Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Oshkosh Marathon 5k - Race Report


I opted to add the Oshkosh Marathon 5k to my race schedule on whim.  I worked the weekend of the race and the start line is just down the street from my work, so it seemed like an easy add to my schedule.  I figured, I had nothing to lose and worst case scenario is I just run nice and easy, opposed to running hard and get an easy workout in.  Plus, the event is put on by Du Tri Run, who offer a race series style competition called the 5 Star Series.  I ran the Oshkosh Half Marathon last year so, I do have some experience with this event.  This year, the race organizers added a full marathon option which brought out even more people and media coverage from area news outlets.  There definitely was a new buzz around this race when comparing to last year's race.

Training for This Race

As I mentioned, this race was added a couple weeks ago, so obviously I was specifically following a training plan with this race in mind.   I had been sticking to my previous mentioned "Run Less, Run Faster," training plan.  My training has been going very well and I have been hitting all my marks in my training and have been staying healthy, which is by far most important.  Since my last race, I have been taking rest days as needed and have also been very flexible with my schedule as my family and/or work obligations dictate.  I have been much more flexible with my training and skipping workouts when I have to much more readily when compared to previous years.  I must admit that I have been stressing a lot less when it comes to my training than previous years and I think it has had a profound effect on my family life, as well as my personal stress levels.

Prerace

I worked Saturday night into Sunday.  Lately, my sleep has been absolute crap and that remained true for both Friday and Saturday.  I was a little nervous of where my energy levels were going to be come race time on Sunday morning.  I ended up getting out of work a half hour early to get to the race site early enough to get my race packet and have enough time to get a proper warm up in before the race.  After getting my race packet, I started my usual warm up routine of a short and easy run, followed with some walking lunges with a twist, some leg swings, and then some skips.  I finish it all up with another shorter run, where I now work in some short strides to just work on some quicker leg turnover.  After a good warm up, I made my way to the start line.  The weather was OK, not great, but definitely not terrible.  The temperatures were in the mid 40's with overcast skies, and a strong wind out of the west.  It was definitely the wind that concerned me with its impact on the race itself - but hey, everyone is going to have to deal with it.

Nutrition Plan

I packed a normal lunch while at work before, but I pushed everything ahead an hour or so from when I normally try to eat.  I then ate a Cranberry Hammer Bar at 5:50am (about an 1:10 before the race).  I also took a couple Hammer Anti-Fatigue Caps at this time.  Around mile 2, I took a single serving of Hammer Energy Surge to help the my final kick.  That was the extent of my "nutrition plan," as I took in no water or calories during the 5k itself.

Gear/Equipment

Nike Zoom Streak LT2
Hammer Swiftwick Socks
Hammer Short Sleeve Running Shirt
Garmin 910xt



Miles 0-3.1


All 3 events (5k, half marathon, marathon) started together at 7am.  So, knowing that there was going to be guys running all 3 events starting near me and starting out at various paces based on their personal race goals.  Keeping this in mind I really wanted to come out at a strong pace and try to stay near the lead, all while running my own race.  After the gun went off, I started at a strong pace, just as I wanted.  I was probably in the top 5 after the first 50 meters or so.  At about this time, a gentleman from behind me, came flying by at a much faster pace.  After the first 400m or so, I was in the top 4 of all runners including this younger guy (I'd guess in the 20-25 range) who was running significantly faster than any other runner.  I tried to ignore it, thinking to myself, there is NO WAY this guy can maintain that pace for the entire race and that I'm sure he'll fade after the first mile and I'll end up passing him soon.  If you're unfamiliar with races, its not uncommon by any means for someone who has no realistic chance of winning the race to come out of the start at a very unrealistic pace, just due to the excitement of the start of a race.  All 3 events ran on the same course for the first 0.75 miles and after the 5k turned off from the other two events, the guy in first place was about 200m in front of me and I was starting to debate whether or not he would slow down.  The way I figured, was if I were to try and catch him, I would, without a doubt, bonk and be unable to sustain that effort for the remaining 2+ miles.  I just told myself, have faith in my fitness and stick to my gut with the thought that he would eventually cave and fade back.  By mile 2, I had significantly closed the gap and was only about 25-50m behind him and the gap was closing at a significant rate.  I pushed a little harder at this point, not only because it was the final mile of the race, but because I knew I was going to pass the leader and put myself in first place.  Shortly after the 2 mile mark, I made my move and was officially leading the race.  Now, my goal shifted from catching the leader, to putting some time between the two of us and expanding the gap now into my favor.  The final 1200m of the race was by far the most difficult, as it was directly into the strong winds that I had mentioned.  But, by far, the most difficult section of the race was the final 400m.  The last quarter mile of the race was run directly into the wind along the banks of the Fox River.  I felt as though you were running in a wind tunnel.  The fact that it was the final few hundred meters of the race and you are running on empty giving it everything you've got surely did not help.  I was able to hold off the guy I passed and actually put some time between the two of us and won the 5k by about 30 seconds with a final time of 18:07.

