Tuesday, May 20, 2014

RACE REPORT: Ten Penny Ale Shamrock Duathlon

May 18th, 2014

Ten Penny Ale Shamrock Duathlon
3.1 mile run
26k bike ride
3.3 mile run

This race is put on by the Hartford Marathon Foundation and I've wanted to do it for three years now.  I was cheap the first year and didn't want to pay.  Last year I was nursing my torn calf muscle and didn't want to risk more damage before Quassy in June.  This year, I already planned it out and was without injury.  So here I am with a report!

Overall, this is a very fun event.  It was my first duathlon.  I've always done triathlons and ran road races in the pre-season.  Having raced it, I will certainly be doing this or other duathlons in future years if even just to shake off some multisport rust/dust and tune myself up for early season races. 


Coach's instructions for this race were completely HR based.  No surprise!  I've learned to like this approach, but don't tell her I said that.  I'm kidding; she knows I'm loving the results!  Today, however, compared to the previous road races, I was not running by feel, but with specific numbers in mind.  This race is much shorter than my A races, but it would give me some insight into what I can expect at Quassy and also was a test run of using HR to gauge a race.  There are always changes mid-race.  Can I roll with the punches, alter the plan on the go, and manage to execute a solid race?  We shall see.

I think I did for the most part.
...most part.

The race started at 7:30am.  Ugh!  The sun is up earlier now, so there's no 9 or 10am starts.  That means I was up at 5:15am to get breakfast (I had 2 eggs and oatmeal with blueberries and honey; something a little different than my usual) and out the door by 6am.

I arrived at the race site about 6:20a and made a bee-line for the pre-registered table to get my packet.  I even walked right by a couple friends who tried to chat.  I said "hi," but I had one goal in mind, get my stickers on the bike and my bike into transition quick!  If you didn't know from previous reports, I'm the guy who usually shows up as soon as transition opens.  I've often been the first person into transition even.  Today I was not, so maybe I'm getting more relaxed.  But I'm still OCD about it all.  haha

I got my stuff, pumped my tires, swapped all my necessary gear into one bag, and was off to transition.  I dropped off my bike and then had a quick lesson from a friend on how to set up Multisport Mode on my Garmin 310XT.  I meant to look it up the night before, but completely forgot.  Turns out, it's quite simple - as Garmin makes just about everything - but I was happier having someone show me than try to figure it out myself while being nervous about it.

Thanks Scruffy!!

Scruffy and me waiting for the race to begin

At this point, my nerves were good.  I was in transition, my bike was racked, I didn't have to worry about a wetsuit, and I had time to spare!  Time for a bathroom break before the lines get too long.  Score!  There is nothing worse than letting a long bathroom line make you nervous. 

I took my Picky Bar at 6:40am (a little late), and decided to set up my transition.  Turns out, when you don't have to swim, transition is pretty simple!

That's it.  My bike, my helmet, my sunglasses, and a bag full of stuff for post-race.  Hmmm... I could get used to this breezy sport!

Coworkers!  Me, Emily, and Matt pre-race.

After talking with some friends and finding another who had come to spectate, it was finally time to warm up.  I took my gel at 7:15a and did about a 5 minute warm up.  I had already run back and forth to my car a few times and it was a bit warmer already (low 50s), so I didn't feel I need more of a warm up.  I would have taken one if I had more time though.  They were asking us to get in line and I didn't want to be stuck behind the massive crowd.

Start Line
As I stood in the crowd, I put my hands over my ears and repeated the day's plans to myself, rattling off the HRs, when I was allowed to look at them, when I was going to push, how I wanted to feel, etc.  Overall, I knew today was going to be rough and quite a push, but I was looking forward to really testing my HR and how I perceive it.  

I felt ready.
As ready as someone feels for a race format they've never done before.



With no real ceremony to start, we were off!

The crowd moved ahead quickly.  There was no need to swerve between people like I did at the Cheshire Half Marathon.  The solid line of people immediately became a pointed mass following the faster racers.  As I took off with them, I repeated to myself "No looking at your watch until it beeps for mile 1."  That was harder to do this time around.

