Saturday, November 29, 2014

Northern Central Trail Marathon - Quest to be a Marathon Maniac

Northern Central Trail Marathon - Gunpowder State Park (Sparks, MD):

A few weeks ago, I ran the Richmond Marathon down in Richmond, VA and had a blast with the whole family.  I ran a surprising 3:54 with limited training even though my PR was 3:49.  However, I was just happy to make it the whole way uninjured.  After I finished that race, Heather said why don't you try to get "Maniac" and run another race within 16 days to qualify!  I said, well my knees are sore as shit and I have on avg, 25 miles a week running the past 7-8 weeks.  The competitor in me said, WTF, why not.  It would salvage a year destroyed by injuries although I was risking more injury if I did this.  I knew it wasn't smart, but I signed up anyway a few days after Richmond.  So the entire week after Richmond, I iced the knees and lightly stretched until Wednesday.  Here was my schedule the week after Richmond:
  • Monday:  Rest/Ice
  • Tuesday:  Rest/Ice
  • Wednesday:  Bike 10 minutes (yea, knees still sore)
  • Thursday:  Bike 20 minutes
  • Firday:  Bike 30 minutes (knee bothering me pretty good)
  • Saturday:  Bike 45 minutes, knee feeling better
  • Sunday:  Bike 45 minutes, probably should of taken off today.
Umm, yea, not alot of running :) So that was the week after Richmond.  I didn't have quite the training base I usually have going into race b/c of injuries so I was working with what I had.  The next week leading up to the race was the following:
  •  Monday:  Ran 3.2 miles at a 9:58 pace (wow, was that painful however I think it was breaking up the scar tissue from the previous marathon).
  • Tuesday:  Rest/Ice
  • Wednesday:  Spinning bike for 30 minutes (felt like I was coming down with a cold)
  • Thursday:  Bike for 11 minutes
  • Friday:  Drove up to Sparks, MD for the race and rested.
Yea, 3.2 miles in 2 weeks, not exactly feeling good about this race.  Plus, I felt like I was getting a fever and some sort of cough.  People at work were hacking and coughing all week, I wasn't training well, my knees hurt, I felt like I was getting sick - THIS WAS GOING TO BE A TRAIN WRECK! and this is how I felt:
What was I thinking running two marathons in two weeks?

That said, GAME ON!

Friday (November 28th, 2014)
The Running Duricks drove up to Timonium, MD and packet pickup was at Charm City Run.  Here is a snap of me with my #104 bib:

The people there were nice and because this was the 25th running of the Northern Central Rail Trail marathon, they were giving out a nice jacket.  I actually really like the jacket alot and it fits, bonus.  So we head over to Jersey Mikes which is pretty close by to the packet pickup.  Seemed to work for the Richmond Marathon so why not.  After that we checked in and Heather left me in the room to rest while she "scouted" out spectator spots along the trail.  She and the kids did one hell of a job meeting me along the course which I really appreciated.  After they got back, we chilled then headed down the road to this place called Serpico's Pizza and Pasta.  We loved it and definitely recommend it for some pasta before the race.  It's only a few miles from the Residence Inn in Timonium, MD so you can't beat the location, and the food was great.  Then, off to the hotel where I laid out my flat daddy and got ready for the race the next day.

Saturday (November 29th, 2014)

Wake up came at 5:00 am for a 8:30am race, yea, I like to get up early and get the bowels moving so that I am feeling fresh for the race.  Something I must add, I had been feeling pretty stressed all week about this race.  I had no idea how my legs would react to running a marathon two weeks before, running only 3.2 miles in two weeks, and resting the other 13 days.  I am one of these people who trains more coming into a race so that my mental state is there even if I have more miles on my legs.  So needless to say, I was more stressed than usual even though this was my 9th marathon or longer distance race.  So we head over to Sparks Elementary School around 7:00am.  Because of the parking situation, you could not park there but as we eventually found out, by the end of the race people had parked their cars in the parking lot.  So for people contemplating running the NCR Marathon, you could probably get away with not using the shuttle and parking at the school.  However, they discourage it on the website and don't want people to do this but I didn't see any cars getting towed so you would probably be ok.  While at the school, the cafeteria was bustling with people, and they had section where you could drop your bags if you needed it.  Here is a shot of me and the boys hanging out before I went outside for the marathon:

That's a fake smile you see me with!

