Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Next up: Skyline-to-the-Sea

I've been super busy with family stuff, also trying to get some work done, so I apologize
to my blog friends for not visiting your sites more extensively and commenting. I do hope to return to form shortly now that I'm back in my normal routine (and the rains seem to have stopped here finally!)

Thanks for all your comments on LA. It was an unforgettable day!


It's now been 9 days since and I've done 11 miles...I now feel pretty healed up and ready for easy running, perhaps not for any fast running. Planning for a 10 miler (or so) tomorrow.....I'll see how I feel.

One lesson I've learned for myself from doing closely spaced marathons is that you want to shorten the taper (to 2 weeks..or less) and lengthen the recovery (no running for a week, just walking or light spinning on bike). 


In the comments to my LA race report Nelly brought up some ideas for warmth in a cold race like LA besides jackets: i.e. vest or arm warmers.

I own all of the above but consider jackets to be much better for the simple reason that you can roll them up and tie them around your waist. How do you carry a vest when you don't want to wear it? Arm warmers you might be able to carry in a pack if you have one big enough.

At LA only the jacket would do..rain was very cold. Kept it zipped up to the max for the last 10 miles (only unzipped when I saw the marathon photo guys so they could catch my number).

UPDATE: almost forgot to mention my big fashion FAIL in LA. I wore some very svelte running gloves for the first mile or two and then took them off. Later in the race i really wanted them again but my hands were wet and I could not get them  back on! Give me back my oversized cotton gardening gloves a-la Bill Rogers!

But should also mention I wore the Zensa calf sleeves again and had zero problems after the race with trigger points in my lower legs. I don't wear them for every run..just my long runs and long races, but I do think they are a good idea. (I also wear them on long airplane flights)


The closely spaced marathons seem to be going ok, I've done 5 of 8 now..

It has not escaped my notice that I've just run my second fastest time on a mileage base of only 100-110 miles/month or so and recovered pretty quickly.  Contrast this to the buildup for my PR race which was 150, 180 miles per month at the peak.

I could conclude that all those miles weren't worth much (only 6 minutes) but I rather think that I was missing some other ingredients to my training that I needed. I plan to think long and hard about this when it comes time to do a peaked race again this fall. I really want to break Mach 1 once and for all (i.e. sub-4hrs).

S2S is coming up on 4/10..only 3 weeks from LA..the closest race spacing I've attempted so far. Basically I only get about one week of vaguely full intensity training before you taper off a bit...

My young niece is doing a science project on the California Chaparral ecosystem...I flipped through her field guide  this weekend and learned a few things 8)...e.g. .the world famous "Hollywood" is named after the California Holly, aka "Toyon" bush

The name "chaparral"  is a spanish loan word..and the "chaps" that cowboys wear is to protect the legs from the scratchy dry branches of the chaparral.

Learn something new everyday, eh? 8)

S2S basically runs through 50k of this (after starting in redwood forest)..so I promised her I would take a lot of pictures of the plants along the way.  

The only thing I dread is a return to the rains...I really don't want to run on 50k of muddy trails.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

RUNDown: 2011 LA Marathon (#8)

Summary: Cold Rain. Wind. Awesome run!

This is my #8 lifetime marathon, #5 in my year of 8 marathons.

 I had been checking the weather and it was clear by Expo-day that the weather was going to be bad. The hope was the worst of the storm would be hitting after we finished.

A recap on our plans: for me, an even pace (as I did in Surf City) with my goal of learning more about judging proper pacing, having a good time, and finishing strong. My estimate of a good finishing time was 4:15 (a 9:42 m/m pace) which is 18s faster than Surf city. Seemed quite reasonable and hopefully a quick recovery for S2S on 4/10.

As for my brother-in-law, Charlie, he had aced his training and was targeting 8:30. This scared me a bit but at some point you have to let people do what they want to do...he's youngish (42) and a natural runner so it seemed like the worst thing that would happen is he'd get a bit of a nasty slowdown at the end but still have a nice very respectable time.

The day before we went over to OSH to get some cheapo rainsuits in case we had to sit in the corrals for a long time (to hold a spot). They don't cost much and come with jacket AND pants and keep you much warmer than the garbage bag method.

The forecast was for 50F, 15+ mph winds and heavy rain big possibility..so learning from my trail marathon experience (where I really needed my jacket after mile 20) I knew I'd run with one as well as some gloves that I could stow in it's pockets.

I managed to convince Charlie that having some kind of light jacket during the race was good insurance against hypothermia. Charlie was loath to wear anything other than a shirt, even an unused jacket tied around his waist.  He was not afraid of the rain..he'd run a 14 miler in it... but I showed him my GreenLayer california dreamin jacket and how light it was, did not flutter in the wind and could be wrapped up and tied around the waist and be pretty minimal impact. 

