Tapering for My First Non-Race [40 Miles on my 40th Bday]

This Saturday is looming large…I only know it because I am tapering -- for the first time -- seriously for the first non-race event that has ever really put some fear into me. Don't get me wrong, I will be ready but I am very aware of the fact that 40 miles is a…..lot…..longer…..than 26 point 2. 

That said, the weather looks great -- high of 46 with wind at 7mph. Hell, anything is better than the snowmaggedon I imagined. :)

Right now I have three super awesome amazing folks who have committed to running with me.  Of course, anyone else is welcome to show up and join in.  Remember while I am running for to raise funds for Charity:Water, you don't have to donate to come out and run or just laugh at me as I stumble on by. :) 

Food & Fluids by Fuelbelt

We'll have Gatorade products supplied by FuelBelt (amazing), but you will need to be ready to carry your own stuff as this is the only "support" along the entire route.  After you run your loop with me, you are welcome to use the house to shower, etc.

Starting @ 8am; Running 8-Minute-Miles

I will start off on Lap #1 at 8am and aim for 8 minute miles. I might be a bit faster (or slower), but no pressure. There will be nature breaks along the way and time to tie, re-tie, curse at and whatever else needs to be done to my shoes.  I will take a short break at the end of each lap to refuel, etc. 

I think quite a few folks might just jump in for the last lap or the last mile…I will be happy to have anyone come along…don't be shy!

The Route

I am hopeful that my 5-Mile route will still be an option with the warmer weather..but it's really dependent on the bike path. So we *might* have to wing it. Here is the "official" map: http://www.mapmyrun.com/routes/view/356563039 

Highlights include rolling terrain as you run by the Rhode Island Country Club and the amazing view, a ½-mile off-road section next to Echo Lake, and just over a mile along the East Bay Bike Path.

Virtual Tracking

I will be using the RoadID app to track my progress across the day, as well as having folks post to my Twitter (www.twitter.com/pmccrann) and Facebook pages. Stay tuned for updates there...we'll have to see if I can beat an 8 minute per mile pace!

Post Run -- Starting @ About 2pm

I will plan on cleaning up and hanging out. Depending how many folks show we'll have some pizza and various beverages. 

Bring on Saturday!

ps that donation link is here if you can/want to give (thanks!):  http://my.charitywater.org/all-i-want-for-my-40th-birthday-is-water

40 Miles on My 40th Birthday to Raise Money for Clean Water

What: A 40-Mile run to raise money for a clean water project.

Where: 4 Woodford Rd, Barrington, RI 02806.

When: March 8th; the run starts at 8am, ending between 1pm and 2pm. There is no rain-date...it’s going to happen, no excuses!

How: 40 miles run as 8 trips around a 5-mile loop course.

Who: Patrick, with anyone else who wants to join in. Training for Boston? Training for anything? Like to run? Come join us!  Add your name to the run list via this brief survey.

Why Give Up My Birthday for Charity?

At 40 I officially don’t need any more presents! Besides, all of the cool kids are doing it and together we can really make a difference for a village in need of clean water.

Why March 8th?  

(1) It’s Patrick’s 40th birthday.  (2) March 8th is International Women’s Day. Traditionally women & young women are the ones burdened with the daily task of obtaining water.

Can’t Make It?  

No worries. Please help spread the word about the run to your friends via email or online. If you are feeling generous please make a donation online to the cause.  

Donations Optional  

We have the potential to eliminate water insecurity -- and many of the related issues -- in our lifetime. The best way to help is to direct funds to organizations such as Charity:Water, who put 100% of donated funds to work in local communities that need access to clean water. I am hoping to raise $10,000 for a water project, and am asking for $40 donations. But anything you can give will make a difference.

The Plan  

I will start running at 8am from 4 Woodford Rd on the 5-mile loop course. I will be running approximately 8 minutes per mile pace, but will surely slow down over the course of the day. Anyone is welcome to join in -- you can run with Patrick following the schedule below, or you can show up to enjoy the support and run your own distance!

The Route  

A five mile loop (MapMyRun here) over rolling terrain. Highlights include running by the Rhode Island Country Club and the amazing view, a ½-mile off-road section next to Echo Lake, and just over a mile along the East Bay Bike Path.

