Posts Tagged ‘Team for Life’

  So, this race report is a little different from it has been for the Pig the last two years.  Why?  Well, it’s a report on the half marathon.  After the ankle injury last year, I’m actually lucky to be able to run the half with my team.

  Going into the race yesterday, I was hoping to hit a PR on under 20 miles a week.  But, once I saw the weather, I knew that there was no reason to even push for it.  Read below to find out more.

  On Sunday, May 2nd, my team and I reported to our team meeting place in downtown Cincinnati.  Thanks to Dave Neyer for hosting us at his company’s location.  It’s always nice to have an indoor location with restrooms, etc.  Especially yesterday.  The weather was miserable for a marathon.  Rain, lightening, and hot.  When I say hot, I mean it.  It was 65 F at 5 AM.  There were also thunderstorms in the area.  It looked like it was going to be a fun day.

  We all met up there, Catie and Ali (my two primary running partners over the season), Jamie W., Jamie I., Ralph, Victoria, Trish, Scott, Jeff, and of course Wayne.  Unfortunately, Wayne injured his hamstring earlier in the season so he didn’t run with us this year.  I know it absolutely killed him not to run, but you can’t run a marathon with a torn hammy. 

  We all waited around, for our friends to show up.  We talked, worried about the weather, and joked around.  I made sure to help Ali and her husband Dave with the details (baggage, safety pins, and nip guards for Dave).  I also visited the mens room a good 5-6 times…just to be sure.  As we moved closer to the time we needed to leave for the start line, I noticed that Amye and Erin had not arrived yet.  Now, they are usually late, but not this late.  Turns out, they couldn’t find the building, but they did make it to the start.

  As we moved to the start line, I made sure to keep Jamie W., Catie, Jeff, Dave, and Ali with me.  I didn’t want them getting lost and running alone.  As it turns out, that’s exactly what Dave did and with great results.  We made it to the start with plenty of time.  I got my extra clothes, etc. onto my bus and waited for the start.  Jamie had to make a “quick” pit stop, which took forever with the lines.  It was raining the entire time.  While waiting it appears that there was a nearby lightning strike, which took out a transformer.  All of the street lights went out at once and we were plunged into near darkness.  Luckily, near by Paul Brown Stadium still had power.  Once that happened the sky really opened up into a downpour.  We moved toward the start line, each holding onto the other’s garbage bag poncho.

  We were trying to get to the 4:30 Pace group, as we thought starting with them would allow us to go out at a good pace, but not too fast.  We didn’t make it.  We were only able to make it to the 5:00 Pace group.  Oh well.  The gun sounded and, as usual, everyone pushed forward.  Well, about four steps…then stopped.  It took us almost 8 minutes to get across the start line.

  We took the first mile slowly.  It was difficult to go fast anyway, the street were packed with people.  Jeff had to retie his shoe twice, but it wasn’t a big deal.  We made it over the bridge into Kentucky without issue.  I looked for my friend Mo around mile 1.5, but didn’t see her.  We continued through Newport across into Covington and then back into Ohio.  Two bridges in the first 4 miles is no fun, but it’s better than during the last four miles!

  I could tell that Ali was excited.  I kept having to pull her back.  I was trying to control the pace so that she wouldn’t burn out too early.  I also kept having to slow Jamie down.  She appeared to be feeling good and the pace showed it.  Unfortunately, my Garmin got bumped at the quarter-mile mark and didn’t work from there out.  So, I kept asking Jamie for the pace.

  We stopped for water around mile 4.  We also almost lost Ali at that point.  It’s hard to keep track of five people  when you have 18k people running a race.  Luckily, we found her fairly quickly.  We proceeded down 7th Street in Cincinnati and proceeded to get pumped up by a great crowd.  By this point, the rain had stopped and I had removed my hat.  I was wet, but feeling really hot.  My body doesn’t like heat, so I figured I’d rather get wet.  At the end of 7th is the beginning of the climb.  Near the end, there was a music group playing I love Rock and Roll.  Catie and I got a little carried away with the music and the singing and opened up a 30 yard lead on Jamie, Jeff, and Ali.

  We decided to slow down a bit and wait for them.  The caught up within about a quarter-mile.  Then we start the hills.  The first hill is a long slow climb up past Channel 9 on Gilbert Avenue.  About half way up this hill I looked back to find Ali, Jamie, and Jeff.  I saw them walking about 500 feet behind us.  Neither Catie nor I talked about it, but we continued to run.  Sorry Ali, Jamie, and Jeff, but we felt good and it was too early to walk. 

