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Race Report – 2007 Spinx Run Fest / Palmetto Bank Marathon

Almost Full Moon over the starting line at Spinx Run Fest 2007

Starting line at Spinx Run Fest 2007

Originally uploaded by Mike.

8 am. October 28, 2007 – Greenville, South Carolina
My day started by getting up just before 4am to make the drive to Greenville. We arrived just before 7am and strolled up to the starting line to pick up our numbers and chips. Dawn had not yet broken, and we had over an hour to lace up our shoes and strip down to running clothes. It was 45 degrees fahrenheit at race start, but was expected to warm up to around 60 by noon. I opted for my Sugoi running shorts, Brooks Sprinter base layer, and a Nike Dri-fit sleeveless shirt. And of course, nipple guards.
The assembly area was the size of roughly 1/2 city block. I asked one of the volunteers how many people were running but she didn’t know. Last year, there were around 300 marathoners and closer to 400 half marathoners. The highest marathon number I saw pre-race was 150, I saw a half marathon number just over 1000. Turns out there were only about 160 marathoners, but the half had grown to over 500 people. Here we are at 7:53 am waiting to start.

Two People Cheering Runners from the turn lane

Two People Cheering Runners from the turn lane

Originally uploaded by Mike.

I carried my Olympus 770sw camera along with me, so I was able to take a bunch of pictures while running. You read that right – all pictures were taken while running (except the one above before the start). Savor the digital image stabilization goodness! Here we see the sparse spectator turnout. These folks probably just went to Chick-Fil-A to get a biscuit and coffee and couldn’t get out because all these stupid runners came through. Of course maybe they were actually cheering for people the knew.
As for volunteers – they were great. There were over 400 on the course manning aid stations and assisting at turns. There seemed to be a lot of turns on the marathon course, but you get so brain damaged by the end it’s really hard to say whether there were more than average or not.

Pond and Hills

Pond and Hills

Originally uploaded by Mike.

Running through the Furman campus was one of the highlights of the course. It’s a gorgeous campus. Probably 2 1/2 miles of the course ran through tree lined streets, a running trail, and along the pond.

Running down a country road

Running down a country road

Originally uploaded by Mike.

After running out a back entrance from Furman, we ended up on country roads for many miles, headed out to Travelers Rest and back. The leaves were changing, the traffic was light, and the crown on the road wasn’t too bad.
The only real negative about the course was that there were some really bad drivers out there. As long as you kept your head up and were predictable, it wasn’t a problem. What a beautiful day to run.

A Blurry, Beautiful Main Street - 5 blocks from finish line

A Blurry, Beautiful Main Street – 5 blocks from finish line

Originally uploaded by Mike.

The course is best described as rolling. There was one long climb between 19 and 20. With a water stop half way up. Geesh. When I finally connect up my Garmin watch I’ll post the course elevation profile.
The finish line was just outside of Falls Park. You run for 5 blocks down tree-lined main street. It was a great site for a finish. After picking up your medal, bagels, oranges, bananas and water were available at the park.

All in all it was a great race. It was well stocked and marked. Many potential entrants will be turned off by the lack of crowd support. If you’re one of the Rock & Roll marathon types who looks for high energy events, this race is probably not for you. But if you can get lost in thought and changing scenery, this course is a great way to mark another knotch in your 50 state belt.
There are a few more pictures up in my Greenville Marathon set on Flickr. Enjoy!

4 States Down, 46 (and Maybe D.C.) to Go

This past Sunday I completed my 5th marathon. The 3rd annual Spinx Run Fest – Palmetto Bank Marathon was the venue, and it represented the 4th state I’ve run a marathon in. Keep in mind this will probably take 20 to 30 years for me to complete all 50 states. There just isn’t enough time or money to make it go any faster. Fortunately, completing an Ironman event counts towards the total, so I’ve slated New York, Wisconsin, Arizona, and Idaho to be knocked out in that fashion.
Here’s a map to show my progress to date. I’ll post a race report and pictures from the event later in the week. Yes, the map looks kinda kooky. I through it together on my lunch hour. I’ll try to make it look better when I knock out Florida next January.

Talking to Non-Cyclists

Fat Cyclist had a humorous article on talking to non-cyclists. I laughed my ass off. Some of my favorites include

To appease non-cyclists, when asked about what matters to you, you must from time to time mention friends, family, the environment, or some other such nonsense.