And I told him of my worry that it would be really cold like my trail race. So, in the end he bought a nice stylish ultra thin jacket as well as a hat.

In retrospect, jackets probably prevented us both from very ugly DNFs.

The day before the race was the 80th birthday celebration for my father-in-law (also Charlie's father-in-law) and we enjoyed some wonderful carb-loading with pasta bolognese and a crunchy-style meringue dessert! Yummy. 

We got up at 3am(!) to drive to the finish area parking at the Civic Center and take the 4am shuttle buses. I had read on marathon guide about how screwed up everything was last year and saw that several people had said if you take the shuttles and take them early there was no problem...

Driving to Santa Monica the rain was light and on an off a bit....we parked right on the ground floor near the entrance/exit and walked to the shuttle and caught one right away.

Charlie at Dodger Stadium about 5am?
When we got to the Stadium we discovered they were letting us sit in the stadium..and there are a lot of seats that are under cover from the rain so that was great.

It was cold. Even in our rainsuits and with our jackets on under it was just barely tolerable without shivering. Plenty of people were shivering that had less clothing.

Luckily as more and more people crowded in over the next two hours the body heat got better at keeping everybody warm.

bleachers fill up..jumbotron playing, flags moving
The started showing a marathon promo movie on the Jumbo-Tron to give us something to look at which was nice, but it was only about 1/2 hr long and so after a while you'd see it all. I really like the CG graphics movie of the race course.

Notice the flags ..by the time the race started they were flying almost straight out, probably a 15 mph wind (?)

We were able to use the bathrooms in stadium which was nice. Eventually, I decided to make my last visit but it was too crowded in the stadium so I went outside to the port-a-lets. When I came back and got into the hallway I discovered the place had become a zoo in the last 30 minutes...you could barely move.

The start..looking forward
Rather than go back in I figured Charlie would get to his start corral one way or the other (he did) and so I  headed to the seeded corral..I was in "C" because of my 4:06 at SFM. There was a huge backup because of unseeded people trying to just get in there (some because they were just clueless, some trying to sneak in) but they were all pointed to the other corral and us vets all got in eventually.

While waiting I spoke with  a women named Yoko...she was visiting from Japan and  was wearing a "thank you for your support" banner. We had a moment of silence to remember what happened in Japan (as well as the anthem). 

I ditched my rainsuit about 10 minutes before the start. I could not get over how many people there were.
The start, looking back (!

This was a BIG marathon...biggest I'd ever tried.

There were 27,000 signed up and only ~23,000 people at the start. Little did we know that only 19,866 would actually finish.

The race started and it was crowded..I could only do an 11:00 m/m pace for the first 1/2 mile or so.  I took a shot of the first turn out of the stadium onto Sunset Ave.

Alas too blurry to be really useful but it gives you an idea of the crowding at this point. So far we didn't have any rain..it had been mostly holding off ...just occasional short dumps.

For the first mile or so there was crowd dodging..but actually not that bad..11:00 pace for the first .5, then sped up to get my average down to 9:39 on the garmin.

The early part of the course hits a big hill at Disney hall

Split Distance Avg Pace Avg HR Avg Cadence Elev+ Elev-
  1 1.00 09:39 157 88 55 106
  2 1.00 08:50 135 89 17 174
  3 1.00 09:24 129 88 40 32
  4 1.00 09:17 129 87 35 36
  5 1.00 10:26 128 84 83 50
climbing to Disney Hall (mile 4.5?)

looking back on the Disney Hall hill

Echo lake..about 10k mark, see the runners?

Approaching mile 9
Split Distance Avg Pace Avg HR Avg Cadence Elev+ Elev-
  6 1.00 10:18 128 86 97 33
  7 1.00 09:13 132 88 30 61
  8 1.00 09:33 127 87 41 73
  9 1.00 09:44 131 87 72 0
  10 1.00 09:46 130 87 0 24
Julie and Phil, about mile 10-11?

At about mile 10, I was approached from behind and asked what pace I was running by a young couple running together.

I showed them my 4:15 pace band and they laughed and guessed that was my pace..they had been following me!

I pulled forward and took this burry shot..I really need to get a better camera for low light conditions, sigh.

(Hard to stop dead to take a shot in the middle of crowds of runners..)

me, early in race
 was keeping to my pace pretty well at this point knowing that there was a long long way to go. On larger hills, I would break in to a power walk for 20-30s to easy the stress on my legs and make sure I was saving some for later. 

