Warrior Dash - Panama City

Finished my 3rd Warrior Dash - this one in my own backyard - Panama City, Florida.  The Warrior Dash was brought to Panama City by a partnership between two local tourist development boards.  It was originally planned to be an all-day event, but the organizers cancelled all of the  afternoon waves, presumably for poor demand.  

It wasn't too crowded at the race, but the weather wasn't great either. Lower than expected demand could also be because of slowing interest in obstacle type races. the Wall Street journal reported slowing demand for all obstacle type races and the Warrior Dash in particular:

Warrior Dash participants declined from 600,000 in 2012 to 350,000 in 2014, according to a public relations firm working last year on behalf of Red Frog Events, the Chicago-based operator of Warrior Dash.

WSJ, 2016

 I can tell you from my personal experience of running Warrior Dash races in 2012 and 2013, that this was a whole different atmosphere. Fewer people, less going on. Maybe these races are running their course?

That said, it was fun.  We had a small group of friends (mostly older - 40s and 50s) that ran it. It wasn't overly challenging - more similar to my first Warrior Dash in 2012.  The 2013 event I ran was harder. It almost seems like they were making it tougher to compete with the Spartan Races and Tough Mudders of the world. That must have been a losing battle, because this race was back to basics. Challenging, but something that anyone could do with just a little prep.

It was muddy, for sure. But the mud wasn't as bad as I have seen in previous races. There were a couple of interesting and challenging obstacles.  The pallet walk was hard, especially if you were shorter and had a hard time reaching the supporting cords. The walls were easier than I have seen before, but they still gave a few some problems. The slide at the end was surprisingly fast - I almost burned my hands from friction trying to slow down a bit. I finally just let go and let to take me where it would. 

No turkey legs at the end, but they still did have fuzzy horned hats. Food was acceptable. Entertainment not bad. But mostly these races are about friends and family. Accepting and completing a challenge with them. And as long as that dynamic continues. I expect that these races will continue to survive.

Would I do it again?  Sure.  Not certain when, but I would.  It was a fun way to spend a Saturday, get out of the house, and enjoy the weather. So if you have an opportunity - especially if a race is close to you - I highly recommend running one. Fun, Family and Friends are always a winning combination.

 

Warrior Dash - Part Three

The Warrior Dash is coming to the Gulf Coast of Florida  . .  and I am running it!

This would be my 3rd warrior dash over the last 6 years.  I ran my first one in Lake City in 2012.  It was pouring and we saw a lady in front of us snap her ankle falling off a wall.  But, it wasn't that hard. I have to admit that we were nervous at first, but at the start line, we saw a 300 lb guy in a batman outfit. So the idiot rule kicked in - "if that idiot can run this thing, I certainly can."  My brother in law Ronnie, his son, Trace, and my son, Christopher ran it with us. 

Warrior Dash 2012

I ran my second Warrior Dash in 2013 in Birmingham with my friend Curt.  It was a little harder than the first one, but still fun.  The mud pits were a real challenge to get out of. And some of the walls were tough, but nothing insurmountable. Not like the Spartan Race . . . that is a whole another story.

So this will be my 3rd.  I am six years older and in my 50s now.  I have a feeling that I will be one of the older ones on the course.  But  . . who cares. Ronnie is running to with me again, and so is his wife Tina. None of us have really trained, although I did run some and feel comfortable there.  Upper body could be tough though - will probably strain or pull something.  

Only tomorrow knows.

50 State Half Marathon Quest

Recently, I decided to go on a quest. Not a find the Ark of the Covenant kind of quest. I would rather not have my head explode. But the kind of quest that is difficult and challenging, but not impossible.

I am going to try to run a marathon or half marathon in every state in the United States.

This very well take me the rest of my life. Probably the best case scenario is to run 2 marathons every Spring and 2 every Fall. That is four races a year. At that pace, it will only take me twelve and a half years to cover all the states. At my current age, that puts me in my 60's. So I would still be running 4 marathons a year into my 60s. And that is the best case scenario. If I cut back to 2 races, I will be still be running in my 70s. Well, a true quest is not supposed to be easy.

Chris Guillebeau writes a lot about quests on his blog and in his book, The Happiness of Pursuit. According to Chris, a quest is defined as:

- “A quest has a clear goals and a specific end point.”

- “A quest presents a clear challenge.”

- “A quest requires sacrifice of some kind.”

- “A quest is often driven by a calling or sense of mission.”

- “A quest requires a series of small steps and incremental progress toward the goal.”

I think running 50 half or full marathons all over the country should qualify. It does for me at least. And I am the only person that counts.

I must admit. I am not the first person to think of this. There is actually a website and club devoted to the 50 state half marathon challenge. I am not that motivated to join the club, going to try this on my own. But it seems motivational if you need some extra motivation to do something like this. I am doing this because I enjoy long slow running and after my Marine Corp Marathon quest completion last year, I could use something else to keep me running, motivated and in shape. Plus, it will have some travel benefits too.

So, here is to my quest. Announced here for the world to see. Best case scenario, 12-13 years. More than likely, much longer. But then that is the fun of it now, isn't it?

