Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Trail Sprints


Tonite was track and we had a specific regement to follow. The schedule is emailed to us on Tuesday so we can figure our splits before hand. Mine was 4x200 @110% of my mile time with 100 recovery between. Then 6x1 mile @85% with 200 recovery.

Honestly it sounded kind of mundane to run 6...1 mile intervals on an oval track ....that is 24 laps!

Instead I decided to do Trail sprints but as somewhat the same schedule as track.
I went to Pineland because I felt the terrain would be better to pull of the intervals. The trails are a bit more open and each uphill is rewarded with a down hill to counteract the change in speed. On this terrain, anything in the 8 minute pace or better takes some good effort.

Instead of 4x200, I started with 800,400,200,200 and used perceived effort instead of pace because of the uneven terrain. The sprints went well and I felt the burn much more than track runs.

Next I did the 6x1 miles but more as a tempo style. my plan was to do the first one at 85%, then 90%, 95%,95%,90% and the last back at 85%. It didn't work quite as I planned but I did run the fastest two in the middle.

At one point during the recovery 200 I found myself face to face with a white tail deer. He just stood there in the trail and stared at me....I stared back....finally I said, "are you going to move or what?" He looked at me funny and then ran off.

Total workout felt very tough and rewarding. I ran a total of about 10 miles counting the cooldown and the recoveries.

400...6:02pace...140---158(pretty big downhill)
200...8:25pace...146---158 (pretty big uphill)


8:20pace...154-165(big hill here)
12:17pace...138-153(this was mile 7..I added one because I ran too fast on the 6th for the tempo)

1 mile cooldown and went home and swam some laps for more cooldown.

This whole workout felt great....I sure was tired. Pineland is a perfect place for track workouts!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Are ET's Real?

I always thought, if ET's (extra terrestrials) exist, they have to have a special spot where there is a distortion of dimension....aka, a doorway for them to move freely in and out of our world with out being detected, a place where the laws of nature completely change, A place where they can play with our minds and observe our re-actions.

Well, I found a crack in our dimension, as we know it, right at Bradbury Mountain.
I realized Saturday why Ryan is afraid, I know now why Valerie avoids this trail, I understand why runners and bikers get lost and probably never found again.......There are ET's in the "OT" (the O trail!)....AKA..the Bradbury triangle.

The morning started out innocent enough. A group of us, Val, Jim, Erik, Lilly,BJ and Erik's sidekick...can't remember the runner's name but he ran on four legs and made the rest of us look like we were amature trail runners.

About a mile and a half from the start we settled into two groups, the fast guys ....then me and Erik, we weren't that far behind as we could see the front runners, but lagging none the less. He said he was taking it easy and I read that to mean he was saving some energy for the "O" trail.

The cool part was his dog, who had a lot more energy than the rest of us. I don't think he liked us being split as he kept running up to the front runners, passing all of them with ease, as if to say, "don't worrry, those guys are still back there." Then running back to us as if to say, "they are not too far ahead...hurry up!"
As much as he darted around, he never once got in the way.

By 5 miles or so, Erik was warming up pretty good and the lagging group became a party of one. I was a bit winded as we started out a pretty fast pace.....Jim was leading....need I say more? I think he get's talking and completely forgets he is running, so his legs just go crazy or something.

I had to stop many many times to clean the fog and sweat off my glasses. Being able to see the ground clearly in this terrain is very important as one plays rock / paper/ scissors, which in technical trail running translation means rock or root /trail runner / hit ground hard! So Rock/runner/ground.

The one time I actually thought I was seeing pretty good was the exact moment that
some troll or something grabbed my right foot and yanked! The rest of my body continued to propel forward and I found out that ground does win over runner as I landed pretty darn hard.

I think the worst part of falling is the humbling feeling a runner gets when the body is horizontal......It is not natural for a runner to be rolling in the dirt with a completely sweaty body. If someone was there at the time, I could see them asking that dumb question, "did you fall?" No, I decided to rub dirt all over my body to camoflage myself, that way no one would see me coming.

