Sunday, August 13, 2017

Breaking3ProjectPhilly - Week 4 (Pain In The Ass)

Hello Readers.

Update:  World Championships:
  • Jenny Simpson taking home Silver in the 1500 with a blazing finish.  Great race!
  • US Can Steeple or What?!
    • Evan Jager - Bronze.
    • Emma GOLD / Courtney Frerichs SILVER!  US goes 1-2.  Biggest surprise, and best finishing celebration of the meet!  Worth finding the video online if you haven't seen this one.  Letsrun.com has it.
So, this weeks' injury is literally a Pain In The Ass.  Officially diagnosed by the PT as "Right Gluteus Medius".  I started feeling it after Tuesday's MLR that was faster than planned, I feel it more on side and above to the rear of the "hip joint" (That's as technical as you're going to get).  Went to PT Thursday and Saturday.  Cut down Thursday's run, took Saturday off - moving LR to Sunday.  LR cut down a few miles.  Hoping I can keep it "under control" by cutting down the mileage some and get back to full strength next week.

I looked up all the recommended strength work and stretches for the Gluteus Medius and I'm already doing all of them.  Only thing I did read is to focus on the eccentric portion of the exercise, which I don't do - noted.  So, I guess it's a combination of getting older and over-doing it; building up the mileage too fast and at pace this is too fast.  Maybe someday I'll learn.  Maybe not.  Frustrating, self-inflicted injury.

Side Note:  Marathon fueling - while I was watching the WC Women's marathon the commentator (Josh Cox), noted that in training you need to practice fueling "at race pace".  In my last marathon build-up, I did practice fueling, but at a slower than race pace and had "problems" during the race - noted.


_______

Weekly Mileage: 55
Long Run:  N/A
Weight:  ?
_________

Every run: Leg swings / Lunge matrix before and foam rolling / dynamic stretching after.
  • Monday: GA 9.1 @ 8:00 pace.  Feeling okay.  Core work.
  •  Tuesday: MLR 13.5  @ 7:17 pace....a little too fast.  Running with a friend and talking the whole time, so maybe not?  But, yeah...probably too fast.  Strength work -  KG swings / pull ups / dumb bell bench press / single leg squats. 
  • Wednesday: 5 Easy @ 8:30 pace.  Yesterday took more out of me than I realized.  Lesson learned.  ITB rehab work.  Extra hip mobility stuff.  "Right butt / hip" not right.  Damn it!
  • Thursday: MLR 11.  GA 9.  Hip not right, cut back from planned 11 miles.  Core work.  Hip mobility / myrtle.  PT - worked on right hip.
  • Friday: 5.2 Easy.  Hip works.  Probably should have taken today off.  Only a recovery run anyway.
  • Saturday: OFF.  PT.  Work on Right Gluteus Medius.  Found the spot...and it hurt like the dickens while he worked on it. 
  • Sunday: 13 MLR.  Cut down from planned 17 miles.  Hip doing better.  I was ready to shut it down as soon as it got beyond a slight annoyance.  Never did.  Strength work - except skipping single leg dead lifts and squats in case if aggravates the injury.  Hip strength / myrtle.  Couldn't really "feel" the injury during the exercises - either it's not that bad or I'm not doing it right, or both.

Onward....

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Breaking3ProjectPhilly - Week 3 (AMY CRAGG + Recovering)

Hello Runners.

Update:  World Championships:
  • amy cragg. Amy Cragg. AMY CRAGG.  AMY CRAGG!! Taking down the WC Marathon bronze metal, with a huge push, and big finishing kick.  Motivation.  I actually got up from the couch and stood in front of the TV, yelling "Go Amy" for the last 800m.  My wife was slightly amused, but not really.
  • Mo Farah - ANOTHER Gold metal.  Guy is insane.  My wife not amused at all as I prance around the living room doing the Mobot.
Injury - Recovering:


My "rehab" process goes something like this; 1) Go to physio; 2) Go for a run; 3) Report back to physio how I'm doing - improvement / pain in new spot / hurts more / etc.  4) Modify treatment; 5) Rinse and repeat.

Details of the rehab: 

Last week - Wednesday:  ART, STEM.  Thursday - dry needling / STEM.  Saturday same as Wednesday.

Monday rehab was like Saturday - EXCEPT on Monday I also got "traction" (hanging upside down) and work on my lower back and hamstring (all on left side).  This is after I noticed that when he "pushes down on the left side of  my lower back to stretch is out some my Achilles "tightens".  So, maybe tightness in lower back is doing something?  Dunno - but he worked on that too.  ("Hip bones connected to the....thigh bone....").


I'm making progress.  After not really being able to run on it at all Thursday - Monday (1/2 mile efforts to determine that "Yes, I can't run on this), I was able to run 5 miles easy on the TM Tuesday morning.  Yay!  Calf still hurts, but the pain is dull and not enough that it changes my "gait" (I don't think) or that I want to stop running. So...progress!

Wednesday I increased my run to 7 miles, and had another treatment like Monday.  Wednesday also included a new "treat" - working on my ITB.  Shit, that hurt!  But, I think it helped.

Thursday - Saturday; feeling back to normal.  Thursday did a pretty good tempo workout, and 15 mile long run on Saturday with 5 miles at MP (although I have to re-learn what MP feels like).

Guess who's back, back again
Shady's back, tell a friend    
~ Slim Shady

Not being able to run for a few days gave me a new appreciation for my health.  Re-focused on injury prevention.....

Side Note:  I forgot my watch Friday morning, so I ran my "6 miles easy" by following a known route, and just "going for a run".  Quite "freeing" actually.  Might try it again on future easy runs.

_______

Weekly Mileage: 43
Long Run: 15
Weight:  ?
_________

Every run: Leg swings / Lunge matrix before and foam rolling / dynamic stretching after.
  • Monday:  NOPE.  Can't run.
  •  Tuesday: 5 mi easy on TM - around 8:10 pace.  Calf is dull ache, but much better.  Kettlebell swings / pull ups / dumb bell bench press.
  • Wednesday: 7-8 mi GA.  Physio.
  • Thursday: 9 miles with 4 @ tempo (6:23 / 6:16 / 6:27 / 6:18).  Pretty fast tempo pace for me, probably due to having so many days off (slight taper effect?).  Core work.
  • Friday: 6 mi. easy. No watch.
  • Saturday: LR - 15 w / 5 @ MP (6:31 / 6:58 / 6:38 / 6:53 / 6:40).   Goal MP is 6:50 - so I have some work to do on MP feel.  Strength / ITB work.  Heat got to me, feeling pretty beat the rest of the day.  Physio visit, probably last one (for a while).
  • Sunday: Walk recovery.  2 miles.

Onward....

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Breaking3Project Philly - Week 2 (And Already Injured...F*@k)

Hello Runners.

Week 2 of my 18 week plan following Pfitz "Advanced Marathoning" which maxes out at 70 mpw.

Last week started off with an LT run.  This week I don't have any "faster paced" runs, but do have a 12 miler mid week and 16 mile LR with 8 @ MP on Saturday. 


I came into the week feeling pretty much recovered from last Saturday's LR, and ready to roll.  The temps are still pretty high, so I have to remind myself to keep the paces on the higher end of the range...at least not at the fastest end (like I did last week).  And then.....I got hurt.

So....I'm only on week 2, and ALREADY hurt.  Damn it!  Now I'm second guessing if I was ready for the Pfitz 70 mpw plan.....but this is probably more frustration talking than anything else.  I've done this mileage before...

 Injury Details Blow by Blow

At the end of Tuesday's MLR, my left calf started to hurt some - in a new spot from prior "hurts", not bad, but also NOT right.  (Last Fall the came calf had a strain high on the outside - this is more in the "belly" of the calf muscle where the larger part of the muscle tapers down to the smaller part).

Then, about 3 miles into my easy run on Wednesday it started to hurt again.

Last Fall I waited WAY too long to have it worked on, and it took quite a while to get it resolved.  This time, I'm heading in right away to see if I can "Nip in the bud" (as Barney Fife would say.)  So, went to see physio Wednesday afternoon, he grinded away on it (ART), and did some STEM.  Calf felt better (which is usually the case after a treatment), but I'm thinking that's as much psychological as physiological...

Thursday, I went for the planned 9 mi GA run.  About 1.5 miles in calf started hurting again, kind or worse, and a "sharper" pain.  Feels like in the main "belly" of the muscle.  I walked back to the car, and scheduled another appointment Thursday afternoon with the physio and got some "dry needling" done.

Dry needling did the trick last Fall, so I'm hoping this will give me some relief.  If you've never had dry needling, you're missing a "treat".  Using acupuncture needles, the therapist tries to find the spot that is hurting and jabs needles right into it.  This is supposed to "break up / relieve" the inflammation / impingement, etc.  I know when he hits the right spot, because it hurts.  If he hits a spot that is not injured, it doesn't hurt.  Well....he hit a couple "good" spots.  (It actually looks worse than it feels).  Then, some STEM, cold pack, and go home.

Saturday treatment like Wednesday....ART, STEM, cold pack.  Doc says "try running on it tomorrow to see if / how we're progressing".

Sunday - I "try" to run.  Still hurts.  I do about 1/2 mile of jogging / walking and call it a day.  Damn it!

The physio I go to is interesting - he told me last year he NEVER tells runners to NOT run.  His experience is, once he says this to runners he never sees them again.  So, I can't really ask him "should I run".  I think he's good at what he does, but he's not a "runner specialist".  Last time, when I was hurt I tried to run through it, and I'm sure that prolonged the injury.  So, this time I forcing myself to NOT run Friday thru Sunday.  Don't care if it "feels pretty good" while I'm laying on the couch, I'm still NOT running.  The way I can enforce this rule is to tell my wife "I'm not running this weekend cause my calf hurts" - this way I KNOW I'll get "the look" as soon as I put my running shoes on.  "The look" is enough to keep me from heading out.

I have some comfort from Pfitz regarding missing a few workouts - to paraphrase his Advanced Marathoner book "If you miss 2 1/2 weeks and you have 14 weeks to the race, it's no big deal".  By taking Friday - Sunday off, I'm "only" missing one workout, which was scheduled for Saturday.  That workout is a biggie - "16 w / 8 @ MP".  But, better to skip that and get back to pain free running sooner....



