Sunday, December 27, 2009

Looking forward to 2010

Well, I'm looking forward to 2010 but thought I would share a picture from the 1979 Great Raleigh Road Race 10k.

As I shared in my last post, the training is going very well and I am hoping to build on that and hopefully it will lead to some good performances in the upcoming races. So here is the plan.

I will start off the year with the Resolution Run 5k on New Years Day. This is not a fast course so I don't expect an impressive time but hopefully I can put in a strong effort and use it as a good workout and have some fun in the process.

A week later on the 9th I will be running my 6th Salem Lakeshore Frosty Fifty K. As always there will be lots of my ultra friends and a few making the move into the ultraworld. I will be attempting a new 50K pr and feel confident I have a good shot at it.
I'll be returning once again to Myrtle Beach but for the 1st time I will be racing the Half-Marathon and not the full. With my new plan for Boston qualifying it made sense to run the half here as a test and strong workout.
And the reason I'm just running the half at Myrtle is because I have decided to go for my Boston qualifier at the new Tobacco Road Marathon on March 21st. This should be a fast course with most of the course on the American Tobacco Trail, a converted rail trail in the Cary-Apex area.
The following weekend will be a return to the Umstead 100 miler but not as a runner but as a volunteer and pacer once again.
No set plans for now but possibly a 5k or 10k. Thinking about returning to Asheboro and doing the 5k there that I haven't been to in about 10 years. A fun local race and afterwards spend the day at the Zoo.
Looks like Karla and I will be running the Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinatti for the fun of it. What kind of pace will depend on how the Tobacco Road qualifying attempt goes. Our friends Lisa and Jerry may also be going and Frank will be running the half with one of his high school friends.
It's back to the ultra's again with a return to the Bethel Hill Moonlight Boogie 50 miler. I dropped out after just 10 miles in pain in 2008 and I look forward to going back healthy and I hope to attempt a 50 mile PR.
I'm looking forward to return to one of my favorites, the Grandfather Mountain Marathon. I may have something special planned for this year. Stay tuned this summer.
If possible I may also return for some fun at Catherine's FA 50k and visit with my VHTRC friends.

Other than that I'm not really sure what the last 5 months may bring but whatever it will be FUN !!

Thursday, December 24, 2009


70.7 ?

That's how many miles I logged training last week which is by far the most I have ever done in a week that didn't include running an ultra.
Sun: 5 miles at home
Mon: 10 miles at Umstead
Tues: 6 miles at Shelley Lake with Jenn,
6 miles at the track with Karla
Wed: 12 miles at home
Thur: 10.5 miles at Umstead with Karla
Fri: 6 miles at home
Sat: 15.2 miles at Umstead with Karla

In my younger days I was never a high mileage trainer and never went over about 1,600 miles in one or two years. During one 7 week stretch in 1982 I averaged just a little over 50 miles per week before cutting back. Then when I began my ultra career in 2002,I was only running about 20 miles a week. When I really got into it in 2003 I bumped that all the way up to 25 miles a week before my 1st 50 miler and then in 2004 I was all the way up to a whopping 29 miles a week. Over the next few years I got up to around 42 miles per week until the injury riddled 2008.

After taking the time off at the end of last year and beginning to re-build this year I have done a lot of thinking about what I hope to accomplish over the next few years. First I needed to rest my mind and body and then I could start the process. What I now have planned is to concentrate more on training and hopefully training smarter while racing less often over the next couple of years. I feel that I never realized my full potential as a runner over the past years and now I want to try and see what I have left in this aging body.

I will be trying to build up to the highest training volume I've ever done while still incorporating the tempo runs and track work into my schedule. Consistency will be of key importance as well as allowing rest and recovery periods in the building process. Over the next two years I will mainly concentrate on the marathon with the occasional shorter Ultra and I believe I can set new personal best at every distance from the half-marathon up and by the end of the next two years also set a new 100 mile pr. Will it be easy? NO ! And I fully realize the challenge of taking on such a goal at age 54. But I also know that the reality of age and time will soon prevent me from improving anymore despite my training. That is why I am making the effort now. I hope you will enjoy the trip with me.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

2009, the year in review

With no more events planned for the year, it is time to take a look back over the past years highlights. 2009 was a bit unusual in that it was a re-building year; a new beginning of sorts. 2008 had been a good year in many ways but was also a year of disappointing races, dnf's in several ultra's and a lot of nagging pain and injury. As the year ended I knew I needed some time off mentally as well as physically to heal and look forward to starting over fresh in 2009.

So after taking the entire month of December off from any running or biking, I was eager to began anew on New Years Day at the NCRC Resolution Run 5k. No, I didn't run the race but volunteered and afterwards did my first training run. It wasn't easy but was great since the Trail Angel slowed down and ran it with me. The rest of the month was spent getting back to slowly building mileage and Karla and I resumed running our Saturday long runs together.

By February things were going well and on minimal training other than a few long runs, I ran the Myrtle Beach Marathon with Karla. We both got through it feeling ok and in a decent time and best of all my legs held up well and now I was confident that the pain and injuries were finally behind me.

In March, I did my first triathlon of the year and was amazed to do so well considering I had only been on my bike once since last Fall and I had a great run off the bike. It was nice seeing Amber Groves in her first Tri and have Chris Damico to watch and take photos. Two weeks later I would run the Raleigh Rocks Half-Marathon with Karla and Chris ran several miles with us. I fell behind with about 3 miles to go and my time was my slowest half ever but I still enjoyed the race and the company, knowing that faster times were coming back as long as I could stay healthy.

Training continued to go well and on April 25th I did the Riverwood Sprint 5k in Bill and Margherita Scott's neighborhood. That went well but the run course was tough ! Then a week later in the first weekend of May I made the trip down to the White Lake Half-Ironman with my buddy Jerry. I love the location and atmosphere of that event and we met a new friend, Donna Short-Webster. The race was a little disappointing. The swim was great, the bike was windy and wore me down and the run was hot, and humid and very slow with a lot of walking. Not a good omen with my debut Ironman only 7 weeks away.

May would continue to be a busy month of training as I tried to get on the bike more and swim as well as keep up the running. A week after White Lake, I rode my bike 19 miles to Clayton, ran the Clayton 5K with Karla and then rode another 32 miles back home. The race was slow but fun and the whole workout was a confidence boost for my Ironman ambitions.. The next day was much cooler so I decided to run the 10 in Garner. I was really amazed to run as well as I did after the big training day on Saturday. Then on Memorial Day, Margo organized a group to ride with me for portions of my 100 mile bike ride. The day went great and it gave me the confidence I needed heading into my upcoming Ironman

June was the big month I had been looking forward to for a year and now the time was approaching. I ran the Race For the Cure 5k on the 13th in a decent time on a hot humid morning and then it was time to fly to Seattle and drive from there to Idaho for Ironman Coeur D' Alene. I was very excited to be able to finish my first attempt at an Ironman on a tough day. The swim was a nightmare and almost ended my race early but I had a decent bike ride despite winds between 15 and 20 mph all day on the difficult rolling course and then held on in the wind and rain on the run course. It was one of the biggest thrills of my life to run strong that last half-mile towards the glow of lights and cheering crowds, then to cross the finish line and hear " Joey Anderson, you are an IRONMAN !!

With the Ironman behind me it was time to get back to what I really love. Running and training and working towards my goal of returning to Boston qualifying shape. So, three weeks later on July 11th I was happy to make the trip once again to the Grandfather Mountain Marathon. It is one of my favorite weekends and this year would be extra special since I would be sharing the trip with the Werners. I would be running my 10th marathon with Karla and we would be joined by Lisa Howell who had begin sharing our long runs back in the Spring. We had a beautiful day for the race and although I tired near the end, still feeling the effects of the long day at Ironman I had a wonderful time sharing the first 22 miles with the ladies.

The next couple of months would be dedicated to more focused training as I looked ahead to the qualifying attempt coming in November. The training was fun and going great. Karla and I had been starting back doing track workouts every Tuesday just before my trip out West and now we were really able to get into it and begin building some speed and stamina. And I was gradually building my weekly mileage back to a level it had not been in a couple of years The long runs with Karla and Lisa and occasionally Jenn and Eric were going well too.

My only competition in August was at the Mayo Lake Sprint Tri on Aug 15th. It was a lot of fun and I saw several friends there. Despite very little biking I had a very strong ride and overall had fun and a good time.

In Sept I traveled to Williamsburg/Jamestown VA for the Patriots Half- Ironman with my oldest son Steven and daughter-in-law Bethany there to watch me. Despite a fiasco of a swim in the James River, I had a good ride and the best run ever in a triathlon and was still able to PR. And that would end my tri career for the year. I have not been on my bike or in the pool since that day.

