Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 in Review

2010 Races:
- Austin-Boston Challenge - MS150 from Houston to Austin on Sat/Sun, Boston Marathon on Mon.
- Race for the Penant 5k
- USCAA Regional Track & Field 3k, 1600m, 800m (scores two first place team medals)
- Mayor's Anchorage 1/2 marathon (1st AG)
- Run the Woodlands 5k
- Beneezy 10k (Overall Win)
- XC Relay 2M (3rd Master Team)
- 10 4 Texas 10M (Masters Win - PR)
- Houston Half (2nd AG)
- HMSA 25k (2nd Master)
- Kingwood Park HS Band 10k (2nd Overall)
- California International Marathon (2nd AG - PR)

Tally up for the year:

14 races - 2 Mar, 1 25k, 2 1/2Mar, 1 10M, 2 10k, 2 5k, 1 2M, 1 3k, 1 1600m, 1 800m
10 Awards including 1 OA win, 1 2nd, 1 Masters win, 1 AG win, 3 AG 2nd and 3 from relays.
1968 running miles (one more than my birth year)
2 PRs 59:09 10M and 2:38:55 Marathon

5 Ride Events 46, 48, 54, 66, 172 (MS150)
2137 biking miles

18 swim miles

Total: 391 hours of exersize - a PR of sorts by 35 hours - and beating my 1/1/2010 goal of 1 hour per day of whatever.

Friday, December 10, 2010

CIM - The Great Race

I wasn't really sure what to title this race report - A few approaches I was thinking and why:

What a difference a year makes - story of a comeback after a year off starting pretty much from scratch December of last year. For the whole of 2009 I averaged close to 10 miles of running per MONTH. Almost no cross training the 2nd half of the year except a few Kayaking rides. I'd gained 25 lbs from the year's PR conditions back November 2008. My injury location (Sacrum Stress Fracture) still seemed to have some not quite right feelings when I tried to run. I recall specifically around mid December giving a little HSE topic about staying fit and resolving to do that myself. The journey back to fitness began - a few highlights:

December-February - Worked my way into cycling fitness going ~500 miles per month.
March-mid April - Continuing the cycling training and slowly starting to run again and ramp the longest run per week distance up more and more.

April 19th - my 43rd birthday - Riding a MS150 from Houston to Austin then flying out to Boston and running the Boston Marathon the next day - Much faster than I thought possible (3:16).

May-June - Continuing Biking/Running and also trying to pick up swimming to tackle my first ever triathlon - BSLT half ironman - but falling on the bike and hurting a rib 2 weeks before. Running a 1/2 marathon instead in Anchorage (1:25).

July-August - Sign-up for a training plan through Kenyan Way. Drop the biking/swimming and focusing only on running with CIM marathon as the finishline goal. Ramp up the weekly mileage over the summer - almost all on a treadmill to avoid the Houston heat - watched the entire LOST series running those miles:). Focused on weight loss and got all the way back to PR weight (155) by the start of September where I figured the "serious" training started (loosing weight once the real training seems near impossible).

September-December - Kept up the training - did several tune-up races to redevelop some racing grit - training worked well but was not without setbacks. Several 1-2 day kinda injury outages as I ramped up the mileage. My body didn't seem to respond well to longruns or higher mileage (70-80 miles/week) so for the last couple months I ended up cutting short the longruns and keeping the mileage in the 50-60 range. My weekly mileage(long run) for the 12 weeks leading up to the marathon counting backwards was:

31 pre mar(12), 54(12), 59(11), 65(16), 42(12), 56(20), 67(15), 80(22), 56(13), 77(22), 80(19), 80(18).

With prior running more typically in the 70-80 up until last couple weeks and long runs at least 18+ most every week - this was a much tamer running level than in the past. But results were still being delivered as evident by my tune-up racing:

Date Distance Time Pace
August .....3.1 ..... 18:19 5:54
September 6.2 ..... 37:18 6:00
October .... 10 ..... 59:09 5:54
October .....13.1 .1:20:59 6:13
November 15.5 ...1:33:50 6:03

And with that last race actually run at a marathon effort - I started to believe it just might be possible to get another sub2:40 at CIM. That had always been my goal looking ahead at CIM - but up to and including race day - I wasn't really a true believer I could do it - it took me 3 years of training to get to that level last time around - to do it in one training cycle really seemed unrealistic - but I liked the stretch goal.

Hometown Marathon was another title I considered. I grew up from 5th through 12th grade in Sacramento just a fraction of a mile off Fair Oaks Blvd. Fair Oaks is a very long street and actually had more than 1/2 the total marathon run along it - and I knew much of that road from riding and running on it growing up. My Dad and Mom still live pretty close up in Auburn California and I knew they would come out and be a great support. Also my sister lives up north in Red Bluff and they also would provide some great cheering. I also knew a great group of friends that I've been acquainted with through a couple Internet forums (facebook, runningtimes forum) - most of whom I've never met face to face but I knew were good people - these are my imaginary friends :). The marathon is nearly always perfect weather in the cool December month - it's a net downhill a few hundred feet with almost exactly balances out the slowdown effect of the rollers mixed into the first 3/4 s of the race making it about flat equivalent. With family, friends, childhood memories around every corner - it really felt like a hometown marathon.

The visits with friends and family were great. My Dad and Mom pick Susan and I from the airport and we head up to Auburn where we hang out for a little bit. They have the most beautiful home looking out over the foothills into the mountains. After a little bit we make our way back to downtown going the long way covering the marathon route along the way to give me a feel for it and get more visiting time with them.

As we approach the startline - a vision that nearly brings tears of joy to most any marathoner:

Well done CIM race director!

We continue the ride from the start to the end - somehow the marathon distance seems much much farther when it takes you over an hour to drive it. Other than a few landmarks remembered from childhood there was really nothing remarkable about the course visually - typical suburban or commercial streets - colored leaves were pretty cool - than about mile 20 or so city starts to look pretty cool. Trees extending over the streets all full of fall colors. Nice houses very clean - and that really cool feel look really extends all the way to downtown where my folks drop us off with about 0.7 miles to go to the finishline at the Residence Inn. We'd kinda scouted out some spots along the way and I kinda knew where to expect the cheering squad along the course. I gave them an assignment at each sighting to hand me a 16 oz bottle of plain water - I wouldn't drink it all but a few gulps that would definitely made it into my mouth vs the dixie cups that is hit or miss - mostly miss - was really a help. I ended up getting 3 bottles from them around 8, 13 and 20 let me run through many water stops. And also gave me ammo - including the initial bottle I started the race with - I had 4 "grenades" I could use to take out my competitors when I was done drinking them - but I'm a pretty poor aim and ended up getting 0 for 4 as they ended up harmlessly flying to the side of the road.

After getting dropped at the hotel I met up with my imaginary friends for a final challenge to work through a bowl of Pasta. Susan I think took pride in being the only one not actually running the marathon the next day at the table who could guiltlessly drink alcohol.

On the Left - John, Julie, Elisa, Susan (trying to hid in the back:))
On the Right from the back - Me (with the evil eyes), Dan, Charlie (Julie's Husband), Jeff and Laurant.
Missing in the picture - Pam, Robyn and Stephanie - you'll just have to imagine them.

I get my packet from Dan who kindly grabbed it at the expo for me (Thanks Dan). Dan and John were going for bigger goals than I expected to be able to do so I didn't form firm plans to start with them as I figured they might burn me out - but our time goals were in the same ballpark so figured we'd see each other along the course - if not from a distance.

After dinner Susan and I attempt to walk to the finishline before heading to the hotel - but about 1/2 way there the kinda cool rain with us not really dressed for it made us turn around and head back so I spend the rest of the evening trying to get a little organized for the finishline. I packed up at home in a bit of a rush and needed a little time to organize it all.

On my 12 marathon the routine is pretty darn fixed. I did my last hard workout 3 days before - I described this workout to someone and I liked his paraphrase "So you are telling me that you crank up the heat in the house throw on some Rocky clothes...get on the treadmill and throttled yourself 3 days before the marathon? Am I missing something here?" Yep - that's pretty much what I do - followed by a couple very easy 4-5 mile runs on Friday/Saturday. Carb loading for Thursday/Friday/Saturday - major hydrating and electrolyte loading on Saturday. 4am (3 hours before the race) the alarm goes off and I decided to take a little jog with my first 16 oz of UltraFuel. I jog the .7 miles to the finishline and back and down that first bottle - then get back to the hotel and down the 2nd bottle - all fueled up and ready to go.

From here to the startline I'm a bit of a blundering fool

- I forget to pack 2 little trash bags (they are on my checklist so I'm not sure how I missed them) - these are used to keep the race shoes dry while standing around the start-line - especially important at a race like Boston where it's muddy. After jogging outside seeing the streets wet - I decide first to wear my training shoes to the start and put my race shoes in the bag - but then half way to the elevator I realize my bag is just overstuffed so I go back and change into my race shoes and head to the elevator.

- I get off the elevator to a bunch of anxious eyes of several who agreed to meet up to ride the bus to the startline together. Although I'm actually on-time - I'm the last one there and clearly this was one of those occasions where 10 minutes early is really on-time. We miss the first bus load but are first to load onto the 2nd bus - all is good although those that waited an extra 10-15 minutes were forced to be standing in the middle which would have been no fun at all.

- I have a great time chit-chatting with Dan the whole ride up along with Charlie and Julie across the aisle. He's got major potential to be faster but with a few weeks of being sick not too long ago he ended up showing up not quite as good as he thinks is his potential - but still strong. I realize I had yet to program in a race-plan into my garmin so I think up a plan real quick and start programming - the program ended up being Lap 1: 2 miles long 5:55 - 6:05 pace, Lap 2: 11 miles long 160-164 heartrate, Lap 3: 14 miles long 157-162 heartrate. I figured first couple miles were net downhill so I should be able to bank a little time on them a little faster than my 2:40 (6:06 pace) target then the heartrate would be flatten out and I could use it from there to guide me on speed.

- After we get to the start and walk down the portapotty line a ways until there was no line - we find a place to camp out and I work though my final pre-race preps. Change my warm socks to my race socks. Select my race shirt - definitely don't need the long sleeve shirt or the arm warmers. I find an empty 24 oz Gatorade bottle I intended to stop somewhere to get some poweraid to fill (can't take liquid through luggage) but forgot. Rummage for my S-cap pills and somehow drop and lose one of the two of them I usually take before the race. Ok I've got some scrounging to do.

- Jeff, Dan and I head toward the start-line. I drop my bag along the way (they have a good system for this - just throw my bag on a truck with my bib number on it - and they sort them all out and have them waiting at the finish. Then I scan around for some Gatorade to fill my bottle.

- I get separated from Jeff and Dan to go hunt for Gatorade - I spot a guy taking a small amount from a 32 oz orange Gatorade and tossing the rest of the bottle - I go dumpster diving for it like it's orange gold - I get it and fill my bottle.

- Then I realize I didn't put glide on my nipples - they will certainly be hurting by the finish - after vainly looking around hoping to spot someone with some - I glance at my shirt and figure - good thing I wore red.

- After all my scrounging I walk back and forth across the finishline looking for Dan and John but they must have decided to start a little back or maybe they were warming up or something - I couldn't find them. I end up getting as close as I could to the front - when they dropped the dividing line to the elites I kinda squeezed my way up ahead of the ladies but a row or so back from the very front. I down about 1/2 my orange Gatorade and I'm ready to race.

- I think the typical average for this day of the year is at least 10F lower. The forecast even as early as 2 hours before the gun (when I last checked ) was maybe 5F lower, 10F lower for the finish. Rain, tailwind, crosswind, near freezing - all were in the forecast for the raceday at some point in the week leading up to the race - but it ended up nearly perfect - just a little cooler would have made it perfect - ok a tailwind might have been kinda cool too.

There were other titles considered - But of course you saw at the top what I ended up with

CIM - The Great Race:

Great race on so many levels for me. Coming back from Injury, having friends running and family cheering, pre-race worries about some pains that turned into nothing once the gun went off, fighting through side stitch for first many miles certain this was going to be an off day but giving it a go regardless with whatever I've got, sticking like glue through the miles to my race strategy - miles and miles of fleeting thoughts to ease up or even walk - but not. Doubts of not running enough in recent training and few longruns.

