Saturday, April 30, 2016

Race Report: Redskins Draft Day 5k

Redskins Draft Day 5k - Race Report

Today I raced the "Redskins Draft Day 5k".  This race starts in the parking lot outside the Redskins football stadium (actually in Maryland across the river from DC) and ends on the 50 yard line inside the stadium.  It sounds kind of fun to run onto the field from the player's tunnel and be on the big screen TV (for about 2 seconds).  I've always been "sort of" a football fan and it does give me a "kick" to be on the field.

But really, the selling point of the race for me is; 1) It fits well in my schedule, with my goal race two weeks away; 2) It should be pretty flat and may give me a chance for a PR; 3) it is the closest race around this weekend I could find.

Small race downside:  It's a little over an hour from my house.

BIG race downside:  the race START is 11:30.  What?  I didn't notice this when I signed up.  Never thought to look at the race start time, because it's always around 8:00, right?  I've never had a race start after 8:00 before, so I need to modify my preparation.  Up side, I can sleep in!


If I want to beat my existing PR of 18:41, I need to run very slightly faster than 6:00 pace.  So, that's the plan:  6:00 pace for the first two miles...maybe 2.5 miles, then pick it up (if I can) at the end to come in between 18:35 - 18:30.  The race ends on the 50 yard line of the Redskins field, so I figure the adrenaline of being on the field, and being on the big screen, will give me a little extra emotional push to finish fast.  Plus, the Redskins cheerleaders will be at the finish line to help me gut it out.  Can't deny it....I do have the Y chromosome.

Race Day

I was able to sleep in, which was nice and I got the best sleep ever the night before the race.  Had a normal breakfast, processed, and left the house about 9:00.  Arrived at the stadium at 10:00, way ahead of schedule, but better than being late.  Parked and spent a few minutes walking around the course, chatting with people, etc. 

11:00 did my warm-up routine, 2 miles of easy running, 4 strides and I'm ready to go.  Luckily today is overcast and cool for this time of year, temp at the start of the race was in the low 50's.

At the start line I was next to three George Mason University cross country team members, so I knew my chance of a top 3 finish (only overall Top 3 get an award) was out. 

The Course

The course was super wonky.  We basically ran back and forth in a section of the parking lot, then at about 2.5 miles we went into the stadium ran along a concourse (where you would buy food if you were there for a game), down a ramp....literally back and forth down a ramp...then a bunch of tight confusing turns, then finally into the tunnel to the stadium and onto the field to finish on the 50 yd line.   There must have been about 20 turns of 90 degrees or more.

It was pretty hilly as well, and since we were going back and forth in the lot, that meant up hill - turn - downhill - turn - uphill, etc.

To be fair, the race was not announced as a sanctioned course, or as the highlight of the day.  It was only part of a larger day of Redskins activities, there were autograph signings, people tailgating (I don't know why), folks buying game tickets, etc.  The course was also not announced as sanctioned, etc.  There were bands at two spots with drum line playing music, a couple cheer zones, and an obstacle course (thankfully this was optional), and I was able to run right past it.

So, how did I do?   Well, I don't really know.  I will swear the course was long, and since I was inside the stadium for 1/2 a mile, so no GPS for the watch.  My total time was 19:52, which is pretty slow for me, but the last 1/2 mile was quite technical....and like I said I think the course was long.

  • Mile 1: 5:52.  A little too much adrenaline, and slightly more downhill than up.  Not feeling bad.
  • Mile 2:  6:03.  (thru 2 miles in 11:55).  Pretty much on plan.  But I am starting to get gassed.  Oh yeah, and the mile markers are seriously off.  For a lot of this mile I ran next to a guy pushing a stroller.  At some point before going into the stadium I got ahead of him.  But, that was a first for me.  Puts things in perspective...something I can remember when I start thinking I'm really doing something and I need shoes that weigh 1 oz. less.
  • Last 1.1:  ?  My watch stopped working at some point during mile 3 because we went inside the stadium.  Then, when we came back out onto the field I was in a different spot.  My watch says I ran mile 3 in 6:35, then the partial of mile 4 at 10:00 pace.  So, who knows?
Overall time:  19:52....but I don't think it's a "real" 5k time....I finished 6th overall of about 500 men.