Running for the Bay 10K - Apalachicola

Competed in the Running for the Bay 10K in Apalachicola on Sunday.  It was a decent race, and I ran fairly well.  Didnt quite hit my goal time, but I did set a new personal record for a 10K and finished 3rd in my age group.  Not too bad, although I shouldn't be too excited about the new personal record.  This is only my second official 10K.

It was an early start - 0715 Eastern time - pitch black on the walk to the starting line.  Sun didn't break the horizon until about 30 minutes into the run.  But it was cool and crisp for October in Florida.  Pleasant running weather.

This race is my last tune up before my half marathon in 3 weeks.  Going to do a 12 miler this weekend, then start tapering off until half marathon race day in early November.  I used the Galloway run-walk-run method the whole way.  It worked well.  I felt like I still had energy in the tank at the finish.  Even my wife said I looked a whole lot better crossing the finish line this year than my 10K last year.  When I pressed, she said "Last year you like you were dying coming across the finish; this year not so much."  So . . . at least I have that going for me :)

Here is a picture of the medal I got for finishing.  Looks pretty good.  I like the green.

[caption id="attachment_159" align="alignright" width="216"] Running for the Bay 2012 - front


[caption id="attachment_160" align="alignleft" width="216"] Running For Bay 2012 - Back


 

10 miles - But not a great day

Ran 10 miles today for the first time. It wasn’t easy.

I should be proud, but it wasn’t a great day. I didm give up tough. And I know better days are ahead.

Running a 10K in Apalachicola next weekend. Looking forward to another test. Just a few weeks to go. . . .

9 miles . . and I feel fine.

I ran 9 miles this morning, and in the words of the immortal Michael Stipe, I feel fine.  Tried the Galloway method on the run and it was a big success.  A little over and 11:30 pace, which is what I hope to do for the upcoming half.  Basically, I ran a full mile longer than last week, but did it 15 minutes quicker.  Burned over 1200 calories.


For the first time since I started this quest, I think I am actually going to make it.  One month to go . . .

Bailey Bridge - Evening Run

First run of October. Took it easy. A nice slow jog as the sun was setting over North Bay in Lynn Haven. It rained most of the day and sprinkled on me a bit. Kind of liked it. Also, it was pretty windy with a storm system coming in over the Gulf and heading to the northeast.

Looking back, I ran 52 miles in September. Not as good as August, but I also included a lot more cross training this month to save my legs. The longer runs this month (7 and 8 miles) were challenging - especially the 8 miler. I was really really slow and beat at the end of that one. I going to keep adding miles this month and distance, but will be putting the Galloway method to the test on the longer (5 miles plus) runs. I think that will be the only way to do this. My mantra of “No Walking” is no more. It should be “walking required, you idiot” instead.

Looking forward to another month of training, then the race in early November. Keep wishing me luck. . . .

Run for the Renaissance 5K

Ran a local 5K at Frank Brown Park. Tried a little but of the Galloway method - I walked into the erin station and once again for 30 seconds with about a half mile to go. Not sure f they helped or not. I did run a personal best time for a 5K though - right about a 10 minute mile pace. Felt like I could have done a little better though . … oh well. I wasn’t sure if the improved times were because elf the extra rest or the run-walk-run thing. I am signing up for a 10K in Appalachicola next month. That is only a little less than half the distance of the half marathon, but should be a better test of where I am then. Also, I ordered a new set of shoes today in anticipation of the wearing out my old ones in the next month. I don’t want to go into the race with new shoes, but slightly used shoes. I ordered exactly what I am running in now - The Beast, by Brooks. Very satisfied with them after 400 miles or so...

Working with Mr. Galloway

Ran my first 3 miles yesterday using Jeff Galloway’s Run-Walk-Run method. It was strange, all that starting and stopping. But, I will say, I ran my best time ver three miles this training cycle and felt better at the end too, So I will continue using it, at least for a while longer.


Ran Galloway’s Mile Time Trial today. Did as expected. I have to dig into the books more to see what it means, but it is really a predictor of my half mile times. And the time was in the range of my goal. I will run another 3 miles tomorrow with the method, then a 5K this weekend. I think I will keep using is right up until my next long run next weekend. After that, should have a pretty good feel for it. Iw ill have done a race, short runs, and long runs. 

So far, so good.

Something New - Jeff Galloway

Last night, while nursing my sore legs, I realized that there has got to be a better way. So I started looking for alternative methods.

A friend of mine - quite an accomplished runner - had mentioned the run-walk-run method espoused by Jeff Galloway. I made a quick post on Facebook asking if anyone had used it successfully. And to my surprise, about 5 or 6 friends sounded off, almost all of them positive. I have never been a big fan of run-walk-run because I always have had a hard time starting to run again after walking. But Jeff’s programs seem to have shorter walk intervals. So base don the positive responses, I stopped by the book store this afternoon and bought a couple of Jeff’s books, including "Running Until You’re 100” for mature runners. I never though of myself as mature, but, man, do my legs hurt.