It's over, man. Let her go.

IKEA Montour Trail Half Marathon

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Member Since:

Jan 04, 2010



Goal Type:

Recover From Injury

Running Accomplishments:

In late 2008 I decided I needed to get in better shape and started running again.  I ran my first formal road race ever, a half marathon, in late 2009.

(unofficial) Track 1 Mile - 7:32 (4/24/2010)  6:56 (9/27/2010)

5k - 27:31 - Riverview Run on 06/11/2010
22:39 - Gatorade Steelers 5k on 09/04/2010

10k - 50:43 - Riverside Run on 04/10/2010

Half - 2:02:58 - Just a Short Run on 03/27/2010
1:51:47 - IKEA Montour Trail Half on 09/11/2010

Short-Term Running Goals:

2011 Races:

Sept 25 - The Great Race 10k (59:15)
Nov 5 - Dirt Monster 5mi (52:59)

2012 Races:

June 8 - Riverside 5k  (27:49)
Sept 2 - Gatorade Steelers 5k (route) with Steve!  (27:39)
Sept 30 - The Great Race 10k (route)  (53:48)
Nov 3 - The Dirt Monster 5mi (52:55)

2013 Races:

May - Pittsburgh Marathon (started, but DNF about the half way point)
June - Riverview 5k  - Bummed I missed signing up for this one. It's one of my favorites!
Sept - Gatorade/Steelers 5k. (Signed up!)
Sept - IKEA Montour Trail Half  (prob not, but leaving it on here)
Sept - The Great Race 10k (My Running 101 goal race)
Nov - Dirt Monster 5mi (Gotta do it again no matter what!)

Long-Term Running Goals:

Finish recovering from my injuries and build mileage.  That is all.


My name is Wes, I'm married with two wonderful children. The nickname BaldNSpicy came from the fact that I have been balding for a (long) while now and spicy for my love of very spicy foods (Thai and extremely hot wings are my favorites).  If eating doesn't bring me near tears and leave me sweating, it's not worth eating.  :-)

Oh, and I'm also known for my doorags.

Favorite Quotes:

"Running without hills is like motorcycling without corners." - rAtTLeTrAp

"Excellence is not a singular act, but a habit.  You are what you do repeatedly." - Shaquille O'Neal

"A man can fail many times, but he isn't a failure until he begins to blame somebody else."  - John Burroughs

Favorite Blogs:

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Miles:This week: 0.00 Month: 0.00 Year: 0.00
NB 758s #2 Lifetime Miles: 596.90
Brooks Cascadia 7 Lifetime Miles: 165.17
Race: IKEA Montour Trail Half Marathon (13.1 Miles) 01:51:47, Place overall: 267, Place in age division: 26
Slow milesFast milesTotal Distance

55F and overcast at start.  Goal was to run a consistent 8:25 or so in order to come in under my goal of 1:50.  I didn't quite make it, but this was still a great PR and I feel good about the race.  Edit:  267 out of 729 total runners and 26 out of 63 in AG.

Yesterday, my wife and I drove out to Elite Runners & Walkers store to pick up my race packet and I talked her into getting some walking shoes since she committed to the 1 mile walk/run with her Goal Group at the Dirt Monster race in November.  To get ready, she's going to walk the dog every day, so we got her some nice Asics 2150s in purple.  She's excited about them and I'm proud of her for setting that goal!  The kids still haven't decided if they want to volunteer again or do the 1 mile walk/run.  I'll be running the 5mi race and it could be a AG finish for me since it's a pretty small race.  lol  Then we hit Olive Garden last night for their Never Ending Pasta Bowl and we came home and went to bed.

The race started at 8am out in Robinson, PA, which is about a 25 min drive from home.  Getting everyone up and rolling (including myself) was a little challenging, but we were out the door by 6:20am.  To "reward" the fam for getting up, we hit McDonalds for breakfast on the way.  We scouted out their parking location then went to the top of the hill where the start was to drop me off.  They would be at about the 0.8mi point and at the finish which would be perfect for picture taking.

