Sunday, December 22, 2013

Bangle's 2013 Year in Review

In the gloomy despair of injury downtime, it is easy to forget everything that happened before it all went to ****. But despite a hobble to the finish line, 2013 was actually a pretty freaking amazing year!

I started out in January on the rebound from a long bout of runner's knee. But the knee was strong and allowed me to ramp up to marathon mileage just in time for Boston training. In February the Loop came to California for Surf City.
Since I was not in racing shape, I agreed to join the PegLeg pace crew with Mild Sauce and Atom Buddy, and we coaxed Peg to her first sub-2 half. The usual loopfestivities followed...
  4w7a9466 In March I found a little 5K to test my speed, and found I was only good for a 21:01. Not bad, but work to do.

In April my dreams finally came true and I got to run the Boston Marathon after 35 years of running. I was a little nervous. It was exciting and fun and everything I hoped for. And sharing it with a bunch of loopsters helped make it even more special. I ran well for 20 miles, and then hit the wall as expected and shuffled in happy as a clam anyway. 3:45 was just fine.
tribpI took that marathon training and went and signed up for my first ultra - a 50K on Portland trails with the Matz and the Sauce to keep me company. It went perfectly and I cruised the whole way to a solid 5:39 debut and felt like I could have kept going for miles!
In June I met up with the same crazy trail folk and conquered Double Dipsea for the 2nd time, crushing the spirit of young Mr. Bacon in the process.
July meant more speed work, starting with a 4th of July 5K in 21:07. Which was just fine considering it was only 5 days after the quad-crushing double dip.
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Then I moseyed up to Santa Cruz to see Medievalist and do the Wharf to Wharf 6 mile. Goal accomplished - Sub 7 minute pace and a PR of 41:45.
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August I took a few shots at a sub-20 5K. First I had 5 minutes of glory in Cincinnati before a 5K became a 2.4K.
 Then I had a good race at the beach, but could only manage 20:16.
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September I knocked off another bucket list item and did the Mt. Baldy Hill Climb with Atom Buddy, climbing 4000 feet in 7 miles.
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and then took another shot at the 5K, but flamed out and only managed 20:59.
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In October I bounced back for a 10K, and managed an over 40 PR of 43:14 in Manhattan Beach.
My Grand Canyon Rim to Rim run was cancelled by the government shutdown, but by then my plantar fasciitis was really getting to me anyway, so I was grateful.

I still had races signed up for though. So I did a little 5K in Texas,
 Oct 2013 131
finished a half in Savannah.,
and a half in Rehoboth to cap off my first year of coaching.
So with that I am calling it a year. 1,103 miles. 14 races. 5 PRs. Literally infinite happy memories.

(and by literally I mean figuratively).

Merry Christmas to all you Loopsters who have made my life much happier. Looking forward to another epic year in 2014. Life is good.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Pikermi #30 - Running for Fun in Savannah

Forgot to put this one up - from Nov 14th

It's November, and time for my annual reunion trip with my high school buddies, where we travel somewhere warm, play golf, eat and drink more than we should, and run a race.

This year we chose Hilton Head in South Carolina, and found the Savannah Rock n Roll Pikermi nearby to fulfill our running mojo. There were 7 of us (down from ten after some cancellations) and we stayed in a big beautiful house next to the beach on Hilton Head Island.
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Thursday we all arrived in Savannah, and the first stop was the race expo to pick up our packets. Then we did a quick walking tour of the city, which is filled with beautiful squares with huge old oak trees and refurbished old mansions. We sampled the local food and beverages before driving up to Hilton Head.

Friday we golfed, and the less said about that, the better.

Saturday we were up early for the hour drive back to Savannah, and a ferry ride to get to the starting line. It all went smoothly, and we ducked into the race hotel where the bathroom lines were reasonable. For real toilets! Score! It was a mob scene in the hotel, with some of the 18,000 runners scurrying around.
We headed out into the 50 degree weather (perfect!) dropped our gear bags and made our way to the corral with ten minutes to spare. Pre-race shot: Happy and excited!
Six of us were running, and 4 of us started together with a goal in the low 1:40s. My plan was to stick with them and run for fun. Enjoy the race and not worry about time. Since I have hardly run in the last 5 weeks due to plantar fasciitis, I had no business trying for a good time. I was happy just to be running. My heel hurt so bad after my last run 5 days earlier that I considered skipping the race. And I probably should have if I was focused on healing. But I decided I would rather run it and suffer the PF setback than skip it.

