Archive for the 'Race Reports' Category

Rocket City Marathon – 2007

Sunday, December 9th, 2007

Gayle and I drove down to Huntsville Friday afternoon, about two hours South of Nashville. The original plan was to meet up with Lana and Michele for supper. About 4:30 Michele called to say that she was not coming to Huntsville until Saturday morning because Lana’s family had decided to make the trip.

So, Gayle and I headed out to Macaroni Grill to load up on pasta.

About 8:30, Joe called and I went and met him and Darrell and Wes. It is always good to meet fellow bloggers.

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Saturday morning dawned as a gray, cloudy day. The temperature was in the upper 50s with the high to be in the upper 60s with the wind from the South at 7 mph, a lot different from last year’s 17 degrees.

Met up with Michele headed to the starting line. We ran in Joe, Darrell and Wes.

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Once the race started, we had not gone a tenth of a mile when it started to mist. I knew there was a lot of moisture in the air but it was right on the saturation point with the humidity at 95 percent.

The plan was to run a negative split, so we tried to hold back the pace. In hindsight, we should have started out slower but with the first split at 9:17, we felt ok with that.

Met up with Lana about mile 2.

The course circles back around toward the start and we saw Gayle about mile 3.

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At this point the course headed South. It continued to mist. With the South wind it felt comfortable, but was rather warm. By mile 8, Michele was concerned with her heart rate being high.

Several times we saw Lana parents and sister.

Around mile 13, Lana said she had to drop back because we wasn’t feeling well. Michele and I trudged on but she was still concerned about her high heart rate.

When we made the turn heading North about mile 14, was then I began to feel the humidity because the wind was now at our backs.

About mile 15, Michele said she needed to slow down and get her heart rate back in a reasonable range.

Around mile 19, I saw Lana’s family again and told them that she and Michele were behind me but that Lana was having a tough day.

I was beginning to slow down but still felt ok despite the beginning of a side stitch. Shortly after mile 20, I made a quick pit stop. That was the beginning of the end. I started back running but had trouble going. From that point on, I would running as long as I could and then walk a little and then run some more.

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When I got to the last mile, there wasn’t much left but I pushed it to the finish line. Chip time: 4:28:21. That is 14 minutes better that last year and a PR.

It was not as good has I had hoped for but it was as good as I could do yesterday. So now it is time to start planning for the race.

Congratulations to Darrel, Joe, Wes, Lana and Michele.

On a side note: The folks who put on the Rocket City Marathon, do a super job. It was well managed and run and is one of the best values for your marathon dollar. I think some of the bigger races should take note!


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Running with the Turkeys

Thursday, November 22nd, 2007

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite days. Everyone is home. I get to cook, eat, and run.

1122070753aI got up early this morning and baked a pumkin pie and then Amy, my oldest daughter, and I headed off to run in a local turkey trot.

This is the fourth year that I have run on Thanksgiving. The Habitrot is a 5K that is a fund raiser for Habitat for Humanity. This year there was a new course.

The temperature was in the 40s with a 10 mph wind from the North. It made for a cold start.

Amy and I got our chips and then waited in the car for the race to start. About 7:50 we got in with the crowd at the start. Saw the group of runners from the church and several other friends. We were still visiting with folks when the gun with off. It kind of caught us off guard but off we went.

Even though it was chilly waiting to start, once we were under way, I felt over dressed. Oh well, can’t have it both ways.

Finished strong and was pleased with my time of 23:36 (chip time).

Grabbed a cup of water and walked the course looking for Amy. Met up with her about a quarter of a mile for the finish and ran with her the last part of the course. She did great finishing in 31:32.

Talked with David S.for a few minutes. He said he was hanging around to see where he placed. David is in the 60-64 age group and likes to say that the way he is able to place is by out lasting others in his age group.

Amy and I headed by Krispy Kreme and pickup coffee and doughnuts for the family and headed home. I needed to get the turkey in the oven. (Didn’t want to miss another opportunity to eat.)