I didn't need to drop a bag as my family was there, and they just parked up at the top of the road and walked down to the school after they dropped me off.


The marathon and half marathon relay started at the same time which was 8:30am and the 8k started at 8:45.  I am not a big fan of relays.  I understand why they have them but just think it takes away from the overall marathoning experience.  Although the Baltimore Road Runners Club did a great job with the event, they could eliminate the relay event altogether and still have a great race.  So around 8:20, I entered the 29F temps and walked up to the top of the hill where the starting pad was.  My left knee was "not feeling it dog" and was thinking, are you kidding me, how the hell am I going to make it 26.2 miles on this shit.  So the gun went off at 8:31am and the course takes you about 1.5 miles down Belfast road onto York Road, then onto the trail.  The first 1.5 miles were downhill and I mean a good downhill.  What does the mean, it means that the last 2 miles of the race are going to be "DEATH" b/c it will be coming uphill.  So as I start, the left knee is aching and am thinking wow, can I really go this far.  I told myself, it will loosen up, it will loosen up, just get to the trail where it will be softer on your legs.  As we hit the trail, the left knee is still bugging but starting to feel about 20% better.  I first saw Heather and the boys at mile 5, and it was feeling much better by then.  The best part about my left knee was the fact that my right knee was aching a tad too b/c it took my mind off of the left knee.  As many who run with aches and pains, sometimes when you run, something will start to ache or hurt but if you run long enough, something else will take the place of that pain.  Obviously, knowing your body is important here as running through extreme pain is not a good idea but certain things you learn to run through and that's ok.  When I ran the Oil Creek 100k in October 2013, I rolled my ankle at mile 3, mile fucking 3 and said, holy shit JD how the hell are you going to run 59 more miles on a rolled ankle.  When it didn't swell and just ached I knew if I made it to mile 14, I would stop and take a look at it.  Eventually, the pain went away and was fine so certain things you can deal with, others you can't.  Back to the marathon, the trail apparently has an upward grade until the 13.1 mile marker but I couldn't tell.  It was mainly flat and fast for those who were killing the course.  Me, I was keeping a steady 9:30 ish pace.  The first 5k had me coming in at a 9:12/mile pace which I was happy with.  Given the goal here was to finish in 5 hours b/c this was my second in two weeks, my plan was to bank time until the half point, then reassess and possibly drop to 10's as long as I could, then run walk if it warranted it.  So the 10 mile mark had me coming in with a time of 1:33:52 and pace of 9:23/mile.  So so but wanted to get to the half marathon before I could semi-relax.  It was at this point that I started to fade a tad and it was getting pretty cold.  We ran by some small rivers and I could feel the temps drop.  I hit the half way mark, 13.1 at 2:04:07 with a 9:28 pace/mile.  NCR had you run past the 13.1 mark and go another .25 miles before you turned around.  Because the relayers, it was all bunched up at the half point and it would of been a mess to have marathoners turn around and relayers start there so they had you turn around further up the trail.  Good idea but again, I don't like relay races for this reason.  That said, they had oreo cookies at this point and I grabbed two and a gatorade which gave me some energy.  Here is a pic of me coming in at mile 15:
Coming in at mile 15 with Nic on my left!

The next goal I had was make it to 17 which in my mind was only 3 miles from 20.  When you are tired and hurting, you play mental games with yourself and trick your body into doing small chunks so this was me attempting to run to various points of the course.  I hit mile 17 at 2:44:24 with a 9:40 pace so I was extremely happy to still be in the 9's at this point.  Here is a shot of me heading in to mile 18:

Next goal was mile 20!  I saw Heather and the boys at 18 which gave me a pep in my step plus I was going to see them again at mile 21.5.  I reached mile 20 at 3:15:54 with a pace of 9:54 pace/mile.  At this point in the race, math wasn't really working but I knew that my 20 miler at Richmond was 2:53:02 so being 22 minutes off that with only a 10k to go, I will take it.  However, I was starting to die and die quick.  This wall was like no other - even on this pancake course, I just couldn't do it anymore.  The last 6.2 miles, I would average a 12:15 pace which was sickening but I was pretty much done at 20.  I saw Heather and the boys and 21.5 and they knew I was hurting pretty bad.  Here is a shot of me leaving 21.5 onto 22.  I was actually craving sugar real bad and could tell my fueling for cold weather races (long distances) was still not working.  Summer, I seem to have things down ok but cold weather, I have no clue.  It didn't help I was working with a limited running base too.
Heather got a shot of me leaving 21.5 - the pace fell apart and I was entering the hurt locker :)

They jogged in with me to the aid station and one of the guys asked me if I was ok and I said yea, just tired.  Don't know why he was so concerned b/c I know for a fact that if I was in very bad shape, Heather would have pulled me to the side to chill for a bit.  Anyway, it was another 5k to the road which felt like a 10k.  Walk, run, walk, run...until I hit the road.  Once on the road, that was no party either.  We hit the hills and the walk run strategy became more frequent.    The last 1.5 miles of the course was up hill and seemed never ending.  That said, I could see the finish at the top of the hill and kicked it in for a final time of 4:31:13 for a 10:21 pace/mile.  I was particularly proud of this marathon only b/c I had done it with no training at all and I am not even joking.  Below are a couple of shots of me after the race while warming up at the Sparks Elementary school

Many thanks to my support team Heather, Zach, and Nic for making what seemed like every aid station.  They must have made 8 aid stations which was absolutely crazy b/c as soon as they saw me, they had to hop in the car and get to the next one before I got there.  I really owe them for getting me through this race.  It is more comforting knowing you will have someone there when you are hurting.

Maniac qualification pic:

Race Stats:
Miles:  26.2
Finish time:  4:31:13 / 10:21 pace/mile
Place:  223/344 (sucks but don't care)
13.1 half time:  2:04:07 9:28 pace/mile
20 mile time:   3:15:54 9:54 pace/mile
Location:  Sparks, MD (Gunpowder State Park)

And finally, I am a MANIAC:
Marathon Maniac:  #10300

As for what's next, don't know yet.  I am going to go for a mile walk to stretch the legs out then start back later this week with quad/hip strengthening.  Might work on my speed/hill work in the next month or so.  I am contemplating the Mohican 100 in June,  but I just don't know yet and need many more miles if I am going to succeed at that.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Turkey Trot 5K

Since JD was tapering for his second marathon in 14 days, the boys and I decided to run the Prince William Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day.  This was a new race for us and was sponsored by The Running Store and Fun Run Racing.  It was really well done, easy logistics, and super fun.  The race was at the Freedom Center so the parking was easy, and we could wait inside to stay warm and use the bathrooms before the race.  We will definitely be making this an annual tradition if we are in town for Thanksgiving. 

We knew the course was going to be pretty flat so we thought we would race it.  Zach had a goal to stay sub-8 for the whole race, and Nic was going to try to PR.  I had been planning to run with Nic.

At the start line, both of the boys took off.   I couldn't stay with them at the start, but usually Nic fades back to me after the first quarter mile or so.  Not on Thanksgiving!

Zach right out with the lead pack
 I could see him right up ahead hanging onto the back of Zach.  I pushed as hard as I could on the first mile, but I still couldn't catch him.  My Garmin recorded a 7:35 for the first mile.  Zach easily had to be sub-7 because he hit that mark way ahead of me, and I'm thinking that Nic was right in the low-7s.  That was just crazy because this summer at track they had both PR'd their mile with 7:3xs.