Now I could really concentrate on the running and on Oct 3rd, I returned to the Selma 5k for the first time since 2005. On a warm humid Indian Summer Day I ran a decent time and several friends did well, especially Karla who set a new PR ! The following weekend , Karla and I rode down to Greenville for the 1st annual Run for the Booty half-marathon. Cool weather and a mostly flat, fast course would provide a good test for our upcoming qualifying attempt. I missed my goal by a minute but ran strong and had fun. I knew then that I would not be qualifying this year but my legs felt great so I just need to keep training smartly and take care of myself.

And then in November it was time to go for it at the OBX Marathon. Despite knowing it would take a miracle for me to run 3:35, I decided to go for it anyway. And as expected I crashed and burned making for a slow and miserable 2nd half to the race. It was a great weekend though sharing it with the Werners and my wonderful hosts, Mike and Lisa who graciously invited me to share their home for the weekend in Nags Head. The weekend before the OBX race was Raleigh's City of Oaks Marathon. I wasn't entered but had the pleasure of running the last 7 miles with Amy Surrette, the latest member of Ultraman Joeys Angels and Princess's.

The last race of the year was another very special one as I returned once a gain for the Derby 50k for the 6tht time. This would be my first ultra in exactly a year and to make it even better I would be running it with the Marathon Princess in her debut into the ultraworld. The race went even better than I could have imagined with Karla doing amazingly well. I felt better than I ever have running an ultra and my legs had no sign of pain. It was wonderful sharing the trip down with Mountain Girl and Ultra Angel and seeing many of my ultra buddies. And Margo, also running her debut ultra ran incredibly even splits for the race and was 2nd woman overall at age 49 !!

So 2009 will have to go down as a very special year spent loving doing the thing I enjoy most and being able once again to share many of the highlights with great friends. The training is going amazingly well, especially when you consider I just turned 54. We are still getting to the track every Tuesday and the times just keep improving and the zip is back in my legs. The long runs and weekly mileage are also going well and I look forward to 2010 to continue the success of the past year.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Derby 50K 2009

Welcome to the Darkside . We have cookies. Big Cookies.

Wow, what a perfect day for running. Clear blue skies, in the 30's to start and warming quickly into the 50's with just a little breeze. We couldn't have asked for a better day for Karla's first ultra. We had originally planned for her to run her first at the Frosty 50k in January but with the way the Boston qualifying situation has turned out she changed those plans and decided on Derby for her debut. This will work out better for me too. I hope to make another 50k PR attempt and I think I'll have a better shot at that in January than right now. Whichever one she chose I was going to run it with her and it couldn't have worked out any better.

We met in Cary at 5:30 with Mountain Girl Lisa and Ultra Angel Jenn for the ride down in Jenn's truck. Lisa and Jenn were going down to volunteer and support us. We made it to Derby about 7am giving us plenty of time to make final preparations and mingle with friends, some which I haven't seen since the Boogie.

Right on time at 8am Mark led us outside to the start line. It was a little cold but already it was obvious this would be a great day. We lined up with Mike Walsh and Lisa who was planning to run the first loop with us before beginning her volunteer duties. Mike asked if we were going to be walking the hills and I told him only we if we had too. Normally I would advise a first timer to walk the hills which is normal for all but the front runners in an ultra but I had told Karla we would just take it easy and if things went well I thought she should be able to run just about the whole race.

We did start off easy and it helped that just about all of the first mile is downhill. Mark Long, the RD had altered the course this year so we would hit the first set of hills just past one mile instead of 3 miles. We settled into an easy pace and the hills were soon behind us and we approached the first aid station where Jenn and Susan D were working. This one is located at the corner of Sycamore Lane and Karla was impressed with the beauty of this stretch of road. It is also my favorite section because there is a nice easy downhill for about a mile before turning onto the dirt road of Cedar Lane.

Soon we were coming into the 2nd aid station and the beginning of the new section on the back of the loop. Like the old route, it has an uphill climb of about a mile. It seemed to not be quite as steep but was also a steady climb without the flat parts that gave you a little break in the past. The first loop seemed to pass quickly and we were back at the lodge. After a quick pitstop we headed out again with Lisa still with us. We had averaged around 9:45-9:50 pace for that loop and Karla asked me if we would be able to hold a sub 10 pace the rest of the way. I said, I won't so no but I will say probably not.

Tony Rouse passed us while we were at the aid station but we caught up to him within a mile and he would stay with us for the next several miles. It was nice to spend some time with him. He and I have shared many hundreds of miles in these ultras over the years but not in over a year. Once again we moved easily over the hills and soon were back at Jenn and Susan's aid station and Tom Herbst was also there now. Lisa dropped here to begin her volunteer time so Tony , Karla and I headed off again after taking a short break to snap a couple of pictures.

When we passed the 17 mile mark Karla commented that it was hard to believe we had already gone that far. We were feeling great and making good time but I knew that a lot could go wrong quickly in one of these. We passed through the next aid station quickly and headed onto the new section for the second time. About halfway up the hill I had to stop and water the weeds so Karla and Tony ran on ahead. I didn't want to work too hard going uphill to catch them and Karla was running strong. She begin to pull away from Tony and it took me nearly 3/4 of a mile to catch back up to her. Tony would continue to drop behind but it was nice to run with him for awhile.

Although we were still moving strong we had fallen below that 10 minute mile pace now but both of us still felt great. After another short break we headed out again for loop three. Mike Walsh was just ahead of us and we caught up to him for a few miles of this last loop. Karla wondered if we would be able to run the hills the 3rd time but once again we cruised up and over them easily. Soon we were back at the aid station where Jenn and Lisa were waiting for us. In and out quickly and just a short time later we passed the marathon mark in about 4:30. Mike had already decided to take off again and was soon out of sight.

When we passed the 27 mile mark on the dirt road Karla commented that she had now crossed over to the darkside and I told her that yes, every step she took now was a pr. We counted down the miles and soon reached that last long hill. We were feeling the effects of the previous 29 miles but were still running strong. When we reached the final turn and a half mile to go , Jenn and Lisa had walked over to cheer us on and take some pictures. It was a joy to reach the finish line and celebrate Karla's first ultra. She did a great job, felt great, ran the whole way except for potty breaks and refueling at the aid stations and did it with a smile. I have also never felt better running an ultra.

We never saw Margo out on the course but Lisa and Jenn were keeping us posted on how she was doing out on the course. She had already finished and headed for home by the time we were done but Margo did awesome in her first ultra. 2nd woman overall and a fantastic time of 4:53 !!

On the way home I think Karla was already thinking about the next one. Welcome to the Darkside Marathon Princess !!!

Here are the photos I took.

Here are the results

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Turkey Trots and Derby. Must be Thanksgiving

Seems my Thanksgiving Holidays are getting quite predictable. As always, there is the great time and food shared with my family but my day usually starts quite early when I could be sleeping in. I think it was 1999 when I ran the Ridgewood Turkey Trot and that was the last time I have run in it but I have been a volunteer every year since. At first I helped with registration and finish line and as a course monitor but the past three years I've been working the water stop. The race has grown quite a bit the past few years and reached about 3,000 runners this year making it a hectic time handing out the cups but it was still a lot of fun. I enjoy seeing so many friends out on the course and this year Karla helped out too. After the race I went out for a nice easy 5 mile run on the Greenway from Meredith College to the Art Museum and back.

And then the real fun is going back to the Derby 50k for the 7th year in a row. The first year I went down and volunteered and then ran one 10.5 mile loop with the Finkles. I have run the race the past 5 years earning my Veterans vest last year.

This year will be a very special one for me. For one thing it will be my 1st ultra since running it last year. I was just happy to be able to finish it and feel good while not doing any more damage to my injured muscles. After that race I took off 5 weeks from all running and biking so I could finally finish the healing process and now I am looking forward to easing my way back into the ultra world.

And this year is really going to be special because I will be running it with the Marathon Princess as she attempts her first ultra. Although she has run 15 or more marathons, 10 in which I ran with her, she has never entered an ultra before. As you know from reading my blog over the years, she is in great shape now and is excited to be crossing over to the Darkside. I also expect my friend the Boston Queen, Margherita to make her first ultra attempt if family obligations don't keep her away. If she runs I know she will do great. Maureen gave her the Boston Queen nickname because she easily qualifies for Boston just about every time she runs a marathon on her quest to complete 50 States and DC. Stay tuned. Report and pictures coming soon !

Happy Thanksgiving

Monday, November 16, 2009

Boston 2010 is already Full?!?! Oh well.

I was really surprised when I heard Boston was already full in record time. When I ran in 2006 I was able to qualify and get in in Mid February. Last year it filled up by mid January. But Mid November !?!?! I wonder if there are actually that many more people that have qualified or that more of the charity organizations are filling up slots? Well it's no big thing. I had pretty much figured out it would be 2011 before we would be going anyway.