About 10 o’clock, David S. called to say he had picked up my award for me. I had placed 3rd in my age group. I couldn’t believe it. I was so surprised that I had to call him back because I forgot to ask how he had done. David S. placed 2nd in his age group.

On another note, the best surprise of keeping this online running journal is the friends that I have made. I just want to say thanks for your friendship and support and am thankful for each of you. May God richly bless you in the coming year.

Training for the week
Sun: Rest
Mon: 8 miles w/ 5 x 600m – 1:08:08, 8:31 pace
Tues: 5 miles – 43:40, 8:44 pace
Wed: Rest
Thur: Habitrot 5k – 23:36 – 7:37 pace

Hot time in Chicago

Monday, October 8th, 2007

I have now run in five marathons. Each one was unique. But to have been in one that has been stopped really makes this year’s Chicago Marathon stand out.

DSC 0105We flew up to Chicago Saturday morning and caught the train into the city checked in at the hotel and then headed to the expo. The Expo is huge and just a crush of people. We only stayed about an hour and a half and then caught a cab back to the hotel.

We ate at the pasta supper that the race puts on at the Hilton. It was rather pricey but at least it was handy. We sat at a table with a group of women from Nova Scotia. It was really cool to talk with them. They were concerned about the heat like everyone else. We did discover that we were all were aiming for a 4:15 pace.

Headed to bed early and was up early. We had a great room. It was in the Hilton on the front corner looking out on Grant Park. When I looked out the window Sunday morning about 5:30, there were already people arriving for the race which didn’t start until 8.

When I left the room around 7, it was already 76 degrees. Walked to the park and got in a bathroom line.

1007070742By 7:30 I was in the crowd at the start. I sat down to rest because I knew it would be a while before I actually started to run. Had only been sitting for a few minutes when one of the ladies from supper came over and said they were sitting near by. So I got up and joined them.

Finally the race started. It took 15 minutes to get to the starting line. It was good to finally be running but with the crush of people it was hot and I knew before heading north out the city around mile 3 it was going to be a long day.

I stayed with my new friends until we got to Lincoln Park and I took a bathroom break. I had hoped to catch up with them but there were just too many people.

The first clue that I had that there were going to be “water” issues was when I got to the first aid station at mile two and saw a number of the tables already folded up. This was not at all like the race in ’05.

DSC 0106I knew I had trained well in the heat but Sunday it was the humidity that was really the killer. By mile 10, my heart rate was up and I knew that I need to change my plans if I was going to finish. So I started running for 4 minutes and walking for 1 minute. I kept this up as long as I could but the walking was getting longer and the running was getting shorter.

At every aid station I would take and extra cup of water and pour it over my cap. One guy was handing out small sponges that I took and soaked in water and then placed under my cap. That sure felt good!

By about mile 17, my time was about 3:10. That was about what I did my last 20 miler in when the temp was in the 50s. It was not to be this time.

Shortly after that I passed some fire trucks and I heard over their radio that the race had been canceled and that they were going to fly over the course and tell the runners. I kept going. By this time doing more walking than running.

At the next aid station, the station captain was using a bull horn telling runners that the race had been stopped and to walk to the finish line. I called Gayle who was at the finish line. She said that they had not made any announcement and that folks were still streaming across.

About 15 minutes later, she called back to say they had finally announced that the race was over and the clocks were stopped. From that point on, officials said it was a “fun run”. I’m sure by time the race was quickly turning into a nightmare for the officials.

By this point I was at mile 20 and the only way I knew back was to follow the crowd. Finally everyone was walking. I struck up a conversation with a guy named Pat from Chicago. This was his first marathon. He said that there was no Gatorade for the first 8 miles.

We walked the last 6 miles talking about everything from sports to the race. It was good to have the company.

After they called the race, the situation with fluids on the course got even worst. Water and Gatorade was scarce but there was only one station that did not have anything. The Fire department opened up hydrants and sprayed the runners. It felt good but then my socks were so wet they the soles of my feet hurt from rubbing the wet socks.

