Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Digital Doping

  If you haven't noticed lately the sport of running has been tainted with cheaters. You have Rita Jeptoo being caught using performance enhancing drugs. There is also the story of Mike Rossi the 47 yr old father who lied about qualifying for Boston. Then there is the always famous rumor mill of Kilian Jornet and his attachments to known doping doctors.

  For most of us that aren't pros and will never win a major race the closest thing we have to glory is Strava. You know the site where men and women with something to prove can go out and grab segments and KOM or QOM's. The place where the average runner or cyclist can have a little slice of glory and bragging rights.

  Well now every single segment, KOM or QOM can be called into question thanks to digital manipulation of your GPS Files. Thats right there is a website that will allow you to manipulate your data and upload it to any social tracking site. If done right no one would even question your rise to local fame. Yes you have to actually run the segments but with the help of this site you can take a 8:00 mile pace and make it a 6:30 pace. Is there that one segment you keep losing to the guy by like a few seconds? Well shoot just crank your speed up a few % and the segment is yours and without having to even stretch after.

  I tried this with a couple runs and found the results astonishing. I laughed like a school girl who just ran across her crush in the hallway and he said hi to me. I then felt that sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach like the day I found out Santa Clause was a lie. I immediately deleted the modified runs and began to hit every media outlet I could to express what I had found.

  I thought I was being a hero but at the same time I knew outing this would put me directly in the cross hairs. Anything I run and post from here on out would be called into question. By reporting this I would never look at social media sharing the same and I am sure people will do the same when I post my runs. Yet its out there and before Strava says they have safeguards to catch it, they don't.

  I never listed the name of the site but Im sure its only a Google search away. I know that deep down everything has changed because if I know about this Im sure theres a whole lot more who do too and have no problem lying their way to the top of leaderboards.

Digital doping is real and it is hear, God save us all!!!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Down time Reflection

  I know some of y'all will get this an some of y'all won't. I suffer from PTSD which I got from some very traumatic experiences. I won't go into great detail on here about it this isn't the forum for that. I will basically say that I do not process stress or anxiety the say way normal people do. I either shove it on the back burner or numb it out until it builds up and causes me to break down. Before I started cycling and then running I would use drugs and alcohol to cope. The more I biked and then ran the less I needed to use to deal. There is a balance though, if I'm not careful running can cause me to have a break down. Usually if I don't keep up on my diet, sleep and rest it can send me into fit. The same with doing to much mileage too soon or not taking time off between races.

  Most know we did the RNR San Diego Half Marathon which I didn't properly train for. Even though I wasn't even running my rape pace it took a bit of a toll on me. I knew that I should at least take a couple days to a week off. Two days later and I was back at it at my usual slow pace, which was way too fast. I began to see the signs of a break down coming on Friday but my wife and I handled it and we thought I got through it. Saturday when we went to the #RunEatTweetAZ ice cream run at the Fleet Feet Sports in Scottsdale. Everything was going well until the run started and I didn't have my watch which caused me some anxiety. I got the Strava app working on my phone and tore off in pursuit of Jones (Deion my son) By the time I caught him and the group they were about half a mile in and according to Jones watch we were running 7:15 a mile. We attempted to slow the pace but it just wasn't working in my favor. Deion actually was the first one to break and slowed down as his legs couldn't take the pace. I pushed on and even upped the pace into the finish, dropping into a sub 7 in the last quarter mile.

  We hung out for a bit at the ice cream run and socialized but I could tell the damage was done. I began to get very irritable and couldn't stand still. My mood began to shift and I felt very tired, I began to sink. I put on a front the best I could and tried to make it hop without snapping at anyone. I got in the house and started the slow spiral into depression and anger. The mood swings went on for a couple hours until I started yelling and screaming at anyone who talked to me. My anxiety got so bad I started having chest pains like a heart attack. The rest of the night was kind of back and forth very blurry in my memory. My neighbor asked if I was ok he was a little scared when he heard me screaming. I started to calm down and was exhausted.

  So I made a decision somewhere around 2am that I couldn't go to the trail run on Sunday at that I needed to take a break. So after a talk with Mandy we decided I would take a little hiatus until I started to feel better. In my downtime I thought about what I did wrong to get to that point and re-evaluated my goals for running. I am back to running after about 3 days off and my first run went well. I am starting a new training plan which I will get into in my next post. I will also be doing my first reviews of the new Altra shoes I am running in so stay tuned for that.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Taking a break

   I just got done running very well at #RNRSD and saw an opportunity to build on that headlining into #RNRVEGAS. So as I sent myself out this week to start training again I had a major mental set back. I'm burned out, bummed out and tired, so very tired. 

