Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Virgins, PR's & Shivering Bodies - Shamrock Marathon Weekend 2013

Post Race Beer Cup Stack
When St. Paddy's day rolls around what are you going do?

 1. Drink some cold green beer?
 2. Eat some corned beef?
 3. Chase a leprechaun for his pot of gold?
 4. Run a long distance race so hard you can't walk for a couple of days? (WE HAVE A WINNER)

Congrats to everyone who raced. There were some first timers, PR's, and some shivering bodies. Below are the Shamrock Marathon Race Weekend race reports from STC members.

Big thanks to J&A Racing for putting on a great weekend of racing.

Full results :

Jeff Rodarmel - Half Marathon - 1:54.24

This weekend was more about my son (6 years old) since it was the first time he would complete the Final Mile. We were a little scared with the pouring down rain Saturday morning and he was more than up front in telling me he wasn’t going to run in the rain. YIKES! Well, we arrived at the oceanfront to see the rain stop and clouds begin to move away. I saw my son get nervous for the first time in his life as we waited ½ hour for his wave to start. Once we started, he ran at a pretty good pace, but once we got on the boardwalk, I told him I would follow him and to stay to the left. At this point he takes off and I have to put it into another gear to catch up. Thinking there is no way he is going to keep this pace, I stay at a distance only to see that he does run to the end. He finishes with a 9:26 mile. Not bad for a first timer. So onto the ½ marathon.
My wife and I stay at a hotel on the ocean front so we don’t have to wake at the crack of dawn to get from Chesapeake to the oceanfront for the 7am start time. I do have to admit, I feel like a wimp that I only finished the ½ after all of the talk of the full on e-mail. So I made a promise to myself to step up to the full next year. The morning of the ½ was cold and windy. I think all runners don’t feel they have trained enough, but I had just completed 2 months of P90X and had run several long distances to build my base. I had also done some temp runs hoping to build some speed. So I get to the start and file into corral 2. There is a 15 minute delay for some reason and no room to stretch. The body was getting stiff! Once it was our turn, I started and felt pretty good. The wind was not helpful on the way north and once you got into Fort Story. I was stopping at every water stop for a quick sip and was following the 1:45 pace group. I kept up with them until the lighthouse where it seems the group kept creeping ahead on me. So I pull out the GU and swallow that down with some water at the next stop, but can’t seem to catch back up to them. I still felt good, but couldn’t keep up the cadence. Note to self, more speed work! In the end, I finished at 1:54:24, not a PR, but it gives me a good idea of where I am at in preparation for the Smithfield Sprint and Dismal Swamp Stomp ½ in April.
Larry "HML" Bowers - Marathon - 3:27.47
It was a cold and stormy night.  Well, something like that.  It certainly was a dang cold start (wet, windy, 40 degrees with a wind chill in the upper 20’s).  Perfect marathon weather, right??  Well, not hardly for this hot blooded Floridian.
Anyway, the big debate was whether to run a marathon this early in the season or not.   Seeming I wanted to complete another full IM this season, most of the experts were saying don’t risk an injury by training for a marathon when you have larger fish to fry a few months later.  But I succumbed to the all the hype for the Shamrock Marathon this year and mostly because STC had 5 members running it (plus the half).  So with 45 days to go, I decided to test the waters by breaking every marathon training rule that existed (I think).  First, I bought some new shoes (Newton’s) that were vastly different than anything I have ever run in.  They require a more natural running style (forefoot focused) than the typical shoe out there.  So, I go out and run 25 miles the first time I put them on.  Rule no. 1 broken.  The day after, I go for a freezing 100 mile ride with STC (our inaugural Super Bowl Century) and actually clock in 112 miles when it’s all said and done.  