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Jeff’s Post – A Great Weekend for “werrunners” – Part II

When I last left you I was waiting the starting gun to sound.  My goal for this race was simple, I wanted to break a 1:40 for the first time and get on the first bus back to Seacrets!  I knew the course was flat and fast and the weather turned out to be perfect, everything was in my favor to PR.  I said to myself earlier that if I didn’t PR that would be ok but I wanted to push it.  I also wanted to try to run this race smart and be consistent with my splits (I was – see below).

The gun went off and the race started.  We left the inlet and headed out towards the pier and then swung back around towards the boardwalk.  All of the turns at the beginning were actually a good thing because they slowed my pace some.  As we were about to leave the boardwalk I saw Tamara and gave her a thumbs up and my double fisted race pose and then headed out with the pack.  We headed out towards the bridge that leads into Ocean City.  I don’t think I looked at my watch until a little after mile 1 and I saw that I was at about a 7:15 pace.  I was ok with that but for some reason I was thinking I needed a faster pace than that for me PR.  I told myself not to panic and just run.  The first 4 miles or so just seemed to fly by.  We went in and out of a few housing developments and then turned around at a cul de sac and headed back out on a nice tree covered two lane country road.  I actually felt cold as we headed down this road and could see my breath.  It was a beautiful morning but the sun wasn’t making it through the trees.

We headed towards mile 5 and I felt really good both mentally and physically.  I struggled mentally at my last ½ (RnR USA) so I was happy that I was feeling so good.  I also started to look at my watch a bit more.  I was ticking off miles in the 7:25 range and was happy with that but for some reason continued to think that I was running too slow….but I didn’t panic.  As we approached mile 6 I took a GU.  I wasn’t taking GU’s during my ½’s last year but I have found that they definitely help as I push my pace.  I still struggle with both drinking and taking GU – it just throws my breathing off – something I need to work on.

Miles 7-9 were probably the toughest for me.  This was the smallest ½ I have done but the course seemed crowded at times.  In most of the RnR events we have the whole road.  On this course we had a small lane and I started doing the back and forth with a few runners.  As we approached mile 10 I looked at my watch and saw that I was going to be there at about 1:14.  I can’t begin to tell you how happy I was to see this.  I was coming off a 10 mile PR at Cherry Blossom (a 1:13) and as I mentioned I was thinking my pace was off but when I saw the 1:14 time I knew I had a PR in the bag (I wasn’t going to let myself get to an 8:00 pace).  It was at this point that I felt no pressure and that was such a great feeling.  Miles 10 and 11 flew by.  This was a point to point race that ended on Assateague Island.  As we were heading towards the Island I see a nice bridge incline with a flag hanging off it.  I knew the flag was my 12 mile marker but I wasn’t thrilled about the incline on this bridge.  As I was heading up the bridge I felt like I was hardly moving and also thought to myself that I was glad I didn’t see this bridge at mile 10!  I muscled over the bridge (which also had a nice decline) and ran the last ¾ miles (that seemed to go on forever) towards the finish.  I swear the finish line at some of these races seem to never arrive.  As I went around a corner I see the clock had just turned over to 1:37.  I sprint to the end finishing with a 1:37:18 (a four minute PR) – I was beyond thrilled.  I took my medal grabbed a few cookies and headed through a tent to call Tamara.  I will admit it was strange not having Tamara at the finish with me.  I know she wanted to be there but it just didn’t work out.  I call her and she asks my finish time.  I tell her 1:37 and it actually takes me a minute to collect myself.  I’m not sure why but I tend to get emotional after some of these races.  No matter how hard you train you just never know what kind of day you are going to have and it is never easy when you are pushing yourself for miles and miles.

I really loved this race.  I enjoyed the course and loved running through parts of Ocean City I have never seen.  Oh, the after Party at Seacrets – Geez there is going to be a Part III post – Stay Tuned!