So, I'll chalk this up to an experience running a funky course with an 11:30 start.  I did get a side stitch toward the end of mile 2, which hasn't happened in other races which start earlier in the morning.  So, I'll have to figure out how / what / when to eat for a mid-day race...if I ever have one again.

I got to run thru a helmet to start the race.  About 1,000 folks behind me had to funnel thru this helmet to start the race.  I was about 4th thru, so no slow down there.  When the actual race started Redskins cheerleaders lined both sides of the course right after the helmet.

My goal race for this Spring is a 10k in two weeks.....stay tuned.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Training Log - Week Ending April 24

Week 17 of my 20 week plan....

This week I'm back to higher mileage, with no racing.  I have scheduled a 5k for next week and a 10k in three weeks.  So, for this week I have speed workouts on Wed and Fri and a long run on Sunday with the last 5 miles at a faster pace.  Other runs are at an easier pace.

FINALLY have Spring weather all week.  And, the sun is up around 6:30, so I can get out on the paths before work without extra layers, and see without a head lamp.  Nice!

Also my first repeats I've ever done @ mile pace.....ever.   And it was fun!  I feel really fast cranking out 5:20 pace 200's!  Makes me realize how far I've come since last year.

Total Miles:  45
Long Run:  15 (with last 5 @ 6:45 pace)
Weight:  138

Daily Detail:

  • Monday - off.  Recovery from Sunday's race.
  •  Tuesday - 6 miles on W&OD in Herndon + 4 strides.  Nice weather!  Easy pace, about 7:50.  Dynamic stretching.  Foam rolling. hip mobility.  core work.
  • Wednesday - 10 miles with 4 x 4:00 @ 10k pace, then 4 x :45 @ 5k pace.  Ran this on the treadmill, did the faster efforts at 1% incline.  Man, this workout really hurt.  Maybe I'm not fully recovered from Sunday's race...or maybe it is just supposed to hurt.  The 4:00 @ 10k were really quite hard, the :45 at 5k not so bad.  Upper body strength, ITB routine, single leg deadlifts (with weight), single leg squats.
  • Thursday - 3 miles easy.....loosen up.  Dynamic stretching, foam rolling, static stretch for hip flexors.
  • Friday - 8 miles with 6 by :45 @ mile pace (5:20) with 1:15 jog recovery.  Had planned on doing 4, but felt good, and was having fun running at 5:20 pace, so did an extra 2.
  • Saturday - easy 3 miles strides (which were planned).  Both IT Bands felt "tight".  didn't hurt, but they were "there" took it really easy.  This is probably two fast workouts on Wed and Friday...hopefully not a real issue.  Dynamic stretching and foam rolling. Hip flexors stretches.
Sunday - Plan says "15 miles with last 5 at Steady State pace".  I've decided to replace Steady State with HM means more to me.  Not sure my coach would like the change...but there it is.  So I ran on the W&OD in Leesburg and went thru the first 10 miles @ 7:30 pace or so.  Then, I picked it up and ran the last 5 about 6:45 pace.  Overall run pace was 7:16. (1:49 total running time).   Upper body strength, ITB routine, rolling and dynamic stretching.

I wasn't sure how I would hold up in the last 5 miles, but it wasn't that bad....the last mile or so required some focus, but I was never in doubt of being able to do it.   As I'm writing this, it's about 3 hours since I finished running, and I can feel it in my legs....but the feeling is getting I guess that's progress, right(?)

Good week overall....feeling strong.  Over and out.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Race Report: Loudoun 8k (and Half Marathon)

Race Report:  Loudoun 8k

Ran the Loudoun 8k (and Half Marathon) today.  This race supports the local (Loudoun County, VA) HS track teams.  So, it's a good cause (I have two kids in Loudoun County HS), and it's a nice race for me to transition from my 5k's toward my 10k race in four weeks.

