CheapRunnerMike's Race Recaps - Boston 2016 and a Bunch of Triathlons

roxymama

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 26, 2015
Awesome recap once again!
This time I thought you would say you got a finish time longer than your last outing just based on the trudgefest descriptors and then BOOM you beat your goal time for the day? How???? Send me an ounce of your stamina please. I'll even take a fraction of one.
 

CheapRunnerMike

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jul 31, 2014
Wow. I mean, back to back halfs? You truly are an Ironman (registered trademark :) )
Ha, I tried to tell my wife that I basically ran a 9:35 Ironman so I should just book our trip to Hawaii...I'm sure Ironman (registered trademark) would be totally cool with hat, right??

This is so inspiring - love the detail, the great photos and the fact that you keep smiling! At some point (maybe when we get these first two into college and we have one at home instead of three!) I might train to go beyond the olympic distance. Also super jealous of the nice race numbers on your arm - my husband is entertained by the fact that I start every tri grumbling that the handwritten numbers on my arm and leg are messy. :)
It is a really big step training-wise to go from Olympic to Half, and it is a stupid-crazy jump to the Full. You really need to know what you're getting into! I had to wait until my oldest was at least old enough to watch her brother before I was able to entertain the idea of long distance stuff.
The race tattoos are pretty cool too...they had them for us at Worlds which was a really nice touch and then to have them again this weekend at the local race was a big surprise...you feel really 'pro' with them :)

Awesome recap once again!
This time I thought you would say you got a finish time longer than your last outing just based on the trudgefest descriptors and then BOOM you beat your goal time for the day? How???? Send me an ounce of your stamina please. I'll even take a fraction of one.
To be fair this was a MUCH easier course. The run was a sufferfest the entire way.

Loved the recap as always! Absolutely amazing to run those races back to back and do so well. Congrats!
Thanks! It was a great way to end my season, pretty pleased with the results.
 
  • CheapRunnerMike

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 31, 2014
    2017 Hamilton Road2Hope Marathon Recap

    It wasn’t the race that I wanted, but it was the race that I got.

    On Sunday I ran the Hamilton Road2Hope Marathon, which is consistently one of Canada’s fastest marathon courses and one of the top Boston Qualifying courses in North America. I was coming into the race with a shorter than ideal training block due to my triathlon season creeping into mid-September…only 7 weeks of actual marathon work. The training went very well though and I was able to get both my speed and endurance up, with only one small hiccup along the way in the form of a minor hamstring strain two weeks out from race day. I took care of the hamstring though and it felt fine during my last hard workouts and heading into the race.

    Michelle and I left for Hamilton early on Sunday morning, grateful for the extra hour of sleep that daylight savings afforded us, and also thankful that my buddy Jamie was able to get my bib for me beforehand, which saved us having to get to the start even earlier. It was an easy hour and a half drive even if the fog on the roads was as thick as pea soup. The forecast was calling for rain, a chance of thunderstorms, lots of wind, and mild temperatures. It was cool at the start, probably sitting around 50º or so, but the conditions were great for running. I moved up towards the front of the pack to find my starting spot and noticed my buddy Patrick so went to say hi…I walked up to him with a mouthful of Honey Stinger Chew and couldn’t actually say anything at first, but thankfully he saw me as well and we were able to get a quick chat to wish each other well. He was being his usual selfless running self and was pacing his friend. I went back to the line and we were about 5 minutes out from the 7:45 start…then the skies opened up. The rain was cold and sideways. We had all discarded our warm clothes at this point and there was a large group of shivering runners soaked to the bone, hopping around trying to stay warm as best as we could.