As we left the start line and made our way past maybe the 0.5 mile mark, I found myself out in front with a group of 5 or so guys.  I only knew one of them (he was the eventual winner) and he is a BEAST.  If I was running with him, either I was having a great day or he was holding back.  Turns out it was a little of both.  Haha  "I'm coming for you Karl!"

As we hit maybe half way to the mile 1 mark, I found myself sitting behind the 2-3 front runners and actually holding back my own pace.  Now, don't get me wrong, I was still pushing my pace faster than I'm used to (171 or 176 at the half marathon distance), but it didn't feel like the 180 I was shooting for.  At this point, the worst thought of the day goes through my head...

"I should stay here behind these guys
instead of pushing out in front.
I'll probably blow up if I go ahead."

Thankfully, as soon as it went through my head, the other half of me slapped itself and yelled "Run your own *#&@ race!  Let these guys do what they want to do."  So with that, I moved to the right and made my pass.  I was going to stick to the intensity I wanted.  As we passed the mile 1 timer, I found out just how fast we were pushing.

Mile 1 - 5:35

WOAH went through my head just before I simultaneously smiled and frowned internally.  My training this year has made some great improvements to my times which I was very happy about, but at mile 1, I was still feeling the push of this intensity and was worried about how this was going to affect me later on.  I just reminded myself that this was a test and that I needed to hold still.  So I did.

I looked down at my watch.  My HR was 176.  At that point, I was doubtful I could push another 3 bpm, but I tried.  At this point, the lead group was jumbling positions through the hills.  Around mile 1.5, I started feeling like I had found a groove.  My breathing eased up ever so slightly.  I was at 180 bpm and feeling solid.  Just before the 2 mile timer, the group slowed down as they came to a turn.  I ran right through the turn and hopped easily into first.  I had my 15 seconds of glory as I led the race.

Mile 2 - 5:39

I wasn't about to do math in my head.  I looked down as my watch beeped and saw 5:39.  We are killing this run!!  At this point, Karl (you remember him, the BEAST who's going to win this race), took off on my right while a couple other guys slowly creeped by on my left.  They were off and the group spread out over the last mile going into transition.

I stuck to my 180 bpm repeating to myself "Run YOUR race Kurt!

Mile 3 - 5:50

As we crested the hill that led to transition, I slowed and a few other guys ran past.  Oh-well.  I kept my intensity.  Solid run!!

3.1 Mile Run - 17:50
Average HR = 176 bpm
7th fastest place

With only HR on my run screen, I wasn't aware of my time.  But I would later discover that I was only 13 seconds off my 5k PR.  So...  If I ever feel like crushing another PR, I know what to add to my schedule. 

And the friend who came to spectate caught me just as I was heading by...

10 yards from transition

Transition #1

Let's call this "shaking off multisport rust."

I ran straight through transition to my bike, but first ran into the wrong aisle; one before my own.  I flipped off my run shoes and tossed them to the side of my bike.  One made it.  The other bounced back off of my bike.  As I ran around to the other side, I saw this.  I had to climb under the bar, grab my shoe and set it in place.  Ok, that's done.

I grabbed my glasses and they slipped out of my hand.  Really?!  I leaned over and picked them up.  I slipped them on and thankfully my helmet went on smoothly.  At least I had that go well.  Taking my bike, I ran right out of transition barefoot.  I hit the watch lap button as I ran through and did my usual flying mount.  Haha.  I still got it!!

Transition #1 - 1:06


I passed one guy running my bike out of transition and another two at the mount line.  I pedaled up the first immediate hill with my feet on top of my shoes and even zoomed down the other side without them on too.  Once I was onto flat ground, I slowly got my feet into the shoes.  They are new LG tri shoes, so they're different in some ways than my old Northwaves, but I was still clumsy in getting them in.  Another rusty spot to work on.