But it all worked out. I thought I had a longshot at getting to sub2:40 but I was going to get whatever I had out of myself whether faster or slower - and I think I got it - and huge delight it was not just faster - but ever a PR by almost 30 seconds to boot. What a high. Here's the splits - perfect weather - 51 at start, 58 end - no wind at all - checked 4 different weather stations along the course and they all read calm the whole race:

1 5:59 153 (lost 14 seconds re-tying my shoe that came unlaced at ~0.5 - I guess I was going out too fast anyway) I pop up from shoe tie and there's John and Dan - awesome - I found them.
2 6:11 161 I fall back from them figuring they'd likely be a bit hot for me.
3 5:55 162
4 6:01 160
5 6:03 162
6 6:06 162

After the first several miles searching for my rhythm for this race that stopped the HR alarms from going off all the time - note that I'm not used to running hills at all and this thing had constant rollers the first 25-30k and it was really throwing me off to be pace adjusting continually - I finally figured out at around the turn to Fair Oaks Blvd ~6 miles in I just needed to pass people like crazy on the downhills, let a few of them get me back on the uphills, then pass like crazy again next downhill - worked like a charm. I suspect my up to down speed difference is naturally a bit different than most because I don't run hills. Those that run hills a lot are probably a bit more adapted to it and don't have to slow so much on the uphills to have even effort. Dan had moved up ahead most of this first stretch. John and I kept alternating who was ahead as I was "searching" for my rythm - I kinda appoligized as I passed him what seemed like to 10th time in a few miles and he called my racing a bit like a "Yo-Yo" - made me smile.

You'll note this picture taken by my cheering squad around mile 8ish of the lead pack - if you look way way in the back behind all those runners - zoom in if you have to......OK you still won't be seeing me. This intersection happens to be the closest intersection to the house I grew up in - just 2 streets down.

7 5:59 161 Cheering Squad gives me a Water Bottle (Thanks Dad!)

8 6:01 163 move up to Dan via a down hill speed up, up hill slow down cycle - John must have come up with me because at one point the three of us are running side by side - Dan says we really need a picture - that shot would be priceless. Then my alarm goes off so I speed up a little. Shortly after this a picture is taken that get's put on the Sacramento Bee website:

Ok - we're not all side by side - missed the money shot - but at least we are all in the same shot although I'm hidden by Trevor - guy in Blue - I'll get him back - more on that later.

9 6:09 161
10 5:56 160
11 5:53 159 Dan meets back up with me at the top of a hill - but me going downill running by HR means I speed up a lot - I move on ahead again. There's one stretch in here with ~1/2 mile ~4% grade downhill I go flying down - great fun.
12 6:04 158
13 5:57 160
14 5:55 160
15 6:01 161
16 5:57 161 - On to where I have not been before. I kept this pace up for 25k just 3 weeks ago in a marathon paced race effort - now the test to see if I can keep it for another 10 miles.
17 5:55 158
18 6:01 160
19 6:00 161
20 6:02 161 As I approach what I recall to be the prettier portion of the course from the drive - I recall thinking as I looked up at the beautiful trees, etc - I really couldn't care less - there is no beauty at that point that compares to a finishline.
21 6:06 162
22 6:10 162 Dan comes up by me as we go over a bridge into the city - I give him an "All right Dan!!" - we run for a little bit then he moves on ahead.
23 6:07 162
24 6:18 164 (I didn't remember fading this much - This split still bugs me a very very small bit - I mean the HR was higher than the last - the pace should not be slower - but I cannot come up with a reason for it - I've studied the elevation profile, weather station wind data - just can't find and a reason - I guess I just lost a little focus here)
25 6:10 165
26 6:06 166

Ok - here's Trever again - just before the last two turns. From the back there's a little thinning that makes me think -- could be a 40+'er - so I didn't want him to knock me down a rung in the Master's race - so I accelerate and take him down to finish just ahead of him. Thanks Trever - probably the reason for me getting sub2:39.

26.31 5:33 169 (pace)

Final 2:38:55 Splits 1:19:08/1:19:47 - since first half has 70% of the elevation drop - that's about as even effort as I can get.

First race I've had the heartrate drift up at the final miles like that - but it didn't feel like I had to slow down so I kept it in strong to the end - felt great (ok not really until after finish). I think that's because of the weather - mid 50s and 100% humidity is actually the warmest I've ever run one of these things - but I still held on so its all good.

5th Master Overall including 1 Female (ah - Wow), 4th Male Master (money to top 3) but since 2 were in the 45-49 AG I got 2nd AG 40-44 (very cool!).

I truly thought my PR days were in the past - 2 years older since I was in racing shape alone is supposed to cost some time - then add the loss of the accumulated fitness from prior - I'm about as surprized by what was accomplished as I can be. I wouldn't have taken 20-1 odds on a PR for me a few months ago.

At official splits I was 106th at ~6 mile mark, 88th at the 1/2, 79th at 20 and 65th at the end. Only ONE guy in the whole race that was behind me at the half and/or at the 20 beat me to the finish - that would be Dan. I like to think I help pull him up a few extra seconds - awesome dude..

Some amazing performances by many out there:

- Dan - 2:38:45 - nearly a 9 minute PR.
- John - 2:42:02 - for 2nd fastest marathon ever - how many 53 year olds can do that.
- Jeff - 2:57:58 - a PR by a couple minutes - and first "Real" sub3 (he know's what I mean)
- Elisa - 3:00:04 - goal was 3:05 - 14 minute PR
- Julie - 3:05:47 - on a major off day almost 15 minutes off her goal :(. She's OTQ material and will bounce back quick I know.
- Pam - 3:11:14 - I think that's a 7 minute PR
- Robyn - ??
- Charlie - 4:2X - 2nd marathon ever and a PR
- Stephanie - XXX - ran first part as a workout - recovering from a broken toe.

After the race there was lots of huge congrats to all around. What a glowing time. I join my cheering squad for a beer and snacks after the race and most of the group above for a final close-out toast to another marathon in the books and enjoy the rest of the day relaxing in Auburn with the cheering squad - what a great time!

One other title considered:

A Late Kiss - This was my 12 marathon completed. In the majority of those marathons my #1 fan wife has very faithfully travelled hours and hours to these silly little races, stood for hours in sometimes very crowded, borderline hostile finishlines in crowds like Boston and New York City - waiting for the "Moment" - sometimes a little behind schedule - sometimes beautifully ahead of schedule when I come tearing toward the finishline. We make eye contact - I swoop in for a high fives and on a couple occasions a big old sweaty kiss before I dash across the finish. This time she did all the right things - but I screwed up royal and MISSED THE KISS! I could make excuses - I was chasing down Trevor with a mad dash to the finish, the final stretch was extremely short with a couple quick turns just before the finish so there was little opportunity to scan the finishline crowd to pick her out, I was perhaps just a little tired at the time, I was a bit distracted after the final turn to look up and see the clock ticking away the 2:38:5x's and with lazor focus not wanting to see it click to 2:39 (I knew I had the sub2:40 - but I didn't know I had the PR until that final turn to see the clock).......but those are all terrible excuses - I screwed up royal and deserve the dog house. After crossing the finish she came from across to the fense nearest me and screemed in joy for me - and I turned around at her voice - ran full speed (that would actually be a bit of a hobbling walk but it felt fast) to her and stole my kiss anyway.

A few more Pictures:

Dan and I at the finish - man are we happy that's done.

Jeff, John and I debriefing at the finish.

Cheering Squad - Grandma Sue, Nieces Judy and Cady

Cheering Squad - Wife Susan, Dad, Sister Terri and her daughters Judy and Cady

More Cheering Squad - Dad, Stepbrother Randy and his wife Kim.

Susan and I at the Capital Tree

Susie and I at the Capital Steps

That's all for now ---- What a Great Race!!!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Racing Summary

Ok - I'll get to a report out on CIM eventually - but I thought this race summary was kinda cool. My goal from about the start of the training program was to move up the distances but keep the pace about the same as fitness level progressed - see how I did:

Date Distance Time Pace
August .....3.1 ..... 18:19 5:54
September 6.2 ..... 37:18 6:00
October .... 10 ..... 59:09 5:54
October .....13.1 .1:20:59 6:13
November 15.5 ...1:33:50 6:03
December 26.2 ...2:38:55 6:03

Clearly I have one speed for all distances .

Monday, November 22, 2010

Test Lab Results

Went up to TWU today were a grad student (Eric) offered to run a bunch of running tests on me hooked up to his machines at the university. I wish I'd taken a picture - Hooked up to an ECG via 10 probes spread around my chest (which now looks like a checkerboard from the shaved spots btw), a helmet that holds the snorkle I keep in my mouth and running on a treadmill while every 10 minutes getting pricks to my finger for blood - good times!

I love all the data - if I ever do this again I'm wearing my Garmin HRM and footpod to get cadence and a full HR trend instead of just at a few spots.

Test Description - After a baselining period taking readings at rest and a slow walk - the test goes 8 min at each speed, each row has the readings at the end of this 8 minutes, 2 minute rest then start next speed. At the end there were 1 minute intervals harder and harder until I was done to get to VO2max.

Min...Road Eq..vo2 ...HR ....Lactate... Breath/min...Notes
0................... 5.0 .... 47 .....0.9.... 25
8/2....9:55.... 29.7 .... 85 .....1.2.... 33.........50% mile Pace
8/2....8:20.... 36.2 .... 122 ....1.1.... 35.........60% mile Pace
8/2....7:11.... 44.2 .... 140 ....1.4.... 39.........70% mile Pace
8/2....6:20.... 49.8 .... 153 ....2.6.... 46.........80% mile Pace
8/2....5:58.... 54.2 .... 160 ....3.8.... 48.........85% mile Pace
8/2....5:38.... 59.4 .... 169 ....6.6.... 50.........90% mile Pace
1......5:58.... 42.6 .... 160 ........... 51
1......5:37.... 56.3 .... 167 ........... 51
1......5:19.... 62.4 .... 171 ........... 51
1......5:04.... 64.8 .... 174 ....9.3.... 55..........VO2max

My initial thoughts looking at it:
- VO2max ~65 seems about right - looking up my last (and only other) VO2max test (9/2007) my VO2max was measured to be 64 - max VE 126.7 l/m in 2007 vs 128.7 today so 1.5% more O2.

- 2:2 breathing pattern would be 45 breaths/minute assuming 90 cadence - that would sure be running slow - don't think I'll be using that as a speed indicator in racing. I find it interesting the breaths/minute changes very slight between 6:20 and 5:58 pace - not so precise an indicator at all.

- Using some benchmarks from Daniels Running Formula for Threshold speed:
Threshold Lactate ~4.0 = 5:56.
88% VO2max - 57 VO2 = 5:47.

- MP lactate I understand from Eric is typically in the 2.5 to 3.0 range which makes 6:12-6:21 mpm range for me (2:42.5-2:46.5) - short of my goal 2:40 marathon pace of 6:06.

- Heartrate data doesn't seem to correlate to my training heartrates. Big disconnects. The HR in the lab showed around what I see at Marathon Pace for what appears to be Threshold and what I use at Threshold (170ish) is far above Lactate 4.0. Guess I'm discounting the heartrate data as useful until I can find some explanation that makes sense why it is so different from what I see on the road.

- As I happenned to have the Daniels Running Formula open I'm noting "individuals show vast variation from this 4.0 threshold value. One runner might maintain a steady blood lactate concentration of 2.8 and feel same degre of stress as another runner who has a steady 7.2." So I'll take it all with a grain of salt. Still interesting stuff..

Error Analysis

- On scale after the ECG cable was hooked up - adds ~1 lb - so actual weight closer to 157 vs 158.
- On treadmill probably supporting 1/2 the ECG cable as well as a helmet tube holder - total together ~1 lbs extra weight.

Impact - pretty small - typically 1 lb ~ 2 sec/mile so MP potential 6:10-6:19. Also VO2max would be ~0.5 higher.

- Lab temperature was recorded on the test results to be 72°F. Per runworks/calculator (6th option down) at colder than 60°F the equivalent marathon speed would drop 6 sec/mile - so MP potential at less than 60°F would be 6:04-6:13.

