The weather couldn’t have been better for the 31st running of the Marine Corps Marathon this past sunday. Ok – that’s a lie – for the average Joe, the wind that picked up in the third hour and stuck around really sucked. But aside from that, it was a great day.
I woke up on Thursday with a stomach bug. Tammy did not know exactly how sick I was – it was get away day and I just wanted to get up to D.C. so I could salvage as much of my pre-race plan as possible. Not much hiding of illnesses in a hotel room though. I’m pretty sure my neighbors wondered what the hell was wrong with me, too. In retrospect, I’m amazed I made it up there at all.
Over those 3 days, I probably took in a total of 3000 calories. I needed to be taking in around 3000 each day. My friend Laura showed up on Friday and we went to the expo to get our numbers, chips, shirts, and swag. Good times, but by dinner she too could tell that I wasn’t feeling that great.
Saturday, we did some walking on the National Mall. I told Tammy it wasn’t “that kind of mall”, but she still found a way to do over $100 worth of shopping. We walked a good bit, but as I said before, I just wasn’t up for eating.
Sunday I woke up and while I didn’t feel like I did Thursday morning, there were still indications of looming problems. I took an Imodium and prayed.
Two Tens and a Ten-K
Our original plan was to run 2 10 milers with a 10k on the end. We would warm up over the first 3 miles at around an 11 minute pace. We stuck to that plan, and actually ran it a little slower. It felt like the swim start of a triathlon, with people I didn’t know elbowing me and hitting my heels. We were then going to pick it up to a 10:45. I decided to hold it at 11 through the first 10 miles.
As we made our way past the lincoln memorial (mile 10), I began to feel some discomfort at the water stops. Nothing major – it went away after a couple of minutes. Unless I picked up the pace, then it got worse. I told Laura I needed to stick to 11 for a while.
By mile 15, I knew that I was going to be walking more than just the water stations at some point and gave Laura the heads up.
Pain is temporary, pride is forever
At water stop 9 (somewhere around 18, I think – I just remember seeing the signs in the Wal-Mart rig), the reality of the pain set in. It took more than a few minutes to go away. But I had to drink. Dehydration would have been much worse. I was still moving, though. Walk a couple of minutes past the water break and then run.
As we came up to the bridge at mile 20, I knew my running was about over. My stomach, or is that my bowels, I have no idea, hurt with every pounding step. Walking didn’t bother it as much, though. Of course, Laura’s foot only bothered her when she walked, not when running. This was nothing new. I marveled at it a few weeks ago at the end of a training run when she said walking from the end of the run to the car hurt more than running. Time for an executive decision -> go on and get your medal, I’ll be 15 to 20 minutes behind.
As a testament to our 7 months of training and our race day pacing plan, Laura’s fresh legs ran on to the finish. Our original pact was to finish together, but it was time for me to renegotiate. Walking was killing her and running was killing me. I think we would’ve finished around the 4 hr 50 min mark if my pains hadn’t have set in.
If it were easy, everyone would do it
Remember the scene in Alien when the alien is busting out of the guy’s stomach? Yeah – it kinda felt like that. I mostly walked the last 5 miles. I did run some, including some of the last mile – especially the .2. The crowds helped me forget the pain. My splits are below. The first 15 miles were textbook. The next 5 on the splits look ok. But then it was all downhill. Oh well. I have my medal, and a story to tell. I don’t think many people would have made it to the starting line after being dealt the hand I got on Thursday. Fewer would’ve made it to the finish.
Rule #76 – No excuses.
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||Unofficial Race Results
|9:07:16 AM EST
|| Chip Time: 05:28:35
|| Clock: 05:33:49
|| Overall: 16918
|| Gender: 10866
|| Division: 1707
’cause I’ve been kickin’ ass all day!
Details to follow.
And for those in the know wondering what was up in the last 5 miles – I’ve been sick since thursday and it reared it’s ugly head. The first 20 miles were textbook, baby!
Details will definitely follow…
Let me start by saying the 2006 Emerald Point Triathlon was a great race with mostly great people. Here are the profiles for the swim, bike and run course. They capped the race at around 600 participants. It was very crowded out there.
There were only 2 real problems I saw, the first being the parking. I arrived a little before 7 and the lot they had intended to use was almost full. I took one of the last spots. As I was airing up my tires I heard one guy on a radio ask “So, what’s plan B for parking”. There was plenty of parking available on the island as not much else was going on, they just had not scouted it out in advance, I guess.
The second problem was that there was no P.A. system for the pre-race meeting. I doubt most of the 600+ participants heard the USAT guy talking about the bike course nuances and overall rules. I experienced some evidence of this on the bike course and you can read about it further below.
The water temperature was 75 degrees. The air temp was in the upper 50’s, so the water felt great. No need for a wetsuit, although many people (maybe 25%) opted for one. The course was originally to be an out and back swim. In the end, it was a 400 yard point to point. That’s about 50 yards short of a quarter of a mile. I didn’t have much practice siting in open water, so I think I probably covered the extra 50 to call it a quarter mile.