Hopefully I can get back to running this week.  But, right now it ain't looking good....

I'm TRYING to stay positive and NOT be a total ass to those around me - you runners know what I mean.  My wife has already put me on "attitude warning".  She is great about my running, when I'm not running is when I'm harder to live with. (and even then, she is great).

Spent too much time Sunday obsessively reading about how much conditioning runners lose from long periods off due to injury.  Doesn't really matter, because if I can't run pain-free, I can't run....nothing I can do about it except "aggressively" try to solve it.  It will heal when it does.  This is one of those times when being an older runner is a real disadvantage...we just heal slower.
_______

Weekly Mileage: 23
Long Run: N/A
Weight:  ?
_________

Every run: Leg swings / Lunge matrix before and foam rolling / dynamic stretching after.
  • Monday:  GA - 8.2 mi. with 7 x 100m strides (I was supposed to do 10 strides, but just got kinda tired and cut them short).  Found a new route, nice.  Pace = 8:05.  Feeling "recovered" from last Saturday's LR.
  •  Tuesday: MLR 12 miles on WOD.  Avg pace = 7:32.  Still a little too fast, I think...but felt okay.  Temps are better this morning.  Strength work including kettle bell swings and leg curls emphasizing the eccentric phase...maybe I can "fix" hamstring cramps late in a marathon?  Left calf started to hurt toward the end of the run....
  • Wednesday: Recovery - 5 mi EASY.  8:23 pace.  Left calf started to hurt again about 3 miles in.   Got in to see the PT grinding on it and then STEM.
  • Thursday: GA - 9 mi.  Calf started hurting around 1.5 miles in.  Stopped immediately and walked back.  PT - dry needling.
  • Friday: Recovery - OFF.  Resting leg. 
  • Saturday: LR - 16 w / 8 @ MP.   Strength / ITB work.  Heat got to me, feeling pretty beat the rest of the day.  Physio visit.  ART / STEM.
  • Sunday: Recovery walk.  Light core work.  Foam rolling and stretching.

Stay tuned...comments welcome.

Monday, July 24, 2017

2017 Half Year Review

Wassup Runners?!

Well, 2017 is a little over half gone.  I tend to be very much "in the moment" with my running and lose perspective on the gradual progress that happens as the weeks pile up.  So, it's good for me to every so often look back at a decent stretch of time and see if / how my running has improved (or not), what I've right and wrong, and generally "take stock" of where I am. 

Now is a good time to do this, since the Spring / early Summer races are over, and I'm starting my Fall marathon build up.

Highlights So Far This Year:
  • Injury Free
    • My main goal this year, and every year, is to avoid injury.
    • I figure if I can avoid injury, I'm better off overall with every aspect of running.
    • I've learned / been able to notice when little niggles start and back off / strength train to avoid it becoming an issue that keeps me from running.
  • Consistency
    • I've run very close to my planned mileage every week this year.
    • Only weeks off were after a marathon, when I should be off....
  • Fun
    • Yep.  Still having fun.
  • Learning to "Feel" pace
    • What is "Easy" pace?  Well, I've learned (for the most part) to let how I feel dictate my easy pace.  I've had a tendency to call 8:00/mile "easy" pace.  Easy has no pace. 
    • What do the various race paces feel like?  Can I go faster?  Am I gonna blow up?
      • Getting better at feeling where I am with my effort.  Very much still work in progress, but I am making gains....
  • I don't know (yet) how to pace and fuel for a marathon.
    • Pretty big crash and burn in my first marathon attempt....
    • BIG TO DO:  Figure this shit out.  I have some direction, now I gotta find what works for me and NOT be an idiot on race day.
 Each of the above things, I think, help with getting fitter and faster, and improve race times.  And, I think I did get fitter the first half of the year.  I also learned a little more about my limits....
Races
I've run a number of new (for me) race distances this year.  I like the challenge of figuring out how to run these various distances. Below is a summary of my 2017 races so far this year:

  • RNR DC Marathon (March)
    • First marathon
    • COMPLETE crash and burn after 23 miles - walking the last two miles @ 15:00 /mile
    • Was on pace for about 3:02 time, and cramped up, crashed, disoriented, and the whole bit during mile 24.
    • What did I learn?  
      • Marathons are nothing to mess with.
      • My pacing was stupid
      • My fueling didn't work
    • Next Step:  Don't forget what happened.  Find solutions.  Try it again.
  • GW Parkway 10 Miler (April)
    • First 10 mile race
    • Executed well.  Finished about 1 minute faster than McMillan predictor based on last HM
    • What did I learn?
      • I can push harder when I'm competing directly against other folks, much better than "time trialing" at a "set pace".
      • What it feels like to be "just below" the red line, and stay there.
    • Next steps:  Remember "that" feeling, the feeling when a race goes well and I exceed my expectations
  •  Apple Blossom 10k (May)
    • Got sick the week of the race, still sick when I did race.
    • The course was tough (lotsa hills / some pretty steep)
    • I got down on myself for not meeting my expectations - took me a few days to get over it.
    • I PR'd by 13 seconds 
    • What did I learn?
      • I need to adjust my expectations based on circumstances (like being sick / slow course)
      • A friend reminded me with this quote "Hey Dumbass, you were sick, the course is notoriously slow and you PR'd" (Dumbass added by me).  Words to live by.
  • Twilight 4 Miler (June - PM race)
    • First 4 miler - first time EVER running after 12 noon.
    • 7:30 PM race...and I didn't die.  Actually had some fun.  Nice experience.
  • Firecracker 5k (July)
    • 5k PR is 18:41 set on this course in perfect March weather last year.
    • Last July 4, finished in 19:15.
    • This year on July 4, finished in 18:50.  I'm calling it progress.
 Bottom Line:  My consistency and higher weekly mileage this Spring has resulted in some good race times and improved fitness.  (I need to read this line back to myself once every few weeks)

Next up:  Philly marathon on November 19 with a few races along the way.



Sunday, July 23, 2017

Breaking3ProjectPhilly...And So It Begins

Hello Runners.

So...hopefully you got the pun in the title.  This week I begin my "Breaking3ProjectPhilly", as I'll be running the Philly Marathon on November 19, and will try to break 3 hours.  Not nearly as big a deal as Nike's project, but an important goal for me.

Not sure if I can actually break 3:00; but it does sound much better than "Breaking 3 hours and 5 minutes project" right?  In my only marathon earlier this year, I finished in 3:23.  But, I COMPLETELY crashed and walked the last 2 miles.  I was on 3:00 - 3:02 pace through 23 miles.  I know what you're thinking....that's what everyone says when they crash as mile 23.   However, my Half time from last Fall of 1:25:40; and my 10-mile time of this Spring of 1:03:06 indicate I could be close to a 3 hour marathon if EVERYTHING goes right.

So, IF training goes well, and IF I execute a good pacing strategy AND I get my fueling right AND I have a good day AND the weather is good AND I don't completely spazz, THEN I might actually do it!  See, easy.

No - I won't be on a Monza F1 track. No - I don't have 6 interchangeable pacers to block the wind for me. No - I won't have dudes on scooters bringing me my special magic elixir every 5k.  But, I will have my good friend Kyle along side me going for the same pace.  I will have thousands of other runners around me and maybe some of them will also be going for the same time.

I also won't have a pace car with a giant clock / windscreen and green laser pointers to keep me on pace.  But, I have sent a nicely worded e-mail to the Philly marathon organizers asking permission to have my wife ride in front of me on her bike with a big cardboard wind block attached to the seat and laser pointers coming from the rear wheel.  No word back yet - fingers crossed.

I'll be using the Pfitz "Advancted Marathon" 18-week plan that maxes out at 70 mpw.  Some of the weeks looks a little daunting, I'll modify as needed when / if I start to feel over-trained.  There's also a few "doubles" during the highest mileage weeks which I've never done before...that will be "interesting".  My last training cycle maxed at 60 mpw, so this is a stretch...but not TOO bad (I hope!)


The FIRST week is down, 17 to go.  Below are my planned paces and details on each day's run....

PLANNED Paces for each kind of run (in "good" conditions):
  • Easy / Recovery: based on feel.  I should feel "refreshed when done"
  • General Aerobic (GA): 7:50 - 8:30
  • LR and MLR: 7:30 - 8:10
  • MP: 6:50
  • HMP: 6:30
  • Threshold (LT): 6:25

Notes on this week:
  • Got a head cold last Saturday afternoon, and it just stuck around all week....lowering my energy levels.  Didn't seem to affect my running too much.  I think it might be allergies too...great.
  • Pretty hot this week.  All of my runs are in the early morning, but still mid-high 70's and high humidity all week. 
  • FULLY embracing easy pace for the first time ever.  Because the other days are longer runs than normal and at a slightly faster pace, my easy runs need to really be easy.  Never run so slow, but I think it's the right thing, and is what I should be doing....
  • I ran both the MLR on Tuesday and LR on Saturday at exactly 7:30 pace, the very fastest end of the pace range recommended for these runs.  This is probably too fast considering the heat and especially how tired I felt after Saturday's run.   I probably should respect these runs more going forward and slow the pace down some - they're going to get longer in future weeks and over training is a real possibility for me on this plan.
_______

Weekly Mileage: 54
Long Run: 15
Weight: 139
_________

Every run: Leg swings / Lunge matrix before and foam rolling / dynamic stretching after.
  • Monday:  9 miles with 4 @ LT - on WOD.  4 LT miles @ 6:32/6:29/6:33/6:29.  Temps in mid-70's and high humidity, so pacing about 5 seconds / mile slower than "theoretical LT" feels  about right.  Ran based on feel, and ended up pretty even.
  •  Tuesday: MLR 11 miles on WOD.  Avg pace = 7:30.  On the fastest end for this kind of run.  Linked up with a couple other runners which made the miles much easier. Light strength work.
  • Wednesday: Recovery - 5.1 mi EASY.  Pace 8:50.  Truly embracing EASY...finally.  In past training cycles my Easy runs still had a pace around 8:00 to 8:10.  I don't think they were "really" easy runs.  Today was the first day I really just let the pace go...having two solid days prior helped, as I was a little tired going into the run.  I think this is a good change for me....
  • Thursday: GA (General Aerobic) - 9.1 mi.  on WOD.  Pace = 7:58.  Core work.  Feeling okay, just REALLY hot this morning!  Took a water break / mini-bath at the water fountain....about 6 miles in.
  • Friday: Recovery - 5 mi easy.  Pace 8:40.  Thought I would feel better today, but still a slog...about the same as Wednesday.  Pretty hot too, which didn't help.
  • Saturday: LR 15.1 miles on C and O starting at first light to try and beat the heat some.  Overall 7:30 pace.   Strength / ITB work.  Heat got to me, feeling pretty beat the rest of the day.
  • Sunday: Recovery walk.  Light core work.  Foam rolling and stretching.

