Saturday, March 31, 2012

2012: Q1: By the numbers

     Truth is...I like statistics and working with numbers. I probably should have been an accountant or something, but I'm ok where I'm at career wise. One area of my life I can always look to to satisfy my numerical insanity is in the area of fitness. I did 2 By The Numbers posts back in December, vitals and mileage,  and I had thought to make it an annual post. As time has passed though I can definitely see a relevance for a combined quarterly By The Numbers post. Dailymile, where I log my activities, has weekly charts that become inaccessible after a time and I'm going to want to review them when I create future training plans, so a quarterly post will help with that. Also, I believe throwing all this out there in my blog might benefit some people who want to lead healthier lives. My specific numbers probably won't help anyone, but seeing how much attention I give to monitoring such things and what I use to monitor my stats could conceivably be a source of inspiration.

     Here we go...Weight...Looks like I've gained about 2 lbs on average from a year ago. I had gained about 5 lbs from my summer low, but when my routine shifted in February from focusing on strength training to focusing on half marathon training, I started losing a little bit gradually over time. I know I eat a wide variety of foods (like all omnivores should), but I may have been excessive with the ice cream during this period. I also know that I have maintained most of my peak lifting stats, but my bench press has suffered a slight drop in performance. The big question is...Has my weight fluctuation been fat loss/gain or muscle loss/gain?
Body Fat %

     Going by my Body Fat Percentage chart, it looks safe to say that since my weight lifting stats have maintained at peak or near peak levels and my body fat percentage has dropped steady since marathon training started, then my big whuppin 2 lb of weight gain must be raw muscle! Yay! Go me!
Blood Pressure
      Being at an acceptable level of strength is great, but my primary motivation is just to maintain a good general level of health. Blood Pressure stats look ok. No meds by the way. I just eat the USDA recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables and get plenty of exercise.
     BMI chart is essentially useless to me since it doesn't differentiate muscle from fat. If a person is non athletic or doesn't hardly ever lift weights, then BMI may be more pertinent.
      As for activity, my run mileage is progressing nicely, but I may be over due for a recovery week. It will have to wait till after the Blue Ridge Half Marathon though. In the mean time I simulate recovery weeks by cycling less and running trails as needed.
     As this cycling chart shows, my cycling has decreased by about 40% as my running has doubled over the course of my half marathon training. Weeks 10 and 13 reflect sharp cycling decreases as a method for keeping my legs fresh for the trail races I do as warm up events heading into the half marathon.
     I had no intention of keeping up with last years 2 mile per week swimming average. Most of those 2's are rounded up 1.6's. Still, over just the last 3 weeks my swim mileage has dropped to a steady 1 mile per week reflecting the amount of time I've dedicated to my increased running mileage.
     Add it all together and add in any fitness related walking, hiking and elliptical miles and this combined chart is what you get.

Training For Blue Ridge: Week 7

     Mon: Tempo: 10 miles: Mountain Side 10 Miler: Coming off a race weekend I didn't feel like pushing the pace too much. Main goal was just to run up the mountain (laps 1-5) in the 8's and down the mountain (laps 6-10) in the 6's, and I pretty much did that although a couple of miles were a hair fast and one was just a hair slow. As a side objective I also wanted to get it done with a better overall pace than when I ran this route 2 weeks ago as long run and I handily did that too. Here is Garmin data comparing today-vs-2 weeks ago-vs-last summer-vs-year ago.

     Wed: Intervals: 10.6 miles: 12 Laps Explore Park Beginner Trail: Hit all target paces for the 2nd week in a row. Completely different workout though in that this is trail speed work and the target paces are slightly slower to accommodate the terrain. Alternating between 7's and 9's on this 8/10ths mile loop at Explore Park does require a similar overall effort to the 6's and 8's speed work I do on asphalt though because of the additional muscle groups and skill sets that accompany trail running. Ended up about dead on comparing similar workouts from this time last year and from this past summer during Richmond Training. Click HERE for Garmin comparison data.

     Thurs: Recovery: 4 miles: EP Basic 4: With heavy rounding this 4 miler was part of a 13-4-13 brick. The ride to Explore Park was at a steady effort, so I knew it would effect my run and sure enough I never could find any intensity for it. I did find a steady 11 min/mile pace and held it for the whole run though. This was the first time running this course and it seemed like one I could make a habit out of when I'm looking to do 4 at Explore Park.

