Tuesday, August 31, 2010

3 miles today, 63 miles in August

Do I have to say any more? It was a pretty pathetic month. Actually I am suprised that I ran 63 miles. It has been just over 4 weeks since my initial injury. It is certainly better, I felt a little better on my 3 mile run today. It feels weak and tightens up after about 40 minutes still. Every once in a while it gives me a sharper "I'm still here" reminder. Hopefully September will be better. I am contemplating switching to the 5k in Santa Monica on September 12th.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


Today was the day to go for a great run. It would have been a perfect day for good 20 miler. This morning the temp was in the low 50s and the high was around 80 degrees! I woke up and took a step out of bed and decided I wasn't feeling good enough to run 1 mile. I met Clay at work and he treated my calf for me and then came up with a modified version of the strassburg sock. My leg is really tight in the morning because it is healing in a shortened position all night. The idea is to keep my foot dorsiflexed slightly so that it is on some stretch all night and wont be so tight in the morning. I am starting it tonight.

Did anyone watch that video of David Rushida breaking the world record in the 800m last week? Well it didn't last long because he broke his own record today with a time of 1:41.01! Watch the video here. Nick Symmonds of the USA closed hard and finished in 3rd with a personal best 1:43.76.

Oh, and Bernard Lagat set an American Record in the 3000m placing second to Bekele with a time of 7:29.00

Saturday, August 28, 2010

5 miles...no improvement

I ran 5 this morning. I started out feeling pretty good. After about 4 the calf started to tighten. By 5 miles I was altering my stride due to the pain/tightness and called it. Ice massage afterward. Sore most of the day. No improvement since Monday. Getting tired of this.

In more positive news, Molly Huddle, formerly of Notre Dame, broke the American Record in the 5k on Friday with a time of 14:44.76. She broke Shalane Flanagan's old record by 4 hundredths of a second. This was her third time this season under 15 minutes. She got into a fast race (ended up 10th) and hung on to the pace to set the record. 10th PLACE WAS AN AMERICAN RECORD! That shows you how far behind we still are. See her post race interview here.

Even more interesting is to watch her post race interview from two weeks ago after running 14:57 in London. She says, "I'm not calling anything out or pointing at it or anything...but...if you can run 14:51 maybe you can try for some 14:44.7 range...its just something to try for...a goal for the summer. It's not really that serious of a goal...that's just what I'm going for." Well she did it!

BTW: Sergio Reyes was 5th today at the US 10 mile road championships at Crim Festival of Races in Flint, Michigan with a time of 48:32 (4:52 pace). See results here.
See the full race here...if you have 65 minutes to spare. Fast forward to 58:00 to see Sergio finish.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

9 mile week?

I decided I needed to just rest the leg more. I didn't run at all last weekend. I did have a good time being the lead bike at the AV Fair wave race though. I started the race with Roger "Woody" Wood in the 70+ age group. We stayed together for 1.25 miles until Alan Brown (60+ AG) caught us. I then continued on with Alan for another 1.25 miles until we were caught by Steve Brumwell (50+AG) and I rode with him until 14 year old Vanessa Lopez caught us and won by 8 seconds. It was a fun race, I hope to be able to run next year. In decent shape I think I could have cracked the top 10 (I would have a 14 minute disadvantage)!

I ran 5 miles on Monday and my right calf said that was enough after about 4 miles.

I ran 4 miles today (Thursday) and again I was done after 4.

As I rested last weekend I started to wonder if maybe I actually have some small tearing in my soleus. Fortunately, it has been feeling better all week. My 10k on September 12 has turned into a "hope to finish without pain" run.

There has been some great articles and blog posts this week, that I would like to share.

1. A world record in the men's 800m last weekend by David Rushida of Kenya by .02 seconds. Watch the video here. Amazing!