Luckily no one was there and so no one will ever know I fell. I decided to hide the evidence and found that my Nathan water pack works quite well as a makeshift shower and the water felt quite refreshing.....hey, I need to remember this!

So, problem number two, I brought some Ecaps because I knew it was going to be tough running the 12 mile loop in this humidity and I would need that suppliment. Well when I went to reach for it, it was gone! Somehow I lost the pill container. I could feel the need in my muscles and hoped the cramps would hold off until I finished.

I finally caught up with the group.....well they stopped to figure out directions....I am pretty sure we took a couple wrong turns and was re-affirmed this when my watch said 10.6 miles at the head of the O trail.

Jim and Lil did not hestiate one bit and turned left down the dark trail, Erik stopped long enough to give BJ directions back to the parking lot then chased after Jim and Lil. Val looked undecided she looked left down the trail, then right toward the finish, then left again. I think she decided that the O trail experience would be better left for another day and she joined BJ.

I felt a bit bewildered as my body was quite tired, I had no Ecaps, no gel packs yet I was drawn down the trail...I actully "wanted" to run it. This was an odd experience for me as I usually have to talk my self into a situation like this. Hey I already ran close to the 12 miles I planned, it would be very easy to just run the 3/4 miles back to the parking lot and go home feeling I accomplished my goal.

Instead I turned down the O trail fully expecting to suffer emensely. The O trail was surely created by the ET's and designed to fool our brain into thinking we are running in one direction while we are actually running in the totally opposite.

The twists and turns up over rocks and stumps and roots suck a runner into a trance like state. Suddenly you can not think clearly......I saw jim, lil and Erik off to the left of me appear out of nowhere, then just as quickly they apeared to the right of me like some hallogram ....was that really them? I halucinating? To think, I gave up a game of Golf to be here today!

I got to point where I was not sure I was heading in the right direction, the trail would veer sharp left when I thought I should be turning right.....once I turned left, I would be running right past a portion of the trail I passed minutes ago. As many times as I have run this trail, nothing looked familiar.

I suddenly realized that I could no longer hear Jim talking. This is crazy as I used the sound of Jim's voice to convince me I was still progressing and not lost in some other world. Now it hit the Bermuda Triange, the O trail would surely suck me deep into it's dark black hole...never to be seen or heard of again.

It made sense, the ET's have their portal here and they watch us and study our movements. This would probably be my savior as I was moving so slow at this point that surely they would be bored and discouraged. What fun is it to watch a fifty something year old trail runner moving so slowely that the sun sets with every left step, yet he is so stupid that he continues to follow the winding trail instead of cutting out many of the hundreds of hairpin turns to shorten the pain and the journey.

After what seemed like hours, I recognized a fallen tree and it apeared lighter up ahead....hey the end of the trail is close I either yelled or whispered! I found A tiny bit of energy deep down inside me and started speeding up.....if I hurry, perhaps I can make it out .....Maybe I won't be lost forever.

As quickly as my spirits lifted, they hit rock bottom as the trail darted left and away from the light.....I was sure that was the tree I remembered. After a few more turns, I saw a fallen tree....was this the same one? Were there more fallen trees left on purpose just to lift my spirits to again be stricken down?

This time the trail headed toward an opening, a bright light hit me square in the face causing momentary blindness. This was the end ....the end and the O trail spit me back out. I will live to run another day. I tried as hard as I could to get a kick going for the final 1/4 mile but honestly, it was quite pathetic as I labored to put one foot in front of the other, arms flailing around and basically no form at all... like a person being thrown in the water that had never been taught how to swim.

..... I just wanted to finish.....finish so I could stop running. I walked back to my truck, a bloody left knee, remnants of the dirty trail all over me, sweat pouring out of millins of tiny orfaces, still trying to catch up to my breath.....yet I felt good, I felt satisfied, I realized how much I enjoyed this run.

I love that O trail, I love knowing I beat those damn aliens .... I came out of the Bradbury Triangle alive..........alive and kicking ..... well not really much of a kick... SO...alive anyway.

