Saturday, December 15, 2007

Davis Corner Rescue Squad 5K 15 Dec 07

Thought this 5K race would be a nice finish to the 2007 racing season. I had run this one last year as my first 5K when it was run at the Botanical Gardens in Norfolk. Last year the Loco running shoe company had given out a free pair of running shoes to all who registered. This year they moved the run to Mount Trashmore in Virginia free shoes but a nice Henley style t-shirt. The course ran around the main hill a couple of times with the second going around the second smaller hill and then around the lake and to the finish. The weather was cold and windy with temps in the low 40's...quite a difference of a couple of days ago when the temps were in the 70's and 80's. The weather has been really strange this year.

There were only a little over a hundred people running this race so registration and packet pickup was fast. I warmed up by running up and over the main hill to the start line. This is a gun timed race so I started at the front.

The horn sounds at 9:00 and were off and running. The first 200 yards goes from a paved parking lot road to a gravel rutted path that goes between the two hills...not my favorite running surface but we finally hit the paved road that goes around the main hill passing where the race finishes. Up to this point things just weren't feeling breathing was heavy and I just couldn't find a pace I was comfortable with so I decided to take this as an easy effort run. Just then a group of runners passed me and I decided to join them as we take a right around the big hill. The first mile came in at 6:19, which I thought wasn't right for the effort I had put out and usually I am faster on the first mile. By the time we reached the start line again I had found a good pace and things began to feel good. I leave the small group and started passing people as we go around the second smaller hill and we cross the finish line for the second time. This time around we go left that takes us on a course that will lead us around the lake. I passed a couple of more runners and at the far end we hit mile 2 and it comes in at 12:38...lap time of 6:19, which is the same as the first mile. We continue around the lake and as I look ahead, I can only see three other runners ahead of me and I set my sights on the third place guy who is way off in the distance. I slowly make up some ground as we run around the back part of the lake heading for the finish. We make the final turn to the finish and mile 3 comes in at 17:38...but that can't be right because that gives me a lap time of 5:00 for the last mile and there is no way I could run the third mile in five minutes. But I race on ahead and hit the finish line in 18:14 and think to myself it must have said 19:14. Later talking with others and checking my splits, we suspect that the last mile must have been 3-400 meters short, which was disappointing. I also never caught the third palce runner and missed third place overall by only 15 seconds but I did get first in my age group...of course I did notice that the usual faster runners did not run this race and the final total of finishers only came out to 122.

Race Results:

There were 12 finishers in the Male 50 to 59 age group and 122 total finishers.
Overall finish place was 4 of 122
Age group finish place was 1 of 12
Time of: 18:14

I'm not even considering this as a 5K PR since the distance or timing seemed to be way off. They say that the New Year's Day race...Hair of the Dog run on the same course, so hopefully they will get it distanced right.

Happy Holidays to you all!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Santa Claus Shuffle 5K 08 Dec 07

Well...I was going to run the Blue Grey Half Marathon tomorrow but won't be doing it. Oh well, I hadn't registered and had planned to drive the two and a half hours there early enough to register same day...but now I won't need to. So...since I couldn't go do the half on Sunday, I was looking for a local race to do today and this 5K seemed to fit the bill.

This race takes place in the Norfolk Botanical Gardens with winding paved trails with beautiful scenery...even in the fall/winter months. I have run the trails in a different race last year so was somewhat familiar with the course. It has narrow paved paths with many tight corners and a couple of small bridges...not a real good place to expect a PR but I wanted to try for one anyway.

I woke to a beautiful morning...the temperature in the mid-40's with very little noticeable wind. It was forecasted to only get into the mid to high 50's. I ate breakfast and drove to the Gardens as the sun was coming up. I was cruising down the highway not paying attention and noticed that I had missed my turn off to the Garden but the race doesn't start till 9:45 so there was no hurry and I made it to registration with plenty of time to spare.

Registration was a breeze and I got my bib, timing band and goodie bag. At 9:00, the kid's 1 mile race starts and it was fun to watch them dash away and return a few minutes later...our future racers.

I did about a half mile warm up a few minutes before the start of our race. After getting to the starting line, one of the runners comes up to me and says...I remember you. His face looks familiar but I can't place where I know him from until he says he is from Albuquerque...and then it dawns on me that this is the guy that keeps coming to race here and has beaten me twice this year, at the Chesapeake Bay 10K in April and the Fleet Week Half Marathon in October...He took first in both and I came in second behind him. We talked quite a bit before the race started and after the finish. Seems like he has been on business trips each time...he did something for NASA... and takes these opportunities to race in the places he gets sent to...and...most of his trips bring him to Hampton. The horn sounds at 9:45 and we are off. Even though I started a row back from the front, there are runners sprinting to the front from both sides at the start and it is very had to maneuver around some of them, especially with the tight, narrow turns on the path. I had planned to try to keep up with my new friend from Albuquerque for as long as I could...although talking to him at the start, I knew I wouldn't be able to stay with him very long this time because he is pretty fast, but maybe in the future... but during the initial surge on the start, I lost him to a pack that was running way faster than I intended. None the less, the first mile comes in at 5:58 and it seems like I have expended a lot of energy weaving and dodging the other runners because I am breathing hard. There is also a runner that I think is in my age group that is pacing off of me because I passed him about the half mile point and I could sense him in back of me...he was breathing hard I could actually hear him. At about the 1.5 mile point he moves ahead and I decide to pace off of him about 50 yards back. The second mile comes in at 12:14 which I'm surprised that I have lost about 16 seems as though we have maintained pace since the start...but I am continuing to feel the fast pace in my breathing. The runner I have been pacing off of seems to be moving further away now and I try to maintain. Around the 2.5 mile point I seem to be gaining on the runner ahead of me and just before the three mile mark, I make the pass. The third mile comes in at 18:37...I'm not going to break 19 minutes but I will have a new PR. I increase my pace to make sure the runner that I just passed won't be passing me again and then sprint to the finish on the final straight away and cross the mats with the time of 19:17...a PR of 10 seconds. I'm making my slow march to breaking 19 minutes. The runner I passed around the three mile mark comes up to congratulate me at the finish and asks what age group I was in...come to find out he was in the 55-59 AG and still wins his AG. And of course the guy from Albuquerque crosses the finish about minute ahead...again. So I ended up second in my age group. He told me at the finish that he was trying to finish in the top three overall so I would get first in my age group, which I thought was really nice of him to think about me that way. But at the awards ceremony we find out that they are only awarding the 1st overall for male and female with no 2nd or 3rd...He did come in 3rd overall and I came in 9th. We talked running and racing after the race while awaiting the raffle drawings and awards ceremony and like most runners I have met and talked to he was really a nice person to talk to and I will be more than happy to race him when he comes back in the spring...maybe I can get closer in time by then.

Race Results:

There were 21 finishers in the Male 50 to 54 age group and 525 total finishers.
Overall finish place was 9 of 525
Age group finish place was 2 of 21
Time: 19:17 for an overall pace of 6:12 per mile

There's another 5K next weekend...I wonder if I should run that one too?

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Fort Story Army/Navy 10K 01Dec 07

This 10K was my first 10K just last course I had to do it again. Last year I finished 48th overall and 6th in my age group with a respectable time of 44:29. This year my goal was to break 40 minutes. There have been three other 10K's...two in the spring with times of 41:59 and 42:13...and one just last week of 41:37. It seems as though I am stuck in the 41:30-42 range. So this week I trained hard for this race. Sunday I ran 14.5 miles, Tuesday 7.1 miles and Thursday 7 miles. Tuesday and Thursday I worked on speed with fast tempo runs after warming up on the elliptical or cycle and the other days I did 1.5-2 hours of cross training on the elliptical, cycle and stair stepper.

The race takes place on Fort Story...a place I have run a few races and am quite familiar with. Most of it is flat with a few undulations and towards the end are two just after mile 4 and the last between miles 5 and 6. The hills...although not big by most standards...make for a somewhat challenging but fun race for those of us that run races on mostly flat areas of lower Hampton Roads. It is also next to the beach so we get these 'wonderful" winds off the ocean.

Today's weather was forecast to be in the 40's with 14-19 mph wind gusting to 26 mph...makes for a chilly, windy run...but the race starts at a chance it will get warmer for the race-Right?...Yeah I wish! But I do like to run in the cold...just not when it's very windy and cold. When I go out to get the paper in the morning, the cold and wind makes me want to go back and crawl back into the warm bed but after breakfast, I throw on some warm-ups and a hoody over my running shorts and running t-shirt and head out for the Beach.

It is very warm in the MWR building where I go to get my race bib but I head back out to my truck to put my number on and wait for a few minutes before the start of the race. About 10 minutes before the start I take my warm hoody and warm-up pants off and do a warm up lap around a block for about half a mile. The wind is very brisk and cold...especially heading into it and I wish I had brought my gloves and something warm for my head.

I get to the start line and try to get as close to the front...a row back from the start line since this is a gun timed race and not a chip timed race...and complete my stretches. At 9:00 the starting horn sounds and we are off. I don't want to jack rabbit the start like I did for the Turkey Trot and set off on what seems like a nice pace. The first mile comes in at 6:13...a bit fast but it feels comfortable and now we are heading directly into a head wind for a while. Mile 2 comes in at 12:33 which is about where I want to be. At this time I am chasing down runners...even though out near the front there are very few runners to chase down and the total field of runners are small...there are a few that I know I can reel in over the next 2-3 miles. Mile 3 comes in at 19:14...still on a pretty good pace but I'm losing some ground, time wise but I have passed two of the runners that were ahead of me and ready to catch the third. The third runner is caught as we near mile 4 and it comes in at 25:57...a few more seconds lost and here comes the first hill. I try to maintain my pace on the hill and soon we are going downhill and make a sharp...almost 180 turn and head to mile 5. When we make the sharp turn I notice there is a runner hot on my heels and he overtakes me before the 5 mile marker. 5 miles comes in at 32:33. We head for a turn around in the road before we head up the final hill. I can see most of the runners up front...that I'm definitely not going to catch and at the turn around I can see who else is chasing me. The closest runner is a woman...who ends up winning the female overall...who is about a hundred yards back and charging hard, but I don't see anybody that I know in my age group as we head up the final hill. This one seems a bit longer and steeper and into a stiff wind but we get up and over and down the other side to another near 180 turn. At mile 6, my time reads 39:18 and I know I can't make the .2 miles in 41 seconds but I charge on and hit the finish in 40:34...A PR of over one minute. I came in 14th overall and 2nd in the age group of 50-59...the AG winner came in at 36:29 and is only a year younger than I am...Something to train real hard for. So the 40 minute mark eludes me again, but it is 1:03 closer than it was at the Turkey Trot and only 34 seconds away...that's like 6 seconds per mile...I know I can do this, but the next 10K will probable be in the spring...a whole winter to train to get faster. It was nice talking with Steve over a bowl of warm soup just before the awards were announced. He had a very nice race...Congrats on your 6th place overall and 1st in your age group!

