at a reasonable pace. Then the first return leg. Make it to the downtown turnaround and the end of lap one. Pros are running alongside me at this point but they head for the finishing chute while I head out for lap two. OK, I got this. Get to the turnaround of lap two and you're halfway there.

Made it. Feeling good. Hips are burning but that's just what it feels like for me to run. Nice even pace, energy levels good, fuel plan continuing to work very well. Head back into town to finish lap two. More and more fast bikers continue to fall by the wayside as their overextension on the bike has sapped their running legs. As I hit mile 16 at a steady pace, I begin to surge with confidence. Only ten miles to go. I run ten miles all the time. So I begin to speed up a bit. I can do this.

Make it to the end of lap two. About eight and change to go. I’m pretty beat up now, with 132 miles in the body. Here's where the mental strategy I've been working on for a year finally pays off: one of my standard runs is about 8.5 miles, pretty much the same distance I have to go to the finish line. And I purposefully, no matter what, never, ever, ever stop on that training run, specifically to train myself for this situation. One day I would be in a race where I was really beat up, mentally and physically fatigued, ready to quit. I needed an experience that I could look back on and rely on to have the confidence that I can endure.

So now, as I head into the last lap, eight miles plus, I tell myself, "Just do the run that you've done a million times. Just do that run in your head. It's easy. Just run." And so I did. I stored all those runs, all those miles, not only in my legs but also in my head. And the experience of those miles told me, "Hey man, you got this." And I did. Powered through miles 17, 18, 19, 20. Fought off some mild cramps in the late teens. Ran with a fellow age grouper on her fourth Ironman for about a half a mile until she started walking and wished me a good finish. Powered through the turnaround at mile 22. Knew I had it. Just a question of how many people I would pass on the way back into town. Hundreds probably. Picked up the pace. Four miles to go.

I spot downtown. Two miles to go. No earthly idea what my time will be, but I will finish running hard and will be able to say that I had a good race in spite of it all. At about mile 25 a German and a Brit pass me, thanking me for pacing them for the last four miles. They end up finishing about 30 seconds ahead of me.

Finishing chute now in sight. Wife and kids on the right behind the barrier. Blow kisses. Left turn into the chute. Cross the line in 13:41 and something. I did it, in the face of adversity that I had never expected.

At about mile five of the bike, when I felt like I was standing still while the race passed me by, I had begun to question what kind of fight I had in me. Did I have what it took to battle for 14-15 hours, knowing my race was blown? Could I listen to my inner Yoda and do, rather than try, when things got really bad? Standing at the finish line with my finisher's medal in my hand, I knew I'd never need to ask that question again.
 

TallerThanPedroia

Civilly Disobedient
SoSH Member
Jul 19, 2005
17,188
Boston
You are (still) my hero.

That's awful about your bike problems. The biking part is what makes me wary about getting into triathlons. Not because I don't like biking - I'm a bike commuter, 30+ miles a week - but because it's the part where there's something besides your body that can break down and if it does, you're done.

I've had several high-misanthropy moments this week, so cheers to Herbie, wherever he is, for injecting some philanthropy.

Anyway, this is beautiful:

But you always call yourself, at least to yourself, a runner. You always say that you love running the most. That you'd run 15 miles a day if your body would hold up.

So do it. Be a runner. Just run. Don't stop. Be a runner for the next 26 miles, and walk away from the finishing line, however many hours it may be from now, satisfied that when it came down to it, you ran an Ironman marathon like a runner. You didn't run-walk it, you didn't stop when you needed a break, you didn't slow down to chit-chat. You sacked up, you got focused, and you ran from start to finish without stopping.
Sometimes I think about getting a tattoo for after I BQ, though I'm really not sure what exactly I would get. But if I do, "Don't Stop" will be in there somewhere.
 

