Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

With Thanksgiving Day well upon us, I wanted to take a short time to actually reflect on some of the things for which I am thankful this year.

I am thankful for a kind and understanding wife who hardly complains about the time my running and triathlon training and events take up in our lives.

To start with, I am thankful that I was able to spend the day with my wife and daughters. We had a nice not so traditional dinner (although it did include Turkey!) together with my father-in-law, and later we spent time talking and reading the shopping ads together.

I am thankful that I remember that whenever one of my loved ones leaves the house I remember to tell them to be safe and let them know that I love them. I am certainly not thankful for why I now remember to do this! (If you don't know why scroll back to my March 24th post and you can read all about it.) [I found out 2 days after I posted this that one of my best friends from high school passed away pretty close to the time and day that I posted this. We were not nearly as close in recent years but we still saw each other occasionally with other friends. Jeff, may you find the peace in death that eluded you these recent years.]

I am thankful for a nice job that pays the bills and is helping to pay to keep two children in college right now, not to mention paying for that Disney trip this year.

I am thankful for being generally healthy. I am weighing less now than at the start of the year and have gotten my jean's waist size down to where it hasn't been for at least 10 years. In this past year I have put my body through a lot, ranging from 5K's to a full marathon and a Half Ironman Triathlon, and it has held up pretty well.

I am thankful for the love and loyalty of my dogs. They always coming running to see me when I come home and are always excited to see me.

I am thankful for my many friends, some of which I have known for most of my life and some who I've only known a short time, some of whom have shared various adventures with me and some with whom I have only shared conversation.

I suppose I could go on for a while, but I think I have made the point that I should remember that I have many blessings to remember in my life, and I hope all of you can remember your blessings as well.

Happy Thanksgiving my friends!!

Monday, November 16, 2009

San Antonio Rock n Roll Marathon

Many months ago I had signed up for the San Antonio Rock n Roll Marathon getting a good deal as a early registrant and a returning runner thinking that this would be my "A" race for the year. Of course life's events changed and now the race was merely a long training run coming out of recovery from the Longhorn 70.3 and looking forward to the Goofy Challenge 8 weeks later. I was feeling good a week before, but a solid long run the previous weekend let me know I wasn't quite recovered, and left me with a sore left ankle and right knee, which I nursed back to feeling mostly better by race day.

I was up early, about 3:45, to get ready, kissed my wife (Darcy) as I left the hotel and headed over the shuttle buses. I was on the first bus out of downtown to the starting area. Apparently, buses were dropping off in 2 areas, and I got dropped off about 1/2 to 3/4 of a mile form the starting area. Being in place more than 2 hours before the start I checked out what was where and found a nice spot to rest and listen to my iPod for a good while. Around 7:00 I checked in my gear bag and visited the porta-potties (having learned last year to stay away from the ones near the main area and walk up around the actual starting line where most people did not go, plus then I could wait for the corrals to move forward and hop into mine).

It took about 30 minutes for me to actually start (corral 15) after the race began. My biggest complaint is that the corral structure was not really enforced and there were many with corral numbers well behind me that had started way up front that clogged the roads early. If I was going for a half-marathon PR, this would have been frustrating as I think it would have cost me 5 to 10 minutes plus extra energy to get around these guys. True to the advertising there was lots of music and cheering squads along the way for motivation, and the people of San Antonio turned out to help. My favorite was a sign board posted at a school early in the race proclaiming that there were only 23.8 miles left to go! When we ran through downtown the streets were absolutley mob with people cheering and I saw Darcy right at mile 8, which gave me a big mental boost.

Around mile 9 I decided I was going to stay with the marathon course at the split point. I don't know if it is true of other Rock n Roll races, but since I was registerd for the full I could have just run the half marathon course and the timing system would have recorded me as a half marathon runner. Although I was cruising along nicely, I dropped back my pacing because I knew I had a long run ahead and my heart rate was already running a little bit high for me. I did a 4/1 run/walk early (and could have run that into a half marathon PR if I had chosen), but I went back to 3/1, then 2.5/1, then 2/1, and finally 1/1 as the race went on and my heart rate recovered less during the walk breaks. In the end I wanted to make sure that I didn't hurt myself with this race and affect my coming events in December and January. As it turns out I still think I was doing pretty well for me, as my times at 25K and 30K would have been easy PR's at those distances. Even with all my slowing down, it seemed that I still passed far more than passed me along the last 10 miles or so.

I finished in 6:11:38, not exactly a stellar time, but I'll take it for what this event was for me: my first full marathon (although I have run the 50K distance previously) and training for the January Goofy Challenge (where I'll run the half marathon on Saturday and the full marathon on Sunday). As a whole, I really enjoyed the experience and would consider doing this one again.