12.6 miles 2:34:17
Bradbury Bruiser

Friday, August 21, 2009

I Sucked In A New Trail Runner

I might have actually changed someone else's life. My daughter's boyfried who now I consider a running friend has been pulled over to the dark side. That's right he started road running a few months ago (because he started dating my daughter and she is a runner) He was intrigued by our passion for running and suddenly he was bit by the bug.

He entered a couple road races and did pretty good. I guess he made the mistake of respecting my views and desires........He has now been dragged to the trail side of running. I was talking up the Bradbury 9 miler so much, he almost signed up.

It is probably a good thing he didn't as I wouldn't want him to get discouraged right off the bat.....but a 2 month young road runner jumping into the breaker....well it seems that could be hill running overload.

Instead I encouraged him to run a few trails, train for a month or so then do a race....well he has set his eyes on the 12 mile bruiser. OK, I said but I felt he needed to understand what to expect so Wednesday night I took him out to Bradbury east side and we ran about 4.5 miles of the bruiser course and then I guided him into the "O" trail....

He now has a healthy respect for the 12 mile race and I was happy to hear him speaking in a positive way after I dragged his sorry butt out of the O. All together we ran about 6.5 miles so I think he is here to stay because he still talked about running the race.

In the end, whether he survives or we have to send out a search team, I will bare some of the responsibilty ....good or bad! It is fun to watch a new to trail runner begin to understand the nature of trail running, It is fun to see them work harder than they ever imagined yet still be smiling at the end. It feels good to share my enthusiasm with someone who didn't understand it....but now does.

I fear he will never be the same, yet I embrace the concept of showing a new runner the wonder of the trails...........surely he will never again be able to pass by a wooded area without feeling the draw, the need growing inside him to pull over and disappear into the underbrush, maybe never to be seen running on the road ever again..

I changed the course of someone's life and feel I should be laughing in a slight histerical way as I drag one leg and bask in the glory of bringing one more soul to THE DARK SIDE.....

Monday, August 17, 2009

Bradbury Mountain 9 Plus Miler

Perhaps I did the wrong thing Saturday? I hardly ran all week after surgery Tuesday, well mostly swimming laps to be honest. So...a 6 mile trail run the day before the Bradbury 9 miler....was it the best way to warmup for a tough race?

At the time, it felt perfect, I didn't run overly fast but it was 80 degrees out and my heart rate was in the 150-160s(which is my race pace). My legs felt great and as I realized how "great" they felt, I found myself wondering if I would wish I had this great leg feeling on Sunday......

Oh well...can't change the past was my first thought Sunday morning when I rolled out of bed, felt heavy legged, tired and a little lame. I wasn't really worried as my game plan was running rather than racing.....but the thought of climbing that summit four times(really was more like 6 times, but who counts?) was weighing a bit heavy as I gathered up my running stuff.

I had a mental note at the time..."get things ready the night before". I always say I am going to be completely prepared but never am. I think racing around looking for stuff is my way of taking my mind off the race. I don't really think it works that well as the anxiety more than makes up for any random last minute race thoughts.

One thing I have come to love about trail racing, is that I don't feel nervous before the start. After running the 50k and convincing my brain it is OK to run slow. I realized that people cheer for you anyway and are just plain happy you made it to the end. I am usually pretty happy to make it to the end too, so we have that in common.

I was suprised to see how many people showed up to fight the mountain and the heat,The report was 90s and 9:00am it was already showing signs of being a correct report. Running in this type of heat, shows how much they love trail running.

As usual Ian (the race director) had something humerous to say and his remark about the huge bees nest a half mile from the finish giving us the incentive for a fast kick hit the spot. (you think he planted them there?) He also mentioned the heat and the difficulty of this (hill) he recommended to start conservative and I agreed.

