Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Mountain 2 Fountain Race Report

M2F 15k

I’ve had this race marked on my training schedule for quite some time. It’s a fairly competitive road race in the suburbs of Phoenix that rolls downhill on a wonderful point to point course. The prize purse is usually pretty nice and the race generally offers plenty of elite runners an opportunity to race hard and earn some extra cash for their travel to such a nice climate for early March.  Sunny skies and mild weather make race day competition ideal, and by looking at the net downhill course, you could say the course is perfect for a pr, however some hills deter that from happen to even the Olympians that have toed the line.  But, all in all, it’s a great race and I was looking to run this as a solid gauge of fitness leading towards the Carlsbad 5000 at the end of the month.

It was a lovely road trip from Albuquerque as a nice crew of Dukes Track Club members headed out to M2F.  Once we got in Friday night, and relaxed around Saturday, race day was already here. I wasn’t too concerned about who was racing, as I was going to race within myself and set a solid pace for my fitness, and once I started to realize there weren’t many elites at this race, I slightly thought I could make the podium. I saw Daniel Tapia, who is a good running friend of mine, and we warm-up together and caught up since we last saw each other at Cal International Marathon. But besides him and Stephen Kersh from Flagstaff, I was hoping to race smart and make the podium.

I could go on and on about how the race turn out, but I’ll keep it short and sweet - I finished 3rd and in the money! The last time I raced M2F I really sucked it up. But, I knew I was fitter this time around and wanted to run strong. I knew I couldn’t keep up with either Daniel or Stephen so I ran my race and had a nice 1st 5k of 15:30...ish. Which bodes well for Carlsbad 5000 at the end of the month. Then I ran solid through the next 10k and finished with a smile. Now the reflection… was I really happy? I had 3 goals going into this race and accomplished 2 of them. First, I wanted to run faster than my abysmal time from 2016, then I wanted to place higher than that, and lastly I
wanted to run under 49 minutes for 15k. I managed to accomplish 2 out of the 3 goals, and was fairly happy with that.

Now, what to do next…? I had a small conversation with Arlene and some friends about holding off on a spring marathon this season. I haven’t felt too into the whole marathon vibe right now. And after a sweet track session where I felt some speed burrowing out of those old muscles of mine, I’ve been contemplating what to do next. I know Carlsbad 5000 is uber high on my list this season, which is why I’ve added a little bit of speed into my regime, but once that race is over, I’ll be in lala land trying to figure out what to do next? One option that I am excited about would be to hit the trails. I’ve already signed up for a 50 miler this summer in July, but that’s beyond my short term goals. And to stay healthy and excited, I think I am going to focus on some local races and attempt the elusive Jemez 50k in May. Trails are fun and with the weather getting warmer, it’ll be nice to sweat and grind some mountain races. Cheers!

Friday, February 23, 2018

Training Post CIM - Heading towards Spring

Training post Marathon

It can be slightly difficult to get back into the groove of training after posting a good marathon in the fall/winter.  In what feels like forever ago, the California International Marathon looms in the not-so distant past of 2017, and all those long runs and heavy training days have all but disappeared along with the crisp fall weather.  Even though some of these winter months have felt like spring months, it still feels like a long time ago, and easing back into training is now an excuse for not laying down some heavy training.

I’ve been fortunate enough to be healthy and have been racing a little to keep the spark of training at the forefront.  However, I know my actual training is not matching up to the program I have sent out to accomplish.  After every marathon, I anxiously pull out the calendar and plot out races I want to do and workouts to fill in the void of racing.  I evaluate and reevaluate my desires to race nearly every race possible; to the reality that I should only race a few key races leading up to one significant race.  In this case, that major race will be the Lincoln Marathon in May.  I’ve already raced two local races and have three more before Lincoln, so my plate if plenty full.  But how has the fitness been compared to the training I set out to accomplish…?

