Thursday, April 26, 2012

Skunk Cabbage Classic - Half Marathon - April 1st 2012


With all of the riding I've been doing, I figured I would attempt to keep up on my running - I mean hell, that's where this all started isn't it?  Well, I guess it all started with me sampling over 1000 different beers in a year, but that ended in August of 2009.

When that task was accomplished a friend of mine, Rusty Willmon asked me what I was going to do to get in shape after abusing my body for a year. I started with running, was working with a Radiation Oncologist from Binghamton Dr. Fallon, who talked me into signing up for a Half Marathon in Sedona Arizona in February of 2010. Friends got talked into it. Kris's cousin and his wife Brenda decided to run it with us, and Christopher shamed Kris into running also. This was big stuff for her, because she HATED running, especially distance!

We ran our first 5K - the inaugural Keuka Dash and Splash that August (2009). My first official race ever, other than high school track, and I didn't run distance then! Then we did the Wineglass Marathon Relay with her cousin Jon, where I ran a 9 mile leg, and the rest is history. I signed up for the Keuka Lake Triathlon that would be held in June of 2010, and started training. Running, Spinning and Swimming. I didn't even own a road bike at the time, and my mountain bike hadn't been ridden in years. I ended up buying my first road bike since high school in April of 2010.

Well, most of the riding stuff is here in this blog, but I figured I would talk a little about my running experiences.

The Skunk Cabbage Classic 10K and Half Marathon is something I have wanted to do since the first year. The event happens in Ithaca, NY at Cornell College and the Half Marathon Route passes a patch of Skunk Cabbage about half way through the race which is where this race got its name. For me, though my 4th Half Marathon, it was what I would consider my first successful Half.

My very first Half in Sedona, Arizona was a beautiful race. Some day I will do that race again. We had a great time, Kris ran the whole thing, and I ran/walked it. Kris beat me, and did a great job. I was proud of her, but she paid the price. She could barely walk the next day in the airport. I think my time was somewhere around 2:30 or 2:40..

My, I should say OUR second half was the Rock and Roll Half in Nashville in April of 2010. For this one I beat Kris slightly, and my time was 2:27 and change, and I walked in this one too.. This was a pretty cool race. People cheering and lining the streets. It was very cool, my first event with the crowd so involved.

Our third bigger race was the Boilermaker in Utica in July of 2010. This is a 15K (9.3 miles), and I stuck with Kris in this race and we ran/walked it, and crossed the finish line together, and kissed going across the line... Ok everyone.. 1...2...3... awwwww... Also an amazing race crowd support to rival the Nashville 1/2, phenomenal after party, AND, though we skipped last year, we're signed up for this year, I can't wait!

Our third half marathon was the inaugural Wineglass Half Marathon last fall. This was the first half that I ran the whole thing. I suffered horribly in the race, but ran it.. My time was 2:14 and change, and Kris was 2:11 and change.. We started the race together, I felt good and ran on ahead, and around mile 7 started to suffer, and fell apart around mile 10. Kris passed me in the 11th mile. In the last mile my vision was blurring, and I crossed the finish line and had trouble even standing. I sat down, had some chocolate milk and started to feel better.

That brings us to the Skunk Cabbage. This is the first race since I have been doing 200K's on the bike on a monthly basis. My base fitness has improved incredibly with my distance stamina improving by leaps and bounds. Riding a bike is no substitute for running, and you still have to train to run, but my legs were stronger, my heart is stronger, and my lungs can handle more work. My speed hasn't improved much, but that's coming.

Kris and I headed to Ithaca Saturday night before the race, to stay in Ithaca. Her mom watched the boys, which gave us a nice night alone without the kids, which is always good for us. We went downtown and got our race packets, and headed to Wegmans for the pasta bar, and some black bean enchiladas. We got a good nights sleep, other than a thin walled hotel room with noisy neighbors coming home around 11:30, but the race didn't start till 10, so we didn't have to get up too early, and we had no real drive.

I always feel stronger in my mind than Kris going into these events, every event we've done I have trained more, but Kris is a natural athlete, so I have learned not to take her abilities for granted. We tried to run a 10 miler the week before this race, and at 6 miles her knee was bothering her, so I ran back and got the car, and picked her up. She had been running and walking, and was less than a mile behind me by the time I got her.

Anyways, I told her my plan was to run all of the races this year WITH her. This plan kind of fell apart in Dallas when we ran together during training, and she was wearing a headset, I run with no music, so her pace was all over the place depending on the song. I told her I couldn't run like that, so when we lined up for the Skunk, we just figured whatever happened, happened.

It was a pretty cool morning, and there was the threat of rain. A couple of guys on the Rogue Race Team were there. Tim Andrus was running the half as well as Jim Derick who has won something like the last 4 of this race, and he's 50! Kelly Andrus was running the 10K, as well as Jim's wife Sue who decided not to enter because she was running Boston two weeks later, and didn't want to push herself. She just ran with the group, and reported to us after the race that she would have won her age group had she joined. Jim got second overall, and Tim won his age group.  Jim finished nearly an hour ahead of us.

Kris and I ran together for 9 miles. Around 6 miles I asked her how she felt and she said her knee was bothering her slightly, but it wasn't bad. Around 9 miles she asked me how I was doing and I told her I could run the rest like a 5K! I felt awesome! So, she told me to go ahead, and I did. She was not having her best race. She felt good, but not awesome, and told me to go on ahead. I picked up my pace, and started picking people off. I finished strong, felt great, and got a PR (Personal Record) of 2:12:29. It's a long way to where I want to be, but it's the first step in the right direction. Funny thing is, Kris, who wasn't feeling the best and told me to go ahead, picked up the pace, and finished about 2 minutes behind me. She is a bit competitive for those of you who don't know her. So far for me, each run has been a PR. Baby steps! My goal is to some day get that under 2:11 (10 minute mile average), then under 2 hours, and maybe under 1:45!

Our next running race is the Utica Boilermaker. This race is awesome, and I can't wait. It should be an easy PR for me since our last one wasn't the best. The after party is the best. We can't wait!

Then we have the Wineglass Half Marathon in September. I am hoping to finish that in under 2 hours. It's a super flat course, and if I continue to run through the summer I should be good.

I would imagine that nutrition also played a big part in this race. Loading up the night before on pasta, and black bean enchilada's didn't hurt me. I am not sure about the runners behind me, but there weren't many behind me anyways.

Here's a shot of Kris (no 27) and I at the beginning of the race..

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