So off we went, T, K, S and I, running together at 8 minute pace through mile 1, and then picking it up a little in mile 2. T started to pull ahead a little then, and K started to drop back. I ran with S at a comfortable but solid pace through the first 5. T was still barely in sight, and we assumed he would be caught later. He had pulled us a little faster than I wanted, but it was still feeling good.
7:56, 7:43, 7:27, 7:32, 7:42

My heel was fine for 3 miles, then I started to feel it. But it was just an annoyance for a while. The course was a little boring at first, but then we went through the older historic section, around the squares and under all the huge trees and hanging moss. It was really pretty, and the crowd support was good. Very fun race!


Mile 6 or 7 the heel was hurting more, and my lack of conditioning was starting to be apparent. I had to reduce my stride some. I told S I had to let him go and relaxed the pace a little.

At mile 8.5 I knew from the map that I was only a few blocks from the finish area. After that it is basically out and back, so it was my last chance to bail and DNF if I was hurting. Well, I was hurting, but it wasn't too bad, and I knew I could finish, so I kept on. It was a good effort, but I wasn't dying. It was fun to enjoy the race spirit.
7:34, 7:40, 7:47, 7:50, 7:55

 The last three I was just running with the crowd, trying to maintain sub-8 pace, but the heel hurt on every step, so there was wincing, and stride adjustments, and gritting and bearing. I had enough left so I pushed a little towards the end to improve my time, but I honestly didn't have too much to give. So I cruised it in and enjoyed the cheering.
8:06, 8:00, 7:56

There were over 30 photos on the official site. Here are a few approaching the finish.



 1:41:40. Not too shabby for an old gimp. I was happy to be under 1:45. I met up with S and T soon after the finish. (S won in 1:39:55, T faded to 1:41:27 - I almost caught him! K had a rough day and was over 1:50. My bro started further back but ran a 1:45 PR)

The finish was at a large park and was a great atmosphere. I got changed and got my one free beer.
Happy runners!

We had to walk over a mile to get back to our car. And the heel complained loudly, but what the hell. Mission accomplished! I took some pain pills and started the recovery.

Sunday we drove up to Charleston and walked another couple miles looking at beautiful houses and stuff. Like this one.
Monday we played one more round of golf before heading out to our respective homes in Minnesota, New Jersey, New York and California. Good times!

Now I am taking at least two weeks off and hoping for healing.

Rehoboth Loopfest - More Pinnacles of Camaraderie, Inspiration and Loop Love

So much to say. It was another peak experience weekend, like only a Loopfest can deliver. So much fun and emotion and happiness. I hope you have read all the other Rehoboth posts by now. I will throw in a few comments from my perspective, plus lots of pictures!

I flew into DC on Thursday, and went right out the airport door and into the welcoming arms of VBlevins. She opened up her home to 3 of us, and was the consummate host all weekend! We had a mini-meetup over chili and beer with Caitlin, Zamgirl, Peg and Col. Cannon. Then I got a good night's sleep on the couch, even though I was surrounded by Dallas Cowboy paraphernalia.

Friday we made the drive to Rehoboth, picking up a stray KevHash along the way. Finally we made it to Party Central, the Big House, Loopfest Delaware...

 (the snow was on Sunday morning)
The house quickly filled with loopsters, and it was so much fun to see old friends and meet some new ones. It was a great mix of young and old, crazy and quiet, men and women, but all connected by the Loop, so conversation was easy and smiles and laughter flowed freely.

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I got to meet a few more of my heroes, including Unlikely Runner, Compulsive Runner, Runningplaces, Pearl Girl, GingerSnap and the always effervescent Quadracool!
Race day. Due to my plantar fasciitis, I had only run 4 miles in the previous 4 weeks since my last pikermi, and not a whole lot in the 4 weeks before that either. The heel felt better, but was not fully healed. I had gone back and forth on whether I should run or not, or if I should start and then bail after 5 miles when I would be back near the start. I wanted to pace Peg for her first marathon; not because she needed it, but just because I wanted to share the big day with her. It was the end of a long journey together, and I knew it would go well. But I knew if I ran too far, the heel would hurt and it would delay my recovery.

