Friday, December 31, 2010

End of Year Catchup

So I am finally kinda getting back to training properly....

Week of December 13th was good, with a run everyday for a total of 57 miles. Included a 5 mile tempo at 6:18.

Week of December 20th was only 3 runs for 25 miles.

This week is going well - so far I have run every day and am at 58 miles, so I should get to 70 if I can get out the door the next 2 days.

This morning was a fun run. Went with a group for a New Year's Eve sunrise run up Black Mountain (a 2,800' mountain nearby). We left at 5:10 am in the dark and got to the top of the mountain about 6:50. Which meant we had to hang around in the freezing cold for 25 minutes until the sun came up. A pretty spectacular view from up there!

Here's the route according to Google Earth....

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Getting Back To It

Last week was 5 runs for 48 miles. Biggest week in a while. Had a couple of 12 milers, a couple 7 milers and an ugly tempo (4 miles at 6:36, 9 overall).

Starting to feel a little faster/fitter, and the running every day thing is feeling OK. Hopefully I will get 6 runs in this week, and also have a more successful tempo run (longer and faster).

8 weeks until Kaiser SF Half Marathon.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Long Overdue Update

Well I guess it has been a little while since I updated this blog.....

Quick Catchup
Spent the summer/fall just running for fun. I managed to miss the registration window for Boston 2011 (which was all of 8 hours) so kinda lost interest in training for real. Since I haven't been working I have been able to spend my days running on the many beautiful, but hilly trails of the San Francisco Bay Area. During the week this is a fantastic place to run, most days I saw more deer than I saw people. Lots of climbing and soft trails, but very little structured training (i.e. no track workouts, tempos) and no races since July.
  • July - 220 miles - 1:28 for SF half marathon
  • August - 198 miles
  • September - 154 miles
  • October - 138 miles
  • November - 136 miles
Going Forward
Just recently decided to get back into racing shape. I feel pretty strong from the all the hill running but I don't have any speed or real endurance. I think a half marathon would just about kill me if I did one right now. However, I have signed up for the Kaiser Half on Superbowl Sunday and would like to run a good time. Even if I bust my ass over the next 2 months I don't think I can get anywhere near a PR (1:23), but I'd like to get close to 1:25 if I can.

Done a couple track workouts, a couple tempos (4-6 miles), started doing strides and did a 19:36 5K on the track the other day. Not race effort, but at 6:18 pace it was definitely faster than tempo pace.

Now I need to get back to running 6-7 times/week instead of just nice long trail runs when I feel like it.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Catch Up

Time to catch up on the blogging....
  • I left my job, and am taking the summer off. So I have no excuses for not running.
  • Rebuilding fitness after not running in Feb/March is not going as quickly as I had hoped.
The last few months have looked like this.....
  • April - managed 83 miles, all slow except for one 3.5m tempo.
  • May - 162 miles. 3 tempo runs, bay to breakers, long of 18 miles.
  • June - 168 miles. 1 tempo run, 2 lame track workouts.
  • July - should hit ~200 miles, 2-3 tempos (all short), 1 track workout, and 1 race!
The race is not going to be pretty. It's the San Francisco 2nd half marathon, and it is in 9 days. This is the course that I did last year in 1:23:47. I was just looking at my splits for that race and I am a long, long way off. The first 10K was 40:01, 2nd 10K was 38:31. That first 10K climbs about 200 feet. I don't think I could run a downhill 10K in 40 right now, so this is not going to be a PR or fun.

Last year, I'd run about 1,600 miles from Jan 1 until the SF race and was in great shape, this year it's less than 1/2 that. I was regularly doing 70-80 mile weeks, 6-8 mile tempo runs and long runs of 20-22. I am not doing any of that right now, so I am lacking in both endurance and speed. And the extra 12lbs I will be carrying this year is unlikely to help, although I doubt I will get hungry as I am carrying plenty of stored energy.

Purely looking at track & tempo workouts, I think I'm about 15-20 seconds/mile off, but couple that with the lack of endurance and I am gonna be lucky to stay within 30 seconds/mile of last year....
  • Last Year - 6:23 pace = 1:23:47
  • +15 seconds - 6:38 pace = 1:26:58
  • +20 seconds - 6:43 pace = 1:28:03
  • +30 seconds - 6:53 pace = 1:30:14
I think I'll start off trying to run at last year +15s/mile and see how long I can hold on. It will give me a real assessment of where I am and how much work I have to do in order to get back into real racing shape.

The good news is that my fall marathon is 8 weeks later than last year (December VS October), so I have all that extra time to train, which I will need. The goal is still to beat my Chicago time in the California International Marathon.

I have 4 weeks after SF to continue building a base and then 15 weeks to do some sort of amazing marathon training plan that is yet to be be worked out......

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Back to the Track #1

I finally feel like I am back to a reasonable level of fitness. The last 2 weeks were both in the mid 40's mileage wise, and I did a couple of OK tempo runs (6:30ish pace for 4-5 miles). So this evening I decided it was time for a trip to the local high school track, to see if the legs still went quickly.

