Saturday, October 30, 2010

2 years later and Sub 3 is COMPLETE!

24 Oct 2010- Chuncheon Marathon, South Korea-

Well it was 2 years ago when I completely lost my mind and spontaneously did a marathon. You can go back and read that blog if you want to know why it was so crazy. Lets just say I had no idea what I was doing and ran 18 miles 4 days prior to the race. So 2 years later 2 marathons under my belt, I think I have wised up a little bit but not much ;) A few people that know me well can vouch that I still make some poor decisions leading up to races, but I am having a blast with racing my butt off.

Chuncheon was not on the radar for this year but I got my assignment to Korea and was not able to push it back. I had to turn down my slot on the USAFEurope team to run AF Marathon so immediately looked for another marathon since I had already started training. I got with my "logistical manager" Des in Korea and had him get me signed up for Chuncheon. I kept up the training and had a good core group out in Turkey to train with. I couldn't have got to where I was in terms of being prepared for this marathon with out the help of them.

Leading up to the race my body was feeling good week in and week even though I was racing a lot. I had been getting good results and hitting the marks I was aiming for and on occasion pushing to hard, my point that I still make bad decisions. Then the week before I got a bad feeling that I was starting to get worn out, my body wasn't feeling "great" like it had been and I just took it easy trying to get as much rest as I could and make sure the last runs leading up to the race were at a nice easy pace.

We headed up to the race the day prior and stayed at a small hotel right downtown Chuncheon. It was only about 3K from the race start and we didn't even know it. We has went out to dinner the night before and I went with the sure choice of Pizza Hut as it hadn't failed me in the past. I had the seafood pasta and ate a good salad, all followed up by Cold Stone. Enjoyed a Shiner Bock when I got back to the hotel and then called it a night.

Race morning was the typical morning, took care of business, ate 2 bowls of oatmeal, 2 banana's and the ritual race coffee. I made it there in time to hang out with the Seoul Flyers and have some good pre race chat with some great people. One guy flew all the way out from the states to run and it was his first visit to Korea. He had previously ran Pikes Peak a month or two prior and said it was BRUTAL. I was starting up in the "B" wave so I headed over to the start area a little earlier than everyone else. I got up there and go situated and before I knew it we were off and running.

Not much to describe about running 26.2 miles. The one thing that did happen is I started running this race WITHOUT a purpose. I was at mile 2 and I thought to myself WHY am I running this race. I had realized in the past how much more these races meant if I raced for something or someone. I thought to myself for a split second why I was running this race and it clicked. The night before at dinner I was with a guy that I have raced with before. He was a friend of Des's and we have now became friends. This guy is a true inspiration, I will not put his name out here but once you read these few lines about his story you will be inspired. He has been doing running events/tris for quite some time if I remember correctly. He has a family of 6 wonderful kids, with the older ones starting to do tri's/running events as well. His wife recently up and left him with all 6 of the kids. He stepped up to the plate and is raising all 6 of the kids while still holding a job and providing for his family. He hadn't really been able to train for the marathon but had been swimming everyday at lunch, the only time he had to get a workout in. As we were at dinner the conversation came up about his kids ages and there was a gap between 2 of them of about 5 years, if I remember correctly. I made a comment about the gap and he responded with we had another one but he passed away. That is when it sunk in and I felt bad, the kid died when he was 2. At that point it hadn't really clicked that was who I was running for the next day but it caught up with me at mile 2. I decided to run this race for a kid that only lived a short life and couldn't live to run a marathon. He is what kept me going through the last few miles when the going got tough. When you think you have it rough, just think of not knowing everything you know or having everything you have, because there are less fortunate people out there. Too the guy that is raising 6 kids and making the best out of every second of life, keep up the good work! You are a TRUE INSPIRATION!