But I wasn't sandbagging..I did keep my average pace right were I wanted it to be..the splits at the mile markers vs my pace band were the final judge of this. The garmin was showing me about 5s faster than my actual splits and this was good to know...i.e. I needed to run showing 9:37 for my average pace to do a 9:42 overall (4:15 marathon). After some hills the seconds digit of my average might pop up to an 8 (9:38) and I would then press a little bit faster to drive it back down to a 7.

Split Distance Avg Pace Avg HR Avg Cadence Elev+ Elev-
  11 1.00 09:23 130 87 52 49
  12 1.00 09:40 129 86 33 76
  13 1.00 09:47 130 86 27 0
  14 1.00 09:44 132 86 60 18
  15 1.00 09:25 127 87 0 186

Movie anybody? (about mile 12.5)

Crescent Heights Blvd ..about 13 miles

Looking back at 13 miles
Split Distance Avg Pace Avg HR Avg Cadence Elev+ Elev-
  16 1.00 09:27 130 88 7 18
  17 1.00 09:46 135 86 50 0
  18 1.00 09:28 135 87 32 29
  19 1.00 09:31 137 87 33 49
  20 1.00 09:26 135 87 24 30

Miles 16 to 20 were the most difficult of the entire race. I was holding my pace but at any time felt that this might all evaporate and I would start slowing down despite my best efforts. Whenever I felt like I was slowing down (my cadence would slow and I'd bounce up and down more..i.e. more toward a "jog") I would focus on tightening up my stride into the "zip zone" of 87+..and right away I would speed back up a bit.

At mile 16.5 I suddenly heard a loud "PAUL!!!" ..it was Toni with Abi,  Louise and Simon (niece and nephew! I could not belive they had been crazy so sweet to come out and see us run! (Remember it was steadily raining BUCKETS of cold rain, with big winds since mile 12-13!)

I came over and grabbed Toni's hands and said hello....it was confirmed that they had see Charlie which was good. Charlie later said that seeing his family really gave him the boost he needed at this point too....and with 10 miles to go that's a bit scary.

Onward! That last digit on the average garmin pace was hanging in there at 9:36..I would not let it get to 9:38..and the splits/paceband still showed me up 30s to a minute at each mile marker.

Along the way several large streams were crossing the course and we had to run through water that was 40F (probably?) and over our ankles. The light coating of vaseline on my feet kept me from getting any blisters though (kept skin from getting waterlogged). This seems to have worked for Charlie too.

 LA really should have a better drainage system. Probably too late to fix that though 8/

The Finish

Split Distance Avg Pace Avg HR Avg Cadence Elev+ Elev-
  20 1.00 09:26 135 87 24 30
  21 1.00 09:38 137 86 36 20
  22 1.00 09:44 138 86 68 0
  23 1.00 09:18 141 87 41 42
  24 1.00 09:36 140 87 16 12
  25 1.00 09:07 138 88 0 105
  26 1.00 08:57 141 88 23 105
  27 0.50 08:22 151 89 0 55

"One of the hardest races in the rain" says top 5 finisher

"By 1 p.m. on Sunday, an estimated one inch of rain had fallen in Santa Monica and 0.8 inches downtown, which would make this year's race unofficially the "rainiest" on record. "

Elevation profile...nice finish downhill!

Up to this point my mile splits and pace band was saying I was up about 45s to 60s under my goal pace...a teeny bit in the bank, if you will. You can see that the last miles after 23 had a good downhill to them (about 2%). I knew this too, and that it was a chance to do even better than 4:15.

I was annoyed that when the garmin said 23 I still didn't feel any downhill, Grrrr...but eventually in another .5 miles it  kicked in and I started to speed up.

I remember this part of the race pretty well because I felt really fast (the downhill helped!) and knew it was in the bag for a sub-4:15 with no pain or suffering. YES!

at finish! (with duck foot 8)
This is also my second fastest marathon.

I kept up a good clip to the finish but did not sprint like Surf City..nobody trying to pass me so no need.
In front of me was a dumbass  young guy that decided to shuck his raingear for the finish photo and just dumped it on the ground right on my legs..I narrowly avoided a face-plant by doing a quick side step to get it unwound from my feet...um...this was NOT easy with tired legs. I do admit to using a bit of profanity at this point 8/
After crossing the finish and getting medals etc I set about to see what food there was..it was not a pretty scene....the rain was still pounding. I grabbed a few things but there wasn't anything really great except some cliff bars. The atmosphere was more like a refugee camp of starving people than a party.
I was feeling really happy with my 4:12:28 and especially the negative split. I had held a good pace and managed to hold this pace on the 16-to-23 mile gentle ups and then kicked it into the finish and felt pretty darn good. Woo Hoo!
I decided to try to find Charlie ASAP and right around then my phone started buzzing. I found a very nice family waiting under a huge bunch of umbrellas and asked if I could take my phone out of the ziploc and make a call under cover so I wouldn't ruin it. They were most gracious to this soaking wet bedraggled person.
Toni told me Charlie was in the Georgian Hotel lobby where they were letting runners crash. I looked down the road and could see it so I headed over and found him there wrapped in two mylar blankets. 
post-finish, soaked to skin
I asked him how it went and he told me he pulled off a 3:44:xx (the official result was a 3:43:xx !) Woo hoo! We both did great in atrocious conditions. The link article mentions the hypothermic conditions that really wacked a lot of runners.