Stay tuned...comments welcome.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Running Log: Week Ending July 16

Hello Runners!

Transition week 2 as I change gears from shorter races to starting marathon training next week.  Not a lot to mention this week, pretty boring.

3 days in Toronto (work trip) - and a busy one at that.  Gonna be challenging to find the time to get some running in Monday - Wednesday.

Monday - Treadmill Running - the hotel "Fitness Center" consisted to two treadmills, one stepper and couple dumb bells.  No floor space.  No music.  No air.  Good view from 11th floor and a golf putting area just outside on the roof.  I pulled the yoga mats from the "gym" onto the putting area and did my dynamic stretching and myrtle work out there.  I was the only one in the "fitness center" and there was LITERALLY no space to even open the yoga mat inside.  Extra credit for effort and creativity?

Tuesday - STUPID 18 hour day working....no running.  It happens.

Wednesday - got in a good MLR with 2 miles at tempo on the Toronto water front.  12.4 miles total.  Really nice run.  Reminded me of being back home on LA coast, sort of.  Nice break from the humidity of DC.

Pic below from dinner Tuesday night at a restaurant that's 1200 feet up and does a full rotation every 72 minutes...


Saturday Long Run - building the mileage back up some....15 miles.  Getting ready for marathon training, starting next week.

 __________


Weekly Mileage: 47
Long Run: 15
Weight: Dunno
____________

Daily Work: (Legs swings / Lunge Matrix before every run.  Foam rolling / dynamic stretch after)
  • Monday:  Early flight to Toronto.  6 mile "sweatfest" on hotel TM.  Does the 11th floor of the hotel in Toronto count at "altitude" training?  First time on a TM in a long time - reminds me I don't like it.
  • Tuesday: OFF.  Work sucks.
  • Wednesday:  12.4 MLR on Toronto waterfront.  Avg 7:35 pace with 2 miles at tempo.  Flight back to DC in the afternoon.  Myrtle, and extra rolling and stretching.
  • Thursday: 6 miles easy.  Core/recovery
  • Friday: 8 miles easy
  • Saturday:  15 miles on C and O.  Avg 7:29 pace, evenly paced.  Strength / core.
  • Sunday:  OFF.  Head cold.  Rest and lotsa sleep.
NO travel next week.  Whoo hoo!  First time in over a month!

Onward.....

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Running Log - Week Ending July 9 (5k Race on July 4)

Hello Runners!  Well...July is here, full "steam" ahead (terrible pun intended).

This week includes my last Summer "short" race, and transition to start marathon training in a couple weeks.  So, after the 5k on July 4, cutting back and taking it easy a few days, with a Long Run on Saturday to see if I can remember how to do that...
  •  5k Race (separate report):  18:50 on slightly hilly course in hot / humid conditions.  Feel good about it.
  • Long Run:  14 miles (was planning up 15, but after 14 I was done).  Last mile @ MP.  Feels good to get out on the C and O and put in some miles (love the C and O).  My first "transition" run to longer races this Fall.

Stupid / terrible work travel mid-week which screwed up my sleeping....and messed with 3 days of running....shit happens.  Luckily, this was right after the 5k race...so timing wasn't bad.

Psychology: Interesting note about me, now that I've completed my shorter races this Spring / Summer, my next goal race is a marathon in November.  With this "transition" I'm enjoying my running more.  I'm less focused on exactly how I feel every day, don't have specific workout paces, etc.  I'd like to remember how this couple of weeks feel, so I can enjoy my marathon build-up more.  Really, just "note to self" to stop taking myself so seriously.

Pro Tip: A couple times now, in my shorter Summer races, I've modified the "water station" to the "splash station".  When it's hot, but I don't need water to drink - as I approach the water station I point to my chest and say "Right here!"  Most of the folks at the water station (especially the kids) are more than happy to splash me with the water in the cup their holding.  Caution: if you try this, be prepared get hit with water on all parts of your body and possibly face at near point blank range from 3-4 people.  It does cool me off, and get me completely soaked.  I plan to continue this practice.

__________

Weekly Mileage: 37
Long Run: 14
Weight: Dunno
____________

Daily Work: (Legs swings / Lunge Matrix before every run.  Foam rolling / dynamic stretch after)
  • Monday:  4 miles easy with strides in prep for 5k tomorrow.
  • Tuesday: Firecracker 5k in Reston Town Center.  18:50.  Full race report published separately.  6 miles total with wu and cd.
  • Wednesday:  OFF.  Work travel to Dallas and back to DC.  20 hour day.
  • Thursday: OFF.  Back to work on almost no sleep.  :(
  • Friday: 60' E.  7.3 miles.  Lotsa rolling and dynamic stretching.  Feeling okay.  Need SLEEP.
  • Saturday:  14 miles on C and O, last 1 @ MP.  Overall 7:25 pace.  ITB/Strength work.
  • Sunday:  5.2 mile recovery run.  Core / Hip work.
 Next week's work travel is Toronto.  We'll see how much that impacts running....
Onward.....

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

RACE REPORT: Firecracker 5k in Reston Virginia

First, and most importantly - Happy 4th of July Everyone!  Hope you have a safe and fun time (and wake up tomorrow with all your fingers and toes still attached).

This morning I ran the "Firecracker 5k" in Reston Virginia.  Everyone who's run in the Northern Virginia area probably knows the course that begins and end in the Reston Town Center.  I've done the 4th of July run here twice now - both times a big turnout, almost 2,000 people.

Morning Routine
Set my alarm for 5:45, planning to leave the house around 6:30 for the 8:00 race start time.  By 6:30 I had my usual pre-race breakfast of oatmeal and a small glass of milk, and COFFEE.  Did a quick 1/2 mile jog around the house to get the bloods flowing - rounded up my wife, daughter, and my daughter's puppy - and headed for the race.  Arrived around 7:15, which is fine since we already had our bibs.  Found my wife and puppy a good seat / vantage point to watch the finish and headed out for my warm-up.

Warm-Up and Plan
This course is uphill for the last 0.7 miles or so.  I've run it a couple times before, and I haven't yet paced well - slowed down considerably at the end - being passed by at least a few folks each time.  So, my warm-up today was to run the last part of the course backwards, going down the finishing hill, then turn around and run back up the hill to the finish line.  The idea is to "gauge" best I can, the extra effort I'm going to need to finish strong, and emotionally "prep" for it.  Add in a couple strides and I'm to go.

The weather at race start was 75F and 65 dew point.  Best I can tell, from my on-line search, this is about a 3% "adjustment" from perfect conditions, and similar weather to the 4 mile race is did 10 days ago.  My 5k PR is on this course (in perfect March conditions) is 18:41.  Last week I ran the 4-miler in 6:09 pace, so I'm figuring I can run about 6:05 pace - and if all goes right, get under 19:00.  Last July 4th, I finished this race in 19:15 in fairly similar conditions, if I remember correctly.

National Anthem - usually don't mention the National Anthem, but the recording (traditional set up prior to the race) wasn't working.  The color guard was all set up, we had our hands over our hearts, but when it was supposed to start playing - nothing.  After about 30 seconds, the Potomac River race organizers announced "Okay, WE are going to the sing the national anthem - I'll start" and with that we all sang it together - on the 4th of July.  Pretty cool, actually.  I CAN NOT sing, AT ALL.  But, there was a young woman not too far from me that could REALLY sing!  So, I shut up and enjoyed listening to her rendition - very good!

Okay, so here's how the race went, blow by blow (mile splits from Garmin):

  • Mile 1: 5:58.  I had planned to go out around 6:05 for the first mile.  I even lined up a few rows back to force myself to take it easy at the start, and hold back some on a short down hill about 1/4 mile.  Still out a little faster than plan, but "feel" good.  I'm in a small pack of about 4 cruising along, under control.
  • Mile 2: 5:54.  About the pace I planned, mile 2 is about a 60 ft net drop.  I tried to hold back some, knowing we had "the hill" toward the end of the race.  Around the start of mile 2 a woman passed me, and I let her pull me through the whole mile.  We passed a few folks who were now slowing down....
  • Mile 3: 6:12.  Around the start of mile 3 I let the woman I was drafting go, I felt her pace was a little too fast - another guy came up behind me - and I let him tow me for a while.  I would guess my pace fell off some prior to "the hill" but not much.  Around 2.5 miles we start going uphill, and I'm "emotionally ready", I start to push best I can to hold my pace - I only got 5 minutes to go.  I held up pretty good - I passed 5-6 people (in prior races this is the point where was getting passed).  Around 2.75 miles I made my finishing push and tried to "bring it home".  I was able to drop a couple teenagers I was running with (that always feel good when you're old).
  • Last .14: 50 seconds (5:47 pace).  This section was STILL uphill, and I was pushing hard.  I was able to pass one runner with 100m to go, and almost caught the woman I let go at the start of mile 3.  She beat me by 2 seconds, makes me wonder if I should have hung with her the whole time....
Total Time:  18:50.  9 seconds off my PR.  1st AG (M50-54)

I feel pretty good about the result - only 9 seconds off PR in 75F and 65 dew point weather.  Take off 3% for perfect conditions, that becomes 18:16...which WOULD BE a huge PR.  I know...I know...only calculations, but makes me feel better.

So, that's it for targeting shorter races in 2017.  In a few weeks I start marathon training.  I'll run a few races along the way - but always with the 'A Goal' of the Philly marathon in November.

Shout out to Elizabeth, Lisa, and Mika!  Great to see you all, and hope you had a good race today....

Onward....

Monday, July 3, 2017

Running Log - Week Ending July 2

Wassup Runners.

Training this week was a little different, as I had a 4-mile race last Saturday, and 5k on the upcoming Tuesday.  So, 10 days between races.  Running this week is "bridging the gap" between the two races. 