I had kind of decided to start and drop at 5 without too much damage, but the idea of a DNF grated on me. I just don't like the idea of not finishing what you start. I had managed 13 OK 4 weeks ago, and felt better now then I did then. No, don't be stupid, I said. There's no reason to be macho - they don't give medals for bravery... Then I realized, yes, yes they do actually. Big freaking huge medals. So then I changed my mind and decided to just do it. Run the first 9 miles with Peg at 8:30-8:40 pace, and then jog it in home and get my medal for bravery. So I would be this idiot.
 The race went according to plan. I got to be the calm voice of reason for Peg while she fretted about everything from wind to rain to cold to crowds to pace. But she ran like a pro and we were right on pace. Weather was perfectly cool. The rain quit just before the race started. The course was flat and fun. It was a blast seeing loopsters at the two turnaround points - so many!

Here we are at mile 5, just cruising along having fun.
The foot was hurting by then, but I was all in. We cruised through the trail section and then it was time to let her loose. Here we are just before mile 9.


Peg was right on schedule and looking good, and I felt pretty confident she would take care of business the rest of the way. (Spoiler alert: She did)

As I turned around and headed back I felt a little adrenaline, and opened the pace up a bit, from 8:30 to about 8:00/mile. Felt great to feel like I was racing a bit, passing lots of people. Plus that was when about 20 loopsters were coming the other way, so I heard "Go Bangle" constantly! Lots of fun! I shouted some encouragement too and got some high fives.

But after about two miles, the lack of training was evident, and I was tiring. And the foot was really hurting. So I eased off and took a few walk breaks. Chatted with one lady in the last mile, and that kept me going through the pain. With no time pressure I just made my way back to the finish and the party tent.


The post-race tent was fantastic! Unlimited food and beer, dance music from a DJ - It made for a festive atmosphere and I got to hear everybody's race stories.

Then it was time to look for the marathoners to come in. Jenster and I cheered GregNYC in for his 2:45, and then went back for more beer. Much later, I went back out with Running_Eng to look for Quadracool as she went for her BQ. It was close, and I didn't know exactly how far off my watch was, so we just cheered her on and hoped she had it (She did)

Then a little later Peg showed up right on schedule, and I might have got something in my eye and a frog in my throat because she finished strong. I limped around looking for her for a while until we could finally celebrate with a ridiculously long hug for an introvert like me. It was the culmination of many, many texts (we never actually spoke all year long), and it really felt like a victory for me too. So proud.

There's that big-ass medal for courage...
Then we toasted the victory in the ocean, mainly so I could ice my foot.
Then the party began in earnest. Post-race at the house:

Gingersnap rolling it out. This chick is freaking hilarious, as long as you don't mind sailor-level cursing!

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The big winners
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KevHash needed a rescue
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After a glorious shower, we all got cleaned up and went out to dinner. The ladies REALLY cleaned up nice!
and I bestowed my annual loopfest kiss to Pearlgirl, because she's just so OSOM!
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KevHash with a hint of what was to come.

On to the local watering hole, the Purple Parrot, where we barely fit in the door, but managed to take over the place eventually. There was singing, there was dancing, there was silliness. Much of it by these two.
Mr. Bacon was a crowd favorite, for girls and boys.
and some people were just too sexy for their shirt. Mrs. Bacon showed us all how to get down.

The lights went on at 1AM, but the music and dancing continued for at least 20 more minutes. It was fantastic. I told the LBC that nothing good happens after 2, but they went out anyway. I called it quits.

But we had another whole day on Sunday for hanging out, watching football, giving foot rubs, eating, drinking, and more loop love. I love you guys!

I ended up extending my weekend into a business trip in PA and NJ, and when a few hours opened up and I was near Allentown, I figured I might as well message Mark Remy, who had just posted they were on a snow day. And he said, "Sure, I'll meet you for a beer". So this happened.
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  Life is good.