Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Solid run and cat stretching?

A BIG SHOUT OUT to my friend  Arthur of Senior Runner.  About a year ago he decided to do what I did: Gain entry to the Marathon Maniacs 'two star' level by doing 8 marathons in less than one year.

While I was whale watching on Sunday (see previous post) Arthur was running the San Francisco Marathon in 5:05, the last race in his requirement of 8 in one year. (Actually I think he's going on to do his 'reserve' race too and do 9 in a year)

It is not easy to do that many marathons in one year at any pace. It's all about finessing the recovery and doing proper pacing. You can't get INJURED..else you fail to  toe the line for the next race. Too many DNS or DNFs and it's all for nothing.

It's very "educational" to do this: rather than doing the usual go-for-broke thing once or twice a year you race every 5-6 weeks. I think it makes you a much MUCH smarter runner...you learn how to stay uninjured..I learned a ton and had a blast doing it. 

Arthur is 70... and took up running after he retired at 65. He's fast: ...he was happily cranking out half marathons at 2 hours and change (1:30 equivalent for a twenty something)  when the crazy idea grabbed him to join the Maniacs.  I got a chance to meet up with him at CIM 2011.

I follow as many older runners as I can. There aren't many blogging out there, but I hope to be one at 70 and beyond and so I pay attention.

Today's Run

I had a fun,  solid run today. Not a cool run: I ran from 11am to 12:30pm in the mid 70s  and with bright bright sun. Luckily, a little breeze and of course, no humidity. Lots of sweating ;)

I ran with my friend David, the triathlon fellow I worked with before I changed jobs at the company I'm at.  He's HALF my age..always tricky to run with such a mismatch but he's very nice and lets me set the pace.

The agenda was for 7.5 miles and after we met up I asked him would he like to do 5x .5 miles at 10k pace  or 10 x 10sec hill sprints? He picked the hill sprints thinking they are over quick..heh heh. 

We did 6. I have not done full bore hill sprints in many months and it was I that begged off to 6...after all we still had a bunch of miles to run and oye I was getting creamed. David nicely  let me go faster on the first one but for the rest he was blasting and hitting my finish point 1 or 2 seconds ahead of me. He's also much leaner than I am..lugging a lot less flab, sigh.

We do the 10s sprints, then walk down and when my HR gets down to 110 we go again. After a while, I start wishing for my HR to stay higher! LOL!

So, yes, the 60s of sprinting was TOUGH, but good. I love the cadence numbers of 109, 110 etc. I find that once you can do them without any muscle tweakage (takes some getting use to) doing them really helps keep things strong and flexible too (I do them on dirt).

2012-07-31 Tue
SplitTime  Miles  Pace      HR    CadElev+Elev-   YPB

Splits 18-20 show us speeding up to do a 'fast finish' to this run. It was hot but we hammered!   Not super efficient, but not bad at all given that heat and being at the end of bunch of miles and having done the sprints.

I felt pretty strong and David and I both did a good job gradually speeding up to our 'finish'. I am happy at how my heat acclimation is going..I think I'll enjoy the Ragnar a lot more...

Do you Cat Stretch?

Since I've added extra muscle from exercising I find myself doing a lot more cat-like stretches of my legs.

In my case they happen when I'm lying in bed...I sometimes lightly wake up (do I also do it in my sleep?) and feel the need to stretch out.

I stretch out to the limit with my legs straight out and my arms overhead.

After 3-4 seconds with muscles quivering they feel good and I fall back to sleep. 

Have you found your spontaneous stretching has changed since you started doing more exercise? And isn't that a beautiful cat!? (How did she get him to do that stretch?)

Monday, July 30, 2012

Whales and weekly stats

I'm about 7 weeks out from the Ragnar Relay (and then the Berlin marathon in two more weeks). 

I've got a really good base of running, so now it's time to do more fast workouts and push up the LT threshold. (takes about that long for these changes..they are actually pretty quick to come compared to overall endurace).