I checked my watch and having forgotten to switch my bike data fields, I had average HR, average speed, and distance to work with.   Now, it wasn't until I reread the goals for this write up that I realized I had my numbers wrong.  FIGURES!!  In the race, I was shooting for 4-6 beats below my run average (176 bpm), or 170-172 bpm  In reality, I should have been shooting for 8-10 below or 166-168 bpm.  I was at 167 when I looked down first and tried to push the intensity to get up to 170, but my body just did not want to do it.  I may very well have been up to 170+, but I didn't have Actual HR on my screen, so I couldn't check.  In hindsight, it was good not to have Actual HR on there because it would be too distracting on the bike.

I kept making my way up the hills, I got up out of the saddle on the shorter hills to push over them, and pushed the pace on flats, but nothing made my HR budge and I was getting so tired from the effort.  When the hills eased up for a bit, the HR dropped to 166 and then eventually 165 as my HR settled lower on the straightaways and dropped on the downhills.  Eventually, I gave up trying to increase the HR and just focused on riding.  "It'll do it's own thing" I told myself.

Throughout the course, I got passed by a number of people.  I couldn't say how many; maybe six?  Most of them went by with disc wheels.  It's funny because you can HEAR them coming up behind you.  I only passed one person on the back half of the bike, but you can bet I enjoyed it!!

Roughly halfway through, two things happened; my back bothered me and my stomach started feeling...  "odd."  I stopped sipping my water and it went away eventually.  Either way though, I thought it was odd to even have water upsetting my stomach though it could simply be that level of exertion I was at.  The left side of my back also tensed up and began to bother me.  It's happened on and off on training rides, but I've never figured it out.  Once I'm pushing hard, it'll tense.  I'm hoping a massage helps.  It'll feel good even if it doesn't help. 

Overall, I am not a cyclist and it still feels like I have a long way to go.  But after nearly 50 minutes riding, I came back to transition.  I had removed my feet from my shoes and despite the volunteers telling me to slow down, I zoomed right up to the dismount line and transitioned smoothly right into a run while a volunteer yelled out "Wow!  Props on that dismount."  I might have a future in gymnastics.  NOT!

Flying dismount!

26k Bike - 47:32
Average HR = 164 bpm
18th fastest bike


The rust was all shaken off at this point.  I ran my bike in while unbuckling my helmet and taking off my glasses, quickly racked my bike, dropped my helmet & glasses to the side, sat right down and put on my run shoes, grabbed my VTP visor and took off.

I was happy with that transition.  It went very smooth.

RUN (Again)

As I ran out of transition, I joked with two of the volunteers.  The first pointed me to the left and I asked "What if I REEEAAALLY want to go right?"  He just laughed.  The second guy pointed me again to another left and I yelled out "Aaaaaaahhhhh!!  My legs are not used to this."  At least I still had my sense of humor.  That was a good sign. 

As I ran down the road, I could feel my legs give protest.  They were a bit tighter, a bit more sluggish than when they had run down this road the first time.  They certainly were not going as fast as before.  And my left achilles bothered me a bit; tendonitis from an injury I got during last fall's ultra training.  It didn't hold me back, but I made a mental note; Monday will be recovery!

The goal was to go 8-10 beats higher than my bike average (164 bpm), so I was shooting for 172+.  I could barely break 168 in the first half mile and I got worried.  Why wouldn't my HR be higher than the first time?  Doesn't cardiac drift dictate that I drift UP in HR?  This doesn't make sense.  I kept running on anyways.

I passed the first guy before the first mile marker.  It wasn't until that marker that I started feeling like my body was loosening up just a bit.  My HR jumped to 170 and I was hopeful that I might be able to meet my goal.

Mile 1 - 6:04

I pushed on as best I could and caught one other runner before the 2nd mile marker.  At this point I was up to 174 bpm and could feel the intensity burning into me.  At the same time, however, I knew if I had someone within reach I would be able to pick it up.  I was both exhausted and felt like I had yet to tap into my potential.  CRAZY!!

Mile 2 - 6:05

I was holding steady!!  Awesome!  We made our way up one longer incline, I grabbed a water at the aid station, and then finally had some human interaction; the other runners making their way OUT on the run course.  It helped keep me distracted a bit, but didn't give me a rabbit to chase down.  If only I could have been a few minutes faster on the bike.  I could have had a really good rabbit to chase!