The scenery was beautiful, the fans were great and the hills were NOT what I remembered. Maybe since it was my first marathon 2 years ago I didn't know the difference between hilly and not hilly, but it definitely was NOT flat. The biggest disappointment was the last aid station was at 37K and nothing after that. I had to stop and ask people on the side of the road for Coke/Pepsi. I was hoping that I could get some at an earlier aid station but no such luck, bad on my part for not seeing what they had at each aid station. As for the generous Koreans that let me have some of their Coke it was greatly appreciated. I think it was too late but still I was thankful for it. I started falling apart at mile 24.5-25 and was just trying to hold on. I stopped and walked a few times during that period and then realized that sub 3 might slip away so I better just man up and finish the race. I sucked it up and ran out the last 1/2 mile and crossed the line in 2:58:12. It was a great feeling and I was pleased with the day. Although I thought I had a lot more in me and a low 2:50 I was extremely happy to break 3 and get a Boston Qualifying spot all in one race. It was a PR by 13m42s, which I was extremely happy for. From marathon 1 to 3 it was a PR of 26m48s.

Time- 2:58:12
13.1 Mile Split:1:25:10
Overall 98th/12,020
Age Group- Unknown

Mile Splits-
The Course:
The Seoul Flyers gang before the race!
Myself sporting my cool new Yokota Striders beanie with the guy that came over just for the marathon and had previously ran Pikes Peak earlier this year.
When I came across the first group of crazy Seoul Flyer Cheerleaders around 30K. Man was I happy to see them! Thanks STEPHANI AND EMILY! **Funny Story** I hadn't met Emily prior to this race or even since the race but knew Stephani. As I was coming up Stephani was yelling and screaming for me once she realized it was me and Emily was like do we know this guy? I just chuckled and actually was feeling good at this point so that is why there is a smile. Once I passed Emily made the comment to Stephani "WHO IS THAT GUY? HE IS KINDA HOT!" That is when I really started laughing and at 30K it made for some good entertainment. Thanks GIRLS!
Probably about the time I was laughing about what Emily had said......

Around 41K I saw Zu and she took this pic, different feeling from 30K and definitely not a smile on my face.

As always I want to say a special thanks to everyone that has supported me through this crazy journey. This Sub 3 wouldn't of been possible without a few key individuals. First my "logistical manager" Des for providing transportation and lining up the hotel and entry. Elissa for taking the time to sit down with me and lay out a modified Hal Higdon plan that brought some unknown speed to my legs along with a little muscle. You were a tremendous help and a great training partner out in Turkey. And lastly everyone out there that absolutely hates seeing me do well, I know you are out there and I thrive off of your negativity so keep up the good work!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Tongeyong ITU/Olympic Hopefuls

17Oct2010- Tongeyong Olympic Tri-

Tongeyong is down on the southern part of Korea and is right on the ocean. It is a very nice town and is about 4-5 hours from Osan. Dave, Jeremy and myself all headed south early Saturday morning so we could get down there and watch the ITU race. I didn't know anyone racing but I knew a former US Naval Officer was coming out to represent the US. I didn't know that there were going to be 3 other team USA guys out there. It was cool to be able to talk to them and cheer them on during the race. All of these guys are vying for spots on the US team for the 2012 Olympics. 2 of them are still active duty military and are in the WCAP (World Class Athlete Program), you are temporarily released from your "normal" job and spend the 2 years leading up to the Olympics and the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Spring Colorado. One of the guys was James Bales, who won Armed Forces Tri this past season and is in the Air Force. Come to find out Dave knew him from when they were both back in Texas.

After the race we talked to the guys and they appreciated having some Amercians there to cheer them on. It was cool to see people that we could relate to as military members being at the top of our sport. James actually came up to Osan after his race and stayed in town till Thursday before departing for another ITU race out in Hong Kong. More to come about the adventures of his stay later in the blog.

Saturday Dave, Jeremy, James, and myself all went to a pizza place and I had my normal pre-race beer and then they had spaghetti, so I ordered 2 servings and devoured that stuff. It has a lot of cheese in it but it was really good. Once getting back to our huge hotel room, see pictures at the bottom of how awesome it was, I got everything ready and then called it an early night. I read a few pages out of "Bowerman and the Men of Oregon", I just started reading this and it seems like it is going to be a great book. Shortly after reading I feel right asleep and slept really well.