And there are a couple of good things about this now. First, there is less pressure to have to perform by MB. We will be able to put in a good training program for the Spring and if we don't succeed (but we will !! ) then there will be plenty of other chances. It also lets me have the luxury of going ahead and making some plans for next year that I was having to put on hold.

So now the plan is to go ahead and run Derby 50K this month and not worry if my recovery is a problem. Karla , Lisa and I will all run the half at Myrtle Beach and then make our first attempt at the new Tobacco Road Marathon in March. I'll have more on the schedule later when I do my annual year wrap-up and plans for the New year.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

OBX Marathon 2009. Reality Check

Boston or Bust ? Well, I'm afraid it was bust this time around but that didn't stop it from being a great weekend. After working Friday morning, I made the 3 hour drive down to Kill Devil Hills. I decided to go straight to the race expo and pick up my packet. That turned out to be a good idea because soon after I arrived I found Lisa Howell. I would be staying with her and her husband Mike for the weekend so making arrangements for dinner would be easy now. Belinda Brown , one of her friends and former training partners that now lives in Richmond was also there and after a call Frank and Karla met us with us. After a nice dinner we headed to the house and were soon off to bed.

Saturday morning we were up early to go and support Lisa who would be running the 8k. The race started and finished at the local schools and toured through Nags Head Woods before returning to finish on the track. I had a chance to visit with James and Rebecca Moore from the Virgina Happy Trails Running Club who were also watching the race and would be running on Sunday. Lisa did great after just coming off an injury that forced her to withdraw from the marathon, finishing in 1st place in her age-group. We hung around for the awards and then off to a delicious breakfast followed by a nice afternoon of lounging around the Howell residence.

Mid-afternoon I headed out for an easy run and was joined by Belinda. We did a slow easy pace for 3.5 miles along a portion of the course since the house is just a block away and near the 6 mile mark. It was a gorgeous day and we were all hoping that Sunday would be the same.

Sunday morning turned out to be a bit warmer and was already about 6oF as we headed to the start. I was unable to go through my normal warm-up routine due to a long wait in the potty line and was disappointed not to be able to give Karla our normal pre-race pep talk. I found a spot close to the front of the 3rd wave and then all too soon the race began.

I was hoping not to go out too fast hoping for around 8:45 the first mile. Overall I needed to average 8:11 and I like to start a little slow and gradually pick things up. I felt great and the pace seemed ok but I hit the first mile in 8:15. Not really too fast so I didn't think too much about it. Just settle in and hope to be on pace at mile two. That one was 8 minutes flat, I was feeling good and easing off on the effort just a little I was ready now to put it on cruise for the next 24 miles. Miles 3 and 4 were perfect and although I could tell I was running harder than normal I felt good so I stuck to the plan.

Just past mile 4 the course turns off of a bike path and up a short but steep little hill so I backed off the effort not wanting to go into oxygen debt this early in the race. Quickly over the top and then relaxed down the other side and back onto the flat. Whoops, mile 5 was 8:27. I relaxed just a little too much. I picked it back up and as I neared the 6 mile point I saw Mike and Lisa watching for us. A quick greeting and I was gone concentrating on the task at hand. I hit mile 6 in 7:57, so I was happy to be able to easily get back on track but already I was thinking that I would not be holding this pace for another 20 miles.

But I wasn't ready to give up just yet. Things can change quickly and I know from past experience that sometimes you can start to feel better after the first hour. the next few miles are nearly perfectly flat and I was back no pace knocking off the miles like clockwork. Then as I neared Nags Head Woods and the 10 mile mark it was now obvious I was working too hard for this pace to be able to continue and when I hit the 10 mile mark and saw I was already 30 seconds behind qualifying pace I immediately shut it down. That mile was 8:21 and I knew there was no way I was going to be picking up the pace today. I hoped that by shutting down early I could avoid a total meltdown.

Now the plan was to just run as comfortably as I could to the finish and hope for decent time. If things went well I could still run close to 3:45, which is the timee I should have realistically been try9ing to run in the first place. I decided to take it real easy running the small hills through the woods and then picked it back up a little once I got back on the road. That's what I did for the next 3 miles and after crossing the halfway point I picked it back up to 9 minute pace. Soon I was passed by two young guys and they were saying that they were still on 3:45 pace which sounded good to me.

A part of me just wanted to start walking and wait for Karla to catch me and then run with her but as much as I would have enjoyed that, I felt I need to at least try to continue and maybe I could at least run my 2nd fastest marathon. Well by mile 15 I couldn't hold 9 minute pace and with each mile I got slower and just before mile 18 the axle broke and the wheels began coming off. I gave in and walked just before that mile marker and the survival shuffle set in.

As I left the mile 19 aid station I did some calculations and figured that Karla should reach 20 miles in about the same time I was going to get there if she was still on pace for her qualifying time. So I began walking backwards periodically looking back for her. At mile 20 I still couldn't see her but maybe if she caught me before 21 there was still a chance she could do it. But after a very slow mile, in 12 minutes, still no Karla. By now I was really shuffling along and finally as I neared the bridge about the 22.5 mile mark I saw her coming up behind. She still looked ok and was moving at a decent pace but now there was no way I was going to be able to stay with her. I ran with her about 30 seconds and then told her I'd see her at the finish.

The last few miles got really ugly. I noticed that I have actually averaged a faster pace in three of my 100 mile races than I did for the last 5 miles of this race. Lisa was waiting for me at mile 26 to run the last little bit and I was so happy to reach the finish line.

My time of 4:28:13 was disappointing but I was really expecting that outcome since I was not in shape to run 3:35 anyway. Karla missed her time by 8 minutes finishing in 4:13 but it was the fastest marathon she has run since being diagnosed with cancer in 2006 so that is a very positive thing. Now we just have to recover and get back on track with the training and hopefully if things go well we will be ready to give it another shot in February at Myrtle Beach and hope Boston isn't filled by then.

Here are a few photos from the weekend.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Boston or Bust? Heading to the OBX Marathon

After the way things turned out for Boston in 2006, Karla and I agreed that someday after her recovery we would return and race Boston, not just finish it. I don't recall the exact moment but sometime last year we decided it was time to get serious and start back training for it. Of course first I had to get over the nagging injuries of last year and I did have an Ironman I was committed to training for this past June. But you have to start somewhere so after taking off all of last December to let my legs finally heal we started meeting on Saturday mornings to build up to the long runs that we knew would be neccesary.

Once I completed the Ironman in June then we could really get serious and I could devote more energy to running and less on the swimming and biking. A couple of weeks after CDA, we began making weekly trips on Tuesday to the track to began trying to find some long lost leg speed. I also began running more days per week, getting up early before work some days to get in those extra runs. I also would do some tempo runs or repeats on Thursday. About this time Lisa Howell began to join us on our long runs. She is in the same age-group and had the same goal of running a Boston Qualifier at OBX. It is nice to have her along and on the days I had to miss the Saturday runs she and Karla could still get in a long one together.

Things have been going well. I am feeling better and running faster than I have in a couple of years. Karla is completely recovered from the cancer and is stronger than ever setting a 5k pr and just missing one in the half-marathon. Unfortunately Lisa had a hip injury and although she is back running again she had to drop out of the marathon this weekend. She will be running the 8k though and she and husband Mike are hosting me for the weekend in Nags Head.

To be honest, it will take a small miracle for me to run the 3:35 I need. All the indicators of recent races and workouts point to a more realistic chance at running 3:40-3:45 but hey, no guts no glory right? So I'm going to line up with the plan to give it my best shot. Most likely I will end up in a world of hurt but you never know. It could happen. Really it could.

I think Karla is in great shape and will run a great race and qualify easily and if not for the injury Lisa would have been there too. But whatever the outcome we'll have a wonderful weekend. Look for a report soon.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Autumn in Umstead

It wasn't until I was already hiking on the trail to take these pictures that I remembered that it was 30 years ago that I first ran on this very trail the first time. It was 1979 and I thought that I would like to do some trail running so I headed over to William B Umstead State Park and after looking at the map decided to run on the Company Mill Trail. That first run didn't actually turn out to well. after about a mile I lost the trail and finally gave up and ran back to my car. It was only later that I realized that I need to wade across Crabtree Creek to reach the 4 mile loop.

It wasn't long afterwards that I did return and do the whole trail. Back in those days there was not a bridge across the creek so you had to wade across the remains of the old dam and hope it was low water when you got there. At high water there can be some tricky rapids at that area. There were also no bridges over the many ditches and drainages along the trail so you had to climb in and out of them making for some slow running.

Of course these were my first runs on the trails as a runner but certainly not my first experience in the park. From the time I was 8 years old back in the early 60's I remember numerous trips to the park for picnics with my family, with church groups and with Cub and Boy Scouts and of course that included a lot of exploring on the trails and playing in the creeks.

