Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Where Have I Been?

Well…it has been almost a year since my last post and a lot has happened since June 2011. I’ll break this out into sections since there is so much to talk about. First up are my 2011 goals.

2011 Goals

Going into 2011, I set some slightly aggressive goals and may have been over my head. On the top of my list was spending more quality time with my family. I feel like accomplished this as we tried to do a lot of things outdoors. We walked together and spent lots of time at the park with Cameron. I did not get to try out yoga, I did not read my Bible as much as I would have liked, sleeping was still an issue, and my diet was not too good (which did not help with my ab of dough goal). I did read quite a bit at the beginning of the year, but that went downhill due to time. I need to get back to reading this year. As far as events go, I did more than races I had planned (I’ll talk about that later). I did not reach my goal of biking and running 1000 miles. I did not attempt a triathlon. I did not get the sub-20 5K I was hoping for. I did complete the Mini Mararathon which I PR’d. Overall it appears I failed miserably at reaching my goals. BUT I think I made up for them the last quarter of the year. Next is a summary of the many things I experienced in 2011.


The RAIN (Ride Across Indiana) is an annual event where cyclists ride across Indiana. It starts in Terre Haute and ends in Richmond – about 165 miles total. I was definitely not prepared for this ride. I did not start training until a month or so before the ride because I was too busy running. I started biking with the pastor from my church and friend Mike who was going to do the RAIN ride with me. My longest training ride before RAIN was 50 miles and that was the weekend before RAIN. The week of the ride I was very nervous. One because I was undertrained and two it was going to be HOT the day of the ride. I hydrated and carb-loaded as much I could. The day of the race Mike and I were dropped at the starting line and it was just us with no support vehicles. There was a nice overcast and the temps were decent. By this time I was excited. It was awesome riding with 1500 bikes on highway 40. We eventually started hitting the hills and I knew it was going to be a long day. Once we got into Camby, the overcast was gone and the sun was beaming down severely. I felt overheated and was now dumping water over my head. We reached the lunch stop at 90 miles or so and I did not have an appetite. I forced food down my throat, drank lots of water and Gatorade, and poured ice down my jersey. I still felt overheated when we left the stop, but I wanted to get it over with. I was in survival mode at that point. The survival mode only lasted another 20 miles when I became really overheated. We had to stop at a CVS because I needed a cold drink. Two more miles down the road, I experienced my first leg cramp. I had to jump off my bike and lay in someone’s yard to stretch. That really hurt me mentally. I eventually caught up with my friend and I told him about my cramp. We made it to the next stop around mile 115 and my legs were shot. We took off and I didn’t make it another 3 miles before both legs seized up and I was off of my bike. At this point, I told Mike I could no longer go on. Luckily he knew someone supporting 3 other bikers and was very close to where we had stopped. We loaded my bike and I jumped in his air conditioned car. It felt really good. The guy was very nice and kept asking if I was okay and offered food. My friend continued onto Richmond. We drove to the next stop and waited for my friend and the riders he was supporting. They eventually arrived and we all helped them get ready for the last leg. I had called my wife to let her know that I dropped out and I would be in Richmond soon. We arrived in Richmond and my wife and son arrived soon after. We cheered on other riders while we waited for Mike. It was approaching 9pm (which is the cutoff time) and I was afraid Mike was not going to make it. At this point I was really feeling bad because I had held him back. There were about 3-4 minutes left and we spotted Mike at the bottom of the hill. We cheered him on and he finished with a minute to spare. Not bad for someone who only started biking 3 months earlier with his longest training ride being 50 miles.

I felt disappointed on the long car ride home because I really wanted to finish. I eventually got over it after two weeks. I realized I just biked 118 miles in 95 degrees on a cheap Walmart road bike – with little training under my belt. So at least I can say I rode a century on a bike. I may try the ride again this year. I am going to keep an eye on the weather leading up to the ride and may sign up last minute. If it’s going to be another HOT one, forget it. Overall, I was happy with this goal. Shortly after the ride, I got back into running to prepare for my full marathon in November. I stuck to my training plan for the first 2-3 weeks then decided to do my own thing. I felt great. I felt fit. Little did I know the rest of the year would be full of adventures.

