Archive for May, 2017

Fall 2016 Race Report

The 2016 / 2017 race season started with the fantastic annual Jeff Annas Memorial Firefighters 5K in September, and ended with the Shamrock Run 10 Miler in March. In this span, I ran a marathon, several half marathons, 5K’s and even a 15K and 8K. My first 3 races were disappointing, time-wise, and made me think a lower right back issue would continue to slow me down, but after the New Year when I switched to half marathon training, I hit a couple of personal records (PRs).

Initial training began in May 2016, so I would avoid another 5 month off-season like I did in 2015, with full training starting in late June. May and June saw me ramping up my miles following nearly 7 weeks of off-season, and the big downside was the heat. We hit 90+ degrees well over the usual 75-day period. The good news is I ran in the morning or at night, sometimes with different groups, plus I added swimming and spin classes with my best friend Stephanie.

Full-on training under Coach Randy K’s plans began in late June, and despite the heat and humidity of South Florida, I was able to get my mileage in, including speed work. But the heat and humidity caused me to slow down a bit. My normal easy pace is 10:09 / mile average, and in the cooler temperatures of late fall to early spring, I can average 9:15 to 9:45 / mile easily. I dropped to 10:45 / mile average. In addition, I had been dealing with a lower right back issue; I can’t call it an injury, as it’s something I’ve had for years, but it really flared up since the end of 2014. That really affected my speed, as I couldn’t push myself, and the sore back caused pain in my glute and hamstring (though those aren’t injured).

Fall 2016

A collage of running the Jeff Annas Memorial Firefighters 5K, 2012-2016.

After a solid 8-10 weeks of training, I did my first race, the wonderful Jeff Annas Memorial Firefighters 5K on September 10, 2016. This was my fifth year running the race, and the only one I’ve run more than twice. As I had in 2015, my pace was slow, 26:12 with an 8:26 / mile average. It’s disappointing, but seeing so many people run in the memory of Captain Jeff Annas, including firefighters in full gear and soldiers, how could I not be happy? Plus, an incredible BBQ and post-party!! This year (September 9, 2017) will be the 10th and final Jeff Annas 5K.

At the Space Coast Marathon 2016 Post-Party. My wife dropped me off, slept, ate, showered, and still had time before meeting me at the end.

My next race was my big one, the one I’d been training for all summer and part of the fall: The famous Space Coast Marathon in Cocoa Beach, Florida! Before I go into the race, a big caveat: The final full month of training (October) saw two events happen: Hurricane Matthew, which dodged us for the most part, and my wife and I close on our new house and move, and aside from the usual joys and stress associated, I did miss a couple of key runs overall.

So the race: Beautiful course, all on the intracoastal, and it was a nice cool day. The first 18 miles went by smoothly, I averaged roughly 10:20 / mile, even passing the 4:40 group. As I slowed down, the heat and humidity kicked in, and at mile 20 or so, I bonked.

Then my foot started hurting at mile 19, and the pace dipped to 11:18, then 11:43, then I had to sit for a moment to adjust my shoe. It was at this time I realized the Superfeet inserts I wore with my Newton Running Fate (1st edition) didn’t do so well with the Fate II shoes. Too late for that. By then, I was cramping up and realized after the race the heat and humidity was making it hard for me to eat or drink.

I was walking by mile 25, but some Gatorade and seeing a running buddy helped me speed up a bit, and the last .2 miles, well, I did an 8:25 / mile pace. As they say in Hollywood, wow them with the ending, and I did. After this race, I decided any future marathons would be run out of Florida and anywhere hot and/or humid. One other thing I did was stop putting Superfeet inserts into the terrific Newton Running Fate II shoes, and trust the inserts that came with them, and it worked.

The Drunken Elves at the Jingle Bell Run 5K.

My wife, friends from multiple run groups, and I all dressed in Christmas gear and ran the Jingle Bell Run 5K in December, and it was definitely a muggy race. I remember running to this race in 2013 (I wasn’t in the race), and it was muggy then, too. Welcome to South Florida. Unfortunately, the lower right back was nagging, and my time was 26:23 (8:29 / mile). Afterward, we had a merry ol’ Drunken Elves time!

Delray Beach Half Marathon on New Year’s Eve 2016; repping Fit2Run!

I wrapped up the year by running the first annual Delray Beach Half Marathon, which was timed, but the times weren’t posted to Athlinks. This was a fun race with a beautiful course, and about 50 or so runners, and we started from Fleet Feet Sports Delray Beach, and ran to A1A in Delray, then north to Atlantic Avenue, back south near Boca (I believe), where we saw runners at a 5K and 10K, then we wrapped up back at Fleet Feet. This was definitely a training run for me, and my time was 2:10:51 (9:52 / mile), though I was starting to think that 2 hour-plus half marathons were going to be the norm for me, due to that nagging lower back issue. Overall, I really enjoyed the race, bling, and the runners, race organizer, and volunteers were fabulous, and I signed up in early January for the December 31, 2017 race!

Unfortunately after this race, I developed a chest cold which sidelined me for several days, made worse by my celebrating 5 years of running on January 2nd at Okeeheelee Park. Dr. Joe, a marathon runner and my general physician, suggested I get a steroid shot to get me well fast, because I had the first of several Best Damn Race half marathons coming up! That’ll be in my next blog, my early 2017 race report.