Friday, May 30, 2008

Elizabeth River Run 10K 24 May 08

Ran the Elizabeth River Run 10K last Saturday, another one that I ran last year. The race course is a looping out and back, first making a couple of loops in Olde Towne Portsmouth then along the waterfront called Portside, looping through the Naval Hospital waterfront and finishing near the Ntelos pavilion. Weather-wise it was raining a bit during packet pickup but cleared up well before the start of the race. The temps were in the low 60's with just a bit of wind. A very nice day for a race. I ran about two miles along the waterfront as a warm-up and then went looking for a port-a-potty...couldn't find one so had to go back to the area around the pavilion and got in long line.

The race starts at 8:15 with a kids 1 mile run starting at 8:00. We cheered on the kids as they came racing past us to the finish...our future runners in action. We get to the starting line and we are off to make our first loop though the Olde Towne section with a group that included Steve and some others including a couple in my age group. The first mile was about 6:00 and I was feeling the effort and backed off. We continued on through our second longer loop and mile two was 13:00...for a 7:00 min mile...and the wheels started coming off. We started our run along the walkway following the waterfront and even with the slight breeze, I was still feeling sluggish and the legs were heavy and mile three is in 20:07 for a 7:06 pace. We go through the Naval Hospital gates for our loop around hospital point and mile four is 27:27 for a pace of 7:20...looking real ugly now and runners are passing me that I normally beat pretty handily...not today. We make our way out of the hospital and mile five is 35:10 for a 7:43 pace. The final 1.2 miles and I try to kick it in but the effort is too much and I coast to about the last mile marker and kick it in for the finish and cross the line in 43:37. I waited around the finish for my two gym mates and cheer them on to the finish...a PR for both of them! Way to go ladies!

Race results:
There were 59 finishers in the Male 50-54 age group and 758 total finishers
Overall finish place was 67 of 758
Age group finish place was 7 of 59
Time: 43:37 for an overall pace of 7:00 per mile

Weekly Training:
Mon: 35 min Elliptical, 33 min Cycle, 20 min Stairstepper
Tue: 63 min Elliptical, 45 min Cycle, 21 min Stairstepper
Wed: 7 miles run, 20 min Elliptical, 18 min Stairstepper
Thu: 36 min Elliptical, 40 min Cycle, 15 min Stairstepper
Fri: 4.5 miles run, 25 min Elliptical, 20 min Stairstepper
Sat: 8.2 miles run with 10K race with 2 mile warm-up
Sun: 35 min Elliptical, 37 min Cycle, 20 min Stairstepper

No races this weekend, but I feel I need the rest.

Everyone have a great weekend!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Marine Corps Historic Half 18 May 08

Ran the Marine Corps Historic Half on Sunday in Fredericksburg. I signed up for this inaugural half when registration opened way back in Nov and it was no surprise when the 5000 slots filled up very rapidly since this event is put on by the same people who put on the annual Marine Corps Marathon (The 25,000 slots for this one sold out in five days...and I have one of them!).

I drove up the day before to attend the Expo and pickup my race packet. Later after checking into my motel and doing a brief workout and shower, I met up with some runners from the Runners World forum for a wonderful dinner at the Poppy Hill Tuscan Kitchen located in the historic downtown section in Fredericksburg. My expectations for this race was initially to try to run it for a PR, but after riding around the city going to the Expo, restaurant, motel and looking at all the not so gentle hilly terrain, I was hoping for a sub 1:30. I would still start out running for a PR and would see how the early hilly miles would affect me.

Woke up Sunday to cloudy skies but checking the weather, it said the temps would start in the high 50's with highs expected in the low 70's with some wind, clouds and rain...but the rains would hold off until after 9:00...the race starts at 7:00, so everything should be good.

We were told we could park in the area shopping center parking lots if we didn't utilize the shuttle service from and to two outlying Park n Ride lots. I chose to drive and parked in the Wal-Mart parking lot and walked the 3/4th of a mile to the start line. I got to the starting area in plenty of time to take care of business...a few times...and chat with some runners. The starting area was corralled with expected finishing times and I staged myself in the under 1:30 corral and met and talked with a couple of runners from Virginia Beach staged one corral behind me. It was now about 6:45 and I had this urge to go and the port-a-potties were way back at the end of the last corral...too far away, but I noticed a good size trailer with Men's and Women's signs on the doors...bathrooms on wheels for the dignitaries...but I and the two from the Beach went and utilized some very fine toilet facilities! We got back to the starting line just as the Marine Color Guard marched to the front and the singing of the National Anthem.