WinRemmerswaal

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Feb 21, 2002
282
Wow, KW, congratulations, what an amazing story. I've run marathons, but cannot imagine coming to the starting line of a marathon after all that you went through in the first two stages and then getting out on the course and running strong. Just incredible. Hope you are enjoying the afterglow.
 

bgo544

Well-Known Member
Silver Supporter
SoSH Member
Nov 25, 2003
672
East Bay
Terrific accomplishment and terrific write-up, KW. I love reading these accounts of everything that goes into such a huge challenge. I can't even imagine ever attempting this, let alone making it through all the adversity that you overcame. Kudos.
 

Kremlin Watcher

Member
SoSH Member
Sep 20, 2005
4,243
Houston, TX
Jerry - you should be able to lop off ten minutes in six months. That's less than 30 seconds per mile - very doable. You'll need to do a lot of high-intensity speed work in addition to your base miles. But that is a very reachable goal.
 

pedro1918

Member
SoSH Member
Mar 5, 2004
4,218
Map Ref. 41°N 93°W
Dear Marathon Runners:

Thank you all for your patience during the last seven weeks as we have worked through issues related to the cancellation of the 2012 ING New York City Marathon. Hurricane Sandy was a devastating event for our city, and our thoughts and prayers remain with the victims and their families as they work to rebuild their homes and lives.

We are sorry that it has taken us longer to resolve these issues than we had originally hoped. We have been working to offer the best possible solutions in order to meet the needs of the many different groups associated with the Marathon.

Our goal was to offer a range of options to each of you so that you can choose which option works best for you.

MARATHON RUNNERS
2012 Marathoners may choose one of the following options:

Option #1 – Refund. While NYRR has always had a no-refund policy for the Marathon, given these extraordinary circumstances, we are offering runners who were entered in the 2012 Marathon, and were unable to run due to the cancellation 1, the opportunity to obtain a full refund of their 2012 Marathon entry fee (excluding the $11 processing fee); OR
Option #2 – Guaranteed entry to the ING New York City Marathon for 2013, 2014, or 2015. Entrants in the 2012 Marathon who choose this option will be granted guaranteed entry to the Marathon for the year they choose. Runners will be required to pay all processing and entry fees at the time of application (in the given year), with fees maintained at the same rate as those paid in 2012; OR
Option #3 – Guaranteed entry to the NYC Half 2013. Entrants in the 2012 Marathon who choose this option will be granted guaranteed entry to the NYC Half 2013, to be run on March 17, 2013. Runners will be required to pay all processing and entry fees at the time of application. Availability will be limited.

CHARITY RUNNERS
All runners who signed up to run the 2012 Marathon on behalf of Team for Kids or one of the official ING New York City Marathon charities and obtained their entry from NYRR will be offered the same options. The fundraising you did in connection with the 2012 Marathon will entitle you to any of the options above. If your 2012 Marathon entry fee was paid through your charity partner, you will be contacted directly by your charity.

INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL PARTNERS
All international runners who gained entry to the 2012 Marathon as part of a travel package with an official ING New York City Marathon International Travel Partner will be contacted directly by their International Travel Partner representative to facilitate their options.

TICKET-HOLDERS FOR OTHER RACE-WEEK EVENTS
Ticket-holders for any of the following events will be offered a full refund:

Marathon Eve Dinner
Reserved Grandstand Seating
Blue Line Lounge Presented by Tata Consultancy Services
Marathon in a Motorcoach
TrackMyRunnersTM via TXT

Those of you who were entered in the cancelled 2012 NYRR Dash to the Finish Line 5K will receive a separate e-mail outlining further details.

THE OPTION SELECTION PROCESS
Individual e-mails will be sent to all runners on January 10, 2013, and information will be posted on the Marathon website (www.ingnycmarathon.org), providing further details and terms and conditions for the obtaining of refunds and the choosing of an option. The option selection window will open on January 11, 2013, and you will have until January 25, 2013, to choose your option, so we ask that you please act quickly once you receive the instructional e-mail, as there will be no default option.
Please choose the option that works best for you. If you have any questions prior to receiving our instructional e-mail on January 10, please do not hesitate to contact NYRR customer service at customerservice@nyrr.org.