Zach in the hurt locker!
 At this point I figured I would try to race it for myself since the kids had left me, and I had a strong first mile.  I was really hurting from that hard first mile though, and my legs were feeling heavy.  I haven't run fast in quite a while so it was really a different feeling.  I hit the second mile at 8:16 so a pretty big drop off from the first mile, but I still hadn't caught the kids even though they had slowed.  Right around this point, I noticed that Nic had caught up to Zach, and that they were running together.  I saw them on an out and back and yelled encouragement.  Surprisingly, Nic looked really good, at ease, relaxed, and strong.  Zach looked like he was hurting pretty badly at that point.  I suspect that his hard first mile had really hit him.  His Garmin had lost satellite right as the gun went off so he didn't know his splits and was worried about that as well.  I just blew up in the last mile and ran an 8:43 in the last mile so I basically did everything wrong in running a 5K.  My time wasn't awful (25:46), but it was way off my PR (almost 45 seconds slower) which was on the same course.  I was pretty irritated with myself because I probably could have age grouped if I had PRd. As it stood, I ended up 6/65.  Nicolas ended up beating Zach at the end of the race and having a massive PR with a 24:39 finish (7:56 pace) and 6/31 in his age group.  Zach also had a huge PR despite a bad last mile 24:49 (8:00 pace) and 7/31 in his age group.  We were super proud of both of the boys for their hard effort. 
Zach's finish!

Best series of finish line photos ever as this guy kills himself because a little kid is not beating him.
Me completely unthrilled with this whole running fast thing

While we are talking about being super proud, Nic was the second grade boy winner for his elementary school 1/2 mile Turkey Trot!!!  He ran a great race and paced right off of the lead boy until he ran him down at the end.  Zach ended up 3rd for the 4th grade boys for his mile race.  He tried to pace himself a little too much and couldn't catch the leader at the end.  Too bad it wasn't a longer race, or he would have had them because they were fading. 
2nd grade Turkey Trot champ

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Richmond 8K and Marathon Spectating is Hard Work

Zach had been asking to run the Richmond 8K for quite a while so when JD signed up for the marathon we decided that it was a perfect opportunity for all of us to do it.  Nic was pretty excited to do his first "big city" race as well.  Race morning was pretty cold, but we were staying only about 3 blocks from the start line.  We left the hotel at 6:30 am and had  plenty of time to drop our bags at the UPS trucks and then stay warm near a building until it was time to line up.
Huddling to stay warm before we lined up
We lined up around 6:45, listened to announcements and the National Anthem, and then ditched our throwaway gear.

 Zach had his RoadID bracelet on so the plan was for him to run at his own pace and try for an age group award while Nic and I ran together.  Zach would wait for us at the finish line.

The gun went off, and Zach took off at a pretty good pace.  Nic was pretty excited as well and ran the first mile in a strong 9:24.  His big goal was just to run sub-50 minutes so I figured that we were good as long as he stayed consistent.  He got a stitch and was really struggling with how cold his hands were in mile 2.  He had a really hard time so we slowed down a bit, but he stayed with it and came through the mile at 10:25.  He bounced back big time at mile 3 and ran a 9:25. He was really excited when he saw the three mile mark and didn't want to stop for any water along the way.  I had been trying to talk with him throughout the race, but he asked me to stop talking because he needed to focus.  He saw another little boy that had passed him at mile 2, and he made it his goal to pass him back.  So I followed his lead, and we  picked up the pace a bit through the fourth mile to finish that in a 9:20 pace.  After mile 4, I reminded him that there was a nice downhill finish and that we really needed to get going if he was going to finish sub-50.
Nic locked in at mile 4

  I knew that he was well under 50 minutes if he just held his pace, but he had asked me to push him in the last mile so I wanted to see what he could do.  He really poured it on in that last down hill for an 8:20 pace in the last mile.  He passed a ton of people.  Later we found out that he finished 5/17 in his age group which means that he will receive an age group award since Richmond does top 5 in age groups.  So proud of him for his amazing effort.  He smashed his goal and ended with a 46:42 (851/3177 overall and 488/1129 men).
Nic finishing strong!

Meanwhile, we met Zach at the finish line.  He said that he had been standing there forever.  I was shocked to find out that he had finished in 42:48!!!  He ran almost perfect negative splits (8:46; 8:48; 8:39; 8:31; 7:55).  He ran a terrifically paced race on his own by checking the his birthday present Garmin 10.  His race was good for 3/17 in his age group; 496/3177 overall; 325/1129 men.  Amazing day for both of the boys!!!

