Saturday, April 28, 2012

My first half marathon!

After worrying about it for the last month or so, race day came around with perfect weather and everything went super smoothly!

We stayed in a hotel downtown within walking distance from the starting line and woke up and walked the 1/2 mile or so and were at the starting line about 30 minutes early.  It rained overnight but cleared up and the temperature was in the low 50's with a light east wind.

There were TONS of people!!!  The race was capped at 18,000 entrants and hit the max a week or so before the race.  The biggest race I'd ever run in before was around 300 people so it was amazing to see all the people.

Here's my view of the starting line.
Here's the view behind me at the starting line.  It looked to me that the crowd stretched on for about a half mile.
The gun went off and we crossed the starting line about 5 minutes later.  I had located the 4:00 pace group for the marathon and my plan was to try to hang with them for the first 8 miles until the marathon split off, but I ended up getting about 400 yards behind them by the time the runners stretched out getting started.  I was wearing my heart rate monitor and wearing my bluetooth headset in one ear, but I just had it set to give me my audio cues on pace and heart rate, I wasn't listening to any music.  I got a little concerned when I started out, because the audio didn't start out working, but it worked at the first 1/2 mile mark.  I was right on a 9:10 pace so that seemed perfect where I wanted to be.  I wasn't making much progress on catching up to the pace group though so I tried to pick it up just a little.  The 1 mile mark rolled around and my audio cue matched up just right with the mile marker and I was starting to catch up to the pace group.  My split for the first mile was 9:05 and my heart rate was at 164 which was a little higher than I expected so soon, but nothing terrible yet.

I kept after the pace group and caught them somewhere in the next 1/2 mile or so.  My 2 mile split was a little fast catching up to the group at 8:41, heart rate was up to 168, not bad but I was hoping it wouldn't keep climbing that fast.  I hung with the pace group pretty much for the next 6 miles.  They must have been planning on running a little faster than the 9:09 that would get them in at 4:00 on the dot because the splits ran closer to 9:00.  Mile 3 was a 8:54 split and my heart rate was up to 170.  A little higher than I was hoping this early, but I was hanging with the pace group though and didn't want to slow up.  Mile 4 split was a 9:06 and my heart rate actually dropped down to 167 so that was pretty encouraging.  Mile 5 was another 8:54 split and my heart rate was still dropping down to 164 at the end of mile 5.  I was feeling really good and the miles were flying by.  Some clouds had rolled in and the already perfect weather even got better.

I'm still not sure what happened on Mile 6.  My pace blew up to 9:25 for that split, but my heart rate was still dropping, down to 163 at the end of mile 6.  We ran through a park there with some turns, but no idea on the pace.  I think I had a crowded water stop in there, but I don't really remember.  Mile 6 was where I stopped to walk for the first time in my 15K race two weeks ago with my heart rate pegged up in the 180's and I was running faster today and my heart rate was over 15 beats lower this time!  Mile 7 split was back down to an 8:53 and my heart rate was back up to 167 which was pretty good for this far into the race.  I was expecting it to be in the low 170's for sure by this time.  Mile 8 went through Churchill Downs which was neat, but the pack was till pretty crowded at this point and there were several narrow spots that really tightened things up.  My split for mile 8 was an 8:49 and my heart rate was back to 170.  I pulled my phone out and took a picture as we ran through in front of the grand stands, but didn't take any pictures of the horses working out on the track.
After Churchill Downs the marathoners split off and my pace group went with them.  I was feeling really good and my overall pace was still under 9:00 so I decided to just try to keep that going for a while and see where it got me.  Mile 9 split was 8:55 and my heart rate was up to 173.  Still not bad at all.  Mile 10 split was 8:47 and my heart rate finally got into the upper 170's with a 177 at the end of mile 10.  I was still feeling pretty good and just had a 5K left to go so I decided to see if I could pick it up just a little bit.  Mile 11 split was 8:28 and my heart rate finally hit 180.  On my 15K race two weeks earlier it had hit 180 within the first 2 miles!  Amazing what some tapering and some cool weather can do!  I tried to keep that pace and Mile 12 split was 8:24, my heart rate was climbing a bit now, hitting 186 by the end of mile 12.  The crowd was really great the last mile or so (they had been really good the whole way though) and I started passing people like crazy.  I was feeling really good, but knew I still had plenty left in the tank.  I wasn't really paying attention to my splits or time by this time, I was way ahead of my goal by then and just wanting to give it my best shot for the last 1.1 miles.  I was shocked after the race looking at my splits to find out that Mile 13's split was 7:43!  I don't know if I've run a mile in 7:43 anytime in the last 10 years or more.  My heart rate at the end of mile 13 was 187 so I guess I was putting out the effort by this time anyway.  The split on my phone shows 8:08 for the last .1 miles, but I forgot to stop my phone when I crossed the finish line and my phone showed 12 seconds more than the timing chip for my overall time.  My heart rate was 190 at the finish which is right at my max.  My phone also showed 13.23 miles instead of 13.1 miles, but if you do the math based on my official time of 1:55:43 for 13.1 miles that comes out to an average pace of 8:50 which is WAY better than I was hoping for.

