Sunday, October 30, 2011

Race Result: 2011 Lake Agassiz Pacers 37th Annual Red River Run

Event: Lake Agassiz Pacers 37th Annual Red River Run
Date: Saturday October 29, 2011
Location: Bluestem Center for the Arts in Moorhead, MN
Hotel: Courtyard by Marriott-Moorhead
Weather: 27F, sunny, light winds at 6-8 from SSE making it feel like 22F
Official Results: 2011 Overall 5K results15K results

Personal Results

Goal: 59:59 (6:26 per mile pace)
Actual: 59:03 (6:21 per mile pace)
Overall: 1st overall (84 total); 1st in 50-59 Age Group (15 total)


Yeah, it was flat. My favorite race elevation map.
Very proud of these consistent splits
What can I say other than the 2011 race season was a wild ride. One minute it is March and I'm laying in bed with a pelvic stress fracture thinking my 2011 season was over before it had barely began and the next, I'm winning my first overall title since 1989. In between I'm working my ass off to recover from the fracture and get into shape and salvage the back half of the season.

I had to dig out the old records. My last overall victory was on March 4, 1989 when I took home the overall title in the Grunt and Grind Duathlon in College Station, TX. My last overall title in a running only event was February 2, 1989 when I won a five mile event in Bryan, TX.

This race just had everything come together. All the planets aligned. It was perfect. A little cold, to be sure, but once I was running the temperature was a non-factor.

I had driven to the Fargo-Moorhead area on Friday and took my parents out to supper. Afterwards, I stopped at my favorite sports store on the planet, Scheels, and purchased a coldwear mock-neck full-length sleeved UnderAmour compression top along with a HeatWear full-length UnderArmour compression bottom. I am so glad I did that. I was very comfortable in that gear while racing the 15K. I was neither too cold or too hot....just perfect.

I went with CEP Men's Progressive Compression Running sock as my base sock with a thin second low-cut pair of socks from Hammer Nutrition. My feet stayed warm and the combo was not too heavy. It was, um, perfect. I also went with a light-weight knit hat and medium-weight gloves. I'm pretty sure other people dressed too lightly.

The 5K and 15K race started together. I could not figure out who was who. Some people had red bib numbers and some had black bib numbers. I had black so I figured I only needed to worry about anyone wearing a black bib number. This was not correct as I was about to find out.

The course, as you can see by the Garmin Map, was not your typical out-and-back or circular one. Instead, our first turn was right onto a gravel road. At this point I was running very comfortably in 6th overall (combined 5K and 15K runners). I had started out at about 5:50 pace and slowly dialed it back until I felt as if I was just lopping along on a joy ride. It was scary how easy the pace felt.

We then doubled back on the gravel road.  The people that met me as they doubled back had all been sporting black bib numbers so I assumed all the front people were running the 15K. I was thinking there were some fast dudes there and where were all the 5K front runners? I passed two runners to move into fourth overall. We then approached the turn where the 5K runners headed back to the finish and the 15K would continue straight.

The lead runner turned left. Then the second. I was thinking, "Okaaaaayyyy, so those were 5K runners and the bib color meant nothing." Then the third runner slightly ahead of me turned to finish the 5K. In an instant I went from what I thought was fourth place to leading the whole damn 15K! There were two bikers waiting to lead me the rest of the way. I had to adjust my game-plan and thinking in an instant.

Before the race I had been trying to come up with a solid way to run the 15K. It is a distance not offered very much and I had never raced it before. My first choice was to break the race into three 5K sections and reevaluate after each 5K. Made sense since I am very familiar with 5K and can adjust on the fly. The other choice was to simply run the 15K as if it were a 10K. That would mean running hard for 10K and hope there was something left in the tank for the final 5K.

