Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Recap: Savannah a city of running and funning

Cell Phone shot from Wayne Lamperski's Cell phone at 19.5 miles. LIFT OFF!

 Here is a recap of the weekends events in Savannah, Ga along with 24,000 of my other running buddies.

   I arrived into town on Thursday afternoon just in time to pick up my race packet and to meet my good friend Logan at the expo. Kent was still in limbo about actually attempting the race but after a 2.5 mile run that night it was pretty much decided there was no way he could do 13.1 miles unfortunately. After the disappointment of his run we hit town for dinner and then to some bars. Yea, I would say most of my runner crazy friends wouldn't go out 2 days before there marathon to have a couple tall boys.

   On Friday I had to wake up and deal with a few hours of work from the hotel room which began to stress me a bit, I was ready to race and get away from all of it. At lunch time I set out to get a fresh cut from the barbershop for race day and then Kent I found some hole in the wall Mexican joint. While sitting at the bar, I ordered a Margarita and it was awesome! The owner talked to us about how the race course would screw over Savannah and tourism because they ran it through the ghetto and we needed to pack heat while on the course, sweet!  Back to the hotel to wait for Karin and to enjoy the free wine in the lobby of kent's hotel, good for the heart!

  Race morning Karin and I woke up at 4:30am before heading to the shuttles which took us about 35 minutes to ride into town. We were worried to say the least after we were about 4 miles from town and we saw a sign on the interstate that said "6 Savannah". Made our way to Kent's hotel to drop off a few things and prepare for the race. Off to the start, I grabbed a 5hr energy and popped it back for some reason, not the best choice on race morning since I never use them ha.

   Spotted Joe Lanser quickly in the 1st corral and  then it was "oh was that the start gun?" and we are off. Joe and I kept the pace kind of all over the place for the 1st few miles for some reason, the 1st mile was slow but I could care less, we had 25 miles to make up for it! Joe kept picking up the pace and I had to remind him of the 6:05 pace we agreed upon and after 7 miles miles I think that Joe really was getting to antsy to stay back with me especially after finding out we were in the top 12 or so for the marathon.  He took off at 8 miles with some foreigner and he sailed away from me while I settled back into the prescribed pace. I tried chatting with other runners on the course but I could never get anything out of them, except fleet feet Savannah's Chris Ramsey. As the half marathon split off I was pretty much running solo minus one guy in front of me. The whole race I knew my stomach didn't feel great and after an attempt at taking a gel at 12 miles my stomach really bothered me and as I approached the 13 mile mark I started eyeing any porta potty I could find. Just after 13 miles I found one, hopped off of the course into a parking lot and took care of business then hit the streets again.

  I picked up the pace quickly as I had two sub 5:50 miles while I was trying to make up the time I lost with my pit stop. I could see people ahead of me from a distance and I kept the pace steady from then on. My calves were getting very tight at this point and it scared me a bit so I continued to hold back, even though I felt I had more to give. My stomach continued to bother me the remainder of the race so at 15 miles I took a sip of water and called it a day, Gel at 6 miles , then half a gel at 12 miles and that would be it for the entire day. We hit some mega headwinds for the marathon portion of the race, it was crazy how a back street turned into a corridor of wind and your pace quickly would slow. I tried sprinting 50-60 yards off and on in an effort to keep my pace steady but even running as hard as I could I could only maintain 5:50's on that 50yard stretch into the wind.  Hitting the highway I noticed there was a stream line of competitors ahead of me including Joe, let's go for it! I was fatigued and needing some fuel but I just kept grinding it out. Passing one, then another, I caught Joe just before 24 miles and told him to hang behind me and keep focused. I felt like all of the guys I passed were letting my block the wind but it didn't matter i felt pretty decent, I was determined to keep working to break them all.

    As we hits the last mile on the streets I was getting pretty tired and wanting to see the finish ASAP, I asked a cyclist who was riding behind me how far away the finish was. Usually you get a "man you are almost there, its around this corner" but this guy destroyed me. I passed the 40k mark about 4-5 minutes before I asked him and then he says "uhhh you have about 2 miles yea, bout 2." thanks buddy!! On my way to the end of the race I saw Karin, Jess, Anne Marie and my grandmother cheering me on to break 2:40. I knew it wouldn't happen on the clock but on my watch there was still a chance. As I made my way around the bend I gave it everything I had while looking at my watch 2:39:40,41,42....2:39:52 at the line on my watch, I knew I in fact broke 2:40 with my actual running time, I am happy with that!

- That night we all hit the town to celebrate, good times for sure!

  All in all I was very happy, I was dancing on the course, literally through some water stops, yelling at the people to get "hype" and to "put em up", I was fan favorite for sure amongst the leaders. Looking over my logs, my plan to use local races as speed work really paid off. I never really had any marathon training minus a few long runs and one attempt at MP for 4.5 miles on the green way.  NYC 2012 may have me shooting to chop a few minutes off of my mark and maybe go into the Paul Mainwaring range of 2:35, who knows. Special thanks to Mary Jane, Stan and Wayne Lamperski for coming out and supporting me along the course!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Back in Action! Savannah 26.2 Miles to Rock N Roll

   This is my 1st time posting since my return back into the states and it is an exciting post to say the least.  I am sitting at my work station at the Hampton Inn in Savannah, Ga just a couple hours before I turn in for a good nights rest before my extremelly early 4:30am wake up before venturing to the Savannah Mall to take a shuttle in to town for the Start.

   For those who do not know I signed up for the Rock N Roll Savannah Marathon months ago while still in Australia hoping for maximum fitness by the time I arrived back into the US. My surprising brush with death that ended with a shattered arm, expensive bills, and a pretty slow recovery is where I am at right now. My comeback has been pretty good as my miles haven't been over the top as sometimes I GO FOR IT and increase my mileage rapidly to get my fitnesss caught up, but this time I didn't.

    The game plan for the morning is to drop into Kent's Hotel room before the race for a quick bathroom break and to drop off some clothes before snaking my way through 24,000 people towards the front. Say my goodbye's to Karin before I start my long journey and hopefully find Joe Lanser in the crowd. Either way by the mile, I should see Joe as we plan to pace together as long as possible. My hopes are that we can maintain sub 6:15's and then pick it up as the race progresses. My training has not pointed to those results for the Full Marathon but I have foolish hope and optimisim that i will be able to out something fairly decent with my lower mileage weeks.

     Karin is also running in the half marathon, fresh off of a Half Marathon PR in NY but unfortunately after the race in NY her PF problems caught up with her. She is running the race for fun, but I wish her the best and hope that she can truly enjoy the Rock N Roll experience. Look for the both of us as well as Carolyn Maye, Dalena Custer, Michelle Hazelton, and Alex Wernikof out on the course with I freshly printed "TrySports" black and white team singlets!

Special Thanks to TrySports for providing some awesome racing gear, The Running Centre in Perth, WA for providing me with some Sweet Saucony Racing flats and to Mary jane, Stan and Wayne Lamperski who traveled to Savannah to cheer me on!