- Each segment was 8 minutes. Looking at my most recent training run at ~Threshold pace (3x3 miles at ~170 bpm with 5 min rest between on 11/26) - the heartrate flattens out after about 1.5 miles or 7 minutes, about 1/4 mile quicker for the 2nd and 3rd intervals. Conclusion: taking the HR readings 8 minutes into a constant pace should be pretty representative.

- Another time-lag issue I heard discussed while I was on the treadmill - there is a 2 minute lag between lactate levels from the muscles to lactate levels in the finger where the blood is drawn - I think this explains the very last Lactate datapoint - although taken after VO2max - the lactate level probably corresponds to a couple minutes earlier or 2 data points to the left - then it kinda lines up with the rest of the curve.

Still the HR levels are a mystery. I can hold 170 HR for 10-13 miles in races so that heartrate should be around threshhold pace (by the 1 hour race pace definition approximation of threshhold pace) - but this test shows 7+ lactate at that HR and the 4.0 lactate points is far lower than this - closer to 160 HR. Makes the heartrate data suspect - but I don't know how to get better HR data than an ECG. It could be that I run my marathon pace with lactate levels in the 3.5-4.0 range - that would be a bit of an outlier but not unheard of - as mentioned above Daniels has seen 7.2 for Lactate Threshold - could be I'm THAT guy.
Eric's anaysis:
I went back and looked at your data, and the only thing I can think of why the data was off is that possibly the machines were not properly calibrated. The information just doesn't make sense to me. I have attached your VO2/CO2 data and the cross over point is known as your ventilatory threshold. This with lactates can give a good estimate on lactate threshold. But your lactates correlated with the metabolic data so I don't know why they seemed so low. The treadmill also has a calibration which we did not do prior to testing but found out later. VO2 max was found similar to your previous testing so I am confident that we got that correct.

Based on the lactates I would have predicted from 2.5-3.0mM for marathon pace. That had you at around 6:40ish pace. What I found interesting, knowing the at least the VO2 data was correct, was that your cross over data of fuel usage was on the low end for an experienced endurance runner. Maybe heat stress you do improves CHO metabolism? I don't know. But the information tells that you were using less fats as fuel at lower and higher intensities. This seemed to correlate well with the metabolic data and lactate samples. I have included someone that is an average female runner. Highly trained runners show a cross over point shift further to the right.

My only other explanation is that that you were not fully recovered from any previous training. I do think you must have done really well with carbo-loading and fueling during the marathon to keep pace with the increase in carbohydrates at the 6 min pace. Someone did tell me that the CIM course is downhill, do you think that it's that much of an aided course?
If you are in the area and want to get tested again let me know and we can set something up.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

HMSA Classical 25k

First time running the event and with only 3 weeks to go to my goal marathon I didn't want to burn myself out in it. Coach (Sean Wade) said to think twice about doing it as the prior week I was struggling with a few minor injuries - but by race day the pain seemed to have left completely so I thought I'd give it a go. I planned to run a workout in much the same way I planned the marathon in 3 weeks - keep the effort right about the same and just finish the marathon effort run after 15.5 miles instead of 26.2. At the same time I had my eye on a particular prize - local elite status at the Houston Marathon. This prize goes to the fastest in 10 year age groups in each of the HARRA warm-up series to the races. Since many of the fast guys already had their entries (Sean, Gerardo, Wilmer, Jon) I figured the probables for getting it were Tommy or Andrew or me and in a head to head all out race I figured any one of us could get it. So in an workout effort I figure I've got no shot but I'll keep an eye on these guys and if they give it to me - I'll take it.

I'd tested my marathon effort pace about a week ago at 6:13 mpm (ran 10 miles maintaining 164 HR and that was the average pace). I figured if I did my hot sweats run (12 miles in sweats) a few days before the race I just might be able to knock that down maybe 5-10 sec/mile or more if it works but I'm not always confident it will work. Figured at least if it didn't work I could maintain the marathon pace effort and at 6:13 mpm that was just enough to get a qualifying time then if I got very very lucky (like Tommy and Andrew no-show) it was mine.

Before the race I run into Tommy and mention I was just running an MP run - gotta marathon in 3 weeks - probably around 6:13 pace - which is really what I was making myself expect, the 5-10 sec/mile improvement was more of a hope but not an expectation.

Course is an out-n-back x3 going pretty much East-West and as it turns out the wind ended up be a pretty steady ENE around 5 mph. As Houston streets go this one had some hills on it - rollers. Temps were perfect right around 50F. I set the watch up to record laps base on when I pushed the lap button and I planned to push it at each turnaround which was about 2.65 miles each - also had alarms set at 160 and 164 bpm to stay in marathon pace zone:

Lap 1 West - 6:01 pace/157 AHR tailwind. A bit faster than I expected but feeling good, HR staying in check, Tommy up ahead of me as expected.

Lap 1 East - 6:14 pace/162 AHR headwind. According to the timing mat Tommy's about 6 seconds ahead. Little did I know these two were stalking me from behind - Francisco on the left and Andrew (guy who beat me by 6 seconds at the 1/2 marathon 3 weeks ago) on the right. Francisco passes me just before the timing mat. I cross the mat in 17th place overall.

So - we've got a race - Tommy 6 seconds ahead of us, and the three of us here who all record within a couple seconds at the mat - and all four of us are after the local elite status....there can be only one....I'm a bit amazed I'm even in this race as I'm just running a workout.

Lap 2 West - tailwind again. 6:03 average 160 AHR - right on my target HR or even a little low. Tommy is moving off into the distance - I'm figuring he's gone. Andrew has passed by me near the start of this Lap and went on ahead of Francisco - not that I was keeping track of him - I didn't even know who he was I just putting it together from hindsight. I'm back about 20 yards from Francisco.

Lap 2 East - headwind. 6:06/161AHR After counting to myself 26 ~seconds between Tommy and I passing a mark in the road - I get this bright idea after about a 1/4 mile of headwind - why not close the gap to Francisco and let him do the work against the wind. I do that (with high alarm chirping at me until I silence it) - close the gap and sit right on him. He's a little short to be a great windshield but much better than going it alone. He's trying to drop me by different tactics, weaving, speeding up - but to no avail - I'm sticking right behind him drafting and the lap goes much better than the last I did on my own. As he's trying to shake me with speed - he closes the entire gap on Tommy who is himself leading a pack of three guys into the wind and working hard doing it - Francisco powers me right by the whole pack of them. That appears to break Tommy as he falls back a whole minute by the time we get to the next turnaround. Towards the end of the lap there's a downhill and I figure I'm ready to move on ahead so I pass by Francisco. Here's the shot just near the end of that lap - and look who's just ahead. I'm pretty sure Andrew got there without any drafting so he's gotta be hurt'n - I'm feeling good and fresh - still just a workout for me:

Cross the mat in 14th place and on to the last lap.

Lap 3 West - Tailwind. 5:57/160AHR. The blue shirt guy is going about my pace so I stick with him. I figure he'd be real convenient to draft behind on the East side of the loop so I kinda keep him just in front of me. As we pass an aid station someone yells out - "Go Andrew" and I finally know who the this guy is - he's the guy that was in front of me for 5k of the last half marathon I ran and takes the 1st AG award, he's a contender for the local elite status - with Tommy and Francisco out and now I know THIS is Andrew - and I'm still only at a workout level of effort - he's going down and I'm taking the golden ticket.

Lap 3 East Part 1 - Headwind. 5:52/161AHR - first 1.2 miles. Just as planned - I'm letting Andrew do the work. He tries to shake me a couple times - even slows way down at one point but I'm not ready to take the lead so I stay behind and keep drafting. Figuring I'm fresh and he's gotta be feeling like 80% of the way into a race - I'm just trying to pick my place to make a move. Finally a little after the 14 mile marker I sprint by Andrew so he's got no chance to link on and I start making some space.

Part 2 - 5:43/165AHR - final 1.5 miles. Redemption for that 1/2 marathon - something very sweet about being at my limits with a guy one race then 3 weeks later just running away from him. I race it in hard - no idea how far back Andrew is. With all the slower runners getting lapped looking back was useless to spot him so I just kept charging it in. Got over the last hill and charged down the last hill to the finishline where Susie's there taking pictures and clapping up a storm. Gerardo (1st Master) points me out to the guy taking names and numbers for the local elite and with a shacky hand - I fill in my info for him.

Everything and more than I could ask for in this "workout".

Final results:
11th Overall out of 1241 with a time of 1:33:55, 2nd Masters ($75 prize) (Andrew +40 sec, Fransisco 3:31, Tommy +5:50) and a cool looking award:

After the race as I explain my race tactics to my wife - she riddles me with questions aimed at determining if I was cheating. No - drafting is not cheating in road racing - it is in triathelons but not road racing - a normal race tactic. I do feel a little bad telling Tommy I'd be doing 6:13s and actually ending up 6:03s - 6:13s really was all I let myself expect so I wasn't lying but as I passed by him I kinda felt like he might think I was lying - I suppose pre race lying is a race tactic too but I didn't actually intend that. As for the drafting - that's just the kinda thing competitive jerks like me do. It's all good racing.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Houston Half Marathon

A hot run today - weather underground showed downtown conditions were 75F with a 70F Dew Point (Very Humid) - that just sucks for racing. I forgot about the clock and I was just hoping to run for place. I figured Gerardo had Masters pretty well locked up, Tommy King seemed the favorite for 1st AG but not so out of reach I couldn't get him if I had a great race - he was ~20 seconds faster in the warmer USA 10 miler than I had at 10 for Texas 2 weeks ago so I'd have to speed up ~30-45 seconds equivalent to catch him - beating him became the stretch goal. Then there were a number of 40-44 I figured I should be able to beat but not comfortably so - within a minute in the 10 milers race - fending all them off was the "B" goal. So I figured I was racing for 1st or 2nd AG. At the start I learned Wilmer was also there but since he is in 45-49 - as long as Gerardo beat him (so he'd get Master's and not be in my AG) he didn't count for the AG award - and Gerardo's been beating him lately but Wilmer is a wildcard with major potential when he's good.

A couple experiments I'm doing for this race to improve my potential vs the 10 miler a couple weeks ago:

1) Thursday I did a heat acclimation run - 12 miles in sweats - I do this run before cold marathons too and it seems to give me an extra boost on race day - I wasn't sure what it would do for a hot run but figured some heat acclimation could only be a good thing.

2) MaxATP suppliment 1.5 hours before the race - never tried that before but thought for a B priority race I'd give it a try. A guy at work gave me some samples of the stuff - probably does nothing but what the heck.

Race plan was run ~6 mpm first mile then just stick like glue at 170 bpm until last ~5 miles then see if I can pick a few off speeding up if I can. This seemed like it would be a little conservative first 9, 170 bpm is only 1bpm more than I've done for 1/2 marathons in the past without the heat - the heat I figured I should be able to go a little higher HR. Course overall is pretty flat with some rollers here and there and there was a little wind first mile otherwise mostly cross wind.

Gun goes off - I really have a tough time guaging my speed off the start line - need to work on that - I was hoping to keep 6 mpm first mile - Garmin was worthless for pacing with tall buildings first mile - pace seemed suspect as I was ahead of Gerardo for a while - but the pace felt easy - I realized I was going fast about 3/4 through the mile and backed off but turns out mile one ended 5:50. (actually watch said 5:37 but when I fixed the GPS points because of the tall buildings it wasn't so fast).

Althouth that sounds fast - when I passed milemarker and the watch switched to showing HR's I was only at 162 HR so actually I sped back up and pulled through the 2nd mile about the same speed - 5:45/169 AHR - heat hadn't started working on me yet.

All I was watching was for constant HR and I tried to block out what was going on around me. I think several went by me by I was forcing myself to run my race and ignore them. Miles went
3 5:59/171
4 6:10/171
5 6:16/170
6 6:21/170
7 6:15/170 (According to split I was in 21st place across the ~midrace mat - Tommy was a few place up and to me he represented 1st AG)
8 6:23/170

Time to start moving up - I did a gatorade swish at an aid station and started feeling some energy - I start reeling people in - Tommy's 3 places ahead:
9 6:15/170
10 6:05/172 (Pass by Tommy - gotta keep him behind me for a few miles to secure 1st AG - once I pass Tommy I'm more in a maintain position mindset - a guy was ahead a bit but I wasn't pushing to catch him - just maintaining what I thought was 1st AG).
11 6:08/171
12 6:19/171
13 6:11/172
13.19 1:01/173

Finish 1:20:59 (Tommy ends up about a minute back although I felt like I was pushing the last 5k fending him off - sometimes the pressure from behind - real or imaginary - is enough to keep pushing).