To explain why you pay $200 to participate in a race you have very little chance in winning: “Ever play the lotto? It’s like that, except much, much more so.”

Ain’t that the truth. People see the entry fee to Ironman Lake Placid and think I’m nuts. “You’re going to do all that to your body, and you paid HOW MUCH TO DO IT?” There’s some other good advice in that article that I’m having to employ now. You may recall my new bike, – which cost me $499.99 <wink> <wink> <nudge> <nudge>.
Check out the Fat Cyclist’s article on Bike Radar –> How To Talk to Non-Cyclists

My New Bike

Me and my new bike

Originally uploaded by Mike.

I knew it was coming, but I didn’t know when I would

a) Narrow down the bike I wanted
b) Find it at a price I liked
c) Be able to bring it home

However, after riding the 2007 Scott CR1 Team issue bike, I realized this was the one. From the moment I stepped on the pedal it was an adventure of speed and handling. The following are truly my first impressions. I’ve put maybe 20 miles on the bike. I’ll post an update in a couple weeks once I’ve got a few hundred miles on it.

The bike is extremely light – just under 16 lbs with pedals. I was expecting it to fly out from under me when sweeping corners at 25+ mph but it dives right in and hangs on, allowing me to accelerate out. It’s performance and handling on the downhills and in the flats are fantastic for a bike that is otherwise a climber’s paradise.

The Dura-Ace derailleurs and shifters make gear changes like a red hot knife slices butter. It willing flies through the gears allowing me to concentrate on putting out the wattage rather than figure out whether it clicked in or not. And it’s QUIET.

The carbon fiber frame is fantastic at dampening the crappy roads I live near, but at the same time gives me a great feel for the road. This is not what I would call a plush ride. But it’s nowhere near as harsh as my aluminum Allez was. I am truly surprised at how much feedback I still get – and I love it.

So, those are my first impressions. For those of you curious as to the setup, here it is from memory. I need to double check the stem cause in the 3 hours I spent setting up, fitting and riding, we screwed around with a bunch of different setups to arrive at my road ride. In February/March of 08 we’re going to revisit the setup a little and come up with an alternate setup for the 4 or 5 triathlons I’ll do next year (including that little one in Lake Placid).

Frame: Scott CR1 Team Issue CR1 HMF technology, Integrated Headtube.
Fork: CR1 Team Issue Carbon Steerer.
Headset: Integrated Cartridge.
Rear Derailleur: Dura-Ace 7800.
Front Derailleur: Dura-Ace 7800.
Shifters: Dura-Ace 7800.
Brakes: Dura-Ace 7800.
Crankset: Ultegra 6600 (39 x 53T).
Pedals: Ultegra 6620 SPD-SL.
Bottom Bracket:Dura-Ace 7800.
Handlebar: Ritchey Pro 31.8.
Stem: Ritchey Pro 31.8. 110mm
Seatpost: Ritchey Pro Carbon 31.6mm.
Saddle: Selle Italia C2
Wheelset: Mavic Ksyrium Elite.
Chain: Dura-Ace 7800.
Cassette: Dura-Ace 7800, 11-23T.
Tires: Conti Grand Prix 4000 700x23C.
Size: Large
And the most important upgrade -> White bar tape. This bike looks SEXY with WHITE bar tape!!!

This Day in History

6am at Gold’s Gym Norcross

Originally uploaded by Mike’s Adventures.

It was a year ago today, on a morning much like the one in the picture, that I decided to become a better triathlete. I’m not sure what the catalyst for that day was, other than I was wide awake at 4:30 in the morning and figured that I might as well get up and go lift weights.

Looking back through the blog, I don’t even see any entries between the Emerald Point Tri and the Marine Corps Marathon. But I am reminded of the sale of my company and my mantra that “Nothing Changes If Nothing Changes”. So perhaps that’s it. I realized that I wasn’t going to get better by just staying mediocre. I demand more of myself than anyone else ever does – and this was no exception.

So at approximately 5am on Tuesday, October the 10th, 2006 – I went to the gym to lift weights and in the process started a seemingly irreversible process to become a faster runner, stronger triathlete, and better person. 1 year later, I was up at 4am, heading out to the Y for a morning run. A lack of body glide cut this morning’s run short but a little chafing never hurt anyone. I just couldn’t think of any better way to celebrate this anniversary.