Monday, November 28, 2011

End of the Line

Less than a week till marathon day in Sacramento, and what have I done? Well, considering last week was Thanksgiving week, meaning loads of turkey and stuffing being shoveled into my month at my own will, I haven't been doing much. Although, I did start my: taper, peaking, mileage decrease, laziness or whatever phase it's called when you gear down towards a marathon preparation. Also, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, and heading back to my parents house in Laguna Niguel, I decided to run my favorite Turkey Trot race in Dana Point. The 10k at the Dana Point Turkey Trot is always stacked with fast guys that can carry you to a sweet road PR, which is what I was intending 10 days out from my marathon. Instead of another marathon workout, I was going to get 10,000m worth of speed to get me ready for C.I.M..

Well, after a couple days of easy running, and a quick flight home, I would be ready to go on Thursday morning. It had rained the night before and was clearing up in the beach city of Dana Point. I decided not to wear a watch and just go with the flow. After getting out pretty comfortable, I stayed with the top pack until I got dropped at around 4 miles. I stayed in 4th relatively comfortable, but couldn't make up any ground on 3rd place. And to my amazement I came through the finish in 29:19 for 4th place! I usually get 5th at this race, and usually run in the 30:00's on this course, but things turned out pretty good on this day. I also credit the notation that this course was slightly different than the previous years, and could have been 100m short... Nevertheless, I am sure I would've still been well under 30 minutes on the roads.

The following days, I took easy since I was extremely sore, and finished up the week with my last "long run" of 15 miles back in Albuquerque. I don't really know how I'm suppose to feel at this point. I remember the last few marathons vaguely, and can't recall how this taper feels. I know my mileage is extremely low, and I feel pretty rested, but very eager to race the full 26.2 miles! It's only Monday, and I want the end of the week to come. And I know I have a lot of other things on my mind besides the marathon, which I hope is a good thing. Let's go down the list: I have a rigorous class presentation on Tuesday along with a few projects that I just completed before this blog posting, one last week of teaching my full assumption (which I can't believe is already over, since these kids were a blast!), and my late flight on Friday after a full day of teaching. I guess it isn't that bad, now that I have it written down...

Well, here's to a great marathon build up which all started in March when I was just coming back from an injury. I had planned to run the New York City Marathon, and changed my plans countless times which concluded in me to still run a marathon before the Trials. God only knows if this was a good choice. I feel that it is! Good luck to everyone else out there gearing up for a winter marathon!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Hypothermic Shock, And A Few Weeks To Go

Well, another week in the books, or actually my running journal... Yes, I actually have a hand written running journal that I've kept up to date since college. I actually have every workout I've done since my junior year of high school. I may have to document them onto this blog someday, but until then, you get to read my thoughts instead of quickly referencing them in my trusted running journal. Besides, my workouts and mileage was about half as much as I am doing now, and very unimpressive.

So, this week started off pretty well with some decent mileage and early morning runs. I was a bit sore and tired from last weeks Sunday long run workout, so I postponed any real workouts until Thursday, which turned out to be a bad decision. I was planning on hitting one more high mileage week, but towards the end of the week I brought it down a bit. There was a lot of other things going on this week such as: a field trip to the ballon museum, a Thanksgiving luncheon, and another field trip to Kris' job at the Court of Appeals, and I had to house sit up in the Foothills. So, I was mentally burned out in an attempt to not lose any kids on these field trips... And I am proud to say, I have not lost a student yet, and we've had a lot of field trips this year (4 total). So, back to running... Thursday's workout went fairly well. I did 4x2 mile tempo repeats on the river. When I woke up at 5:20am, I did my normal routine of checking the weather and saw that the thermometer read 26 degrees! I didn't take much note to it and layered up, NOT according to the weather, but to limited clothing so that I would not be weighed down. This would be a huge mistake. I got out the door at around 5:35am and headed to the river to start my repeats. It was cold, but nothing too bad as I jogged very easy. Once I started my first rep in the dark, I hit a comfortable time of 5:23 and 5:13.

