Wednesday, July 22, 2015

2015 Ironman Boulder on the horizon : thoughts : @AsicsAmerica updates #GelQuantum360

I'm down, but not out.

Plantar Fasciitis... I have it going wild and it sucks.  It started right as we left for vacation after a long run and has been bugging me ever since.

What I have I been doing to get rid of or minimize it before IM Boulder in 1.5 weeks?

Of course I ran on it a few times before realizing I was causing more issues and making it a lot worse.  Stubborn.  Bull headed.  Whatever.  I tried some trusted shoe models.  Stretched more diligently before runs, but ultimately it's a factor of not running to heal.  I've done some damage from not dedicating enough time to warm ups, using improper shoes and using shoes with too many miles.  There's a laundry list of factors, and I'm addressing them in the weeks leading up to Boulder.

For the past 2.5 weeks, and the week leading up to Boulder, it's elliptical only.  It's not the same, but it's the closest to running I can get without pain.  I couldn't even pool run.  Just pushing off irritated the PF.


Aleve has been my friend.  Large dose in the morning, very small dose before bed to get some good sleep.  As time has passed, the pain has subsided to non-existent for normal daily activities.  I'm reducing pain meds to minimum as possible in order to get maximum benefit on race day.  Yes, Aleve will be in my transition and special needs bags!

Straussburg sock at night before bed.  I cannot wear those things at night when sleeping as it wakes me up, but I try to hang my feet off the bed to not put them in position that shortens the achilles and promotes improper healing.  I can wear it for the few minutes between putting the kids down and going to sleep.

Proper warm ups and cool downs.  Warm up gently, dynamic stretching and then go after the workout.  After the workout, ample time stretching statically and getting some length back in the calf and achilles.  I have been better about doing this as opposed to not at all in the past, but it's been too short of time and not warmed up gently enough.  I'm getting old...

Massage.  My dude Kent at Thoroughly Kneaded Muscle Therapy has beat me up.  He's brutally attacked the heel and calf to get recovery stimulated and have the healing align with the tendons and not criss-cross which makes for a weaker structure.  Look it up.  ART is not hot air.  It's real and if you keep injury a certain body part, this could be key to get it to heal effective and be stronger in the long run.


I've messed around with shoe inserts and they just aren't doing it.  I figure if it hurts my feet just walking around, it's probably not helping.  I've been blessed with a blitz of ASICS shoes to try and while I have my staples, I might have used the new models a little too overzealously in my training runs.  Traditionally I go with the Gel 1100 series, GT 1000 or 2000 series or the Tri Noosa's.  Sadly I'm out of 1100's and GT's.  I don't have enough time to break a pair in with elliptical runs, so I needed an option I have already broken in.  That left me with the Gel Kayano 21's, Tri Noosa 8's and the Gel Quantum 360's.  Unfortunately the Kayano's weren't feeling good with the PF and the Noosa's are too rigid in the heel for the PF.  BUT, the new Quantum 360's are EXCELLENT!  They feel great just wearing for every day and for elliptical work.  Since I have had them for a few weeks and wearing them, I feel comfortable they are worn in enough to tackle IM Boulder.



So that's the plan.  Hit the bike and swim hard, run on elliptical only til race day, pain management meds full force for the race and a lot of prayer and rest and recovery / therapy.  I'm crossing my fingers that I have enough miles in the bank to get me to the finish line and enough Aleve to get me through the run.  ;)

Monday, July 13, 2015

@openoptionskc Shawnee Mission Triathlon Race Recap - 7/12/15

So at the last minute, I won a free entry to a race!

As I was on vacation with the family, I randomly entered a Facebook drawing for entry into a local triathlon, knowing it was the day after we got back and figured it was a long shot to win.  Wouldn't you know it, I won the free entry!

I'm all about free race entry!  Thanks to Open Options of Kansas City (http://openoptionskc.org/) for sponsoring the event and giving a random entry into the Open Options Shawnee Mission Triathlon!

A little bit about Open Options:

Our Mission
At Open Options UCP, we are guided by our mission to support people to realize their full potential.

