May has been amazing. Say it with the second syllable emphasized (the way my neighbor cheers on my fireworks displays). Ah-MAY-zing. It has been an ah-MAY-zing May.
It started on the 30th of
June April, which really isn’t May at all, but let’s not quibble. I ran a slow 5K before heading into the Pittsburgh Marathon (on May 1st), where I ran a personal best by nine minutes.
Just four days later I ran a 5K that was a little bit wonky. First, running a 5K that close to a marathon, you’re not getting a PR. Then I showed up with my most minimal street racing shoe only to find out that it was a trail 5K (really must start reading the course descriptions on all my races). Oops. Oh, and it was really more of a 4.4K, anyways, so even if I had been in top shape, no PR would have been gained. Still, I paced the race with 8:13 miles, so not bad!
Next up was Ragnar Cape Cod on May 13 and 14, where I scored the best race photo I think I’ve ever received. Super happy with the running form on this shot. My front foot is still a few inches off the ground, but I am not leading with my heal at all. Instead, I’m headed for a nice mid-foot landing, keeping the impact low and easy to maintain. I ran that first leg (9.93 miles) at a 9:10 pace, which I knew I couldn’t sustain for the entire weekend, but felt really good doing.
I picked up an extra leg during my middle rotation (running legs 17 and 18), which gave me 10.64 miles total. If it weren’t for Stephanie from team Minions, I would not have done well. I was really running out of steam after about 6.5 miles, and just as I started to walk, I hear a voice from behind me encouraging me to keep running. Stephanie and I fell in step together, and ran all the way into the transition area, where I immediately lost track of her. Stephanie, thanks for the encouragement. I was tired, but thanks to you, I maintained a 9:48 pace for that rotation, which set me up for success on my final leg, where I had enough gas left in the tank to run 6.22 miles at 9:24 pace. All in, nearly 27 miles, and a sub 9:30 pace (which is what I’m shooting for this November for the New York Marathon).
I have a ton more pictures from Cape Cod, head on over to Pedro the Goat’s website to see them.
And then, the question mark.
This site is James Is Running dot com. Or at least, it has been. I think it’s time to switch to “James Is Running?” Why? Because I’m usually running, but sometimes other things too. On May 22, I cemented my claim to the title of cyclist, participating in the North Shore Tour de Cure, supporting the American Diabetes Association. I chose the 100K loop, which should be 62 miles. Here’s a pic from the start (with my cyclist instigator, Rob), before I knew how much the day would hurt, ha!
Not going to sugar coat it, 62 miles is far, and for this course, it was over 63 miles. I hung out with Rob and Dan for the ride, and we went out at a moderately quick pace for someone who’s averaged 3 miles of cycling a week in 2016. There was a rest stop at about 20 miles, and we pulled off for a few minutes. The volunteers at the rest stops were amazing, with lots of food options, including fresh fruit, trail mix, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
We picked up the pace for the next leg, again about 19 miles. I started taking turns in the lead for our group of three (it’s not fair to always draft off your teammates, right?). we kept a pretty consistent pace up for this rotation, but hit some steeper hills which slowed us down at times, the toughest coming not too far from the second rest stop. My teammates said I was riding strong, and I felt pretty good. After refueling again, we hit the road.
The third segment was 11 miles in distance, and by the end of it, the top of my quads were in trouble. I wasn’t experiencing any of the knotting pain I often get at the end of a marathon, but I knew I was doing some real damage to my quads, and was thinking very seriously about taking a short-cut back to the start (there was, in theory, a bail-out option near this rest stop). I was worried about my ability to walk without serious cramping the next day.
So we hit the road for the final 14 miles with me not sure as to whether I’d take the bail-out option or not, but the pain started to subside, and I never saw the bail-out anyway. My teammates set a slower pace, even though I kept telling them they could finish without me and that I’d catch up. Instead, another rider cramped up instead of me while I was at the front of the pack, and I didn’t notice until it was too late to stop with them.
My ride time was 3:35:01, and I logged 63.03 miles on my Garmin. Here’s a photo from the talented photographer Annalisa (Rob’s sister) as I came down the finisher’s shoot. I look like I know what I’m doing on that bike!
The Specialized Roubaix continues to be a dream to ride. So comfortable, with just a little bit of shock absorbing technology that is priceless on some of these New England streets. I avoided any flats, didn’t have any mechanical issues, and just flat out had a good time. I’m terribly pleased with the purchase, and heartily endorse both the brand and this model of bike.
I’m also super pleased to get to ride with the team from Accenture. We raised a lot of money for the American Diabetes Association, and had a lot of fun at the same time. Great job, team!
I still have about a week left this month, but I’m toning it down a little, letting my body recover from some of these extended efforts. Besides, I have a triathlon in 48 days. What do you think… should I go swimming before then? I think so! Teaser photo… someone bought a wet suit!