Charlie was not a happy camper however, he had pushed himself really really hard and could barely walk...had to start by going backwards. I'll bet he was worse off because of the rain and not walking around after stopping..if it had been a bright sunny day with lots of walking and grazing on food his legs would have been a lot better.

We had a long slog to the parking lot with the conditions staying just as horrible, along the way we stopped off in a Sears to warm up (still pounding rain and wind). We got a phone call letting us know some friends of Charlie's from his neighborhood were needing a ride. Eventually we met up and found our parking garage and car.

This is the first time in my recent adult history that I've experience actual shivering. The last time was I think 10 or 15 years ago when I had pneumonia. It's also the first time in a long time I've seen adults with totally blue lips. (not me though....I think?)

We drove home in very wet hydroplaning conditions with the heat on 80F ;) After long showers we headed out to have the obligatory beer and burger feed. Wow..did they taste good!  I am still processing what a great race it was for both of us....(until after we finished!)  

LA Marathon impressions

The LA marathon course was a great course...just enough rolling hills to keep things interesting, great views different parts of the city and fantastic crowds and volunteers. 

In fact, at various points I was torn between keeping warm with my jacket zipped up, or unzipping so people could see my name. Having crowds of people shout out your name with words of encouragement is a powerful stimulant!

I can't speak to the finish line amenities since the situation there was so tough but I can say the food they had on hand was pretty "meh". SFM still wins by a mile with the smoothies and scones. Silicon Valley Marathon is a close second with Yahoo fish tacos.

The Spoils and Stats
Me and Charlie all cleaned up
Avg HR 134
Avg Cadence 87 (stayed in the "zip zone!")

Here are the splits recorded by the timing mats...my average pace of 9:37.8 corresponds to 59:50 per 10k. You can see that I had an even pace but it was a bit slower than that for each

10k 1:00:28  
15k 1:30:24
20k 2:00:28 (1:00 for 10-to-20k)
25k 2:30:41
30k 3:00:48  (1:00:20  for 20-to-30k)
35k 3:31:12
40k 4:00:22  (59:44 for 30-to-40k)

 The theme this year is "orange"..the color of some of the buses I guess? 8) I bought the hat at the expo (I collect hats..they don't take much space and I use them a lot). 
The backside of the shirt has a silhouette  of runners legs against all the boroughs and street names the race traverses.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Quick note on LA..

Heavy cold rain..ran 4:12:30 with slightly negative splits..yay!
My brother in law (age 42) really pushed himself and nailed 3:44!

More later...

Saturday, March 19, 2011

LA Expo

Not bad....outdoors. it no rain.
Parking not easy but doable.

Photo shows me pointing to my name on one of the official race Hondas

Friday, March 18, 2011

Weather for race day...

Sunday: Rain likely, mainly after 11am. Cloudy, with a high near 63. South southeast wind around 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%.

Not bad not bad at all.  My first marathon was in a light rain and my first trail marathon was a dump-a-thon so I can deal with rain. Temps are cool..peeeerfecto! Winds are tailwind or crosswind until the last mile (but the last 3 miles are 2% downgrade!).

We should be mostly done by 11am.

The only downside to the rain is that I tend to spend less time taking pictures since I don't want to get the camera too wet...but hey.

My brother-in-law, Charlie, is finally approaching his first marathon and he's showing signs of newbie taper madness. He's also determined to go for as fast a time as he can, despite my fears, and so I have printed pace bands for 3:45, 3:50, and 3:55..and he can pick..it's his problem as of Sunday 7am!

Me, I'm thinkin' I'll shoot for a 4:15, I've done around that pace twice before and I think I'm in better shape right now..slightly..than then so that should be ok. My goal is EVEN splits, smooth fun race. If I feel really REALLY good after the half, I may try for SLIGHTLY negative splits.

Of course you never know how you'll feel out there...if I feel like crap in the first few miles I'll slow down a bit.