Zach racing to an 8K PR!
The boys got cold pretty quickly post race so we grabbed some bagels and found the UPS trucks so I could get them layered up.
8K finishers!

We never did find the shuttle back to the start line so we ended up having to walk back to the hotel.  Zach was really cold, but we kept him moving and shoveled bagel in him until he felt better.  We dropped our stuff off in the hotel room quickly, grabbed some hot chocolate from a street vendor and hit the car to try to make it out to the mile 7 Starbucks party stop to see JD.  We were 1 mile away when we got turned around at the UofR campus due to football traffic.  At that point we were stuck going in circles, and I knew we would miss him there so I started making my way to the mile 13 party stop.  We finally popped out on the street alongside marathon runners.  As I was driving we passed the 4:15 pace group so I told the boys to start looking for dad.  Soon we spotted him and started honking and yelling out the window like crazy people.  Then we had to race through a few lights and squeal into a Walgreens parking lot so we could race across the street just in time to see him run through the party zone.  We exchanged a few quick words, and he looked good.  So back in the car to head to the mile 20 party zone.  We arrived at mile 20 with plenty of time as the 3:15 pace group was just coming through.  We set up and were cheering on runners when a spectator informed me that they were starting to tow cars from the lot that we were parked in even though we had been directed to park there for the party zone.  So the kids and I make a mad 3 block dash back to the car and move it to street parking and then run back to wait for JD again.  I told the kids to hang out at the bottom of the hill while I went to the top to see if I could see JD and run him down to the bottom.  Somehow I missed him coming through in a pack of runners because soon I see the kids sprinting up the hill to me saying that they saw Dad and cheered for him, but that he didn't even notice them.  At that point JD was in the hurt locker with his headphones on and had never noticed the kids. So off we go again to make it to the finish line.  We managed to find good parking near the finish and had plenty of time to see JD come in.
Cheering for the runners at mile 20!

Of course Zach took off to run with dad to the finish and I lost sight of him in the crowd at the end.  Nic and I looked for him for what seemed like forever until we spotted JD and had the announcer at the finish start calling Zach's name. Then I went back out to start searching the crowd for Zach again.  Thankfully, he was a smart and calm little guy and found a mom, showed her his RoadID and asked her to call me on the cell phone.  It didn't take long for us all to get reunited.
Running Duricks and their bling!

We had a great celebration of a really successful race day back at the hotel getting warmed up at the fire over Starbucks and then enjoying a late lunch of burgers.  We really loved our Richmond experience this year.  It was so fun for the whole family.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Richmond Marathon (11-15-2014) race report

The Running Duricks made their way down to Richmond, VA on Friday 11/14/2014 to hit the expo and run the races on Saturday. November, 15th, 2014.  Last year, I had some pretty good tendinitis in my heel and skipped running the marathon so the kids and I followed Heather around Richmond last year.  This year, I had been battling a bevy of small injuries that prevented my miles from reaching anything worth calling good.  Something different for this year was that Heather, Nic, and Zach were going to be running the 8k.  So we would all be running on Saturday which was really exciting.  To give you an idea of my last 6 weeks of training, this is what it looked like. 17, 40 (paced Heather during 100k), 20, 26, 29, 7.  Yea, not exactly getting the Hal Higdon approval however, lets just say I was "FRESH".  Last week, I tweaked my hammy playing basketball with Zach and Nic, and that threw a wrench in my plans for a nice 10-12 miler before this weeks marathon.  Enough bitching! So we headed down to Richmond early Friday, hit the expo at 11am when it opened. The expo is nothing to write home about with your typical vendors and packet pickup stations.  My left Achilles had been aching me the entire week due to a tight calf but no fear, I had my private PT specialist with me:

Nic taking care of Dad who had some issues with his Achilles  a few days before the Marathon.

