Friday, December 31, 2010

20 miles Munz Ranch to Ave S.

Dale had planned a point to point long run for the past couple of weeks. We all met out at Munz Ranch Rd at 7:00am and headed east. It was in the high 20s at the start. A group of 6 of us started (David, Dale, Clay, Zac, Lauren, and me). We picked up another, Joel, at 110th, then dropped Zac at 70th. After 60th we broke up a bit and Joel and I ran together until about 3 miles to go. I pushed it in and finished the 20 miles in 2 hours 41 minutes. The temps got better in the middle and then the wind picked up a bit toward the end. My last mile was 6:50. A friend of mine Fran ran 14.5 miles for her longest run ever!

I finished 2010 with 1402 miles (exactly the same as last year). I calculated that I was close and needed 40 miles in the last 4 days of the year to tie last year so I did it. My goal was 1600 miles and if I hadn't injured my calf I would have made it.

157 miles for December.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

26 feels like 14!

Wouldn't it be nice if I was talking about miles? Well, I'm actually talking about degrees farenheit. The forcast for this morning at 6:00am was 26 degrees but the wind chill would make it feel like 14 degrees. I think it was actually a few degrees colder than that. Dale met me at my house at 5:40am and we took off around the Rancho Vista area. The houses blocked a good amount of the wind so we tried to stay within the neighborhoods. We had a nice easy run and finished 9 miles then I headed out for one more mile to complete 10 in 86 minutes (avg 8:30). I think the wind picked up during the run because it seemed to get colder. My hands were the limiting factor today and by the end they were throbbing. It was probably the coldest run of the year. Thanks Dale for the company. I never would have made it 10 in that weather alone.

I was trying to find a list of the best US marathon times for 2010 and finally found one. It is a list of all the Olympic trials qualifiers to date. After picking out all the times run in 2010 I realized that Sergio's 2:14:02 at Twin Cities was the 10th fastest US marathon time this year (and two of those are Meb)! He is ranked 12th of all the qualifiers thus far (some people qualified in 2009). He is in some pretty good company. The Olympic Trials Marathon for men and women is scheduled for January 14th in Houston, TX. Check out the men's qualifiers list here.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Why do you run?...Why don't you run?

I get asked that question alot. A good answer is another question, "Why not?"

If you run, you are a runner. It doesn't matter how fast or how far. It doesn't matter if today is your first day or if you've been running for twenty years. There is no test to pass, no license to earn, no membership card to get. You just run.

John Bingham, Runner and author

Someone was talking about how much better a runner I am than her and that I started running long before she did. My response was, “We both started running around the same time (she looked at me funny)…when we were 2 years old.” It is true, everyone started running near the same age. We just stop running at different ages. Why do we stop running? That is the question of the day.

“You ever see a kid do hot yoga and put on a knee brace? What do kids do? Kids just go. I have a five year old daughter, and when she wants to run she just [raises her arm] goes, “GO!” [leans forward and runs].”

“Somewhere between the age of 5 and 25 we go from really loving [running] to, oh shit I gotta do it.”

--Christopher McDougall

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Tempo + AT run with Dale (Mixed Systems Workout)

I met Dale this morning for a good workout at Joe Walker. I suggested a mixed systems workout. I had read about these type of workouts in Running Times but couldn't find the article (I think it was a McMillan article). Then I found another source when I got to work in the morning. You have probably heard of an interval workout or a threshold workout. Usually they are done separately. In a mixed workout you do a little of both. Exercise Physiologist, Jason Karp discusses them in his book: 101 Developmental Concepts & Workouts for Cross Country Runners. It is a great book because he gives examples of some great workouts and the objectives and coaching advice for each one. He calls this workout AT (acidosis threshold or lactate threshold) run/VO2max intervals mix. He suggests 2 to 3 miles at AT pace followed by 3 to 4 x 800m to 1000m at VO2max pace with a 1:1 work-to-rest ratio. For Dale this would mean 3 miles at 7:00-7:10 pace followed by 4x800m at 3:10 to 3:20. I decided I would run with Dale to pull him along for the AT portion and then run all 4 miles at 6:20 pace for my own AT workout as my AT pace is Dale's VO2max pace. Jason Karp's description of the workout objective is "To increase acidosis threshold and VO2max by combining AT-paced running with VO2max-paced running and to practice running harder off a comfortably hard pace." The part I like the best is "to practice running harder off a comfortably hard pace." What is this? It is race simulation, running hard when you are tired, pushing in the last few miles of a half marathon. Run at your threshold pace for 10-11 miles and then push it in with whatever you have left. Of course this workout is a much shorter version of the real thing, but that is what training is all about. Give yourself a little taste of what it feels like to run hard when you are tired and let your body adapt and remember that feeling.

Dale was a little slow on the AT portion of the run but came back hard on the track and ran each 800m under 3:20 and his last one in 3:10! Jason Karp's coaching point is to "make sure athletes don't run the AT-pace segment too fast." Better to run a few seconds slower than a few seconds too fast any way. I asked Dale if it was any harder to run those 800s after the AT portion. He said, "not really." That guy is in good shape.

My training paces for that workout would be 3 miles at 6:15 to 6:20 pace and then 4x800m at 2:45-2:50. That sounds tough. I will have to try it some day.

My mile splits on the track were 6:11, 6:15, 6:10, and 5:56. The Joe Walker track still measures long. My garmin beeps almost 50m before I hit the 4 lap mark on the track. My total mileage for today was 10.5!

There are some great workouts in Jason Karp's book. I will continue to try some and share them with you in the coming year!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Weekend Runs

Picture stolen from Clay's blog.

I had another week of no runs leading up to a long weekend. Here is how it went down. Dale and Clay had organized a group long run for Friday morning. We all met at 60th and the aqueduct, headed west for 5.2 miles then turned around. After a warm up mile we were consistently hitting mile splits of 8:00 to 8:10. At the 10 mile mark a group of us Dale, Jeff, and I were met by Zac Patten and picked up the pace for the next 8 miles. Jeff turned around early, Zac wasn't feeling well, and Dale was finishing a 70+ mile week and I think he was feeling it a little. He was having a tougher time maintaining his MP by mile 15. He is a work-horse though and pulled out a great workout and a great week.

My last 8 miles were 7:27, 7:42, 7:23, 7:32, 7:24, 7:15, 6:47, 6:25!

18 miles in just about 2:20 (avg pace 7:48).

Both my IT Bands were whispering to me and my right calf felt a little tight the entire run. It was a tough 18 miler. I guess that is what I get for only running weekend long runs and nothing during the week. Oh well.

Saturday was Christmas. We had gorgeous weather. There was no running involved but we had a GREAT Christmas with the kids! They were so excited and have been playing with their new toys non-stop since Christmas morning. This year running related gifts I received included: A Twin Cities Marathon shirt, some cold weather running pants, and a DVD documentary titled Running America.

Sunday we all slept in. It was cold and windy (I guess breezy by AV standards). I waited until the boys took a nap and then headed out for a run around Quartz Hill. I ended up running 10 miles in 75 minutes (7:30 pace). During the second half of the run I mapped out a few loops on a dirt road/trail that I found between housing tracts off of "the hill" on 65th. Each loop is just about a half mile and would be great for intervals. I am looking forward to using these loops next year. The are almost exactly two miles from my house. They have some hills but nothing too steep so you could still run fast but vary the grades and avoid the roads or the track!

Dan asked me the other day about tunes for the ipod while running. Here is what I am into at the moment:
"Animal" - Neon Trees
"Lisztomania" - Phoenix
"1901" - Phoenix
"Cousins" - Vampire Weekend
"Dog Days are Over" - Florence and the Machine
"I bet that you look good on the dance floor" - Arctic Monkeys
"Kings and Queens" - 30 Seconds to Mars
"This is War" - 30 Seconds to Mars
"Waiting for the End" - Linkin Park
"If its love" - Train
"Radioactive" - Kings of Leon
"Use Somebody" - Kings of Leon
"The Fixer" - Pearl Jam
"Seven Army Nation" - The White Stripes
"Icky Thump" - The White Stripes
"Take Me Out" - Franz Ferdinand
"I want you to" - Weezer
There are quite a few songs by Muse that I have my eye on!