Being this was an Army/Navy race, there was a special catagory for Army against Navy runners...overall for male and female and as a group...Navy prevailed in all catagories and I like to think I helped some with a 5th place overall Navy finish!

Got home just in time to watch the Navy football team beat Army...24-3...but it was a close game if it were not for some costly Army mistakes.

Race Results:

There were 12 finishers in the Male 50 to 59 age group and 152 total finishers.

Overall finish place was 14 of 152

Age group finish place was 2 of 12

Time: 40:34 for an overall pace of 6:31 per mile

Next week I want to do the VA Runner Blue/Grey Half Marathon in Fredericksburg.

Everyone have a wonderful weekend. Go Navy...Beat Army!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Turkey Trot 10K 22 Nov 07

It had been only 5 days since the Cape Henry 10 miller but I wanted to run this race on Thanksgiving Day...besides it's only 10K. After running two marathons and a 10 miler in three weeks, a 10K should be a piece of cake and I wanted to see if I could improve on my time with hopes of breaking 40 minutes on this flat course.

The Turkey Trot 10K takes place in Virginia Beach at Mount Trashmore...Yes the Mount is a former mound of trash that has been capped and now it and it's surrounding land and lakes is a park...and probably the highest point of land in the lower Hampton Roads area...but we don't run up or down the mount, just around it, one of the lakes and the surrounding neighborhood.

All week the weather reports were calling for showers and mild temperatures. Last year I heard that it was run in a downpour...and I really didn't like the idea of running in heavy rain. I don't mind anything above my shoes getting normally does because I tend to sweat a lot...But I hate running in wet soggy shoes. But Thanksgiving morning dawned with now a forecast of slight chance of showers later with sun and clouds but also with higher the 70's...and winds in the 12-20 mph range.

I slept in...If you can call getting up at 5:30 sleeping in...I do, since I usually get up during the week at 4:00. I would have slept in longer but I had decided to do the same day registration and packet pickup and needed to get there earlier in order to do that. I got to the YMCA around 7:30, got registered, got my bib and timing chip and still had some time to kill since the race didn't start till 9:00. I warmed up by running up and down Mt Trashmore a couple of times and then walked to the start line. I had gone to the port-a-lets just before and when I got out to head to the start line I see hundreds of runners already there awaiting the start. I hadn't realized that so many people were running this on Thanksgiving morning thinking there would be the usual 4-600 people until I see all these people massing looked like a couple of thousand. Since this is a gun start with a chip timed finish...meaning no chip mats at the start, just finish time mats...I found a place to await the start about 3-4 rows of runners back from the start line and did some final stretches. At 9:00 the horn sounds and we're off and I start my watch. The front of the pack rushes out with us all following. I don't want to go out too fast but all the runners around me are starting to kick it in from the start and I follow one of the "slower" packs out but we still seem to be going pretty fast. I just don't realize how fast we have started until Steve, a fellow local blogger ...who is a sub 39 10K'r and is a whole lot faster than I am...catches up to me just before the first mile marker. I'm surprised because I'm thinking he is in one of the packs out front. We chat a bit before he continues on ahead I try to find my pace. The pack I'm with finally goes pass the first mile marker remarking that its 5:50 something and I'm thinking, No Way!. I press the lap on my watch and it reads 5: 57...this is way to fast and I back down just a bit. We are now in a neighborhood looping around through the streets and mile two comes in at 12:23...a 6:12 average...still a bit fast since I was planning on 6:30 splits with the first ones a bit faster in the 6:20 range. Mile three comes in at 19:12, which gives me a 6:26 pace and all seems to be well. We head out of the neighborhood back towards Mt Trashmore that takes us behind the mount and around the surrounding lake and into a strong head wind. As we're leaving the neighborhood, a fast runner I recognize from other races as being in my age group overtakes me. I want to hang with him but it seems like the energy isn't there and I see him stretching his lead with every minute. There are others passing me can't be more than 16-18 year olds...they seem to have so much energy and are running effortlessly...oh to be young again. Mile four comes in at 26:16...that's over a 6:30 pace and I can feel I'm losing ground on my quest for sub 40. We are finishing the loop around the lake headed back towards Mt Trashmore and mile five comes in at 33:21 and I try to push faster. We go around Trashmore for the final time and hit the main road that takes us to the finish. Mile six comes in at 40:15 with the finish in view now and I pick up the pace some to try to finish strong and cross the mat in 41:37. Not a sub 40 but sill a 22 second PR from my best 10K. It still was a good day until the awards ceremony. The trophies for the top three AG finishers were turkey topped trophies and I thought I had a good chance of getting one...I had only other person in my AG that had passed me but it turns out my AG as well as all the others had a very strong field of fast runners and there were two others that were way up front that I never saw, and I ended up fourth with no Turkey...Oh well...maybe next year. It was a fun race and it was nice to talk with a couple of runners from my work as well as a couple of women from my gym. Then home to a wonderful feast of turkey and all the fix'ins with the family and a birthday party for my granddaugher Kaylee who is 2!

Race Results:

There were 75 finishers in the Male 50 to 54 age group and 1256 total finishers.

Overall finish place was 53 of 1256

Age group finish place was 4 of 75

Time: 41:37 for an overall pace of 6:41 per mile

Hope all are having a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Cape Henry RunFest 10 Miler 17 Nov 07

Just had to do another race...well, I really didn't have to but why not! After the Richmond marathon, I have remained in training mode...did a mile after some cardio on Monday, 7 miles after cardio on Tuesday and 7.5 miles then a bit of cardio on Thursday. Steve had mentioned that he was doing a 10 miler...The Cape Henry RunFest and Duathlon...this weekend and since I was thinking of doing at least 10 miles as a training run during the weekend, I thought why not...besides, I have never done a 10 mile race and it would be interesting to see how I would do. Everything was still feeling good after Richmond and no real aches or pains to speak of, so Friday evening after work I went down and signed up at packet pickup.

The event is a multi-sport event that takes place mostly in Fort Story which is on the north end of Virginia Beach. The main event was the Duathlon...5K run, 32K bike and 5K run. They also have a 5K walk/run and the 10 miler. The 10 mile course winds through different sections of Fort Story with a couple of good which we go over twice. I've run most of the course at last years Army/Navy 10K and early this year for a 20K that was part of the Tidewater Striders Distance I was familiar with the terrain. The number of participants for the 10 miler was only a bit over 200...small but fun.

The weather was initially cold in the the low 40's...with a 4-5 mph breeze, which later warmed up nicely at the end. I got up around 5:45 with no sense of urgency since the start time for the 10 miler was at 8:30. I showered and ate breakfast and got my stuff ready and left the house around 7:00...thinking I had plenty of time to get there, get my chip, get a potty break in and get to the starting line...besides it's only about 30 minutes away. I get down to the gate entrance into Fort Story and the line of cars trying to get in seemed to be a mile long coming in from two directions and seemed to take forever to get through the gate. The time on my watch is a few minutes after 8:00 by the time I get through and the caravan of cars seemed to crawl through some winding back roads to the parking area. I finally get parked about a quarter mile away and try to walk/run to football field to get my chip. Once I get to the main area, I see Steve and his wife and can only manage a quick hello as I rush to get my chip. I do get my chip and even have time to wait in line at the port-a-lets before heading to the start line and get near the start mat about the second row of runners back.

The horn goes off at 8:30 and we are off. It is a very winding course with many loops and turn arounds. Looking at the course map provided, it was very confusing, but running along the course, there are traffic cones and volunteers stationed at almost every intersection to direct runners which way to go. The first mile comes in at 6:39...a little fast but I was planning on around a 6:45 pace to see if I could handle it. The next mile, I missed pushing my lap button on my watch, takes us up one of the hills, which I notice we will have to come back over near the finish because I also see the 9 mile marker there. The third mile comes in at 20:56 and the fourth shows 27:15. The fourth mile involves going around a block long loop and coming back we are able to see the rest of the pack coming the other direction. We come to mile 5 at 34:06 and mile 6 at 40:59. From miles 2-3 the field of runners have thinned out and by mile 5 I have set my sights on two runners about 100 yards ahead of me and make steady progress towards them. At the second water stop, one of them drops to a walk and I pass him grabbing my cup of Gatorade and the other slows a bit to get some water but still is a few yards ahead. I finally over take him around the 6 mile mark and a short ways later we come to a turn around point and head back. Mile 7 is yet another out and back and comes in at 47:56. By this time I have set my sights on another target a couple of hundred yards ahead and proceed to close the distance slowly. Between mile 7 and 8 we go over another hill and I have closed to about 50 yards and mile 8 comes in at 54:51. On the flats my prey speeds up and I try to maintain our distance. We get near mile 9 and the final hill and I push it a bit because I know we only have about a mile left but so does he. Mile 9 comes in at 1:02 and we head downhill and he seems to be drawing away again. I try to push it to the end and try to kick it in for the final 200 yards as I can see the finish mat...the final 100 yards are through the grass and finally I hit the finish mat and it reads 1:08:30 something and about 15 seconds behind the runner I was chasing. I meet him at the chip removal area and we congratulate each other. Seems he was aware of me but he was trying to set the record for his age group for this race...55-59. I find out he had just turned 55 a couple of months before and he had also set the record for the 50-54 age group with a 1:05...So I was kind a happy that I had been able to keep up with him. When the times are posted later, we find out he missed setting the record by about 10 seconds...he was close. My chip time was 1:08:30 and finished 1st in my age group.

Race results:

There were 10 finishers in the Male 50 to 54 age group and 214 total finishers.

Overall finish place was 12 of 214

Age group finish place was 1 of 10

Time: 1:08:30 for an overall pace of 6:51 per mile

I later watched some of the Duathlon participants racing up the road on their bikes, going through their transition and finally finishing their run as they cross the finish line...thinking...I could do that!

Friday, November 16, 2007

What Did I Do Right?

