Race Report: 2012 Route 66 Marathon

Route 66 Marathon Training

For about 11 miles, it looked like I was going to have one of those perfect days. I started off running with a friend of mine with half of Corral B blocking me from running too fast. At 3 miles, my friend pulled back to his target pace, and I quickened my pace to get to my target of 8:45 to 9:00. For most of those 11 miles, the course even managed to gift me the perfect camber for my IT band injury, and even though I’m no fan of downhill running, I turned loose and let gravity do its work to try to save my quads and knees.

As I left Brookside and moved to Riverside, everything was going great.  The wind had picked up a bit, but I was only a couple of miles from turning North and running with the wind at my back.  I was also drafting off of other runners in front of me to conserve energy.

I don’t recall the exact moment, but somewhere on Riverside heading North toward the half marathon finish, my left foot started screaming. I backed off of my pace and did some walking knowing I had over half the race left to run, but it only got worse. I made it to the turn off for the half at just over 2 hours with about 1 mile of walking. That’s actually a 20 minute PR over my previous (and first) marathon’s halfway point, but it was a bit slower than training.

I slowed to a walk again when I saw the hill transitioning us from Riverside to Downtown. Along the way, I chatted with a guy struggling with a knee problem and started to realize the magnitude of my own foot problem. As we came over the hill, my friend passed me, and I couldn’t get going again. I stopped for a few minutes to talk to my wife and told her things weren’t going well still fully expecting to be able to run at least in the 11 to 12 minute pace range for much of the balance of the race.

I walked another mile and ran a quarter mile with no further improvement. As a fairly new mid foot striker, I resorted to heel striking to try to spare the foot. I even tried putting on my knee brace to see if it would dull the pain. Nothing seemed to work. My muscles were game, but my foot felt broken.

I ran about an 1/8th of a mile at 18 with remarkable pain. I was probably running 8:00 minute pace, but it was doing a lot of damage to my foot. Doing some math as I walked, I realized I was looking at 6 miles of injured walking for, at best, a 5 hour 30 minute finish.  At 20 miles, I decided it was time to stop. I finished well over 5 hours once before under extreme circumstances, and I wasn’t interested in being injured long term just so I could say I finished.

For the time being, redemption from my first marathon debacle will have to wait until my 3rd marathon some time in the future.  In the interim, I’ll try to remember the many positives of my 2012 Route 66 Marathon experience including significant PR’s in all race distances (other than full marathon of course) and discovery of a safe fueling strategy for my numerous food intolerances. There’s still much work to do, but I’m optimistic that I’m in a good position to run my next race successfully.

Sloth in Charge



On the fitness side, I may not have a formal education, but I’ve probably seen more Body Shaping episodes than anyone ever should.  I can’t even remember what age I was.  I just remember that I would watch Body Shaping and beg my parents for weights and a bench all the time.  They finally relented and bought me a set of those old plastic, sand-filled weights but no bench.

Those weights kicked off my fitness journey.  Over the years, I’ve always had access to resistance training in some form.  In college, I bought an Olympic bar and weights, and Kevin and I trained together in our garage several times each week.  Whether I was playing tennis, running, or watching TV on the couch like our buddy Derek, resistance training has always been a constant.  In fact, those same weights I had in college are the ones I am using today.  Don’t get me wrong…I’ve rarely been in what I would consider “good” shape, but I’ve never been significantly overweight.

About a year ago, I became frustrated with my ongoing mediocrity and lack of dedication.  Riding the ups and downs between 15% and 22% body fat was getting really old, and I was getting old so time for turning it around was slipping away.  Around that same time, Kevin and I ended up challenging each other to a fitness contest, and I committed to a Lean Gains style strength training and nutrition program.  I think we called the contest a tie, but the great thing was both of us made a ton of progress and have continued working just as hard.  Right now, I’m approaching single digit body fat levels, something I never thought I could accomplish just a few short months shy of 40.

A lot of things have helped me get to where I am.  My persistently broken down digestive system has eliminated a lot of food groups that have plagued my fitness journeys in the past.  The Power Rack I bought on a whim a couple years ago has allowed me to lift heavy, safely at home, a huge advantage considering I hate gyms.  Kevin’s inviting me to run a marathon with him helped me develop an interest in running and realize my broken ankle could still get the job done.  What has helped the most, though, is data.

When I first started in strength training, tracking your workouts meant taping a piece of paper to the wall.  I usually lost the paper so there wasn’t much point.  Most of the time, I just tried to remember what I did last session and make something up for the new session.  My workouts were haphazard and had no real focus.

Now with smartphones, the game has changed.  It’s no longer difficult to track data during workouts, and I have access to graphs showing my body fat percentage going down as the amount of weight I lift each week goes up.  The data motivates me.  It motivates me when I achieve a personal best on a lift or workout, and it motivates me when I miss the previous week’s mark. Data helps keep me on my fitness path.

This brings me to why I want to develop Subdue the Sloth.  The fact is that even though I have some tools that help me track my data, they fall short in a lot of areas.  Some tools are too rigid, not allowing you to adjust a workout on the fly.  Others don’t provide enough information on previous workouts.  Then there’s the fact that no single tool tracks all that I do.  I routinely use 3 different apps/websites each week to track my fitness and nutrition.

With Subdue The Sloth, I want to build a tool that works for me in any of my fitness or nutrition endeavors, and in the process, I’m hoping it’s a tool that will work for others as well.