First off I’m happy to report that I survived 3 games of church softball during marathon week without injuring myself. Several folks advised me from playing and were very concerned about my well being (mostly my bride); and there was a moment as I legged out a double Tuesday night that they might have had a point. Thankfully, the numbers were in my favor, 20+ years (when did I get so old?) of baseball and softball combined and only a few minor injuries to speak of had me feeling confident I could handle left field and 1st base for a few nights.
I digress, marathon week is here and I’ve got lots of thoughts. First of all I’d like to thank all of my supporters that have been following along with me and literally running beside me during this process. I'd go into names, but that would make a long blog post longer! We truly have an amazing running community here in Sioux Falls and I’m so thankful to live here. This training cycle brought with it a lot of trying times that I could not have planned for and my running community has always been there with open arms no matter what. Finally, I’d like to thank my beautiful bride Chelsea Koch. While I was running in sub-zero temperatures, 65 degree race weather during the Irishman, driving wind and cold at the Chilly Cheeks 10 mile race, and training at the Sanford Fieldhouse she was completing her masters degree at the University of Sioux Falls (A marathon in its own right).
This week of tapering has been interesting; I’ve felt tired and lethargic throughout. I’ve focused on my diet and feel as though I’m eating all the time. Ironically enough I’ve lost a few pounds this week – figure that one out. Mostly though I’m trying not to think too much. The race is on Sunday, it could be windy and rainy, but that is okay I’ve trained in worse to get ready for this day.
Here are the answers to a lot of the questions I’ve been receiving lately. My bib number is 1959, I’m in the green starting group which is the 3rd wave, my goal is to simply finish – if I’m under 4 hours I’ll be happy, I’ve got a time in my head I’d like to hit but I’m not telling anyone (not even Chelsea). My race strategy is pretty simple – I’d like to make it consistently with my pace (8:50-9:00 minute miles) to somewhere between miles 15-18. At that time depending on how I feel is where I plan to “make my move”. I’ll either try to push through at a consistent steady pace or will push the pedal down and see what I’ve got for 10 miles (hopefully something similar to the Chilly Cheeks). At the end of the day I’m going to stay true to myself and my mentality throughout this process, “If I’m not having fun I’m not going to do it” so time will tell just how fun I think marathon running truly is (hopefully I can keep my streak of smiling race day photos alive).
Finally, I’d like to thank my boss and 605 Running Company owner Logan Watley. His support and enthusiasm for my running has helped make this journey a reality. Plus he is once again letting Chelsea and I invade his turf and crash for a night at his house. I’m a very lucky guy and I’m looking forward to my next great adventure on Sunday.
Greg “PEPSI” Koch
In honor of Greg "Pepsi" Koch's first marathon next weekend, I thought I would take a minute to share a few things I've learned as I've gone through the marathon cycle five different times. These are things that seem small, but can make the difference between a great experience and one you are eager to forget.
<---I wish I could say this was a picture taken during a marathon, and that I felt so good I could smile going into the finish.....but it's not.
In fact, more times than not, this ------>
is how you feel when you are finishing a marathon. I'm sure anyone who has ran one before can relate.
1) Hydrate - The weather in Sioux Falls this week looks mild (50's) and overcast, while the race weather for next Sunday in Lincoln is currently 59 and rainy. Don't let that fool you! You still need to hydrate, and not just the day before but the entire week! I am fully expecting you all to see Greg carrying around a 605 Running Co. water bottle around all week.
2) Carb Load - Someone posted a funny article from The Onion in the 605 Community Facebook this month that had to do with "carb-overloading". The idea that you should go out the night before a race and eat a huge meal of pasta is one you might be paying for come race day. In reality, focus on carbs the entire week, not just Saturday night.
3) Rest - While this may speak to the point in your running schedule, it also goes for the time when you are NOT running. It's important this week to think about what you are doing when you are not running. This is not the best week to walk a round of 18 holes or spend all day on your feet. My recommendation to Greg will be to have a stool to sit on during the week. Don't worry, you won't offend customers. Those who have been there before understand.
4) Sleep - This is closely related to #3 above, but the idea is that you should make sure you are getting adequate sleep this week. Your immune system might be a little susceptible right now, so make sure you are giving your body a fighting chance (I'm sure there's some "science-y" reason for it, but I can go months without getting sick and as soon as I lessen the intensity of running, I catch some type of bug).
5) Relax - It can be easy to overthink a marathon. Just remember, you've done all the work to get you to this point. "The hay is in the barn", so to speak, so there is no training you can do this week that will make you better prepared. Just enjoy everything about the race, and make sure not to get overly excited about the first half of the race (because there's still a whole second half to go).
Looking forward to Sunday, May 1st, and I'm sure Greg is as well!
