Posts Tagged ‘Prefontaine Memorial 10K’

Next weekend our first full-triathlon season will kick off at “The Rookie” on May 6th.

Despite having to miss two of Austin’s major triathlons over the Memorial Day Weekend and Labor Day holidays – we are still going to have a full plate of TRI’s this summer: 

May 6 – The Rookie Super Sprint TRI 300M swim – 11 Mile Bike – 2 Mile Run

June 17 – Lake Pflugerville Sprint TRI 500M swim – 14 Mile Bike – 3 Mile Run

July 15 – Couples Sprint TRI 800M Swim – 11.2 Mile Bike – 3.2 Mile Run

August 5 – Jack’s Generic Sprint TRI 500 M Swim – 13.8 Mile Bike – 3 Mile Run

September 30 – Kerrville Olympic TRI 1,000M Swim – 29 Mile Bike – 6.4 Mile Run

October 21 – Austin Half Ironman 70.3 1.2 Mile Swim – 56 Mile Bike – 13.1 Mile Run

6 Events which will take us from the shortest of triathlon events all the way to the Half Ironman distance of 70.3 cumulative miles between the swim, bike and run.

There are a couple of running races on the schedule as well where I hope to run well and look to Age Group.  In June we are going for our 4th consecutive AG win at the Holland Texas 5K.  Being my last year running in the 40-44 year old category, I’d like to make it 4 for 4 which would be pretty special.

In September perhaps the “A” race of all “A” races in2012, The Prefontaine Memorial 10K in Coos Bay, Oregon. 

An event I’ve had on my bucket list since I started racing more than 5 years ago – it looks like this may be the year where I can make that trip happen, visit the famous track at Hayward Field in Eugene, OR and turn a few laps before heading to Pre’s hometown of Coos Bay.  With luck we’ll be primed for a big day running along one of his favorite training routes, past his Mother’s house along the route and at the end of the race, turn a final lap on the High School Track that bears his name.  Pretty cool.

One thing that I have learned about “race days” over the years is that you should expect the unexpected.  Poor weather, winds, storms, high heat, cold temperatures, having an illness prior to an event, not feeling well on race day and even simply showing up properly prepared mentally and physically only to discover over the opening miles that your head and heart were “in it”, but somehow your legs were not.

I’ve had it all happen to me over the years and as Boston proved just last Monday – you really can’t count on anything to go exactly the way you hope.

All you can do is show up and give it your best.

When it comes to the triathlon, this is even a dicier situation.  Not only do you need to have the weather cooperate – you need to be “on” in three different disciplines.

Your swim needs to be solid.

Your bike needs to be there for you.

Finally you must race smart to this point, conserving enough energy to let it all hang out on the run.

Of course there are also the matter of the two transitions to deal with.

Jack's Generic TRI 2011

You have to come out of the water focused and calm, get moving to T1 (Transition One), remove your goggles and cap, put on your socks, shoes, helmet and glasses, run to the mount line and hammer away on the bike.

T1

As you power to the dismount line on tired legs you need to run into T2 (Transition Two), rack your bike, take off your glasses, helmet and bike shoes.  Slip on your visor or running glasses, race flats and your number belt – grab a quick drink and you are off again.

We haven’t even started talking about any equipment trouble or heaven forbid a flat tire on the bike, which I had the joy of dealing with on Wednesday this week on a training ride.

It all has to come together for you with no hiccups or missteps.

Looking up at my race schedule for all that to go perfectly not once, not twice but SIX times is highly, highly unlikely.

That is exactly what has me so excited about this Summer and Fall.  Sometimes the excitement is about the “not knowing”.  At least it should be.

With any luck and some hard work hopefully we will find our way onto a podium or two – but if not – the real goal is to earn that Half-Ironman Finisher’s Medal with Dawn and Landry looking on in October.

We’ve been fortunate enough to earn a few of those medals over the past 5 years of racing, but that last one on the list above to a “runner turned triathlete” who quite honestly could not swim the length of a 50 Meter pool one year ago today will be something special.

I know exactly who’s little neck I can’t wait to put that one around.

Here’s to a summer of swimming, biking and running. 

Fast.

17 weeks ago when this training cycle started Boston seemed like it was a long, long way off in the distance. 

Between me and Hopkinton stood 1,295 training and racing miles spread over 125 runs.  A 5K race benefitting the local Ronald McDonald House, A 24-hour ultra-marathon relay from Miami to Key West, 3 Half Marathons and the Cap 10K were on the schedule.

Not to mention the 10 different 20-22 mile long runs, miles of hill repeats and 8 Tuesday “doubles” to cross off the list.