We will have a pit-stop with refueling options at the starting point -- 4 Woodford Rd. You should also be able to use the facilities at the Bayside YMCA off the bike path at approximately Mile 3.75 of each loop.

Please Note: Patrick reserves the right to reverse the loop if he’s going stir crazy. :)

Lap Start Times

Please note after the first few laps all other times are approximate. If you plan on running with Patrick, please sign up using this brief survey so we can plan for you!

  • Lap 1 =   8:00a

  • Lap 2 =   8:40a

  • Lap 3 =   9:20a

  • Lap 4 = 10:00a

  • Lap 5 = 10:40a

  • Lap 6 = 11:20a

  • Lap 7 = 12:00p

  • Lap 8 = 12:40p

  • Target Finish Time = 1:20p

Note: Many of the images in this post were taken directly from the Charity:Water website.

Broken Collarbone Lessons from a Triathlete

Putting this out on the Interwebs as it seems quite a few of my athletic friends are ending up with the same not-so-cool blue sling as myself before heading into surgery. Clearly we have collectively moved from the "fall and bounce" phase into the "fall and break" phases of our lives.

Plus from what I can see, it seems that more and more collarbone breaks are getting surgery...I don't know if that's a money thing or a reflection of the more "active" levels of the segment of society I interact with. 

Here are some of my thoughts, in no particular order. I hope they help you...if you have questions, just shoot me a note Twitter: @pmccrann

  1. Survive the Emergency Room -- These folks, even the ortho folks on call, are all doing the same thing: triage. If you ain't dying, they aren't so worried about you.  Get all the info you can, get some good meds and get out of there. 

  2. Find a Good Ortho -- Ask around and find out who your friends have seen or used. I strongly recommend against just going with whoever the ER told you to see unless they are a sports person. You want someone who understands what you are trying to do outside of the workplace (on your bike, in your swim suit, etc.). 

  3. Schedule Surgery Quickly -- Do your best to avoid the downtime sitting around. If you have to wait for the right person to do the work, that's fine...but every week you sit around with a broken wing means a delayed recovery. 

  4. Plan for After Surgery BEFORE Surgery -- Odds are lying down won't be an option for at least a week, if not longer. You will want a recliner you can sit in and then use that to lay down; or maybe you'll luck out and get some funky pillow system that will allow you to adjust your position like I did, but either way, you have been warned. I have heard of folks renting recliners, etc.

  5. It Hurts More After Surgery -- This could be a n=1 scenario, but it seemed that I had more movement when it was broken than I do in recovery. This restriction is good (read: healing!) but man it's not comfortable. 

  6. Surgery Means Micro Fractures -- My super awesome PT just said this to me and it totally makes sense. I had the traumatic break o of my crash, but now with seven screws in my collar bone, I am recovering from an additional seven micro-fractures. That explains some of that pain!

  7. Start Your Pain Meds Early -- You'll have a nerve block that will last 12-18 hours (mine lasted 10); after which you will need to have enough pain meds in you to function. So get the prescription filled when you leave and start taking the meds even though the nerve block means you can't feel the pain. Because you will. Soon. Probably middle of the night when everyone else is in bed and can't help you out. Just sayin.

  8. Start Moving Soon After -- This depends on your break, your surgery and your Doctor, but some basic mobility is good. Sitting in a sling for a week pre-surgery and two weeks post surgery means you haven't really used your bicep, your shoulder, your triceps, etc...so be as gently active as you can.

That's all I have for now...more as I see more progress...good luck to you and leave your notes in the comments!

Making A Difference: Team ReserveAid

Team ReserveAid is one of those great charities that flies under the radar. It really makes a difference, a tangible different to the families of the men and women who serve our country.  What started as a simple idea has grown into a grassroots, endurance-friendly effort to give back.

If you have five minutes, and want to get a sense of why folks just like you choose to help Team ReserveAid, have a look at this short video that was put together for the 2012 race in New York (). 

And if you are in a position to do so, please Donate Now toward our efforts to help the real heroes in this country! 