Dan, hope this helps. I tend to like songs with a fairly fast beat for my running playlist and I always run faster than I planned when I am wearing my ipod shuffle.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

500th POST!

New title picture!

This blog was originally created as a training journal to document my experiences leading up to the Boston Marathon in 2008, hence the name "Karl's Road to Boston." I think I always knew that I would continue with the blog after finishing the Boston Marathon, thus the "and Beyond" portion of the title.
This blog has evolved from a training journal that was shared with basically just Clay, to a sharing of running information with many friends, whether it be educational or humorous. It is still a way for me to document my own training, but now it is a way to communicate with many runners and keep tabs on everyone's plans and progress.

Since starting the blog I have run 3 marathons (including my second marathon with my wife) and my first ultra. I have run as fast as 5:14 for a mile, and I have found a love for trail running. I have PR'd at the 10 mile and marathon distances, and I have watched a TON of flotrack videos. I have dealt with shin splints, knee pain, and a few calf strains. Most importantly I have gained many running friends. My 30 mile birthday run brought many of us together, and it was an incredible day. Chuck and Dale started training quite often together after connecting on that run. I have also found it fun to watch and report on the top US runners over the past 3 years.

I recently went back to my 2010 goals and here is a recap.
1. I will finish the Leona Divide 50 mile run in less than 10 hours. MET
2. I will run a sub 18 minute 5k at the Newhall Independence Day race. Almost MET
3. I will run a sub 5 minute 1600m in 2010. Not MET
4. I will run a personal course record (currently 19:57) at the summer cross country series. MET
5. I will run a sub 1:23 half marathon in the fall (not sure which one yet). Almost MET
6. I will run 1600 miles in 2010. Not MET

So, two out of six ain't bad (almost 4 out of 6).

I like to set a mileage goal even though it rarely pans out. My calf injury in August took me out of that one. Most people I talk to are amazed that I can run a sub 3 hour marathon while never exceeding 45 miles per week. It always makes me wonder what I could do on consistently 70-80mpw, I may never know that answer.

I will post my 2011 goals on my first post of 2011.

Here is the links back to:
100th post
200th post
300th post
400th post

I haven't run all week, I have been busy at home. I am training for the Surf City Marathon but am just squeeking by at this point. I am not anticipating anything spectacular, although I guess I still have 7 weeks to go. It will be a fun time either way. As of right now I am planning on going out at 1:30 and see how long I can hang on.

We were in Las Vegas this weekend, and on my way into town I called up Ron. He said, "I am planning a 20 miler tomorrow, but I'm just not motivated," not knowing that I was headed into town. I replied, "What if I ran it with you?" and we set up a meeting time of 6:00 am. Ron mapped out a 5 mile loop that we could run 4 times, but that morning it was fairly windy. When I met him at the park I thought we could just run 10 and if it got worse we could call it for the day. We ran together and talked for 2 loops and the wind sort of calmed down. We decided to do another loop and this time I ran in the reverse direction and met him on the opposite side of the loop. I finished the day with 17 miles and Ron continued for another loop to make it an even 20! Nice work Ron. Looking back today I am glad we ran yesterday. Today there is 30+mph gusts! That said, I did not run today.

Thanks to all my readers and those who comment on my blog. Don't hesitate to ask me questions. If I don't reply right away I may be saving my answer for another post. Keep reading.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

16 mile fast finish long run (1:58:28)

Pictures stolen from Clay's Blog.
The plan today was to meet Clay and Zac at 7:00 and Zac and I would run a 10 mile run (5 easy, 5 tempo) while Clay ran a recovery run after yesterday. I wanted to put in a few more miles so I got out there early and did 6 warm up at 7:40 avg pace. The weather was perfect, cool and calm. I met up with Clay and Zac, got a hit of Gatorade, and we set out west on the aqueduct. Zac and I eased into a comfortable pace for the first few miles. Zac was making it look easy on the way out. Here are our first 5 splits, 8:02, 7:55, 7:41, 8:02, 7:36. We hit the 5 mile mark in just over 39 minutes and turned around. The first mile back we started to pick it up and each mile there after was about 10 seconds faster than the last. The last 3 miles were tough but we pulled each other along to finish the 10 together in 72:20! We finished our return 5 in just over 33 minutes! Here are our last 5 splits, 6:58, 6:48, 6:39, 6:23, 6:14. Nice work Zac!

Zac is running the Surf City Half Marathon to keep him training through the winter. He will run a good time after a workout like that. Including Zac, we have a good AV presence at Surf City. Clay, Dale, Chuck, Lauren and I are running the full Marathon along with my pal Ron from Las Vegas. Zac, Neil, and recently friends Eric and Dawn are planning on running the half marathon.

Total time for 16 miles today was 1:58:28 (avg pace 7:24).
Total weekend miles 28!

I am trying to get in as much good weekend mileage as I can, when I can. With the holidays, a weekend trip to Vegas and a trip to Colorado planned there will be limited time to train.

They have been getting a TON of snow in Minneapolis this weekend. Check this out! Yes, there was SUPPOSED to be a football game today!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

12 mile morning run

I slept in too long to go any farther. I ran to Highland HS via the aqueduct, then back home on Rancho Vista, added a little extra to make it 12 miles in 90 minutes (avg 7:30 pace).

At about the 8.5 mile mark this song came up on my ipod shuffle. It may be the greatest running song ever. It always makes me run faster! The song is called "March of the Swivel Heads" by The English Beat.

Clay and Dale ran a 10k in Santa Monica this morning. Both had great times. Clay ran 40:55 and Dale was 41:28! Congrats guys! Smokin' fast!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

7 mile easy run

I got in 7 this morning at about 8:00 avg pace. It was a little breezy but warm and I was way over dressed.

Footlocker Nationals is this weekend and Flotrack has been counting down the top 6 Footlocker moments of the past decade. It is fun to see Solinsky and some of the other big names before he was an American record holder. Watch them all, they are great.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

High School Cross Country at it's finest! NXN

Must watch all 9 minutes! This is a brutal course.

Monday, December 6, 2010

4 mile recovery run in the fog

I woke up this morning to a thick fog! I didn't have much time but I had to go running in the fog. I could barely see down my street. I ran down to Lane Park, around Joe Walker, and home for 4 easy recovery miles. My right hip is tired. I will need some more easy miles this week.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

9 mile marathon pace fast finish run

If I don't get out first thing in the morning it is tough to get out for a run later in the day. We have busy weekends and today was no different. I didn't feel like getting up at 5 am so I slept in and got up with the kids (6:45). Andi went for a run while I stayed with the boys and followed the Las Vegas Half Marathon and California International Marathon that were run today. Ron PR'd in the half marathon with a time of 2:03:30 (A PR by 3.5 minutes and a course best by 10 minutes!) Way to go Ron! David Weary ran CIM in 3:45 (10 minutes off a BQ), he went out in 1:45 but came back in 2:00. Must have been a rough second half. With CIM this weekend that means it is one year since my marathon PR at CIM 2009 (2:57:11)! That is an awesome race, very competitive! This year there were 292 runners under 3 hours and 32 under 2:30! 10 of those sub 3 hour runners were in the 50-54 AG and 9 in the 55-59 AG! I am close to that sub 3 shape right now I think just less long runs. Looking forward to some 20 milers in the next two months in preparation for Surf City!

So I didn't get out this morning, we went to church, then ran a few errands and got home around 1:00pm. I had about an hour and a half to run and get ready for our afternoon in Acton (Santa was out there!), and we had dinner at my sister-in-laws. My plan was to do 10 easy since my calf was pretty tired after yesterday. After looking at the clock I realized that I didn't have time to do 10 easy, so I planned on 8 and left the house. It started sprinkling just as I left, and with no wind the rain felt nice and cool. I decided my Ranco Vista Loop was a good plan (7.5 miles) but as I started up 45th my legs felt pretty good. I decided to keep up the pace (which was now around 7:15/mi to Hillview MS and then see how I felt. After Hillview it is downhill so I eased up but still maintained 7:00/mi pace. Now I was down on 30th and still cruising along. I decided, "what the heck," and just kept pushing. When I got back to N and 50th I turned left and went up to 55th, down to M-8 and back home to finish 9 miles in a little heavier rain in 62:53 (sub 7:00/mi pace). My calf felt fine. The rain still hasn't let up. Today's workout was faster and longer than the last time I did a similar workout.

