Friday, October 16, 2009

Changes Afoot

Looks like I will be moving to Charleston SC. This will be a good move for me - I will be closer to family and be able to pursue work that makes me happier. I've met a number of people who have made Vegas work for them, but it's not for me, and it's probably best that I close this chapter. I'm excited about getting a new start.

Another change will be more shorter races - and fewer marathons. I did 3 full marathons in 2009 - Phoenix, Myrtle Beach and Portland - and they were all great races, well organized, in nice places, just very positive experiences. Times of 320, 310 and 312 - I qualified for Boston and might do that next year if I can find time for it.

But mostly I'd rather focus on half marathons in the future - I think 13 miles is a better, more manageable distance. Less wear and tear and faster, with less downtime after. It's been almost two weeks and I'm still hurting pretty badly from the portland marathon - my quads and hamstrings have zero pep in them, no bounce and a constant ache - which is to be expected to a certain degree, but not something I'm used to.

Anyway I'm looking forward to running in a place with trees - under trees - in the soft green filtered light of a forest path - something I've missed while doing my time here in Vegas. It really makes a huge difference.

So very excited about searching out the mossy old live oaks of the South and making my acquaintance with them - this will be a good change.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Portland Marathon

I was not sure whether I would be able to handle the full distance of the Portland Marathon as the longest I've run in the last 6 months was a few 15 milers. But I imagine the intense 10 and 12ers I did over the summer turned out to be sufficient to keep me in shape. I had a really nice marathon - the race started on a beautiful fall Pacific northwest day - 50 degrees with a misty fog and no wind - and I felt like I was given a gift as I was able to watch the sun rise and take in the green city of Portland waking - the river, the trees, the bridges - all very picturesque.

I started sort of slow and gradually picked up the pace, easing my body into it, waking up and passing the slower crowd that I had started with. I much prefer a gradual increase in speed over several miles and one of the advantages of this race is you have plenty of time to do that. I'd never run a marathon with a Garmin before and now it's fun to look at the mile splits - I was pretty damn consistent from mile 5 when I hit my stride through 20 doing about a 7:05 throughout so I'm happy with that long stretch of consistency.

At mile 21 I hit the wall that always seems to descend at that point - but I handled it ok and managed to keep the arms moving, drinking some water and pushing forward. At 25 I suffered some real difficulty with cramping calves and hamstrings but I knew that was likely to happen so I just slowed the pace a bit more and kept at it knowing there was only a mile to go. And then I was done.

My time was 3:12 which I'm happy with - it makes me feel that my 3:10 in February at the Myrtle Beach marathon was not a fluke, and that with better distance training that I could hit a 305 fairly easily. 7:17 average pace for the 26. Top 300 out of 8000 runners. It was a great race and a fun time and I really enjoyed it.

Garmin Connect

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

15 mile marathon training run at 7:22 pace

15 miles at Wetlands Park in the AM at 7:22 pace. Beautiful cool fall morning. I felt good the whole way, with the pace dropping down to 7:05 at mile 8. Portland Marathon in 18 days - I wish this had been a 20 mile run instead of just 15, I'd feel more confident going into that race, with more longer distance training. But it was a hot hot summer and I was working full time and breaking up with my girlfriend and amidst all that I couldn't quite figure out how to make the proper training schedule happen. Anyway, good run today.

Garmin Connect

I used a 10 ounce amphipod handheld water bottle which fits nicely into the hand and seems to be enough water to get the job done. No music, no ipod - I've taken a break lately from the music, although there's no question I run about 10% faster with it - which is a big difference over a long race. I might use the ipod at Portland, haven't decided yet. Sometimes it's nice just to run with the sounds of the park and a clear head and plenty of time to think.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Checked out for a while

I took a break for a while - still running, just had a lot going on in real life and needed to step away from the blogging. I ran the red rock relay this past weekend and had a good experience - lots of fast mefium distance running there. The high point for me was the 6.5 mile leg that was pretty much all downhill in a steep mountain canyon, allowing me to stride out and hit a speed that I'm rarely able to maintain out in the flat lands. My last 3 mile splits were 5:56, 5:42 and 5:29 as I accelerated down the mtn with the righteous fury of a locomotive without brakes - it felt like I was a wheelbarrow, all up on my forefoot and the weight leaning forward, down, faster and faster - just as much effort required to keep pushing as to slow down. The first mile had been slightly uphill to the peak, and there were remnants of a hurricane from Baja blowing through so I was hit with about ten minutes of ice cold hail at the start - the elevation was 8000 feet, this race is near the Brian Head ski resort near Zion - but as I hit the vast magnificent downhill the weather relented and I began to feel my cheeks ears and arms again. My breath returned after the initial shock of running in such thin mountain air and my breathing became normal after mile 3. I passed five other teams, five "kills". I had always wanted to run a long mountain downhill like this and it really was all I had hoped for, fast and fun. I felt like king of the mountain for a brief moment. My average pace according to the Garmin was 6:10 and the time for the first 6.2 miles was 38:15 giving me a new 10k pr. Our team ran well and I think we finished 5th out of 62. It was a good time.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

10 miles at 101 degrees

A hot day but fortunately there was some shade out at Pittman Wash on this thursday evening run with the Village Runners. Most were doing 6 miles but with Portland in only 6 weeks I needed to do 10. The mileage felt good except for the heat, which topped out at 105 today but was probably only 100 or 101 at the time of the run, and with the shade it was tolerable. It's really only direct sunlight that bothers me. I had my hydration bottle and used all of it.

I think I could've done 655 average but I ran the first 3 miles with the slower runners to chat some. Perhaps tomorrow morning I'll take a swing at sub 7.

Garmin Connect

Monday, August 10, 2009

Two longer runs

12 miles Sunday morning with the marathon training group (for the Rock n Roll Vegas marathon), a little slower pace than I would normally do but it was worth it for the social aspect.

Then 12.4 miles this morning at wetlands park at 7:10 pace. I felt strong and comfortable for most of it. The hydration belt came in handy one again, I am really getting used to having it on and don't have to fiddle with it as much now. In the final few miles I tried to emphasize better form, lifting my chin, pulling my elbows in - they tend to swing out as I fatigue - and lifting my legs just a bit higher.

I am upping my mileage over the next 5 weeks because the Portland Marathon is only 7 weeks away and I've been letting the heat be an excuse for not getting in sufficient distance. But if I don't address this now it will soon be too late to make a difference. Also running a 12 person relay in southern Utah on Sept 4th and 5th - the Red Rock Relay - and I'll be an anchor runner for them and so I want to be in solid shape for that.

Two nice runs, moderate temps in the 80s, very pleasant experiences, reminds me of why I love to do this. Grateful for my health and a good place to run near to home.

Garmin Connect

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Prog run in the AM at the park with the bunnies

6 miles in the AM at 6:58 pace. A "progression run" getting faster with each mile: 7:13, 7:09, 7:06, 7:00, 6:49, 6:29. I can't usually make that last mile the quickest so I was pleasantly surprised to be able to do that this time.

Three observations:
1. running in the morning really is great if you can just get out of bed...
2. hydration belts bounce less sitting low on the hips
3. what a great way to start a day - and if you can't run, then jog, go for a hike or a walk, just as good