Nov 28, 2009

Turkey Trot Race Report

Again I'm conflicted, should you really have a race report about a turkey trot? I'm going to I guess, for my own record keeping. First I must say stay away from Taco John's for any late night snacking; gave my son and me a gurgly stomach all week. Your experiences may vary.

We flew to the Black Hills of South Dakota to spend the holiday with my family. Had beautiful weather there all week, upper 50's to 60's. Very nice. Race morning was chilly but beautiful nonetheless. As we waited around at the end I was in shorts, no hat or gloves and not even the slightest bit chilled, even after 45 minutes. The event was very casual. Verrrrrry casual. There was a clock but no official timing. Didn't really seem to be an official finish line either as there was a sign with a turkey on it (like the starting line), the clock at the finish and a third spot with FINISH written on the walkway. By all accounts the course was .08-.1 miles long too.

Still, I enjoyed the race as it was the first 5k I've done in quite some time. I never really respected the distance before until I moved to Tokyo. There my running club did a 5k time trial every month. I definitely grew to respect and enjoy the distance. Well, three paragraphs in and I haven't really started the race report. Here goes:

The course was mostly flat and I started out a little quick. At one point Mr. Garmin read 6:16 per mile so I slowed a little from that. I was passed by a very tall guy in yellow, like 6'5" or so. I was surprised because shorter is usually better. Kept running and settled in behind a younger person, maybe a high school cross country runner, with a funny way of kicking his heels out when he ran. The one mile point (no mile markers, just Mr. Garmin) was at a turn around, 6:34. I counted maybe 20 people in front of me. Most looked like young runners in high school or college but I didn't really pay attention. On the way back we ran into the bulk of everybody else which made the sidewalk very crowded. Heavy breather came up behind me but had a hard time passing because of the oncoming people. Eventually she did though and I was surprised to see it was a young woman. Didn't fit with the heavy breathing.

Mile two came and went at 6:34 again, quite consistent anyway. I knew my pace was 7 seconds off of 20 minute pace but I didn't want to push harder and then really blow up. In mile 3 I was passed by a couple young guys running easy and chatting. At first I was impressed that the pace was so easy for them but then I was less impressed with their effort. I mean really, run hard why don't you? But then it hit me that this was a turkey trot after all so I cut them some slack (all this occurred in my mind though). My pace for the last mile slowed to 6:49 but part of that was climbing a 12-15 foot bank by a stream and then running about half a mile on the grass. Took me back to my own high school cross country days. I felt I was keeping a decent pace and passed heavy breather. I finished strong but was confused at the finish line fiasco. Oh well, it was just a turkey trot. Official time by Mr. Garmin was 21:08 but I'm reducing that to 20:36 for an actual 5k distance. With passing some people and getting passed I figured I was in the 20-25 range of finishers.

After a minute or two of rest I headed back out on the course in reverse to find my wife. We met up about a half mile from the finish and I paced her in to a PB of just over 35 minutes. She never thinks she can do those things by I always know she can. Funny how you can have so much more confidence for other people's running. Now she's all intimidated about the 10k I'm pushing her towards.

Other good news is that I won a cherry pie that they held a drawing to give away. They had 350 pies for 800-900 runners. After that, like many of you I'm sure, was much food and a nap. Nice.

Today was a nice sunny morning but cooler, maybe 30 degrees. Got in a good distance and paced run with a group. Oh, thanks for all the well wishes about the knee. A little bit of lingering pain but it is getting to be less and less every day. Not holding me back at all.

All in: Thursday 5.3 at 7:45
Saturday 11.21 at 8:14.

Nov 24, 2009

Easy Come, Easy Go

Seems how well I was running last week was reserved for last week. I started this week off with a little bit of brand-spanking-new knee pain. Not worried because it isn't running related; it started after playing basketball with my son and some neighborhood kids Sunday afternoon. I guess running could aggravate it though but it already seems to be going away. I'm sure it is nothing to worry about.

Anyway, because of the knee pain I took yesterday off and ran a little today. I was planning on having a low mileage/rest week so at least my training schedule isn't out of whack. I did a couple mile repeats to tune up for my 5k turkey trot this Thursday. (Are turkey trots supposed to be taken so seriously?) After working way too hard to get around in 6:16 and 6:30, I called it quits. Wasn't doing much good and thought I'd be more rested if I didn't push for any more. After last week's running I was pretty confidant I could go sub 20. Now not so much. Looking forward to it anyway, haven't done a hard 5k in quite some time now.