    The gun finally went off and I went out just behind the lead group of 4 or 5 runners. The pace was quick but I just wanted to get going to warm up a bit. The rain did relent a bit and turned into a steady drizzle and the wind was thankfully at our backs for the first 2K, so it didn’t take long to settle in and get warm. I began to chat a bit with a runner beside me and then realized it was Mitch, one of my Strava buddies. Mitch was second overall in this race last year so that gave me a bit of an idea of where I was currently pacing and I knew it was too fast…I had cruised through the first two kilometres in 3:41 & 3:52 respectively. We made the first turn and we were now feeling the wind a bit more and I said, “Sorry Mitch, the pace is too rich” (see what I did there…ya), so I wished him luck and dropped back to the pace I had trained for. It worked well as the pace felt light and easy, never forced. Even as we turned again and were into the teeth of 20mph+ wind and hit the rolling hills I was feeling really good and the pace just came naturally. I had managed to separate from the group and was running with one other guy who was racing his first ever marathon. We chatted a little but he wasn’t very talkative. I was a nice guy though and went ahead of him in the wind and told him to tuck in behind me. We crossed the 10K mark with a time of 39:50 and around this point I heard a familiar voice behind me…it was my racing buddy Trevor on his bike. He was there cheering on one of his friends and saw me just a little bit up the road (I am hard to miss in my tie-dye jersey and pink sparkle visor), so he zipped up and we chatted for a bit. It was a nice break from the race monotony. Shortly after that my good deed of cutting the wind was rewarded as a couple other runners bridged up with us, including Trevor’s friend John. He pulled up beside me and said, “Let’s get this conga line going!”, and then he took a turn pulling us along. I scooted back around him after my quick break and took another pull and then he said that he would take another turn at the next kilometre marker. We went back and forth like that for 4 or 5K until we made the next turn and the wind was no longer in our faces.



    Unfortunately it was around this time that I was becoming aware of my hamstring. It didn’t hurt by any means, but I knew it hadn’t recovered as much as I had thought going into the race. The pack decided to pick up the pace by a second or two per kilometre, but I decided that my best bet was to just hold the pace I was at and not push it. Everything else was still feeling good. The guys took off and were never too far ahead of me, but I was now left to work on my own. Thankfully we were through the windiest sections of the course up on the top of the Escarpment. I went past the halfway point of the race and was clocking in 1:24:50 with everything still feeling great…the hamstring was still lingering but it wasn’t getting any worse. I made the turn onto the Red Hill Valley Parkway, the highway section of the race where we run down the Escarpment towards Lake Ontario, with 400 feet of descent over the next 5 miles. Right away my legs speed up and my heart rate slowed down…I was through the toughest part of the race and starting the fast back half. The marathon course had caught up with the half marathon at this point and I was passing lots of people, feeding off of their energy. Then just as I passed the 24K (15 mile) marker disaster struck. I felt like I was shot from behind and my right hamstring just said “Nope.” It knotted up on me so quickly and violently that I almost fell over…I couldn’t even walk. I was legitimately looking at finishing the day anywhere between 2:48 and 2:52 and just like that my race was over. I was stopped in my tracks and tried to stretch it out and eventually managed to get to the side of the highway where I was able to prop my leg up on a guardrail and get a bit of a better stretch while massaging the knot. It was moderately better, at least I was able to walk, so I decided to continue. If it wasn’t for the fact that I was on the side of the highway with nowhere to go I would have quit on the spot. My only options were to continue down the hill to the end of the highway or turn around and climb back up the highway…I decided to trudge on to the end of the highway. Eventually my walk turned into a light jog. The hamstring was no better, but no worse. I was dealing with the pain. Then my jog became some kind of mutated hobble/shuffle run. I was almost at the end of the highway but I was starting to actually, sort of, run. It wasn’t fast and it wasn’t pretty, but it was forward progress. I was even passing a couple of people. Off the highway and onto trail, almost at the lake. I started doing some math…I had 11K to go and if I could manage a 8:00/mile pace it would at least be enough to get me under my 3:15 Boston Qualifier time. I decided to make the left hand turn and finish the run.

