Macon Labor Day 10K 2017 Recap

Hello, everyone! Today, I am getting ready to head to Washington DC with my wife to celebrate our 2nd wedding anniversary.  Our original plan was to take a Western Carribean cruise, however, our cruise was canceled due to Hurricane Irma.  My thoughts and prayers are with those that have or will be affected.

This past Monday, my friends and I ran in the 41st Macon Labor Day Road Race 10K. This is the 3rd time I ran in this race.  I ran the 5K in 2013 and again in 2014 (pacing a fellow runner).  This is the first time I have run the 10K.  I wanted to do something different for a change and it’s been over 2 years since I raced in a 10K.

Before the race, I knew going in that it was going to be a tough course.  The first 4 miles had 3 hills to climb.  I was confident I was going to do well because I always train on a variety of hills at least once a week.  From experience, a majority of the races I have participated in had some type of hill(s).

At 8:30 am, the race started.  I tried to take in slow and easy sometimes trying to stay behind other runners to pace myself.  About .30 miles in, was the first hill challenge.  An upward hill climb approximately .54 miles long.  I just ran up it at a comfortable pace and didn’t even think about it.  The next 1.5 miles was downhill and relatively easy.  Then came hill number 2 which measured another .50 miles.  This is where I started to pass multiple runners that were obviously struggling.  The last major hill was at mile 4.25 which measured about .32 miles.  For some strange reason, it seemed longer than that especially when I came to the “crest” just to find out I had a little more to go till I got to the top.  Again, because of my hill training, I was able to pass other runners with no issues.  Screenshot_20170904-101135.png

The rest of the course was relatively easy because it was all downhill which was nice.  I ran at what I thought was a comfortable pace. I never looked at my watch to see how fast I was going as I tend to do worse when I do look at my Garmin.

Soon, I was at Central City Park on the final stretch.  Spectators and runners lined up the street cheering the runners on as we approached the finish line.  Soon, I saw the finish line and I hit the gas and sprinted as fast as I could.  After crossing the finish line, I grabbed some water to rehydrate. Here is an awesome photo that my wife took:

FB_IMG_1504552336571.jpgMy wife soon located me to congratulate me then I turned around to head back on the course to run my friends back to the finish line.  It was a tradition I started recently to help motivate and encourage my friends.

After accompanying the final runner in our group to the finish line, I wanted to see how I did.  It took me a while to find my name but when I found it I was in shock.  My time was 51:54 – a new 10K PR!! My previous 10K PR was 52:17 from July 4, 2015.  I couldn’t believe it.  I just PR’d on the toughest 10K course to date.  When I run in the race, I usually do not have a specific goal.  I just run it.  If I happen to PR or even place in my age group, I consider those bonuses.  Other stats: I placed 90 out 312 overall and 8 out of 20 in my age group. Here is how my splits looked:

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One final fact: When I ran the 5K in 2013, my pace was 9:45 a mile. This year, I ran twice the distance at 8:22 a mile!

After the race, we had lunch and fellowship at a local sandwich shop.

I am very proud of what I accomplished, however, I am more proud of my running group. They mentioned that they were glad we run hills once a week because they were better prepared for this race.  One commented that she was able to overtake some runners herself.  One placed 3rd in her age group.  Regardless if they were fast, slow, or had to walk parts of it, they did it.

Well, that’s about it for now.  Time to start packing for my trip.  I plan on getting some training runs in while in the DC area and even considering running in a 5K race.  Enjoy the rest of your week and happy running!

Troy

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Area 13.1 Race Recap

Hello, fellow runners! I hope everyone is having a great weekend.  Last night, I completed my 8th half marathon: Area 13.1 aka Alien Half.  This is the first half I ran in the evening.  The location of this race was in Roswell, GA (get the joke..lol) about a 2 hours drive from where I live.

