Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Big Sur Half Marathon November 2014

 Pictures at the bottom

Got the call! "What call?", you might say. The call from Dan The Man saying, hey do
you want to run the Big Sur Half Marathon with me and my collage buddies? Scratch that, start over!

I made the call. "What call?", you might say? The call to Dan The Man, saying, "Can I join you and your college buddies when you run the Big Sur Half Marathon?" I had waited for the call, but it never came. So I made the call, as I was afraid the race might sell out, before I got the call.

Dan The Man and his college buddies, Dave and Mark, planned this trip back in March. I waited, waited, waited, but my invite never came. Well here I am at the SFO airport waiting for Dave to pick us up. You may remember Dave Banducci he met up with us in Yosemite last year. Dave is a very successful used car salesperson.

I landed first, then Mark, who flew in from Atlanta. Mark Moore is a sports columnist for the Atlanta Times. Mark travels the country covering all types of national sports. Mark is cousins with Michael Moore the film maker and grandson to Gordon Moore the create of Moore's law.

Dan The Man was last to land.

First stop, where else, In n Out Burgers . After a hardy lunch of 4x4x4's animal style. That is 4 burgers, with 4 patties, and all the extras. We hit the road.

The Big Sur half actually takes place in Monterey California. The course is along the Pacific Coast.

Rather then take the 5 to get to Monterey, we decided to head west to the Pacific Coast Highway, Route 1, for the scenic route.

What a beautiful day, for a scenic drive, or should I say exhilarating drive. Dave must have been a race car drive before he started selling cars.

As it was right on our way, we decided to visit the Santa Cruz Bicycle Company. What a great place.
If you are in Santa Cruz and have an extra 30 minutes I highly recommend the factory tour. While the bike frame is manufactured at their China factory, the remainder of the bike is manufactured at this facility. The tour is fairly extensive from the wheels being made to decals being applied. They manufacture about 100 bikes a day each custom ordered.

Once we arrived in Monterey the boys dropped me off at the house I rented just a mile from downtown Monterey. I love, $50.00 a night for a house that is more like a palace. Dave also lent me his bike to get around. Guess what kind of bike? Yep, a Santa Cruz. I think Dave is an impulse shopper. How many people buy a ten thousand dollar mountain bike because they were impressed with the factory tour. I was glad he did.

We met up at the boys hotel, they were staying at the Monterey Marriott downtown. My bike ride to them was all off three minutes straight down hill. We took uber to the Fish House for dinner.

We were told they do not take reservations, but they do, we just had bad intel. The wait was over an hour and a half. After a little southern charm, Southern California that is, Dave got us a table in about 20 minutes. If you go, make reservations. We all had great meals, a must eat place in Monterey.

We took uber back to the Marriott. I biked back home. The ride home took a little longer 1 mile straight up, plus it was pitch black, bike by brail.

In the morning I took advantage of having Dave's bike. Biked as far south as the end of Pacific Grove. Going through Cannery row and many of the tourist destination. A beautiful morning 53 crisp degrees not a cloud in the sky.

Without a bike lock I could not really stop any where, it was approaching 8:00 when the local hardware store opened. I headed south 4 miles and bought a lock. At the same time I got a text the
boys were ready for the day's activity.

We decided to take a drive south, tour 17 mile drive and Big Sur State Park. All places I have been, none of which you can tire of. We had lunch at Nepenthe ( A repeat as far as places I have eaten, the views were as awesome as ever, but the food was a bit lower quality than prior visits. I would recommend stopping for the views, but not for the food.

On the drive back north we decide to stop at the Bixby Bridge built in 1932 a true engineering marvel.

On our arrival back into Monterey we decided we would divided and conquer. Dan The Man would cover church, Mark would nap, Dave was hitting the bar to catch a few college games, I was off for a haircut. The plan was to regroup at 6:00 pm for our pre-race dinner.

I found a great barber, Franco, right off the boat from Italy well he was in 1970, but still speaks in broken English, but his hair cutting technique far out weighed his English skills. As I arrived at the shop, Franco was just closing. After a little begging he agreed to stay open for me. It was a mutually beneficial agreement. I got a great haircut and Franco will be getting a LifeofDug hat.

Not sure how my run would be, but I am sure the hair cut shaved a few seconds off my time.

It was 4:00, I had 2 hours until the meet up, I did some shopping for the next morning. Mostly liquids for the race. Still with time left I decided a nap was in order, not with Mark, on my own.

