Sunday, December 20, 2009

5 mile easy run

I have been a little slow to build back up my mileage after the marathon but I have been busy with work, holiday planning and preparation, and just plain sleeping in. I figure now is the best time to do so. Starting in the new year I will have to hit it hard again. There are two all comers meets at Antelope Valley College on their new track in the beginning of the year that I am excited for. I don't have any leg speed right now but it will still be fun.

I ran an easy 5 today, down to Lane Park, two laps, and then back home. I was able to maintain a decent pace (I estimate 7:30-8:00) but did still feel tight in the calves and hamstrings.

I had some information to share with some of my readers:
Dale, did you hear that Ryan Hall and Meb Keflezighi will both be running the Boston Marathon with you in April? Ok not with you but in the same race. There will be lots of BUZZ for sure. I am excited for you. It will be fun to help you train and follow your progress on race day!

Chuck, I found two marathons that start in one state, travel through another, and finish in a third. I know that is probably cheating to count all three states in one race but I though it was a cool idea. Then I wondered, if you ran one of those races, which state would you count? The state that it started in or the state that it finished in? Here are the websites for the two races. I thought you would be interested.

Mesquite Marathon (looks like a fast course)
It starts in Utah, runs through Arizona, and finishes in Nevada.

Mother Road Marathon (first running in October)
It starts in Oklahoma, runs through Kansas, and finishes in Missouri.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Jingle Jog 2009

Two years ago I ran the Jingle Jog pushing my son Matt in the single jogger. My son Micah was only a month old and not ready to brave the cold weather. I met a college buddy of mine and we pushed our kids for 5k in 22 minutes and 24 seconds! Last year was so cold that we decided not to go. The event was postponed anyways.

This year, the weather was awesome and we got Andi out there with us. I pushed both boys in the double jogger in just under 25 minutes, which included stopping with .1 miles to go to let the boys out to run the rest with us! It took about a mile to break through some of the traffic (our mile split was 8:45) and we got into a groove after that. So I guess this was a double jogger PR for me! A good time was had by all! See Clay's blog for more pictures.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

One year since 2008 snow day!

It is one year to the day that we had our big snow day. I actually had a great workout that morning. It was fun running in the snow. See my post from that day here.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

That McMillan Article

I knew I could find that article by Greg McMillan on marathon recovery. It was in the December 2007 issue of Running Times. Thanks Clay for saving all his back issues. His article restates everything I said in my last post. He adds that "research indicates that the muscle damage from running a marathon can last up to two weeks" but that "soreness (or lack there of) is NOT a good indicator of muscle healing." What this means is that even though you feel good, it doesn't mean that your muscles are fully healed. I know this is a little late for you CIM runners, but here is his Optimal Marathon Recovery Program given in the same issue. We are on day 10 today!

Monday, December 14, 2009

More on Recovery

First, I updated my title picture with a finish line shot from CIM. I just received the picture in the mail and it seemed appropriate to put up for my blog header. Here is the full shot.

Secondly, I have been keeping my readers posted on the race results for Sergio Reyes. He ran at the Club Cross Country National Championships this weekend and placed 21st (results here). I think he was burned out after Chicago. His team, Asics Aggies, finished 4th. See video here (you can hear people cheering for Sergio!).

The Footlocker National High School Cross Country Championships was also this weekend. The boys race was won by a sophomore for the first time in 31 years. His name is Lukas Verzbicas and he won the race by nearly 15 seconds, the third largest margin in Footlocker history.
If you did not see the finish of the girls Footlocker Nationals this weekend you MUST check it out here. It was the closest margin of victory in the race's 31 years.

Finally, I promised my readers some information on proper marathon recovery so here it goes. Many of you may have heard of the 1 day recovery for every mile raced rule. This actually holds true for most people. A month recovery after a marathon gives the body enough time to fully return to a homeostasis. This recovery doesn't mean no running, it just means no hard workouts and a gradual progression of mileage back to an average week. Everyone responds differently to the effects of a marathon, so I cannot tell you how many days you should take off or how much mileage to start with, but it should be easy initially (2 minutes/mi slower than marathon pace), and it should be a fraction of what you are used to. My rule is if I am still limping around when walking I am probably not ready to run yet. It took me five days to feel ready to run and when I did I was only able to make it 3 miles. I was limited by calf stiffness and a little knee pain. Could I have gone longer? Yes. Should I have gone longer? Probably not. I had planned on running this past Sunday but I was out late the night before and the weather in Vegas was nasty in the morning.
You must listen to your body. I find that after about half of this "recovery period" most runners are feeling pretty good. This means one week after a half marathon or two weeks after a full marathon. At this time you could certainly increase your mileage but should avoid the urge to increase the intensity. If you do you are putting yourself at risk for injury. Eating healthy, getting good sleep, and doing all those other little things like ice baths also help with recovery.
These first 4 weeks after a marathon are a great time to do some cross training, especially swimming and biking. You will be able to exercise longer without the recurring tightness and stiffness running can cause. You should run as the slow running will help increase blood flow to the same muscles to aid in healing without causing extra damage. After the 4 week recovery a return to tempo runs and/or track workouts is appropriate as long as there is no sharp pain or change in stride or form.

