Monday, December 21, 2015

RunDown: Quarry Lakes Marathon 2015 (#26)

This was my 26th marathon (since March 2009 at age 53) and also my first marathon in the 60-69 age group

(Warning: probably moving to shortly..I will link to it from this blog)

I haven't been posting much, lots of work and travel stuff going on and well, not much to say about running these days.

My mileage for this year has been low for me, but I'm intending to return to normal levels in 2016. 
Ready for the start

I have run a lot of 'easy' marathons (ie. slow) since Oct 2014 (Chicago). I have found that with not much training I can clock a 4:45...

I signed up for Quarry Lakes because the timing worked out well w.r.t holiday travel coming up...and it is dead flat. It's also close to home and cheap. A nasty cold that seemed to hit everybody at work and home took out a few weeks of training and my training was already spotty.

This is not a super scenic course but it's pleasant and has great bike paths and crushed gravel surfaces that are easy on the legs. It runs along a river for most of the way but the river is not very full of water these days so there's mostly brush and grasses on the banks.

Like most full trail marathons it's two loops of the half marathon course.

The good thing about this course is that you get to see people a bit more than a one-way non-out-and-back course. It also doesn't have a lot of corners so the tangents run themselves 8)  (I ran exactly 26.2 on the garmin, which is pretty rare.)

The forecast was for cloudy and chance of rain during the second loop, but luckily the rain held off.

I started the race targeting a 10:30 pace, hoping to do a bit under 4:45 but thinking that might be a big mistake.  At about mile 7 I meet up with a very nice fellow Andrew Poon and what with talking with him we slowed down a bit. I didn't mind this as I've learned the the first half of a marathon should just be run what feels like crazy slow when undertrained. 

We had a very nice chat about running...he had also discovered running later in life and I found out he was a 6 grade teacher in the local area for 25 about tough!

Andrew ran the half, and so after that I dropped the hammer a teeny bit and sped up to 10:00 pace..which was a big mistake as when I got to mile 22 the course turned from downwind to upwind and BAM...ouch..made a huge difference. I had my jacket spun up and tied around my waste for most of the race but when I hit that wind and slowed down my solar plexus started feeling really cold after a bit and the jacket was nice to have.

Ended up walk-running to the finish so I would have been better served holding to the same paces as the first half..probably would have saved 4 min or so. But pretty good considering. 

First RED finishing shirt I have gotten. Nice!

Finished! (2nd place medal too.)

4:41:47 finishing time

27 / 54 overall

2 / 3 in 60-69 age group

2015-12-20 Sun
  Split    Miles     Pace

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Rundown: 2015 Big Basin Marathon (#25)

Full set of pictures here

I ran this race back in 2011, a version run by Pacific Coast Trail Runs, rather than Coastal Trail Runs. I ran the 50k that time and finished in a grueling 7:50 being under trained for all the up and down.

Both races are the same, and run from Skyline Drive down through redwoods and chaparral through Big Basin state park to Waddell (pronounced "Wa-Dell" ) beach on the Pacific.

I was not much better trained this time, but I had done some mid-day running to acclimate to the hotter weather than normal we've been having and that stood me well I think..

Race day temps in Big Basin state park called for 80F....not great. 

As you can see from the map below, it is a point to point race, which I love. Basically you start at Skyline and say "Let's go to the Beach!" ..except there is 26.2 miles of rugged but beautiful terrain between you and the ocean ;)

Unless you have rides lined up it takes a while to start the race: I got up at 5pm and drove to the parking lot on the water by 6:30. Busses load up at 6:45 and it takes a full 85 minutes to go around all the mountains and come up from santa cruz to the start.

Some folks are being dropped off and all the registration, etc happens at the start and so you don't start until 9am, which is pretty late, especially if it's going to be a hot day. 

the RD (Wendall) told us that last year at 9am it was over 80F (!) Yow. 

The elevation profile below shows what it's like ..people that don't run trail marathons look at all the downhill and assume it must be easy.  But alas, mostly the hills are not runnable ..there are technical sections with steepness, steps, rocks, tree routes, etc that keep you from really being able to harvest the downhill energy.

Instead, you just blow out your quads..

At the start I met these two guys, Steve and Matt and had a nice time chatting with them. They were running the 50k and made it fine...but I'm sure it was HARD.

This sign shows the way: we run Skyline to the Sea trail all the way....