Mile 3 - 6:08

Do I call that slowing down?  NO!  It was only 0.8% slower.  I made it up the final hill (Ugh!) and saw the finish line down the road.  I kept my pace and then heard someone say "You better hurry up!  You've got Jesse right behind you."  If I was able to get it out, I would have asked "Who is Jesse?"  I would have to wait until I finished to find out.  I glanced back and saw he was about 20 feet back.  I tried to speed up and he closed to 10 feet.  I could hear him get louder as he sped up behind me.  I waited until we made the final turn to the finish line and put everything I had into my legs, sprinting to the finish.  I glanced back once and he was further back than before.  I was good.  I breathed a sigh of relief as I crossed the finish line.

3.3 mile run - 19:50
Average HR = 174 bpm
8th fastest run

FINISH - 1:27:03
9th Place Overall
3rd Place Age Group (M25-29)


As soon as you cross the finish line, you expect the typical "Congratulations," "How do you feel?," or maybe an "Are you okay?" if you're really doubled over trying to catch your breath.  I was surprised to have the first thing I heard be...

"You're bleeding."

"What?!  I'm bleeding?"  Immediately I figure it's my nose.  I wiped and there's a little pink.  Okay, so I need a paper towel or tissue.  I walk over to the food tent to get a napkin and 2 other friends ask me if I'm okay.  "Man, I must be bleeding a good amount."  Turns out it wasn't my nose, though that was running a good deal too.  I was bleeding from my lips.  The night before I was out with friends at a wedding and forgot my chapstick.  My lips were fairly chapped and it must have broken the skin during the race because I got a number of comments about it and there's blood on my jersey too; probably from me clearing my nose and wiping it on my jersey.  So yeah...  I put in a blood letting effort at this race!!

I got some food, walked back to the race start (half mile down the road), packed my stuff in the car, and hung out with some friends for awhile before I headed home.  All in all, it was a good day!

Then I went home and poured over my data.  Muah-ah-ha-ha-ha-ha!!


1.  Have you ever done a duathlon?
This was my first duathlon.  

2.  Which would you prefer: Road Race, Duathlon, or Triathlon?
I liked the duathlon and road races are fun, but I still prefer triathlons.  The swim is my forte, so I wouldn't want to give that up!


Monday, May 19, 2014

RACE REPORT: Cheshire Half Marathon

April 27th, 2014

As I sit here in my bedroom, I'm excited to think that the following race report is only a late spring test.  The tri season has not even begun in the Northeast yet.  I am one excited athlete!  ...with lots of grueling work ahead of me.

I was one of few athletes on my Valor Triathlon Project team who got a complete rest day on Saturday before the race.  Muahahahahaha!!  I admit that it was odd having a complete day off, especially a Saturday, but if you haven't read about how I spent my Saturday morning at a free dental clinic, you might want to check that out HERE.  It wasn't exactly the picture perfect rest day.  haha


The night before the race, I got the race plan from my coach.  She likes to keep things very simple.  My goal was this...

Just run.

Prophetic words consider this is a ROAD RACE.  I later found out that she then turned to her husband and said...

Kurt is going to wig out.  I took away his HR.

I swear she's sadistic!  Haha.  But to be honest, as much as I didn't want to admit it, I had already strongly considered doing this race sans data.  As we agreed, this is my last road race test and we both like the idea of data as a secondary measure.  I love the idea of racing by feel.  I've just run into trouble with it in the past.  So now that I've had a couple very successful races WITH HR, we'll try taking it away to see what happens. 

On race morning, I woke up at 7am and was bouncing with energy.  I had my typical breakfast; 4 eggs over easy, a banana with pb, and 2 pieces of toast.  I took down the address for the race start, packed my bags, and was out the door by 8am.  There was a bit of traffic right before the school (parking REALLY is limited at this race), but I arrived and parked by 8:35am, having woofed down a Picky Bar as I was waiting in traffic.  I walked over to the expo area which was half mud and picked up my packet and race shirt; yet another shirt to add to the pile.  I got back to my car about 9:10a and quickly got changed.  The weather was in the 40s and cloudy.

