Wednesday, January 31, 2007

January Summary

So the first month of 2007 comes to a close. It was my first month of real solid training and I have to say it felt great. My knees are finally getting strong enough for all this abuse and if you squint really hard you can now see that I have some small, but definitely visible muscles in my legs!

Ran 23 days out of 31, for a total of 157.6 miles (almost 30 more than December). Averages out at 35.6 miles/week with a couple of 40+ weeks in there. Excluding Tahoe which was steep, snowy, cold and high (not me, Tahoe) and one slow run with a slow friend I averaged 8:32 pace. Fastest run was a 10k race at 7:28. Average run distance was 6.85 miles with a long of just over 16.

Feb kicks off with a bang as I have a half marathon race on Sunday, then another solid training month with higher weekly mileage than Jan as I'm starting to run 6 days/week (vs 5).

I guess I'm addicted......

Saturday, January 27, 2007

All systems go!

Just finished my last long run before the Kaiser Half Marathon (next Sunday) and things look to be in great shape! This was a 12 miler, with a plan of 9 miles slow then the last 3 at race pace. It looked like a wet morning, and 20 minutes before the start, it was really pouring down. My running mate called and bailed out, mumbling about "not being English.... treadmills....etc". Wimp - I went anyway.

First 5 miles were slow and steady as planned, at an average pace of 9:20. Then I got to a stretch of short, rolling hills, on a nice dirt trail so decided to sprint up and jog easy down. That got through miles 6,7 & 8 at an average of 8:24. Then it was time for the 3 miles at race pace (8:00) so rattled off a couple at 7:55 and then decided to treat mile 11 like the last mile of a race and went for it. Did it in 7:19, with the last 100 yds flat out. Then an easy cool down mile to bring me home at 12.09 miles. Average pace of 8:36, and feeling really good! And the rain held off the whole time.

According to my many, many formulae and charts to analyse running performance, this was my best performance ever. If I compare it to my last half marathon (1:51:50), it was only 4 seconds/mile slower pace (and remember, this was an easy, long training run) and my average heart rate was 18 beats lower! Obviously I've improved a lot over the last 4 months (64 runs and 445 miles) so the race next week should be quite a bit faster than 1:51:50 (unless the course and/or weather is terrible, or I do something really dumb). Various websites predict my time at around 1:44-1:46, based on recent times for shorter distances.

I have set a series of goals
1) I MUST beat my current PR of 1:51:50 (pace 8:32)
2) I SHOULD knock at least 5 minutes off - 1:46:50 (pace 8:10)
3) I MIGHT go under 1:45 (pace 8:00)
4) I PROBABLY WON'T go under 1:44 (pace 7:56)
5) I AM REALLY UNLIKELY TO go under 1:40 (pace 7:38)

I have been training and will be pacing for goal 3 in this race. Plan for the year is #5

If things go really well, and I miraculously hit #5 next weekend I can take the rest of the year off (which might please Liz....)

Sunday, January 21, 2007

A tough end to week 3

Finished the week with another tough workout. A 16 mile "easy" run but with the last quarter at race pace (4x8 minute miles). The goal is to get used to running on pace when you are tired.

So the first 11.5 miles were relatively easy; a nice gentle 9:20 pace round Shoreline Park for an hour and 3/4. Then it was time to pick it up to my planned half marathon race pace. Did the first 2 miles starting at 8:15, working down to about 8:05. These first two were into the wind. As I came around the bend and got the wind behind me I picked it up and ran the last 2 in around 7:45, including an all out sprint for the last 100 meters. Then an easy 1/2 mile to catch my breath and cool down.

Overall it was 16.04 miles, averaging 9:04. Certainly it's a tough way to end a long run but I felt really good not wimping out during those last 2 miles (which my body was definitely recommending....). Hopefully it will help with the half marathon after about 10 miles when things get a little tough.

Another big training week for me. Around 42 miles, with 4 tough workouts (2x6 mile hill climbs in Tahoe, a 6 mile fast progressive tempo run Friday and this long run today). I'm hoping I'm not overdoing it but other than feeling hungry all the time I'm feeling really good. Knees are OK as long as I stretch out and ice properly every night.

Now it's time to eat!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Back to Sea Level

Another couple runs in Tahoe (1 relatively easy trail run and 1 brutal road climb), some ski lessons for the kids (very cute....) and then back home. It sure seemed easy running at sea level again! I had a great six mile progressive tempo run on Friday, starting from 8ish pace, down to just under 7. Added in an easy, relaxed 10 miler today with a friend. Tomorrow should be a 16 miler - the last big run before the half marathon in 2 weeks.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

A cold end to week 2

Another mountain run brings week 2 to a close. 6 miles (3 up and 3 down), with a 1,000 foot ascent/descent, 15 degree temperatures, along crunchy snowmobile tracks - It was probably the hardest run I've ever done. It was also the most amazing. I saw just one person and 3 dogs. After the first mile I was making fresh tracks thru the snow (except for a bunch of coyote tracks). My feet got wet from the snow and I got some blisters, plus running on the uneven snowy trail really killed my knees (especially downhill). But I certainly can't complain about the scenery!

Weekly total was only 27.5 miles. Quite a bit lower than planned because today was meant to be 14, not 6. But I think the hills and altitude more than makes up for the difference.

Tomorrow is supposed to be a day off but I'm going to run up here in Tahoe again, this time probably just an "easy" 4 miles with a friend.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Mountain Man!

Just got back from a great 5 mile run in Tahoe. It was a balmy 15 degrees (It was zero degrees at 7am, but Liz wouldn't let me go until it got to at least double digits). Fortunately it was sunny and there wasn't any wind, so I bundled up warm and went for it. I had some shoe grips that go over the running shoes with little spikes on so you don't slip on the ice and snow. They worked really well, in ice, snow or even just plain road - I could run without feeling I was about to fall on my ass.