Post Race


After the race, I simply just stuck around and hung out by myself and waited for the awards ceremony.  To kill some time, I cheered on the remaining 5k finishers as well as watched the top of the half marathon field come through the finish line.  The award for winning the 5k was nothing more than what the top 3 age group winners receive - a cheep stereotypical trophy.  If there is any complaint I have of events put on by Du Tri Run, it would be their less than stellar awards.  I often see my fellow endurance friends from across the country post pictures of some pretty unique trophies and awards, from bottles of wine, to unique hand crafted articles. 

What's on Tap

After returning home I took a look at my Garmin data from the race and saw that, according to my GPS data, the course was a little longer than 3.1 miles or 5,000m.  My watch had a total distance of 3.22 miles.  While hanging around after the race I talked to a few other runners and almost everyone had a distance over 3.1 miles.  Another guy said he had a distance of 3.19 miles.  Now, I totally expect a variance in the total distance and do not expect the distance to be 3.1 miles, but 3.22 miles is a little long by my book.  When I had finished I truly expected a better time, honestly even a PR (current PR of 17:49).  After seeing my time and that the course was a little long, I did a little math and came up with a potential 5k time of 17:33.  The whole reason I bring any of this up, is because it brings me to the reasons for my next scheduled race, the Jailbreak 5k.  This race is only a few days away, Saturday April 25th.  I was debating whether or not to run this event all together, but after putting up a strong race with a poorly represented time, I wanted to try it again at another 5k, one that I have had a lot of success at before.  In fact, this is the event where I set my current PR for the 5k.  So, that is what is on tap for me, another 5k, 6 days after the Oshkosh Marathon 5k.  Now, I just need to focus on recovering physically from this race, to allow myself to enter the Jailbreak 5k as fresh as possible.

Thanks for reading! 
Cheers!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Honoring Our Heroes in Blue


I was hoping to post a new Totally Random Thoughts (TRT) a few days ago and I was going to lead off with the tragic events that went down in Fond du Lac, WI last week.  However, the more I thought about it, I felt as though it would be disrespectful to simply consider the loss of a fellow officer a "Totally Random Thought."  So, I wanted to do a short blog of my thoughts and feelings in the wake of the death of Trooper Trevor Casper. 

If you wish to read about the event that took place last Tuesday you can read about it here: Officer Shot in Fond du Lac Standoff


On Sunday, I attended the funeral service for State Trooper Trevor Casper.  Trooper Trevor Casper was literally a brand new Trooper for the Wisconsin State Patrol.  Casper was a recent graduate of the Wisconsin State Patrol Academy and Tuesday was literally his first day on his own, coming off of Field Training.  It's like a story straight out of Hollywood, a brand new officer, on his first day of working on his own, is thrown directly into every cops worst nightmare.  In the end he paid the ultimate sacrifice for the safety of the public.  He was ultimately slain, but in the process of giving his life, he stopped the mindless killing of others by taking out the suspect in a true gunfight.  It's terrible and leaves a terrible feeling in my stomach.  My heart goes out to his family, friends, and fellow officers.  Casper was 21 years old and is the youngest ever officers killed in the line of duty in the State of Wisconsin. 

Trooper Casper's funeral was amazing, as are most other law enforcement funerals.  There is something special about law enforcement funerals.  The outpouring of support is breath of fresh air.  At Casper's funeral, literally thousands of officers, from 30 different states attended, along with thousands of non law enforcement community members to show their support for the family, friends, and the law enforcement community.  Being in the company of so many others in the same profession to show support for a fallen officer brings upon a feeling that is difficult to explain.  It makes me even more proud to be apart of a special group of people.  The dangers that law enforcement officers face day in and day out often go overlooked.  The same goes for your neighborhood firefighters, and medical personnel.  But during times like this, communities become one and show appreciation for the heroic acts of a single person.  It is truly a feeling that cannot be put into words and simply needs to be experienced. 