Thinking for a long time I've got 1st AG and celebrating that - that was my stretch goal after all - once the results were posted I see a new name from Houston that was not on my radar at all as a threat for the AG competion - and he was the guy in front of me for the last 5k ending only 7 seconds ahead. Never heard of the guy. Turns out he was in the 10 mile race results from a couple weeks ago - almost even with me (6 seconds slower in USA 10) but he was 39 in that race....problem with those 39 year olds is sometimes they have birthdays - so he edges me out - happy birthday Andrew. Had I known that next guy was my competion I just may have run him down. Oh well. The AG medals all looked the same anyway (kinda big - cool):

I did a compare between the 10 mile races and this race - since the time is worthless as a benchmark because of the heat. I managed to edge out 3 guys that had faster times in the 10 mile races and one guy (the 39 yr old) I was faster than (by 6 seconds) beat me by 7 seconds. So I beat all but one of the guys behind me a couple weeks ago and 3 of the guys ahead of me I outraced. I'm good with that. And for the new guy in my AG - these are the kinda things rivals come from - I'll be watching for him in future races (once I figure out what he looks like:)).

For my experiments - I was very happy how fast the first few miles were before the heat effect settled in. Much faster for same HR than I was going just 2 weeks ago in cool weather so the hot run and maybe that MaxATP helped (I'm less convinced the latter did anything). I'm thinking on a cold day I just might have been sustaining 5:50ish for the half - definately good enough for a PR and a good indication I just may have a shot at the 2:40 marathon in 6 weeks - at least I'm hoping so. Note first few miles comparing the two races - definately had some extra speed today at a lower heartrate even with the heat until the heat effect caught up:

..half(75°F)...10 4 TX 2 wks ago(53°F)
1 5:50/153 5:54/xxx
2 5:45/169 5:56/170
3 5:59/171 6:06/170
4 6:08/171 5:59/170 <---heat effect greater than the speed improvement here on out.
5 6:16/170 6:00/171
6 6:21/170 5:49/172
7 6:15/170 5:48/172

Great race - I think the HR strategy protected me well from going for too much in the heat. I'm actually thinking running first few miles faster before the heat effect settled in might be a good strategy for hot races - as long as I slow down as the impact settles in. Final Results: 1:20:59, 5th Master including 1st Master, 1st in 40-44, 45-49 and 50-54 leaving 2nd in the 40-44 for me. 18th overall out of ~3000 (Results on the web incorrectly show the wheelchair winner as the Master's winner which knocks me down to 3rd AG - I'm ignoring that error I'm sure they will fix eventually). Great up the 25k in 3 weeks - probably a workout as that's 3 weeks before the CIM Marathon.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Ten for Texas

Up at 4:15 for the 1 hour drive to The Woodlands. Stopped in a parking lot before I got far just to see if I could even run - a sore bum last couple days was worrying me a little and I woke up feeling it - some kinda deep muscle strain or something. The test run went OK but not great - decided to continue on to the race. At the race before paying my entry I did another test run just to be sure - seems OK - I'll give it a go - pay my entry and get my packet - a cool packet by the way including a sports bag backpack kinda packet useful for the gym, a light weight running hat and a long sleeve tech shirt - already feel like I got most of my money's worth from the race and haven't even run it yet. I kept checking the weather on my blackberry - such a perfect 53°F no wind.

Near the start I keep asking officials how the first few turns will go and I had to ask several before I got a straight answer - "just follow the crowd" I didn't find a good answer.

The Race plan - follow the alarms programmed into the Garmin which were:
First mile 5:50-6:05
2-9 168-172
10 no alarms - just empty the tank
I thought my 1 hour heartrate was around 170-171 from racing a couple years ago and workouts earlier in the week equated 170 to just under 6 mpm - adding the garmin effect (~1% slower) I figured I was just on the edge of 60 minute capable.

# Split HR
1 5:54 163 - Take off at the gun and don't really feel like I'm going fast but turn out to lead the first few turns (glad I found someone that told me what they were). Spend the first 1/2 mile slowing myself down to get into the alarm zone then I stick in there. About 5 ahead of me.
2 5:56 170 - I pass one and one passes me - still 6th. I feel a fleeting twinge in my bum and I'm feeling pretty sure I'm not making it 10 miles - but it goes away so I continue on thinking a good possibility I'm walking the last 1/2.
3 6:06 170 - running alone but drilling a hole in the back of the guy in front of me staring at it 100 yards away or so. Just staying in the zone - trying to keep my mind in the mile which didn't feel too bad at all as it shouldn't so early in the race - trying not to dread what was coming ahead. Had another bum twinge but it went away pretty quick.
4 6:00 170 - move up to pass and move into 5th. As I passed he didn't seem to make any effort to hang on.
5 6:00 171 - Just staying in the zone - I hear mile splits at the milemarkers but they are so far off the actual miles I can see on my watch I'm not really sure how fast I'm running but it seems I've banked very very little on the sub1hour goal. 4th is a good distance but not moving farther - maybe closer - not footsteps from behind...running my own race.
6 5:50 172 - John Walk comes up on a bike (a reporter in the pack of bikers at the lead of the race) and let's me know the guy behind me is a Master - I'm not too worried about him as he seemed to be going backwards but that did give me a little pressure to not let up - from the split it appears I actually pushed a little faster actually. It didn't feel like I needed to stay in the alarm HR zones so I went ahead and pushed the higher limits a bit.
7 5:49 172 - 4th seems to be getting closer and closer - I hook a line into his back and reel him in slowly - by end of the mile I'm easing by him and he's also not making a move to stay with me. 2nd and 3rd are about the same distance ahead as 4th was a mile before but they seem to be closer.
8 5:49 174 - About the same as last mile I hooked the two kids in 2nd and 3rd and reeled them in - took a while but as I came up on them I had a decision - hook onto them and "rest" a bit with them doing some of the work or ease on by them. I didn't much feel like slowing down to latch on so I just kept up my speed and eased on by them. They didn't seem to make a move but I didn't look around so I wasn't sure how far back they were.
9 5:42 175 - feeling like they could be right behind me I kept pushing. I listenned carefully as people cheered for me how long before the cheered for someone behind me and it seemed to be getting longer - but I kept pushing because it felt like I could.
10 5:41 177 - last mile - gotta empty the tank - 1st place is no where to be seen. Seem no one is behind me - but I want to pour it all out so I keep pushing counting off the minutes to the finish that seemed at times to tick away very slowly.
10.07 5:07 179 - see the finish and grab that little extra sprint in.

Total 59:09 5:55 pace

A PR by over a minute. Converts to 80.8% AG. 2nd overall which has no such award but I get 1st Masters anyway (which I could I got going a lot slower but that's OK). I get the heaviest award I've ever received - a full 3 lb granite award with the Texas Star and "First Male Master" on an engravement plate - plus about $100 in swag including free entry for next year. And I got a picture with the race maskot - an Armadillo. Post race party is excellent with full breakfast, band, the works.

Great race - really starting to feel like I've got my old speed nearly back again. I guess the HR is a little different - seems 170ish was a little low for this race - might be a good target for the 1/2 marathon. Hoping to keep the sub6 mpm trend going for the next race - Houston Half Marathon in 2 weeks - if weather is good.



btw - the bum at the end really didn't feel any worse than at the start - sometimes it goes that way - I'll keep the stretching/icing/rolling going to try and clear out the twing over the next week.


Saturday, September 25, 2010

2010 HARRA Cross Country Relay

4x2 miles per leg along the bayou. A cross country course relatively flat on the first mile but very hilly with even some very steep parts on the second mile. A fun event with all the local talent I haven't seen in a while with some new talent that wasn't around back a couple years ago when I was racing local last. I raced this a couple years ago. Last time out I managed splits of 5:26/5:44 for a 11:10 total. This time I managed splits of 5:33/5:58 for a total 11:29 - 2.8% slower. Not bad although I didn't feel like I was really pushing my hardest 2nd mile so maybe a little more fuel in the tank.

I had anchor leg and pretty much just held my position from start to finish. There wasn't anyone to chase down except those getting lapped - but I still pushed it pretty well. In the end we got 3rd place Masters with a time of 49:45. 1st and 2nd were only 4 seconds apart around 47:xx. Nice to know me and 3 clones would have got the Masters title and 3rd overall - appears I'm still reasonably competitive among the Masters of today - although there sure seem to be several fast ones around.

Results - we were Hs Mens Master - (Hs=Houston Striders)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

California International Marathon - December 5th - Hometown Marathon

Reviewing the course:

Start - Folsom-Auburn Rd - road though there on my bike in high school many many times. The branch to the Folsom Dam Rd. just up the road was called "That Dam Road" several times as I'd drop into the lowest gear and slowly climb to the dam.

Mile 5 - Turn onto Fair Oaks Blvd - Fair Oaks was the city name on my return address from 5th grade through 12th.

Mile 8 - cross Madison Ave and past the library I'd sneak off to to skip Sunday School - then pass the Church we went to(or skipped as the case may be) growing up.

Mile 9 - just crossed Sunset Ave on Fair Oaks Blvd - 2 streets over was my house growing up near Sunrise Blvd and Sunset Ave intersection.

Mile 11 - just crossed Sunrise Blvd and climbed the little hill up to the RiverRat where several rafts were rented to go down the river (I became an expert at Donkey Kong at that riverrat as a friend figured out how to play that game for free). Also crossed Pennsylvania Avenue which is used to get down to the river - this was my high school coaches favorate place to have a hard hill workout - that was one steep hill.

Mile 12 - cross San Juan Ave - the end of that street was San Juan rapids - a favorite hang-out by the river.

Mile 21 - Will Fair Oaks Blvd never end....finally does - passed Arden Way, Watt Ave, Fulton Ave, Howe - familiar street names.

Mile 26.2 - right to the California Capital Building.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Purple Monkey 10k - My first road race win!

I was not planning on any racing until the 10 miler race in mid October - but lately I've been nailing some great workouts and was feeling antsy to run a race and see how things are going - so I looked around for a labor day weekend race - preferrably 10k - and happened to find the Purple Monkey 5k/10k in Alvin, TX - seemed to be a small race although the winning times last few years were pretty competitive (34-35 min). The course is 2 loop 5k each with start and finishlne at the same place. I was excited by a weather forecast that showed a fairly good drop in humidity Saturday morning - so I set my course to go for it.

Since most of my working out has been either on a treadmill or in the heat - I didn't have any good benchmarks on my fitness level but Friday I had the great fortune to be albe to run in the rain negating the heat/humidity effect - so I went out to a track and tested out different speeds vs heartrate and concluded my cool 1 hour race pace was around 5:50-6:00 - figuring race conditions would be slowed by the heat - I figured that was about the pace I could hold for the forcasted conditions (Forcast said 76* with 67* Dew Point).

After the warm-up jog before the race I should have realized the humidity was not so low like I thought it was going to be from the forecast - but somehow I convinced myself it was low humidity even though I felt pretty muggy based just on the 1.5 mile warm-up jog.
Per results - there were 126 10k finishers and 272 5k finishers so about 400 participants.

I line up at the front and plan to keep the pace around 6 mpm the first loop the see where I can go from there. I haven't run but one race in the last 1.5 years so I must say I'm a little rusty. What I re-learned a bit today was how the race "feels" as the miles go by...

Mile 1 - feels too slow but the pace was right on target so I hold back going faster. Initially about a dozen people race off ahead but towards the end of the first mile - all but 2 have faded back behind me - I didn't change pace - stayed pretty steady and came through the first mile at 5:58.

The 2 in front were clearly a couple high school kids and they were running together - before mile 2 one of them dropped back and I eased by him, the other slowed a little and I moved up to him - one guy eased up from behind and asked me if I was running the 10k or the 5k - I told him 10 and he was running 10 too. We both eased by the other HS kid then I decided to just stick on his sholder for a while. Mile two was also pretty steady around 5:55.

