Saturday, September 24, 2011

Running into Clarkston

I ran a rather hilly route this morning in anticipation of the Brooksie Way Half Marathon next weekend. I ran 7 miles today, which I figured is enough. I kept it at a 10 min / mile pace overall - a bit faster at the start and end and a bit slower in the middle. I felt ok, but not nearly as good as during the half-marathon practice run last week. I am hoping that the pace I started at today will be my race pace. (It is astounding that my long run pace now is pretty close to my 5k race speed less than 6 months ago. I'm getting there...)

Looking forward to running a long race without the hydration belt. I need it when running solo for anything more than about 5 miles, but the race will have water stations every mile.

While I live in a pretty busy suburban area, I can get about 3 miles from home and feel like I'm out in the country. I "discovered" a great dirt road to run on today and didn't see a vehicle on it the whole way. I'm thinking that more of my long runs will start going in this general direction.

The race week plan is to do a mid-distance, mid-effort run on Monday and I will try to get short runs in on Wednesday and Friday. Race day is Sunday and I will be ready.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Saturday, September 17, 2011

A great run - Brooksie Way Half Marathon practice

I had a great run this morning at the Brooksie Way Half Marathon Practice Run. This was an "official" practice run with about 500 people showing up to run the entire course. I ran the whole thing (and then some - my watch showed almost 13.5 miles) and did so faster than I thought I would.

The vaunted Brooksie Way hills are very real, but not as bad as I had feared. The first half of the course is mostly downhill or level. Miles 7 to 10 starting at Tienken Road were tough and did much to effect my legs. This is were I slowed down a bit, but was able to work through it.

The only downside of the run is that in two weeks, during the actual race, I need to beat it. I was actually about 10 - 15 minutes faster today than I thought I would be, but I wasn't pushing too hard. I ran my race and ran my pace. In fact, I had a stupid mantra pop up in my head while I was running: "Run your pace and run your race and 'til mile 12 you do not chase". (Thanks Dr. Seuss) Basically, I was trying to worry about myself and not worry about expending extra energy and chasing someone down at mile 5 when there is a long way to go.

When I did reach mile 12, I still decided not to chase and finished steady. I had a good kick left in me but elected not to use it. I proved my point that I could do the distance (this was my longest run ever) and this was training, not a race. I didn't want to wreck a great run by pushing too hard when I was tired and hurt myself. No holding back at the race.

I am beat but excited. Part of me wants to go out and run some more, but that is not a good idea at all. I will do a recovery run on Monday, something during the week and a good 8 - 10 next Saturday if all goes as planned.

Thanks to Erin who I met during the run. I kept up with her through the better part of 10 miles and she was very nice and encouraging. Also green shirt lady, blue shirt hat man and zebra skirt lady helped with their steady pace. :) The apples and cookies at the end of the run were great. The apples were the best tasting apples ever (they were actually good, but part of it was because I was super hungry) and I ate them like a Tex Winter cartoon character eats corn on the cob.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

2011 Goal Updates

The Camp Lael 5k 2010 was the first race I ran without walking since high school and I just finished the 2011 one, so I thought that this would be a good time to look at the goals I have achieved, and those yet to be accomplished. Here are a few:

1. Finish the Open Door Julie Run (June 2011) in 26 minutes or less.

Result: 26:01.8 (Darn close) - I chose this race as the start of the year as a "tent pole" race that would show where I was at. I figured that I could do 26 minutes by this race. I beat 26 minutes on my watch, but was a couple seconds off on the race clock. Even though I beat my previous adult record by over a minute, I thought my performance was just OK.

2. Win the Camp Lael 5k.

Result: Won the Camp Lael 5k. - To be honest, I could have skipped backwards and won this race this year. I did run it hard and finished in 26:06, which isn't bad for this rather brutal course. I would have been more satisfied if I could have had a rematch with Super Mom and the 9 year old that beat me the year before. :)

3. Place in my age group at an event.

Result: Placed 3rd at the Sylvan Shuffle and 1st at the OPC 5k in my age group.

Running in the 27 minute range at the time, I didn't really expect to win anything at either of these races. I have found that sometimes, a particular age group just doesn't attend certain events and that it seems rather random. I'm sure that at some point I will have a great race that deserves an award and will end up far out of the picture. I race against myself more than other people, but it does matter to me where I finish. If you don't care at all where you finish, why race? I would like to eventually get to a point where I am competing to win my age group at almost every race.