I don't know if you've ever done workouts in this temperature, but when you start breathing in that cold of air, while running, it doesn't make for the most pleasant feeling in your chest. I kept debating if I should cut the workout short and do the rest later, but as an overbearing and self conscience runner, I decided to just finish it. The next two sets where hit in (5:21, 5:23) and (5:19, 5:15). At this point I lost all feeling in my hands and had only one more set to complete. The pain in my hands was unbearable, but the next set would put me 2 miles closer to my house, and only leave me with a 2 mile cool down. I ran an unimpressive (5:21, 5:23) and once I finished I thought I had frostbite in my hands. I ripped off my watch from my left wrist, which inevitably was cutting blood circulation to my left hand and tried to hold the watch as I hobbled home in pain. I was actually fearing for my hands not to be lost to any type of frostbite. I knew it couldn't have been that serious, but when you are in that situation, you only think of the worst. I managed to get to my front door and pounded for someone to let me in, as I could not grip the door handle to open it. Scotty was still home and saved my life! I rushed to the stove, and Scott turned on the kettle to boil water for tea, and I stood in front of the heat, hoping to gain some kind of sensation back in my hands. At this point, my stomach was lurching up towards my throat and I felt as if someone had just done a jump kick into my stomach! Well, to make a short story long, I stood there for about 15 minutes, got some tea and laid down crying like a little girl, not really, but I might as well have. I finally composed myself, took a hot shower and felt the cold burn in my hands as they attempted to get blood back into them, and got ready for my 5th graders and their last field trip of the week.

After that ordeal on Thursday, I took the next few days easy and got ready for Sunday's long run workout. The long run would be an out and back run of 10 miles easy, turn around and complete 2x2 miles at tempo pace, then whatever left over to finish up a total run of 20 miles. I ran from my house heading north with a nice tailwind. Once I turned around to start my workout, I had that lovely tailwind turn into a headwind. I hit those 2 mile repeats in (5:13, 5:13) 2 minutes rest, then (5:18, 5:19). It wasn't that bad, but I sure felt like I was working hard into that wind. I think it was only going about 6-10 mph, but I could sure feel it! So, all and all, another great week. I'm looking forward to my peaking phase and running a great time at CIM!

Mon - pm. 10 miles easy
Tue - am. 10 miles easy
Wed - am 10 miles easy / pm. 10 miles easy
Thur - am. 4x2 miles at tempo (5:23, 5:13), (5:21, 5:23), (5:19, 5:15), (5:21, 5:23) total:12.5 miles / pm. 6 miles easy
Fri - pm. 14 miles med/easy
Sat - am. 12 miles easy + 2x hill strides / pm. 8 miles med
Sun - am. 20 miles in 2:10:28 w/2x2 miles at tempo (5:13, 5:13), (5:18, 5:19)

Total: 112.5 miles

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Marathon Training (recovery week)

Well, after toiling in my own pity and realizing that I actually had a good race last weekend, I took this week as a recovery week and a time to mentally think about my next race, the California International Marathon in Sacramento. This race is about a month away and I am all set for it. So, this week only consisted of mileage and one long run workout on Sunday. There isn't much to write about the weekly training details except that it has been getting cold but the daylight savings has helped the morning runs as there is more light out between 5:30 - 7:00 am. So that is a nice treat. Well, I managed to get in 118 miles and a nice 24 miler on Sunday with some repeat miles in it. Sunday's run was a little torturous as I ran it on Tramway, which is up by the Foothills and is a rolling course at an elevation between 6300' - 6600'.