Sunday morning I was able to take care of the normal pre race ritual, which is always a good sign that things will go smoothly the rest of the day. I headed over to transition area and got everything setup. This was my first race as "Age Group Elite", it is a class they have out here in Korea. I am not sure if they have it anywhere else so I will briefly describe it. The great thing about AG Elite is that you do NOT have to pay race entry fees and you still get all the goods. Occasionally you have a chance to win prize money as well. The race is done ITU style and is draft legal. The AG's for this class are broken up into 20's,30's,40's........etc. We start in our own wave which makes for a smaller wave start and cleaner water for us. To become AG Elite you have to win your AG and go under 2:15, so it is not extremely difficult but luckily I was able to qualify at my first race here this year at Sokcho.

Swim- It was a cold morning and standing on the dock getting ready to dive in my feet were numb. A guy from up in Seoul who I have got to know was the only other foreigner racing AG Elite so we were standing out there freezing our butts off waiting for the swim to start. I was joking about what could we do to keep our feet warm and made a joke of how funny of a picture it would be too see two guys in wetsuits all ready to race with those funny looking boot things that girls where with skirts in the middle of winter. We laughed about that and then shortly after the swim started. I haven't been in the pool much since May and wasn't expecting anything spectacular. I felt good on the first lap and had a lot of clean water to swim in and found some feet here and there to swim off of. The second lap was a different story and things got congested towards the end and there was a lot of swimming over people due to the other waves going off after us and the slower swimmers were still on their first lap.

T1- Went smooth and Doug's wife, the Canadian guy's wife told me he was about 5mins up on me. I knew this was going to happen since he is a super fast swimmer but didn't know how I was going to catch him this race. He was the guy that I passed in Sokcho with 1/4 mile to go.

Bike- Man was this a technical and hilly bike course. I caught 2 guys within the first 2 miles and stuck with them. We caught a couple guys throughout the race and ended up with a group of 9 riders coming into T2. I didn't feel strong on the hills but was able to catch up on the decents and put the hammer down on the flats. Like the pool, I haven't been on the bike much since May/Wildflower. Just looked up the numbers and I have only put in 625 miles since May, which is really LOW.

T2- Had a quick transition and felt strong going into the run.

Run- This is what I have been putting the time in on with the Marathon next weekend, and actually I have put in more run miles since WF then bike miles. Pretty scary to see the numbers, 736 miles running since May and only 625 cycling. I was really wanting to hammer hard on the run and see if I could catch Doug. At the first time we crossed I checked the split and he was 6mins up on me. That is when I knew he was having a killer race and he would have to blow up for me to catch him. I just ran my race and didn't let anyone pass me. Felt strong on the run and set a new OLY distance run PR.

Swim- 25:12 29th/440
T1- 1:06
Bike- 59:12 1st/440
T2- 0:54
Run- 38:14 5th/440
Total- 2:04:38- 3rd/440 Overall 1st/3 in AG Elite 20's

The official times did not include transition time so doing the math between my Garmin I was able to figure out the splits. The placings for each event came off of the official splits. This was a great race and I was very pleased with my time and overall placing. My buddy Dave went down hard on the bike and has had to take some time off for training. A Speedy recovery to him so that he can get back out on the road and get back on track for IMWA!

Alright so too the adventures of hanging out with James Bales. Being around someone that is at the comes from the same background as you and knows the difficulties of being in the military and training was quite cool. Just asking someone that is in the professional ranks of triathlon questions and just taking it all in was awesome. He wanted to get out and see Korea so on Tuesday we headed out for a 30 mile ride. By the time we hit mile 5 he flatted, at mile 8 he flatted again. Well we were all out of tubes so back to base we headed. He didn't get too see much and decided that he wanted to head out again on Wednesday. We headed out the same route and luckily neither one of us flatted at all. I took him up to the golf course "hill". When we got to the top of the first climb I told him about the guards and how we could attempt to go by them. Off we went and he got to experience the chasing of the moped and how much the golf course security guards love cyclist. I think it was my 6th trip up the top of that mountain and I am sure no one else in spandex and a bike trys to go up there due to the guards so I think we are on a first name basis now. They just figure I am some crazy american now and I just wave and say have a nice day as I leave there country club. It is one of the best climbs around here and has some great views so it is worth the hassle each and every time. After the ride I took James to experience some traditional Korean food and I am pretty sure he got a good taste of the food. I appreciated someone at that caliber taking the time to go out and ride with someone at my level and answering the amount of questions I had to ask. So keep your eyes out for AF Capt. James Bales as he pursues his dreams of being on Team USA's Tri Team!