I'm also traveling for work, so a couple days in Sacramento CA, and one day in SF.  I'm exactly 2 days too late to see the Outdoor Championships....but not too late the feel the HEAT they were running in! 

I got lucky in that my hotel in Sacramento (actually Rancho Cordova) is only a couple miles from the American River, and I found a paved running path from the back of the hotel to the river.  Sweet.  The American River, at least in this area, has dirt running trails on both sides of the river and frequent bridges (some for cars, some not).  So, I was able to get in some good runs before / after meetings...nice to have the long summer days....

Thursday - I drove to SF, and found a hotel close the airport (early flight back to DC Friday morning).  A quick look at Google maps, and again I got lucky.   Right up the street is a HS track which is good timing as my next 5k is 5 days away, and a "San Andreas" trail only a few miles away that looks promising   Got to the track, and promptly got kicked off as they were re-paving it.  Okay, so new plan...instead of intervals I'll do hill repeats...I am in Frisco after all.  Well...holy crap!   These are HILLS...like 400ft climb per mile hills....but I survived and had a good experience running around the San Andreas reservoir....got in a good (and challenging) 11 miles.

Friday thru Sunday were spent with easy runs, and prepping for the 5k on July 4th.  You know, I kinda' liked the SF weather better than DC.  Actually, a LOT better.  Alas, no job in SF...so DC it is.

What I found out about NOT rolling and stretching - so I had some really good runs in Sacramento and SF.  But, I was "squeezing in" these runs and working until bedtime...so I didn't do my normal foam rolling and stretching routine after my runs Tuesday thru Thursday.  Plus, I spent quite a bit of time on planes Tuesday and Thursday.  By Friday, I was really feeling like an old man - stiff and achy from my mid thighs to mid back.  And, when I tried a few strides on Saturday both my "front hip flexor areas" were NOT having it, and hurt / cramped pretty good.  Luckily by Sunday I was feeling "almost back to normal"...lesson learned.
 __________

Weekly Mileage: 47
Long Run: N/A
Weight: Dunno
____________
Daily Work:
  • Monday:  60' E on WOD.  7.6 mi.
  • Tuesday: Flight to Sacramento.  American River in the afternoon - SUPER hot.  9.1 mi. on paved and dirt trails.  Nice views.
  • Wednesday:  Sacramento morning (much cooler) different direction on American River.  8 mi.
  • Thursday: San Francisco afternoon run on San Andreas trail (paved and dirt sections) around the San Andreas reservoir.  Biggest hills I've ever run...up and up and up and up.  Then, down and down and down and down.  Ended up being a pretty hard run, 11 miles in 1:30.
  • Friday:  Flight back to DC.  Late afternoon run around the hood.  Is it possible to lose humidity acclimation in 3 days?  I think...YES.  5 miles recovery run.
  • Saturday:  6.3 miles around house to winery with a few strides.  Both "front him flexors" protested any faster speed...from hills on Thursday?  And, quite likely from NOT rolling and stretching.
  • Sunday:  OFF.  Short walk.
Onward.....

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Running Log - Week Ending June 25 (4-Mile Race)

Hello Runners!  Summer is here, can you feel it?  I'm getting close to my "melting threshold", but trying to hang tough.

I got buried with work (and work travel) this week - but I'm doing a mini-taper for a Saturday race, so it kinda worked out....traveling the next three weeks as well, gonna take some discipline to stick to my normal training.

Saturday Race 
"Twilight 4-Miler" in Ashburn, VA; a community not too far from the house.  Race is unique for two reasons; it's 4 miles; and it starts at 7:30PM.  Spoiler Alert: I finished in 25:00 (6:09 pace for 4.08 miles) in 84 degrees weather (2nd place AG).  Partied afterward, in that "Runner's Party" kinda way....full report posted separately.


__________

Weekly Mileage: 37
Long Run: N/A
Weight: 140
____________
  Daily Work:
  • Monday:  6.8 mi on WOD including some trail miles.  Fun!  and a little hilly. Core work.
  • Tuesday: 8 mi with 6 x (90" @ 5k / 90" E).  Strength work.
  • Wednesday:  5.5 mi E
  • Thursday: OFF.  Early work start and full travel day.
  • Friday:  4.5 mi E
  • Saturday:  4 mile race (25:00 for 4.08 miles) - 6:09 pace.  6.2 miles with warm-up.
  • Sunday:  5.3 mi Recovery
Onward.....

Race Report: Twilight 4-Miler

Ran my first 4-mile race yesterday.  First race in the afternoon - 7:30 PM start.

It was kind of weird having an afternoon race.  Wasn't sure what to do with myself all day.  Mostly resting and sitting around, watching the US Outdoor Championships, and basically chilling.

With the late race I also had to figure out what to eat all day.  I ate a regular breakfast and lunch, then around 3pm had leftover pancakes from breakfast.  I was still a little hungry, but didn't want to eat anything else before the race.   Worked out okay, no stomach troubles.

Age Groups:  I turned 50 a few days ago, my wife surprised me before the race with my very own, super fancy, "Over 50" race singlet - with all the appropriate sponsors on the back (picture below).  When I started to pin my number on my new singlet I realized I was registered as "49".  Easy fix, the PR folks changed it no problem (Wouldn't be good to have an "Over 50" singlet and be registered as 49). 

Weather:  Weather underground reported the specifics to be 84 degrees with a dew point of 62, and wind from the west at 4 mph.  So, that's kinda hot!  But, not as bad as it could have been in late June around DC.  RunnersConnect says to add 2%-3% to my "base" pace.

Race Strategy: Based on McMillan calculator for 4 miles, and the 2%-3% adjustment from RunnersConnect, I think I can run around 6:10 pace; which puts me at 24:40.  Met a friend before the race (hey Elizabeth) who said the 1st mile is downhill, but the 2nd is up, and the heat will catch up with you around the end of mile two - so don't go out too fast even if you're feeling good.  Noted.

My "Over 50" Singlet with appropriate "Sponsors"


Race detail:

Mile 1:  (6:03).  Slightly downhill.  Got in a group with 4 others, and promptly ignored Elizabeth's (good) advice.  Not feeling bad tho.

Mile 2: (6:12).  I expected the incline here, so slowing down didn't bother me.  Toward the end of this mile, I was dropped by the others I was running with...realizing they were a little too fast for me.  Still not feeling bad, but I also had 2 more miles to go.

Mile 3: (6:22).  Yeah, lost some momentum here.  Was running on my own most of mile - and was "feeling the heat" pretty bad.  During this mile I also lost some focus which probably cost me a few seconds.

Mile 4: (6:06).  Found a "second wind" in the last mile (mostly just got re-focused and wanted to push the last mile), and I was able to chase down a couple guys in front of me.  In the last 200m or so, I was able to put in a pretty good kick and passed my final target about 20m from the finish (turns out he was the 40-44 AG winner).

Last .08 mile: 19 seconds (4:53 pace); "big kick" - maybe some leftover speed from the mile race a few weeks ago.

Total Time:  25:00.  Good enough for 2nd in 50-54 AG (missed 1st place by 9 seconds).  Per Garmin, overall pace is 6:09.

Interesting side note:  I "would have" won the 40-44, and 45-49 AG with my time.  Goes to show, it all depends on who shows up.

Elizabeth, Greg, and Lisa - nice to meet you "O-fficially".  Hope you see you at other races this Summer.

Next up for me - "Firecracker 5k" on July 4th in Reston.



Sunday, June 18, 2017

Running Log - Week Ending June 18

Hello Runners, and Happy Father's Day to all those Dad's out there!  (Pets count).

This week I'm gearing toward a 4 mile race and a 5k.  So, instead of a LR on Saturday I did a 5k workout.  AND...my Son's HS graduation was on Tuesday - so that became an off day.  College locked and loaded (thank you 529 Plan...ooopff!)

 AND...my daughter asked me to run a 5k with her today (Father's Day) - so the emphasis this week is family....and it's been very gratifying.

Since Tuesday is an off day, I increased a my mileage a little on Monday and ran a pretty hilly route, to give me a 'mini-workout', and moved my Tempo workout from Tuesday to Wednesday.

Wednesday's Tempo - Plan was 5 x 6' @ tempo w/ 2' jog recoveries.  Got through 4 repeats and called it quits.  It was really hot and humid.  Still a good workout - I'll call "heat acclimation".

Saturday AFTERNOON workout on the track - since I'm racing next Saturday at 7:30 PM I thought it would be a good idea to do my workout this week in the late afternoon to mimic conditions next week.  I've never run any run at all after noon before - ever.  So, I wasn't sure how my stomach, etc would handle it.  (I had a normal lunch around noon, a small snack around 3p and started my warm-up around 6p).  Despite being really hot and humid, everything was fine.  My workout was 2x1200; 3x800; 1x400; 1x200 w / 400 jog recoveries except after the 400 I did a 200 jog recovery.  The 1200's and 800's were around 5k pace (4:27 / 4:25 / 3:01 / 2:58 / 2:57).  The 400 and 200 I ran faster, almost all out (1:22 / :39).  Happy with the paces considering it was 90 degrees and really humid.

Sunday 5k race (Run with Dad) with my daughter....(jog / walk...in place of my normal Sunday recovery walk)  She is getting into running, but still in the jog / walk phase.  Nice to spend the morning with her!  "Before" pic below (butt photo bomb - bonus!).



__________

Weekly Mileage: 42
Long Run: N/A
Weight: 140
____________
  Daily Work:
  • Monday:  10.3 mi around house with lotsa hills.  Strength work, core, ITB rehab stuff.  
  • Tuesday: OFF.  HS graduation.
  • Wednesday:  8 miles with 4 x 6' @ tempo / 2' jog recovery. 
  • Thursday: 5.5 miles easy / recovery.  roll and stretch. 
  • Friday:  60' E on WOD.  7.5 mi.  Myrtle. Core
  • Saturday:  Track.  2x1200, 3x800, 1x400, 1x200.  (4:27 / 4:25 / 3:01 / 2:58 / 2:57 / 1:22 / :39) w/400 jog recovery in around 2:30 (except 200 recovery after 400).  11 mi total with wu and cd.  
  • Sunday:  "Run with Dad" Father's Day 5k.  Jog / walk with my Pnut.  Strength / ITB rehab.
Onward.....

