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. Weather.com 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.