Some quotes to get us juiced:

Frank Shorter, 1972 Olympic marathon gold medalist:
"You have to forget your last marathon before you try another. Your mind can't know what's coming."
 (He must have run all of them all-out..it's not that bad)

Rob de Castella, winner 1983 World Marathon Championships:
"If you feel bad at 10 miles, you're in trouble. If you feel bad at 20 miles, you're normal. If you don't feel bad at 26 miles, you're abnormal."
 (that's fair)

Emil Zatopek, Czech runner; winner of four Olympic gold medals:
"We are different, in essence, from other men. If you want to win something, run 100 meters. If you want to experience something, run a marathon."
 (too true)

Bill Rodgers, winner of four Boston and four NYC marathons:
"The marathon can humble you."

(you know it)

Hal Higdon, running writer and coach:
"The difference between the mile and the marathon is the difference between burning your fingers with a match and being slowly roasted over hot coals."


Mike Fanelli, running club coach:
"I tell our runners to divide the race into thirds. Run the first part with your head, the middle part with your personality, and the last part with your heart."

(will do!)

Wish us luck!


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

T-4 days to LA...not whats on my mind.

For the last days I've been heartsick seeing the devastation in Japan. 

Miyajima, 2003
Over my years in California I have had the opportunity to work with, and become friends with many people from Japan. I have also traveled there several times for business and a sometimes just for pleasure. I spent many years learning the language and culture, which for a language phobic nerd shows you how interesting it had become for me.

I have always found the Japanese people to be friendly and willing to help a (confused) gaijin no matter how far out of their way they need to go.

They'll tolerate terrible abuse of their grammar and still complement you on your language prowess.

Luckily all the people we know are safe, and their loved ones are safe, so far. But so many are hurting and there is so much work to do and problems to solve.

It's hard to worry about marathons and paces when you know this is happening just across the ocean..the world gets smaller and smaller every year.


Update: Lynne has suggested people that want to help can donate at www.runforjapan.com (hosted by Virgin)..if you click on the logo you can see what it's about.

I've seen some people on the internet ask why they should give to Japanese relief efforts when Japan is such a large industrialized nation...the answer is that in a disaster such as this organizations such as the Red Cross can really give a boost to the people effected right on the ground...they do this kind of thing all the time. 

Just because Japan is a rich country there are also plenty of people that don't have a safety net in Japan, especially in small towns and countryside and these people can really use help.

Ask yourself what you would want if this had happened in your town. Do you think our federal/local goverments would be all you need to help you? Ask the people that were in the Astrodome during Katrina. The Japanese goverment is not perfect (as we've seen from the managment of the Nuclear crisis) and so I think the people there need outside sources of help too.

Monday, March 14, 2011

T-8 days to LA, last medium run....Los Trancos!

open spaces indeed!
Saturday was my day for the final "longish" run of the taper, 8 miles. FINALLY I had a chance to try out my Peregrines on the trails. I decided to drive to the parking lot at the Arastradero open space preserve and run up through it into  Foothill park. 

I normally don't like to drive to any of my runs, but in this case it would take an extra 4 miles each way to get to the start of this run.

the trail beckons
My goal was just to do the distance at no particular pace...I knew there would be a lot of up and down.

It was a great day and I felt pretty good. I wasn't sure how to get out the back side of Arastradero into Foothill but I figured I'd find a way eventually. I have made it a mini-goal to learn all of the trails in both parks by heart.

hawk looking me over

deer running for it
I got a bit lost on the west side of the park and eventually  asked a guy which way to Foothill...the way was up the fire road which turned into a paved road for about a half mile to the Los Trancos trail.
The full trail is a 7.5 mile loop, but I didn't have the distance to do for that so I decided to do go until I hit 5 miles and then turn around.

one of the 21 bridges
This trail is also known as the 21 bridges trail, and here is one of them. 

All along the way so far I was climbing, climbing..so I was walking, walking...my HR was at a low aerobic level for me but my legs were feeling the burn. On the flats I would jog but my average pace was still pretty low.

This run became such a contrast to road running. I'm running in a place called Wild Horse Vally and there are not any signs of mankind, except the trail I'm on.

wild horse valley
Actually if you look closely you can see the scar of a fire road on the hill in the upper left.

But it really feels amazingly wild and far from the hustle and bustle of Silicon Valley..which is just 5 miles away.

I kept climbing and found a little bunch of orange poppies (the Ca. State flower) clinging to the rock face on the upslope side of the trail.

bay laurels

I discovered that it is much MUCH harder to run fast on these narrow trails with roots, overhangs, branches sticking out in your face.