I originally signed up for this race because it lined up perfectly with my marathon training plan.  Plans have changed since my last blog post.  There will be a half marathon called the Soldiers Empowerment Group Assisting Military Individuals (SEGAMI) that will be held on Veteran’s Day.  Some of my friends from my local running group have expressed interest in training for this race.  Instead of training for the Rock n Roll Savannah Marathon and lead the group training for the half at the same time, I decided to sacrifice my 3rd Marathon to focus on leading the group training for the half.  We officially kick off training in a little over a week and I am very excited and humbled to be part of their journey.  I am by no means a running expert but I can share my experiences that have made me successful in the past 4 years.

Yesterday was a LONG day.  I got up at 5 am to meet up with some friends for a 6 mile sunrise run.  The temperature was around 77 degrees and it was a beautiful morning for a run.  I am proud of one for my friends because this run was the longest distance she ran since her injury a couple of months ago.

I left home early afternoon to grab a bite to eat then head up to Roswell.  I left a little early because traffic in the Atlanta metro area is so unpredictable.  I managed to get to the race on time with plenty of time to spare.

The temperature at the start of the race was 90 degrees.  My goal was to complete the race regardless of the finish time.  In other words, this race was for FUN.  Wasn’t going to kill myself attempting to get a PR.

The race started a little after 7 pm.  The route was along the Chattahoochee River.  The course had a little bit of everything:  pavement, sidewalks, an elevated wooden path, and about 1 mile of dirt trails.  This was my second half that was in the country.

According to the race website, the course was relatively flat was one small hill at mile 7.  I don’t think so!

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They call that a small hill?? Are you kidding me?? That hill was a challenge.  I was joking around that the race organizers should have stated that Devil’s Tower from Close Encounter’s of the Third Kind was part of the course.  All kidding aside, this is a reason why I am a firm believer that hill training should be incorporated at least once a week.  I was able to conquer this “mountain” with no issues while I noticed other runners struggling or walking.

Around 8:30 pm, the sun set and it was dark.  Also, the number of runners started to thin out. Some parts of the route back to the finish line was lighted by street or portable generator lighting but it was dark for the most part.  I wore a headlamp that I purchased from Amazon but it wasn’t bright enough.  For the last 3-4 miles I tried to slow it down a bit because I didn’t want to end up tripping.  For some reason, the last 2-3 miles seemed like an eternity. But eventually, I made it to the finish line.  I survived the alien invasion and didn’t get abducted.  I received my finishers medal, a cold towel, and some Gatorade. I was very thirsty because I chugged it down in 40 seconds.

My official time was 2:03:18.  The only problem is that according to my Garmin, the course was 12.77 miles long.  If the course was around 13.1, my time would have been in the neighborhood of 2:06.  Regardless, my time was still faster than my first half marathon from April 2014 where my time was 2:08:53.  This is my 5th fastest half time. Overall I was the 186 person to finish out of 648 and placed 23 out of 51 in my age division.  Not bad for a “fun” half marathon.

Prior to the start of the race, my running friends were advising me to be careful, pace myself, and not overdo it.  I think I shocked them because to them my pace was still pretty quick for this distance.  Apparently, I do not know the definition of taking it easy..lol. I basically go with the flow and let my body determine the pace. My feet were hurting a little after the race but today I feel great.

After the race, I grabbed a quick bite to eat and headed back home.  I got in about 30 minutes after midnight. After being up for 20 hours, running a total of 18 miles, and being on the road for 4 hours, I was exhausted.  But it was all worth it.

Well, that’s about it.  Can’t wait till our half marathon training starts the last week of August. It’s going to be a lot of fun. Thanks for reading and happy running!

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Papa’s Peach Classic 5K Recap

Good evening again fellow runners! I have been in recovery mode this week from running in the Hotlanta Half Marathon this past Sunday. I ran 1 mile on Tuesday and Wednesday and 2 miles with a friend on Thursday.  By that time, the soreness in my thighs was gone.

Today, I was crazy enough to run in the Papa’s Peach Classic 5K in Musella GA. Musella is a small rural town about 45 minutes away from Warner Robins. I primarily went to support friends from my running group who signed up to run it. Last year, a little over 100 people signed up for the race.  This year, the number was 175.  A great turnout for a race that is 2 years old.

