Saturday, November 28, 2009

Kennesaw Mountain Trail Run

I got off work early on Wednesday and headed to Atlanta to celebrate Thanksgiving. Traffic was suprisingly light and I managed to make the trip in less than four hours. I have been looking forward to this little weekend getaway for quite some time....

Woke up at a decent hour Thursday and got in a nice 5 mile run to get the body ready for Thanksgiving. The great thing about running up in Atlanta is that I get a chance to hit some hills; we have nothing that resembles hills in Savannah unless I tackle the bridge. I really enjoy getting hill work. I knew I also needed to get a 10 mile long run in while I was here because back in North Cackalacky CJ was going to be telling his extended family and really anyone who would listen, that he was going to to be traveling to Tybee Island, Georgia in the spring to test his manhood at the Duel in the Dunes. Of course, what he wouldn't be telling them is how I am going to run him into the ground and make him cry in front of his family....but that is for another day.

After heading to the Big Peach to pick up some GU and see if there were any "Black Friday" sales, I decided I would turn my 10 miler into a trail run on Kennesaw Mountain....

This is where this "Low-Country" boy may have gone wrong...
Much like the decision I made to run the Equinox Marathon in Alaska, this plan was not very well thought out. Let's see, 10 miles is the furthest I have run since completing my marathon in September. Oh, and this trail run will take place on a mountain that climbs 800ft of elevation in the first mile and a half.

Bring on the pain!
After peaking Kennesaw in the first mile and a half, the trail decends on some switchbacks for another mile or so. Then the climb up "Little Kennesaw" which was equally grueling, just not as long of a climb. Decending down was fun and then there was another climb up to Pigeon Hill. This was a much more gradual climb making for a little less effort.

Continuing onto Cheatham Hill I hit the five mileish point (map says 5.4)popped a GU and prepared for the return back. Seeing as this was a training run that was supposed to be my slow, long run for the week, I was never concerned about pace and walked up the steepest parts of the climbs. I stopped to take pictures often and enjoyed my 2 1/2 hour trek through Civil War history. I hope you enjoy some of the pictures I took.

My running buddies~Chloe & Jada~ slept in...

Saturday, November 21, 2009

St. James Turkey Trot

Cubbie called me up and said, "The shirts are really cool for the turkey trot this year, we should do it." Hmmmm, long sleeve tech shirt...why not.

So we went to the school and signed up. I went online and looked at last year's results. There were about 250 runners and not too many people in my 35-39 age group. Hmmm, maybe I will run a PR and come away with a little hardware?

I have had a pretty tough two weeks of training, I have been walking around feeling sore and creaky for the last few days. I didn't want to get my hopes up but I felt like I could have a good showing, pull off a 25:30, 25:00 pie in the sky time. My current PR is 25:54 so anything under that is sucess right?

I woke up this morning and the weather was perfect. 55 degrees and slightly foggy. I like running in these conditions. After taking Jada out for the morning walk, I headed to the Isle of Hope. The parking lot had an atmosphere of quiet excitement. Seeing as this race was sponsored by a school; there were a lot of young runners.

After warming up and listening to the race director's instructions, we were off. Cubbie's goal was to stick with me and my goal was to run 8:10 splits.

1st mile~8:13. I labored to get to that number and was not sure 25:00 was going to be in reach. I began to examine my training routine and was trying to figure out were I needed to improve in order to break that 8 minute barrier.

Enough negative thoughts, focus on the run at hand!!! "Fast, Fluid, Form!"

2nd mile~16:43. When I ran the Heart of Savannah 5K at the beginning of October I hit the 2 mile mark at 16:44, so I was running an equal pace to my current PR. Just don't fade...

At about 2 1/2 miles in I looked at Cubbie and said, "4 good minutes, let's go!" We pushed and she held on as best she could. We came into the last turn and a couple of my buddies, having already finished, were on the corner cheering.

I could see the clock, time was ticking. Come on, pass this last runner before the line....


PR by two seconds.

Why am I disappointed?

Have I not worked harder than this time suggests?

Have I worked hard enough to think that I should be crushing PR's?

Why did it seem so easy to run faster than this ten years ago?

Where am I going with my training?

Okay, so I think I am being a little hard on myself.

I hang around to see the awards being handed out, secretly hoping to hear my name. I am sure that they will announce Cubbie's name.

2nd place male 35-39...Thomas Armbruster.
Hey, that's me?!?1!

Cubbie~3rd place female ??-?? (not sure Cubbbie would like me to give away her age.)

My buddy David ran 18 and change and finished 2nd in the 40-44 AG. I guess my AG is a little easier this time around.

So....The question at hand is, "Where am I going with my running?"