I took a Clif Razz gel and headed back over towards the start.  I stopped for a 2nd trip to the bathroom per my ritual (you don't want to carry that extra weight with you during the race) and then started my warm up.  The roads were still packed with cars, so I ran around in the parking lot.  I got maybe 5-7 minutes in with a few 20s striders and felt ready.  My HR was definitely up, I felt warm, and loose.  I was ready.  I got in line a few people behind the front and waited.

AAAAAaaaaannd GO!


As soon as the gun, bell, announcer...  whatever it was, went off, I took off.  I started 3-4 deep and apparently that was a mistake.  I spent the first tenth of a mile making my way around people before I settled into a pace.  I did my best to keep it calm, to stay relaxed, not to push myself just yet, but if I had to guess, I would have said that I was going a BIIIIIIIIT faster than normal.

Photo thanks to Kristen out on course!

Somewhere early on in Mile 1, we passed a band playing a type of classical jazz out in their front yard.  I laughed and turned to the other guys around me.  "Oh great!  Elevator music."  No one said anything.  Apparently it was not time for jokes.

As we approached the Mile 1 marker, the timer confirmed my feeling about the pace. 

Mile 1 - 5:53

This was the first and only time I looked down at my watch in an attempt to catch the autolap; I had silenced the notices.  "Yup, I just ran a 5:53.  I'm going to pay for that later" I thought to myself. 

Remember that I have no data to go by.  I am running by feel.  I did feel like I was pushing a bit more than at the Savin Rock Half Marathon, but I was still comfortable.  I did my best to ease up a bit and relax.

Just past mile 2, the lead female caught up to me.  I recognized her from the Colchester Half Marathon.  We were near each other later on in that race though, so while I was definitely running faster today, she was also running much better.  I turned and asked her "You ran Colchester, didn't you?"  She gave a quick laugh and said she had.  "I recognize the purple.  Nice job!"  She kept on running and I never caught her again.  SPEEDY!!

Before the mile 3 marker, we turned onto the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail.  This is one of the rails to trails, so it is very flat and easy to keep clear of traffic.  Even at this time of day, there were only a handful of other people out on bikes or walking.  Not 400m into the trail, I passed the mile 3 marker and they called out my time.

Mile 3 - 18:30

"Ok...  So that means...  18...  3...  That's 6 minutes plus 30 seconds...  That's 6:10 pace."  I was slowing down a bit, but not much and I did feel like I was running more comfortably than at the mile 1 marker.  So I made a mental note of the effort and kept on going.  I wasn't sure if I'd be able to kick it up at mile 8 or 10, but if I was simply able to hold this pace, I'd PR easily.

Before the start of the race, I told myself "Have fun today Kurt."  As I approached the first cross roads on the trail (mile 3.8), they had The Anthem by Good Charlotte playing on the stereo.  I let myself get a little carried away and played some air guitar while I ran through; my HR spiked for sure!  Haha.  I recovered quickly and laughed at myself. 

As we passed the mile 4 marker, I pulled out my Clif Strawberry gel and started picking away at it.  I went with caffeinated gels this time around to see if it would make a difference.  While my performance may show a difference, I didn't feel any different.

We went past another cross roads with PLENTY of people there to cheer us on and then we hit mile 5 where they were calling out our times again.

Mile 5 - 30:55

"Ok, so 30...  That's 6 minutes plus, say a minute...  4 would be 15, 6 would be 10, so let's say 13.  I'm at 6:13 average pace."  I was still able to do mental math; I hadn't acquired a Running Induced Disability (R.I.D.) yet, so I knew I wasn't at a KILLER intensity.  More on R.I.D.s here

At this point, I was trying to remember the course map.

I know we go south on the trail for a ways and then loop back around, catch back up on the trail for a mile or two and then head back to the high school.  But how far is the first trail section.  I had been on the trail for 2 miles and thought maybe one more.  Then we passed mile 6.  Well, maybe it was 2 more instead.  This was, of course, the intensity talking.  I was pushing harder than usual, trying to stay relaxed, but the groove I had sat into was starting to take a toll.