Since I began running ultra's back in 2002 I have spent a lot more time training in the park, sometimes 4 or 5 days a week although not quite as much so the past year. It was enough for my friend Mike Walsh to refer to me as the Mayor of Umstead when I took over the NCRC's August Umstead Series. Of course there are many others that have and are running hundreds of miles through the park but I certainly know my way around.

Hope you enjoy the photos.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Run For The Booty Half-Marathon

Early this year when Butch Robertson , the race director told me he was adding this race to his half-marathon series, I made immediate plans to add it to my racing schedule. Since my main priority this year after doing the Ironman was to begin to get back into Boston qualifying shape, this race fit perfectly into my plan to race the OBX Marathon in November. It is 4 weeks oout and with a fast course it would be a good test of my fitness.

Training has been going very well since my nagging injuries from last year are behind me now but despite getting in good mileage and running speedwork again I knew I would not be close to the same shape I was 4 years ago when I last qualified. So although I had to scale back on my predicted time I was still looking forward to a good race, a fun time and a reality check on my fitness.

Of course the Marathon Princess was part of the plan too since she is also trying for her BG at OBX. Unfortunately Frank has some little injury issue right now and chose not to run and Lisa, our frequent training partner is also out with an injury so Karla and I would make the trip alone this morning. With a start time of 7am that meant for an early wake-up and drive to Greenville.

We arrived about 6 and after picking up our packets and making last minute preparations it was time to warm-up. The weather was looking good with the temperature in the upper 50's and a little breeze but then it began to rain while we were running our warm-up mile. We all got lucky though and the rain stopped just before the start and would not come back although it stayed overcast the entire morning.

My legs were feeling good and the nagging after effects of last weeks mild chest cold seemed to finally be gone so I was confident of a good run. There were approximately 300 starters so as we began the race it didn't take long for things to spread out. I tried to keep the pace under control early and hit mile one in 7:50. Not too bad at only 10 seconds under my goal pace. Mile 2 was 8:00, dead-on pace and I was settled in now for the long run.

The course is mostly flat but there are several hills, none too steep but enough to let you know you aren't on level ground. One of the longest came just before mile 3 but I maintained effort and passed it in 8:06. As soon as we leveled out I picked it up again and the next several miles were pancake flat. The metronome had kicked in by now and I hit mile 4 in 7:53. I missed the 5 mile mark but from mile 4 to 6 took 15:58. Halfway and still feeling great and right on pace. Mile 7 was 7:57 and mile 8 with another long slight upgrade took 8:11. Once it flattened out I was right back on pace again in 7:57 for mile 9. By now I was starting to feel the pace and soon I had a painful side stitch that forced me to back off a little bit. I missed seeing mile 10 but passed 11 in 16:26 so I lost some time in those two miles. I was happy that the stitch did ease off but now as I was tiring and working harder to maintain pace, I began wheezing a little and coughing as the lingering efects of the cold kicked in. Even with that I still was able to hold on for an 8:11 12th mile and an 8:15 13th.

By now I was happy to see the finish line and ran strong to the end, satisfied to come within a minute of my pre-race goal. I immediately made my way to the car to get my camera to catch Karla's finish. I was hoping she would get her half-marathon pr today and didn't want to miss it. Soon she came into sight, missing her pr by about a minute but considering where she's coming from it was still amazing to come that close. And it would be good enough for 2nd place Master's Woman and 1st in the 50 and over age-group. I would be 5th in my age-group. Local Masters Superstar Tim Meigs from Raleigh was the overall winner of the race and another friend from Clayton, Brent George won his age-group.

We had a lot of fun and it was a great morning overall. The race went well and hopefully will be a regular feature on the local race calender.

Friday, October 09, 2009

A look back to 2006 and Chasing Dreams

Dreams Can Come True

Friday, May 05 2006 @ 05:03 PDT
Contributed by: mday
Views: 1,367

By Joey Anderson

Thirteen months ago. That's how long it has been since a group of friends prodded me into chasing a dream I had long ago given up on. But now the dream had come true and I was heading to the Boston Marathon. However this was not going to be the way I had envisioned it would be. No, as fate would have it, this would turn out to be the most memorable run of my life. Let me explain.

Many of you are familiar with the stories I wrote about my quest to qualify for Boston over the past year. For those that may have missed them they can be found at titled Chasing Dreams and the Power of Friendship. Part 1. Part 2.

One big part that I alluded to in the second story, which I am now making public changed the story quite a bit. Nine days before running my qualifier at Myrtle Beach on Feb. 18th, it was confirmed by a biopsy that my training partner Karla has breast cancer. She decided to wait until after we ran there before having surgery and had every intention of still going to Boston if it was humanly possible to do so while undergoing chemotherapy.

This put my qualifier in a whole new perspective.

On the one hand my heart wasn't really into running because of my concern for her but I knew then that I had to qualify so I could be there to support her.

So now we found ourselves in Boston on Saturday April 15th and headed to the race expo. Between Feb and now, Karla had two surgery's and was into her 4th week of chemo with only 12 miles of running in between. Her medical team had given her the Ok to attempt the race so we were eager to pick up our race packets. We were accompanied by Karla's husband Frank and son Eric. Our friend Jerry from the stories was here also but Margo missed the trip to go to see her son and grandchild in Germany.

We spent most of the weekend resting as the treatments are very tiring for Karla and we wanted to save as much energy as possible. We were fortunate to arrive at the athlete's village on a charter bus the morning of the race so we were able to rest and stay warm on the bus right up until time to march to the starting line. Our hope was just to make it to the finish by the offical cut-off of 6 hours with as little stress on Karla as possible. The plan was for me to run with her the whole way. After all her inspiration and help getting me here there was no way I wasn't going to be there to share the whole experience with her. I would also be able to moniter her condition as we went along. I carried a cell phone, something I never imagined I would do in a race, but as you can imagine, Frank was a bit concerned so I had it just in case.

The temperature at the start was in the 50's so at least we had pleasant running weather and we soon found ourselves on the way out of Hopkinton and on the way to Boston and the finish line. We started out at an easy pace, just trying to enjoy the atmosphere surrounding such an historic event. We hoped to run as much as possible and attempt to get to the half in 2:30. I figured that if we had to we could walk it in from there. We walked just enough to make sure we were getting plenty to drink and took a gel at 5 miles. We were having a great time taking in the sites along the course and enjoying each others company.

It was just after 10 miles that the reality of the situation set in. Although she had hoped to run most of the race, the effects of the chemo and lack of training were taking their toll. It was now obvious that we were going to do a lot of walking and she wasn't too happy with that. But being the speciial woman that she is, she was more concerned with me having to run my first Boston so slow after training so hard to get here. I assured her there was nothing I would rather be doing than sharing the day with her and after a little emotional moment we forged ahead with determination to go claim our medals.

We settled into a nice run/walk routine and although she was tiring and getting sore legs and feet we were on pace. I continued to monitor her condition and felt she was doing fine. We continued to drink and started eating gels more often to keep her energy up as muchas possible. At times I could see that she was concerned with whether we would make it, so I tried to keep the mood light and assure her that as long as we were moving in the direction we were going we had it in the bag. As you can see from the pictures, even late in the race she looked great and we were doing a lot of smiling and laughing.

We saw Frank and Eric along the course about the 16 mile mark and this boosted her spirits but soon afterwards as we got into the hills the pace was slowing. We were going to be cutting it close if the pace got any slower. She was asking me how we were doing at every mile and I just told her not to worry and just keep moving. After a 16:32, 20th mile I knew we would have to pick it up or we would miss the cut-off. That's when I gave her the "dig deep" speech. I told her if she could walk faster, then I wouldn't make her run as much. I said, just pretend that those shoes she wanted on sale were first come first serve and walk like she was going after the last pair. She liked that idea as she had gotten comfortable walking. We would run about 5 minutes then walk 5. This strategy seemed to work and we were soon walking a good pace, and our overall pace again dropped below 14 minute miles, the magic number for a 6 hour finish.

It was great to finally see the infamous Citgo sign up ahead as we new we were in the last few miles. All day long we had seen a lot of charity runners supporting the Dana-Farber Cancer Center. It was somewhere near this point that we saw one of the ladies passing us. She had written on the back of her shirt" If you think 26.2 miles is hard, try chemo" How appropriate for the moment. For Karla it was 26.2 miles AND chemo at the same time. But even so Karla was inspired by all the other runners in the race that were overcoming the obstacles that life had thrown in their way.

Finally we made the turn onto Boylston Street and the finish line. We were able to muster up enough energy to run across the line holding hands in 5:47:10. This was the slowest race for either one of us but as for me, this was the best race of my 28 years of running. It was such an honor to run with such a courageous and gracious lady that I am proud to have as my friend.

The marathon for Karla to beat ths cancer is still in the early miles but I am sure she will continue to face it bravely. I look forward to her recovery so that we can share many more miles and smiles.

