Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Hottest Half

Aug 24, 2008, Dallas, Texas. Going to run a half marathon around White Rock lake in Dallas. Jimmy decided to take on the 13.1 mile trek as well. Hollee is running the 10K portion of the event. And of course, my Pit Crew, Deb and Amy are there. Stayed the night in Dallas and got in some swimming at the hotel. Hit the race first thing in the morning. Not sure if I'm catching a cold, or if the allergies are kicking my butt. Ok, there were over 1200 people registered for this event. On race day, 636 ran the half. We started out on the bike trail by White Rock Lake. Once again, I started off way to fast for what I was trying to accomplish. I hit the first mile marker at 7:14. I was running in a small pack up until mile 3. That's when they all decided to start leaving me. Some friends. Ha Ha. Before we started this race, someone told us this was a nice, flat course. Ok, they must have come from the hill country where the hills are considered mountains elsewhere. We hit a few hills along the way and I started thinking to myself, "I have to hit these on the way back too. That's just wrong." We made our way through the park, dealing with some bike riders and some non-event runners. Dallas PD did a good job of controlling the traffic. We dealt with a bit of traffic when we were crossing the halfway point. Nothing major though. Hit the first bridge on the way back. That thing bounced so much, I thought I was drunk. Then hit the larger bridge, same results. At this point, I started feeling that 8 mile run I did on Friday. Pushing on, making my way through the last mile, we came around the corner for the finish. I think I speak for a lot of the runners when I made the comment, "You have got to be kidding me!!" The last, oh quarter mile, was UPHILL!!! Not a small hill but, a ever ascending hill. Ok, someone who put this race together has a dark, sadistic side to them. My goal was to be at 1:40:00 or less. Didn't happen. 1:44:05. I finished 6th in my age group, 77th overall. Jimmy, competing in his first half marathon, finished at 2:02;34, 28th in our age group, and 250th overall. Hollee, competing in her first 10K, finished at 1:05:09, 10th in her age group, and 186th overall. They did great! We had a great experience, enjoyed the Elvis impersonator, and some free beer after the run. Looking forward to the next race.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

El Scorcho 50K Ultra Marathon

The sickness has begun! With no full marathon experience under my belt, I decided to take on my first ultra marathon. This was an ultra marathon, in Texas, in the middle of July, during some of the hottest weather we have seen all year. I had been training for this for some time, really picking up on the training schedule provided by Coach Jim at the Fort Worth Running Company. July 20, 2008 finally arrived. The run was scheduled to start at midnight. We carbed up on spaghetti with the Tanner's. Then we tried to get some sleep before the race started. Yeah, like that was going to happen. Got up, got everything loaded up, and we headed out to the race. We arrived at Trinity Park and was directed into a large parking lot. From there, we lugged all our stuff about a quarter mile to the race site. The race was capped at 400 entrants, period. That was the 25K and 50K combined. They sold out. And had more crazy people trying to convince them to let extras run. Glad I'm not the only nut out there. The 50K folks got started first. The course was a 3.1 mile loop that we, of course, had to run 10 times. It varied from dirt, to concrete, to crushed limestone. Deb, Amy, and jimmy set up our pit stop area. Deb working the camera, Amy was my refueler. Every time I came through, she had a water in one hand and a gel pack in the other. She told me, "I've got you Daddy. What do you need?" That kept me motivated through the night. Somewhere along mile 21, I caught a hole in the road and twisted my knee. Did I mention it was dark out there?? I kept running but felt a sharp pain in my right knee. I was able to limp my way through the next two laps. Final lap to go, Hollee laced her shoes back up, after finishing the 25K, and ran it with me. Deb, Amy, and Jimmy cheered me on. I finally finished with a time of 5 hrs 29 mins. I FINISHED IT!! Deb and Amy gave me a huge hug and made it all worth while. I did it! And I'm looking forward to doing it again! once the pain goes away of course.

American Heroes Memorial Day Run

The American Heroes Memorial Day run was established to help children who have lost a parent in the Gulf War. What better way to spend a day in which we recognize our fallen heroes. The race site was located just outside the Texas Rangers ballpark. They had Marine Corps humvees out there, decked out with a sweet stereo system. During the opening ceremonies, they had the honor guard post the colors. As a veteran, this is always an awesome thing to watch. The only bad thing about it was the people who continued to talk and show total disregard for this ceremony. The race included a 1-mile fun run for the kids, a 5K, and a 10K. Before the race started, we were treated to a fly over by an Apache helicopter. Now that was cool!! Well, the kids knocked out their race first. There were some very motivated youngsters out there. Next up was the 10K runners. As we waited to start the 10K, the Apache made their landing on the parking lot. Can you say good-bye to all the canopies!!! The gun sounded and we were off. The first mile came back around by the ballpark. The course was pretty nice until we hit that hill going over I-30. I was feeling good by the time I hit the top of that hill. Hit the halfway point at just over 21 minutes. Feeling good. The Scouts and JROTC kids were out in force handing out water. Made the turn around and was smacked in the face with a strong headwind. Can someone call ahead next time and have them turn off the wind???? Crossing back over I-30 (Yes, the same hill just from another direction), we started running into the 5K folks. So, I had plenty of company on my way to the finish line. Finish line in sight, I weaved around some of the 5K folks and heard from the stands, "There he is. There's Daddy!!" As I grabbed a bottle of water, I was met by Little Miss Amy with a big hug and a kiss. My finish time was 45:58. Placing 3rd in my age group. We waited for everyone to finish, hung out with our friends, and watched as the race directors presented a trip to Disney World to a family that had lost their Husband/Father in the war. No trip can take the place of their loved one but, maybe it will be something to help ease the pain for those young ones.

