2014: Breakers To Bay

Following my lack-luster performance in Cellcom Green Bay Half Marathon, dear friend Andi suggested that not using gels in longer runs might have played a key role in lack of sufficient energy towards the end, and dear friend Rob diagnosed my running posture and not only identified potential causes for such poor performance but also suggested a set of exercises that, if I kept at them consistently, would help change the way my body was spending energy during such runs.

This event, Breakers To Bay, marks completion of a full year since I (re)took to organized/running, and a first of its kind — of the same distance at the same location — that I have participated more than once. My life has come a long way from the naivety foolishness of believing four pints of micro brew and one half a large pizza the night before a race as carb loading to the bestowed upon smartness of believing in the power of frequent runs and associated non-running exercises, punctuated by far too many variants of lethargy, procrastination, carb loading techniques, and experiments on mind and body.

More than usual running coupled with not enough rest following the previous event — probably in an effort to overcompensate for missed time — showed its effect as a mild case of tendinitis in my left calf during some of the later training runs. Fortunately, help wasn’t too far away: a real doctor friend, Shannon, suggested using foam roller and golf/tennis ball for an expedited cure during one of the Keweenaw Running Group‘s post-run gatherings in Keweenaw Brewing Company.

Summary of training activities
## Activity Date and Time Details
Distance, Time, Pace, Speed, HR, Cadence
01 Cellcom Green Bay Half Marathon 2014-05-18 09:01:00 13.17 mi, 2:38:02, 12:00 min/mile, 5.00 mph, 177 bpm, 150 spm
02 Lakeshore Run 2014-05-20 17:03:00 1.10 mi, 0:11:50, 10:55 min/mile, 5.50 mph, 163 bpm, 158 spm
03 Warm Up Run (MTU Gym) 2014-05-21 07:25:00 0.54 mi, 0:04:42, 08:42 min/mile, 6.90 mph, 160 bpm, 164 spm
04 KRG Run #2 2014-05-21 18:02:00 4.37 mi, 0:51:03, 11:46 min/mile, 5.10 mph, 161 bpm, 150 spm
05 Hancock Run 2014-05-22 18:06:00 2.03 mi, 0:22:49, 11:19 min/mile, 5.30 mph, 164 bpm, 154 spm
06 Lakeshore Run 2014-05-24 07:30:00 4.29 mi, 0:47:50, 11:07 min/mile, 5.40 mph, 162 bpm, 158 spm
07 Lakeshore Run 2014-05-25 07:00:00 5.02 mi, 0:52:47, 10:32 min/mile, 5.70 mph, 163 bpm, 160 spm
08 Lakeshore Run 2014-05-26 21:28:00 1.01 mi, 0:10:15, 10:10 min/mile, 5.90 mph, 163 bpm, 162 spm
09 KRG Run #3 2014-05-28 18:03:00 2.97 mi, 0:39:25, 13:20 min/mile, 4.50 mph, 167 bpm, 138 spm

A home area event meant an opportunity to sleep in my own bed couch, and travel to and from it was limited to about ten miles — not counting the drive to drop off the completed application the day race was announced or a day the race before to check the course. Weather was pleasant around the start time but got warmer with every passing mile. There was a hint of pain in the left calf around the 1.5 mile mark but training runs had indicated that the pain would go away if I didn’t stop but shot up if I stopped. Around the 2.5 mile mark, a more severe hint of pain in the right knee showed up (something I hadn’t experienced in any of the training runs) that seemed to subside only if I stopped.

5 miles in 0:54:19 @ 5.52 mph, 10:52 minutes/mile
Splits: 9:37, 11:21, 10:29, 11:49, 11:03
Courtesy: Garmin Forerunner 405CX, Garmin Foot Pod and WP GPX Maps plugin for WordPress

Ping pong-ing between the mutually exclusive set of pains took some effort, and the increasing temperatures didn’t really help the cause. It wasn’t until after the 4 mile mark that the frequent right knee pain (ala getting hit by a baseball bat every quarter mile) disappeared for good, helping me pick up some speed and cruise past the finish line. Fortunately, side stitches (Exercise-related Transient Abdominal Pain) were a no show, and so were the remnants of upper respiratory tract infection. All said and done, I was about 2:30 slower than what I had planned but a good 5:30 faster than last year’s time.

