Sunday, February 27, 2011

I am sore (but not where you'd expect)

I woke up today and took inventory. I stood up and my legs felt suprisingly good. I walked up and down the stairs at my dad's house with no problem. With no stair training for this event yesterday, not even once on a stair master, I figured I would be sore for a few days in my quads and glutes, but no problem. Later this morning I realized, "my left shoulder is killing me, why is my left shoulder so sore?" Then I thought about the stair climb. My left arm was my inside hand the entire time as we ascended the stair-well counter-clockwise for an hour. I occasionally used both hands, but almost always grabbed and pulled with my left arm. I also used the left to quickly swing 180 degrees around each landing area (2x per floor). Funny that after 5400 steps it is my left shoulder that got the most cranky.

We watched the Academy Awards tonight and, after the song commemorating all the people in the film industry that have passed away this year, they finished with a quote from Lena Horne,
"It's not the load that breaks you down, its the way you carry it."

It made me think of how my left arm carried more of the load than it was ready too yesterday. It made me think of how, as a physical therapist, I teach people how to carry loads so that they don't break down. It reminded me that your posture and how you carry yourself when running can cause your body to break down. And it made me think of people like Lena Horne that have over come obstacles because of the way they carried themselves and responded to criticism.

What a great quote.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Fight for Air Climb Ultimate Climber Challenge Minneapolis, MN

The Ultimate Climber Challenge was this morning in Minnepolis, MN. My dad and I arrived at the Accenture Tower at 6:10am as they were opening the doors. I checked in, got my bib number and timing chip, and a nice tech t-shirt. Then we decided to check out the course. The stair well starts on the bottom floor and goes straight up to the 30th floor. The first floor was wide but after that it narrowed and you could reach the handrails on both sides to help pull yourself up. Once at the top, I would be taking the elevator down but these elevators stopped on the second floor. From there you ran to an escalator nearby and took that down to the first floor where you made a 180 degree turn and entered the stair well agin. It was chip timed from the entrance to the stair well to the exit on the 30th floor.
My dad was talking with one of the event organizers Bob Moffitt, and told him that I was from California. Bob said, "I have been reading his blog, we couldn't believe someone was coming out from California for our event." I guess Bob printed my blog out for other organizers to read. It was great to know that others are finding and reading my blog.

I had never done a stair climb before so I did not know what to expect. I had no plan for how to climb. Skip steps or take each one at a time? Run or power hike? I figured the first climb would be my learning curve and I would figure out the most efficient way to make it to the top.

The Ultimate Climber Challenge started at 7:00am and they let one person start every 5 to 10 seconds. We were started in order by bib number but the bib numbers seem to be assigned in alphabetical order so I got number 41. There seemed to be around 50+ participants in the Challenge. That meant I started when the clock said 1 minutes 50 seconds. I started passing people right away. Everyone was very courteous about moving to the outside of the stair well so that I could swing around the handrail and pass on the inside. After 5 floors I realized that running up was not going to be efficient for an hour of climbing and switched to a power hike, skipping a step each time. I finished the first climb to the 30th floor in 4:48! I had no idea how long it would take me but that way over exceeded my estimations.

The next lap I got behind another climber that looked like he knew what he was doing. I stuck right behind him and was right on his heels. We bumped hands a few times on the turns and by the time I reaized that I should have passed him, we were at the top, this time in 6:00.

It took a little over a minute to get into an elevator, take it down, then run down the escalator and over to the stair well again each time. I snuck ahead of the group out the elevator and ran over to the stair well to start my third climb. Before I entered my dad said, "There are only 3 or 4 people ahead of you." That meant I had already passed the 30+ people who started ahead of me at the start. I continued skipping stairs with each step and using the handrails for leverage.

There were volunteers at different levels of the building at the door to the stairwell with music, noisemakers, and water cheering us on. The support was great! The floors are marked at each level, which I'm sure is due to fire code but it really helped to know what level I as on and how far I had to go.

