Monday, November 30, 2009

On Second Thought

I intended to go into a lengthy review of John & my Ironman experiences. I spent a couple of hours doing a draft over the weekend but only got through the days leading up to the event. The narrative was overly long and really only meaningful to John & me. Thus, I've decided to scrap the long narrative in favor of just going through some bullet points of the overall event. Here goes:

1. Nutrition was the hardest thing to get right for the Ironman. Neither of us had to worry too much about this issue prior to this distance. For half ironman events, we simply took some goos, electrolyte tablets, maybe a Cliff Bar and a sports drink. For the Ironman, we were inundated with other people's and book's advice as to try to consume a load of calories during the bike course. The main result of this force feeding for me was to shut my stomach down completely during the run. I had a hard time even drinking water. The best I could make out was to mix the chicken broth from the aid stations with water and try to get my stomach to accept this mixture. I think I would have been better served taking a lot fewer calories and still having the ability to take in fluids during the run. Live and learn.

2. Man were we nervous. As first timers at this distance, there is nothing to compare it to from our past experiences. We figured we had to double our half ironman times and add an hour. This makes one pretty nervous and keyed up during the days leading up to the event. But, there is really no way to prepare for that first time other than doing it. It made for fun banter between the two of us with an undercurrent of hostility. Nothing serious mind you. After the event, all was forgiven and we were buddies again.

3. The mass swim start is insane! A first time for me. I'm used to 20 t0 30 person waves of swimmers. I found myself smack dab in the middle of 2800 swimmers in the open water. John was lucky to have had a little panic and swam off to the far right side of the large group and hug the seawall giving other swimmers only 3 side to hit him. The first five minutes of the swim, I wondering if I'm going to be drown by this extremely self-centered mob. I'm shocked no one gets knocked out and drowns. After the first 5 minutes, things spread out and settle down, but its a wild 5 minutes.

4. The volunteers at these events are by far the best in any sporting event I've ever participated in. They not only help you out of your wet suit in a kind and efficient manner, but the volunteers in the changing tents are like having your personal butler. "Let me wipe your feet for you and help you get on your socks." I haven't had this much help getting dressed since I was 4 years old. The volunteers at the aid stations were quick to get you what you wanted and cheerful and encouraging. This feature was much appreciated on the 2nd and 3rd laps of the marathon run. I was so pleased with these folks that I high fives them all on my last loop, thanked them and told them I wasn't coming back, but I really appreciated everything they had done for me. What can I say about the volunteer giving out metals. My wife Salome was there to greet me and put the metal around my neck. You can ask for more personal attention than that. Thanks for volunteering Salome. And thanks to all the volunteers for going above and beyond the call of duty to give great service.

5. Pain is a funny thing, but not "ha ha" funny. I wondered whether the pain and discomfort of such a long event would be worse than my worst marathon. Not so much. It turns out that the pain and discomfort don't get worse, it just keeps at about the same as any marathon. You just have to endure the pain and discomfort longer. I guess that's why they are call endurance events. Of course the same can not be said for gastro-intestinal issues. I've never dealt with such a tricky situation as when my digestive track decided it didn't like going 14 hours shut down. I guess that is the main difference between these really long events and marathons and half ironman events.

6. It really helps to have a good training buddy to train for and get through these events. I guess you could do the training and go through the event solo, but that would be a lot harder and less fun. Thanks John for all of your time and mutual support in getting ready and training for this event. We saw each other for the first time on the third lap of the bike course and ended up in T2 at the same time. It felt good to know your buddy was hanging in there and that our game plan was working.

7. There is nothing like going down that final shoot high fiving all the people going absolutely nuts in support of your finish. To hear Mike Reilly call our your name and say "You are an Ironman" is just amazing. If that doesn't bring a tear of joy to your eye, nothing will. It makes all of the struggle of the last miles well worth it. What a blast!

