Sunday, August 21, 2016

Training coming along well this summer

A week in DC in July was a scorcher


Summary

Things are progressing well, and mostly I feel on track for a decent NYC marathon and a sub-3:00 marathon in 2017. NYC is 10 weeks out, and while I'm not at the mileage level of 10 weeks prior to Grandmas, I'm running faster on average. My hamstring injury is essentially completely gone.  I'm injury free today - still have daily aches and pains, but nothing that's impacting training.

Training since July 15

  • July 16 - Pride 5K Hillcrest - it was hot and I was not quite back into training a month after Grandmas.  20 min flat, 6:31/mile.  no bueno.  Flat course. expected more. 6:18/6:44/6:28 were the splits..but HR was up to 169 at the finish so I was at 100% effort
  • did some traveling on July 18th (san jose) - two days off
  • I began four weeks of track work - all at or below the 90 second pace per lap.  600s at 2:14, then a week later 800s on a treadmill (in DC) @ 3:00.  then a week later 5 x 1K in 3:48 and finally on August 9th 15 x 400 in 88. 
  • a week in a VERY HOT DC (100 degree hot) I maintained a sub-8 min average and ran about 50 miles by running daily that week staying with Nate. 
  • The first week in August was sort of "heat recovery" in Del mar that ended with the Balboa Park 8 miles in 7:03/mile.  AG4. One big (Zig Zag) hill. 
  • Began running my daily runs - and long runs - all under 8 min consistently. 
  • Yesterday was the Wild Duck 5K (19:55, AG4...again) 6:29/mile.  About the same as a month ago, but, this was a XC race with a few hills. I never feel like I'm completely warmed up for these so I'm going to warm up more in the future. 
  • today did a 14 mile run @ 7:55  in the heat at 10 am up to Encinitas and back from 4th street. I was sore when I got up and did not feel like runing.  But after warming up I settled into a 7:45 or so pace and - with that slow last mile up the hill - came in at 7:55. 
Here's the race and today:




At the beginning of this training cycle I looked at using the HansonBrooks method.  That is lower mileage and more speed.  I then switched to doing the Jack Daniels "smart" training. The biggest difference is the switch from weekly track/speed workouts to progressively faster tempo runs.  Both of these plans seems to max out at 60 - 65 miles/week which is fine with me. The Pfitzinger and other plans seemed to require more like 80 miles/week.   Maybe during Boston training over the winter I'll be doing that. 


Friday, July 15, 2016

Finally back to regular training a month after Grandmas

One month since Grandmas....four months until NYC Marathon


Training since Grandma's


Overall - Better than post-CIM - less overall muscle soreness, but my right hamstring remains a problem.  Basically been running, spinning, biking and some EFX.  Here's the complete list:

Running Log for weeks after Grandmas (click image for zoomed version)

The [H] on every entry signifies the hamstring injury. It is sore in the mid section of the muscle and only hurts during runs.  The longer/faster the run the more it hurts.  I've been working on it by doing the following:
  • Daily Ice 
  • weekly deep tissue massage 
  • daily TP therapy (roller) on the affected area
  • every-other-day strength exercises on hamstring with swiss ball
  • every-other-day gym machine heavy lifting with the hamstring
  • TP tape (started today)

But today, during my run, still hurt.  Like a toothache. Just hurts.  I've put some KT Tape on it and that seems to feel better - but maybe i'm just delusional about it.  It hurt during the little four mile run this morning.

Other than the hamstring there've been some very solid runs that are encouraging.  One was supposed to be a slow 10 miler on July 3rd - the first one since Grandmas - and I just felt good so I ran comfortably.  It was 7:45/mile and negative splits:

Then,  two days later, I ran 8 miles faster than ever - 7:30/mile right at 1 hour total for the 8 mile loop Again, started moderate and ran comfortably after that



I felt confident enough to run 8 x 400 m this week.  It felt ok, aside from the hamstring.  Did the 800s mostly around 88 seconds as an average, with one at 84.  It was not hard to do, and a very hot day at the track.




Sunday, June 19, 2016

Grandma's Marathon 2016

Grandma's Marathon 2016
"one and done"



View from the Radisson Hotel


Summary: 

Hot and humid, or as one other strava runner called it "HOT AF. SLOW AF", or another put it "Hot. AS. Balls".  Both of those people had faster times than I had, and like me had nearly the same split profile. 

Here's mine:


Pace/mile vs. mileage/distance 

If you  click on the image above it's easier to see the horror that was the last 7 miles, and for me in particular, the last couple miles.  That was the first time I actually understood those people that run a decent race but somehow end up crawling across the finish line. I now understand that's the "heat effect" in marathons. The guy who was second in my AG (Michael Beeson from Clemson SC) was coincidentally, also 2nd last year...with a small difference: last year he ran a 2:53, this year he ran 3:07; 14 min slower. The horror..the horror. Not just really slow, but painfully slow.


The first half was not all that bad and I came through in 1:34 and was feeling that - if it cooled down - I could maybe hit 3:10, but 3:15 at the worst.  It was all I could do to finish in 3:17 which was 5th in my AG - last year 5th place took a 3:04, the year prior 3:03, etc. 










