Thursday, December 31, 2009

Last Chance Half Marathon

I was talked into running today's Last Chance Half Marathon at the last minute by my friend Arthur. I'm glad he talked me into it. The race was in Bellingham, WA, mostly on the Interurban Trail. The course is fairly hilly (with a couple of pretty steep ones). Nice, pretty course, though, with some good views. Ended up with a nearly 2-minute PR, unexpectedly - especially after Tuesday's hilly trail run. Arthur paced me, and he being faster helped me to keep my pace up. I likely would have run it slower on my own. I have no idea of placing yet (it's pretty low-key and low-turnout, so it doesn't really matter). I worked on a Gu from about mile 7 to mile 9, and drank about 15 ounces of Heed along the way.

Here are the numbers:

Finishing Time - 1:42:17
Avg. Mile Pace - 7:48
Avg. Heart Rate - 148

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Lord Hill trail run

Did a trail run at Lord Hill (and, yes, it was hilly) with 3 fellow runners (Tony C., Kendall K, and Kelsey K.). 11.62 miles (so says the Garmin) in 2:14:19. Time included walking steep hills and stopping to wait for people a few times. Fun run! Cold, though (27 when we started). My running streak will end today, at 19 days. I'm resting tomorrow, then running a Last Chance half marathon in Bellingham, WA on Thursday. I'll run it as a training run instead of for time. Should be fun. And cold.

Oh, one extra thing I wanted to mention. If you're like me, you may NOT want to take a 15-minute ice bath after a 2+ hour run in 27 degree weather (especially if you're as lean as I am, w/o natural insulation). I think I nearly got hypothermic after the bath. Was shaking so hard, I couldn't hold a cup of tea. I bundled up in several layers and closed myself in the bathroom in front of a wall heater for 40 minutes. Live and learn. Hopefully it helped my legs recover, anyway.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Woke Up This Morning...

...with a wine glass in my hand.
Sorry, guess I channeled Peter Frampton for a second.
Actually, I woke up this morning with a tight, slightly swollen and tender left knee - probably due to a combination of my current running streak and wearing shoes on my recovery days that should be officially retired by now. I took ibuprofen and iced the knee for 15-20 minutes. I have another short, slow run scheduled for today...which I'm going to do, but I'll be wearing my newer Defyance 2's instead of my old pair (with 465 miles on them).
So with today's run, the streak will be at 18 days straight. Other than this knee, no other problems have cropped up. Tomorrow, I should be meeting with a couple of guys to run the trails at Lord Hill (near Monroe, WA). Should be around 11 miles. Looking forward to it.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Weekly Totals

Another week of great running is in the books. I've run 17 days in a row, which is a new PR. During this streak, I've run 96.5 miles. I see no sign of the end of this streak, since my body has responded well, and my legs feel stronger than they have in quite awhile.

Here's how this week panned out:

Runs: 7
Miles: 42 (high for 2009)
Long: 15 miles (PR)
Time: 5:56:41

I ran a strong 6-mile tempo run on Saturday (7:12 pace) in my new Brooks Launch, which I'm loving so far. Monday was a hilly trail run, Wednesday was the long run, and the rest were short recovery-paced runs. So far, this formula seems to be working, so I'm sticking with it. I'm three weeks out from the Nookachamps Half Marathon in Mount Vernon, WA. Who knows what the weather will be like, but I'm looking forward to it. I like running races up in that area.

Have a great week!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Interesting Article

Just came across an interesting article, by John Raucci. He covers breathing techniques, minimalist footwear, aerobic training and thoughts on Arthur Lydiard, diet, and mind-body connections. I don't necessarily agree with everything he says, but I find the article very thought provoking.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Good Week

Just wrapped up a nice week of running:

Runs: 7
Miles: 40
Time: 5:52:50

While the paces were slow for the most part, the mileage was good. For me, anyway. I hit 40 miles for the first time since 1991. I also have a 10-day streak going. So far, the body feels fine (knock on wood). Probably due to keeping my pace relatively slow. Not sure if I'll try to keep this streak going or not. It'll really depend on how fatigued I'm feeling and whether or not I start to feel little injuries coming on.
I ended the week up in Birch Bay, WA, where we stayed with my in-laws at their time share condo. My final two runs of the week were little morning 4-milers along the waterfront, which were very enjoyable.
It's hard to believe that Christmas is in 5 days. I hope the holidays are treating you well!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

First Run in Brooks Launch

Today was my first run in my new Brooks Launch. Six miles. Got rained on, but still a good run. Shoes felt great. Picked up the pace the last 3 miles (final mile in 7:15) just to see how they'd feel close to race pace. No complaints! They're definitely more "minimal" than the Defyance 2's I usually run in. Felt lighter and more responsive. I seemed to be landing more fore/midfoot than I usually do (and I normally land pretty much midfoot). Didn't wear my Superfeet Green inserts, as I'm trying to wean myself off of them. I'll probably continue rotating 4 pairs of running shoes, so these won't get action every day. Eventually I'll race in them, though.

But I can certainly see what all the fuss is about, though! Thumbs up!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Prepare for Launch

I just picked up my first pair of Brooks Launch today (thanks Arthur!) and I'm anxious to try them out. I put them on as soon as I got home and they fit like they were made for my feet. I now have 4 pairs of running shoes currently in rotation. Not quite up to Imelda Marcos standards, but it should keep me going for awhile. The Launch are lighter and lower-profile than my regular training shoe, the Defyance 2's. The Launch will make their debut on my 6-mile run tomorrow.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Old Race Shirt

Here's the photo the editor of Northwest Runner took of me after the Christmas Rush 10k on Saturday, Dec. 12. I'm wearing the race shirt I got in the inaugural race back in 1983 (with my other shirt rather awkwardly bunched up underneath it!) And, man, I look old and tired. Which, ironically, is exactly how I felt after this race!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Back To Where It All Started

In December of 1983, I ran my first road race. It was the inaugural running of the Christmas Rush 10k in Kent, WA. I was 16 at the time and, frankly, didn't run very fast (46:28). I had just finished my first season of Cross Country and was still very new to running.