     Sat: Long 12 miles: Full Mountain 12 Miler: First of three 12 milers prior to the Blue Ridge Half. Did this one as part of a 6-12-6 brick and at 6 miles the cycling complemented the run quite well. I like to run the Full Mountain 12 Miler pacing in the 8's on the way up and the 6's on the way down, but I had never ran it as part of a brick so I wasn't sure what to expect. I had 3 slower than par miles and 1 faster than par. It was a good run. Also, did the first 6 cycling on my hybrid with fat tires and fresh legs and wanted to see if I could beat my time, after the run, with using my skinny tire road bike and dead legs...happy to say I blew it out of the water beating it by just over 6 minutes!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

2012 Montvale Park 10 Miler / RNUTS 3 of 6

The History
     The Montvale Park 5 and 10 mile race has been an annual event since 2009 and an annual event for me personally since 2010. So far, I have only ran the 10 mile course, with a 1:26:49 in 2010 and a 1:20:18 in 2011. As the 2nd of 3 warm up races heading into the Blue Ridge Half, I'd have to say that this race gives me the best idea of where I'm at with my endurance and because the half is still just over a month away, I still have time to work on improvement before the big race.
2011 Elevation Profile as recorded by my Garmin
     Rolling hills are the name of the game for this course. I always handle this type of terrain best by opening up wide strides going down hills and following it up with rapid turn over short strides on the way back up. The frequent running pattern change up has the effect of tiring me out  faster mentally than on a course where I can just get in a grove and stay there for awhile. I haven't done any training on this course at all, which is a shame considering its the closest  RNUTs course to my house.

     As always, I'll be looking for a course PR. I haven't done any 10 mile tempo runs yet, but I did recently run 10 on asphalt, as a long run, after a 10 mile bike ride in about 1:20:00 and my asphalt tempo 8 milers have been coming in at right around an hour. A few other stats lately have also suggested that I may be in slightly better shape right now than I was a year ago, so I think the odds are about 70/30 in favor of me beating 1:20:00 as long as atmospheric conditions are at least somewhat favorable.
2010 Age Group 2nd place medal. 

     As for placement, this race has consistently been a source of humility for me. I understand that final finishing positions are more a fluke based on who shows up than anything else, but that doesn't stop me from looking at the statistical reality of the situation. In 2010 I was Age Group 2nd out of 2 and 17th out of 46 overall. That could also be looked at as Dead Last Age Group and barely in the Top 37%. The next year, 2011, gave me a 4th out of 9 in the Age Group and a 15th out of 75 Overall or Middle of the Pack Age Group and Top 20% Overall. I was happy with my time and effort both years, but I really like to stack up a little better than that in the final results. I've never trained specifically for this race since it just works out better as a longish type training run for the Blue Ridge Half, so I don't stress on the place results too hard, but I do look for year to year improvement.

The Event
     I sign up for races weeks and even months prior to the actual event. If it happens to be raining, then so be it. For a trail race, the 2012 Montvale 10 Miler was by far the muddiest I have ever done. Arriving on the scene I was instantly greeted with light rain/steady drizzle. It had been raining for hours prior to the race and I knew the trail conditions would be less than optimal for speed and PR's. Typically, rain dampens my spirits, but on race day the enthusiasm of my fellow Mountain Junkie friends is contagious and competitive spirit is more powerful than any rain. I went through the motions of warm up stretches, greetings, race briefings, and then a 1/4 mile walk to the start line...all in steady rain.
Elite level volunteers of the highest order.

     If I had any misgivings about the weather they were quickly dismissed by an amazing race start. I have no illusions about me being an elite Mountain Junkie, I'm not one. Elites Mountain Junkies routinely pace in the 6's at every event regardless of distance. I consider myself fortunate if I can even run one trail mile in the 6 min/mile range. Somehow I was quick on the draw today and for the first 4/10ths of a mile I actually held first place for the first time ever at any race. I'm going to go so far as to be ridiculous and just call it as me having won the sprint to the first bridge! It was an amazing feeling, but I knew it was a fluke and didn't reflect my true apptitude.
At just over 1/2 mile in the rain seemed to have all but stopped.

