Category Archives: Fitness

Chillaxin – First Race in the Books

Where does one begin when writing about their first running race experience? All race reports seem to be from the same breath with listings of finish times, course terrain, weather, and swag bags. I will let you taste a small report of that which is the norm, but have other thoughts about the race, and in a later blog post thoughts and conversations with the people I met on the course.

Boomtown Days Half Marathon 2010

Saturday, June 11, 2010 I ran my first race at the Boomtown Days Celebration. The race was a half marathon which totals 13.1 miles of glorious running. I know. You are thinking about that word glorious. Well, running is glorious, fun, thrilling, and can be so enjoyable when one properly prepares. Before I go further let me get to the little devil of my results from my first marathon, and first race to ever participate.

Boomtown Run Finishers Medal

Boomtown 1/2 Marathon Finishers Medal

I completed the half marathon (13.1 miles) in 2 hours 17 minutes 16 seconds placing 145th out of 850 runners that checked in Saturday morning. My time put me 12th in the male 45-49 age group. Those numbers have made me so happy. For my first race and training to tackle a half marathon a 2:17 run is very good. Just sheer joy. While some may not see the joy in this time let me say that completing any endurance race is a a trial of fortitude, will, and training. For me, once weighing 358lbs, this 1/2 marathon is a grand success (See previous blog post: Grunt… Groan… Pant… ).

Thoughts on the Race Course (Course Map & Elevation Graphics)

While I have no other race to compare the Boomtown Half Marathon to I will say this course seemed to be one long uphill run. The course started at 1008ft above sea level, reaches 1070ft at the highest point, and the lowest point is 883ft above sea level. As one can see from the below elevation graphic there were many ups and downs, but a couple a quick downs with a long uphill between miles 4.5 and 7.

Boomtown 1/2 Marathon Elevation Graphic

Boomtown 1/2 Marathon Elevation (click graphic for full view)

Throughout the race I heard individuals commenting about the many long hills. I must admit that I also felt those hills, but tried to get up on the ball of the foot, shorten my stride and keep the pace I had without burning the legs up. Seemed to work well for me, or at least I thought. Upon viewing my lap data I see that all those ups and downs took their toll quickly around mile five slowly my average pace by about 30 seconds to one minute. Not a lot of time, but adds up quickly.

Boomtown 1/2 Marathon Course Map

Course Map (click graphic to see full view)

Lap data showing average running pace at each mile

Average Lap Data for each mile (click graphic to see full view)

Another aspect of the 1/2 marathon was the humidity. Southwest Missouri is well known for its humidity. The last several weeks we have seen temperatures in the low to mid 90’s Fahrenheit and humidity between 70 and 90%. Sure adds to that hot feeling when out running an asphalt race course. I know, a ton of numbers, but as I examine and learn to better interpret it will all help my running. This is especially true since keeping my pace has been one item of difficulty. So much to learn both mentally and physically, but so much fun.

Ending Thoughts ~ It is about being healthy, training smart, and having fun

Many who follow me on Twitter know that I am a happy person. Many may be tired of my “Enjoy all that is” or “Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy” statements, but that is me. Not much gets me down, and while I am competitive it is competition with myself and no one else. I have nothing to prove to anyone but myself. This run was just one more in my journey to being and doing all I can to be healthy, fit and happy.

Time for a few random thoughts I had during the race:

  • I am a long way from the start. How did all those people get in front of me.
  • My Garmin keeps beeping and asking if I want to connect to the footpod.
  • No, I don’t want to connect to that unknown footpod.
  • Said outloud: Hi, my name is Michael. How are you doing? Person I spoke to gave me a stern glare. Silent thought to self: Just saying hi not hitting on you. Happy day.  🙂
  • Feeling great! Having fun. Whoa!! What is that in the road. That was a shoe and is someone running with one shoe now?
  • Styrofoam cups suck!! They crack every time I pinch to try and drink. Next time just drink.
  • Okay, drinking from the styrofoam cup without pinching not good. More air than water. Burp!!
  • My Garmin is beeping again. Message reads: Connect to Footpod? No, I told you before not to connect. Someone must be following me.
  • Man my shoes feel great! Yes they do! Could running shoes feel any better? No!
  • Said to self so as to not get the death stare: WOot!!! Hi!! Who are you!!?
  • Okay Garmin you have been told twice to stop it. Now stop!
  • Hill!!
  • Hill!!
  • Hill!!!

I felt great through the entire 1/2 marathon. Yes, some tired moments, silly thoughts, but smiles all the way. Okay, maybe not smiles, but after seeing some photos I had a grin a mile wide. You may ask why the grin. That grin was due to the fact that I had trained well for this run. All the training was from my wonderful coach Jeff Kline of PRSFit. Wonderful person and so helpful. Coach Jeff’s training is all about “being healthy, training smart, and having fun”. I so agree. This is how I live each and every day.