This is my first race longer than 5k, so new territory and not sure how much I should slow down from 5k pace.  McMillan calculator says if my 5k pace is 6:00 (my last 5k), then I should run an 8k at 6:10 pace, which would put me around 30:40 or so if the race is actually 4.96 miles.

So, my plan.  6:10 pace and adjust faster or slower based on the hills (and there are a few).

Race start at 7:30.  So, I set my alarm at 5:20 so I can have a small breakfast of oatmeal and coffee before a short run around my neighborhood to get the blood flowing and let me "process" dinner / breakfast before leaving the house.  Good.  Left the house at 6:00 and arrived at the course around 6:40.  Good.  Right on track.

My wife (gotta love her) agreed to get up early on Sunday and go with me.  We got to the race pretty quickly, arrived at 6:45 (45 minutes before start).  I picked up my bib the day before, so no worries.

Around 7:00 I did my warm-up, and ran easy about 2 miles, plus a few strides....and I'm ready to go.  The 8k race had about 150 people, the 1/2 had more participants, and it felt like there wasn't a lot of serious competition for the 8k.

So, here's how it went:

  • Mile 1 (6:11):  The race started off on a slight downhill, and then leveled off.  I tried not to go out too fast.  Went through in 6:11, all is well.
  • Mile 2 (6:24):  I expected to slow down in mile 2 as the race profile showed this was almost all uphill.  So, 6:24 didn't bother me....still feeling okay.
  • Mile 3 (6:16):  This is NOT good.  My plan was so get back some of what I lost in mile 2 (going down hill in mile 3 and 4).  This is my first race past 5k, so I was not in new territory, and feeling like I was more tired than I "should" be.
  • Mile 4 (6:18):  Well, it's not getting any better.  I'm not getting any time back on my plan of a 6:10 overall pace.  And, mile 3 and 4 are more hilly than I expected, so I'm just getting more and more gassed.....
  • Mile 5: (6:13).  Still can't speed up.....tried to kick at the end, on the HS track....just held my pace.
  • Last bit: (:09):  My watch said I ran 5.02 miles.  An 8k is "officially" 4.96 miles....oh well.   Tangents?  Or miss- marked?  GPS?  
  • Total time:  31:31.  
 Good for 4th place overall, and 1st for my age group (40-49).  This was also good for my "racing experience", and I'll use it to remember how I felt in the later miles when I try a 10k in four weeks.

After about 3 miles into it, it felt like a time trial as the 3rd place finisher had moved significantly ahead of me, and the 5th place was about 30 seconds behind.  I find it much harder to keep my motivation when I don't have someone to chase down.....

This course was hilly, so I think I can keep the same pace for a full 10k if the course is a little flatter, and / or I have a better day.  We'll see!

Training Log - Week Ending April 17 - 8k Race!

Hello Everyone.

I'm in week 16 of my 20 week training cycle.  This week I'm running an 8k which benefits the local HS track teams....nice.  My first 8k, I've only run 5k's in the past (and only five of them).

I'm considering the 8k a "tune-up" race for a 10k I'll be doing in four weeks.  I've also scheduled a 5k in two weeks, which will also be a "tune-up".

Finished the 8k at 31:31 (6:18) on a pretty hilly course. 1st for my age group and 4th overall (small race).   See separate post titled "Race Report:  Loudoun 8k" for all the gory details.

So, this week's weekly mileage is lower than normal, go give my legs some rest in preparation for the race.

Weekly mileage: 27
Long Run:  None
Weight:  137 - down a few pounds, which feels good and maybe makes me faster?

