Monday, April 05, 2010
On my last several training runs I found myself plodding along at a 9:30 min/mile pace. I started to get worried. I used have speed. I had been working on running at a steady slower pace. My efforts were rewarded – I was slow. Where did my speed go?
I am pretty sure I lack the gene that would make me a good long distance runner.
Even though I am a lousy long distance runner, I used to be pretty quick over short distances. Yesterday, Saturday, April 3rd, I decided to run at the high school track. I got tired of running up hills. In the mountains of Colorado everything is hilly. I guess that’s why mountains are called mountains!
After a bit of a warm-up, I started jogging along at a 9:25 min/mile pace. I ran a mile at this pace. The track is at 8, 047 feet elevation. I decided to walk and catch my breath. I walked a bit at a brisk 15 min/mile pace and took off running again. I glanced at my Garmin timer. I was cruising at 7:09 min/mile pace. I ran when I could and walked when I had to. I found my run/walk strategy, besides being fun, averaged an 8:36 min/mile pace!
After running about 2.5 miles I decided to blast out a few sprints. I ran three 100m sprints, and two 200m sprints. I hit a 4.04 min/mile pace in the 100s, and a 6:08 in the 200’s. I walked quite a bit between the sprints.
It felt kind of nice to run fast, even though it was over really short distances. Just call me Speedy!
Monday, March 29, 2010
The temperature got up to 41 °F today, which is 9°F above freezing. Any temperature above freezing is a veritable heat wave. The ice and snow had melted off the roads. The roads were muddy but not slippery. With all this blazing heat, I could go running just wearing shorts.
I wanted to do some serious hill running! I had been slacking lately and the good weather had me jazzed! I had a healthy lunch including a greasy hot dog from the Loaf & Jug; some Salt & Pepper Potato chips; a can of Sprite; and Hostess Snowballs for dessert! In other words, I was ready run.
There is a monster hill nearby. The hill starts at 8,260 feet and tops out at 10,394 feet. The road up the hill is 5 miles long. Average grade is 16.2%. The steepest part of the hill has a 50% grade. A 50% grade translates into 27° slope angle. By comparison, stairs typically have a 36° slope angle.
I think I should have picked a flatter hill. I ran around a lake at the bottom of the hill and started the ascent. I would love to tell you I blazed up this nasty piece of real estate. I actually had to walk some. I ended up doing a 3:1 ratio of running to walking.
I find chanting in my head helps. I just kept thinking, “Up! Up! Up!” I don’t wear an IPod when I run. I find my hallucinations to be much better company than music. If you haven’t run at high-altitude you are missing-out on pain and misery of epic proportions! You can try to breath but it does no good. The air is so dry that dehydration is instantaneous. Your eye-balls dry out! Every breath hurts.
At least it is good exercise. According to my Garmin timer I burned 834 calories during my run, which means I ran off the hot dog and one Snowball.
My time? I ran, walked and crawled the 5.01 miles in 57:52, which translates into an abysmal 11:32 min/mile pace. I felt I was barely moving. I will keep assaulting this hill until I can run the whole way. This hill is not going to beat me!
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Yesterday, I ran a 5K race that redefined definition of “hard run". When I left my house the temperature was - 1 °F. At race time the temperature had hit a balmy 10.7 ° F.
The cold wasn’t the worse part. The entire course was a sheet of glare ice! I kid you not! As we stood at the starting line the announcer cautioned, “Runners, take extreme care. You will not set a PR today”. A guy in front of me turned around and shouted to the group on runners, “Remember, rubber side down!”
I was standing next to my daughter, Katie. My son Ben was at the front of the pack. The field was small. Only 300 hardy souls were lined-up. The PA system blared, “Runners get ready!” Katie turned to me and said, “Dad, this NOT a good idea!” I shrugged. The PA system shouted “GO!” We all surged forward very slowly. OMG, the icy surface was rock hard! At about 200 meters there was a 90 turn. Three runners in front of me went down hard! Some other runners stopped to help the fallen. As a passed the group, I could see one lady was bleeding and hurt. I slowed way down. My daughter picked up speed and disappeared. I was thinking, “Bad idea Katie.” At the next corner another runner went down. I tip-toed around the corner, slid sideways and caught myself. I slowed down some more. I looked at my Garmin timer. When the race started, I had been moving at a 7:30 min/mile pace. I was now jogging at a 9:30 pace! I tried to pick up the pace. My back foot slipped out. I twisted sideways and nearly fell. I caught myself. Although I didn’t feel it at the time, I think this is the point where a sprained my right ankle.
Typical of a Colorado road race, the elevation change along the course was 350 feet. Not only were we running on an ice skating rink, we were running on a hilly ice skating rink! After what seemed like an eternity, the finish line came into view. I didn’t even try to kick. I just kept jogging along trying to keep the rubber side down. I crossed the finish line at an embarrassing slow 29:45. Katie and Ben were waiting for me. Both were wounded. Katie had fallen and hurt her hip. Ben had gone down and blown-out his shoulder. Kate had turned-in a 26:01. Ben was upset that he only ran a 23:56. We were all 4 to 6 minutes off our normal race pace. This was a bad race.
All the runners were pretty subdued after this race. We did manage to cheer-on the last runner. She raised her arms above her head as she crossed the finish line. Ben was uncharacteristically charitable. He turned to me and said, “She might be the last runner, but she beat thousands of people sitting on their butts at home!”
Here is the race course near the finish line. By the end of the race there was a thin sheet of water over the ice, which made the course really slippery. You are looking at the best part of the course here. Note the pile of icy snow on the right. The race organizers tried in vain to plow this part of the course. You can barely make out some runners clawing their way up the slippery hill.
Here are Ben and Katie after the race. Their smiles belie the fact the both are injured. We did not stick around for the award ceremony and party. Katie was 1st in her age group. Ben was 5th and I was 8th.
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