Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2013 the wrap up

2013 the wrap up.

Here is the wrap up of the years results and races, no major breakthrough at any point. I did manage to keep training for the most part and start to get my weight under control. No longer going in the wrong direction at least. Setting myself up for further improvement next year after a good 2013. Of course 2013 was a big year for weddings and 2014 looks to have just as many big non running events, just have to tie some races in with them I guess.

January 13 Hot Chocolate Run 15K. Time 1 hour 42 m 23 seconds
A surprisingly warm day for this winter run with temperatures in the mid 60's.  Course was an interesting in town loop with plenty of the usual ups and downs of any Atlanta run. Very surprised by the size of the event, with 7,351 finishers in the 15 K and another 9,083in the 5 K this was certainly a mega-event.
Considering that I was only starting to get back in shape I was very happy with how this run went. The 15 K distance was a good challenge without over extending myself. This did reenforce my need to get training more regularly and to drop weight back to decent levels.

January 19 Hog Pen Gap 18 K. Time 2 hours 33 m 13 seconds
Again very nice weather for a winter event. Ran early section of the race with Ray Henry, also met Tim Roberson and Krazz at the race. A very enjoyable run even with the hills kicking my ass and my ass being way too heavy to push myself up them at any sort of respectable pace. The climbing is always the breaker in this event and continues to be my biggest challenge.

February 16 Sweetwater Creek Trail Half Marathon 13.1 m. Time 2 hours 45 m 50 seconds
Temperature around 40F not too bad although the wind did make it feel rather brisk. Managed my pace well throughout the race and was able to give a good kick during the last few miles. The course was changed a little from the previous year which made for a less congested start and a tougher finish, overall a good adjustment. Nice to run this race with Amanda as she shook off the flu to do this. Ray Henry did not have as happy a day and found the course a little too much for him. Of course Pete Eckman went out way too quickly and couple with a nasty bang on the knee had a rough day.
For me all went well and I considered this to be a good kick off for the year, better than I expected.

February 23 Thrill In The Hills, Trail Half Marathon, Ft Yargo, GA.13.1 m. Time 2 hours 27 m 58 seconds.
The course was extremely muddy for this after a few days of heavy rain, this only added to the challenge. That the course has no big climbs made for overall a fast run and for me it was a great run, really enjoyed it. Amanda had a brilliant day out and in her second trail race ever she came second in her age group and broke the 2 hours. Kieran Reynolds choose to do the marathon as his first attempt at the distance finishing strong and coming second in his age group. Ray Henry enjoyed this one a lot more than last week even if he did tweak his knee a little again with a few miles to go. Overall a great day out for everyone.

March 9 Dirty Spoke Off Road Duathlon 3.8 run, 10 bike, 2.1 run, Ft Yargo, GA 2 hours 21m 29 seconds.
My first time every doing any sort of a race on the mountain bike, I got talked into doing this by Ray Henry as he figured his running fitness and biking experience would really come together on this. Having not been my mountain bike much in the last twelve months it is not a surprise that I found the biking to be really tough and a hell of a lot of fun. The second run after the bike did seem to take forever as my legs really were not all that interested in running agian. A wonderful feature of triathlons and duathlons which I had not prepared myself for. Oh well a fun event and all the better because I managed to beat Ray by a few minuted with myself and himself being second last and last in our age group. Ah sure we can only improve, hopefully.

March 17 Publix Georgia Marathon 26.2 m Time 5 hours 26 m 53 seconds.
Well this was not exactly the way this race went this year, of course a look back at the events I have completed over the last few months paint a good picture of the path I put myself on. Following my training plan never really worked out as I expended way too much energy taking part in actual races and then needing some recovery time from them. Just to top things off I got a dose of the flu so along with a nice hot day coupled without the ability to breath well this was a very long and painful day. Happy to say I finished but it was five and a half hours of hard labor. Oh well maybe I will learn some lessons from it, number one of course being do not get the flu and as importantly do not over do it by signing up with too many events.

 March 23 Trillium Trek Trail Run at Elachee Nature Science Center, Gainesville, GA. 10K. Time 1 hour 13 m 21 seconds
The kick off event for Ray Henry's bachelor party. Ray, Shayne and I headed off to Gainesville despite the constant rain and sporadic lightning. A good race on tough trails and some challenging climbs late in the event, of course all of the mud made thinks a little more interesting. All of us finished in one piece. No great kick in me as recovery from the marathon is still on going.
The rest of the day was also a great success right up to Hurley breaking out of the yard but that's another story for another time.

