Sunday, October 23, 2011

Taper Anxiety

It's less than a week before the Marine Corps Marathon and I can't wait! However, tapering sucks and it sucks even more when you're slightly injured. Marathon wisdom tells us that during one's taper period, nothing one does will make one perform better during the marathon. But, 3 weeks or so is plenty of time to screw things up.

Basically, I'm in the same situation as I was last year. I injured myself on the same weekend on the same trail, go figure. Same situation, different part of the body. Last year I managed to run a half marathon as a "warm-up" and still managed a second 20 mile run. However this year, I didn't feel comfortable running a half marathon and only managed an 18 miler after the injury.

I'm sure everyone goes through taper withdrawals, unless you're just doing a marathon to cross off a bucket list item then I'm sure you're happy to cut back on the running. You're not supposed to run as much but, you probably have to cut back on your food intake so you don't gain weight.

I've been trying to take it easy as I should be and it's killing me. I'm afraid to run more than a couple miles a few times a week aside from running 7 miles last Saturday and 8 miles yesterday. The long run yesterday was simply a test run to see how my knee held up. What's worse is, I haven't seen anyone about my knee and I don't feel comfortable riding my bike on the trainer out of fear of screwing things up. Also, I'm not in the mood to swim that often. I don't really care what my time for the marathon is, just that I finish. It would be extremely frustrating to put in 5 months of training and have a DNS or DNF even though I won't be the first or last person to do so. I have never had a DNS or DNF and would like to keep it that way. As stubborn as I am about racing my knee would probably have to give out before I stopped. Considering I have my sites set on bigger and better things (a half iron in May), in my opinion, I may reconsider my position on a DNF in the event it would screw up my plan for triathlons.

On Sunday I'll be trying out the Garmin GTU which is a tracking device. I'm going carry it with me during the marathon so the g/f can see where I am on her phone and pick a spot to watch me run by. There has been a lot on Garmin's blog lately about this device. How do you GTU?

There will probably be more to come about this device later.

On another note…Has anyone seen the Fisher Price commercial with the tough digital camera for kids? Does anyone else see the stereotypical humor with using an Asian family for a camera commercial?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

PTOS 5K Race Weekend!


It finally happened after months of waiting, the First Annual PTOS 5K. I guess all it took was the right group of determined people to pull this off. I’m glad I was one of them. Sadly I decided not to run since I’m tapering and I’m unsure of my knee.

The started early at 6am. The g/f and I got there in the dark and my roommate was there with the timing people. I had 450 bananas and 450 bottles of water in my car. In case you were wondering, that many bananas in your car overnight does not smell great. We got everything unloaded and then loaded the car back up with stuff for the water stop. Then went back out to set up the mile markers. The street was already marked off and the police had already showed up. Not sure why we had to pay them for 4 hours when the roads aren’t that busy and it doesn’t take that long to officially close off the roads. Anyway, I just sat around until the start since lugging all that stuff around was a decent amount of work.

The announcements came and we were ready to start right after the National Anthem…ummmm….right after the National Anthem….ok we’re having technical difficulties (the cord the sound guy had wouldn’t work on my ipod or iphone)…can anyone sing the National Anthem? Perfect! There’s the horn and they’re off.

Do not adjust your computer screen, that is in fact a police escort for the leader of our little 5K.


The start pictures came out horrible since they were directly into the sun and all I had was my iPhone.

Start 1

and one more

Start 2

I think this race had the highest percentage of participants wearing the race shirt. So much bad luck. After this picture I headed off to watch the last turn and was yelled at by the police for standing in the closed road. So much for trying to help.

About 15 minutes later the police escort was on the way back followed by the lead runner.

Return     Leader

It was great seeing everyone run by and we had a great cheering section from the high school volunteers. A few minutes after the g/f ran by I headed back towards the finish to see what was going on there.


Apparently the music sucked and my iPod was requested. Eye of the Tiger seemed to appease the crowd. If only I came to the finish earlier. Around an hour later the last finishers crossed the line to a big cheer. Then everyone still left moved to the Atrium for the awards ceremony. We had custom medals and prizes for the finishers…I’ll have to get a picture of the medals.


The race went off without a hitch, unless you count the National Anthem hiccup. Everyone had a great time and I still have people telling me they had a great time. I can’t wait to do it all again next year!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Organizing the PTOS & FAPTO 5K

I haven't been too concerned with making this a post since I've been preoccupied with triathlons this season.

This Sunday Oct. 16 will be the 1st annual PTOS & FAPTO Innovation 5K. I work for the US Patent and Trademark Office and I'm on the board of the Patent and Trademark Office Society, with the FAPTO being the Fitness Center at the Patent Office run by Sports and Health. The idea for the race was conceived by a friend and myself although we found out there was already an initiative to start a 5K at the office. Neither of us knows if this happened because of mentioning it during small talk or the ideas were completely independent. At this point it doesn’t matter, the other race fell through and my friend and I are 2 of the 3 people organizing this race. It originally started as a race for employees only although we decided to open it up to the public. Ideally we would like to do something for the community involving science and technology but, this year we’re just concerned with getting the thing off the ground. Donating money raised is difficult since no one can tell us if the same rules for soliciting money federal employees apply to us even though we’re technically not part of the government…all our members are. We’ve decided that raising awareness of all the programs PTOS has in the community is the way to go this year.