Thankfully, this course was PACKED with spectators.  They had 10-20 people at every cross roads of the trail, music blaring there and at every aid station, there were a couple bands or sound systems set up at random places along the course.  While I was certainly running at a new level - well beyond PR pace - the course support was greatly welcomed and helpful.

And somewhere in mile 6, there was a family with a little girl - maybe 3 or 4 - standing on the left side of the path jumping up and down and cheering.  She was so cute, I made my way to the left side of the path and stuck my hand out.  She paused and backed away.  As I went by her mom told her "Put your hand out.  It's a high five!"  She wasn't having it.  DENIED!!  Haha  I laughed and kept on running.  No power up for me.  

Mile 7 came up just before we turned off of the trail.

Mile 7 - 45:18

"45...  Ok...  6 minutes would be 42.  Two minutes is 120...  plus 20 is 140.  I'm at 6:20 pace."  At this point, I was still relatively relaxed.  I still had no plans to kick it up at mile 8, but at a 6:20 pace, I was blowing my previous PR out of the water!

As we turned off the trail, we hit a number of small rollers.  I do love rollers because they change up your stride, cadence, effort, etc.  I hate straight aways.  But on the other side, I hate hills this late in the game.  Haha.  It did, however, help a right side stitch that I had been dealing with since maybe mile 2 or 3. 

As we hit a couple hills, I was passed by 4 or 5 people.  I kept to my intensity and let them do their thing.  I caught back up to a couple on the downhills, but they would get ahead on the uphills.

Around Mile 8, we could watch the mid-pack runners on the trail.  It was cool watching the sea of runners in a rainbow of bright colors head past in the opposite direction, albeit chasing us.  It was a nice distraction as I tried to maintain my pace.  I pulled out my 2nd gel and started picking at it, but to be honest, I didn't feel my stomach could take much of it. 

Mile 9 - 57:30

"57...  That's 6 minutes.  30 is 10...  I'm at 6:10??  No!  57.... 6... Oh, wait.  That's 54.  ...right?  36, 45, 54, 63...  Yup, 54.  So that's 3 minutes...  180 plus 30... 210.  So 20+  Let's say 6:22 pace."  This was the first math indication that I was starting to get down on mental faculties, which accounts for why I don't remember much of the subsequent miles.

I could feel myself slowing a bit at times.  I pushed on, slowed up down some small hills, sped up down the other side.  And I spent some time (who knows how long) calculating what I expected the 10 mile split to be.

Mile 10 - 1:04:30

I cringed.  I knew it felt slow, but I had hoped it wasn't THAT slow.  Keep on running!

The next mile felt a little faster.  There weren't as many hills this time and some random person yelled out "Go Newington!"  I used to race in a Newington Bike kit, but I was in my Moxie Multisport kit.  Whoever it was knew me, but I didn't know them.  Thanks random not-so-much-a-stranger!!

This time I tried to cushion myself for the blow.  "If that was 7 minutes again, it'll be 1:11:30."

Mile 11 - 1:11:17

I was secretly hoping for a sub-1:11, but I'll still take a sub-7 mile.

This was the entrance back onto the trail.  It was bitter sweet.  We avoided hills, but it became monotonous again; even despite being less than a mile long stretch.  Haha  You know I'm running down when I get frustrated with a flat course over a quarter mile stretch!

I had taken out my 2nd gel around mile 8/9, but had only taken a couple small "bites."  It was sitting just fine, but my stomach wasn't feeling up to par and I felt fine as is.  So as I turned back off the trail, they had a garbage bag for the spectators.  I tossed the almost full gel into it and kept running.

As we came up to the mile 12 marker, I started to feel GREAT and I stuck to my intensity, kicking up the pace as we leveled out over a hill.  I passed a couple of the people that had passed me before and then mentally checked myself before we hit mile 12.  "I'm going to red line this last mile.  I feel good, I held back my surge because of the higher intensity.  I can suffer for a mile."