So, now I'm leading. I'm maintaining about a 6:17-20 pace. My goal was to run 6:26 pace. But I have to toss that out the window and run to win. And I'm not going to look over my shoulder at this point so early in the race. I cruise through mile 3 and know that we will now be turning a slight left dog leg in which we will again double back on the runners behind. So, I increase the tempo a bit between mile 3 and 4 in order to create more of a gap between me and whoever is sitting behind me. And on this stretch of the course, the wind is pushing us along so I take advantage of it as much as I can.

I get to the turn at this section of the course and it is a bit before I run into the pack of four runners trying to chase me down. I estimate I have 20-25 seconds on them. Holy crap, my lead can't be that big. But it is. And I'm still running fairly easy. I do a quick mental assessment of the legs and everything is feeling great. Nothing about to cramp up. No faint pain creeping in. All the pistons are firing. I'm stoked.

We then head back and take a hard left to head to the third section of the course in which we will ultimately double back on each other. I keep reading my splits waiting for the monkey to jump onto my back and I go from 6:15 one mile to 6:40 the next. But, the funny thing is I kept getting stronger as the race went on. Like I said, this was just my day. And I was not going to let it slip away.

At mile six I took on two Sports Beans, the ones with caffeine. I figured this would be the point I'd be running out of stored energy and I would need a little something. So I slowly chewed these for the next mile. I reached the turn-around and start to double back on this third section of the course. The group of four is still running together but I figure my lead has expanded out to 35-40 seconds.

In between the six and seven mile mark I am telling myself that if I choke this one away the chance to take an overall title may never, ever, happen again. I use that fear to ramp it up again. And I run mile 7 in 6:13, my second fastest split in the race. And I think that pushed out my lead to 45+seconds. When I snuck in a look as I headed for the final stretch, I couldn't make out anyone behind me.

The Well Kept Wife© and Boy® had to remain home as the Boy® had a swim meet. But my Dad had come out to see me and that was nice. One does not want to win an overall title and not have any loved ones around to witness it. I could now see him at the finish line and I began to pump my fist in triumph multiple times. Hell, at age 50 I'm not if this will ever happen again so I enjoyed the moment.

As it ends up, my margin of victory was 1:17. And you know what? I'm going to jump into as many 15K events as I can find. This is a great distance as I wish more people offered it. If you get the chance to run a 15K at some point, don't pass on it.


For my effort, I received a very nice trophy and a $20 gift certificate to my favorite running store on the planet, the Fargo Running Company. Yes, the same company whose race team I wear colors for.

What a storybook ending to a truly grueling season. I always tell the Boy® to keep working hard and good things will come out of it. And now I have proof for him.

Speaking of the Boy, he swam his very first 500-yard short-course pool swim. I had gotten back Saturday night so I was able to take him to the second day of the two-day swim meet. He did very well, getting PR's in four of his five events. But his 500-yard swim was amazing. I had drilled him for a week on swimming steady, consistent 50-yard laps around 51-seconds and he would be able to achieve a C-qualifying time of 08:30.89. He ended up swimming a 08:18.45. But look at these splits. One can't help but smile:
  • 42.89
  • 49.61
  • 50.52
  • 51.00
  • 51.05
  • 51.02
  • 51.62
  • 51.36
  • 50.93
  • 48.43
I think you can look back at the consistency of my 15K mile splits and then his 50-yd splits and agree that the apple did not fall far from the tree.

Post Mortem

This was my twenty-first event of 2011. And now I will be falling off the grid while I decide how I want to approach 2012. I have a effed up right shoulder that I am going to get checked out next week. I am hoping it is not rotator cuff related as that will mean I will not have a triathlon season, and perhaps even a duathlon season, next year. I hear that repair and recovery from rotator surgery is a long process.

The shoulder has been bothering me since late June. I simply cut back my swimming, doing only enough to sustain through the tri-season. I've now completely rested it for 45-days and it doesn't feel much better.

Even outside of that, I have been toying with taking a year off from multi-sport and concentrating solely on my first love: running. Since my multi-sport season ended early this month, I have really ramped up the run mileage and been doing quite a few two-a-days. And in my first race doing so, I take home the overall title. So you can kind of guess what I'm thinking right now. 2012 will be run only. But, the winters are long and dark and I'll have a lot of time to reflect and think it through. But after twenty races in 2010 and twenty-one in 2011 I'm a little burned out on the amount of time it takes to be successful in all three elements of triathlon.