Daily Work:

  • Monday - off.  Glad to have it since I ran 16 miles yesterday.
  • Tuesday - 4 miles on the treadmill with 4 strides.  Felt really stiff when I started, but better after a couple miles.  Core work, foam rolling, dynamic stretching.
  •  Wednesday - 7 miles with 8 x 2:00 @ 8k pace with 2:00 jog rest. Ended up doing the first 4 x 2:00 @ 6:07 pace, and the last 4 x 2:00 @ 6:11 pace....all on the treadmill @ 1% incline.  I plan to run the 8k this weekend around 6:10 pace.  Upper body strength, hip strength, foam rolling, and stretching.
  • Thursday - 5 miles easy on the treadmill.  Stretching.
  •  Friday - off.  Dynamic stretching. Foam rolling.
  • Saturday  - 3 miles easy + 4 strides.
  • Sunday - Loudoun 8k race.  Finished at 31:31 (6:18 pace).   I was hoping for a time under 31:00, but didn't have it today.  The course was quite hilly, and I couldn't seem to pick up the pace on the down hills to get some time back.  I was also a little timid as this is my first race longer than I wasn't sure how I would hold up.  2 mi warm-up + 4 strides, 5 mile race, 2 mile cool down. See separate post tagged under 'Racing' titled "Loudoun 8k"

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Training Log - Week Ending April 10

This week is week 15 of my 20 week training plan, ending in a 10k on May 15.

Well, this week started off pretty "sucky", with a sinus infection.  Looking back, I think I've been sick since Saturday last week, I just tried like hell to make it go away by not acknowledging it.  And, it might help explain my poor time trial last Sunday (but, not an excuse).  By  the end of the week I'm feelin better, but not "good".  Hoping I'll continue to get better next week.

I still ran my normal "easy 5 miles" on Monday, but then really felt like shit in the afternoon and slept from 3pm (NyQuil is GREAT), until 5:45 Tuesday morning.  Tuesday, I cut my "6 miles + 4 strides" down to 3 miles easy.  Dunno if "sweating it out" helps, but I do feel kinda' better after working out and taking a warm shower.  Placebo effect?  I did read that if I'm sick from the shoulder up (like head cold), then it's okay to run, but "shoulders down" (like bronchitis) don't run.  I felt like my symptoms called for "going running", but I'm predisposed to think that way....not nearly objective. By Wednesday, my first hard workout of the week, I was feeling somewhat better, and back on track.

I ended up running 45 miles for the week, around my highest weekly total, and completing my longest run that's good.

Next week is an 8k (my first).  A small race to raise money for a local HS track team.

Total weekly mileage:  45 mi
Long Run:  16 mi
Weight: 137 / 138 lbs - nothing like a cold to help lose a couple pounds!

Daily details:

  • Monday - 5 miles on the treadmill at an easy pace.  Averaged 8:00 pace overall.  Dynamic stretching and foam rolling.
  • Tuesday - PLAN: 6 miles on the treadmill at an easy pace + 4 strides.  I didn't feel well at all on Monday, and cut Tuesday short to just 3 miles easy and hit the shower.  Still not feeling great, but better than yesterday.  Hoping, against hope, that I'll be okay to run my hard workout tomorrow.
  •  Wednesday - 10 miles with 4 @ 4:00 @ 10k pace (6:15) and 4 x 1:30 @ 5k pace (5:55).  This workout went pretty well on the treadmill this morning.  I was able to complete the miles and all the faster paces @ 1% incline (last week I went back and forth on the 10k pace work between 0% and 1%).  Upper body strength work, ITB rehab.
  •  Thursday - off
  •  Friday - 8 miles with 4 x 200 @ 3k pace (5:40) with 200 jog recovery.  I did this on the treadmill, so instead of 200m, I did :45 @ 5:40, which would be slightly longer, with 1:15 @ 10:00 pace for my jog rest.  Dynamic and static stretching.
  •  Saturday - 3.3 miles easy around my neighborhood.  Hip mobility and strength.  Dynamic stretching.  Although yesterday's workout didn't seem that hard, my legs felt a little heavy today.  Took it real easy.
  •  Sunday - 16 miles on W&OD in Leesburg.  Avg pace = 7:24.  Happy about the effort, but feelin it the rest of the day.   ITB rehab routine + upper body strength stuff + stretching and foam rolling.
Next week I'll cut back  on the miles in prep for the 8k race on Sunday.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Training Log - Week Ending April 3 - Track Time Trial (Fail)

 Hi Everyone, another week down.  I'm getting a little excited as the weather warms up and I complete my first "real" training plan.