Marine Corps Spring Mud Run 2008

WE'RE BACK!!!! After taking the Uniformed Division back in Nov of 2007, we decided to try our luck in the All Male Division and compete for some prize money. Well, it was very warm by the time we got started. I'm not making excuses here but, our youngest guy on the team is Baby Smitty. He is 25. The rest of us (Tanner, Reyna, Slaboda, and myself) are in our late 30s to early 40s. We're OLD!! Just ask my oldest Daughter, Kristin. Well, we were competing against the Texas A&M ROTC KIDS!! One of them told us he had just turned 18 the month before the race. Makes you just want to slap him don't it?? Well, we showed them that the old men can still hang tough. We didn't take first but, we did pull out a fifth place showing. The Pork Squad (as SORT Blue refers to themselves) did initially take first place in the Uniformed Division. The official results are still being sorted out and there is some confusion on the race time keepers part. However, Metroplex SORT still has the hardware in their trophy case. And we vow to continue to dominate for a bunch of old men!!! Can't wait for Nov to get here so we can do it all again!!!

Cowtown 2008

Cowtown Marathon 2008!! Dowtown Ft Worth, Texas. Febuary....COLD!!!! It was right around freezing when we started this race. I decided to try my hand, ok my legs, at the half marathon. Deb was doing the 10K with Hollee. Several of my SORT guys were running the 5K. Did I mention it was right around freezing when we started??? This is a huge event in Ft Worth. You have a 5K, 10K, half marathon, full marathon, and the ultramarathon. So, there were three different starting points. I had to leave Deb in Hollee's care so I could make it over to my starting point. You know, you stretch, you move around, you stretch some more but, you can't really get warm until they fire that gun and get you all started. At the starting line, you could look either way and see nothing but runners. And right in the middle of it all, you see the guy holding the American flag, and he is going to run his entire race carrying it. Now that gets you motivated!!! They fired the gun and we were off. It seemed to take forever to finally hit the starting line. Once across, I jockied for position. Making my way around some of the slower runners and walkers, not to mention the transit bus that got caught in the middle of all the runners, I settled into a nice pace. This course takes you through some of the most interesting areas. And there were people coming out of their houses, in all classes of neighborhoods, just to cheer you on. There were a ton of local law enforcement helping control traffic. High fived one of them around mile 9. Told him thanks for stopping the cars so I didn't get run over. Drank water for the most part, grabbed a gatorade around mile 10. That was a mistake. Started cramping pretty bad. Lesson learned. Carry my own electrolytes on these runs and grab water at the aid stations. There were quite a few hills on this run. More than I expected. The last one was coupled with some high winds that almost brought you to a stand still. But, pushing through it, made a nice sprint to the finish line. Deb met me there with a nice hug and a kiss. She and Hollee completed their first 10K together and did great in doing so. Met up with the rest of the team at the beer truck. Oh, didn't I mention this one was sponsored by Miller Lite as well. FREE BEER!!! Gotta replace those carbs and calories I burnt off. My finish time for my first half marathon was 1hr 42mins. This was a great motivational run for me and has only inspired me to push my race distance to the next level. I think I have been bitten by the running bug.

Marine Corps Mud Run DFW 2007

This is one of the most demanding, fun, exciting runs I have ever been involved in. This is a run, over a 10K course, with many many obstacles, and a ton of water and MUD!! We entered two 5-man teams in the Uniformed Division. SORT Black consisted of Reyna, L-Rod, Smitty, Jim Tanner, and myself. SORT Blue consisted of Paulie, Mighty Mouse Macias, Brad, D Mott, and G Watts. You start off the run wearing boots and bdu pants. Shirts are optional. By the time you get out of the first mud pit, you're wondering to yourself, "Am I really this heavy or did I just take on half of the Trinity River?" Even your fastest runners come to a crawl when going through these. Things went very well on this run, except for the constant scraping off of the mud. This isn't your typical mud. This is some thick, heavy, adding 30 pounds kind of mud. The goal is to figure out the easiest and fastest way to get through the obstacles and beat the rest of the teams back to the finish line. Ok, no one mentioned the hills of the levee being so high. They didn't have these hills when we ran this on Carswell JRB. Ok, made it through the hills, someone dug a HUGE hole in the ground and made it about 20 yards long. Then, with all the dirt they dug out of the hole, made hills for everyone to climb to get in and out of the pit. Well, to make a long story short, we made it through the obstacles, picking off other teams, one by one. Crossed the finish line, not knowing where we officially finished. Everyone went to the fire truck location and showered off. Ok, this race took place in Nov, it was cold enough running through the water and mud, now we're standing there and letting the fire dept water us down even more. Talk about being able to cut glass with some hard nipples!!! Everyone went back to their vehicles to get changed, then came back to enjoy some of the free beer (Did I mention Miller Lite was a sponsor??). As we came back, they had posted some unofficial results. SORT Black was in 1st place, and SORT Blue in 5th. Once it was all said and done, those to standings held true. We took the Uniformed Division!