Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Day 25 and Full Circle...

Log: Alarm was not set correctly this morning. Woke at 5:30AM, missed the swim. Got up and ran a tempo run for 30 minutes increasing to a 1 mile 10K pace. Not pretty. Stretched and iced.

Full circle. 365 days since the beginning of the end.

I started this journey on September 29th, 2009 with the intent of fulfilling my own personal objective of documenting as much as my life that I was willing to share in cyberspace.

My adventure began after a disappointing race at the 70.3 Augusta Half Ironman last year. Since this time another Augusta Half Ironman has taken placed and a number of friends and athletes I know have completed this course in personal best. Throughout this year, I have witnessed a number of athletes triumph in personal accomplishments.

On September 30th, 2009, I promised myself after a few years of training for Ironman and Marathon’s that it was going to be Sarah’s turn to shine. Well, she did. Not only did she meet her goal on the Rocket City Marathon in December, but she qualified for the Boston Marathon in 2011! This was a major achievement with her and I am proud of my wife for her accomplishment.

Over the last year, it did not end for Sarah. She went on 5 month later to qualify for the National Championships in the long distance triathlon. This is a half ironman, which we are technically not supposed to say since it is a trademark infringement. Though this did not pan out for Sarah, I am proud of her and her ability to tackle a challenge head on.

The last 365 days have proven to be good for many people I know. Bob and Jay made it to Boston. My sister, Tracey is also Boston bound on her first full marathon. I have seen Carmen and her husband Sami hit the podium on almost every triathlon they participated in over the last year. I have seen Stacy continually become stronger as an athlete, while Amy gets better and better as time goes on. Seth, Brian and Chris have become stronger triathletes in the Half to Full Ironman category with Chris approaching his first IM in less than two months. Calvin pushes out the miles in his ultra marathon attempt the same weekend as Chicago. Courtney has also become a “ultra” runner hitting the trails day after day in her goal to accomplish a 31 mile trail run in November with her training partner Sue. Wren has a specific goal in mind, which takes place in 11 days. That is all I am saying about her. No bad karma. Jeff will be with us in Chicago on his first marathon even though he has accomplished six Ironman’s. Hokan knocked out his sixth Ironman at Lake Placid this summer as Michelle, the 24 year old, who has more dedication that most people I know is on her final journey heading for Ironman Florida. I know there are ones I am missing, but they know who they are and even if I have not written about our accomplishment, I blame old age for forgetting. Susan, Randy, Rebecca, Tatyana, Steven, Darin, Frank, Melissa, Chris H, etc… Finally yet importantly, because I would never leave her out is Ann Marie. Over the last year, our friendship has grown as strong as her athletic abilities. She qualified for Boston along with Sarah, Jay, Bob and Tracey. Ann Marie has been a constant push for me as an athlete as well. She strives for the best and only the best, no exceptions. Her ability to generate the amount of energy she has for the sport of triathlons and for life is amazing. We have become good friends while I have gotten to know her husband, Dan and son Kyler. Ann Marie, has befriended my family as well by training with Sarah on rides along with our families having “pizza night’s” on occasion when our busy lives can take a break. Her friendship to me and to my family is a gift I am thankful for.

Without the support of family, new friends and old along with the constant support of my strong and determined wife, Sarah the past year would have been a long one. Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for this year. My family is healthy, we are doing fine in this economic marsh pit, but to at all of “what we do” as athletes along, it would have been a long and deserted road.
My only regret over the last year was what I stated in my first entry on September 29th, 2009. To hit a sub 3 hour marathon. For me it has not been the age thing. 44 is not old in my book. The drawbacks have been injuries. Not injuries that have sidelined me, but things that have slowed me down. As I write these chronic pains emanate throughout. I have been able to adapt and conquer with hitting the podium, setting personal records and pushing my body faster and further every day.

I am thankful for everything. If you are reading this and know me personally, I thank you. Each one of you has touched my life and will continue to be a part of it for the long haul. If you know me, I am not a “flash in the pan”, friend to all kind of person. If you know me, then you will always know me.

This ends the journey at the beginning. I have more adventures that are ahead of me. The Chicago Marathon is only a few days from now. This will be a physical challenge with what has transpired in the last couple of weeks. I must adjust my goals and look forward to April. April brings the Boston Marathon and to see Sarah and my friends who have not experienced this event before will be an honor for me to participate in with them.