So, we'll see. I'm not sure how much I will post on the blog between now and next season, but it probably won't be much. Those who want to find me, know how. Otherwise, I'll see you all sometime in 2012. Have a safe offseason!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Race Result: 2011 Lincoln Family Downtown Y 1/2 Marathon and 5K

Event: 2011 Lincoln Family Downtown Y 1/2 Marathon and 5K
Date: Saturday October 22, 2011
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Hotel: Sanctuary on Camelback
Weather: 70F, sunny, light winds
Official Results: 2011 Overall 5K resultsHalf-Marathon results

Personal Results

Goal: 19:59 (6:25 per mile pace)
Actual: 20:04 (6:27per mile pace)
Overall: 11th overall (293 total); 1st in 50-59 Age Group (16 total)

Garmin - Before you ask how I could run a 18:03 5K two weeks prior and only have a 19:59 goal for this 5K, take a look at the Garmin results. I ran this event last year. I ran 20:09. So I took five seconds off, so I did PR. But the course is long (3.28 miles) and has a hell of an elevation.

233 feet of elevation GAIN in the front half

So, taking in the long course and the brutal climb all of a sudden my numbers (6:08 per mile average per Garmin) brings in a whole other perspective. Using a race pace calculator and 3.28 miles as the distance would have equated to a 19:00 5K. Not my best effort, but being on vacation I didn't really care either!

But I never felt comfy and my legs were dead going into the race. Couple of reasons for this. One, Arizona was experiencing a unseasonal heat wave. The temps while we were there (5 days) were upper 90's. During my training runs leading to the event my throat was really dry just moments into each workout. Dry as a bone Arizona air. It was no different on race day. I found myself drinking water right up to the gun.

Two days before, we tackled a five mile hike to climb Shaw Butte. This was a climb that is moderate in nature but still pretty steep. My butt was sore for days. I had not used those glutes this much all year. Here is that nasty elevation snapshot.

960 feet of elevation gain for Shaw Butte climb

Family Results & Awards:

The Boy® had a terrific race. I made sure he had a proper warm-up, including a series of quick sprints, along with stretching. He had zero issues with the side ache that has been problematic. When I met him as I was coming back from the turn-around he was looking very good and hammering. He crushed his PR on this course from 2010 (28:56). He ran a 26:29 and I'm sure he would have gone under 24 minutes on any other course. He won the Male 12 and Under AG. His time would have equated to a 25:05 5K, just off his PR of 24:34. That's a great time for this hilly course. Like I said, he looked realy good.

The Well Kept Wife© also set a PR over 2010 (30:07) running a 29-flat. No middle finger this time, instead I was invited to run in with her as I had again gone out on the course to see each of the family in. She ran very well in the dry, desert air despite her asthma symptoms to take 2nd in the Female 40-49 AG. Her time would have equated to a 27:28, just off her PR of 25:58.

Boy and Well Kept Wife can be seen here

It was great to once again receive our awards from Wyatt Earp. He is the great-nephew of the famous lawman of the same name. His athletic endeavors include the competition in two Hawaiian Iron man Triathlons, numerous marathons, 10k's and long distance swimming events including the "Escape From Alcatraz". Wyatt also serves on the Phoenix Downtown YMCA board of directors as well as coaches the Y's Master's swim program. In addition he is the race director for the YMCA Half-Marathon, which is the oldest foot race in Arizona. Wyatt also actively volunteers at the Arizona Spinal Injury Association. His wife, Terry, experienced a devastating spinal injury as result of being hit by a vehicle when cycling.

The Boy® receives his first place (12 & Under) medal from Wyatt Earp
The Well Kept Wife© receives her 2nd place (40-49) AG award
1st place in the men's 50-59 AG
Is the shotgun aimed at the Boy or the WKW? We'll never know....