Plan was to start easily, with just 3x1200 in 4:30 (90 seconds/lap), with a walk/jog lap in between. At my fitness peak (pre-Chicago) my fastest was 6x1200 in 4:18, so this workout wasn't supposed to be too strenuous.
  1. Started fast (82 seconds), got under control (89), finished OK (88) for 4:20 overall
  2. Started better (85), OK 2nd lap (89), tough last lap (89) for 4:24 overall
  3. Started OK (86), OK 2nd lap (89), strong, but hard last lap (87) for 4:23 overall
Average was 4:22, which is 5:51 pace. I was happy to be just doing 3 of these, and I'm sure that #4 would have been ugly. Next time (either next week, or week after), I'll go up to 4 reps with a target time of 4:25. Plan is to get back to 6X at 4:15 (5:42 pace).

Now that I am running somewhat properly again, I have worked out a basic plan for the rest of the year.

The big goal race is California International Marathon, in early December. Assuming things go well for the next 6 months I will be aiming for a solid PR (under 2:58:13 - 6:48 pace), with a stretch of sub 2:55 (6:40 pace). Weather can be dicey, but if it cooperates, and I don't kill myself on the downhills in the first half, it's a good course.

On route to that race, I hope to get a half marathon PR (under 1:23:47 - 6:23 pace), with the stretch goal being to get as close to 1:20 (6:06 pace) as possible. I'd love to go 1:19:something but that seems a long way off from where I am right now, given that 6:06 is faster than my best 10K pace, so that will have to be a 2011 goal. I have 2 halves picked: 1st will be San Francisco (the 2nd part of the full course) at the end of July. I won't be in PR shape by then, so that will be a race to see where I am fitness wise. Then the big half will be San Jose Rock'n'Roll in October. It's a fast, flat course so I'll be going for it.

I have the training plan laid out thru end of July (SF half), then I will be about 19 weeks from Cal International. I will do something similar to Chicago, peak around 80 miles/week, with a heavy emphasis on longer (7-8 mile) tempos.

I'll slot in some 5/10K races as the schedule unfolds to assess fitness. First one is a company 5K in 2 weeks. It's not a great race, it's almost always hot (lunchtime run in June), and is usually a long course - but it will give me another data point to see where I am in terms of recovery.

Right now, I feel that I am starting this cycle with more speed, but less endurance, so we'll see how that turns out.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

According to Plan

So I ran a 49:48, pretty much matching my plan (see here). I had a fast start and the hill kicked my butt. Those 2 evened out. Overall the plan was good. Got beat by a pink gorilla, a naked dude, Little Bo Peep, and 2 women's team centipedes; about 261 people in all!

Ran back up the course afterwards, which was a truly mind blowing experience. Passing from runners, to joggers, to walkers, to drinkers. A wild time. I ran back over the Hayes St. hill (about 5 miles) and then it was too crowded/crazy to run, so I bought a beer and joined the party, walking the rest of the way. I got to the back of the pack about a mile from the start! Some people around there were seriously wasted, and were not going to be making it to the beach!

Including the run to the start, warmup, the race, the run back and the walk, I covered almost 19 miles (in my lightweight race shoes), so I suspect a few aches/pains tomorrow.

Overall this race is an absolute blast. The start is fabulous in the seeded corral, you get to warmup with the elites, no lines for toilets etc, and behind you can hear the 60,000 people, already well into party mode. For anyone who can get an entry to the seeded or subseeded corrals I would highly recommend this race. But to be honest, the best part was the run back up the course thru the crowds.

I will definitely do this again next year.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Here Goes Nothing....

OK, it's time for Bay to Breakers and I am far from "ready". I did manage one week of 37 miles, and a long run of just over 10 miles, so I am at least OK to run the whole course, but I have zero endurance, so what happens after the hill (mile 2.5) is anyone's guess.

Only real quantitative piece of data I have is a single 3 mile tempo run that I did this Tuesday. I ran 3 miles at 6:37, and average heart rate was 167 (which is about normal for my short tempos). Back in January, when I was at my fastest, I did the same tempo run twice, at similar heart rates but at 6:16, 6:18 pace. So using that huge dataset, I am about 20 seconds/mile slower now than I was. However, I also had a lot more endurance then than I have now from running 100's of miles each month for a year. So I doubt I will be able to hold that "20 seconds slower" pace for the whole 7.5 miles.

Anyway, that's the only piece of data I have, so the goal is to run this 20 seconds/mile slower than I would have hypothetically run it if it were back in January. Back then I was shooting for a 38 minute 10k (6:07 pace), this race is 12k, so I have to do the extra 2k. 1 of those K's is up a steep hill, so I would have given myself a little extra time for that, and then hope to do the other extra K at the same pace. so total would have been somewhere around 46-47 minutes (6:10 - 6:18 pace).