Opps, there goes another rule.  The rest is history which can be summed up as running hard with high mileage with minimal taper before the big race.  Rules busting all over the place.  And of course I did not want to disrupt my swimming, biking and strength training for the pending full IM so I kept plugging at those when the weather cooperated.  About 40 days to get my ducks in a row for a solo marathon.  Ultimate bust.  A recipe for injury and something I would NOT advise anyone to do.  Two weeks before the big race, I am injury free and decide to register.  No backing out now.  I am very lucky.
Now back to the race.  I show up with Alyssa to meet Shawn and the STC crew at a great parking location that Shawn secured for all of us.  I read the looks on their faces that I am way underdressed (and I was).  I toss on a long sleeve shirt and decide to keep my skull cap on for the entire event.  This is not running hat weather.  I get Alyssa to her volunteer position at the finish line and they give her “several” volunteer shirts to keep her warm seeming she dressed like me.  After freezing in a parking garage entrance for an hour, I head to Corral No. 1 and ensure I am toward the back, about equal distance between the 3:35 and 3:25 pacers.  Realistically, I knew I could handle 3:35 to 3:40 if everything goes well (a big IF).  So I step out of my comfort zone, and shoot for 3:30 as a starting goal.  Alas, we get to start in the hopes of ending the freezing process for all of us.  The run was fine for the first few miles and I am now squarely in the 3:25 pack which was not a good thing.  This is faster than what I believe I can hold and I bet I will turn to toast by mile 10 with this crew.  Well, I stayed with them and would only fall back when I had to fumble for some fuel or water (they would not stop for ANYTHING).  I had a few fuel belt mechanicals which slowed me down also but I always would speed up to catch the pacers.  I knew the sub 8 min/mile pace would eventually start spinning off the overly optimistic runners, including me.  The only question was “when would this happen?”  By mile 16 I am still with the 3:25 crew and I am running well below my training pace … not a good sign.  The ole engine is going to explode dude, watch out – this was my concern.  I have to pee and as I said before, the pace crew stops for NOTHING.  I know it will take me at least 50 seconds to push it out as fast as I can.  I do this and fly out of the porta john and almost take out two runners … and know that there is no way I can easily catch back up to them this time … and actually I don’t want to because I feel I have pushed my luck way to long already.  As expected miles 16 to 20 are just painful, miles 21 to 23 are numbing.  By mile 24 I catch a second wind (and the true tail wind from the north was a very nice welcome) which helps me keep my overly optimistic pace.  I have gas in the tank and want to start dumping it but when I increase my stride … guess what? … a muscle twitch would hit and I know what that meant (fully body and an all-out rolling on the ground muscle spasms were on the way).  My nutrition was dead on and I have been taking my hourly endurolytes (3/hr … very little sweating).  My hydration was a bit low, so who knows.  It sort of sucked because I was not exhausted but I certainly could not greatly increase my cadence or stride, so my hope of catching and passing the 3:25 pace crew as part of my “pee revenge” never panned out.  The constant pounding on the pavement and then the hard concrete of the board walk (a misnomer) was destroying my ankles.  So I took it in with a constant but weak finishing pace and was a happy camper to have my daughter put a finisher medal on my neck.  Though no current interest to run Boston, it looked like I qualified for it by running sub 3:30 (3:27:47).  Yeah.  Now where the heck is a very hot shower!
Ashley Stanley - Marathon 3:53.51
After a solid 16 weeks of training with only one bad run, I was pumped and ready for a beat my best marathon time of 3:46, no comments from you super fast people out there.