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Running Log - Week Ending June 11

Hello, Runners.

 So, this is week 2 or "normal" training - this is a training week with more than two weeks to a race.

 Like last week, I'm doing a MLR on Wednesday and a LR on Saturday.  Difference - last week I did a mile race on Monday - this week I did a tempo run on Tuesday. 

I realized on Monday, that my 15 miler last Saturday took a little more out of me than I realized (I ran faster than planned - and really enjoyed the run - but it had some consequences).  I was still noticeably sore on Monday, and I "think" it had some impact on Tuesday's workout....

Tuesday's Workout - Plan:  2 x 2 mi @ tempo with half mile recovery.  The first 2 mi effort went well, about at pace planned (6:21/6:23), the second time around it was NOT happening - so I decided to break it up into 1 mile efforts, which ended up being around 6:30 / 6:45 with about 0.3 mile easy running between.  Dunno if it was still hang over from Saturday's run, or just a crappy day.  Learning....

Wednesday's MLR -11 miles around 7:40 pace.  Feeling a little better than yesterday's workout.

Saturday LR - 15 miles on C and O towpath.  Kept the pace closer to my goal pace for LRs.  7:26 avg trying for 7:30.

Color Run!  My daughter asked my wife and I to do the "Color Run" at her HS to help raise money, etc.  So...all three of us did it.  I stayed with my wife...walk / jog / walk.  After my LR.  Got good and wet and colorful!

Sometimes the most memorable and rewarding races are not about times or PR's....matchy matchy down to the cool shades!



__________

Weekly Mileage: 54
Long Run:  15
Weight: 140
____________
  Daily Work:
  • Monday:  7.5 miles Easy with strides.  Core work.  WOD.  8:10 pace.  
  • Tuesday: 8.5 mi with 2 / 1 / 1 mi @ tempo with 0.4 / .03 / 0.3 easy running recovery.  Strength work (incl. kettle bell swings / single leg squat / single leg dead lift with kettle bell / single arem rows / dumb bell chest press).  Rolling and stretching.
  • Wednesday:  11.2 mi MLR (7:40 pace). Roll and stretch.  Left calf and butt, still need alittle extra work. 
  • Thursday: 5 miles easy / recovery.  roll and stretch. 
  • Friday:  60' E around the house.  Winery and wooded trails....great morning.  7.5 mi.  Myrtle.
  • Saturday:  15 on C and O tow path @ 7:26.  Color run walk.  
  • Sunday:  2.8 mi walk.  Lotsa rolling and stretching
Onward.....

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Running Log - Week Ending June 4 (1,000 mi in 2017)

Hello, Runners.

This week starts a 'back to normal' couple of weeks for me - as far as running goes.  I have a few more family obligations (all good stuff) for the next month, so no races until end of June or possibly early July.  I'm going to spend the next few weeks building my mileage back up, and just enjoying running as the temps heat up.

Adding an MLR (Medium Long Run) during the week and a LR (Long Run) on the weekend, been a while since I've done these longer runs since I've had shorter (and faster paced) races recently which require "shorter and faster" workouts (at least that's how I do it).  I do my MLR and LR at a slightly faster pace than "easy" - somewhere about 10% to 15% slower than MP.

I'm also getting back to a "full" strength workout a couple times a week, which included kettle bell swings, single leg dead lift (with kettle bell), single squats, pull-ups, and dips.  'Myrtle' hip strength routine added in just for fun, along with a range of core exercises.  All this adds about 30 minutes on to the end of run, but I think it's worth it - especially for injury prevention.

Monday, I ran a mile race (separate post), and afterward didn't feel bad at all.  I mean, I knew I ran, but didn't feel beat up.  Didn't do a cool down or nuthin after the race.  Well, Tuesday morning, I was feeling it - tight hamstrings, left butt "not right", and left calf acting up again.  So....yeah I guess I did race!  Reminder to self: Don't be stupid, do the proper cool down and exercises after a race.

My LR was 15 miles @ 7:12 pace, with the last mile around MP.   Felt good to get out and run for an extended period of time.   Ran faster than intended, but I was really enjoying myself (in that "runner" way).   Sense of accomplishment and all that.....

Highlight:  1,000 mi run so far this year.  Tires rotated.   Oil changed.   Good to go.

Shoe update:  Trying Hokas for the first time this week.  Couple runs in the Tracer.  So far, I like them, they do feel "different", but not overly bulky as I was afraid they'd be.  I'm not "running on clouds" or anything like that, but good option.  I'm learning that more "protection" for easy runs is good for me.  In the past I've run in light shoes for all runs, to feel less "heavy", but I'm now trying for a new "sweet spot" that will help me get in more miles with less aches and pains.  Also, focusing on softer surfaces as much as I can, which for me means the "side dirt paths" on the WOD and the C and O towpath on the weekends (which is all dirt)
___________

Weekly Mileage: 51
Long Run:  15
Weight: ?
____________
  Daily Work:
  • Monday:  4 miles total including warm-up.  Loudoun Street Mile.  5:17.  
  • Tuesday: 8 miles on roads in Reston looking for new routes and getting lost.  Easy pace, just out running.  Extended foam rolling and dynamic stretching yoga kinda' stuff...8:30 pace.
  • Wednesday:  10.4 mi MLR (7:35 pace). Strength work.  Core work.  Extra rolling on hips.  First run in Hoka Tracer.  Not bad, some toe rubbing on right foot.  I'll try different / tighter lacing to keep my foot against the back of the shoe, it seems big enough.
  • Thursday: 5.8 miles easy / recovery.  roll and stretch.  ITB work.  8:15 pace - still learning what "easy" really means.  (ie "let the ego go")
  • Friday:  60' E on WOD - mostly on side dirt path sections. (7.6 mi). 7:55 pace. Light core work
  • Saturday:  15.2 on C and O tow path @ 7:22, last mile @ 6:45.  Strength work.  
  • Sunday:  2.8 mi walk.  Lotsa rolling and stretching
Onward.....

Monday, May 29, 2017

RACE REPORT: Loudoun Street Mile

Happy Memorial Day!  And, to all the veterans out there (my Dad, and both my Grandfathers who served during wars....and saw the "really tough" part of being in the armed services) - THANK YOU FOR YOUR SACRIFICE AND YOUR SERVICE.

Now - on to much less important stuff - I ran my first "Mile Race" today - the Loudoun Street Mile in Winchester Virginia.

 [[Spoiler Alert:  In case you don't want to read the whole post - I ran it in 5:17.4 Official time (I'm rounding down to 5:17...reasons below).  Happy with it - since I was hoping for 5:20 (which is also the McMillan predictor). ]

BIG "Thank You" to my wife for getting up early on Memorial Day to be my personal "storage caddy", and to my mother-in-law (Nana) to coming out to join  us.  Her first time "seeing a marathon" (later she did refer to it as a "mile race"...so kudos for a super senior getting it right after only one light handed correction).

Getting There
Winchester is about an hour drive from my house - but the men's race wasn't scheduled to start until 9:30.  Women's race start is 8:30.  My plan - get there in time to check-in, get my bib, find a good spot to watch the finish of the women's race, get my wife and mother-in-law situated - then go warm up and get ready for my race.  ALL that, by my calculations and differential math - says leave the house "eh, around 7:00".

We got straight to race - no issues - no traffic - and got a sweet parking spot about 200m from the finish line (thanks Nana for the "Handcap parking placcard - all the way from California).  Got there a little after 8:00 - got my packet, all set for the women to come charging for the finish line and "15 minute delay - police road blocking, or escort, or something not ready...figures.  No biggie - it's a nice morning - just hang tight....what else are we going to do?

Pretty soon though the women did come thru - it was quite exciting - the race finishes on a "pedestrian only" narrow brick walkway - and I got a spot about 100m before the finish - my first time actually watching the winners of a race come thru.  Shout out to Cris (aka Darkwave) for bringing home the Master's title with a big kick at the end, and setting a PR.  Nice!  All in all, it looked like Cris took home between 3 and 7 awards...back up the stage a few times.  And, thank you for the pacing advice!

Course
The course is a straight run down Loudoun Street.  The race start is in a nice quiet neighborhood on a small street.  The race end - as noted above - is on a brick outdoor shopping mall.

Just because it's straight don't mean it's flat - the first quarter mile (Q1) is downhill, Q2 goes back up hill, and levels off at the end, Q3 back downhill, and Q4 pretty much flat - transitioning to bricks about 300m from the finish.


Race Prep
Warm up - So...I've heard, the shorter the race, the longer the warm-up.  Well, this race is pretty short.  So...I ended up doing a couple miles warm-up, then some shorter strides, and finally finishing with strides of about 45 seconds - 1 minute what felt like "mile effort".  Wanted to make sure I was fully warmed up.  No time to "get into the groove".  Once the gun goes off.

Shoes - what would a run report be without a shoe discussion?  I have two pairs of shoes I could wear for a mile race....NB RC5000 (3oz), and Nike Zoom Streak LT3 (5oz).  Obviously I want the lighter shoes, BUT the bricks at the end of the race might be a problem?  Also, I really don't want to warm up for 3 miles in the NB, and my wife is holding my bag by the finish line, so with that I chose the heavier Nikes.  Of course, then I had huge envy when I saw a couple guys in their NB 5000's....damn it!  That's gonna cost me 0 - .783 seconds on my finishing time...I'm SURE of it.

Line up and start - Not a lot of folks in the race - for some reason I thought it was a bigger race - no worries tho.  The one worry I did have was a number of "kids" lined up on the front row - I know what they are going to do - sprint for 200m to 300m, then slow and get in my way...mental note - plan for it and "try" not to knock any over.  When the gun went off, I wasn't ready...I was about 5 rows back, and I didn't hear the "ready, set...".  But, I don't think it hurt me.  I just yelled, "Oh shit!", and started my watch as I started to run.  This is why I'm "rounding down" my race time, I'm sure I lost at least a half second by being five rows back - and the race is timed from the gun (tortured, twisted logic of a runner).
___________

Race Detail By The Quarter Mile....Goal pace is 5:20 (1:20 per quarter mile).

The race organizer was nice enough to put a line across the road at every quarter mile.  Below splits are based on me looking down at my watch as I crossed each quarter mile line.