Me at the start. For a change the R.D. called for all fast people to move to the front..there is a lot of single track in the race, especially at the start. There was a big crowd and many 50k-ers.

I did the first mile in 20 minutes because of crowdiing..but that's ok. It's a long day, and the initial downhill makes people go out too fast. (or at least me if I'm not careful)

Up we climb through the redwoods. It was not as cool as it should be at this hour.
I was walking all the uphills, determined to not burn myself out before the last 5 miles which I knew from last time would be a real slog .

I was not doing the 50k this time, but I also wasn't that well trained...only doing 30 miles a week or so lately and no runs over 12 miles. So easy does it.

The gazos aid station where people that are doing the 50k branch off and then end up back here after 5 miles of up/down hell.

This is Sam, he caught up to me after doing the 50k loop (Fast!) but then stayed with me for a while and we had a nice chat in the redwoods. Eventually he felt better and took off ahead.

Crossing the stream. Not much water in the river compared to 2011.

During the last few miles i saw an older guy in front of me that was really dusty. He also had no water belt or backpack or handheld...and it was a bit warm by now...75+ in the shade.

I asked him if he had fallen and yes he had. He also had no water...this was his first marathon and apparently he didn't know that there would not be aid stations every couple of miles. (!). Sigh. Some foilks don't read up.

Anyway I gave him the rest of my  water as we were only about a mile from the aid station that was 1.8 miles from the finish.

I also ran into Sam again, he was having some foot problems (blistering?) that he said were due to his socks being too thick.

I really like my silk sock liners...uber thin and no abrasion. I had also covered my feet with vaseline and that worked well.

I was not able to run all the time, but I felt pretty darn good...much stronger than the 50k last time.

Finally we climb the last set of hills and emerge with a view of the Pacific! Whoo hoo!
Down we go and finish in a meadow about 1/2 mile from Waddell Beach.

Love the medal and shirt with the Big Basin logo!

Finished Marathon 56 out of 68

Marathon #25 done!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Big Basin photos for Matt, Steve, Sam, etc

Hey there!

[Note: sorry fixed permissions..should be good now]

To all the folks I took photos of at the Big Basin 2015 marathon today, here's a link to take a look, feel free to download anything and/or share the link to this posting.

my race report will be up in a day or two...

a great day!..(if a touch hot...)


Friday, July 24, 2015

Running in Vancouver, next marathon

I'm still here....visiting some cousins of my wife in Vancouver, Ca.. There is a wonderful path along the waterfront which I ran several times in the morning.

For 3 months of the year (they tell me) it's a blue sky dream. The rest of the year it's overcast and there is rain....although they are currently in a drought just like us Ca folks.

We took a drive up to Squamish and hiked up the Sea to Sky trail.. "only" 7.5 km but 900 meters+ of climbing. Steep alternating with easy bits. Lots of beautiful views. We took a gondola down to save our knees...

Sea to Sky was good prep for next week when I'll run the Big Basin marathon, also known as Sky to Sea! (ok well really Skyline-to-the-Sea). I have run this before in 2011 but this time I'm only doing the marathon, NOT the 50k.

It's a 100 year old trail that goes from the top of the hills along the Skyline drive down to the sea. There is about 2500' of up and 5000' of down...

In 2011 the 50k took me 7h 50m. Right now, I'm not particularly well trained...running about 30 miles a week and no runs longer than 12 miles, but I have been doing more hills. It will be tough but I think not a problem..I will not push too hard and will enjoy the day. Probably finish in 6:30 or so.

Love the point-to-point races!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Running in Bozeman

Toni and I took a trip to visit old friends that live in Bozeman Mt.  I took a run from their house each morning and here's some images of what I two favorites.

The first shows a rainbow. It was not raining but there was a very very fine drizzle of a few tiny drops per second.

The rolled hay bales were all done. You can see a few.

Running at 4-5k feet was tough but the scenery was spectacular. Truely the "Big Sky" state.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

RUNDOWN: 2015 Barcelona Marathon (#24)

Well, here we are in Barcelona in mid March. You may ask what am I doing here after running 3 marathons since October, and then not running AT ALL for 30 days (traveling in India) and then getting a cold for one week after the flight home.