I just needed to get my timing chip and use the Porta Potty and get some warm up in.  I got my timing chip at about 7:30am then looked for the line for the POP.  It was long too!  Crap.  I knew if I didn't use it now, I'd regret it on the course since I was going to have to use it in the next 2 hours.  By the time I got through the POP, it was about 10 min before the race.  I started walking over to the start line and saw my old boss from work and his wife.  His wife is a pretty good runner (she runs about a 4:00 marathon and ran Boston this last year), but he is a "plodder" (his word, not mine).  She was shooting for a 1:50 or under and he was looking to do 2:15 or so.  They both ran the Steelers 5k last weekend (her: 24:54, him: 27:34), which I just looked up.  I figured maybe I'd stick with her if I caught up to her (she headed towards the front to avoid fighting people on the trail).  I wasn't going to get in any warm up in the next 3 mins, so we chatted some and I did a little stretching.  I assumed they'd have the mats out to start the chip timing anyways, so it wasn't a huge deal to be a little farther back.

The gun goes off, and I bid my friend goodbye and start heading down the hill, waiting for the mats.  There weren't any, so I just started the Garmin.  I guess everyone had the same start time.  Oh well, no biggie.  There was a large mass of people going down this 0.8mi hill and everyone seemed to just be on cruise control.  I hadn't warmed up well, so I took it easy and used that as my warm up.  My plan was to give my long sleeved t-shirt and cell phone (I had been giving the fam updates on when it actually started, etc), but opted to keep the cell phone so I could let them know how I was doing and give them an idea of when to be at the finish.

Here's me at the hand-off.  A short hello and I was off again:


Mile 1 (9:09):  Coming down the hill and the 0.2 mi onto the trail was just warm up and the trail was pretty narrow for all the people running on it.  I restrained from doing a bunch of weaving to get around people.  I had plenty of time left to work my way up, but there were several times I chose to go onto the grass and risk a twisted ankle to get around some people.  Fortunately, I didn't have any problems. 

From the 1 mile point on, the course is a 6 mi out and 6.1 back on the crushed limestone surface.  It was more tightly packed than the trail I run downtown which I was happy about.  Not much foot pushoff slippage.  That always frustrates me since I feel like I'm wasting some energy.

Mile 2 - 7 (8:19, 8:20, 8:00, 8:24, 8:37, 8:23): From where you turn onto the trail to the turn around at mile 7, it's a slight uphill incline.  It's not that noticeable until it gets slightly steeper at about mile 6, but you can tell it's not flat.  That last mile seems like it will never end.  The trail is beautiful and with the trees still full of leaves, it stayed shaded for most of the run.  During mile 2, I wished I had brought my thin mittens since my hands were cold and they never really warmed up (my son commented on it after the race when he took my hand walking to the car).  My texts to my wife were barely understandable (texting while running is hard) and made worse by cold fingers.  I could just send a text "5mi im good".  I think she figured out most of them.

Knowing that my boss' wife was shooting for my goal, when I caught up to her at about 2.5mi, I just trailed her for a little while.  But she was going about 8:40 and I knew I needed to be faster than that.  I passed her and figured she'd catch me on the flip side.

There's this really cool tunnel you run through at about mile 4.  It goes through a big hill and used to be used to be part of the railroad track.  Funny thing was that as everyone reached about 3/4 of the way through it, you'd hear all these Garmins beep because they had lost the satellite signal.  Up to that point, the Garmin was right on at their mile markers.  After that, it would say the mile was about 50m before the marker on the way out, then 100m before the marker after going through it on the way back.  A little annoying, but I was using it more for pace and I had it set to give me 0.5mi splits anyways so I didn't care too much.

I felt great on the way out, was pumped watching the runners coming back towards us after their turn around, and I was feeling like I could keep this up no problem.  I was passing people and hadn't been passed since mile 1.  In fact, it felt too easy at the turn around.  My only discomfort was the fine gravel in my shoes and the blister that I could feel developing on the outside/under my left big toe.  I'm not sure if it was more the rubbing on the shoe or the grittiness of the gravel that was making my blister develop.

Mile 8 - 10 (7:54, 7:44, 7:45):  I was feeling so good at the turn around and even knowing full well that I still had half the race to go, I decided I wanted to kick it up a little.  I could feel the downhill during this first mile so I started to pick it up some, then I just maintained that pace for another 2.  I started to pass a lot more runners and still wasn't being passed.  I saw my boss' wife around the 8mi mark and my boss a while after that.  She didn't recognize me, I don't think, since I had had on my long sleeved white t-shirt when she met me at the start.