Stay tuned for the rest of my 2011 adventures.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Back Pain and RAIN

Well..the RAIN (Ride Across Indiana)event is less than a month away and I am getting somewhat nervous. Yesterday was the first time I have done any type of activity in almost 3 weeks. I have been dealing with lower back pain since running the Geist half marathon and decided to take a break from everything on May 29th. I am almost certain that I hurt my back the day before running the Geist half playing church softball. But it could have been anything. I ran the half with a friend who runs a slower pace and I was okay with that. Afterwards, I could hardly bend over. I continued to run the days following the half even with the soreness (it didn't hurt to run). But after running and sitting around, I could barely move. I stretched, I heated, I iced. Nothing was working. I decided to run another 13 miles the following weekend to my family's get-together. I felt decent running in 90 degree weather. My back was not so good afterwards and that is when I decided to take my break. This past week, my back was less tight so I decided to bike 12 miles yesterday and run 3 miles today. It felt good to get back to running and biking, but unfortunately my back is somewhat tender. I plan on seeing a chiropractor soon and finding out if I have done something more serious or I just need an adjustment. I have never been to a chiropractor before so I am nervous I will feel worse afterwards. At this point it is still a go for the RAIN ride and I need to cram in some serious bike mileage. I am hoping that all of my running will help on the bike. My wife and son will be gone all week so I should be able to punch out some mileage.

I may also run a 5K this Thursday night at the IU Cross Country course. I have never been on a cross country course. I may not get a PR. I just need to get out and run.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

5K and Another Half

In the midst of a crazy day on Saturday, I was able to sneak in a 5K race. The race was just 5-10 minutes from home so that was convenient. I knew I wanted to beat my last 5K time and set a goal of running under 23 minutes. It was a very flat course so I knew there was a chance. I believe I went out too fast because I ran the first mile at a 7 minute pace and the 2nd mile at 7:04. I lost steam after mile 2, but I still crossed the line at 22:39. I am still working on my splits and pushing it at the end. I may have to bring back speed training if I want to reach my sub 20 goal. I really need to start training on my bike because the RAIN ride is coming up very soon.

On Sunday, my little boy Cameron ran his first race. It was the Rookie Run downtown Indy which was a smaller version of the Mini marathon. He only had to run 2 blocks, but he did so well running alongside his mommy. Even though it was crummy weather, he had fun. He even got a medal that almost looks like my Mini medal. I am a very proud daddy. I will post some photos later.

To make this "Year of the Gee" even better, I now work downtown Indy and have access to some great running trails. I am loving that I can run on the Indy canal after work. I like the environment of others biking and running in Indy. I could live there. So this has really been a year of change for me. A great stress has been lifted from my shoulders since I started a new chapter of my work life.

It is going to be another good weekend of running the Geist half marathon. I plan to run an easy pace with a friend and just enjoy running.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Mini Marathon

This past Saturday I ran in my first ever Mini Marathon. I was looking forward to this race all week and had a goal of beating my time from the IU Mini. Since the Mini course was way flatter than the IU mini course, I knew I would beat my previous time. I really wanted to maintain an 8 minute pace to come in around 1:45, but I lost some steam running around the track (which was kind of boring and long). I also think I started out too fast running a 7:17 pace up until the Yard of Bricks. I was feeling great until mile 11 and then my legs started to feel like Jello. But I pushed and finished at 1:48:48. I think I ran too hard because I was really dizzy at the end. It was worth it though. I grabbed tons of post race food and chowed down like a mad man. I continued eating all day! I will definitely do this race next year because of the atmosphere and being around 35,000 people wanting to better their health and reaching their goals.

In the next few months, I will be doing more races and preparing for the RAIN ride (which I have barely trained for). I have a 5K race on Saturday which I am hoping to run a sub 23 time. And then I will be running the Geist Half on May 21st which I do not have a time goal for. I'll probably stay at a 9 minute pace since I am running with a friend. And then I may do something crazy at the end of the month that will test me mentally. Stay tuned.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Doubler and Mileage

Two weekends ago I decided to do two races a half hour apart. I headed down to Bloomington again to run the Monroe County YMCA Spring 5K and 10K. I should have guessed that both routes were going to be hilly (it's Bloomington!). Waking up, I really did not feel motivated to run. I am usually excited and ready to get out the door. Allergy season decided to come to me early and I was tired from sneezing, having watery eyes, and a scratchy throat the day before. The race started at 8 and it was cold outside. I was happy with my first mile coming in at a 7:04 pace. Then the hills decided to show up. They slowed me down, but I was able to cross the finish with a new PR. By one second! I'm thinking I would have broken into the 22s if it was a flat course. Either way, I liked the challenge and it's good training for the Mini in May. I grabbed some water and food until the 10K started. By the time the 10K started it was even colder and the wind was blowing like crazy. I also felt better using the 5K as a warm up. The 10K course was just as hilly, but I felt more comfortable running. I did not push myself too hard during this run and took in the scenery. I crossed the finish in 50:49 for my first ever 10K.