8. It was great to have so many friends and family following us live on the internet the whole day that we were doing this event. When I first crossed mats in the run, I thought about the verification that every runner did the full course without cutting corners. As I continued on, I realized that this was also a signal out to friends and family that we were still out there plugging away. It lifted my spirits knowing you all were tracking us. To hear from some of you that you saw our crossing the finish line live on the net was really amazing.

9. It was also great to get all of your calls, e-mails and Facebook posting congratulating us on our achievement. Thank you all from the bottom of our hearts for your good wishes and encouragement along the way. It meant a lot to both of us. Of course, knowing you were all aware of what we were doing also kept our feet to the training fire and kept us going on the course when things got tough. When you have so many people to answer to, you are not giving up. At the end of the event, John bestowed a new nickname on me: "Iron Will." Well, I am the first to acknowledge that the will is forged by the love and support of those who care about us. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

10. To quot one last song: "What a long strange trip its been!" I thought that running the Disney Marathon for my 50th birthday was my gift to myself. It was only in completing this event that pretty much covered my entire 50th year that I realize the Ironman was my gift to myself. I figured turning 50, I didn't want to wait another year before attempting this monster feat. In completing it, I now realize that training and completion of the ironman was the best gift I could have given myself. I'm probably in the best shape of my life from all this training. You can't give yourself a better gift than that.

Well, that about sums it up for me. "Iron John" may want to chime in with his thoughts and feelings about the Ironman. John's blog handle was "Half Iron John (for now)." Be sure to change that to "Iron John" buddy. I started this blog out of a mutual obligation to buddy Wayne Crayton who was to do his Trampathon abroad in Europe where he would run 3 marathons in six weeks as he toured Western Europe. As you may know, Wayne's plans got pushed back a year due to his cardio surgery, but he is recovered and his Trampathon plans for the Spring of 2009 just got rolled forward to the Spring of 2010. Salome & I will join Wayne as well as several other friends in Paris in April to run the Paris Marathon. It will be his second of the three, the other 2 being Rome in March and Madrid in late April/early May. Well buddy, it looked like your commitment to the blogosphere would end first. You just never know how it works out until it plays out. Keep up the good work. I expect full and entertaining reports from Europe.

Me, I've enjoyed doing this blog the last 12 months, but it is like writing a weekly or semi-weekly newspaper column. You've got to think about something to write and try to make it entertaining. I hope I've informed and entertained you guys with these postings. I don't know if I'll keep it up. My schedule of events for next year is already filling up. I wanted to make sure there was life after the Ironman. John took a different tactic of not scheduling any events until after the Ironman was over. I'm sure that John will end up doing plenty if history is any indicator of the future. The guy is busier than I've ever been, a better athlete (at least at distances over the half marathon), and ends up doing more with his free time than I could hope to do. He just may be the guy that they patterned those Dos Equis beer commercials on. Its either him or our buddy Roger. In any event, our schedules will most likely diverge in the coming year. Thus, if I do continue the blogging, I may need to go solo and think up a new name.

Enjoy the holiday season. I know I will. I only plan to do maintenance and recovery workouts until the new year. I think I've earned the rest. Stay thirsty my friends.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Ironman Arizona was this Sunday. Yours truly and buddy John hung in from sunrise to well past sunset to hear Mike Rielly announce and anoint us by saying as we crossed the finish line: "You are an Ironman!" The quick version is that we survived the human chum that is the start of the swim leg with 2800 other swimmers. The bike leg was interesting in that we tried to maintain our planned average speed amid a strong headwind on the mostly uphill outbound portion of the 3 loop course and a killer tail wind on the mostly downhill portion of the 35 mile loops. Tricky math indeed. The marathon was a bit of a survival juggle for me with my stomach totally shutting down the ability to take in even plain water. Thank God for warm chicken broth and amazing volunteers. Our swim times were better than budgeted; the bikes times a little over-budget. John beat his run time estimates to come in at 13:18. I came in one minute and an hour later at 14:19.

