Sunday, March 29, 2009

Weekly Summary

My first "run every day" week since July.  Not planned, but decided to run a recovery 5 on Monday to loosen the legs up.  Overall it was 69 for the week and things are feeling pretty good.  Didn't do any trackwork but did a 7 mile tempo (6:31 pace), a nice hilly run on Friday and a good long run (20.5 with 3 at marathon pace today).  The rest was just easy miles.

Next week should be about the same mileage, spread over 6 runs.  Tempo on Tuesday, long Sunday (21 w 10 at MP), a medium long run (14) on Friday and maybe trackwork on Thursday.  I may skip the track if depending on how I am feeling.  This is the high mileage portion of my training, so I don't want to screw that up with too much fast stuff.  I'll probably stay off the big hills this week as I don't want to push things with my wimpy achilles.

And if you were wondering about the pushups, it's going very slow.  I am yet to do day 1.  I tell myself it's because I wanted to start week 1 fresh on a Monday, but deep down it's probably because I don't want to do them.  Maybe tomorrow.....

Friday, March 27, 2009

More Hills

Ran this trail route today.  A beautiful day, somewhere around 72 degrees - Nice day for some topless trail running.  Kinda ran uphill for an hour or so and then ran downhill.  

Saw lots of wildlife out there - a fox, a deer and a bobcat type thingy.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

100 Pushup Challenge

So with summer approaching, and the high likelihood of weather that is suitable for shirtless running I have decided to do something very foreign.  Which is basically any form of exercise or workout that is not running.

I have chosen to do the 100 pushup challenge.  A 6 week structured plan that can supposedly transform my pathetic puny runner upper body, barely able to do a single pushup, to a bulging bicepped, ripped monster, capable of doing 100 in a row.  I am lazy in pretty much everything except running, so was attracted to the promise of startling results and the fact that it's 3 times a week, for a total of just 30 minutes.  Sounds pretty easy.

So, last night I took the initial challenge, which is to see how many "good-form" pushups you can do before collapsing.  I managed a pretty pathetic 14, and it sucked.  That puts me in the "officially lame" category, although the name they use in the program is a much more PC "Rank 3", but I should probably mention that I only just crept out of rank 2 because I am over 40.

So now I get to recover for a few days before starting on week 1, day 1.  That will be 5 sets of pushups, with 60 seconds rest in between sets.  Sets go 10, 12, 7, 7 and then the maximum I can do.  That maximum should be at least 9.  Seems pretty brutal to me, and that's just day 1.

Oh well, we will see how this little challenge plays out but hopefully in just 6 short weeks, with my new ripped upper body I will be able to safely run half naked thru town without the fear of being spotted by someone I know.

You know you want to do this too, so click the image for details and join the fun!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Weekly Summary

A hilly long run to round out a reasonable week of training.  It was a 21 miler, which is the longest I've run since July.  Route went over a small hill then out thru the Stanford campus, then I climbed up into the foothills and back home thru Los Altos Hills.  It was a headwind on the way out which worked out pretty well. Kept the whole thing about 7:50 pace, except for those last 2 miles which came in a little quicker.  Felt pretty good overall, despite getting hungry just 2 miles in - managed to gu my way thru it.

Rest of the week was OK.  Mostly just easy miles with the exception of the 1600s and the hilly run on Friday morning.  Total was 62 miles, so it's good to start getting back up there after a couple of low/mid 50's due to weekend races.

Next week I should get a little bit higher, into the mid 60's.  I have a tempo (7 miles), speedwork (probably 6x1,200) and also a fast finish long run (20 w last 3 at MP).  I'm also going to be pretty busy at work, likely doing some strange hours - Not sure when I'm going to fit it all in, but hopefully I'll manage somehow.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Back to the Track #7

Tardy post on yesterday's track workout.  I had planned to skip track this week, after the excesses of the weekend's race, but since I also skipped my Tuesday tempo for the same reason I decided to join my friend early Wednesday morning for some 1600 repeats at the local high school.  I haven't run 1600s in a while but recall not liking them all that much.  Plan was to go very low 6's in terms of pace with a slow recovery lap in between.  It was just 3x1600 on the agenda....
  1. 6:02, with a fast first lap, then settled down - felt OK
  2. 6:01, pretty steady splits, definitely had to pick up the effort to close this one on pace
  3. 6:02, felt pretty tough from about 1000, was happy there was no #4
Overall not bad, but I definitely didn't like them.  I much prefer 1,200s for some reason.

Today's run was supposed to be my weekly medium long run at 15 miles, but my schedule forced me to split it.  Did the first part this morning.  Took advantage of being in the car dropping the kids at school, so drove to Rancho San Antonio park and ran up a 4 mile hill, turned around and ran back down.  Great run - 8:00-8:50 going up, 6:00-6:50 coming down.

Here's the elevation chart...