Did I mention that the weather was AWESOME!  I still ended up getting plenty warm and dumped water over my head at 3 of the last 4 water stops.  I went through most of the water stops and drank powerade at 3 of the stops as well.  The course seemed pretty flat to me, but my phone showed 579' of total elevation gain over the entire course, which was more than I would have expected.

I think this turned out to be a perfect first half marathon for me.  The crowd was great, plenty of runners but not too many, weather was PERFECT, course was pretty easy, everything was great.  My wife started with me, but she hurt her leg playing volleyball a month or so ago and was just getting back up to speed so she only ran about the first couple hundred yards with me before slowing down.  She ran a 2:10:15 which was pretty good for as little as she has been able to run the last month.

The race seemed very well organized to me as a first timer and everything went super smooth.  I felt great at the finish and feel like I probably left something out there in the middle of the race.  My avg heart rate was 169 which is lower than some of my training runs.  Did I mention that the weather was PERFECT?

Today was my wife Cathy's birthday and she said the best present she's had in a long time was seeing the smile on my face when I told her that I had made my time.  Kinda hokey, but that's what she said.  She's been running marathons and half marathons for over 15 years so she's excited that I was running my first with her.  Here's a picture of Cathy and I after the finish. 
Here we are in our finisher shirts after we cleaned up some.
I'm sure I've missed some of the details, but I had a great race and it was a great day.  Hopefully it will be the first of many.   I finished 2,540 out of 12,104 overall, 1,751 out of 5,165 males and 264 out of 745 in my age group. 

That's it for now.  Nathan

Monday, April 16, 2012

Race for the Arts

Saturday was race day for Eli and I.  He ran in his first kids fun run and I ran in a 15K (9.3 miles) as a final tune up for my half marathon coming up in a couple weeks now.

Eli was pretty excited for his first race.  We had run/walked a mile at the house a couple times over the last couple weeks and he was ready to go.

He got to meet Raider Red before the race started.
There were 90 kids that ran in the kids fun run, but at least half of them had parents running with them so there was quite a crowd at the start.
And their off!  It was an all out sprint at the start.  Eli got caught up in the excitement and took off and left Cathy in the dust!  He was SO excited, he was just beaming!
After the fast start things slowed down quite a bit.  Eli would run a while then walk a while but he still had enough energy to come up with his own obstacle course on the route.
The excitement was back to a fever pitch at the finish and he managed to sprint in the last few yards.
There was quite a crowd cheering them on.
All the kids that finished got a medal.  He was pretty pumped.
Not sure anyone wants to see any pictures of me after all those pictures of such a cute kid, but Cathy took some pictures of me running my race as well.  They started the 2 mile and 15K together so there was almost 300 runners at the start.  I started at the back of the pack with the other slow movers.
Running on the brick streets down Broadway.

Here's me at about the 5 mile mark.  About half those women behind me in this picture ended up passing me when I blew up at the 6 mile mark.
Almost there!  Eli cheering me on at the 9 mile mark!
And the finish.  I ended up coming in about 4 minutes slower than I was hoping for. 

Lots of lessons learned and it was a pretty warm morning and the 20-25mph winds didn't help a whole lot.  Hopefully I'll be able to get closer to my goal coming up in a couple weeks at the half marathon.

Eli and I both ended up getting medals!  I'm sure glad the West Texas Running club has a Clydesdale (AKA Fat Boy) division so I actually have a chance of competing.  If I had to run against all the skinny little guys in my age division I wouldn't stand a chance!
If anyone is intersted in the specifics I think I have set up that activity as a publicly viewable page on my runkeeper program.  It shows my pace each mile, heart rate, map, and other fun stuff.

That's it for now.  I'm hoping for cooler weather for my half marathon, that's for sure!


Monday, April 9, 2012

2010 Elk back from the Taxidermist.

Well it's been a little longer than I expected, but I think it was worth the wait.  I got my elk that I shot in New Mexico in 2010 back from the taxidermist this week.

Here's what it looked like coming home, having it fill up the entire bed of our short bed pickup really helps you realize how big it is.  I got a lot of strange looks and a few thumbs up on the drive home.

When I had it mounted I picked out this specific form and the angle that I wanted him turned to show off his left side that is a little better than his right.  He has a neat hole in his left G4 and his left G5 is a few inches longer than his right side and his right G3 has a few inches busted off.  I was planning on putting him in the center of the house, but once we got him home we decided to see how he looked over in the corner where my European elk mount had been.  It was a pretty simple matter to try it there since there was already a lag bolt in the wall.  The problem was that once we got him up, we decided that he looked really good there. 
When it is all said and done I think we are going to leave him there for now.  His still looks pretty impressive to me even with his weaker side showing and he seems to "fit" there in the corner.  His fronts are probably his best feature and they show real well like that.

