Sunday, September 25, 2011

Keeping Busy

Things sure seem like they're busy in the fall. I was reflecting in the car on my 4-hour drive home from Hershey on Saturday. Now, I know that all the triathlon friends out there have most days like this but it was interesting to map out how this week went down:

Tuesday - up before 5am, 7 mi w/ 5x600 on the track, school, xc practice, pick up Beth's bike from Big Bang Bicycles (the best bike shop in the entire world!), eat dinner, go to bed.

Wednesday - up before 5am, 11 mi before school, school, xc practice, real quick dinner at Chick-Fil-A, represent Elizabethtown College at the Mars HS College fair (6:30-8:00), get home, & go to bed.

Thursday - up before 5am, 5+ miles, school, xc practice, dinner (DiGiorno Pizza night!!!), cut grass (it gets dark quicker now!), clean up & go to bed.

Friday - up before 5am, 5+ miles, school, xc practice, rush over to the South Side to pick up my Great Race packet (which actually was amazingly efficient), actually home before 7 (I was fearing worse with the Friday traffic & picking up the packet after work on Friday), dinner (Beef taco skillet - google it, it's a kraft recipe. yum!), clean the house, & go to bed.

Saturday - up before 5am, leave before 6am for Hershey. Watch our high school guys have a good day at the PIAA Foundation meet, drive back to western pa, make it to the Monroeville Chick-Fil-A to meet Beth by 5:30, eat dinner, and off to Saturday night church service at Cornerstone at 6pm (or 6:05-ish). Stop for a DQ blizzard on the way home, set out the Great Race race gear and get to bed.

Needless to say, it was one of those weeks. However, like we told the guys about the bus ride out to Hershey before their race, just go out and get the job done in the race. So, that was my goal for the Great Race.

Annual disclaimer about the topography of the Great Race course:

I aimed to park at the start line so I didn't have to worry about shuttles and had my car to put stuff in right before the race. Turns out my triathlon influence caused me to get there so early that I was there before ANY other car....and I was worried for a minute that we couldn't park along Dallas Ave for some reason. So, I circled around and parked on the side street and hung out there for a few minutes. After walking around, some cars did show up so I moved my car onto Dallas Ave so it was a little closer.

I met up with cousin K and we warmed up. We lined up in the 'seeded' area, but I still got caught up in traffic when the gun went off. K was able to sneak through it but the gap closed before I was able to pass. Not aggressive enough So, swing right and then around, back up to K and then up the first hill.

My target for mile 1 was 5:40 and I went through in 5:38 but expended a little more than I had hoped due to the weaving and congestion. Mile 2 is downhill and I split a 5:26 (with a target of 5:30). I came through Oakland and mile 3 and then split the 5k at 17:29 (on pace for the sub-35:00). But, things just weren't as solid on the 2nd 5k. Mile 4 was just sluggish at 5:36 (shooting for 5:30), but I figured I could maybe make up time in mile 5 up the hill by Duquesne with my marathon base underneath me, but split a 6:02 (shooting for 5:55). Mile 6 was a downhill 5:35, but I did 5:25 last year.

Put it all together for a 35:31. Not quite the sub-35, but it was a little warm out I guess. It seemed like a lot of people I talked to ran slower than they had hoped. I finished in 37th place, which is better than my last two appearances at the Great Race (both in the 40's).

A big thanks to Beth who was all over the course riding her bike to cheer me on as part of her long training day. Big thanks for all the support!

Finally, a shout out to Running for Laptops and thank you to all those who supported the cause. Click on the link in the margin to find out more about that great group!

So, time for a more routine week.....oh wait, Beth's leaving for Kona on Friday and I'm leaving a week from Wednesday. Perhaps more fun in store this week!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Rolling along...

How did 3 weeks of school already pass? Wow! Time flies when you're busy.

Let's see, since last time:

Beth, her mom, and Ben went off to Las Vegas for the 70.3 World Championships. Beth came away with 2nd in her age group and 3rd overall amateur in the world! Ben came away with a lot of great experiences and represented himself very well out there. Big things are to come for this guy. Look out.

I was tracking the entire day from the comforts of my couch.

You see, I was also slated to race this weekend - in the tourist destination of....Harrisburg. However, mother nature decided to have other plans for my half marathon. The remnants of a tropical storm drenched the central and eastern parts of the state. The half marathon was supposed to start on City Island and run along the river. However, the river swallowed up the course. So, instead I was tracking the triathletes and watching the Steelers (and did a 12-mile tempo run on our trail instead).

The only difficulty was that Beth's chip wasn't registering as she went over one of the mats. So, I went from seeing her being 2nd in her AG off the bike to seeing 25 or so people pass by the next timing mat without any report on her. Fortunately, the next mat caught her and we were back in business. I'm on the phone with Beth's mom feeding her updates to pass along to Beth (just like as if I was there I guess) and Beth did a great job of holding on to 2nd place!

Our boys and girls cross country teams are off to a good start. It's really fun to watch all of the hard work pay off and apparently a high school running site is noticing. Hopefully they can keep the hunger and the drive to be successful as continue on through the rest of September, into October and the first Saturday of November for the state meet.

The next race for me is the Great Race on Sunday. I've been in the low 35's the last two times I've ran it. I'm wondering if I can sneak a 34 in front of my name this year? I guess we shall see.

Regardless, I hope you can help me exceed my goal of raising funds to purchase laptops for youth who age out of the foster care system through the group Running For Laptops. No donation is too small! Thank you for your help!