The experience was a blast, a joy and a trial all rolled into one, ending with the epiphany of the finish. I have many thoughts and feelings about this that I will go into in a much longer posting after I return home from a much deserved Arizona vacation. I was simply amazed at the number of you that tracked us online. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I am thankful that I was able to complete this year long mission. I'm thankful for all of your interest and support of John and my efforts in this journey. I'm thankful for John's joint efforts in planning and executing this task. Finally, I'm thankful for my family's love and support. Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


In order to participate the ancient Olympic games, athletes were supposed to stop their regular mode of making a living, and undergo a minimum of ten months of intensive training. The idea was that the athlete would train full time to get their bodies to an extraordinary level of fitness. In showing up at the Olympic games, the athlete would have to certify that he had undergone the required level of training in order to be allowed to participate in the games. To some degree, national Olympic committees today require a level of fitness and conditioning to participate in various Olympic events by having qualifying standards that must be met in order to be eligible to compete for a spot on that country's Olympic team.

I am ready to attest that training buddy John and I are certifiable to participate in the Arizona Ironman next Sunday. Yes, I know what you're thinking: certifiably crazy! I'm not sure I'd argue that point. Perhaps it is a bit nutty to connect up a 2.4 mile open water swim with a 112 mile bike ride, and topping it all off with a marathon for good measure. But its been done before. Thousands have done so before us. We call them "Ironmen." In any event, it truly is a crazy and amazing endeavor to attempt and achieve. We both have huge respect for the men and women who accomplished this goal. It still kind of boggles the mind that anyone can complete an event that starts at sunrise and goes on for 10 plus hours.

I'm not exactly sure how we even got to the mental place that got us to think that doing an Ironman was even within the realm of our achievement. I guess its doing the events leading up to this crazy distance. We've both done many marathons. That's about a 3 1/2 hour to 4 1/2 hour endeavor, depending on the course and our conditioning. Then, we started doing sprint triathlons, events that take in the range (for us) from around 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes. That opened the door to the question of which was more demanding: a marathon or a half ironman. The half ironman is about a 6 to 7 hour endurance event (again, for us at least). Of course, there was only one way to answer that question. So about a year ago, John & I did the Miami Man Half Ironman. Low and behold, it could be done. I guess that only opens yet another door of whether we were up to the full ironman distance.

Knowing full ironman events fill up quickly, we registered last November for the Ironman Arizona. We then started researching a training plan, nutrition plans, and questioned all of our buddies that had done ironman events and came up with a training plan. For the last 10 months or so, we dedicated ourselves to training for IMAZ. We threw in a summer marathon, did several Olympic distance triathlon events, and a half ironman in September as a gut check on our training. We did three 2 1/2 mile swims, 3 century rides, and two 2o mile runs in preparation for this event. We have other friends that completed ironman events on less training than this, but this was what we figured was appropriate training for this distance. We did each and every scheduled long training event, never skipping a major workout. Unlike Olympic athletes that train pretty much full time for their events, we did all this while trying our best to maintain our work and family lives. This level of training does suck up a ton, if not all, of your free time. But I'm here to certify that we did all the training we planned to do in preparation for this event. We are ready for this event.

But like all athletes that do all the hard work to get to the Olympic, we can still mess up our event by failing to follow our game plan. John & I both scuba dive and one of the rules of diving is to "plan your dive" and "dive your plan." John is very good at following his game plan to a tee; me, I have a history of going rogue. I usually pay for this mistake. Thus, I plan to not let any feelings that I'm doing well cause me to change the plan. I have no time goal in mind. I simply want to complete this event. In playing it conservatively, I'm budgeting 14 to 15 hours to complete the event. If I do better, great; if it takes longer, that's OK too. At this point, I simply want to get the hoped for payoff for all this hard work: crossing the finish line.