  We continued up, past Channel 9, and turned right onto Eden Park drive.  This is where the real hills start, and has been a breaking point for me during my past Pig’s.  This year, for the first time, I made it up Eden, which is a short but steep hill, without stopping.  We continued past the first relay point and hit the 6.8 mile mark.  We’d made it there in 1:15.  Not bad considering the easy early pace.  We continued up the hills, past Krohn Conservatory, around my favorite part of the course.  There is an overlook that allows you to see all of Northern KY and most of downtown Cincinnati.  It’s a great view and a good place to see how far you’ve climbed. 

  We then continued up Victory Parkway and finished the hills just after mile 7.  The split for the half is around mile 8 and I really felt energized when we got to it.  In fact, Catie said something to the effect of “Alright, speedy, you’re pushing the pace.”  Of course I was, it was a down hill.  We continued on Martin Luther King, which is a rolling section of the course.  Working up the hills and then pushing the pace down them.  We followed MLK back to Gilbert and knew we were getting close to the big down hill.  We hit mile 10 at 1:55 clock time, which was about 1:48 actual time. 

  Catie had wanted to break 2:15 and I knew that so I really picked up the pace as we went down the hill on Gilbert.  It’s about .75 miles and a great place to pick up some time.  We were really flying.  I didn’t have my garmin, but I’m willing to bet we were doing an 8 minute mile flat, maybe even in the 7’s.  We continued down the hills at a brisk pace, did the out and back on Central Parkway and headed down Eggleston.  About half way down Eggleston, we saw another TFL runner.  I didn’t have any idea who it was from the back.  But, when we got next to her, I recognized her.  It was long-lost Erin.  Turns out they did make it to run.  Catie and I passed her pretty easily (have I mentioned we felt good) and continued toward the finish.  We had about half a mile to go and we knew it.  We made the turn onto Pete Rose Way, which is where I usually run out of gas.  Not today.  We hit the marathon 26 mile marker, meaning we had .2 to go.  Catie surged at that point and I worked really hard to reel here in.  We then hit the half marathon 13 mile marker and she surged again.  I couldn’t cover that one and let her go.

  We crossed the finish line at 2:15 and change.  Catie was about 10 seconds ahead of me.  Overall it was a good race.  We did the first 6.8 miles in 1:15 and change.  The second half we did in about 1:01.  Around a 12 or 13 minute negative split.  Now, I realize that most of the second half is down hill, but I don’t care. 

  The one thing is does tell me is that I could have gone faster in the first half.  If the weather had been better and cooler, I may have been able to PR.  Think of that, a half marathon PR on under 20 miles per week.  That would have been nice.

  I think that the end of this race tells me one thing.  I like the distance races and I think I’m built for them more than the shorter (say 5k) races.  I really felt strong at the end and thing with proper training I could easily break 2 hours.  My goal for the summer is to start working on improving my speed and endurance.  I’d really like to break 2 hours this fall and then have a good marathon next year.  I’m tired of working to “just finish.”


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  I’ve waited to make this post because, well honestly, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to run with the team.  Well, let me tell you officially, I can and will be on the team this year.  Yesterday was my sixth run since my ankle injury and I accidentally did 5 miles, not 4. 

  It was a very cold morning, somewhere around 15 degrees.  I had talked with Ali, the new director of the Cincinnati CFF, and told her that I would get her through her first team run.  But, when I got to Fleet Feet and looked at the course, it was the Mt. Everest course again.  Bluewing, Lobeila, and Waxwing!  There is no way my ankle will do that right now. 

  So, I decided to take Ali, her husband Dave, and their friend Abby on the Kenridge Lake route.  From what I had remembered, it was a four mile run.  Now, Ali told me that she was “slow,” around a 12 minute mile on the treadmill.  However, yesterday, she was pushing the pace.  But, that’s a good thing.

  Dave didn’t do much talking, and left us at about mile 1.  I think he felt we were going too slow.  Funny, we found him half way around the lake, not exactly understanding my directions (hard to imagine).  But, I think he had worn himself out.  He ended up walking with Abby for a while, and Ali and I didn’t see them until about 10 minutes after we finished.

  Abby, new to the team, is crazy.  She had abdominal surgery 3 weeks ago, and was running with us yesterday.  She had a tough time, I can’t understand why.  But, she did finish the 5 miles. 