Splits 7:33, 7:13, 7:13, 7:22, 6:58, 6:55, 6:47, 6:35, 6:19.

It probably wasn't the smartest decision but I would have dialed back if I didn't feel as good as I did. I get into that same mileage obsession that many people get into sometimes that can just lead down a bad path. The idea that I have to do more, like one more mile is really going to matter. Sometimes the easier pace with less miles may be better in the long run (literally and figuratively). In other words, sometimes the time spent is more important than the distance. I ran pretty hard Thursday and Saturday so was it ok to run at MP today? Maybe, maybe not. We'll see how this week goes. Honestly 7:30 pace feels pretty easy right now.

I have heard other runners and coaches talk about the idea of "callousing," or how running tough workouts toughens us up. I like that idea. The idea that running hard workouts will possibly delay the feelings of fatigue or at least make me more used to those feelings and be able to push through them. Here are some workouts that I think are good at "callousing."

Long Tempo Runs, Threshold Runs, Fast Finish Long Runs, Progression Runs. These runs make me work at a high percentage of my aerobic threshold for a long time, especially toward the end of the run and often, like today, I negative split the workout! Work hard and run fast when I am tired! I love those workouts.

24 miles for the weekend.

Next weekend I'll be following Clay and Dale at the Santa Monica 10k and Chuck at the Rocket City Marathon. Good Luck you guys!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

15 mile long run (1:50:48) and NXN vs. Footlocker

I heard that Dale was running a fast finish long run today and thought he was starting at 5:15 so I planned on meeting him at 6:00 which would meet up with him at 5 miles. I got there a little late and saw his van so I just headed out but could not see him. I met up with him and Lauren after 2 miles and turned around with them. They had just started their run at 6:00 too and were just a half mile ahead of me. We started back running a little faster than Dale had planned but were all conversational. When we got back to the cars Lauren finished but we picked up Chuck (who had three teeth removed yesterday, can you say hard core) and headed out again. We started picking up the pace each mile and I ran hard in with Dale where he and Chuck called it for the day. I turned around and headed out again wanting to run at least 15 today. My right calf was starting to fatigue and tighten a bit but I was able to maintain about 7:30 pace on the last 5 miles without it worsening. It must still be tired from Thursday's 10k tempo run. I finished the 15 in 1:50:48 (avg pace 7:23).

Here are the splits: 8:07, 7:46, 7:48, 7:37, 7:25, 7:38, 7:13, 6:50, 6:43, 7:03, 7:32, 7:36, 7:30, 7:13, 6:48.

Dale's last mile was 6:26 which I ran the last half mile with in my 6:43 split.

Through 13.1 I was at 1:38.

I watched the end of the boys race at Nike Cross Nationals late this morning. I have to say I was impressed, but I am still on the fence whether or not I like this event and Footlocker Nationals. Footlocker is the original HS cross country national championship event that began in 1979 as the Kinney Cross Country Championships. It was and still is an individual event and the first boy and girl were the national champions of HS cross country. There is still a regional qualifying event and the top 10 from each region go on to Footlocker Nationals. The regional events are amazing. I ran the West Regional Meet as a senior in 1996. There is a seeded race for those hoping to qualify but there is also races by class and that year I ran with the Seniors at Woodward Park (also the CA state championship course). I think I ran a pathetic 18:30. That year a freshman girl from my high school Abby Miller was third in the seeded girls race which qualified her for Footlocker Nationals where she also placed third. She would have been 4th but for you history buffs this was the race where Julia Stamps was winning and collapsed less than 100m from the finish line and DNF'd. Cross Country was the only high school sport that had a true individual national champion. Footlocker treated these top kids like rockstars.

In 2004 Nike started a new race called Nike Team Nationals as a way to have a true high school national team champion, a logical progression from having only individual champions previously. Yes, cross country is a team sport and high school cross country teams are a very close and bonded group. It sounded like a great idea, except that some of the top runners in the nation were also on some of the nations top teams. They were either on the same weekend or back to back weekends, I can't remember but either way it was tough or near impossible to do both. So you had to make a choice, run for team title or for an individual title. Hard to tell your teammates, "Sorry guys, I want the individual title, see ya later." So in 2008 they changed the name to NXN or Nike Cross Nationals and added some individual spots from each region to attract other top runners. They also have a nice Nike trophy for the individual winner of NXN. Now you can run with your team but also be competing with some of the top individual runners on the country. But what about Footlocker? Well it is next weekend and there are some kids doubling (Lucas Verzbicas will attempt the double) but west coast teams are at a disadvantage. Some east coast and midwest teams have had their state championships a month ago and have been able to recover and then qualify for Footlocker as well as be invited to NXN. The Footlocker West Regional was also TODAY at Mt. SAC! You can't run NXN and qualify for Footlocker if you are in the west region! The CA state meet was only last weekend! Nike is trying to take over the individual title and seems to be winning the battle as individuals like Elias Gedyon and the Rosa twins along with other individuals have been choosing NXN over Footlocker.

From what I saw today Nike may just deserve to have it all. Is there any other sport where the top athlete in the country, lets say Alex Rodriguez, Kobe Bryant or Peyton Manning shows up to interview the participants of a high school event? Well that is exactly what I saw today. Chris Solinsky, the American Record holder in the 10k and one of the top US distance runners (also a Nike athlete), was down there in a big warm jacket with a microphone talking with ALL the kids, not just the winners. It was awesome. Also the course was incredibly difficult. It was in Oregon and was cold, windy, hilly, and muddy. They even had a section of haybales that the runners had to jump over. True cross country. Verzbicas won and just barely broke 16 minutes. He ran 14:44 at the Midwest Footlocker Regional last weekend. That shows you how tough this course is. Most of the best runners in the country chose NXN this year.

My biggest problem with this fight between Nike and Footlocker is that it extends these young kids championship seasons so long that they risk the health of their bodies just to get there. Some of these kids are 13 years old and their season, which started in September, goes over two weeks longer than college age kids at NCAA Nationals which was November 23rd. Footlocker Nationals is not until December 11th! And most of those college kids don't start racing until end of September at the earliest, most in October! This is too long of a championship season for a high school age kid. If you live in CA you have tough races every weekend starting in mid October with Mt. SAC, then your league championship race, CIF prelims, CIF finals, CA state finals, Footlocker Regionals or NXN and Footlocker finals if you are lucky enough and healthy enough to make it that far. Many of the top runners in CA don't even start racing hard until Mt. SAC for this reason. Sara Baxter, a freshman at Simi Valley HS and the Div I CA state champion (also Mt. SAC freshman course record holder) decided, with the help of her parents I'm sure, not to run in NXN or Footlocker this year. It is just too much for some of these young kids.

Sadly, my prediction is that after 30+ years Footlocker Nationals will be gone soon. NXN and all the money that Nike has will take over.

There was a write up by Bryan Green who gave an interesting solution to this problem so that Footlocker and Nike could co-exist but it still extends the season into mid December.
Here is part one.

And here is part two.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


Today was one of those great days that reminds me why I love running. Well number one I felt great, but also I got to run with Clay and Dale who were running intervals at the Joe Walker track. Their goal was to run 6x800m in 3:20 or less. I didn't feel like running intervals but wanted to run with Clay and Dale so I decided to just keep running at that pace while they were recovering and pick them up again for their next 800. It gave them exactly a 1:1 work to recovery ratio. I ran another two laps while they ran one recovery lap. We helped each other out. I pushed them on thier 800s and and they helped keep me going toward the end of this long threshold run. We cheered each other on, took turns leading the group, joked around a little, and all got in a great workout. We all even got progressively faster as the workout went on. I think they finished with 3:10 and 3:08 for their last 800s! One of my favorite things about running is that we all have some common ground/pace and we can run together. You can modify any workout to make it a group run. I enjoy pacing other runners and working together. Clay and Dale helped me today just as much as I helped them. Thanks for a great workout guys. "There is no satisfaction without struggle first."--Marty Liquori.