The race starts with a shot from a flintlock rifle from a revolutionary uniformed militiaman, confetti gun firing and the release of some white doves, and we were off to the races. We race down the street passed the Wal-Mart, take a left running under a large American flag set up by a ladder fire truck and under a balloon banner and down a rather large hill...same hill we will be coming back on...and the first mile is 6:22...a bit fast but we are headed downhill so it shouldn't be too bad. After the first downhill, we come to a small up hill and then down another stretch of hill. I miss mile two but mile three is 12:50...which comes out to about 6:25 splits and a total of 19:12 for the three still doing pretty good. But we come up on some good uphills as well as downhills and mile four reads 6:36...still doing good but starting to feel it every time we get an uphill section and mile five comes in at 6:47. I feel myself getting fatigued and it surprises me that I'm feeling this way so soon. Usually in half's I start feeling it around mile 10-11...not in the early miles. The first five miles has a net loss of about 250 feet but there are numerous little uphills that I'm feeling the effects from. I miss mile six but mile 7 is a total of 14:12...which means my pace is now about 7:06 and I'm losing ground fast and I feel I have no energy. I try to up the pace and mile eight is in 7:o1 but I slow down again the next mile to 7:22 and things go down hill from there for me and the course starts to go uphill. the 250 feet drop in elevation has to be made up in miles 10-12 and these are two long and rather steep stretches. Mile ten is actually quite pleasant running by a raging brown river and then through a small path through a canopy of trees but my watch split reads 7:26 for a total of 1:08 for ten miles. 3.1 miles to go and it looks like even 1:30 will be a real struggle to get...and here comes the two big hills. The first winds up through the University of Mary Washington appropriate...there is an Emergency Room direction sign pointing the way we are turning to go up the first long hill...I think it's trying to tell us something. I slow considerably going up this hill and mile eleven split reads 8:22...ugly! A small downhill and we are going up the final hill and it gives me some energy knowing that this is the final hill and then only about a mile to go and I try to up the pace and the split at twelve reads 7:37. We are back on somewhat level ground now and again go under the huge American flag draped off the ladder of the fire truck and make the turn headed to the finish and mile thirteen is 7:05. I try to sprint the final tenth and cross the finish line as the time on the race clock reads 1:32:24...chip time was 1:32:23. We receive our medal, a cool towel and another finisher coin. We are directed into the back of the Expo building to get food and fluids...I grab some in a bag and head out to the Wal-Mart parking lot to unload my stuff and then head down the course looking for two from the dinner who expects to finish around 2:00 and another from my gym who expects to finish around 2:30. I find the first runner just past the flag draped fire truck and run with her back to the finish line. She has had a very rough run starting around mile five where she got dizzy and week and had to stop for awhile...even thought of dropping out but she was just topping the last hill when I found her and she did well all the way to the finish. I went out again looking for my gym lady and find her near Wal-Mart. She tells me her friend is still out on the course so when we finish and she gets her medal and drink, we head out to find her friend still on the course. She texts her but doesn't get a reply back so we get worried. We are going past Wal-Mart again when we get a text that her friend is at the finish, so we head back to join up and find her.

The race was actually very scenic running through quaint old town Fredericksburg with it's shops, pubs, restaurants and boutiques, through neatly maintained neighborhoods, through tree lined paths next to raging rivers and starting and finishing in the modern large shopping centers, with broad streets, large motels and chain restaurants...and...lots of rolling hills...some not so rolling. The people were great cheering us on in the early morning. A fun race and I actually had a real good to do again next year!

Race Results:
There were 210 finishers in the Male 50-54 age group and 3826 total finishers
Overall finish place was 77 of 3826
Age group finish place was 4 of 210
Time: 1:32:23 for an overall pace of 7:04 per mile

Weekly Training:
Mon: 6.7 miles run, 20 min Elliptical, 10 min Stairstepper
Tue: 31 min Elliptical, 30 min Cycle, 10 min Stairstepper
Wed: 9 miles run, 25 min Elliptical, 20 min Stairstepper
Thu: 40 min Elliptical, 47 min Cycle, 20 min Stairstepper
Fri: 8.2 miles run, 20 min Elliptical, 20 min Stairstepper
Sat: 36 min Cycle
Sun: 18.8 miles run, including 13.1 MCHH in 1:32:23

Next race is the Elizabeth River Run 10K on Saturday...My quads are still sore and my left shin is tender from the half so I don't know what to expect from this race...depends on how much I have recovered.

Have a great week you all!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

New York City Here I Come!

Move over Lance...Save a spot on that starting line for me!