Our Vision
We seek to become the premier provider of supports and services for people with disabilities, signifying quality, innovation, and person-centered principles. We are committed to ensuring the sustainability and growth of our organization and are driven by a ceaseless desire to improve. The people we employ will be engaged, dedicated, and invested in our mission.

Our Values
Every day we are given the amazing opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives. We are a catalyst for growth, supporting others to see and pursue the many opportunities and options a meaningful life presents, and contributing to the happiness of those around us. The people we serve are our priority and the people we employ are our greatest resource. Our interactions are guided by three core values:
  • Demonstrating an unselfish concern for the well-being and happiness of others
  • Being open, authentic, and truthful
  • Respecting the dignity of every person and every role

But I am "injured"

Lately I have been suffering from plantar fasciitis, and anyone that has had a case flare up, it sucks.  It started the weekend we left for vacation after a long run and got worse as I tried to work out over vacation.  I shifted to spin bike, weights and elliptical to let it rest, but the damage has been done.

So, the last thing I wanted to do was run a race with IM Boulder coming up and in serious need of recovery.

That's when I sent the call out to my local group of tri peeps and found a ringer, I mean runner, for a relay team!  I swam and biked, and my pub crawling, potato-ole eating friend ran.  Problem solved.

It was ugly

The swim was ugly from the start as I went out too hard and it was the worst swim ever at this event.  I have been spotty in my swim training over the past month and coming off vacation with no swimming, it showed.  Unfortunately I'm not the type that can take time off and show up and kill it.

I had to gingerly walk the 0.10 miles to my bike on a paved parking lot since there was no running going to happen with my foot.

After mounting the bike, I produced the worst bike split ever for this race as well.

And then it turned around

My runner busted out the 4.5 mile in sub 7 minutes and propelled us to the 3rd best long course team out of 10 teams.  We actually got some hardware out of the day which made me feel a little better about my crap times.



I would like to think I contributed to the results, but in actuality it was all due to my runner.  If he can bail me out like that again, potato-ole's on me!



SWIM 1000 METERS : 21:17
T1 : 3:16
BIKE 18 MILES : 57:57
T2 : 0:33
RELAY RUNNER 4.5 MILES : 31:00
TOTAL TIME : 1:54:02
3 of 10 LONG COURSE TEAMS

Thanks again to Open Options and Johnson County Rec for the free entry!  If anything it was great to get an open water swim in and try and bust my butt on the bike for an hour.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Garmin Vector Pedal based Power Meter Rebate before they sell out!

If you're into power meters and cycling, this is your chance to get in for an affordable price.

I've not dove into the power meter market other than the CycleOps PowerCal that's a poor man's power meter measured from heart rate.

But, I've been dieing to get into the pedal based meters like the Garmin Vector.  Well, the original Vector system is going off market since Vector 2 came out and Garmin is offering rebates to get rid of all Vector original stock.

So, follow the LINK here for the rebate form and check out Clever Training for great deals!

Garmin Vector S Pedal Set Single Sided Large 15-18T and less than 44W

Purchase a qualifying Garmin Vector or Vector S from May 1st, 2015 through July 31st, 2015 and receive either a $150 or $300 USD via mail-in rebate. Rebate submissions must be postmarked by August 31st, 2015. Limit two rebate submissions per customer. The product must be purchased in factory-new condition.

They are also sporting 20% of CycleOps trainers!  Get in while the getting is good before next winter for those indoor rides.

Cycleops Fluid2
Cycleops Fluid2
ENJOY!

Monday, May 18, 2015

2015 Atlas Race Obstacle Course Race Report - 4/25/15

What endurance season would be complete without at least one Obstacle Course Race (OCR) mixed in?

I found the Atlas Race OCR series on Facebook, and the timing, distance offered and early bird pricing was just right.  The race offers the "Boss" (3 to 5 miles) or the "Ranger" at 7 to 9 miles.  I was looking for something a little longer than the Warrior Dash or Ruckus Run to make the time to drive out to Lawrence worth the effort (named Atlas Race Kansas City, but actually held in Clinton Lake State Park).
 
So, Atlas Race KC it was for 2015 racing the Ranger course.
 
 
 
This will be a more about my experience racing the course, if you're interested in more of an event review, check out my Examiner article for the Event Review.
 