After April will bring many more new adventures and I hope to cross many more paths with all of you have spent the last year reading parts of my life.

Signing off…"Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened.”

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Day 24

Log: Taper week allows for flexibility in training. After the 13 miles yesterday the body needed rest. I slept in. I will use some of the flexibility in the schedule to be more flexible. Stretching at lunch.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Day 23

Log: 13 long days and counting. I would not be telling the truth if I said I am ready. Mind and body is beat up. There are days I have thought of bagging the marathon and taking sometime off. 1 marathon a year is enough for me. I have had good races, but these final weeks have been painful and long. I put myself through more pain today. With the weekend full of activities and responsibilities in recruiting runners for the "World's Hoppiest 5K Road Race" the running has suffered. I decided to run at lunch today afte some much needed sleep. Everyday is a struggle in motivation to get out of bed. I ran 13 miles on of all things the treadmill. I did not have the time to plot a course and run. I wanted to beat my mind up a little for the 26.2 miles of pain that I am about to endure. The 13 miles on the treadmill were excruciating and laborious. Every step the pain manifested and radiated through out my mind and body, but I pushed on. Finished the 13 miles in 1:35:00, 45 seconds too slow from race pace. Granted the first mile was at a 8:15...

Friday, September 24, 2010

Day 18

Log: A number of friends are on the road currently heading to either Huntsville, AL for the Olympic distance triathlon National Championships or Augusta, GA for the Half Ironman 70.3 Event. I wish all athletes the best in their endeavors to be their best.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Day 17

Log: I have heard from a number of people that I sound tired and sluggish. I must admit that motivation is lacking these days. I go to bed early and just get through the day. I woke this morning at 4:30AM and went to swim. I guess the Group Swim at Johns Creek has disbanded. Second week in a row I have swam solo outside. During the last 10 minutes a two swimmers got in the outdoor pool as I was cooling down. Meeting after work to discuss the World's Hoppiest 5K Road Race. Need to go over budget numbers and make sure things are not falling through the cracks.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Day 16

Log: Slept in. No reason, just felt tired this morning. Will get out at lunch to complete workouts.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Day 15

Log: Taper weeks are ahead of me. Swam this morning at 5AM. 2700M in the outdoor pool, solo. No Master's Swim which I thought was odd. Had to improvise since there wasn't a swim workout. Did 15 minutes on the Elliptical and stretched for 30 minutes after that.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Day 14

Log: Massage this morning at 7:30AM. I went to the gym prior, spun on the bike and stretched. Hip flexors are tight. I have been stretching them everyday for the last 30 days but still can't work out the tightness. Today offically starts taper for Chicago. I have to admit that I am loosing my desire to run this marathon at this point. Though I ran in the half marathon yesterday and was at ease with race conditions, the Chicago Marathon seems like it has been looming for a long time and now that I am in the final weeks, I can't wait to get it over with.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Day 13

Runners log: Saturday was spent in the pool for 2500M. Helped the girls with projects for school. Went to dinner and movie last night with Sarah. Ran in Half Marathon as part of the training Sunday morning. The top 20 runners (including me) took a wrong turn. The race ended up being 13.35 miles. Patriots are on at 4PM. Planning the rest of the day around this game.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Day 11

Runner's Log: Rest Day. Heavy mileage over the next couple days then I go into taper. The 5K Event is coming along. The website is up with a few minor tweaks that need to be adjusted, but Lou is on it. He has done a great job in the design and Bob has been the workhorse around this whole event. The website:

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Day 10

Runner's Log: Swam this morning. Light workout. 2200 meters. Rode the stationary bike for 30 minutes and stretched. Lunchtime was spent on upper strength conditioning. Had to purchase lunch today. We have been eating all the food in the fridge to purge it.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Day 9

Runner's Log: Needed extra sleep. Woke at 6AM, hung out with Ellie. Strength conditioning at lunch. Worked on The World's Hoppiest 5K Road Race. Lou got the link set up:

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Day 8

Runner's log: Tuesday was a swim day. I headed over to John Creek for a 5AM swim. The outside pool was very cold. I noticed a hose in the water along with the level tipping over into the splash gutter. Decided to swim inside. First inside swim since May. Swam 1 hour, then stretched upstairs. This afternoon will be upper strength conditoning along with more stretching.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Day 7 and the start of Week 4