The start was great, I held back quite a bit and allowed myself to settle into a comfortable pace. I ran a little while with George A and we had a nice conversation about road races compared to trail races....we both agreed that the trail was the place to be. George warmed up a bit faster than I did and mosied on up to the person if front of me for a new conversation and then the next.....I found myself wondering how many people he would end up talking with by the time he finished.

By the second mile, the deadness in my legs was dissapearing and I was actually feeling pretty good, but in the back of my mind lingered a vision of the climb to the summit. I was already starting to sweat quite heavy and anxious for the water stop at (appr) 2.5 miles. I took a gaterade and a water....the gaterade to drink and the water to dump over my head for felt very refreshing.

I suprisingly felt much more comfortable and fluent running down the south trail and was only passed by one fast downhiller. Hitting the summit trail was more of a fast climb than a run and even though my brain was running at the top, my body was almost crawling up the rock outcropping.

It felt so good to start running back down the other side. I found myself gaining more breath and picking up speed. I thought to myself, that wasn't so bad and only two more times to climb. By the time the trail twisted back toward the summit I was not feeling as comfortable, boy this "hill" just sucks the breath right out of a person.

The hardest part of the run was the switchback trail that heads back down the mountain. I just couldn't seem to get comfortable and two of the people I passed earlier went flying by me. This is when I actually realized I was racing, becasue it bothered me that I was passed. I kept thinking, I need to practice more down hill racing.

I don't know when it was that I switched from running this race to racing it, but I suspect it is just instint and my conscious mind has no real say in it. By the second lap, I was full blown racing and my whole mind set changed.

I was being chased by this older guy his name is Pierce (I think) and he was relentless. I swear he thought I was in his division because he was detirmened to catch me and get in front. He found small openings and was able to get through the water stop quicker. I still managed to stay in front....that is until I took a wrong turn.

Suddenly I found myself alone and the girl that I was following/ chasing was nowhere in sight. I realized that there were no markers either. Damn! I was so pissed, how could I miss the trail? I looked ahead and thought I saw part of a trail....was it the one I was supposed to be on?

I wasn't sure and instead of taking a chance, I took Ian's advice and just backtracted to find where I went wrong. When I found it, I saw Mr. Pierce already flying down the trail and now I became the chaser.

I tried at least three times to pass him on the downhill and found the reskless abandonment of trying to pass instead of trying not to fall much faster and somehow more comfortasble (even though I was on the verge of killing myself).

I finally got by him and as I spread the gap he mentioned how good I was at downhill running. Hey if I realized all I had to do was throw caution to the wind and take a chance of an early death, perhaps I would have run this way sooner. I could see the headlines, Stupid middle aged man runs down hill head first into a tree.....the tree won! gruewsome photos at eleven.

I was beginning to enjoy this race and found myself gearing for the terrain. I ran fast when I felt good and slowed when I couldn't gasp anymore oxygen in to support my lungs. This seemed to work quite well and the downhills finally became my friend, that is when I made up for slower pace of the uphills. A phylosophy I have been using when road racing for years.

I caught up with Mindy and Ryan as they happily jogged the was very nice of them to slow down long enough to make me feel like I am running fast. I shot by them with all the gumption of an elite runner only to be breathless and passed back by them on the next hill. was good while it lasted!

I did finally catch back up with them about a half mile from the end and was thinking I would be happy to just follow them in. But Ryan told me to get my kick going and Mindy supported the idea so somehow I switched gears and powered my way to the finish like I was the winner or did feel real good to finish and I guess I must have run much too fast for them bees...cause I never saw one.

Oveall a great race, a lot of fun and a great job by Ian ......but was this really nine miles? I always seem to get much longer distances than Ian...I am sure he is right but for my records (plus the fact that I went off the trail for a bit)I will use my makes me feel faster!

I think I showed myself something at this race, even though the hills beat me down physically, I kept coming back and regainned my speed after each hill. I could have easily run a few more miles I think this shows that I have a good running base and that running intervals (like track or speed running)has good continuity with hill or trail running.