In the past few years I have paced some friends to some great times.
I paced Clay to a 19:36 5k 2 years ago.
I paced Dale to a half marathon time trial of 1:37:52.
I paced Ron to a mile PR of 6:53.
I paced Dan to a half marathon time trial PR of 1:31:04.
I paced Andi to a 21:19 5k last year.

By the numbers: I didn't know how long I would be able to keep up that pace today. At first I was hoping to make it 4 miles, but at that point I felt very relaxed so I decided to push on and take it one mile at at time. I went through 3 miles in 19:30. The last two miles were tough as the pace continued to quicken and I realized that I could make it 6 miles and might as well make it an even 10k. My Garmin said I hit 10k after 24 laps and my time was 38:30. I continued for my 25th lap and finished in 39:56! I am not sure which is more accurate the Garmin or the Joe Walker track. After talking with Dale and Clay I think the Garmin might be closer in which case I am amazed that 38:30 felt as comfortable as it did. On the Garmin my last three miles were under 18 minutes! Total mileage for today was 9.

"In races and training, a runner experiences fatigue, hunger, and thirst and learns to go without to achieve their intrinsic goal of running long and hard. Similarly in life, a runner learns what’s really necessary to be done in support of their (naturally intrinsic) pursuit of happiness." --Dominic Grossman (ultrarunner)

Some great links today to share:
First the Dallas Marathon has a challenge with some of the top local high school athletes to run the marathon as a relay with the elite men. 10 boys running 2 miles each and 6 girls running 1 mile each against the elite men. Hopefully the kids can maintain a 5:15/mi pace to keep up. What a fun experience for those kids!

The army is changing some of its training requirements. They are focusing more on diet and adding new exercises for core strength and flexibility but cut out the 5 mile endurance runs which, "officials say can lead to injuries in new recruits who aren't accustomed to the mileage." WHAT! I think they will be disappointed in the fitness of their recruits. I know they have a high incidence of injuries in boot camp, specificaly stress fractures, but if they would just progress these kids gradually and not make them run 5 miles in army boots their injury rates might not be so high. I think this is a mistake.

Two other articles:
First one about new research on altitude training.

Another on older training methods when recreational running first started and used for fitness and competition. It is fun to read some of the old misconceptions. The New York Times even printed this warning, "to take part in a Marathon race is to risk serious and permanent injury to health, with immediate death a danger not very remote." It took a bunch of crazy runners to prove otherwise. I'm proud to be a "crazy runner."

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Clay's Hill Workout

I met Dale and Clay for a Tuesday hill workout. First I ran to Clay's house and then we all ran over to the first hill which is used as a warm up. By now I had run 4 miles of warm up but was no where close to warm as the temp was 20 degrees. said the low of 20 would feel like 16 degrees with the light breeze. It was cold, probably the coldest temps I have run in so far this year. That being said we hit the hill on 65th with me chasing Clay who took off hard from the start. Each hill repeat or loop is a half mile long. I finished the first one in 3:28, Clay was 3:35. I ran the next two loops on the Manzanita Hill both in 3:02 and as Clay and Dale headed back I stayed to run one more loop which I hit in 3:07. As I was running home my hands started to get really cold, so cold they started to ache badly. I couldn't wait to get home and warm them up. Even after a hot shower my hands and cheeks were still cold.

Total mileage for today was 8 bringing my monthly total for November to 108. Last week I ran 45 miles (nearly half my monthly mileage) which tells you how my mileage for November looked. Here is a list of my excuses: short taper for Santa Clarita Half Marathon, recovery from the half marathon, a cold, rainy, and windy weekend mid November, and a head cold.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Snow at 3000ft!

My house sits at about 2600ft elevation. I awoke this moring to snow dusted hills just above the aqueduct. I decided to run up there and check it out. It was still very cold and windy. When I got to the aqueduct (3000ft elev.) I did find some snow but mostly a heavy frost over most of the hills. Look at the left side of the picture between the houses. I took the dirt side of the aqueduct and caught the trail up to the Joshua Ranch Trail where there was definitely snow. The trail was covered with half snow, half heavy frost which froze the dirt underneath and made the ground hard instead of muddy. It was even colder and windier at the top. I paused long enough to enjoy the view and start freezing my hands before I headed back home. I got back in just under an hour for a total of 7 miles. It was too cold to be out there much longer. Us west coasters are wimps in the cold!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Aqueduct Marathon Pace Fast Finish

I heard there was a group meeting at Ave S and the aqueduct this morning and I wanted in on the fun. When I arrived I saw David Weary and his son Philip. Dale and Chuck were also there. We had a nice group for a Saturday 10 miler. My plan was to run a few miles warm up and then pick up the pace to what ever felt comfortable. It was calm when I left home but by the time I drove to Palmdale it was breezy and the temp was about 31 degrees when I arrived. We headed west into the wind and I decided not to pick up the pace until we turned around. I did 3 miles with the guys and then increased to what turned out to be 6:50 pace for the next 5 miles. I was even able to hold this pace into the wind on the second go around. My last two miles were about 6:45 and 6:20, then I did an extra mile cool down to meet back up with the guys and finish the run. My legs felt great until about 6 miles and then my LEFT achilles started to burn like it did in Charlotesville this past April and I thought, "oh great here we go again." It didn't get any better and after the run I looked at my leg and realized that my running tights were rubbing and caused a blister on my left achilles. Whew, that is a relief! The skin will heal much faster than the achilles tendon would. Besides the wind it was a great run!

David is running CIM next weekend. He is hoping to run between 3:30 and 3:40. I told him I was jealous. I guess I have a special place in my heart for that race since I PR'd there last year.

Chuck is running the Rocket City Marathon in 2 weeks in Alabama. He is hoping to run around 3:20.

Congratulation to the Desert Christian HS cross country team who placed 3rd in the Division 5 CA state championships today! All their runners are returning for next year which is HUGE! Who knows what another year of training will do. Can't wait to follow them through track and another year!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Born to Run movie?

Has anyone read Christopher McDougall's "Born to Run?" In this video Jake Gyllenhaal discusses barefoot running with David Letterman and talks about how he just happened to go check out the Leadville 100 this year. Is there a movie in the works? Nothing official yet.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Shea's Castle Thanksgiving Day Run!

I planned to meet Clay at 60th and the aqueduct at 7:00am for a long run. It was in the low 20s when we started but it was completely calm and the aqueduct was glassy. We headed west with the intent to turn around after 8 miles making it an even 16. As we ran Clay came up with the idea of running out to Shea's Castle, then turning around and having his daughter pick us up at Johnson Rd. It was 12 miles to the Castle (5 miles of new aqueduct for me past Johnson Rd) and 5 miles back to Johnson Rd for 17 miles. We hit the half marathon split at 1:48 (avg 8:15 pace) and suddenly the miles started to get a little tougher. At that point I just wanted to get the run over with and picked up the pace. I finished the last 4 miles around 7:30 pace. It was a good run. Total time 2 hours 17 minutes. Thanks for the company Clay!

Andi and her brother went for a run after I got home. We all burned some good calories that were replaced at dinner tonight!

Congrats to Ron Gallagher who ran a PR for 5k today in 25:12.

Here is a link to some pictures from Thanksgiving Day runs from the past. Today was my longest Turkey Day run ever. The past two years I have run about 6 miles.

BTW: Alan Webb ran 13:36 to win the Silicon Valley Turkey Trot 5k today with Galen Rupp close behind in 13:39! Sergio Reyes was 28th in 15:00, an off day.

Good luck to Desert Christian High School this Saturday at the California State HS cross country meet!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

7 miler with 3 threshold miles

It is winter out here for sure. I don't know what the temps were exactly this am but I am guessing in the mid to low 30s. I heard that Clay was running at the track early, but I got up a little late and headed down there anyway. He was running 16, 4, 4, 4, 16, 4, 4, 4, 16 (a great workout) and I got there just before the second 1600. I decided to hop in with him and help him through a 6:30-6:40 mile then continue for a while at that pace around the track letting him use me as a rabbit to chase. He wasn't feeing it this morning and stopped his workout after the 6:45 mile with me. My Garmin says my first mile was 6:36, then I continued for 2 more miles on the track by myself fighting a cold breeze on the home stretch each lap. My last two miles were 6:16 and 6:10. Almost exactly 19 minutes for 3 miles. I then jogged home easy for 7 miles for the day. Again felt pretty good about my workout.