Spring is my favorite season to get out and run. Maybe it's because we are coming off winter, but the temps always feel warmer than fall. 50 degrees in March is SO much warmer than 50 degrees in October. It makes it all that much harder that over the past six months (since Twin Cities) I've been running just to stay healthy and for the joy of it, and not to run a race. Last Saturday, I did actually run my FIRST race in six months. It was a two-mile race where I knew the pressure would not be high to run fast or place high. Even so, it was a difficult 11 minutes. My lungs were burning, my legs felt numb, and I tried not to think about the fact that the 10k racers were averaging faster over 6.2 miles than I was in an all-out 2 mile.
Despite how I felt during the race, it was how I felt before and after that will have me signing up for another race in no time. The pre-race ritual of a one mile shakeout, oatmeal for breakfast, two mile warm-up and stretching gets the adrenaline pumping, and the smell of spring doesn't hurt either. A post-race Pepsi and donut holes, combined with a two mile cool-down, allow me to leave feeling accomplished. Seven miles on the day, and an afternoon nap scheduled. It is the roller coaster of feelings that I suppose make up the "runner high".
So now with my first race of 2016 behind me, I've got plans to help Greg Koch get through the Lincoln Marathon on May 1st, followed by a trail race on 5/14/16. I'm not sure when I will get back to another road race (probably Memorial Day weekend), but I have definitely realized I have some work to do before then!
On Monday April 3rd, I got the chance to go up to the last half of the SDSU Indoor High School Meet. There were many Class A schools from both South Dakota and Iowa competing in the event. Among them, was our local Sioux Falls Christian High School who placed 2nd as a team on the boys side and 3rd on the girls side.
Boys 800m. Caleb DeWeerd
Caleb had an impressive showing early in the season winning both the 1600m in a time of 4:35.23 and later winning the 800m in 2:03.03. In the 800, Caleb led from the first step and never looked back. Both of DeWeerd’s times would qualify for the state meet in their respected event, however indoor times cannot be counted to qualify for state. It won’t be too long until we will see Caleb’s name in the in season qualifiers list. After the 800, Caleb accredited his success to his dedication during the off season. He said he was running 20-25 miles a week through the brutal winter months. “And of course, God is always good.” He stated.
Cole Sargent from Miller decided to take the pacing into his own hands right from the gun. Going out in a brisk pace through the first 400m (70 seconds) Sargent strung out the field and made it a two man race for first. Going through the 1200m at 3:45 Sargent and Camden Beller (Sioux City North) had a 6 second lead on Cooper Hitt (Sioux Falls Christian) and Aidan Bauermeister (Spirit Lake). Hitt led Bauermeister since 600m and kept eyeing the leaders, but slowly falling back. Sargent led the leaders through 1600m in5:09. Beller was looking very relaxed though and waited for his time to make a move. 2,000 meters and Beller took charge and pushed the pace while Sargent held on tight. Sargent held on as long as he could but eventually fell back to take 2nd place with an impressive season opener of 10:47.03. Beller went on to just nearly miss the meet record with a time of 10:36.98. The race for third was equally as exciting as Cooper was battling Aiden. Going into the 3200m Sioux Falls Christian was sitting 2nd in the team standings, 6 points behind Spirit Lake. Hitt knew every pointed counted for his team and threw down a gutsy last 400m to pass Bauermester to take third place in a time of 10:52.16. Aidan Bauermeister ran 10:53.96. Sioux Falls Christians’ Vanderhaar also ran down spirit lakes’ Dykema to get fifth and close the team standings by another point.
The Girls 3200m was led by Deubrook’s Josie Olsen with Hursey (Flandreu), Gregerson (Plankinton), and Sioux City North’s Lillyanna Yebra following in the lead pack. After the first 800, it was all these four separated from the field. Madilyn Hursey made a move at 1,000 meters to get things rolling. Going through the mile in 6:13, these girls were all looking confident, but it was Yebra at 1800m who put in a dominating move that gapped the other three girls by 30 meters over the next lap and a half. She went on to win by over 20 seconds and ran a 12:13.98. Although Yebra was knew she had the victory with 800 to go, that wasn’t enough for her. She needed to run the last 800 in less than 3 minutes and 10 seconds to break the meet record. Closing with an 87 second last 400m, Yebra made the record look like no problem. The race may have been over for first but Gregerson and Hursey were battling back and forth for the second spot. After a few back and forth’s it was Hursey that pulled away from Gregerson who ran 12:36.74 and 12:44.21 respectively. Josie Olsen finished fourth in 12:56.67. Sioux Falls Christian’s Mia Schnabel and Mady Thurston ran the last half of the race together to have a photo finish both finishing in 13:52.