We went to Domenico's  for dinner, after dinner we called it an early night as morning would be coming soon.

Race day, had my normal pre-race meal, two hard boiled eggs, one baked sweet potato, all washed down with a glass of Gatorade. I was feeling good had a few triple S's and was ready to go.

Biked down to meet up with the boys, rendezvous time was 6:00 am race start 6:55 am. Dave was not
going to be running. This was not only Mark's first half marathon, this was his first running race, he had never even done a 5k. What a beautiful race to break your cherry.

Dan The Man went for a short warm up run. Both Dan The Man  and I were in coral A, just behind the elite runners. This was a first for me, I rather start in the back and pass people. Since this was Dan The Man's  race and I was an uninvited guest, we were doing what Dan The Man wanted to do. "I was just doing what I was told".

The race was very well organized, and run like clock work, 6:55 the gun went off and the elites were out of there. We followed about 30 seconds later. Dan The Man was like greased lighting, much to my surprise the runners quickly spread out and we were not getting passed.

As we completed our first mile I realized why we were not getting passed. Our time, 7:24 that is fast for a 53 year old man that just last week ran his first mile a good bit over 9 minutes. I felt good and Dan The Man looked good. My one concern was negative splitting the race. That is were you run the second half faster then the first. While I felt good I still had over 12 miles to go.

Mile 2 7:14 pace my heart rate was 167 rather low for this pace, still feeling good, Dan The Man  still looked good. I said to Dan The Man, "Can we keep up this pace?" Wendy, who was running next to us, very authoritatively said, "Not Can, Will!" The pace we were running would get us a finishing time around 1:35, I would be happy with anything under 1:45, and my best ever was 1:38 several years ago.

Mile 3, Wendy, Dan The Man, and I were running comfortable side by side, actually
Wendy was always a few steps ahead letting us chase her down. We covered our third mile in 7:15 my heart rate 169, I was very happy with my low heart rate at this pace this meant my fitness has improved.

We had been running along the coast, all of a sudden we turn left up a hill, Wendy was charging the hill, Dan The Man was slowing a little. I had to make a decision, stay with the very pleasant young lady, or hang with sweaty Dan The Man. I chose correctly. Wendy and I covered mile 4 in 7:20 not bad considering the uphill. Heart rate climbed to 173, I am sure the hill had something to do with it.

I found out when Wendy was younger she was on the Canadian National Track Team, and ran in the Olympic qualifiers, but now she runs a yoga studio. She hadn't trained as well as she wanted, but was hoping for a 1:35. I would be ecstatic with a 1:35 my new plan do what Wendy does. Mile 5 7:06 heart rate 170, you have to love a down hill. We made a left and we're back along the coast. What a beautiful view. Bands playing ever few hundred yards.

Could I actually hold this pace, I had 4 GUIs with me, I took one at mile 2, my plan was to stay ahead of my nutrition. At this pace I was not sure what my needs would be, but figured better safe than sorry. GUI number 2 it was. I also made sure I drank water at every water stop which was also Wendy's plan so that worked well.

Mile 6 was all along the coast, we did not realize it but the wind was on our backs, giving us a little boost. At this point the course was a very gradual up hill. We covered mile 6 in 7:16 with a heart rate of 172 BPM very comfortable. Wendy and I were chatting she was telling me what training and nutrition was like when competing at the national level.

The course continued to get steeper not really a steep hill, but noticeable. Clearly Wendy liked to
charge hills, we covered mile 7 in 7:13 with a heart rate of 174 BPM. The leaders were on their way back running effortlessly a good 2 minutes a mile faster than us.

The turn around was at 7.7 miles and again the course got steeper, as we turned we found the wind we had to our backs was now in our faces. We were heading right towards the coast with a nice headwind. Between the steeper grade on the uphill and headwind on the downhill we covered mile 8 at a 7:31 pace, our slowest so far. Heart rate 172. We were still on track for a 1:35, but we had to make sure the last 5 miles were closer to 7:10 than 7:31.

I was feeling the stress of running as fast as I was, I kept telling my brain it was its job to bury the pain, there would be light at the end of the tunnel, just bury the pain. We covered mile 9 in 7:18 my heart rate was 173. The pace was slower than it needed to be and for me the pain was greater than I
would of liked. My left calf was tring to cramp, though I was fighting hard to keep my speed and resist the cramp. Just before we hit mile 10 Wendy needed to stop for a potty break. She waved me ahead and said she would try to catch up. I guess my plan to do what Wendy does just changed.