Mile 11 - finish (8:01, 8:34, 8:50):  The miles were getting tougher - slowing down!  Dang it!  Terrain was pretty flat, but I was tiring.  I hung on through the tunnel but once I was through there, I walked for about 10 seconds.  This is when Speedy Old Guy (SOG) passed me at a pretty fast clip.  Once he was past me about 20m, he stopped and walked.  I thought that was odd.  So I started running again.  I had been passed by a few people which I knew would happen when I walked, but I had to rest for a second.  I took off again and passed SOG a short time later.  Every maybe 1/4 mi, SOG would sprint past me and stop a ways ahead and walk.  It was kinda weird.  This went on until the end of the race.  I don't think he had me targeted, but it felt like it.

The last two miles were tough.  I walked probably 30 seconds total during these miles and my legs were dead.  I was being passed by a few more people, but I was OK with that, all things considered.  I was really wishing I had prepared a little better for this Half with some longer runs at this point.  I just kept pushing through but wasn't able to kick much at all at the end.  I saw the time and was happy with it.  It was a PR and a good one at that.  I felt like I redeemed myself from my first two Halfs by getting over a 10min PR, my time was much closer to what I feel like I should have run it in, and I beat SOG, so it's all good.  :-)

It was a little sad because they ran out of finishers medals.  Apparently, there is another Half coming up next month that's fairly large and they were denied their permits and had to cancel.  So they had a lot of last minute registrations for this one and had based their purchase of medals on previous years.  They typically have about 600 I think, but apparently they got a lot more.  They said they'd be sending them out to the people that didn't get one, but still!  For those of us who aren't going to win or AG place, I look forward to that token of my achievement.  I would have been ticked if I hadn't gotten one at the finish!

Loved the race, the course was great, and the weather was excellent!  Many thanks to my family for getting up so early and just hanging out for 2 hours while I ran.  They're awesome!!!

Here's some pics:

Finishing!  (Yes, I got chicked.  She was standing in the POP line next to me and I chatted with her husband/boyfriend.  She didn't say a word to me.  I wondered if she spoke english or not.)

An "I'm so glad I'm done" photo:

Stretch-out after the race.  Hurt so good!

And the final photo by the flags:

NB 758s #2 Miles: 13.10
Weight: 165.00
From SlowJoe on Sat, Sep 11, 2010 at 13:27:07 from

Great job Wes, big PR. Looking forward to the details.

From baldnspicy on Sat, Sep 11, 2010 at 18:19:18 from

Thanks Joe! Report is up. :-)

From SlowJoe on Sat, Sep 11, 2010 at 19:51:11 from

That was a good read, nice job. I never know when to start pushing the pace, guess that comes with experience. I'm thinking with a few long runs under your belt you'll be holding that sub-8 pace the whole time. Congrats on the PR.

From flatlander on Sat, Sep 11, 2010 at 20:16:25 from

I agree, more PRs to come in short order. It isn't fair to have to lose all that time at the start, you have a better attitude about it than I would have. I think that would have put you under 1:50 by itself. Glad you had a great day, very good running and a well-done report.

From Burt on Sun, Sep 12, 2010 at 01:11:55 from

Great job. You're going to pass me up soon.

Texting and running is tough business.

From Teena Marie on Sun, Sep 12, 2010 at 11:04:12 from

Very cool!!! A PR, beating SOG, and a medal!!! :) :) :)

A huge congrats! :)

From rAtTLeTrAp on Sun, Sep 12, 2010 at 12:42:55 from

I don't know how far back you started, but I'd bet you were pretty darn close to 1:50 actual time if not under. That is still a huge PR and you beat the old guy!(I don't know why, but that always feels good). Way to go! Nice pics too.

From Steve on Sun, Sep 12, 2010 at 13:19:10 from

Nice job Wes! Great Time!!!