    The run along the waterfront was a bit of a boost as there were a lot of runners around with the out and back section…it was nice to see people running well towards the finish. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to cheer many people on, I was just in too much pain. I imagine I had a pretty nasty scowl on my face. At 33K (21 miles) the marathon runners split off as the half made their turnaround and I noticed that I was actually starting to pass people. While others were hitting the wall I was feeling great…all things considered. I had zero fatigue and other than the pain of my hamstring I was doing well. My mental state had improved as I now had a goal to shoot for again. I upped the pace gently and backed off whenever the pain increased and I was able to hold steady right around a 7:30/mile pace. We hit our turnaround point and I was greeted by wind and rain…I was finishing the race the way it started, just minus my right leg. I had a lot of time to reflect over the back half of the race and my mind went all over the place. I thought about my kids and how I always want them to give their best and never give up and I was glad to know that I was leading by example. I also thought of Michelle and some of the races she has struggled through but always managed to push until the end to get it done. Racing doesn’t always go as planned and your true character comes out in adversity. I was going to finish this thing and finish as strong as I could.



    As I neared the final stretch I emptied the tank and pushed as hard as my injured leg would let me…I heard Michelle calling my name and cheering me home as I hit the final turn towards the finish chute and I kicked out a 4:25 for my last kilometre. I was done with a final time of 3:05:56, well above what I had planned, hoped and trained for but also nearly 10 minutes faster than my BQ. This wasn’t a race to feel sorry for myself, this was a race where I was able to show what I was made of. I set out to prove something to myself and in the end that is exactly what I did…I just took a different route to get there.

    I have had some time since the race finished and have reflected on the day…I know that I have the fire in me to go through another marathon build and put in the type of training required to post the times I know I am capable of. I also now know how mentally tough I can be, something I attribute in part to the suffering I’ve put myself through on the triathlon course. Triathlon has made me a tougher, stronger and better runner. I look forward to the next time I get to go out and test my limits. Thanks for reading folks.
     
  • roxymama

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 26, 2015
    Amazing recap. You really went through a lot that race and still with a BQ by that much! So awesome. Good thing you wore the powerful sparkle visor.

    Really hope your leg heals up so you don't have to go through that again.
     

    DopeyBadger

    Imagathoner
    Joined
    Oct 15, 2015
    Great recap Mike! Such a tough experience. The opening line and proving something to yourself really resonated with me. Hoping the hamstring heals up for you and you're ready to go again soon enough.
     

    CheapRunnerMike

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 31, 2014
    Amazing recap. You really went through a lot that race and still with a BQ by that much! So awesome. Good thing you wore the powerful sparkle visor.

    Really hope your leg heals up so you don't have to go through that again.
    All hail the Sparkle! I need to heal quick too, running Ragnar South Beach this weekend with @FFigawi...

    Great recap Mike! Such a tough experience. The opening line and proving something to yourself really resonated with me. Hoping the hamstring heals up for you and you're ready to go again soon enough.
    I have to admit that I was thinking of you at times Billy...knowing what you had recently gone through with your BQ attempt I wasn't about to squander the opportunity I still had. Somebody once said, "If you want it, PROVE IT, by doing what is necessary to get it!"
     

    ZellyB

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 18, 2010
    As always, a great recap! Such a great job to power through and yet also be smart enough to adjust your goal and just do what the day allowed you to do. Congratulations on a great time (even if not what you wanted) and even more so for proving to yourself just what you are made of. Well done!
     
  • FredtheDuck

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 2, 2017
    I really love your recaps, Mike. Congrats on your BQ. You had a handful of things in this post that really stood out to me. Loved that blocked the wind for the first timer (and your conga line), love that the sparkle visor's powers helped you see and be seen, laughed about your mutated hobble/shuffle run - you probably looked like me on one of my normal runs - and am truly wowed by the mental toughness you showed ("I was going to finish this thing and finish as strong as I could." "This wasn’t a race to feel sorry for myself, this was a race where I was able to show what I was made of. I set out to prove something to myself and in the end that is exactly what I did…I just took a different route to get there."). Thanks for sharing, and congrats again!
     