Fast forward to today, for the 27th Annual Christmas Rush 10k (and 5k run/walk). My race number was 834...which gave me a chuckle, since I first ran it in '83, and it was my 4th time running it. Anyway, it was 27 degrees as I lined up at the start. This year, the race directors went with an out and back course, rather than the usual loop for some reason. More on that later.

My goal was to go out a bit slower than I did in my previous 10k (when I went out at 6:39). Mission accomplished, with a 6:49 first mile. My legs felt good, but even that early, I was having problems with my breathing. My lungs felt very tight, and later in the race, I felt like I was breathing through a straw. Due to the cold and stagnant air, the air quality has been pretty bad this week. I'm beginning to think that I'm sensitive to that, or maybe I've got mild asthma. I ran mile 2 in 6:58. At about this point, I got tired of fighting my heart rate strap, which apparently wasn't tight enough. It finally dropped down to my stomach and became useless. Mile three clocked in at 7:01. At 20:46, I was still running at sub-7 pace, but was starting to feel some fatigue. At the 5k mark, I tried to hit my lap button on my Garmin, but pushed the start/stop button by mistake. It took me nearly a mile to realize this. I could already tell that this probably wasn't going to be my day, but for some reason this took even more wind out of my sails. I guess I rely too much on that stinkin' Garmin.

So I had to run the rest of the race without having any idea of my pace or heart rate. There were volunteers at the mile markers, but, for some reason, they were calling out times that were nearly 2 minutes slower than the actual time.

At around mile 4 1/2, the consequence of having an out-and-back course reared its ugly head. The 5k runners and walkers started 10 minutes after the 10k runners, and here is where we ran head-on into them. There was a sea of mostly walkers, many with strollers and little kids darting all over the place (and people talking on cell phones, for crying out loud!), and us 10k-ers had no choice but to dodge and weave through the mob as best we could. It would have been a good idea to have several volunteers along the 5k course reminding them to stay to one side of the path. So that was basically strike 3 for me, mentally. I pretty much cashed it in and quit racing. My pace slowed quite a bit. My initial goal was to run under 44 minutes, but by now I expected to cross the line in 45-something. I managed to come in at 44:47. Better than my first 10k this year, but 41 seconds slower than my most recent. I obviously don't have all of my mile splits, but my first 5k was 21:31 and my ugly second half ended up being 23:16.

After the race, I walked by the booth of our regional running magazine (Northwest Runner). One of the guys (the editor, I think) noticed my 1983 race shirt and asked to take my picture. He said it'll probably be in the next edition of the magazine. He was really impressed to see a race shirt that old. I didn't notice any other runners with old shirts. I definitely got some quizzical looks & a couple of questions about it.

So in summary, I'm a bit disappointed, but relieved to be done with my shorter races for awhile. I'm ready to move up to longer challenges, but it was fun to come back to where it all started.

[EDIT - This was actually the 5th time I've run this race: 1983, '84, '87, '91 and '09]

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Signed Up!

Well, I did it. I am officially signed up for my first marathon (May 15, 2010). And while I was at it, I signed up for a January half marathon and a March half marathon. I can't say my wife was happy to see me writing three checks last night. Merry Christmas to me, I guess.

I'll probably treat one or both of the half marathons as long tempo runs leading up to the marathon. I wouldn't mind getting a PR in at least one of them, though, but I don't want to wipe myself out in either race. I'll also throw in a 10k or two (as speed work) before the marathon. As for the rest of 2010, the schedule is up in the air. I may try for a fall marathon, and possibly my first ultra somewhere in there. I have committed to running as part of a relay team in July in Spokane, but I don't have any details yet.

So as 2009 winds down, I'm eagerly looking forward to running and racing in 2010! I hope '09 has been good to you.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Progression Run

Today's run was a progression run (each mile faster) on the hilly mile trail around Willis D Tucker park:

8:19 (cooldown mile)

Good, but tough, run. This was my last hard workout before next Saturday's 10k. It was nice and sunny, but a chilly 29 degrees.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Good Week

I just wrapped up what I would consider a solid week of training. My key runs were a rolling hill 7 mile run on Monday, a tough 6 miler (including three hard miles) on Wednesday, and a 12 miler on Friday. I ended up with 5 total runs for 32 miles. I had a little IT band twinge during and after my long run. Since then, I've been icing, stretching and foam rolling quite a bit. I've got a 10k next Saturday to end my racing for the year. I'll lighten up on the miles next week so I'll be fresh going into the race. I hope to break 44 minutes. We'll see...

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Wednesday Speed

It was beautifully sunny and cold this morning as I headed down to the Centennial Trail in Snohomish for my weekly speedwork, which consisted of intervals:

1 mile warmup: 8:21
1 mile hard: 6:42
1/2 mile easy: 4:10
1 mile hard: 6:40
1/2 mile easy: 4:05
1 mile hard: 6:39
1 mile cooldown: 8:00

Tough workout! With my lungs being tight & congested, I wasn't sure what I could do. The hard miles ended up being a bit faster than I expected. They hurt, though. This will be my last structured speedwork before my 10k on Dec. 12th.
I just looked back at an identical workout I did on Sept. 23rd, in which I ran 7:16/7:03/7:01 for the hard miles. I'm encouraged that even this old guy (okay, not THAT old) can get faster!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Runners, by Roger Hart

Thought you might enjoy this as much as I did.