The analytical person that I am is asking…What did I do this time that I haven’t done before? What was the magical thing I did or not did that allowed me to run the full marathon without so much as a muscle twitch? I didn’t even feel the “wall”…where usually I feel drained and my pace starts to slow. Oh, there were spots in the run that my pace did slow down. The first time was through the first series of hills…miles 10-12, which I was just trying to maintain a steady effort…but the splits were only off by about 15 seconds. Then crossing the Robert E Lee Bridge, going up Main St and Boulevard from miles 14-20 in the head wind…but again only off by 10-15 seconds. And the last 2 miles from 24-26 where I backed off a bit on purpose to make sure the evil cramps didn’t rear their ugly heads. And of course the first mile in 8:28 doesn’t count…but may have contributed to the success. So I looked at different parts of the race to see what made the difference.

The Weather: Was mostly overcast, cold in the 40’s with a good 10-12 mph chilling wind…but Shamrock in March was about the same and I still cramped then around mile 20. I love running in the cold more so than warm…so this was perfect weather as was Shamrock, Frederick and MCM.

The Terrain: It was mostly rolling hills at the beginning with some undulations towards the middle. You would think flat like Shamrock would be better on the legs but maybe the rolling hills let different muscles work…but again, Frederick, in May also was rolling hills and I cramped there around mile 21 and MCM had almost same type of terrain and I started cramping around 17.

The Nutrition/Electrolytes: I always eat well…pasta, breads, potatoes as well as greens and other nutritious foods at least a couple days before a marathon and always hydrate well. The morning of the marathon I eat a good breakfast that includes some type of oats, bananas, bagels and coffee…this time I didn’t get a chance to get my morning coffee and had planned to get some before the race. If I don’t have coffee during the day…I end up with headaches the rest of the day…Okay…I’m an addict! During the marathon I try to make sure to keep hydrated and will take offered water or electrolyte drinks after the first water stop. Last three marathons, I carried gel packs/Bloks, Endurolyte capsules and sometimes sports beans and try to take them regularly…every hour to half hour. I would also eat what is offered on the course…bananas, gels, sports beans, Fig Newtons, pretzels, gummy bears, etc…I’m a good eater before, during and after running. This last race…I carried a package of Clif Bloks, a package of sports beans and Endurolytes in a baggie. I only took the Endurolytes every hr after the first half hr for only two hrs or two doses. I didn’t touch the blocs or the beans but I did take an offered gel at around mile 14 which I carried till just before mile 18 where I washed it down with some water from. I did have the offered cup of Coke at the “Junk Food” stops at 16 and 22…This Coke junkie couldn’t resist…but I did resist the beer from the Hash House Harriers around mile 22…last year I took two cups of offered beer since it was hot that day and I was not setting any time/distance speed records with a finishing time of 5:33.

The Physical/Fitness Level: I had no real nagging injuries for this marathon…well, my left lower leg was still a bit tender from a problem sustained during a August Mud Run but it did well during the MCM and I didn’t notice any leg/foot problems anytime during this race. The Frederick Marathon in May also was injury free with no real problems other than the cramps during or after the race. For this marathon I had just run the MCM two weeks prior, the Fleet Week Half a month prior and RnR Half in early September. My training plan had been interrupted from August to September due to an injured left lower leg…but I set PRs in both the Fleet Week Half and MCM. Training for the Shamrock Marathon was interrupted by shin splint problems from January to middle of February but still managed my first under four hour marathon at 3:55. Before the Frederick Marathon in May, I had just run Shamrock in mid March, the Dismal Swamp Stomp Half in mid April…a PR…and ended up running Frederick two minutes slower than Shamrock even though I thought I was in the best shape that I could be at that time.

The Pace/Speed: I did start the race really slow with the first mile coming in at 8:28 but the pace increased to around 7:45 for the rest of the race with a few fluctuations due to hills or wind. Most races I start off fast…usually in the 6:45-7:20 mpm pace and end up suffering bad when the leg cramps come on later and my pace ends up in the 9-11 mpm. I did experiment in the RnR half by going out slower than normal and trying to maintain a steady pace throughout but ended up slowing down significantly towards the last third of the race…but not because of leg problems or cramps…more through mental fatigue. I ended up with a half that was six minutes slower than my last one. So for the next half I just ran it the way I normally did…relatively fast at the start and even though I had a bit of fade at the end, ended up with a new PR.

The Mental: The other marathons…I was on a mission…Break 3:30…Qualify for Boston. I like to talk to people when I run distance races…it takes my mind off running and the miles seem to go by faster. I usually end up finding someone that’s doing a pace that I want to do and hang with them until either one of us drops off…usually me. This race, the mission was to take it easy, enjoy the race, the scenery and the crowds. I didn’t attempt to hook up with anyone and stayed pretty much to myself, running the pace I wanted to run. There were occasions when I would talk with runners as I came upon them but never for long. There were lots of time to think and reflect…but none affected me negatively…I was always aware of my legs…wondering when they would start cramping…reveling in the fact that they were performing so well. As the miles drew to a close…my mental psyche started to soar…which had never happened before.

The Things that were Different: I’m just drawing straws here but…I didn’t get a chance to have my morning cup of coffee before the race…which in effect made me want to go to the bathroom less…I only had two potty breaks just before the race where normally I would have the urge to go 5-6 times and then one more during the race. This race, I had the urge to go around mile 7 but held off and pretty soon the urge was gone and I never had to stop during the race to go…which was a first for me. Maybe by not having the caffeine…a diuretic…in other words makes you go…in my system preserved body fluids and electrolytes which may have helped? Since I didn’t need to stop for a potty break, I ran the whole 26.2…Yes, I did slow down at water stops to get my drink down but never stopped or walked. How about the two Cokes I had during the race? The Coke has a bit of caffeine and mostly sugar…would that have helped in any way…I can see myself carrying a small flask of Coke on my next marathon…hey if it works…I will do it!

So in closing…I don’t know what the difference was. Maybe it was just one thing that I mentioned or something that wasn’t obvious….or it was a combination of the above…or a magical formula from a mixture of what was listed. Maybe my legs are now just used to that distance and now I can concentrate on faster paces and the dream of a sub 3:00 marathon. I just hope that the cramping problems don’t come back…Ever!

I can hope.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Beast is Conquered!

The Richmond Marathon...Billed as "America's Friendliest" marathon...My very first marathon, which was just last year...A race where I finally knew what running a marathon meant...and failing miserable the first time because of lack of training and being unprepared...I foolishly thought I could conquer anything and 26.2 would be a challenge, but I could do it... even though the furthest I had run before then had only been 13.1... and Richmond last year showed me different. Oh, I finished last a miserable 5:35...of course I walked about a third of the last half. Since then I have completed three other marathons...Shamrock in March for my first under 4 hr marathon, then Frederick in May, still under 4 hrs but barely, then the Marine Corps...just two weeks ago...with a PR of 8 minutes, but...what I still considered a failure, because I didn't meet my goals and felt I hadn't run a race that I am fully capable of running...mostly because of muscle cramps during the later stages of the race. In each of the previous marathons, I was stopped short of my goals because of these painful, unwelcome cramps. Cramps that stopped me in my tracks and took time to stop, stretch, massage and start slowly up again only to cramp again after a few more miles. At MCM...around mile 18...I was so disappointed and tired with the cramping that I swore I would never run a marathon again...I would stick to half marathons where I knew I could do well and improve, but of course crossing the finish line...I knew there was another marathon out there just calling my name and my running buddy Jon reminded me of it...and I answered. So...I kept my training going as if MCM was just a long hard training run.

The Richmond marathon takes place...of the city of Richmond...the capital of Virginia! A city of tall buildings, narrow streets, quaint old houses as well as majestic stately homes. A city with undulating hills beside the mighty James River. The marathon starts off in downtown Richmond going up Broad St and Monument Ave, crossing the James River on the west end of the city by way of the Huguenot Bridge. Then we go down and run along the James River while climbing and descending a couple of hills before crossing the James River again over the long Robert E. Lee Bridge going back into the city. We race west on Main street and then north on Boulevard looping back towards the heart of the city, making twists and turns on the city streets until we race to a down hill finish on Cary St. A mostly spectacular view of the city and the James River in the fall with brightly changing autumn leaves.

Jon and I decide to drive together early Saturday morning, since we still had to pick our race packets up before the race, so I got my stuff together the night before. When the alarm went off at 3:45 I was up, got a quick shower ate breakfast and was just finished getting my stuff together when Jon arrived at 4:30. We drove up in drizzling rain that turned into a downpour when we were only 20-30 miles away...not a welcome sight. I had checked the weather radar before we left and it did show heavy rain over the city of Richmond and nothing behind it and I was sure by the time we reached the city it would be gone. As we neared the city, the rain did stop and we got parked near the Omni where the packet pickup was...also near the finish line. We got our packet and went back to the car to put our bib and chip on and final preparations for the race.

We finally headed to the starting line, in the cold and wind, which was about half a mile away. I made my final pit stop in the port-a-lets near the start line...I only made two bathroom breaks instead of the usual 5 or while we were in the Omni and this one...of course I had forgotten my morning cup of that might be the reason. We get into the coral that Jon had registered for and waited for the starting gun.