Boston was something that was still very “abstract”.  Just a small dot of light on the horizon.  Something that I knew one day I would look at my training calendar on the magic refrigerator and realize was a whole lot closer than we realized.

Yesterday was that day.

There are still 391.10 miles left to go before we cross the finish line on Boylston Street, but at the rate we have been ticking them off, that is not a lot of time left on the clock.

Yesterday I was trading e-mails with a runner friend of mine and I made the comment that Boston was going to be my “last” marathon.  The race where I want to once and for all settle the score with Lady Marathon and especially payback some of what that race took from me in 2010.

He was surprised to hear that I was going to be stepping back from the marathon and asked more or less “what gives?”.

The honest answer is that I feel like I have given a lot to the sport of marathoning, crossed quite a few finish lines and I have my sights set on some new goals as I leave the 40-44 year-old age group and move on to the 45-49 competitve group.

I would like to focus on the Triathlon and find out just what kind of triathlete we can become over the next 4 years.  Running will of course remain a key component in that pursuit, as frankly it is my strongest area of the TRI, one where I have a competitive advantage over most other athletes in my age group.  Some by a wide margin.

Swimming and Cycling can be “lifetime” sports.  As I get older I know that the pounding of 75 mile weeks, tempo runs and hill repeats are eventually going to start taking their toll.  But swimming and cycling, while not “injury proof” sports – they do come with a much gentler impact on the joints, hips, knees and ankles.

There is also something exciting about starting something new.  Not being one of “the better” athletes in the field any longer at local events.  I am going to have to do what we do best.  Outwork people to fight our way to the podium.

I will have to become a better swimmer.  Much better.

I will need to improve as a cyclist.  Improve my endurance.  Hold my speed over longer distances.

I will need to maintain my speed and endurance as a runner.  Continue to race events to keep that sword sharp and maintain my “edge” on race day.

Of course one of the bigger reasons is little Landry.  I want to be around more, not so tired from marathon training all the time.  Chase her around the yard not worried about straining something or tripping over one of her toys constantly. 

I just want to be a Dad.

Maybe a little skinnier Dad than some.  Probably a lot faster than most.  But just a Dad.  Her Dad.

Will I run another Marathon?  I’m sure that I will.  I’d like to return to the Pittsburgh Marathon on the 5-year anniversary of Dom’s cancer diagnosis and “Run for Dom” one more time.  Make a difference in the lives of Nico, Sierra and Val to help add to their 529 College Plans.  I would also like them to get to know me a bit better and understand how important their Dad was to so many of us and how much we all loved him.

I started to put together the shell of our next training plan (below).

Under Construction

The first thing I do when I am putting together a new training cycle is I identify “THE” event.  The “A” race.  The ultimate goal at the end of the journey.

In this case it is the Longhorn 70.3 Half-Ironman on October 28, 2012.

Everything else will build toward that race.

I then look at local race schedules and other key events that I would like to participate in.  Some of them we will make it to the starting line of.  Others will not make the cut due to family commitments or what the training cycle for Longhorn demands.

I know right now that TRI Rock over Labor Day weekend is a longshot.  That is the weekend after Dawn and Landry’s Birthday’s and more than likely when we will have out-of-town guests coming in for Dawn’s 40th birthday celebration.

The Prefontaine Memorial 10K in Coos Bay, Oregon is a race that I have wanted to run for close to 4 years now.  I hope that travel and commitments will allow me to make it out there in September this year – but again, it is a longshot.

Wednesday night’s will remain part of our speed training as we compete in the local Sunstroke Summer Stampede 5K series from May to the middle of July.  I hope to make 8 of the 12 races to qualify for a possible award at the end of the series.

There is the Holland, 5K that I race every year – hoping for a “four-pete” as an Age Group winner this year, although a local triathlon is the following day.  Something might need to give that week.

I will be heading back to Jack’s Triathlon this year around my birthday – back to the scene of my first ever triathlon to compare our performance on the same race course one year later.  A good gauge to see where we are and how much further we still need to go.

A couple other Triathlons dot the schedule, and I am contemplating on racing at the Cap TX Tri on May 28th, which would be our first “wetsuit” traithlon swim and first time at the Olympic Distance (1,500 Meter Swim, 28 mile bike, 10K run).  A good stepping stone to Longhorn 70.3.

The rest of the squares will be entered over the next couple of weeks when I finalize my race calendar and look at all of the personal commitments that I have, vacations, travel, birthday parties and those all important rest days.

In the end by the time we cross the finish line in Boston our summer and fall plan will be in place, tacked to the magic refrigerator, ready to go.

