Tuesday, July 12, 2011
As I begin to write this, I've just blown my nose twice and my nose feels raw. What a great bookend to a nice vacation. 24-hour intestinal bug before and now a nasty cold to finish it off.
But I still got my workouts in.
Saturday morning I woke up with a sore throat. I said nothing about it to my wife. I went to the gym and ran 9 mind-numbing miles (49.5 laps) on the indoor track, anyway. After two weeks off of running, I either started out too quickly, or my cold-weakened muscles fatigued. Either way, I still ran my 9 miles in 85 minutes and pushed out my last mile in under 9 minutes. Not bad, all this considered.
Monday, despite now having a full-blown cold with a sore throat, a congested nose, achy muscles, and a slightly elevated temperature, I went out to do my 5 mile run. I even back-tracked to take a picture, then kept going and ended up running over 5.25 miles in almost exactly 60 minutes and, to my surprise (because it felt like I had been slowing down the whole time) - negative splits. Yes, i ran MUCH slower than my usual pace, but I fought off the temptation to not run, or to run only 4 miles, or to stop and walk.
Still, I'm happy for another rest day, today. My nose is still running like a wide-open faucet and is really raw from all the nose blowing. Hopefully I will be feeling better, soon! But, I will get my workouts in.
In the past I would skip my workouts when I got sick, then lose my training momentum and before I knew it I had been recovered for weeks, but had yet to pick by up my training and be really out of shape. No more! I can run with a cold. And if I can run while feeling this crappy, then racing while healthy should be a breeze, right? :)
Friday, July 08, 2011
I just spent the last week on vacation and boy did my body need it! It was great to take a break from running and work and everything and just get away!
Wednesday was the day we left, but Tuesday I woke up with a horrendous 24-hour stomach bug! I was back-and-forth to the bathroom from 4am until noon before my intestines finally calmed down. My fever peaked at just over 101 before breaking after I had some Tylenol at 4pm which gave me enough strength to pack. It came back around 8pm and finally broke on its own for good at 7am Wednesday morning, shortly before it was time to pack up and leave.
I ate almost nothing on Tuesday and only had dinner on Wednesday. I ate sparsely, again, Thursday except for dinner for a late celebration our anniversary at the place where we were married - this being the first time with our daughter! It was a very special evening.
Almost my entire family got together to surprise my grandparents with a family picture in the park to celebrate their 60th anniversary. It was a smashing success and there were many tears and a beautiful photograph. Almost all children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren were there for the big surprise and then for a wonderful meal afterward. That was my first real meal since Monday.
Then we went camping in the Sierras with most of the family until Tuesday. I always love getting back into the mountains and this was our daughter's first camping trip. The Sierras are so beautiful and I have to work hard not to take thousands upon thousands of photographs. I did a pretty good job of not overeating (my stomach's remaining sensitivity from my Tuesday illness helped) and we got in plenty of hiking at altitude.
After we got back and I was able to spend a day at home relaxing before getting back to work. Then, this morning, I FINALLY was able to get the MRI done on my shoulder that I've been waiting for, for two months. Hopefully it shows definitively what's been bothering my shoulder since Thanksgiving.
My legs feel rested and relaxed. My dead legs should be gone from two weeks ago. I have a long run scheduled for Saturday to test them out. I feel really good and optimistic about my run after having almost two weeks off! It's time to get back into training. Hopefully all my hiking will benefit me in a month at my next half marathon!
The race is just over a month away and I'm finally getting excited/nervous for it. I will need to run with a flashlight/headlamp and my camelbak. It will definitely be a different experience. I know that I will at least finish and will enjoy the experience and that's all I really can ask for at this point. I can't wait!
Monday, June 27, 2011
After spending all of Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning refreshing the Calico Racing website for race results, I finally gave up for the day, until right now and they are finally up! Looks like ABSOLUTZERo beat me to it, though.
My official time is 57:32 which they calculate out to a 9:15/mile pace. I finished 37th overall out of 125 finishers (149 entries counting the DNF's) and 8 out of 18 in my age group. I may not have felt that great, but I fared relatively well compared to my competition.