I had registered for guarenteed entry into the ING New York City Marathon , to be held on 02 November, about a month ago since I had about five different qualifying times and received this in my email today:

"Dear Charles,
We are pleased to confirm that you have been accepted for entry into the 2008 ING New York City Marathon. Our records have been updated to reflect your acceptance. Your entry number is 281703. Please include this number along with your name in any correspondence pertaining to the event.You can check your status or update your personal information by clicking on the link below and logging in with the username and password you created when you registered."

Oh Happy Days!

Only problem is that I also registered for the 33rd Marine Corps Marathon on 26 Oct...which is a week before the NYC marathon. What to do you ask? I could defer the MCM till 2009 but...I'm going to do both of course! The plan is to run MCM at a leisurely pace having fun and then do NYCM for time. And then of course I will need to do Richmond but that's at least a couple of weeks after NYCM, so hopefully I will be rested enough to go for a great time there. :) Why oh why do I do this to myself?

Not much else happening on the running front for this week. No races...did look at some options but decided I needed the break from races. Training was scaled back a bit to allow for more recovery from the last three weeks of racing and in preparation for the First Historic Marine Corps Half Marathon coming up Sunday.

Weekly Training:
Mon: 30 min Elliptical, 30 min Cycle, 20 min Stairstepper
Tue: 6.5 miles run, 20 min Elliptical, 10 min Stairstepper
Wed: 50 min Elliptical, 50 min Cycle, 14 min Stairstepper
Thu: 8 miles run, 21 min Elliptical, 14 min Stairstepper
Fri: 36 min Elliptical, 31 min Cycle, 20 min Stairstepper
Sat: 8.2 miles run, 10 min Stairstepper
Sun: 20 min Treadmill, 10 min Elliptical, 30 min weights and core

Training for this week will probably look pretty much like last week with runs on Mon...Ladders, Wed...Speed session, Fri...Tempo and MCH Half race Sunday.

Hope everyone had a Happy Mother's Day weekend!

Have a good week you all!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Frederick Marathon 04 May 2008

Ran the Frederick marathon Saturday which of course is held in Frederick, Maryland. I ran this marathon last year with a disappointing 3:57, where I barely survived finishing and hoped to do much better this year. They changed the course this year for various reasons and after looking at the new elevation chart, could tell it would be a very challenging course with some big hills from miles 16-20...but...I like hills...yeah right! I had just run the CMM marathon a week, which was also billed as a "hilly course" and thought it was rather tame with it's rolling hills. A more pressing concern than the hills was doing two marathons in a week and how much the first would take from the performance of the second. I ended up running CMM in just over 4 hrs, which was a bit more than a minute per mile slower pace than my last two marathons, so reasoned that I could be fairly ready for this weeks marathon. I still placed high expectations on my performance and set some goals: 1. Sub 3:10, 2. Sub 3:20, 3. PR 3:22:56, 4. BQ 3:35:59, 5. Finish sub 4 hrs. I planed to start off slow with a 7:15 pace for the first few miles and then step it up to 7:10 and then 7:00. I do a lot of ladder training runs in most of my speed sessions and thought this strategy would be fine. On to the race.

Drove up the day before and picked up my race packet and then checked into the motel. I needed to do my daily workout for my Kindzia challenge and was in luck to find a fitness center in my motel. It had two treadmills, an elliptical and a stationary bike. My last training run was Thursday and I had some issues and shortened the run from 8 to 6.5 miles because of some foot pain. It was puzzling and I didn't know where it came from since it was fine on my 9 mile run a couple days previous. So I didn't want to run on it again until race day. So I did 30 minutes each on the elliptical and bike and the foot was feeling fine. The race starts at 6:30, so I woke up my usual 4:00 and was able to prepare for the race without being in a rush. Parking at the fairgrounds was easy and I roamed around looking for people that I knew. I found two runners from Virginia was doing the half and the other the full...and talked with them a bit before making my final pit stop and headed to the start line.

The weather was forecasted to be sunny skies with temps around 51 at the start with the temps climbing into the mid 60's at the finish and winds in the 12-15 mph range. A bit warm and windy for my taste but still reasonable.

While waiting at the start line I see fellow runner and blogger Steve and went up to him to say hello and wish him a good race. Usually I like to start with Steve and run a couple of miles with him but today I really wanted to start slower than his sub 6:30 pace so backed up in the crowd between the 3:10 and 3:15 pace groups so I wouldn't be tempted to go out too fast.