IT WAS AN ENDURANCE EVENT JUST TO GET TO THE START

Previewing my event review, I expended a lot of energy trying to track down check in, race bib pickup and event logistics in general.  Had a been a lesser driven person, I might have just chucked it.  The short of it was, the Altas organizers ran a loser ship than I'm used to with endurance events and organization.  It was a process just to track everything down and find a parking spot when I got there.
 

AND THEN IT RAINED 40 DAYS AND 40 NIGHTS

Not really... but we had some significant rain the days before the event and mist off and on race day.  It made for some sweet mud at the event, of which we would have had none without the rain.
 

WE'RE OFF

After figuring out what the order of events were, I made my way to the start at the 10am wave after some well timed port-a-potty stops.  All you endurance people know how key that can be when not swimming first off...  It was also disappointing to learn I could have raced an earlier wave and got back home sooner to miss less on the home front since I didn't see the need to drag the Mrs and the kids to this event.  But hey, it's all a part of the experience, right?
 
After racing 4 or so OCR events, I have learned it pays off to start in front and at east get out ahead of the large groups.  After you get 6 to 7 people waiting at an obstacle that only allows 2 at a time, you spend a lot of time standing around.  I wasn't interested in that.  I'd rather race unencumbered at my own pace.  So, I sprinted my ass off for the first 100 yards to get over the wood walls in the few first guys and pretty much stayed at the front for the entire heat.
 

THINGS WERE GOING SWIMMINGLY

I was doing well only trailing to one guy after the first mile.  Was I an OCR rock star?  No.  This race lended itself to cross country endurance runners more than OCR warriors.  There were only maybe 15ish real obstacles with only the end really involving any upper body effort.  Again, reference my event review and you'll see how most of the course was about trail running, which favors a long course runner more than an OCR meat head (no disrespect, maybe).
 
I took the lead after two miles and eventually got passed on the second loop.  What's ironic is that I passed the same guy because of confusion at the second lap entry and I think he did some obstacles he shouldn't have... or the volunteer told me to go the wrong way.  Either way, I was back in front and eventually he caught me again at the finish line.  Good competition.
 

IN THE END

I ended up coming in under an hour.  Pretty sweet for a 7-9 mile OCR event!  Too bad it was only 6 miles on the 910XT GPS.  So, I either skipped some course or someone got a little lazy making the course.  Even if I went around some extra obstacles, there's no way I would have added another mile.
 
 

BY THE NUMBERS

Here's how I stacked up vs the competition.
 
59 : 24 official time
17 / 186 Ranger Course Racers
3 / 28 Age Group
 
I kind of wished I would have signed up for Elite waves.  They were racing for money and I was pretty competitive with their results.  It was also key that attendance was probably throttled due to a first time event, questionable marketing outreach and the race was the same day as Warrior Dash.
 

FINAL THOUGHTS

I enjoyed getting out and doing some endurance outside of the normal swim, bike and run.  Trail running is good cross training, and OCR makes it even better.  I wished I would have gotten more course in.  9 miles for a 50 minute drive to the race would have been a fair trade, but at least I got in early bird and avoided paying an outrageous price for a short long course.  My review and this recap would have taken a different tone had I paid over $100 at race day reg.
 
I'm happy with my "performance".  As I mentioned with Rock the Parkway, my focus is Ironman Boulder and getting the work done for that.  I did not come into Atlas with any real goals other than a hard run and wasn't tapering or resting for a race effort.  Something to mix it up.  I wanted to get the heart rate up and not get hurt.  Those goals were met, no problem.  I do wish I would have looked at Elite a little harder, but since this was the first time racing Atlas, I wasn't sure what to expect.
 
Stay tuned for more recaps and previews as race season is in full force!
 
 

Sunday, May 3, 2015

2015 Rock the Parkway Half Marathon Recap - 4/11/15

A few weeks ago was the first official race event for me of the 2015 season... Rock the Parkway Half Marathon in Kansas City, MO.

I posted my preview thoughts a few days before the race, and to recap, the race just kind of snuck up on me with life going on.  I'm to the point where completing the race wouldn't be an issue, but I was not really focused on improving performance, setting a PR or anything resembling being competitive with myself or anyone else.