My average pace was hovering around 15m/m at this point and I was thinking to myself that it's a darn good thing that S2S has an 8 hour time limit! It could take a while.

I ran through many stands of bay laurels and they make the trail smell a lot like the bay leaves you have in your spice drawer. That scent as well as the scent of eucalyptus says "you are in California" (even though the latter is a transplant from Down Under...they are all over).

South San Francisco bay
Eventually I got higher and higher and some views of the lower bay revealed themselves.

I got as far as bridge 7 out of the 21 when I turned around and headed down. Even though down was easier than up by far, I still could not go that fast and be safe. 

I found I needed to learn how to watch my footing AND watch for things at head level. In a few places I had to stoop under fallen trees angled across the trail but with 4-5' of space underneat. Ooof! Hard to do when you are stiff from climbing.

I found I was only getting 11:00-12:00 paces on the way down..I realized that I may have to revise my estimates for S2S..but it doesn't really matter since as long as I am under the cutoff  I have no goal (besides I'll get a nicer 50k PR when I do it the 2nd time 8).

Retracing my run I entered Arastradero park and this time ran straight to the car park with 9.4 miles on the garmin...a bit more than I was supposed to do but hey.

Even more, I did almost 2000' of up down..Gak. My legs were letting me know.

S2S has 3.5X the distance, 2X the climbing and 3X the descent of this little run. Wow..it's all much less abstract now...I know I can do it, but it's going to be a long long run/walk/trot.  

The Peregrins were just wonderful...as I thought the uppers loosened up and are perfect for me. They were padded enough for the occasional rocky bits (maybe even too much for a mostly dirt trail) and the soles have the most amazing grab to them on all surfaces.

Final stats 9.4 @ 13:17 m/m , 110 avg HR, 74 cadence (from all that walking).
Really good leg muscle workout. Both the fronts and backsides of the legs were pretty tired by the end. 

Luckily, I have a full week of LA taper (doing mostly nothing) for them to rest up.


Oh yah, Happy Pi day!  

Being a nerd, I have, of course,  Pi memorized to 35 digits. (i.e. 3.14159265358979323846264338327950288..). Knowing Pi out this far actually saved me (and my debug teammate Dave) a couple of weeks of nasty work at Prime Computer in 1982. I'll save that story for another time....=)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

T-10 days to LA, Midweek tempo, more LA pacing thoughts

Didn't run Sunday, a rest day, then Monday did an easy 3.1@10:53 m/m recovery..still a bit sore from the big slug of running/hiking on Saturday.

Tuesday I felt a lot better and went out for a fast "tempo" run on the road. I've been refreshing my memory of how these are done...I've probably been running them too slow.

For this tempo: 1 mile of warm-up and cool-down and 4 miles at a 'comfortably hard' HR of 140-145 (82-85% of Max HR):
Split Distance Avg Pace Avg HR Avg Cadence
  1 1.00 10:47 111 85
  2 1.00 08:06 136 91
  3 1.00 08:02 140 91
  4 1.00 08:04 143 91
  5 1.00 07:48 146 91
  6 1.00 10:23 121 84
  7 0.17 10:41 112 84

I'm happy with the average pace for the 4 miles of 8m/m, this is my 10k PR pace so maybe too fast for a tempo (but that's an old PR)? The 91 cadence is also good..can't get over how my running is so different now!

At this pace I try to concentrate on the  'butt-kick' with my foot as I pick it up. Of course, you really aren't anywhere near doing a butt-kick 8), but it does kinda feel that way.

The purpose of the slight 'butt-kick' is to lower the moment of inertia of your leg so when you move your leg forward there less effort required. The force to move your leg forward goes up as the square of the leg length so pulling your calf up so that it's closer to your midsection reduces the energy quite a bit. When you focus on this it's like hitting the afterburner..you can really feel yourself going faster for not much more effort.

Anyway, all theory aside it did seem to go well. The average HR for the 4 miles was 141..for my 10K PR the HR at this pace was 152 or so. Again, more signs that I'm in pretty good shape.

Wednesday I did an easy run at about a 10 m/m pace and ended up with 4.17@9:58,  Avg HR of 111. I do this 4+ mile course a lot and this is one of the lowest HRs vs pace I've ever recorded..even more surprising because the previous day's run was pretty hard.

The reason I'm looking closely at my fitness is that I'm trying to zero in on my pace for LA...my goal is to HAVE FUN, and run a nice even pace like I did at Surf City.  I think I can go a bit faster this time, perhaps 9:35-9:45 is reasonable..maybe a 4:15-ish. Depends on the temps of course.