Bradbury 9 mile race: 9.78 miles @ 1:50:46
Bradbury East "O" Trail cooldown run 1.89 miles @21:02 I didn't feel much cooler!
When I got home,.....oh Yeah...I hit the pool and was finally cooled down!

Friday, August 14, 2009

I Am Such A Wimp

Again, this is not a picture of me....this is called an air chair which when ridden right does not touch the surface of the water. The fin at the bottom rides under the surface and gives a very smooth ride....once a person actually masters the this picture he has not only mastered the chair, he is in the middle of a amazing is that.

I only post this picture to prove how much of a wimp I have become.... I used to do these things but now prefer to keep all my bones in their proper places....I did however swim some laps Tuesday before surgery and then again Wednesday ......then last night I ran an easy 2.5 miler with some "very dangerous" laps in the pool after....hey there were some pretty big waves in my pool!

For more great pictures of last weekend, go to and see the fun!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Sore But ready To Run

NO.... That is not me preparing to hit the water from 15-20 feet up and who knows how fast, it is my son. We went to the pond last weekend and had lot's of fun skiing, tubing, playing volleyball, I posted the picture to make myself realize that someone might be in more pain than me.

I am sore from the surgery Tuesday as they did another bone graph...hopefully the last one. This put me out of commision for Wednesday and I didn't get any running in at all.

As I look at the picture of my son almost dislocating his shoulder and remembering the grimace on his face when he climbed up on the boat, It puts my minor pain into prospective.

So, I will run tonight and see how everything feels. I suspect I will be fine. Though it has curbed my plans for a fast race at Bradbury mountain this weekend. I will have to be satisfied with a training run/ race instead.

I should be happy that I am able to at least run it and set my sights on a PR race at the 12 miler. Yeah...that will be my new plan. It is hard to believe that fall is just around the corner, I planned on being so ready and ripped for the fall trail races.....hmmnnn....don't know what happened.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Why All The Sad Faces?

I didn't get my long run in this weekend...... It was a plan that just didn't make it to the table. After the long list at my Mothers, the mowing of my lawns, the cleaning of the pool and the babysitting(well dog sitting), I found myself out of time on Saturday.

Normally this would not be a problem as I would go Early Sunday morning...but this Sunday morning at 5:30 am I was heading south to pick up my son in Boston and attend a birthday party for my brother-inlaw. This would turn into a very long day, we didn't return until 10:30pm

The day wasn't a total loss as far as exercise goes because the party was at a beach on a pond. So, there was vollyball, tubing, skiing and horseshoes. I called it cross training, but it is still not the same as my much needed and wanted long trail run.

To top it all off, I have something scheduled monday night and am having more surgery Tuesday. So...I miss Tuesday night track and don't get a chance to run at all for a couple days. I am so bummed about that.

It is my battle plan to sneak in a good run on Wednesday if the pain is not too bad.....shhhhhhh.....don't tell anyone, I am supposed to be resting.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Dragging My Sorry Bones Up Bradbury Mountain


You know, Bradbury mountain, by mountain standards, is probably quite insignificant.
Some might even call it a hill. My body views it as a bonafide mountain. As I dragged my butt up over the summit four times in preparation for the 9 mile Breaker, I realize a great respect for the rough terrain.

These trails are quite technical with massive root crops that grow over the rocky terrain, trees interupting the continuity of the run as they seem to want to grow in the way. I swear they jump in front of me as I negotiate the grabbing roots and try to lift my feet up over protruding rocks and debris.

As I climb the seemingly never ending grade, my lungs scream for relief and that wonderful feeling of more than enough oxygen. Gasping for breath tends to draw my attention from the important task of watching for grabbing roots and uneven terrain.

As tough as this climb feels, it is no match for the difficulty of the down hills. It is the down hills that racers claim give them an advatange and the means to pick off faster times. To me they are treacherous as they suck the strength and energy from the legs, while the brain tries to block out images of bloody multiple injuries as gravity wants in the worst way to grab my body and throw it arround like a helpless ragdoll.