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Shamrock'n'Half Marathon 2009

This morning it was race day once again.  My first half marathon after surgery where I expected to run fast - I'd run Kaiser 6 weeks ago, but wasn't really trained up and ran an OK 1:29:22. This time I had no excuses, and I was definitely hoping for a PR (previous best is 1:27:25)

Course is advertised as flat, but it has a lot of turns/out and backs etc, the goal was to run under 1:27, and I'd planned to pace at 6:37 minutes/mile, which should bring me in at 1:26:45. 

Weather was good, forecast called for showers (30%) but it was dry at 7:15 when I left the hotel. Shorts, singlet, gloves and hat was the plan, temps in the high 40s/low 50s.

Did a pretty weak warmup and got it line.  I was only 1 row back from the line.  Gun went off and I was over the line within a second.

Mile 1: 6:13 - started fast, lots of faster runners than me!  Didn't feel 6:13 fast though
Mile 2: 6:31 - felt faster than 6:31 - I think the mile 1 marker was a little early. started running with a guy who was aiming for 1:25-1:22 - decided I was running too fast!
Mile 3: 6:35 - this was a straight mile with a little climb - decided to let speedy guy go ahead, which I think was the smartest decision I have ever made in a race (he went on to run a 1:23:24)
Mile 4: 6:35 - this had a turnaround so I could see the leaders, I was 51st at the turn and feeling good
Mile 5: 6:34 - back up the straight and saw the rest of the pack - a reasonable race at 4,000 runners
Mile 6: 6:28 - had a freeway underpass and I flew down, the speed carried me through a fast mile
Mile 7: 6:27 - over halfway.  feeling things but not terrible.  At 6.5 a biker girl called out and told me to drop my arms a bit as I looked really tense.  I focused on running more relaxed, and just staying on course for the next 3 miles.
Mile 8: 6:31 - lots of twists and turns but kept relaxed and on pace.
Mile 9: 6:32 - I caught the guy ahead (he had passed me about mile 4) - we started chatting and he said he was shooting for 1:28.  At this point we were 1 minute ahead of my 1:26:45 plan.  We decided we
 could run together and hold on for big PRs.
Mile 10: 6:38 - this was the final out/back. at the turn we had to climb up 20' and turned back into a headwind by the river.  We put our heads down and pushed thru.
Mile 11: 6:35 - After 1/2 mile we dropped back out of the wind and kept up teh pressure.  We were starting to catch a straggler plus the group of 4-5 ahead of us.  Hurting but we kept each other moving
Mile 12: 6:31 - several turns, one more little climb but moving fast and passed a couple more people
Mile 13: 6:38 - running on fumes at this point.  more twists and then we approach the baseball stadium for the finish
Final .11 - 36 seconds (5:50 pace) - we enter the field and both sprint, catch another guy and it's a race for the line (which I lose).  Crossed the line feeling like I didn't leave a lot in reserve.

Overall 1:25:28 - 6:31 pace
 - a 1:57 PR and 
 - pretty even splits with first half at 42:35, second 42:53
 - an improvement of 3:54 since Kaiser just 6 weeks ago.  
I was 45th out of 4,000 runners
 - which was good enough for 9th in my age group (M40-44)

I was very, very happy with the result.  Pacing was good, and I managed to focus on running relaxed (many thanks to anonymous biker girl) in those tricky miles 7-10, and kept going strong when things got tough about mile 10.

I was hoping to run a 1:25 sometime before Ottawa but I think that I am going to settle with this one - I'll probably do a 10k a couple weeks before the race as a final sanity check but another 10 weeks will have me even fitter so I am feeling that I have a legitimate shot at sub 3.  

Here's some proofs from the race photos - both at the finish - not looking too comfortable.....

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Team ASHA 5K

So I ran my 5K this morning.  It was a reasonably small race, on an out/back mostly flat course.  Shared the route with the 10K that started at the same time.  Race was a charity race for Team ASHA, a group that is raising money for education in India.  The runners were very much a community and I wasn't sure how much competetion there was going to be at the pace I was planning.

Weather was perfect, low/mid 40s, partly cloudy and practically no wind.  Got out there and registered, and had time to run a mile or so with some strides to try and lock in pace - Goal was to run 6:06, which should bring me in just under 19 minutes.  Based on recent training, and my goal time for next weekend's half marathon, a sub 19 should be achieveble.  But 5K's pretty much suck and I don't have much experience running them, so it's always a crapshoot.

First half mile included a 20' downhill, followed by a 180 degree turn thru a narrow gate. Not ideal for getting locked on pace.

Race started and we were off.  Started quick and after the crazy sprinters dropped off I was left in 3rd place.  The leader was running the 10k, I wasn't sure about runner #2.  I could hear footsteps behind.  First 1/4 mile was very quick - went by at 5:31 pace!  I consciously slowed, got under control and completed the 1/2 mile in 2:53 (5:46 pace).