2. A great interview with Alberto Salazar on getting through hard workouts!

3. A fun interactive site on How Marathoning Affects the Body.

4. A very intersting article from the USATF on stretching and injury prevention. If you read one part of the article read the discussion. My take on stretching is just like my take on running shoes. There are so many factors involved that to make a generalization like "running shoes prevent injury" or "stretching prevents injury" is hog-wash. Running in different shoes or daily calf stretching would not have prevented my calf strain. Does that make stretching bad, no, but it doesn't make it good either. It has to be specific to the athlete and their needs. Also, when you read an article about running injuries make sure you find out what the author classifies as an injury. Their definitions will vary.

5. Deena Kastor is 3 months pregnant. She will not be running the NY Marathon this fall. I didn't pick her to make the 2012 Olympic team anyway. Now she will only have 9 months to recover and prepare for the trials. I don't think it is enough.

6. Both Chicago and New York Marathons are shaping up to be very exciting races. Maybe a morning marathon party is in order. I will let you know when the races get closer.

7. Nick Arciniaga, one of the top US marathoners with a PR of 2:11:47, wrote a good blog post on the mcmillanelite athlete blog page on August 16, 2010. He talks about his coach Greg McMillan's mantra "Go for it," meaning to go into every race with the ambition to run a breakthrough performance. I think what we mid-packers can take from this is that when you are in good shape don't let your watch limit your pace. Yes, run within your own means, but if you have been training hard and you never push it just a little bit harder, then you will never know what your true potential could be. If you are close but you never go out at your Boston Qualifier pace, you will never "break through." Sometimes when you try this you will not make it. This has happended to me twice in marathons. I went out in the 2006 Las Vegas Marathon with a half split of 1:25, hit the wall hard, and scrapped together a 3:04. In 2008 at the Boston Marathon I had a goal of sub 3 hours again, went out in 1:28, blew up again, and walked in the last 5k to finish in 3:14. But if I had not run these races, I would not remember what this feels like to go out that hard, and may not have run 2:57 at CIM last December.

8. Coach Jay Johnson also had a great blog post on August 23rd titled The Uncarved Block. The part I like is the 8 points listed for the high school coach when training runners. My favorite is number 8 because so much of coaching and training runners is trial and error. He writes, "Volume. I know – wait, I think – two of the athletes I work with need to run more. But maybe they don’t. Maybe they need to run more of their current volume hard. Or maybe they just need to run the hard volume they were running harder." What does each individual athlete need? More overall volume? More hard volume? More intesity? There is no right answer. My pal Ron said it best in an email to me recently (I hope you don't mind me posting this Ron): "It seems like that fine line is where all the gravy is. I mean too easy and there isnt enough stimulus to change, and too hard and you invite trouble."

Enough time-wasters yet?

Friday, August 20, 2010


1. Chris Solinsky broke the 13 minute barrier for the 5k for the third time this year. He now has 3 of the top 5 US 5ks of all time. Watch the video of Thursday's race below. It is the final lap of the race and Chris moves up into second on the home stretch only to be passed by Merga at the end.

2. I will not be running at the Totally AV Fair Race tomorrow. My calf feels better today but not well enough to run it and I don't feel like jogging it. Instead I have been given the job of being the lead bike with the front runners and I am excited about that. It will be interesting to see who is the first across the finish line.

3. I officially signed up for another marathon for next spring. I am running the Orange County Marathon on May 1st, 2011. They just opened registration and for the first two days the entry fee was only 70 bucks. I got a message from a friend Dan Ham that said he was interested in running it and possibly shooting for a BQ (Boston Qualifier) there. I told him I would help pace him to a sub 3:10. Orange County is almost exactly 3 months after Surf City, so I should have plenty of time to recover and build back up. 3:10 is only 13 minutes off my PR so it will still be a hard effort. After running the OC half a year ago I told myself I would never run the full down there. But the idea of running it with someone else makes it bearable.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

3 mile...Jog

We stayed out in Acton with my sister-in-law last night. I got up early and jogged to the Acton Park. There is a nice dirt path around the park which is almost a half mile long (.45 miles). I started to have calf tightness after a mile or so. I was able to make it through 3 miles, then walked a cool down. I found that I had less pain with a forefoot strike versus a heel strike due to less dorsiflexion, and less stretch on the calf. More on form later. I did some massage and ice baths today. It was pretty stiff and sore all day. Very similar to my run on August 6th, but not quite that bad.