To donate, follow these simple steps:

1) Click this link: https://interland3.donorperfect.net/weblink/weblink.aspx?name=reserveaid&id=1 
2) Enter your “Donation Amount” in the top section 
3) In the dropdown near “Events” in the top grey box, select “Ironman Lake Placid” 
4) Manually type “John Withrow” into the box of the “Name of athlete you are supporting” section 
5) Click “Next” at the bottom and follow the instructions for payment

Thanks for helping out!!

2013 Rev3Quassy Half -- A Real Race, A Humble Report

Team Update

Rev3Quassy was our first Key Race for the 2013 season...and it was a doozy! Tons of climbing and high temperatures conspired to really test our early season fitness and preparation. It was awesome to spend the weekend with TeamEN folks and to see so many of them ripping it up on race day.

As the largest online triathlon team, we are constantly on the search for ways to connect our members in the real world, hence the 2013 Key Race series. We had over 30 athletes from as far away as Canada compete in both the Olympic and Half Rev events, the picture above is before the Half Rev on Sunday.

This was my first Rev3 event and I was seriously impressed. It was a great atmosphere with some of the friendliest, nicest volunteers & staff I have seen in a long time. The setup was very professional, from registration to transition to the finish line and expo. The location at Quassy Amusement park was key so that my kids could have some post race fun too. I definitely recommend this event as a fun, accessible and challenging early season test for your Ironman...or just for a great weekend.

My Race Report

While I haven’t been in peak training mode -- I usually race a Half just before or just after an Ironman -- I was looking forward to a challenging day of racing. Turns out that while some parts of my game were ready, quite a few were not -- I had an average day of racing for me with lots and lots of lessons learned for the rest of the season!


Packing was a disaster...I had little focus and ended up bringing everything with me. Seriously. And I still managed to forget critical gels and a few other things.

That said, I really had a blast hanging with the Team at our lunch event...we totally took over the second floor!  A special thanks to the spouses who put up with all of our trigeekery!

Race morning had me up, fed and onsite by 5:15. Which was good because my row-end space was all jacked up. The rack to hold my bike was broken and USAT officials helped me relocate to a new space...right next to a good friend so I was all set. Made it to the car and back in time for the mandatory Team photo.

The Swim: 32:xx

Considering I had only swum 5 times before the race, I was a bit nervous. I managed a five minute warm up, which was critical. The gun went off and I was a bit too far back...after about 8 minutes of panicked swimming, I resolved to get back to 4 count breathing and the long stroke that works for me in the pool. The result? I swam incredibly straight and had a great swim. The swim was one of the biggest positives for me on the day.

The Bike: 2:50:xx

With more climbing in 56 miles than two loops of the Ironman Lake Placid course, I knew that it was going to be a tough ride. There were tons of really steep hills, including a six-mile doozy from miles 23 to 29. Of course this is where I decided to drop my chain.

I noticed early on that my legs felt a bit heavy or flat. I resolved to start fueling up and things came around after about 30 minutes. It became clear to me early on that my decision not to change my gearing on my bike was an issue...I was really struggling to keep momentum over the hills. I was running a 12-25 and could have used a 27 back there, or a compact crank.

In fact my cadence was 77 for the 250, and most of it not by choice. This was partly caused by a funky shifting issue when in my small ring that made it very hard to use all my gears. I knew this going in and decided to ignore it.

As a result, I worked way too hard on some sections just to keep moving, and then couldn’t keep the effort up in other areas when it would have been advantageous. Without the dropped chain and the right gears, I could see going 2:35 to 2:40 on this course.

Nutrition Stats - Note I successfully peed at mile 20.

  • ½ Powerbar

  • 2 x Caffeinated Powergels

  • 6 Caffeinated Clifbloks

  • 4 Salt stick plus pills

  • 148oz of Gatorade

Power Stats:

  • Entire workout (238 watts):

  • Duration:   2:50:40

  • Work:       2434 kJ

  • TSS:        187.9 (intensity factor 0.814)

  • Norm Power: 260

  • VI:         1.1

  • Distance:   56.194 mi

The Run: 1:38:xx

After the bike I knew the run was going to be hard simply due to how hard I had worked. Unlike the bike I had actually previewed the course so I knew just how hard it was going to be.

I made a point to fuel up in the first 3 miles before the hills started. And they were epic.