After the expo, we hit Jersey Mike's like we did the year before.  You can never lose with lunch at Jersey Mikes.  After that we checked in to the Marriott Richmond and chilled for a few hours.    The carb load-up took place at Olive Garden down by University of Richmond...not being a big fan of the Garden, I was pleasantly surprised by how decent the food was.  The last few days I had been difficult to be around given my issues with my hammy and Achilles.  So lets just say, the Olive Garden was not enjoyed by all :) 

The Race(s):
Ok, the day finally arrived.  The 8k was at 7am and the marathon at 7:50am.  Weather a steamy 27F this morning which made my outfit difficult to pick from.  This is what I had planned to wear:

I chose to wear a tight undershirt and my Blue Ridge marathon shirt over top.

So I wish the kids and Mom goodbye and they head outside to the 8k.  I wanted to hangout until about 7:15am in the room, make sure I hit the dumper two more times before I felt cleaned out.  This is me chilling in the room:
No injuries, no injuries, no injuries, break!

I finally headed down to the start of the race but did something I have never done in any of my marathons.  I "assumed" that we would be running after the half marathoners which seemed logical at the time but what I didn't realize is that the marathoners and the back part of the 1/2 marathoners were leaving concurrently.  It was too late at this point and I got stuck starting with the 5:00 hour pace group.  I was unbelievably pissed and couldn't believe I did this because I wanted to go out with the 3:45 pace group.  The first 4 miles consisted of me weaving in and out of people, running on side walks and bumping people.  Some people had to be pissed but I wasn't going to get stuck in the back.  My first mile was a 8:19 and felt pretty good so I knew it was going to be a good first half anyway.  I had a 26:07 at the 5k mark / 8:24 pace and a 52:14 for the 10k split (8:25/m).  At the 20k mark, I was on pace for a 3:40 marathon pace with a 1:45:31 for 12.4 miles.  The first part of the marathon weaved you down broad street and around the city some.  About mile 7 was the "party zone" where I was supposed to meet heather and the gang.  I looked and looked and looked, no one.  Oh well, kept truckin over a small bridge that had a nice view of the james river.  At this point, we are now running along the river.  There were people whopping it up at this point and all I was thinking was "lets see how you feel at 20 brother".  I hit my hammer gel at mile 6 which tasted good.  At the half, I rolled in with a 1:50:52 that had me doing a 3:41 pace.  At this point, I saw heather and the kids for about .03 seconds as I passed them.  The one thing I thought tough was to be a spectator at this race.  Getting from place to place was not easy at all.  After the half point, I was still feeling strong.  However, I hit the wind and the bridge at 15/16 and encountered my first 9 minute mile with a 9:08 at mile 16.  I was actually a little shocked when I saw this and was not sure how I had slowed down so much.   At mile 17/18, I attempted to put in my headphones which sapped the life out of me.  Not only did it take what felt like forever to get them in, I was starting to get real tired.   Little did I know, I would only have about 4 decent miles left in me as I approached the 20 mile mark.  I now had run my fastest 20 miler ever in a 2:53:02.  I was done and I couldn't do anything about it.  From here on out, I was in survival mode, and the Hammer gels were getting more and more frozen as the miles went by.  The water was making me colder and the wind was mentally breaking me down.  It took me 1 hour to go 6 miles and finished the race with a time of 3:54:48.  At first, I was a little pissed that I had such a great first 16-20 miles and shitty last 6 but after thinking that I had done this on 20+ miles a week training, how mad could I really be.

After the race, Heather found me but apparently had lost Zach in the process.  Zach had wanted to run with me down to the end but got lost in the massive crowd.  Eventually she found him but it was scary not knowing where he was.  After the results came, we found out that Nic and Zach both came in 5th and 3rd respectively for the Richmond 8k which is incredible.  Here are some shots of them finishing the race:

Zach (3rd)
Nic (5th)

Of course, I couldn't of done so well without my little helpers:

And of course, here is a nice shot of Zach, Nic and after the race warming up back at the hotel:

Again, thanks to Heather for dragging the boys all around Richmond to find me when in fact, I only saw them one time which was at mile 13.1.   Finally, here is a shot of all of us:

Race Stats:

Distance: 26.2 miles
Time: 3:54:48
Pace: 8:57/mile
Overall place:1384/5113
Age Group:  161/405
10k split:  52:14
Half split:  1:50:52
20 mile split:   2:53:02 (PR 20 miler)