  • Q1: 1:17 - the first quarter was downhill.  So, after a silly 200m too fast of a start I settled down some.  Even tho I'm 3 seconds faster than plan, I feel okay about it...it was down hill after all.  Toward the end of Q1 I had to do a "swim" move a couple time to get around kids who were now gassed and passing out in the middle of the road..."no kids were harmed during these actions"
  • Q2: 2:38 (1:21).  This quarter was uphill, and I think holding back a "little" in Q1 helped me.  It felt like I ran this Q slower than it showed.  Under control... (thanks again Cris).
  • Q3: 3:57 (1:19).  Downhill most of this Q, but I wasn't really able to pick up the pace...getting gassed pretty good already, and I do want to kick at the end. 
  • Q4: 5:17 (1:20).  So much for a finishing kick!  I'm happy was able to "hold" my pace till the end.  I did try to pick it up a couple times, but it just wasn't there.  A couple teenagers passed me about 100m from the end, which pissed me off, I just couldn't do anything about it.  My legs weren't hurting, but I could tell aerobically/anaerobically I was all out.  Side note: it was really cool to be running on the bricks the last couple hundred meters, the fans were really close and all cheering...all for me I'm sure. 
Overall, 5:17 is a result I'm proud of.  Don't think I had a lot more in me.  I won my AG (45-49). 

Next year - if I run this again - I'll be in the "Grand Masters" category (over 50).  This year, the winning time was 5:02.  So, now I have a great goal to set.  Maybe if I do some speed work consistently, I can get there?  I only gotta take 4-5 seconds off each quarter.  What's 2 seconds per 200m among friends?

Don't know what's next...gotta look up local 5k's....I'm Jonesing to run fast again.

Onward....

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Weekly Training Log - How Do You Taper For A Mile Race?

Hello Runners.

Well....back to work this week (boo), "most" of the relatives gone (yay!).

This week's training was kinda funky - I'm racing next Monday (Memorial Day), so I'm adjusting my taper days differently than I have in the past.  I'm also not sure if /how to taper for a mile race (I'm guessing yes, I should taper - but with fewer days than normal....just sounds right).


I did one proper mile workout on Saturday last week (9 days before the race), and an "I dunno, I'll just run really fast" workout earlier in the week last week.  This week, I've done an abbreviated mile workout on Wednesday on the road (5 days before the race), which went better than last week since I'm starting to get a "feel" for "mile pace" - which actually doesn't feel that much different than 5k pace (I guess that says I really don't know what mile pace feels like...), progress....

Wednesday's Workout

Wednesday's workout included 6 x 1' @ "mile pace effort" with 1' rest.  Since I was on the roads, I went by how the pace felt when I did the timed workout on the track. (on the track the "on" minute was 300m / the recovery minute was 200m).  I've improved a lot since last time I tried "mile pace effort" - I think I'm much closer to what I can actually do for a mile (last week I went out WAY too fast, and crashed pretty good).  Learning....

Taper Strategy
Not a lot of information on how to taper for a mile on the internet.  I did find a local blogger with good information which is really helpful.  I decided to base my taper on what I'd do for a 5k - taking the 2nd day before the race off, and short "shake out" run the day before with (really fast) 20-30 second strides to get the legs moving.  If I was running a 5k I would have cut back more on the 3rd day before the race.  I changed this, and ran a little longer than I would for an upcoming 5k, figuring I won't need as much rest for a mile race.

Race Tomorrow:  Total "mile workouts" is one track day and two "road sessions" - all with 1' @ mile pace, with 1' recovery....basically a bunch of 300m repeats at mile pace with equal amount of recovery time jogging.  Don't really feel "ready" for a mile effort at the "mile pace" I've set for myself.  Ran a 10k a few weeks ago...so I think the "threshold work" has been taken care of.  We'll see how it goes.    New kinda' challenge.


Side note:  Last Fall in my marathon build up I got a "strain" on the outside of my left calf.  I figured it was due to the higher mileage, and PT visits solved it.  For the marathon build up, I was running my long runs and faster workouts in NB1500's.  I also ran the race in them.  Since then, I've changed out to different shoes for my faster workouts, and the calf problem has not come back - I figured the lower volume and the extra rolling / stretching I was doing was the cure.  On Tuesday this week, I grabbed my 1500's for a easy run since my "normal" easy run shoes were still wet from a prior run.  And....the calf thing started to come back.  So....as Spike Lee would say "It's the shoes" (oh, and these are newer shoes, they aren't worn out).  Just a word to say consider these things if/when you have injuries.  Ordered some Hokas...'cause.

Double side note: I did some kettle bell swings this week during my "strength" workout on Wednesday.  I normally do single-leg dead lifts and squats, goblet squats,dips and pull-ups, along with running specific hip strength stuff (see myrtle routine).  I tried some kettle bell swings at the end of the workout to see how it feels.  Kinda like it, I'll probably add this to the workout...maybe a few more kettle bell moves....as well.  Any running specific suggestions?

Triple side note:  Worked from home Thursday and Friday (nice!).  Didn't schedule enough time after my Thursday easy run to do my usual cool down with leg swings / foam roller / dynamic stretching stuff.  I figured - it was an easy day - I can skip it and be fine.  I figured wrong - I got stiff and sore and it took longer an usual on Friday to get moving comfortably.  So...confirmation...this stuff matters (at least for me)
___________


Weekly Mileage: 40
Long Run:  N/A
Weight: ?
____________
  Daily Work:
  • Monday:  8 miles on WOD.  Pace around 7:45...feeling pretty good.  Core work.  Rolling and stretching. 
  • Tuesday: 60' E on WOD w/strides.  Hip mobility stuff.  Roll and stretch.  Legs feeling a little "heavy"
  • Wednesday:  7.3 miles with 6 x 1' @ mile effort pace, with 1' jog recovery.  Much better pacing.  Strength work.
  • Thursday: 5 miles easy / recovery.  roll and stretch.
  • Friday:  7.2 mi winery tour around the house.  Kept the miles easy - few strides.  roll and stretch.   
  • Saturday:  2.5 mile recovery walk around the hood..   
  • Sunday:  4.2 mi. with 4 x :30 strides at close to max (warp) speed.  Rolling and stretching.
Onward.....

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Weekly Running Log (How fast can I run?)

Hello Runners.

I'm off work this week (yay!)  I have a house full of relatives still staying with us (boo...sort of).  So, again this week finding the right opportunity to get out of the house for a run became the challenge.  I was successful (for the most part) staying close to my normal running schedule.


I'm going to a "street mile" race on Memorial Day (my first).  Since I've never run a race shorter than 5k before, I'm not really sure how fast I can run a mile, or my top speed for that matter.  Whenever I've run 400m repeats, etc., I've always focused on "5k pace" or something like that - never trying to see just how fast I can run.  So, as I approach 50 years old, I'm going to see just what I can go (hopefully without injury).

Side note:  Turns out I'm more disciplined getting my running done under "challenging", not normal routine, circumstances, than I am with an ancillary strength / mobility / stretching stuff.   And - I definitely dropped my normal diet and ate crap all week - feeling a little bloated, should get back to normal next week.

Wednesday's Workout

Wednesday's workout included 5 x 1' "fully throttle" with 1' rest.  Since I was on the roads, and I have no idea what "mile pace" feels like, I decided to just "run really fast" for 1' and take a 1' to recover.  If nothing else, I'm "teaching" myself how to run fast.  Well - this ensured in some hilarity, as I did the first two reps way too fast, so by the 4th rep my "jog" recovery, was turned into "side of the road bent over wheezing".  I took longer as needed so I could finish all 5 reps at a decent speed.  Learning....

Saturday At The Track
I don't do track workouts very often.  I don't race on the track, and in the past I tended to get minor injuries after a hard track workout.  But, trying to figure out my mile potential, I think, requires a track workout.

I found a workout from Jay Johnson (Simple Marathon Training) for a "1600 runner" that sounded pretty good so I thought I'd give it a try.  The workout is two sets of  "5 x (300m @ mile pace / 200m jog recovery), with 5' rest between each set".  (For the first set, the last rep can be a little faster.  for the 2nd set, the last 2 reps can be a little faster).  McMillan says that based on a 18:30 5k time, I should be able to run a mile in 5:20.  That means each 300m repeat should be completed in 1:00 (which makes for easy calculations on the fly: 20 seconds per 100m).

I did a warm up of a little over 3 miles and a couple of strides to get ready.  Put on my NB RC5000's, hit my watch and was off.  The first set went well.   I was able to hit my 1:00 target for each of the 5 reps (5:20 pace) making sure I covered the 200 rest in 1:00 as well, but I wasn't able to significantly speed up the last rep.

The 2nd set started out okay, but after 3 reps I realized I could not hold the pace for the last 2 reps, and I called it quits.  I might have been able to push really hard to get the last 2 reps close to the target 1:00, but it would have been close to race effort and I didn't want to go there with this workout.

Good news - I learned what mile pace feels like, and I "think" I can hold it for a full mile next week with some taper and race "juice"
___________

Weekly Mileage: 42
Long Run:  N/A
Weight: ?
____________

  Daily Work:
  • Monday:  8 miles easy around house (constant rolling hills).  Rolling and stretching. 
  • Tuesday: 5.3 miles AFTER a round of golf, coupla beers, and a big greasy lunch.  Nice.
  • Wednesday:  7.8 miles with 5 x 1' @ mile (or faster) pace.
  • Thursday: 5 miles easy.  Pretty flat. 
  • Friday:  8 miles on rolling hills.   Core work.   Rolling stretching.    
  • Saturday:  Track workout: 2 sets of 5 x 300m in 1' / 200m in 1' recovery.  Couldn't finish the 2nd set.   8 miles total incl with and cd.  Strength work.   Rolling stretching.    
  • Sunday:  2 mi walk.   Hip mobility
Onward.....

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Weekly Running Log - 5/14/17

Hello Runners! Happy Mudda's Day to all you Mudda's out there!  (Pets count)

We had a big family event this week, so my biggest running "challenge" is sneaking out of the house for my runs without getting "caught" by one of the relatives asking questions - where am i going?  You're wearing THOSE shorts?.  Can I go with you?  Hey, take your cousin!  Easiest way out is saying "Doing 10 miles at a fast pace" (they have no idea what fast pace is, but it sounds hard.  And 10 miles is really far for any of these folks), so that gets me out of taking anyone along and suffering thru VERY slow pace and coming back early.