I do seem to be fitter and I'll be running in shoes that are 9 oz rather than 12.5 oz. I've got 110 miles on the Kinvaras...well broken in, both me and the shoe 8-D,.. and done a 21+ miler in them so I think I'm not complete bonkers here.


I do still plan on attempting a new marathon PR, but not yet. ..my next marathon PR try will be after I'm done with the "year of 8 marathons" so I can properly peak, probably in the fall.

I will be drawing on my improvements in stride rate/minimal shoe running form, a big endurance base before starting peaking, my new core strength workouts.. and then doing much more hills, intervals and tempos than I ever did for my SFM PR.

I will pick a flatter course too ;).

But right now  I've got S2S to do only 3 weeks after LA. That has to be in my thoughts whenever feel like stepping on the gas too much during LA:  Bad dog!  Heel boy!

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

This is Stylish Blogging?

Jon over at 2Slow4Boston tagged me with the chain letter "Stylish Blogger Award".

First, I need to mention my tagger and provide a back link to his blog (done!)

Next, I need to tell you all about 7 me-stuff facts..

but..there is also a game going around where you list 26 facts ("from A-Z").  I will split the difference somewhere between so I don't have to do that one too, ok?

Finally, I need to tag some huge number (15?) of other bloggers to do the same thing. 

(I think I will reduce that number a bit, else the entire blogosphere will bog down writing up these lists.)

In random order:

  1. I like building things. My wife and I rebuilt our house completely and landscaped the garden in three phases over the course of 12 years exactly the way we wanted it. I did lots of the work myself.
  2. I am 6' 1" tall and right handed...my wife is left handed. 
  3. I like things that fly. In high school my friend Carleton and I built this. I also used to build and fly radio controlled gliders.
  4. I convinced my dad we needed to learn how to fly sailplanes ...we both learned to fly together in one of these. 
  5. My dad was an engineer and designed  this observatory...
  6. My wife Toni and I have been together since 1984 and married since 1990. We don't have kids but we love visiting our nieces and nephews 8)
  7. I can roll my tongue up (but not down), wiggle my ears, raise one eyebrow a la Mr. Spock (only the right one)  and move my big toes separately from the rest of my toes. I can also juggle (rusty though).
  8. I play the baroque alto recorder..my first big (for me, at the time) purchase when I got a job was this. Alas, I have not been playing it much the last 10 years or so.
  9. I like all kinds of music.
  10. I like good food and wine. I mostly eat healthy: lots of vegan things but I also eat fish and meat and ...well...anything, in moderation. When I eat things that are bad for me, I make sure they are Very High Quality Bad Things.
  11. I studied Japanese for 6 years and don't get to use it anymore. ..Zanen desu, neh?
  12. I have a BS in astronomy from University of Massachusetts (in Amherst Mass, where I grew up from 7th grade on).
  13. Our current favorite TV show is The Big Bang Theory 8)
  14. I like fish-keeping..I had aquariums as a kid and now I have two Koi Ponds.  We like cats but gradually became allergic and can't keep them now. Boo. 8(
  15. I have an MSEE in Computer Engineering from Carnegie Mellon. Here's a picture of me with my Master's project partner, Bob and our baby, the "DS-1"..it seems to have been the second  digital music synthesizer in the USA at that time. The year is 1978..we were both very very young  ;)
  16. My wife loves to travel and taught me to love it too..we go all over the place whenever we can. 8) 

I hereby now tag 3 people across the Big Pond so that this virius prestigious award can spread over there too:

Denmark: Lynne at the Way to Copenhagen 

Lynne is training to run her first marathon. I found her blog when I was researching this marathon (which I'll be running in on May 22th)

South Africa: Staci at She Runs In Sandals

I think Staci found my blog when I posted about making a pair of home-made huaraches. She recently nailed her 2nd marathon in her goal time of sub 5 (4:48 ..and yes, wearing sandals)! Comrades here she comes!

Ireland: Thomas at Diary of a Rubbish Marathon Runner 

Thomas is anything but a Rubbish Runner..he's a busy family man training to run a sub-3 hour marathon and it  looks like it just might happen...his 'secret' trainer seems to be whipping him into super shape. I also learned the great word "knackered" from reading his blog 8)

    Sunday, March 06, 2011

    After the long run...a hike?

    dusty soles
    Later on Saturday after the long run, Toni and I headed over to a friend's house.

    The plan was to see their remodeling project and then go together for a short, 1 mile hike up Windy Hill. After that we were off to do  some wine tasting on the ridge nearby at Cooper-Garrod with dinner after.

    I took the opportunity to wear my Peregrine trail shoes and break them in on this little walk.. doing some walking a good idea to keep loose after a hard run.

