Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Super Sunday is for Running

I love traditions. And racing. And the race I have done the most is the Redondo Beach Super Bowl 10k. The one coming up this Sunday will be my 20th time running it in the last 30 years. So I thought I would jog down memory lane.

The race is the biggest in our area, usually about 6,000 people between the 5K and 10K. The course is beautiful, with much of it along the beach.

A lot of people wear costumes, and it is very festive.

And there is an awesome post-race beer garden at this little spot, just steps from the finish. Lots of people do the race just to hang at the beer garden.

Here is the filtered list from my race spreadsheet.


1986: No, that is not a typo. Worst race of my life. I had some MAJOR intestinal traumas going on, and had to pull off in mile 3 and find a toilet. A bar/restaurant was open at 8AM and mostly empty, but the Mens room was out of order, so I hopped in to the Ladies. Desperate times. It was just one toilet, so I could lock myself in. And I spent about 15 minutes in there, doing unspeakable things. Finally I emerged, and there was a lady waiting... Sorry... I got back on the course, but still couldn't run, and ended up walking the rest of the way back and trying to avoid disaster in my pants. So, 95 minute 10K! I jogged in to the finish amongst the last straggling walkers and the announcer said "2nd time through?". Uh, no.

1987, 1989: Clearly I was not training too much in the late 80's.

1991: 42:12 - This is still my course record. I am shooting for it this year, 24 years later. If you told my 28-year old self that my 52-year old self would be chasing him down, I'm not sure what he would think. Hopefully he would be impressed.

1994 - 1998: This race has a separate start for the Baby Jogger division. About 50-80 people pushing babies. It is ten minutes before the regular start. So I got to avoid the crowds, and got to see the leaders blow by me in the final miles. Lots of fun. So I pushed my boy for 5 straight years.

TC 006TC 007
2004, 2008: There is also a 5K, and I did that twice, both times running along side my son this time, at ages 10 and 14.

2010: In one of the first Loop Meets, sfschas came out to run this race with me. There was much trash talk and build up, and we raced hard, just to end up finishing side by side.

2011: My 2nd best course time, 44:16, was an over-40 PR at the time.

Super 2011 022Super 2011 030
The last three years I have missed it, because Surf City is the same day, and Loopfests took priority. But this year Surf City didn't attract the masses, so I will get back to my tradition. The starting line is about 1 mile from my house, so it's a nice warm-up run. I will be shooting to beat the AGPR I set 8 weeks ago (43:08), and get under 43, and maybe take a run at my course record of 42:12.

Then I am hosting a Super Bowl party for the Loopsters that are around. J-Zee and Hoosier Ted are in town for Surf City, plus all the usual locals. Should be a fun weekend. Go Seahawks!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Monster Month

I generally call the last big month of mileage before a marathon Monster Month. Usually it is 2-6 weeks before the race, so for my March 15th race it would be February.

But I am a little ahead of schedule, and January is getting to be pretty monstrous.

I am on track to hit 200 miles for January, which would be my biggest month since....1981. Check this out from Strava.

month That's 4 solid weeks, with 4 busy weekends!

So, let me tell you about last week.

I had a dinner date Wednesday, so I would be skipping track night, so that meant I could push it a little harder on Tuesday and make it a 7-mile tempo. Hoka was back, so I borrowed some new Cliftons to "test". By the way, my Cliftons are close to 500 miles and still feel good! I did just buy my second pair, but will continue to use the old ones as long as I can.

Felt good and pushed it - hoping to run 7:30's or better, but I guess I was still tired from the last weekend, because I kind of petered out and had to drop it back a little in miles 6 and 7. Still, a nice little tempo.


It's funny how that pace somehow feels easier ten miles into a run then it does in miles 2 and 3.

Thursday I did 9 miles on my rolling hills course and averaged 8:20, which was fine. I was trying to relax.

Friday was gym day, and Saturday I passed on the Mountain Goat run, and chose to do a flatter 8 miles near home so I would be a little more rested for Sunday's 20. However, a heat wave rolled in, and I was lazy and didn't get out until 10:30AM, and it was warm! Like 70 and sunny. I felt OK, and was making good time, but again I kind of bonked in the last few miles and faded.


However this whole run was on wood chips, and I wore my heavier trail shoes, so the effort was probably 20 seconds faster than the splits show. Still, it was not encouraging when I knew I had to do 20 the next day. I vowed to get up and out earlier to avoid the heat.

And I did! Out the door by 7:05. I went shirtless and it was pretty chilly for the first six miles (50s) but then I hit the sun for the rest of the way and was comfortable! Back in my Cliftons, I felt better, As usual, I did the first 5 on the wood chips and gradually dropped the pace. Then it was over the hill, down to the beach, and 14 miles of flat beach running.