It was on the 5th climb up that I was lapped by the leader. That guy was really moving! He was using his arms to pull up almost as much as he was using his legs and he seemed to sort of bound up each level.

I finished the 8th climb in around 55 minutes of total time. They were going to stop us at an hour and many of the other climbers were stopping at that time because they knew the would not be able to complete another climb in the alloted time. Another climber and I took the elevator down for one more try. Each climb was getting a little harder, but I seemed to be keeping a fairly steady pace. I had no idea what my splits were until afterward. I was getting a little light headed and nauseous by now. I hit one hour on my watch on the 25th floor and finished the 9th climb in 1:01:30 (on my watch) but they recorded my 9th climb.

My splits for each climb were 4:48, 6:00, 5:15, 5:23, 5:23, 5:31, 5:37, 5:31, 5:18. Total climbing time was 270 floors in about 48minutes 46 seconds. There were 3 guys that made it to the top 10 times. I was the only person to make it 9 times which put me in 4th place overall.

Thanks to the event organizer Todd Larkin for putting on a great event. They had a nice post race gathering on the 18th floor with good food, water, and music. Maybe next year I will be able to Scale the Strat in Las Vegas. I feel pretty good right now, very minimal soreness. Not bad at all. I will probably be a little more sore in the morning.

Thanks to all who sponsored me for this event. I raised $490 for the American Lung Association.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Denver International Airport

We had a layover in Devner on our way to Minnesota today. The boys needed to "get some wiggles out" so I took them for a walk around the terminal. We were going to ride the "moving sidewalk." As we were walking I saw a man that I recognized. It was multiple Olympic gold medalist and 400m record world record holder Michael Johnson. I told the boys, "we have to go back and get the camera." The boys meanwhile just want to get to the moving walkway. We returned and I introduced myself to Mr. Johnson and asked if he didn't mind taking a picture with me and my boys. He obliged and I asked the gentleman who he was talking to if he would take the picture. When he turned around I realized it was Brian Clay, Olympic gold medalist in the Decathalon in Beijing! I was so suprised I didn't know what to say except ask to have my picture taken with him as well! So Brian Clay took the picture of us with Micheal Johson, and Michael Johnson took the picture of us with Brian Clay. Here are the pictures.
Andi says I should work for the FBI with my abilities to recognize people, especially celebrities and athletes, in their street clothes.
An extra tid bit on Brian Clay that I just read online. Before the Beijing Olympics Brian completed the SPARQ test which objectively measures athleticism in certain sports. He scored a 130.4 on the football test which was the highest score ever recorded. To put that score into perspecitve, Reggie Bush (NFL Running Back) scored a 93.38!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

6 mile morning run from Coach Karl

I got in an easy 6 this morning, and I am talking EASY. No watch just up to 70th and back and around the neighborhood. It is in the low 30s in the morning and I am ready for some warmer temperatures.

The big news is that I passed the USATF Level 1 Coaching Exam with a 94%. I guess they send me some sort of certificate, and when I get my website up and running I will be offering coaching services and training plans for HS track/cross country runners to ultramarathoners to first time runners. I am hoping to have it up in the next 2 months.

My Ultimate Climber Challenge in Minneapolis, MN is this Saturday. Thanks to all who sponsored me with a pledge to the American Lung Association. If you haven't and would still like to, here is the link to my pledge page.

Check back on Saturday afternoon for a full recap and pictures. See how many times I can scale a 30 story building in an hour.
The winner of the Empire State Building Run-up completed 86 floors in 10 minutes 10 seconds. I figure I should be able to do a third of that in the same time (30 floors in 10 minutes) right? I really have no idea. I know I will get slower but I do have rest time down the elevator. 30 floors in 10 minutes would be 3 floors per minute. That doesn't seem too fast to me. They state in the instructions that the average climb takes 15 minutes. Place your bets in the comment section. How many times will Karl scale the Accenture Tower (30 floors) in one hour? Also, how fast will Karl be on his first climb to the top?

