Sunday, September 14, 2008

Maui Marathon and Half Marathon Coaches report.

Not a race for me, but I did spend all day on the course. Mississippi Team in Training pulls from several areas. There were two of us from the coast, a coach who was running the 1/2 and myself. We had two girls from Hattiesburg running the half, and a dozen from Jackson doing the 1/2. The course was out and back for the 1/2 and point to point for the full. Start was at the same time, and finish was at the same place. The marathon finished on the back portion of the 1/2 course.

I started with the 1/2 marathon runners and stayed with the frontrunnners from our team until about 3 miles. Then I started looping back and picking up and checking on the rest of the Mississippi Team. I would drop each of them at the 3 mile mark until the last one. I went with her to a cheer station at about 4 1/2. I hung out there until my front runners came back and then I repeated the routine back to the ten mile mark. I stayed with the last one until the cheer station at the 11/24 mile mark.

I picked up the first marathoner and ran her in then turned around and went back for the last geel. It was getting late and really hot so I waited in the shade at 24 1/2 for a while. I got tired of waiting and a bit worried and continued back tracking. I found her at 24. She was hot, tired, and upset about her time. I gave her a quick one arm hug, dropped in next to her, and ran in the rest of the way with her.

I peeled off at the finish line so she could have a good finishing picture, and went around to the end of the chute. Her friend was waiting there, whe went in and got her. Helped navigate her through the chip turn in, got her some fluids and sat her down in the shade for a while. We encouraged her and told her that she had finished a tough, hot, marathon, and she did great!

The whole Mississippi Team was checked in. I went back to the hotel for an ice bath.

I was on the course for about 5 1/2 hours, and put in about 14 miles along with a bunch of standing, screaming and clapping..

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Maui Tacos 5K Race Report

It was a beautiful course through the resorts. Basically 3 different out and back sections with a big honking hill. Here is a link to the course map. Once I got out of the opening crowd, I was able to get up to speed (or a reasonable facsimile thereof) fairly quickly. The roads were wet from the normal Hawaii morning rain. So, I was running carefully, and looking for the dry sections. The first half to three quarter mile were a little faster than I had planned. But I decided to just roll with it. The first mile ended just before the start of the hill and just under 8 minutes. My second mile is always my weakest, and this was no exception. It was close to nine minutes. On the positive side, I don't think I was passed after the first mile, and I blew past about 6 people on the uphill. Mile 3 I was able to regroup and finish fairly strong and close to an 8 minute pace. I never could catch the Japanese guy with the wig and cheerleader outfit. The official time was 25:33 which is more than a minute more than my PR, but I'll take it because this course was more difficult than any I have run before.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Bleeding, tired, and happy

This is the second year in a row that I have run the Seabee Mud Run (now in the twelfth edition). The face is approximately 4 miles and the course changes every year. The start and finish are in the same place and, because the course is designed by guys with earth moving equipment and hoses, you know what is going to be between the start and finish. The thing that changes is how much, and where.

I was a bit disappointed with my preparation for the race. I had a problem with my back last month and missed almost two weeks of training. As I said earlier, I ran the race last year and I thought I knew what to expect. I was wrong. The course was MUCH more difficult than last year.

It started again with a road section to spread the field before we got to the first mud obstacles. The road section was shorter before we got to the field that they dug up. It was obvious that they used a trackhoe to scoop out a hole and they piled the dirt at the beginning of the hole to form a berm to go over. Last year there were three or four mud pits. This time, I lost count, but the last onne was 50 or 60 yards long and had telephone poles across the pit that we had to climd over (or dive under) Total mud distance was about 200 yards.

With the shorter start there was a lot more bunching at the berms as people slowed down getting over the hills.

We came out of that field into a parking lot and I saw people taking shoes off to get the mud out. It did not seem like that would help much. The course took a right turn in to a drainage ditch that had been dug out and filled. Water was waist deep most of the time, but there were random holes and high areas that we could not see. So there was always a danger of falling in a hole or tripping.

Up out of the ditch to a water stop (I guess 1 mile no distance markers) and back into another ditch. Out of that ditch to a longer road section that looped around next to the golf course. Take a left and over the hill. As we topped the hill there is a muddy soupy section with strings across the course about 18" high. About a 20 yard crawl under the strings, get up and run to the tires and flashbacks to football practice as I attempt to high knee through the tires. Then over to a big expanse of mud and another section where they dug up a field and filled the holes with water.

A jaunt across a parking section and into a DEEP ditch. There was a section where I pitched into a hole and had to swim across. There was also a section where the bottom rushed up and I tripped and banged my knee on the bottom.

Up and over a road and into a drainage swale. Through the swale under a bridge, pick up the young lady that slipped and fell in front of me and finally up on the parking lot with the finish line in sight. Try to run it out with shoes full of sand. Cross the line, kick off the shoes and go over to the fireman for a hose down...:)

One of the young ladies that I run with on Saturday Mornings with Team in Training finished 3rd in her AG (YAY)

Lessons learned. This run is all about strength. There was almost no road running where speed is a huge factor. HOWEVER, it is is very difficult to pass in the mud. So it is important to get a good opening run before the first obstacles. Beween obstacles, it is important to get back into running mode as quick as possible. Next year, I may actually swim more of the deep obstacles intentionally. It has got to be better and slipping, tripping and falling in the gumbo stuff in the bottom of the ditch...

A solid midpack finish 12/18 in 40-44 men and 117/396 overall....Better planning and strategy next year.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Less Worry

Well the worry has been relieved somewhat. We are feeling the effects of Hurricane Gustav, but it is a glancing blow. The storm looks like it will go in west of New Orleans which is far enough away that we are on the outer edge of the storm. We will see rain and Tropical Storm Force winds. That is not great, but it is a whole lot better than it could have been.

I won't mind prayers for safety, but I would also ask for prayers for healing for my Dad and for a bunch of friends that I have never met.

Cody who I try try to mention with every post has a very aggressive childhood cancer called Neuroblastoma.

My dad is recovering from Colorectal Cancer.

Megan who is the daughter of Bruce from Runners World is recovering from Leukemia.

John who is the husband of Betsy from Runners World is undergoing treatment for Leukemia.

Katie who is the daughter of Judy from Runners World is starting treatment for Leukemia.

The sheer volume of people that I hear about dealing with Leukemia is one reason that I keep working with Team In Training...