Knowing this other guy was in my race and we were 1,2 - I just stuck on his shoulder or just behind him the whole next mile - decided to run the race tactical for a while as long as it wasn't too far off my pace target - then around 3 he started to fade - as I moved even with him I could tell by his breathing he was struggling more than me - at this point I'm still keeping a steady pace at just under 6 mpm. I move on past him maintaining my pace and start creating a gap on him. We finish up to the 5k finishline where there is a turnaround point for the 10k runners to repeat the course again. As I turn around I see the HS kid finish up his race and win the 5k and see the small gap to the #2 guy in my race - Mile 3 6:02, first half 18:35.

I'm feeling good at this point - felt like I had held back the first half and I should be able to negative split this race - that feeling doesn't last too long. I make it alone to the 4 mile point and feel that tweener part of the race - that part where the finish is pretty far away and the fatigue of the first part of the race is approaching about the limit of where training typically goes. Seems the worst part of every race is somewhere between 2/3rds and 3/4 done - after that the finish line is close enough to be thinking about the final push then rest - before that and still feeling somewhat fresh - then there is the tweener part of the race. I manage to get through mile 4 without much slowing (6:00) - a couple peaks back to see how much gap I'm creating with 2nd. Before getting to mile 5 I start lapping people still on the 1st lap so glancing back to see 2nd didn't work anymore so I was always sure he was gaining back ground on me. Right after the mile 5 marker (6:06) I'm hitting a tough patch - I step off the gas and slow all the way down to near 7 mpm pace - certain the 2nd place guy is coming to get me - this rough patch lasts about 1/4 mile.

With about a mile to go in the race - I reached for something more - I thought it would be neat to win a race - especially on my daughter's birthday - that just seemed like a neat thing to do - I managed to speed back up and actually averaged sub6 mpm for the last mile and including closer to 5 mpm for the last 1/4 mile or so to the finish - 2nd half was 18:43 - and I won!

I was so tired - I could barely walk after crossing the finishline - I found a grassy spot and laid down for a couple minutes to catch my breath. I never saw 2nd come in mixed in with all the 5k'ers. I had a tough time taking in food for a while - kept feeling the urge to throw up - but I didn't and eventually things returned back to normal again.

Final time 37:18 - 6:00.2 mpm pace. Temps ended up warmer than I expected at about 77* and 73* dew point - very humid.

2nd place guy turned out to be over a minute behind me - an amazing runner in his 50s.

My first win in a road race - and unofficially I won both the 5k and 10k races as I was first to the 5k point too. Results

Fun race and about where I figured I was considering the temps. I'm hoping to keep about that pace or faster as temperatures drop and fitness improves in each of the tune-up races planned before my goal marathon race in December. The line-up is 10 miler October 10th, 1/2 marathon at the end of October, 25k in early November - then the goal race - California International Marathon in Sacramento on 12/5 - I'd like to see 3 out of 4 PR's in those races - not likely at the marathon but the other three seem doable if conditions are right (I don't even have a 25k PR so that one is easy).

Splits: 5:58/168 5:55/175 6:02/176 6:00/179 6:06/179 6:21/179 +0.2 at 5:09/179 pace to sprint it in. or 18:35/18:43 5k's. I'm not sure the HR data was any good - very strange that the HR stayed so steady 179 for the whole second half - didn't even go down when I slowed to 7 mpm pace or go up when I sprinted it in at 5 mpm pace - just stayed steady clicking up or down a point or two around 179 the whole way - very strange.


Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Rocky IV Treadmill Run

15 miles on the treadmill while watching Rocky IV. I was only planning to run a constant 8.5 - but then the inspiring music comes along....40 minutes in getting up to 10.5, 2nd at around 55 minutes in --- I couldn't go fast enough as Rocky ran to the top of the mountain - maxed the treadmill out at 12 --- 1:15 in the fight starts - gets a few round in - the pace is up into 11+ and --- blow a circuit. Trip breaker and get going again - fast forward to the final fight and get going but its about done so I go back to the mountain climbing scene - 12 wasn't fast enough - had to add a 3% incline and maxed the HR up to 181 - pretty darn close to Max HR....cooled down back at 8.5 for last mile or so......what a awesome workout:

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Anchorage/Yakutat 2010 - Half Marathon and Fishing Report

This would be my 8th trip (I think) up to the big state to fish the streams and waterways - 1st trip for my son - Ryan. I tacked on a 1/2 marathon that happenned to work out just before the trip much as I tacked the full marathon in Anchorage 2 years ago on my last trip to Yakutat.

I've been training since Boston Marathon to compete in the Buffalo Springs 1/2 ironman and was having some great success learning how to swim, getting some running fitness back again, dropping a few pounds and changing how I bike to incorporate things like aerobars to go faster. I wasn't following any structured program just pretty much tried to spread my available workout time among the sports as I could.

On my last long bikeride planned before heading up to the Alaska fishing trip I was practicing the transitions. I started in the backyard pool for 10 minutes swimming very short laps, transitioned quickly to the bike then road ~50 miles and as I was finishing up the bike I practiced the preparation for the transition to running. On the last turn before the house I reached down to loosen the shoes (not normal tri shoes with just two velcro straps but cycling shoes with 3 velcro straps and a slip-tightening strap which is a bit more complicated to loosen). While making the turn, fussing with the slip strap and focussed on avoiding a car that happenned to be making a turn also - I neglected to notice a bump in the road and after hitting said bump I couldn't maintain control with only the one hand on the bars - so I went down. Crash Results - Roadrash on knee, shoulder (no big deal) and a few days later I discover a likely cracked rib (bigger deal). After a little googling it's clear swimming is not going to happen on a cracked rib although I was pleased to discover many example of the other two sports largely unimpacted by such an injury - as guided by pain. Buffalo Springs in cancelled and I switch around my plans to be sure to instead run the Anchorage 1/2 marathon (made a couple flight changes that I was on the fence about making).

With focus shifted to the 1/2 marathon - I start really looking forward to a nice cool 1/2 marathon as I'd been living in the tripple H's (Houston Humid Heat) for months.

After the normal travel hassels - my son and I get to Anchorage Startline:

I didn't really know what to expect I was capable of but I was hoping the 3000m I did the prior weekend in heat would provide some indication. A 10:12 3000m in hot conditions suggested something faster than 1:20 half marathon in cool conditions. I couldn't use a heart rate monitor as it bugged my rib so my race plan was to try out something around 6 mpm pace and see how it felt then adjust from there in the race. As it turns out that was an aggressive plan.

After a few miles it started felt pretty darn fast especially as the hills came along. The race started with a 5 mile race for the first few miles and after they broke off I could count into the distance the runners ahead of me and by that count I was figuring to be around 7th (I didn't know three mega fast dudes were way out ahead so really I was around 10th). Through 6 I lost a couple spots and traded back and forth with one guy until finally I passed him for good. Another guy came from behind just after this and I watched him ahead for some time. A couple of the mile splits in the middle were slowed by some trail running I wasn't expecting. Apparently they changed the course vs what is shown on the website and the new course cuts across trails to a bike path instead of going a simple out n back by the airport runway (yes I got my runway running in - sorta). Somewhere around 10 a pack of high schoolers eased by me and all of a sudden I dropped 5 places as they were moving just a little too fast for me. As they passed the other guy that passed me earlier I was able to catch him and from there to the end I pretty much stayed in the same place within a reasonably good gap. I was really hoping to AG win in this race but with the pace dropping I figured someone ahead must be older - although the guys that did pass me seemed pretty young - so just maybe a possibility. The final mile has a big cruel hill in it and I somehow pushed up it without much slowing emptying the tank then finished strong. I was a bit surprized to see the 1:24's click away as I sprinted to the line as I was figuring closer to 1:22-1:23 and later realized the course was long. No big deal but I couldn't quite out-sprint the "5" from showing up and ended up with a final time of 1:25:01.

# Split Elev. chg
1 5:50 -41
2 5:59 -14
3 6:04 +57
4 6:20 +8
5 6:37 +33
6 6:17 -30
7 6:29 -38 (trails)
8 6:29 -9 (trails)
9 6:42 +63
10 6:27 -58
11 6:24 -25
12 6:28 -7
13 6:31 +63
13.38 5:50 (pace) 0

Ryan takes on the Photographer role at the finish:

After the race I'm thinking a 1:25 is not going to be good enough to do it - just maybe I won't even get a top 3 AG award. I replayed the 4th place I got a few weeks prior at the Astro's Penant in my mind and thought that scenario was a possibility again here. Awards are posted ----- I didn't get 4th place - in fact I WON the Age Group - in fact I was the fastest of the >40 year olds too - although they don't give out a Master's award in this race if they had I'd get that. What a great surprise that THAT time was good enough to do it.

On reflection trying to figure how a 1:25 could get an AG win in my age group - I'm supposing the middle age Alaskan male has many obsticles to overcome to be a competitive runner with 6 months of darkness and bears/moose to avoid on the trails - I guess not many overcome the obsticles. I'm certain in Houston the biggest 1/2 marathon of the year for the city would not have put me in contention. Regardless - I'm delighted to get the bragging rights of the AG win.

So I get my award and we finish up in Anchorage and fly down to Yakutat for the fishing trip. As I've been there many times before for me the experience was more to watch it through my son's eyes new to it all. A few pictures of it all:

Deep Sea Fishing for Halibut - Very much like MY last experience doing this - Ryan got a bit sea-sick and didn't have fun with this at all:

My Dad pulling in a Skank (get's thrown back) on the trip:

As it happens I ended up with the only big'ish halibut on the trip with a ~110-120 lb'r and another guy catches a few smaller ones - unusually light total take for the day's excursion with only 60-70 lbs of meat after processing.

Next my Brother pilot's a small boat with Ryan, Dad and I down a river as we hunt for more fishing holes.

Ryan is getting pretty good at the fishing part - the catching - not so much:

Our group decides to try to fly to another river none of us had ever fished before:

One of the 10 of us has success catching a couple big King Salmon but the rest of us spent the rainy 9 hours on the river just getting cold and a little frustrated. Here's Ryan with on of the guy's fish (the smaller one).

A great group of guys to hang out with, fish and play poker into the night:

Last fishing day - Ryan is finally experiencing the catching part of fishing:

And we both have a ton of success once we and a few others in the group got a good fishing hole dialed in:

A good day's fishing:

Overall Tally at the end of it all was around 500 lbs of fish split about half-n-half Salmon/Halibut with a some smaller quantities of Lincod, Rockfish and Seabass. A pretty good take. Ryan seemed to have a ball which was really fun to watch.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

USCAA Reginal Track and Field Championship - 2010

Rice University - Corporate Competition - 4rd time I've participated on the Shell team - 3rd time in this event (other time was Nationals in San Diego) - last year I participated- 2008 - we JUST edged out our typical rival at this event - Exxon.

I ran three events:

1) 3000m 86°F 70% humid 8mph wind
1:17 151 164
1:22 167 170
1:22 172 173
1:24 173 174
1:25 175 177
1:23 177 178
1:22 179 180
0:38 180 182

10:12 (2nd place, teammate Wilmer Bustillos got 1st but our team actually ended up 3rd once top 5 runners are counted - medals to the top 2 so we got nada).

2) Distance Relay - 5 runners for a total of ~4 miles - we had a dream team with over a minute lead by the end - I had the anchor leg with no pressure at all but tried my best anyway.

1600m 91°F 58% humid 8 mph wind
1:13 153 165
1:20 170 172
1:24 174 176
1:16 178 180

5:13 (1st place team gold medal)

3)Master's Relay (800/400/800). I had the lead off and secured a dominant lead that held up very well. Although only 1.25 miles we ended up with almost a minute lead in this event too. My leg:

800m 93°F 53% humid 9mph wind
1:11 151 164
1:15 169 172

2:26 (1st place team gold medal)

Overall a great event - I figured based on the 5k 2 weeks ago I was good for ~10:30 3k so it was nice to beat that mark suggesting some improvement even in just the 2 weeks since.

Unfortunately Exxon won this year and we had to settle for 2nd :(.

It was great hanging out with Wilmer B. too - not too often I'm around that caliber runner.