The course was 1.54 miles out and back.  The race director stated that the course was relatively flat.  While not as hilly as some of the other races I have been to, it did have a few hills.

A little after 8 the race began.  I ran at what I thought was a comfortable race pace.  Even though some parts of the course was shaded, it was humid.  Before I knew it, the turnaround point was in site.  One advantage I like about a front and back course is that I can cheer my fellow runners on the way back to the finish line.  I made sure that I cheered my Run For God friends and others.

The final half mile was up a (slight) hill.  After I reached the “peak” I saw the finish line and made a mad dash for it.  A little tired from pushing myself, I walked around a little bit then turned in my finishing card.  Then like I aways do, I turned around to run my friends back to the finish line.

While we were waiting for the final runners and the start of the awards ceremony, I met a couple that will be training for their first marathon this November which happens to be the same one I am running: Rock N Roll Savannah.  I had a chance to share some of my experiences with them.

Well here are the results of my race. My time was 24:30 (7:54 pace) and I placed 2nd out of 6 in my age group! Not my PB, however, it’s my fastest 5K time of the year. The person that took 1st was from out of state..lol. One of my friends from my running group got a PR AND took 1st in her age division (50-54) out of 9! I am very proud of her. She has a desire to get down to an 8-minute pace so I am going to try and encourage/motivate so she can achieve her goal.

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Well so much for “recovery week”. Think I am back to normal. I’ll be cross training tomorrow and rejoin my RFG friends for our Tuesday and Thursday group runs.  My next race will be the Firecracker 5K in Wrightsville on the 4th of July. Thanks for reading and happy running!

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Hotlanta Half Marathon 2017 Recap

Hello fellow runners! I hope everyone has had a wonderful week.  Last Sunday, I ran my 7th Half Marathon: The Hotlanta Half.  This was my first half since August 2015 and the longest distance I ran the Rock N Roll Savannah Marathon in November 2015.

This was the 3rd time I ran the Hotlanta Half.  The first time I ran it was in August 2014. My time was 1:58:58.  I ran it again in August 2015 however it was the first race where severe weather snuck in and dumped heavy rain about halfway through.  I remember trying to run in the rain, dodging puddles and makeshift streams. My time for that race ended being 2:00:36.

I started training for this race 13 weeks ago after struggling to get back on a weekly running program. I deployed to the sandbox in the first half of 2016.  While I was there, I tried to keep on a running schedule however it was difficult. After returning from my deployment, I was doing good during the Fall of 2016 but slacked off after the Christmas holidays.  Around the later part of March 2017, I said I needed to get back on track and that’s when I decided to train for the Hotlanta Half as a goal.

My original plan was to drive up to Atlanta EARLY in the morning because (at the time) I had difficulty finding a hotel room downtown that didn’t cost an arm and a leg. However, at the last minute, I was able to get a hotel room about 10 minutes walking distance from the starting line.  It was a little expensive but not as much as some of the other local hotels were charging. Plus my wife was happy we didn’t have to get up at 3 in the morning. We drove up on Saturday and toured the CNN studios and ate dinner at a Pizza restaurant. Before a major race, I always eat Italian or Asian.  It was delicious!

After a (somewhat) good night’s rest, it was race day.  We went to packet pickup about an hour before race start to grab my race bag and get ready for the race.  Of course, it never fails but I had to use the bathroom twice.  I ran into a runner that I met at a 5K race several weeks back. We wished each other good luck and headed to the starting line.

I was in corral D and I attempted to locate the 2:00 pace group.  My goal was to finish no matter what time, however, I did have a desire to finish under 2 hours or even beat my previous PR of 1:54:29.  I couldn’t find them but right before the start of the race, I found them way ahead between corral A and B.  I moved up to get closer to them.  Soon the race officially started. It took me a little while, but I managed to catch up with the pace group.  They must have been flying because the average pace for the first 3 miles was 8:15 a mile.  I went ahead of them and managed to keep a consistent pace trough mile 8. However, I started to run out of gas.  Why?  Because it was practically uphill for the remainder of the race.  I knew that Atlanta had some hills but I apparently forgot how hilly it was.  They should rename the race to the Hilllanta Half.  Here is an elevation chart of the course:

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I was getting tired but I was determined to finish.  For whatever reason, the final 2 miles was the longest.  However before I knew it, the finish line was in sight.  I normally make a mad dash for the finish line but not this time. I received my finisher’s medal, grabbed some water and sat down to recover. I was burning up and sore.  I found my wife and we walked back (slowly) to the hotel. I rested a little bit and took a nice hot shower.  Even though I was sore, I decided to go and try to walk it off at Ikea before heading home.

