Monday, May 14, 2012

Take Those Training Wheels Off, Mom!

Yesterday my 5 year old son decided it was time to take the training wheels off his bike and ride like a big boy.  We have been trying to do this for a couple of months but he was never into it.  For whatever reason last night he thought it was time to do it.  So he told my wife to take the training wheels off and let him try.
My wife was the videographer and I was the one chosen to run beside him to help if needed.  We got to our starting point, got his feet positioned just right, and gave him a push.  I thought for sure he would be wobbly and end up falling over.  But to our amazement he took off like he had been doing it for years.  I stayed close the first several times just in case but he really didn’t need my assistance anymore.  One of the hardest things for a kid to do while learning to ride without training wheels is getting started.  Well, my son figured that out pretty fast too.  After a few times around the neighborhood he learned the power you get from standing up and pedaling.  We were simply amazed by our son yesterday.  We were just waiting for him to ride with no hands or do a wheelie. 
He rode, and rode, and rode the rest of the night.  I got on the bike and rode around the neighborhood with him.  The glow in his face, the freedom he had, and the fearlessness he processed made me realize something.  When I ride it is usually a specific workout dictated by distance, speed, and technique.  What I realized is that I need to ride like my son every once and a while.  A ride that has no goals, a ride where you just get out and go without a care in the world, a ride that makes you feel like a kid again, a ride where you stopped and enjoy your surroundings, and a ride that takes you somewhere you have never been before.  Sometime I need to leave the GPS at home and go for a ride and enjoy the freedom of cycling and enjoy what God has blessed us with.
Feeling pretty confident about his riding ability he said to me, “Dad, I am going to race like you AND I will beat you.”  Love his confidence and competitiveness. 
So from time to time go out without a watch and GPS and bike, run, and swim like a kid. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Race Report: Illinois 5k and Illinois Half Marathon

1/2 Marathon Finish
On April 27th and April 28th I participated in the 2012 Illinois 5k and Illinois Half Marathon in Champaign, IL, also known as the I-Challenge.  After the nearly 300 miles of running in preparation for these events it all came together on this weekend with personal records shattered in both races.  The icing on the cake was running with my kids in their first official run that afternoon.

Illinois 5k

I came into this event with a goal of finishing the 3.1 mile run in under 20 minutes.  Last year at this same race I set my 5k PR at 19:52 and have never been under 20 minutes since then.

I was physically and mentally prepared to go fast that night.  As we waited for the race to start I mentally ran the course and reminded myself of my pace to maintain in order to get in less than 20 minutes and not to start to fast.

On your mark….go!  Bam, just like that I was off.  After the first 100 yards I was able to navigate through some of the traffic and knuckle down.  As usual I started off way to fast, but my friend Ed who I was running with took off, and I had to keep up with him.  My watched beeps every mile and tells me my pace for that mile.  Mile 1 was fast, 5:56, but I was feeling great.  However, I knew I had to back it down a notch if I wanted to finish standing.  I ran the second mile in 6:16.  I remember from last year that mile 3 was my hardest and it was again this year.  I ran mile 3 in 6:31. 

As we heading into Memorial Stadium for the last 150 yards or so I knew I had a great chance to beat my personal record.  Ran the one hundred yard length of the football field, turned left toward the goal post, and then saw the finish line with the race clock that read 19:22.  It was at that moment I realized I was looking at a finish line that held my new personal 5k record time.  I gave it all had the last 50 yards to finish the 5k race in 19:31.  I never imagined that I would shatter my PR by that much in a 5k. 

I finished 27th out of 5,045 participants and 4th out of 219 participants in my age group.  The only disappointing thing about this race was missing 3rd in my age group by 2 seconds.  Can’t be too disappointed though because I gave it all I had.

5k Finish

Now, it was time to go home and get ready for the half marathon at 7am on Saturday.

Illinois Half Marathon

1/2 Marathon - 10k marker
Last year was my first half marathon.  It was all new to me at that time.  This year, I used a more advanced training plan in an effort to finish in 1:30:00 (a dream goal).  Realistically, I wanted to be at 1:34:00.

Race day conditions were perfect with temps in the 40’s and overcast skies.  It was windy that day, but I honestly didn’t notice it that much.

The first nine miles went perfectly and according to plan.  The worst part of this race is the couple of miles through the Stonecreek subdivision and Meadowbrook Park.  It is the part of the race that is the most “hilly”.  Once I got out of the park and onto
Race Street
I knew I only had a little over a 5k to go.  However, I think I spent too much energy hustling through Stonecreek and Meadowbrook that I didn’t have anything left in the tank.  My pace slowed dramatically despite my countless efforts to go faster.  At that point I couldn’t physically get back to my 6:52 per mile pace. 

Here are my mile times.  You can see how I dropped off towards the end.  I hit the dreaded wall.

Mile 1 – 6:58
Mile 2 – 6:42
Mile 3 – 6:42
Mile 4 – 6:47
Mile 5 – 6:43
Mile 6 – 6:48
Mile 7 – 6:49
Mile 8 – 6:50
Mile 9 – 6:58
Mile 10 – 7:27
Mile 11 – 7:20
Mile 12 - 7:24
Mile 13 – 7:14

1/2 Marathon

At the halfway point of the race I was on target to get my dream goal of 1:30:00.  I don’t know exactly what happened towards the end.  Was it the 5k the night before, was it nutrition, did I start too fast?  I don’t think I will ever know.  What I do know is that I gave it everything I had and left it all on the course.

I came in with a time of 1:32:23.  Although I didn’t get my dream time I was thrilled that I shattered my personal record by nearly 5 minutes.  I finished 134th out of 6,758 overall and 19th out of 395 in my age group.


It was a great weekend of running.  Not only did I set new PR’s in both the 5k and half marathon I also got to run with my kids in their first “official” run.  That 1k Youth Run was the most difficult run I have ever done, but it was worth every pain that I endured with every step to do that with them.  Hopefully this will be their first of many races too!

I have been asked many times as to when I am going to do the full marathon.  After I let my legs heal and had a chance to reflect on this year’s half marathon I have decided to do my first full marathon next April…God willing!

Now it is time to switch gears and go full throttle into triathlon training and triathlon racing for the rest of the summer and fall. 

Train.  Race.  Repeat.

2 races - 3 medals