Here are some pictures from the weekend:
Joddie Swallow the female winner of the ITU race!
Capt. James Bales on the run course.
Getting my certificate and "gold" medal!
Pyeongtaek Tri Club and the honorary member, ME :)
White Lightning and her first win, she is now 1 for 1! Couldn't ask for a better ride for ITU style racing, well I guess I could get an S3 but the R3 is killer!
Korean style bed I slept on.
1/2 of the living room. Overall 2 bedrooms and 2 1/2 bath. $185USD for one night but well worth it since it had a great view and lots of room. Probably could have 5-8 people in there if they doubled up in the beds.
For all of you wondering why I got flying past security guards to climb a mountain, this picture should sum it up. This was from back in 2009 when myself and Dave climbed up there for one of the first times. Dave discovered this "secret" climb and let me know about it. It is a 2 mile climb from 200ft to 600ft

Thursday, October 14, 2010

An Early Payday :)

10 Oct 2010- Pyeongtaek Port Half Marathon South Korea-

With the big Marathon only two weeks ago I had talked to some people on how to run this race. The "smart" thing to do would have been to run it at marathon pace and not tear the legs up too bad. Well come to find out the race had prize money for the top 6. The new plan became to see where I stood at the half way point and if I was within 2 minutes of the money to push hard and catch them. Well at the half way point I had only counted 6 people ahead of me, so I decided to run hard. It was a beautiful day out with great weather and I wish this race would of been further out from the marathon because dang my legs felt good. When I started pushing hard I was running high 5 min/miles and it was not hurting that bad. I ended up catching what I thought was the 6th place guy with 4K to go and once I caught him I slowed down to his pace.

I sat on his heels for 1K and he was hurting pretty bad just running along at 7min/mil. That was a nice little break on the legs and then at 3K to go right after a water stop I made my move by him and he didn't try to follow. Coming across the finish line they gave me a card thing that went around my neck and it said 5th, so I was kind of shocked by that. 5th/6th actually paid out the same amount so it wasn't that big of a deal. It is just nice to say I finished in the top 5 of a decent size half marathon. I still don't know how many people were in the race but if I were to take a guess I would assume between 1,000-1,400.

The funniest part about crossing the line was that a guy came up to me and told me I had been selected as a nominee for "best dressed". I was just wearing my running gear, but I think it was the awesome tri top that got me the nomination. I am not sure if I have mentioned it before, but at WF I met some awesome Canadians and they were all on the same tri team. The team name is Critical Speed Racing and they had an extra tri top that they gave to me. I have been showing off my cool jersey in Turkey and Korea and it has brought me some great results. Thanks CSR for hooking it up! I didn't end up winning but it was still pretty funny how just wearing some running gear that matched could get a "best dressed" nomination.

I ended up running 1:20:05 and finished 5th overall. Below are the results of the top 15, 7th-15th got a 3kg bag of rice. The other american is an older guy, I think in his late 50's early 60's and we ran the first 8K together. Pretty impressive to see someone that lets say "experienced" still running so fast.



Back No.











Osamu Tada








Williams Brad




















Elger Dave























Here are some pictures from the awards ceremony:

The pre-awards show.....

Receiving my gifts.
The top 5 with some important Korean. The third place guy was flown in from Japan with his wife. Not a bad pay day of 300,000Won and a free trip to Korea.
The trophy and my "best dressed" nomination award.

My first pay check in Korea! I won a gift certificate while home on leave, but cash is so much nicer! 100,000Won is around $95USD, the exchange rate is not that great right now :(

Headed down to Tongeyong this weekend for an Olympic Distance Tri; it will be my first race as Age Group Elite :) Getting to watch the Pro's race on Saturday and going to be rooting for Timothy O'Donnell to tear it up and represent for the USA!!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

First Wrong Turn :(

2 Oct 2010- Energizer-Adiddas 10K-

Well I was looking forward to PR'ing my 10K, and then I got to the race. Someone had mentioned that the course was hilly, so I thought well I can still PR just as big as I want. Then I did my warm up and the start of the course was uphill, but not too bad just a gradual incline. O and to make everything better it was raining and the race was at night, which was cool and thought it would be fun.