Monday, February 21, 2011

12 miles with Clay (1:29:54)

I didn't run on Saturday. It was cold, windy, and raining. Call me a wimp, it just didn't look like fun to run. Thought about the treadmill but never got around to it.

Sunday morning I met Clay at the aqueduct at 6:30am. It was in the low 30s/high 20s and breezy up there. I didn't even get out of my car. I just rolled down my window and said, "Lets drive back to your house." So we did, and ran 3x3 mile loops around his neighborhood. It was nice to get frequent breaks from the breeze/wind as we zig zagged through. We threw in a few faster miles around 6:45 but mostly cuised at 7:45 pace. Clay finished at 9 miles and I continued for 3 more around Lane Park for a change of scenery.

Total mileage for today was 12 in just under an hour and a half or 7:30 pace avg.

Track news:
I forgot to post last week that Bernard Lagat broke the US indoor 2 mile record running negative splits and finishing in 8:10. He now owns US records for indoor 1500m, mile, 3k, 2 mile, and 5k. He also has US records for outdoor 1500m, 3k, and 5k!
In the same race Lukas Verzbicas just missed the HS indoor 2 mile mark by 3 seconds running 8:43!
Update: Galen Rupp broke Bernard Lagat's indoor 5k US record this weekend running 13:11.44!

Kenyan, Mary Keitany broke the women's half marathon world record by 35 seconds running 1:05:50! That has a 2:18 equivalent marathon effort! She also broke the 20k world record en route! Mary is running the London Marathon in April so watch out!

Finally, the high school shot put record went down this weekend at the Simplot Games in Idaho. Ryan Crouser broke the record with a throw of 77ft 2.75in. See the throw here. His story is he won the high school state championship as a freshman, then broke his foot and required surgery last year. He did a lot of upper body strength training and conditioning during his recovery. This year is his return to throwing and he PR'd by 3 ft to break the record.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Boston Marathon Entry Changes

This has been all the talk in the last 24 hours so I figured I better comment on it. The Boston Marathon has officially made changes to its registration process over the next two years to avoid another situation like this year. What happened this year? Well it sold out in less than 24 hours! Doesn't sound like a big problem to me, especially if I was a race director. The problem lies in the race itself. They are limited in size. If you have ever been to Hopkinton, MA you would know that it is a small town with small streets and limited facilities. 25,000 runners is already pushing the limit of this small town. They can't expand the field size any more but the number of qualified entrants continues to grow. Some runners qualify every year, and return to Boston every year becuase it really is that AWESOME a race. New York has a similar problem, over 100,000 register (even at nearly 200 bucks a pop) for the 40,000 spots. Although NY has automatic qualifying standards (tighter than Boston) they rely heavily on their lottery system. I don't think Boston wanted to go that route at all. Can you imagine, "Qualify for Boston, then well put your name in a hat and you MIGHT get in."

I discussed the qualifying standards last May in a blog post here and got a good response. I suggested cutting the qualifying times by almost 10 minutes per age group, which was probably too much to still fill their 25,000 entrants. I could see the registration filling quicker every year and knew there would be issues, not just at Boston but at other Marathons too like Twin Cities. Shoot, you even have to get in a lottery to run 100 miles at Western States. This sport is growing so quiclky. It is awesome to be a part of.

So the B.A.A. made some changes yesterday, and some have called them "aggressive." I would call them "covering all their bases." They don't want to have to do this again.

Here is the plan:
The field for Boston 2011 is already set. Too late to run this year anyway.

The registration for Boston 2012 will open this September 2011 and will be a two week rolling admission where, based on your qualifying time, you will be able to register earlier than others.

September 12, 2011 20 min., 00sec. or more below their qualifying time (based on age/gender)
September 14, 2011 10 min., 00 sec. or more below their qualifying time (based on age/gender)
September 16, 2011 5 min., 00 sec. or more below their qualifying time (based on age/gender)
Second Week
September 19, 2011 All Qualified Runners
September 23, 2011 Registration closes for qualified applicants
September 28, 2011 (appx) Qualifiers from entry during second week of registration are notified of their acceptance.