Thursday June 16th, 2016

Took the 10 am out of SD on Delta.  Vic, Andy and Tony were also on my flight.  We got together again after the race to compare notes and enjoy the splendor of Grandma's weekend in fabulous Duluth MN.  A town that has banned Uber, but, has many great micro breweries to visit. Go figure. Turns out you need the secret number of a  guy named "Murph" to get a good taxi ride. 

After flying out from San Diego to Minneapolis and having a nice dinner with Tad Simons in St. Paul at Ristorante Luci (I had pasta and melon soup) I said my goodbyes, but not before Tad gave me a short driving tour including famous Summit Ave near his home.

The sun was setting around 7:30 (but not completely set until like 9:30 as its nearly the solstice) and we drove back to his place down Summit street that included F. Scott Fitzgerald's home. Very cool.  I pulled in to the Radisson around 10 pm and, after a long time, found the last space to park. Nothing was open so I had a bag of chips and some water and cookies and went to sleep.

Friday June 17th, 2016

Woke up at 6:30 and  went back to sleep until 8:30.  Those eye shades are a must when traveling. After stretching I went for a 2.7 mile run around Duluth, and passed the expo/registration area. 



Basically felt good during the run BUT the right hamstring is still quite sore.  I debated taking ibuprofen as NSAIDs are not recommended during marathons, but the pain is more bugging me mentally.  After my jog went by SBUCKS and had a venti green tea soy latte and some banana bread and headed over to to the expo


Duluth Curling and Skating Club in the Expo

For a 10,000 person weekend event the expo was not all that crowded, and was not the pandemonium the Boston or larger event expos are.  These was a single senior volunteer for fully half of the marathon bib pickup area, and still  only took a few minutes.  This race has it's own history that the promoters are rightly proud of. 
The race was famous since about 1982 (it was first run in 1977 with a bit over 100 runners in the inaugural race).  Over the yeas it has grown in popularity and this year - 40th year - is special.  There are posters throughout the expo of runners who had great performances.  The photo here is an example of race history: Kara Goucher setting the women's half marathon record of 1:09. 

Race outfit - ready 


Normally I don't like walking around too much at race expos  as they don't seem to do anything good for the race the next day.  I did want to pick up some shot blocks and a couple of gu shots for the next day, which I did.  I swung by Starbucks on the way back and picked up a couple of 140 calorie lemon/strawberry smoothie drinks for race day and went back to lie down and do nothing for a couple hours at the hotel.  The train is leaving at 4:30 am so i'm heading down at 4:00 am to catch the train. Will try to sleep at 8:00 pm until 3:30 am. Basically spent the day reading and doing nothing in my room. 

 I bring my own carbs


Ever since I had a VERY bad case of food poisoning during the Boston Marathon in 2013 from a turkey sandwich I purchased from the dreaded SUBWAY on Tremont street I've brought my own rice packages to races. In the case of the food poisoning, it was Horrible. Vomiting half the race, in bed during the shut down of Boston - I'll spare you the details - but there was a lot of green slime being released from my body...both ends...for nearly 24  hours.

Total food Friday:
  • Venti soy green tea latte - 320 Cal, 45 G carb, 16 g protein
  • organic strawberry lemonade - 110 cal, 27 g carb
  • protein bar -  290 cal, 33 g carb, 19 g protein
  • 2 x Brown/wild rice  w/Quinoa package - 540 cal, 110 g carb, 12 g protein
  • banana bread - 420 cal, 52 g carb, 6 g protein
  • 2 x oatmeal raisin cookie - 580 Cal, 80 g carb, 10 g protein
total - 2,260 calories: 347 g carb, 89 g protein

Saturday June 18, 2016 - Race Day

I woke up at 3:50 am, dressed, had some coffee and walked over to the wait for the train. As the sun was coming up around 4:30 am, it was nice - and very warm - in line.  I could have been wearing my tank top and been totally comfortable - many in line were doing just that. At 4:30 am. When it should have been at least a bit crsip outside. At that point I knew that it was going to be a hard day. I was told to be there by 4:15 am at the latest to ensure a spot on the train, but I think you could have arrived at 4:45 and been fine. 


Already a big line for the train at 4:45 am

While many took the buses over, I wanted to take the train up to the starting line. The train depot here in Duluth is famous, and they have their town partially centered around the historic train station. It was actually slightly confusing. As you can see this is not the proper loading spot for the train, but the station on the other side of the bridge (the depot) is.  They literally had cartons and temporary steps up from the street to board the train, which was near the check in area for the race parking lot.

We boarded around 5:20 and the train left about 5:45.  The train ride took about an hour and 10 min and we arrived at 6:55 near the starting area...and the familiar field of porta-potties. 

Starting area as seen from the train at 6:50

It was hot. We got off the train and began the search for the short porta potty line (usually near the back, if you look).  




After that was out of the way I put my phone back in my gear bag and found a place near the 3:15 pace group guy. 

The Race Itself

I've been doing many runs with headphones and decided to take mine for this race. Something about the last Boston when people were cheering and encouraging me - did not help. I don't know why. Maybe I knew it would be a rough day (which it turned out to be) or not I decided that the 20 miles of very few spectators would be better served by zoning out and focusing on running. 