The medical tents looked more like a MASH unit. All of them were full. Runners were on cots with IVs. It was not a pretty site. The Monday morning paper reported that almost 400 people were transported to area hospitals. One runner even died.

DSC 0108-1I finally made it across the finish line with a time of 6:00:09. But I was allowed to finish. There were a lot that were not because they started turning folks back if they had not passed the half-way point when they called the race.

Did race officials make the right decision? Yes. Sunday was a record high of 88 degree but the heat index was well into the 90s. I know it was a hard decision. I would rather be safe and run another day.

Am I disappointed? Yes. I felt like I had prepared well but it was just not to be.

So what’s next? Rest a few days and work on a new training plan because the Rocket City Marathon is less than 9 weeks away.

Franklin Classic 10K

Monday, September 3rd, 2007

franklinclassic07Got up early this morning to run the Franklin Classic 10k. This is the 29th year for the race. They have a 5K that starts at 7 and 10K at 7:30. Both races start at the town square. Each year both races seem to get bigger and bigger.

The 10k course is rather hilly and with the warm temperatures, it always makes for a challenging run. Saw a few of my running friends before the race, Joe, Laurie, and Steve.

I really wanted to set a PR today to see if I’ve gained any ground from this summer’s training.

Since I have run this race for the last several years, I am very familiar with the course. There are a number of hills and if you go out too fast it is easy to run out of steam. My goal was to try and run even to negative splits.

My chip time was 51:32, a PR by almost 30 seconds. I felt good about the run and great about my time.

Here are the stats….


Heart Rate (bpm)

Mile Pace (min/mile) Speed (mph) Heart
actual +/- avg actual +/- avg
1 8′ 13 +0′ 00 7.3 -0.0 141 – ft
2 8′ 09 -0′ 04 7.3 +0.0 153 – ft
3 8′ 32 +0′ 19 7.0 -0.3 159 – ft
4 8′ 24 +0′ 11 7.1 -0.2 161 – ft
5 8′ 05 -0′ 08 7.4 +0.1 165 – ft
6 8′ 05 -0′ 08 7.4 +0.1 168 – ft
end 7′ 41 -0′ 32 7.8 +0.5 173 – ft
Versus average of 8′ 13 min/mi

Posted from

Training for the week
Sun: Rest
Mon: 6.2 miles – 51:32, 8:13 pace

Give it a Tri

Monday, May 28th, 2007

I did it. I have completed a sprint triathlon!

Got up around my normal time of 4:30. Ate some oatmeal and piddled around the house going over my check list for the race. It is enough getting stuff together for a road race, but when you have to add stuff for the bike and swim, I knew I would forget something.

Gayle got up and went with me. I know it was a sacrifice especially with today being a holiday but it was great to have her along.

We left the house about a 5:45. We pulled into the parking lot at the race site shortly after 6. I started checking my bike tires and I hear someone call my name. It was Michele and Lana. They had just pulled up.

gjcctri group 070528Finished getting my gear together and walked my bike to the transition area. I fittled with setting up my stuff and how to lay it out. Whet and got the timing chip and body marked. Then just hung around. Talked to Michele and Lana and we spotted Laurie, our blogger’s group. It was good to see everyone.

Finally it was time to start. The race was a 200m pool swim, 8.5 bike, and 2 mile run, a good beginner triathlon.

They started us by our race number which was assigned based on anticipated swim time. After about 30 minutes, it was my time to swim. I did OK, especially considering I couldn’t have made it 25 meters in March.

The pool was a 50 meter pool about 4 feet deep. This rather large lady ended up in front of me on the last lap. I could not believe it. She was walking the whole length of the pool moving her arms like she was swimming. She was making good time too. The funny part was from underwater, it looked like a Discovery Channel feature on how a hippopotamus moves under water! It was hard to keep from laughing!

