Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving Weekend Race Reports

Turkey Trot 5K
Vancouver, WA
November 24, 2011

Time:  25:49 (8:24 pace)

Simply an amazing example of some of the great people we have in the local area.  This event started several years ago by a group of families that liked to get together Thanksgiving morning and go for a run.  It has grown by leaps and bounds and is one of my favorite events all year. 

Arrived at the event site of Klineline Pond/Salmon Creek Park with Wendy and got signed up and collected our goodies.  For being a ‘free’ event (there is a $15 recommended donation to the Principal’s Checkbook), it is well organized, staffed and the SWAG is pretty cool.

Goal for today was to have a good race, not break any speed records, but also push my effort.  The course was almost exclusively on the Salmon Creek Trail and with 700+ participants, it was very packed.

Gun goes off and we head out, shortly after getting on the trail, I see a man on the ground with a few other people around him.  The trail is slippery in some spots so I figured he had slipped and hurt his leg or something.  There were half a dozen people lending assistance so I kept on going.  Later I would find out from Wendy that the man suffered a heart attack and some of the racers had to do CPR on him.  Yikes, I hope he survived.

The first mile was pretty mellow, kept things steady and then tried to crank it up.  First mile was a 9:20 I think.  Just before the 1.5 mile turn around, we had to ford a deep puddle.  Some people turned around a bit short, but I slogged through, getting my feet wet up past the ankles.  Speaking of ankle, I have a bad injury on my right ankle from walking around Seattle for a week in crappy shoes.  The injury is from my flat feet and my ankle rolling, compounded with the tender area caused by my bone spur.  Ouch.  So every foot strike hurts quite a bit.

I upped the pace and dug deep.  But about a half mile from the finish, I got really fatigued and had to slow to a 9:45 pace.  Ugh.  Sometimes these 5K events are tough if you don’t pace yourself correctly.  After about a minute of this nonsense, I found some energy and picked it back up.  Glided into the finish with a respectable time.

Hot Buttered Run 12K
Ft. Vancouver, WA
November 27, 2011

Time:  1:08:19 (9:06 pace)

This was a super fun event last year and I knew I didn’t want to miss it.  A high energy, family fun and well supported event at Pearson Field at Ft. Vancouver in Vancouver.  Beautiful venue.  Sister and Wendy joined me on race morning.  Wendy and Gretchen opted for the 5K and for me, wanting to test myself a bit, I went for the 12K (7.5 miles).

Remember the ankle pain I have been having?  I decided to visit the running store to have my foot strike analyzed again and see if I need to change my shoes.  The video showed that I am still a neutral runner but it was evident that I was favoring something on my right foot.  The specialist suggested I try some over the counter shoe inserts to give me some arch and heel support.  I tried several types and styles and finally found one that felt pretty good.  So, with new shoes and new inserts (remember—nothing new or different on race day!), I headed out on 12k’s of running fun.

My goal was to maintain a 9 minute pace.  Although I ran a few days ago, I really haven’t done anything of distance for several weeks.  I have been doing a lot of runs in the 3 to 5 mile range.

Things started out well enough, I was digging my new shoes and the inserts felt great, relatively no pain.  The scenery around the fort is so beautiful this time of year.  Big deciduous trees are everywhere and their leaves have all but run their course of the fall colors.  This made for some deep piles of leaves on the road and trails that many runners would swoosh their feet through the leaves. 

I just kept things steady; everything was going well until…… we came to a train in the way.  Hah!  We were on the west end of downtown Vancouver and a freight train had the road blocked.  I had to wait for about 2 minutes but others had to wait a lot longer.  Oh well. 

As we started heading back towards town, I am thinking I was at mile 4.5 or so, I had to dart into Subway and use their bathroom.  Whew!  Thank you Subway, although your sign read “Restrooms are for Customers Only” I will be sure to frequent your establishment on a regular basis.

I was pretty tired and was feeling the sweat rolling off my head and onto my face.  I could taste the salt on my lips.  Just before the finish I caught up to Wendy as she was getting ready to finish the 5K.  “Hey hottie!!!” I hollered as I went by.

Sister was there at the last turn to give me a high 5 before I crossed the finishline.  Whew!  What a run.  Not bad for me, either. 

So, how’s the feet?  The new shoes and inserts worked beautifully.  Although I am still sore and my ankle hurts, this will prove to be the ticket in keeping me injury free.

What a great weekend of activity.  Next weekend is the Jingle Bell Run where I will attempt to break my 5K PR of 23:50!!!  Thanks for your support.

Monday, November 7, 2011

2010 Ironman Coeur d'Alene Race Report

I did this race in June 2010, but wanted to make sure it got placed on my blog.  It was an incredible day and should be shared!  I am currently training for Ironman CDA June 2012, so check back for more updates!

This report is written with the strategies envoked by my triathlon coaches and our team (Endurance Nation). 

Total Time: 15:32:17 (1848 OA, 350 AG)

IMCDA Race Report and the Four Keys

This race report will not only depict my experiences and performance, but also highlight the importance of the Four Keys and other Endurance Nation “secrets” during my race.


The team EN dinner was fantastic. Great location and it was super getting to meet the rest of the team. The connections made at this dinner would later become ever important during the event.

Coach Rich gave his Four Keys talk on the Grassy Knoll to well over 80 people. It served as a good refresher for me, but as I looked around the crowd at the non-EN members, I could see some looks of amazement. “Does this stuff really work?”

Side Note: During the Athlete Pre-Race Dinner I was recognized as having lost the 2nd most amount of weight while training for this event. I won a cool body composition scale. Also, people are curious what I looked like 2 years ago. Can you believe this guy is going to become an Ironman in 2 years???