I felt good and the legs wanted to run. The fireworks went off and I took off. Was up in 3rd for the first 1.5miles then settled into 4th. Around mile 3 I got passed for 4th and was in 5th. I would play the passing game with this guy up and down the hills. Well it was just a bunch of uphills and a few downhills, more up than down the first 5K of the race. I was feeling good, just irritated at how much grade there was and how it just kept going up. We caught glimpses of the 3rd place guy every so often and I thought I could possibly bring him back in sense the last 2K was all down hill. I know I finish strong and my kick has gotten stronger over the past two months so I figured if I could get him within 100M I could make things interesting.

Then for the first time I made a wrong turn, well "WE" made a wrong turn. Myself and the guy in 4th both went off course and ran onto another course. There was 2 5K courses and 1 10K course all going on at once. When I had looked at the map I remembered seeing we finished up with one of the 5K courses. So I figured that was the turn and we kept going. This was around mile 5. I knew things were bad when I saw a sign that said 2K, meaning that was 2k into the 5k race. Well that couldn't be right since I was at 5.5 miles by that point. That is when I decided well it is over and just continued on that course and made it my cool down.

The worst thing about this is I keep getting so close to the money and this time I cost myself the chance at the money. They paid out top 3, so I could of had a chance at 100,000Won, which is about $90USD.

Considering all the conditions of rain, darkness, and running through a zoo it was still a good experience. Everything happens for a reason, still not sure what that reason was but what is in the past is in the past. Here is the map and elevation chart from the race:

Half way between the 1 and the 5 where it takes a sharp right is where we made the wrong turn :(

First 2 miles were all uphill......This is just the first half, it was out and back so go from right to left and then left to right and thats the complete course.

Quoted from FB: "Brad was running too fast to take a pic....."

Hat Trick.....3 in a Row at the Hump!

Sept 18 2010- Camp Humphreys, South Korea-

When I previously said I was hitting the ground running, I meant it. Third weekend in a row of racing and what a thrill it has been. I had been in Turkey way to long with not enough racing going on. I thrive on this stuff and just enjoy competing, although things have changed over the last year. Believe it or not I am starting to get a little smarter about these races and I do not go out and "race" every single on of them. They are goal oriented now looking into the future at what my "A" race is.

I like racing these small sprint tri's and especially at Humphreys. They are well ran and they even have a timing system, which makes things nice. This time things were a bit different and we were in a 50m pool and the course was completely closed off to traffic. There was a good showing of 35 people and a lot of fan support. I had previously won here two times last time I was in Korea and was hoping to win again. You never know who is going to show up though, so it is always interesting.

Swim- I have been really bad lately and have not put time in at the pool. With Chuncehon right around the corner I have been completely focused on running and a ride every other week or so. I actually swam quite well and was 2nd out of the water, but with a speedy transition was first out onto the bike course. I swam right around 6 minutes, which wasn't too bad for me for 400m's.

Bike- It had some rolling hills and was a 2 loop course which wasn't that bad. I had a police escort the whole time which was nice, but not sure why they were out there since the course was completely closed off to traffic. Felt decent on the bike and was really wanting to run a good 5K, so I conserved a little energy on the bike.

Run- It was on the same portion of the bike course that had the rolling hills, which I wasn't too happy about. I like a nice flat run course, but you can't always get what you want. I had a good lead coming off the bike so just concentrated on running a solid 5k. Didn't try pushing to hard and felt good coming into the finish.

400M Swim- 5:xx-6:xx (either high 5's or low 6's)
20K Bike- 32:49/23.2mph avg
5K Run- 19:16/6:18min/mil
Overall-58:22/1st Place overall

Below is a link to a story that was posted in the Morning Calm, a weekly paper done by the Army: (PG 21) If this link doesn't work it is the Oct 1st edition of the paper.

Here are some pictures from the race:

The Ride
Headed out onto the bike course
Out onto the run...

The Osan Crew! Jeremy, Dave, Me

Myself and the "Post" Commander. Wonder how he felt about an AF guy coming down and whippin up on his Army boys ;)