I ran an easy 7 miles with Kris and Pev, and then turned around to start my out and back run with 4x1 mile tempo repeats with 1 minute rest jog in between. The first 4 repeats were: [5:08, 5:13, 5:05, 5:14], then I ran an easy 7 miles and started another set of 4x1 miles over slightly hilly section of the bike path in [5:15, 5:18, 5:14, 5:38], yeah that last one sucked. I guess I could blame the massive hill for that one, but I wasn't too concerned about it as my effort was pretty similar to all the others in that set. I finished up whatever mileage I had left to round out the day with 24 and a quarter miles, or actually round down to 24 miles. So, that is that. CIM here I come!

Mon - am. 8 miles easy / pm. 8 miles easy
Tue - am. 10 miles easy
Wed - pm. 16 miles med/easy
Thur - am. 10 miles easy / pm. 12 miles easy
Fri - am. 12 miles easy / pm. 8 miles easy 2x hill strides
Sat - am. 8 miles easy / pm. 10 miles easy
Sun - am. 24 miles in 2:36:20, w/4x1 mile (5:08, 5:13, 5:05, 5:14), 7 mile easy, 4x1 mile (5:15, 5:18, 5:14, 5:38)

Total: 118

I've also figured out that in the last 20 weeks I've averaged 109 miles per week! It might not seem that high of mileage, but consider that I had some race weeks of 70's and 80 mile weeks, and some UP weeks in the 130's and a lifetime high of a 137 mile week. This isn't as high as some competitors that I know, but I am getting there.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

California International Marathon

The California International Marathon is coming quick, and I am still registered to race this 26.2 mile race. It was first started in 1983 as a marathon course for those looking to qualify for the USA Olympic Trials, hum... sounds a little familiar. Well, this is seriously the last chance to qualify, and I am sure a slew of guys and gals will be attempting to make their mark at this years event. The race is on December 4th, 2011 and as I sit here in my 5th grade classroom while my students work quietly, I am pondering how this race will transpire.

I have debated over and over again what the best method of approach would be to qualify and run a PR at CIM. At this point those lousy running formula calculators all give me a false sense of achievement. I know I can run a quick marathon time in the neighborhood of 2:17-2:19, based on my training and race performance at the half marathon. However, the full marathon is a completely different story than running a fast half and plugging that number into a calculator and BOOM a sweet time is not as easy as that. In order to achieve what I plan on doing, I could either attempt to run an even pace and hit the first half in around 69:20 and come back with about the same time to run a qualifier... Since I've been able to run a half all out in 65:26 by myself under this marathon training, running a smart half in the marathon at 69:20 could prove to be the best outcome. Although, every other time I've done this, it hasn't been good. I tend to fall apart and run about 3-5 minutes slower in the second half. So, that would be one way to race it and hope that I am much more stronger than I've been in the past.

Another approach that fits my personality better, would be to just GO FOR IT! I could go out with the leaders, or at around 67:30-68:30 pace for the first half and just hang on for dear life! I will be expecting the painful wall and lack of energy in my muscles, which is almost inevitable no matter what happens in the marathon, and just fight through it as I've been doing in all my training and racing! I've always looked at the marathon as a giant beast and I've failed at it because I've attempted to think about it too much and logically "pace" the race according to certain calculations that actually don't pertain to my abilities. This race is the last chance to make the trials for 2012 and I am not going to passively race it. I am going to do it. I'm going for it and if I fail, or even end up walking in the end, then so be it.

"Do or do not, there is no try."

Monday, November 7, 2011

Indianapolis Monumental Half Marathon


Well, when you look at what I was attempting to accomplish, then it was a failure. Many great and positive things came out of this trip, but ultimately I did not succeed in what I was set out to do. I can also cry about this, but after a few days of thinking about this race, I tend to realize that there are more important things in life than a race. However, this was an important aspect in my life, and I wanted to succeed in it. So, what I will reflect on is the positive events, and throw in a few cynical comments to ease my suffering.