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Jeff’s Post – Rock ‘n Roll USA ½ Marathon Recap

I normally don’t like to wait too long to post race recaps but it has just been a busy week and I let Tamara post first and then fell behind!  Tamara did a great job with her review so I will try not to duplicate any of that.  I will say that the Rock ‘n Roll folks did an amazing job with this event.  We are Rock ‘n Roll vets and we pretty much know what to expect but I can’t say enough about how good our experience was – Great job Competitor Group!

I went into this race hoping to PR (isn’t that what we always want to do!).  All the conditions were in my favor to do that but this day was Tamara’s day for the PR and I was just thrilled to finish when I did!  Tamara and I normally run together for the first 6-7 miles in a half and then just slowly drift apart.  We discussed that we might run this one a little different and when we started I was almost immediately in front of Tamara (see pic below from local news if you can find us 🙂 ).

I looked back a couple times and didn’t see her and at that point decided to just run.  I also decided that I was going to try to run this race a little different and really focus on each mile and that worked well for the first few miles but then I started whole “You have how many miles left?” conversation in my head – not good!  I really began to struggle both mentally and physically at around mile 8.  I knew I had a few good miles in the bank but then started to lose it.  At mile 10 I looked down at my Garmin and saw that I was at a 1:17, I knew to PR I needed to be at a 1:15.  I was disappointed but was also happy that I was still on a decent pace given how bad I was feeling.  I also wasn’t expecting so many hills.  I need to pay attention to the elevation charts a little more (I have a tendency to just show up and run the course without looking at it!).  I know how much Tamara hates hills and I remember thinking to myself – I hope Tamara is doing ok on these hills.

Fast Forward to mile 12 – I’m struggling and just want this thing over.  I go around a turn and look to my left and who do I see – Tamara!  She doesn’t say anything but just gives me the ole “c’mon” motion with her arm.  I won’t lie, I was surprised to see her but so proud and happy at the same time.  I tried for a while to keep up with her but she just had more.  I had a vision in my mind of catching her and crossing the finish line, hand in hand, arms in the air but just couldn’t do it and this obviously wasn’t important to her because she was just leaving me in the dust.  This wasn’t one of my best races but I was so happy for Tamara that it didn’t even matter to me that I didn’t reach my goal.  I’ve seen first hand how hard Tamara has worked and this was her day!

I’ve pasted a few pictures below.  I love the one at the finish line – Tamara is at the bottom of the pic and I’m in the middle with my head down (pretty much says it all)!  I love the memories we made at this race.  Our conversation at the starting line, my arm around Tamara while the National Anthem was playing, running the streets of DC, watching Tamara pass me and finish strong, our conversation after the race recapping how we felt at certain points, standing together watching Michael Wardian win the marathon (amazing btw) and just relaxing at the end with all of our fellow race friends.  I’m thankful I have such a strong running partner and look forward to making many more running memories!

Have a great day and happy running.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jeff’s Post – Weekend Recap – Cold and Fast with a Virtual AG Win!

I’m still missing the weekend long run but I have been content lately with reduced mileage at a faster pace.  So far in January, I’ve been averaging around 35 miles per week.  I will build up that mileage as our first ½ of the year – The Rock N Roll USA gets closer.  I was dealing with a cold most of the week and I’m always torn as to what will help me get better faster.  I feel better after I run but I wonder if I should be taking a few more rest days to get over it.  Who knows – for the moment I’m just going to run because that is what I do. I wasn’t really sure what my running schedule was going to be this weekend but I was happy with how it turned out.   Back in December I signed up for the Twitter Road Race (5k).  For those who are not familiar this is basically a “virtual” race where you sign up, run the race during a specified time and then submit your time when you are done.  This is the second “virtual” event that I have participated in and I really find them both fun and motivating.  I had forgotten about this event until I saw a reminder pop up on my calendar on Friday.  I wasn’t’ sure I was going to participate because I just wasn’t feeling well but when I woke up Saturday I was determined to run this.  I wanted to run outside but we had a combination of snow/rain/sleet and since I was already sick I decided to stick with running on the treadmill.  I decided I would start with a 5k warm up run and then run my second 5k a few minutes later at race pace.  I was really excited to run my race and I pushed it the whole way finishing with a time of 19:51 only 10 seconds off my fastest 5k time ever.  I would later find out that the time was good enough for 1st in my AG – with second place going to a gentleman in Germany – how cool!  A big thanks to Doug over I run because for putting this on!