During a podcast, Coach P listed the importance of having checklists. I typically use checklists for stuff I need to take or put into certain bags, but I have never made a checklist that included things I needed to do on race morning. It seems I’ve always had race morning under control. At the last minute, I decided to make a detailed checklist that covered everything I needed to do on race morning from the time I got up until the time I set foot on the beach for the swim start. I was so thankful to have this checklist because my brain was so distracted when I got to the race site. My nerves were going nuts, I was excited and I tend to get ADD when this happens. Having the checklist kept me focused and I got things done. Even had time for a 20 minute warm-up jog.


Swim: 1:16:39 (2:01/100m—879 OA, 165 AG)

Key: Execution—“Swim only as fast as ability to maintain form.”

I didn’t bother asking other swimmers on the beach what their swim split expected to be, but I did take a look at who was twitchy, who was relaxed and who was scared s*tless. I worked my way down to the water’s edge and lined up directly behind the twitchy fellas in the front row.

Boom! As I predicted, the twitchy fellas took off like a shot, I followed close behind so I wouldn’t be trampled by the masses and plunged into the cold water. The water didn’t feel that bad, thankfully. I wore a neoprene cap for the first time and it seemed to work great cause I didn’t experience any discomfort during the swim (due to the cold).

The first 100m was pretty intense. With quick strokes and jockeying for position I was starting to hyperventilate. I tried to smooth out my strokes, but the steep waves made this difficult. I was not executing like Coach told me so I said, “Mile 18, Mike!” Amazing the first reference to THE LINE came in the first 100m. But it helped remind me to swim easy and with proper form. After that, the swimming went very well. I was relatively relaxed, except for an occasional gulp of water from the waves, or swimming into someone. I even got in some good drafting by following swimmers on the second lap.


“Slow is Smooth—Smooth is Fast”

In race prep I did not plan on having fast transition times. This being my first Ironman, I was more concerned with not missing anything. But I did keep the slow is smooth/smooth is fast mantra going in my head as I changed out. At my next Ironman I will work on being more efficient.

Bike: 7:36:50 (14.7 mph—1830 OA, 351 AG)

Key: Execution—Just Ride Along first 90 mins.

Going through town and then out along the lake I could see why Coach R said to pay close attention to your HR/watts. Racers were just cruising. Mashing it all the way. I just kept it steady and kept reminding my self, “it is a long day—Mile 18—Mile 18.”

When we got to the hills, sure enough Coach was right, guys were crushing it, while I kept it steady and I actually laughed out loud as bikers went whizzing by—Look I’m going backwards!

The “down and through” Coach P emphasized on the podcast worked like magic. I would maintain my effort across the crest of the hill and then down the first third or when I reached about 30mph and it would carry me a good portion up the next hill as I was passing some of the dudes who had crushed it earlier.

As for nutrition on the bike, I am still having difficulty in what works for me. I was using a mixture of protein & carbs and then an electrolyte bottle with Nuun tabs and then water in my aero jug. After mile 60 I was getting really tired and felt depleted. I was craving solid food. I ate some bananas and powerbars at the next few aid stations and started feeling better, but I ratcheted it back significantly because of THE LINE. And my box was clearly aid station to aid station the 2nd loop.


“Take this bike away from me, I don’t ever want to see it again!” That is what I said, but I said it jokingly to the volunteer. He replied laughing, “Gee, I haven’t heard that yet today.”

Again, slow is smooth, smooth is fast. I changed out of my tri-shorts into my running shorts. I hadn’t planned on this, but I was getting some bad chafing from the bike and decided at last minute to make the change. What slowed me down was that I put my hydration bottles in a small cooler to keep them cold while sitting outside during the swim and bike. I had to manage the taking of the bottles out of the cooler and then putting them onto the run belt. Next time I will just freeze them overnight and not mess with the cooler.

Run: 6:24:40 (14:40/mi—1848 OA, 350 AG)

Execution—Easy Run place plus 30” first 5 miles.

Okay, scratch that one because I can’t run right now, my legs are going into revolt.

Box—My box was very small at the beginning of the run. I walked the first 2 miles. In the back of my mind I knew about Mile 18, but the box was too small. I had to dig out my One Thing at this point and that was I wasn’t going to quit, period!

So I plugged along to the aid station and got in some calories. Mmmm, potato chips. These would wind up being the secret to my success. I hadn’t trained with potato chips before, but I was craving these salty, ridged chips of goodness. Between that and copious amounts of water and my G2 Gatorade in my run belt, I started feeling much better at mile 2.

So my box could get a little bigger. Okay, time to count the steps. I started with running 40 steps and then walking 20. I did several cycles of these and then increased it to 60 steps running and 30 walking. Then it was 100 and 30. As the cycles went by I was then able to increase my box to the length of a block or distance. “I will run from here to the turn, or to the sign and then walk 30 steps.” This tactic carried me the entire marathon.


THE LINE—Mile 18. Right at mile 18 I saw my good friend from high school as he was headed back to town and the finish line. He cheered me on and this gave me an incredible boost. I also had seen Carly, Aaron, Jay, Wendy and Al out on the course and they all had helped me get through other rough patches along the way. I was feeling “great” and started to get that excited feeling knowing I was going to finish!

As the sunset over the mountains, it was a beautiful evening. Lake CDA is one of my all time favorite places to be and this was certainly one of the most memorable. I kept the run/walking thing going and was surprised I felt better and better as the miles added up.

I hit the turnaround and caught up to Carly and Aaron on our way back to town. We chatted it up for a bit and did some run/walking. I told them that I was on a mission and was going to keep going. They said, “go get ‘em Mike!” and I was on my way.

The run down Sherman Ave to the finish was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. The crowds, the cheers, the elation, the culmination of a dream. I felt like a champion as I ran what felt like an 8:30/mile pace the last third mile into the finish. Wow! I am and IRONMAN!