Posts Tagged ‘10k’

The Good. The Bad. And the Ugly.

Well, it’s official. 2012 has come to an end. Maybe not quite as dramatically as the Maya had allegedly predicted, but it’s over nonetheless.

As best as I can tell from my records I began my running experiment in late July, completing 5 runs between 1 and 1.5 miles each. Things started picking up quickly come August, and despite numerous injuries and setbacks early on, I’ve maintained a fairly respectable schedule (by my fairly lax standards as a former couch potato.)

August: 57 miles

September: 81 miles

October: 57 miles

November: 56 miles

December: 74 miles

561884_367390530006994_782436028_nSeptember’s significantly higher volume came as the result of never taking more than a single day off between runs, as well as running on quite a few consecutive days.  In addition, 13.2 miles of the 81 came on a run-walk effort on 9/11. It’s ironic that since my A goal is the ING Miami Half Marathon in January, that the 9/11 run is the only time I’ve ever covered the full distance.

September’s miles came with a high price however as I was constantly plagued by plantar fasciitis, bone spurs and Achilles tendonitis.  Eventually I was forced to receive a series of corticosteroid injections in my ankle and the sole of my foot. Fortunately I discovered that via aggressive stretching, primarily the heel-drop protocol, as well as daily rolling of a tennis ball under my arches, I could eliminate a majority of the issues.

2012 monthly totals

I participated in two official races: the ECO RUN 10k and the City Tour Race.  The Eco Run surprised me by taking us off road for a stint over the sand of the Pacific coast beach at Playa Herradura. Combined with some major late race elevation climbs and the heat and humidity, I was happy to survive and struggled through in roughly 68 minutes.  The City Tour Race was a 10k that wasn’t. The day before the race some logistical issues shortened the race to 6 miles, but along with an obstacle free and mostly flat course, the shortened route provided a great confidence boost as I felt like I was finally ‘running,’ crossing the finish line in 54 minutes.

I experimented with quite a few different training ideas and theories, everything from low heart rate training, run-by-feel, to more aggressive pace based plans. They all provided some benefit and unsurprisingly also had their distinct shortcomings (all as a result of my execution, not their design.) As I continue to grow in both practical experience, knowledge and theory I’m sure I will find or create the recipe that respects my limitations while still challenging me to progress.

2012-11-11 city tour race 10kMy strength training was more consistent but not necessarily any more effective because I mostly remained focused on the same, basic strength exercises that I’ve performed for general fitness. They certainly did not hurt or inhibit my progress in any way. But from the perspective of becoming a better runner, in 2013 I will fine tune my efforts to more closely match my specific running goals.

Diet and nutrition improved but were not consistent; a recurring theme in my year in review analysis. I made a concerted effort to implement a Paleo inspired diet, and lost about 20 lbs.  When asked, I describe my approach as 80% paleo, 80% of the time. I am carrying 170 lbs on a 5’10” frame, but am still a bit soft and know that my body fat percentage is higher than it should be or needs to be.

As far as shoes, apparel, gear and accessories are concerned I spent way too much money.  But on the other hand, the monetary commitment is a motivating factor in my desire to now reap dividends from properly utilizing my tools, toys and indulgences.

I have a high-end GPS watch with heart rate monitor, and enough shoes, shirts, shorts and tights to last until this time next year before considering any additions or replacements. The priority now (as it should have been all along) is on making it happen!

I will save my 2013 goals, plans and aspirations for another post. But I would be remiss if i failed to mention and thank some of the people who have made my running a positive and life enriching experience.

Let me conclude by offering my sincere wishes that everyone can look back on 2012 and if not necessarily happy with every race, result or effort, can at least recognize what happened, why and how to make adjustments that will improve your chances for continued and greater success in 2013!

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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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My wife rocking her Inov-8 F-Lite 195s

A detailed training log for the week is here.

What can I say?  Running is proving to be quite the motivating and contagious activity.  About 4 months ago my wife started walking on the treadmill 5 days per week after watching me catch the running bug.  She claimed outright, “I don’t like running, but walking is ok.”  So fast forward to last weekend and my wife decides to steal a bit of my daughter’s well earned thunder by running a 5k after my little girl took 2nd place in her 75 meter sprint event.

This weekend we celebrated my wife’s birthday and I purchased a weekend trip for two to the Marriott, Los Sueños Ocean & Golf Resort, in Playa Herradura, Costa Rica.  I decided to up the ante however, by timing the trip with the resort’s annual 10k event, the ECO RUN.  My plan is to run this event like any other training day, maybe even a little slower, to enjoy the scenery and atmosphere.  I also wanted to give my wife a new goal to shoot for.  It doesn’t matter to me if she walk/runs the event or whatever other method she might choose, as I don’t want her to feel pressured to run farther than she is prepared to.  But I did want to dangle a new carrot out in front to see how she responded.

Game on!

My training is progressing nicely thus far, knock on wood.  I am four weeks on my feet post injury and seem to be gaining a little clearer insight into my body’s likes and dislikes after each run.  It’s becoming easier to know when I can go for it, when I need to back off, and when following the schedule exactly is what’s called for.

I got off of the treadmill and ran a 10k on the road last week.  It was slow, but the pace proved to me that finishing was never in question as I long as I was honest about my fitness level.  I’ve been running many of my runs too quickly, and eventually burning the speed and distance candles at both ends will catch up with me.  Finally getting a grasp on reality (and my ego) my road runs are ultra slow, and I’m feeling much more confident in my ability to extend them in distance, towards my goal of 13.1 miles.

Tracie over at Run Inspired has a timely post on running at the proper pace and within a specific percentage of your heart rate max on longer runs.

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A little over twenty years ago I hated running.  I was in the military and running six days a week.  The only exceptions or days off from running were due to other extreme physical activities, travel or training that spilled over into the normally scheduled physical training.

Roughly 6 months ago when I got the bug to try and run again I never imagined how absorbed I would become in the entire culture.  Maybe I just have too much time on my hands since I work from home.  But I spend a lot of time reading other runner’s blogs, training and competition websites, as well as rereading chapters of a half dozen or so books on the subject I purchased for the Kindle.

The past five weeks have been fairly brutal, rehabbing a couple of injuries that left me sidelined right after I had found a nice training groove, knocking out both a 5k and all but the final week of a 10k training plan.  I guess it’s another example of the adage, ‘you don’t know what you had until it’s gone.’

Although I haven’t come close to running a marathon or approaching its training demands, I still found this video pretty amusing and can definitely relate to surprise non-runners often display when asking about what we do.

Two weeks ago I managed three treadmill sessions of alternating 5 minutes walking with 5 minutes running for a total of 30 minutes.  Last week I extended that into three test runs of 5 minutes walking/10 minutes running x 2, and this week I’ve managed to two sessions of uninterrupted 20 minute runs.  So maybe there is some light at the end of tunnel.  Let’s just hope it isn’t a train headed in my direction.

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