FYI Frank Shorter ran his first race after having surgery on his hip at the beginning of this year. He had a hip resurfacing, not a hip replacement. He ran the Falmouth 7 miler in just over 70 minutes. I can't imagine how it must feel to run nearly twice as slow as he did in his prime. I hope he is just happy to be running again. I know I will be.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Two steps forward, one step back

I felt pretty good this morning. My nasal congestion was better. I was able to start running at a good pace without any calf tightness. My calf felt good so after two miles I decided to pick up the pace. I did my Quartz Hill zig zag hill workout and was ok on the hills. I decided to try and keep my pace even on the rest of the workout. I was running strong uphill at 7:30 pace and easy downhill at 7:30 pace. It is nearly a 7 mile course so I had to add an extra bit at the end to make it 7 even (I finished in 52:30 avg 7:30 pace). As I was running up the last 30 ft hill to my house my right calf tightened up again. Luckily this time I was home and just stopped running. So I immediately went to the back yard, made and ice bath and soaked for 10 minutes before showering and heading off to work. I have been using "the stick" off and on for self massage today and will do an ice massage after posting here. It was definitely a set back. It is sore and tight this afternoon, but not as bad as two weeks ago.

In the US Racing news Leo Manzano ran a PR in the mile this weekend running 3:50.64 putting him 9th on the all time US list. Why is that significant you ask? Well, that time bumped Jim Ryun off the all time US top 10 mile list! Jim's 3:51.1 in 1967 was a World Record at the time. Interestingly, he didn't run that time in Europe, he ran it in Bakersfield, CA just a little over an hour north of here. Now the World Record for the mile is 3:43.13 by Hicham El Guerrouj in 1999. Records are made to be broken, but Jim will always be one of the best, most exciting, and a trail blazer for US track and field.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Weekend Update

Here is the weekend update. Saturday my goal was 8 miles slowly building back some mileage on my calf. I ran the Rancho Vista Loop from my house (7.5 miles) then tacked on an extra half mile to make it an even 8 in 62 minutes exactly. My calf felt pretty good but every once in a while it would remind me that it is still not 100%.

Here are the mile splits: 8:41, 8:03, 8:11, 8:00, 7:39, 7:30, 7:10, 6:47.

I felt good about my run. Good enough that I emailed Dale about meet in up for the Sunday morning 10 miler. That evening I started getting a sore throat, headache, and could feel my resting heart rate was elevated. I bailed on the run in favor of extra sleep. It has been a tough month for training so far. I don't think I will be reaching my mileage goal for the month. I will use the last two weeks of the month to build back up to where I was in July.

Race Results from the weekend:
A friend of ours, Dawn Schneider, ran America's Finest City Half Marathon in 1:52 in San Diego today. Congrats Dawn!
A high school teammate of mine, Ryan Fitt, ran a PR at the Georgetown to Idaho Springs Half Marathon in 1:24:06. Nice work Ryan! In high school he was like a 1:56 800m guy.

I thought I would write briefly about my running shoe history. I used to be an Asics Gel-Kayano guy. I can remember even in high school asking for a pair for my birthday because I liked them so much, and I new they were expensive. Then in college I switched around quite a bit, mostly because of lack of money and lack of shoe knowledge. I remember a few pairs of asics that I didn't like (in hind sight were neutral) and a pair of New Balance that I did like (that were probably motion control). I had a bad bout of shin splints my freshman year in college that I even got some custom orthotics for. I sure wish I had the knowledge then that I have now. My shoe selection and orthotics use would certainly have been different.