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

All in: 5.5 at 7:47 (with Hiroo)

Nov 21, 2009

Running With The Dog

Well after Monday's 16 miler I've had some real good runs this week. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's the weightlifting and stretching taking affect. The recent speedwork? Could be just a good few days. And, of course, there's always the bacon.

Anyway, I already mentioned my 10 mile run on Wednesday and how that went. Thursday I ran with the family pet, Hiroo, to the local track and tied him up while I did a few mile repeats. The first one went by in 6:30; not bad, about what I figured. But the second one was feeling pretty good and I got around in 6:10. !!!??? That was a surprise. Especially since my half repeats last week were at about that pace. The last one I decided to take Hiroo and see how he'd do. Actually pretty well as he about dragged me around the track and wouldn't stop frolicking and playing with his leash. 6:12. Maybe next time I'll have him run with me the whole way.

This morning I got out with the running group again, like most recent Saturdays. We started out for 8 at about 8:00 but never really hit that pace. No, me and another guy just got going and wouldn't slow down. Don't know why. We were both wearing Garmins. We both knew we were going too fast and didn't really want/need to go that fast. Just kept going though, guess we were in a rhythm. We finished at just over 8 miles at a 7:39 pace. Kind of quick! I went home after that and added on a couple more miles with Hiroo but since they were a little slower they didn't do much for him. I need to get him back out and let him pull me on the rollerblades again.

One last note on the mile repeats. I'm planning on doing a 5k turkey trot on turkey day and was hoping to go under 20 minutes. There was a time about 18 months ago that would be a no brainer. Well, now it is somewhat of a brainer. Not sure if I can do it but I'm feeling better about it now since it requires keeping a 6:27 pace. We'll see how this week goes.

All in: Thursday 6.6 @ 7:47 (4.6 for Hiroo)
Saturday 10.6 @ 7:50.

Nov 18, 2009

What a difference a day makes (or two)

On Monday I got out for a 16 miler (okay, Mr. Garmin said 15.81 but since my goal was 15 I'm happy) which is what my long runs consist of these days and I don't mind saying it kicked my @$$. Don't know why. The first half was about 8:10's but the second half was closer to 8:40's; putting me at 8:23 for the whole thing which is okay. The real bad part was how tired and sore I felt later in the day and yesterday. I'm only a few weeks out from marathon training and already 16 miles puts me on my butt? How sad.

I did get in my lifting yesterday with some success but I was worried about running today. I just didn't want to get out and have it be a chore and not enjoyable. Maybe that's why I procrastinated an extra hour or so. Anyway, my run today turned out to be pretty good. It was only 10 so I didn't have to push those extra 6 (5.81) miles but I did it at an 8:09 pace and ran negative splits by over 30 seconds. That is especially noteworthy since the first half is significantly downhill and then uphill coming home. Not sure why I ran well but I think it has something to do with nutrition as I did eat a Baconator last night. I think bacon is the new spinach.

All in: Monday 16 (15.81) at 8:23
Wednesday 10 at 8:09

Nov 14, 2009

Return to Stretching

I'm kind of liking my new workout routine. The running is pretty much the same although I'm adding a weekly speed workout. Hopefully I can find some others to join me in that. Also I'm adding some weightlifting and...wait for it...stretching. Never really been much of a stretcher, mostly because I've always been pretty flexible anyway. Also I used the studies that say stretching lengthens ligaments, tendons and muscles and decreases their ability to spring back, therefore decreasing running speed as justification for not stretching. Now of course I'm reading about the injury prevention benefits and that the decrease in range of motion caused by inflexibility also causes a decrease in running speed. So a little bit of stretching for me. How little? Well I've read that as little as 30 seconds a day can increase your flexibility for up to six weeks. After that maybe I'll go wild and bump it up to 45 seconds a day.

The weightlifting is nice because it is such a short workout. I can get it all done in about 45 minutes which is easy compared to running for twice that long. I do have to watch myself a bit though because last Monday I pushed a little too hard and had to bag my run on Tuesday. Way too sore. Oh well, I'm gradually building it up.

