Category Archives: Half Marathon

100 Days Until St. Jude Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville Half Marathon

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Knowing the St. Jude Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville Half Marathon is only 100 days away gives me a sense of urgency to get ready. At least when I first got the reminder in my emails today. But really 100 days is plenty of time to get physically ready.

If fact, I’m feeling pretty good about it right now. I had a shakey month of December and started the year with a cold/bronchitis/virus but I’m over all of that now. Training went well last week and so far this week it has been even better.

I do have a sense of urgency about something else related to this half marathon though. And that is hitting my newest goal of raising $2620 for the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Thanks to so many generous friends I’ve raised $1740 so far but I know the remainder may be a little harder to get.

To my knowledge no one in my family has directly benefitted from St. Jude but I do appreciate the indirect benefit of St. Jude. My granddaughter was born with hydrocephalus and spent quite a bit of time at Riley’s Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis, IN. I’m happy to say my granddaughter is a now a middle school student doing just fine. I know without the special skills and care that hospitals like St. Jude this might not be the case.

Won’t you help? Whether it’s $5 or $500, every little bit helps. Please. Help me help St. Jude. You can donate to my cause by visiting a special website, http://heroes.stjude.org/rickhannon

Don’t wait a 100 days to donate. Please donate today.

Half Marathon Training/Phase One: Week Six

Week six went much better. I got four runs in and physically feeling good again. Still running slower than crap but I’m starting to see some improvement there too.

Monday morning’s 4:30 a.m. was chilly! It was just below the freezing mark when I started and it dropped another degree by the time I finished. By Wednesday things really warmed up but it didn’t really matter since both Wednesday and Thursday’s runs are on a treadmill so I can work on my speed. I forgot to set my alarm on Thursday so I had to make it up on Friday. Saturday was my long run day and I got in 6.2 miles. It was in low fifties temperature wise and I debated on wearing gloves. I didn’t but it didn’t take long for me to wish I had. This is the first run were I’ve hit six miles since December 3rd. It probably would have been a little longer than 6.2 miles but I had to cut off a section of my route so I could find a covered area to go poop! Is that TMI? Probably but if you’re a runner I’m sure you’ve been there, done that. Let me add that I didn’t have TP so I’m glad I had a lot of tall thick grass all around me. HAHA!

Here’s the breakdown for the week:

Monday: Ran 3.4 miles at a 11:55 pace.
Wednesday: 12 minute race pace/2 minute walk/12 minute race pace.
Friday: 5 minute run/1 minute fast + 2 minute walk (x6)/5 minute run.
Saturday: Ran 6.23 miles at a 12:59 pace.

Approximately 15 miles for the week.

I said I’m running slower than crap right? So what is race pace for me right now? Probably slower than 11:30 per mile but that’s what I’m sticking with for now. If you’ve read my blog for a while you probably know I’m more concerned about staying injury free over running fast. I’m sixty years old now and while there are runners my age quite a bit faster I’m OK with it. There will always be someone faster. I’m still out there doing it injury free.

Also, I lost at least a pound this week!

Half Marathon Training/Phase One: Week Five

Week five of my half marathon training is complete but I’m afraid there’s not much to report. It was Wednesday before I felt up to running again after the cold or what I believe was bronchitis. My run on Wednesday was short and slow. I didn’t want to push it much and honestly, my lungs hurt the whole way.

Friday I ran again for a distance just short of four miles. Again, a nice slow pace. I coughed and hacked quite a bit the first mile but by the time I finished my lungs felt pretty good. I noticed on both run days my heart rate was higher than usually. Not high enough to be alarmed but higher than it normally would be for the amount of effort.

With the holiday travel and illness I’ve decided to backtrack on my training plan. Even though I’m starting week six of my plan I’m going to go back to week three’s plan and work up from there. I may accelerate the weekly progress a little. At least on the long run day anyway. This week I’ll just go by my week three plan and see how that goes first.

One good thing from this week: I lost about four pounds!

50 Days Until the Augusta University Half

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Received this reminder in my e-mail this morning. YIKES! The AU Half Marathon will be here in 50 days. With the holiday travel and recent illness I’m afraid I won’t be quite ready. I’ll be close. Close enough to finish anyway. I hope I’m in shape enough to finish without stopping but we’ll have to wait and see. Since it’s at the end of February it’s very likely the weather will be cool. If it’s cool I don’t see too much of a problem.