So, maneuvering thru the family is the hard part.  NOT going to work, the easy part.  Balances out I think (well...maybe not).

This week is recovering from the 10k last weekend the first part of the week and trying to get some fast fartleks the 2nd half of the week - as I'm planning on running a 1-mile race at the end of the month.  Also - getting over the cold from last week, for the most part.  Yeehah!


___________

Weekly Mileage: 49
Long Run:  N/A
Weight:138
____________
  Daily Work:
  • Monday:  53' E on WOD w/strides.  6.7 miles.  Rolling and stretching.  Core work. Nice weather!
  • Tuesday: 59' on WOD.  Around 7:30 pace.  Finally over my cold(?)  Yay me.  ITB / strength work.
  • Wednesday:  60' on hilly route around the house.   8 mi.   Hip mobility
  • Thursday: 46' E.  5.9 mi
  • Friday: 55' E.  7.1 mi.   Small hills
  • Saturday:  13.3 mi on WOD.   Last couple mi around 6:00 pace.  Overall 7:15 pace.  Strength / ITB
  • Sunday:  2 mi walk.   Hip mobility
Onward.....

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Shenandoah Apple Blossom 10k Race Report

Yesterday I ran the 'Shenandoah Apple Blossom 10k' in Winchester, VA.

I signed up on for the race sort of impromptu, sitting on my couch last Sunday night, with no races on my calendar and still feeling good about the GW Parkway 10 mi result.  I had to get up early on race day anyway to get my wife to the airport, and Winchester is not "too" far from the house....so I plunked down my $35, and chose "Men's Small".

During Race Week
My legs were still a little fatigued early this week from the prior race, and Tuesday's "workout" didn't go well.  But, I chalked it up to "still recovering" - and thinking "I'll be fine" by Saturday.

And then....I got sick.  Achy, headache, sinus, cold stuff.  Stayed home from work Wednesday - mostly sleeping.  Back to work on Thursday and Friday with easy runs in the morning to move the legs...still hoping I'll feel good Saturday....so not the best race build-up...but I'm not going "waste" $35 and not get my shirt (that's crazy talk!)

Race Background 
This is the 36th running of the race.  It's part of a weekend festival with a parade with grand stands, carnival, Miss AppleBlossom, scary clowns walking around, the whole thing.  Everything was well organized and run well.  There's also some pretty big race money offered, including $300 for first Master's, and $500 for overall winner.  Like the Half I ran last Fall in Winchester - the prize money brought out some seriously fast people - a legit Elite field.  Who knew that Kiprotich's, Chepchirchir's, and the like, live in NC? (Now, I do).  I can't find the complete race results yet, but I believe the Master's Woman took home $300 for finishing in 43:xx - think there's a few folks reading this that would beat that time....just sayin.

Race Morning
4:30 alarm.  Pre-race breakfast with a DayQuil chase (orange color - NOT orange taste).  5:40 kiss goodbye at Dulles, drive to Winchester arriving at 6:40 for an 8:30 start (yes, WAY too early), but wife's schedule wins (every time).  The race organizers said pre-race bib pick up would start at 7:00, but I quickly realized the were already open, fully staffed, and organized - so I was able to walk over and pick up my stuff with NO line and get back in car -easy peasy.  Nice job Mr. Race Organizer!  I spent the extra time in the car and it rained on and off and caught up on the "Sub2" results.  Had a little snack since it had been so long since breakfast.

7:45 or so - started my warm up for an 8:30 race start.  I ran the first mile of the course which goes around the high and some back by the start line (so we get to pass the parade, carnival, etc. all again).  I wasn't feeling bad, got in a little over a mile, did some strides, and hoped that my cold / flu thing wouldn't affect my race "that much".

Weather -  Low 50's, almost full cloud cover, not raining, and pretty windy - I would guess 10-15 mph (tho forecast said 10).  So, not bad - but enough wind that it would be best to be in a pack whenever possible.

Race Details
About 1,500 runners with 8-10 men and women in the Elite field.  Lined up a couple rows back next a few other old guys...and pretty soon we're off!

Mile 1 (6:06) - Up and down, seriously up and down.  I tried to hold back and be "smooth" on the downs, and throttle back on the uphills.  But, the downhills were so steep, it was kind of hard for me to be smooth and not HAVE to apply the brakes on landing....not feeling bad.  In a decent group of people.

Mile 2 (6:04) - Still more down than up, I think, but relatively flat.  On the back of the same group, but it's getting kind of hard to hang.  Still chugging along....

Mile 3 (6:32) - Oops.  Somewhere in this mile I realized I'm a little over my head and needed to throttle back some and let the group go, and there was NO ONE behind me.  On my own, lost some motivation, not feeling well, and sort of feeling sorry for myself.  Running uphill against the wind.  I didn't realize how much I slowed down.....

Mile 4 (6:20) - The race had a clock at the 5k mark - when I passed is said 19 - mid (if I remember right).  Just past the 5k sign a woman passed me, and I latched on the best I could.  I was able to run with her for about a 1/2 mile, but then got dropped by her...as she latched onto another run passing us and I couldn't pick up the pace....

Mile 5 (6:30) - Back on my own, feeling sorry for myself again in the wind, and slowed down.  I was able to catch up to one guy who immediately pulled over to draft behind me as I got up behind him.  Fair game.  So, I just kept going forward best I could.

Mile 6 (6:19) - Somewhere toward the end of mile 5, a dude in pink shorts and "Running Dad" and I latched onto him, hoping to ride him home.  We passed another race clock that said "1 mile to go", and it said 33:xx.  So, I knew then I wasn't getting under 39:00 today....I had nothing in me to speed up...just keep going.

Total Time:  39:23 for 6:25 mi (per Garmin)

I initially was NOT happy at all with this result.  Based on my recent race results, I thought I should at least break 39:00.  But, after a day to stew on it, I'm okay with it.  I was - and still am - sick.  The course was hilly, and not really a "fast" course.

The only thing I still feel "down" about is I don't think I gave it "all I had".  I probably gave away about 20 seconds in those slower miles.  Looking back I could have kept 6:20 pace (or so) with a little more "fortitude"....

And...I still PR'd for the 10k by 13 seconds, and received a 2nd place AG award.  An interesting pewter cup with the race name engraved on it.  (I like that it's something different and interesting.

I would have been thrilled with this time last Fall.  One of my 2016 "Goals" was a 10k under 39:30, and I missed it by 6 seconds.  Interesting how my "expectations" change and how I quickly forget my progress.

So....still learning...moving forward....doing my best not to take myself or my running too seriously.....



Sunday, April 30, 2017

Racing Strategy "Deep Thoughts" and Weekly Log

 Hello fellow Runners...

This week's training log is quite boring.  I've listed the daily work below, but mostly I'm just recovering from the race last weekend's 10 miler.  I finished the race about a minute faster than I expected, which made me think about my racing strategy......

 Racing Strategy "Deep Thoughts" (not by Jack Handey)

I've raced about 15 times, ranging in distance from 5k to marathon.  Usually, about a week or two before the race, I look at my recent workouts, check the McMillan calculator, come up with a pace I think I can maintain, and then go after it.

In last week's race, I did start out at my goal pace strategy, but then abandoned after a couple miles.  I got into a small group, or found someone to draft, and basically just forgot about pace and started "racing".  That is, I had someone I wanted to beat, I was not just "Time trialing" with people around me.  There's something about me, and my competitiveness, that gets me to run faster when I have a direct competitor I want to beat to the finish line.

And...I think...as I'm doing this I'm also paying more attention to how I feel..."Can I keep this pace?"  "Can I hang?", focusing on "Beating that dude", or "Don't get dropped by her" are in my head, and NOT "What pace am I running?"   I'm sure anyone reading this with some racing experience is thinking...."Well duh, that's how you're supposed to race", but it's just occurring to me right now.

(I used to love racing bicycles, actually more than running races, for this reason.  No one cares about the finish time, everyone just wants to win or place as high as they can.  Strategy and tactics are more important than pace because drafting, team work, etc. are SO important in saving energy).

Examples:
  • In the 10 miler last weekend I got into a 3-person group in the last 3rd of the race.  It included a woman, and another guy that looked like he might be in my age bracket (turns out he is 51...so two years older than me and next bracket up).  I think my chauvinism and competitiveness combined to get me to hold a fast pace to the end.  The woman beat me by a few seconds...but my effort to stay with her as long I could I'm sure got me to the finish line faster.  I thought I had a good shot at beating her.  I was able to beat the Dude with us making a push up a hill in the last mile.  I was completely absorbed in this battle the last 3 miles of the race and had no idea how fast I was running.  And...I ran faster than I had planned.  And..I didn't die.  After the race other runners were talking about the head wind in miles 8-9, I never noticed.
  • My HM PR is from last November.  I got into a group with two other guys and consistently went 5-10 seconds faster than I had planned - every mile.  I was determined to not be dropped by these two guys...and I forgot how fast I was running.  It also helped that after 6 miles there was no one behind us for 1/4 mile, so there was nowhere to fall back to.  And...I didn't die.
  • My 5k PR is from March a year ago.  In that race I woman passed me as we approached mile 2, and I went with her - chauvinism strikes again - and I ran WAY too fast to stay with her.  She dropped me in mile 3 and ended up beating me by around 20 seconds.  But mile 2 was so fast I still PR'd.  And...yeah I sort of died...but still PR'd!
So....what does this mean?  I need to learn to be more flexible when setting my race strategy, and I will probably run faster in larger races as I'll have a better chance to find people that are "slightly" faster than I "plan" to be that day...and hang with them to "pull me" to a faster finish.  Again...all those experienced runners reading this are saying "duh".....

[Side note: I use "chauvinism" above to be funny - I've found that a woman who is "2nd or 3rd woman overall" is probably going to pace better, and finish stronger than a man in 30th or 50th position for men.  So, really I'm just picking who I think will finish well, and going with that runner....]

So, that's it on strategy...still evolving.....comments welcome.