I had estimated my swim time as 6:30 and I made it in 6:10.

Made it out of the pool and down the hill to the transition area. My legs were more unsteady than I thought they would be. I had to sit down on the ground to put on my shoes because I was afraid I was going to loose my balance. Walked the bike out the transition area and headed off.

The bike course was not too bad. There were some small hills and some long grades but not too steep. There was one big hill between mile 5 and 6.

I was chugging along and Laurie blew past me about mile 3.

Made it back to the transition area and since I didn’t have to change shoes, I was out of the rather quick. I had estimated the ride to take about 40 minutes. My time was 37:57 and that includes the swim transition.

My legs felt like jelly but I soon got into my pace. Right after I got on the road there were Lana and Michele cheering me on.

I caught up with Laurie at the turn around point, grabbed some water and took off. Saw Michele and Lana as I headed toward the finish. My run time was 16:42 which included the bike transition.

gjcc tri 2007My finish time was 1:01:37, a PR. But then again, any time today would have been a PR :-)

Hung around a little while and talked with folks and then headed out. We stopped at Parnia Bread and picked up bagels for the girls.

It was a great morning and a great race. I feel like I always learn something at every race. With three sports, I learned three time as much this morning.

I learned I still have a long way to go on the swimming. It is hard to get into your rhythm when you are used to swimming in a lane by yourself.

I learned that I need to spend more time on my bike if I’m going to get serious about doing a tri.

And, I learned that running after swimming and biking takes a different approach than just running as a single event.

I have now completed a triathlon…got the t-shirt and metal to prove it!

A PR and a Brick

Saturday, May 19th, 2007

r4k waterSaturday is my day to get up early and run long. I am still building back up from the Country Music Marathon but the schedule for today called for a 9 mile run. Today was also the Tennessee Baptist Children’s Home Run 4 Kids 5k. Now, I am not a big fan of 5ks because they get in the way of my normal Saturday run. But this is one race that is hard for me to pass up. How many times to you get to walk to the start and have the honor of having a water stop in your front yard!

My oldest daughter, Amy and I left the house about 7 and walked to the Children’s Home campus. They changed the course this year so we checked a map to get an idea of the changes. Of course, they added two hills.

We made our way to the starting line and started talking with several folks from church and work. The lady I was standing next to looked familiar but I just couldn’t place her. Then I realized it was Laurie, who I had met through Michele at the Tom King Half Marathon in March.

The race has grown in the past five years and has grown to about 500 runners. I knew from past years that it was best to be near the starting line because there are a lot of younger runners that can make it difficult to get into your pace.

The gun fired and everyone took off. I realized that I needed to back of the pace a little but soon settled into a pace that I felt I could maintain. After all this is my “home” course.

As I passed the water stop set up in front of my house a friend who was manning the station yelled at me asking if he could use my garden hose if they ran out of water.

One of the two hills that they added was near the end and it is not a steep but for a 5k it is not in the best place.

I crossed the finish line in 23:30. That is a PR and almost 2 minutes faster than last year. I was pleased.

Amy did well. Her time was 32:22.

While standing around talking with folks and waiting for the awards announcements, a guy introduced himself to me. He said you don’t know me but I read your blog. It seems that Joe found this blog while doing a search for the results for this race last year.

Come to find out that over the past year, Joe’s training has parallel mine. He trained for a December marathon and struggled with an injury this winter. It was really cool to meet Joe and I’m sure our paths will cross again.

They finally announced the awards. I placed third in my age group. I am pleased. Laurie placed second in her age group…congrats!

Knowing that in order to get ready for the triathlon on Memorial Day, I really needed to do at least on brick to get an idea of the transition from cycling to running. So, late this afternoon, I rode 8.5 miles and then ran 2 miles. The first quarter mile running after getting off the bike is really strange. Legs feel funny. I am glad I did it.

So even though I didn’t get to run 9 miles this morning, I feel that I covered the distance that I needed to today.