Saturday, January 29, 2011

8 mile aqueduct run on Saturday

I got up early to watch the end of the Houston half marathon. It was also the US Championship half marathon which is the reason for interest. A pack of three guys, which included Ryan Hall, stayed in the lead almost until the end. At the 13 mile mark Ryan gapped Mo a bit and then ruined the coverage again. They were in a lead cart and had to speed ahead, jump out, and run around the finish line to catch the winner. Well they missed it, and in the mean time Mo outkicked Ryan in the last 400m to win! We never saw it. Awful. Sergio was 22nd in 1:06:20 and Justin was 47th in 1:10:24.

I hustled up to the aqueduct to meet Dale, Clay, David, and Joel. The plan was to run 8 miles today. I arrived late and it took me 2 miles to catch the guys. After talking to Joel I thought about continuing with him for another 3, but after a stiff headwind for 3 miles on the way back I decided to call it a day.

I don't know that I need to taper for this race next weekend. If I decreased my mileage any I would barely be running. I will just continue running but easy mileage until race day, and nothing longer than an hour after this weekend.

Friday, January 28, 2011

The rest of the week

It has been a crazy week again. Our internet has been down at home for a few days after I switched our computer to another room. That said I haven't had time to post this week either but this time it didn't mean that I wasn't running. I actually got in two decent runs.

Tuesday I got in 8 miles with a about half of them at marathon to half marathon effort.

Wednesday afternoon I got in another 8 with Clay in the afternoon. I pushed the pace a bit on the way out from 60th to 90th (about 4 miles), and when I caught back up to him we picked it up for one sub 7 min mile before a mile cool down.

The weather has been consistently beautiful in the afternoons. Low of 35 and high of 70, sunny. I just checked since today is the first day that February 6th would be on the 10 day forecast. The predicted weather for Surf City is low of 47 and high of 70, sunny! Sounds like great conditions to me.

Houston half marathon is hosting the US half marathon championships this weekend and it should be a good one. Sergio and Justin are out there now preparing and also checking out the course for the Olympic Trials next January. Lots of guys are going out there with the same plan so it should be a competitive field. Looking forward to it!

One last note:
As the popularity of the marathon grows the average marathon times continue to drop. This is not new news and it makes sense as more newcomers attempt the marathon, more people checking off their bucket list, and more people run multiple marathons every year. There is nothing wrong with it, that is just the way it is. As the marathon becomes more popular, and participation increases, so do the number of events for all of us to choose from, and that is a good thing. One negative side effect is the increased entry fees and quick sell out for many of the more popular and well established races. This I believe also leads to a drop in average marathon times. Instead of waiting to register to make sure I am in good shape (not sick or injured) for race day I am pressured to sign up sometimes more than 6 months in advance to get the cheapest price and guarantee my entry. Once the race gets closer and I am not in the kind of shape I hope to be in, I feel sort of obligated to run because of the amount of money I paid to participate. Not that I would decide not to run just because I am not ready to PR, but I used to be able to wait until a month or so before the race, get into good shape, and then sign up for the event. Those days are over. I think there are lots of people who get hurt or sick and still attempt to run the marathon on race day because they don't want to waste the 100 dollar entry fee that they paid 6 months ago. The result is a poor performance, maybe even further injury, and a much slower time than anticipated. Am I feeling obligated to run this race in a week even though I am not in top shape? No, I am still looking forward to spending time with friends and cheering them on to some great PRs! We are going to have a great time with great weather. It is my own fault that I am not in the kind of shape I hoped to be in, but I had no idea where I would be 6 months ago. Unfortunately I can only afford to run a certain amount of races a year and when I do I like to at least feel like I have a chance to run a personal best. Not this time around. Does that sound snobbish or arrogant because I didn't mean it that way?

I guess I am a little disappointed with myself. I am really going to sound like a big jerk if I go out there and PR next weekend aren't I? My goals still stand as before. I will go out in 1:30 and hang on as long as possible. I plan on a BQ (sub 3:10). I would like to think I have fairly good mental toughness to push through the second half of the race and I will draw on my experiences from other races to get me to the finish line.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Things don't always go as planned

I missed a great week of weather to run in. It has been a beautiful week with lows around 35 and highs around 65-70 (although I am usually at work during those times). I kept putting off runs and not getting up to run in the dark before work.

I decided my weekend workouts would be as follows: a few easy on Friday, 18 miles on Saturday, and an planned easy recovery run on the Leona course with Keira Henninger.

Here is how it really went down.

Food poisoning on Thursday night, well I thought it was food poisoning.
No running on Friday morning, actually no work on Friday morning either.
Drank a full container of Pedialyte and went in for the afternoon but had a headache that got worse throughout the day. I attributed it to dehydration and kept drinking.
I went to bed by 8:30 that night and woke up with the same headache.
I took some alleve and kept drinking and the headache subsided but did not run on Saturday.
We did a TON of yard work instead. I transplanted one rose bush and both of our peach trees.
I felt much better but by the end of the day I was starting to loose my voice.
I thought my legs and back would be sore today, but instead both my scapulae (shoulder blades) feel like I rowed a full marathon! I did a some of the digging sitting down to save my legs.