For the past two weeks, my mileage has been increasing. Last week I had my first ever 30 mile week and I am on my way to 100 miles this month. I hope that will be enough to do well at the Indy Mini (which is less than 2 weeks away). Today is a rest day and I need it.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Hilly Hilly Half and Family Fun

Three words to sum up this past weekend - Family, Fun, and Rewarding.

I'll start with the Rewarding part first. From my last post I mentioned registering for the IU Mini Marathon at the last minute. Looking at the elevation map of the course, I knew it was going to be a challenge and I actually had doubts soon afterwards. After registering, things started going downhill. I rested on Wednesday and ran 2 miles on the treadmill. Unfortunately I felt very sick stepping off of the treadmill and actually thought I was going to faint. I've never felt that way and I ran at a very slow pace. So I started to worry because I felt terrible and I had a race coming up in two days. I basically went home, ate, then went to bed. I woke up Friday feeling worse with sinus pressure in my head, aching body, and chest congestion. I took another rest day and loaded up on OTC meds. I woke up race day feeling decent. Once I arrived in Bloomington and warmed up, all doubts and feeling sick was gone. I was determined to run the half as best as I could. It was a brisk sunny morning and the atmosphere was what I needed. I became a different person as we began to run. I probably started out too fast with my first mile coming at a 7:20 pace. My pace was all over the place after that thanks to the many hills Bloomington has to offer. I used to go to Bloomington every weekend and did not know most of the hills existed. The elevation map I had reviewed days before did not put in to perspective of what it would be like running those hills. I'm not going to lie, but these hills kicked my butt. I admit, I took many walk breaks and I'm okay with that. I've been doing mostly hill training in the last few weeks and I know that helped with this race. By mile 10 my legs were definitely tired from the rolling hills. I just kept telling myself "you have a 5K left!" It was also nice hearing encouragement from other runners. I stayed with this one guy the last 3 miles, encouraging each other the rest of the way. We made it up the last hill and was a 1/2 from the finish. I looked at my watch and saw that I was going to break 2 hours. I made a turn and saw the glorious finish line. I tried to kick it as hard as I could and crossed the line at 1:54:53!! I totally shattered my previous half by 12 minutes. As I was walking over to the food tent, I kept wondering how I would have done if the course was flatter and I felt 100%. All I know is I gave 110% and that was REWARDING. The 65 miles I ran in March really paid off. I'll have my chance to PR again next month at the 500 Mini (flatter course). Another rewarding experience was going home after the race and rounding up my family to go have fun the rest of the weekend.

It was a nice weekend and I wanted to spend more time outdoors. Driving through Bloomington, I had found a very nice park and wanted Cameron to see it. This kid loves playing at parks. Once I got home and showered, we drove back to Bloomington for family fun. We stopped at Texas Roadhouse for lunch and then played at the park. As I watched Cameron run around, I was amazed at how free he looked. No worries, no bills to pay, no responsibilities, just free. I remember feeling the same way when I was a kid. It was one of the greatest feelings in the world! Ever since I started running last year, that feeling has come back! I feel FREE! Watching Cameron run around reminded me that we can all feel that way if we want to. If I am having a bad day, all it takes is being around my family to make it better. Running provides that extra kick. It was awesome seeing my Anne and Cameron smiling so much as it has been a rough 5 months.

Sunday was a continuation of family fun as we went to church, met the in-laws at the movie theater to watch HOP, ate at Stir Crazy, played at another park, and had ice cream. We were all pooped at the end of the day. While at Stir Crazy, I cracked open my fortune cookie with this fortune. I am not sure when my moment of glory will occur, but I like to think it is now - being the dad of an awesome boy and husband of a beautiful wife.

I was going to take a running break this week, but I am not sure I want to after a successful half. I will continue to do hill training and incorporating walks since that seems to be helping me quite a bit. I am not really sticking to my training plan, but I am happy with my results so far this year. Next on my plate is the YMCA Spring Running Festival 5K & 10K in Bloomington (4/16). I plan on doing both of the races and hope to at least PR in the 5K. And then my family will be doing the Run for Rylan in Springville (4/30).

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Impromptu Half Marathon this Weekend

Well..I decided that I'm going to run a half marathon this Saturday. It is last minute, but I was able to enter before registration closed last night. I will be running the IU Mini Marathon in Bloomington, IN. It will only be my 2nd half ever, but a test for the Indy Mini in May. I am excited and nervous at the same time because there are some challenging hills. It is all good because I have been running hills like crazy. After a personal best in the 5K last week, I've gained back confidence in my running. My shin is somewhat tender from running hills last night, but I should be good. I just hope the weather holds out. It was snowing today! I will post a report after the half. Here is the course and elevation map.