Hoping for a long run on Thursday morning. Lows the rest of the week will be in the low 20s! Time to bundle up!

I'll leave you with a few quotes I read recently.

"My advice to you is to identify the qualities of an Olympian that you can control, (dedication, research, hard work, mental strength, visualization of your goals, sportsmanship, balance, confidence) and make those your focus. Live like an Olympian. Put yourself in positions to be successful. That’s all you can do."
--Lauren Fleshman (2010 US 5k Champ)

"I drive myself out of bed. I tell myself, this is what's going to get you to where you want to go, so you're gonna do it."
--Heidi Westover (elite US marathoner (2:35) and elementary teacher who logs 200+mile weeks)

“Shoot for the moon. If you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”

Sunday, November 21, 2010

10 mile steady state run (1:14:20)

We have had cold wind and rain all weekend. Saturday morning was so cold and windy I bailed on any running. My right calf was sore all day as if I had been jumping rope on one leg. I have no idea why. I woke up on Sunday to similar conditions, put on running clothes, looked outside, and thought "this is crazy." I started putting away dishes when I looked out the window again 15 minutes later and saw the sun with no rain and only light winds. I decided to go for it!

I left and went down to Joe Walker where I did a loop and then came back on 55th, then took M-8 to 45th and continued to Towncenter and up to Rancho Vista. It was windier up there so when I got to Hillview I cut back down to 45th and took that to M-4 then turned around and went home.

10 miles in 1:14:20 (avg pace just under 7:30). I was feeling good by the time I got to Joe Walker and decided since I didn't run yesterday that I would try for 10 at a little bit faster pace. Here are the splits: 8:04, 7:24, 7:35, 7:17, 7:44, 7:21, 7:29, 7:23, 6:52, 7:12. The route has rolling hills but nothing too hard. I had little to no calf issues on the run!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Cross Country Championship Weekend

I managed a cold for the first few days this week and was too tired to run. I did get out on Thursday for an easy 5 and felt pretty sluggish. The clock is ticking now for Surf City so I better get back on track. I can't use the half marathon recovery excuse any more.

This is a big cross country championship weekend.
Saturday is the CIF championships for California at Mt. SAC, where the top teams will go on to the State Meet. GO DESERT CHRISTIAN!!

Saturday is also NCAA Championships. The Division III championships are at Iowa's Wartburg College. My alma mater Cal Lutheran qualified one male and female runner for the race. Both DI and DIII races can be watched live. Here is the link to the DIII video page.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Leona Valley Trail Races 5k & 10k

I set out this morning with plans on running the 30k course for Leona Divide in April. I even drove an extra 3 miles to drop off a jug of water at the PCT turnaround before driving back to the start at the Lake Hughes Community Center. I Started running at about 7:00am up 7N05 and right away just wasn't feeling it. After about a mile I decided I would run the 5k and 10k routes for Leona Valley Trail Races next October instead, so at 1.55 miles I turned around. I used the 5k as a warm up and finished in 27:15. There is a total of 673ft of elevation gain most in the first half mile. Here is the map and elevation profile.

I then took a quick break and headed out on the same route again but continued all the way to Aid Station #1, which is at 6N04, and is the turnaround point for the 10k. It is actually 3.4 miles to the turn around so the 10k is 6.8 miles! It is the only way to keep the same aid stations for the 10k, half marathon, and marathon courses. I decided I would push the 10k a little and finished the 6.8 miles in 52:13. There is a total of 1231ft of elevation gain on the 10k again mostly in the first 3.4 miles, but if you look at the elevation profile below it is sort of an "M" shape. The first mile is the steepest with 418ft of ascent and I ran it in 9:04. I looked back and when I ran LD50 last April I ran the same first mile in 9:21!I ran another mile along Lake Hughes Rd for a cool down and then packed it in. I have a cold that progressively worsened throughout the day. Total mileage for the day...11 miles.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Tough run today.

Today's run was one of those runs that you just want to forget about and try again tomorrow. I started off really tired, then after about a quarter mile my right calf started to tighten in a "not so good way." I stopped, stretched, and continued on easy. I was loosening up a bunch of mucus again and at one point started dry heaving on it. Gross. I was just happy to make it home in one piece. I ran 4 miles in 32 minutes, and that was enough. What does this mean? It means I am not quite recovered from last weekend. I could have never run 1:31 with Dale today! Awesome Dale!

We then traveled down to Thousand Oaks for the annual Turkey-Tri that Andi's brother Clark helps organize. They had a lower turnout than last year. I think a total of 5 teams and individuals started and 3 finished. Andi was the first individual to survive the 20+mph winds. We still had a great time and then attended the final football game at Mt. Clef Stadium. They are building a new stadium for next season. CLU won 24-0! They are ranked 17th in the country for Division III. Pictures here!

The Santa Clarita pictures are in! It is always funny to look at the race photos and see how aweful you look!
No one has perfect form. It is something that has to be constantly worked on. Drills, core training, shorts sprints, and hill repeats are all good ways to work on form. Looking at your race photos is a good way to see where your deficiencies are. Here I am mid race looking pretty good form wise, shoulders relaxed, hips level, knees abducted slightly, foot right under my body, and very little trunk rotation.

Here I am nearing the finish line, a little tired, and form is starting to break down. My arms are crossing my chest, my leg is stretched out in front of me with an obvious heel strike approaching, and plenty of trunk rotation! YIKES!

Here is one last picture from the race.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Race Recovery

I woke up Monday morning stiff and sore but got on the treadmill and shuffled for 20 minutes and it really helped loosen me up. I was pretty tired by the end of the day at work.

Today I got in another 5 miles easy recovery running. I actually felt good for three days after the race. Nothing exciting about these runs. It is important to get back out there right away and do some easy running for a week or so.

My right calf feels tighter than the left still but it is the best it has felt in the last three months.

Speaking of three months! It is three months until the Surf City Marathon! Actually less than three months! 12 week build up, looking forward to it! The website says that the marathon is nearly sold out!

The Leona Valley Trail Races website was launched today. Give it a few hits so it will come up on more google searches. Check back for updates, race maps, and elevation profiles!

Tip of the week: The Sports Doc on runners world finally had an interesting post about how donating blood can affect performace. When you give blood the fluid lost is typically replaced within a day if you adequately rehydrate. The red blood cells (which carry oxygen to your muscles) on the other hand, don't return to previous levels for up to 60 days! That means a decrease in endurace performance for 2 months! This is also why they usually make you wait 8 weeks before dontating again. He suggests not giving blood for at least a month before an important competition and 2 months if possible. He certainly promotes giving blood and so do I (although I haven't in a long time). I know some of you that participate in races on a monthly basis. My advice would be to not give blood for at least 60 days before a PR attempt or goal race, and realize that your performance may be affected in other races where you have given blood recently, especially in the last 30 days.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Santa Clarita Half Marathon (1:23:25) 15th place!

This picture was taken at sunrise on Saturday morning, again from my front door!

The Santa Clarita Half Marathon was this Sunday morning. Clay had talked about running on Friday at work but, when I didn't hear from him on Saturday I figured he opted out. Then I got a text Saturday night that said, "see you at the starting line at 6:50am." I quickly replied, "Awesome!" We stayed down in Santa Clarita at a Hotel with my mom and step-dad who came out to visit and run the 5k!

The race started at 7:00am so I set my alarm for 5:30 thinking that my cell phone would automatically "fall back." I awoke to my alarm and got dressed and ready, then realized it was still dark out and no one else was up. I went back to bed for an hour, and was ready to go.

The starting temps were in the 50s! Perfect! Standing around I was wishing I had my arm warmers, but once the race started I was glad I didn't have them. My inital plan was to start conservatively at 7:00 pace for 3 miles and then pick it up depending on how my leg felt. I followed the plan, sort of.

It is hard to keep even splits at the beginning of the race. There were way too many slower runners up at the front and I'm sure I elbowed a few people just trying to break free the first quarter mile. The entire first mile is uphill and the second mile is down hill. My splits there were 6:37 and 6:22. This was not 7:00 pace but every time I looked at my watch it said around 6:30 pace and it felt very comfortable so I continued on.