Here's the week: 
DateMiles     Pace     BPM WHR%   Cad Elev+ Elev-     YPB
2012-07-24 Tue4.3 9:04 128.1 67.28 89.0 27.2 26.8 1.522
2012-07-25 Wed   6.0 8:58 131.1 69.72 88.8 16.3 17.2 1.500
2012-07-26 Thu 7.5 9:51 122.2 62.48 87.0 83.8 84.2 1.473
2012-07-28 Sat 15.7 9:31 125.4 65.12 86.8 77.2 80.6 1.479
Summary 33.5 9:26 126.0 65.55 87.5 204.5 208.8 1.487

There was some fast running in these runs....you can see the color in the weekly barchart above. 

Only 4 runs this week: the weekend shaped up with some fun whale watching down at Moss Landing on Sunday so I decided to do a single longer run on Saturday and take two rest days after.

The whale watching was a SCORE!. A bonanza of sightings. Moss landing is where the Monterey submarine canyon comes up to the beach  so it is THE place to go. Upwelling along the sides of the canyon makes for a lots of nutrients for krill, and they bring all the critters:

Orca "spy hopping"

blue whale "lunge feeding!!",
he is on his side and if you look closely you can see the throat pleats

blue whale spout! Big!

humpback sounding

Same humpback sounding (can you tell the tail pattern is the same?)

different humpback..no white in tail at all!

otter hanging out in the kelp

sea lions on a salty old boat

back of blue whale


And that Saturday long run?  I decided to do about 15 with 5@10mm, 5@9:30m/m and the final 5 at 9m/m to make the average around 9:30...I met the average but could not really hold 9mm in the last 5.

2012-07-28 Sat
SplitMiles  Pace     HR% WHR  CadElev+Elev-   YPB
A full set of upper/ lower body strength training this week as well.

No problems with anything, knock wood...still feeling pretty strong and recovering well (as long as I get enough sleep!) I ran in Kinvaras (getting back into these) for the first two runs and realized how much I missed their lightness. 

However, I've learned that for the kind of fast running I did on Thurday to use the Brooks Launches. That worked well...on my Friday rest day I am feeling pretty good and think I'll be ready for some good workouts on Sat/Sun.

I have moved back to rest days on Fri/Mon and doing sandwich runs on Sat/Sun because it interferes with work time less. I also think that if you can handle it the back to back runs are better for you. 


In other news I have transferred to a new group at work and I'm busy absorbing a lot of new stuff. It's nice to have a change after doing similar stuff for 6 years. The new area is fun time for blog reading has taken a hit 8(. I'm really sorry to be not commenting much right now, it's all I can do just to keep up reading my favorites and doing my own workouts!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Weekly stats (marathon recovery week)

The recovery went very well after the GG marathon. My quads were in pretty good shape, sore but able to go down stairs without any use of handrail, etc.

I was ready to try a light recovery run on Tuesday. I did some pretty decent short runs on Wed, Thursday as well. 

Here's the summary for the week. 18 miles is not bad for a post marathon week.

Date   Miles   Pace   BPM WHR%   Cad Elev+ Elev-    YPB
2012-07-17 Tue 2.2 10:19 115.1 56.61 0.0 7.6 9.4 1.484
2012-07-18 Wed 4.4 9:45 119.1 59.96 87.2 31.7 34.1 1.518
2012-07-19 Thu 3.0 9:24 120.4 61.02 0.0 8.4 8.4 1.556
2012-07-22 Sun 9.1 9:43 118.3 59.26 86.0 30.1 33.2 1.532
Summary 18.6 9:45 118.4 59.37 86.4 77.8 85.1 1.527

Saturday was a 'rest' day but actually spent a ton of time on my feet and doing some hiking in pretty hot sunny weather up in Benicia ..which is on the straights of SF Bay that lead up to Sacramento. 

We were taken around by our friend,  Corrine of Walking the Bay..she's walked the bay trail  completely around and is now an expert 

If you have never looked at a map of SF, you will see that the estuary goes way WAY up inland all the way there. In olden times this waterway up to Sacramento had huge traffic on it and there was a military base there in the 1850's till the 1950's.
The straights seen  from Benicia State Park,
Mt Diablo in the distance

There are two bridges over the water about 10 miles apart, both have good pedestrian paths and so I was eyeballing a 20 mile run that would go completely around the straights using both bridges...sound like fun?

Mark and Albert pausing on the trail

Sunday I had a notion to go longer..say 10+ and to do 2-3 at temp paces. I got up at 7:15 to try to beat the heat that was coming and was feeling a bit tired.  Miles 5-6 I hit the faster paces but I could not hold so I eased up and took it easy again.