Just approaching the finish line

Almost finished (click graphic for full view)

Slowing down after the Finish Line

Slowing down after crossing the finish line (click graphic for full view)

Eating a Banana

Time for a Banana, but not a flattering photo (click graphic for full view)

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Grunt … Groan … Pant …

Grunt … groan … ugh … pant, pant, pant … shifting a bit … more panting and groaning and finally a deep, deep breath in and I was finally able to lean over far enough to reach down to put my sneakers on. This was May 14, 2006 and I was soon in my doctor’s office as I called and wanted to visit with him about my health.

Later that afternoon I was in my doctor’s office and went through the normal pre-visit stuff. I was weighed, had my temperature and blood pressure taken, and then the game was on. My doctor told me that as of that morning my weight was 328lbs, but my blood pressure and temperature were normal. Hmm … normal is subjective but I was happy with it.

So, the game was afoot. I was sent to a nutritionist, but first went to receive a full blood workup, and found even in the giant water tub my body weight was still 358lbs. Jokingly I said to the nurse, “Are we not lighter in water since we seem to float?” I don’t think that she thought it was funny. But then she told me that my body fat percentage was 28. I am sure that I had the deer-in-headlights look when hearing that 28% of my body was a big tub of goo, and that is why I had so much trouble trying to lace up my sneakers. Oh, but I would have been good for those Jell-O commercials as everyone could definitely “watch it wiggle, see if jiggle”.

Photo of me at nearly 328lbs

Photo of me at nearly 328lbs

On May 15, 2006 I was sitting on the edge of the bed about to put my sneakers on for the day. This time is for something other than just to put the sneakers on and go about my day. I still grunted, groaned, panted, and sucked in as my as I could to reach down and lace up those sneakers. This day I was going to go for a run. I must admit that going for a run is nothing big for most people, and I did not run much that day. Not even sure what I did was called running.

As I sit here writing this bit I am still saddened and amazed at how I had let myself go physically and mentally. Just a time in ones life when not all was going well. But today is a different story and life is something to be enjoyed, and to do so one must grab every moment. Over these three-plus years I have come a long way. As of this morning I weighed in at 181lbs and my body fat percentage is 16.9. Such a grand improvement over the last three years. Outside of what I weigh or my body fat percentage is I am fit and enjoy exercise, uhm, I mean life.

As one reads this the thought comes as to what did I change. Well, I changed everything. No, I did not go on a diet and this is important as diets do not work. One must make a committed lifestyle change. Yes, change everything to be a better person and to be healthy both physically and mentally. If one does not it will take no time and life will be as it was before.

Thinking about this as I write where today. I went for a short 5k (3.1 miles) run early this morning, and clocked that 5k at 29 minutes and 29 seconds giving me just under 10 minute miles. Later today I will put in some time cycling, but be indoors on the CycleOps trainer.

Standing and ready to race

Just before the 2007 Colorfest Biathlon - 225lbs

My first big race was the Union County Colorfest Biathlon in Anna, Illinois. This biathlon begins with a 5k run that has a lot of hills. Once you complete the 5k hop on your bike and head out for a beautiful 17k (29.2 mile) cycling race. My first time out I DNF’d (Did Not Finish) as I had two flats on the cycling leg and only had one extra tube. Still it was a great experience. I have not been back to that biathlon, but it is a fun day.

So what does the future hold? The future is mine and I love each and every day that I lace up my running shoes, or get on my bike. The exhilaration and adrenalin rush is so grand. I would not miss a day or those feelings. While I have only participated in a few 5k and 10k runs, and the Colorfest Biathlon I want to do more. So what does the future hold for this 45 year old? There are marathons, triathlons, and so much more. That is where I am heading. Not because they are there, but because I can. I can do whatever I wish and that is all we need to know … that we can. So get up, get out and enjoy the world. Life is good.

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My First 10K: Nike+ Human Race

I am a runner. No, not a fast runner or a good runner. The point is that I enjoy what running does for me. I run to run, to be healthy, to reach a goal, to feel the rush, to feel the pain, to feel the good … I run to be.

My running suffered a layoff this year due to work and my many performances overs the last few months. Now that I am back in the swing of running I have noticed differences. The most noticeable difference is the time it is taking to get back to where I was before the layoff. Due to this issue I have been thinking about last year and my running, especially my first 10k.

Graphic from Nike+ Human Race
Graphic from Nike+ Human Race

The Nike+ Human Race was my first 10k. I did not run at one of the major city events, but ran on my own using my iPod Nano and the Nike+ transmitter and receiver. As you see from the below graphic my time was 1:16:12 and I finished 27,142 out of approximately 1 million runners. I have yet to see the official number of total runners, but my finish was not bad in my opinion.

So maybe the Nike+ Human Race is just a glorified branding mission. My thought is that no matter what Nike is thinking the point is to get people off of their couches, away from the television, and maybe, just maybe get out the door and do something physical. Running may not be the cup of tea each person likes, but sure is better than much of what is on that television which people just cannot seem to leave.  🙂

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