My race plan was to take this marathon slow and easy since we had just run the MCM two weeks prior. This was just to be a fun race! We started off slow enough...the gun goes off...well, where we were near the middle we didn't hear anything...just the people in front of us started walking towards the start line. About three minutes later we finally get to the start line and start jogging...I start my watch and we are off. Up Broad St we go and I mean up, since in is a slight incline for the next four miles. By the first mile marker I punch my lap button and notice that it is almost 8:30...nice easy pace and still very crowded...but I feel warmed up and ready to cruise. Jon had decided to run even about a 9 minute mile pace and was by now a ways back. I gradually start increasing my pace until mile marker 2 shows I'm at a little over 16 minutes, which feels really the back of my mind I keep telling myself...slow and easy. We make a turn south to Boulevard and then go west again on Monument. Mile 3 comes in at a little under 24 min which tells me that I'm right around a nice 8 mpm pace and it feels really good...and decide to keep this pace...but later looking at my lap times, I noticed that my pace was actually around the 7:45 or better pace. After the 6 mile mark, I'm looking for the timing mats...usually at the 10K mark...but I don't see any. Around mile 7 we start going over the bridge that takes us over the James River to the other side of the city. The roads are still wet from the morning rains and some parts of the bridge are really slippery. About the time I'm saying to myself to be really careful of my stride, I hear this thudding sound behind me. Looking back, I see a runner that has slipped and came tumbling down on the roadway...I see he is getting backup and running again but I'm sure he would be really sore for the rest of the race. Mile 10 brings us to one of the hills on this side of the course and I am still cruising and then mile 11 brings another hill, back down a bit and then it seemed like a steady climb from 12-15. By the halfway point the clock at the timing mats said 1:44 something. I'm still feeling really good and the first visions of a 3:30-3:35 finishing mark fills my head...but I'm not all that optimistic because I know that I will be cramping around mile I try to relax and just enjoy the run. We reach the long Lee bridge taking us back to the city and the wind is pretty strong...but I don't care...because last year this time I was cramping and hobbling/walking across this bridge...and now I'm cruising. We enter the city again and mile 17-18 takes us west on Main St back to Boulevard and north for the next three miles...the most boring part of the race going north out of the main part of the city...except for the pockets of people cheering you on. Let me tell you the people were great. Here it is in the low 40's with probably a 12-15 mph cold wind and they are out there on all parts of the course cheering you on...some offering their own water, bananas, cookies, donuts...they were amazing! Just before mile 20 there is a bridge that goes over I95/64 expressway and it seems quite steep...but I just give it even effort and I'm up and over with the 20 mile timing mat in view in the distance. The clock at the timing mat reads 2:38 and change as I go across. 20 miles down and my legs are still feeling sign of muscle twinges or cramps...I am amazed...but I caution myself that there is still the last 10K to go and anything can happen. All along I have been steadily passing runners...just one here and one there. As soon as one is passed, I set my sights on the next and continue on. At this point I notice that a young woman in pink, that I passed just before the Lee bridge, is still with me but staying a few paces behind. After the 20 mile mark we pass this older least older than I...but this guy apparently doesn't like to be passed and he passes us back at the next water stop when I slow a bit to get a cup and drink. We do this for the next four miles and the girl gets dropped during this time. By mile 24...2.2 miles to go...I know I have a nice PR and BQ in the cramps and I've been actually picking up speed since the 20 mile mark...mostly because of this old man that I've been playing leap frog with and we have been passing a whole bunch of people. I think to myself that I could actually just walk the rest of the way and still make 3:35 and it would be a shame if one of my wicked cramps came on and stopped me in my I slowed a bit. We finally make the final turn onto Cary St with about a third of a mile to go. The street has a steep downhill with it leveling off near the finish. Each step down hill jolts my quads and I thought they were sure to go into spasms...I tried to slow a bit to ease my foot falls and when I reached the flat, I take off. I was pumping my arms up and down to get the crowd to yell louder as we entered the crowd lined finishing chute and they responded. I cross the finish line with the time showing 3:26 and change, with a very big grin on my face...I look down at my watch and it says 3:23 something. Oh Happy Days!

I had conquered the beast...My past demon had turned into a Boston Qualifier! Not a..."Just making it" BQ, but I crushed it by 12 minutes. How ironic that I missed my BQ at MCM by 12 minutes, yet 13 days later I make BQ by 12 minutes, which means a 24 minute PR from MCM.

My splits:
Mile 1 in: 8:28
Mile 2 in: 7:42
Mile 3 in: 7:43
Mile 4 in: 7:35
Mile 5 in: 7:42
Mile 6 in: 7:39
Mile 7 in: 7:24
Mile 8 in: 7:23
Mile 9 in: 7:34
Mile 10 in: 7:40
Mile 11 in: 7:58
Mile 12 in: 7:50
Mile 13 in: 7:36
Half in: 1:41:10 Timing mat total time: 1:44:20
Mile 14 in: 7:24
Mile 15 in: 7:31
Mile 16 in: 7:54
Mile 17 in: 7:56
Mile 18 in: 8:05
Mile 19 in: 7:59
Mile 20 in: 7:56 Timing mat total time: 2:38:14
Mile 21 in: 7:51
Mile 22 in: 7:45
Mile 23 in: 7:36
Mile 24 in: 7:41
Mile 25 in: 8:01
Mile 26 in: 8:00
Mile 0.2 in: 1:28
The finish is in: 3:23:26...First half in: 1:41:10...Second half in: 1:42:16 Almost even halfs! A race where everything seemed to come together nicely...and in my mind...I know I can do better.

Race results:

There were 249 finishers in the Male 50 to 54 age group and 3682 total finishers.

Overall finish place was 335 of 3682

Age group finish place was 18 of 249

Time: 3:23:26 for an overall pace of 7:46 per mile

What's my next marathon goal? Well, I know I can increase my pace to 7:30...even a 7:15 could be possible. Am I dreaming? Dreams are made from planning, training and effort.

Boston, Here I Come!

BTW...Here is a photo I found that the Richmond Times got of me on the final turn to Cary St before the finish...their caption says I'm hamming it up but actually I was acknowledging the crowd and trying to get them cheering louder.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Richmond is calling me!

Well, Jon, my running friend did last night...So...We're definitely running Saturday...Just 13 days after the Marine Corps Marathon. After finishing the MCM we decided that we just had to run it if our legs were feeling good in a few days...Since it was our first marathon...Just a year ago... And this year is also Richmond's 30th anniversary...Which all makes it special too.

I'm a little apprehensive running two marathons two weeks apart but as long as we take it easy we should be fine.

My work outs since the MCM has continued as if the MCM was a long, hard training run and my legs are feeling rather good. Following is the training since the MCM:

Mon: 30 min on the elliptical, 30 min on the lifecycle and 15 min on the treadmill
Tue: 45 min on the elliptical, 45 min on the lifecycle and 12 min on the stairstepper
Wed: 7.25 mile run with middle 6.2 at 7:30 mpm pace and 10 min on the stairstepper
Thur: 30 min on the elliptical, 30 min on the lifecycle
Fri: 7.75 mile run in one hour with warm up and cool down
Sat: Rest
Sun: 11 mile longish run at mainly 8 mpm pace
Mon: 45 min on the elliptical, 45 min on the lifecycle
Tue: 8 mile run at mainly 8 mpm pace
Today will be cardio on the elliptical, lifecycle and stairstepper
Thur will be my last run...probably at least 10K
Fri will rest and Saturday the marathon.

It will be interesting to see how this body will handle it...but...It's going to be fun...It will be fun!

Ms Natalie..You have a great race at Chickamuaga!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Marine Corps Marathon 28 Oct 2007

The Marine Corps Marathon...One of the fourth largest marathons in the country...The Peoples Marathon...A must do marathon in my books...30,000 signed up…about 24,000 showed up…and less than 21,000 finished. The marathon starts at the Arlington Cemetery, winds through Rosslyn, across the Key Bridge to Georgetown, through Washington DC, looping around Haines Point, back to the Virginia side by crossing the 14th St Bridge, then looping through Crystal City, passing the Arlington Cemetery again, looping back up to Rosslyn and back and finally charging up the hill to finish near the Marine Corps Monument Iwo Jima. Packed with sights and sounds of our nation’s capital and surrounding cities and it was all that it's billed to be.

I've wanted to do this marathon way back when I was still in the Navy…I was a Navy Corpsman for 23 years and served with the Marines (the Marines…a Department of the Navy…use Navy Corpsmen and Navy Medical staff) as a FMF corpsman for the first four years of my career and again with them during Desert Storm. Some don't know that one of the six men raising that flag on Iwo Jima is a Navy Corpsman...'Doc' John Bradley. I first started training for this marathon about six years ago, but a knee injury, while cross training on rollerblades, ended that hope then. With some self-rehab and slow, steady progression in running, I was finally running, knee pain free for the last couple of years. I picked up a registration form from the Shamrock Marathon in March to ensure that I would be registered. I mailed in my registration in April and in June got my confirmation email stating that I was registered in the MCM...Oh Happy Days! The last week of June started my MCM training cycle which was filled with ups and downs all coming down to this day...Sunday 28 October 2007...the 32nd Annual Marine Corps Marathon.

I booked a room in Alexandria...about six miles from the start of the June after receiving my confirmation. My wife and family were not making the trip so I shared my room with another runner, Brian. I drove up to the Expo Saturday morning with rain coming down in buckets, but half way there, the rain stops and the sun comes out. I went to the Expo first, which is in the Armory in DC, and got my race packet and shirt and then wander through the vendors picking up free things...sports beans, couple of different flavors of Clif Bloks...the one I was interested in was the Margarita flavor because it has extra sodium because I cramp a lot in long runs and I need all the help I can get...and it was there were other free stuff and samples. Then I drove around the starting area trying to find places to park for the next day and checking out Metro stops and parking areas next to them...I wanted to have a plan to get to the race the next day. I got back to the hotel at 3:00 in time to meet Brian for check in and we are told our room isn't ready for another 20-30 minutes. He gives us both complimentary parking because of the wait...Yeah, it was normally $10 per day for parking...amazing...having to pay to park at the hotel that your staying! We also find out that the hotel is providing transportation to the Pentagon...where the start is...and back from Pentagon City Metro when we are done. We finally get our rooms and Brian has to still go to the Expo and I have a dinner get together (FE) with a bunch of runners from the Runner's World forum. I have printed Google maps with directions and head out to find the place. I make two wrong turns, the first one which takes forever to find a place to turn back around and the second takes me to a traffic backup near the Kennedy Center with the river on the left and no exits to the right. I call and tell them I'm stuck in traffic and not to wait for me...45 minutes later I tell them there is no way I can get there before it's even over. Finally I get out of the traffic jam and go back near the hotel to find something to eat, get back to the hotel around eight and start preparing for the next days run.

Sunday dawns...well it was actually still dark at 4:45 in the morning when two alarms and the phone wake-up service wakes us up...we wanted to make sure we got up in time. The temperature forecasted for the day is in the low 50's in the morning with it warming to the low 60's for the high, with a bit of wind 10-12 mph in the morning building to about 15 mph around noon. It's not going to be hot and it's not going to be raining...what more could we ask for?