  Ali and I had a great conversation.  Mostly “shop talk” about CF and the Foundation, etc.  I’m glad to say that she “gets it.”  She’s young enough to know that she doesn’t know it all, but experienced (notice I didn’t say old, Ali) enough to  handle the role of Executive Director.  She also has a very close friend with CF.  We talked about him, about CF, the team, and way too much about me. 

  I look forward to more runs with her.  I also look forward to running with old friends, Victoria, Ralph, Jamie, Amye, Scott, and a whole host of others.  I’ll miss a few friends that aren’t running with us this year.  Priorities change over the years, and I get that.  But, they’re always welcome to come back home to the team.

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  I’ve been putting this off for a while.  Actually, I’ve been avoiding it.  But, it’s been over a month since the marathon, and I need to get this posted.  I have other topics I would like to post about, but can’t until I get this one out.

Pre Race

  We arrived in downtown Cincinnati at Oh My God thirty, I honestly don’t remember.  We nervously waited around until it was time to head to the start line.  Everyone was wearing their braclets.  We all had one made by a CF patient, we’ll except for me.  Kelby made me one that said “We run for you!”  Very touching and actually made me emotional during the race.  More on that later.

  About 30 minutes before we left, I received a text from Amye.  She said that they had to turn around to go back to West Chester.  It appears that Erin had forgotten her shoes.  I have no idea how you can forget running shoes for a marathon.  But she did. 

  Erin and Amye got there about 10 minutes after the team left.  I waited around for them, since I had planned to run the marathon with Amye again. 

The Start

  We got to the start just in time.  I had to drop off my bag on the bus and Amye had to visit the port-a-potty oasis.  The gun had sounded before we were ready, but luckily it took about 10 minutes before we needed to start running. 

  At about mile 1.5, we saw Kristen, Michael, Katie, Jenny and Mike.  It was good and I was able to give them my hat to take home.  I remember feeling good around mile three and seeing hour friend Scott on the bridge back over the Ohio river.  We saw Amye’s family around mile 4.5 or so.  We didn’t see Amye’s father and she was a little concerned that she didn’t see him. 

The Hills

  Next we entered the hills, miles 5-8.  I remember not liking this hills this year and having to make a quick pit stop, but I still didn’t feel bad.  We saw Erin’s husband, O’Brien, at the first relay exchange point near mile 6.5.  We climbed the last hill, although I did need to walk part of it. 

The Fatal Mistake

  The split for the half marathon is at mile 8.5.  The half marathoners go to the left, full to the right.  I had told myself that I was going to do the half if I had any pain or concerns at the split.  I remember talking to Amye.  “My leg feels good (hamstring from Boston), my lungs feel good (silly lung disease), so I’m going to take a left.”  She said “Oh, you’re going to do the half?”  I told her I was joking and told her I’d do the full marathon.

  We made the right turn and started a fairly long downhill section.  In fact, most of the next two miles are down hill.  We ran that first mile after the split faily quick.  And, at about mile 9.5 I was starting to feel a problem.  My left quad was starting to hurt while running down hill.  Now, that’s not good as the down hills are supposed to allow you to rest.  I kept pushing and hurting, but figured it would go away.  By mile 11, I knew that it wasn’t going to go away.

Decision Time

  I knew I was in trouble.  I knew that this was going to be really really bad.  But I knew that I couldn’t just quit.  By mile 14 I told Amye and Erin to go ahead.  I told them to tell Kristen that I was in trouble when they saw her at mile 16.  I started the walk/run mess at this point.  I ran when I could, and then the pain would force me to stop and walk.  I talked to people when I could, encouraged them and sometimes shared the misery.  I also had several people ask me if, other than tired, was I ok.  Medical staff making sure I wasn’t going to die.

  At about mile 15, I saw Andy Thatcher on the back side of the Mariemont loop. He was a mile ahead of me and pulling away. 

Family Support

  At about 16 or so, I rounded the corner in Mariemont and saw Kristen and the kids.  I almost started crying because I was hurting and embarassed to be in such bad shape.  But I held it together.  I tried to make it look good and run around the corner.  That’s where I saw Amye’s family.  I was very happy they stayed to cheer me on.  I continued the run walk disaster until about 17.5.