Decided I needed to really focus and spend the next mile trying to settle down and run a steady 6:06 thru the turnaround.  Next 2 halves were 3:03 and 3:03, so I was doing OK.  Turnaround comes up right about 1.5 and I turn at 8:57, so it is going to be short, and by quite a bit.  I knew this wasn't a certified race and suspected the distance was going to be off.

Lead guy was still ahead and he sped off to the 10k turnaround, runner #2 turned so I figured I had a race to run.  He was about 20 yards ahead at the turn but he looked worse than I felt, so I picked it up right after the turn.  Caught him pretty quickly and he slowed a little as I passed. I kept teh pressure on and it did the trick - That 1/2 went by in 3:00, but I was pretty much max'd on heartrate and still had a mile to go, and I was now running on my own. (and this was not the sort of race with a police bike to clear the path for you....)

Slowed to 3:06 for the fifth 1/2 mile and was feeling like crap.  I figured that was how 5K's are supposed to feel and managed to keep going OK.  #2 was nowhere near so I knew I had the win, and given the short course knew I had the sub 19.  So I decided I needed to focus on coming in under 6:06 pace.  Managed to finish out in 3:00 for a total time of 18:06 (8:57 out, 9:06 back). Got first place by about 20-30 seconds and the total distance (from Garmin) was 2.98 miles. Pace was 6:04, which I was happy with.  That would have been a 18:53 for a full 5K - which feels about right.

It was the first race I have ever won outright, and it was very cool to run through the finish line ribbon - I suspect that the finish line photo will be terrible as I was trying hard not to throwup. As a bonus, I picked up a prize of $150 in gift certificates for a local running store, (entry was only $25) so not a bad return for 18 minutes work!

After adjusting for short distance, that is a VDOT of 53.25 (for the Daniels' followers out there) - which converts to 1:26:43 for a half.  A big confidence booster as my race plan next week is 6:37 pace, or 1:26:45.

We'll see how it goes........

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Tuesday Tempo

It's Tuesday, so it's tempo day again.  Stretching it out a little this week to 7 miles.  Pace goal was a little up in the air as it's been a while since I have run a long tempo.  Decided to aim for 6:30ish but base it on perceived effort (obviously slower uphill and faster down).  Course was my usual tempo, extended a bit.  Overall the net drop was about 60', so a reasonably honest course, especially given the fact that it climbs for the last 2.5 miles.

Chart pretty much shows it all - the effort based approach seems to have worked if you look at the haertrate - climbing slightly towards teh end, so perhaps I should have eased off just a little on the last mile or so.

Overall pace was 6:30 for the seven miles.  I think that may be the quickest that I have ever run 7 miles.  Mind you, I don't run 7 miles fast very often with a 10k only being 6.2 miles.

Happy with the 6:30 pace.  Maybe there is a slight chance I can actually run my half marathon in 12 days at 6:38 pace and get my sub 1:27 result.  I am sure hoping it is the case since I chose a bib number of SUB87 and I will look pretty stupid coming in at 1:31 with that on.

I'm in for the 5k this Sunday.  I'm thinking of trying to run at 6:06 pace, which on an accurate 5k would bring me in at 18:59.  Now I'm sure the course won't be precise and I'm sure I won't be able to hold 6:06 for 3+ miles but I am hoping to get somewhere round about 19.  My best ever for a 5k was a solo time trial on the track (accurate distance, but no-one to run with) at 19:38, so I should be able to better that at the very least.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Weekly Summary

Just finished the week with a great wet and muddy run thru the Presidio in San Francisco.  Started in North Beach and went out thru the marina, Crissy Field and under the Golden Gate bridge out to Baker Beach.  Then back thru the trails in the Preisdio.  A great place to run.

Ended up doing 12.5 even though it was only supposed to be an easy 6 today.

The week went well, except for Saturday which was a struggle.  I had some sort of rib/muscle problem and it hurt when I breathed.  This made for an unpleasant 15 miler w 5 at marathon pace.  The 5 at MP ended up being 4.3 at 7:08, but it sure felt faster than that.  It was like I was only using one lung.  But on today's run everything was back to normal.  Weird.

Tuesday's tempo was short as it was a cutback week, but it was pretty quick at 6:22 pace.  And Thursday's track session of 1,200s was good.  Closed it with 3 medium long runs - a hilly 12 miler on the Los Altos Hills trails on Friday, the 15 w 5at MP on Saturday and the Presidio run today.  With the exception of Saturday's collapsed lung issue I am feeling really strong.  The niggly shin problems seem to have gone, no doubt helped by the soft surfaces in Hawaii and the trails this weekend.  Knees are fine and the achilles seem to be coping well with the increased pace and mileage.

So fingers crossed, things seem to be on track for Ottawa, which is 12 weeks today.

Next week should be high 60's (miles, not degrees) but I may do some shuffling to run a 5k on Sunday.  I'm feeling pretty quick (for me) right now due to the trackwork and I'd like to see how I do in a shorter race.  if I do that, I'll skip my trackwork and to my long run (21 w 3 at HMP) in the week sometime.