Mostly I just like the event, been in it one form or another since inception and they have a nice early bird pricing deal.  ;)

OFF TO THE RACES...

So, decided I would brave the race myself and leave the fam behind so the Mrs and the kiddos wouldn't have to sit around to see me at the start and umpteen minutes later at the end.  Kind of anti-climatic at this point for spectators.

As I have dialed in my eating habits, which translate into eating smart and not being a pig, I allow myself a day of the week to pretty much stuff whatever I want into my face.  This was that day and I delighted in trail mix with extra Reece's pieces mixed in.  Delicious.  So there I was munching mutant mix on the way to the start, not really paying attention to the fact I ended up eating too much that close to a race.  I had an hour to let it settle, but I didn't pay attention and ended up with too much to digest that quick.

So, I cut off the food after parking and sipped some gatorade while milling about the pre-race port-a-potty routine.  Hydrate, dehydrate, re-hydrate with some #2 mixed in.  Glorious.

Too bad I ate too much and didn't time my last pee break good enough before the race.

AND WE'RE OFF

Mile 1, feeling good.

AND WE'RE NOT FEELING IT

Mile 2, had to pee and trail mix was giving me problems.

AND WE'RE STOPPING

Mile 3, pee break at the first aid station port-a-potties.  Break for the tummy as well to stop sloshing at 165bpm heart rate.

AND WE'RE RUNNING AGAIN

Break neck speeds and 165bpm, just holding on for as long as possible.  I actually did not stop running again for entire race, opting to jog and sip at pit stops for hydration.  That's pretty rare for me.

It was a balancing act of aggressive running and gurgling trail mix in the gut.  Around mile 11, on the final stretch, I let it all hang out and drove for the finish line.  I've been more taxed after an event than I was at RTP 2015, but I've never been more happy to stop running with a stomach of half digested food.  I didn't barf, either, so there's a winner right there.

AND WE'RE DONE

So, my PR at the half marathon distance was 1:35:53 last year at the same race, same course.

2015 results were : 1:35:34 - a 19 second PR.  Not bad for not really paying attention to a training plan and overeating before the race.  I'll take it.


In all seriousness, I do believe the more attention I have paid to eating a better diet and eating to live instead of living and working out to eat has helped in my running.  I've permanently dropped a few LBS and that's made me feel a little quicker and lighter on my feet.  My philosophy is the less weight I have on me, the less punishment my joints take with workouts in general over the years.  I'm going for longevity, not the short term.

So, if I can come out and consistently stay close to my PR's in races, I'm pretty satisfied.

Glorious.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Q&A with Atlas Race OCR in Kansas City this weekend!

I've got a busy weekend coming up...

Atlas Race OCR on Saturday and Trolley Run on Sunday.

I raced Rock the Parkway a few weeks ago, and still owe a race report.  It turned out good and bad... more to come.

I really have no expectations for the OCR.  I've raced Warrior Dash and Ruckus Run, but they were only 3ish miles.  I signed up for the Ranger which is 7-9 miles.  The distance won't be an issue, but the obstacles will be a challenge with my limited strength work.

I recently had a Q and A session with Atlas Race, so read on for what's to come this weekend.

As you may know, obstacle racing is one of the fastest growing sports on the planet. Participants of all ages and skill level are invited to become a part of the obstacle course race movement in any number of experience categories including individual competitor, team or family entry in an event that inspires everyone’s “inner athlete.” It is a great way for the community to come together, build confidence, and have a positive attitude about health and fitness.

Course types are as follows for the Atlas Race series: “The Ranger”: A course ranging between 7-9 miles with 25+ obstacles “The Boss”: A course ranging between 3-5 miles with 20+ obstacles

Further information, as well as complete schedule of upcoming Atlas races can be found at http://www.atlasrace.com/.

Atlas Race is also part of the OCR warrior competition. OCR Warrior is a head-to-head obstacle race reality challenge show, developed by the founders of Mud Run Guide. Every episode, two OCR athletes battle through the knockout rounds to reach the finals, in each venue, only one male and female will be crowned OCR Warrior, and Kansas City will be a part of the series.

On to the Q and A.