April 1st Clonakilty, Ireland. 10K. Time 0 hours 59 m 59 seconds
So now time for a trip back home for my sister Frances' wedding and a chance to do a 10k down in West Cork in beautiful Clonakilty. Dragged all the Whooley  runners out for the morning. A great showing by all and a good fun race. Despite the extremely cold temperatures for early April. Very happy to have broken the hour. Followed up with a week of running in Ireland and all wrapped up with Francis' wedding. Good times.

April 20th Sweetwater Creek 50K. Time 8 hour 42 m 1 seconds
So following a great wedding and fun week in Ireland I arrived back in Atlanta to try and be prepared for the Sweetwater 50 k. Unfortunately a chest infection meant that it was a long slow day. Cannot claim that my training had been great but being sick was a killer. Completed under the offical cut off time but not the success that I had asspired to at the start of the year. Once again over doing things earlier in the year meant that I cannot get the results I want in what are supposed to be my goal events.Not very motivational for bigger things later this year, time to reconsider my plans for later in the year.

May 18 Twisted Ankle Marathon 26.2 m. Time 6 hours 38 m 18 seconds
Good weather generally after a wet week made for a nice day on the trails once I got passed the new fire trail section which was a brutal life sucking mud pit for a mile all uphill. Rest of the course is pretty rocky so no concerns about the wet week. The rest of the race went very well and ended up running the last 12 miles with two guys I met during the race, Wayne Shelton and Tom Jarosz. The conversation and company made for a very enjoyable day on the trail with the peak being the water melon at the 19 mile mark, very refreshing and helped put life back in dead legs. Generally felt good all the way though even if I was wrecked at the end. Amanda really kicked ass and won the women's half marathon. Ray Henry had to give the race a skip due the minor hiccup of a really weird stroke a few weeks before, he is planning on hitting this one hard next year to show that he is fully recovered. Tim & Katie Roberson and Pete & Kristy Eckman all really loved this so should be a good crew of us back up again next year.

June 22 Haw Creek Trail Race, Cumming, GA. 5.5 mile. Time 0 hour 56 min 0 second
A great two loop course with some quick pulls on a very fast course. Lil and Colm were visiting so it was great to get out and do a race with them. Amanda won her age group and Colm won his and Lil shattered her expected time coming 5th in her age group, I was delighted to break the hour, so fun was had by all.

September 1st Georgia Jewel 100 miler, not happening this year, I just never got my act together properly in order to do this. Going to be part of plans going forward, possibly as part of a build up to Leadville again in the next few years.
I did decide to sign up for the Pine Mountain 40 miler in early December so there is plenty of work to keep me motivated for the next few months.

October 12 Oakhurst Arts Run 5K. Time 0 hour 26 m 13 seconds
Been training hard, getting a lot of miles in as well as being consistent with speed work. All paid off this morning when I was able to push hard for the entire race and delighted to come in well under the 30 minute mark. Some very good positive feed back and affirmation that I am improving. Having dropped multiple pounds and keeping them off has of course also been a huge improvement and help. Very surprising how much this race took out of me given the short distance, training was certainly effected for the next week.

November 28 Atlanta Thanksgiving Half-marathon 13.1. Time 1 hour 59m 17 seconds
Well it was the coldest Thanksgiving day in Atlanta in 102 years which made for a very brisk morning. Rather cold waiting for the start and after the first mile and half I just had to push harder to change my pace which meant I disconnected from Ray. The result was a great race for me with my best half marathon time since late 2010. All the training for Pine Mountain really helped, of course the plan had been to take it easy today to save myself for Pine Mountain, hmm, hopefully I did not take too much out of myself and will be ready for Saturday week. All said things appear to be coming together now as I have shook off the cold that I had which sidelined Amanda for today. Just need to give my legs some rest time.
Ray had a great race also and finished much better than he expected, a great recovery from April.