My opinion is that the Boston Marathon is supposed to be the most elite field in the World (Besides the Olympics) so why not give faster runners presidence. This means that if it fills up before they get to the ones who squeeked in, then "sorry, requalify with a faster time for next year."

The next change won't happen until the 2013 race. Actually the changes will be important for 2011 and 2012. Registration will happen in September 2012 for the 2013 race and runners will have a year before that to get their qualifying time. So you must run a qualifying time between Sept. 2011 and Sept. 2012 for Boston 2013. This is not much different than before. What will be different for 2013 is the qualifying times. They have subtracted 5 minutes from every age group and eliminated the 59 second "grace time" from the standards. If you run 3:05:01 then you are OUT!
Here are the new standards for 2013 for Men and then Women.
18-34 3hrs 05min 00sec 3hrs 35min 00sec
35-39 3hrs 10min 00sec 3hrs 40min 00sec
40-44 3hrs 15min 00sec 3hrs 45min 00sec
45-49 3hrs 25min 00sec 3hrs 55min 00sec
50-54 3hrs 30min 00sec 4hrs 00min 00sec
55-59 3hrs 40min 00sec 4hrs 10min 00sec
60-64 3hrs 55min 00sec 4hrs 25min 00sec
65-69 4hrs 10min 00sec 4hrs 40min 00sec
70-74 4hrs 25min 00sec 4hrs 55min 00sec
75-79 4hrs 40min 00sec 5hrs 10min 00sec
80 and over 4hrs 55min 00sec 5hrs 25min 00sec
*Unlike previous years, an additional 59 seconds will NOT be accepted for each age group time standard.

Also if you have run the past 10 consecutive Boston Marathons and requalified you will be able to register with the first wave.

Here is the official B.A.A. statement on the new procedures.

I think these are all good changes. They have attacked the problem form all sides. They changed the registration process, they changed the qualifying times, they even increased the entry fee which is not official yet but will be between 5 and 20 dollars more. It currently costs 130 dollars to run the Boston Marathon.

Maybe if I was a 3:10 guy I would be upset, I don't know, but I also think, like I said in my blog post in May, that runners will rise to the challenge. Currently everyone (Males 18-34) trains to run 3:10. Now they will all have to train to run under 3:05. It may take them another few years but they will make it. Runners are up for the challenge I know it. It is just a new barrier to break. Just like World Records, they are made to be broken. People train to break the world record in any event and that is why people keep getting faster and faster. Why set a limit on yourself. Keep training, be consistent, and times will continue to drop. Now there is even more incentive to train harder and run faster. Don't just squeek under the qualifying mark, try and beat it by as much as possible and you will get priority registration! Good luck to all hoping to qualify for 2013!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Dale's Cruise Intervals & "What's a LOADING RATE?"

I had been discussing some threshold paced workouts with Dale via his blog since Surf City. My thought was that he could use more threshold pace runs. He contacted me to meet on Tuesday morning, and he let me choose the workout! Bad idea Dale! I decided we would do a total volume of 4 miles at his T-pace which is 6:40 pace (based on his 68:14 10m PR). I let him choose between 4x1600m or 8x800m. The key to the workout is the short recovery 90 sec between 1600m or 45 sec between 800m. He chose the 1600s and we took off. The difficulty in this workout doesn't come until the last few sets, unless you run the first few too fast. We finished the first one in 6:50, jogged for 200m and then hit the next 2 in 6:38. You have just barely enough time to catch your breath and feel slightly ready before it is time to hit another one. The last set was getting tough so we split it into two 800s, but also cut the rest in half so we only took 45 seconds or 100m between and ran them each in 3:20. Dale nailed the workout! I would challenge Dale to progress these workouts by adding volume first (5x1600m or 10x800m and so on), then extending the length to 3x2mile with 3 min recovery jog. Once those workouts are completed then go back and try the workouts again at the same speeds but even less rest (30sec/800m and 60sec/1600m). Eventually running a 4-5 mile threshold run at 6:40 pace.