I did get a few short runs in this week at least. I’ll talk more about that in next weeks training week recap. My lungs felt more like normal during this mornings run so I think it’s safe to assume my training will get back to normal next week. YEAH!

Here I come AU Half! Time to get serious!

Half Marathon Training/Phase One: Week Four

Training week four is a week that wasn’t.

Monday was a holiday travel day so I wasn’t able to get my run in. I hate it because really my Monday run is my favorite run of the week. On Wednesday I got my tempo run on the treadmill in just fine but by noon that day I could feel myself coming down with something.

By Thursday morning I was sick! Terrible sore throat and headache mostly. Breathing just fine but eating and swallowing wasn’t easy. The cough increased from there. I didn’t go to the doctor so I really don’t know if it’s just a cold, bronchitis or strep. I’ve been self medicating with Tylenol, Mucinex, Flonase, warm salt water gargles, cough drops and hot totties.

As of this writing it’s the beginning of week five training and for the first time in days I’m starting to feel better but I haven’t recovered enough to start training again. Week four was a wash and week five may not be much better.

With this much time off it looks like I really can’t just play catch up anymore. Once training begins again I’m going to have to adjust my training plan and go back to what I was doing at week two. Maybe I can push it to week three but it’s too early to tell. This setback will affect my Augusta University Half Marathon at the end of February but I still have plenty of time to prepare for the half’s in Nashville and Indianapolis in April and May. I really wasn’t expecting much at the AU Half but now it’s really not going to be anything more than a paid training run.

Setbacks happen. It’s all a part of being a runner. I’ll get through this like I get through everything else. No giving up–just deal with the present. Let’s just hope after week five things start improving.

Just curious; after an illness (injury is totally different) do you pickup where you left off or continue as if nothing happened?

Half Marathon Training/Phase One: Week Three

 

The week of Christmas wasn’t all that productive but I still consider it a good week. Hectic schedule and traveling over the holiday didn’t give me a lot of time to train. I had a wonderful time visiting with my daughter and her family in Indiana over the Christmas weekend so missing a few miles is worth it to me.

Week three of my training consisted of five workouts:

Monday: Overslept, missed my running opportunity. DOH!
Tuesday: Strength training: push-ups, sit-ups, squats
Wednesday: 12 minute run/2 minute walk/12 minute run on the treadmill
Thursday: Rest day/Travel day
Friday: Ran 3.1 miles at a comfortable pace
Saturday & Sunday: Spending time with family
Monday: Rest day/Travel day

 

A very light week for sure. Next week should be a little better!

Half Marathon Training/Phase One: Week Two

I’m starting to feel like I’m getting back into my training mindset now. I’m not where I was at this time last year but I’m ahead of where I was at two years ago. Overall, I think my physical condition is right where it should be even it’s not where I wish I were.

My body weight is 5.8 pounds heavier than this time last year and it’s 15.2 pounds heavier than when I ran in the St. Jude Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville Half Marathon. Sure the extra 5.8 pounds is slowing me down a bit but I’ve got plenty of time to lose the 15.2 pounds before the end of April 2017. I’m probably not going to lose any significant weight with two holidays in back-to-back weeks but after New Year’s Day it will be time to really focus on my diet. I’ve used “MyFitnessPal” to track my calories and fat intake in the past. I haven’t used it in awhile but it’s about time to break it out again. I haven’t found a better food tracker than “MyFitnessPal”. They have an excellent database to pull nutrition information from.

Week two of my training consisted of five workouts:

Monday: Four mile run at a comfortable pace.
Tuesday: Strength training: push-ups, sit-ups, squats
Wednesday: 10 minute run/2 minute walk/10 minute run on the treadmill
Thursday: 4 minute run/1 minute fast run + 2 minute walk (x6)/4 minute run on the treadmill
Friday: Rest day
Saturday: Five mile run at an easy pace
Sunday: Rest day

I’m not a big fan of running on the treadmill but for my speed work it seems to work better. I have better control of my running pace on the treadmill. When I do speed work on the road I’m never really sure about my pace and tend to push harder than I should. Even using the treadmill this week I had a little soreness in my right hip. The soreness only lasted a day and honestly, it could have been caused by the squats on Tuesday. It’s all fine now though.