So here are the take home points:
1. One day of recovery for every mile raced.
2. Increase mileage slowly before ever increasing intensity.
3. Slow easy running will help the healing process.
4. Recovery is a great time to cross train.
5. Listen to your body. If it hurts don't do it.
6. Increase workout intensity once a week after the recovery period.
7. Eat healthy and get good sleep.
8. Ice bath, Ice bath, Ice bath

McMillan had a good article on marathon recovery in Running Times recently. If I can find it I will post it.

Speaking of Running Times, I had written a letter (email) to the editor last month in response to the last article in the November issue titled "Upping the Ante." In the article the author discusses the idea of increasing race entry fees to more popular or high profile races like Chicago and New York and making registration dates closer to race days. His reasoning was to avoid an early sell out and decrease the number of no-shows to the event. He seemed to be partially playing devil's advocate, but also bringing up some possible changes to race management as our sport grows. He compared raising entry fees to ticket prices at a baseball game. I had never written into a magazine before but for some reason felt the need to do so. Clay and I received our Jan/Feb issues in the mail today and when I got mine I quickly flipped through it but did not have time to read more than the title of Greg McMillan's article. At lunch Clay came to me and asked, "Did you read your new Running Times?" I told him I didn't have a chance yet and that is when he told me that my letter was published in the letters to the editor. Here is a scan of the letter.

Friday, December 11, 2009


Well I finally got out for a run today to start the return to running again. Below is a picture from my front door. Not too cold out side, but poured last night. The first few steps felt ok but after a few more both of my calves felt like baseballs. They didn't cramp up they just still feel very tight. The pain did get a little better after about 1.5 miles. I stopped the run at 3 miles which took me about 30 minutes. The calves seem to be the only lagging soreness although my quads did start to fatigue after the 3 miles. My nervous system is shot! I will post more on proper recovery soon, just wanted to get a quick post in.
I leave you with this video I found. One ultrarunner's preview of the LA Marathon course.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

CIM PHOTOS has posted the race photos. Click HERE then enter my bib number 6480. There are some good ones!

I am still very sore from the run. The first few days my quads would forget to fire at the appropriate time and my knees would hyperextend. They are much better now, but both of my calves are still very tight and sore and get worse as the day goes on. The rolling hills, especially the amount of downhill running, really beat me up.

I also updated my marathon PR on my PR list to the right and added years to each PR listed.

I was looking back at some of my past races and times. I would like to take a shot at my 10 mile PR next year. I know I was faster enroute to my half marathon PR but I can't prove it. If it works out I could also try for my 10k on a fast course, and I would like to go under 18 minutes on a road 5k, which I don't think I have ever done.

I also found some of Andi's race results. I ran with her for both her marathon and half marathon PRs.

She ran 1:33:21 in 2002 on the old Las Vegas Half Marathon course. The same course where my PR was set. She was 5th in her age group that year!

We ran the Los Angeles Marathon together in 2005 and our time was 3:38:43. Andi was 19th in her age group that year!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

New marathon PR set at CIM! 2:57:11

It took me three and a half years but I finally bettered my PR that I set at Grandma's Marathon in 2006. My previous best was 2:58:37. Today I ran 2:57:11! Here is the story (I may be wordy here but I don't want to forget any details).

We woke up at 4:30 am (actually Clay was up even earlier...not by choice), to catch the bus to the starting line at 5:00am! We met up with the rest of our group (Dale, Michael, Dan, and Chuck) easily and boarded a bus quickly. It was around 30 degrees. We were able to stay on the bus to keep warm and go back and forth between the port-a-potties. We finally left for the starting line around 6:30 and got close to our pace groups. My plan was to say behind the 3 hour pacer for a while to test my right leg and then decide what to do. I was dressed perfectly. I had a skull cap, arm warmers and gloves with shorts and a sleeveless shirt. I wore my injinjis (socks), which I found out the hard way that they don't keep your toes very warm. I felt like I was running on stubs for the first two miles.