December 8 Pine Mountain 40 Miler. Time 10 hours 12 m 24 seconds.
So good it got it's own entry, click here

December 31 final day of 3 mile minimum since December 14.
Made it out every day once I let myself recover from Pine Mountain, felt good to have a achievable yet still a stretch goal to push on for the end of the year. Also helped to get through the holiday period with mandatory running to keep me somewhat in shape.
Recorded mileage for the year 1329 miles, will have to shoot for 1500 next year.
That said there is going to be a lot of work to do in 2014 which of course is good that is what will keep me going. Also going to try to stick to the plan of doing less actual races, takes too much out of me and prevents focus on a good training plan. I think I say the same thing every year, maybe I will use the lessons learned more in 2014, maybe.
Bring on the new year and the new challenges.

Pine Mountain 40 Miler, December 8 2013. Time 10 hours 12 m 24 seconds

December 8th 2013 Pine Mountain 40 Miler. Time 10 hours 12 m 24 seconds

Temperatures in the low 40's and lashing rain on the way to the start were not the most inspiring for the event that was to be my reward for training over the last few months and planned as the high point of my running year. Thankfully the worst of the rain passed before the start of the race and temperatures actually made it up to about 50, not the worst of running conditions.
7 am and head lights on and off we went, a mad rushing mass of 143 runners out to have fun for the day. The dawn quickly came and by the time the trail crested the road running the length of the park for the first time it was lights off and full speed ahead, relatively speaking. Having hiked here several years ago I was surprised by how rough the trails were, big difference when trying to push the pace in race. The trails are in great shape and it is constantly up and down so not a lot of rest or cruising. Early on I made the correct call to drop my pace back closer to my planned 15 minutes per mile even though it felt like I could maintain better, apparently I am learning from my years of over extending myself early in races.
Of course the fact the one has to at times scramble with both hands and feet in multiple sections will also "fix" any excessive pace aspirations quickly as well.
First 18 miles went very well, then I hit the lowest point on the course which turned out to be a series of very twisted paths back and forth in a heavily wooded river/stream area. The trail marking were not great here, in my opinion and after a few stumbles and wrong turns I was felt drained with a touch of panic as the cut off time crossed my mind for the first time. Pushing through this area and climbing up to the TV tower aid station was the hardest stretch of the entire race for me, amazing how the loss of mental confidence so quickly translates into physical distress. The fact that I hit this area on my own certainly did not help and connecting back up with some people on the way up out of the valley helped keep me motivated and on track.
Still it was with great relief that I put my eyes on Amanda and Kieran at the aid station jumping and hollering to cheer me on, coupled with some amazing chicken soup. The combination of Amanda's support and the heat of the chicken soup quickly kicked me back into the right mindset. The grilled cheese certainly helped also.

Heading out from the TV tower I was able to get back on pace and maintained pretty well for the rest of the race. Amanda made it to very aid station along the rest of the course and it was a huge boost every time I rounded a corner to see an aid station that I also heard her cheering as soon as I was in sight. She had chicken soup at the ready every time and updates on timing and how I was doing on maintaining my pace. The physical lift and the mental boost each time was immense, knowing how you stand when it's good news is a big weight of your mind. A big hand of M&Ms at the very last aid station, 3 miles from the finish was the final necessary sugar rush to make it to the end

The cumulative effect of the rocky ground certainly did take a toll on my feet and the last few miles into the finish area on the soft forest floor section was a great relief. As always the last mile in seemed to take forever, especially as it was in a very heavily wooded section which was totally different from the majority of the course, almost felt like I was in a different park. Thankfully this section was a reverse of the start so I knew I was in the right place and there was no need for the panic that can come when you think you are lost.
Cut off time was 10 1/2 hours and my plan had been to maintain a pace to make 10 hours so getting in at 10 hours and 12 minutes meets my criteria for success, a great race generally run as I had planned and without any major stress about making cutoff times.
Finally after many years talking about it I have completed the Pine Mountain 40 miler.

On a side note, Ben Gray ran a great race again even if he did finally realize that constant events were taking a heavy toll on him. Still a 7:36:37 time is impressive.
Kieran spent the day popping between aid stations as one of the race support members and demonstrated what a huge part of everyone's success all the race day volunteers are.  Of course I had the added benefit of Amanda as a dedicated support which made my day all the better and sweeter. Thank you my love.

So the plan for next year is that Amanda will run this and I will be the support crew, I am looking forward to returning the favor. Then maybe I'll be back in 2015..