It’s been a great experience so far. We formed a planning committee, came up with a name, came up with a budget, got a sponsor, created a t-shirt design, found a timing company, got the police to shut down the roads and bought medals and prizes for the winners.

It’s amazing how little it took to get people on board. The city was more than happy to let us do it. (Probably because one of the running store owners is on the panel you present your event to) The Patent Office is letting us use just about whatever we want and the Fitness Center sponsored us for the full amount of our estimated budget…even with the 20% margin of error I factored in.

Right around 300 people have signed up so far. Packet Pick-up was held today and will continue tomorrow. I’ve never done more than volunteer for a water stop at a race but, it’s been a lot of fun thus far.

Check back for an update on how the race goes.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Injury and IM World Championship

I haven't been writing that much for one reason, I'm slightly injured and frustrated. I took a two week "break" after my knee tightened up to the point I couldn't run during a 17 mile long run. Luckily, I made it 14 miles before this happen. There was no warning and within 5 strides my left knee went from feeling fine to wanting to give out. It felt fine as soon as I stopped but I walked the last 2 miles (I took a shortcut). I ran three short runs during my break and my knee felt fine afterwards. The only issue was that I felt a pinch right under my knee cap during a track workout. I stopped and figured I'd wait until the long run to decide what to do.  
On Saturday, after much debate, I set out for a 22 miler. I seriously doubted that I would make the entire distance and picked several bailout points along the trail which would only involve around a 30 minute walk to the metro. I had my cell phone in case it was real bad and I could call a cab or God forbid the WHHHHAAAA-mbulance. I started out about 40 minutes before my running group normally does, wondering how far I would make it.
1 mile, feeling great! 2 miles, feeling good but damn is it dark on this trail...I'll stop and wait for the sun or some other people to run by...two minutes later a large group comes flying down the trail, off I go. 5 miles, good, 8 miles (easiest bailout point), good. 11 miles at the turn around, feeling ok, 13 miles, this my legs just starting to get sore because of running or my knee? 14 miles, maybe I should stop just in case. Good thing I did since I walked about 3/4 of a mile to the metro and had to go down the broken escalator I could feel a pain right under my kneecap. It wasn't too bad but enough to have me worried. I iced and heated my knee when I got home and put KT Tape on it later in the day. We'll see what happens...
Anyway, if you have been paying attention to the triathlon world at all you would know that the Ironman World Championship took place in Kona this weekend. I managed to watch a good bit of it online and saw Craig Alexander win for the 3rd time and BREAK THE COURSE RECORD! Chrissie Wellington also made an amazing comeback to win for the 4th time.
There was also another major announcement by WTC, a new system for rewarding serious (and apparently loyal) triathletes but allowing people who have raced 12 full Ironman (the brand not the distance) enter a system to be guaranteed a spot in Kona. It sounds more like a waiting list but, it sounds like a Win for everyone.
“Starting in 2012 we’re making two pretty substantial changes to that [the lottery].  The first is that for athletes who have are serious triathletes who have done twelve or more full’s in their career and are still racing, we’re going to guarantee them a chance to race Kona.”
The first win being for triathletes and not having to enter a lottery system or traveling to places like China to try and win a slot. Granted you have to do 12 of them but, Kona is the Boston Marathon of triathlons. Not just anyone should be able to get a spot. Even if you do win the lottery system you still have to race an IM 140.6 before Kona...unless you're the third "biggest loser" and your name is Tara Costa...BS and great at the same time if you ask me but that's another story.
The second win is for WTC which will certainly make a lot more money with people trying to race 12 Ironmans for a shot. If that's even possible since the races generally sell out.
I'm also and avid Slowtwitch reader and the consensus is mixed. The only way this turns out to be a bad idea is if too many people are able to complete 12 Ironman branded 140.6 races. I'm not sure what the stats on the average number of Ironmans a triathlete has does are but, it would take some serious time, money, commitment and motivation to complete 12 of them. I seriously doubt the majority of average triathletes will complete 12 Ironmans in their lifetime.
Another point which was brought up was quantity over quality. I don't see how this changes. If you listen to the podcast you'll notice they're taking slots away from the lottery system for this purpose. With the lottery system you never know what type of triathlete you're going to get. Maybe all the lottery winners finished over 16 hours? You don't know. Second, how do you know people who have completed 12 Ironmans can afford to get to Kona? I realize the average income of Ironman competitors is something like $140K but, getting to Hawaii is a bit expensive and then you have to factor in the wife and kids or try to explain why they can't go with you. Either way, it's still the same number of slots as the lottery and with around 400 people finishing in 12 hours or more you're still likely to get the same overall quality of triathletes.
Furthermore, I'm sick of everyone bitching about slower people vs. real racers on Slowtwitch. Who cares? These people are out there trying just as hard as everyone else to finish, probably even harder since they're out there for longer. If you people are so fast, why don't you go pro? Oh right, you're too slow.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

One More Funny Quote

Every Saturday we start our long runs from Iwo Jima in Rosslyn, VA. The majority of our runs are into DC which is around 1 mile away and some of the runs go by where the bus to NYC picks up.

On a 22 miler the following was said while passing by people in line for the bus...

"Hey guys, when you're in New York we'll still be running!"