Running? Oh yeah, I did a little bit of that this week too.

All in: Wednesday: 12.8 miles @ 8:20
Thursday: 6.55 @ 7:47; 4x800 in 3:12, 3:08, 3:04 and 2:58
Saturday: 10.71 @ 8:16

Nov 7, 2009

Stretching? Nah...

Well, I was going to blog a little about stretching, but like stretching itself I'll put that off to another day. Since I've had some comments on my stated goal of a marathon a month for 2010, I'll talk about that instead.

So that's my goal, to do one marathon each month. I'm not optimistic about it getting done, in fact I put the odds at maybe 50%. There are two main areas that will cause problems: a) my abilities to avoid injury and burn out and b) logistics/expense. To avoid injuries I'm just going to try to build a large aerobic base and back off when I have to. To avoid burn out: ??? As for the logistics/expense, well, I'm lucky enough to be married to a woman who worked for Northwest Airlines long enough for us to have flight benefits. Free flights! But (there's always a but) they are standby only so if I'm signed up for a marathon and there are no open flights for me to get there, I'm SOL. That definitely can help with the expense but hotels, cars and race fees will add up. As far as logistics, well, the flights are a potential problem but being gone one weekend a month could be an issue too. Won't know about that until it happens.

Right now I have the first part of the year planned out although I haven't signed up for any races yet. Here is the plan:

January: Mississippi Blues Marathon, Jackson, MS or First Light Marathon, Mobile, AL
February: Mercedes Marathon, Birmingham, AL or Last Chance For Boston, Columbus, OH
(also possiblish: Sedona Marathon, Sedona, AZ and New Orleans Mardi Gras Marathon, a Rock n Roll event)
March: Little Rock Marathon, Little Rock AR (all about the bling)
April: Oklahoma City Marathon, Oklahoma City, OK
May: Green Bay Marathon, Green Bay, WI
Summer: a marathon in Alaska
Fall and Winter: ???

Any input/insight/recommendation is welcome and appreciated.

This week I seem to be recovering pretty well. In addition to my 10 mile run on Tuesday I ran the same route on Thursday only a couple minutes faster thanks to pushing the hills the last 3 miles. Remind me not to do that again. This morning I ran with a new group of people that a friend recommended to me. We met at a local running store, a group of about 10-12 with various distances and abilities. One had qualified for Boston, a few more were trying, one was training for an iron distance triathlon and a couple were just getting back into it. I did 10 as I was planning but then the woman training for the IM wanted to do 10 more minutes so another guy and I jumped in. Ended up going 11.76 and yes, we went longer than 10 minutes. Ever notice when you run with a group the pace only gets faster? People always want to keep up but nobody ever wants to be the one to fall behind so the ebbs and flows of a run end up just getting faster and faster. Good training if that's what you are looking for.

All in: Thurs 10 @ 8:04 and Sat 11.76 @ 8:04.

Nov 3, 2009

Okay, now what?

I was all set to run yesterday but when the time came, well, it wasn't there. But no problem, I just decided to do a weightlifting workout instead. That is one thing I'm going to add to my workout regimen, weights. Didn't want to overdo it yesterday, just tried out some of the machines, did some light leg work and some for the core too. That's what is getting me today, the core.

So, in addition to the weights, what am I going to do? I was all set continue the long runs, MP runs and add in some speed work but now I'm second guessing that. My goal is to do a marathon a month next year and if I'm going to accomplish that I think I'll need a bigger aerobic base. That means miles and lots of them. So I think that's what I'll do; slow it down and pound them out. I'm going to pick up a couple workouts per week too, up to five or so. Perhaps I'll even get back to my all time high weekly mileage of 70-80 miles. Well, maybe not. But I do have lots of time to build up and peak for a couple key marathons next year so I'll start back at the beginning, laying the foundation.

I started that today with a nice 10 mile run. Felt good, laboring towards the end because of the hills and wind. I guess I didn't overdo it with the weights because my legs felt good. Still not 100% recovered but it's coming. And you know what? I don't need to be recovered yet, just need to get in the miles.

All in: 10 miles at 8:14 pace.