Wednesday, February 28, 2007

February Summary

So Feb is over.....

Two races, both new PRs:
-- Kaiser Half Marathon 1:38:54 (7:33 Pace)
-- Coyote Point 5k 22:22 (7:12 Pace)

-- Ran 20 days out of 28
-- Average Run 7.0 Miles
-- Average Pace 8:22
-- Average Heart Rate 152
-- 140.1 Total Miles
-- 35.0 Average Weekly Miles
-- 38.7 Longest Week
-- 297.7 Miles 2007 To Date

-- Crossed 1,000 total miles run
-- Started (sporadically) running 6 days/week

March Goals
-- Run 27/31 days
-- 170 miles, 39.7 miles/week, big week 41 miles
-- Half Marathon 3/11 (Goal - 1:38:54 or better)
-- 10k late March (Goal - Sub 44 minutes)

Sunday, February 25, 2007

An unscheduled easy week

So I decided to listen to my body and take this week easy. 50 miles in 7 days with a cold or two really took its tool last week, so instead of plowing through doing the 45 miles I had planned I did just 30.

MONDAY was the 5k race, which should have been the 10k!
TUESDAY, I ran an easy 4.5 miles up & down the Rubicon trail in Tahoe with a friend.
WEDNESDAY, I ran the same trail again, but this time much faster and a little further. A really great workout. I really love running on snowy trails.
THURSDAY, it snowed very hard but I tried running anyway. Got about half a mile but the grips on my shoes kept getting clogged and then I'd fall on my ass. So I cut it short at just over a mile.
FRIDAY was the scheduled day off, so I followed the schedule!
SATURDAY I decided to spend the time with the kids and skipped running (first time in ages I've missed a whole workout)
SUNDAY was back to the plan. A long 16 miler with plenty of hills (1,100 feet of climbing) and a fast 3 mile section (7:45 pace). Overall pace was 8:38. This run included a 1:52 half marathon. Not bad for a long easy run!

My legs really feel good for taking the week pretty easy (except for Wed/Fri) so I think it was a smart move.

Next week should be low 40's, and then it's high 30's the week after, ending with the Shamrock'n Half Marathon in Sacramento. This is a flat course, unlike the wonderfully downhill Kaiser Half so I will be very pleased if I can match the time (1:38) but I know it's going to be tough.

Hopefully this easy week will help me somehow.

Monday, February 19, 2007

When to skip a race?

So today was the Presidents' Day 10k. Yesterday I had a complete relapse with my cold, snot streaming from everywhere. Felt like crap. This morning I didn't feel any better. Decidced to go to the race anyway.....

Got there about 8am. There is absolutely no-one around. Hmmm...... Waited a while and about 8:10 the organizer wanders up with a table and starts getting setup. Not a very convincing start. So I go wait with him to get my number. It's really cold, and the wind is blowing in off the bay. All bad signs. Maybe I should just skip this race. "No" I think, I'll be fine.

Get my number - it's 13. Maybe that's a sign?

Race starts 15 minutes late (another sign?) and off we go up and over a reasonably steep hill (not really expected on the "flat, fast course"). First half mile just over 7 min pace, second half just under. Going pretty quick (goal was 7:09) but feeling really quite bad. Can't breathe properly due to all the snot.

It was a 5K race and a 10K race on the same course and as we get towards the 5K turnaround I decice I'm just gonna do the short race (Wimp!). Only 6 people have turned so far. Runners 1-4 look really fast but runners 5-6 look like they are catchable so I turn at 2.5K and quickly catch the 6th place guy. About 4K in I get the 5th place guy and kick a little to make sure I drop him. Then it was open running for the final kilometer up and over the hill again.

Finished in 5th place overall (less than 100 runners), at 22:22. My watch measured it long at 3.18miles and a pace of 7:01. Official pace was 7:12 but a few people thought the course was long. So I was just about on pace for my 10K run, just a little short on the distance!

I think I made the right choice to cut it short, another 25 minutes unable to breathe properly was very unlikley to make me feel any better. Plus I got to set a new 5K PR.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Where the hell am I?

Today I got lost. Not completely, not "how am I am gonna get home" lost, but more sort of "if I'm running the right direction, why can I see all that stuff in the wrong direction getting closer"?

Didn't help that it was 70+ degrees (my first hot run of 2007) and the place I chose to get lost was really hilly. So what was meant to be an easy 14 miler, with a fast finish, became an ugly up/down in the sun 14 miler with a slow finish.

I really hadn't planned for 1,400 feet of climbing, which is why I went without water or food. I've read that doing some of your long runs without carbs helps the body better handle things when you run out of carbs. Water would have been fine since there are water fountains on the course I was supposed to be running about every 4 miles. Of course, or should I say "off course", they weren't there today.

I got messed up around Pagemill and Arastradero after taking some random little trail behind some monster Los Altos Hills homes, and went thru the Arastradero nature reserve, and eventually got up near Alpine road. Once I got up there and looked behind me I saw Palo Alto and Los Altos in the distance and realised what a dumbo I was. Of course, it's a long way back and it's all up and down again.