The gun went off and we took off down hill for the first mile. The three hour pacer really took off and was 10 seconds ahead of me right away. After mile one you turn right and head up a short hill and then start a series of short wavy hills for four miles. My first five splits were 6:50, 6:42, 6:35, 6:41, 6:39. The three hour pacer was still ahead of me. He took those poor guys out way too fast.

We turned south after the five mile mark and were welcomed by a stiff headwind for the next five miles which also had a series of short wavy hills. By mile seven I had passed the 3 hour pace group, which was still ahead of schedule, and I was powering up the short hills then cruising down the other side. The hills almost seemed to be strategically placed. Just when my quads were getting tired we were going up, and just when my calves and hams were tiring we were going down again. Things were going really well. The wind did not seem to affect me at all. I had no right foot pain and no right leg tightness at this point. I couldn't believe it! My next five splits were 6:39, 6:43. 6:42. 6:42, 6:25!

We then turned right (west) and the head wind became a cross wind. The hills continued but were longer for the next four miles. I continued to power up the hills and really started to pick it up on the downhills. I was going from one pack to the next. Everyone seemed to be coming back to me and as I passed more and more people I was a little worried that I was going to fast. Still feeling relaxed, I decided to maintain my pace. My splits were 6:17, 6:40, 6:42, 6:42. That 6:17 was me trying to keep up with another runner that was obviously too fast for me...I let him go. My half marathon split was 1:27:36 (right on pace for a 2:55).

Just passed the half way point my right calf started to tighten a bit but not enough to affect my stride or slow me down. I kept grinding. We turned south again to an even stronger headwind for the next five miles. I got stuck between packs for a few miles and was all by myself in no mans land with no one to help me. I was continuing on pace focusing on groups ahead until I finally caught one, and then another. My spits here were 6:50, 6:35, 6:39, 6:37, 6:33. I went through mile 18 I remember just over 2 hours (2:00:20ish). Knowing that I was still on pace for 2:55 I decided there that I hadn't come all this way and put myself in this position not to finish well.

I took two powerbar gels (strawberry-banana) with water. One at the half way point and one at mile 20. I took one cup of Ultima around mile 10 and one other sip of water some where along the way. That is all I needed.

There is a bridge around mile 21 that I was waiting for as a landmark and it seemed to take forever to get there. "Where is that darn bridge?" I kept thinking. That is really the last hill on the course. By mile 19 the headwind was now a cross wind again and didn't seem to affect me the rest of the race. It did keep temperatures down though. I passed a bank around mile 22 and the clock outside read 39 degrees. By my Garmin (which was a little off) I went through 20 miles in 2:12:55. It was actually just over 2:13. Mile 20 was 6:36, mile 21 was 6:48, mile 22 was 6:55, and then the legs started to get a little heavy.

6:40 is the average pace to run a 2:55. They were calling out average paces almost every mile and by 20 I was 6:41! After 21 miles the course starts to flatten out, but because my legs were tiring it felt like I was still running up hill. We hit 56th street and had to run down to 9th street. My legs were getting harder and harder to lift and I was pushing off the ground less and less. I was trying to do the math and calculate how close I could be to running a PR as 2:55 started to slip away. Last four miles were 7:05, 7:07, 6:58, 7:04 and a last finishing kick for the last .2 miles gave me a 2:57:11! Those last four miles were probably the hardest four miles I have ever run. That is where my extra 1.5 minutes came from. I realized with about a mile to go that I was going to PR for sure and I was pumped up!

Once I stopped running I could barely move. Both of my legs seized up with cramping and I hobbled around the finish area. I kept waiting around but never found anyone else from my group. I finally ran into Michael who shook his head. He was hoping to run sub 3:10 and ended up 3:18 (still a PR). He said he lost Dan at around the half way point. I couldn't find anyone else so I shuffled back to my hotel room. It took me at least 20 minutes to walk a quarter mile to the hotel.

The conditions where tough out there and only got worse as the day went on. Dale was the only other runner in our group to PR with a time of 3:19:48. Chuck (two weeks after running the Route 66 marathon) ran 3:22:00. Clay and Dan both had a really rough time out there. Clay said he caught up to Dan around mile 22 and they were both walking. He said Dan was weaving back and forth on the road. They got together and walk/jogged it in at around 3:45. They both battled calf issues. Don't let it get you down guys. You are both better than that. It just wasn't your day.