     I knew the true elites were back there and they didn't waste much time after crossing the bridge to let me know it. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, rushed passed me in very short order. About a mile later #6 breezes on by with one more on his heels. I was starting to feel like I was in my zone and I kept thinking about my interval training. I can summon up a nice 1/4 mile sprint every mile or so if I need it, so I decided to put an end to the passing and hold 7th place. I caught up to 6th and drafted for a while, but he kept pulling away, then 8th would catch up to me and I would sprint back to 6th...this pattern continued for the whole race, except to say that by mile 7 I was growing fatigued and never could quite catch up to 6th, so much as just put some distance between myself and 8th.

     I knew I wanted the spot and I had a suspicion that the guy behind me was a stronger runner than was immediately apparent. My tempo training has only been at 8 miles, so I fully expected to burn out and get passed 1 or 2 times in the last mile. It never happened, but for the last mile 8th place was right on my heels. I ended up surprising myself and found the energy for a 1/10th mile sprint to the finish line that left me weak and breathless, I held my spot. It was an awesome race!

Muddiest trail race yet!

     End result was 1h 16m 58s, a new event PR! The course was slightly shorter this year to make it exactly 10 miles, as opposed to last years 10.2, but all things considered it was still my best run at this event particularly as judged by pace. Added to that is a nice 1st place age group award. The Mountain Junkies hosted another great event and truly catered to their participants by offering a good selection of healthy post race food. 

Final Results: 2012-time 1:16:58.82, pace: 7:42/M,Place 7/97 overall, 1/6 in my age group,7/59 among men. Garmin data, (which is less reliable on trails anyways, is particularly bad at this trail due to the very tight zig-zag nature of the path)



Training for Blue Ridge: Week 6

     Mon: Tempo: 8 miles: Dedicated Parkway 8 Miler: What a nasty, beautiful day. Frackin' rainin' out, but I wanted to do this route for comparative purposes. I guess the rain kept me motivated to hurry up so I could get back indoors. Took the first mile out at suicide pace, which for me is anything faster than a 6 min/mile, then eventually finished up with my 2nd fastest time ever on this course. Happy to say I'm continuing the pattern of being in slightly better shape now than I was a year ago and also slightly off of my peak fitness stats from this past summer. HERE is comparison data for today-vs-PR-vs-year ago for the same route.

     Wed: Intervals: 8 miles: 8 miles of Burnt Bridges: Hit or exceeded all interval targets for the first time of this current training cycle. Also, setting a PR for this routine by a full second. Previous best at this distance was set Aug 22nd 2011, suggesting that I may be approaching a new life cycle peak! Right on time to see this level of improvement since next week the routine starts calling for 10 mile interval workouts. Click HERE for Garmin data comparing the identical workout to one from about this time last year and one from my summer peak.

     Thurs: Recovery: 4 Miles: Stewarts Knob Trail: Ranger Style: Typical Thursday 10-4-10 brick, but just had lots of energy for it today. Even at a comfortable I was still about 4 minutes faster than last week. Not sure where all this extra intensity has been coming from this week, but it may have something to do with my low cycling mileage this week. Next run is the Montvale 10 Miler, so its good to see my performance levels where they have been lately.

     Sat: Long: 10 Miles: Montvale 10 Miler: Very strong 10 mile trail race. Continuing the trend of statics showing year to year improvement. For full race report click HERE.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Breaking the 6's

     "...just going out for a run..." That's always the thought walking out the door. In reality, though, it often turns into something much more than a just another calorie burn. Some days an underlying current of immense proportions is propelling the run. It's undeniable. It's there when getting out of the bed that morning. Heading to the start line it is simply understood that something very powerful is going to act of violence so heinous that only grown men would dare speak of it, and even then only behind closed doors and in hushed tones in the private conversations between an individual and their creator.

     8-10 minute miles are "fun", recreational things...good for staying in shape and general fitness. 6-8 minute miles imply a measure of competitiveness, perhaps only with ones self, or perhaps with the world at large...Breaking the 6's however, always adds an extra dimension. It makes it a rebellion against one's own body and limitations. It happens when it happens, and it can't be planned for more than about an hour in advance. Waking up, the energy is either there,... or it isn't.