With all that being said, a law enforcement funeral is still an extremely emotional and difficult event to attend.  Personally, I hate them, but appreciate them for what they are, a celebration of a true HERO.  I wish they never had to happen.  It's a shame they exist.  I struggle emotionally the entire time.  For me, they are a realization of what this job is.  99% of the time, being a law enforcement officer is a great and safe job.  But the reality is there is always that 1% of the time.  There is always that 1% of the population.  They are always out there.  I guess that is why this funerals are so difficult, it brings out the sick, cold truth about our job.  It becomes exponentially more difficult for me, because of 3 beautiful girls who sleep so peacefully at night while I am at work, who simply just expect me to come home every morning.  While at these funerals by far the most difficult moments is meeting the family of the officer who gave their life.  I can't help but picture my wife and daughters standing there in line with numerous unanswered questions - the biggest one being, "why."  It just leaves me sick, sad, angry, and scared, scared for my family.  It is comforting knowing the support they would receive as a result from not only the community, but from the state, and the entire nation. 


After leaving the funeral you're left with a feeling of vulnerability.  A cold reminder of the dangers of the job, but at the same time, it's a reminder of why I do this job.  I do this job to make the community and the area I serve a better place.  I know that what I do makes the community a better place.  I work hard and I take pride in my work.  I know that what I do is right.  I know that I can carry the shield and continue to serve with the pride and courage that so many did before me.  I will never forgot those who lost their lives while serving with the same pride and courage.  So may the spirit of all those who lost their lives in the line of duty live on, including Officer Birkholz and Trooper Casper.

Please consider "liking" the Remembering Wisconsin State Trooper Trevor Casper page by clicking this link.

Or go to his website to read his obituary or make a monetary donation to his family here.

Monday, March 16, 2015

FNB St. Pat's 10 Mile Run - Race Report

I have only done the FNB St. Pat's Run once before, but it's tough to pass up considering it is literally run within miles of my home.  The race starts and finishes at a local sports bar and grill in Kimberly, WI.  The race is put on by Du Tri Run, who is the race organizer that puts on various endurance events throughout Wisconsin.  Du Tri Run offers a promotion throughout the race season called "The 5 Star Series."  It's rather simple, participate in at least 5 of their events and you add up your age group placement.  At the end of the season, you add up the 5 best placements from at least 5 events and the top three scores in each age group win additional awards at an end of season banquet.  The race I ran in February (Seroogy's Valentine's Day 15k) was apart of the 5 Star Series and I would like to try to work 5 events into my schedule and see how well I can place throughout the year in my age group.  This was also a race that worked into my schedule pretty well, because of its proximity to my home and the 9am start time, since I worked the night before.  The FNB St. Pat's Run offered two distinctly different distances, a 5k and a 10 mile run.  After falling in love with an intermediate distance at last month's Valentine's Day 15k.

Training for This Race

I haven't been following a specific training plan for this race.  I was using this race as a "training" race or your stereotypical "C" race.  I had no taper and no specific preparatory workouts.  In fact, I ran 10 miles the weekend prior and had a speed workout on Tuesday and a tempo run on Thursday.  On Friday, I was able to finally get outside on my bike and coupled it with a short 2 mile brick run after.  I have really changed up my training plan from my traditional training philosophy.  After the Seroogy's Valentine's Day 15k, I started implementing the basic philosophies of the Furman Institute of Running and their FIRST Study.  These principles can be found in their book, "Run Less, Run Faster."  Basically, you perform 3 running workouts a week, no more, no less.  These include a track workout, a tempo run, and a long run.  All 3 workouts are based on intensity opposed to volume, which is traditionally found in most endurance training plans.  In addition to the 3 runs, you perform 2 cross training workouts during the week of you choice for about 45-60 minutes with a moderate to high amount of intensity. 