Next race - Anchorage Half Marathon next Saturday - not planning race effort - more like MP effort to save for the Buffalo Creek Half Ironman in two weeks.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Astros Race for the Pennant 5k

Last weekend I had a particulary great workout that seemed a bit too good to be true. As a result I decided to test out my fitness to see if it could possibly be true with a 5k. I was running 10.4 (5:46) on the Treadmill at 163 HR and 9.0 (6:40 mpm) at 150 HR which is right where I was 2 years ago - note the graph here from almost exactly 2 years ago.

I've kinda grown up in this adult athlete phase on using the HRM for training/racing - for 10/11 marathons - and I'm always looking for why the HR behaves one way or another day to day or week to week to find an edge. Anyway as I've been biking a lot this year I noticed a currious pattern in my HR - for the next couple/few days after a long bikeride my HR runs 6-8 bpm lower - or rather I can maintain a faster running pace for the same HR (effort seemed higher but hard to tell as I've been doing mostly slow running). I was wondering if I could indeed run faster after the long bikeride - I seemed to be able in a workout last weekend where my HR vs pace was about what it was a couple years ago pre-injury.

I even started a thread on it over on letsrun

So the race was a test to see if I could deliver the extra speed in a race. After a 46 mile bikeride in the heat on Friday with a little running right after - I raced a 5k today. I did find a lower HR in the race - max'd out at 176 vs 184 a couple years ago - so now I'm thinking the maxHR is what is lower in this post biking state and I'm not actually faster in this state (or at least not much faster) but rather my HR just runs lower - no easy tricks here to be faster as far as I can tell - I just need to keep training and knock off a dozen pounds to get to where I've been. But it was an interesting experiment regardless - and this being my first real race in 1.5+ years - it was a blast to be out there pushing again.

Pennant 5k '08 vs '10:
Splits '08: 5:19(163),5:32(176),5:40(180),0:34(184) total 17:06 (5:31 mpm) 59.7 VDOT
Splits '10: 5:35(158),6:11(171),6:02(173),0:34(176) total 18:24 (5:56 mpm) 54.9 VDOT

Weather '08 78°F/77% Humid
Weather '10 78°F/83% Humid (yeah 6% makes a difference - but not that much)

Weight: '08 ~152, '10 ~165 (some of the extra is muscle for bike/swim but not that much)
Weight Adjusted VDOT - 54.9 * 165/152 = 59.6 - same as '08 race so O2max is about the same just takes more energy to move the extra dozen pounds...

Award '08 1st AG - won new shoes,
Award '10 4th AG - nada - missed 3rd by 3 seconds (grrrrrr - always hate the ones that get away).

So - current fitness - 54.9 VDOT (temp adjustment - 56.6 VDOT). If that is true than my training paces should be around:

MP - 6:33, LT - 6:11, VO2max - 5:43

This still doesn't quite makes sense with last Sunday's treadmill workout:

5 miles at 5:46 mpm (6:00 equivalent Outdoor),
6.5 miles at 6:40 (6:57 EQ),
1.5 miles at 5:30 (5:44) I'm estimating my current fitness closer to 57-58ish (2:50 marathoner range) - not bad for only running since February on currently ~30-35 miles/week (+ crosstraining).

...and apparently I need to take off a few bpm from my training HR targets after a long bikeride.

5/30 - 15 mile treadmill to test out my new pace targets (in the cold room - chilled into the 60s for the morning workout) - 6:40TM~7:00 outside, 6:15TM~6:30 MP Pace:

1 6:40 145
2 6:40 146
3 6:40 147
4 6:40 148
5 6:40 148
6 6:40 150
7 6:40 149
8 6:40 149
9 6:40 149
10 6:40 150
11 6:15 155
12 6:15 157
13 6:15 157
14 6:15 157
15 6:15 159

The 6:15 felt like MP - like I could sustain it - unlike last weeks 5:45s where I found it very tough to sustain for 5 miles. So it appears my MP Heartrate for training need revision - 2008 162ish, 2010 157ish - at least after a long bikeride anyway. Good to know where I'm at - glad I did the race to confirm in fact - it WAS to good to be true.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Next up....

My first Tri:

· 1.2 mile open water lake swim. Wave starts (approximately 100 per wave), rectangular course counter clockwise, entry at beach area and exit on cement boat dock area, within 20 yards of the transition area. Swim cutoff time is 75 minutes.
· Note: The water temperature in Buffalo Springs Lake, on the average, is 70-74 degrees (even during the 113 degree day of 1994 the water temperature was never over 74 degrees). It is a spring fed lake so it stays cool.

· 56 miles, modified out and back, out of town farm to market roads, limited traffic, flat with 8 challenging hills, ranging from 2.9% - 8.9% grade and a quarter of a mile to 1.2 miles in length. These are good asphalt roads with some shoulders.

· 13.1 miles, asphalt, flat with 3 challenging hills, ranging from 6.4% - 7.6%(not the same hills as found on the bike course) grade. The hills are approximately 300 yards to 880 yards in length. Partially shaded, tough, scenic course.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Austin-Boston Challenge...Report

Starts and Finishes - Starts and Finishes - that's pretty much what life is about and my report has several of each.

This current adventure Starts 17 months ago at a finishline. The finish was the end of a 2 year journey to be as good as I could be at the marathon and I got pretty darn close with a masters (>40) win and PR at the San Antonio Marathon 11/16/2008. That was the Finish of that quest for the best - and the Start of an injury outage. It's quite a transition from being near my potential to be forced to give it up as any who have gone though it understands. That transition is hard and denial ran pretty strong as I hoped in vain for rapid recovery. Repeated attempts to run only prolonged the outage to the point that what might have been just a few month outage was aggravated enough to need timeframes more like 6 month or more - and that recovery time clock kept resetting at zero when reagrevated. After what seemed like more than enough time off everything - not even crosstraining - I started some walk-run type exercises and was encouraged enough to sign up for Boston in November just before the race filled - I planned to wait until after Christmas but with the race filling up I forced to decide earlier. By Christmas the running was set-back again and I started thinking of a back-up plan - MS150 was an event that gets a lot of buzz around Houston and I wanted to do it - I was hoping there was separation between it and Boston so that on the off chance I could run Boston - but when I saw they were the same weekend - I pretty well figured probably Boston was off and I'd just do the MS150 - the prospect of doing both crossed my dreamy mind - but the logistical challenges, let alone the physical ones seemed impossible.

MS150 Challenge - although I did take up biking for a couple month early in the year and picked up the necessary gear and learned some technique - on one occasion when I tried to run I re-injured myself and was beginning to believe the biking was keeping me from healing - taking no chances I stopped biking and really had done little since March. Starting pretty much from fitness scratch in mid-December - I started hitting the road - got a trainer for the inside so I could ride even when outside wasn't an option and pretty quickly started logging the kind of hours I logged in full marathon training mode and the body didn't complain - no injuries developed. January/February I logged about 500 miles each month and I could feel the fitness returning - felt great. Now I did not rule out Boston completely - and in fact started to investigate some of the logistical challenges and found solutions that made it doable. But as of mid-February although my fitness was returning - I still had not even run my first mile. I set a milestone - if by March 1st I wasn't running unrestricted - forget Boston - those close to me tried not to be too vocal in their doubts - I figured it was pretty unlikely too - but if unrestricted I was sure I could ramp up to marathon distance in 6 weeks - I'd done nearly that in my very first marathon with no fitness to start with so surely the bike fitness counted for something. One day in Mid-February after arriving to a hotel late I thought I'd give it a try - I got my shorts on and jogged at around midnight One Mile - no walk-jog walk-jog like I was doing last go around of trying to come back - just a straight 1 mile jog - and everything felt OK. A couple days later I upped to 1.5 miles - still OK. A couple days later I went until it felt uncomfortable ~3 miles. A couple days later same routine and at 5 I still wasn't uncomfortable but figured I shouldn't tempt fate so stopped. I kept on this routine of every other day a little bit more until by March 1st - my milestone - I had run my first double digit run in well over a year - and felt OK - you can imagine my surprise and delight - I love to run and really hated not being able to. That day was born the Austin-Boston Challenge (ABC for short) - I figured I could keep ramping up little by little over the next 6 weeks and by April 19th I surely could finish the race - even if with some walking.

By the ABC weekend I had logged nearly 1500 miles on the bike and a little over 200 on the shoes. Included in that was a 102 mile bikeride (torturous) and two 20 mile runs (also torturous) - so I felt READY - what 6 weeks prior seemed impossible by ABC weekend seemed probable.

Now let me just stop to say the family has been incredibly patient through this year off. For my Darling Wife the anxiety of watching me frustrated for a whole year was high. I think she found herself torn between wanting me to pursue my dreams yet don't fall into this extended frustration time again. I found that news of the ABC becoming a real possibility brought mixed feelings. Vision of another finishline followed by another year of frustration was not easy to dismiss. But at the same time she backs me up in my pursuits especially once she sees what it really means to me. And when I shared what a finisher's medal at the Boston Marathon would mean to me - more precious than its weight in gold - a symbol of closure on a frustrating year - she got on board and I love her for it. She wouldn't miss being there at THAT finishline and worked things out so she (and Kaylee) could join me in Boston as my cheering squad.

Taper Week - April 11-16 - typical worries and phantom pains that made sure at times and just cause doubts other times that I could not make it through ABC. Lots of checking the weather which always looked great for both events.

MS150 - a big event around Houston and I really didn't know how big. A huge fundraiser that has many many other similar events all across the states but none as big as in Houston. They don't report numbers of riders that I could find - focus is all on $s rose for MS but I gather there are around 7,000 riders. The MS focus was interesting and educational and sobering as I really knew close to nothing about the disease. Most riders are on Teams and teams are released at the start I think based on their historical team fundraising totals. I'm on the Shell Team which consolidated relatively recently as a single team and had a pretty large presence considering this. I rarely had much contact with the team except during a required safety course and happening across riders on routes on my side of the city - most team events were too far away to be practical for me. This is the first major bike event I've participated in and I was impressed with its organization and efficiency. It was geared to be recreational and certainly NOT competitive which created the unfortunate issue of slower and faster riders always mixed from the first mile to the last. Not a major problem but as I am somewhat competitive :) I was the guy always looking for the opportunity to pass requiring extra vigilance and awareness in the ride. For me this was not a recreational ride but rather an endurance event to test my limits.

First day - ride starts from 3 different locations depending on where your team starts. For Team Shell we start ~100 miles from LaGrange - the midpoint campout location - others had 80 miles to go that first day. As I said before teams seemed to be released by the past fundraising abilities and Team Shell was released around 7:20 am after 5-6 other large teams were released (I'm guessing we were 7th based on they ran out of bullets and had to just say "Bang" to get us started). To keep enough spacing there were a few minutes between team starts. After our team (~400 riders?) gets the "bang" we are underway. After a couple mile I could work around to find a few in the front that wanted to ride (I'll call our little group the Shell Peloton). The ride was near perfect - occasional showers of course made the pavement wet and had to avoid the spray off the wheel in front of me - we all got a little taste of Texas roadway as you couldn't completely avoid the spray. We quickly closed the gap to the next group’s slower riders and worked our way around them as there was space and when we had good clear space we made some pretty good time with a slight tailwind to help. This went on for about 30-35 miles and we were book'n 23-24 mph average. I set up my fueling routine to try to replenish the maximum I could so I'd have as much for the following days as possible. I had 2x24 oz waterbottles filled with UltraFuel (1200 calories total), a couple protein bars, Endurolyte (electrolyte) Capsules and a Camelback hydration pack on my back full of water. Routine was 1/4th bottle of UltraFuel(150 calories) every 10 miles, Protein bar after each bottle (40 miles) and an electrolyte capsule with water between the bottle drinks - and drink water often. Routine worked well with no pitstops, no cramps and energy available to the end of both days. After the first 30-35 miles I get a loud pop from my back wheel - broken spoke - I pull out of the Shell Peloton to assess the situation. I end up bandaging the bike (used a Band-Aid to tie the loose spoke to another) and loosening the brake way out so it wasn't rubbing on the warped rim and ride to the next breakpoint to find a very professionally outfitted bike repair test servicing bikes. Because I had my MS150 sticker on the bike (from a free bike inspection at the local bike store a couple weeks prior) they fixed the bike free of charge in about 15 minutes and I was on my way (ok - I guess I DID have one pitshop while I was waiting). Biking on my own mostly - occasionally I'd hook up with a faster rider or two - the pace wasn't as impressive but the effort was pretty high - I got to the midpoint and stopped debating whether to stop for the organize lunch or keep going - decided I'd have lunch at the finish and kept going. The rest is a blur - all more of the same - lots of slow riders to pass - more so because of the mechanical break - plus merging with those from other startlines than had 20 less miles to go. I get to less than a mile from the day's finish and I get that pop sound again from my back wheel - yep - another broken spoke - so close I just let the brake out again without stopping and ride through the finish and straight to another Bike Repair Tent to get it fixed again (guess I need new rims). Check-in at my team tent at 12:20 and my Garmin said I averaged just over 20 mph for just under 100 miles. Much much easier than the 102 miler I'd done in training - I pretty much had no fueling routine for that training ride and that makes a world of difference.