In the image above the orange line is elevation and the blue is speed. You can see my speed dropped all day (typical) but all those sharp blue drops are all the walk breaks I needed to take to keep my heart rate down. I don’t have my HR synced with my Garmin, so it’s not in the graph...but it was super high.

Basically I had boogered the bike pacing part and I was paying the price for it here on the run. I was happy with my run time considering the situation, but I can definitely be faster with smarter execution.

Pace Data:

  • Entire workout (7.8 mph):

  • Duration:   1:38:54

  • Work:       n/a

  • rTSS:        134.8 (0.857)

  • NGP: 7:02 (228.8 m/min)

  • VI:         n/a

  • Pw:HR:       n/a

  • Pa:HR:       n/a

  • Distance:   12.818 mi

Final Recap

This was a super important race for me, as it has really put me back on track to race smarter. I learned a ton from the experience, and look forward to putting it into play in my next event...which I need to find now for some redemption. Congrats to everyone who raced!

Boston Marathon 2013 Race Report

My attempt at running the Boston Marathon in 2013 was one of good intentions and a whole lot of reality. I had initially signed up to do it as part of build to a mid-season Ironman (Placid or Tremblant). But then I opted for a late-season race for some "breathing room" after 4 IMs in 16 months had me beat up, so Boston was going to be a target race since I'd have plenty of time to recover. But then my world turned upside down early in the year, meaning I had great intentions but little to work with on the fitness side. 

My longest run had been a 15 miler, about eight weeks prior to race day. I began to have some foot pain so I cut the running back and thanks to some ART work (Chiropractic Performance rocks!). I was still hitting the bike with some intensity and quality, but nothing major. Stress levels meant I really wasn't focused on the diet and I came into race day about at about 193 knowing that I had the fitness to run a great half marathon. 

Race morning was great heading out to Hopkinton with my friends. I wasn't as nervous as I was excited for my first race since October of last year, and my first Boston since 2011's tailwind year. Pre-race was uneventful and pretty fun. I was in my corral with 5' to go to the start...beautiful weather on tap and 20,000+ running friends to share it with!!!

The Early Miles

Things started out with a huge emphasis on fun. It took about four minutes to hit the starting line and starting the watch. Nothing like a 1,000+ watches "beeping" simultaneously!  The early miles were the usual craziness. Everyone swerving and dodging to get into a better position, endangering others along the way. I think the biggest offender was around mile three, with a runner literally walking backwards through the field. Just crazy. 

Hitting My Stride: Miles 3 to 13

By about Mile Three I was feeling pretty good and was feeling okay. I wasn't really looking at the watch but in retrospect these miles were just slightly too fast. I had 7:00/mile fitness but I was turning in 6:50s or slightly better. 

By the time I hit halfway, I was at 1:30 and on pace for a good day. I could tell that I was accelerating based on the clocks for each mile, but it didn't feel that hard....yet....

Taking A Break (and Bonus Family Time!): Mile 14

By the time I made it through the awesome Wellesley cheering section and the town of Wellesley, I needed a quick pit stop. I used the stop to also tighten my laces and then it was off to find the clan.

They were at mile 14-ish, on the right, with the EN flag. So great to see them out there and get some great hi fives! What a lift!

The (Downhill) Hurt Begins: Mile 15

Soon after seeing the family we begin a serious decent into Newton Lower Falls...and it was here that my quads started to really bark at me. As in how they feel the day after the race, except I am still racing...can't be good. This was one of my slower early miles, if only because I couldn't actually run down the hill. 

I began planning ahead for the hills of Newton. I knew I'd be okay heading up or going flat, but that the downhills would be trouble. I paced the hills pretty well only loosing 10 to 20 seconds per mile off my average pace at the time. The crowds certainly helped, as did some extra special coke thanks to Breakthrough Performance Coaching!!

My worst mile on the day was in here, trying to will myself down the other side of Heartbreak Hill. My legs were veritably locked here, and I was really worried about the final 10k of the race. 

Pushing Through the Fog (Not A Wall this Time): Final 5 miles

I saw Todd from TTBikeFit in Cleveland Circle and I could tell by how he looked at me that it wasn't pretty. Probably worse than I thought. This was all a mental game of convincing myself that every mile was one closer to the finish and that stopping wasn't an option. 