Week three will involve some holiday travel so my workout schedule may have to be modified a bit. Not concerned. I know I have to be a flexible this upcoming week.

Merry Christmas! If you don’t celebrate the birth of Jesus this week then Happy Whatever it is You Celebrate!

 

Half Marathon Training/Phase One: Week One

I’m back at it again! Last week I started my twelve week phase one training for the Augusta University Half Marathon to be held on February 26, 2017. Phase two will begin immediately after the Augusta University event. Phase Two will be my prep for the St. Jude Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville Half Marathon and the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon in Indianapolis. The Nashville Half Marathon will be held on April 29th and the Indy 500 Festival Half Marathon is just one week later.

I’ve cut back my miles quite a bit since July the 4th and I really didn’t monitor my weight gain. I’m feeling those extra pounds now that’s for sure. Both speed and endurance are suffering. It’s not like I’m all that fast anyway so it shouldn’t take very long to improve. Once the miles start picking up the pounds should start dropping off as well. Let’s hope so anyway.

Week one started a little differently than my usual training. I spent the week in very chilly Nebraska. My wife and I stayed at her sister and brother-in-law’s farm. It’s located about six miles from any paved roads. When I say it was chilly what I mean is it was chilly for me anyway–especially since I live with mostly mild temperatures during the fall/winter in Georgia. And the hills! Oh my goodness. Most people think Nebraska is flat but let me tell you the eastern portion of the state is no where near flat. When I run my usual six mile route at home I have 180 to 230 feet of elevation to climb along the way. My first run in Nebraska was exactly six miles but the elevation during the course of the run totaled over 700 feet of elevation climb. A few of the hills looked like small ski slopes. The photos just don’t do it justice.

   
   
That first day of running the temperature was below 20 degrees with a pretty good wind blowing, especially on the last two miles. With the hills, and cold air I was definately sucking wind at times. I even had to walk some portions. It was nice to have a change of scenery though. Some of you might not think Nebraska is all that pretty but if you look close you will find some beauty.

My second run in Nebraska was much shorter. I only ran about 2.25 miles. It was even colder than the first day and the wind was much stronger. The first mile started with a long, steep hill and things didn’t get much easier. By the time I finished the first mile I was gasping for air. That’s when I decided to turn around and head back. The return back to the farm was much easier than the run out. Had I realized this I would have gone out at least a half to one mile further.

I intended to run on our last day in Nebraska but that morning when I got up the winds were blowing about 20 miles an hour so the temperature with wind chill was 5 degrees. I decided to cancel that one.

It was a short training week but it’s only week one. I’m not quite feeling like I’m back in the groove of things but it’s a start in the right direction. Last year I thought I was crazy for running in one half marathon and now in 2017 I’ll be running in three of them in the first half of the year. This has certainly changed my perspective on my training and right now I don’t feel any urgency to get back to that level. That’s a good thing isn’t it?

St. Jude’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville Half Marathon Recap (Part Two)

Miles One through Nine

I know this may seem weird to segment this as miles one through nine but you will soon know why. The first mile started downhill but that didn’t last very long. The overall goal was to finish the race in under 2:30:00. I’ve never ran with a group before so things felt different. Since it was my daughter and son-in-law running with me it did feel relaxed and I was very happy to be running with them. We agreed that I would set the pace at the start. That helped me stay relaxed for sure. The first half mile started a little fast but by the time we hit the one mile mark we settled in to a relaxed and steady pace and finished the mile in 11:23.

Remember in part one of this post I mentioned my daughter and I had the urge to go pee just before the start of the race? Well, the urge didn’t go away. We found porta potty’s at about the 2.5 mile mark. Of course there was a waiting line. We moved as quickly as we could but still lost about 7 or 8 minutes.

Miles two and three were both ran in 11:30 (minus the pee penalty). Mile four was our fastest mile of the day at 10:42. Mile eight was the slowest of the first nine miles at 11:36. The other miles were between 10:56 and 11:30 per mile.