I started planning my week with the 3 run workouts (Tuesday=track, Friday=tempo, Sunday=long).  After scheduling my running workouts, I wanted to add in 3 bike workouts and 3 swimming.  After playing around with my schedule I came up with the following schedule (primary workout is in bold):
Monday: Tempo Swim
Tuesday: Tempo Bike / Track Run
Wednesday: Endurance Swim
Thursday: Interval or Hill Bike / Optional Brick Run
Friday: Sprint Swim
Saturday: Long Bike
Sunday: Long Run

Training has been going really well for me.  This style of training is completely new to me.  Sure, I've done intensity before, but never to this extent.  Basically, there is no easy days.  Even long runs are done at a pace faster than my predicted marathon pace.  It's been very challenging, both physically and mentally.  This is the main reason I wanted to try this style of training.  In my marathon racing in the past, I have faded in the second half of the marathon.  I think I neglected the intensity in my training.  I know without a shadow of doubt that I can run for hours at an easy clip and I can run a half marathon in a good time, but I can't break 3 hours in the marathon.  So, my hope is that if I increase the intensity of my training, I'll be better suited for the challenges during the later stages of longer races.

Prerace

Unfortunately, I had to work the night before.  On top of working overnight the day before the race, I had a long sleepless week at home.  We had two sick girls at home this week which lead to a long tiresome week.  Saturday night went without a hitch and got out of work I got to the race start really early.  Okay, really early, I got there around 6:40am and passed time with a fantastic nap.  I sleep rather soundly until 7:30 and went inside to get my race bib.  After getting my bib (#71) it was back to my car to do my final preps before heading out for a thorough warm up.  About an hour before the race start, 8:00, I took 2 caps of Hammer Anti-Fatigue Caps and chilled until about 8:15.  After about 2 miles worth of warming up, I made my way to the start line.

Nutrition Plan

My nutrition plan was very basic - eat/drink nothing unless absolutely necessary.  I brought a few Hammer Gels along with me to take throughout the morning, if needed.  I last had a protein shake around 4:00am while at work and brought a couple Hammer Gels to eat before the race in case my stomach started rumbling.  I never needed to eat the Hammer Gels before the race, so I brought a single gel along for the run, to be taken only if needed. My intention was to avoid the on course sugary "sport" drink and just utilize water and calories from my Hammer Gel if I started to feel sluggish.  I did bring a small baggie with 3 Hammer Energy Surge.  My intentions were to take these as needed throughout the race.

Gear/Equipment

Adidas Running Shorts

Miles 0-10



The race started out at what felt like a very relaxed pace.  I didn't want to look at my watch at all during the race and just wanted to run as hard as possible and shoot for a top 10 spot.  During the first 2 miles, I thought the pace was too easy for a 10 mile run and just thought that I would take advantage of the perceived slower pace and be grateful during the last 2 miles.  Just like the Valentine's Day 15k, both the 5k and 10 mile races started together.  The main difference for this race is the bibs were distinctly different for the two races.  The 10 mile race had green bibs while the 5k had white bibs.  This was actually pretty nice to know who was running which race.  At the one mile mark, I was in 8th place (including two 5k runners).  The lead pack was basically the 8 of us and were all within 50-75 meters of each other.  The lead runner really started to break away during the second mile.  By the second mile I think I moved up into 5th place or so and still felt like the pace was relaxed.  The 10 mile run split from the 5k around mile 2.75 at which time only one runner that was ahead of me split off the course and I was officially in 3rd place at this point.  It was right then and there were I made it a goal to not give up this position and finish in at lease 3rd place.  The majority of the 10 mile route was run on a paved trail along a larger county highway in my neighborhood.  I have run numerous of my everyday runs on this trail and have become extremely familiar with this trail.  The trail has a couple decent rolling hills that follow the on and off ramps of the highway.  Knowing this I planned my first tablet of Energy Surge around mile 4, just before the first hill climb.  I continued to stay about a 300-400 meters behind the 2nd place runner.  I passed up on all the water stations and was feeling really good nutrition-wise.  I wasn't feeling thirsty nor did I ever really feel sluggish to the point I felt I need to eat my Hammer Gel.  The portion of the race that was on the trail was an out and bake section, so I took a second and final tablet of Energy Surge at the same hill, just the opposite side, which was about mile 8.5 or so.  After reaching the crest of the final hill climb, I cranked up my intensity, just mentally imagining the runner behind me was on my ass.  I made it a point to not look back for fear of getting a feeling of complacency.  I just kept imagining hearing foot strikes on my tail, when in reality I had built nearly a 90 second lead.  It seemed to pay off, as my last mile was one of my faster splits.  I finished the race in 1:02:27 (6:15/mile pace) and placed 3rd overall and 1st in the Male 30-34 age group.