I woke up and checked the weather which said overcast 40 degrees with 8mph winds and thought to myself not too bad. Got the family all loaded up and arrived at the race site at 0715 so Ben drove around while we waited for the rest of the gang to show up and scored a nice spot in a garage off the boardwalk. When we got out of the car I realized the weather people completely botched the forecast, and I was thankful that I stuck with my plan to layer. When we got out of the garage people were scarce and the wind was whipping at least 16mph right off the ocean. Yuck, cold and windy, our move to Savannah looking even better!!!! Like Chuck I took shelter in the Hilton until race start and positioned myself at the back of corral 1.

It took a good 2-3 miles to warm up and get my legs but settled into my pace. I took small amounts of fluid at each 2mile mark, and have gotten pretty good at drinking on the go, and have always done well just taking my accell gel every 5-6 miles. Most of the race was great for me other than the cold until around mile 16 when stomach cramping and the porta-potty shuffle started. Lucky for me there were plenty for the rest of the course. I was still able to finish in a decent time and I am grateful for that b/c I don't think I would have lasted much longer in the cold.

After the finish I was so cold and depleted I pounded my H2O, afraid to put anything else in my gut, and loaded my equally freezing support crew (my husband and kiddo's are amazing) and hit the road. Needless to say my legs were no where near and beat up as my stomach which has now returned to opps normal on day three.

Always an adventure. I'm so grateful I'm healthy and have the ability to train and race. Can't wait to see what the next race brings!! 
Chuck Alt - Marathon - 4:01:53
In 2011 I ran my first marathon after starting from scratch with running about 4.5 years earlier. I used the First method of training and their 1st time marathon training plan because it seemed easy with only 3 runs per week and the required 2 extra cross training sessions which worked out well for this triathlete. I trained for 3:45 but only achieved 4:16.
So now in 2013 I started with the same program with the same time goal and a few more years of experience under my belt. Why would I use the same program again? Well I used the advanced version of the program which required more 20 mile long runs, which in the end I think helped a lot. I also had a lot more experience with hydration and nutrition since the last attempt which I thought would change things. Also, I had completely changed my stride and shoes, away from heel striking and to a more natural, high cadence stride. I still liked the program and its allowance for cross training so I went for it again.
I did not make all the 20 milers prescribed by the program, only did 4, but did these in consecutive every other week fashion with 15 milers in between. By the last 20 miler my recovery was a lot better, which gave me a lot more confidence than I had the first time going in.
During all my long training runs I set up a fueling station and did 5 k laps. Every lap I would drink about 12 oz of hammer fizz water and every other lap or so one gel. This worked out well for me both in training energy at the end of the runs and in a quick recovery during the next 24 hrs. This may sound like a lot of water for the winter but I never had to stop and pee (even in sub 40 degree weather) and the one time I did calculate my sweat rate I lost 2.2 lbs in 3h while drinking 72 oz. of water.
I timed all my runs with these stops included and made my time goals for the program and felt that during the race I could speed these up in Nascar fashion and gain a few minutes. I knew that I would need to drink or suffer the cramps again that I already experienced in 2011.
So its race day now and its really cold and windy. I’m thinking as long as I can stay warm until race start I would hold onto my full tank of fluid. So I hang out in the Hilton lobby until the gun sounds for corral 1. While they are leaving I jump into corral 2 near the front and Shawn shows up. We start together and follow the 3:45 pacer for the first 4 miles or so. I’m feeling a little stiff to run at that pace but I seem to warm up ok after the first crossing of the Rudee inlet bridge. The 3:45 guy is slowly drifting away and I lose him and Shawn completely when I do the first pit stop at the 4.5 mile mark. I’ve pre-opened my pre-cut hammer gel (a requirement for these hard to open packages), so stop and suck that down, then drink three full glasses of water with an ecap. In training that normally takes me about a minute, but I know I need the fluid. Note that half of the cups are only half full (or less) so you have to stop and look at the table to find the full ones.
I continue on through the race in this fashion. If memory serves I stopped at about 12 water stations for 2-3 cups of water and ecaps at most. I tried to space out the ecaps but ended up taking 2 at mile 24. Took a total of 8 ecaps during the run (+2 prior to starting) and 6 gels (+2 prior to starting – but no breakfast). After the first gel stop being so slow at mile 4.5 I decided to start taking the gels while running. So after the first one I took one at miles 10, 14, 17, 20 and 23 while on the run.
For me the hardest part of the race (apart from the cold walk back to the car after the finish) was between mile 20-23. I had a twinge starting in both calves that I knew could turn into the same cramps from the Patriot half last fall which would reduce me to walking in quick fashion. I tried to manage a decent pace but could not push very hard. Fortunately I was able to keep running and when I left Ft. Story and had the 23 mile gel I started to feel pretty good. My pace improved, maybe due to the tail wind, but I still could not push that hard as the calves were not allowing it. At this point I’m thinking I can still salvage a sub 4 hr finish but my math is a little fuzzy. I still haven’t seen the 4h pacer, so when he comes by I’ll just jump on. While on the boardwalk passing mile 26 I see I only have about :30 to finish, which isn’t going to happen. What happened to the 4h pacer? I never saw him? I finish strong and fall into the category of people who almost made it. 4:01:53. Dang – now I will have to do this again! I really need to figure out how to consume 4 water bottles of water without stopping the next time!
Thanks to Shawn for again coming up with an awesome parking spot for the race. Looking forward to riding a bike again after a nice rest from it. I attached my first workout program sheet from training and a mile pace chart from the race (garmin results). You can clearly see the effects of the frequent water stops.
Joe and Shawn post race
Joe Younkin - Marathon - 3:57.54 - First Marathon
I have never run more than 13 miles in my life (and that was in high school) and I used my 40 years on earth as some cheesy motivation to run a marathon. I decided this in January when my running mileage was sporadic and no more than 6 miles.