(You may NOT ask why I'm writing this up in May, however ;) 

I was left with about 5-6 weeks of running before this race. I was concerned so I decided to really go out SLOWLY and target a 5:00 pace and see how that went. I had a hard time believing I could do the same times I'd done in my three previous marathons (~ 4:47) as I was even less trained now. 

I have my running friend Lynne to thank for bringing me to this race. She loves this city and had run the race before and convinced Toni and I to sign up quite a bit in advance. She recommended a hotel that she had stayed at before and it was fantastic. We also got a lot of advice on places to visit.

(Sly Advert: Check out Lynne's E-book on Amazon , the top 25 things to  see and do in Barcelona. It's only $3 and will save you way more than that by knowing the free entrance times for all the places you should visit)

Another added bonus to the trip was that my cousin Ross and his wife Beverly had been working/living in Munich and decided to come visit while we were there!... Who doesn't want to visit Barcelona? 

Here we are visiting one of Gaudi's amazing houses. 

We flew over 3 days in advance and took some melatonin to get 'synced up' and wow, we both got over the jet lag pretty quickly. This is a good time of year to visit Barcelona: no tourists and the weather not too bad...some clouds and rain can happen though. In fact the day before the marathon there was rain and sleet ..BRR. But luckily race day dawned crystal clear blue skies and perfect cold temps (but not too cold).

One problem with Barcelona is carb-loading. they really don't eat carbs much there. It's mostly protein...the seafood is awesome so I guess we just had to make-do with that 8)

Race start is in the Catalunya square, a major nexus point in the city (and a great metro, as is true of many European cities). "Zurich" bank was a sponsor, hence the balloon. Very confusing to have running shirts that have the word "Zurich" bigger than Barcelona. They should back off on the endless logo-plastering a bit.

Walking to the start corrals...the expo is in the building right next to the start corrals and they opened it up for waiting inside ...all nice and warm! I even found a chair and just sat down and watched the crowds milling around.

Ok, ladies ..please look the other way. These little contraptions were perfect for us guys to use in the last minutes before the start.

I met these two folks at the back end of the last Corral with me..they were from PA I think (Philly?) and there names were Dan and Jan(?). I didn't see them after the start, I hope someday the find my blog and say hello. Probably wondering why it too me so long to post and gave up 8( 

The amazing Sagrada Familia....a Gaudi designed Cathedral that has been under construction for more than a century (!). Should be done in about 20 more years they say. If you every visit BCH you must sign up for the tour (best to get tickets online)! I'm not a huge Cathedral fan but this is one to see.

Lucki ly on race day the sun was out so I had to take a shot 

Many many drumming bands on the course. They always gave me a lift.

The only "boring" part of the course...there's a highway left of that sound barrier thing and a lot of packed in low-income apartment buildings on the right.

During the race people kept shouting what I thought was "Ringa Ringa Ringa.."..but it was really Vinga Vinga Vinga..and that turned out to be Catalan for "Go Go Go!"

Beverly got this shot of me just before they shouted out my name. This is about about mile 18 and I've just figured out that I actually free pretty darn good.

Mugging for the camera..can't be too bad off eh? Maybe it's ok to go a little faster now...

Lots of really interesting architecture to look at..feeling great!

Beautiful crisp blue skies and puffy clouds..and best of all the temps were still cool!(below 60F), below:  Barcelona's Arc de Triomf. Still feeling really good and passing a lot of people now.

One of Beverly's shots..this shows the finish line area (back at the start)

Another one of Beverly's pics...what a great day!

The results,..remember I started by targeting 5:00, i.e. 2:30 half splits...really didn't want a death march in the last 6 miles!

Finished the first half in 2:28 (2 minutes under), second half in 2:18 (12 minutes under)
4:46:51 chip time

Paul Rodman - USA

    • Bib: # 14560
    • City: Palo Alto
    • Club:
    • Category: M55
    • Personal video  
    • Time: 04:46:51
    • First half: 02:28:05
    • Second half: 02:18:46
    • Rhythm: 00:06:48
    • Speed: 8.82 Km/H
    • Final position: 14091
    • Position in category: 736
Acumulated time

My watch data:

2015-03-15 Sun
Split   Miles   Pace     

I was very happy to run another 4:46! It seems that even with minimal training
I can handle that pace anytime.

Post race dinner (CC from upper left): Lynne, Danny, Me, Ross, Bev, Toni

Cava and Medals, what's not to like?

What next? That is the question...