I met Keira at the Lake Hughes Community Center at 7:00 am. She wanted to review the first 6-8 miles again and talk about aid stations for Leona Divide and Leona Valley Trail Races. Leona Divide is coming up on April 30th. I ran last year there for my first Ultra and it was AWESOME! Well, this year is going to be even better and I am jealous that I am not running this year. I am hoping to do a few of the training runs and go out there for the start of the race. I am pretty sure Clay is planning on running it again this year, and after talking to Keira today I would recommend anyone sign up! It is going to be great.

We ran and hiked for two hours, probably around 12 miles, and had a great time catching up. I am also excited to run her Los Pinos 50k and and Ray Miller 50/50 (Santa Monica Mts/Back Bone Tail) in the coming years.

So, the weekend runs didn't quite go as planned. As I write this post, I am not quite sure I had food poisoning. My son Matthew just came out here with vomit all over himself! YIKES! Oh, and my voice has not quite returned to normal yet!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

John Frank Memorial 10 miler

I got my issue of California Track & Running News today. As I was flipping through I noticed a familiar runner on the advertisement for the John Frank Memorial NorCal 10 miler. It was non other than Sergio Reyes! He has won this race the last two years with a time of 50:51 in 2010 and with a time of 48:50 in 2009!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Weekend Update

Friday morning I had planned on a two hour run while the kids were at school (I had the day off to travel to Claremont for a course, more later). When we got in the car I realized I had left the keys in the car over night in the auxillary position and the battery was dead. I tried to jump the car but got nothing so I had to remove the battery and take it to Pep Boys. They tested it, said it was no good, so I bought an new one, brought it home, and installed it, jumped the car again and got 'er goin'. By this time I had time for about 45 minutes. I got in 6 miles, then packed a bag for the weekend.

I attended a USATF level 1 coaching course at Pitzer College in Claremont. There are 3 levels of coaching certification and level 1 is the first and only certification you can get with no coaching experience. They only offer this course once a year so I jumped on the opportunity. My colleague and friend Ron also came out for the course. We had 21 hours of instruction over 3 days on track and field. The instructors included Doug Todd, the head coach at Mt. SAC and meet director of the Mt. SAC cross country invitational. Also Troy Johnson (Head Coach at Cal Poly Pomona), Jeremy Fisher (triple jump coach at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista), and Tony Veney (Head Coach at Ventura College). All were very knowledgeable and interesting speakers. I learned lots about technique and drills for jumps, throws, and sprints.

The reason I took the course, and become a certified USATF level 1 coach, is that I am planning on starting an online coaching service and website in the near future. I would design programs and offer online coaching via email for distances from 5k to ultramarathon training. I will keep you posted on the progress of this venture.

The course was LONG! Saturday was 8:00am to 9:40pm with breaks only for meals. I was able to sneak in an 8 miler on Saturday morning in 61 minutes, and today I got up early for a 16 miler in 2 hours 4 minutes. I could tell that I had been sitting for over 10 hours the day before as my legs were stiff and sluggish. Looking back at my splits I actually picked it up 10-20 seconds every mile for 14 miles and then backed off for the last 2 miles. I started with an 8:44 and ended with a 6:43. My 13.1 split was somewhere around 1:42. It felt way harder than it should have and made me a little nervous about Surf City in 3 weeks. I know I was tired and stiff from sitting the day before, but I also know that I am quite under trained this time around. I also got a small blister on the inside of my right foot near my big toe.

Plan for Surf City is still the same, go out in 1:30 and hang on for as long as possible.

We had two demonstration sessions at the Pomona-Pitzer College track. It was recently resurfaced, and you could still smell the new track, but they kept the original blue color. Here are two pictures of me running a 1500m at Pomona-Pitzer in 1999. Can you pick me out of the second picture?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Mesa, Colordado Vacation + 20k run

We just returned from a vacation in Mesa, Colorado where my wife's grandmother has a cabin. The first day there it snowed a 4-6 inches giving us fresh powder to ski on the next two days. I got in one run on that snowy day during the short break in snowfall. I ended up running 20k (12.4 miles) in 1:40:50. It is very hilly up there and I could definitely "feel" the altitude. I haven't uploaded my garmin data yet but the town of Mesa, CO is at 5600ft and the bottom of the ski resort is at 8200ft. The cabin is somewhere in the middle, I believe around 6500ft. I ran in my New Balance 921s which are supposed to be designed for winter conditions. I was ready to be done as my right tibialis posterior started talking to me after about 90 minutes.

