Friday, November 27, 2009

Turkey Trot

Silicon Valley Turkey Trot yesterday. My cunning taper plan involved running some hilly trails in the desert, hiking at the top of the mountain with my son, eating too much, and drinking too much beer. So despite weighing in at 155 (I was12 lbs lighter at my lightest) I was rested and carbo loaded!

Goal was a PR (38:22) and hopefully sub 38 minutes (6:07 pace). Weather was perfect (mid 40's, sunny, no wind). Course flat and certified. A "no excuses" race if ever there was one!

It was a big race with 11,000 runners combined for the 5k and 10k. I started a couple rows back and had a clean start.
  • First mile seemed really fast, but there were some buildings so maybe garmin got confused as it had me going at 5:45 pace. I hit the mile marker in 5:56, which seemed a little more likely.
  • Mile 2 was better, and I settled into low 6 minute pace. Passed the marker at 12:03, for a perfect 6:07 split.
  • Mile 3 I slowed a little and was feeling it, kept going about 6:10 but crossed the marker at 18:19 for a 6:15 split. The 5k runners had turned off and the course really thinned out. This is not my best time in a 10K and I was not having any fun. But 18:19 was 1 second faster than my 37:59 plan so I was still in this race!
  • Mile 4 was a battle to keep going strong. I just hate mile 4, and always slack off. Managed to get thru it in 6:14. Feeling bad, and now about 6-7 seconds off pace. sub 38 was looking hard and the PR was now seriously at risk.
  • We hit the turnaround right at the start of the fifth mile and I decided it was time to STFU and run. I caught and passed the 2 people that had been 20 yards ahead for the last mile. Then started the long home stretch. Got down to low 6 pace for a bit but was struggling. Ended up doing mile 5 in about 6:14 so my little kick at the turn hadn't helped all that much! 30:48 at the marker, against a plan of 30:34.
  • Mile 6, just 8 minutes to go. Picked it up and got back down under 6 minute pace. Hurt a lot, but I can do this for just a few more minutes and I held off the runner behind me. Mile 6 marker came up quickly after 5:44, so I knew it was wrong (should have been 5:55). I was at 36:33 against a plan for 36:41. However, if mile 6 is short, that usually means that the next part will be long.....
  • Final .213 miles. This should be about 1:18 at 6:07 pace and I was going faster than that. However it was more than .213 miles and I took 1:32. Crossed the line at 38:05, barely missing the sub 38, but at least salvaging a 17 second PR.
Official result was 38:07, 31st plcae out of 3,200+ runners, and 5th in my age group. Too fast in mile 1 (as usual) and then sloppy in miles 3/4/5 but with a fairly good finish. I did a good job running the tangents on the curvy streets but really need to watch that early pace and somehow find a way to gut it out in those middle miles.

Next up is the Bah Humbug! 5K in San Ramon on Saturday December 5th.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

19 Again

Feels just like college.....

-- Sent from my Palm Pre

This is not good....

Restaurant has 160+ draft beers.... Not gonna help my 10k on Thursday

-- Sent from my Palm Pre

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Down hill

Time to run back down this thing....

-- Sent from my Palm Pre


Not sure how far I've climbed but I found this!

-- Sent from my Palm Pre

Trail Photos

Decided to take my phone for some photos on my trail run this morning. 12 miles out/back up some mountain. This is about mile 2.

-- Sent from my Palm Pre

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Palm Springs Running

In Palm Springs so am running on some hilly trails.  An "easy" 5 miler this morning involved an 800' climb up the mountain.

On the plus side, we got upgraded to the Presidential Suite at the hotel.  It's literally bigger than our house. The kids can't believe it.

-- Sent from my Palm Pre

Sunday, November 15, 2009

HomeRun 10k

Time for the next 10k. Went into this thinking that my goal of capitalizing on my marathon fitness to bag some short race PRs may be somewhat flawed. But the weather was nice, this is usually a well organized race so I decided to run it anyway. Cold at the start (40 degrees) but no wind and clear skies.

Course looked good with a 100' hill at mile 4ish. Plan was low 6's until the hill, struggle up, and then kick it to the finish, hopefully under 38:38.

Got on the start line and tried to pick out the fast guys I could follow.

Fast start (5:40 pace) as we went slightly uphill, got under control by 1/2 mile and was running in about 6th place. 4 people clearly faster than me (hopefully all younger too!), 1 shirtless/tatoo guy who could be 40+ but I figured I'd catch him. First mile marker off, but cruising at around 6:00 pace.