This is week 14 of 20 week plan, ending in a 10k with a goal time of 39:00 (I keep changing my goal time as I achieve faster paces in training and 5k races).

The plan for this week is to cut back my mileage as if I have a race on Sunday.  Then on Sunday do a 5k track time trial at the local high school.  This is not part of my original training plan, but it's been three weeks since my last 5k race, and two weeks until a 8k, so the timing feels right.

This week the weather has started to change, we had a couple warm days, allergies hit me pretty hard toward the end of the week.  I don't get allergies often, but I've had sinus headache most of the week, and it's made my energy lacking.

Sunday Time Trial: 
  • PLAN: Run a 5k on the HS track at a pace of 5:55-5:58/mile.  My goal time was 18:30. 
  • In the morning, the temp was in the mid-30's with 25-30 MPH winds with gusts up to 40 MPH.  I've never tried to run a race or a hard effort in heavy winds, I went in expecting to overcome the windy conditions by making up any time I lost heading into the wind on the down wind section.
  • Well, anybody who has experience running in heavy winds will know, you can't make up for the time lost in the "headwind" section.  And....I know too!
  • I ran the first mile in 6:00 flat, having to actually lean into the wind on some sections of the track, and working REALLY hard.
  • I crossed 1.5 miles in 9:00 and was completely blown up....and I stopped.
  • Now that I'm home, had a meal, shower, and cooled down, I feel bad that I stopped.  I should have adjusted my pace and did the work.  I think I would have ended up running somewhere around 19:30....if I would have known the impact of the wind.
  • After walking to recover, I did 2 x 400 @ 1:23 - 1:25, then 2 x 800 @ 2:55-2:57, with a walking recovery between of about 1:30.
  • So...overall I got in 3 miles of hard work...but not the time trial I planned.
  • I let my frustration with the conditions get the best of me....lesson learned.
Weekly Mileage:  30.3
Long Run:  No long run this week
Weight:  142 (too much Easter goodness, and vacation eating)

Below are the daily workouts this week:

Daily Work:
  • Monday - 4 miles on the treadmill at about 8:10 pace.  I was hurtin some from yesterday's 15 miler.  I was supposed to do 5 miles, but just wasn't "feelin it", so I cut it short to do a few extra minutes of foam rolling and dynamic stretching.
  • Tuesday - 5 miles + 4 strides on  treadmill @ Detroit hotel (business trip).  Dynmaic warmup
  • Wednesday - Plan: 10 miles including 4 x 1k @ 10k pace + 4 x 400 @ 5k pace.   On the treadmill, so it was easier to go by time than distance; so I did 4 x 4:00 @ 6:15 pace, then 4 x 1:30 @ 5:55 pace, and since I'm planning a 5k time trial on Sunday, I cut the overall mileage to 8 (not that it will make that much difference).  Dynamic stretching, ITB rehab routine, upper body strength.
  • Thursday -  4 miles easy.  Outside on streets around work.  Nice weather, easy run.  Felt good.  Dynamic stretching.  Foam rolling.  Some fatigue from yesterday. 
  • Friday - off.  No work.
  • Saturday - 3.3 miles easy around house + 4 uphill strides.  Hip mobility and strength.  Foam rolling.
  • Sunday - HS track.  2 mile warm up - 1 x 1.5 mi @ 9:00, 2 x 400 @ 1:23-1:25, 2 x 800 @ 2:55-2:57 - all in heavy winds. 2 mile cool down.  About 7 miles total.  ITB rehab work, single leg dead lifts and squats, core work.  Foam rolling., dynamic stretching.
Back to higher mileage next week.....