     Death sucks. Lost opportunity is the worst part. If it didn't get said or done in the living years, then the opportunity to do it, or say it, is gone..., no re-do's. I remember spending most of the summer of 2009 trying to break the 10 minute mile. At one point I thought "Damn! This is going to kill me!" Then, one morning, I just woke up with a crushing defiance and knew today was the was going to happen. It did..., fueled in part by learning of a death, a classmate from the old school. I couldn't really even call her a friend, in fact we hardly spoke at all. She was just that neighborhood kid who ran past my house sometimes. I had thought I might see her around at a running event someday and strike up a conversation..., maybe mention what an incredible feeling it is to be inspired by everyone I ever knew who was into the whole endurance sports/running  scene...Not gonna happen now...opportunity lost...score 1 for death.

     Particularly bitter is when its someone my age or younger. I'm only 40, were not suppose to be dying yet..., are we? Actually, It could happen any minute of any day. Simply getting out of bed can be that fatal circumstance that puts a person in the morgue. Driving a car, or getting a cancer from cigarettes is probably the more likely scenario though. Driving a car puts a person at almost total mercy to the drivers around them. Its a humbling thought, but one false move, by anyone (usually a drunk) and WHAM...your gone! Cigarettes..., and other disease challenging behavior..., thats just folks saying "Hey! I'm gonna die anyway, may as well hasten it."

     I digress. 6 minute miles..., that's as fast as I need to run for competitions sake. I kick it in the 5's from time to time and its usually a mistake on some level. I kicked a mile into the 5's just the other day..., walked away from it feeling like I had challenged death and won...again. Its inevitable...death will win one day. 6 minute miles are a strategy to keep death at bay. Breaking the 6's...? I think I found my limits. I think the speed that I just don't want or otherwise have no need for. Not that I think it would literally kill me, mind you...I'm just not that defiant!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Training for Blue Ridge: Week 5

     Mon: Tempo: 8 miles: Random 8 miler with Mill Mtn: Couldn't be much happier with this tempo. Sure, I would have liked to see it come in 45 seconds faster to make it in under an hour, but it was spot on with a very similar route I did 2 weeks before the Blue Ridge Half last year. Click HERE for the comparison data. I believe this further confirms the trend of me being in slightly better shape now than I was a year ago!

     Wed: Intervals: 8 miles: Hood Laps: This was a very encouraging speed work session. Plan was to circle the block 16 times, alternating between pacing in the 6's and 8's. I didn't do this workout last year training for 2011 Blue Ridge, so I don't know how it might have stacked up, but comparing it to several points from back in the summer and fall when I was training for Richmond it looks very good. Most notable, for the first time, is that I made it to lap 9 before I started dropping the pace AND then, after 2 laps, I started hitting the target paces again for 2 more laps. All in all, I only hit 11 of 16 target paces, but for this course that's a huge win!

     Thurs: Recovery: 4 miles: Stewarts Knob Trail: Ranger Style: Much happier with this run than with the same run last week. Just like last week this was the middle section of a 10-4-10 brick. I kept my intensity low and just looked for a comfortable zone to run in. The first mile off the bike was annoyingly slow, but running the remaining 2.93 miles at a sub 9 pace is right on target with what I expect from myself on a recovery day.

     Sat: Long: Random 10 Miler with Mill Mountain: Not the best training run, but after using Friday as a rest day I just wanted to push my limits with duration and hold back on intensity. I ended up doing a 20-10-20 brick and it pushed me to the point of exhaustion. I probably could have done better if I had stayed on asphalt, but the trails were very inviting so I ended up with about 4 asphalt miles and 6 trail miles total. Totally spent!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Training For Blue Ridge: Week 4

     Mon: Tempo: 6 miles: Dedicated Parkway 6 Miler: Just taking it kinda easy and going through the motions today. No week-to-week improvement for this one. My last run was race pace at the EYL on Saturday, so following it up with a high intensity tempo wasn't really something I was eager to do. I was still towards the high end of my historical paces for this route, but I was mostly just enjoying running in the snow flurries.

     Wed: Intervals: 8 miles: 8 Miles of Burnt Bridges: Added 2 miles to the interval routine this week . Target paces were the same as last week with 6's and 8's. First 2 sprints were the fastest of this training cycle with the first downhill sprint exceeding the target 6 min/mile pace. I paid for it later on though as my last 2 uphill sprints and uphill recoveries missed their targets. Good workout, but of 16 target paces, 1 exceeded the mark, 11 were on the mark, and 4 failed to hit.