Well, after taking a quick look at my training plan, I’ve only got 10 weeks left of training.  That seems like enough time, but it doesn’t feel like enough.  At this point, I would’ve liked to have more miles under my belt and feel sharper in workouts.  The reality is: I’m healthy and can train, I have a decent amount of time to get fit, and the workouts are slowly coming along.  It’s hard for a lot of runners to stay focused all year long, but by having a nice racing calendar keeps things in perspective and motivated.  I like that I’ve hit every workout I’ve planned; they’ve just not been fast or impressive, but I’ve been hitting them.  I don’t like that my mileage sucks and is nearly half the amount that I’ve run in my hayday, but that was a different me.  I LOVE the fact that I’m healthy and motivated to train, so the only issue is, I just need more time to run all the miles in the world!

This past week, I was on a vacation/wedding trip, and in most cases it’s hard to train while on vacation, and especially in Hawai’i. However, I managed to run everyday I was on the beautiful island, and got my 20 mile long run in, despite having no fuel and surrounded by heat & humidity.  All in all, it can be a fun challenge and adventure to train in a new environment.  I loved running with some locals (Johnny Bananas from The Big Island Running Company shoe store) and seeing so much lush forest and water everywhere.  I was very fortunate to have that opportunity to see the island in a different and slower pace.  So, with new vigor and a rejuvenated approach to my final 10 weeks leading up to Lincoln, I can confidently say I am ready and excited!  Aloha & Mahalo!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Marathon Training: Week 3 - Road Race

Another decent week of training and slugging around the roads before ending the week with a 10k road race.  After last weeks long run on Sunday, I eased into this week with a few recovery miles.  I set my goal for the week of 70 miles, but missed that by handful of miles.  In fact, as I write this, I am highly debating getting those 2 1/2 miles in to make it a nice round 7-0 for the week.... but it's Sunday, and I just race a race and made it a 20 mile day.  I also just had a celebratory beer and have been watching football, so I guess I'm not going to hit it... oh well.

Anyways, this week was another good one.  I got plenty of quality miles for the week.  One of which was done in a workout on Wednesday, and the other in the Chips and Salsa 10k today.  My Wednesday workout (W.O.W. as the youngsters on Flotrack call it) was a classic 6x1 mile with 60 sec rest along the river path.  I went back to my old stomping grounds at Kit Carson park and hammered out some respectable paces.  I can tell things are shaping up as these workouts are getting a little faster.  Thank God!  Besides that workout, I just devoted the rest of the week to recovering and getting ready for the 10k.

The race went as well as I expected.  I set a goal that if I can't break 34 minutes, then I need to find a different hobby.... so luckily my body and fitness made that happen.  Chris Valicka and I decided that we should go out comfortable and then work on bringing down our pace.  Well... that didn't exactly happen.  We went out a little quicker than anticipated, but held on an even pace and finished as strong as possible.  I can tell that I need to build my endurance up, not only from my splits, but from my workout on Wednesday; as that workout I ended up with a positive split, but whatever.  So, long story short, I was lucky to take home the victory with Chris right behind me!  Go Dukes!  And speaking of that, the guys in the half marathon crushed it!  We had a bunch of dudes PR and go: 2-8th place, lead by Jesus Mendoza!  Our team is looking mighty good these days!

Week of Training

Mon - am. 6 miles in the foothills
Tue - pm. 10 miles
Wed - pm. 2 mile warm up, 6x1 mile w/60sec rec. (5:32, 5:31, 5:28, 5:38, 5:27, 5:40) 5:32/avg. 2 mile cool down. 10 Total
Thur - 4 miles
Fri - 7 miles
Sat - 10 miles
Sun - 2.5 mile warm up, 10k - 33:44 - 1st place (5:23, 5:27, 5:20, 5:24, 5:30, 5:31), 11.5 mile cool down. 20 Total.

Total: 67 miles

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Marathon Training: Week 2 - Cross Crunchy (aka. Cross Country)

After completely missing my weekly goal mileage to, "rest" with a much needed nap after work; which may only come around as often as that lunar eclipse the other week, I still managed to get in my weekend warrior status!  With some decent miles throughout the week, a baby workout on Wednesday, and a long run, it all culminates into one tired individual.  I honestly don't know how I use to do it in the past, which brings me to my next point.  I am not as young as I use to be, nor am I anywhere near the same person.  I've already slowly learned that I can not do the same workouts I did in the past, so I need to throw out those old running logs and move on.... actually, those old running logs are my pride and joy, so I will never throw them away.  But seriously, I have come to peace with how I need to train in order to accomplish some of those fast times.  For starters, it's already been 2 years since my last stress fracture, and I try to stay away from double days because of that.  I don't know if it really works, since most of the "scientist" out there claim two different benefits from running singles verses doubles, but for my lifestyle, along with some basic math, I can only realistically run once a day.  I'm okay with that.  Also, I only need one workout a week along with a solid long run.  So, that's that.  Let's see how well this training will go.