Post Race

I was pumped with my finish, both my time and my place.  I realize that my place is only indicative of who entered the race and I have zero control over that.  But my time, I have total control over that.  I have never raced a 10 mile race, so I had no prior races to draw from when creating a goal.  I arbitrarily came up with a time under 1:05 for a goal.  I really thought I would be closer to 1:05, then my finish time of 1:02:27.  So, when you compound that with the fact that I placed in the top 3 overall, I would classify that as a highly successful race!  After the race, I hung around until the awards ceremony and was able to catch the tail end of the 5k awards ceremony.  By far my favorite perk of this race was the fact that it was held at a local sports bar and the bar offered free beer to all the finishers!  How can you beat that?  And I'm not talking about shitty green light beer....but any tap beer was free.  So, I scored a couple pints of Red Hook's Audible Ale.  After receiving my age group award it off to get home, shower and get to bed!


The Day in Music


What's on Tap

Coming up next is one of my most important races of the year.  Its a race I do just about every year, the Jailbreak 5k.  It has become a must add in my annual plan and this year I will look to claim my 4th Bloodhound Challenge title in a row.  The Bloodhound Challenge is dubbed the "race within the race."  It is a race open to any law enforcement officers.  I have claimed the title the past 3 years and have no intentions of no trying to reclaim the title until it is taken away from me.  I will continue to train following the FIRST Run Less, Run Faster plan with hopes that it will bring my 5k time under 17 minutes.  Now, lets be honest, that is a damn lofty goal.  Taking 50 seconds off of a 5k is taking 17 seconds per mile off my average mile splits.  But, I'l never continue to improve if I don't set my sights high.  

Also, I may do an additional 5k the weekend before, to continue placing high in the Du Tri Run 5 Star Series.  On April 19th Du Tri Run is hosting a 5k, half marathon, and full marathon.  I have already done 2 events through Du Tri Run, and still am planning on doing 3 more as it is now, but one of my planned events may not go, depending on my work schedule.  So, if I am able to run a quick 5k on a morning after work, especially since its hosted in the city I work in, I feel like I should take advantage of the opportunity.  

So, until then, thanks for reading!
Cheers!


Friday, February 27, 2015

TRT - V1

First off, let me explain the title.  TRT V1, simply stated is an abbreviation for Totally Random Thoughts, Volume 1.  I enjoy writing on my blog but often find myself rambling on about everything that has happened in over a month's time.  So, from now on, other than my training/racing updates, I will do my best to write up a quick and short TRT blog giving my a place to do just as the title says, throw down some totally random thoughts.  They could stretch as far as current events, politics (doubtful), things my family has been up to, etc.  I will try to get these out on or around my off days from work or whenever I feel like it...I'll just keep it totally random.... So, without further adieu....

Governor Scott Walker Compares Protesters to ISIS

First off, are you kidding me???  Evidently our very own "Beloved" Governor said that if he can handle thousands of union protesters he can handle ISIS.  What a freakin' idiot.  I seriously don't know what to say, how can anyone, let alone a potential presidential candidate compare terrorists to people who are basically peacefully demonstrating their opinions against a policy he is directly responsible for?  IMO, it just goes to show his complete ignorance and is a prime example why I can't stand politics.

Green Bay Police Officer Gets Stabbed Responding to a Welfare Check Call

This is just another example of the potential dangers officers face on a daily basis.  My heart goes out to all involved, and yes, including the family of the suspect that was shot and killed as a result.  Its a sad truth of the what an officer faces.  Officers never want to be the one who is put in the position to use deadly force, but they have to do what it takes to stay safe and protect the community they serve.  In the end, I am happy to hear the officer that was stabbed is doing well physically, and hope he can recover mentally after the altercation.  Here is a link to the media report: http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/story/news/local/2015/02/24/shooting-reported-green-bays-west-side/23971051/

My Birthday is Only Days Away!

Hard to believe, but in just a couple days, I will no longer be a 30 year old, but 31.  It's crazy how fast time goes.  I was looking at my kids the other night as we all sat around the dinner table and was taken back at what my life has become.  I am eternally grateful for what I have been given, but I wonder where the hell time has gone?  It feels like just a couple years ago I was living in La Crosse with my closest friends and living a "difficult life," full of homework and tests.  If only I knew what a busy/hectic/stressful life was really like....  One of my newest "things" I want to do on or around my birthday is to run my age.  Last year on my birthday, I ran 30 miles.  It was fridged and long, but I did it.  This year, I am struggling to find time to schedule a day to run 31 miles on.  Between Maya playing soccer on Saturday mornings and Harper's 1st birthday party and having only a couple weekend days available, its hard to dedicate 5 hours to only running.  Plus, the weather lately has just been bone chilling cold.  Like below zero cold.  I think what I might do, is run my age in the late spring when the weather is much more tolerable and I can get to a park and run on trails.  This way, it will allow me to be much more flexible in scheduling a date to do the run on and make it more enjoyable since it will be nice outside.  I still may get out this weekend or next weekend and pound the pavement for 31 miles, but we'll see....

