Thursday, January 31, 2013

My Running and Cycling History

This blog started as a history of my body weight, currently around 138 lbs. and fitness, currently not so good - not so bad.  Specifically, it was to be a blog about how I might improve my race results by getting lean.  I know, that sounds just fascinating!  I had read an article online months ago about noted running coach and author Jack Daniel's.  That's what got me thinking about my weight.  He wrote the book Daniel's Running Formula.  As a triathlete I love data so this intrigued me.  Fortunately I was also able to find Daniel's running tables online - more on that in a different blog.

From weight and fitness, my blog morphed into a story about my need to run more to improve my overall race results and how Daniel's Running Formula might help.  Running more was prescribed to me recently by Chip my 2011 Ironman Florida teammate.  My blog finally morphed a second time into my history as a runner and cyclist.  That's where it landed.  You can't look ahead without looking back!
Neil, Chip, Richard, and Ken before 2011 IMFL
So, on with some history.  We'll start around 1975 when I was still in high school.  I've been relatively thin all my life.  I suppose much of that is the result of genetics. Which I suppose is also the same reason I'm short, I have perfect (though wide) feet, and I despise trimming the hedges.  That last one is definitely a character flaw.

As a kid, my brothers and I were always outside doing something.  We rode our bikes everywhere.  There was nowhere in Jacksonville Beach or the adjacent communities of Neptune Beach, Atlantic Beach, and occasionally Ponte Vedra Beach where we didn't ride our bikes.  As I got older I focused more on fitness-centric activities.  I ran to get in shape for the US Army which I joined in 1982.  

My first competitive run was in basic training.  I remember it was a 15-mile buddy run.  Me and my buddy were the second pair to finish.  We had to finish as a pair, hence the name "buddy run".  I can remember encouraging my buddy to run.  He was the second fastest runner in my platoon.  I was the first.  In our company we were 3rd and 4th.  We were trounced in the buddy run by the winning pair of recruits.  After basic my weight went from 149-lbs down to only 123-lbs in about a year.  I was running a lot while at my training station in Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama.  I was still not doing any races.

While stationed in El Paso, Texas at my first permanent party assignment I ran the Fort Bliss half-marathon in the winter on 1983/4.  I came in 5th overall.  There were only a few runners, maybe 30, if I remember correctly.  I still remember my time 1:29:32.  The first 4 finishers got the opportunity to represent the base at a marathon in Washington, DC.  Around the same time, I also remember falling out of a company run.  I had terrible shin splints.  I could run all day on my own but the braking I had to endure to slow down to run with my company was killing me.  For a short fella I had a long stride.  In Huntsville I worked out with a martial arts friend.  He had taught me how to stretch like a 12 year old Olympic gymnast.  I could literally do straddle and right leg splits.  I went to the base clinic to get some relief from the pain.  I found none.  The army doctor, PA or whomever, had no knowledge of running related injuries.  A week later and a second trip to the clinic got me better results.  I was examined by a doctor qualified to make a diagnosis.  I say qualified because he had a book about running right there on the corner of his desk.  My treatment was no running with the company.  He gave me 2 weeks off.  I think I was still allowed to run on my own.  That cured me.  The pain was gone.  While in El Paso, Texas I bought my first bike.  It was a 1983 Raleigh Sovereign 10-speed bike.