2012-07-22 Sun
Split  Miles  Pace    HR   CadElev+Elev-  YPB

Here's the trailing 30 day bar chart of runs/HRs

Monday, July 16, 2012

DOMS day

Today was DOMS day "Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness" day. And it was not bad at all! I felt sore a bit in my quads, but stairs not a problem at all. No aches or soreness anywhere else, just a general feeling of tiredness and stiffness after sitting a while.

I'll even do a short uber slow recovery run tomorrow morning..that is a *first* to be back on the road so quickly.

I'm very happy to have finished 23 out of 43 on Saturday. That is a big improvement over any of my previous hilly trail races. 

James wrote up his race report and his photos are much better than mine..check them out!

Weekly and 30-day-trailing stats

A good week...happy to log over 40 miles! Legs feel pretty good today..much better than after San Lorenzo! A combination of  less steepness to the hills and perhaps the little bit of hill training I did between the two (mostly the former I suspect).

Date Miles Pace BPM WHR% Cad Elev+ Elev- YPB
2012-07-09 Mon 7.4 9:40 121.7 62.07 88.6 305.2 307.2 1.512
2012-07-10 Tue 4.4 8:53 132.2 70.63 89.0 16.6 21.4 1.502
2012-07-12 Thu 3.2 10:56 112.7 54.65 86.9 26.3 27.9 1.431
2012-07-14 Sat 26.2 12:57 128.9 67.97 0.0 4613.2 4599.2 1.126
Summary 41.2 11:46 126.9 66.35 88.3 4961.3 4955.6 1.259

Two marathons on this chart:

 A new record for elevation gain in a month! I will run hills better!

 Good miles for the last 30 days, considering!


Saturday, July 14, 2012

RUNDown: 2012 Golden Gate Trail Marathon (#15)

I got up at 6am and drove up to SF..on the way picked up a guy carpooling from there to the race site at Rodeo Beach / Fort Cronkhite. It was foggy as expected so the temps were cool, which is good. 

The parking situation was a bit of a mess when we got there, as I knew it would be when the final email pre-race let us know there would be 500 runners there !  Normally we'd have been able to park up close ('cause we had two runners in the car)  but that lot was already full so I dropped off my friend and drove back .75 of a mile and then walked to the start. My start was at 8:15am so I had enough time...barely.  I debated taking my jacket, decided to take it and wrap it up around my waist...just in case.

I got to the registration desk, got my bib, shirt and a hat (I liked my other CTR hat so much I decided to get a lime green one too 8).  Quandry: what to do with the loot? Walk 1.5 miles to put in the car? Um. No.

They had sharpie markers and plastic bags, so I just bagged the stuff, labeled it with my name and number and tied it to a BBQ in the race central area. You could also put it with the drop bags. This worked out fine.

james of runnersbug
I got to the start with a couple of minutes to spare and started looking around for James, a blogger I follow over at RunnersBug

Eventually he found me first and we said hello ...James is probably the 4th blogger I've met face-to-face. He and his family had been vacationing for a while in CA from MD and was doing this marathon just before flying back home the night after the race. 

He told me he'd had some achilles issues and I could see he had wrapped it.... his plan was to have no plan....just see how it went. I knew CTR keeps their courses open for  hikers too so James would have no problem with cutoff times etc but I was worried he might have to drop after the half if that foot bugged him....this was NOT an easy race and James had not done any trail marathons before. I will find out how it went and post an update here. 

(UPDATE: the foot was not a problem and James finished in 6:44:59! Way to go on a first hilly trail marathon!)

We only had about two minutes and then it was 3...2..1. go!  Ok so right off the bat you are climbing, climbing, climbing. Unlike San Lorenzo, it's not mega steep, some halfers were even running it. But I was of course power-walking. There was a bit of congestion but not too bad really. 

Let me remind you of the profile for this race.  (When doing trail running ITS ALL ABOUT THE ELEVATION PROFILE (and the DIFFICULTY of the FOOTING)), here is the half marathon profile, I show you that because the marathon is two loops of this:

The terrain of this course can be summarized thusly: This first hill climbs about 800' in 1.5 miles, then you gradually drop your way down 600', then back up 600', then you have some fairly wonderful single track that dithers up and down and then does mostly down to the finish. 