For my birthday this year, we are going out with our families on Friday night for fish and then coming back to our place for cake and games.  On Saturday Sarah and I are going out with our friends to Houdini's Gastropub in Appleton, which is a restaurant I have been wanting to go to for a long time.  I'm just looking forward to spending time with my family and friends to celebrate another year in the books. 

This Damn Dress

Seriously, how dumb, but I have been looking at this damn dress all morning just trying to see a black and blue dress.  All I can see is a white and gold dress.  Evidently it is indeed a black and blue dress, which just pisses me off more, as I can not see it...argh...
The middle picture is the original photo and the other two
pictures are the same photo with an adjusted white balance.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Seroogy's Valentine's 15k - Race Report

Coming off a less than thrilling race in Milwaukee at the Icebreaker Indoor Half Marathon at the end of January, I was looking for a redemption-type race. Early on in my planning of my 2015 race season, I was eyeing up a race I have done before - the Seroogy's Valentine's 5k/15k. I did this race about 2 or 3 years ago and had a good time, plus you get free Seroogy's chocolate just for running. The race is held in De Pere, WI, about a 20 minute drive from our house and the weather was supposed to be ideal for an early February race. Taking all that into consideration, plus the fact that I was already off the night before, made it an easy decision to sign up for this race. In the past, I ran the 5k and this time around I wanted to try something different. I wanted to run a distance that I had not yet tried and with that reasoning, I signed up for the 15k opposed to the 5k.


Training for this Race

I did minimal training and zero specific training for this race during the two weeks following the Icebreaker Half Marathon. I did do some basic workouts, but nothing truly specific with the goal of improving my fitness for the Seroogy's Valentine's 15k. I did some pretty easy workouts with 2 indoor cycling workouts, 1 swim workout, and 6 running workouts with the longest being 7 miles on a treadmill. So like I said, no real specific workouts, just some basic lower intensity workouts with hopes of maintaining fitness.

Prerace

The race start time was scheduled for 8:00am, which is great, it would allow me to get an extra hour of sleep compared to a 7:00am start time, which I have grown accustomed to. My goal was to be on the road around 6:00am to give me ample time to officially register for the race and get a thorough warm up in leading up to the race start. I woke up around 5-5:30am and poured myself a cup of coffee, took care of business.  I left shortly after 6:00 and got to Seroogy's Chocolates around 6:45ish.  I was able to register right away and found that I had a ton of time to spare until the 8:00 start time.  Luckily, the church across the street from Seroogy's Chocolates opened it's doors for the runners to stay warm.  I found an empty room there and just chilled for a while until 7:30, when I wanted to start my warm up.  I got in a short and easy warm up, with some easy running with a few short strides thrown in to work on leg turnover.  By 7:50 I started making my way to the start line.

Nutrition Plan

After completely forgetting my nutrition plan during the Icebreaker Indoor Half Marathon, I really wanted to be diligent with my nutrition during this event.  It started at about an hour before the race, when I took 2 Race Caps Supreme, 2 Mito Caps, and 2 Anti-Fatigue Caps.  With just 5-10 minutes before the start of the race I took a single Nocciola Hammer Gel just to top off my fuel stores, since I did not take in any nutrients since the night prior.  The Nocciola flavor is seriously the best tasting gel I have ever had, and I have had my share of gels.  My plan during the race was to take a single tab of Energy Surge as needed and rely solely on race course water for hydration - and only if necessary.