The rest of the day was in a camp. I had turned in luggage on Friday for the overnight that my team organizers had delivered. I pitched a tent that went inside one of my team's large (football field kinda large) tents - stuffed my face with as much food as I could grab quick, set the Garmin to recharge, grabbed my change of clothes and headed for the showers - shower lines weren't too bad - 5-10 minute wait - they got much longer a couple hours later. Man that shower felt good! Get my bike out of the repair tent (free again because of the sticker) and head back to my little tent for a nap. Rest of the day was listening to a talk about MS, lazing around - read a book - Duel in the Sun - about the 1982 Boston Marathon battle to the finish between the two top American marathoners of that time - figured that might be a good one to read - I picked it up and didn't put it down until the race was done (ok - I skipped a few character development chapters - I really just wanted the race) - great book. Dinner, chit/chats with co-workers - try to get what seemed the right balance of Carbs, Protein, Electrolytes and Water to replace.

2nd day start is 7am so I'm up around 5, down some ultrafuel and check out the morning - it's raining - very hard - and I didn't bring raingear (actually I've not gotten around to getting any). It's only water - and rain in the 60s isn't so bad. I'm a little antsy about getting the 77 miles (according to the map) over with on time so I can get to the airport and get to Boston. There are two course options for day to - a 77 miler and a 60 miler - I consider the shorter route briefly but longer is really the only way to go. Today's release is at 7am - I pack up my stuff and put it on the truck and head out to the start about 6:30 and even after skipping past half the line I'd guess there were still a couple thousand riders packed together at the start ready to go. Start is a slow release of a section of riders at a time and by 7:45 I'm finally on the road. The rain stopped just before I lined up and pretty much stayed away the rest of the day - talk about good fortunes. Similar to the day before with thousands ahead on my course plus the shorter course merging about mile 46 again the slower runners were always there from beginning to end to navigate around. After a bunch of miles there was an unexpected choice - through "the park" or straight - I didn't see this option on the course maps - of course I was going to take the hardest route and all I'd heard about the day before was the hills in "the park" - I just didn't realize there was two course options up there and so my course map with distances no longer was correct and I figured I was adding some unknown distance to what was shown on the map to go through the park. Off I go - the park was great fun - steep hills to climb, windy roads good downhills with speed. Done with the park and merge with another stream of riders - presumably the ones that took the non-park route. Keep going trying to figure out where the 46 mile lunch break stop is - pass a couple break points and I'm showing up to 60+ and I'm still convinced I haven't seen the lunch stop so my 77 mile planned is 90+ and I'm dreading this - my right knee is bugging me on low cadence or uphills and I wonder how that will translate to running tomorrow. I get to the next breakpoint convinced it was the mile 46 lunch stop now well over 60 showing on my Garmin and I had 30 miles to go....then I look a little closer and compare to my map to the discover - Great Joy - only 15 miles or so to go. I stop and let my finishline squad to expect me around noon. Every one of those last miles was counted off one by one in my mind with just forcing me not to stop. Finally I pull into Austin - rid a little through UT then a few last turns and I'm at the finishline - high fives to DW, Kaylee and Ryan and cross the finish. As weak as I was at the end I can't imagine how another 15 milers that I thought I had to go would have felt. In the end my Garmin shows 74 for the day.

Let the reloading begin - remaining ultrafuel from my bottles, another protein bar, water, a few other things they handed me after crossing. Quick shower and off to the airport. DW, Kaylee and I get dropped off and Ryan drives the car with the bike back to Houston. His first drive on his own very far from home and he's got 3 hours to drive - so Homer shows him the way home. I bought a GPS and while I was bikeriding evidently Kaylee found a Homer Simpson's voice to download into it that they all seem to get a kick out of so now we call the GPS - Homer. Homer got Ryan home safe and sound and we fill up on airport food - I mix up all the UltraFuel I need for the next morning - get my Garmin all re-programmed for the run - I want nothing to do once I get to the hotel but go to sleep. All goes as planned - hop on the flight and off to Boston and taxi to the hotel - pretty uneventful just took a long time. In the hotel about 10pm and Tim had my packet waiting for me in the lobby - I've got what I need to race. Get settled in the room and in bed around 10:30. I'm trying to get my head around it all - I'm actually going to run the Boston Marathon tomorrow - maybe. I still had not since Tuesday proved I could in fact run - the soreness from Tuesday's run seemed to be gone but it might come back with a little bit of running. The right knee bugged me all the way to the end of the ride, my left knee occasionally flared up on me in runs last few weeks - I half expected after 1/2 mile I'd find I just can't run. Also I didn't know what strategy to run the race. My two 20 milers 2-3 weeks before did get finished but ended with 9 mpm difficult miles at the end. I knew using heartrate was going to be useless - I'd discovered the day prior that b2b endurance events drop the HR a ton the second day - I'd also seen this in the training cycle a couple times as I frequently did long rides or long rides/runs both Saturday/Sunday and always the second day the HR was running lower or I'd go faster for same HR. My typical race strategy is to run 160 HR and ignore my pace - but I had a real feeling if I did that I'd be running way too fast - maybe a possible speed for me from an aerobic point of view but the fitness is mostly biking fitness - the tendons, muscles and skeletal was not trained to that - and the endurance has not proved to be there as evident by the slow pace at the end of my longruns. Finally I decided I was just going to run by my breathing patterns 2-2 = marathon pace, keep an eye on the HR, hope for the best and just maybe I could pull in a sub3:21 (Boston Qualifier for 2011 - i.e. BQ) - 7:40 pace real, 7:35 by Garmin with about 5 seconds/mile faster first half since the 2nd half is a couple minutes slower overall. But mostly have fun and just see what happens. Finally with all this set - I start to fall asleep.

Morning up about 20 minutes late - set my alarm for PM instead of AM but fortunately woke up - a moment of horror until I saw the time - I had plenty of time to spare so I'm OK. UltraFuel, Shower, Kiss my wife goodby and walk to the bus. My planned time here would have had little lines but I end up waiting 4-5 bus cycles before getting loaded up for the 1-1.5 hour journey to the start village. It's amazing logistics to move 20,000+ people across the city and get them to the startline ontime. Get to the village around 8:30 for a 10:00 start - time to visit and take care of business then off to the start.

The Boston Marathon #3 (also ran 2007, 2008):
The Airforce Jets rocket across the sky - I give a huge arm pumping YEAH! The fun begins (actually continues). Gun goes off and I'm just taking it all in. Weather is perfect with even a little tailwind.


Crowds are pretty thick - I think corral 2 was a mistake as people are easing by me pretty continual - I'm thinking from my few training (I had little data to draw on having run so little and pretty slow stuff) that I might be able to be in the low 7 mpm pace at 160 HR (MP) and after a couple miles I'm seeing pretty close to 7 mpm at low-mid 140s - I was ecstatic to be banking time to a BQ without putting in much effort - I was pretty sure basis my 20 milers I'd be slowing significant on the back end so ok to keep it nice and easy. I really don't know if I could have maintained 160 - that would have been nearly 40 sec/mile faster - I suspect aerobically I could but the risks on the my unadapted body were too high I think - so I had the best of all worlds going on - run relaxed to enjoy Boston and yet run faster than my A++ goal with fun along the way. Boston course just felt so familiar - I've run it two other times and studied the heck out of the elevation profile in the prior races and dreamed so much about the race both recently and before the prior races - it was just like running through a Disneyland for runners.


More of the same - it starts to flatten out so not as much downhill benefit in the splits but still a little downward decline. I really don't remember much of anything these miles except continued glee at seeing such a low heartrate and still banking more and more time to 7:30 halfway split - I don't feel much pressure to push it - I think I even relaxed a bit - I was still very certain once I get to 18+ miles the HR was going to rise up and the pace was going to slow and most likely I wasn't going to get the BQ. But no matter - even 4:xx I was going to be ecstatic with - all I really wanted was the finishing medal to close out the 2009 marathon drought.


Wellesley - what can I say - seems everything I do say get's me into trouble with DW. What the hell - I decide before the scream tunnel I was not going to stop - I was afraid if I broke my stride the wheels would fall off on this dream run so I jogged through. The first half dozen high 5s were actually little kids. Then the signs - the many many many signs. The first I recall said "Kiss me - we're on TV" next to a camera man - that image of me kissing this co-ed on TV played in my head a little and I couldn't help a grin. Moving on "Kiss me - I'm Texan", "Kiss me - I'm Latino", "Kiss me - I'm Asian", and on and on and on it went with the co-ed's hanging over the railing holding their signs. I found it hilarious - and I just couldn't stop smiling at it all. Of course there is the token guy also holding a Kiss Me sign. What a trip - but no stops - just ran on through and gave probably 100 high fives and felt my spirits somehow lifted. On another 1/2 mile or so just past the 1/2 marathon mats I have a cousin an family who live just a couple blocks off the course and have a family tradition to come out and watch the race. I let them know I'd be running by and to have a water bottle (disqualifying me from prize money I know) ready and sure enough they were all out yelling, cheering, smiling - I stopped and chatted for a minute - even got a full hug by Mary (doesn't she know how gross and sweaty I am) and tried to get my cousin Doug to run a little bit to no avail - I'd apparently outstayed my welcome after a minute as they collectively waved away - but I got my water bottle that allowed me to skip the next several aid stations - and the wheels didn't fall off after a stop after all. Finishing up these miles pretty well finishes up the pre-race - anyone who has run Boston knows the race begins at 16.


First hill of 4 - I attacked it much faster than pace I planned for hills. Race plan had been to go to whatever felt ok after 16 miles and no longer be restrained I was pushing it to next level.

2nd hill was attacked much as the first - I passed A LOT of people on the hills (This Houston boy CAN run hills).

Attacked hill 3 then on to heartbreak hill.

Again attacked the hill passed a bunch of people with a big headwind.

From the top going down. The mental battles were intense. Finally what won out mostly was "this is the BOSTON MARATHON!!" with that no half efforts for any stretch allowed. After crossing that mental milestone - I stopped looking at the watch - and pushed with all I had. I didn't dare look at the watch as knowing my HR could only make me want to slow down. I downed the last gu and a few gulps of water and ran by all the remaining water stations. My legs burned but all felt healthy. I kept plowing on.

There's the CITGO sign!! Meaning 2 miles to go. Keep on keeping on. Most all around me are slowing and I am passing people like crazy here. By the time I got to CITGO sign I had found the practice of closing my eyes very tempting - they felt so comfortable closed. I forced them open to look for my cheerers. Found them and managed a hearty smile and wave - it was great to have them here - and also know only ONE mile to go.

This was a tough mile but I didn't let up and kept on passing people and enjoying the brief shuteyes.

Around a couple corners and I'm running on the right side looking for Susie and the kids on the final stretch. Still pushing but did not want to miss the moment to see them - they have been SO supportive thru all the miles to get here and that moment to the finish was as much theirs as it is mine. I got and gave a big cheer when I saw them.

There is the finish line less than a quarter mile away. I couldn't muster the all out sprint this time but pushed in with a very fast run still passing a few more. I managed to do the last ½ mile at 6 minute mile pace.


There was so much emotion at this point I nearly had to stop and cry in happiness.