This is probably my last posting before next Sunday's event. I want to thank all of you that have given John & me guidance and advice in preparing for this event. Thanks to all of you who have taken the time to read my somewhat longish blog entries. Thanks mostly to buddy John for all the virtual and actual training together. I know it would have been immensely harder to get all this training in without knowing he was either meeting me for a ride or run, meeting at the pool, or doing a separate workout that I needed to match. Finally, thanks to my family for putting up with this whole endeavor. Now, we just need to fly out to Arizona and get this thing done. At this point, I'm excited, nervous and itching to go.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Bye Bye Bike

Bye bye, love. Bye bye, happiness. Hello, loneliness. I think I'm a-gonna cry-y. Bye Bye Love -The Everly Brothers

I dropped my beloved Cervelo P2 Tri-bike at the drop ship bike shop in Miami yesterday for shipping out to the race cite in Tempe, Arizona. Before dropping it off, I took a final ride to make sure all was in working order. I then had to remove the carbon water bottle seat post attachment and computer from the bike. I also packed my gear bag with my tri-suit, running and biking shoes, tools, lubes, spare tubes and cartridges, tri-belt and water bottles. The whole ordeal caused a little accelerated anxiety in that I was forced to go through my checklist of items to make sure to have for race day a week before I have to pack for the flight out of town.

While I've only had the Cervelo for two months, I've grown to really love this bike. Yes, its pretty much limited to use for triathlons and tri-training, but I really feel it makes a difference in saving the legs for the run. The long time in the aero position took some getting used to, but I feel my neck muscles have made the adjustments necessary for this task. This morning, I rode a regular road bike for a bike/run brick, with my secondary helmet, gloves, shoes and peddles. I missed the feel of the Cervelo already. Oh well, the separation is brief. Soon, I'll be reunited with my bike in Tempe. I hope to still have good feelings about my bike after the 112 mile ride portion of the Ironman.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

And I'm Gettig Blown Away

Saturday was the last workout of real substance before heading into real taper time. John & I had planned an Olympic Bike/Run brick (25 mile ride/10 run). We were scheduled to meet at my house before dawn to get the brick knocked out before John had to go home and pack for a weekend trip to New York to attend a wedding. Late Thursday, I was given 4 tickets to the Friday night Miami Heat game. In order to make sure I didn't get short sleep with John arriving too early and fresh for Saturday's workout, I invited John to join my wife, son Alex and me at the game. Of course, he saw right through the ruse, but graciously accepted the invitation. The game was great, with the Heat sending the Denver Nuggets to their first loss of the season.

I check on weather conditions for Saturday morning was not as pleasant. The forecast for the entire weekend was for steady winds out of the NE at 19 to 20 mph, with gusts up to 35 mph. As I got up Saturday at 5:15 AM, I could see the trees getting blown westward pretty good. After getting my pre-ride grub in my and checking my bike, I strolled around in front of my house. The forecast seemed to be pretty accurate; these were steady 19 to 20 winds. It looked like it would be pretty stupid to ride in such conditions, so when John arrived, I suggested that we bag the bike and do a 12 mile run. "No, let's stick to the plan," John said, "It could be windy in Tempe and this would be good practice for windy conditions." We compromised that if it was too windy after our 10 mile loop south, we would cut the ride short of the remaining 15 ride north and lengthen the run.

As we head south, I note that its too windy to risk going to the aero position. Getting in the aero position may be good to cut the wind, but it gives less stability for handling the bike during the gusts that regularly kicked up. Worse, the ride south goes past pretty much open beach. The wind blew sand creating wide patches of sand. Not friendly to a steady tire grip on the road. Living in South Florida, both John & I have done many long runs in "Like a Hurricane" conditions. However, there is a big difference running on wet, slippery roads. Its a wholly different experience riding a road bike in such conditions.

John rides very conservatively, but I take advantage of short periods of slower winds to pick up my pace and actually spend some time in the aero position. John does not follow suit. Every time I look around to see if he's with me, he is clear out of sight. I make two or three stops along the ride to wait for him to catch up. Of course, he pays me back later.