     Thurs: Recovery: 4 miles: Stewarts Knob Trail: Ranger Style: Keeping in mind that it was a low intensity/high duration day, I was still a bit annoyed to see the pace in the low 10 min/mile range. This was a 10 mile/4 mile/10 mile brick and I expect the first mile off the bike to be a little slower, but I never came by any extra energy for the whole run and I wasn't willing to use any extra effort to pick up the pace because that would negate the effect of having a low intensity day in the first place. I was consistent though with an even pace for the whole run, so that counts as a positive.

     Sat: Long: 10 miles: Mountain Side 10 Miler: Today was a 10-10-10 brick. I did the first 10 on my fat tire hybrid, dropped the bike off at my house, walked back to the parkway, ran the 2nd 10 from mile post 105 to 100 and back, then walked back to the house, grabbed my road bike and did the same route I had done earlier on my hybrid. The run was excellent! Managing an 8:01 pace for the route exceeded my expectation. This was also my first double digit run since the Richmond Marathon back in Nov.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Training for Blue Ridge: Week 3

     Mon: Tempo: 6 Miles: Dedicated Parkway 6 Miler: Hit some real good numbers out there today. My downhills are still a little weak, but my uphills are in great shape at this distance. Knocking the first 3 miles out at sub 7 paces is encouraging going into this weekends first warm up race, the Explore Your Limits 5k. I wasn't far behind my course record for this route either, a 41:47 set on Aug 16th 2011. Also, I did this route about a year ago on Feb 23 2011 with a 44:54, so that may be a clue that I'm in better shape now than I was in at this time last year. Here is the Today-vs-course record-vs-1 year ago Garmin stats.

     Wed: Intervals: 6 Miles: Treadmill Intervals: Resorted to the treadmill again due to sporadic rain and a scheduled swim. Did 1/2 mile Intervals alternating between 7.5 mph and 9.0 mph. That would be an 8 min/mile and a 6:40 min/mile.) I don't usually enjoy treadmill running at distances greater than 4 miles, but it was great to listen some good hard hitting tunes and just kinda let things run on auto pilot.

     Thurs: Recovery: 8 miles: Parkway/Stewarts Knob 8 Miler: Just kept it comfortable today. I was disappointed to see some miles take over 10 minutes, but I was unwilling to push the pace at all. Saturday is my first warm-up race for this training cycle, so I just wanted to get my long run miles in, but run them with a recovery pace. The whole brick was a 10 mile bike-8.1 mile run-7.75 mile bike.

     Sat: Race: 3.1 miles: Explore Your Limits 5k: The numbers look good. I continued my year over year inprovement with a 22:06 and finished 3rd overall from a field of 205. Click HERE for full race report.

2012 Explore Your Limits 5k / RNUTS 2 of 6

Written in advance of the event

     Training has been solid. Recent statistics compared to year ago statistics seemed to suggest a good shot at a PR. Three weeks into training for the next half marathon and already the quickening was working its magic. Now is the chance to prove it.

     The Explore Your Limits 5k has been the breeding ground for some of the finest hardware hanging on the wall. Running the event in 2010 yielded my first Age Group win with a 24:27, returning in 2011 granted substantial improvement with a 22:27 and my first and so far only Overall Top 3 finish.

Existing EYL 5k hardware.
      Hardware is nice, but most runners understand that finish places are often determined simply by who shows up. Being a trend spotter, I can't help but be hopeful, but the Mountain Junkies have posted the participant list in advance and I know that a strong field is scheduled to show up. Time, not place, is the focus for this race, and with 22:27 being the time to beat for a PR, it will take EVERYTHING in the tank.

Elevation Profile for the 2011 EYL 5k

     The 5k course itself is is an excellent combination of running surfaces with about 1/3 trail, 1/3 gravel road, and 1/3 asphalt. The uniqueness and even distribution of the various surfaces is one reason I have consistently chosen to run the 5k course as opposed to the 10k course which is also an option at this event. The 10k course has an additional 3.1 miles of trail. For either course, but most critical section is the steep uphill climb at about 2.3 miles in and lasting for about 1/2 a mile.