We get showered and dressed and go down to catch the van. We were told the service would start around 6:00 but we find out they have already been running since 5:00, but no big deal...the race doesn't start till around 8:00. We jam into the next van and which takes us the Pentagon City Metro and are told we should take the Metro to the Pentagon but we convince the driver to just drive us to the Pentagon and he lets us off there. We get out and join a long line of people walking around the south side of the Pentagon to the east and then north. It seemed like ages before we get to the staging area with tents, UPS trucks for our gear drop off and of course the all important port-a-lets...hundreds of while we were there, there were no long lines. We explore to find the starting area and finally after asking directions find it. Both sides of a four lane road next to the Arlington Cemetery are roped off into corrals according to expected finish times. We go back to the UPS trucks and dump off our warm jackets and was cold with the wind and low temps...and then head back to the starting corrals. Brian wants to run with the 3:40 corral and I want to run with the 3:30 corral so we get in the middle so we can start together. It's about 7:40 now and we decide we need to make a pit stop so we walk back about a hundred yards to some port-a-lets, do our thing and get back to the corral. The wheel chair's go off about 7:45 and I get the urge to go again so I climb down to the trees on the right where a whole bunch of other men are 'watering' the trees and bushes. I get back in the corral and at about 7:55 I feel the urge again and go back to the trees. I get back in the corral just as the ropes separating the corrals are being released and everyone surges forward crowding together.

The starting gun goes off...well, I don't even remember if there was a gun or horn, but the runners start walking forward towards the start line. Near the start line we start to trot and then stop again, then start walking and then trot again. We finally get to the start line in a trot and I start my watch as we cross the beeping starting mats and we're off...still jogging, dodging, slowing down, speeding up...but we're on our way. Brian and I stay together for about the first half mile and I tell him that he will probably catch me later if I should cramp up. I then steadily make my way to the 3:30 pace group...I can see the balloons in the distance about 200 yards away and by the first mile, I had caught up to them. The first mile stripe, I hit the pace button on my watch and it says 9:19...and I am puzzled that it is soo slow, even with the slow pace at the start line, and everyone else is too...we think it was a long mile. About the one mile mark we even passed a woman doing it on crutches and we give her encouragements as we pass her. I see the balloons for the 3:20 pace group...which is the one that I really want to be with and I steadily made my way over a period of about 3 miles to them. The first 8 miles had two hills that even challenged a few of the wheelchair/hand bike participants as we passed a few who were struggling. At the 10 mile mark we pass the road that goes between the Kennedy Center and the Potomac River…the same place I was stuck in traffic for 45 minutes the night before…imagine that…I’m running faster than I was driving the night before. We loop through the Washington Mall area with the Washington Monument and all the other monuments, historic buildings and the Capital building. I pass the 13.1 timing mat in 1:37:38…faster than my Rock n Roll half time just two months ago, but still at the pace that I wanted to be and still feeling good…but I had to go…even with all those pre-start pit stops…I needed another and bad. I had been searching for a spot looping around the mall area but didn’t really want to stop and water a tree with our Nation’s Capital in full view. I finally see two port-a-lets just before the 14 mile mark and wait about a minute till one is vacated. It seemed like every thing slowed down at that point…I couldn’t find my pace…the stop seemed to have messed me up. By this time we are entering Haines Point and I feel my lower legs telling me that they are not happy…I try to alter/slow my pace so they won’t cramp, but after making the turn at the far end of Haines Point, the calves start cramping bad. I stop to massage and stretch and continue on for about a quarter of a mile and cramp up again. I have to stop to massage and stretch about four more times coming out of Haines Point and I am asking myself why I am doing this…I swear that this is the last marathon I do…I can’t stand cramping every time and that I am just going to stick to half marathons and shorter races…No.More.Marathons…then I hear the roaring crowds where the road circles around to get on the 14th street bridge. The crowd makes me want to get my pace up and I do a bit but when I am almost to the top of the ramp to the bridge, my legs cramp again. I do my stop to massage and stretch the cramps out about three more times on the bridge. At about the 20 mile mark my roommate Brian catches up to me and he is having ITBS problems too. We run together until one of us has to stop to massage/stretch and then catch up to each other as the other has to stop. We finally get off the bridge and again into a roaring mass of crowds lining the road looping Crystal City. We can also see all the runners coming back from the Crystal City loop on the other side and the line of runners seem to stretch out into the distance…with no end in sight. We finally make the turn around at the 22 mile timing mat and head through the cheering crowds out of Crystal City. Exiting Crystal City I am having my doubts and self pities again and plan to just jog it in…heck I’m barely running as it is! Just then Jon yells Charlie and tries to give me a bear hug as were running. Let me tell you about Jon. We ran our first marathon last year…Richmond…I was trying to find a person to drive with to Richmond for the marathon because I didn’t know if I could drive back after. We drove up together ran the marathon…well, he ran and I had to walked most of the last half…I was ill prepared to run a marathon and it was really hot that day…and of course I had cramping problems. We have been marathon running buds since. We ran Shamrock and when I ran Frederick, he was having leg problems but was up there as a volunteer with Kale Running. He had told me he was doubtful for MCM and I didn’t know he had even registered. Now here he was full of joy and enthusiasm…just what I needed. I found new energy running with Jon and Brian was still with us and the pace quickened a bit. Even Jon was having leg problems so now here the three of us are each with their own problems, each stopping now and then to massage and stretch and then catching up to the group. We run pass the Pentagon and back to the Arlington Cemetery…where we all had started a little more than three hours ago…it seemed so surreal…the starting corrals were gone, the starting mats and huge air filled red starting gates were gone…but we had been here before. I cracked that we were being force to do the marathon again because we were too slow…it was the Marine way…Do it again! But we knew we only had two more miles to go. We lost sight of Brian during the down hill loop that takes us to the morning start line…the down hill makes his ITBS worse and he has to stop to stretch. Back up to Rosslyn we go and do the final loop and finally head back to the finish. We get to the right hand turn going up hill to the finish and Jon starts yelling as he charges up the hill…THIS AIN’T NOTHING…We make the final right turn and see the finish line and charge to the finish, giving each other a low five across the first set of timing mats and then raising our arms in victory as we cross the finish. A great ending to a great marathon! We get our medals from the Marines and then are herded to the food/beverage line. We want a picture at the Iwo Jima Monument and realize we have to go back the way we came to get there. We are like salmon going up stream as we try to weave through the runners coming the other way through the food line. We finally reach the monument and get our pictures taken and head to Rosslyn…he to find his father in the crowds and me to the UPS truck and to find Brian. I also want to get back to the finish line to see if I can see the finish of some of the people that I was hoping to see around the 4:30 mark and get there just as the announcer is saying the 4:30 runners are coming through…I don’t see them and wait another five minutes or so and still don’t’ see them and think I must have missed them. I go back to the UPS trucks to get my stuff and see if Brian is there but I miss him too and with all the runners and crowds, it’s hard to meet up with anyone. Later I found out that Brian was only about 20 seconds behind us when we finished. I make my way to the Rosslyn Metro and find it crowded with people trying to get back down to the Pentagon area or Crystal City. It takes more than 45 minutes to get through the pass gates and to the escalators. We get to the escalators that take you down to the tracks…looking down it looked steep and seemed to go down into the bowels of the earth. We get on the escalators and had just started down when it lurches to a stop. The up escalators are still running but ours…the down escalator was stopped dead. We had to walk down the steps…when you have just completed 26.2 and your legs are cramping, the last thing you want to do is go Down some steps…especially down a lot of steps. We make it down but find we still need to get to the lower level of the tracks to get to our ‘Blue” line to take us to the Pentagon City Metro stop. So down we go again.

My watch splits and timing mat splits are as follows:
Mile 1 in at 9:19...I think was a long mile
Mile 2 I don't see the mile marker
Mile 3 in at 22:37
Mile 4 in at 29:15
Mile 5 in at 36:43…Timing mat time was 37:15
Mile 6 in at 44:25
Mile 7 in at 51:34
Mile 8 in at 58:55
Mile 9 in at 1:06:26
Mile 10 in at 1:13:50…Timing mat time was 1:14:22
Mile 11 in at 1:21:31
Mile 12 in at 1:28:53
Mile 13 in at 1:36:46
The Half in at 1:37:38…Timing mat time was 1:37:50
Mile 14 in at 1:46:36...I had to take a pit stop
Mile 15 in at 1:54:49…Timing mat time was 1:55:22
Mile 16 in at 2:03:22
Mile 17 in at 2:12:15
Mile 18 in at2:23:18…Timing mat time was 2:23:51
Mile 19 in at 2:35:02
Mile 20 in at 2:45:41
And then something went wrong with my watch and I have no other splits from my watch but the 22 mile timing mat was 3:07:10
The finish is in 3:47:28.

I think the discrepancy between the timing mat splits and my watch splits was the difference from gun time to actual chip time...the mat times seemed to be gun times...except for mile 18…and I think it was here that the Marine that was calling out the time said the time on the clock was wrong. But anyway...overall pace was a disappointing 8:40 per mile. But the finish although 12 minutes short of a BQ was a new 8 minute PR from my best of 3:55 at to be pleased about.

Race results:

There were 1147 finishers in the Male 50 to 54 age group and 20631 total finishers.

Overall finish place was 2837 of 20631

Age group finish place was 120 of 1147

Time: 3:47:28 for an overall pace of 8:40 per mile

Next stop...Richmond? or OBX?

Monday, October 15, 2007

Fleet Week Half Marathon 14 Oct 2007

Haven't had any new posts since my last half marathon...haven't really had anything to post about but Sunday I ran the Fleet Week Half Marathon. This race is a significant mile stone in my running because it was the first race that I had ever entered...which was only one year ago...besides my MCM training schedule had me running 13 miles at marathon pace, and what a better way to run at marathon pace than a race with hundreds of other runners and people to cheer you on. Last year I ran this race in 1:45:58, 5th in my age group, 132nd overall with a pace of 8:05 minute miles...not bad for a first race ever being a half marathon. My best half marathon since then was a 1:32:26 in April's Dismal Swamp Stomp Half. My last half marathon was the Rock n Roll Half just completed six weeks ago in a disappointing 1:38:27...but it was on a bad leg. So my goal for this half I wanted at least something between the 1:32 and 1:38 and with a secret...wishing, if all goes extremely well...1:30 or better...which I knew wasn't likely because my training hasn't been what it should have been the last couple of months.

The race takes place at the Naval and Air Base here in Norfolk. The race course is a large loop consisting of running through the air base, down and back to Breezy Point...a recreational area, by the helo pads, by the base marina, by the monuments to the USS Cole and USS Iowa, along the piers with the massive carriers, cruisers, destroyers and other ships and finally back to the start finish. Quite a tour of the base. It even went by the building where I work on Morris Street! There was also a "Spirit on the Course" competition where different commands come to cheer on the runners and the top three winners would win cash prizes for their Moral and Welfare Recreational committees...these are people who organize fun things for the command to picnics, dinners and other fun events for the whole family. Well, SPAWAR...which is the command I work for, decided to enter competition to win some funds and of course have fun cheering the runners on.