From baldnspicy on Sun, Sep 12, 2010 at 19:01:43 from

In looking at the pictures, see the lady behind me with the white cap? I forgot to put it in my report, but I think she's the one that chewed me out at about the 4mi water stop! I had passed her about a half mile before, and as I always do, I carefully grab the water/Gatorade out of the volunteer's hand like it's some fragile egg or something then move to the side, off the trail and walk while drinking. This time, just as I grab the drink, get on the grass, and come to a near stop, I hear this woman yell, "IDIOT!! Don't stop!" as she passes me. I'm guessing it was me she was yelling at, but maybe it was someone that stopped in the middle of the trail that she had to go around. I don't know, but when I passed her (for the last time) about a mile up the trail, I wasn't sure if I should apologize or at least ask if I was the one she was angry at. In my mind, I didn't see anything wrong with what I did. I mean, if I could run and drink, I would. Heck, I can hardly run and breathe at the same time so I feel a sense of accomplishment just being able to grab a cup and get to the side of the course before I forget to breathe. I'm sure glad I beat her, and I'm glad she didn't sock me one as she passed by me at the end. That would have been a picture for the blog for sure!!

Joe - I do think that some longer tempo runs will help and then just getting the endurance up with longer easy runs, increasing the weekly mileage. The HR wasn't high, it was just the legs for the most part. I could have saved it for the end, but I don't know that it really would have made much difference time wise, since I think I would have been just as tired. I feel more "economical" at that 7:40-8:00 pace than I do at a slower pace, so it could have helped. Who knows.

Flat - I know I should be more upset about the start, but honestly, I was happy to be able to do the whole distance and get a nice PR. I know, I know, the fact that I PR'd and did as well as I did means that I was OK without the preparations, but in a race where I know I'm not going to win or be close to placing in my AG, what's 30 seconds? It's a bad attitude, and one that allowed me to be OK with walking a couple of times, but it gets me through the race. lol Seriously, I do need to go into my races feeling prepared and strong. Then I'll be confident about starting up towards the front more so I don't lose so much time at the start, and really pushing my limits. After a solid training season this winter, I'll be ready to hit the races in 2011, ready to kill some more PRs.

Burt - I'm always into pushing myself. Physically, mentally, and textually.

Thanks Teena. Everyone gets a medal, though. For us slow people, it's a nice token to hang on the wall reminding us of our achievement. :-)

Trap - I probably lost 30 seconds at the start & t-shirt drop off in the first mile. The other time to put me under 1:50 was lost with the short walks, I think. Could have been close, and the more I think about it, the more I'm disappointed in myself for having walked at all. Going into it, I told myself jogging at 12:00 pace is better than walking at 17:00. Next time it won't happen. :-)

Steve - thanks for your support on FB. You're awesome and we seriously need to think about that first marathon in 2011!

From seeaprilrun on Tue, Sep 14, 2010 at 08:47:08 from

What a great race report! It sounds like a really cool race! Congratulations on the PR! Looks like you will be taking out all you PR's soon. That sucks that they didn't have enough medals. I think the chic in the blue shorts in front of you looks hungry. So..let me get this ran the whole thing holding a cell phone in cold hands? That's impressive!

From baldnspicy on Tue, Sep 14, 2010 at 19:13:36 from

Yep, April. All my PRs will be going down this year. Next year they'll all go down again and I plan to set my marathon PR. :-)

I've never run with anything in my hands before. I tried running with a water bottle, but I felt all lopsided. That's how I felt with the phone until about 1/2 way through and then I thought to myself how I don't even realize I'm carrying it anymore. I tried to switch from my left to my right hand, but that felt really weird, so my left hand held it the whole time. Put a water bottle in my hand and my left bicep will be HUGE compared to my right since I probably won't be able to switch it.

From SlowJoe on Tue, Sep 14, 2010 at 19:35:47 from

That's funny, I usually run with a 20 oz gatorade bottle for half of my run every day and I have to carry it in the left hand as well or it feels too weird.

From baldnspicy on Tue, Sep 14, 2010 at 20:31:57 from

Weird. I have my huge Garmin on my left arm and just my light RoadID on my right and so I figured I'd be more comfortable with it in my right. Oh, and when I'm running with my ipod, it's on my left arm too. If I ever get a tattoo, it's going on my left for fear it would feel weird having it on my right and then not being able to do anything about it. lol

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