There will be some great moments over those 27 weeks.  There will be some tough moments as well.

Some failures, some victories, good days and bad.  There will be hot days to train through, rain storms to run through, and mornings where staying in bed sounds a whole heckuva lot better than getting out there and giving it our best.

We won’t stay in bed though.  We’ll get out there and do what we need to do so that on October 28, 2012 we will get ready to enter Decker Lake a nervous first-timer at the 70.3 mile distance.  A little over 5 hours later hopefully, we will be a Half-Ironman.

That journey doesn’t happen by accident.  It all starts with a blank page, hope, determination and desire.

I have been trading messages with a good friend of mine up in Dallas about my training lately.  We followed it up with a phone call this past week, just two days before my latest race on Wednesday night.

We spoke in generalities about what seemed to be “missing” lately when it came to my running.  How I was pretty disappointed with myself, not so much with the results I had been getting, but more in the effort that I was putting in.

Our conversation covered all of the excuses I had been batting around in my head.  My five weeks away from running as I recovered from my left knee injury.  All of the “doubles” I had been doing since I returned to running.  Running in the morning, swimming in the afternoon, biking on my off days, sometimes actually biking and running back to back as a “brick” workout.  I had been training 9 or 10 hours a week throughout the month of May, surely I was  just tired.

All of that was really just bullshit though, and I knew it.

For some reason I just wasn’t pushing as hard as I had been leading up to the Austin Marathon.  I needed to get back to basics and think about why I run or race at all. 

Memorial Day Monday will be the anniversary of Steve Prefontaine’s death in 1975.

I was just a 7-year old boy on May 30th of ’75 – the thought of long-distance running was not even a glimmer on my horizon.  It would not be for another 30 years.  Pre’s death that night on Skyline Boulevard just East of the University of Oregon Campus changed the US Running scene forever.

That’s not an overdramatized statement.  It’s a fact.

Next Saturday on June 4th the Prefontaine Classic will be  run at Hayward Field in Eugene, OR.  the very track where Pre never lost a single race.

Top runners from all over the world will come to Eugene to compete on the Nation’s largest stage when it comes to track and field outside of the Olympics.

Ironically as I was stretching before my little 5K race on Wednesday night, a young man walked by with a Prefontaine T-shirt on.

Austin, TX, 2011, Wednesday night local 5K.  A Prefontaine shirt.  Really?

As I walked down to the starting area from the benches and took the last swallow from my water bottle, another runner, this time a 40+ year old man strolled past with an Oregon Green T-shrt with PRE LIVES in bright yellow letters.

Another one?  Really?

Was that the last shock to the system that I needed to get back to racing the way that I know that I can?  I’m not sure.  But I will tell you that it has never really been about Pre’s death and the tragedy that brought me great interest and motivation.  It was the way that Pre raced.  There are volumes of stories that people have shared throughout the years about Pre.

At one point Pre held every single american record from 2000 Meters to 10,000.  His style was to simply go out and take the heart of his competitors.  He was not a “coast and kick” type of runner.  He wanted to run at a breakneck pace and simply turn every race into a battle, where only the toughest runner, the one who “wanted it the most” could win.  And Pre won just about all of them.

There is a great letter that you can read from Pre to his coach Walt Mclure that was written just 13 days before his death.

You can read the letter in its entirety by clicking here:

You can sense that the start of something special was forming in Steve’s mind when it came to running in the 1976 olympics.  Just a spark that was starting to build inside of him that by the time he got to Montreal there would have been very little chance of anyone staying with Pre.

Infectious is the word I think of when I read about his training and racing.

I don’t believe in coincidences.  Never have, never will.

There is some reason that the only two T-shirts I have seen in the last year with “PRE” on them at a race in Austin showed up on the same night.  The very night that I was searching to find what I had been missing.

I went out and ran a :06 Personal best on the course with the temperature reading 100 degrees.

Coincidence?  Hardly.

Pre would be retired now, 62 years old, still running I’m sure, the way he always had.  For the love of it.

19 years from now I’ll be that 62 year-old still doing my best, trying to hang with some of the young guys, running for the same reason.  Because I love it.

Maybe I’m running Pre’s miles now – albeit a lot slower.  There is a trip out there that I am hoping to take this September with my friend from Dallas.  A trip to Coos Bay Oregon for the running of the Steve Prefontaine Memorial 10K.  It will be run this year on September 17, 2011.  Traveling from Austin to Oregon for a 10K race seems a little silly?

Actually, it’s the least I can do.

January 25, 1951 - May 30, 1975

RIP Pre.  Thanks for everything.