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Later on in the day, I found out my official time: 1:56:34.  This is my second fastest time for a half but my BEST time for the course.  A PR would have been nice, but I will settle for 2nd best and course PR considering the hilly terrain.  I believe if the course was flatter, I could have PR’d.  Statistically, I have significantly improved overall and in my age group from when I first ran this race in 2014:

Date Total Time Pace Overall Overall % Divison Division %
8/24/2014 01:58:58 9:05 per mile 284/1175 24% 43/87 49%
8/23/2015 02:00:36 9:07 per mile 280/1083 25% 28/75 37%
6/11/2017 01:56:32 8:53 per mile 262/1524 17% 24/98 24%

I am very pleased with what I have accomplished last Sunday.  I couldn’t have done it without the support of my wife and my new Run For God friends that I have made in the past couple of months. Even though I am a somewhat experienced runner, I too need encouragement and support.

I really don’t have a training plan for the next couple of weeks, however, I will begin training for my 3rd marathon the first week of July. For the 3rd time, I will be running the Rock N Roll Savannah Marathon.  I ran the race back in November 2015 but the race was cut short due to the unseasonably hot temperatures. Even though I got the finisher’s medal and jacket, I never had a chance to PR my first marathon.  I feel confident that I will PR this November.

Well, that’s about it.  Thanks for reading and happy running! Cheers!

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Memorial Day 2017 5K Run

A couple of years ago I participated in a Memorial Day run that honored the American men and women that paid the ultimate price defending the nation and what it represents.  I wanted to do something similar this year so I invited members from my local Run For God running group to join me in this special event.

While I was driving to our meeting place, I listened to the song “God Bless the USA” by Bruce Greenwood.  It’s one of my favorite patriotic songs and it brings tears to my eyes everytime I listen to it. When I arrived at the meeting place, I noticed another running group was also doing the same thing which I thought was very cool.

After a word of prayer, we started running along a major highway that has nice wide sidewalks.  Two years ago, I ran holding the American Flag and I was honored to run with it again this year.  It’s not easy to run with it but I managed.  Even though I wasn’t expecting it, many drivers honked their horns as they drove by.

I thought we had a great turnout. One of my buddies even brought along several of his family members to run with us. Despite the morning heat, everyone did an outstanding job. Hopefully, we can make this an annual event.

Did you do anything special for Memorial Day?  Shout it out in the comments.  Thanks for reading and have a great week!

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Hotlanta Half Marathon Training Week 10: 5/22/17 – 5/28/17

Monday – Rest Day

Tuesday 

I had a 5K race scheduled for Saturday so I did the training plan shuffle and ran 12 miles for my long distance slow run.  My original plan was 9 miles but I wanted to push myself and threw in an extra 5K. It started raining halfway through my run but it felt good. I was surprised that my pace was 34 seconds slower than my half marathon PR pace. I think the paperboy was stalking me because I saw him delivering papers on the main road but I ran into him again when I ran through a subdivision.  My running group had a run scheduled for Tuesday night but the weather was not really cooperating however some members did show up so I ran an additional 3 miles with them.

Planned: 9 miles. Actual: 12 miles (morning, 9:19 pace) 3 miles (evening 10:31 pace)

Wednesday 

I was a little sore from all the running I did the previous day that I decided to take a rest day.

Planned: 5 miles. Actual: Rest Day

Thursday 

Met up with my running group in the evening for 5K run.  I wanted to get 5 miles in so I ran 2 miles prior to the start of the group run.  When everyone showed up, I gave them a choice to run hills or without.  To my surprise, everyone voted to run hills.  When we started, I ran a faster pace so I can stop and cheer everyone as they climbed the big hill. Everyone did a great job and some commented they noticed some improvement.