I did walk for 10 seconds after an aid station around mile 22 or 23...but then I was back at it. Coming into Kenmore Square was great, and by the time I got there I knew I would be under the 3:10 qualifying benchmark. 

Running up Hereford and then left on Boylston remains just an epic finish...one that every serious runner just has to experience. I was able to kick it up a gear and finish with a really awesome grimace on my face. 

Future Changes

I will be back next year to race in 2014, and I will be targeting the race as an "A" event for me. I think the biggest deltas I can make are on body composition (8 lbs overweight hurts!!) and on my cadence. It was about 86 per minute early on, and I think that slightly longer stride might have been partly what hurt me.

The Post Race Blur

The tragic events of the marathon bombing have affected so many of us, our friends and our running family. It has put a lot of what I do into much greater perspective, and has really shown just how great a community we have here as endurance athletes. To learn more about how you can help, please view this additional post on the Marathon Nation blog

Holiday Water for An Entire Village Before January 1, 2013

Happy Holidays and New Year to You and Yours!

I hope this note finds you well. I am writing to you not to reflect on the year that was, but to share a vision of the world that we could help make. A world where everyone has safe access to clean water. 

It's hard to think of others suffering right now, typing on my laptop in Starbucks as I check my iPhone and sip on a hot coffee...but the truth is that 800 million people out there don't have drinkable water. Just sit back and think about your average day, and then take out all the water in it...it's not pretty.

The human cost of this situation is staggering:

Diseases from unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation kill more people every year than all forms of violence, including war. 

90% of the 30,000 deaths that occur every week from unsafe water and unhygienic living conditions are children under five years old.

But it has a financial toll as well. In Africa alone, the overall economic loss due to lack of safe water and sanitation is $28 billion, or about 5% of GDP. For water. 

This isn't something we can't comprehend. That we don't understand. That we can't fix. 

I have found an organization called Charity:Water that donates 100% of every dollar spent to give water. They are a top-notch not-for-profit organization, and I have chosen them to be the partner for this 72-hour sprint effort. 

You can learn more about the goal and how you can help, in less than sixty seconds, by visiting this webpage below: 



Please pass this message on to anyone else you think can help!


Thanks so much, 




Give Water for the Holidays...Real Change for Just $20!


If you are like me, the holiday season is less about giving gifts to my extended family but about celebrating all the gifts we already have (and usually take for granted). Security. Safety. Food. Housing, Employment. Health.

Celebrating these things also reminds me of just how far so many others have yet to come in order to experience a fraction of what we have. The starkest example I can think of is so simple we don't think about it every day: access to clean, drinkable water. 

Here are some incredible statistics about the water crisis. 


  • MORE PEOPLE DIE FROM LACK OF CLEAN WATER AND SANITATION each year than are killed by all forms of violence, including war.
  • Diarrheal disease caused by unsafe water is the SECOND LEADING KILLER OF CHILDREN WORLDWIDE, (It’s the first in sub-Saharan Africa.) 
  • In sub-Saharan Africa 16 MILLION HOURS EACH DAY are spent by women collecting water. This takes time away from work, school, and family. 

What does improving access to water actually do? Why not fight disease or donate to small business funds? Because water supercedes all of those demands...

  • Women can use the time once spent walking for water to pursue other important opportunities like EARNING AN EXTRA INCOME AND COMPLETING THEIR EDUCATION.
  • Clean water projects that are built near schools significantly INCREASE CLASS ATTENDANCE, especially in girls.
  • At times, clean water projects mean families can start small subsistence gardens near their homes to provide RELIABLE ACCESS TO FOOD.

I have had a lot of people tell me that they'd rather help with something closer to home; and I get that...IF you are actually doing something. For the price of just $20 you can help someone get drinkable water, and that small donation certainly doesn't preclude you from doing more here or elsewhere. 

Thanks for your support!!!


2012 Philadelphia Marathon Race Report

I ran the Philly Marathon on November 18th in memory of my good friend, Chris Gleason, who passed away at mile 25 there exactly one year ago. While this race was about much more than performance, I clocked a 3:03 for my third fastest open marathon time.