Mile Pace GAP
1 8:18 8:17 3
2 8:22 8:12 25
3 8:29 8:26 6
4 8:26 8:22 9
5 8:26 8:22 10
6 8:37 8:30 11
7 8:09 8:53 -127 
8 8:23 8:18 -0
9 8:36 8:41 -13
10 8:38 8:20 39
11 8:42 8:33 14
12 8:44 8:24 35
13 8:25 8:22 4
14 8:25 8:36 -32
15 8:28 8:46 -51  ---------------------- FELT SO STRONG UNTIL THE BRIDGE
16 9:08 8:25 41
17 8:59 8:42 39
18 9:07 8:57 23
19 9:08 9:18 -25
20 9:44 9:39 8
21 10:17 10:22 -11   ---------------------> WHAT????
22 9:42 9:38 7
23 9:57 9:59 -5
24 10:04 10:08 -17---------------------> DYING A SLOW DEATH HERE!
25 10:13 10:15 -5
26 9:36 9:58 -61
0.2 7:53 9:32 -59


Right now, the left knee is pretty sore, the right knee is a tad sore but other than that, all is good.  I am contemplating running the Northern Central Trail Marathon to become a Marathon Maniac.  I signed up last night and will do it unless something drastic happens.

Sunday, November 9, 2014


Yesterday the Running Duricks got out for the second 5K of the season.  We ran the TAPS 5K hosted by Bristow Tri and Swim.  The race was to benefit the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors.  "TAPS is the 24/7 tragedy assistance resource for ANYONE who has suffered the loss of a military loved one, regardless of the relationship to the deceased or the circumstance of the death." so we were happy to support this cause.  The course was a new one to us out in the Vint Hill Farm region.  I had done a lot of training runs out there last fall so I knew the area but not the exact course.  It's always nice to run a new course.  The really nice thing about the BRATS races is that they have smaller age divisions for the kids so that the younger kids aren't competing against teenagers.  We thought that Zach and maybe Nic would have a chance at an age group award depending on how they ran. 
Pre-race car selfie while we stay warm

The packet pick up, parking, and porta potty situations were all easy on race morning.  It was a bit cold in the morning, but there wasn't much wind and the sun was starting to warm things up.  The race was to start at 8:30 so we got out of the car around 8 am to start warming up and getting ready.  They had a nice ceremony at the beginning to explain the TAPS program and introduce a few of the families who would be running in support of their lost loved ones.  Some Scouts were there and performed a nice flag ceremony and the priest (who is also a runner) from Holy Trinity Church led the Lord's Prayer.  Then the 10K runners were off.  The 10K runners were going to do two loops of the course while the 5K runners only did one loop.
Post race with Mom

About 5 minutes later, the 5K went off.  Zach and Nicolas both had a PR goal in mind so for Nicolas I knew that I had to keep right around a 9 minute pace.  Zach needed around an 8:15 pace so he went off with JD.  Zach ran his first mile pretty hard around an 8:09.  Nic and I finished the first mile at 8:42.  Nic was doing really well and running with not many problems.  The second mile was a bit hillier as we got onto the bike path and there was a longer incline and a bit of elevation gain that made them have to work a bit.  Nic and I could see Zach up ahead so we just worked on keeping him in our line of vision and then not losing any distance.  Nic ran the second mile in 8:52.  The faster first mile had taken a bit of a toll on Zach so I think his second mile was around the same split.  JD started trying to push him a little harder in the last mile particularly because a boy passed him at some point, and we weren't sure what age group the boy was in.  Zach gave an all out hard effort on the last mile, but he wasn't able to pull out a PR.  He fell just short and finished with a 26:40 for a pace of 8:36.  Nicolas pushed really hard in the last mile and finished with almost a minute PR at 27:15 which turned out to be an 8:47 pace and a great race with nice even splits.  As Nic and I were coming in for the last mile, I noticed two women who looked to be about my age so I made it a point to pass them "just in case".  I really didn't think my time would be good for anything, but you never know what the 40-44 female age group is going to look like.  Sometimes you need a 20 minute 5K to even get close to top 5, and other times a sub-27 can get you in the top 3.  I hadn't noticed many women my age in front of us so I thought maybe I might be good for 3rd.
Post-race with Dad