I checked the official results when I got home and found that I had just cracked the top 200 runners finishing in 197th place. I was 36th in my age group 30-34. There were a number of talented runners there. My 2:57:11 is averaging 6:45 pace! This may also be the first time that I ran under 1:30 for my second half of the marathon. Since I went out in 1:27:36 I came back in 1:29:25. This was my 8th marathon and they don't get any easier. I don't know when I will take shot at this new PR but I know I have more in me. 2:55 is certainly possible, then who knows.

Tomorrow will be a tough day at work. My legs are extremely stiff and sore, the right leg is worse than the left.

It was a great trip. One I will never forget (especially after this LONG blog post).

Friday, December 4, 2009

2 days to go!

The rest has done my leg some good. It still feels tight so I'll just have to wait and see how it feels on the run. I am a little nervous.

I have many friends and family racing this weekend. I have friends running the Las Vegas half marathon and family running the freeze and wheeze 10k in Palmdale. I can't wait to hear how everyone does. We should all have good weather, just COLD! Good luck to everyone running this weekend.

Sacramento should be in the low 30s in the am and high of mid 50s with little to no wind!
The big storm is coming Sunday night or Monday!

This will be my last post before the race. Check back Sunday night for full results and race summary! Or follow online on race day. Go to and click on Track Your Runner. My bib #6480.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

3 days to go!

Race day is right around the corner. My father-in-law is in Sacramento this week and said that the town is already buzzing about the race. He said to check out the sacbee website for lots of info. Here is ultra runner Tim Twietmeyer's mile by mile breakdown of the course (He has won Western States 100 five times and has run every CIM!). He is also leading the 3:35 pace group.

I guess Josh Cox, who trains in Mammoth with Ryan Hall, will be running CIM along with 20 other men trying to get a qualifying mark for the next olympic trials marathon. So there should be a good US presence there. It also means that Ryan Hall may be up there cheering on his friend. We'll have to keep our eyes open for celebrities at the expo.

Weather still looks good with forecast of partly cloudy, high of 57 and low 35. It may be even colder than that. Warm clothes will be a must for pre and post race. We have to catch the bus between 5 and 5:30 am. It will be COLD.

Here is my checklist for race day packing:
1. Race shoes (New Balance 1224)
2. Running gloves
3. Race shirt and arm sleeves
4. Race shorts
5. Injinjis (socks)
6. Skull cap (I may buy a new one at the expo)
7. Sunglasses
8. Pre race warmups (throw away clothes)
9. Post race long sleeved shirt and warm up pants (it will be cold afterward and I want to stick around the finish line area to cheer)
10. Vasoline or bodyglide
11. Bandaids
12. Preferred breakfast foods (it will be an early morning)
(Bagel, banana, power-bar)
13. Any other day before food (carbs)
14. Race morning beverage (I don't need too much to drink it tends to go right through me)
15. Powerbar gels (my brand of choice)
16. Clothes for return trip home
17. Poncho for starting line (throw away)
18. Garmin Forerunner 305 (I almost forgot!)
19. Toothbrush, deoderant, extra pair of contact lenses, etc.
20. Cell phone

Ok, that is my list. Let me know if I forgot anything.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

We are live!

They Valley Physical Therapy Group website is up and running! We are live, as they say! Check out the website here.

The weather system we have been watching must be a slow one because they are not calling for rain until Monday! The forecast for Sunday is now "partly cloudy" with 10% chance of precipitation, although we may have a 7 mph headwind. High of 54 and low of 35! It must be a big system because they are calling for 60% chance of rain on Monday in Las Vegas and Lancaster also.

For anyone wishing to follow us on race day there will be live online timing with splits at 6 mile, half, 20 mile, and finish. You just need to know your runners bib number. Mine is 6480.

I have shut down the running completely. I am done running until CIM. The reason being is that my right leg is very tight and sore for about 2-3 days even after a short run. I think I will be ok on race day but Monday and Tuesday will be tough at work!

Greg McMillan, coach of McMillan Elite in Flagstaff, AZ, just won the US Trail Marathon Championships in Ashland, OR for the Masters Division. He was 4th over all with a time of 2:54:50 (results here)! Read about his experience on his blog here. He just turned 40 and had not run a marathon since PRing at CIM in 2002 with a time of 2:31:59! Congratulations Greg, and welcome back to the marathon.

Flotrack is starting a new video series titled "Components of Success" which looks to be very educational and helpful for runners of all ages and distances. Topics will include core work, speed development, coaching, and racing. Stay tuned!

From my day calendar on December 2nd:
"Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason so few engage in it."--Henry Ford