Mile 12 - 1:18:05

"Alright!  Still sub-7 and I'm feeling GOOD!  Let's go!!"

I took off leaving another person behind me and fading.  I felt GREAT.  My legs were feeling the push, but felt good to be stretched a little longer.  That only lasted about a quarter mile though.  The legs may have felt relatively good after that still, but my cardiovascular system finally caught up and I was choking down air in the final stretch.

We went back past the start line area and turned into the school.  We ran along the fence, did a 180 and ran onto the track.  We did about 300m on the track to the finish line on the other side.  I was red lining and I knew it, but I could hold it for 300m more.  I rounded the track and saw the numbers ticking away.  I was going to be just over 1:25.  I took off the headband, tried to put on a smile (which is always just a less negative looking grimace), and enjoyed the moment knowing I had PR'd.

That's my "racing smile."


When I got home, I pulled up the race data and immediately looked it over.  I am able to run without data when I know I should, but it doesn't mean I can't spend hours looking at it later!

Mile 01    5:53/mile    171 bpm
Mile 02    6:07/mile    177 bpm
Mile 03    6:11/mile    176 bpm
Mile 04    6:15/mile    176 bpm
Mile 05    6:22/mile    176 bpm
Mile 06    6:26/mile    175 bpm
Mile 07    6:29/mile    175 bpm
Mile 08    6:43/mile    175 bpm
Mile 09    6:50/mile    175 bpm
Mile 10    6:59/mile    174 bpm
Mile 11    6:37/mile    174 bpm
Mile 12    6:46/mile    176 bpm
Mile 13    6:14/mile    180 bpm

FINISH = 1:25:06
6:30 / mile
176 bpm 

Some things jumped out at me...
  1. I took that race out FAST.  There was no way I was going to negative split that one.  But on the bright side, the faster start may have helped lock me into the higher intensity.
  2. My average HR was 4 bpm higher than the  Savin Rock Half Marathon.  I'm getting a much better idea of what I can run and where my ceiling is.
  3. Speaking of HR, look at the HR averages.  Miles 2 through 12 were only off by 3 bpm.  Talk about consistency!!  I find a groove and I sit in it.  
  4. Not only did I PR, but I ran 13+ miles ALL sub-7.  Not that this matters, but I enjoyed that fact. 
  5. Finally, this race was run without data.  Despite having felt better negatively splitting the Savin Rock Half Marathon, this was a better time by over 3 minutes!  My body knows how to race as long as I let it. 

1.  Do you run with hard set data?  Can you go without?
I haven't had pace on my watch all year.  I go by HR though I've gotten good about knowing it by feel for the run.  My bike is iffy as we'll probably see soon.  

2.  Have you ever had an in race slip up (ex: my first mile going WAY too fast for my predictions) end up being a good change?

3.  Do you ever feel like no matter how hard you try, you just can never actually get a good running race photo?
My "race smile" is always a grimace!  I should just accept it.


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Mission of Mercy Free Dental Clinic

Saturday, April 26th, 2014

Two Saturdays ago, I spent a fair chunk of my day at the most jaw dropping, awe inspiring, saddening, and uplifting clinic I have ever been to.  I wanted to share a little of my experience with you.

If you've never heard of the Mission of Mercy group, they are an independent non-profit that offers FREE healthcare, dental care, and prescription medication to anyone who needs it.  Now, when you think of a group like this, you think of having to qualify for their help.  WRONG.  The Mission of Mercy does not take federal support, which means that they are not restricted by federal rules.  They can help whoever they want, whenever they want, for whatever reason they want.  And let me tell you, this weekend I experienced just that!

Ok, here's the story.

On Thursday, I was asking my clients at the gym my typical end of the week question; what they're  up to for the weekend.  One of them I found out works for an Orthodontist.  She informed me that she'll be "at that dental clinic at the XL Center."  Since I don't have cable and don't listen to the radio much, I had no idea what she was talking about.  I asked her about it.  She told me about the Mission of Mercy Connecicut group and how they offer a yearly dental clinic for absolutely free and that this year, it is being held in Hartford.  I was immediately intrigued. 