First, I can start by explaining how the week turned out. Monday was Halloween, and of course my little 5th graders were amped out of their minds for our party, which consisted of copious amounts of sugar! Candy bars, popcorn, donuts, super donuts (I don't need to explain), punch with ice cream sorbet in it (as if it doesn't need more sugar), fruit that was drowning in carmel, chips, junk, junk, and more junk... All and all, it was great for them, and I already decided to take the day off of running and attempt to mend a sore throat I had. Tuesday would be the only workout of the week, as I did a Fartlek on the River. The rest of the week was easy as I flew out to Indy on Thursday for the Saturday race. Kris Houghton and I left for one heck of an adventure.

Once we got into Indianapolis we got to the host hotel... but left shortly after to find a Whole Foods to stock up on provisions. Friday morning started off with a nice 5 mile run along the canals and some strides in front of the NCAA Hall of Fame Museum. That afternoon, Kris and I drove all over town looking for some racing flats for Kris. After that, we headed over to the Expo to get our race numbers, and meet Bill Rodgers. After Bill gave a nice speech, we stood in line to get autographs. We were about 4th in line, and Bill, as nice and outgoing as he is would talk to each person for nearly 5 minutes each. Once we got to Bill, I asked him about his experience with Henry Rono (my current roommate). Bill started talking to us about their race in San Blass, Puerto Rico and all sorts of other stories. He gave us some words of wisdom, and he's now one of my favorite runners of all time, just because of how sincere he was towards us. So.... as the night came to an end, and Saturday morning came I was ready to run a great race! Before the race we chatted with some old friends: Paul Howarth and Nate Pennington (who I finally got to meet, and is a great guy). I of course was ready to run a sub 65 minute half marathon, but things would prove differently.

As the gun went off, I found myself with 3 other Kenyans. I was planning on starting off slower than in San Jose, and work my way down. The first mile was 5:00, Perfect! Then I just kept it around that pace. The 3 other Kenyans didn't want to take the lead, and I was forced to lead since I was more concerned about time than place and money. The following splits were for the 2nd mile to the 10th mile are: [4:55, 4:56, 4:51, 5:09, 4:44, 4:52, 5:06, 5:06, 5:01] I came up on the 10th mile in 49:44 and felt 10 times better than in San Jose. I was on pace to break 65, and was ready to run this next 5k faster than the first 5k of the race. But to my complete and F***ing surprise I clicked off a 5:26 mile. When I saw that, I flipped out! I knew I hadn't slowed down that much, and there was no change in elevation on the course. It had to be wrong! It had to be too long! Either way, there was no explanation for it. I ran the next mile at 5:02 and knew I was out of it. Nothing was going to bring back 20 something seconds. My last mile I decided not to give up and blitzed my brains out for a 4:45 mile and a finishing time of 1:05:27. I missed it again. It was a course record, and I won some pocket money, but that's not what I wanted. Now I have to do CIM and qualify with no excuses!

Not as happy as I should've been, but a win is still something to be thankful for!


Training (week unknown...)

With one week before the Indy race I have quickly regained some speed and some solid workouts... all done before the sun rises of course. This was a relative "light" week, as I wanted to be fresh for the half marathon, as suppose to running 130 miles the week before San Jose. I want to have no excuses for this attempt at the "A" Standard! The only workouts this week were a track session of 1000m repeats, followed by a Saturday Tempo run at Anderson Fields, a favorite of mine, especially during the cold winter months.

Mon - am. 10 miles easy
Tue - am. 8 miles easy
Wed - am. 8x1000m w/400m rec. [3:14, 3:00, 3:05, 2:57, 2:54, 2:58, 2:54, 2:51] total: 10 miles / pm. 6 miles easy
Thur - pm. 14 miles easy
Fri - am. 8 miles easy / pm. 6 miles easy w/3x strides
Sat - am. 6 mile tempo [5:30, 5:23, 5:17, 5:19, 5:20, 5:11] total: 11 miles / pm. 6 miles easy
Sun - am. 14 miles medium effort

Total: 93 miles