After PT school I still didn't have good shoe knowledge. I was picking shoes based on comfort and price. I ran my first marathon in a pair of Nikes and seemend to do ok. After that I finally went back to the Asics Gel-Kayano and stuck with them for the next 5 years. Finally last year I switched to the New Balance version of the kayano, the 1224. They are both in the stability plus family. I really liked my first pair and after the Gel-Kayano 15 was giving me blisters, I made a permanent switch. I also found a deal on the New Balance 1224 for 40 bucks a pair and stocked up! When the Kayano 15 was bothering my ankle right away I took it back to the store and exchanged it for the New Balance 1225. There was a big change from the 1224 to the 1225, mainly the material used for the medial heel portion and arch support. I was able to run in them, but never liked them as much as the 1224. This new material was called "stabilicore" and just felt much more rigid then the material used in the 1224 which is similar to the Kayano. Well, I noticed in the recent Runners World shoe preview that the New Balance 1226 is coming out and they are still using the "stabilicore" material. Interestingly, it is now classified as a motion control shoe. No wonder I thought it was too rigid. I recently found a deal on the New Balance 769, which is their stability shoe, so I gave them a shot and found that I like them quite a bit more. I also have another pair of 1224s that is waiting in a box for my fall training. I still like the kayano and would run in them again but can't bring myself to spend over 100 bucks for a pair of shoes, and the kayano is rarely on sale.

The moral of the story is, the shoe manufacurers are contantly making changes to their shoe models. Just because you think a particular shoe is perfect for you doesn't mean that it won't be different next year. Make sure you try them on in the store again if they have upgraded. Or just forget the shoes and go to barefoot running (just kidding).

Ever want to ask an expert in your field a bunch of questions and get answers to all of them. I found a video interview with Pete Pfitzginger a US Olympic marathoner in 1984 and an exercise physiologist who writes for Running Times Magazine. They are about 10 minutes each but worth watching.

Pete Pfitzinger Part 1

Pete Pfitzinger Part 2

Finally a video interview with Alberto Salazar on training Galen Rupp, how he started training Galen Rupp, and how important well rounded athleticism is to distance runners. A great interview!

Friday, August 13, 2010

2012 US Olympic Trials Marathon Predictions

I was thinking about the Olympics the other day and realized that we are almost exactly two years away from London 2012! The Olympic Trials Marathon is always months in advance so that the athletes that qualify can adequatly recover and prepare for the Olympics. The US Men's and Women's Olympic Trials Marathon is in Houston on January 14, 2012! That is nearly a year away! So then I started thinking about who will make the team. Here are my predictions (in finishing order):

Men's Team:
1. Dathan Ritzenhein (Nike)
2. Ryan Hall (Asics)
3. Brett Gotcher (Adidas)

Women's Team
1. Kara Goucher (Nike)
2. Shalane Flanagan (Nike)
3. Desiree Davilla (Brooks)

The men's team has one open spot since Brian Sell will most likely not be competing. As long as Dathan and Ryan stay healthy they are a lock. Brett is my pick to fill the last spot after running 2:10:36 at his debut in Houston last year. Here is a comparison of their PRs.

Ritz 5k 12:56, 10k 27:22, Half 60:00, Marathon 2:10:00
Hall 5k 13:16, 10K 28:07, Half 59:43, Marathon 2:06:17
Gotcher 5k 13:56?, 10k 28:09, Half 62:09, Marathon 2:10:36

Yes, that's right Meb and Abdi are both off my lists. The US men's field is young and competitive and I don't think they will be there in another year. And yes, I picked Dathan over Ryan due to recent 5k and half marathon PRs!

There are many other guys on the bubble. There are 5 other guys that ran 2:13 or better in the last year. There were also two races recently that added more possible names. The Houston Half Marathon in January had 6 US men under 63 minutes. Then there was Peyton Jordan Invite 10k at Stanford, where 37 guys over two heats were under 29 minutes (mostly American)! At least 4 athletes were in both races.