Based on the conditions, I am happy with a 9:15/mile pace. In the gym the Saturday before, I was able to easily keep up a 9:30-9:45/mile pace for 9 miles, but that was flat, windless and air conditioned. So, I will happily accept my 9:15/mile pace in the sun, with the wind, and the dead legs.
I've learned my lesson. I will make sure to take into account my hiking as well as my running and make sure I get plenty of rest. I'm hoping to do a hike to the top of Mt. Charleston (the tallest local peak at just a hair under 12,000 feet) which is somewhere between a 12-16 mile round trip and a 4,500 foot elevation gain, so I may need to plan that for some point after my half in August. I definitely don't want dead legs ruining THAT race!
Sunday, June 26, 2011
Okay, so I may or may not be crazy (actually, I'm pretty sure I admitted to be crazy many years ago, but not for this reason), but I think I have found my races for next year and possibly the climax to my fledgling running career as is currently stands.
The two milestone events that I have in my bucket list are these:
1) Complete a marathon
2) Complete an Iron Man
So far, I have completed two half marathons, and in two months I will have completed three. But, that is only part of the way to fulfilling my goal of completing a marathon.
I've been thinking on and off about what marathon I would like to run and when, and i think I may have come to a conclusion. But, then I found another challenge that would also like to add to my bucket list and I think it might work out with my challenge to run a marathon.
1) Run a marathon - I think I want to run the Los Angeles Marathon in March of next year (2012). I grew up in the suburbs of Los Angeles and have watched the Los Angeles Marathon on television on most years since its inception in 1986, and have had a few relatives and friends run in it as well. My parents still live in the same house I grew up in and it seems like the perfect race to pick as my first marathon (will there be more? Gosh, I don't know.). And the course is awesome. It starts at Dodger Stadium before winding down to finish at the Santa Monica Pier. It could only be better if it finished with a lap at the LA Coliseum.
2) Run half marathons on back-to-back days! - My best friend from high school (and former h.s. track & cross-country teammate) has been inspired enough by the running of my wife and I that he's asked if he could join me in running a half marathon next Spring. After running the 10k in Calico Racing's "Running With the Devil marathon, 1/2, 10, 5k & 50miles," I was checking out their list of events and found this one: The Calico Racing "Labor of Love 100mile, 50mile, 50k, marathon, 1/2 & 10k."
Not only do they have a bunch of ultra races planned, but they have all the races (except for the 100 miler) planned for both Saturday and Sunday; and they encourage runners to run races on BOTH days if they are "ultra curious," as they call it. If I'm trained up to run a marathon in March, then I should be trained and rested enough to run a half marathon on consecutive days in April. That would be an awesome challenge that I think would be attainable and brag-worthy, without being deadly. I might also be doing it to try to punish my friend for being so darn competitive and jealous and always trying match or one-up me... and also for sort of inviting himself to come race with me. Is that bad motivation?
At this point, these are just dreams and ideas. My wife is not too excited about me encroaching on her half marathon training for December, and also not that excited about the cost of the races - granted, I don't like the cost of running races, either, even tho they are justified by all the aid stations and medics, etc, that they must have to care for all of us runners. Which is why I don't run in many organized races. So, if I do run those races, they will most likely be the only ones I do for the entire year unless I throw another one in around November or December to keep myself motivated to run.
So, barring illness, injury, or other aggravating circumstances, these are my dreams for 2012. It remains to be seen whether they will come to fruition, or if I will come to my senses, first.
Sunday, June 26, 2011
Since my previous half, I've been slowly increasing my mileage with the hopes of improving my speed. As part of that, I was also trying to add in more speed work and also signed up for a 10k. I also switched my running schedule, last week, from Sun, T, W, Th to M, W, Th, Sat to even out my rest days.
Flash forward to Father's Day weekend. I ran my scheduled 9 miles on Saturday, but instead of resting on Sunday, I hiked to the top of Cathedral Rock and back with my daughter (23lbs) in her new baby backpack to try it out. Then I began my new running schedule with a 5 mile tempo run on Monday. With my only rest day coming on Tuesday - and not enough sleep during the week - my legs felt sluggish and heavy on Thursday. That was not good since I had my 10k coming up just two days later. I had my rest day on Friday and then prayed my legs would be feeling better by Saturday.