My advice for anyone traveling to altitude is to run based on effort and keep it easy for the first two weeks as most of the running effort will feel tougher than normal. It can take at least two weeks to acclimatize and even then it will take more effort to run the same speeds.

The next two days were spent downhill skiing. Both my boys went to their first ski school and did great. Matt did a day and a half of lessons and Micah did a one hour lesson and did multiple trips on the magic carpet with Andi, Clark, and I. The boys enjoyed the ski lessons and far exceeded our expectations. There were so few people on the mountain that the boys both had private lessons and we felt like we had the resort to ourselves. Once at the bottom we could hop right back on the lift for another run. It was pretty cold though, the temp at the top (9850ft) was -9 degrees at 9:00am!

So I only got one run in over the last week, but we had a great vacation. I take that back, on the return trip we actually did get some track work in on the Las Vegas Motor Speedway!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

3 mile tempo + 4 x800m intervals

Well I had to try the workout I gave Dale last week so here it goes.

2 miles warm up

3 miles threshold 19:15 (6:30, 6:30, 6:15)

4 x 800m intervals (2:50, 2:47, 2:46, 2:45)
1 lap recovery jog between each.

1.5 mile cool down.

It was a tough workout. I think next time I would add another threshold mile and try and be closer to 6:20 pace. I am not used to those 800s and both my calves were sore today. It is still really cold at 6:00am!

It snowed on all day Sunday and we ended up with about 6-8 inches! Last time we got snow like that was December 17, 2008. I had a great workout that day too!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2010 recap & 2011 goals

After looking back at 2010, I realized that most of the highlights were in the first half of the year although there were some great times this fall as well. Here are a few high points.

Top races:
1. Charlotesville 10 miler - (62:02) A PR by 18 seconds on a much more difficult course.
2. Leona Divide 50 miler - My first Ultra and a sub 9 hour finish at an experience I will never forget.
3. Nutty Runner 5k - Probably the windiest race I have ever run in and the first race I have ever won! Also my first race as a "stunt runner."
4. Newhall Independence Day 5k - (18:17) My fastest post collegiate 5k
5. Santa Clarita Half Marathon - (1:23:25) I way over exceeded my goals for this race. It was a good feeling to be able to hold that kind of pace coming off one of the most debilitating injuries I have ever had.
6. HDR Cross Country PCR - (19:42) Perfect weather conditions lead to this performace. 15 seconds faster than ever before on this ridiculously tough course.

Top workouts:
1. Many great long trail runs with Clay in preparation for LD50.
2. This awesome long threshold run in late February after which I knew I was in shape to PR at the 10 mile distance. Oh, this one in March was good too.
3. Spontaneous AV Marathon (3:35:47). I mixed up my wake up call during the time change and met Dale an hour before scheduled. I had run 9 miles before he showed up. We ran another 17 together for a full marathon training run!
4. Big Bear trail run with Andi - We ran from our cabin to the Cougar Crest Trail which lead us up to the PCT out and back.
5. Tough track workout with Zac 6 x 800m. We had extremely windy conditions but took turns leading and ran probably my fastest post collegiate workout. We hit 2:40-2:42 for all but one (the first one). I strained my calf a week later!
6. A great 10k threshold run in December. Nearly fully recovered from my calf injury. Clay and Dale ran 6 x 800m while I ran 6 miles at threshold pace. A great workout!
7. Fast finish long run with Zac - 16 miles total. Last 10 with Zac. Last 5 on sub 7 min pace. Last 3 miles in just over 19 minutes!

There were some great photos from my front door.

I wrote some good short running related articles.

Goals for 2011:
1. I will run 1600 miles in 2011 (I have to aim high right).
2. I will run 2 Boston Qualifying times, one at Surf City and one at Orange County.
3. I will help organize and support the new Leona Valley Trail Races on October 8, 2011 and run either the marathon or half marathon distance.
4. I will run injury free all year.
5. I will run a sub 18 min 5k at Newhall Independence Day 5k.

Read an old article of mine on goal setting here.

I posted some great motivational autographs after a great half marathon time trial with Dale 2 years ago today.

Since others seem to be blogging about their weight I decided to document mine on the 1/1/11. Today I weighed in at 167.4.

Happy New Year! I hope you all have many happy and healthy miles in 2011!

10 mile easy run

I was suprised how good I felt this morning. Only mild soreness after 20 miles yesterday, my longest run since LD50! I figured a 6 mile run would help loosen up the legs a bit. It took about a mile warm up and I felt great! I ended up running to Clay's house at around 1:00pm and thought I would check to see if anyone needed to get a run in today. Kendall was at the door and said that Clay was ASLEEP but Zac was there and he joined me without any hesitation! We ran another 4 miles together and I showed him my 800 loops off of 65th west. I dropped him off back at his house and started running home. It was at this moment that my legs started to tell me they were done, especially my right calf. No pain just complete fatigue. I made it home for a total of 10 miles in somewhere around 80 minutes. That is 40 miles in the past 3 days!