The temperatures were forecast to be in the mid 50's at the start (8:05) with it going up to around 65 by (10:00), sunny with a bit of a cool breeze from the northwest. A perfect day for a race in my books. I get up at 5:00 and do my normal routine...had everything laid out the night before like normal. The thing I was still contemplating was what shoes to red Kayanos where the right shoe was rubbing just under my right ankle or my blue Kayanos where the left shoe was rubbing my left ankle...or do I wear my new NB 767 that only had 3 miles on them. Then I had this strange notion to wear the blue one on my right foot and the red on my the end I went with the red Kayanos with a sports Band-Aid on my right ankle to protect it. I head to the Naval base around 6:30 and arrive at the gates to the base around 7:00 in a slow stream of traffic of cars trying to get in and parked. I get parked and get my chip and start my warm-ups by walking/running around a track where the event is setup. Last year there were about 600 runners and this year they expect over a thousand. Also last year there were a few Kenyans but this year I didn't see any...even though there was cash prizes but only for 1st and 2nd. I hit the port a potties a couple of times and the last time I have this rumble in my lower abdomen and feel the urge to go and it's almost I am a bit I go scout out where all the port a lets are located along the course map in case I need to use them...and there seems to be plenty of them...and fortunately, I didn't have any problems during the race. I head to the start line and find the 1:30 pace group and get behind them and complete my stretches before the National Anthem is sung and the gun goes off at 8:05 starting the race and I start my watch as I cross the start line. I fall in behind the pace group going through the first half mile and then head to the front and past...the first mile comes in at 6:28...not bad and feeling really good...but that's normal for me to start fast...and I'm going to do what feels good to me...even though I probably will fade at the end...we'll see how it goes but i reign myself in a bit and the second mile comes in at 6:55, and that is where I find my SPAWAR cheer leaders cheering me on. Mile three comes in at 6:50 and the first water stop...I am disappointed that they are using plastic cups and not paper cups, but I grab a water and try to squeeze the plastic cup down so I can drink without it going all over doesn't work...I get half of it down my shirt. On the way to the turn around point at the Breezy Park, I get to see the leaders coming back and upon my turn around I get to see the runners going by behind me and also size up my competition to see where they are...most seem to be quite a way back and I can't remember any being in least the ones I knew were in my age group. I don't remember seeing the four-mile marker and time and so I didn't punch in my lap time on my watch either. About the 4.5 mark I again see my SPAWAR cheerleaders which gives me a boost and mile 5 comes in at 13:46 (miles 4 + 5), which is still at about a 6:53 average for the two miles. Mile 6 comes in at 6:56 and seven in 6:48...these miles I am running with a guy who is running at my pace but he is going through the water stops really fast and I have to expends some energy trying to catch up...I think I was having problems with the plastic cups and had to slow a bit to squeeze them down so I could get a decent drink. So even though it is nice to pace with someone going your pace, at the next water stop, I let him go rather than try to catch up to him. And it showed on my next time at mile 8, I dropped down to 7:18, picked it up at mile 9 to 7:09, dropped down to 7:23 at mile 10...and they finally had paper cups instead of plastic one... 7:27 at mile 11, 7:29 at mile 12, picked it up some for mile 13 at 7:13. I try to sprint to the finish and as usual...I forget to punch the lap time at the finish, but I see the race clock at 1:32: something and feel satisfied. No 1:30 but the 1:32 did feel good. My final official time was 1:32:24...a whole 2 seconds faster than my best at the Dismal Swamp a PR!

The last half where I had come in at 1:32, I came in first in my age group and I don't remember being passed by any "old guys", so I waited around for the posting of the race times...anticipating a first in AG...but not to be. A guy from Albuquerque, NM came in before me...and...I think it was the same guy that took my 1st place AG in a 10K I ran in the spring! Why can't he stay in Albuquerque? Turns out I meet the guy at the score sheet. He was up at the score sheet at the time I was looking for my name and it said I came in 3rd and the guy for Albuquerque had come in 2nd but we couldn't see a name or time for the guy who came in 1st...There wasn't any! WTF...I mean Hay? I told him it must be a recording error and that he was sure to be first and I was second. Then talking with him, he said he had flown in the day before to race...I jokingly told him next time stay at home so I could win. Next time he comes back I will be waiting for him...yes, I want him to come back...He came in at 1:27, and I have a way to go, but it will be nice to run with him next time. So we wait around for the awards he with his family and me with my SPAWAR cheerleaders and wait for the announcements. He does get 1st in AG and I come in 2nd...we get our awards and get our pictures taken and congratulate each other. My SPAWAR cheerleaders take second prize for the Spirit on the Course...they should have taken first but a group in cheerleader outfits took first.

In all a good leg was still sore at the beginning of the race but wasn't too bad at the end. This morning there are some aches but nothing way out of the ordinary. So hopefully I will be able to give my best for the next two weeks training and the Marine Corps Marathon on the 28th.

Race Results:

There were 42 finishers in the Male 50 to 54 age group and 880 total finishers.

Overall finish place was 52 of 880

Age group finish place was 2 of 42

Time: 1:32:24 for an overall pace of 7:03 per mile

First 5 mile split was 34:01 for a pace of 6:48/mile

Second 5 mile split was 35:34 for a pace of 7:07/mile

Last 5K split was 22:48 for a pace of 7:21/mile

A typical race for me...start off fast and fade at the end...but I did take 6 minutes off from my last race (RnR Half) by running it this way...I need to find a solution to end the last half stronger. When I tried to start off slow at the RnR half, I just ended up going slower still at the end.

Two more weeks of training and on to the MCM!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Rock n Roll Half Marathon 02 Sep 07

The Rock n Roll Half Marathon takes place in the beach area of Virginia Beach...starting at the Convention center on 19th St, turning down Pacific Avenue, over the Rudee Inlet Bridge, down General Booth Blvd, turning back at Oceana Ave, by winding through Camp Pendleton, back over the bridge, up Atlantic Ave with the final 2+ mile leg down the boardwalk. Last year...I was really hot and humid but this year promised to be sunny but cooler.

I got up at 4:00 to a crisp cool autumn-like Sunday morning...I swear I could see my breath when I let the dog out. Weather was in the mid to high 60's and projected to be not more than about 74F at my finish time...8:30-9:00...with the temps not reaching more than low 80's into the afternoon...almost a perfect day for a race. I was concerned about parking down near the race...there was to be no parking at the Convention center...where the race starts... and with 20,000 runners expected plus family and friends, parking was expected to be scarce. The race organizers were encouraging people to park at the Amphitheater...a good 20 minutes away...and utilize buses that would take people to and from the race. I didn't want to be reliant on bus transportation to get me to the race on time or to wait for buses to start running 2-3 hours after the race. So I decided to get up earlier and beat the crowd to the limited parking at the oceanfront. I was out of the house by 5:00, even going through my normal routine of a shower, coffee and breakfast and my morning constitutional. There were no problems driving to the race area except getting closer to the beach the traffic did pick up a bit. The first parking lot I pulled into, where I saw a lot of cars pulling in, was a private lot and they wanted to charge me $20 to park to which I laughed at the guy and pulled back out. There was an adjacent municipal parking lot on the corner of 19th and Pacific where I found a more reasonable $7 charge...and it was about equal distance from the start and finish line. I walked/jogged almost a mile to the starting area which gave me a chance to warm-up/test out my left lower leg problem that I had sustained during the Mud Run about three weeks earlier. It was healing but the pain was still there especially at the beginning of a run. I had taken three extra strength Tylenol at breakfast to help take most of the discomfort away even though I don't like the idea of taking meds on race day.

The race starts at 7:00 so I had plenty of time to stretch and do another warm-up jog as well as eat part of a bagel, half a banana and sip some water. Made a couple of visits to the port-a-lets but when I got to my starting corral 15 minutes prior to the start, I felt the urge to go again...but I suppressed the urge thinking that I could certainly make it through the hour and half to the finish. The race is corral started with each corral waiting 1-1.5 minutes after the corral ahead starts...there are at least 24 corrals. They start the wheel chairs first, then the elite women about 15 minutes prior to the main start. They start the elite men as well as corral 1 at 7:00...I'm in corral 2 and we move up to the start line and wait almost a minute and a half before we are let loose. Since I am very bad at pacing myself I had hoped to go with a pace group but this race didn't have a 1:30 pace group...the fastest one was 1:45...I wanted to try starting off slow this race, around 7:00 minute miles...most races...well all the prior races without a pace group...I start off like a jackrabbit with a pace anywhere from 6:15 -6:30 minute miles. This course was very well marked with visible mile markers with electronic timers at each mile, 5K, 10K, 15K and 20K as well as timing mats at 5K, 10K, 10 mile and 11 miles. The first mile surprisingly was very near my expected pace of just under 7:00. Even at the 7:00 mpm pace, we caught up to the tail end of corral 1 before we make the turn onto Pacific Ave which is a bit before the 1 mile mark. The next 5 miles are also at the same pace. The second mile we went over the bridge and onto a mostly shaded General Booth Blvd for the next 2 miles. Running through Camp Pendleton from miles 6-7, we caught a nice cool crosswind, which felt good. Then back over the bridge for mile 8 where we could see runners from the later corrals still going the opposite way. There was a bit of a headwind going up Atlantic Ave miles 8-11 and I felt my pace slowing quite a bit, then we turned onto the boardwalk for what seemed the longest two plus miles I had ever run. It seemed long because you could see the finish banner/towers in the distance and they didn't seem to get any closer. I finally crossed the finish line in 1:39:46/7...chip time: 1:38:27.

The Not so Good:
I was unable to maintain my PMP of 7:20...ended up with a 7:31 pace
My leg...I had left leg tenderness up to about mile 3 than just a dull ache until we reached the boardwalk where the pain became more apparent. After the finish, I was limping pretty bad due to the discomfort. The morning after the race, I could barely walk on it but with Motrin, ice and rest it was feeling well enought to move around some later in the day...thank goodness Monday was a holiday. I'm hoping it's just a shin splint and not a stress fracture.

