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" 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!

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 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.


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 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. 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 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.

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

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
  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

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 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 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 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.....