Joey Anderson

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Selma Railroad Run 5k

To begin with, no the picture was not taken from today's race. This was from 1979, 30 years ago and at 32 years running this is one of the oldest races in NC. It was originally a 10K which was the most popular race distance back in those days. I don't remember when it was changed to 5k and it seems they had both for a while. I was proud that my Mother and I think my brother also ran the race that year. Dad took the picture.

It remains a small, low-key event with a reasonable entry fee. But it is a very flat fast certified course with chip timing and is the place to go if you want a fast time. The last time I ran here was in 2005 when Karla and I were training together to get ready for Boston. She had already qualified and was running to try for a pr while I was using it for a test of my leg speed. Her husband Frank and our friend Jerry would also be running. I had a great day and ran 21:12, my fastest 5k in almost 20 years and Karla ran a pr or was within a second or two and won 2nd place in her age-group.

So here we are now 4 years later with the same goals. After going through cancer and recovery I felt that Karla with her hard training this year was about back in shape to try for another pr. I am not quite back to the same level as 2005 but was hoping to have a good test of my speed work and to at least come close to my time 4 years ago. Frank would be running again also. We were also happy to have our friends Margo and Maureen as surprise entrants. I was not surprised to see some other running friends Katie Leger and Laura Frey show up. They have been running great lately and the lure for a flat fast course was enough to get them to come and attempt to run pr sub-20 pace.

It turned out to be a warm and muggy morning but we still hoped for the best. I got off to a good start hitting mile 1 in 6:53 but I would began to slow quickly. My legs felt great but I have been trying to fight off a cold this week and my lungs just weren't up to the pace today. I could see Katie and Laura were leading the womens race and soon after I made the u-turn I could see Maureen not too far behind me and Margo just behind her. I passed the 2 mile mark 14:22, a 7:29 2nd mile and I knew my hoped for sub-22 was not going to happen. I soon saw Karla go by and could tell she was really close to the pace she needed.

I tried to maintain and push the pace the last 1.1 but it was hard and I got a side stitch with 1/2 mile to go. Maureen passed me with 1/4 to go looking strong. She's an amazing athlete and did this with very little running this year. I finished in 22:43, about a minute faster than The Race for the Cure in June so I am making some progress at least even when not having my best day. Margo was not too far behind me and then Karla came in just missing sub 24 but still got her pr by about 5 seconds !!! Can you tell how proud I am !!!!! After all she had gone through in 2006 to be back stronger than ever is AWESOME !

The awards ceremony was good. Katie and Laura finished 1-2 overall women. Maureen was 2nd in the 30-39, Margo was 3rd in 40-49 but too bad they only go 2 deep. Karla was 1st in 50 and over. Another friend, Brent George won the mens 30-39 and Sean Kurdys won the mens 40-49. Frank and I settled as also rans in ours, both finishing 5th I think.

Overall it was still a fun day and afterwards Karla and I ,still in OBX training mode went out for a 10 mile run.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Racing, Training and Just Running

For some people I guess all running is the same but for me and some others there are different types of running. Any kind is good but they all serve different purposes and sometimes the three main types get a little mixed up.

For me over the past couple of years it seems I've done a lot of just running and that is not a bad thing. I had to get over the injuries so some days I was happy to just get out and put in a few miles. Sometimes when I'm running in a race I'm not really racing but just running. That happens a lot when I don't have a time goal and decide to just enter an event for fun or when I decide to run with someone else. Usually thats with Karla but occasionally others. Sometimes its planned from the start but sometimes I happen to pull alongside someone and decide to stick with them.

Just running can be a lot of fun especially when it is shared with someone. When I'm alone I describe just running as going out everday at about the same pace. A little slower on days when I don't feel so good and a little faster on others when I feel better or the weather is nice. And although I call it just running , any miles are a form of training.

But real training to me is what I have been doing the past few months. That's when I have a set goal, develop a plan to achieve that goal and then go out and execute the workouts to make the goal a reality. Each day that I head out the door has a purpose, to either build endurance , stamina, speed or to recover. I get excited about nearly every workout and look forward to getting it done. I love to track my progress and analyze the results and to occasionally check my progress to see if I need to make adjustments in the plan.

Right now I am loving meeting Karla at the track every Tuesday and devising a speed or stamina workout. I usually do some shorter, faster paced stuff while I wait for her and then run another one with her. I love the sensation of moving at a fast pace, feeling the burn in my legs and lungs but knowing that it will pay off come race day. It is wonderful to feel the zip, the power returning to my legs.

I can't hardly wait for Saturday mornings to come around so I can go for a long run at Umstead or Shelly Lake Greenway with the Marathon Princess and Mountain Girl and occasionally the Ultra Angel. And I look forward to Thursdays when I can go out by myself and push myself hard on a tempo run or mile repeats on the country roads of home.

Which brings me to racing or the icing on the cake of all the training. There is nothing like the feeling of laying all out and pushing to your limit when your in shape and know the training is going well. Although I will never realisticly approach the pr 's in the shorter distances that I set over 20 years ago I still enjoy seeing just how fast I can push myself and come as close to those paces as possible. And you may think I"m crazy but I feel with my current training plan that I have a legitimate shot at setting pr's from the half-marathon on up to 100 miles over the next couple of years and will be working towards a goal of doing that.

But, while I focus in that direction, I plan to do a lot of just running too with my regular training partners Karla, Lisa , Jenn and maybe you.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

(Nearly) swept away with the tide at Patriots Half -Ironman

I had originally signed up for this race because I was hoping for a fast time on a reasonably easy course last year. That race was canceled due to a tropical storm passing through the area the night before so I re-entered for this year. I expected to do even better since I would be coming off my Ironman training. Although my motivation for the bike and swim has diminished since June, my running has been going great so I headed to Williamsburg on Friday still anticipating a good shot at a pr.

I arrived at the race race site just after 7pm for packet-pickup and to check out the swim and transition area. I was not too happy with what I saw. It would be over a quarter mile to the river start on some rough ground and the take-out would be nearly as far away but at least was mostly over soft grass.

My oldset son Steven and daughter-in-law Bethany were going to be there for this one which would be nice. We would be staying at her Dad's house in Yorktown so I headed on over there to get an early bedtime. 4:30 would come early Saturday.

6 am Saturday am we arrived at the race site and I proceeded to set up my transitions and then we walked down to the race start. The water temp was measured at 74F which is wetsuit legal but I had opted not to wear mine. I don't like swimming in it and it is a pain to get off and at that temperature I would probably get hot anyway like I did at White Lake in the Spring. I plunged in for a little warm-up and it felt fine to me and soon enough the race was underway.

I was happy to feel better than expected early on and was settled into a good steady pace. We headed out into the river at a about a 45 degree angle into the oncoming tidal current but I couldn't really feel anything and made the turn about a half mile out. We then were swimming with the current parallel to the shore and once again I was feeling good. I finally made it to the turn for shore and that's when the problem started. The sun was rising above the trees on shore and I could not see where I needed to go. I looked around for the next buoy and couldn't see it either so all I could do was follow the swimmers in front of me and hope they knew where they were going. My instincts told me we should have made a sharper left turn but the mass of them was heading out at more of an angle so I followed.

As I was swimming along, I frequently tried to site the shoreline or find a buoy but still couldn't see anything. After quite a while I was growing frustrated because I knew I should be seeing something but we kept getting closer to the ferry pier. And then finally I was able to find the finish. Only trouble was it was back upriver. I was about 200 yards away from the buoys I should have been next too and now I had to swim against the current to try to make it to shore. I could really feel it now and although I was swimming harder my progress was slow. Finally with a 100 yards to go I stood up and walk it in like most of the others were doing. Good thing the water was shallow so far out. I know I swam at least a quarter mile more than 1.2 miles.

I was disgusted as I hit the beach. I should have done the swim in 45 minutes or less and it took me 59!!! With the 3 minute run to transition I was already over 15 minutes slower than I needed to have a chance at a pr. Well, nothing I could do about it so I calmed myself down and reminded myself I was just here to have fun so I hopped on the bike with the plan to just go as hard as I felt comfortable and enjoy the rest of the day.

So, now I'm on the bike and soon enough I was enjoying myself quite a bit. I really liked this bike course. About half is on the Colonial Parkway and the rest on rural country roads with light traffic. Most of the roads were smooth and in good shape. It was mostly a flat and fast course but there were enough small hills spread out along the way to keep it interesting. The biggest hill was the new bridge over the Chickohominy River which we crossed over in both directions.