Like clockwork, I slipped into sub-8 pace and held it. And the endurance I'm building paid off, and I was able to maintain that pace all the way to 20.
It's crazy. I don't really understand it. But averaging 7:46 for the last 14 miles seems easier than running that pace on Tempo Tuesday. I guess I need that warmup period. I can't go out like Quadracool and run 7:45 in mile 1 and keep going.

I had two GUs at miles 8 and 16, and practiced eating them while moving at sub-8 pace. I did stop 7 times for water along the way.

So I'm feeling pretty confident. Although pretty sore too. My adductor is complaining, and the bottoms of my feet hurt a lot for hours after. But generally I'm feeling good with 7 weeks to go.

This week I am cutting back, and I have a 10K to race Sunday, and next week I am off to Florida for a Ragnar Relay. Then I'll have 3 more weeks to pile up miles before the taper.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Mortal? Or Awesome?

I've been cranking up the miles, trying to get the most out of my marathon training. I keep expecting my body to feel the fatigue. But lately I've still been laying down fast splits no matter how tired I get. This week would be more of the same. Plan was to go over 50 miles, with some speed work, some hills, and a long one. The usual.

Tuesday I did my 7 miler where I met a guy gunning for the Olympic trials. (FYI, he just ran the Houston Half Marathon USA championships and ran 1:06:57 - only good for 68th place!) I had a good little progression and finished strong.

 Wednesday was track night. Plan was 4x1 mile. Coach said to target 30-60 seconds under marathon pace. I figured 6:50, but my pace buddies were shooting for 6:40, so I tagged along.

6:42, 6:43, 6:38, 6:37

Felt good! I could have done a few more. Or faster. Still cocky.

Thursday I went out for an easy six, and managed to keep it reasonably paced, averaging 8:27.

Friday was gym day, and then Saturday morning I went back to the mountains with the Goats.

10.6 miles with over 2,000 feet of elevation gain. I was feeling pretty tired, but it was an absolutely beautiful day in the mountains, with incredible views, and I hung with three other guys the whole way. So it was a fun social run, with plenty of challenge.

I was feeling pretty beat up, but we hosted a party Saturday night, so I was on my feet much of the day and night. And I had a few beverages. Dragged my butt to bed about midnight, exhausted, and the idea of dropping 18+ miles the next morning did not sound like a great plan. But I had committed to a group run, and that helped me get up and out the door before 8AM.

It was a small group and I didn't plan to run with them long. But I did meet Badwater legend Danny Westergaard, who did Badwater to Mount Whitney SIX times in a row! Not in 6 years, Consecutively!

Anyway after a slow half mile I said goodbye to the group and pushed ahead. I was feeling sluggish, but just cruised. The whole run was flat along the beach, so I got up to speed quicker than usual. By mile 4 I was near 8:00 pace, but I was not getting close to the crazy 7:40's I was hitting last week. I just plugged along. Definitely feeling the fatigue, but by the return trip, I was seeing sub-8 paces and felt good enough to maintain it, and just kept going. My heavy legs felt like they wanted to quit, but the endurance I have earned is paying off, and the body somehow is just able to keep going and going.

Still, I was toying with blog titles about being mortal finally since I was slower than last week. But then the pace kept getting better and not getting worse, and the miles piled up, and I decided I would try to push the last few miles to see if I could run 7:30 pace with end of marathon fatigue. So I pushed it a little for the last 1.6 miles. And the body responded! Mile 18 was 7:28, and for the last 0.57 I cranked it up to 7:16!

I'm going with Awesome.

 50.5 miles for the week. Looking forward to 20 next Sunday after a rest day on Saturday.

Monday, January 12, 2015

At Seventeen I Learned the Truth

For you youngsters, here is the soundtrack for this week's training bloop. None of the lyrics have anything to do with running, but my long run is At Seventeen (miles), so I thought of this song...

But I have a whole week of (awesome) runs to catch you up on. Warning, this bloop is filled with splits for running nerds and no pictures.

Last week went great, so I just hoped to keep the mojo rolling as I kept increasing the miles. Five runs, 48+ miles. I was going to keep raising the bar as long as my body was taking it.

Monday was rest day. Tuesday was my usual 7 mile group run. I didn't turn it into a tempo this time, but a nice little progression that finished strong. I was saving something for Wednesday.

 Wednesday is interval day. It was a bigger group than usual, maybe 40 people, which I blame on resolutionists. Fast group too! Everyone seemed to be faster than normal. Including me!