There is 500' more climbing that San Lorenzo, but it all comes in the first half of the loop. This means on the second loop you are done with the mega climbing when hit the wall after mile 20.  This is good.

< We now interrupt this RR so I can get some food. I decided I was RAVENOUS and went and had a burger, fries and two Lagunitas IPA drafts (that's for you, Jamoosh). This was at the counter...which i very much recommend.>

So, up the 600' climb we went:

Still foggy out there so not problems with the heat. The biggest problem I had is when we got into the cloudbase my glasses got tons of misting on them and I kept having to wipe them with my fingers. When you are running on rough terrain you NEED binocular vision so you can see WTF is going on. Eventually at the aid station I got a paper towel and cleaned them off.

Down to the second aid station and then up the second climb. The second big climb was a fire road that had probably the same slope as the average of the first slope, but this was graded for trucks so it was dead-nuts-the-same.  I power walked it for quite a while (as did most, only a few really strong runners were not walking. (splits 5,6,7)

Eric Monroe on the misty trail..
Eventually we crested this climb and then did some trails up high until we ran into this misty  Eucalyptus forest it was very cool, Avatar-like. Thats a picture of Eric Monroe on the trail...

I was cruising on this part.  You can see in the splits that 8,9,10,11,12,13 (see below if you want) were faster..with some 9:xx paces even on the downhill stretches. It was not too steep (mostly) and so you could truck along at a good pace.

A nice guy that was passing me when I was taking a pic asked if he could take a pic of me:

I hit the half marathon in 2:37 or so, yes I know you are saying  "WHAT?...you are shooting for sub 6 with even paces and you did WHAT?". What can I say? The course was easier than San Lorenzo. ..I walked every single uphill and did not blast the downhills and that's where I ended up. 8/

So, loop 2. This is the time I LOVE in these trail races. The halfers are long gone, it's just you and the die-hards. Often, you are on the trail and there is NOBODY in sight, ahead or behind.
There's just the single track, the wind blowing the foggy mist up the hills and over you, and the occasional revealed vistas...magical.

Climbing the first big hill, I was a fair amount slower, instead of 17:00 and 14:00 m/m I did 19:30 and 15:20... I need more muscle and less flab, i.e. a higher power to weight ratio to do better on long climbs.

At the Eucalyptus grove the fog had lifted some and so the photo is a bit different:

The red shirt on the person in this photo was a Marathon Maniac shirt, I pulled even and struck up a conversation. Eventually the very slight accent ran a bell and a looked at her face. I had met her in the hotel shuttle to the Airport at the Eugene marathon. She's a 50 stater and this I guess was her CA marathon.

She took a photo of me with my camera a bit later. It was still foggy but the ceiling was a big higher so we got some better views.

The last 5 miles went pretty fast. Not a huge slog since it's a big net downhill. Perversely you almost wish for uphill after a while to get a change of pace on the muscle use. During this stretch I noticed my right hip (the funky one) was feeling a bit sore and tight and so I worked at changing my stride, foot angle, etc to make it feel better...seemed to work ok and now after the fact it feels ok. 

The last two splits (25,26) are all downhill or flat and on a road for part of the time. I had been eyeing my pace way back at mile 16-20 and knew I would probably hit a 5:45 or so, but I had really made an effort to keep up the pace on the downs as best I could.  I pushed hard.. I had not been keeping track of other folks in my age group in the marathon, but I knew they were out there ;)

As I came around the sign for the finish I sprinted the last 100 yds and punched my watch.

5:39:25!  Mission accomplished....well under 6 hours. 

Funny how I can feel so proud of an effort that is 1:45 slower than my road marathon PR.  Comparing road marathons and trail marathons is like comparing the Indy 500 with the Baja 1000 car races.

 My half split doubled is 5:14, so I'm 25 minutes slower in the second half...sigh. Ah well....balancing out a trail marathon is one hell of a lot harder than a road marathon.

As I mentioned before, there were 5 of us in the 50-59 age group and I came in third.  So more bling 8).  

Overall place 23 / 43.

Full photos here.

Here's the splits, more data anon. My cadence sensor seems to need a new battery so no data there, oh well:

2012-07-14 Sat, Golden Gate Trail Marathon
SplitMiles  Pace    HR% WHRCadElev+Elev-YPB