I felt very good on the bike keeping to my nutrition and hydration plan and my energy level was good the whole ride. Of course the last 10 miles I was beginning to wish it was over as my butt and neck were getting sore and tired of the position but the pace stayed constant the entire time. With about 7 miles to go a 27 year old pretty young lady pulled up beside me and wanted to start a conversation. She was an experienced Ironman and I could tell by her effort that she was just out for a fun easy ride. It is against the rules to ride side by side but I don't make a habit out of telling pretty girls to go away and at this point I was enjoying the conversation. After several miles a race official passed us and was writing a note. We assumed we had been busted and would be assessed a penalty but I guess they felt as far back as we were not to bother with it as nothing showed up in the results.

At that point she said good-bye and pulled ahead. My only problem with the course was it was 1.5 miles too long costing me another 5 minutes. Otherwise my bike time was just about dead on what I had expected. When I reached the transition area I knew my chance at a pr was over. I would need to run under 2:00 for the half marathon to come. Not a problem in a running race but in a triathlon I have never run faster than 2:30 and I was expecting that even on a good day the best I could hope for would be about 2:15 My goal for today was actually to just be able to run the whole thing without taking walk breaks which would be a first. And now I wasn't holding out any great hopes that would happen because my legs were stiff and dead and I could hardly push my bike through transition.

Once I finally racked the bike I was out quickly and out onto the run course. They had to change the course this week due to a boat hitting a bridge pier. That turned out to be a good thing as far as I'm concerned because now the run would be mostly on a bike path that had shade over half the course. I started slowly and not pushing the effort letting my legs get loosened up. When I hit the 1st mile in 8:57 I was surprised because it sure didn't feel that fast as I was expecting more like 11:00. I thought it may have been a bad mark but then I hit 2 miles in 17:52 so now my confidence was growing. This was sub- 2 hour pace and if by some miracle I could hold it I would have a shot at that pr after all.

We turned off the bike path for a 1.5 mile loop on a gravel path through the woods. It was a little rough on my feet since I had on my lightweight trainers but the shade made it more than worthwhile with the temperature now in the low 80's. I was getting a side stitch but other wise felt good and still on pace. I decided just to hold steady and then re-assess at the halfway mark. Well, I went through 6 miles in 54:09 feeling great so I picked it up a little. I could not believe how good I was feeling at this point. I was very confident now that I was not going to have a meltdown. It was just a matter of not losing anytime and that pr might just happen. The next two miles were slighty faster but I got another side stitch and had to back off.

It was amazing how many runners I was passing now and I went by 10 miles in 1:29:56 still on 9mp overall. I slowed just a little more the next two miles but from mile 12 I pushed it hard and finished the run in 1:57:58, exactly 9mp and got the pr by 1.5 minutes !!!!! Woohoo !! I guess all those running miles and speedwork are paying off.

Steven, Bethany and Bethany's dad , also a Steven were waiting for me at the finish and after a shower in the hospital that Steven works for, we went out for a delicious BBQ lunch. What a great weekend and race. And to think it was nearly washed away with the tide.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

NC Cancer Hospital Dedication

I had the pleasure of attending the dedication ceremony for the new NC Cancer Hospital of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center on the campus of UNC-CH with the Marathon Princess this afternoon. Lots of dignitaries there including the Governor Bev Perdue, Senate Majority leader Tony Rand and House Speaker Joe Hackney with all the leaders of the UNC system and administration and physicians of the UNC system. As part of the new hospital, a gallery of photos and stories of cancer patients and survivors as well as caregivers was dedicated and located in the hall and lobby. This gallery is named the New Faces of Cancer Care. Karla was chosen to be represented as you can see in the photo above. I'm a bit biased but I think hers is the best picture of them all.

She has also been featured in a radio commercial that has been airing for the past week on several area radio stations. Hopefully this link will take you to a recording of it.

So how is she doing? Well, it's been almost 3 years now since her treatments ended and was declared cancer-free. As you know if you have followed this blog at all over the past few years that she and I have continued to run several marathons and other races together over the years but for a long time we were not able to train much together. Athough she was running her times had gotten much slower. I think she was getting frustrated that she could not run as fast as before the cancer but it takes a couple of years for the body to get over the effects of the treatments.

At the beginning of this year when I returned to running after my month of healing we decided to get serious again and started meeting for regular long runs on the weekends again like we had in 2005. And then in May we returned to the track to began a speedwork program. I'm happy to say that that she now seems to be as strong as ever and I expected her racing times this Fall to be back in pr range again. If all goes to plan we will both qualify for Boston and return and celebrate our friendship.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Time to give it another Tri

Yes, this weekend I will be heading up to Williamsburg VA area for the Patriot's Half-Ironman. I had signed up for this race last year but it was cancelled due to a tropical storm that went directly over the area the night before the race. As a result I entered the Duke Liver Center Half-Ironman the following weekend. I wasn't really in shape for either of them at the time and had a dnf in the heat and just did more harm to my already injured legs.

Since completing the Ironman at Couer D'Alene in June this year I'm afraid my already inadequate bike and swim training has fallen off even more. I've only been on the bike and in the pool about once a week since that time. The good news is that my running is going great since recovering from the race so hopefully that will help carry me to a decent finish. When I signed up for the race I had hopes of having a great race and going under 6 hours. The course is flat and should be a fast one, especially if there is no wind to contend with like it is so often at White Lake, another flat course.

Although I haven't ridden the bike that much, when I have ridden, I've felt stronger than earleir in the year, possibly still feeling some training effect from CDA. So, although I"m not quite as well prepared as I had originally planned, I will go and give it my best shot. No guts , no glory right ?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

More running history from 1978

After that first 10k race in Winston-Salem on Mar. 11th 1978 my running had new meaning. Now I was not just running to stay in shape but I was beginning to train. It wouldn't be long afterwards that my dreams of body-building would be behind me as I fell in love with the running so completely.

I had bought my first pair of real running shoes , a pair of Nike Waffle Trainers in Nov. of 1977 and then my wife bought me some New Balance 320's for Christmas so those are the two pairs of shoes I alternated wearing in 1978.

I was so excited after that first race that I couldn't wait to run another one and then I heard about the WRAL 101.1 run for fun the very next Sunday. The race turned out to be very poorly planned which wasn't unusual for that period but I was disappointed because I thought the one in W-S was very well organized. They said they were expecting maybe 20 runners but 166 showed up. It was a freakish hot day for March and they had no water on the course or at the finish line. To their credit they did take my name and address and mailed me a t-shirt.

Over the next few weeks I began to get more serious with the training and began doing some of the workouts I had read about from some of the big coaches of the era. I was doing some fartlek and mile repeats on the road and occasional time trials. By the end of March I was already making plans to build my mileage for a marathon with the plan to run in Greensboro in October.

My next race would be the Dogwood 10k in Statesville on April 29th. This one would be better organized but would turn out to be a very hilly course. I noted that although my time of 49:13 was 14 seconds slower than my 1st one, that with the hills and warmer weather it was actually a better effort. I sprinted against a guy and two girls at the finish, beating them all but spewing gatorade for my effort. Well worth it.

The next month I would be focusing on getting ready for the first Great Raleigh Road Race. We were very excited that Raleigh was going to get a "big" race. I was working at the Revco in downtown at the time and my boss John White had been doing some training with me. We did several runs on the course to get ready leaving one car downtown and leaving one at the fairgrounds. Unfortunately I began to have hip pain and with two weeks to go before the race I couldn't run. I was afraid I wouldn't even be able to run the race.

In many ways the race was a disaster but it in others it was hugely successful. They said maybe a thousand runners would enter but were really expecting 500. What a shock when 2364 registered. The course started next to the Capital on Hillsborough Street and ran straight out to the fairgrounds with the finish inside Dorton Arena Or that was the plan.

It was certainly an experience running with that large crowd in a time when 100 was considered a big race. It was a hot day and again the organizers weren't prepared for the crowds. I made my way through the pack as best as I could but was not having a good run. Obviously I was doing better than a lot of people and I think there must have been large numbers of people that had no idea what they were getting into. Although I was hurting by the time I got to the 4 mile mark I was passing large groups of people running slowly and walking and I noticed several were passing out along the road. I went through 5 miles in 41:30, not too far off my previous times but I will never know what my finish time was. By the time I got to Dorton Arena the finish line was so overwhelmed that we had to stop running and wait and walk in a long line before we could finally get inside to cross the finish. I was not too happy with that but what can you do?

The winner was Robbie Perkins , a Duke runner in 30:11 and Raleigh and NC State runners Julie and Mary Shea took 1st and 2nd for the women. I think Mary may still have been running in HS for Cardinal Gibbons at the time.

After my first race I had gotten my brother excited and he began running and he did GRRR as his first finishing in about 57 minutes. It wouldn't be long before he would be beating me.

I didn't run at all the next week due to the hip and a sore calf but like the foolish excited beginning racer I was,I still was planning to run another 10k the next weekend if at all possible. You may have noticed that the 10k was the king of races distances in the 70's.