When I was a young lad, I used to run up and down this mountain for pure fun. There was never a thought of injury as I rode the back of gravity on the way back down, with my arms flailing and the excitement bubbling. Today I am pulling back on the reins yelling whoa there! It almost feels more dangerous to try and control the descent.

I know I have to master the descent if I want to race well yet my 53 year old brain has too many memories and too much respect for the injuries of the past. The interuption and time it takes to heal (which never seems to be 100%) is very costly for a person who enjoys running.

An idle runner feels alone and out of the loop, desperately looking for a replacement activity that offers the same satisfaction......but it is seldom satisfying enough. Instead, the brain has longing visions of how great it will feel when the body can run again.

The result is often returning too soon and prolonging the recovery time. In some cases creating a cronic condition that plagues us for years. I am running injury free right now and am enjoying the luxury. I can't remember one other year in the past 7 that I have been running, that I was injury free in August.

So....I am a bit slower on the down hills, and a bit slower in the speed department, but I am running when ever I want with no injury restrictions. Perhaps I am finally running smarter?

Total mountain miles 7@ 1:20:30 Tired yet somewhat satisfied.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009



As usual this time of year at track (after B to B) we are split into two groups for the fall peak. We are given a choice of speed or distance. Those of us continuing to concentrate on 5 and 10Ks stay with the speed workout (shorter/faster intervals with hills and stairs) Then there is the distance workout slower speeds but longer intervals for 1/2 or full marathon racing.

Unfortunately, I kinda fall in the middle. I still want to run some faster races, but I have some long races scheduled that are trail races. The thing about trail races is that speed and hill workouts go a long way in helping to do well.

My decision was to run with the distance group but increase the intensity to simulate the speed workout. I figure this will give me a best of both ...or kill me.

After warm up runs and form workout, we were instructed to do 4x200 @110% of mile time with 100 jog recoveries. For me this would equate to .49 seconds per 200 for 7:05 MT.
Instead my target was .47 seconds or 110% of 6:55 pace. Below my splits and heart rate.

Distance....split....pace....av HR.....Max HR
.14.........46 sec...5:43....90
.12.........48 sec...6:31....139.......148
.12.........47 sec...6:33....158.......164
.12.........38 sec...5:15....172.......201

Next it was a ladder, 400,800,1200,1600,1200,800,400, @90% of MT with 200 recovery jogs. The target for distance training was 1:56 per 400 or 7:47 pace. Instead I figured 90-95% of 6:55 mile time (1.48-1.50 per 400) 7:10-7:20 pace.

distance.....split....pace...av HR....Max HR
.24..........1:28....6:11....162......175..(this was an extra 400 with a speed up and kick)

I finished with a .64 cooldown jog and swam a few laps when I got home. I left this workout feeling I accomplished the combo speed/distance goal. We will see how I feel tomorrow

Total track miles 9.37

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Sometimes You Wish You Were Swimming

I love running on the trails and accasionally on the beach, but sometimes I just wish I was swimming!!! One just doesn't find this kind of scenery in the woods, though my youngest daughter did have an encounter Saturday at the B to B.

When we returned to our vehicle, my daughter went in the she came out, she was looking straight at a guy's naked butt! Apearantly he was changing and figured no one would see.....of course I don't think he planned on someone being in the woods.

My daughter and my wife were giggling like young school girls......geesh. They couldn't keep a straight face long enough to tell me about it until after we were driving out of the field.

I'm thinking to myself....come on girls!!! it was only naked guy's wouldn't find us guys giggling like that(about a naked girl)...though we might drool uncontrollably at times!!

Did I mention I liked swimming?

Monday, August 3, 2009

Beach To Beacon!

Happily displaying our shirts before hitting the pool for a much needed cooldown.

Sheila's first race...Walking to the starting line with my daughter nervousness yet!

After I finished, I caught up with them somewhere in mile 5.

I ran with Sheila for the last was a good cooldown for me.

After the finish line....and she didn't think she could make it!

A very long line waiting for the shuttle busses.....and we were not even there yet!