The next 4 miles are fairly flat and the splits were 6:18, 6:13, 6:19, 6:22. I got a few sharp zingers of pain in my calf during these miles and forced myself to hold back. Looking back, I am amazed that I was able to hold this kind of pace during these miles. When I felt the calf I started to think, "oh boy here we go again." After that I didn't get any sharp pain the rest of the race.

It was at this point where the race really started to get fun. A female runner caught up to me and I tried to stay with her for a while but felt like I was pushing a little to hard and fell back. This portion of the race is slightly up hill to mile 9, then you turn back down the other side of the wash and run downhill to the finish. After about a half mile I caught up with this same girl and we were running stride for stride. I find myself running with women at some of these marathons and half marathons because they tend to be really good at keeping an even pace. Looking ahead I could see two other female runners. We passed one quickly and the other was farther up ahead. It was then that I said to her, "that girl is coming back to us, lets go get her" and we slowly reeled her in just before the nine mile mark. Miles 7 to 9 were 6:24, 6:25, 6:22 and I said, "If we can make it to mile 9 we have some downhill waiting for us."

I was taking gatorade about every three miles and felt good about it. I carried two gels but did not use either one. We were really cruising down hill and there were people on the course cheering for this girl running with me, "Go Holly!" "You are the first girl!" I tried to make sure she stayed with me. We had passed the last girl really strong and I knew we were quite a ways ahead. Miles 10 and 11 were 6:04 and 6:08 and Holly was really breathing hard. I told her, "relax and settle down, we still have 3 miles to go!" At one point to keep her motivated I ran through and aid station yelling, "Go Holly!" and pointing behind me. All the kids there started yelling, "Go Holly!" It was awesome.

With two miles to go Holly started to fade and I was getting pretty tired. We had gone through the 10 mile mark at 63:26! At this point I was trying to hold on myself and would occasionally yell, "c'mon Holly" behind me. The last mile is tough because you have to go over 2 bridge walkways before the finish. My last two mile splits were 6:14 and 6:26 for a final time of 1:23:25 (avg pace 6:22). I turned around to see Holly finish behind me as the first female finisher in 1:23:46! When the official results were put online I found her name Holly Kopp and after a quick "google" found that she is from Alaska, 19 years old, and runs cross country for The Masters College in Santa Clarita! Congratulations Holly!

I was very pleased with my time. I was 4th in my age group (tough age group). I remember a man calling out places at about the 5 mile mark and I was 35th, I ended up 15th! I was hoping to just break 1:26. After reading this some of you may not believe me when I complain about my calf and that it is only 90% but it really does not feel equal to the left side. I did not have the strength there to push in the last mile and was passed by a runner at the finish line. Normally I would not let that happen. I have learned how to manage the calf tightness over the past month. It is more sore and definitely tighter than the left right now.

Here is what the mile splits look like together. 6:37, 6:22, 6:18, 6:13, 6:19, 6:22, 6:24, 6:25, 6:22, 6:04, 6:08, 6:14, 6:26.

I saw Clay finish in 1:40 and was suprised to see David Weary finishing right with him! Sounds like they had a fun race together too.

My father-in-law Don Crane finished (with a cold) in just under 2:06, good for 6th out of 23 for males 60-64! Nice work Don!

My mom and brother-in-law both finished the 5k in 31 minutes, and my step-dad Brad who was competing on the 2nd anniversary of his back surgery, finished the 5k in 49:28 (a PR by over 10 minutes!)

My pal Ron Gallagher fought some nasty headwinds on the bike at the Silverman half ironman but finished faster than last year in 8:08!

The New York Marathon was this morning and the highlight for the US was Shalane Flanagan's debut in 2:28:40 for a 2nd place finish and US Marathon Champion! She is one tough cookie! See her post race interview here.
Meb was 6th and Dathan was 8th, but the big news for the men was that world record holder Haile Gebrselassie dropped out at mile 16 and, in a post race press conference, retired from competitive racing. It was an emotional announcement and a sad day for the running community.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Another 4 before the weekend.

I got another 4 in this morning and did about 1.5 miles of that at half marathon effort and felt pretty good about it. I think my calf is about 90% right now. I am not fit enough to run a course best (1:22:42) from 2006. Wow! That is a fast time on that course. I don't even remember being in that kind of shape that fall. I think I was 17th overall and 3rd in the 25-29 AG. Athlinks has me 2nd in my age group but the plaque I received says 3rd.
One of the things I remember most about that race was that I was beat by an amputee with a below knee prosthesis. I had heard CJ Howard's story previously and was excited to meet him. He ran in college but had bone cancer in his foot. When amputation was the only answer he did his research and asked his doctor to take more of his leg so that he could eventually get a better running prosthesis. He broke his own world record at the 2006 Santa Clarita Marathon half-marathon with a time of 1:21:46. He made an attempt at the amputee world record for the marathon in Orange County in 2007 but came up short in 3:24. I have not heard about him since which makes me concerned that his cancer possibly returned.

CJ held the half marathon record until 2009 when Rick Ball of Canada ran 1:20:44 in 2009. Rick also was the first amputee to break the 3 hour marathon running 2:57:47 at the Ottowa Marathon in 2010.

My plan for Sunday is to go out at 7 min pace for 3 miles and then base my last 10 miles on how the calf feels. I am hoping to drop down to 6:30-6:20 pace. That would put me around 1:26.

A Goal: sub 1:26
B Goal: sub 1:30
C Goal: finish without calf cramping

The New York Marathon is also Sunday morning. If you are not running a race it would be worth watching as the world record holder will go up against the reigning champion (Meb vs Geb)! The women's race will be equally exciting. The weather could be perfect for course records. Some of the top US marathoners will be out there competing. Mary Wittenberg, NYC race director, has done an amazing job making this race an exciting international sporting event. There has been live streamed press conferences on the web (I got to see Haile's press conference at lunch today), and for you iphone users, there is an app for the NYC Marathon.

My pal Ron is taking another shot at the Silverman half ironman triathlon this Sunday as well. Good Luck Ron. Keep your ears open, we will be cheering all the way from California. Go get 'em!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

4 mile shake out

I have been really tired in the mornings. Today was no different and by the time I got out of bed I only had time for 4 miles. Most of the run was spent coughing and hacking up some nice mucus that I have had for the past 3 days. Pretty gross! By the time I got home I felt like I was warmed up to run, that's about it.

This one's for Clay:
During 13 years of professional running, I never got it fully right. It's like golf. You'll never be perfect; you try to get a little better at every opportunity. That's the beauty of distance running, I think. It's a never-ending journey of trying to find out how good you can be, what I can improve on, even with my limitations. I'll never know the answer, but I'll keep looking for it.
--Bob Kennedy, First American to run sub 13min 5k

I found this interview with Sergio Reyes after the TC Marathon off the asics aggies website. It is about 20 minutes but worth a listen. He talks about his preparation for Twin Cities, mental strategy, and fueling during his race.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

15 mile long run

I got up early to meet Dale and Chuck and tag along for their Sunday long run. We met at 5:15am at Ave. S and the aqueduct, put on our headlamps, and headed out. The temps were in the high 30s to low 40s which was perfect long run weather. NO WIND!! We just talked and kept plugging away on the 2.5 mile stretch of aqueduct. We would come back to the start every 5 miles, get something to drink, and head out again. After 10 miles I was feeling a little tired but really wanted to get a 2 hour run in so I went out for one more lap. We finished 15 miles in 2 hours 10 minutes (avg 8:40 pace). We had some good conversation, took it easy, and let the miles fly by. The sun didn't come up until we hit mile 13! Thanks Dale and Chuck for a good run! The calf is holding up good, we'll see what happens next weekend.

26 mile weekend!

138 mile October. Working my way back.

