Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011 - A Year Filled with Osom

It is the end of the year and time to celebrate with a look back. It was a fantastic year for me, filled with loop meets, PRs, and magic moments.

First up was a 10K in Redondo where i started a trend by letting the magic gold loopsterfest shirt carry me to a new PR of 44:16.

Next up was the LA marathon, where a heavy downpour just kept me cool and I cruised to a 3:44.

In April I did the Hermosa 5K and just missed another PR with 21:17.

May brought the hilly Palos Verdes Pikermi and I was happy to survive with a 1:43.

My training was working and in June I ran the downhill Fontana Pikermi to an unbelievable 1:32:42! A 7 minute PR!

Summer brought triathlon training and then a series of loop meetups. First up was a meet with TO Superstar in Nebraska where we both earned AG medals and I ran what should have been a PR, but the course was long. In our boxers.

The next week I met up with AtomBuddy and JunBlack back home and I finally crushed my 5K PR with a 20:20. I then celebrated by running the 10K a few minutes later. We all medaled!

And then the following week, I met up with aschmid3 at the ridiculously hard Bulldog 25K trail run. Yes, she chicked me, but revenge was mine in Philly.

September brought my first Olympic distance triathlon in Malibu and I finished strong and happy.

In October I ran another 10K in Manhattan Beach, just missing my PR by 7 seconds on a tougher course. I also met up with loopster IMustBeBananas.

Then I traveled to Kentucky and managed to work in runs with lawrenceaa and my WV loopies, sfschas and runningchick.

Next I had a real breakthrough race at the LA RNR Pikermi, running a 1:35:37 (on a flat course). I was flying!

So I figured I better go ahead and beat that in Philly 3 weeks later. Which I did, with another stunning PR of 1:34:42.
Oh, and I met a few loopsters there too. Best Time of Your LIfe Indeed.

After that, I've done a couple 5Ks on Thanksgiving and Christmas in 21 something, which would have been PRs two years ago, but now qualify as tempos.
Had one last meetup here in CA with JCRunner in December. Too many meetups to count after Philly.

Numbers: With two runs to go, I will be going over 1,300 miles. This will be my best year since 1980. Check out these last 7 years:
2005            225
2006            387
2007            455
2008            607
2009            870
2010          1,015
2011          1,303
I also biked 344 miles and swam 15.4 miles. 14 races. 6 AGPRs. Many, many fantastic memories!
I'm very grateful for my health, for my good fortune to live in a perfect running location, and for the Loop, which has kept me motivated for over 2 years now. Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas at the Beach - 5K Race Report

Normally I am out of town for Christmas, but this year we were home alone and with no big plans for Christmas day. So the DW suggested that I do the local 5K, which was set on the sand at low tide, just after sunset. Well, you don't have to say "race" to me more than once, and I was in on the plan! However I didn't want to adjust my training schedule for upcoming marathons, so I went ahead and did my 18+ mile run on Saturday. So this race would be for fun, and I wouldn't worry about chasing a PR on sand.

Saturday night after my long run, we went to church and out to a friend's house, and I started getting a drippy nose. By Sunday morning I was definitely feeling like a cold was setting up shop in my face. Lots of sneezing and sniffling and general misery. I guess that long run wore me down. I had a nice 2-hour nap, and still felt like poo, but I figured a little sea air would be just the thing anyway.

So I found a Christmas t-shirt (cotton!) and a Santa hat and we headed to the beach, arriving just after Sunset.

It was a perfectly beautiful night. Temps probably in the high 50's. The race started under the pier, and would be out and back along the water. They had candle lit luminarias all along the way. We were told to stay to the right of them, so we wouldn't be dodging each other. I did a short warm-up of 1/2 mile and it was time to start.

By this time it was very dark. And we're off!

All runners got glow sticks to wear as necklaces, and that made it easier to see people. It was dark enough where I couldn't really see my footing, and just had to hope there weren't any dips in the sand. Luckily it was perfectly flat and hard - excellent for running.

Look at that perfect sand. (and the perfect DW)
I felt fine - the cold didn't bother me at all as far as I could tell. My loose goal was to run sub 7, but it was so dark I couldn't see G without pressing the light, so I only checked it twice in mile 1 and then just ran. Seems I know my pace pretty well, because when I checked at 1/2 mile, I was at 6:52 pace, and at mile 1 I was still at 6:54.

There were only about 200 people so it thinned out pretty fast. I caught a few people, but the last mile I was mostly running alone. Mile 2 was 6:55. I felt really good. It was a hard speed workout, without the serious pain of going for a PR. The Kinvaras felt light and fast as usual as I cruised over the sand. The experience of running fast in the dark at the ocean's edge was fantastic! The little line of candles along the way was unique. And the happy Christmas vibe of everyone made for a really fun time.