The Long Walk

  At about 17.5, my legs had had enough.  I had to walk … and I walked for quite a while.  I walked miles 18, 19, 20, and 21.  They took forever and I couldn’t help but think of giving up.  Well, as much as I wanted to, I didn’t.  I heard my coach, Wayne, telling us that he’s had 100% completion on the team.  Anyone that got to the start made it to the finish.  I wasn’t going to be the one to break that.  Even though I wanted to…

  At mile 21 I met a couple of friends.  A married couple that really helps the team.  She asked me what was going on and I said “I’m walking, that’s what.  My legs have had enough and it’s everything I can do to keep going.”  I asked her if I could borrow her cell to call Kristen.  She, of course, said yes.  I told Kristen that it was going to be a while and that if she wanted to head home, that was fine.  Of course, she didn’t do that.  My friend then said that “I have a car.  I can drive you to about a mile from the finish and you can finish from there.”  I opted to finish on my own and declined her offer. 

  About a quarter mile later, I met her husband.  He told me that I was doing great, especially considering that I had just run Boston two weeks before.  In fact, he defended me to a couple of people around him.  I remember that very well, and I really appreciate it.  Although defending stupidity isn’t the best thing to do.


  After I met my friends, I determined that I was NOTgoing to break the dreaded 6 hour mark.  It just wasn’t going to happen.  So, I started the walk-hobble-walk method of covering ground.  Several more people asked me if I was ok.  Several offered me drinks, I asked if they had gin.  Nobody did….

  I concentrated on finding someone to pass.  I’d run to them, pass them, and then walk.  I did this for 5.2 miles.  Let me tell you, that’s a long way to do that. 

The Big Finish

  So, when I got to about mile 25.2, I focused on seeing my friend and family.  Of course, all that focus and thinking got me choked up several times.  I came over the hill nearing the finish and started looking for them.  That last stretch, about a half mile, seems to take forever.  I kept looking and looking for them.  I finally found them about 200 yards from the finish.  Kristen and Michael came out to meet me.  They both ran with me to the end.  I did tell them that I wasn’t going to be over 6:00, so they had to move.  It took everything I had to not only finish but to keep from completely breaking down in tears.  Between the pain and the emotion, it was difficult.  Very difficult.

The Results

  Honestly, I’m embarrassed by my result.  I was stupid to try to do two marathon in two weeks.  I didn’t complete them, but neither were what I had hoped.  Don’t get me wrong, Boston was a blast.  But, a 4:40 or so would have been much better.

  My official time for the Flying Pig was 5:51:31.  Absolutely horrible.  Embarrassing!  But, I have vowed to make myself better and faster for next year.  I’ve already started working on specific strengthing for my running.  I vow that I will be better, faster and have much more endurance next year.

  Thanks to everyone who followed my evil plan.  Thanks to Wayne and Kelby for all the help.  Thanks to Amye and her family for all the help and support, and for running two marathon with me.  And, finally, thanks to my family.  Kristen, Michael, and Katie, I couldn’t have done it without you.

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  Well, my $10 plan is just starting, but it’s been far from perfect so far.  I need more donors, and I’ve taken a few steps to help get those.  I’ve asked several friends to send my fund raising email to all of their friends and family.  That includes my pulmonologist, I’m hoping she sends it to colleagues across the country.

  I also plan to include the widgets on the right of my blog in my posts.  If you’re reading this, I’d appreciate it if you’d sponsor me.  You can click either of the widgets below to sponsor me.  More later.  Thanks to everyone that has sponsored me so far!

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  I finally received my packet for the MassGeneral fund raising today.  So, I guess at this point I’m in full training mode: running and fund raising.  If you are reading this you either know me, stumbled onto my blog, or are one of  the three regular readers of my blog.

  Between yesterday and today I’ve sent out about 60 fund raising emails.  Some to friends, some to acquaintances, and some to my friends at work.  If you work with me, do me a favor, don’t turn me in.  I don’t need to get fired for trying to help people. 

  My training is going well so far.  I’m up to about 50 miles for January.  I’ll probably run another 5-6 miles at lunch tomorrow, depending on the temperature.  I think the low is going to be zero.  It’s amazing what good running gear will do for you.

  I really hope my fund raising plan works as expected.  Asking 400 people for $10 sounds easy, let me tell you it’s not.  I’m only up to about 260 people.  I’m sending them out in batches so I can balance which group gets money based on response.  I’m committed to raising $3000 for MassGeneral and $1000 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.  I’m asking for $10 from each person, but hoping that most give more.  It would be nice to get the fund raising done so I can focus on the training.

  If you just stumbled onto my site, I’d like to ask for your help too.  Please visit either of the links below to donate to either MassGeneral or the CF Foundation.

  Also, I’d appreciate it if you could forward my sites to friends, family, or anyone that has a connection to Cystic Fibrosis.  Running one marathon is difficult, running two in three weeks is crazy.  I’m doing two with a chronic lung disease.  I would really appreciate any help you can give me!

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