Happy Halloween! Andi out did herself again on the homemade costumes! AWESOME!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

2mi warm up + 9mi steady state run

The plan this morning was to meet Keira Henninger to run the Leona Valley Trail Races Marathon course. I got a call at 6 in the morning that Interstate 5 was a parking lot and there was a major traffic problem at the 5 - 14 interchange. It was also pouring rain at the time and she decided to turn around. I decided I didn't want to run for 5 hours by myself in the rain today and went back to sleep. I am hoping to get out there more often once the time changes and it will be lighter earlier. When I woke up about an hour later the rain had stopped and there was blue sky. What happened? So I headed out from my house. I ran a loop that I have wanted to try. The course was from my house, up to the aqueduct and left towards Palmdale. I ran to the end and down the hill behind Highland High, then weaved through the neighborhood to 30th and headed home on Rancho Vista. It was exactly 11 miles!

There was snow on the top of the Tehachapi Mountains this morning! After a two mile warm up, up to the aqueduct (400ft elevation gain in 2 miles) in just under 18 minutes, I started feeling pretty good and picked up the pace. The next miles were as follows 7:32, 7:25, 7:16, 7:02, 6:32, 6:51, 6:51, 7:14, 6:43. I went through the 10 mile mark just under 75 minutes and that included the first two miles in 18 minutes. Total time for 11 miles was 1:21:17 or 7:24 pace. The calf heald up pretty good which makes me feel a little better about next weekend (Santa Clarita Half Marathon).

I have been working with Google Earth and my Garmin software to make maps for some of these trail runs. Here's what my run looked like today on the map and elevation!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Clay's hill workout

I got up and ran over to Clay's house to meet him and Dale for their morning hill workout. It is exactly 2.5 miles from my house to his. There was a cool ring around the moon this morning. The temperatures were in the high 30s with no wind. PERFECT! We ran another mile before starting the hill workout. It is a set of 3 differnt hills but the last one is run twice and the first one is a warm up. I didn't know how my calf would hold up to the hills so I stayed with Clay to push him on his sets. He had a great workout. I ran home from there for a total of 8 miles in 64 minutes of varying speeds. I had to stop and stretch my calf between hill sets.

Thirsty Thursdays with Jack Daniels is on the transition from high school to college running. It made me think about my transition from running as a Senior at Green Valley High School to a Freshman at California Lutheran University. It was a tough one. I trained over the summer and ran a downhill road 10k before leaving for school in 36:36 (still my 10k PR). I had a tough transition to college running though and never ran under 30 minutes for 8k my first year. The jump from 5k to 8k was tough on me. I would typically go out too hard and fade in the middle. It is tough to run your own race when most of the guys can go out at 5:00 pace or under and hang on. I seem to remember usually going out around 5:30 pace but still running around 30min. I dealt with the worst case of shin splints I have ever had come championship races and ended the season on a poor note. In track our coached trained most of the distance crew for the 1500m and I gained a lot of speed. I remember doing a weekly workout that was 4 or 6 x 400m and I would be last on each rep running at 67 sec! I never ran farther than 3k that spring, mostly 1500m (around 4:36), but I did run in one 4x400m relay and the head coach clocked me at 54 seconds! I still don't know how accurate that was, I never ran faster than 57 seconds before or after that. I am guessing it was closer to 56. I think by the end of track season I had gained about 10 pounds as well which probably didn't help. I remember weighing about 165 at the end of high school and being somewhere in the 180s by the time my freshman year was over. All in all it was fun and that is what counts, but I remember it being a tough transition to balance school, running, social life etc.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Easy 8

October has been great for running weather, until this week. We had hail and rain earlier this week and the wind has barely let up. It was breezy this morning. I got out the long sleeved shirt but probably didn't need it quite yet. I took it easy, my right calf still feels weak and "on the verge" of something worse. No music, no watch, I am estimating 8 miles, no idea how long it took me. Felt like 8:30 pace. I'm kind of dreading Santa Clarita in two weeks after the results from Wednesday's steady state run.

Andi was supposed to drive down to Huntington Beach for a 10 miler on Saturday but she bailed since we had such a busy weekend. She still got in a run with her friend Dawn that morning in Acton. I did not run on Saturday, and there is no such thing as sleeping in at my house. My boys are both up around 6:00am, sometimes earlier.

We went to Homecoming at CLU on Saturday and had a 3rd birthday party for my son Micah on Sunday. Great fun!

Race Results: Dale ran a PR at the Huntington Distance Derby 10 miler, breaking 70 minutes for the first time in 68:14! I could tell that was coming. Congratulations Dale!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

5 mile @ Steady State

Steady State Run, Tempo Run, Threshold Run, LT Run, what the heck is the difference? Greg McMillan would say the Tempo Run, Threshold Run, and LT Run are all the same. A Steady State run is some where between an "easy" pace and a threshold run. I would argue that a Threshold run is a Steady State run. It is any run where you hold a pretty consistent high aerobic pace for a set amount of time. Are you still confused?

I didn't plan on running faster this morning, but I started out feeling good and went with it. I ran my Rancho Vista loop that is exactly 7.5 miles, but I always make it an even 8. After my first mile 8:16 I started picking up the pace. The next 5 miles were 7:18 (feeling pretty good), 6:56 (still feeling strong), 6:50 (keeping it steady), 6:42 (let's not get too crazy here), 6:54 (this is my last one). Then right before the 6 mile mark my right calf gave me a quick, "slow down or else!" and I listened. I finished in 8:01 and 8:19 and had twinges again the rest of the day. "Whew, that was close." Total time was 59:15 (avg pace 7:24) for 8 miles. I was feeling great for 5.5 of that steady state run.

These calf strains seem to be contagious this year. Olympian, Blake Russell just pulled out of the NYC marathon due to a calf injury.

Found this interesting article and endurance calculator that computes your carb calories needed to run a certain time in a marathon and then how many carb calories you should "load up on" prerace. I'm not sure I totally understand it but it is interesting to read and play around with.

Ryan Hall is splitting with his coach Terrance Mahon after a disappointing year. Rumor is he is still staying in Mammoth. I am a little surprised actually. His 4th place and American best time in Boston didn't seem too disappointing to me. Of course everyone wants to win or be on the podium. Dropping out of Chicago was a big deal though.


And finally, another great Thirsty Thursday with Jack Daniels. Maximizing performances with age.

"Stepping outside the comfort zone is the price I pay to find out how good I can be. If I planned on backing off every time running got difficult I would hang up my shoes and take up knitting."--Desiree Davila

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Is anyone reading this thing?

I hope there are some people out there reading this blog besides my local running pals (you know who you are)! There is some darn good stuff out there for runners these days and I only post the best stuff I find. Anything I post here is either very entertaining (to me anyway) or educational. Please share this information with anyone you think would benefit from it. Today is one of those great educational posts.

I recently posted some comments on the RW running doc's post on kids running marathons. Then I found this recent post from Coach Jay Johnson on Metabolic changes vs Structural changes. The gist is that "metabolic changes occur faster than structural changes…and that’s usually why you get hurt." The entire post is worth a read, probably twice. Clay, this is exactly what we talked about today when we were discussing Scott (large engine weak chassis)! This is probably blog worthy for the DCXC blog. Even the comments on Coach Jay's post are all worth reading.

It reminds me of Greg McMillan's philosophies on his new DVD "McMillan's Guide to High School Cross Country." In this video he says we all have two gauges, a musculoskeletal gauge and a cardiovascular gauge, and we are always looking at the wrong gauge to progress training. He is saying exactly what Coach Jay states on his blog, "The point is simply that the athlete gains aerobic fitness (or even anaerobic fitness/tolerance) quicker than their structure – their bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments – can handle that fitness."

So what do both of these great coaches do to make sure their athletes musculoskeletal system can keep up with their cardiovascular system? Form drills, general strengthening (GS), and core training! Greg McMillan has a 3 level DVD program on these topics and Coach Jay posts short GS videos on his blog all the time. Check them out!

Any one coaching, training, or advising young runners should read all these posts and probably order some of McMillan's DVDs. They are inexpensive and FULL of great information. Please comment on what your thoughts are. Agree? Disagree? Have a question? Want more information? Let me know!

Monday, October 18, 2010

6 miles yesterday!

I did get out for a run yesterday. I was sore from hitting the trails hard on Saturday. It was definitely a recovery run at 9:00 pace again. After about 3 miles my right calf started to talk to me again. It was whispering but still talking so I slowed even more. I couldn't figure out why until I remembered that I rolled the same ankle Saturday. The sun was right in my face and I raised my hand to block it when I missed a step and rolled it. My peroneals are still sore today so I think my calf had to do some extra work causing some tightness. It is fine today, besides the peroneal soreness. Sunday was one of those runs you just want to be over with, until I got home and saw this sunrise! This picture was taken from my front door!

