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.

Goal vs Reality
Goal: 5.00 mi in 0:59:40 (11:56 min/mi)
Reality: 5.00 mi in 0:54:18.0 (10:51 min/mi)
Lap Time
Lap Elevation
Total Time
Total Elevation
Avg Pace
Finish Time

Goal Time

1.00 9:37 109 44 0:09:37 109 44 9:37 0:48:04 0:11:36
2.00 11:21 148 0 0:20:58 257 44 10:29 0:52:25 0:07:15
3.00 10:29 0 156 0:31:27 257 200 10:29 0:52:25 0:07:15
4.00 11:49 35 68 0:43:16 292 268 10:49 0:54:04 0:05:36
5.00 11:02 19 44 0:54:18 311 312 10:51 0:54:15 0:05:25
The final cumulative time, 0:54:18, may not match the official time (0:54:18.0) owing to rounding errors. Starting my watch a few seconds before the start and stopping it a few seconds after crossing the finish line can be an additional reason for this discrepancy. The overall distance, 5.00 mi, may not match the designated event distance (5.00 mi) owing to idiosyncrasies associated with GPS data collection OR the aforementioned early start/late stop reasons, and in some rare cases, incorrectly measured (or advertised) courses or DNFs. As a result, the cumulative pace and the projected finish time might not match the official values as well.

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.

Thanks be to

the rejections and opportunities life has brought my way, event folks (organizers, sponsors, volunteers, timers, law enforcement officials, photographers, fellow participants and spectators), and the family of good friends in and outside of my community for all the unexpected, undeserved and unrewarded acts of kindness and constant encouragement as well as offerings of constructive criticism to improve myself as a human and an athlete. I am eternally grateful to all those who let me train with them, who shared their invaluable experiences with me, who helped keep my mind, body and soul in good health, who helped me stay the course during the training cycle, who continued to teach me the value of work-life balance, and who cheered me on from home or along the course.

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