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Planned: 5 miles  Actual: 5 miles (8:55 pace)

Friday

I was going to meet one of my buddies in the am for a run however he was not able to make it so I ended up running solo.  I ran 5 miles at a faster than usual pace. Probably the funniest thing that happened was I ran into a runner going in the opposite direction only to see her again 20 minutes later again going in the opposite direction! She must have mapped out the same running route as me..lol.

Planned: 5 miles. Actual: 5 miles (9:06 pace)

Saturday  

Ran in the Lt Col Melvin T. Ingram Memorial 5K Run. You can read about it here.

Planned: 5K race Actual: 5K race (8:15 pace)

Sunday

I normally bike ride on Sunday’s for cross training, however, my wife and I joined some friends for an out of town event.  We were heading to Downtown Atlanta when we went through a time portal and ended up in the past at the Georgia Renaissance Festival. It was a lot of fun!

Planned: Cross training. Actual: A lot of walking!

That summarizes Week 10.  2 more weeks to race day.  Thanks for reading and happy running 😉

Lt Col Melvin T. Ingram Memorial 5K Run Recap

Hello fellow runners! Hope everyone is enjoying their weekend especially those in the United States that are celebrating Memorial Day.  I just completed my 3rd 5K race for 2017: The Lt Col Melvin T. Ingram Memorial 5K Run.  The purpose of the race was to honor him and his brother, Willie Ingram Jr.  They both passed away due to a heart attack and stroke respectively.  In addition, proceeds go to a scholarship fund in their names and the race raises the awareness of heart disease.  (More info available at http://www.meltingram.com/)

I wasn’t planning on racing this weekend, however, one of my running buddies from my running group encouraged me to participate.  I am currently training for my 7th half marathon so I had to do the “training plan shuffle” to accommodate this race.

The race was held in Milledgeville, GA about an hour from Warner Robins on the campus of the now closed Central State Hospital, an old mental institution.  Prior to the start of the race, I was asked to give the invocation.  I’ll admit, I was a little nervous however everyone thought it was a good prayer.  I was honored and humbled for the opportunity.

After the invocation, the race began.  The first mile was relatively easy – because it was all downhill.  After that, it was all uphill.  I have been running for 3.5 years and the one thing I have learned was to train on hills at least once a week.  I could tell my training paid off because I was passing people on the hills who were struggling.  After mile 2, I felt like I was running out of gas but I kept on going.  The last quarter mile was on a hill; I felt tired after the final climb that I didn’t sprint to the finish line like I normally do. Here is the elevation chart of the course:

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After I finished, I filled out my race results and went back on the course to get a couple my friends back to the finish line.

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After the last runner came through, the awards ceremony began.  My time was 25:01 and I placed first in my age group (40-44).  This was my third 5K race for 2017 and managed to place in all 3.  While I didn’t set a 5K PR, today was the fastest 5K I ran for the year (8:15 pace).  Out of the 90 runners that ran in the race, I was 9th overall. Considering that I started back running 10 weeks ago , I am very pleased let alone shocked on how much I have accomplished in such a short period of time.

After the race, I joined some friends to eat at one of the local eateries called The Local Yokel Cafe.  Considering I placed first in my age group, I believed I earned my Steak and Eggs! The food was delicious and the fellowship was great.  I also had an opportunity to meet another runner who will also be running the Hotlanta Half in a couple of weeks.  I look forward to meeting up with him and his family and I think it’s cool that others from Middle Georgia will also be running in this race.

Today was a good day and I am seeing that my half marathon training is paying off. I met up with old running friends and made new ones. When I come to race, my goal is to finish. My primary competition is myself.  If I happen to place in my age group, I consider it a bonus.

Well that’s about it.  Sunday is going to be rest day and I am hooking up with some runners on Memorial Day to do something special honoring those that have paid the ultimate price.  Until then take care and happy running!