Mile 2 was solid and we went thru 2 at 12:00. Feeling pretty good, running with a 20 something guy in 6/7 place.

Mile 3 - another younger guy passed us, but we caught the shirtless tatoo guy, who went out too fast. A little up/down in 3 but we went thru in 18:14, so had slowed to 6:14.

Mile 4 started to climb, and I was struggling to hang with the 2 young guys. I was within 5 yards as we hit the #4 marker in 24:35 - so it had slowed to a 6:21 mile.

Next mile was the hill for real, it had started earlier than I expected and was steeper than I remembered. The two young guys were pulling away so I let them go to make sure I got to the top of the hill with something left for the rest of the race. Hit the top just before mile 5 in 31:08, for a 6:32 mile. I figured it was 7 minutes home from there, so was looking like a PR was gonna happen.

At this stage the 2 young guys were about 20 yards ahead, and I decided I was gonna get them. Picked it up to about 6:00 pace and was gaining on them, but not fast enough. Decided, due to some fuzzy math, that I could go sub 38 if I hammered it the last mile, so went for it. Dropped to 5:35 pace, caught the two guys and just kept going. They fell back fast but I was dying. HR hit 190 (highest I have every seen) and I knew I had kicked a little early. Held on at 6:00 pace for the next half mile and got to mile #6 in 37:05. The young guys caught me but I'd tried!

Final .22 I knew would take about 1:15, if I kicked again so managed to get back down to 5:45 pace. Finished at 38:22, which is a 16 second PR. Goof for 7th place and 1st in my old person age group.

It was a good event for a change! Well marked, well marshaled, accurate. I could have done a better job running tangents as there were a fair number of curves, and I think I should have run a better mile 3 & 4 as it wasn't hilly enough to deserve a 6:14 & 6:21. I was happy with my final mile effort, although my devastating finishing kick may have been a little early. But then, the sub 38 was there if I could have kept it up!

I think with a flat course, similar competition, a little more focus in those middle miles and no suicide kick at mile 5 1/4 I have a reasonable shot at sub 38. Thanksgiving day at the SV Turkey Trot looks like the ticket, unless i decide to run in this.....

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Next Non-10K?

Another race at Stanford this weekend. It's the Habitat for Humanity Homerun 5K and 10K. I ran this in 2007 and it was pretty well organized, so I was hoping for a change from the last 2 races. Today got an email from a friend saying race has moved, and there is an "Exciting New Course". Hmmmm...... exciting doesn't exactly sound like fast, flat and certified does it?

No mention of certification but the course looks OK. Still has the hill but it avoids the construction going on up and down Campus Drive. This race is still part of the Palo Alto Grand Prix, so I have my fingers crossed that they have measured it and it's going to be a 10,000 meter 10K, and not some other "Exciting" distance!

Since the course has changed I haven't got a complicated pace plan (which may be a good thing since I don't seem to be able to follow them anyway!) I'm gonna shoot for low 6 pace (6:05ish) until we get to the hill (mile 4), then keep a steady, even effort up the hill, which will be about mile 4 1/2. And then it's time to hammer it home, taking advantage of the downhill.

On the plus side, I suspect the new location will mean some fast people won't be able to find the start, thus increasing my chances at winning some more giant sized socks and another ugly hat.

Yesterday, in preparation for this great event, I went to the track for some 1600 meter work. Plan was 3 x 1600 in 6:00 with a slow 400 recovery jog (so around 6:02 pace, which is slightly faster than my 10k goal pace). First was 5:54, and felt OK. #2 was 5:53 and felt the same. Did the first 1200 of #3 just about on pace in 4:25 and then decided to go for it in the final lap. Ran an 81s 400 to finish in 5:46. That last lap hurt! Any dream of me running a 5 minute mile anytime soon died during that lap! (5 minute mile equals 74.5s laps)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Not All Races Are Equal

So in theory, if you have a flat, fast, certified course, good weather and a little competition you have all the necessary elements for a good race.

And then there is reality......

The missing element is having people involved in organizing the race who know the course, and are there to direct the runners about which way to go. I'd been taking that piece for granted and found out yesterday what happens without it.