Now my legs are feeling it, especially after running over 50 miles in the last 7 days. Tomorrow is going to be a real easy 3-5 to loosen up for a 10k race on Monday morning. I'm not sure today was all that good for the race, we'll see what that does to my goal (44:30 at 7:09). At least I was smart enough to move my long run to Saturday this week.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Golden Gate Finish

Finished the first full week of February with a great 12-13 mile run in San Francisco this morning. Started a little late & slow as I was up way too late last night. Ran from North Beach, down to Aquatic Park, thru Crissy Field and the Presidio, and then out and back over the Golden Gate bridge. That really is a fabulous run - Views don't get much better than that. First 8-9 miles was at an easy 8:45 pace (except for the 10,000+ steps to get up to the bridge) and then did a fast 3 miles at 7:30 pace. Final cool down for a mile and a bit bringing me home at 12.69 miles, 8:53 pace.

Rounded off the week at 38.73 miles, a little lower than planned as I skipped the Monday run after the race last weekend. Had a couple OK tempo runs on Tues/Wed and then a good fast 7 mile pace run yesterday. No speedwork, need to get that back into the schedule somehow. All in all, a good week, especially for the week after a hard race.

Next 3 weeks should be 43, 46 and 41 miles to get me ready for the next half marathon in Sacramento on 3/11. This time there is no 2 mile downhill stretch so it's going to be tough to beat my time from Kaiser: but that's the goal, even if it's only by 1 second!

A 10k race on 2/19 (Presidents' Day) to check fitness level. Goal is 44:30 (7:09 pace) which is going to be hard. I'm not sure I'm quite that fit yet but the whole point of goals is that they should be challenging!

And Tuesday this week should take me over the 1,000 mile mark! Not bad considering I couldn't run a mile when I started this 10 months ago.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Kaiser Followup

Following up on Sunday's race.....

So it seems that a lot of people had good runs last weekend. An analysis of the course profile (see picture) explains why. A pretty nice 2 mile downhill stretch in there!

And one correction: turns out I did not beat my Honolulu coach by 10 seconds, Instead, she beat me by about 35 seconds. She had forgotten to take off the 45 seconds it took us to cross the start line. I expect that my memory will conveniently forget that part as I tell the story.......

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Kaiser Half Marathon

Just got back from the race, so it's time for a race report!

The Scene.... A beautiful sunny day, high 40's to start, maybe reaching low 60's at the end, no wind to speak of. Thru Golden Gate park, out and back along the Great Highway and then back into to the park for the finish. Net downhill of about 300 feet. About 6,000 runners.

The Plan... Goal was to knock at least 5 minutes off my PR, which meant doing 1:46:46. I was hoping to break 1:45 (8:00 pace) and had a stretch goal (my overall goal for 2007) of getting down towards 1:40 (7:38). Figured I'd run the first 8 miles at just under 8:00 and see how I felt for the last 5.1. I had a little chart with me that showed the various paces needed for the last 5.1 miles to hit certain times based on the 8 mile split.

The first few miles.... Reasonable start (7:49 first mile), then it went slightly downhill for a mile and I decided to let it go and did a quick 7:23 mile. It leveled out and I decided to keep the pace up and did the next 2 1/2 at 7:34. Feeling good!

The downhill....Next came a nice long downhill and I was feeling good so I really opened it up getting down to 6:57. As we flattened out I kept the pressue on and got through those 2 miles at 7:12. Still feeling good!

The Great Highway....Just before mile 7 we leave the park and start an out and back along the road that runs right by the pacific. It's beautiful but I have to admit I didn't look at the ocean once. It's about 3 miles out and 3 back. Keep the speed up and cover the first 3 at 7:29. When I crossed the 8 mile mark I was flying, and it was 1:00:27. This was faster than any of the paces on my little chart so I decided I was just gonna run all out. Feeling pretty good!

The back.... Managed to stay focused and on form for the first 2 miles back, and did a steady 7:36. When I got to the 11 mile marker (1:23:50ish) I knew I was on for a sub 1:40 unless I crashed so started pick it up a little. Adrenalin really kicked in and feeling great!

The end.... Mile 12 came by at just after 1:31 and I gave it everything I had left (which wasn't all that much to be honest). The last 1.1 mile was quick at 7:18, including a nasty little bugger of a hill just before the finish. Caught a lot of people in that mile and crossed the line at 1:38:54 feeling spent, but really happy (although I think I may be paying for it tomorrow).

Average pace was 7:33, way ahead of the planned 8:00 pace, and only 5 seconds slower than my best 10k. Beat my half PR by almost 13 minutes (or 1 minute per mile). Met all my goals for the race, and also for the year at this distance. But the best, best, best bit of all of this, is that I saw my marathon coach from the Honolulu marathon at the start (she is the one who saw me walking/crawling at mile 20, and 21 and 22....). We were around the same pace to start but she passed me by around mile 6. She was about 30 seconds ahead at the turnaround (10 mile) and I didn't see her again til after the finish. However, it turns out I must have passed her somewhere in that last 3 miles without noticing and I beat her by about 10 seconds! Ha! Felt very good about that!

Now it's time to replenish some of those carbs with some well deserved beers & BBQ as I watch the Superbowl!