Afterward, Dale and I discussed running form a little bit as I have been jazzed about this recent blog post by Jay Dicharry, P.T. from the University of Virginia's SPEED Performance Clinic on optimal form to minimize loading rates. I got to meet Mr. Dicharry at the UVA running clinic I attended last April. He discussed some of this topic then and really summed it up well in his last two blog posts. They are both worth a read and reread.
Here is Part 1 and Part 2.

There is so much talk about heel striking vs midfoot striking vs forefoot striking when it comes to form. The conclusion most people make is that heel striking is BAD! They blame the running shoes for causing all the form changes and allowing a more comfortable heel strike and give runners something else to blame their injuries on. They may be partially correct, but what Mr. Dicharry has found in his lab is that foot contact style is not as important as contact position relative to center of mass when minimizing loading rates. This means that heel striking can be ok as long as the ground contact position is almost directly under the runner's center of mass (or almost directly under the hip). Loading rates are how quickly the body (bone, tendon, muscle) has to absorb the ground reaction forces with each step. The higher the loading rate the more force the body has to absorb in a short amount of time, thus increasing the likelihood of injury. The problem many runners have is over striding not heel striking (although many heel strikers are also over striders).

Mr. Dicharry used some great pictures on his post from subjects in his lab, but he also used a picture of Scott Jurek that I have seen and contemplated before. Here it is.

Look at the difference in foot position on the forward leg of Scott Jurek and the Tarahumaran runner. They are completely opposite. Scott has his toes pointed up (ready to heel strike) and the other has his toes pointed down (ready to forefoot strike). Both of these runners are very efficient but have completely different forms. The thing they both have in common is that when their lead leg hits the ground it will be almost right under the hip (under their center of mass) thus minimizing loading rates. Interestingly, Scott (a heel striker) is wearing running shoes and the Tarahumaran runner is wearing sandals...hmmmmm.

Optimal stride frequency has been found to be between 180 and 190 strides per minute. If you count your steps for 10 seconds and multiply by 6 you will have your stride frequency. If it is under 170 you may be over striding. This article summed it up well.

There are some easy form drills and cues to help you increase your stride frequency and shorten stride length. Actual research has been done that shows decreased loading rates after runners modified their stride based on the cue, "run soft." That's it just "run soft." He also discusses the importance of lumbar posture when running and how an anterior tilt, or too much curve in the low back, can shift your center of mass back, thus causing a relative overstride. This is a sign of a weak core and can be remedied with core training and again form drills.

Take home points:
1. Increase your stride frequency to at least 180 strides/min without increasing your speed. Try it on an easy run day and play with it a little.
2. Barefoot running drills are a good way to work on form since it discourages over striding. I suggest 50-100m strides on grass to start.
3. "Run soft," I don't want to hear you coming up behind me on the roads, ok!
4. Just like the word "pronation," "heel striking" is not necessarily a BAD WORD.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Leona Valley Trail Races! October 8th

The Leona Valley Trail Races website is up and running with registration open. Check it out!

If you scroll down a little you might see a familiar face! I sent Keira a bunch of photos to use from Clay and my LD50 training and she used one on the home page.

She also used my maps and elevation charts on the website. It is going to be a great event with something for everyone. 5k to marathon distances. Here is my rundown of each event.

5k: The course is an out and back on the fire road starting from the Lake Hughes Community Center. All the races have the same starting line. The turn around point at 1.55 miles is at a sharp turn in the road creating an awesome "lookout" point, where you can see down the canyons toward Santa Clarita. This first 1.55 miles is the steepest portion of the road up to the PCT which makes for a challenging initial climb and a fast return back to the finish. It would be a great intro to trail running as the road is wider than the PCT but far from even footing surfaces.