After pulling into my garage and doing our transition, we run out towards the beach for the 10K. When we get to the beach, we are sand blasted by the wind and sand. I'm running slightly ahead of John and when we get to the turn around point, John turns where he is about 50 feet short of the turn around. So now, he who was following, now has the lead. John being a better into the wind runner than I, not only crosses the street to get further away from the wind, but starts upping his pace. Yes, paybacks are Hell. I decide that this isn't a race, its a workout. I let him go off ahead and keep at my training pace. The winds are blowing the sand into my side such that I've got to turn my head slightly west to avoid getting sand blown into my eyes. I am coated with a fine misting of sand that has somehow been blown through my tri suit and is literally everywhere.

As we get off the beach and are running though the backstreets of my surrounding neighborhood, I come across my wife Salome on the outward leg of her morning run. I yell to her that John cheated by shorting the course at the turnaround. In reality, he keeps getting further and further in front of me and ends up with over a 300 yard lead. As I complete the somewhat winding road of the last mile to my house, I've completely lost sight of John. When I turn onto my street, I can see him finishing at my house at the end of the road. As I come up to him, I say, "Nice work, you negative splitting bastard." Of course, I say this in a nice, training buddy sort of way, mind you. We bump fists knowing we've just completed our last long workout.

The next morning, I note that I received an e-mail from John asking me to re-read the taper portion of "the Bible," Going Long by Joe Friel & Grodon Byrn. He asks me for my workout plan for the next 2 weeks. Of course, he asks for this information without disclosing his plans. I can see I'm being set up for a critique. In essence, the book recommends doing shorter workouts, but more interval work instead of a steady easier workload. I had already decided that this plan was for experienced Ironman triathletes that were trying to move up the competitive ranks. Me, I'm an IM rookie. I just want to get done in a reasonable time and survive this thing.

I spent Sunday working on my bike getting it ready for shipping out with TriBike Transport on Wednesday. I changed the tires, cleaned the bike, de-greased and lubed the chain and gears, and removed the carbon water bottle holders as instructed by the TriBike folks. I then went shopping for more goos and other miscellaneous supplies for the trip.

Monday morning, I take out the bike for a shakeout ride to make sure everything is in working order before removing the pedals (another TriBike requirement). The winds are again blowing at the 20 mph range. Again, a scary ride getting blown sideways by swirling winds and trying to avoid both huge patches of slippery sand and fast moving cars on their way to work. I cut the ride short at 12.5 miles. I've come too far to get in an event ending road accident in conditions that I would otherwise never ride in.

Tonight, I'll give the bike a last cleaning to get the sand from this morning's ride. Tomorrow, I take the bike to Miami to drop it at the bike shop that acts as a drop for TriBike Transport. I'll still get in a couple of easy rides on my wife's road bike, but that's it for tri-bike riding. Now, its mostly short tempo runs and 45 minute maintenance swims in the pool. I'd like one last open water swim in my wet suit, but the surf is again in "Like a Hurricane" conditions. Its supposed to be windy and a ruff surf all week long. Hopefully, it will calm by the weekend.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Say Amen Sombody!

Today, John & I rode our last century ride prior to Ironman Arizona. The out portion heading north along A1a put us into a head wind. It rained a bit on and off on the ride north, just enough to coat our bikes and drink bottles with a dirt and grit. You had to spit out the first sip of water as it came in a mixture of mud and fluids. However, the overcast skies kept it from getting hot on the outbound journey. We spotted running buddy, Jen Jones out for her morning run as we passed through Boyton Beach.

We received our dividend of wind assistance on the ride home. It got a little hot as the morning progressed towards the noon hour. John had kept talking about doing a 30 minute run at the end of the ride, but by the time we were in Boca Raton about mile 80 it was getting a bit too toasty. I told John the run was out for me. I had done a 5K treadmill run after our last century 10 days earlier and felt no need to prove that I can run after a century ride.