Intervals always makes for a nice pace chart.


Warmup, then some accelerations, and then 3x400. First two at 5K pace, then 1 fast one. I tend to go out a little fast, and then cruise to try and stay at the requested pace. But I always go too fast. 94, 94, 83!

Then we did 3x800; 10K pace, 5K pace, mile pace. After sprinting, 10K pace feels like jogging. Again I was too fast. 3:20, 3:07, 2:52!

That 2:52 is my fastest 800 since college. And it felt great! I could have gone faster.

Then we did a 1200, with two laps at 10K pace, and then a hard last lap. I came through 800 in 3:20, and did the last lap in 92. And that was it, other than some short accelerations. I still was ready for more! Feeling good!

Thursday I went out for a third day in a row for an easy 6. But I got caught up competing with a stranger who was ahead of me, and then after I passed him he stayed on my butt despite my acceleration...

Friday was a gym day, and then I got ready for a big weekend.

Saturday I skipped the mountain goat run and instead did 10.4 miles in my local hills. It was rainy but 55, so perfect for running. Plenty of challenging hills, but not so mountainous that I had to walk, so I maintained a pretty good clip, and was working it.

Still feeling strong! So Sunday would be 17+ on my flat course. Again it was misty/drizzly but not too cold. My body was tired, so I figured I wouldn't be able to match last week's awesome 16 with 8 at 7:44. But I hoped to stay sub-8 for the last half.

Well, I just started clipping along and the pace dropped, and it felt comfortable, so I kept pushing it. Damned if I didn't get faster this week. By the end I was tiring, but the pace was steady. No bonking. I think the cool weather helps some. And my Hoka Cliftons are still the bomb after 430 miles. And I guess I'm just getting into good shape. At seventeen I learned the truth. That I am going to kick some butt at my next marathon. I started calculating what 7:30 pace would get me...


Today I rest. This week will be more of the same. Can't wait.

Monday, January 5, 2015

I Think '15 is Gonna be a Good Year

In case you're not already is the soundtrack for this bloop.

Last week was another series of awesome workouts which has me feeling overoptimistic. I even had to brave some bad weather.

Tuesday: It was cold and rainy for the evening run. OK, cold for us, maybe 45. I stepped out of my car into a 3" deep stream, so the feet were soaked from the get go. Only a small group of hard core runners showed up at the LRS for the Tuesday group run. I thought about running in my Boston jacket, but decided at the last minute to just go with a long sleeve t and shorts. Cold to start, but worked out fine. It was raining and a bit windy, but that just motivated me to run hard. So I did.

I was pretty well rested after a cutback week and a zero on Monday, so I decided to push it a little for a Tuesday Tempo. I had a running buddy to push me too, so I went out a little faster than normal, and then continued to push. By mile 4 I had lost him and it was just me vs. the elements. Lots of puddles to run through. I felt good and kept pushing more, while keeping it in control. By the last 2.5 miles I was at or under 7:30 and feeling strong!

That may be the best time ever on a Tuesday run!

Took Wednesday off for New Year's Eve, although I was in bed by 11.

Thursday was a holiday, so I got to get a daytime run in before settling in for 8 hours of football. Decided on my 9-mile hilly route and tried to take it easy. The usual fail at going slow. I just can't.

Still feeling good.

Friday I hit the gym, and Saturday was Mountain Goat day. We were still in our cold spell. It may have been below 40 as we headed up into the hills. Certain canyons certainly were cold, as there was still frost on the trail. Even one patch of ice! I tried to run on it, just to say I did, but it cracked and I didn't feel like wet feet so I hopped off.

11 1/2 miles, with over 2000 feet of elevation, and I was working it.


Which leads me to Sunday. I am building up for a marathon, so I have been doing doubles every weekend. Goat runs on Saturday and longer flat runs Sunday on tired legs. But I still want to hit marathon pace if I can. Without working too hard....

So I did 16+, and felt pretty decent from the beginning, and I let the ponies run.

7:44 average for the last 8! I'm kind of in shock at the improvements I'm making. Strong finish too. At this point I am ahead of where I was in 2012 when I BQ'd. Looking forward to seeing how far I can take this.

Another thing. I ran by several friends during the run. One from Tuesday group in mile 2. A friend from Wednesday track group in mile 4. Then a mountain goat at mile 8 and again at mile 13. The trifecta! All I needed was to spot a loopster. No luck. BUT, I heard a walker call my name, and it was Jacqueline Hansen (famous runner) who I now call a friend. Very cool.

So, Life is good! Looking forward to what this week has in store.