So the next weekend on June 10th we made the trip to Salisbury to run a race at Catawba College. My brother and I along with my wife Edith who was now pregnant with our first child and John and his wife Peggy and son Ritchie. The ladies would be cheering us men on. That is the four of us in the photo after the race.

It would be a hot day and the race didn't start until 10am. I ran well but my hip was really bothering me most of the run. I set a pr of 46:37 but afterwards had to face the reality that I had my first running injury.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Running Healthy and Pain-Free

Things continue to go well with my running now that I finally seem to have the injuries behind me. The month of July I ran 140 miles which is the highest monthly total since April 2008 Prior to that I had been close to 200 a month for several years. It was a long recovery and healing process but once I accepted that I was injured and needed to get it fixed things went much better.

I am so thankful to God just to be able to run and to have a strong healthy body. There are so many that will never be able to experience the feelings I have out there on the roads and trails. Once I decided to seek help things began to improve slowly but surely. Two people in particular were of great help to me in getting back on track. First was my massage therapist, Jay Sutton owner of AMR Therapeutic Massage in Cary. Frank and Karla had given me a gift certificate a year before but I didn't go back until I was having some Plantar Fasciitis pain. Jay was able to cure that in about 3 sessions and it has never returned. One of my biggest problems with the most recent injuries were in my periformis. Again that was fixed in just a few sessions also. The hamstrings took a lot longer simply because I had to finally just take off for a while to let them heal. Thanks Jay !

Also I began to see a chiropractor, Mark Jenson of Corrective Chiropratic in Raleigh. Mark was able to help get my lower back and neck alignment fixed which has also contributed my my overall well-being. If anyone needs either of these types of services I can recommend both.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Grandfather Mountain Marathon 2009

My main goal for the race this year was to have fun and so it was a most successful weekend. I would have liked to have performed a little better but all things considered I'm pretty happy with the results too.

Frank and Karla met me in Durham where I was working Friday afternoon and we headed to Boone from there. The trip was quick and uneventful and headed straight over to packet-pickup upon arrival. Good timing as the Trail Angel walked up right behind us. After a short visit and seeing some other friends we checked into our motel and then back into town to meet with Lisa and have dinner at Peppers.

It had been getting a little chilly as the sun went down and I was expecting a cool start for the race but when I awoke at 5am Saturday the temperature was about the same as when I went to bed. there was a light fog and a little shower but it stopped before we got in the car to drive to the start. We saw a lot more friends from the NCRC and MTC but even with the small starting field of around 400 runners I somehow missed seeing quite a few that I know were there.

Due to construction around the stadium we couldn't start on the track this year so we ran a loop around the parking lot to make up the distance. Karla,Lisa and I were planning to run together as much as possible so we started off at an easy pace and tried to avoid getting off too fast in the excitement and with the downhill start for most of the first two miles. It was already a bit warm and humid but with a mostly shady course I didn't think overheating would be too much of a problem today.

As we hit the first climb just past the two mile mark we settled in and began to enjoy the beauty of the course. Winklers Creek flows along this first section heading out of town and we were enjoying listening to the music of the flowing water and seeing the homes built along the creek. What a nice place it would be to have a summer home. Everyone was feeling fine and we continued to put the miles behind us having too much fun. After turning onto Shulls Mill road things seem to get even prettier and the forest was covered in rhododendrens which along with the views help to take your mind off the 2 mile climb from there to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Due to the haze it was hard to get a good view of Grandfather but we stopped for photos at the usual spot around the 10 mile mark. We took them quickly and a passing runner was kind enough to offer to get one of all three of us before we began running again.

Once we got to the Parkway we had a break from the climbing and enjoyed a nice long downhill stretch. It is nice to relax but you still have to hold back because there is a whole lot of climbing to come and you don't want to beat you legs up this early in the race. All too soon the downhill ends as we reached the halfway point in the race. Our goal before had been to finish around 4:30 and we were right on pace to do that at the half but I knew there was no way I was going to be able to sustain that today but we were all comfortable with that and just kept plugging along.

The climb up to the 15.5 mile aid station was slow and I was getting tired and could tell I had no climbing power left in my legs but once again the course flattened out for a little while and I was able to keep up a decent pace until we got to that hateful little steep hill known simply as 17. That's what Laura has always called it anyway so that's what I call it. And I always walk it. Even the year I was running sub 4 pace I walked the steepest part of it. So we walked it too and were glad to finally get to the end and the aid station at the intersection of Hwy 221.

From that point the steepest climbs are all behind you with just long gradual climbing with the occasional short downhill break. We were all still feeling pretty good and I was gaining more confidence that I would make it to the end with the ladies but just before the 23 mile mark the course gets a little steeper for about half a mile and I had to take a short walk break. I didn't say anything and just let the ladies move on ahead and after awhile I guess they noticed I wasn't right behind them anymore. Once I got some powerade at the aid station at the top of that hill I took off trying to catch up with them. I was able to close about half the gap but then on the next climb around mile 24 I started losing ground again. At that point I gave up the chase and just planned to finish in as good a shape as possible. Unfortunately I began getting some really weird calf cramps that felt like a small ball moving around in each one. I have never experienced anything quite like that but at least they never did completely knot up on me and I was able to keep moving although very slowly.

The sound of the bagpipes and seeing the stadium were a most welcome sight. Scot Haywood was standing there waiting for me as I entered the stadium and ran the lap around the track as an escort with me. I tried to look my best for the cheering crowds but I was really glad to be able to stop running. I think that my lack of mileage the past year and the Ironman three weeks ago had finally gotten to me. Karla and Lisa were waiting for me at the line and then Frank found us and we walked back down the hill to the marathon tent.

Lisa would take 3rd place in her age-group with Karla finishing just two steps behind her. Laura was the winner of her age-group and another friend, Julie Garrett was the overall Master champ in a great time. Several other friends did well but the performance of the day had to be Tim Meigs, a fellow runner from Raleigh. Tim was not only the Mens Masters Champ but finished 2nd overall in an amazing time on this tough course.

After the awards we went to relax and then met with a large group (18) of MTC friends at Casa Rustica. What a great way to end the day.

Will we come back next year? Could be. Karla is already talking about trying for a faster time and the way she is training hard now I don't doubt that she can make a big improvement. All three of us are planing to try to qualify for Boston at the OBX this Fall and hopefully we'll just keep building from there.

Here are some photos from me and Frank

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Return to Grandfather Mountain

The photo shows one of the main reasons I love this race. I took this one last year at about the 16 mile point on the race with a view of Grandfather in the distance. The race is small with around 400 runners each year but they do a good job with adequate aid along the way. If you need a lot of bells and whistles, cheering crowds along the course and a traffic free course, this race isn't for you. But if you enjoy a low-key event with some nice people to share the experience then you should plan to come here and run sometime. And the finish on the track in front of thousands in the grandstands of the Scottish Highland Games is very cool.

I heard about this race when I first started running and was intimidated by the distance and the difficulty but by the time I got around to running it the first time in 2003 I had several hard ultras under my belt and knew I could handle it. I thoroughly enjoyed that first year and this will be my 5th time returning. Another thing that makes it special are the many friends I've made over the years that come to run here and get a little break form the summer heat on what has to be one of the most beautiful road races in the country.

I was most fortunate to share half of the 2006 race with the Trail Angel and last year we ran the last 21 ones together. I hope this year she is in great shape and feeling better but that means she will be way ahead of me. But I am most eager to share the day with the Marathon Princess and our new long run training partner Lisa. Karla has been wanting to come here since we began training together back in 2005 but this is the first year that she finally gets to do it. She has been running great this year and I expect a good run for her. I seem to be recovered from the Ironman and my injuries are well now so I hope we can stick together to the end. This will be our 10th marathon we will have run together if everything works out ok.

Look for a report and photos soon. Frank is going to be with us and is the official photographer for the start and finish for Team Ultraman and Marathon Princess.

Monday, July 06, 2009

So, what's next Joey?

Well, the first thing is running the Grandfather Mountain Marathon next week but we'll talk about that later.

The problem is that there are too many things I want to do but there are not enough years to get around to them all and my body can't handle everything I wish I could do. Despite having run for 32 years now and participating in Triathlons off and on for 7 now I still have a burning desire to set goals,train for them and have my little adventures.

So when is the next Ironman? I don't know. I won't say never ( tried that already) but there are no plans in the near future. After thinking I wanted to do one for almost 29 years I just finally got around to it. It took me about 19 years before I ever did my first triathlon and another 10 before the Ironman. It was a remarkable experience but my true love is running and right now I am ready to get back to some serious training now that I am finally able to run pain-free after nearly 1.5 years.