4. Finish the Brooksie Way 5k in 24 minutes or less.

Result: Incomplete. I have opted to run the half marathon instead of the Brooksie Way. I hope to run another 5k later in October after the Brooksie Way on the 2nd. I think I can run a 24 minute 5k now, but until I actually do it, it is just talk. I have broken my half marathon training way to much to try to fit in another race before October, but there will be plenty of races to do in the cool October or November air. I have amended this goal to "Finish a 5k race in 24 minutes or less in 2011.

I haven't set goals for 2012 yet (but welcome suggestions). I would like to run a sub 21 minute 5k in 2012 and think that it is possible with continued work. (I really want to say 20 minutes... we'll see where I'm at come January) That would put me near my high school times which ranged from about 19:30 to 22:30, averaging around 21 minutes or so. (The truth is that in some ways I am a better distance runner now than I was in high school, but my legs are not nearly as strong.) I would like to place at the Julie Run 5k next year too.

No decisions have been made about long distance runs. I'm thinking about another half marathon or two during the year, but don't have any time to complete them in mind. I would like to do a marathon at some point, but I would like to progress a bit before I consider it.

I'm not into setting mileage goals, because I think that many runners at my level tend to run too much. While I would love to say "I'll run 1000 miles next year", I don't want to make that a goal. I just want to run enough to meet my other goals and if I run 600 or 800 or 1000 miles to do it, so be it.

Goals are nice, but the best thing is that I am enjoying running and plan to keep going for the foreseeable future. I am in better shape than I've been in years as well. Running is not for everyone, but it is good for me.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner - or McDonalds Dinner using gift card prize

Ran the Camp Lael 5K this morning and won the race! There was little to no competition at all, but this may be the only race I ever win in my life, so I'm counting it. The race was listed on the website among others, so it isn't my fault that it wasn't well attended by runners. They were invited but few came (there were many more walkers than runners). One of my goals this year was to win this race (I actually told my wife I would win immediately after last year's race) so... mission accomplished.

The course was primarily gravel and dirt roads, had some very steep inclines and consisted of 3 loops of the same course, making the hills that much worse. I finished with a time of 26:06, but I think I would now be a couple minutes faster on a more "standard" road 5k course. I dropped over 6 minutes from my time just one year ago.

Overall, it was a good but not great run. I do not have experience in leading a race (other than last years race, where I led for the first half of the race before finishing 4th) and I think I probably was a little complacent the latter part of this race, knowing that I was ahead of the next runner by a wide margin. Legs felt good, breathing was excellent, but had to deal with minor to moderate midsection pains through much of the race.

My first half marathon is in three weeks. I will not win that race and will probably not even finish in the top 2/3 of my age group, but I am looking forward to it!

Monday, September 5, 2011

That was better.

55 degrees with a light drizzle, while a bit chilly at first, turned out to be ideal running weather. I felt much better today during my 3.4 mile hilly run than during Saturday's struggle. It was probably one of my better short training runs and I kept a good, even pace (the hills accounted for most of the variation). If I can run like that (at a bit faster, race pace) next weekend at Camp Lael, I'll be happy.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Crummy run but not too worried

Went out this morning with the intention of going 10 - 12 miles. I did that, but I didn't even consider that I would walk about half of it. I did my usual walk of nearly 1/2 mile before starting running and felt fine. Once I started running, I almost immediately knew I wasn't going to have a great run. After a couple blocks, my quads felt fatigued and a little sore and it seemed there was just no power in my legs. Even though it was humid and it took just seconds to work up a sweat, I didn't feel bad, but my legs were just useless (which can be a problem when you are running). :)

With the way my legs felt, I never got into a good rhythm and felt like I was kinda gliding along instead of running. I quickly developed a side stitch which didn't help matters, but I pressed on as I ran past the high school and then through the nature center. While I was hoping that I would get into a groove, by about 3.5 miles in my upper legs felt even worse - like I had run 10 miles the day before. I probably should have turned around and ran back home at that point, but I wanted to keep going. Then, a few blocks later I started walking, shouted "No!" and started running again, only to resume walking less than a minute later.

I decided to let myself walk a bit only if I would resume running. I was hoping I could "reboot" myself and when I started running again, I would feel better and use better form. That really didn't happen. I probably moved about 6 more miles after that, but only ran a little over 2 of it.

Overall, I was disappointed with the run, which was easily my worst in a couple months, but I'm not too worried about it. I did a quick run Thursday night which must have been more taxing on my legs than I had thought. This was also my 4th run of the week when I have been struggling to normally get 3 in and I had already done a "long" run on Tuesday. If today had been a race, it would have been my "worst case scenario", but I would have worked through it and ended up ok.

The plan is to rest tomorrow and, if all goes well, I'll do a hilly 3 or 4 miles on Monday to prep for the Camp Lael 5k next weekend.