Saturday's race was the "Running With the Devil" 5k, 10k, 1/2 marathon, marathon, and 50 miler. The concept behind this race is to hold it at the end of June at Lake Mead when it is really hot. Today's forecast high was 104. The longest races started at 6am and the 10k was the last to start at 6:50am. Temps at sunrise were 80 degrees and approximately 85 at start time and over 90 degrees by the time we finished. The course is rolling hills on the highway around Lake Mead. Very little flat with mostly either uphill or downhill. I knew the course was going to be challenging, but I knew it could be much worse! I felt like I was ready for the challenge.
But, that was before I came down with the dreaded dead legs.
My original goal for this race was to try to run under and average of 9 minutes/mile, or 54 minutes - preferably under 53 minutes since that was how fast I started on the downhill portion of the Summerlin half. However, with the hills and the hotter weather, I at least wanted to finish around 55 minutes, and no slower than 60 minutes.
I woke up at 3:55am, got ready, filled my camelbak with 2/3 water, 1/3 gatorade, and added a bunch of ice to keep it cold at least until race time. I picked up my sister-in-law at 4:30, and we got to the course at 5:15 to pick up our packets and wait for our race to start. We watched the 50 milers and marathoners weigh in before their race. Boy was I glad I was only running a 10k, today.
5 minutes after watching my SIL take off in the 5k, my race began and off we went. The first 1/4 mile of the race being uphill. Nice. Thanks, guys. Well, at least that kept me from starting off too fast. I tried to start in the middle of the pack, but the race photographer had everyone squeeze together for a photo at the start line, so I ended up starting towards the front. Turns out it didn't really matter that much. There's wasn't too many racers and I didn't get passed by too many people and I did pass a number of runners during the race, but mostly I just passed the slower runners from the 5k race that started only 5 minutes before us.
After the uphill ended, my legs still felt tired and heavy, like I was still running uphill. That is not good. That is the dreaded dead legs! I knew right there that this was going to be a run, not a race. My only competition was going to be myself. It was going to be a mental slog. I just hoped I wouldn't end up walking at some point.
After the first 1/4 mile uphill, we turned right onto the main highway (which was NOT closed for the race) and ran on the paved shoulder between the solid white line and then edge of the pavement. All runners were *supposed* to had a nice downhill and I took advantage of that and tried to coast downhill to hopefully stretch my legs out and to pick up some time I could spare during the hills later in the race.
I was racing with my Camelbak for the first time to see how it would work out during my half marathon in August. It worked great for the most part. My back started to hurt around mile 2. Not sure if it was the hills and the headwind, a projection of my dead legs, or the backpack being heavy. When I felt good I didn't really notice the pack, but when I was laboring it was a pain. Also, when I was tired and breathing hard, it was tough to drink, run, and breathe. When I drank, I had to breathe thru my nose which let in a lot less air and was not comfortable. I will have to take my pack out for some more test runs during my next month's training.
After I hit the first mile mark, I remembered to hit my watch to time my first mile split which was 8:34. A little fast. Faster than I was expecting with my legs feeling heavy, but not fast enough to endanger my race plans. I also knew I would slow down pretty quickly with the next hills coming up.
I forgot to hit my watch at the 2 and 3 mile markers. From marker 2 to 3.1 was a long, gradual uphill ascent with an aid station at the top which was also the turn-around point. I grabbed a cold, wet towel from one of the aid station workers and then turned around and headed back the way I came.
I had been really looking forward to running back down the big hill I had just ascended. However, when I turned around and took a few steps I was unceremoniously met by a nasty headwind. Ugh! I tried to descend by coasting with a long stride, but the wind was keeping me from being able to do it with any descent speed. Even worse, this headwind was going to be there all the way to the turn-off for the last 1/4 mile of the race!
As I thought about it, the ascent up the hill had seemed to have been easier than I expected and I had attributed it to being more gradual of an incline than I expected. Turns out it was because we were running with a tailwind.