10k: The benefit of running this course is that you actually get to make it to the top of the fire road, 3.4 mile climb, to a full aid station. This is also the intersection of the PCT and more gorgeous views of the canyons. There is about 800ft of elevation change in the first 3 miles which makes for a challenging climb and again a quick decent on the out and back course. Because it is 3.4 miles to the aid station, the 10k is actually 6.8 miles instead of the normal 6.2 miles, but who's counting?

Half Marathon: The first 3.4 miles of the half marathon is the same as the 10k but then the runners get to turn right on the PCT (Pacific Crest trail, which runs from Mexico to Canada). On the trail you follow the switchbacks down a thousand feet over 3.3 miles, to Lake Hughes Rd. where there will be another full aid station. This is the turnaround point. The course then follows the switchbacks up the same route and then back down the fire road to the finish. This is a very challenging course with over 2000ft of ascent and descent over the half marathon. The total distance on the course is 13.4 miles.

Marathon: If you want to maximize your time on the PCT then the marathon is the way to go. Once at aid station #1 runners will make a left turn and run toward grass mountain where there is another intersection with the PCT. Runners will follow the PCT for 2 miles back to the first aid station and then down the switchbacks to Lake Hughes Rd. There the course crosses the road and acends 1500ft over the next 4 miles to the turn around. This is a "gnarly climb." which runners immediatlely descend on. The last 6.7 miles is the same as the half marathon finish. Cross Lake Hughes Rd., up the switchbacks and down the fireroad to the finish. This marathon course is very challenging due to the amount of elevation change in the second half of the race. The marathon course is 26.6 miles.

FYI: Awesome Valentine's Day post by Mark Remy!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

12 miles with Clay (1:28:39)

Clay told me on Friday he was going to run 12 on the aqueduct on Saturday morning. His plan was 3 warm up, then alternating a sub 7min mile with a "recovery mile" for the next 9 miles. This way he would run a total of 5 miles at a sub 7 minute pace (around his 10k pace).

I met him at 7am and we headed east. The weather was AWESOME, cool and calm. We set a good pace right away and ran the first 3 mines in just under 24 minutes (8:08, 7:52, 7:46). Then we started alternating miles 6:55, 7:53, 6:54, then his son Zac jointed us for the next 6 miles 7:43, 6:48, 8:23, 6:40, 7:54, 5:32. On the last mile Clay said, "give me a minute head start." I negotiated to 45 seconds but right before we started I changed my mind and only gave him 30 seconds. My thinking was that he would run around 6:30 and I would be close to 6:00. Zac and I ran the first quarter mile in 85 seconds and we still had some ground to make up so we picked up the pace a little and I caught Clay with a quarter mile to go. I never thought I could have run 5:32! He was right, if I had given him a minute we would have finished very close...actually I think he would have held me off. I was feeling the burn the entire last quarter mile. I don't think I have run a mile under six minutes since the Newhall ID 5k last July. I was suprised. And to do it after 11 miles, even better.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

8 mile easy run, a rough morning for all...but one

I got in 8 easy miles this morning. I was able to pick up the pace a little bit half way but the first 4 were SLOW recovery miles. The run was my Rancho Vista Loop in just under 66 minutes.

The big news was Surf City Marathon this morning, and I eagerly awaited the news of my running friends results. As the news came in I realized it was a rough day out there. The conditions were nearly perfect (cool and foggy) but it just wasn't the right day I guess. It started with 3 DNS (Did not start).
Me you know.
Ron with a calf strain.
Zac with IT Band Friction Syndrome.

The rest were able to at least start the race.
Clay realized early on that it wasn't a good day. He was ill yesterday and dealt with early fatigue and cramping causing him to drop out.
Chuck and Lauren finished but about 10 minutes slower than planned (3:55) with Lauren struggling in the second half. It was still a PR for Lauren on her second marathon attempt.
Dale also struggled to maintain goal pace and came in about 10 minutes slower than he had hoped but still grabbed a BQ (Boston Qualifier) 3:27.
The bright star for the day was David who ran a 10 minute PR and BQ finishing in 3:35. This was also 10 minutes faster than his time at CIM 2 months ago! Congratulations David!