Started fast in the 10K on a supposed good course, and was running in a group of 3 behind the leader who was off like a shot. Well, he missed the first turn, so we yelled and he came back. We then ran for a bit and went past the registration site for the race. Lots of enthusiastic yells of "Go Runners!", but not a lot of response to our question of "Go where, exactly?". We kept going in what seemed like the right direction but a six foot wall and a bunch of trash cans had us doubting our choice...... We stopped as the leader dug out a map and to find the correct route. At this point (about 3/4 mile) I bailed and decided I'd see if I could get back to the start in time for the 5K.

Got there OK and had about 5 minutes to recover (but a 6 minute mile isn't a good 5k warmup).

That started OK, but at the first turn they mis-directed us the long way, and did the same thing again later at mile 2. I didn't run great as I wasn't mentally ready for 5K pace, but I still managed to catch a couple people in the second half and come in 5th pace overall. Got first in my weird 36-50 age group to win a gift basket of "stuff" including some size 14 running socks and an ugly hat.

Time was really slow at 19:33, on a long course with lots of 90 degree turns. According to Garmin I ran at 6:04 pace, which was about my plan for the 10k, so I guess I didn't get my mind into 5k mode quick enough.

Oh well, hopefully next week is a little more successful! (although I doubt I'll win any giant socks)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Time for Some 10Ks

The next 2 races will be 10Ks. They are both at Stanford, and both have the same course, which I ran back in 2007. It's certified (and hopefully the actual race will be the same as the mapped race this time!)
It's got a small climb around mile 2-2.5 and then runs downhill for the next mile or so. A couple sharp turns near the end which I recall messed my pace last time, but overall an OK course.

I haven't raced a 10K since June 2008, and have never gone under 40 minutes in a 10K race (although I have done a sub 40 10K during a half marathon). My fastest 10K was a solo time trial on the track in 38:38 in April of this year. Anyway, 38:38 is definitely a soft PR compared to my 5K, half and full marathon PRs, so I should be able to beat it pretty easily in one or both of the next 2 races.

According to the various race time calculators if I compare my other race distances to predicted 10K times I should be able to go somewhere between 37:45 and 38:15, with everything averaging out at 37:58. So the obvious goal is to get under 38 minutes (6:06 pace).

Knowing that my pacing sucks in short races I am going to focus in race 1 on pacing according to plan, which I have laid out to accommodate the hill. Then depending on how that goes, refine things for race #2.

Here are the goal paces
  • Mile 1 6:06 pace (and not 5:45 like I normally start!)
  • Mile 2 6:10 pace (hill starts - keep a steady effort) - 12:16
  • Mile 3 6:30 pace for first half (the hill), 6:02 for 2nd half, 6:16 average - 18:32
  • Mile 4 6:02 pace - 24:34
  • Mile 5 6:02 pace - 30:36
  • Mile 6 6:06 pace - 36:42
  • Final .213 6:01 pace - 37:59 (6:06.7 average pace)
I like the fact I have a practice run to see how this plays out, and will be able to look at HR etc afterwards to adjust these.

And yes, I will be wearing the shoes!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Shoes Too Slow?

5K this morning. Wasn't sure if I was fully recovered from Chicago but decided to go for it anyway. Flat, certified race, good weather, looked some there'd be some competition around about 18-18:30. Hoping to PR (under 18:22 - 3:40/KM, 5:55/mile)

Started fast as usual with a half mile at 5:44 pace. Found myself in 4th place, with 2 much faster guys ahead and one person just ahead. Then I kinda lost focus and had a crappy mile at 6:02 and let about 4 people go past. Very lame. Definitely need to work on that part of the race.

Got it back together at 1.5 miles and did a 5:42 mile, starting to catch a group of 4 people who were about 100 yards ahead. Then I couldn't keep it up and did the next half at 6:04 pace.

It was about here that we got detoured due to construction and instead of a nice path, ran up a ramp, round a fountain and down another ramp. Managed to pick it up for the final stretch and closed at 5:27 pace feeling pretty bad.

Got 8th place overall in 18:38, which was only 4th in my age group (too many fast old people round here!). Course was a little long due to the detour - Garmin measured 120 meters over 5K, which from looking at the map seems about right. So official pace was 6:00, Garmin pace was 5:51. No PR today - I think the shoes aren't quick eneough.

A little annoying when you choose flat, certified races and then they don't run the same course as they have a certificate for, but I guess that's part of the challenge.

10K is next - Hopefully that'll be better. 38:38 to beat, which is a relatively soft PR.

Update: just checked the results online and it seems I was 7th overall and 3rd in my age group. So I guess I should have hung around for my award. Oh well.