So add 20 seconds each mile and you get 6:30 to 6:38 pace. This would be a finishing time of 48:30 to 49:30. Given my suspect endurance I think a goal of sub 50 seems reasonable. Of course, this doesn't take into account the fact that this course may not be as fast as the pancake flat 10K course I was running back in January, but that's just a minor detail, right? Looking at some people who I know, and the times they did last year as seeded runners, I have a horrible suspicion that I have overestimated my ability on this course by about a minute (so I should be aiming for 49:30 to 50:30).

Looking at last year's results, if I do a 49:59 (6:42 pace)
  • Winner would be 16:28 ahead
  • Winning woman would be 11:30 ahead
  • Deena Kastor would be 10:55 ahead
  • Top centipede would be 9:32 ahead - that's 16 people roped together running at 5:26 pace!
  • Dude in pink gorilla suit would be 3:48 ahead
  • Top 40-44 woman would be 2:03 ahead
  • Top 50-54 man would be 4:57 ahead
  • I'd beat everyone under 16 and over 60
  • In my age group (M40-44) I'd be 23rd
  • For males, I'd be 149th
  • Overall I'd be 180th
So that's the plan. sub 50, top 200 finish. I found out that there are about 250 seeded runners, plus 50 elites, so top 200 would have me towards the back of the seeded runners, which given the fact that I am slow, and only got seeded because I am in the over 40 "easy seed time" category, sounds about right.

Next year, no excuses, top 100 finish (which was 46:37 last year).

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Slowly Getting Less Slow

Time for another long overdue blog update......

March sucked - I ran 7 miles.

April was better. Decided I needed to start running every other day, and then take things from there. Here's how the last 5 weeks went
  1. 3 runs - 13 miles - all slow
  2. 3 runs - 18 miles - all slow
  3. 2 runs - 10 miles - all slow
  4. 3 runs - 18 miles - all slow
  5. 6 runs - 37 miles - one tempo, 3.5miles at 6:40 pace
So this last week was getting back towards respectable. Longest run is just over 10 miles and I've done a few hilly runs. I'm obviously nowhere where I was in December but at least I can see the way forward now.

My achilles/calf all seem OK. I have a pain in my right knee but it's getting better - just a side effect of starting to run again.

Bay to Breakers is up in 2 weeks. I just got my race number - I am #51 out of 50,000. I have a seeded start. There are 50 elites, and about 250 seeded runners. So being number 51 makes me the first of the seeded runners. I think this is based on when people registered, not how fast they are! I expect I am going to be one of the slowest of the seeded runners because:
  1. I am old (40+. where the seeded entry times are much easier)
  2. I am really out of shape right now because I have not run much since January
I am thinking I may need to wear some sort of costume so I can run anonymously. Last year there was a guy who ran in the seeded pack in a pink gorilla suit! (He ran a 46 minute 12k, which is just over 6 minute miles!) - No way I am going to be running that fast!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

2010 So Far...

Figured it was time for an update to the blog, which has been neglected so far this year. Main reason for the neglect has been the unimpressive running situation. I finished 2009 on a high, with PRs in every distance. January started well with the first 2 weeks in the mid 50's for mileage. As the rains started I was enjoying running thru the mud and puddles. Then I had a right calf issue after one particularly wet run - I think I strained something jumping over a deep puddle. It was really tight in the top of the calf muscle.

At the same time I got really busy at work, so decided to take a few days off. After some rest it was OK, but still really tight, and also my left calf was starting to hurt, this time at the bottom of the calf muscle (or the top of the Achilles).

Last 3 weeks of Jan were 20-30 miles, running every other day, but the reality was I should have been resting as each run was hurting after 3-4 miles. There were a couple 10 milers that were pretty ugly on the way back home.

So I took the first 12 days of Feb off completely, and then we went to Hawaii. Ran there for a nice easy 5 and couldn't walk for the rest of the day. Decided I was not in great shape. Right calf was OK, but the left calf/Achilles was definitely not healed. So didn't run again for that week.

After Hawaii (and another 8 days rest) I tried and easy 5, and it was OK. Not great, but not terrible. 2 days later I went out again and cut my run short after 3 miles with Achilles pain.

Then I gave it 10 days off which brought me up to this morning. Went out for an easy run, Achilles was tight to start but eased up after 1/2 mile. But by 2 miles it was hurting so I turned around and finished a sloggy 3.5 mile run.

So unfortunately I am now admitting to having a messed up Achilles which isn't going to get better if I rest a week, run, rest a week, run..... It's not as bad as my previous Achilles issues back in 2007, so I think I can get thru this reasonably quickly. I plan to take off the rest of March, do plenty of eccentric calf stretches (which is the miracle cure for Achilles problems) and then hopefully will be able to start building up slowly again in April. If all goes well, I should be back to 30+ MPW by the time I get to May.

I had planned to run the Oakland half marathon late March which is out the window now, and Bay to Breakers in mid May is now looking awfully close - I may still run it, but I won't be up at the front running with the Kenyans!

Not really the start to 2010 that I had hope for but all part of the fun I guess. The real challenge for the next couple months is not putting on anymore weight! Already I am 10 lbs heavier than I was for Chicago.