Mile 3 I went ahead and picked up the pace and ran a 6:41. Finished up at 6:21 pace for a final time of 21:29. Here I am emerging from the dark.

Woo Hoo!

I finished around 20th and got 4th in my division. We hung around in the dark waiting for a medal, but instead they gave all winners a ski hat. I don't have much use for those around here, and kind of wanted another medal for my new medal rack, but oh well.

New avatar perhaps? I don't want to cause any nightmares. Kind of Blair Witchy.
Afterwards I went home and resumed being sick. But for 21 minutes, running gave me a break. Now for a rest day. I think I'll join these two in another nap.

Another perfect SoCal day, so I ran 18.3

Walking the dogs at 6:30, it was a cool 43 degrees. But it was clear skies, and as the sun came up I knew it would be a perfect morning for a long run at the beach. I managed to get out the door before 8:30 and by the time I got home at 11 it would be getting close to 60, on its way to 70.

So it was shorts and a T as usual, as I headed out for some endurance training. I had a plan, broken into 3 sections. First 6 miles would be as easy as I could go, hopefully not much under 9 minute pace. Second 6 miles I would take off the brakes and let myself go and run however I felt. I assumed I would speed up to the 8:10-8:20 range where I usually feel comfortable. Then as I got tired, I planned to do the last 6 at marathon goal pace, or just under 8 minute pace, to work on my pace when tired. This would be an almost flat beach run, so a much easier course than last week when I did 17 at 8:45 over lots of hills.

First few miles  I am relaxing and keeping my stride short and quick. Splits are 9:15, 9:22 and 9:01. I am a little concerned because this is slower than I usually do this section and I feel tired already. Next 3 are a little better at 8:47, 8:41 and 8:51. First 6 averaged 8:59 - perfect. But I don't really feel like I have been holding back at all. Just feel like I'm dragging. This section is almost all wood chips with one big hill, so that does slow the pace a little. At this point I reach the beach and the rest will be along the coast and flat on the bike path. Lots of people are out enjoying the day. Beach volleyballers in bikinis, surfers, runners, bikers, tourists. And lots of runners. It's a happy place.

Mile 7 I am still relaxing at 8:46. Oh well. It is what it is. Let's just get in the miles. But then mile 8 the pace starts to drop as I start to feel better. A little more pep in my step. Mile 8 was 8:18. I stop for a GU and some water, and then I get into a groove. 8:09, 8:05, 8:03, 8:05! Middle 6 averaged 8:14, but the last 4 were 8:05. I'm getting tired, and I am over achieving, so I decide to just stay with what I am doing and see if I can maintain this all the way in. Save the sub 8 for the last 3 maybe.

But I still feel good, so the next three are 8:01 and 7:58 and 8:02. Then in mile 16 my hip starts to really hurt with each step. Fatigue kind of hurt. Plus my knees are complaining. Pace is dropping. I take a water stop and spend a little time stretching it out. Ugh, I seem to be paying for my hubris. Still 3 miles to go and it looks like it is going to suck. I start up again and take it easy, but the stretching seems to have helped and the pain is mostly gone. Eventually I start to pick it up. Mile 16 comes in at 8:20.

Now with two miles to go, I feel like I can go ahead and push it a little. My body responds well, and I finish up with 7:56 and 7:50! A 0.3 mile cooldown at 8:54 pace gets me home and I am tired but happy. The thought of going another 8 for a marathon doesn't sound ridiculous. Last 6 averaged 8:01, so I pretty much ran to my plan. Total run, 18.3 miles at an average 8:25 pace.

Feeling good, and ready for a quiet Christmas with my Dear Wife. And a 5K tomorrow.
Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Stacking Hay

It is mileage-building time. Putting that hay in the barn for later use. Had another good week with nearly 38 miles.
Tuesday was my Oops run, where I couldn't help dropping the hammer, and ran the last 3 of my 7 miler at 7:30 pace, with one mile at 7:07. Not a scheduled speed day either.

Wednesday I hit the gym where I am seeing steady improvement on my circuit training routine.

Thursday I got to meet up with loopster JCRunner. His post with pics is here. We met up at 6AM in the dark to do 5.5 easy miles (close to 9 minute pace) in a beautiful section of Palos Verdes. It got light as we ran, and I showed him some cliffside trails and lots of nice homes and ocean views. I was happy to discover that JC is his actual initials, and I wouldn't have to hear about Jesus for an hour. Not that there's anything wrong with that. So it was great to meet another loopster, as always.