Here's a different angle showing the form that I had him mounted on.  It's a wall pedestal form and I think it seems to make him more life like than the standard form flat against the wall.  The part of the form that is showing is covered in a brown suede leather.
Another angle.  His left side ends up almost against the wall so you can't see the hole in his G4 unless you get all the way against the wall and look.  We may still end up moving him a little farther to the left so you can see his left side a little better.
I've struggled to get decent pictures of it with the windows on both sides messing up the exposure on the camera and the flash overpowering it in the evening up close, but not enough farther away.  I did get a couple pictures of it with my mule deer mount in the same picture, but the window ends up messing up the exposure some.  He makes my 180" mule deer look kind of puny!
Here's another picture of them together.  From this angle you get a much better feel for how small the deer looks next to the elk.  Our dining room table sits right in front of the elk.  You can see the back of one of the chairs right in the center of the picture.
The original intent was to put the elk where the deer sits now and move the deer to the left of the fireplace that you can barely see all the way to the left of the picture.  I didn't realize how high up the elk's antlers would go (the base of the big beam above the deer is at 9') and if I put the elk there his antlers are going to straddle the beam which would look odd I think.  The other option is to move him to the left some, but that would put him in the way more as even as high as he is his nose is still around 6' off the ground and if you aren't watching you could hit your head if you are tall enough. 

Oh well, I'm very happy with how it turned out.  I really like that form that it is mounted on and I think it looks great.

Going to take a little getting used to having such a huge animal hanging out with us at dinner though!

That's it for now.  Nathan

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Longest run of my life!

The title pretty much sums it up!  I started out this morning at 7:30 and kept running until 10:20!  2 hours and 50 minutes.  It was supposed to be a 14.6 mile run, but I missed a turn in there somewhere and ended up running an extra mile or so and finished the morning with 15.91 miles under my belt.

Pretty morning, Overcast and about 55 and calm when I started out and upper 60's and 10 mph wind out of the west when I finished.  Let my heart rate get up a little higher than I wanted with a 153 average and my pace wasn't quite what I wanted at 10:42 per mile, but I was trying not to overdo it since I missed the turn and added the extra mileage in there.

Cathy and Eli came out and cheered me on and took a couple pictures for me.  I'm not breaking any land speed records, but I'm building a pretty good base anyway.

Here I am at mile 12ish.  Out of the 15.91 miles, about 11 of them were on unpaved county roads like this.  I think it is less wear and tear on me than pavement.  The funny looking socks are compression socks.  The theory is that it helps with blood circulation and recovery. Not sure if they work or not but they can't hurt.  I'm wearing a mesh hydration pack to keep me hydrated while I run instead of trying to set water out on the route.  The best part about it is the brand name, "Nathan". 
I planned my run for the last 2 miles to be downhill back into the canyon.  I discovered this spot on accident back in college and when we decided we would put down roots in the Lubbock area on a permanent basis started looking for land out in this area.  This tunnel of trees is a pretty rare sight in Lubbock, Texas.  It's pretty neat to be able to run through them.
Coming out of the tunnel, around mile 15 which was already farther than I'd ever run before.  I actually felt really good at this point and picked up my pace for the last mile back to the truck.
Still working at losing weight.  Broke the 220 mark over the last couple weeks and am closing in on 215.  It sure helps when you are burning the calories that I've been on my runs.  According to Runkeeper I burned 2,853 calories on this mornings run, that's almost a pound of fat burned!

I haven't been running around the rest of the day doing jumping jacks or anything, but I haven't been laying around miserable either.  We took Eli to Home Depot to build a bird feeder and spent time together as a family. 

Oh well, that's it for now.  Happy Easter tomorrow!  Nathan

Friday, April 6, 2012

Long time, no post...

Well, it's a good thing I really don't have any folks that "follow" my blog, because if they did, they would have really been missing out the last few months.  I've had a lot going on and have added a lot of running into my schedule so my extra time is getting less and less.

I'm up to 356 miles running so far in 2012 which is already more than I ended up for the entire year of 2011.  I've got a running log keeping track of all the statistics and so for I've run for 61 hours and 38 minutes in 2012 which comes out to an average pace of 10:23 per mile for the year.  I'm going to run a half marathon at the end of the month and I set a goal of running it in under 2 hours and I'm not sure if I'm going to make that or not.  It for sure isn't going to be easy if I do.

We just got a new puppy and I'll be trying to spend some time with her as well to train her to be a retriever.  Her name is Layla and so far it seems that she is going to be a good fit for our family.
Just a quick post to try to get back in the hang of things.  Work is starting to slow down so I might be able to get some more stuff posted soon.  I'll probably start posting more on my running now and maybe some of the ups and downs on training a puppy as well.  The results for all the hunting applications will start to trickle in before too long so I'll try to keep up on that as well.

Maybe I'll get my blog resurrected too.