     My ongoing competition with myself at these events is a huge motivator as I seek to delay the inevitable lifetime peak when PR's are no longer possible except in a more modest capacity, such as limiting the historical data to only looking at performance in recent years. But there is something bigger than data, awards, and fitness levels going on at the competitions that I participate in and with the Mountain Junkie events in particular. For many, and especially us regulars, these are family and friend social activities. My 10 yr old daughter, Faith, will be hiking this course with my wife, Denise. I hope Faith will find her "wind", like my son, Chris, once did, but I'm just happy that she is looking forward to participating as a hiker/walker. After I finish running the event, I'll grab some food and go back and walk them to the finish!

 The Event
Written after the race
     Excellent day for a race! Having spent all week looking at weather forecasters predicting a significant likelyhood of rain during the EYL 5k, it turned out that the rain stopped early and the event was held under cloudy skies and with wet trails but no rain. I'm no fan of running in the rain, but I had resolved myself to do it, if that was what the day gave me. 

     Denise had awoken early to help out as a volunteer, so after we arrived we went to find her at the race check in. Denise and Faith were walking the event as the sweepers, whose job it is to come in last and make sure that no runner is left behind injured. 
Denise doing some pre-event volunteer work

     At 8:45 or so the race director, Josh Gilbert, began the pre-race announcements and explained that the 5k course would be slightly different from last year. Changing the course meant that my year-over-year course comparisons would be slightly skewed, but since the bulk of the course was the same I accept the variance as virtually insignificant.

Parkway = home turf! Well over half my training is on or near the Blue Ridge Parkway.
C&C running group. The small one is Craig Thornton. Awesome fast kid! Worthy of his "Little Pre" nickname!
I wanna be this guy when I grow up! 70+ yrs old and running trails and doing triathlons like a champion!
Faith, just prior to race start.
     There was some confusion about where the start line was, but everybody got in place with minutes to spare prior to race start. There was approximately 200-250 of us and I tried to get close to the start. At my past few races I had stayed back a few yards from the front and found that I struggled in heavy congestion. Today was better. I found the inside corner and was able to avoid almost all the initial tangle.

     I established 3rd place about 1/10th of a mile into the race and held it for the whole race. The first mile was mostly asphalt. The 2nd mile was mostly trail and it was quite slick in spots. I never did fall, but I was slowed down in several areas. The 10k runners started 10 minutes prior to us 5k'ers so the slick spots were made worse due to 200+ people having already trampled the path. The 3rd mile was mostly well packed gravel with some more asphalt towards the latter parts of the course.
(Event photo courtesy of John Wimmer Photography)

     Except for compensating for the slick mud, and having to dig deep to get up the steep hills in the final mile of the course, the race itself was almost like a blur. I was heavily focused on breathing, running form, and footing. Garmin data, which is notoriously less accurate on trails, suggests that I hit the first mile under 7 minutes, the 2nd mile at around 7 1/2 and the 3rd mile around 8. As I was coming up the steep hill (nicknamed Vomit Hill) a strong runner passed me, so I thought I had fallen back to forth place. The passing runner pulled away by as much as 100' during the last 1/2 mile, but at the top of the hill he seemed to slow. I thought I could catch him before the finish. I turned on all the gas I had, but as we approached the finish chute he just continued on to the 10k course, so 3rd overall was mine. I looked at the clock. 22:06. 3rd was mine and with a PR time to boot! Happy day in race land!

 Full ON sprint mode as I cross the line. Getting passed in the chute is going to happen from time to time, but I do my part to make sure its not easy for somebody tryin' to do it to me!

     Finished with my race, but not yet finished with the course, I quickly set out to find my wife and daughter. I walked back until I found them at around the midway point. We had a nice conversation and joked and played a little bit, but I was struck by some of the scenery now that I was getting a chance to appreciate it at a walking pace. Having ran by it so quickly just an hour earlier I literally felt like I was seeing it for the first time!

Roanoke River. Swollen from recent rains.

Yeah, you might say I kicked up some mud while I was out there today!

(Event photo courtesy of John Wimmer Photography)

     I walked Denise and Faith to the finish and then we went to enjoy the food spread that the Mountain Junkies had laid out for us. I had a bagel, pumpkin bread, an assortment of raw veggies, and a trail mix. Good stuff!

Faithy, finishing strong!

     Shortly after, the awards ceremony started and I was thrilled to receive the award for 3rd place. My 2nd top 3 finish ever! 

New Hardware!
Final Results: 2012-time 22:06.82, pace: 7:08/M, Place 3/205 overall, 1/13 in my age group, 3/96 among men. Also see  GARMIN DATA