Following no "program", I trained to how I felt on any particular day or week. This training (or lack thereof) is what lead me to a great first half of the marathon. I was cruising at a comfortable 8 minute pace.

At about mile 16-17, I started to feel the twitches in my hamstrings and quads. For the rest of the race, I had to manage the twitches, which consisted of running about a mile, stop and stretch, followed by walking for about a minute.

Yet, I still finished with some encouragement from Ashley coming upon me during one of my walking moments around mile 24-25. BTW, this was just after I chugged a beer along the course around mile 24. 3:58...I'll take it.

Enjoyed the beer, Irish stew, and some good music with Shawn after the race. We saw a guy squatting in the tent in front of us and I told Shawn that if I did that, I would not have been able to get up after. It would have been complete lock-up!
My wife and I after the 8k
Shawn Buddenhagen - Marathon - 3:59.06
This was my first stand alone marathon since I ran with Chuck in 2011. In the last couple of years, I have done more racing, and an Ironman, which made me feel way more confident going into this race. I followed the FIRST training method again this time, and really paid attention to my paces. Last time I used this plan, I ran everything too fast, and I was sore all the time. My goal for this race was to break four hours. My training paces were aimed at 3:50. Other than the crappy weather this winter, and one really terrible long run, the training went really well. I was feeling great on race day.
J&A Racing does a fantastic job putting on this race weekend. On Saturday, I walked the 8k with my wife and mother. This was my wife's first time doing any type of race and she had a blast. The party after the 8k is not to be missed.
On to the race report: Race morning was cold and windy. I jumped in the corral, and looked for Chuck, but didn't see him. (note: Chuck was dressed like ninja). I stood there with a bunch of nervous strangers for a few minutes, the Harlem shake played through the PA, and we were off.
After a couple of blocks, I caught up with the ninja, and we ran together for the first four miles or so. After ten minutes of running, my bladder decided to go weak and I had to pee. I made to the porta potties at mile 3, and had sweet relief. (Pee Pee break 1 of 3). After the stop, I felt awesome. I noticed Chuck was about :45 in front of me at the turn around. I turned on the class for the next mile and caught up. As soon as I caught him he stopped for some nutrition, and I never saw him again.
The miles through Pentledon were mostly eventful. Thanks to the recruits who came out to cheer us on.  We hit the boardwalk, and the wind smacks me in the face. My plan was to draft off someone up the boardwalk. As luck would have it, I see a guy in front of me with a four leaf clover on his calf. ( it was a sign)  He is running the same pace, and looks sufficiently large enough to block the wind. I tuck in behind, and feel the energy savings. Then he stops for a gel. Crap, all that is left around me are some smaller ladies. I suck it up, and run into the wind for the next couple of miles.
At mile 12 the excitement of being half way there makes my bladder do back flips. I stop for more sweet relief after the halfway point. (2 of 3) I hit the lap button on the Garmin, and I am right on time. My half split was 1:54.20. I banked some minutes, and that sub-4 finish is mine.
I brought my pace down to 9min/mi, and tried to stay comfortable. The next miles are the most difficult of this race. The long Shore Dr section of this course of soul sucking. The road is long, and boring with no real support. My last Shamrock, I started to cramp on this road, but not this time.
At the 20 mile mark, I see the clock, 3:01.42. All I have to do is run the next 6.2 in under an hour. No problem. I reached into my belt, and changed my music to my gangsta rap channel. Every Friday was tempo day during my training, and I would bump some gangsta rap to get me through. I proclaimed it Tempo Gangsta rap Fridays. (original name, huh?).
Things were going  perfectly until mile 22. The Pee Pee monster was chasing me again. I was already hurting at this point, and could not take bladder discomfort as well. I stop at mile 23 for blissful relief, but I hated to lose that time. (3 of 3).
The final three miles were a mental game. I could not slow down, even though my brain was telling me to walk. My quads were intermittently tightening up in different places, in a conducted symphony of pain. My form as holding together, and I was still keeping pace. At mile 24, I started to follow a tall blond who was running my pace, I focused on staying with her.
Finally I hit the boardwalk, and the finish was in sight. I picked my pace up slightly at first. Then, when I knew I could finish without passing out, I went full speed. Looking at my watch, I had two minutes to finish, but I was not going to chance not meeting my goal. I crossed the line, and saw 3:59 on my watch, and was elated. I thanked the blond for pacing me, and went looking for Joe, and a beer.