Gear/Equipment

New Balance 890v4
Garmin 901xt

Miles 0-9.3



Right after the gun went off, I started with what I thought was a conservative pace.  It was difficult to find a good grove since both the 5k and 15k races started together.  So, even though I felt like I was starting slower, based on the lead pack of runners, in fact, I probably started out a little too fast.  I found myself started just below my normal 5k pace.  It took me until the first mile, or so, to settle back into a good pace.  I had a predetermined goal in my mind of finishing in under an hour.  That pace would translate to an average pace of 4:00 per 1k.  I opted to set my Garmin to go off every 1,000m to help me keep an accurate eye on my pace.  I knew if I could keep my pace at or around 4:00 I would set myself up for a successful race.  The two routes split just shortly after the 2 mile mark.  It was at this point were I realized exactly how many people were racing the 5k and how few people were running the 15k - at least relative to the number of runners ahead of me.  The 15k portion of the route was a simple out and back through a local city park.  I continued to just push as hard as I could and tried to keep the uncontrollables out of mind and focus on what I can control.  I shoved out the thoughts of pain, discomfort, and focused on my breathing, my foot plant and toe-off.  It seemed to work well, since I ran pretty steady splits and never really fell off.  I ended up finishing the race in 1:00:06, right were I was hoping to be.  Luckily for me, the course was a tad bit shorter than a full 15k (9.3 miles), it ended up being 9.18 miles according to my Garmin.

Post Race

The post race is probably one of the best parts of this race.  Why?  Simple, free chocolate.  But not just any chocolate...good chocolate.  After a few free samples of Seroogy's Chocolate, I quickly made up my bottle of Hammer Recoverite and then stuck around to see if I was lucky enough to place in my age group.  Unfortunately, the 15k results got completely screwed up - at no fault to the race directors.  A whole group of runners who registered to run the 15k, decided to run the 5k instead and never told anyone.  And since both races were run concurrent to each other, their 5k times registered in with the 15k times.  Sure, it would be pretty obvious at first to sort through the times, but once you get into the 5k walkers (who typically finish in around an hour) it gets a little tricky to decipher who ran which race.  It took literally about an hour after the initial awards ceremony, but it all got sorted out, and I took 3rd in the M30-34 age group and 11th overall.

The Day in Music


What's on Tap

The next race that I am eyeing up isn't until March 15 at the St. Pat's Fun Run in Kimberly, WI.  It has also been a good 2-3 years since I last ran this event, but it is put on by the same company who organized the Seroogy's run.  Plus, the race starts at 9:00am which makes it easy to get to after working the night before.  They again off a 15k option along with the traditional 5k distance, which is tempting.  I found that I really like the 15k distance, as it is still a quick race, but more challenging than both a 5k or 10k.  I think I will play it by ear since I will be working the night prior to the run and will see how I am feeling physically that day before I commit to a 15k race at 9am.

As for my training and such, I have started training with a multisport focus and significantly more intensity.  I have been implementing the principles of the Furman University studied, FIRST Program.  It has been marketed quite a bit by Runner's World Magazine.  FIRST stands for Furman Institute of Running and Sports Training.  Along with Runner's World, the experts of FIRST wrote a book entitled, Run Less, Run Faster.  Now, I haven't ordered the book just yet, but have read up on the program extensively online and bought the app...yes, they even have an app for that.  As I am sure you could have figured the entire philosophy of the FIRST program is to improve your race times after cutting your weekly mileage significantly.  The basic are that you "cut the fluff" out of your current program and do 3 very focused runs each week; a track style workout, a tempo run, and a long run.  Not one of these runs would be classified as "easy."  In fact they are all physically and mentally challenging.  The long runs, which are typically done at a slow and easy pace for me, are now run at a minimum pace 45 seconds faster than pace which I had previously thought was "fast."


I am not following the FIRST program to a "T," which calls for just 3 days of running...NO MORE, NO LESS, and 2 intense cross training days, and then 2 days of rest.  My current program sticks the 3 running workouts, that are specific for a 10k, into a multisport training plan leading up the Neenah Duathlon on May 3rd.  I am currently swimming 3 times a week, and cycling 3 times in a week.  I also threw in 2 other optional run workouts, that are done at an easy cool down pace following either a cycling or pool workout.  So, like I said, I am not exactly following the FIRST program but just using the shorter, high intensity workouts along with my other sports throughout the week.  This fall, I do plan on experimenting with the FIRST program as it's written to train for the Whistle Stop Marathon on October 10th.  I want to really give the FIRST program a fair shot at being successful and want to follow it and their "3 plus 2 plus 2" philosophy (3 days running, 2 cross training days, and 2 off days).  But for now I am focusing on just balancing my life with my multisport training for the upcoming multisport season, which kicks off May 3rd.

Thanks for reading!
Cheers!