My A race is the Tybee Half Marathon. Everything I am doing is leading up to that. I am doing speed work. I am doing long runs. I am running 5 days a week. Maybe I ran a really good race today and as I progress, time will be harder to cut.

I keep comparing myself to what I was able to run 10 years ago before I stopped running. I have been back at this for 16 months and I have seen great progress. For today, I am a winner. Tomorrow? 8 mile run on the bridge.

One foot in front of the other, one step at a time.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Running here and there...

79 days until The Duel and the training is coming along nicely. I have been following a 5 day a week training schedule which includes one speed workout, a long run and three mid runs.

Last weeks speed workout was at the local track. We warmed up with and easy 10 minute jog and then did some stretching and strides....then onto the pain....

Holy Sh!Tball's dude!!!

Crackhead says, "We are doing K repeats, we will do 4 at slightly faster than 5k pace and then 2 x400 to finish. Walk the 1/2 lap back to recover in between K's"

I'm all like, "meh, that's not even three miles...I got this....I wish I was at a titty bar with some old frat buddies right now..."

I decide on 5 minutes as my goal for my K repeats (8:00 min/mile pace) and off I go.

First 200m ~"this is cake"
400m~ "hmmm, little bit o' pain here..."
800m~ "Are you frickin kidding, I still have another 200m??!1!"
1K~ 4:56 "Good god man, there is no way I am gonna survive 3 more of these."

I knocked out the next two at 5:02 and 5:05. The last 200m of each K were absolute murder. MURDER I say!

Crackhead ran the last 500m of my final K with me and I needed his pacing to come in at 5:05. I was comfortable with 1:55 for my two remaining 400's and just like that track workout was over.

Here's the deal. The pain stopped as soon as I did. I know that it won't hurt after I stop running but it hurts some much when I am in it. (Yes, I said it...)

So I tried a little something different with last night's track workout.
We were doing 8x400 with 1:30 walk breaks. My goal pace was 1:50(which I hit 6 out of 8) I told myself to be prepared to suffer. Embrace the pain (wtf was I thinking)
It still hurt but it hurts so good. (that's two for you G)

My weekly long runs have been 8 miles on the Savannah River Bridge Run route. The Double Pump race is two weeks away and I am starting to become comfortable on this bridge. (If that is even possible)

Good luck to those racing this weekend, prepare to suffer.
One foot in front of the other, one step at a time.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Happy Veterans Day

Happy Veterans Day Dad, to you and to all of your compatriots.

He will return from Afghanistan in 17 days. This will complete his third, year long, deployment in the last eight years. I am forever grateful for the sacrifices he has made. Countless "firsts" that he missed. Days, weeks, months, that he spent away from his family. I grew up on an Army post; I have spent countless hours, days, months around the soldiers willing to put their lives on the line to give us the freedoms we so often take for granted. All of my childhood friends grew up in this same atmosphere and we all share this same bond.

I went to college on a ROTC scholarship; several of my classmates are still serving in the Army; some at Ft. Hood. One in partcular that was in the bulding where the shooting took place last week. I am deeply sadden when any soldier makes the ultimate sacrifice, even more so when it happens stateside.

Take time to reflect. Take time to say thanks. Take time to enjoy your freedoms. I know I will when I am running freely in the streets.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Hilton Head Bridge Run Recap

Or.....PR's all around!!!!!

Usually I like to jump right into the recap, but lets talk about how Cubbie creeped me out this morning first.

The alarm went off at 5:30am, however I had been woken up ten minutes before by my roommate's friends, who were just going to bed...Like two ships passing in the sea, I was beginning my day as their evening was winding down.

A long story, perhaps for another day.

I put on my running gear, threw on my wind pants and got ready to walk Jada before I left. Roomie was asleep on the couch ( his friends were sleeping in his bed). Much to my great joy, Jada instantly ran over to roomie and began licking his face, waking him up! Pay back buddy! "Where are you going this early?" I am racing in Hilton Head today. "Oh, good luck!" I walked Jada and returned to the house, running up stairs to "drop the kids off at the pool" before I left the house.

Quietly coming back downstairs trying to not disturb my roomie, I didn't turn on the lights. Right before I got to my front door I was startled by this person sitting in the chair next to the couch. "What the fu...? Cubbie? Why are you sitting in the dark? More importantly, how did you get in the house?" Great way to start the morning...

We get to the race course and get settled. 15 minutes before race time Cubbie has to go to the bathroom. The line was a country mile....I told her I was gonna loosen up for 5 minutes and would meet her back by the blue tent. I get back and can't find her. "She must have gone over to the start" Nope, not there either. Crap, I can't go without her...

As the starter's pistol goes off, I see Cubbie hauling butt around the corner from the can and we are off!!!