The Good:
A great event...had fun.
The crowds and bands were great, the cheerleaders and volunteers were awesome and this seemed to be a very well organized race for the large amount of runners.
And the couldn't have asked for better for that time of the year.

Some of the sights seen during/at the end of the race:
- 1 of 3 running Elvis seen.
- Sponge Bob seen with cheerleaders singing Sponge Bob Square pants song.
- Runner juggling 4-5 bean bags while running.
- Geico Cavemen...about four of them running together
- The amazing Team Hoyt...a person was also handing out iced wet Hoyt towels between miles 4-5...a very welcome relief.

Race timing mat splits:
5K: 21:42
10K: 44:34
10Mi: 1:13:23
11Mi: 1:21:32
13.1: 1:38:27

Race Results:
There were 580 finishers in the Male 50 to 54 age group and 17013 total finishers.
Overall finish place was 736 of 17013
Age group finish place was 22 of 580
Time: 1:38:27 for an overall pace of 7:31 per mile

Friday, August 31, 2007

Rock n Roll Half this Weekend at the Beach

Everyone will be Rock'n Roll'n at the beach this weekend...It's the
Rock n Roll Half Marathon weekend at the Beach...Virginia Beach that is! Great weather is predicted and fun party time for all on a Labor Day weekend...the last big weekend before most schools start!

This will be my first RnR half but my third half marathon. Last year about this time I was watching the events, wishing I was running...which prompted me to get it in gear and start training for racing. Up to that point I would run occasionally, sporadically, never more than 6 miles and had never entered into a race. Well, I had run a 10K way back in the 80's for my ship's team...can't even remember what my time was. My first race...last year...was a half...the Fleet Week Half ...I was ambitious...very ambitious. I thought I was still young and could do a half by jumping into training for about a six weeks doing five mile runs with a long run of only 7.5 miles and with a goal of 1:45...secret goal of 1:30. I did finish in 1:45:58 or there abouts so technically I did get my first goal but I cramped miserably at the 12 mile mark and limped to the finish but with some satisfaction of finishing.

What's my goal this time...I'm not telling...well you know I'm trying to break 1:30. My last half was the Dismal Swamp Stomp back in mid-April with a time of 1:32 and change and I think I can better that time...we shall see. I seem to be in the second corral and had hoped to be in the first...I thought I had put 1:30 as my expected finish way back in May when I registered. Packet pick-up starts today and I will check to see if I can move up...If not my bib number is: 2250.

Oh...Today I am 52!

Have a great Labor Day weekend everyone!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

How did this happen! appears I may have injured my left leg during the ASYMCA Mud Run 8K on Saturday. I can’t figure out where the injury occurred but it was probably at one of the many obstacles during the run. My left lower leg was hurting after getting home and after the nap. Also had problems walking down the stairs but once it was warmed up/stretched, walking on it was only a bit of uncomfortable. I gave it plenty of rest on Sunday and delayed my Week 5 Key workout #3, which is an 18 mile run, till Monday.

Monday: I stretched real well and warmed up slowly by briskly walking for about five minutes and then started my run. The run calls for a long run of 18 miles at PMP + 45-60 seconds per mile. I started the TM at 7 mph for the first mile and then increased to 7.5 mph. The first three miles were quite painful…pain that I hadn't felt since my big bout of shin splints back in January, but I was determined to finish the 18 miles so I slowed the pace back down to 7 mph. After about five miles the pain was a dull ache and I completed the 18 miles, kicking it in the last three miles and finishing in 2:24 and change. I finished with 10 minutes on the stairstepper for 52 floors to help stretch out the calves and went home and swam in the pool for about 30 minutes.

Tuesday: My left calf was hurting pretty good when I got up. During the day it hurt a lot to walk after sitting for a spell but once I was walking a bit, the pain would ease up a bit. I did my 40 minutes of abs and weight workout and then decided to go ahead and do my cross training. Started with 30 minutes on the elliptical set at Random, Level 10 good for 3.4 miles. Then 45 minutes on the lifecycle set at Random, Level 10 good for 12 miles. Finished with 10 minutes on the stairstepper good for 52 floors. Went home and swam 24 laps.

Wednesday: Calf was still quite painful so decided to skip my Week 6 Key Workout #1 which is a speed interval workout. There was no way I was going to be able to complete even one set and didn't want to cause further injury...I want to give my calf a chance to heal so instead I did cross training again. 60 minutes on the elliptical set at Random, Level 12 good for 7 miles. Then 60 minutes on the lifecycle set at Random, Level 12 good for 17.4 miles. Finished with 10 minutes on the stairstepper set at Random, Level 12 good for 53 floors.

Today my left calf is still hurting so I will stick to cross training until the pain goes away...I don't know how long that will be but I know I need to let it heal before it gets worse…hopefully not more than a week.

Here are some pictures from the ASYMCA Mud Run:

The Stampede start on the beach...boxed in by some big dudes...makes you want to hum the tune from "Chariots of Fire"...Can you find Waldo?...I'm the grey haired guy:

The Water crossing:
Water Crossing

The Hay bales...some went, not pictures of me playing in the hay.
Hay Bales

Up and over one of the many berms:

Through the muddy waters:

Finally...the Finish:

Saturday, August 11, 2007

ASYMCA Mud Run 8K 11 Aug 2007

Instead of doing my Week 5 Key Workout #2, I did an 8K race...The ASYMCA Mud Run 8K

Thursday: Was suppose to be a cross training day but couldn't work out so it was a rest day.

Friday: Cross trained instead of the Key Workout #2. I figured I would substitute the race on Saturday for my key workout. First I did 40 minutes of abs and weights. Then 30 minutes on the elliptical set at Random, Level 12 good for 3.4 miles. And finished with 30 minutes on the lifecycle set at Random, Level 12 good for 8.2 miles.

Saturday: Ran the 8K Mud run.

This run takes place on the Naval Amphibious base in Norfolk off of the Chesapeake Bay. The mud run consisted of an obstacle type course with a combination of running on the sand, running over sand berms, over hay bales, through a stream, a couple of low crawls, going over a wall and of course running through muddy water. I thought it would be interesting and a break from the usual road course type races. We couldn't have ordered a better what we got for the middle of summer...especially after two weeks of very hot and humid days and nights. It was probably in the 70s at start time with a nice breeze off the ocean and cloud cover most of the time.

The night before...I like to lay out my running stuff and pin my bib on my shirt so there won't be things that I forget on race day...I had a problem with deciding what to wear because I knew I was going to get wet, sandy and muddy. I decided on a pair of NB 856 shoes that were tight fitting and would drain the water out well. I figured with the tight fit, less sand and water would get in. I didn't get a restful sleep that night...not because nerves or getting to bed late...but because of our fire alarm system starting to beep around 2 a.m. It will beep if the backup batteries are low or if they are dirty. I tried to go back to sleep but it kept beeping about every 30 minutes. I was just going to leave it till I got home from the race to change the batteries but my wife...bless her thoughtful soul...tried to find which of the 8 alarms was beeping and finally changed three of them before the beeping one was wife is sooo good to me for doing that so I could get some sleep. I just get off to sleep and the alarm clock goes off telling me it's time to get up. I shower and eat breakfast and drive to the base getting there about an hour before the 8:00 start time. They had us park in a area about half a mile away because they were expecting quite a turnout for this race...I think there were over 2000 runners, but no problems, there was plenty of time before the race and it was good to warm up a bit. I get my timing chip, make a visit to the port-a-lets and warm up by running and exploring the final finish stretch which is mostly asphalt covered by sand.

The start of the race was in the sand on the beach at the water line and goes down the beach for a little over a mile in the sand...and we started off in waves. The first wave was just men up to the age of 39, the second wave...which is my wave... for us older guys and some of the teams, a third wave for other teams and women and a fourth wave...I think for some of the military teams...can't remember it all but I was in the second wave. Each wave starts five minutes after the wave before it. So the first wave gets off at 8:00 and five minutes later our wave gets started. I find myself a couple of rows of runners back from the front of the start line and in the middle...which was a big mistake. The horn goes off for our wave and everyone surges forward. I find I have to walk and jog a bit to get around the slower runners in front as more runners surge past on both sides of sand that is very hard to run and maneuver in. The only packed sand was at the water edges where the ocean waves would cover your shoes if you didn't watch out. At first I tried to keep out of the water and on dry sand but progress on the dry sand was very slow and energy sapping. It seemed like I couldn't get out of the crowd of runners that I was in unless I went wide right into the very soft sand or wide left which was in the ocean. After about half a mile the runners started thinning out and I could finally get past a good number of slower runners. A couple of times we actually had to run around obstacles...tree branches, trunks...and into the surf to get around. After about a mile we turned right into the sand dunes going up an incline...sand berms...and finally found firm ground to run on. We weaved through a parking lot and through some trees. The path through the trees was very narrow where passing other slower runners was dangerous due to the thorny brambles along the path grabbing at your ankles and thighs along with dangerously low tree branches that we had to weave and bob around. I was able to make some passes at corners or on rare occasion where the path widened. We came out of the trees into the parking lot again and then into more sand dunes and berms that were created by the course designer where they would heap up the sand into mounds that had to be climbed and crossed. We then had to run through a stream that was almost knee high and about as wide as a one lane street. Then more sand dune running heading back towards where the start/finish area is and up over some hay bales. We finally get back to the blacktopped road for a bit before going up a stretch of a nice hill and coming back down to the blacktop and actual street running for about half a mile. I was able to pick up my pace and passed a whole bunch of runners on the flat, firm wonderful asphalt! But all too soon it was back to running in the sand and going up and down sand berms. After running through some more sand we reach the low crawl obstacle. There is about 10 feet of rope strung out across the sand path and up hill. We exit to more sand...more berms and more hay bales to climb over. We eventually hit the not the running wall but a barrier type wall where we have to get up and over. Just after the wall we get to the mud pit and run/slosh through about 6-8 meters of mud, sand and water...not bad but it does slow you down a lot. And then of course more sand and berm running on the other side. A final low crawl through some more ropes and more sand running and a final up over a sand berm and we're back on sand covered blacktop heading to the finish line. I sprint as soon as my feet hit solid ground to the finish. My finish time that I saw on the clock was 53 minutes something but after subtracting the 5 minutes for the second wave start, it came out to around 48 minutes...48 minutes for 5 miles! My worst 10K was 3 minutes faster! It was hard to accept that my pace was nearly 10 mpm...I really thought I would have done a lot better. It was hard to pass runners in some spots and was forced to run at their slower pace. The sand was very difficult to run in. I tried different strategies...running in the foot steps, running on the edges...running in the middle...none seemed to be any easier.