The morning of the Beach To beacon started a little shakey. I wanted to leave before 6am but waiting for the ladies had us pulling out of the yard at 6:15. My daughter claimed that 15 minutes or so would surely not make much of a difference. I have been to enough B to Bs to know that an early start is needed for this race.

When we hit portland, the traffic was horrible and by the time we crossed the bridge to South Portland we were riding nothing but bumpers as far as the eye could see. being vindicated was not much consolation as I fought for the right turning lane toward Cape Elizabeth.

The girls kept saying, "perhaps we should have left a bit sooner" then adding in, "I still don't think 15 minutes would have made a big difference" Of course that allows them to be right and for me not to be right.

No big deal though because we got there in plenty of time and the worst was over...or at least we thought until it was apearant there would be more problems. One , the parking lot/ field was too wet wet near the start line and they sent us further down the road to a field that was still really too wet for 2 wheel drive vehicles and they would only let certain vehicles attempt the trek.

Well, our van is all wheel drive and even though they said we shouldn't. I went for the mud. Hey, I'm a trail runner....what's a little mud? It actually was not that bad and I only slid around a little bit. I viewed is as a little bit, my wife seemed to think we were inches from being stuck.

Ok, slightly wet/ muddy feet by the time we reached the access road, but hey, it's all in the experience. second problem was by the time we walked the extra distance to the start the fact that we were already later then I wanted, we found the portapotties to be extremely popular as the lines were 15- 20 people long already.

Somehow, I lost the girls and by the time I found them to wish my wife good luck, people were already packing into the corrall.....I had no time for a warmup run and couldn't get any further than the 8 minute mile area. I really wanted to start at the 7 or so.

Standing and waiting for the start of this race is the worst part. I think we stood there packed in like sardines for at least 25 minutes.....any warmup before this would have probably been wasted anyway as there was no way to stay warmed up in this crowd.

I felt good when I finally got past the surging crowd and setted into a decent but slightly slower pace than I planned. I passed the first mile mark at 7:46, I figured I better pick it up a little in the second to get back to my plan.

Suddenly some lady tried to scoot in behind me to the left for some unknown reason and slammed into my left calf. The result was a very painfull charlie-horse. I felt out of sinc for the whole second mile and ran much slower than I wanted. For the first 5 minutes or so, I thought I was going to cramp right up and have to stop completely. My second mile a very slow 8:12.

I forced myself to continue and even though I felt the calf with every stride, it didn't affect me physically so much as mentally. I couldn't really get into a zone as I kept feeling the calf, worrying that it would stop my race. I just couldn't let go of the whole thing.

In spite of the calf problem, I really ran a pretty good race, picking up the pace in mile 3(8:05), 4(7:50) and 5(7:46), running hard and steady in mile six hill (8:09), an extremely fast last .3 mile and finally a great kick (5:58).

My hope was to beat my last years time of 48:03 yet I trickled past 49 by 5 seconds.
Of course the calf was not completely to blame as it was very humid and I never managed to get down to my planned racing weight.

I felt better after checking my heart rate and seeing how high it was....I am not sure I could have run much faster on this day,with the weight I was at and under these conditions. I did manage to run faster than my group at track and actually beating a couple in the next fastest group.

After crossing the finish line, I bee-lined it back on the course with the hopes of running in with my wife and daughter. I found them somewhere in mile five and was happy to see my wife still running. I was quite impressed as her furthest run was 3 miles, her furthest walk run was 4 miles in her training. Her original plan was to walk/run the race but decided to attempt running about two weeks ago.

She was very happy to cross that finish line. It made for a great time, at least until we tried to get on the shuttle bus to return to our car. Apearantly they decided to trim the amount of busses for shuttling and realized they had made a grave mistake. The organization was quick to remedy their problem and had more busses issued so the line started moving much faster for the people behind us.

Race 6.2 miles 49:05 (7:54pace)
8:12...156-160(charlie horse recovery)
8:09...166-174 (hills)

My cooldown was 2.5 to catch sheila and run back with her (11:19 pace)