Ben Holmes - Half Marathon 2:12.55

Amanda Huffaker had the half marathon of her life! For a 30 - 34 yo F she did ok, For an overweight 50yo man ~ avg. I hadn't trained for the half. I felt my base was good so, I put out feelers for an enrty if anybody fell out (I would have Bandit'd it but didn't want to). My only other half was last year's Historic Half in Fred Vegas, I ran it in 2:22. Keep in mind, I weigh 230lbs and have only ran for a year. Basiclly my prep for this event was to trust my bike base, ignore the pain, run a few long runs on the weekends and get some steady miles in during the week. I knew I could finish so set a suicide goal and a be happy goal (Sub 2:00, <2:15). My tapper was: a 5 mile walk run on Friday with my son and a 20 mile ride Saturday to keep the legs open. After scoffing at all the parking corespondance (what a bunch of worrie-warts) I decided to illegaly park at North End Bikes (I worried about my truck for the next 2.5hrs). I then walked down to the start line, coral 5 ought to do, Amanda was slated for coral 9, I figured there might be too many walkers back there, at this point I started pogo'n like a punk dancer to try to stay warm, damn it was cold. The gun goes off and I know I alweays start fast so I got endo calling half mile splits, first two miles with all my restraint and I'm on pace for 1:48 (see a problem yet). I lock on a nice set of yoga pants running my pace and settle in. When I bike the north end, I always felt Shore drive was short, running, not so much. My pace sttled in and Endo is telling me 1:58ish so, I'm quit happy. No 3 mile magic, nutrition going well, this is gonna be a banner day! I start to feel an urge to drop a little weight but I'm locked in a good pace and feeling great. Mile 6 porta pots have tooo many waiting, mile 7 is no better, mile 8 - nutrition and no line at the porta-pots, I'm #1 in the #2 business but now Endo is telling me 2:05 so I throw a couple logs on the fire to get back on pace, this works great for .5 mile then, KaBoom. I'm heading down the last 3 miles and it is EVERYTHING I can do to not walk a few steps, I know it will lead to a walk run trade-off which inevitably ends in a fat man disgracefully walking under the finish. I pull up my big boy pants and trot in the last couple miles for a 2:12 (Endo had me at 2:08). Besides the gusty winds in Fort Story, the fridgid walk to the Truck (it was still there!!!) was the most painful part of the day.
I will accomplish two things running this year; a sub 2:00 half and run a whole marathon (4:30 will be fine).
See you out there.
Ben (Amanda)

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