I have not had dental insurance for nearly 4 years and due to that fact, it has been that long since I was at the dentist.  I have certainly been much more careful about caring for my teeth in that time, but I always fear cavities.  As a child, I had VERY LITTLE enamel on my teeth, the natural protective coating on your teeth.  Because of that, I had 14 cavities on my baby teeth.  My adult teeth have more enamel, but not that much.  I currently have sealants on all of my molars in order to protect against cavities.

So naturally, free dental care was a HUGE interest to me!

The clinic ran Friday and Saturday.  With a packed Friday, I opted to get up early on Saturday and go.  I set my alarm for 5am (clinic opens at 6a) and went to bed.  When I got up, it was pouring outside.  Since I had a race on Sunday, I decided it wasn't worth standing in the rain.  I went back to bed.  Around 9am (still raining), I decided to swing by and see what the line looked like.  Wouldn't you know, there was no line!  So I found the garage that offered free parking for the event and went over.

Free dental work AND free parking!

Not a single person in line outside.  I was expecting the line to go out the building, down the street, wrap around the block, and keep going.  As I was walking in, I kept thinking, they must have all stayed home because of the rain.  I WAS SO WRONG!

Here was the volunteer table.  Let me tell you now that these were THE MOST polite, happy, helpful, and upbeat volunteers I have ever met.  Whatever they offered these people, it must have been gold because there was not a single volunteer I met or saw without a smile on their face 100% willing to help you with whatever you asked of them.  I was floored!!

So...  I walked in and got in line.  There might have been 40 people in line.  A guy walked around and gave you a card.  I had #702.  I was the 702nd person to walk through the door on Saturday.  Since I walked in around 9:30a, that means they had seen 200 people PER HOUR!  They also were passing out donuts in line.  I laughed at the irony; dental work and donuts.  haha

I found out that this line was for registration.  They put our names in the system if we had not been to the clinic before and gave us a number.  I was 1872; the 1872nd person they've seen since Friday morning.  Then, they sent me with a volunteer escort, Erik, down to the lower floor. 

Erik dropped me off with another volunteer at the Medical History Triage.  I waited in line with another 50 or so people and had my blood pressure, pulse rate, and medical history taken.  They lady was cracking jokes the entire time.  LOVED HER!  Then she sent me over to Dental Triage.

Here, I waited in line with again, about 50 people, to be checked by a dentist.  From here, they would sign off on your sheet for what you needed be it just a cleaning or something more involved; cavity, denture work, oral surgery, root canal, etc.  Did I not tell you that you could get just about anything done?!  AMAZING!

Then I got dropped off at the cleaning area.  This was two rows of at least 15 oral hygienists each.  They were non-stop cleaning machines!  Here, I sat in line with another 50 people, but this line took MUCH longer than the others.  To help the time go by, they had a live band.

No joke!  They played a bunch of jazz music while we waited.  About half way through the line, they switched over to the radio, but it was impressive to see a live band at this type of event. 

Once I got cleaned up, they did a quick instructional bit on how to clean, floss, etc., gave me a pack with a toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss, and I was good to go. 

I arrived around 9:30am and left just before 2pm.  But despite taking 4 hours, the clinic was incredible.  If you're strapped for time, then go to the dentist's office, but otherwise, the Mission of Mercy Dental Clinic is the most community beneficial group I've ever seen in action; not to mention they're the most friendly, upbeat, and polite group of staff & volunteers I've ever seen.  And you'd think that dental people wouldn't be too happy, but they are!!

I heard that next year they will be in Danbury.  That'll be a bit of a drive, but I'll probably attend if I don't have dental before then. 


1.  Have you ever been to a free dental (medical, visual, etc.) clinic?
This was the first time I've been to a free clinic of any kind.

2.  If you needed work done, would you go to a clinic like this?
I would absolutely go again!

3.  Is there any type of regular doctor (medical, dental, visual, etc.) that you haven't been to in awhile?
This was nearing 4 years for the dentist.  I haven't seen an eye doctor since maybe 2005/2006.  I did go a few years without seeing a general doctor as well, but I've been the last couple years.