So, now, me and dead legs are running into a wind and have a little less than 3 miles remaining. I pushed on, but as the downhill ended I hit the 4 mile mark and remembered this time to hit my watch. I was hurting and tired and I really was not happy that I still had 2 miles left. I managed to straighten out my form for the photographer that was sitting just inside the 5 mile mark. He cheered me on and gave me a high five as I passed.
My legs were so dead that over the last 2 miles I battled with myself over the idea of stopping to walk. I soooo wanted to stop and walk and just give up. But, something deep down inside of me just kept saying "No! You are NOT a quitter!" That battle started slowly during the very first mile and increased to a crescendo during the last two miles. The headwind was brutal and I just wanted it to end. It felt like I was dragging and gradually slowing down - like I was barely moving. I never had to battle myself even 1/4 of this much in any of my races, so far. On the plus side, I definitely was not the only one suffering from the heat, hills, and headwind. I was passed by only maybe 3 or 4 people over the last 3 miles, and only one person over the last 2 miles. I slowly reeled in one guy ahead of me who was alternating running and walking and it was obvious that it wasn't on purpose. Towards the end I caught another couple runners who were walking and laboring with their running.
With less than a mile less I could see people walking up the final incline before the turn for the finish including a guy with no shirt and arms and shoulders covered in a gigantic tribal tattoo who I recognized as having been approximately in 5th place after the turnaround! Boy had he had a bad race! He was at least mile ahead of me with less than half of his race to go and I caught up to him with 1/4 mile left!
As I came up the final incline towards the finish, I picked up the pace and passed the tattoo guy and another guy who was also laboring. The rest of the race was downhill and I wanted to finish, so I stretched out my stride as much as I could without falling over and left those two in the dust. No matter my time, there's no reason to leave anything on the course. Time to use all the energy I have left.
I flew down the hill, listened to the cheers of my fellow runners and I approached the finish line all by myself, and hoped I was at least close to finishing around 55 minutes. I was severely disappointed to see the clock reading the upper 62's as I crossed the line. I knew I was going to be within just a few seconds of the clock time because I started towards the front and there were only maybe 100 or so runners in the race. My sister-in-law had run the 5k before me and she met me at the finish line and lead me to find water and a banana. I was drained and tired and disappointed and ready to go home.
After i recuperated for 15 minutes, I was ready to head home and take a nap. As we got in my car and got ready to head out, I took a quick look at the splits I had taken on my watch. I had missed the 2 and 3 mile marks, remembered to get my splits at miles 4 and 5, but then forgot to stop my watch at the end of the race.
After all the time spend resting, getting water, and then getting back to the car, taking of my number, etc, etc, when I checked my watch, it was still only just under 1 hour 18 minutes. That didn't make sense if I had run my race in almost an hour and 3 minutes. We hadn't quite left THAT quickly.
I looked thru my splits and this is what I saw:
Mile 1: 8:34
Mile 4: 27:27 (36:02)
Mile 5: 9:45 (45:47)
So, what would my final time have been? Well, based on my sprint finish, I would hope that my final split would be close to my 5 mile split or faster. So, maybe I finished between 55 and 56 minutes? I can only hope! I know I definitely did NOT finish in 62 minutes. Perhaps that was still the clock from the 5k race that started just 5 minutes before us? Waiting for the results to post on the website is killing me! Hopefully they will be up, soon. Considering how bad I felt, how nasty the headwind was, and how slow it felt like I was running, I managed to run almost exactly a 9 minute/mile pace for the first 4 miles. I obviously slowed down during mile 5, but kept a pace faster than a 10 minute mile. The wild card is now my last 1.2 miles. 62:50 - 5 minutes = 57:50? That would be disappointing, but at least faster than my 60 minute drop-dead goal. And with my dead legs and all that, it's certainly much faster than it felt like I was running.
So, chalk up this race as a victory for perseverance. Monday I run a recovery run and then I am taking a week off. My legs need it and totally deserve it.
before the race
i didn't mention the blisters. :(
i EARNED this medal!
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