My plan for nutrition during the run was to eat two Clif Blocks just before hitting the water stations. Since I ate a few before the race I knew I’d come up short after mile nine but figured I would be fine that close to the finish. Upon getting to the mile seven water station I noticed I had dropped one of my Clif Blocks so I only ate one block at that station which left me two more for the mile nine station. When we got to mile nine guess what? I had lost my last two Clif Blocs! I have learned the hard way now to make sure to take more than you need just in case. This meant I had very little supplemental energy consumed after the 5.5 mile mark.

Could anything else go wrong? Of course it could. Somehow I turned off my watch that was tracking my run. I think it happened when I tightened up my wrist band and I must have accidentally hit the stop button. My Fitbit Surge stopped tracking my run at the 9.12 mile mark. At this point I showed a time of 1:42:43 with an average pace of 11:15 per mile.

Miles Ten through Thirteen Point One

I realized my mistake very close to the ten mile mark and quickly got my watch tracking again. I know it was close to ten miles because the second segment on my watch tracked exactly 3.1 miles. I think mile ten was pretty close to the pace of the previous nine miles.

I had no trouble setting the pace for us but after mile ten I started slowing down and I was no longer the pace setter. I think the lack of energy supplements had taken its effect. I don’t recall exactly where we were, but I think somewhere between miles 11 and 12 there was a group on the sidelines with a large box of pretzels and another box with candy. In hindsight, I should have grabbed a handful of the candy. I didn’t because I was reluctant to eat something without knowing the effect it would have on me. I think we were far enough along if there were any bad effects, it wouldn’t have hit until after the finish line. Live and learn I guess.

The final mile splits were between 11: 51 and 11:57. The last tenth of a mile was at a 10:09 per mile pace. At least the dash to the finish was strong. Our official finish time was 2:38:17. Had we not stopped to pee I think we would have finished under 2:30:00.

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Conclusion

It was a great experience. Running the St. Jude’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville Half Marathon with my daughter and son-in-law made it an experience I’ll never forget and I will always treasure the memories. We’re considering running this event together next year and then the following week run the OneAmerica Mini Marathon in Indianapolis, IN. Trying to figure out our work schedules along with the miles we live apart and have to travel for both events might be hard to pull off. I’m hopeful we can swing one of them at least.

Twenty-five years ago after running the Mini Marathon in Indianapolis I swore I’d never run another half marathon again. This time I was much better prepared. The added years to my age have slowed me down but I feel like I still have room for improvement. Who knows, with more training and experience maybe I can better my running time to the levels I had a long time ago. Time will tell and I’m not giving up the dream.

Postscript: I forgot to mention Nashville has a lot of hills. There were more than I expected for sure. None of them were all that steeply graded but they went on seemingly forever. Finish one and look ahead and see another one.

St. Jude’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville Half Marathon Recap (Part One)

After traveling nine days, visiting four cities in three states and covering 1,671 miles I finally have time to write about my experience in running the St. Jude’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon. The past nine days were very busy with little time to sit still for long. I got to see and run with my daughter and son-in-law. Visit with two of the grandkids, my mother, sister, and a whole bunch of cousins, aunts and uncles. At the start of this writing it’s still a bit of a whirlwind.

We headed to Nashville on the Friday before the race. The travel by car went smoothly-even the part through downtown Atlanta. I made sure to drink plenty of water on Thursday and Friday. In fact at least 100 ounces on both days with Nuun electrolyte tablets added. I did have to make a bunch of pee stops on the way to Nashville though. We arrived in Nashville around 2 p.m. and my daughter and her family arrived about an hour later. My daughter, son-in-law and myself headed down to the Music City Center right away to get our race packet. Our motel was just a little over a mile away from the Music City Center and with the traffic we probably could have walked faster. On top of that, I had to pay $10 to park once we got there.

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The Health Expo was very well organized. The line to get our race packet and shirts went very quickly and the people at the check-in were very friendly and easily answered our questions. We didn’t stay all that long at the expo though. We all wanted to eat an early dinner, prep for the race and try to get to bed early. If we do this again I think we will try to get to Nashville by mid-day so we have more time to walk around the expo area and allow us not to feel so rushed.

