Archive for the ‘events’ Category

10 Miles on a Chilly Day

A great little highlight video of the 2012 Great South Run. 19 minutes total time and includes coverage of both the women and men. One race is decided and won right from the starting line, while the other plays out in a game of cat and mouse until a final sprint separates the finishers.

Enjoy!

 

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A detailed training log for the week is here.

It’s a crazy time in our household right now. Sometimes it’s hard to find time for a run, but it always seems that a stretch out on the road is just the right trick to mentally relax and escape from some of life’s daily nonsense.

My wife started a new job this week; congratulations baby! I’m so proud of you.  Our kids are in the final trimester of the year, looking forward to their 3+ months of vacation starting the third week of November. But not so fast! Their weekend was interrupted on Saturday by the Cambridge English language evaluations. Students who pass this testing throughout their primary and high school careers will receive international certification of their diplomas that enables them to continue their educations in English speaking countries without having to repeat any course work. We are also in the process of trying to obtain financing to purchase a new home, in a foreign country.

On other entertaining fronts, the New York Yankees were promptly and decisively eliminated from the MLB playoffs, the Presidential debates kicked it up a notch and Lance Armstrong was all but asked to join Julian Assange in hiding within an Ecuadorian embassy.

This week I ran three times, an easy paced 5k plus hill sprints, a 5k time trail which I finished in 26:55, and a 7.3 mile easy pace run today, which I broke into segments based on the location of the first few aid stations in the ING Miami Half Marathon.

There are fewer than 100 days remaining before Miami, so my focus will change dramatically after November 11’s City Tour 10k.

If all proceeds according to plan I will have four runs in the coming week, in a 3, 4, 3, 6 miles format.

There were quite a few events this weekend but the race that caught my attention was the Mt. SAC Cross Country Invitational where Sara Baxter destroyed the previous course record. You can catch the entire 16 minutes of action here.

 

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Pacific coast of Costa Rica: 85 degrees, 50% humidity at race start

ECORUN 10K – Goals, Assumptions, Reality

Going into this race I set my goals on a sliding scale of reality and wishful thinking.  Finishing in under 1 hour was my most unrealistic and ambitious goal. Running a negative split was the more realistic goal, because I could ease into the race, completing the first 5k in whatever time I needed to, in order to feel like I still had something to offer during the second half. I finished the race in 1:08:10, my MOTOACTV watch clocking the distance as 6.37 miles, and also failed to run a negative split.  Pretty disheartening, no?

Well, yes and no. But mostly yes. Let me explain. The ECORUN’s website and registration page still listed all of the details from last year’s race, indicating that the race was on 100% asphalt. So it was quite the surprise when around 2.5 miles into the race we were steered out and onto sands of of the beach at Playa Herradura.  The giant sand trap lasted about three quarters of a mile and sapped a lot of energy from my legs as I tried to maintain a reasonable pace. The worst part was trying to get off the beach because it was a fairly narrow route leading back onto the roads and previous runners had turned the sand over so much it literally felt like it was sucking you back in as you attempted to run.  Back on the road finally, I relaxed and felt fairly comfortable as my watch ticked off the completion of the first 5k a few minutes later.

Having run a fairly decent 5k time (for me) and considering the terrain and heat, I decided I had the opportunity still to shoot for a negative split, so I gradually tried to pick up the pace, seeking to catch a runner 100 yards or so ahead of me.  Things were going well for a brief time, and then we hit the golf course. No shade whatsoever, completely exposed to the elements. And completely uphill. The timing could not have been worse. Right where I was planning to test my meddle by increasing my effort on the flats I was greeted with 1.5 miles of pure climbing and winding. The combination of the sun, slightly faster pace and hills proved too much and I was forced to walk several times during this stretch in order to avoid blowing up. This was incredibly demotivating because instead taking on a time trial challenge head on, I was now facing doubts about finishing without embarrassing myself.

30 minutes of elevation gain in an 85 degree cloudless sky knocked me off of my game plan

Full race data from the MOTOACTV watch is here.

SPLITS

Mile       Elapsed

10:36     10:36

9:56        20:32

10:14      30:46 

11:02      41:48

12:33      54:21

10:17     1:04:38

3:28       1:08:10

As you can see, after 4 miles I knew that breaking the 1 hour barrier would be next to impossible unless I could miraculously manage 2 sub 9 minute miles, something I have not accomplished in training yet.  But I was still fairly positive about the possibility of a slight negative split. Look at that mile #5 disaster: 12:33.  As ugly as ugly can be. At that point the run literally became about survival.  I bounced back decently with a 10:17 in mile #6, and the final .37 miles (according to my watch, anyway) were at 9:19.

CONCLUSIONS

Do not rely on website information or previous race data when planning or visualizing your race plan. If you have the opportunity nothing beats first hand knowledge of the course.