Race Results: Keira Henninger won the Diablo 50k in a female course record this weekend in 5:38:16! Congratulations Keira! She was the second overall finisher.

If anyone was planning on running next year's Boston Marathon, I hope you signed up today, because registration started this morning at 9:00 am and they filled the 25,000+ slots by 5:00 pm! Read the RW article on this record closure.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Leona Valley Trail Races Half Marathon

I set out today to measure and map out the half marathon course for the Leona Valley Trail Races next October. The course is easy to follow. The start is at the Lake Hughes Community Center. There is a fire road to the right of the community center where the starting line will be. You run up the Lake Hughes Truck Trail or 7N05 for 3.4 miles where you come to an intersection with the Leona Divide Fire Road or 6N04. There you make a hard right onto the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail) and run down the switchbacks 3.3 miles to the aid station at a clearing right before Lake Hughes Road. There you turn around and retrace your steps to the finish line. The course is 13.4 miles, a little long but incredibly close.

Clay met me this morning with his dog Aurora to run the course. We started running together up 7N05. I also wanted to mark the 1.55 mile turn around for a 5k. I kept checking my watch and there was a lookout spot up ahead with an incredible view toward Lake Casitas that turned out to be exactly 1.55 miles. So the 5k is from the community center to the lookout and back.

I left Clay soon after and continued on my own. I have a little problem when I am running by myself. That is, I start to push the pace a little, then a little more, by the time I realize it I am really cruising on the trail. This can also happen on the road or the aqueduct. I started picking up the pace once I got on the PCT. I made it to the turn around in just over 57 minutes, then started back up the switchbacks to the aid station and back down 7N05 to the Community Center finishing in 1:53:35 (averaed 8:30 pace over the mountains. Mile splits: 10:20, 9:05, 8:46, 8:10, 8:36, 8:00, 8:19, 10:12, 9:41, 8:23, 8:06, 7:08, 6:28. Can you tell which miles were uphill and which were downhill?

Elevations are as follows: Community Center 3250ft, highest point 4085ft, and Lake Hughes Rd 3000ft. So there is about 1000ft elevation change every 3 miles! That is an AVERAGE grade of 6.3%.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Rest of the week

I did run 8 miles on Wednesday morning. I run a lot by feel, and Wednesday I wasn't feeling it. I finished the 8 miles in 72 minutes (9 min pace). It was pretty slow, but I got through it and felt better the rest of the week. It seriously took me nearly 5 days to fully recover from that 18 mile trail run. It probably didn't help that I flew down the hill the last three miles. So what should I do now, I am headed back up to Lake Hughes in the morning to map out the half marathon course on the Garmin for Leona Valley Trail Races. It is an out and back course shaped like a V (up to the top, down the other side, turn around and head back. The elevation chart should look like the letter M. The course is a little long, 13.4 I think. We'll find out for sure tomorrow.

Another great Thirsty Thursday this week.

Also another great article on Joan Benoit Samuelson with a cool picture from Chicago.

Finally, the new Sports Doc at Runners World answers the question, "Should kids be running marathons?"

I agree with all the Doc's points. If progressed conservatively there is no reason kids can't run long distances. The Doc says, "The adults I know who ran marathons as 10- to 12-year-olds and are now in their 40’s and 50’s have no known problems." Look at the east Africans. These kids run sometimes up to 6 miles to school and then back home every day, with smiles on their faces. There is a reason why they dominate the distance events and that is early aerobic conditioning. He also states, "There is no evidence that long distance running causes any permanent growth plate injury in child or adolescent runners. The growth plate is vulnerable to injury, but probably at much greater risk in the contact and collision sports–football, basketball, soccer, ice hockey, and others that we actively promote for child participation–than in pain-free distance running for a child." I personally think that races farther than 10k should be limited until high school age and marathoning can wait until college age. At least that will be the rule for my boys.

How old were you when you ran your first marathon? Half marathon?

I was 15 when I ran my first half marathon (1:32) and I was 24 when I ran my first marathon (3:15).

Monday, October 11, 2010

3 mile recovery run

"You don't stop running because you get old. You get old because you stop running." --Dipsea Deamon

I usually don't run on Mondays. I think there are many people that don't run on Mondays, but they should. The vast majority of us do our weekly long runs on the weekend, or at least a good chunk of mileage on the weekend. I am no different. I ran 9 on Saturday and 18 on Sunday for a total of 27 for the weekend. Most of us are so stiff and sore from the weekend that we just sleep in and take Monday off. What we should be doing is a recovery run or at least cross training. The recovery run, although usually stiff and slow, will do just that, help you recover buy increasing blood flow to the same muscles that are tight and sore, thus helping flush out all the crap and restore a normal homeostasis.

So today I got out for a 3 mile recovery run. It was slow, not quite a shuffle, but close to it. It should be at least two minutes slower than marathon pace. I was actually suprised how I felt. Symmetrical soreness, a phrase I came up with for normal post hard workout or long run soreness. My run yesterday was nearly twice what I was used to. I am most sore in my calves but they feel equally sore, ok maybe the right is a bit more sore than the left, but they are close. This recovery run will help set me up for better workouts this week.

Keira Henninger had a nice post on her blog about our run yesterday. Thanks again Keira. Looking forward to more trail runs!

Here's a nice article about Joan Benoit Samuelson's race at Chicago. She's AMAZING!

Michael Wardian (world record holder for the marathon while pushing a baby in a baby jogger), just won the Hartford Marathon this weekend in 2:24:38. Why is that so amazing, well it is his 6th marathon victory this year and he was 11th at Twin Cities last weekend in 2:21:13!

"That’s the thing about running: your greatest runs are rarely measured by racing success. They are moments in time when running allows you to see how wonderful your life is." --Kara Goucher

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Leona Divide 30k!

I had the opportunity to run with race director and recent Angeles Crest 100 winner, Keira Henninger, this morning. She directed her first race this year at my first ultra, Leona Divide 50. Since then she started the Los Pinos 50k, and most recently is planning a new multi-race day next October called Leona Valley Trail Races. The tentative date is October 8th. When I heard about her plans I contacted her offering help with the courses and race planning. She emailed me right back and asked if I was available to map out, measure, and run the new Leona Divide 30k this weekend. I jumped on the offer.

We met at the Lake Hughes Community Center at 7am and after discussing the course headed up the mountain. She was not as familiar with the roads and trails east of Lake Hughes Road, so I got to play tour guide as we went along. It was a blast! I hadn't been out there since LD50 and almost forgot how fun it is running out there. We met Clay and his dog Aurora, as we were just starting out on the PCT. We ran all the way down to Lake Hughes Road, turned around, and then made it back to the Community Center.

Keira is planning on four distances to choose from for the Leona Valley Trail Races. There will be 5k, 10k, half marathon, and marathon distances. We discussed each race course as we continued on the 30k course. I hadn't run farther than 10 miles at a time in the past 2 months so I was a little concerned, but we took it pretty easy and stopped at intersections to discuss course options. Keira is going to be racing and race directing full time from now on. I would recommend any of her races based on my experiences at LD50. She will be working hard on the two races in Leona Valley next year, so I hope to do some more trail running and race planning with her in the future. Thanks Keira!

My calf felt great the entire 18 miles today, and is no more tired or tight than any of my other runs this week. We'll see how it feels tomorrow.

Race Results from today:
Tom and Dan Ham finished the Portland Marathon in a water logged 3:58. Congrats to Tom on finishing his first marathon!

No world records today at Chicago. It was too hot. Temps in the 70s and highs in the 80s slowed Sammy Wanjiru to a 2:06!
The fastest American male was Jason Hartmann in 2:11, and fastest female was Desire Davilla in a PR of 2:26 with Magdalena close behind in 2:28. Not bad in the heat. The most impressive American was Joan Benoit Samuelson, who at the age of 52 ran a 2:47! On a cooler day she would have qualified for the Olympic Trials (missed it by a minute).