The transition from swim to bike involved an uphill trot (barefoot, mind you) from the lake to the lot where the bikes were. I do not know what my times were, but this transition ate a little more time than I would have liked. But all my crap was laid out in order and once I got to my bike it only took a minute to put on shoes and helmet and get to the mount point.
I love cycling. The course was a little over 13 miles of rolling terrain. A few good uphills but the grade wasn’t bad. I was able to average right around 20 mph according to my cyclometer. At the turn onto Shadburn Ferry (around mile 5) I was almost taken out by a guy. I heard him coming up behind me and knew he either did not see the turn or was grossly misjudiging it (there was a car in the left lane that was going to make it really tight). I burned a bunch of speed and got waaaaaay over to the right so he could get by. Like a true triathlete, he turned over his shoulder once we were through the hairy part and said “Sorry! I didn’t see that turn coming!”
About a mile down the road is the turn onto Peachtree Industrial Boulevard. I was about 5 bike lengths behind the next rider and was going to blow by him after the turn. Instead of him getting into the northbound flow of traffic, he turned early and ended up in oncoming traffic. He then came across the median and was hogging the left side (and going much slower). I had to pass him on the right. I felt bad about it, but dude left the course and there wasn’t much I could do about it.
Even with those incidents, it was a great ride. I was able to do a lot of passing and only got passed a few times.
Only 5K to go. I started out too fast and wasn’t able to get my legs under me. I had to walk a minute or two at the 1 mile point to reorganize my mind and body. It worked out well. My average pace was somewhere around 9:20/mile. Not setting any land speed records, but only 1:05 slower than my last 5k.
Takeaways for the Off Season
I have two takeaways from this race to focus on between now and April. The first is obviously swimming. I have to build my endurance up. Currently I am swimming 400 yard repeats at the pool. That got me into the water today, but is not good enough. Second is the bike to run transition. Your legs are like jello after getting off the bike and although I had experienced this in a couple of du’s and practiced it in bike/run bricks leading up to this event, it was still difficult for me.
I almost forgot to share. These are approximate, not official – the results should be posted in the next day or so. I heard a time shouted out for someone behind me in the swim, so it’s pretty accurate. The bike time came from the cyclometer and the run time from my GPS. They are still approximate because I didn’t start/stop my timers exactly at the timing mats.
Swim – 9:52
Bike – 44:40
Run – 29:30
I crossed the finish line at 1 hour, 38 minutes and 2 seconds according to the clock. Timing started when the first wave of athletes went out. My wave was supposed to go out 3 minutes after them, but for now I have no idea.
Last but not least, thanks to all the volunteers and spectators who made the event fun.
Well, perception isn’t always reality. I easily wasted 5 minutes in the swim + swim transition. That would’ve moved me up to 24th in my age group. Oh well. I’m still very happy with these numbers. My goal was 1 hour 30 minutes and this is just as good! Here are the rest of the results.
[ Updated 10-08-2006 16:00 / Added links and my unofficial finishing time ]
[ Updated 10-09-2006 09:30 / Added official time ]
This has been my workout/traning motto for several years. Now it also applies to my company. Ownership changed hands last week and it has led to a lot of speculation and angst among employees. In the months leading up to the transaction, the secret was not well kept. If we had been in battle, the enemy would have killed us months ago. Couple that with a lack of transparency and direction and you have a recipe for paranoia and turf building.
Some of the usual side effects have already surfaced. A few employees have left, a number of rumors have started, and questions about the future of departments/culture/etc have arisen. The question I am asked most is “So MIke, what do you think?” My response – “Nothing changes if nothing changes.” It really sucks to apply my training mantra here. I need to come up with a catch phrase. But it really is appropriate.
The sale of a business is pretty straightforward. The valuation was based on the tangible assets of the firm, discounted future cash flows, and some amount of goodwill. The new ownership team obviously feels that in their hands they can earn rents in excess of those earned today. Surprisingly, leadership did not change. There are a few different ways to analyze that move, you can discuss it amongst yourselves.
So what does the future hold? Beats me. All I know is that nothing changes if nothing changes. Personally, I’m ready for change. I’m ready to make our enterprise scale. I’m ready to lower transaction costs. And I’m ready to create better solutions for our employees and customers at the edge of our systems rather than holing them up in the middle. I am going to try to avoid turf battles over platforms, email systems, and the like. If the new direction is to run the enterprise on Ruby, SmallTalk, C++, VB, or whatever – it doesn’t matter to me. That’s just a language. That knowledge can be found on the net and in books – the knowledge of our business and industry isn’t in any book, it’s in my head.
Ok. I’ll get off my soapbox now. Note that to date I have not disclosed my company and I’m not going to start now. But there is such great fodder for these little case studies that I just have to blog about events every now and then.