Runner's Log: Slept in this morning until 6AM. Sleep has been a good way for me to rejuvenate the muscles. Constant perpetual motion of getting up early and going until it is time for bed is wearing on the body. Strength training and stretching at lunch. Saw Michelle on the treadmill and talked to her for a few minutes. She is looking strong and confident. Saw Jay also. He ran the tempo run on the Alpha-GW. This is the time to maintain and not too go crazy with speed. Too many fellow runners have bowed out of Chicago to injuries. Narrow focus on my surroundings while I run is key to getting me over the hump the next 4 weeks.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Day 5 & 6

Runner' Log: The weekend. Saturday was a to be a 10 mile tempo run at marathon pace. I had decided to run the Atlanta Track Club Singleton 10 Mile Race. The road race was in Tucker. I got there about 6:45AM. Signed in and paid the normal fee of $10.00. Runners started to gather after 7AM for the 7:30AM start. The race was a 5 mile and a 10 mile race.

My goal for this 10 mile training run was to hit marathon race pace.

I did a mile warm-up 10 minutes before the race. Grabbed a drink of water hit the start line and we were off.

The race was very technical with a lot of rollers and turns. There was limited water out on the course so I had to make sure I drank as much as I could at each water stop.

I ended the race 2 minutes ahead of plan. I actually was not feeling the run during the race. Felt sluggish, GI issues and some leg pain.

At the finish I grabbed a bagel and some water. They had just finished up the awards for the 5 mile race. Decided to hang around for the awards. While I was waiting the race director asked that "Corral Petty" come to the awards table. After a few minutes, I decided to go up. I said to the race director that my name gets butchered a lot and asked her is she looking for me. I gave my name and she said, "oh. You are not a woman!" I said, no. She advised me I was the Women's Master Winner. I told her she would not mind, but I am not going to accept that award. She laughed. They changed the standings and put me back in the Male category.

In the end, I was the Male Age Group Winner for the 10 mile race. I accepted the award, a beer mug and headed home.

Runners Log-Sunday: Rest Day.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Day 5

Runner's Log: Non-running day today. Trouble getting out of bed this morning. Very tired. Starting at 4:45AM I keep looking at the clock every couple of minutes as I faded in and out. By 5:18AM, it was futile that I was going to get anymore sleep. Got up and headed for the gym.

Swam a mere 2,400 meters. Only one in the pool from the start to the finish. This makes even a short workout in the water long. Stretched the foot out in the hot tub and headed to work.

Picking up a pair of running shorts this weekend that I will use for the next month and then on race day. Looking at a new pair of running shoes as well. Decided to go for last year's model of Nimbus again. The Nimbus 12's are not rated well. Have had my eye on the Brooks Ghost 3, but the price is a little steep.

Running the Singleton 10 mile event put on by the Atlanta Track Club in the morning. Race simulation and a good way to test my patience for maintaining the recommended pace on this training run.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Day 4

Runner's log. The last month going into an endurance race I find to be the most challenging. You are starting to peak which means you feel really good and you also feel really bad. Your energy levels fluctuate from highs and lows at any given time. Any endurance athlete can attest to these challenges during training.

Over the next couple weeks I will be logging my training.

Thursday morning: Was feeling very tired upon arriving home last night. Struggled to stay awake through dinner. I was in bed by 8:30PM and lights out by 9pm.

I woke at 5AM. Felt 100% better than 8 hours prior. Got ready to run track and headed over to the gym.

I was the only runner on the track at 6:10AM. The humidity has returned and the football stadium was solemnly quiet in the dark morning.

Workout was 3 X 1600M. Legs were still stiff from Monday and I knew the pace was going to be off. Felt that it is better to run off pace then not to run at all. I was 9-10 seconds off pace for each 1600M. Even with the legs tight and tired, aerobically I felt good.

Headed back to the gym to stretch. Will continue to focus on stretching as I have seen a few friends become injured over the last couple weeks. Lunchtime will consist on stretching and core.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Week 5

The start of this training week I pushed the envelop, just a tad. I had won an entry to the U.S. 10K Classic for September 6th. I had decided to run this race to make up for my poor showing on the course last year. Not to make excuses, but 3 days prior to the race, I gave blood. I had no idea that it would effect me a few days later like it did. So, this year I needed a little payback to myself.

The race was to start at 7:45AM for the runners/walkers. I arrived at the Cobb Galleria about 1 hour and 15 minutes prior to the race. At that point I felt good, so I decided to make this 10K race into my 15 mile training run.

