Wednesday, February 27, 2013

My new team!

With the sad ending of Team Marathon Bar, I have turned my hopes to other locations.  I am still hoping for a little something from, but there's no telling whether or not that will happen.  So, when I received an inviting email about a month or so ago, I immediately responded with a "heck yes!".  And this is what I received as a reply to my reply...

If you don't know anything about Vega, take a minute to head on over to their website and look around.  In a nutshell, Vega was created by a professional Ironman triathlete (Brendan Brazier) as a means to supplement his plant-based diet while on the road.  Vega has grown to a world-wide brand, and continues to grow.  And even more than that, Brendan and Vega are doing everything they can to support people who want to work toward adopting a plant-based diet through the Thrive Forward series.  This is a free, online series with videos and spreadsheets to help explain the benefits of eating cleaner.

I first came across Vega a few years ago when a guy I work with had a tub of this funny plant-based protein.  I gave it a try, and to my surprise, it was delicious!  I didn't really think too much of it at the time though.  Fast forward to about a year and a half ago.  My wife and I decided to adopt a mostly plant based diet.  Not knowing a lot about what we were doing, I searched the internet for how to go about being an athlete that was mostly plant based.  I almost immediately came across Vega.  I recalled my previous experience with Vega and knew I had found the promised land.

But why take supplements if I'm supposedly eating so healthy?  Because life is life, and in all reality, it's pretty stinkin' tough to have a varied enough diet to be able to get EVERYTHING that your body needs.  I do my best, but there's bound to be areas that I fall short with such a busy schedule.  But, thanks to Vega, I know that I am getting the nutrients that I miss, and still getting them from plant-based sources.

I'm not too sure what all Team Vega is going to entail, because I'm still waiting for my welcome package to show up.  But as soon as I know, I'll let you know!  In the mean time, why don't you go check out that Vega website!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Race Recap - IMS Arizona Marathon

About a week and a half ago, I participated in my first race of the year.  I had set my sights on this race a while back, mainly because of the price.  Since it is a smaller race (I think the marathon had about 400 competitors), it was dirt cheap!  Also, I had heard that it is a great race to qualify for the Boston Marathon, which is one of my goals.

A few years back, the Boston Athletic Association (BAA) changed/updated the qualifying times for the Boston Marathon.  And with these new qualifying times, the application process was also changed.  The long and short of it is that, in each age group and gender, preference is given to the faster runners.  For example, if you beat your qualifying standard by 20 minutes, you get to register in the first wave.  If you beat your qualifying standard by 10 seconds, you will get to submit an application, but may not actually get registered based on how many people ran faster than you.  Which is exactly what happened to me when I qualified for the 2011 running of the Boston Marathon.  At the time, there was a 59 second buffer added to the qualifying standard (so my official standard was 3:10:59).  I finished in 3:10:26, which was fast enough to qualify, but not fast enough to actually get into the race.

When the qualifying standard was changed, my age group was given the new standard of 3:05:00.  However, based on the numbers I have been seeing around the interwebs, I feel that a marathon finish time of 3:03:00 would be a fairly safe time that would actually allow someone in my age group to get into the Boston Marathon.  So, that has been my goal.

As I have in the past, I have been following the FIRST Run Less Run Faster program.  Unfortunately, mainly due to convenience, I did almost all of my training on a treadmill.  I have done this is the past and it turned out to be alright, but I wasn't too sure about this one.  The other problem with my training was that while I did get most of my runs in, they weren't always as prescribed.  For instance, my long runs were rarely done as one long run (due to work obligations), but done as a couple of shorter runs on the same day.  Not ideal, but I still got the mileage in.  So, off to the race!

I got to the starting line at about 6:30ish a.m.  My wife was kind enough to drop me off, instead of me having to leave extra early, go to the finish line, and catch a bus to the start line.  When she dropped me off, I immediately started my pre-race routine.  Bathroom, check in dry clothes bag, warm up jog, bathroom, stretch, warm up jog, and some light stretching until the gun went off.  With it being such a small race, I was only behind the race clock by about 2-3 seconds.

The first few miles were a nice and easy downhill warm up.  I actually felt pretty good and was really just trying to hold back and not run too fast.  I settled into my pace and held a pretty solid 6:47/mile for the first 14 miles.  At mile 15, I started to feel a little mentally tired, but saw this pair of guys up ahead that I set my sights on.  I caught them at about mile 16, at which point I just tucked in behind them to draft for a bit and rest.  I began talking with them and found out that they were brothers, and the one in front had already qualified for Boston, so he was here to let the other brother draft off him in hopes to lead him to a BQ.  Unfortunately for me, their goal time was about 3:08, meaning they were probably running a bit slower than I needed.  I hung behind them for 2 miles, at which point I offered to take the lead for a bit, and planned on pushing the pace a little closer to my needed tempo.