Personal goals for the event (in order of importance)
## Goal Result
01 Finish the race without bodily injuries to myself or to anyone around me Yes
02 Run at least 90% of the length of the course, irrespective of pace Yes/May be
03 Use the aid stations to hydrate/electrolyte; use gu/gel appropriately Yes
04 Improve upon the current PR for this race: 0:59:40 (5.16 mph, 11:56 min/mile) Yes; 0:54:19 (5.52 mph, 10:52 min/mile)
05 Finish under 0:52:30 (10:30 min/mile or less) No; 0:54:19 (10:52 min/mile)

It seemed as if the race didn’t have nearly as many participants/volunteers as its 2013 edition: a new organizing committee, a newer cause (not the Kenner Dome) and a general absence of any publicity about the said changes might have had something to do with it. But given the changes, one too many to count, that I have been a part of myself, things seem different/difficult at first. And I am sure the new committee will do good enough of a job to get the numbers back up for the 2015 edition.

Task for the immediate future is to rest up, let the left calf and right knee heal enough to be in shape for the upcoming Lake Trout Festival Half Marathon in L’Anse. With frequent short runs and a seemingly simple set of exercises paying pretty rich dividends in a relatively short span of time, I will look forward to keeping up with them — along with eating, resting and sleeping on time — and hopefully reaping even more benefits.

Praise be to the Good Lord, and thanks be to

my good friends — the Abbotts (Kathy and Mike), the Blakes (Amy and Scott), the Boissevains (Margi and Paul), the Brewsters (Katie and Brian), the Bunkers (Kris and Kate), the Carlsons (Abby, Cassondra, Josh, and Justin), the Carmeans (Jess and Tim), the Chards (Amy and David), the Durochers (Bridget and John), the Engstroms (Christine and Jaime), the Fredricksons (Lynda and Dave), the Gracis (Kara and Sam), the Handlers (Christine, Rob, Shannon and Stephen), the Kramers (Mandy and Jim), the Lehtos (Tammi and Chris), the MacDonalds (Cynthia and Bruce), the MacInnes’ (Elizabeth and Scott), the Meyers’ (Jeanne, Ted and John), the Obermanns (Catherine and Tim), the Oppligers (Shawn, Emily and Doug), the Pergers (Liz and Dr. Warren), the Rasners (Amanda and Donald), the Resslers (Dee and Tom), the Richards’ (Carrie and Dr. Bob), the Salos (Karen and Dan), the Smigowskis (Christina and Tim), the Stenvigs, the Stickelmyers, the Tervos, the Vendlinskis (Andi, Jim and Rick), the Vertins (Melissa and Joel), the Vizankos (Kelly and Steve), the Watrous’ (Liisa and Matt), the Weathers’ (Stacy and Bryant), the Wilmers’ (Kelly and Stephen), the Youngs (Amber, Christine and Michael), the Zerbsts (Kristen and Ron), team /var/run (Nancy Banfield, Josh Myles and Amy Blake), Keweenaw Running Group, Houghton Police Department, Adam Griffis, Dr. Alex Mayer, Amy Madsen, Ashley Ames, Dr. Bryan Suits, Caleb Wendel, Chelsea Trowbridge, Christopher Schwartz, Dr. Daniel Fuhrmann, Darcy Donnelly, Erin Kauppila, Greg Reed, Jeffrey Toorongian, Julie Ruotsala, Katie Temple, Kelly Boyer and Todd Ontl, Kelly Wooten, Kelsae Eliszewski, Kim Green, Krista Kasuboski, Kristin Thompson, Laura Mlynski, Lauri Keteri-Smith, Leah Tollefson, Lena Widman, Louisa Raisbeck and Jesse Cleaver, Lynette Potvin and Matt Manders, Lynn Czarnecki Makela, Lynn Geisler, Mahesh Shastry, Marc Rea, Maria Janowiak, Mark Mehler, Matt Mlinar, Mary Webster, Michael Babcock, Mike LaMotte, Shreya Kumar and Randal Harrison, Ray Sharp, Rebecca Anderson, Ryan Towles, Riccardo Tortini, Robert Larson, Dr. Robert Weidman, Sam Roache, Sarah Bird and William Atkinson, Sarah Conner, Sarah Menassian, Sarah Stream, Scott Gibbs, Sue Peterson, Tony Schwenn, and more (in and outside of my community) — for the often unexpected, undeserved, unrewarded acts of constant encouragement, and offerings of constructive criticism, tested tips and tricks to improve myself as a runner.

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