If I’m too shy to make a phone call or ask detailed questions during packet pick-up I don’t deserve to run a good race.

Goals are great, but don’t let unpleasant surprises break you down mentally. Be stronger than the elements, if not faster.

Don’t judge a book by its cover. I was secretly sizing a few people up during the pre-race routine and I don’t even know why. Maybe I didn’t like their shoes, gear or loud personalities. Maybe it was my way of getting psyched up for a competition. I don’t know. But it was a pointless waste of mental energy and is a negative vibe to avoid. Plus, all three of them finished ahead of me. Time for some humble pie.

Every run will not be a great run.  I ran 13.1 miles two weeks ago and was overconfident today, believing that the distance was no longer an issue and my only concern was how fast I could finish.  Some runs are going to throw the kitchen sink at you and if you don’t adjust quickly and decisively, you may not like what happens next.

My experience as a runner and my fitness level still do not allow a great difference between my relaxed pace and a ‘race’ pace.  There is still so much work to do in training to address both my aerobic endurance and my race pace stamina.

Sharing a get-away weekend with my wife, running a 10k together, regardless of finishing times, is a great bonding experience and if you aren’t an elite or pro runner don’t ever let yourself get caught up in a disappointing result so much that you lose perspective of how great things really are.

Me and Nery Brenes, Costa Rican Olympic sprinter and 2012 IAAF World Indoor Championship gold medal winner, 400 meters.

My medal is a turtle: very appropriate considering my finish time.

A great way to wash away the post race blues.

The marina at Los Sueños Ocean & Golf Resort by Marriott

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Every once in a while during your training it’s recommended that you back off of the mileage and or intensity in order for your body to adapt to the recent stresses and recover properly before pushing it to new limits again.  Somewhat more by necessity than by design, I am taking this week to do that.

Two weeks ago I doubled my longest run ever and in a single run hit my long term goal of 13.1 miles.  There were a few walk breaks mixed in here and there, but mentally I was so relieved to get that distance out of the way.  Instead of thinking ahead, planning and being smart, which would have required me to reduce the mileage the following week so as not to blow myself up, I replaced the mileage with several days of interval training.

In retrospect, I believe it would have been ok if my intervals were limited to mile repeats and 800s, but the 400s were a bad idea.  My technique, experience and fitness level right now don’t call for 400s, and the increased impact from those almost out of control sprints really took its toll on my body. While nothing felt injured, my shins and knees were definitely a bit tender and I took two consecutive days off to make sure everything was working properly.

Yesterday was my first run of the week, an easy pace for 4 miles, to shake out any cobwebs and get back into the swing of things.  During the first mile I could feel a strange, dull ache on the outside of my left foot’s arch. Nothing debilitating mind you, but a new and unwelcome visitor to the house of pain.  All day yesterday after the run, while walking around the house and grocery store the pain remained.  My foot is not sensitive to the touch. I can rub and squeeze it, as well as stretch my foot and calf without duplicating the sensation. But the act of walking or running immediately brings it back.

So strange and untimely.

Thursday I am going to run an easy 5k.  If I add any surges or not will completely depend on my foot.

Saturday is the ECORUN 10k which I am running with my wife.  That may turn into a survival course instead of a fitness test.

For one reason or another this week’s training  is significantly reduced in mileage and effort.  Let’s see how it plays out.

 

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photo credit

 

Sometimes an unexpected event can provide you with a beat down, or in this case, a fortuitous boost in motivation and focus.  I was under strict orders from one of my unofficial running coaches, Camille Herron, to lower my average heart rate.  As a beginning runner, my fitness level doesn’t allow a tremendous range in paces or heart rate zones compared with a much fitter person.  And as a result, I’ve been running almost all of my training runs at close to my actual race pace.

My longest run prior to yesterday was 7.35 miles.  When I headed out the door I made the decision to run as slowly as necessary to keep my heart rate from reaching previous levels.  If it did, I would make a single attempt to slow may pace, or alter my cadence or breathing in order to lower it.  If that wasn’t successful then I would just walk until my heart rate had recovered sufficiently.

To my surprise, focusing on running much slower and maintaining a more relaxed heart rate gave me a tremendous boost in energy and enjoyment. I didn’t feel like I was running myself into the ground.  I decided to take it one step further, and after each mile I walked for 2 minutes in order to get my heart rate back to approximately 100 – 115 beats per minute.

2 hours and 55 minutes later I had covered 13.16 miles.  What the hell?  How did that happen?  The consequences of this revelation are not insignificant for me.  I now have 4.5 months to become a smarter, stronger and fitter runner without having to stress over the uncertainty of my capacity to cover the half marathon distance before my race in January.

If I can maintain that pace until I am 90 years old, I will take over the title as world record holder for the half marathon!  😉

Lower HR equals higher mileage