Monday, October 19, 2015

100 10Ks

I've been running for some time now. And keeping track of everything. And my race coming up this week will be my 100th 10K race. So I am taking the opportunity to dig into the numbers and summarize. Because that's what I like to do.

First 10K: June 17th, 1978. I was 16. Just finished Sophomore year in high school. I had a couple years of cross country and track under my belt, so I was already "a runner". But this would be my longest race yet. It was the Diet Pepsi Race Series in Minneapolis, which was a big deal then during the early running boom, with 50 races across the country. I ran the whole race with my brother and finished in 36:55, or 5:57/mile. And that was only good for 143rd place! And 50th in my AG! Lots of fast runners back then...

Before then most races were in miles. 5 miles, 10 miles, 3 miles, or just random distances between landmarks. 10,000 meters sounded exotic and European and Olympic and like we were "real" racers. After that, 10K became the norm for new road races, of which there were many. For years it was the dominant distance. Rarely would you see a 5K, and we "serious runners" would sniff at them as not worth our time. It wasn't until the late 90's when I started piling up 5Ks. (63 of those).

I continued to get faster for a few years until I ran my lifetime PR of 34:03 at age 19, while a freshman at Stanford. My roommate paced me for that one. He had a PR of about 30 minutes, so it was a training run for him, but it sure helped me stay at 5:30 pace. Then I got hurt, discovered partying, and gave up serious running.

I ran:
17 10Ks before age 21
40 10Ks before age 30
72 10Ks before age 40
92 10Ks before age 50

I have run at least one 10K in every calendar year since 1978, except 1984.

Age Group PRs:
16-19: 34:03
20-29: 39:32
30-34: 40:10
35-39: 44:08
40-44: 41:25 (I had a 39:55 at age 40, but I think the course was short)
45-49: 44:16
50-54: 42:58

I've run 18 races under 40 minutes, 9 over 50 minutes, and 72 between 40-50. I made a scatter graph.

10ks You can see how I peaked early, then gradually got slower, and then had a rebirth after 2009 when I joined the Loop. And still getting faster. A 10K this February was my fastest in 12 years (42:58).

I have run one local race 18 times, another one 15 times, and a third one 13 times.

Slowest race: January 26, 1986. My first Redondo Beach Super Bowl 10K, the one I have done 18 times. Abdominal travails made me drop in mile 3 and spend at least 15 minutes in a restroom of a bar on the course. Then I slow-walked the rest of the way to avoid further disaster. Finished in 95 minutes just before they shut down the finish line.

I pushed my son in a baby jogger in 7 10Ks from 1994-1998. He was under 3 months on the first and 4 for the last. (BJPR of 43:09 when he was 2)

It's fun to review my spreadsheet and relive memories from all these races. Good thing I don't keep all the t-shirts. I remember little snippets from the races. People I ran with. Different girlfriends or loopsters or wives that accompanied me. Racing Sassafras to a tie in 2011 in an early Loop meetup. Finally getting a top-10 AG medal on the 13th try of my local race. Racing (and beating) my first wife's ex-boyfriend on a hot day in Huntington Beach in 1995. Jogging a course around Stanford's campus during my 10-year reunion. Running alone through a beautiful, deep forest in San Diego county in a race with only 25 people. A race on the track where I discovered 25 laps is not a fun way to do 10,000 meters. A fourth of July tradition for 5 straight years in Excelsior, Minnesota. A getaway weekend in Laguna Beach for a 10K up and down the canyon. A cross country run in a park. A run around a refinery sponsored by Mobil. A trek across the desert near Las Vegas. Getting beat by a Christmas tree. I could go on and on. And that's just the 10Ks.

I've done one other trail 10K, my 2nd slowest in 60:15. It was a brutally hilly turkey trot. This week's also has a nasty hill, so I expect to be close to 60 again. It will be fun to run with my old high-school buddies in a beautiful setting in Napa Valley. And beat them.