Provided By Scott Gephart, Atlas Race


Q: What’s the attendance been like for the first races?
A: Attendance has been good, and nearly what we expected for our first few races. We've been happy, especially going into first year markets, and markets that don't normally get these types of events. The reviews of Atlas have been amazing!

Q: What's Atlas' plan to be sustainable and keep coming back year after year?
A: This is a tough industry. A lot of people think that they are going to come in and do amazingly well right out of the gate. It takes work. Our main road to success is to put on great events, give the race community something that leaves them feeling good about their accomplishment, and establish solid relationships with the towns and communities where we stage our events. By establishing those relationships we are able to create long term partnerships with those communities and increase attendance year over year when we return. We want to continue producing quality events, which means we aren’t looking to produce 40 to 50 races a year. We are planning our growth carefully for longevity.

Q: What made them choose Clinton Lake for the KC race since technically it's 30 miles west of KC?
A: Obstacle races require a certain type of terrain in order to build a course. Most metropolitan areas and cities don't have the type of land needed in order to properly build out a good obstacle race. Clinton Lake was the location that matched our needs to create the best possible event and experience for our race participants. To meet that criteria, many of our event locations are approximately 30 minutes outside of the race city, but naming the race by its closest city helps people to recognize its approximate location.

Q. What is 24 Hour Fitness’s involvement in Atlas Race?
A. Obstacle racing is one of the fastest growing sports. No matter what your athletic level, there is a way to participate. Atlas Race and 24 Hour Fitness have partnered to present the Atlas Race series because we provide programs that are available and accessible to everyone.. 24 Hour Fitness is the perfect partner to inspire new fans that can grow an individual’s fitness experience to the next level. And, as our exclusive partner, 24 Hour Fitness is offering a special 30% race entry discount to members. (The link to the Atlas Race discount offer can be found at 24HourFitness.com - CHECK THIS OUT WHILE THERE IS STILL TIME TO REGISTER ONLINE TO SAVE SOME CASH!)

Q. Course layout map to see what obstacles were placed, where, etc.
A. There is not currently a map online that indicates the obstacles. There will likely be a map available on site the day of the race.

Q. How do we check in? Morning of? Pre-race packet pickup?
A. There are two ways to check in: 1. Packet pick up will be held at the 24 Hour Fitness location in Kansas City. This is the recommended course of action so that members can take advantage of getting a pre-race workout in as well! 2. The day of the event (though this can be chaotic and is not recommended)

Q. Do we have to pay to get in to Clinton Lake State Park? We have raced several events out there and if it’s like the others, they require cash and the lines to get in the park can be LONG and frustrating.
A. Parking is usually a site/park requirement. Atlas Race will make sure to expedite the process in order to insure people aren’t waiting in lengthy lines Editor’s note - Clinton Lake State Park usually has a parking fee and only takes cash. Bring at least $10 in cash or they will not let you in and you will have to go 10 minutes back to Lawrence to the nearest ATM.

Q. When we check out the event info section on the site, the links go to generic parts about teams and non-site specific details. Will an email be coming out soon?
A. Yes, race participants will receive an email in the next 24 hours indicating your start times. We hope the rain comes in during the night as a muddy course is something that people should be excited about and look forward to in the world of obstacle course racing!

Atlas Race Stats/Facts:
  • Number of days it takes to set up the course: It takes 5-7 days to build a course
  • Number of volunteers it takes to set up the course, man the course on days-of-event, etc.: Approximately 10 volunteers to set up and approximately 50 volunteers to handle various responsibilities on the day of the race itself
  • Pounds of weighted items that participants carry/lift: It varies based on the obstacle, however the average weight for men is approximately 40 lbs., women is 20 lbs.
  • Height of the 24HF course obstacle: 10 -12 ft.
  • Bottles of water consumed on race day: 500-750
  • Bottles of other beverages consumed (non-alcoholic, energy drinks, alcohol): 1,000
  • Number of 24HF towels handed out at finish line: 500-1,000
  • Number of participants: Kids: 100 -200, Adults: Event average is 1,000, Teams: 10-15 teams per event
  • Miles of smiles at the finish line: 3,600 miles Average amount of weight in mud that each participant crosses the finish line with: 10 lbs.