    Well, we discovered a trail branching from our planned trail that would take us out and back to the winery with no driving! Net result: 5.5 miles of hilly hiking. Errk. A bit more hiking than we thought but I felt pretty good and it was really nice views and company.

    Afterward we had a nice dinner at The Basin in Saratoga...I was very calorie deprived after the long run and then the hike. (Only had big bowl of cereal with berries and nuts after the long run.)  So, I ate a fair amount...a huge arugula and pine nut salad plus grilled calamari appetizer and mains of vegan lasagna.  8).  

    And let's not forget the Guinness to start and two glasses of wine with the mains. Annnd the wonderful fresh baked bread....as well as splitting this dessert with Toni..yum. 

    Hunger problem solved!

    The Peregrines were comfortable during our hike...I like them so far. However the uppers are not really quite the same as the Kinvaras...they are built up more and stiffer which I don't like, especially around the heel.  The cushioning is about the same as the K's, however the toe-box seems narrower..I think it will loosen up with time and be fine. 

    The P's are light..but..all that black sticky rubber sole material plus the slightly beefed up uppers adds a bit to the weight vs the K's. For size 11 shoes the difference is  9 oz vs 11 oz per shoe. (My Inov8 Roclite 295 trail shoes are 12.5 oz by comparison.)


    No rain on Sunday which means I didn't need to mess up the planned 10/20+  Sat/Sun sandwich run , but doing the hard run and hike as happened was just fine with me.

    This week, we start the taper..i.e. reduce the distances but keep the speed up. Time to be very  careful with stretching etc...no time to recover from any boo-boos! 

    Saturday, March 05, 2011

    T-2 to LA, the last long run..

    Today the last long run before LA. Originally I intended to do a 10 today (Sat) and the long run tomorrow, but the forecast was for rain tomorrow so we decided to switch the runs around.

    I felt pretty good after a full rest day yesterday, and so decided to push at a high effort level.

    The weather was great and there were a bunch of Team in Training people out doing their 10 mile run for San Diego (some doing Halfs some fulls) I ran into older fellow and struck up 
    a conversation, being careful to do his pace which was about 11:30 (you can see that in the splits below for miles 8 and 9). He's doing the Big Sur in May..someday I'll have to try that one but it does have a mongo hill.

    After we reached his turnaround I said goodbye and poured on the coal again. This was my first 20+ run with my Kinvaras and I was curious to see how my feet would react in the late stages of the run.

    Here's my splits:

    Split  Dist    Pace     HR       Cadence
    1 1.00 10:27 111 84
    2 1.00 09:18 120 87
    3 1.00 10:00 118 84
    4 1.00 09:32 121 86
    5 1.00 08:58 125 87
    6 1.00 09:27 120 85
    7 1.00 09:39 123 86
    8 1.00 11:39 111 82 yakking 8)
    9 1.00 11:48 110 82 yakking
    10 1.00 09:31 123 86
    11 0.19 09:28 124 86  hit the lap button here by mistake?
    12 1.00 09:28 124 86
    13 1.00 09:34 124 86
    14 1.00 09:27 124 86
    15 1.00 09:26 128 87
    16 1.00 09:49 127 86
    17 1.00 09:31 130 87
    18 1.00 09:36 130 87
    19 1.00 09:25 131 87
    20 1.00 09:17 135 87
    21 1.00 09:20 135 86
    22 1.00 09:02 140 89 go time!
    23 0.50 08:58 143 89

    Total distance 21.69 m
    Pace 9:42 m/m
    HR 126
    Cadence 86

    I felt really good....it was a hard run..probably 8.5/10 effort, but you'll see there was a constant pace and I was able to kick it up a bit at the end. I felt like I could have held a constant 9:30 pace for a full 26.2 with minimal fade...what with a taper and race excitement giving a little extra boost. So I think this is around my marathon pace right now...which is good..not quite as good as July but darn good considering my lower mileage.

    I was pleased to see that the shoes gave me no problems and my form was just awesome. I had no problems holding a fast cadence even at the end of the run. The strength training and the hills are a Very Good Thing.

    Sometimes you zone-out during a run and think about all sorts of things. But not for this run..the last 10 miles of this run I was in the zone. The miles just sped by while I focused internally on running as perfectly as possible and imagining I was in the last few miles of the LA marathon.

    I drank two bottles of water and ate 3 GUs plus 8 clifbloks. I noticed I started to feel a bit hungry at the end of the run. The temps were 55 to 61F..it felt much warmer at the end as there was full sun...could have sworn it was 70F+

    I did finally get my Peregrine trail shoes....going to try them out on an easy hike to loosen up this afternoon.