Next event: Oct 29 (signed up) - 37th Annual Red River Run; Fargo, ND - 15K. Should be interesting. This will be my first crack at the 15K distance. Factoring in will be the temperature. Will it be above freezing??!!??

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Race Result: 2011 Fargo Mini Marathon 5K

Event: 2011 Fargo Mini Marathon 5K
Date: Saturday October 8, 2011
Location: Fargo, North Dakota
Hotel: Best Western Kelly Inn & Suites
Weather: 59F, overcast, light winds
Official Results: 2011 Overall 5K results; 10K results; Half-Marathon results

Personal Results

Goal: 18:30 (5:57 per mile pace)
Actual: 18:03 (5:49 per mile pace)
Overall: 4th overall (695 total); 1st in 50-54 Age Group (16 total)


Just 20 feet of elevation gain!
Course was a tad short, but time looks great nonetheless

Last year I ran the 10K at this event. This year I opted for the 5K since there would be four Maas' running. Myself, the Boy®, the Well Kept Wife©, and for the first time Dad, age 70. With a race start of 8 AM, the four of us found ourselves warming up near the starting line. My Dad would be doing a power walk, as he has been walking up to 10-miles a day since retiring and moving from my boyhood home to West Fargo a few years ago. At least, he said he's been walking that much. It's all I've been hearing. So it was put up or shut up time.

With nearly 700 on the starting line, I told the Boy® to line up right behind me and take it out a bit faster this time. I asked the same of the Well Kept Wife©, but she started a bt farther behind us. I could see her. I could not see my Dad so he must have found a comfortable position near the back.

I eyed about six to seven potential competitors for the top positions. I was asked by one person what I wanted for a time and I told him, mid-18's and got a nod of approval. The race started and two young bucks took off like bats out of hell and there went the first two spots. I was hanging in a group of four people which splintered into two. I was left in the rear of that.

The day was overcast so it seemed chillier than it was. My legs were a bit stiff to begin with but we cruised through the first mile easily enough. I found myself in 6th place a bit after the first mile. I could see two people were slowing and I caught them a bit before mile two. I was also gaining on third place but then he (fellow Fargo Running Company race team member Chris Johnson) found his second wind and was able to maintain his lead over me.

There were a couple of opportunities to see the family as we doubled back on each other. The Boy® was laboring with his mother just a few steps behind. I think after he saw me he picked it up. I learned afterwards that he once again was suffering from a side ache. This is something we will have to work through.

As I approached the finish, I was surprised to see 17:55-56-57 showing on the clock. I kicked as best I could to try and muster a sub-18 5K but to no avail. As you can see per my Garmin result, I estimate the course to be about 0.04 to 0.06 miles short. Or about 14 - 16 seconds to my advantage. So, I still had a very good race and would have gone under my 18:30 goal easily. If you take the Garmin's 5:54 mile average and run against a 5K length, my time would have been 18:19. So, my best effort in years and years.

After finishing, I went back to the course to encourage the rest if the Maas gang of Four. First up was the Boy® who was looking better. There was a small incline before the finish as we went under a underpass and up again. Here I told him to shorten his stride, pump his arms, and to catch two boys ahead of him. This he did. I learned afterwards that he puked (so he said) after finishing so I know he gave it all. He was cooking pretty good. He was only a few seconds off his PR so after such a bad first half to the race, he really lit it up.

Next up was the Well Kept Wife©. The first words out of her mouth, before I could utter any encouragement at all, was "I hate you." Now, she really didn't mean this. She had read a Runners World article about Grete Waitz who told her husband she hated him and actually beat on him after running and winning the womens New York Marathon...her world record fashion. Despite the verbal beat down, I still encouraged my bride to catch a few women ahead of her to which she flipped me the bird. Funny, though. She ends up running a PR and making podium in her age group!