The race has both marathoners...about well as half marathoners and relay teams ..about 3500... all starting at the same time with the halfers spliting off at 13 miles like CMM the week before but a whole lot smaller. The race starts with the wheel chairs being sent on their way and a few minutes later we are on our way. As we get settled in our paces the first quarter mile I see this lady runner running past me and on her top she has "TARA" imprinted. Last year I had run almost 21 miles with a runner named Tara who had just given birth four months prior...she paced me with her Garmin and she had had some issues around mile 21-22 and she never finished. I waited around the finish and went back up the course to run her in but never found her. I knew her husband and family were out on the course tracking her at various spots so was certain if something had happened to her, her husband would find her. This year while I was at the grocery store around the corner from the motel getting some stuff for the next morning I see this lady talking to the cashier about running a marathon. Her voice was familiar and she looked familiar but at the time I just couldn't place where I had seen her from. She had a name on the front of her shirt...Bebe...but that didn't ring a bell either because I didn't know any Bebe's. At last year's race she had worn a shirt that had "Tara" on the front and everyone on the course would yell out her name, so Bebe just didn't ring a bell. She must have thought I was a weirdo staring at her chest. So I go back to the motel and in the middle of the night I realize who she is. Back to the race...So I catch up to her and tell her who I am she tells me how she had to drop out of the race last year because of leg pain that later turned out to be a fracture that took her out of running for almost six months. We decide to run with each other for a few miles since her primary goals are about the same as mine...3:10-3:15. We miss the first mile and the second mile reads 14:33, so a 7:16 average...right where I want to be. Mile three split is 7:12, mile four is 7:23 and mile five is far so good and I want to speed it up a bit to 7 minute mile splits and she falls back with the 3:10 pace group as I go on out ahead.
Mile six split is 7:02
Mile seven at 6:55...ops, too fast but it's still feeling good.
Mile eight back down to 7:00
Mile nine is 7:04
Mile ten is 7:02
Mile 11 is 6:52...where did that come from? The hills are coming and I need to save some for them, so I try to slow it down.
Mile 12 is in 7:14
Mile 13 is in 7:46...didn't feel that slow...pick it back up. The half marathoners split off to their finish and we continue on through the fairgrounds where we started and out the back. The half split is 1:33:58...and felt a whole lot better than the 1:30 half split at Shamrock in March.
Mile 14 is 7:21
Mile 15 is 7:40
Mile 16 is 7:35, but here comes the first big long hill.
Mile 17 is 8:33, and after a bit of a down hill here comes the second long hill.
Mile 18 is 8:19...not bad but then my problems start. My legs apparently didn't like the two long hills and start to rebel and cramp up as I make a turn after 18 to go up another steeper hill. I have to stop to massage the leg and walk a bit and mile 19 shows it with a big fat 12:14. I am devastated...I only have about a mile to go until most of it is down hill and I limp across mile 20 in 11:59 with a total time of 2:37:04. If I can recover the last 10K I could still make 3:20 but it's not to be, as at every downhill or uphill and changes of direction my leg cramps stop me, so mile 21 is in 9:27
Mile 22 in 9:24
Mile 23 in 9:12
Mile 24 in 9:32, even though most of the course is now mainly down hill, we still come to some roller and another rather long climb and mile 25 is in 10:02. I only have 1.2 to go and most of the hills are gone and I try to speed up as best as I can and mile 26 is 8:52 and crossing the finish line the clock reads 3:35:55...Chip time 3:35:51. Hey at least I still made another BQ by 9 seconds! I waited around near the finish for Tara and she arrives a couple of minutes after...she also had problems with the hills and ran out of gas.

I don't like my final time. I feel at my current training and level of fitness I have no reason to be over sub 3:30 but then I have to factor in that I just ran 26.2 last week and this week's course was very challenging with some very tough hills from 16-20. And I did run it 22 minutes faster than last year. I like the course...I like hills...I will come back next year on fresher legs and see what I can do. Now that's what I call Hills!

Race results:
There were 75 finishers in the Male 50-54 age group and 928 total finishers
Overall finish place was 116 of 928
Age group finish place was 11 of 75
Time: 3:35:51 for an overall pace of 8:14 per mile

Weekly Training:
Mon: 35 min Elliptical, 32 min Cycle, 25 min Stairstepper
Tue: 8.82 miles run, 20 min Elliptical, 10 min Stairstepper
Wed: 35 min Elliptical, 35 min Cycle, 10 min Stairstepper
Thu: 6.75 miles run, 21 min Elliptical, 25 min Stairstepper
Fri: 50 min Elliptical, 46 min Cycle, 10 min Stairstepper
Sat: 30 min Elliptical, 30 min Cycle
Sun: 26.2 miles run, Frederick marathon 3:35:51

Next week there are no races scheduled so a time to regroup for the Historic Marine Corps Half Marathon on 18 May in hilly Fredericksburg, VA.

A special shout out to Steve on his awesome 3rd Overall finish! Go read his post...Now that is how a marathon should be run! Congratulations Steve!

Happy training all!