Hearing all these stories reminds me how tough the marathon can be even when well prepared. It also makes me appreciate the two sub 3 hour marathons that I have been able to run. Those two days were truly "stars aligned days." That's not to say that they were easy, but for some reason on that day I was able to push through the soreness and fatigue and finish strong, or strong enough.

Clay is a sub 3:30 marathoner, he just hasn't had "the right stuff" on race day. He could go out there in two weeks and run close to that on the aqueduct. I truly believe that.

Dale was in shape to run 3:15, he has put in the work, and has half marathon times to predict it, but today was not the day for one reason or another.

Ron set himself up with his training for a better marathon time on his second attempt at the distance but couldn't make it to the starting line healthy.

Lauren is Boston qualifier material, but again she wasn't today.

Part of the challenge of training for a marathon is the balance of training volume and intensity, to become as fit as possible and allow you to make it to the starting line healthy and ready. It is a tough thing to do as shown today. Even when you have put in all the work and are not injured you can get sick, have bad racing conditions, or just plain don't have it that day. Performing to your maximum ability is the biggest challenge with road racing of any distance. All your time proves is how good you were on that day (February 6th, 2011). Those PRs are those great days where everything was clicking and they stick with you forever. "What's your marathon PR?" What's your best 5k time?" When runners get together we ask each other these questions all the time. We tend to leave out the fact that the PR was set 10 years ago, like my 5k track PR. But I will always be a sub 3 hour marathoner, and I tell you what, I will never take those "stars aligned" days for granted. The last one of those "days" I came close to was last April in Charlotesville when I PR'd at the 10 mile distance in 62:01, and even that day wasn't perfect as I dealt with some achilles tendonitis. They don't happen very often, but that is one of the reasons I keep pounding the pavement, in hopes of experiencing one of those days again.

The great thing about running is, "There's always next time." We'll train harder and smarter, and race more efficiently.

See you next time!

By the way, I found a great new hill for hill repeats! The one right outside Dale's front door!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

4 mile tempo; 10 total

Be flexible. Listen to your body. Know when to call it a day. Train smart.

Those are my words of wisdom for the day and I used them all this morning. When I went to bed last night I thought, "I think I'll do a 10 mile tempo run tomorrow." When I woke up I decided, "10 is too long. I will warm up to the aqueduct, do 6 miles tempo, and cool down coming home." That is what I started to do. I warmed up 2 miles to the aqueduct, them headed east for 3 miles. I thought I should be able to hit 6:20s or so but every time I looked down at my watch it was saying 6:40-6:50. The effort level was way harder than I wanted it to be. It felt like 10k pace but it was really closer to goal marathon pace. It was getting harder and harder to maintain pace. Then the plan started to change. "I'll call it after 5," I thought, but that forth mile was pretty tough and I decided to call it a day there. I have done this type of run enough that I can feel my form struggling. It is at that point that I call the workout for the day. So the plan started out at 10 miles of tempo and ended as 4. My tempo splits were 6:40, 6:38, 6:31, 6:30.

There was a lot of great races going on today.

The USATF cross country national championships was in San Diego this morning. Justin Patananan from Palmdale, CA competed in the men's open division 12k and was 56th with a time of 40:32. Congrats Justin! The women's race was stacked with Shalane Flanagan defending her title. The US Women should have a great team at Worlds. See results here.

The New Balance Indoor Grand Prix was also today and all the hype was on high school runner Lukas Verzbicas who was running the elite mile. He was hoping to break 4 minutes but came up short running 4:03 (3rd fastest HS indoor mile ever). See his interview here. The kid has an amazing ability to deal with all the attention and media. He gives a great interview, has an awesome attitude, and a very bright future (at Oregon for the next 4 years).