On behalf of all of us at NYRR, thank you for your patience and support. Our commitment is to work hard over the coming year to serve our runners and community and to return the ING New York City Marathon to being our city’s best day.

Yours in running,

Mary Wittenberg

President and CEO
Not sure what I'll do, but surprised they are offering refunds.
 

Kremlin Watcher

Member
SoSH Member
Sep 20, 2005
4,243
Houston, TX
So if you go the guaranteed entry route, you have to pay the entry fee again? I understand that the NYRR needs to collect money to pay for the event, but paying full fare twice to race once? That's not a very good deal. What are your chances when you enter the lottery? Wouldn't it make more sense to take the refund, then enter the lottery again?
 

sonofgodcf

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 17, 2005
745
The toilet.
The lottery sucks (I mean, beggars can't be choosers and all). One out of ten get in at best, so to take the refund and count on the lottery is a tough decision (and probably worse-so this year, assuming that a fair number do take advantage of the guaranteed entry for 2013 and reduce the number of lottery entrants). It's a disappointing solution to a terrible problem. NYRR sucks, but they have a monopoly on the big races in NYC, so what can you do...

...Except to say fuck it and register for something different, which I just did. Eugene, OR Marathon, this April! I haven't run a marathon yet, and it was my goal to do one this year. While I'll be a little behind, I'm really excited to finally book one. Hopefully everything works out, but right now the thought of finishing on Hayward Field makes me want to go for a long run (which I won't, I've been drinking...).

Yeeehaw!
 

pedro1918

Member
SoSH Member
Mar 5, 2004
4,218
Map Ref. 41°N 93°W
The lottery would be a better option if they were continuing the "three strikes and you're in policy" of the past. You would know that you would run it with in the next four years no matter what. But that option, and other guaranteed entries of the past, are being eliminated. These changes were announced over a year ago.

As stated above, the odds of getting in through the lottery are very small, even smaller next year, so I'm going to just run it next year (or the next if '13 fills up.) Sure having to pay twice stinks, but since I didn't expect a refund and I don't hold anything against the NYRR for the cancellation (I mean really, what were they supposed to do?) I'm alright with the solutions. I'll run the NYC marathon and cross it off my list.

Looking forward to it.
 

knuck

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 15, 2010
139
Austin, TX
A fairly simple question. I am a pretty amateur runner and the wife bought be a garmin 210 forerunner for Xmas. I see online that the 410 and 210 are the same price.

I pretty much plan on using it for only the GPS and timer (intervals, pacing, etc). I have previously used an iPod to determine pace based on physical location markers I know of for mileage (i pre map routes), which isn't perfect. I think I will be good with the version she got me, but I'd be open to feedback from someone who hased used either.

Thanks in advance and Merry Christmas.
 

Kremlin Watcher

Member
SoSH Member
Sep 20, 2005
4,243
Houston, TX
I'm in for the Hyannis Marathon at the end of February. Anyone else here going to sign up for that one? It's a nice little race but the weather often sucks at that time of year out here on the Cape.
 

Jerrygarciaparra

My kid has superpowers
SoSH Member
Jul 31, 2001
3,207
Montpelier, VT
Any of you winter runners use Yax Trax?

The powdery fresh snow is like running in sand. And while it feels like it's a great workout I'm pretty sure it's only a matter of time until I fall and hurt myself.
 

Kremlin Watcher

Member
SoSH Member
Sep 20, 2005
4,243
Houston, TX
I used to run on snow all the time when I lived in Moscow, but I never went so far as buying Yax Trax. Found running in snowy conditions very enjoyable, but I had a park with no traffic to run in. Don't do it much out here on the Cape due to concerns about traffic.

Man, after about a month off after Cozumel, gearing training back up with a tough 12 miles today - holy crap am I sore. Ran strong - base conditioning is still excellent, but my muscles are asking me what the hell am I thinking. Oof. Going to be a tough slog to get the legs back to marathon strength by the end of February.