More Than Sport

As an entrepreneur in the endurance sports niche, I spend the vast majority of my time working on / in / around athletics. It's an inherently selfish endeavor, save for the odd person racing to raise funds or awareness for a cause.

While I wasn't fundraising, my focus on this race had very little to do with performance. I really struggled to think of how I was going to train, prepare and execute my day…my mind bounced back and forth between being on site to remember Chris and racing the race.

With my mind outside of simply performance, I was able to have a great time connecting with some old friends and quite a few new ones as well. We kept it simple, and the meet up area after the race was the perfect space to enjoy a few beers and memories of Chris.

Stupid Human Tricks

#1 - Gaining Weight: In the six weeks leading up to Philly, I spend 14 days doing nothing as I was recovering from Ironman Hawaii. Then I loosely started training again, sidetracked only by a trip to Ironman Florida to support Endurance Nation.

#2 - Falling Down: I was about to get back on track when I fell while running at night and fractured my forearm, setting me back another week. This left me only 7 days to do any real running before the race. The runs were sluggish at best, and slightly painful, but after a few five milers I felt as though my stride was coming back a bit.

#3 - Dash and Crash: At mile five a fellow runner dropped something and she decided to stop and get it…which is practically impossible. Aside from turning a nice run with friends into an f-bomb festival for her ignorance, she also managed to create a pile up that included me tweaking my fractured arm and, miraculously, losing my Garmin 305 from my other wrist. Awesome.

What You Don't Train For Can Hurt You

Given my mediocre fitness and extra weight, I was unable to run to my potential. Or rather, I ran my best but given my constraint that means my top-end was a 3:03 on the day.

What I didn't count on, however, was just how beat up my legs would be afterwards. As in super sore, worse than any race in memory. I am glad I did it, but man I am not going to make a "non-training" mistake again anytime soon.

Lessons Learned & Next Steps

  • A marathon, whether serious or for fun, requires some solid preparation. I must respect the distance. 
  • If your marathon feels like "work" at mile eight (instead of mile 15), you are in for a long day. 
  • Navigating aid stations with a bum right hand is zero fun. 
  • The people who run the pacing groups apparently do not where GPS devices to manage their pace. The 3-hour group at Philly ran 7:00/mile (instead of 6:50s) for the first few miles…but closed it out with 6:40s over the final 10 miles, snapping me off the back! 
  • Less clothing is more, even on a cold (dry) day. 
  • You can still race a race even if you aren't at peak fitness. 

Despite my promises to the contrary, I am interested in running a standalone marathon in the future, with good preparation. I think if my fitness and execution and weight are dialed in on the right course, I might have an outside chance of cracking the 2:50 mark. Given I race at 185 pounds, that's no small feat, but then again, I don't do this stuff because it's easy.

So here's to many more Mile 25s -- and beyond!

See you at the races,

~ Patrick

Guess My Philadelphia Marathon Finish Time (2012)

As some of you know, I will be in Philadelphia this weekend to run the Philadelphia Marathon in the memory of my good friend, Chris Gleason. Chris died in the final mile to the finish, doing what he loved -- giving it everything he had. 

I am really looking forward to this weekend; there will be some other friends making the trek. And it's just really important to me that I get there...to the city, to the course, and to mile 25.

I know it's common to remark about loss when someone dies, but in Chris' case it's true. It's unbelievable to me how, even to this day, I keep finding new friends and connections who were touched by Chris, his passion for life and his personal commitment for excellence.

I will be running this race pretty not in shape. Yes, I just did Ironman Hawaii about six weeks ago, but since then I took two weeks off, exercised sporadically for two weeks and then fractured my forearm. I have run 30 to 45 minutes a few times this week to test out my arm, and it seems all systems are go. 

So Guess My Time

I have run a 3:07 here back in 2001, my only Philly attempt. My best open marathon was a 2:59:42 in 2009. My last open marathon was Boston in 2011 -- the tailwind race! -- where I went 3:01:xx. 

Since then I have run a 3:15 at Ironman Texas in May 2012; and suffered to a 3:46 in Kona most recently. 

I am still not sure how I am going to approach the day, as in racing or not...but maybe your guesses will motivate. 

Prize for the closest guess TBD...put it in the comments!!!