This week also had me toeing the line of a cross country meet.  The Lobo Invite 5k!  Wow, how wonderful.... except for the fact that I am not in 5k shape, nor am I in cross country shape, nor am I in any kind of shape to be racing.  But it's always awesome and special to race as a team, and the Dukes TC had one hell of a team this year.  We got some young talent, with some freshly minted college graduates that are willing to work harder than ever to chase the Marathon Trials Standard with all their heart.  So, with those guys at the helm, and a few other DTC guys pushing everyone, we did alright at the College Meet.  I was our 6th runner and basically our top 5 guys had a faster average time than the UNM Lobos.  15:56 average to 15:59.  However, we didn't win due to points.  We lost by 1 freakin point!  It took a lot of work to add up the scores, but the final score would have been 37 - 38 with the Lobos beating us by 1 lousy point.... man, I need to run faster!

Here's the results:

Week of Training:

Mon - pm. 6 miles
Tue - pm. 6 miles
Wed - pm. 2 mile warm-up, 4x1 mile w/3min rest (5:28, 5:23, 5:21, 5:20), 4 mile cool down. 10 total
Thur - 0 miles - napped
Fri - am. 4 miles. pm. 6 miles w/strides
Sat - am. 2 mile warm up, Lobo Invite 5k - 16:34, 6 mile cool down. 11 total
Sun - am. 20 mile long run. 2:22:24

Total: 63 miles

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Marathon Training: Week 1 - The First Step Towards the Championships

As summer comes to an end, I find myself wondering where the heck did my training lead me...?  I had a great plan to build up my mileage and utilize the fact that I didn't have to be anywhere at 8:00am.  I plotted out all the "workouts" that I thought I was going to do, and trickled a few races here and there.  And those races are what got the best of me this past summer.  I toed the line of a local 5k on the Forth of July and little did I know I would be hobbling back to the starting line after the first mile with a brand new DNF to add to my running resume.  My calf was being very unpatriotic and decided to quite on me after the first time of a "fun" 5k.  I thought, this was the most Un-American thing you could do on the 4th of July - QUIT? Seriously?!  Well, it was for the better, and I rested up and have been running fine since a mere 2 weeks off in July.  I really got to thinking about how in my entire college career I never once quit in a race.  Then out of all the post-college races I had, I never quit either.  Even after all those crapy felling marathon's, where I was completely off my mark I never decided.... "Hey, I'm just going to step off the course and rally up for another one".  I still think about how I should've quit at Chicago way back when, instead of posting another disappointing time and missing the Olympic Trials Standard.  But, where would that have gotten me?  I always believe that if you're healthy, then finish the damn race.  And I won't even talk about Boston...

So, after healing up and building my mileage to a respectable number, I've decided to get the blog back in action and start posting about the journey to the USA Marathon Championships this December.  The California International Marathon will host the championships, and we have a huge crew of Dukes Track Club runners heading out west to chase some impressive times.  One time that should stick out is the new 2020 USA Olympic Trials Standard.  The men's "B" Standard is 2:19:00 and the "A" Standard is 2:15:00.  Also, if you are top 6 at the Championships, that qualifies as an "A" Standard, so it's pretty neat.  All I know is that there will be another gaggle of dudes going for that standard.  The weather should be good, and the company will be championship class.  As for me, I have a feeling this will be a subtle introduction back to the roads and a journey of chasing that standard

Week of training:

Mon- 2.5 miles
Tue - 7 miles
Wed - 2.5 mile warm up, 4 mile tempo (5:42, 5:37, 5:36, 5:31) 4 min rest, 8x400m w/90sec rest (75, 74, 71, 72, 72, 75, 72, 72) 2 mile cool down
Thur - 11 miles
Fri - 11 miles
Sat - 9.5 miles
Sun - 18 miles

Total: 70 miles