I then ran back to meet my Dad. After what seemed forever, I saw him coming. His jacket was off and he was doing this half-walk half-run shuffle. He was looking pretty winded. He came up to me and told me there was a guy in his age group a few steps ahead and he couldn't keep up with him. Sure enough, there was a silver haired gentleman a few steps ahead. Apparently, these two were going toe-to-toe. My Dad would pass and the other person would jog a bit to pass right back. I told my Dad to let it go. This was his first race and he was just to W-A-L-K it. Not get into a Geezer Olympics. My Dad did listen and backed off and finished the race with a little trot. I'm not actually sure the finishers medal has been removed from his person since. And he made the podium in his first effort. OK, there were only three people in the male 70-74 age group but who is counting!

The youngest Maas and the oldest

The Three Maas Men

After the race, we had some prize money to burn. For us that made podium in our age group, we received a $10 gift certificate to the Fargo Running Company, which sponsors the race team that I now wear the colors for. I really enjoy this store. They have a great selection of racing shoes and spikes....the stuff that would make my mouth water when running in high school. They also have a great selection of cold weather running gear as I had stocked up on some things like year, like these Saucony sonicLite HD Wind Shield Gloves.

On this visit, I was able to meet Cley Twigg and thank him for the great race team gear. I even scored a new quarter-zip FRC top in my favorite neon green.....for free. Wow! Thanks again Cley! Going back to the incredible selection of shoes, I asked Cley if he might have a run flat in a size to fit my son. Sure enough, he came out with a couple of possibilities and we opted for the Brooks T7. This super flexible, lightweight racing shoe forms to the runner's foot for a great fit and feel, thanks to a lacing system that flows with foot. Built for the serious and efficient neutral runner, the T7 Racer provides just enough cushioning from 5k to half marathon and the silky smooth ride is exceptional for midfoot and forefoot striking. And if you are a sub 2:30 marathoner, this shoe should be on your try-on list. OK, the Boy® isn't going to run a 2:30 any time soon but he was thrilled to get these in time for his next race in a couple of weeks.

Next event: Oct 22 (signed up) - Lincoln Family Downtown 5K; Phoenix, AZ

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Race Result: 2011 Du the Bear Duathlon

Event: 2011 Du the Bear Duathlon (USAT)
Date: Sunday October 2, 2011
Location: Houston, TX (Bear Creek Park)
Hotel: Omni Westside Hotel
Weather: 60F, sunny, light winds from NE at 1-3 MPH
Official Results: Overall Results

Personal Results

Goal: 52:30
Actual: 51:22
Overall: 9th overall (259 total); 1st in 50-54 AG (13 total)

This is definitely the last multi-sport report for 2011. I had been thinking about a possible November du down in Fort Worth, like I did last November, but airfare has just gone up tooooo much.

My special thanks to Tim "Buckwheat" Carroll for once again being such a great host during this visit. It was another great trip, Tim!

This was the same course as the Frost 'Yer Fanny from January, only the distances changed a bit. My goal was to hit this one hard in order to better my current USAT duathlon ranking and try to move up into the honorable mention range (top 6-10% nationally) at the end of the year. Here is how I'm sitting right now for du's and tri's:

What I really required was to pop another 90. Pretty sure I will fall short of that, but I left Texas knowing I gave it my best shot. We'll see what the score comes in at.

I think one of the reasons for my success as of late has been to picture myself in the upcoming event. I play it all through in my mind as I'm working out and visualize a great finish. Over time, your thoughts become beliefs, and your beliefs become actions.

To the personal report! Note that I will list my Garmin times along with the official race times in order to give a truer representation of the course distances. But they were pretty much spot on.

Garmin Information

Way too hilly for me!! ;)

Run 1 - 2.0 miles

Goal - 11:40 (5:50 per mile pace)
Garmin Time - 11:25 (5:46 per mile pace) for 1.98 miles
Official Time - 11:24 (5:42 per mile pace); 1st in AG (13 total)

We lined up shortly before 7AM while the sun was still coming up. Sun rise was not slated until 7:15AM, so we began in the predawn, but the light was pretty good.