I started a 3 mile pre-run 25 minutes prior to the start of the race. I ran out 13 minutes and back for a little less than 12. Arriving at the start line there was less than 1 minute to go before they began the race.

I jocked myself about a quarter the way in from the front. I did not want to be in the front because if I was the pace out would be fast.

I hung back a little in the pack, but noticed a huge group of similar white shirts taking up most of the road holding hands. By the size of the participants I knew they were walkers, so I quickly got in front of them right as the gun went off.

My goal was to push a 7:10 pace out and then grab a drink and turnaround and head back in the opposite direction. 12.4 miles was the goal.

The first mile was fast at 6:44. I slowed the pace and had to continue to think about the return journey. Runners of all shapes and sizes passed me while I was cruising along at a 7+ pace. I kept thinking in my head, "how can this dude that is overweight be passing me"? But, I had to remember that he might only be training for this race, or he is a short distance runner. I had to think about this a lot as women, men and kids passed by. Now, don't get me wrong, I passed more runners than passed me, but it does mess with the brain, especially when you know you could take them any day of the week. Stick to the plan.

The hills on this course are brutal. They go, up, up, up, then a sharp steep drop down then right back up. The inclines are not short. Each one is 1/4 to 3/4 of a mile long upwards. I held pace on most of the hills except for the monster on mile 4. It is long and steep. I dropped pace a little to conserve energy. A few runners passed, but I said to myself that they are not running back to the start so let them go!

At about 4.5 miles into the race, a female runner in her late 20's came up on my left. We had just started a decline and she floated down the hill as I felt heavy and awkward.

Right after the decline the road rose upwards again. This time it was I that floated up while she labored. Back and forth this went, she took the downs and I took the ups. On the very brief flats I was a little faster but only by a step. I decided to dial in behind her to mimic her pace for the last mile.

The uphill I moved ahead. The downhill she took the lead. Once we passed the KFC Chicken on the right, I noticed her pace increase. With the finish (for her) in sight I increased my pace and took the uphill fast. A downhill followed as she was right on the left side of me. With around 600 meters to go, the track instincts took over and I bolted ahead. Out of the corner of my eye I saw another runner gaining ground on me from the right. I was at a sub 6 pace at this time and had to hold back as I let him go. When I hit the line I said, 6.2 more to go.

I grabbed a few drinks, downed one Gatorade, got my shirt and hat and headed back towards the finish. I secured all my prizes from the 6.2 mile race and headed back out on the course on the opposite side to complete my 15 mile run.

About a 1/4 mile from the finish I heard a familiar voice, Ann Marie was barreling down the hill behind all things a stroller. She said, "Hey Corey" as I waved and chuckled, thinking this is going to be a good story about the kid in the stroller.

Making my way back to the start, I was amazed at the amount of runners I saw running the race. As far as the eye could see up and down the hills were bodies in motion heading towards their final destination. I ended up seeing the last runner/walker at the 2 Mile marker heading out (Mile 4.2 for me) at about 1 hour and 20 minutes. All I could think of was that this is going to be a long day. 1.25 hours to travel 2 miles puts their race north of 3.75 hours for a 10K.

It made my trip back not so painful as I made my way over the very steep hills that were my downhills just an hour earlier.

I was glad that I am able to adjust my patterns in a moments notice when I decided to make this a 15 mile run. It also gave me the ability to fatigue the legs and grind through the last 6 miles just like in a marathon. The race doesn't start until mile 20 on a marathon and I felt that on Monday.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Taste of Fall

The air was cool and crisp. The runners gathered in the lobby to make the weekly trek to the Oval. Small talk was heard as the feet of the runners glided along the concrete to the destination.

The crisp air was accompanied by the ever longer night skies. Silhouettes moved in between the lights on the sidewalk around the back end of the track field. Darkness engulfed the track and the runners reaching the gates to the Oval.

We all gathered at the start to drop our bottles, remove shirts and take the scouting run around the track. The darkness was so dominate that I thought runners were following me around for the 400 meters to clear the track, but no one was there.

Arriving back from once I came, the area was abandon. No runners. They had started the workouts.

I set my watch and headed out on the first session of a 1K, 2K, 1K, 1K workout.

During the sets I passed runners and the shorter distance workout runners passed me. Nearing the end of the session, the sky turned from midnight blue to an amber horizon as the sun started its daily routine of buring off the night.

In the end, the runners headed back to go our seperate ways in the life of a runner.