Ironman events are very expensive for one thing but the main reason I'm not planning another anytime soon is the huge amount of time it takes to properly train in all three disciplines. Looking back over my training it is surprising to me that I was able to do it anyway. I took the entire month of December off to let my hamstrings heal completely so I was starting over with 6 months to go. I had not ridden my bike since last September until March of this year and only rode a total of 600 miles this year prior to the race. Certainly not the way to properly prepare for the event. The swimming had gone well and was sufficient but my running was still well below my normal mileage for the past several years so my general lack of training makes it even more special that I was able to become an Ironman. I do have a Half-Ironman coming up in September and maybe a couple of shorter tri's before then so I am not dropping from triathlon completely but now the focus will be on getting my running mileage back up and also find some speed in my legs again.

So, as soon as GMM is done my next major goal is to return to Boston Marathon qualifying shape. I am a long way from being there but since I am focused on that and not doing any ultras for a while yet I am confident that I will be able to achieve that goal within a year and hopefully by this Fall. Karla and I have already been going back to the track now for about 6 weeks for the first time since Feb of 2006. These have all been cruise intervals at tempo pace so far but after we recover from the marathon next week we'll be prepared to start doing some faster stuff. And although I was focused primarily on the Ironman in the Spring we did get in quite a few good long runs so we don't have to build up to them from scratch.

I look forward to the training and running in more shorter road races as I build up to my qualifying attempt. I really miss the ultramarathons and my many friends on the trails and look forward to my return there but first I want to see how much faster I can run and how close to my pr's I can get. No way I can run the short pr's but I truly believe that at 53 I can set pr's from the half-marathon to the 100 miler over the next couple of years. A man has to dream but I like to think my dreams are within reach.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Mt Rainier and the rest of the vacation

After waking up much too early the morning after the race, I took my bike and gear back to the Inside Out Sports tent for shipping back home and then hopped in the car heading West. I didn't have much more time in Washington and wanted to see as much of the State as possible , especially Mt Rainier. It didn't take long and I was back into the desert area on the same route I had arrived on but soon I would take a turn to the South to see some new areas.

Here is a link to the photos from this part of the trip

Once again I enjoyed the changes in scenery, the many wildflowers and views. My destination for the night would be Yakima. As you can imagine I was very stiff and sore so I made numerous stops and got out to walk around for a few minutes. I was a bit surprised that I could see Rainier from 50 miles East of Yakima which means the mountain was about 100 miles away. It doesn't show up too well in the pictures but it was clearly visible to the naked eye.

Yakima is in an interesting area and is at the confluence of the Natches and Yakima rivers. They have a nice greenway,rail trail along the river and I was very tempted to run but decided resting my legs was better. I was still very tired too after less than 5 hours of sleep after the race so I checked in and went to bed early.

After a much needed 10.5 hours of sleep I was up and heading West again, destination Mt Rainier National Park. It was only about 50 miles away but would end up taking me half the day to get there. Soon after leaving Yakima you begin gaining elevation and things get greener and soon you enter the Wenatchee National Forest. Every mile revealed another gorgeous view of the mountains , creeks and rivers. I thought I had entered a corner of Heaven for sure. I was stopping over and over again to take photos and soak in the views and being so thankful to be able to see such beauty. It was also a perfect weather day, clear and in the 50's and low 60's.

I saw an info kiosk that had a picture of Bumping Lake and it looked so pretty I decided to make the side trip to check it out. It's about 15 miles down a forest service road but well worth the drive. The speed limit is 45 but I couldn't drive that fast because I was loving the scenery along the way too much to drive that fast. Along the way I saw a moose and a mule deer. The deer ran away but the moose nervously walked back and forth posing, not sure to run away or stay. The forest floor was covered in wildflowers over most of the area too. I finally arrived at the lake and it was better than the photo I had seen. I don't think my pics can do it justice either.

There was a relatively flat dirt road just up from the picnic area and I really wanted to go for a run. I would have loved to have run a real trail but now was not the time for that. I changed clothes and took off down the road. I was happy to find that my legs didn't feel too bad after warning up and I thoroughly enjoyed my little 4 miler all alone on the edge of the wilderness. And it was a perfect 57F and no humidity. If only I could spend the whole summer here !!

By now it was early afternoon and I still had a ways to go to get to Rainier so I was soon back on the way. Once I got back to the main road I began a steady climb in elevation. And still every mile seemed more beautiful than the one before it and before long I could see the snow capped mountains of Chinooks Pass. It's funny in a way that you can Rainier from 100 miles away but I had not caught a glimpse since a few miles after leaving Yakima because of the hills and mountains in between. I thought for sure when I reached the Pass I would finally see it but no, no Rainier in site. But the view from there is magnificent looking back the way I had come from, surrounded by snowy peaks.

Once you leave Chinooks Pass you began to go back downhill and almost immediately you enter the National Park and in just a few minutes around a curve there it is, the massive volcano covered in snow and icy glaciers. It would have been a perfect day for someone wanting to climb the mountain as there were no clouds in sight and a very calm day. Chinooks Pass is about 5,200 ft and the road spirals down to around 2,000 ft and from each vantage point it was hard to believe that Rainer was another 9 to 12,000 feet higher but that is due to the deceptive perspective with nothing for reference in between you and the mountain like from the long distance views.

There are two visitors Centers in the Park and I choose the Northeast corner and the Sunrise Entrance since it would be easier to head back to Seattle for the night. Well, just my luck the road was closed and would not be open for another three days so I was not able to get any closer. I didn't have time to drive all the way around to the Southern entrance so I headed back to Seattle still making numerous stops for photos along the way.

Washington State has so many beautiful things to see and do and I didn't even get to go into Seattle itself. I hope someday to return and spend a lot of time in the state in the Cascades and other areas. I would love to run the Cascade Crest 100 miler some day. Maybe next year?

Friday, June 26, 2009

Coeur d'Alene photos

Here is a link to the rest of the CDA pictures. I added a few from the race since posting the pre-race photos

Thursday, June 25, 2009

If I just keep moving then they'll call me Ironman. Part 3, the run

So now at least in my mind the hard parts were over. I had about 7 hours to do the marathon and barring injury I could take my time and do that easily. My legs were like jelly and I was tired but I felt no pressure to hurry up since time was not an issue. All I cared about was finishing and not putting myself through any more dis-comfort than I had too. I entered the changing tent and again a volunteer was there to help in anyway. I didn't need anything but did accept his offer to go get some warm chicken broth. When he returned with it I thanked him and began walking out to the run course.

I walked for about 5 minutes until I finished the broth and let my legs adjust from the long ride and then began running. Hmmm, not too bad. This might not be too bad afterall. The only problem i could see was that it was raining and getting dark soon and I couldn't find my jacket I thought should have been in my gear bag. It wasn't raining hard though and I was moving along at a decent pace so at least I was still generating heat.

When I reached the two mile mark I began my plan to run to each mile marker and then walk two minutes and keep that up as long as I could, hoping to conserve energy so I wouldn't be one of the walking dead at the end. By now my legs were feeling pretty good and my split for 5 miles was not too bad considering I had walked the first 5 minutes. But now the rain was coming down harder and steady. Once again the Ironman organization proved they were experienced at this and had volunteers handing out space blankets at the aid stations. I was glad to take one because I was about to ask for a trash bag. I knew I looked like a dork and I felt like a dork but I would be a warm and dry dork.

I tried taking one gel for energy but it was so bitter I didn't try anymore and was just getting in calories from coke and a little gatorade. This was enough becasue my pace and effort remained very steady for most of the night. I was happy toget finished with the first lap. I was looking for a halfway timing map but there was not one but I checked my watch just past the 13 mile mark and it was about 2:44.Now I had over 4 hours left to do another half-marathon. Piece of cake right?

At least now the rain was stopping and I'm sure the volunteers were just as happy about that as we were. The wind had also died down after dark so it was turning into a decent night for a run. Even though I was walking more now and slowing down I was passing a lot of people that had no more run left in them. I think that is where my ultra experience and pacing paid off for me.

With about two miles to go I was getting too warm with the space blanket so I took it off and handed it to a volunteer and began to eagerly await the turn to the finish line. You could hear the cheers and the announcer from about a mile away. I finally made the trun back into town with 7 blocks to go . The streets were still lined with hundreds of spectators and I ran strong soaking in the cheers while I thought about all my friends and family that I knew were still up at 2am at home waiting for me to cross that line and become an Ironman. It was more magical running down that chute past the grandstands than I had imagined and hearing Joey Anderson from Zebulon NC, You Are an IRONMAN !!!!!

From start to finish this was an amazing event. Once I crossed the line I had a personal escort to get me my hat, shirt and medal , and then lead me to food and a massage or whatever else I wanted.

There did seem to be a mistake on the splits for the run time online though. I did slow a little but not 18+ minute miles for the last 4.25. Apparently the mileage was wrong from the last timing mat because it showed even the pros slowing several minutes per mile. I think it was actually 5.25 from there to the finish.