Looking forward to the next 100.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Back Into the Fray (10K RR)

My last race (not counting Ragnar) was July 4th. THREE MONTHS AGO!

Clearly it has been too long. But I have finally shaken the injury bug and got back to normal running. So that means racing about every month. This week was the Manhattan Beach 10K, an old favorite local race that I have run 15 times now. Many of my local runner friends were there, especially from my speedy track group, Club Ed. It's a rolling course with one nasty hill in mile 5 and several other ups and downs. And the finish is along the beach, where this kind of stuff was going on.

My goals were modest. I knew I wasn't ready to shoot for a PR or course record yet. Two years ago I ran 43:14 here, but last year was 45:33 on tired legs the week after the Grand Canyon. This year I figured I could shoot for 45:00, about 7:15 pace, but I figured I would be happy with anything under 46. The plan was to try and start out slow, maybe 7:45, and gradually speed up and try to have an enjoyable race, without all the suffering and agony of trying to "do my best".

But who was I kidding, right? Once the race is underway I'm always pushing my limits. Well, I would try.

I positioned myself a little further back, behind my club mates, and went out at an easy pace. I was relaxed. I wasn't weaving for no reason. Just right. First peek at lap pace showed 7:55. Great!

But then I began to pass people. I saw a few club mates that I knew I should be passing. And would be passing. But I cruised along patiently and tried to relax. Still, by 1/2 a mile my lap pace was down to 7:30's. As I hit mile one I checked my watch. 7:23.

P1160014 - Copy
 Well, fine. I still felt good.

Of course that trend meant I was really going much faster. Early in mile two I checked lap pace and it was 6:48. Oh, hell no! I dialed it back and tried to relax. Long way to go. It may be fun to run fast and pass people, but I had to consider the 5 miles yet to come, and the hills and my lack of training!

So I tried to stay within myself. A teammate who is 67 and always wins his age group (M) was just ahead of me. I knew I would (probably) catch him at some point, but for now I was happy to keep him in sight and trail him. Made it over a few hills and wasn't dying yet, so that was good. Mile two was 7:09. Waved hello to the wife. See, I'm still having fun!

In mile 3 I started passing a few teammates who had gone out too fast. But M hung with me for about two miles before I dropped him, It helped to have the company. Mile 3 was 7:15 and mile 4 was 7:10. So I figured I was pretty close to pace. But with the big hill coming in mile 5 I knew I would give some back. But I also knew that I always do well in the last mile along the beach. So I was holding out hope to still finish about 45:00.

Of course the pain was now aboard for the ride. But, not too bad. I was still running to plan - hard, but not "crazy I think I'm going to die to get a PR" hard. "In control" was my mantra. So as the hill approached I tried to just keep running until I was over the top. It's nasty.

mb10 I shuffled over while gasping for air, but as I crested I immediately felt better and opened up my stride for that big downhill. Mile 5 included the up and down and was 7:33.

Now we were on the beach bike path with a flat mile to go. Again I tried to save something. Long way to go. Too soon to "kick". I was accelerating, but I calculated that sub 45 was not likely. No need to kill myself. But I was certainly working hard, and eventually I found some people to race and kicked it in. Mile 6 was 7:08.

The finish is down a little hill to the pier. DW's camera shutter jammed a little, but I think it makes for an artistic shot.

 Here's another view.

Last .25 was 6:08 pace for a 45:07. I'll take that as a win. Finished 196th overall and 15th in my tough AG.

Here's a shot of the finish area at the beach - what a great course.

And here is a group shot of my team, many of whom picked up AG medals.
 Fun times! And just the beginning of a fun and busy day! After refueling and a glorious nap, DW and I went out to a party hosted by a chef in beautiful Palos Verdes, where the food was amazing. Then we also managed to head over to the Hollywood Bowl to see Idina Menzel in concert. She was very entertaining and sounded fantastic.

Life is good.
Postscript: Got some official pics that are pretty good. I seem to be levitating over the finish line!