Without Wendy pushing, the pain was getting the better of me, my heart and lungs were great, my quads, and calf not so much. I covered mile 10 at a pace of 7:29 heart rate of 174. I told myself I only had a 5K to go. I could suck up the pain for 22 minutes, which would be an average 5K for me.

The course turned down hill, mile 11 was 7:27 heart rate 175. Seeing the higher heart rate for the first time I knew I was pushing. I grabbed my 3rd GUI, got some water and said to myself, it is on me now.

Mile 12 7:25 heart rate 175. At least I was getting faster after the dismal 7:31 at mile 8 and 7:29 at mile 12. I was doing some passing but also getting passed. I was doing my best to try to tag onto the
passers. It was working a little.

Mile 13 7:22 heart rate 176. I had a tenth of a mile to go and was fairly confident if I pushed hard I would run my fastest half marathon in modern times. My pace 6:59 heart rate 178 BPM.

Total time 1:37.25 average pace 7:20. A good two minutes faster than the Edinburgh Half in May.

Wendy came in about a minute behind me and Dan The Man a minute behind her. It is what it is, but I wonder if Wendy did not need that potty break would she have pushed me to that 1:35.

Mark started a good 25 minutes behind us in corral H. Being his first race and being in the crowds he was forced to run slower than he would have liked. He covered the course in 2:14 minutes.

Wendy was 5th in her division out of 865 runners
Dug was 16 in his division out of 282 runners
Dan The Man was 38 in his division out of 362 runners
Mark was 199 in his division out of 362 runners. Great job for his first race ever.

We hung around the after party, party for sometime. How can you pass up live music, free beer, and hot soup. The weather was perfect for running 53 degrees at the start 60 degrees at the finish. A very
slight cloud cover to keep the direct sun from heating us up.

Dave biked along most of the race with Mark, but he is no Sherpa.

We were starting to stiffen up, so we decided to shower up, check out and find a place for lunch.

I biked back up the hill, which actually felt good to loosen up my leg muscles. A few hours later we met up at the Marriott. We found a great brew pub on Cannery Row for some greasy food and a few beers.

After lunch we took the two hour drive back to the San Francisco Airport Marriott, after a little price negotiating we checked in. Had dinner at the Elephant Bar, which still had great margaritas, but the
menu had changed from American food to more Eurasian food.

That is it for the Big Sur Half Marathon weekend. A big thank you to Dave, Mark, and Dan The Man for allowing me to crash their party. A big thank you to Wendy for pushing me past my pain point.

Sorry I did not take as many picture, just trying to keep from cramping was hard enough picture were not going to happen.

Not sure where to next, keep voting on where I should go next, the polls close January 1st 2015.




Sunday, November 9, 2014

Trenton Half Marathon November 8th 2014 (3 for 3)

Video at the Bottom

Yes, Heather and I have now done all three of the Trenton Half Marathons, 27 to go (in about 27 years you will figure out what that means).

2012    2013  And now 2014.

This year we had a fairly large group some from the Full Moon Running Club and some from the Dragon Boat Race

Let's see if I can name them all and not forget someone.

  • Elle Kaplan 2:10:52 - 9:58 Pace
  • Shawn (Shrek) Kaplan 2:08:58 - 9:50 Pace
  • Karen Price 2:10:51 - 9:58 Pace
  • Lynn Adams 2:17:34 - 10:29 Pace
  • Melanie Davis 1:54:18 - 8:43 Pace (beat Sweet Willie by 11 seconds)
  • Amy Windish 2:09:53 - 9:54 Pace
  • Christa Brandon 2:12 - 10:08 Pace (ran 11 of the 13 miles injured all heart)
  • Meghan Merkis 1:59:27 - 9:06
  • Crazy Christine Olszanski 1:39:20 - 7:34 Pace (second in her division)
  • Heather Lewis 1:58:40 - 9:03 Pace
  • DUG - 1:58:29 - 9:03 Pace

If you want to know what the race was like, read the 2012 or 2013 version they were faster.

The weather was perfect Heather and I continue our trend in 2012 we did the course in 1:45:38 with a pace of 8:13 in 2013 we did the course in 1:52:51 and a pace of 8:32 about 7 minutes slower. This year we did 1:58:29 a 9:03 pace about 7 minutes slower. If we continue this trend we maybe walking this race.
                                                    One Happy Runner

Enjoy the video.

Off to the West Coast for the Bid Sur Half Marathon