1983 Raleigh Sovereign
After a brief stint overseas in Germany, from late 1984 through 1986, I got out of the service in 1986.  My FAA career in Georgia started soon after.  I don't know what happened to my Raleigh but I bought a new Trek 1500 road bike in 1989.  I rode the heck out of that thing.  I also ran.  I raced in both foot races and a few triathlons.  My work occasionally sent me to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.  I brought my bike to OKC and rode there.  I also entered some foot races in OKC.
Harvey, Sam Cobb, me, and Pat in Macon, Georgia around 1990
It was while I lived in Griffin, Georgia at around the same time when I ran my 5K PR in 18:21.  I'm sure the course wasn't USATF certified but I'll take it anyway.  I also ran a 10K foot race in Brooks, Georgia.  I finished in 39:40.  That was also around 1991.  The 10K race was run after I had worked all night and drove to the race loaded up on coffee to stay awake.  The Brooks course was not as generously executed as the Charles Harris which everyone in Atlanta knows is the must do race for Peachtree Road Race 10K qualifying.
The 1991 Iris City 5K
I'm on the left (# 470) in the above picture.  I finished second overall in that race but there's no mention of that in the caption under the picture.  I had to search past race results on after rediscovering this picture saved by my mother so long ago.  Apparently, Mr. Rob Hollister (# 473) is still living in Georgia, racing, fast and, dare I say it, likely to kick my butt again at our next competition.  Good for him!
1991 First National Bank of Griffin Iris City 5K Award
From Griffin I moved to Decatur, Georgia.  Susan and I lived there from 1993 through 2004.  During that time I ran the 1994 Atlanta Track Club's Thanksgiving day half-marathon with Ben Geddy.  Ben was the boyfriend of one of Susan's girlfriends.  I ran the race wearing Susan's girlfriend Nancy's bib in a finish time of 1:54:55.  I was wholly unprepared and poorly trained for the race.  The post-race treatment for my swollen knees did more harm than good.  Instead of applying ice to reduce the swelling I took a hot shower as I rushed to get ready for dinner.  This caused my knees to swell even further.  It was the wrong medicine.  I could hardly walk that night.  It was as if my knees fused together.  Since then, I head straight to the medical tent to ice my knees after a big race.  I also keep an anti-inflammatory medication like ibuprofen in my car, just in case.  I spent the next 10 years or so running 4 or 5 miles occasionally and feeling the results of my unskilled and untrained first-aide to my hurt knees.
Foot Race Picture from around 1994
Fast forward to 2009.  Susan and I are now living near Jonesboro.  In Jonesboro we helped organize a local foot race, the 15K and 5K Lake Spivey Road Race.  That was the nudge I needed to start running again after a long hiatus and I ran the Run For The Kids 5K in Vinings that year.  A downhill course that makes even the slowest runner feel like an Olympian.  I finished just out of the money in 4th place in my age-group.  I had hardly trained so I was feeling good!
My 1989 Trek 1500 (image taken in 2006 before I donated it to charity)
Since that first 5K race, as a masters runner, in 2009 I've run lots of races and I usually do well.  I've also gotten three new bikes.  My 1989 Trek 1500 was donated to charity in 2006 after spending a dozen years in the basement collecting dust.  Fortunately my running and cycling seems to have restored my knees to almost 100%.  I'm optimistic that my 70.3 training and, later in 2013, my 140.6 training will improve my foot race results during the year.  It would be nice to go into my 140.6 training taper knowing that I'm as fit and  fast as I once was.

My Race Personal Record List
5K: 18:21 in the 1991 First National Bank - Iris City 5K in Griffin, Georgia and more recently 18:47 in the Aubrae Gunderson Memorial Scholarship 5K 2011 in Conyers, Georgia - Race Report
6K: 28:43 at the 2010 Golbin Gallop in Locust Grove, Georgia
8K: 35:42 in the 2010 Super Summer 8 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
10K: 39:40 in the 1991 Brooks 10K in Brooks, Georgia and more recently 39:52 in the 2011 Charles Harris 10K in Tucker, Georgia - Race Report
15K: 1:01:57 in the 2011 Peachtree City Classic 15K in Peachtree City, Georgia - Race Report
Half-Marathon: 1:29:32 in the 1984 Fort Bliss Half-Marathon in El Paso, Texas
Marathon: 3:31:57 in the 2011 Museum of Aviation Marathon in Warner-Robins, Georgia - Race Report
Half Ironman: 5:01:54 in the 2010 Ironman Augusta 70.3 race in Augusta, Georgia - Race Report
Ironman: 10:49:25 in the 2011 Ironman Florida race in Panama City Beach, Florida - Race Report

Thanks for reading.