We weren't sure where other kids had finished so we had to wait around for the results to print out.  It took a while for the awards to get sorted out so we were all pretty cold by award time.  JD went over to check the sheet, and we found out that Zach had placed 3rd in the 10 and under age group. Poor Nic had just missed a place and was in 4th, but he had a great PR.  We also realized that I had won my age group which I was really surprised about.  This was all thanks to Nic for running a great 5K and staying with the pace the whole race.
10 and under age group winners

Overall this was a nice small race for a good cause.  They had decent post race food, cute small medals for the age group placement, nice tech tee shirt, reliable timing, great course marking, and good organization.  I would definitely recommend this race and will put it on our list for next year.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

It's 5K Season!!!!

Finish line photo
With the completion of the big goal ultra in October, I was ready to start back into running with low mileage, and the kids were winding down with fall sports.  We have so many great 5Ks in our area in the fall so we call the start of November the start of our 5K season.
Pumped up for 5K season

November 2 was our debut 5K at the Road Runner 5K  for the 2014 fall season.  Zach and I had done this race last year so we knew that it was challenging.  Nic did the kid's race last year, but he was ready to step up to the challenge of a good cross country course.  Zach hadn't done much running in the fall due to his baseball schedule, but Nic was in pretty good running shape due to his soccer training. This race is fun because it's at the site of Virginia Gold Cup plus all of the proceeds go towards new playground equipment for a local elementary school.
Love this course!

It was really windy and pretty cold last Sunday morning, but we were ready to tough it out and run hard.  Zach had 31:34 there last year, and he really wanted to do under 30 minutes.  Nicolas said that he would like to try for under 30 minutes as well so Zach said that he would pace him.  We got out of the car and got our bibs pinned on and did a warm up jog with about 15 minutes to go before race time and then huddled in the paddock to block the wind until they called us to the start. 
Getting ready to run!

Zach lined himself up at the front with the eventual winner while Nic and I were a little more conservative and lined up towards the middle.  This course is basically small rolling hills and open meadow running pretty much the whole way with the exception of about .25 miles on gravel road to get us started.  Zach took off with the leader and hung off the back of him for about .1 of a mile.  Nic took off too so it took me a little while to catch them, but I did catch them by the end of the first mile.  They were working really well together with Zach leading and checking back sometimes to offer encouragement to Nic. 

You can see them taking off without me!

They went through the first mile at 8:51 which really surprised me because we were getting some wicked wind gusts.  The second mile was better as we had made a turn on the course and had the wind at our back.  It was a bit hillier, but they ended up with an 8:50 split for the second mile.  Nic started to struggle a bit in the last mile as we were back running into the wind, there was a tough hill, and he got a stitch.  Zach turned back and told him to hang in there, and I was running with him encouraging him to keep going because he was really close to a sub-30 finish.  He was feeling pretty rough in the last 1/4 mile, but the kid who won had run back to cheer on finishers so Nic got a big boost from him.  He pushed himself really hard on that last stretch and ended up finishing in 29:50. 

Strong finish for Nic!

Zach got a 29:46 finish so a huge personal course record under some tough conditions. Average pace was 9:33 so you can see how they faded a bit in that last mile.

Great pacing work by Zach!
 I was so proud of both of them for going sub-30 minutes on this course.    They placed 19 and 20 out of 89 runners and 15 and 16 out of 39 males.  Pacing them was actually fast enough to put me in top 5 out of 50 females (2nd in the 40+ group).

Mom just happy that her legs are coming back after the 100K. (and wishing that I hadn't worn the jacket because I got overheated)
 Since the race was small, there were no age group awards, but it was a fun start to 5K season. 

Still highly recommend this race. They had great post-race food from Panera, nice long sleeve cotton tees, gorgeous course, great announcer at the end, reliable timing, free race photos, and much improved course marking this year.