After stopping at my house, John changed into running shoes and took off for his run. I hosed and cleaned my bike. When I finish, John had yet to return. As a good training buddy, I hosed and cleaned his bike also. He returned the favor by springing for lunch. As he said, I now know what my cleaning services are worth.

With this ride, our very long workouts for IMAZ are done. Completed. In the books. Fini. We had mapped out and have now completed two 20 mile training runs, three century rides, and two 2.5 mile swims. Of course, there were numerous other workouts leading up to and interspersed with these longer workouts. We will do an Olympic bike/run brick this Saturday, then cut way back for the last 2 weeks of taper before the event. All I can say is "Say Amen Somebody!" We have climbed the mountain of workouts and are at the summit of Mount Workout-More. We can now coast downhill to the promised land: Tempe, Arizona.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Life's Like a Box of Chocolates

"For no particular reason I just kept on going. I ran clear to the ocean. And when I got there, I figured, since I'd gone this far, I might as well turn around, just keep on going." Forrest Gump

When John first mentioned the idea of running the Halloween Half Marathon on Miami Beach and add a 7 mile run to it, I thought he was a bit off his chum. I've heard of people trying to do a run after a race to get their weekend long run up to a particular mile mark, but always heard that it didn't work out well. Usually this is due to the person running the extra miles after a race run at race speed. John's running friend Deb, whom he met at the Gold Coast Marathon in Australia was running it and John decided running the race would be a great way to knock out our planned 20 miler. Since the weather looked to be warm as the morning wore on, I convinced John to run the extra 7 miles before the half marathon instead of afterward.

Deb is originally from Australia, but now lives in Fort Lauderdale with her Mid-Western husband Mark, a really great and friendly guy, and her two young blond hairs boys who kept us in stitches with their post-race antics. Mark and the boys were heading down at a reasonable hour later in the morning, so I picked up John & Deb at John's condo complex for the ride down to Miami Beach. At around 79th Street the traffic was funneled down to one lane and finally diverted off of I-95 completely, dumping us into what we all knew was a not so nice neighborhood. As we passed a couple of "working women" at about 5 AM, Deb starts to tell us about an incident she had where she got lost in a not so nice section of Fort Lauderdale looking for some governmental office. Deb tells us that as she rolled down her window to ask for directions some women advised her to "buy her stuff from them, because the guys will rip you off." I tell an off color joke I'd heard the night before on Comedy Central about a guy trying to get beads tossed at him from a float during Mardi Gras. The whole thing had a sort of whistling through the graveyard feel to it. Tell jokes as you ride through a neighborhood you wouldn't voluntarily drive through and maybe all will go well.

We clear the bad neighborhood and turn onto US-1 heading south. We finally get to Parrot Jungle, a tourist attraction that is the sight of the race start. After Port-O-Potty stops, John and I leave Deb to do our 7 mile pre-race run. We follow the race course along MacArthur Causeway past the cruise ships coming and going from their week touring the Caribbean. Its still dark with a cool breeze coming off the water. On the return run, I start in on a bad Arnold Schwarzenegger impression to avoid hearing further lecturing on pacing from John "the Governator." John keeps us on about a 9 minute pace that he figures is what we should not go faster than to complete the whole 20 miles.

We make it back to the start area about 2 minutes before the start of the half marathon. Almost all 800 participants are in closed off and gated corrals. I suggest we go to the back of the pack and work out way up to the appropriate pace area during the race. However, Deb waves to us from near the front of the starting line. As I jog towards the back John says, "No, let's go hop the barrier and get in with Deb. She said she would run at our 9 minute pace." I knew that Deb was a pretty good runner and that this would be a bit of a slow pace for her if she was racing the half marathon, but assumed John and Deb must have discussed and agreed upon her running our pace. So, back we jog to near the front of the crowd and squeeze in from the front past the first five lines of runners. You know these people, predominantly guys, that are planning to run so fast that they go shirtless because they are going to get so hot running at such fast speeds (and besides they've got their 6-pack abs and this is the only way they can show them off without looking like they are showing off their 6-pack abs).