Friday I wanted to do 8, but life got in the way, so I rescheduled for Saturday. So I knocked out 8.3 Saturday and tried to restrain myself because I was shooting for 16.5 on Sunday. But I was feeling good and wearing the Kinvaras and ended up averaging 8:14 with the last 3 sub-8.

Sunday I decided to head back up to PV, except instead of driving the 6 miles to the top of the hill, I would run it, then do the same run I did with JC, and then head back. Longest run since March, plus lots of hills. On tired legs. I had just washed the mud off my shoes and they were still soaking wet, so add wet, heavy clunky trainers on top of that. And I would need to carry water so add a couple water bottles too. OK! Ready to stack some hay!

First three were flat to the bottom of the hill: 9:03, 8:47, 8:34

Next three were up the hill: 9:46, 9:10, 9:07

My legs were feeling tired. The hills were a little harder than usual. But I was plugging along.

Next 5 were rolling hills: 8:25, 8:46, 8:34, 8:36, 8:56

At some point I decided instead of 16.5 I might as well do 17. So I ran the Garmin to 8.5 and turned around. I'm all in now. Quickest way home is to run.

Next 3 were downhill: 8:47, 8:29, 8:03

Now there were 3 flat miles left. I was tired, but felt OK so I decided to see if I could run marathon pace (7:55) the rest of the way. I managed to do 1 mile at 7:59, but it felt like an interval. A little too much effort required. So I backed off and cruised it in: 8:48, 8:49

Total run averaged 8:45 for 17 miles. Exhausted, but not completely wiped out. So I'm encouraged, and ahead of schedule.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

LSD? No Thanks. I Prefer Speed.

Sunday is long run day. I always tell myself the goal is to go slow and just put in the miles. And every time it turns into a progression run. This week was no exception.

Plan was to do 15. Longest training run since July, as I start to build toward the marathon. And this after a busy week that would total 39 miles and 2 gym days (and parties the last 2 nights). I felt a little tired at the beginning and was considering cutting it short, but I kept plugging, and inevitably I started feeling better after about 5 miles. Once the pace got fast I decided I might as well challenge myself and keep it there the rest of the way. So here are the numbers:
8:57, 8:56, 8:32, 8:20, 8:14,
8:39, 8:23, 8:19, 8:06, 8:09,
8:03, 7:41, 7:47, 7:46, 7:43
Pretty proud of those last 4 miles. And I wasn't even really working that hard. By the end it felt like just another long run - not the exhausted slog that I have felt previous years when I start extending my long run. Anyway, I am going to keep increasing my weekly mileage and slowly extend the long run, since my marathon is still 4 1/2 months away.

Life is good.

It's Gotta be the Shoes

(From 12/9)
Warning! This is yet another post about an awesome workout. it seems like every time I do a race or a speed workout lately, I am surprising myself. I just keep getting faster. What the hell is going on? It's gotta be the Kinvaras.

So this week I am running 5 times. Count 'em. 1, 2,3, 4, 5. First 5-run week in 30 years I think. Monday was a gym day. Tuesday was group run. Although I usually end up by myself or with 1 or 2 others after the first 2 miles. This week I ended up alone and pushing sub 8:00 pace for the last 5 of 7 miles.

Wednesday I ran 4 miles easy with the dogs.

Thursday is Speed Day. Decided to do 4 x 1 with 1/2 mile rests. Total of 8 miles. Goal was sub 7 pace. Headed out at 6:30 in the dark, cool night; down to the beach for flat, straight running paths. Each mile was fun, and I felt like I had more to give. I never had to walk during the rests. I always finished strong, and a 1/2 mile rest felt like too long - I was itching to get moving again! After the 4th one, I felt like I could do a few more!

1.3 mile warmup @ 8:25
Mile 1: 6:56
.7 @ 8:29
Mile 2: 6:46
.5 @ 8:50
Mile 3: 6:50
.5 @ 9:23
Mile 4: 6:44
1.1 mile cooldown @9:16

So 4 speed miles averaged 6:49, and I just felt fantastic. Moving along in the cool night air, pushing hard, flying by joggers, but with more in the tank. Next time I do this I am going to go for 6:30 pace. I have a 10K coming up on Jan. 1 and I am just going to KILL my PR. I'm thinking sub 43 is do-able. And a sub-20 5K sometime next Spring is definitely happening.

Hit the gym this morning less than 12 hours later and knocked out another good workout. Planning to do 5 Saturday and 15 on Sunday for a 40-mile week!

It seems like the more I do, the easier it gets. Funny how that works. I think it's banana time.

Office XMAS party tonight. Time to celebrate. Hide the lampshades.