    DopeyBadger

    Imagathoner
    Joined
    Oct 15, 2015
    I have to admit that I was thinking of you at times Billy...knowing what you had recently gone through with your BQ attempt I wasn't about to squander the opportunity I still had. Somebody once said, "If you want it, PROVE IT, by doing what is necessary to get it!"
    I appreciate that Mike. Happy to see you got that BQ re-upped and able to run Boston in 2019 if you choose to do so. Just know that I'm doing everything I can to make sure I'm ready for Chicago 2018. If we get the opportunity to run together, then I'm making sure it won't be just a PR for me, but one for you as well. ;)
     

    CheapRunnerMike

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 31, 2014
    As always, a great recap! Such a great job to power through and yet also be smart enough to adjust your goal and just do what the day allowed you to do. Congratulations on a great time (even if not what you wanted) and even more so for proving to yourself just what you are made of. Well done!
    Thank @ZellyB...certainly happy with the time and can't complain. You can't focus on what could have been, only what was :)

    I really love your recaps, Mike. Congrats on your BQ. You had a handful of things in this post that really stood out to me. Loved that blocked the wind for the first timer (and your conga line), love that the sparkle visor's powers helped you see and be seen, laughed about your mutated hobble/shuffle run - you probably looked like me on one of my normal runs - and am truly wowed by the mental toughness you showed ("I was going to finish this thing and finish as strong as I could." "This wasn’t a race to feel sorry for myself, this was a race where I was able to show what I was made of. I set out to prove something to myself and in the end that is exactly what I did…I just took a different route to get there."). Thanks for sharing, and congrats again!
    Aw thanks @FredtheDuck, I really appreciate that...it's awesome how everyone on this board is able to inspire others, each in our own way. It is a big part of what makes running, and the DIS Runners, such a fantastic community!
     

    CheapRunnerMike

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 31, 2014
    I appreciate that Mike. Happy to see you got that BQ re-upped and able to run Boston in 2019 if you choose to do so. Just know that I'm doing everything I can to make sure I'm ready for Chicago 2018. If we get the opportunity to run together, then I'm making sure it won't be just a PR for me, but one for you as well. ;)
    Deal!
     

    Sleepless Knight

    Jedi Knight Seeking His Jedi Princess
    Joined
    May 15, 2008
    Thanks for the recap Mike. I love the fact that you looked at what you did learn from a race not going the way you hoped it would and focused on what you did learn and did accomplish. Sometimes we lose sight of those things.
     

    Anisum

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 15, 2015
    Great recap. My hamstrings hurt just reading it. It's great that you were able to improve your BQ even with that pain! Hopefully you'll be able to rest for a short bit.
     

    garneska

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 4, 2003
    Another fantastic recap. Sounds like you had some tough conditions that just got tougher. Congrats on the BQ and can't wait to meet you in Chicago.
     

    CheapRunnerMike

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 31, 2014
    Thanks for the recap Mike. I love the fact that you looked at what you did learn from a race not going the way you hoped it would and focused on what you did learn and did accomplish. Sometimes we lose sight of those things.
    Yup, there's almost always some good we can find in whatever we do...focus on those things and celebrate the little victories.

    Thanks for the recap and congrats on the improved BQ. A lesser person would have quit at 15 miles or at least would have given up on their goal. You obviously have what it takes to go onto even better things.
    Thanks! I can't tell you how close I was to quitting, but a few minutes of that negativity and I realized that I wasn't ready to take my first ever DNF...not when I was still able to finish.

    Great recap. My hamstrings hurt just reading it. It's great that you were able to improve your BQ even with that pain! Hopefully you'll be able to rest for a short bit.
    Massage day today and we leave for Florida tonight...hoping I'm just about recovered. Ragnar South Beach this weekend, yikes, and then a week at WDW!

    Another fantastic recap. Sounds like you had some tough conditions that just got tougher. Congrats on the BQ and can't wait to meet you in Chicago.
    Oh ya, it is ON in Chicago! We're going to have a blast
     


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