Bibs, belts and safety pins

So it’s race day, the big event is here. Your pumping up for a 1/2 marathon or a full 26.2 miler. As  you get to the start line you realize a couple of potential scenarios:

  • There are 10,000 people running, how will I find family/friends at the finish?
  • I drove here, alone, not sure where to put my keys, DL and chapstick. Geez, this iPhone is big . . .
  • I bought this wicked cool shirt and don’t really want to put an ugly bib over it but need to display my number to be compliant.

The answer? I’d like to suggest you consider buying a spi-belt. Huh? What?

This is a great little tool. SpibeltI know it kind of looks like a min-fanny pack, but if you are planning on doing multiple events I highly recommend it. As you can see in the picture, this is a simple belt that has a small pouch/pocket. [Sorry if you find this photo odd or too sexed up – it is the best image from their site! I love the combo of spi-belt and sweatpants with ripped abs, odd combo of images. Check out their site, they have all sorts of variations. But just to be clear, you won’t find me wearing this thing outside of an actual running event.]

The pouch is made of a soft, thin fabric that stretches out a bit. You can certainly fit a cell phone, DL, chapstick, car keys and some money in there. The belt can be tightened up to reduce bounce while running.

Furthermore there are loops on it where you can hang your bib. Why? Maybe you have a rocking shirt design to show off. Maybe your running shirtless (either a guy or gal with sports bra), or plan on ditching the shirt later in the race if you heat up too much. Or perhaps you don’t want to put safety-pin holes in your shirt or shorts.

I have one. Or at least I had one. Bought last year, used in 2 marathons and 1 ultra. Couldn’t find it this year (although I didn’t look very hard, maybe 2 days before the race I said ‘hey honey, do you know where my spi-belt thing is . . . you know the belt thing I wore last year to hang my bib off of . . .’). I’ll look this week, if I can’t find it will probably pick a new one up at the Baltimore Running Festival next Friday, I’m doing the 1/2 marathon with a friend from NJ. Great place to store my cell phone so I call the wife, that finish area is a freaking zoo.

Good luck, keep running and get those feet on the road!


Akron Marathon 2010 – Recap of my run

This week I’m providing a breakdown of my run in the 2010 Akron Marathon. It was my 8th time participating in that event (7 full marathons, 1 relay team).

5:35 AM Wake, shower, get everything together – body glide application, re-tape my toe, pin-on bib number, attach D-ring timing wrap to shoelaces, pack some ibuprofen in a baggy (duct-taped to inside of running shorts – not a good choice, tape peeled back, stuck to skin, pulled off skin), put on temporary tattoos (road runner bird, handed out by the race)
6:00 AM Out the door. Staying at in-laws house, only about 2.6 miles from the start. Have started running to the start, nice easy jog to warm-up.
6:25 AM Arrive, get some coffee, warm-up, stretch. Pretty warm from my jog despite temp of 55 degrees.
6:45 AM Get in the coral, queue up in-between the 3:50 and 4:00 pace groups. Nervous energy (mine and those around me) starting to build. Periodic motivational announcements over the loud speakers.
7:00 AM The race is officially underway!!!
7:01:30 AM I officially cross the start. This is an important bit to keep in mind, need to subtract the overage from every race clock I see as they are all running on gun time, not my chip time. At a bigger race, like Chicago (by the way, I highly recommend it – extremely flat course and 1 million+ spectators. Good fun), it might be 6+ minutes until you actually cross the start. Also this is important to understand as the official pace groups adjust their pace/time to finish with the clock time matching their pace group sign time.
7:02 – 8:30 AM Nice pace, about a 9:08/mile. Still running thick in the crowd. Only problem with my finish time/pacing is that it is the ‘meat’ of the crowd, lots of people to move around. Especially relay team folks that are slower. Pet peeve – folks who queue up way ahead of their finish time. They really cause problems on the course. And if your walking, get to the back. I know that sounds jerky, but it really is an issue, especially when you have 4-5 walkers all in a long row out for a Sunday stroll. Think about the other folks.
8:30 – 8:54 AM Picking up speed, a big downhill portion from downtown Akron to the towpath entrance, laying down around a 8:22/mile pace. Then on the towpath keeping the pace around 8:30/mile, trying to ‘bank’ some time for later use.
8:55 AM Cross the half-way point, have ‘banked’ some time to allow for a little slack on the back half and still aim for a sub-4 hour finish.
9:10 – 10:00 AM Back portion of the towpath and then into Sand Run. Not a fun part of the course. In Sand Run 99% of the fan support disappears (metro park). It is also almost all uphill. This is where I use some of that ‘banked’ time, drop my speed back a bit to 9:15. Maybe 9:30. For reference, here is the elevation chart:


10:15 AM Toe starts to take over, really beginning to feel the miles on it
10:30 – 10:55 AM Portage Path to Market Street. Portage is great, flat and lots of fan support. Market starts out great in the Highland Square area but quickly gives way to very few fans and lots of angry motorists (at the back-up due to Portage/Market intersection being closed).
11:11:05 AM Cross the finish line. Note: Actual time to run was 4:08:43 – the 2+ minute difference is attributed to clock time vs. chip time.
11:12:00 AM Start analyzing race for areas to improve, aiming for 3:50 in 2011 . . .

Here’s a great place to start – examining my pace over the entire course. This is a screenshot from my Garmin Forerunner 205 Training Center software, the green line shows course elevation, blue line shows my pace at all times (peaks are typically water tables stops, approx. 15 seconds, and valleys are where I was burning fuel. At the end you can see where things fell apart, 3 hour mark was first sign of trouble and then by 3:15 you can see my ability to hold the pace really degrading.):


What’s it all about?

I’ve been an avid runner for 10+ years. Started serious running in 2000 with entry to the Tampa Bay Marathon. Ever since that (painful) experience I’ve turned running into a lifelong pursuit and passion. I run at least one marathon a year and have even ventured into the netherworld of ultramarathon.

Why am I posting? It is simple really, I’ve acquired a lot of knowledge over the years. Some of it practical, some of it philosophical. One thing I’ve found in the running community is a general desire to share, support and encourage others. In that spirit I think its time I gave back what I can to new runners. This site will probably not be beneficial to a hardcore runner. But, running is a growing sport. More and more I run into people who are training for their first 1/2 marathon or full marathon. Slap the phrase ‘Is running a growing sport’ into the search field on Google. You’ll find that its growing not just in general but also in specificity – 1/2 and full marathons, trail running, ultra’s, etc. You name it, its growing.

Given the growth I’ve identified, coupled with my experiences (good, bad and the ugly) I feel I have something of value to share with those who are just starting the journey. What exactly am I going to share? Great question. On a weekly (hope that isn’t too ambitious!) basis I’ll be sharing my thoughts, knowledge, experience, judgments and general color commentary on the following topics:

  • Desire
  • Commitment
  • Equipment
  • Nutrition
  • Discipline

Not necessarily in that order mind you. Additionally, within each topic there are multiple sub-topics on which I’ll ruminate. Along the way I hope to provide useful, beneficial and practical insight into the activity of running. As you can see from the list above, I’m not strictly talking to those who want to run competitively. This site will be of use to anyone who wants to generally introduce running into their life. Running can be a lifestyle, an outlet for exercise/fitness, a social experience, a process of creation (yep, that’s right) and so much more. I’m going to talk to all of those audiences. So come back regularly. Tell your friends. If you like what I post let me know. If you disagree let me know.

Check back next week for my first topical post.

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