  I have been forcing myself to run and nothing about me wants too. Its been suggested that maybe I need a break and after last nights break down I humbly agree. I need to step away from running at the moment, I don't know how long for but I'm stepping away. 

  Maybe in a few weeks, maybe a few months things will change but for now this is my choice. 

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Rock N Roll San Diego Half Marathon Review

  This was the race that was, then wasn't, then was again at the last minute. 

  We had purchased our RnR Tour passes when we lived in Delaware with plans to run on the East Coast. Since it was My wife's and I 5th wedding anniversary this year we decided to run RnR Arizona Half Marathon in January of this year. Well we came out and ran the Half and I got a job while I was here so two weeks later we moved out to Arizona for good. This meant we had to find at least two races out here on the west coast to run. So we choose San Diego and Vegas as our two other runs. We were all set to go to San Diego but then Mandy found out she was pregnant with our third child. I was battling back from Pneumonia and a severely sprained right ankle. So it looked like we just weren't going to be able to do it. What made matters worse was this would also be my step son's first official Half marathon. So in the week leading up to the race we bounced back and forth with a decision to not go and even up to Saturday morning the decision was to not run and stay home.

  While out on an easy run with Deion Saturday morning I had a few thoughts. Mandy would be pretty far along by Vegas and Deion trained really hard for this. It wasn't right in my mind that they be denied the chance to run. So mid run I called Mandy and told her to search for a hotel, that we were going. I got home and we finalized everything including baby sitters for the kids. RnR actually provides a baby sitting service at some of the runs and while it is pricey I felt comfortable with them watching the kids. So we loaded up the Yota and headed to California.

  We had to stop for gas twice and the drive took longer than we originally thought it would so we were running late. We even had to call to see if they would hold the door for us. We arrived at the convention center just in time to slide in before the shut the door.

The rest of the day was spent checking into the hotel and carbo loading on our favorite pre race treat, PIZZA!


  We had two full size beds and 5 people, hoping Mandy and I could share one bed and the kids the other. Well the kids weren't having that so it was 2 adults 2 toddlers while Deion slept alone. Needless to say Deion was well rested in the morning while Mandy and I looked like we battled pirates all night. One of these days I will learn to just sleep on the floor.

Race day morning we dropped the kiddies off at the sitter and headed to the park where Mandy and Deion needed to use the port-a potties. I had learned long ago that its best to do your business before arriving or moments like this happen, 
Port-a Pottie Line Selfie

 Soon Deion and I departed to corral 1 while Mandy hung out in corral 6. Its awesome that Deion is fast enough that we can start closer to the front. One of my main pet peeves of racing is having to zig zag around slower runners who try to start up front. Yet there is always those people who sneak up there and can't hang and just get in the way (NOT COOL!) So the start went off well and we resisted the urge to sprint off and held our pace whilst zig zagging around the slowness!!!

We were supposed to run a negative split race starting our pace around 8:20 and kicking it in to a 7:20 in the second half. Well I didn't get time to make a pace band and our first mile clicked off around 7:48 so I attempted to chill us out, I failed. I thought the worse that could happen is we would get tired but could use the downhills in the second half to make it up if we did. The funny thing was, it was so cool out and the course wasn't that hilly so the faster pace wasn't  hurting us so. I did my best to hold us between 7:55 & 7:37 for the first half and drop it down to 7:28 & 7:08 for the second half. Speaking of the course it was awesome and had some of the most supportive neighborhoods. I saw so many people out in their yards with food and drinks for the runners. What was even crazier was some even had full bars and were mixing drinks. I was tempted many times by Tequila and Whiskey touting fans to "Just Have A Shot!" I prevailed though and kept my sobriety through the race. I could have been hammered by mile 5 there was so many alcohol stops. 

I noticed at mile 10 we were on pace to run 1:40:00 and by mile 11 we could even go sub 1:40:00. Deion was fresher than I was. So at mile 11 I told him "Go now Deion, you have a real shot at going sub 1:40 just don't let me catch you!" It was a joy watching that boy dig deep for the final miles. He gapped me by 39 seconds heading into the final mile as I just cruised on in to the finish. 

  Deion ran an very good 1:38:20 and I ran a decent 1:38:59. By those numbers you would have never guessed that just a little over a year ago Deion couldn't even run a 30 minute 5K. Shortly after he crossed the line race officials and the medical crew grabbed him and began to interrogate him about his age. I immediately got to him and assumed responsibility for my son and asked them to kindly to remove their hands from him.

Sub 1:40:00 in his first official Half

  We waited for Mandy to arrive and she crossed the line in a respectable 2:06:00 even. After bathroom and refueling we went back and grabbed the kids. Hot long showers were had by all before we loaded the truck and headed back to AZ.

 All in all it was a good weekend with some awesome running and time with the Team!