  ___________

Weekly Mileage: 41
Long Run:  12.5 mi
Weight: dunno


  Daily Work:
  • Monday:  40' E on WOD with strides.  5 miles.  Rolling and stretching.
  • Tuesday:  40' E in Dallas (work trip).  Cement trail.  Legs hurting.  Going easy.  4.9 mi
  • Wednesday:  6 miles on hotel TM sweatfest.  Light core work.  Roll and stretach.
  • Thursday: 42' E on WOD. 5.3 mi.
  • Friday: 57' E on WOD.  7.2 mi.  Roll and stretch.  Hip mobility..  
  • Saturday - 12.5 miles on CandO in super high humidity (first time this year).  Didn't feel too bad, but definitely not recovered from the race yet. Leg strength work.  Avg pace of 7:35 or so with a faster finish.
  • Sunday:  OFF.  Walking. Recovering.
Onward.....

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Running Log Week Ending April 23 - GW Parkway 10 Miler!

The big news this week is my first 10 mile race - the GW Parkway 10 miler.  Full race report published earlier today with the label 'Race Report', but the punch line is I ran it in 1:03:06. 

So, the rest of the work this week was to taper some and get in some "speed work" to get me ready for "10 mile pace".....

 
Tuesday's workout - 6 x (2' Fast / 2' Steady).  The idea was to get in some speed work and a sustained effort without over-doing it.  I ran this on an "up and down" section of WOD.  My pace on the "Fast" portion averaged about 6:17 pace...slightly faster than my "planned" 10 mile pace of 6:25.  "Steady" pace averaged a little faster than 7:00.  Total run was about 8 miles, and I ended it feeling pretty good.   

The rest of the week was easy runs - tapering - with strides thrown in so the legs don't "forget" what fast
feels like.

I got sick Thursday night and was up "tossing my cookies" and not getting any sleep.  Stayed home from work Friday and rested up, taking meetings, etc. on the phone.  I usually have a time each race week when I "don't feel well".  I'm sure it's usually psychological - but this one was real.   I had already scheduled Friday as an off day, so good coincidence.  By Friday night was back to normal.

Weekly Mileage: 40
Long Run:  N/A.  10 mile RACE.
Weight: 139

For the week - I feel like I've "successfully" recovered from a marathon (which ended horribly), without injury...and did what I could to prep for a 10 mile race.  I've had really tight and (sometimes) sore hips, but extra rolling and dynamic stretching seems to have kept the "issue" limited.  Learning and I go....
  Daily Work:
  • Monday:  40' E on WOD with strides.  5.1 miles.  Rolling and stretching.
  • Tuesday:  8 miles on WOD with 6 x (2' Hard / 2' Steady).  Hard efforts ranged from 6:08 - 6:30 on a hilly route.  (Avg:  6:17).  Steady pace little faster than 7:00.  Hip mobility. Rolling and stretching.
  • Wednesday:  50' E on WOD.  5.7 miles....legs a little flat....
  • Thursday: 40' E on WOD. Trying out new Nike Streak LT3s.  Possible shoe for Sunday's race.
  • Friday: OFF.  
  • Saturday - 30' E w / strides.. rolling.  stretching.  resting.
  • Sunday:  12 miles.  1 mi wu.  RACE: GW Parkway 10 miler.in 1:03:06.  1 mi cd.  Drinking. Eating. Drinking. Eating.  Watch the London Marathon.  Napping. Eating.  Sleeping. 
Onward.....

RACE REPORT: GW Parkway 10 Miler

I ran the GW Parkway 10 Miler today - my FIRST 10 mile race.  It was fun to change gears, cut down the long runs, and pick up speed to prep for the race (my last race was marathon with usual long build up).

First off - I LIKE this race for a number of reasons.  I was able to meet up with a couple of friends before the race, and hang out with them afterward.  I'm new to the running community and sort of awkward socially, so I've usually shown up to races with a heavy bent on competition and less focus on socializing.  Mind you - when I'm running I'm still 100% competing, but it's nice to have have a relaxed group of friends before and after the run.

It is also a "point to point" race which I've never done before.  The route starts at Mt. Vernon and follows the George Washington Parkway (GW) to downtown Alexandria....pretty much going North the whole time.  I generally like the idea of this and appreciate the extra cost / Logistics the race organizers must have to put up with to make it happen.  On the down side, this also means a bus ride from the finish back up to the start...which requires an even earlier arrival to the race.  But overall, I like the idea.  The GW is also a beautiful run....even when you are bouncing off "red line" for an hour....

Pace Strategy
I've only been able to actually "train" for this race for a couple weeks (prior to two weeks ago I was in marathon recovery mode).  I've been able to get in a few workouts to practice my pace, and they weren't bad.  McMillan says my pace should be 6:25...so that's the plan....start our at 6:25 and adjust based on how I feel.  The route is also a net downhill of about 100 ft. - a lot of it coming the first mile.  Thought is, I can use that to squeeze a few seconds off the time, and come in under 1:04.

Logistics
My drive to the race is about an hour.  A friend of mine who lives close to the race was kind of to let me park at his house, shuttle me to the bus pick-up, and generally help guide me around.  I haven't been to Alexandria before...so this was VERY helpful and removed a lot of pre-race stress!  Having said all that, we agreed to meet at 6:00, which results in an alarm time of 4:05 to get my ass out of bed, eat my pre-race breakfast, "Process", drive, etc. (this is where I like Sunday races...I can still get in decent sleep by going to bed Saturday nigh...would be harder to do Friday night).

I arrived on time, we took the short drive and parked close to the bus pick-up area and arrived at the race start around 7:00.  Giving us an hour to settle in prior to the gun.  The race provided coffee and snacks before the race, which was really nice!  I was afraid to eat anything, but did take a gel and drink a little bit of coffee, and really appreciated the gesture.

Weather 
I don't know any other group of people in the world that discuss weather more than us runners (maybe meteorologists, but I doubt it).  For this course tho, it matters more than usual...
This is a point to point race, so there's no "turning back into the wind", or "making up time when with the wind later".  If the wind is consistent, then it's either helping the whole time or not. Weather Underground reported wind from the NNE @ 6-8 mph..  The course is generally going north, so we will running into the wind THE. WHOLE. RACE.  So...2nd race strategy, draft, Draft, DRAFT.  I learned this from cycling, and if done correctly I can almost eliminate the extra effort of going into the wind...almost.  Other than the wind, the weather was just about perfect; 50 degrees and overcast.

New Shoes! 
Yes, I broke the cardinal rule of running in (almost) new shoes for this race.  For races between 10k and HM, I've been using NB 1600's.  They weigh in about 5 oz, and make me feel fast.  I put them on last Saturday for an 11 mile run, and I realized they are pretty worn out, and I started to get a blister on a couple of my right toes (I hadn't worn them since a HM last November).  So...I logged onto to Running Warehouse and saw Nike Zoom LT3's on sale.  The weight was about the same as the 1600's and the drop almost the same, so I ordered a pair - taking a chance as I have never run in Nike's before.  I like them, they fit pretty well, felt fast, and didn't hurt my feet (the triumvirate).

So, how did the race go?  Mile by mile breakdown below....

Race Details:
  • Mile 1 (6:06)- about 80' downhill from Mr. Vernon hilltop. I "tried" to control myself, relax, and "flow" down the hill without going too fast.  Sort of did it.  In a pretty big crowd the whole time....
  • Mile 2 (6:12) - Still in a pretty big group.  Cruising, and making sure I'm staying tucked behind someone to avoid any headwind...slightly down hill.
  • Mile 3-5 (6:27 / 6:21 / 6:25).  All three of these miles were slightly uphill, and the crowd is now thinned out.  I was able to get behind a pretty big dude, and let him block for me.  This is about the pace I was expecting to run, but I was feeling surprisingly good.
  • Mile 6 (6:09) - another downhill mile.   Somewhere around the end of mile 5 moved around Big Dude and closed a gap of about 50 meters to a another runner in front of us.  This new companion will be named "Oven mitt", because that's what he was wearing - oven mitts on his hands in 50 degree weather.  He took water at the water station and opened and ate a gel with them on.  Impressive.  The downhill mile helped me stay relaxed and still feeling good with Oven Mitt blocking for me.
  • Mile 7 (6:18) - Somewhere during mile 7 I went around Oven Mitt and got behind a young woman with a Pony Tail.  She must have been in 2nd place for all women, as a few times someone in the crowd would yell just that at us.  Around this time another Tall Guy joined us.  So, it was a group of 3.  Tall Guy looked like about my age, so I had a new mission...hang with Pony Tail and beat Tall Guy.
  • Mile 8 (6:19) - Still the 3 of us together, with Pony Tail making the pace and blocking (no chivaltry in racing).  Now I'm feeling it....my goal is just to not get dropped.
  • Mile 9 (6:29) - We're now in Old Town Alexandria with some rolling hills.  I'm hurting, and the 3 of us are still together...don't get dropped by Pony Tail.
  • Mile 10 (6:09) - Right as mile 10 started we hit a pretty steep short hill (maybe 200 meters).  Pony Tail turned it on and went with her, dropping Tall Guy.  Then, over the top of the hill, down the back side, turn left and head for home.  The last straight away is about 1200 meters, perfectly straight, and slightly uphill.  I could tell Pony Tail was picking up the pace and I stayed with her as long as I could, but he pulled away and ended up beating me by 3-4 seconds.  Tall Guy fell back about 20 seconds behind us.
  • Last Bit:  14 seconds.  Garmin has me finishing 10 miles in 1:02:50.  And running an actual distance of 10.03.  Pretty good working the tangents which was easy on this course as we followed GW Parkway almost the whole way....
 Total time:  1:03:06.  Official race time.  6:18 pace.

Feeling really good about this race.  The highlight of the Spring.  My marathon training fitness must have held up pretty well, even after 4 weeks of recovery, to help me get to such as fast time.

Lotsa' stats below....






Shout out to Kyle and Sherri for letting a funny looking dude into their house at 5:45 am on a Sunday and driving me to the bus shuttle, and cheering / supporting me.

I really do like the running community.  Every single person I meet are genuinely good and supportive folk.

Overall pretty happy with the effort.  And, a PR!  (jk, my FIRST 10 miler).

Question:  Speaking of PR's...Strava has that I ran a 10k during the race in 38:59; much faster than my current 10k PR.  So...is it "Legal" for me to use this as my new 10k PR?  

Now, what's next?  Maybe the Loudoun mile in Winchester next month!  That would be first as well.....