That was probably the most exhausting short race that I have ever run. Running through the sand is not easy...especially going up the berms...and saps your energy quickly. The other obstacles were minor bumps in the road and were no problem...although I did see a guy in front of me trip on a hay bale coming down and hit the ground pretty hard...he was okay though...the sand at least cushions your fall.

After crossing the finish line and talking with a few people who I had run with, I headed for the water and food...Pizza...Yes! I must have eaten almost a whole pizza myself. I rinsed off at the water buffalo...a large military water tank on wheels that is towed by a truck...went back for some more pizza and drink and headed home. It was a fun run and I had a blast!

Race results:
There were 21 finishers in the Male 50 to 54 age group and 1633 total finishers.
Overall finish place was 98 of 1633
Age group finish place was 2 of 21
Time: 48:17 for an overall pace of 9:42 per mile

I took a nap when I got home...I was that tired!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Week 5 Key Run #1

Monday: Cross trained. First 30 minutes on the elliptical set at Random, Level 12 good for 3.2 miles. Then 40 minutes on the lifecycle set at Random, Level 10-12 good for 10 miles. Then back to the elliptical for 30 minutes more at the same setting good for 3.3 miles. Finished up with 10 minutes on the stairstepper good for 51 floors. Went home and swam 512 meters.

Tuesday: Cross trained. First 60 minutes on the elliptical set at Random, Level 10 good for 6.7 miles. Then 60 minutes on the lifecycle set at Random, Level 10 good for 15 miles. Finished with 10 minutes on the stairstepper set at Random, Level 12 good for 52 floors.

Wednesday: Week 5 Key Run #1 calls for 10-20 min easy run, then 3 x 1600 meters with 1 minute RI and 10 minute cool-down. My pace for the 1600 meters is 6:05. Started by warming up on the TM at a fast walk for two minutes and then 7 mph for a couple of minutes and moving it up to 7.5 mph for a couple more minutes, then 8 mph and the rest of the warmup at 8.5 mph good for 3 miles in about 25 minutes. Then set the TM to 9.9 mph (which comes to 6:03 mpm) and started the first one mile repeat. Did great to the finish and slowed down to 7 mph for the one minute of RI. Set it back to 9.9 and had to really hang on to finish the mile and then dropped down to 7 mph again...but I took an extra minute to get ready for the final mile. I was so beat I started at 8 mph and took it up gradually by 0.5 mph every 30 seconds to 10 mph and finished the set. Dropped down to 7 mph for about 3 minutes then set it at 8 mph for the rest of the hour. Came out to 8.1 miles total. I'm beginning to not like speed's really hard for me to do. I finished with the 10 minutes on the stairstepper good for 52 floors, went home and swam 536 meters in the pool.

Overall a very good workout, but I haven't been able to complete these speed workouts without some cheating. There is no way I could have done anything close to what I did if I had to have done it outside. It hit 102F with a heat index of around 117F. Even now at 8:00 pm it's still 97F with a heat index of 109F...Hot...Hot...Hot!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Week 4 Key Run #3

Saturday: 40 minutes of abs and weights, then did 10 laps in the pool after mowing the lawn. Tried to rest for Sunday's 20 mile run but it was hot and humid while mowing the lawn and I felt really drained after mowing but refreshed after the swim.

Sunday: Key run #3 calls for 20 miles at PMP (7:20) + 45-60 which comes out to a 8:05-8:20 per mile pace. I was debating whether I wanted to run it at a faster pace since most of my paces for long runs in the past have been in the 7:-7:30 pace but again I decided that I need to follow the plan as closely as possible and see how it comes out for this first of five 20 milers. I didn't do any other cardio this time prior to the run but started by fast walking for the first minute then set the TM to 7.5 mph which comes to 8:00 minutes per mile...yeah 5 seconds faster then what it calls for actual PMP is 7:15-7:17 so it fits! First hour went by and I felt the urge to go faster but I stayed at the prescribed pace. I took a vanilla flavored Powergel after the first hour and some water. I also used Gatorade about every 30 minutes. After the second hour (15 miles down) I took a chocolate GU and some water. I was still feeling good with no problems with the pace...I still wanted to go faster. At the 18-mile mark I succumbed and pushed the speed up to 8 mph and at the 19-mile mark pushed the speed up to 8.5 mph. I finished the 20 miles in 2:38:30 but I ran it out to 2:40:00, which came to 20.25 miles. I really felt I could continue on for the last 10K but stopped. After the run I did 10 minutes on the Stairclimber at Random, Level 12 for 52 floors. I find the Stairclimber is good for stretching out my legs especially the calves. Usually after my long runs I treat myself to something special...a Big Mac with fries and a Coke...I figure it's a good way to get protein and carbs into my on my way home I had my treat! Got home and also had some really good raspberry cheesecake with a large glass of milk and then did almost 500 meters in the pool.

My first week of the Furman program is under my belt. I found the speed intervals was my hardest day and the other two days were fairly easy. Let's see what next week brings.

Total Running miles this week: 35.05

Friday, August 3, 2007

Week 13 (4 of 16) Key Workout # 2

Thursday: The day after Key workout #1 left my calves a little sore...never did a workout like was so intense but I still did my cross training at the gym. Started out on the Elliptical set at Random, Level 12 for one hour good for 6.6 miles. Then moved to the Lifecycle set at Random, Level 12 for one hour good for 18 miles. Then finished at the Stairstepper set at Random, Level 12 for 10 minutes and 52 floors.

Friday: Warmed up on the Elliptical set at Random, Level 15-12 for 10 minutes then moved to the Treadmill for the Key Run #2 which calls for 1 mile easy, 4 miles at MT pace (6:55/mile) and then 1 easy. Started the 1 mile run easy at 7 mph and gradually moved up 0.5 mph every quarter mile then after one mile, set the TM at 8.7 mph which came to 6.53/mile pace and ran for 4 miles. I felt like I could go quite a bit more at the end of four miles but I want to stick to the plan as close as possible so I set the TM to 8 mph for the first half mile of easy run and then decreased to 7.5 mph for the rest. I just didn't want to quit at 6 miles...why not 6.2?...So I went the additional 0.2 for an even 10K all in a time around 45:30. I still felt I had left quite a bit in the tank so I rode the Lifecycle set at Random, Level 10 for 30 minutes good for 8.25 miles and then finished up on the Stairstepper set at Random, Level 12 for 10 minutes good for 52 floors. Went home and swam 200 meters.

Tomorrow is a rest day...probably will do 40 minutes of abs and weights and then Sunday will be the first of five 20 mile runs in the plan. I do plan to substitute a 22 and a 24 mile in there for two of the 20 milers. I need to get past my 22-26.2 mile cramp zone.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Furman First to the Finish Program

After trying to prepare for the MCM with a do-it-yourself plan based somewhat on the Furman plan and not really being satisfied that I am getting all that I can from my training...I took the plunge and decided to follow the Furman First to the Finish Marathon Program as set out without modifications. The program takes sixteen weeks but since the MCM is on 28 Oct, that only leaves me 13 I start on the 13th week which is actually the 4th week of the 16 week problem since I have been training hard since the last week of June. As with my past workouts, the majority of the workouts will be done on the treadmill.

First I filled out the Training Pace Worksheet to determine what my pace should be for the various workouts. I used my latest 5K time of 19:28 but rounded it up to 19:30...I like round numbers. So after doing all the math based on a 6:20 5K pace, I am left with the following:

Planned Marathon Pace (PMP): 7:20 (rounded up)
Long Tempo (LT): 7:10
Mid Tempo (MT): 6:55
Short Tempo (ST): 6:40
And for the Speed Workouts: 400M: 5:40; 600M: 5:45; 800M: 5:50; 1000M: 5:53; 1200M: 5:55; 1600M: 6:05

Now that I have the important numbers...On with the training!

Based on the training plan the actual running workouts...called 'Key Runs' are only done three times a week with the rest of the week devoted to cross-training or rest. Since I like doing my long runs on Sunday, I arranged the weekly plan to the following:
Monday: Cross-train or Rest
Tuesday: Cross-train
Wednesday: Key Run #1
Thursday: Cross-train
Friday: Key Run #2
Saturday: Off
Sunday: Key Run #3 confuse you again...this week is Week 13 of the plan...which is really week 4 of 16.

Monday: Cross-training 60 minutes on the Elliptical set at Random, Level 12 good for 6.41 miles. Then 70 minutes on the Lifecycle set at Random, Level 10-12 good for 20 miles. Then ran on the treadmill for 3.5 miles starting with a set of hill workouts and finishing with two sets of speed work...I hadn't known I was going to jump into the Furman program until today. Finished with 10 minutes of stairsteppers set at Random, level 12. Went home and cooled down by swimming 10 laps.

Tuesday: Rest day

Wednesday...Today: Key Run #1 which calls for 10-20 minutes of warm-up, then 5 x 1000 meter intervals with 400 meter Rest Intervals in between and then finishing with 10 minutes of cool-down. I warmed up with 30 minutes on the elliptical (3.6 miles) and 30 minutes on the lifecycle (8.2 miles). Then on to the workout! I figured I needed to warm-up on the treadmill before doing the workout so 10 minutes on the TM at 7 mph for warm-up. According to the plan worksheet, I was to do the 5 x 1000m in 3:40 minutes each...a 5:53 mpm pace. I set the TM at 10.2 mph with 1% elevation...which actually comes out to a 5:52 pace...and off we went for 0.62 miles in about 3:40 minutes...TMs are soo great at keeping you on pace. For the Rest Interval (RI), I slowed down to 7 mph for 0.25 miles and then did my second 1K...the first one was relatively easy...but the second was a bit harder...the third was even harder and I could barely finish the fourth one...leaving me gasping for air and taking a minute more for my RI. For the fifth one I dropped the speed down to 10 mph and barely finished that one...thankful the series was over. I think for my next set of speed work, I'll do the cardio at the end of the workout...if I still have enough energy that is. But...What a workout! I finished up with cooling down at 7 mph to finish out 40 minutes total time. After the run I did 10 minutes on the stairstepper, went home and did 10 laps in the pool.

A very hard workout but I can hardly wait for Friday's Key Run #2 and the long run this Sunday will be 20 miles. I'm sure I can do tempo runs a whole lot better than speed intervals...we'll have to see.