Wearing the red Gear West colors
I was really surprised how well I ran in the opening in terms of comfort. I was just sort of breezing along and feeling fine. What had worried me was that I had been fighting a right-side stitch on and off all week. So I worked on stretching out the right side pre-race. I had no issues with it during the first run.

This was a straight out-and-back run so I could count that I was in the top 10 during the run. The Garmin was saying 5:20's initially and then eased into the 5:40 range. What I really like was that the legs got stronger as I approached T1.


Goal - 1:00
Official Time - 46.7

I was the first guy to my rack. Each rack had been setup and assigned by age group so this gave me an extra boost of confidence. I didn't have my Old Man stool with me as that would not fit in the carry-on, but I didn't have any issue with the shoes.

Bike - 10 miles

Goal - 26:47 (22.4 MPH)
Garmin Time - 25:57 (22.98 MPH) for 9.94 miles
Official Time- 26:25 (22.7 MPH); 1st in AG (13 total)

Per my Garmin, I essentially hit a 23MPH average for the two five mile loop course. I'm sure I would have easily been over had it not been for the multiple tight 90-degree turns located throughout.

In the background, on start of ride
I was able to keep up a good pace. Had no issues with cramping in the calf area, and really loved that the bike was only 10-miles!


Goal - 1:00
Official Time - 0:57

I came in and again was the first to the rack. It's a great feeling to come back and see no other bikes in your rack knowing you have the lead. What was even better, there was no drunken sailor start to the run. My legs were fresh and hit the road without any bike leg syndrome.

2nd Run - 2.0 miles

Goal- 12:00 (6:00 per mile pace)
Garmin Time - 11:46 (5:58 per mile pace) for 1.97 miles
Official Time - 11:47 (5:54 per mile pace); 1st in AG (13 total)

I didn't think I'd have a shot at going sub-6 minutes for the second run. But again, the run legs were there right from the start. I was starting to suffer a bit from the beginnings of a ride side stitch, but I was able to keep it at bay. I actually think I overstretched it in warmups and have a mild muscle pull there now.


I received a huge plaque for my effort and as an additional prize, a Giant bike floor pump which I actually needed!

And Tim placed 3rd in the Male 55-59 AG, and scored a plaque and a bike seat bag. Very nice!

Next Event:

Oct 8 (signed up) - Fargo Mini Marathon 5K. Not only is the Boy® and Well Kept Wife© running the same event, but we will have a fourth Maas entered. My 70-year old Dad. This oughta be fun.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Totals: Month Ending September 2011

As September hit my focus turned away from triathlons as I completed my last one for 2011 on September 11. And this is reflected in my swim numbers. And I also did my last duathlon for the year, with a nice result in Houston, TX (race recap to come later this week).  So my swim training will be non-existent for a bit while I maintain some bike fitness with some nice outdoor rides before the snow flies. With at least three running events in October, it's all about pounding the pavement at the moment. To the tape:

September 2011 Total Numbers

Total Workout Hours: 36:36:25
Swim Yards - 3500
Bike Miles - 360.63
Run Miles - 130.44 (7:32 per mile avg)
Days Missed to Weather, Injury, Travel or Planned Rest - 4

Compare to last year -
September 2010 Total Numbers

Total Workout Hours: 37:07:57
Swim Yards - 13400
Bike Miles - 321.36
Run Miles - 124.17 (7:39 per mile pace)
Days Missed to Weather, Injury or Planned Rest - 4

Compare to last month -

August 2011 Total Numbers

Total Workout Hours: 38:22:39
Swim Yards - 12650
Bike Miles - 241.68
Run Miles - 170.14 (7:36 per mile avg)

October Events

Oct 8 (signed up) - Fargo Mini Marathon 5K
Oct 22 (signed up) - Lincoln Family Downtown 5K; Phoenix, AZ
Oct 29 (tentative) - 37th Annual Red River Run; Fargo, ND - 15K