Coach Jay Johnson out of Boulder, CO has had some great blog posts lately. The comments from other coaches are almost as good. They are both worth a read.
The first is "Winter training for college runners," which really relates to anyone not just collegiates.
The second is "The kids are alright," which discusses training younger runners. I especially like the 6 points at the end, and can't agree more with #6! It is so good that I am going to quote it here.
"6. Finally, if one were reading this blog in 1950′s America then I would argue something different, because I could assume that the 12-16 year old kids had more running, jumping, climbing, playing in their background. In 2011 we’re naive to assume that kids have done any significant amount of physical play, let alone physical work. You have to keep this in mind when you read Lydaird or you read about Ryan and Lindgren’s high school training."

I think you can benefit this generation of kids more in the long run by doing almost equal general strengthening to running for their training. Squat, jump, climb, pull, push, throw, lift, balance. When I was at the USATF coaching clinic one of the instructors asked us, "How many of you have ever climbed a tree?" About half, if not more of us raised our hands. He then said, "If you asked this to a bunch of high schoolers these days, you would only get about 10% raising their hands." That is sad.

Good luck to everyone running the Surf City Marathon tomorrow. If you are reading this before you race then you stayed up too late!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

65st West Hill Repeats

My plan to train for the Accenture Tower Ultimate Climber Challenge is to run lots of hills and do lots of lunges. I only have a few weeks to train so I will have to be careful not to over do it. You can't cram for a race just like you can't cram for a stair climb.

I ran over to 65th St. West between ave M and M-8 today. I then attempted 4 repeats with a recovery jog back down inbetween. The rest time down ended up being almost exactly 4 minutes each time. Any faster and It wouldn't have been "recovery time." My times for the hills (each one is a half mile and reaches a grade of around 7-8%) were 3:18, 3:22, 3:26, 3:23. To put it into perspective my best time up this hill is 3:08. I haven't run hills like that in a while and I could start to feel the burn a little earlier on each successive repeat. I also felt my right calf a fatigue and tighten as the workout progressed. I haven't mentioned this before but my right calf has been sore since my "easy trail run" with Keira almost two weeks ago. I can still run on it, it is just tight.

Total mileage for today was 8.

Here is the link to my pledge page for the ALA Fight for Air Climb.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

I got double booked!

I just found out two days ago that my niece Lydia's bapstism was scheduled for February 6th and Andi and I were to be Godparents! That is the same morning as the Surf City Marathon. Unfortunately, I will not be running this Sunday as my neice neice and her family need my support. The marathon will always be there waiting. I can't miss this important event. I will miss seeing Clay, Dale, Lauren, Chuck, David, and Ron, but I know that you will all do awesome. I expect some great things out there on Sunday.

I have new announcement that I need your help with. I signed up today to participate in the American Lung Association Fight for Air Climb up the Accenture Tower in Minneapolis, MN on February 26th, 2011. I have wanted to participate in one of these events for the past year but the dates never worked out. The event I would really like to try is called Scale the Strat, which is a timed run up the Stratosphere Tower 108 floors in Las Vegas, NV. That date again didn't fit into my schedule, but the event in Minnesota did. I will be headed out there for my dad's 60th birthday in March. The Accenture Tower is 30 floors, not much compared to the Stratosphere, but I will be competing in the Ultimate Climber Challenge. This is a competition to see who can climb to the top of the building the most times in one hour. They say the average time is 15 minutes. I would like to think I am above average. Can I make it up 5 times and average 12 min per climb? Or can I make it 6 times and average 10 minutes per climb? The cool part is I get to take the elevator down each time so it is like one BIG interval workout and I don't have to kill my quads on the way down. Well take bets on how many times I can make it later. Right now I need your help to raise 200 dollars for the American Lung Association.

Make a pledge for me here!

And thank you in advance.

My mileage total for January was 97! Yeah, I wasn't really ready for this marathon anyway. My last and only 20 mile training run was over a month ago December 31st, 2010.