The 3 women that went to Beijing were at least 32 years old. In 2012 Deena will be nearly 39, Magdalena will be 38 and Blake Russell will be 36. Magdalena has the best shot at squeeking in with a recent PR of 2:26:22 in the Marathon. I am predicting a completely new team for London.

Here is the PR comparison for my predictions.

Kara 5k 14:55, 10k 30:55, Half 1:08:05, Marathon 2:25:53
Shalane 5k 14:44, 10k 30:22, Half 1:09:39, no marathon yet!
Desiree 5k 16:02?, 10k 32:25, Half 1:12:10, Marathon 2:27:53

There is not nearly as much competition for the women. I don't think anyone else has run under 2:30 recently besides Deena, Magdalena, Kara, and Desiree. I predicted Kara over Shalane because of previous marathon experience, even though Kara will be coming off a pregnancy.

There are some key races coming up for these men and women.
Chicago, New York (US Women's Championships), and Twin Cities (US Men's Championships)this fall. USA Half Marathon Championships in Houston next January, which I believe is on the Olympic Trials course. Then Boston and London next April. US and World track and field championships next summer for anyone intersted in dropping down to the 5k or 10k again. Then the Olympic Trials on January 14th, 2012!

We'll see how close my predictions are in 17 months.

Write in your predictions in the comments!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

6 miles easy

I got in a mile farther than Monday, 6 for today. It felt better again but still not 100%. I think my calf is about 80% right now. Anything faster than 7:30 pace and the calf felt tight. Hopefully this weekend I can go a little farther or faster.

Here is my fall race plan, although I haven't officially signed up for any of these races yet.

August 12, Totally Fair Wave Race (4 mile)

September 12 Lexus Santa Monica 10k

October 23 Huntington Beach Distance Derby (10 mile)

November 7 Santa Clarita Half Marathon

The wave race will hopefully be a tempo run (6:20 pace).
The goal for the 10k is under 38 minutes.
I would love to go under 62 minutes at the Derby, but I would have to be in pretty good shape by then. If not then I would shoot for a personal course record at Santa Clarita. I ran 1:22:42 in 2006. If I can run 1:22 or better then I would set my self up for a great 3 month marathon build up for Surf City.

If anyone is intersted in being paced for a 5k or 10k aqueduct time trial in September let me know. I would gladly be a pacer.

Monday, August 9, 2010

5 miles back at it...& product review

I took the weekend off! I could have run Saturday but I was sore from Friday (3 miles) and decided another day would be better. I took the boys down to Pelona Vista to watch the HDR Cross Country Finals. There were some good times with a nice cool morning. So I didn't run this weekend. During the day on Sunday I felt great and planned to run 5 miles as a test on Monday morning.

I ran down to Joe Walker this morning, around the block, and back home then did another mile on M-12. My calf started feeling tired and stiff after 3-4 miles at around 8 to 8:30 pace, but I still made the planned 5 miles. It felt WAY better than last week so hopefully I am on the up swing. I will still run easy this week and shoot for 10 on Sat or Sun.

A few weeks ago my friend Ron, who is sponsored by Snickers Marathon Bar, gave me some sample bars. He asked me to let him know what I thought. There were two kinds: Crunchy Honey & Toasted Almond, and Carmel Nut Rush Protein Bar.

The Honey and Almond bar is delicious. I like the combination of honey, almond, and chocolate. I couldn't see my self eating one before or after a run though because it was dry and had large chunks of almond. It was a great snack at work though, with 10 grams of protien and only 150 calories.

The Carmel Nut Rush bar has 20 grams of protein and 40 grams of carbs with 290 calories! It is a great post hard workout recovery food. It is also a little dry but goes great with water (or coffee in the morning).

Both bars are dipped in milk chocolate and Mars is known for their chocolate so they taste GREAT! Thanks Ron!