I turn to John & Deb and say, "We are going to get run over." I just ran 7 miles and hadn't planned to have to bolt off the front with the fast boys and girls. Oh, well, I figure, we're going to pace out together. We'll let the fast runners go around us and find our proper pacing place within the first mile. As the race starts, I go off at the pace of those around me. Too fast. I look around and neither John nor Deb are with me. I have gone out too fast due to lining up with the fast runners. Oh well, stupid is as stupid does. I slow a bit and find Deb. John is no where in sight.

As we run the first couple of miles together, I mention that I'd better pace back to John in order to avoid a lecture. I fall back at the first water station. When John catches up, I am not so lucky as to avoid the "proper pacing" lecture. John starts telling me some lame recycled story he picked up at a business meeting about personal responsibility...blah, blah, blah. It kind of sounded like one of those lectures high school gym teachers tell guys about practicing safe sex. If I'd known I'd be in for this treatment, I'd have stayed up with a better looking and more friendly Deb. As John carries on, all I could think about was the various ways you can eat shrimp. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. There is shrimp-kabob, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried. There's pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich. That's about it.

After John's lecture, we settle into a steady 9 minute pace and start appreciating the costumed runners in our area. Some people really got into the Halloween theme with some great costumes. One guy ran with a diaper and pacifier; probably a good way to avoid any Port-O-Potty stops, I guess. There were a lot of women dressed up as Wonder Woman. My feeling is that all women endurance athletes are Wonder Woman. There were also a couple of guys dressed up in various stages of Forrest Gump during his running phase. More on that in a bit.

I've always endorsed the Miami Half Marathon and Marathon as the most beautiful runs in the state of Florida at those distances. Well, the Halloween Half just one upped the Miami Half. While it pretty much matches the Miami Half route, it makes the Miami Beach portion even more pictureque by going completely along the ocean front the entire route. The middle miles end up on a boardwalk along the beach with beautiful views of the beach and ocean. Additionally, the boardwalk has a little more give to it over the road making it feel a little like a trail run. Finally, the out and back aspect of the beach part of the run gives you a chance to see the race leaders and your friends. John and I see Deb as she is doubling back. We shout encouragement and exchange high fives.

For most of the run, John is pacing just behind me such that I can't tell whether he is holding steady or falling off my pace. However, having promised to not run faster than an 8:55 pace, I keep self correcting and slowing a bit. "We are training for the ironman, not racing a half marathon," I keep repeating to myself. At about mile 10, my hips and pelvis start to bother me. This is the one residual I notice that is left over from my bike accident back in early September. This give me some concern about how I'll feel at the 26.2 mile distance. However, I figure there is not much I can do about it. My momma always said, "Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get." I decide its best to slow a bit and take my pace back to 9:20s. As John passes me, I tell him to go ahead. John pulls away still keeping the steady 9's.

As John starts to approach the finish line, he realizes that he's about to get passed by a guy dressed as Forrest Gump. The guy has the full beard and wild hair of Forrest Gump at the end of his running with the group of running disciples. As he passes Deb and her family, he shouts out, "I'm getting beat by Forrest Gump." Then shouts, "No I'm not." He starts a final kick, which only causes Forrest to start a finish kick. They end up crossing at the same time. I come in about a minute later.

That evening, John looks up his results and can't find his time listed. It turns out Deb came in second in her age group. John stumbles across the "Fastest Funny Costume - Men" division and tries to find Forrest Gump. Instead he finds his time listed. He queries by e-mail to Deb and me, "Did I look that funny? Go figure." My response was that I think they had him down as "Person in crowd running with Forrest Gump."

Anyway, that's all I have to say about that.