When I jumped up front, we quickly dropped the brother that was still hoping to qualify.  I offered to slow down to let him catch back up, and the other brother said to just keep going.  And so we did!  I stayed in the lead until mile 20, at which point I needed another break.  I asked Mike to take the lead for a mile or so, and he moved to the front.  After about a mile, he just looked back and said, "Sorry man.  I'm done."  Well crap!  I was really looking forward to keeping this teamwork going for the last few miles, as it was allowing us to take turns resting.  But, there was nothing else to do but keep going.

I finished up mile 21 and felt ok, until I got to about mile 21.5, at which point I snapped mentally.  I decided to walk for one minute.  After my minute was up, I decided to revert to my Ironman marathon strategy, and walk for 30 seconds during the aid stations.  Well, because I walked twice during mile 22, that mile killed my average as it took me 8:09 to complete that mile.  I was able to get somewhat back on pace for the last 4 miles, even with walking, but I couldn't recover time-wise from that long mile.

I reached mile 26 and looked at my watch, noticing that I was at about 3:03:30.  I knew that I wouldn't get a good enough time to get into Boston at this point, but I decided to sprint my little butt off to try and still come in under 3:05:00.  I rounded the final corner and was giving it all I had left in the tank, until I saw the race clock at the finish line say "3:05:10".  At that point, I eased up.  Which was actually nice timing because it was right when I ran by my super amazing support crew family (and a special support bonus in The Captain, his wife, and their son).  My official finish time ended up being 3:05:23.

So no, I did not complete my goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon.  However, I still had a great race!  I set a new marathon PR by over 5 minutes!  And, my time was good enough for 9th place overall (8th male), and 2nd in my AG!  There's not really a whole lot that I can complain about.

The good news?  I have another shot this weekend!  The major question is whether or not I have been able to recover enough in 13 days to put forth another all-out effort for 26.2 miles.  Only time will tell!

Monday, February 25, 2013

No more Team Marathon Bar

Over the past 3 years I have been very fortunate to be on an team.  There are a few such teams, and I am very glad that I was chosen for Team Marathon Bar.  Throughout my time on the team, I was able to talk with a lot of people about racing and training nutrition.  This not only helped me spread the word about Marathon Bars, but it helped me learn what other people do and are successful with when it comes to nutrition.

Unfortunately, I was informed that there will no longer be a Team Marathon Bar.  Marathon Bar was the title sponsor of the Rock n Roll series, and they were using our team to help promote the brand at the races.  But since Marathon Bar is no longer the title sponsor, they did not have a need for a team.  I'm really going to miss being on this team and representing this brand, and I actually do like the bars!  The funny thing is, I think my wife is going to miss it more because the team clothing they gave us to race in was very easy to spot!

So for this season, I am hoping to get onto another team through ActiveAmbassadors, or any other teams for that matter.  But I hope it happens soon as I've already done one of my races this year, and another one is this weekend!  Time is running out!  Aaaaaaaahhhhhhhh!

And I just wanted to say THANK YOU to Team Marathon Bar and ActiveAmbassadors for the amazing time that I've had these last 3 years!

Oh, and happy birthday to my buddy Cody!  Here's a little 311 love for you!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

I've returned!

No, I didn't actually go anywhere.  I just got lazy!  And not in the sense that I stopped working out.  Hopefully that is never a problem.  More in the sense that life has been pretty busy and something needed to be put on hold...which ended up being my super informative blog!  Ha!  And I know you were all sitting on the edge of your seats, checking your email multiple times a day and refreshing my homepage once an hour hoping for an update, only to be disappointed.  And for that, I am sorry.  Hopefully after reading this little update, you will be able to get a decent night of sleep!  In all reality, I live with my only reader, so she is pretty up to date on the athlete side of my life...doh!

I believe that the last time I posted an update, I mentioned something about trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon again.  Well, I had my first race of the season, which was to be my first attempt at qualifying, on Feb. 17th at the Arizona Marathon.  The results of that race will be coming to your computer screen in another couple days, in the form of a race report.  Just be warned, it's a nail biter!

In other news, I am very fortunate to have a few dealings in the works on the sponsorship end.  No, I'm not talking about getting paid like a professional, but more along the lines of what I did with Team Marathon Bar for the last 3 seasons.  Again, that info will be coming soon.  In fact, maybe I'll start treating you to some inside information starting tomorrow morning....

And with that, my first update in what seems like forever is done!  I was really just letting all of you know that I have not yet died, and that I will have some exciting posts coming up!  So grab some coffee and just keep hitting that refresh button until those updates show up (which will be tomorrow morning, I promise).