After a few hundred yards it didn't feel cold (perhaps because I was numb) and I did a 2.5 mile, downhill run (dropping from 6750 to 6250) along a dirt trail through the trees in a few inches of snow. A really beautiful run down to the lake.

Then I turned around and came back up what I thought was a fairly gentle slope. Wow, was I wrong about that. Between the cold and the altitude it was a real slog running those 2.5 miles back up even though it was only a 500 foot climb. The end was very steep and I slowed to a crawl. By the time I got back to the house I was soaked in sweat and gasping for breath.

Tomorrow I'm planning a longer run, and this time I think I'll go uphill for the first half and then have an easy second half.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Ooops....faster than planned

So another messed up training run. Supposed to be an easy 7 miler with the Oracle group at lunchtime. Got there late and they were starting as I got to the changing room. I said "I'll catch you". I started 5 minutes behind them and figured that I'd catch them in the first 2-3 miles. So off I go at a 7 minute pace, chasing the group, that I'm hoping is taking it easy at 8:30-9ish.

Finally catch them after 2 1/2 miles in just over 17 minutes. Definitely not the planned easy run and I was certainly breathing hard. of course, that's the time that the group starts to pick up the pace.

Finish the 7 miles at an average of 8 minutes. And the first mile (6:52), two miles (14:01). three miles (21:37) and 5k (22:27) were new time records for me. After the next half marathon I am going to try to run those short distances fast up at the track as I think I should be able to get much closer to 6:30 for a mile, and 21:00 for a 5k.

Because of this unplanned fast run I get to skip the 6 mile pace run in Tahoe and just do an easy 5 miler on Saturday - so I guess that's a silver lining.

Hopefully it's not too cold up there.

Monday, January 8, 2007

The money keeps rolling in

Just checked my sponsorship page for Aids Marathon, and was surprised to see that even though the marathon was a month ago, people are still making donations. Amazingly, since the race, another $1,200 has been donated, taking my total to $18,212!

Here's some different ways to think about that amount......
......$695.11 per mile run
......$0.43 per meter run
......$1 for every 2.31 meters run
......$68.59 per minute run
......$1.14 per second run
......$0.38 per step taken
......$1 for every 2.62 steps taken

And by far the most useless measure, if you took the total amount in 1 cent coins and laid them out in a line, they would stretch for almost 21 miles. If I somehow manage to raise another $4,600 (which is highly unlikely), the pennies would go the entire marathon course.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

The first week of 2007

1 down, 51 to go.....

My highest week mileage ever at 42.8. Just finished out the week with a fast 6 miler (7:52 pace) yesterday and a nice easy 12-13 miler (8:57 pace) today starting in Bixbee Park, twice around the lake at Shoreline Park and then back home up Steven's Creek Trail and thru Mountain View. An absolutely beautiful sunny day, low 60's with no wind. Seems like half the Bay Area was out running, biking or walking in the sun. Days like this remind me of why I left dark, cold, rainy England all those years ago.

The next 3 weeks call for 35-38 miles spread over 5 days/week as I build up to the Kaiser Half Marathon on Feb 4th (Superbowl Sunday). After 2 back to back marathons I'm definitely looking forward to some shorter races.

One fun little adventure will be running in the snow late this week as we're off to Tahoe. I have my hi-tec slip-on snow grips - we'll see how it goes running at 6,000 feet in the cold on snow/ice. If I stick to my schedule I will be running a fast 6, an easy 14 and an easy 5. I guess we'll see how dedicated I really am when it's 25 degrees and snowing.

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Slow and Steady

An easy 7 miles today at lunch with the work group (8:59 pace) and an even easier 5 yesterday morning on my own (9:42). I was happy that I actually managed to stay on a slow pace and not speed up at the first excuse. My knees and shins feel a lot better than they did Tuesday night. Maybe I will miraculously avoid more injuries if I can keep things under control.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

So much for the training plan

Ran today with a new group at lunch. Was supposed to be an easy 5 miles but common sense seemed to be at a lower level than testosterone so it ended up being way too quick (From high 8's down to high 6's at the finish) . Oh well, I will make tomorrow an easy day instead (promise....)

Monday, January 1, 2007

2007 - Off to a good start

Woke up at 7 when the kids decided it was time to get up. I think I had a little too much food and wine the night before so wasn't expecting too much as I lined up at the start of the 10k race. But it was a beautiful day and a fairly small field (150 people) although most people looked like real runners.

I had a very fast start (6:30 pace) and it took me almost a mile to get on my planned pace (7:30ish) but then I settled down. Focused on staying on pace through mile 3 and then spent the second half of the race trying to catch the people in front. I reeled in about 6 or 7 people between miles 3 and 6, and no-one passed me. I finished with a strong final 3/4 mile for a time of 46:25, which was 7:28 average pace. I was very happy with that! Imagine what I could do if I wasn't dehydrated!?

However, when they posted the results about 30 minutes later I wasn't on the list! I went to the race director and he checked my number. Apparently I'd run down the right instead of the left finish chute (both of which were unmarked...) and they had me down as a runner in the 5k race that started 30 minutes after we did. It seems I had won the 5k in a time of about 16 minutes. I decided against taking the trophy and told them I was a 10k runner. After a little doinking around on the computer the director told me I had come in 27th place. Not bad - in the top 20%.

Although I'm not completely sure yet, I don't think I was beaten by anyone under 15, or over 60, which is a big first for me in racing.

Hopefully this is a sign for how the rest of 2007 will go!