Immediately after getting back to the motel we all (my wife, grandkids, daughter & son-in-law) went across the street to Amerigo Italian Restaurant where we hoped to eat a plate of pasta to carbo load a bit. Unfortunately, the wait for a table was about 90 minutes. So we walked next door to Blackstone Restaurant & Brewery. Not much on the menu for carbo loading but we were able to get a table immediately. The dinner was good just didn’t get the pasta I was hoping to have. Instead I had a tuna steak sandwich. Some had pizza, sandwiches, ribs, etc. I even tried one of their brewed beers.

Back to the motel we started prepping for the race. We had been checking the weather several times a day for most of the week and rain situation wasn’t looking good for race day. By Friday evening it was starting to look like we might get a break in the rain forecast. It appeared we were right on the edge of the weather system so it could go either way. We were certainly praying for the best. With our clothes, shoes and gear laid out I was in bed by 9 p.m. with my alarm set for a 4 a.m. wakeup.

Up at 4 a.m. I felt rested. I dropped two Nuun tablets into a liter bottle of water and started nursing it down. I ate a Quest protein bar and a Clif Bar right away. I really can’t eat anything unless its at least two hours before a run. Jumped into the shower, dressed and doubled checked I had my shoe tag, number bib, ear buds, phone, SPIBelt, and Clif Blocks for energy during the race. I met my daughter and son-in-law in the lobby and I drank coffee while they ate their breakfast. By then I had started my second liter bottle of water with Nuun tablets.

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All Dressed and Ready

After breakfast it was going on 6 a.m. We had shuttle bus tickets to the starting line so we headed outside to wait on the bus. We had garbage bags to use a rainsuits and ziplock bags to protect our phones but at the last minute decided to take our chances and leave them behind. The bus ride was uneventful and it didn’t take very long to get to the dropoff point. It was nice not having to stress about getting to the start. By the time we got there though I had to pee BAD! The bus dropped us off around 2nd Avenue and the porta potty’s were up the hill to 7th Avenue. I knew there were supposed to be porta potty’s near the start line. The trouble was we couldn’t find them or any signs pointing us in the right direction. I finally found a police officer that gave me directions and we quickly moved to get relief. By then, my daughter was ready to go too! Of course, as with any race there is a line to get in the porta potty. Let’s just say I was doing quite a bit of dancing and jumping while I waited my turn.

My dancing around must have been a little to close to being a rain dance because the sky opened up with a downpour minutes afterward. Luckily, we found shelter using a building overhang. I can’t remember how long the rain lasted, maybe 15 minutes tops. Once the rain stopped we started walking toward our starting corral. Our starting corral was 32 so we were staged four large city blocks from the starting line. No problem at all getting to our corral. Just a few minutes later, the rain came again but this time with some lightning and thunder in the distance. We found shelter under a gas station pumping area and started waiting it out.  The rain didn’t last long but you could still see lightning and hear thunder in the distance. The race was supposed to start at 7:00 a.m. I received text message that the race was delayed until 7:30 due to the weather.

I never intended to finish the second liter bottle of water but after drinking two I needed to get some relief again! We walked two blocks to the nearest porta potty’s and the lines were crazy long. I didn’t keep track of the time we waited but let me tell you it felt like forever. I should tell you now, after waiting over a week to write this some of the details and sequence of events could be off slightly. While we waited I got another text message saying the race would start at 7:45 a.m. It was hard to hear the PA system from the porta potty queue but we were still waiting in line when the National Anthem was sung. By then our stress level was up a bit. Minutes after the National Anthem we were relieved and quickly heading to our corral. I’m not sure how soon the first corral’s took off after the National Anthem but we stood still for a long time before we started moving toward the start line. I calculated our start time would be no sooner than 8:17 or no later than 8:51 a.m.

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With the delay I was starting to get hungry. I went ahead and ate three of my Clif Blocks. I didn’t really bring extras so this would cause me to come up a little short at the end but I figured I would still be OK since I did eat a little earlier. Normally, I eat nothing when I run in the morning. Finally, we started slowly moving toward the start line. Once we got within a block or so from the start both my daughter and I needed to pee again! There was no way we could run over to the potty’s and still find our way back to our corral. All we could do at this point is hope the urge would go away. At approximately 8:45 a.m. we made it across the start line…

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