Friday, August 6, 2010


If you are wondering what the lack of blog posts meant, well it meant a lack of running. I strained my soleus last Sunday. There is two muscles that make up your calf. The gastrocnemius being the more superficial and the soleus the deeper. The gastrocnemius crosses the knee joint but the soleus doesn't. To stretch the gastroc you dorsiflex or extend the foot with the knee stright, to stretch the soleus you dorsiflex or extend the foot with the knee bent. The soleus stretch is typically felt lower in the calf just above the achilles tendon. I have no pain when I stretch my gastroc, but I feel the same tightness and pain when I stretch my soleus. Here is the rundown of the last week.

Monday: Calf sore all day from cramping Sunday.

Tuesday: Calf feeling better. Tried to jog to my car...not happening.

Wednesday: Thought about running in the morning but the calf was very tight first thing in the morning.

Thursday: Stayed up too late Wednesday night and was too tired. No pain with walking. No pain jogging to my car.

Friday: Decided today was the day to get in a slow easy run. I just ran up and down M-12 so I wouldn't get too far away and have a problem. It was tight the whole time and after a mile started to get a sharp pain with every step. Now, I have been running long enough to know when a pain is saying, "stop now" and when pain is saying, "be careful." Today it was saying, "be careful" so I stopped at 3 miles. It was sore and painful with every step the rest of the day.

I did an ice bath tonight.

I looked back at the last time I got a cramp as bad as this one. It was April 19, 2009 and I complained about it for exactly 14 days. Although on the 14th day I ran the OC half marathon in 1:27:22. If it takes me that long to recover again I will be ready next weekend.

Tyson Gay beat Usain Bolt in the 100m in Stockholm, Sweden today clocking a 9.84. Watch Tyson turn it on at 60m. His turnover is amazing. He is 6 inches shorter than Usain!

Track and Field Videos on Flotrack

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Sunday Long Run with Sergio and Justin..cut short

I had made plans to meet Sergio Reyes and Justin Patananan on Sunday morning for part of my long run. They start their long run at 7:00 pace, so I knew I could run with them for at least an hour. I needed to start earlier so I could get home in time to let Andi get out for a 10 miler with Dawn.

I drove up to 70th and the aqueduct at 6:15 and was greeted by 30mph gusts of wind and white caps on the aqueduct. I ran out two miles then came back, then out and back another two miles before Sergio and Justin arrived. I averaged 8:00 pace for the first 6 miles.

When I met up with Sergio and Justin we headed west toward the fire damage. We were running at 7:00 pace easily with the wind at our backs. 7:00 pace, just slower than marathon pace for me, is nearly two minutes slower than marathon pace for them (VERY EASY), so their easy runs are my tempo runs. Our miles splits were 7:09, 7:12, 6:53, 7:02, 6:53. Just after 5 miles, my right calf started to cramp badly. I told them to go ahead and I slowed to nearly 9:00 pace. I was still 4 miles from my car and decided to get home quicker by cutting under the aqueduct and down 55th. I was bummed not to finish with them. I had planned on running with them for an hour (8-9 miles). It was a little embarassing to have to pull up early, but there was no way I could continue at that pace. I hope I can tag along on their long runs again as they would be great tempo runs for me. After an hour at 7:00 pace they usually pick it up closer to 6:00 pace for the next hour.

I got home, took some advil, and did an ice bath for my right calf. These kind of cramps usually happen to me after a few nights of poor sleep and dehydration, which is true of the last two days. It usually takes 7-14 days to fully recover from this, so there will be a cut in mileage and easy running only until this loosens up.

Total mileage for the day was 14.

Sergio and Justin, if you are reading this, I really enjoyed running with you guys. It sure was windy out there. How did the rest of your long run go? I am really not a wuss, and the cramp came on so suddenly that I had to stop running asap. I hope you don't mind me tagging along in the future for a few more miles.