Ok - that's not how it really happen - that was excerpts from my 2007 Boston Marathon Race Report from 16 on - but that recount captured what was going through my head in memory as I ran the course - That race really formed my love for marathoning - although my 3rd marathon completed - that one kinda sealed the deal for me - up to then it was just a passing fad. Back to the present:

I climb through the 4 Newton Hills to the top of Heartbreak Hill slowing down on the inclines and speeding back up on the flats and downhill sections. Nothing too crazy about it except that my expectations were not met. I was not significantly slowing - I was still jogging - HR was staying steady and very low - if anything I was taking it too easy - I was trying for 2-2 breathing but it was a pretty shallow 2-2 breathing. At each milemarker I'd do a little calculation of what pace it would take to get a Boston Qualifier time - I was going sub 8s pretty consistent even through the hills and my mental calculations kept sounding easier and easier - 8:30 mpm, 9+ mpm to the finish.... I wasn't slowing nearly what I expected. I absolutely love marathons where I am surprised my fitness is better than I expected - typically I've got it pretty well dialed in what I can do before the race but there have been a couple races I've really surprised myself on and this race was starting to join that short list of surprising races. I stopped anticipating I'd be fading - I just needed to finish this thing up and enjoy every moment.

Heartbreak to the Finish - the final 5 miles.

Ringing through my head is the memory of 2007's charge down into Boston, the Duel in the Sun with the two runners pounding everything they could into the final 5. My general feeling of not being especially taxed by the first 21 miles of the race so knowing I could choose to run a fast 8k to empty the tank to the finish. I had lots of cushion on my stretch goal of sub3:21 Boston Qualifier time. How am I going to run this last part of the race? First things first - where's the beer - looking for the Boston College Beer I've heard so many talk about (but somehow always seem to miss) - I really wanted a beer - I looked and looked - so a pack of screaming guys/girls with Boston College on their cloths so figured it must be close - I never saw it - First time to this point of this race where my stomach is not in knots from running so fast that I think I could have actually enjoyed a beer - I was so disappointed. Pretty much the next mile goes by before I get my head back to the question of how do I want to finish up this last 4 miles. I decide to kick it up a gear and go for it a little. I go a mile or so like this and somehow my mind goes back to really enjoying myself and the crowds screaming and just being in the Boston Marathon and I start to notice I'm back to more of a jogging pace again. CITGO Sign appears in the distance - A completely new strategy forms in my head - I've got lots of cushion now - I could probably WALK from the CITGO sign to the finish (~1 mile) and still get it - maybe I should really take in that enjoy that last mile slow - or maybe I should squeeze out everything I've got and go for it that last mile - walk....race hard....walk....race hard - what to do - I do nothing - I just maintain my pace and enjoy. Up from the underpass and approach Hertford - so many great Boston Moments coming around the last two turns and down the finishing stretch. TV images of Dire Tune in her fight for the win in 2008 - similar images in 2009 in the women's race - I can only imagine what it was like in 1982's Duel in the Sun.....I make my last couple turns and see the finish line down Boylston Street. I'm just soaking it all in. I get to within 1/4 mile of the finish and scan the crowd for my girl and find her - she didn't have "Kiss Me" sign - but I gave her one anyway - I'd been looking forward to doing that for miles. On to the finish - I actually stop a few seconds on that painted "Finish" on the ground that can be seen from satellite images - then walk across the finishing mats. The feeling was very much similar to that 2007 race a few years prior.

The meet-'n-greets - although the bus took too long I did still get 1/2 hour or so to hang out at the wall with a bunch of my "invisible friend". And raised several glasses of beers after. They even all sang to me when the waiter brought over (my daughter let it leak it was my birthday) a desert with a cherry on top - I'd mentioned to several how Boston was really the cherry on top and MS150 was the ice cream Sunday - although in truth it's probably obvious by now that Boston was the main event in my mind. Runners are some awesome people!
L-R: Tim (Tim), Melissa(Rio), Me(kayry), Carolyn(mogulgirl)[front], Cathy (Blazer85)[back], Bruce (The Beast) [back], Pam (vidadolce), Tommy (Butters) [ran 2:28].

The Numbers:

4 MRIs, 1 Xray, 1 BodyScan, Specialists including Primary Care Physician, Massage Therapist, Chiropractor, 2xOrthopedics, Podiatrist, Physical Therapist - Those specialists with any knowledge of a running related Sacrum Stress 6 failed attempts to run over 14 months, 150 miles total for 2009, new sports - 3 - swimming, biking and Kayaking. Peak Fitness score (according to Sportstracks - my training software) in 2008 - 140 - Fitness low in December 2009 - 11, Fitness high in April 2010 148.

Biking begins - 12/19/2009 - First 65 miler 1/23, First 100 miler 3/13, Running - First mile 2/10, First 10 Miler 2/27 (458 days since prior 10 miler), First 20 Miler 3/28. Totals (including ABC) Biking 1812 Miles in 97 hours, Running 250 Miles in 35.8 hours.

Fuel - 11 servings of UltraFuel (400 calories each), ~15 Enduralyte Captsules, 3 Protein Bars, Camelback nearly emptied of water on 2 rides, 3 days Carb Loading before (target >75% calories from carbs), ~3-4000 calories targeted between days to refill the tank, 1 serving of UltraFuel for breakfast before each bike day and 3 servings before the Marathon, in marathon 24 oz Gatorade - about 1/2 just before the start and the other 1/2 over first 5 miles, Gel at 5,10,15,20 with as much water as I could grab (I put much greater focus on electrolyte/hydrate for this than typical to minimize cramp potential late in the race). Don't think I'd change anything - all worked pretty well.

Supporters - many, Naysayers - many (including myself actually - I really didn't think I could do it until ~end of March).

Houston to LaGrange
98.4 miles, average Moving speed 20.2 mph, average Heartrate 151, 69F average equivalent 2.5 mph tailwind with a few brief showers - 2 mechanicals (broke rear spoke twice) 592 ft uphill, 299 ft downhill - average 278 Watts. Ride Time 4:51, Stops 3, Stopped Time 31 minutes, Total Time 5:21. Crashes 0, near misses 0.

Distance mph HR Watts
5 17.2 135 221
10 20.5 140 273
15 19.3 141 251
20 25.1 154 449
25 24.2 153 415
30 26.2 154 513
35 24.3 147 404
40 21.1 143 308
45 21.5 157 320
50 19.3 155 274
55 20.5 152 294
60 19.9 157 268
65 18.7 156 220
70 18.4 156 227
75 19.5 153 213
80 17.3 156 206
85 20.8 153 264
90 18 153 214
95 18.2 151 167
98.15 20.4 152 229

Time 4:50:58

LaGrange to Austin
74.2 Miles, averaged 18.2 mph, Average Heartrate 136, 62F average equivalent 2.1 mph headwind with a brief light rain - 0 Mechanical 825 ft uphill 826 ft downhill - average 208 Watts. Ride Time 4:05, Stops 1, Stopped Time 8 minutes, Total Time 4:13. Crashes 0, Near Misses 1*.

Distance mph HR Watts
5 18.2 125 209
10 20.3 142 275
15 20.8 139 272
20 19.7 142 266
25 18.5 134 227
30 16.9 138 197
35 16.7 136 189
40 19.3 131 201
45 17.9 133 181
50 18.1 135 197
55 18.9 136 208
60 20 143 235
65 18.5 138 208
70 15.6 138 155
74.23 15.2 133 138

Time 4:04:41

Boston Marathon
26.2 Miles (Garmin), 7:30 mpm, Average Heartrate 147, 52F, average equivalent 3.3 mph tailwind, sunny. 595 ft uphill, 966 ft downhill. 3 Stops (quick visit with cousins at 13, Smooch with Wife 26, Finishline 5 feet from the timing mat), Total Stopped Time 1:10. Falls 0, Near Misses 1**.

1 7:01 150
2 6:59 149
3 7:05 148
4 7:09 146
5 7:17 148
6 7:11 147
7 7:10 146
8 7:20 145
9 7:17 143
10 7:18 144
11 7:26 144
12 7:16 143
13 7:17 144
14 7:42 144
15 7:29 147
16 7:14 145
17 7:51 147
18 7:56 146
19 7:39 144
20 7:56 146
21 8:21 146
22 7:50 142
23 7:31 146
24 7:16 151
25 7:23 151
26 7:24 153
26.44 7:32 155

Time 3:16:39

From BAA website:
Bib 1202 Hill, John 43 M Kingwood TX USA - Half 1:35:15 Finish 3:16:34 (+6:04 split) average 7:30/mile. 3887th Place Overall 658th among 40-44 Men, 135th Texan, 5th Kingwood, 2nd over 40 in kingwood (I just can't find a splice of the data that gets me on top).

* Inches from major accident. In Shell Team's mandatory safety training we were told pace lines are optimum up to around 8-10 riders - longer lines increase crash potential. I was thinking about this as I linked into the middle of a very long paceline - maybe 30+ riders I'm guessing with me about 15 or so back from the lead. My alerts were high but I didn't want to give up the speed advantage and drop out of it. At some point moving 20+ mph 3-4 riders in front of me a rider went down (probably tires rubbed between riders) - a pile-up formed quickly of the riders in front of me - I had just enough time to react and swerve away from the back/head of the rider in front of me and get clear - at least one rider behind me got caught in the pile-up. I didn't stop in the crowds of riders to get the injury magnitude - hopefully just roadrash. Ride Marshalls cycling and many motorcycles were monitoring all the riders and help was impressively quick as these things are somewhat expected in biking.

** Just past the Startline the guy in front of me I guess get's his foot stepped on and falls and I make a quick evasive move to avoid falling over him. He gets back up behind me and seems to be fine and keeps going. To state the obvious - running accidents are much less traumatic than cycling accidents.

Everyone seems to ask how it's possible to do both races in a weekend - so here's my logistics plan I had to revise and revise a few times before I could convince myself it could actually work. I could not have worked without the help of several others and as another marathoner out there said - I takes a Village (don't worry about it if that doesn't make sense - it would take too long to explain and this is long enough). So many links in the chain could have broke and the whole think would have fallen apart - it's really something that it all worked and big shout-outs to the help I got to make it work.

Logistics Plan [including J(me)S(Darling Wife)RK(Kids)&M(the Dog) - and Tim]:
- Get Taxes Done
- GPS (Homer) Program for SRK's drive to Austin (Congress and 16th) Parking, Finish 1201 San Jacinto Boulevard Austin, TX 78701
- Packet Pickup Arrangement - sign confirmation card and mail to someone to get packet to hotel (Thanks Tim!).
- Arrange Travel to Manchester Post Race
- Set-up Text Messaging - Boston
- New HRM battery
- Drop Bag at Shell Luggage Truck Friday 9-5 Woodcreek Visitors Parking Lot
- Change bike tires
- Shop for fuel for ride/race
- Pack for LaGrange
- Pack for Boston
- Drop car at Houston airport - Friday
Saturday 4/17:
- SRKM and J --- Depart house ~4:30 am – get dropped off at start-line at Woodcreek (Dairy Ashford and Highway 10).
- SRKM --- goes home – home by 7:30am.
- J – Ride to LaGrange – 7am thru 1pm – spend the night camped out in LaGrange.
Sunday 4/18:
- SRKM --- Depart house at 7:30am and drive to Austin – Drop M at Kennel – arrive at Austin 11am.
- J – Ride from LaGrange to Austin – arrives at 11am.
- SKJR – Lunch and hangout in Austin then to airport by 3pm
- SKJ – Plane from Austin to Boston 4:30-8:30 pm (9:30 local time with the timechange).
- R – Drive back to Houston with Bike.
- SKJ – Taxi to downtown hotel by 10:30 (feels like 9:30 in Houston).
Monday 4/19:
- J – up for 6am busride to start
- J – 10-2pm – run Boston Marathon.
- SK – 12-2pm – Head to finish and watch for J.
- J - 4:30pm - get Rental Car
- JSK - 6pm - meet with friends - J drink celebration beers!
Tuesday 4/20:
- SKJ – Leave 4am to Manchester airport.
- SKJ – Manchester to Houston 6:20 am to 11:05 am (stop at Baltimore).
- SKJ – Drive to get M – 12:30pm.
- SKJ – Home 1 pm. is full of Starts and weekend had a Start-End, Start-End, Start-End and an End...and a Start....this puts an end (with an exclamation point) on a very long year off and Starts.....I don't know what yet ---TBD...