Fast forward to Sunday – I woke up still feeling rotten with a cold.  I decided I was just going to take the day off hoping that would make me feel better.  I did a little work, ran a few errands and called Tamara – she mentioned that she had just gotten off the treadmill.  I immediately felt like a slug and decided I had to run.  I love that we motivate each other and she encouraged me to just run a few miles to see how I felt.  Although it was freezing in Maryland today I decided to bundle up and go for a run outside.  I literally didn’t feel my feet until around mile 4 but I was running strong and fast.  I finished the 6.2 mile loop with a time of 45.26 (7:19 pace).  I’m far from super fast but I love the feeling when you are running fast and strong.  Considering I’m still dealing with a cold I was thrilled with my speedy weekend runs.  My legs feel great and I’m excited and looking forward to pushing my speed limits.

Hope you had a good weekend too!  Happy Running!

Jeff’s Post – A Virtual 10k and a PR!

This morning I ran my fastest 10k ever – on the treadmill!  I realize this won’t go down in the official record books but I will take it as I start tracking my treadmill PR’s in a separate category.  Many things motivate me when I’m on the treadmill.  Today, I was motivated by “The Home for the Holidays Virtual 10k” put together by a few fellow bloggers.  There were no cheering crowds, no water stops and no medals- Just the satisfaction of knowing that many others would be running “virtually” along with me.  Thanks for the extra motivation!!

Have a great day and go for a run if you get a chance!

Jeff’s Post – Weekend of Milestones – Sub 20 5k and 2000 Miles!

What a great weekend of running.  Seems like years since I ran my last marathon (hard to believe it was only last weekend) – but I recovered well and had a good running week and a weekend of milestones.  On Saturday I ran in my first 5k since June.  Tamara helps organize this event and it benefits the Special Olympics.  This race has a special place in my heart (read post here) and I was looking forward to racing it.  I was really hoping to run my first sub 20 minute 5k.  It is a beautiful fast, flat up and back course located in St. Mary’s City, MD.

Since Tamara organizes this I was able to pick my own bib number.  I went for 40 (my age).  The 5k I ran in June was on my 40th birthday and I was hoping to run a sub 20 there but it just didn’t happen.  Fast forward to Saturday.  As soon as I left the starting line I felt good and it really was a nice mental advantage knowing that I only had to run 3.1 miles.  I kept a good fast pace the whole time finishing strong and passing a few fellow runners on the home stretch.  I looked at the clock and saw my time 19:44 – I was thrilled!!  Tamara was working the finish line and I loved knowing that she knew right away that I had achieved this goal.  I won first place in my AG at this race last year with a 23:50.  I knocked almost 4 minutes off my time from last year and won my new age group again!!  A great day, a great cause and a great event!

Tamara and I planned a long run today.  We don’t get to run outside very often and we don’t get to run together as much as we like so it was nice to have this opportunity!  We originally planned to run 13 but ended up running a strong 14 – Yeah!!  It was a bit windy (I hate running in the wind btw) and we detoured off a side road with a few hills so we had a good workout.  There is also nothing better than running along country roads while being passed by Amish buggies.  We have a thriving Amish community in Southern Maryland and we both loved running by the buggies and the Amish church on a peaceful Sunday morning.

Oh – Milestone # 2- I passed the 2000 mile mark on our run today.  Couldn’t think of a better run to pass that on.  I didn’t set out to run “x” number of miles, it just kind of happened but it is something that I’m proud of!

All in all a great weekend!  Have a great running day!!

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