About Me

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Texas, United States
Welcome to my blog. What is a triathlon? It's a swim, bike and run usually in that order. My goal is to give exposure and insight to triathlons along with encouraging living a healthy life style. My post will also contain my collective thoughts pertaining to my training experiences. Feel free to send an email to ej@trilifeblog.com with any feedback or questions you may have. facebook: www.facebook.com/TriLifeBlog

Friday, November 23, 2012

Unexpected Run Break Through 11-23-2012

Happy Thanksgiving to all my fellow active life friends and blog followers. As the months passed by and I get my training in blog topics are constantly running through my head. I’m still waiting for someone to invent a thought recording device.
In this blog entry I’m gong to focus on a break through I’ve had with my running. I recently broke my half marathon PR by three minutes. That’s pretty substantial especially when it wasn’t expected. I’m going to speculate why I believe I was able to shave those three minutes off.

Last I wrote I mentioned a burnout. Yes, I felt I took on too many events this year and after Longhorn in Oct. I took two weeks off from training. That was a huge refresher.  I was able to join some friends in some unstructured activities. I swam a little and ran a little but, most of all I slept a lot. That little break was needed.

Despite my short comings with my expected finish time in Longhorn I did PR the course by 10 minutes. I enjoy setting high expectations for my events and feel that’s the only way I can grow. The funny thing is I find that I only do this with my triathlon events. When it comes to my running events I set goals which I know are obtainable or very close to being obtainable.

A couple weeks back I signed up for the 10k Turkey Trot in Fort Worth. I ran the event last year and wanted to see if I could match or better last year’s time. A week before the Turkey Trot I found out there was a half marathon on Thanksgiving. I wanted to do a long tempo run so I figured I would sign up for the half marathon and chalk up the 10K entry fee as a donation to the YMCA. I spoke to a couple friends and laid down some expectation for the race. I knew the course was flat and felt that I had a shot at holding a 6 minute pace. My previous PR was in the 1:20 mark and if I could hold 6 I would be able to break the 1:20 mark.

I have three run workouts a week and wasn’t sure if my legs would be able to hold my goal pace but, I was still going to give it a try. The night before the race I was horsing around with my daughter and inadvertently caught my big toe nail on the edge of the stair step. Three fourths of my toe nail was dead from a previous trail run but the other one forth was not. The nail bent back and I was in pain. I was upset at myself because I knew I now had to take the nail off. I attended to my toe nail and the end result was I had to leave about a forth of it on because it was still live. It throbbed and I now had some uncertainty about running the half marathon the following day.

Race morning came and I decided not to bandage the toe. I’m told myself you are no Prefontaine and if my toe gave me any issues on the run I would pull out of the race. As we gathered at the start line I saw several running friends who I had not seen in a while. Those prerace moments are always welcomed. There were also a few fellow Tri Junkies out there along with some Texas Running Center folks.

The race promptly started at 7:30 a.m. and the weather was still fairly cool. I didn’t know what the other athletes where going to run. My goal was to go out and try and hold a 6 minute pace. From the start there were 3 of us in the lead following the lead biker. The course was fairly flat as expected. What wasn’t expected was the headwind for the first 6 miles. I was sitting in second place behind a runner who was averaging about 6 minutes per mile. I knew that it takes me a while to warm up so I was just going to see how my legs would respond to the headwind.

Four miles into the race I was comfortable sitting 100 to 200 meters back behind the leader. I was holding pace and my toe was not bothering me. I grabbed water just about every mile. Took a sip and poured the rest over my head to help keep my core cool. We reached the turn around point and as the lead runner passed me I threw out a “Nice work” remark to him. When I hit the turn around I saw that there was a 1 to 2 minute gap between my second place position and the next group of guys.

I took my nutrition and got mentally ready for the second half of the run. I knew there would be a little bit of a tail wind going back on a couple sections and I was looking forward to it. The race continued and over the next three miles to mile 9 I heard several friends call out and encourage me on. Words from friends and even strangers are huge in any event. They keep us going and I’m thankful for the ones I received on the course.

At mile 9 ½ the lead runner took his nutrition and eased up a bit. I had slowly bridged the gap and was able to pass him at that point of the race. I knew I was now in the hot seat. It was my race to either win or lose. This was the longest tempo run I’ve had and was hoping for no calf cramps or lactic acid build up for the last 3 1/2 miles. At about mile 11 the lead bike finally realized that there was a new leader.

Legs and tempo were feeling really good. I was trying hard not to look at my Garmin. I did glance every now and then but, didn’t take it to heart. I knew I was running well. I was able to hold onto the lead and was able to put a 1 minute 20 second gap between myself and the runner in 2nd place. I crossed the finish line and stopped my watch. I looked down at it and saw I had broke the 1:20 mark by 3 minutes. My official time was 1:16:56. I was shocked and in disbelief. I also felt surprisingly good. I didn’t feel fatigued.

Wow! So what just happened? Why did I run so well? Reflecting back to my training the only thing I’ve done different is I’ve adapted trail running into my workouts. Though my long trail running sessions are much slower than what a normal long run session would be I believe I’ve unknowingly build up my cardiovascular system and strengthen my legs at the same time. The main reason for my long trail run training sessions is because I am signed up for a 50k trial run in January. Also my abdominal injury is pretty much healed up. I’m able to do core workouts again without any problems. My lower calf injury is also non existent.

Since July my running has come around some. I’ve been able to win a few trail run events, a 5k and now a ½ marathon. I hope that I can continue to train and grow for 2013. I’ve put IM Texas on my plate for May and I hope for a good showing there.

Thank you for reading this blog entry. As always feel free to email me any questions or comments you may have.




  1. I loved this, EJ!!!!!!!!!!! Congratulations. I am so glad you are ending this year on a great note in your racing and training. I guess I should take up trail? Not. :)

  2. Nice summary and I want to second your thought about trail running. I also had a breakthrough run, finished top ten and 1st AG. I did not go into this prepared to "race" and in fact was a same day registrant. After Rockledge Rumble two weeks ago, I did not do any meaningful distances to prepare for the half. But I had a great race? And my Rockledge partner? She won her AG in a race in Michigan. I may need to tackle another trail race!

    1. Congrats! Good to hear others are having similar results.

  3. Congrats on the PR, I second your thoughts on trail running. I try to do all my long runs on trails.