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 .