This is a small local race with a small field, split between the 5K/10K. I have no trouble weaving in and out of runners and quickly get into a nice grove. I look over my shoulder and Cubbie is 10 paces back. I hit the 1 mile mark at 8:34 and feel like it is a good pace; I was hoping for a 54:00 time today, so I needed to run 8:41.

Second mile at 17:09. Holding comfortable, pasing a few runners here and there. Here comes the bridge and the 5K turn around. Halfway up the bridge I was wishing I was only doing the 5K as I see runners turning around. In my mind I knew for me only doing the 5K would be taking the easy way out. I have ahalf-mary beat down to deliver to CJ in February!

Three mile mark at 26 and change, I lost about 1o seconds on the bridge but was not terribly worried. "I can make this up on the last mile!"

Then the wheels started coming off...Did I go out too fast? Am I not really built to be a runner? Hey, look at that fat guy leaning up against the wall drinking coffee, smoking a cig, that should be me...

As we ran through mile four, it was a sweeping wide left turn on the off ramp from the bridge. We. Kept. Turning. Runners were coming back but I could not see the turn around. Where is the frickin turn around? Who designed this course! Arrrgggh, I hate running, why does it hurt? Finally, the turn around! Where's Cubbie, she should be close. Oh, good, there she is...okay, put on a big face, don't let them see the pain...

"Fast, Fluid, Form" That is the mantra the Crackhead gave me...I kept repeating it as I was energize by seeing all of the runners behind me approaching the turn. Ahead I saw the five mile marker at the foot of the bridge.

I hit the five mile mark at 44:10 and knew I needed to really drop this last 1.2 miles to get in under 54. "Who put this bridge here? What? You know, the 5Ker's got to turn around before they even got to the top of the bridge and I have to go over it twice? Man, the Double Pump is gonna blow next month with three trips over a real bridge..."

As soon I crested the bridge I knew I was home free, it was time to really drop it with only a 1/2 mile remaining. While repeating my mantra, "Fast, Fluid, Form" I scanned ten runners ahead and found my victim. His shoulders were dropped, his head wobbley, I knew I could take him. I used the decline of the bridge to catch my breath and waited for the "rise" of the flat coming off of the bridge to greet me. As I pushed I could hear the sound of footsteps behind me. Let's give a ten second surge and drop this guy. Hmmm, still there...okay, take thirty seonds and then we will push again. When I pushed the second time I actually heard him say, "Oh, shit!" But, he was still there! What the hell? With less than 1/4 mile I looked over my shoulder at him and said, "Come on man, let's go!" At this point we flew by my "victim" from earlier, and turned the final corner to the finishing straight. With my newfound friend right on my right shoulder I saw the clock read 54:10. Damn, there goes 54, lets not lose sight of 55! Final surge into the chute...


New PR.

By almost 8 minutes!

I immediatly looped back to get Cubbie in,I made it to the corner and there she was, trucking!

I cheered loudly and watched her cross at 55:45. New PR for her as well. Almost three minutes off of her old PR!

What a great race.

Overall time 54:39/8:47 pace.

I look forward to reading full recaps from the B2Ber's and Florida Ironman....

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Last Minute Addition... the race schedule.

18th Annual Hilton Head Bridge Run

I wasn't going to run this race but Cubbie talked me into it and, well, who doesn't like a free race? This will be like the anti-bridge, bridge run. Starts out with a flat two miles, then up onto a small rising bridge for another mile. Back down and around to finish a sort of out and back course.

I am looking forward to getting out there and testing the legs at this distance. My training runs over the last 2-3 weeks have been 3-5 miles at a mid 8 pace with a couple of 7 milers sprinkled in there. This race will go a long way to helping me determine my pacing for the Savannah Bridge Run 15K in December and The Duel in the Dunes.

Sitting here today I am calling for a 55 minute 10K so hopefully when I post the race recap I will not have to stamp it with a FAIL...

In other running related news...

I was out for my five miler last night and I was halfway through the run when I got to the park. Forsyth Park is is a hot spot for runners and walkers alike, it is usually busy no matter what time I am there. I have noticed a lot of people with their dogs lately and have had several near run-in's with absent minded dog owners. You know these types; iPod rocking, dog all the way out on the leash, taking up the whole path. I don't run with my dog because she is too much of a spaz and wants to eat all of the birds and squirrels. So, I can't understand the people who don't keep their beloved Fido close by and respect the other people using the path. Not everybody loves your 95 pound dog that is barreling down the path towards you. Oh, and the ankle biter's that think they are St. Bernard's, shorten their leashes too!

Sorry, didn't mean to rant but share the road buddy!!!

Good Luck to all the racers this weekend, especially those taking on B2B. CJ, good luck getting Jenny home; we are in double digit days until Tybee...One foot in front of the other; one step at a time.