The first 10K was mostly flat, with some gentle rolling. It felt too warm right from the start, as we had a 2 mph tailwind and was 72 degrees.  But before describing the rest of the race, let's take a moment to review what "heat" is and why the reported temperature is misleading.

Sidebar: the Heat Effect

Look at this photo with the guy in the red jacket and the thermometer on the wall -IN THE SUN. That man is standing in National Science Foundation's Summit research camp on Greenland's Ice Sheet, about 10,000 feet above sea level. You can see that he's in the shade and that the thermometer is reading over 80 Degrees F.  The actual reported air temp that day was around 20 degrees F. Why the disparity? the radiation of the sun  (i.e. direct sunlight) makes it feel much warmer and has a much stronger effect on your body - which of course is why people (and animals) seek shade on hot day: it's much cooler.   On the day of the marathon this year the "temperature as measured in the shade" was 72 - 82 degrees. but it FELT like 85 - 95 degrees in the direct sun. It was oppressive.



   
While I was running the race I noticed that most of the runners stayed as close as possible to the left side of the road where there was, sometimes,  bit of shade.  As the miles went by during the first 10K I noticed that it was downright uplifting when those brief/cool spells of shade and some cooler air from Lake Superior drifted up to the road.  It was like I was living through a video game where my character's life energy was draining very fast in the sunlight, but would actually refresh and go the other way in the shade. I actually picked it up a bit and felt great in the shade...but that was short lived and the heat came back again and the fast-drain of my batteries began again. My mile 17 it seemed like all-sun-all-the-time and even hotter.  If you want to learn more click here for the original article. 

First 10K - I came through at 44:06 and felt good.  7:06/mile.  I had taken some ibuprofen the night prior and had been pain free until about this point and then my right hamstring became, once again, sore, but not too bad. 

Half Marathon - I was 1:34:50 for the first half marathon. Still thought - if it suddenly got cooler - I could still pull off a 3:10 as I felt that good. Not really tired, HR at 141, just cruising along. but not really.  Something inside me knew that pain was just down the road - but - like any delusional runner in a marathon who has trained for months and sacrificed for this day, I wanted to believe that it would cool down. Many of us saw some cool clouds and low fog off in the distance, but like a mirage, the closer we got, the more it seemed further away.
Near the 11 mile point 
Across the street from the New Scenic Cafe


20 miles: Still sort of holding it together, but feeling heavy/dead legs from about mile 15.  It was not light and quick anymore, it was an effort to keep the pace under 7:25. I was looking at my garmin 620 all the time. Every time it felt good I'd look down and see "7:45" or higher, and try as I did to push it back to 7:15, it was a real chore. My HR drifted up from 141 at the half to 153 at the 20 mile mark. 



Miles 20-25:  Then, at last, the wheels started to come off. I realized I could not hold the pace, and even stopped looking at my watch and just tried to hold on one mile at a time. It was hard for all of us.  I passed 50 people in this stretch and was only passed up by 21 people,  most people were all going through the same ordeal and struggling to keep it going. It kept getting worse and worse, and holding 8:15-8:30 was all that was possible. 

The Iconic Aerial Lift Bridge near the finish line
(Bridge was completed in 1905)



Last mile: this was the first time I thought I would walk in an event for real. Ever.  Even doing Ironman I did not walk except at aid stations. Every time I thought about it I'd pass somebody else walking (mind you - these are all 3:15 marathoners) I'd think - "well, you can still run Mark - don't stop".  I passed 3 people during the last mile, but was passed by 25 people. Shuffled in at 3:17:39 and instantly felt better.  







After party

Finally hooked up with Vic Ferriera, Andy Wolff, Steve Lathrop and Anders Burvall.  We had some beers in the finishers while listening to a great soul band with a great lead singer, who was clearly not a marathoner, but was feeling the heat just the same.  








Thursday, May 26, 2016

23 more days until Grandmas - Still struggles

Harbor view after a 3 mile run

Today's Status: 22 Days until Grandma's marathon.  Today I weighed the least (159.8) that I've ever seen on a scale since...I cannot remember.  Not since the 1980s.   I also just booked my transportation for NYC Marathon in November.   Feeling so-so in my training and really beginning to wonder if I can drop my average speed down to 6:30/mile by this time next year.  This may be wishful/magical/delusional thinking but I'm currently thinking that I need to push my V02Max up in the next cycle to be able to do that.

Currently (as I'll describe below) when I'm running at tempo/threshold speeds my HR says "threshold" but my speed says "tempo".   That is, I'm running too fast, or, the wind is blowing too hard, or something else is mysteriously slows me down for the same level of effort I put out to run faster on those early/windless race mornings.  Have to try am tempo. 

Injury Report: I've been nursing a hamstring injury in my right leg for months.  It began during some 200 repeats at the track (chasing Braden!) but then went away after stretching and mild core work.  However, I neglected to continue the core work and the same condition came back a few weeks ago prior to the half marathon.  Today I did some leg curls at the PAC and some other core work with the swiss ball.  See if that regiment helps.

I also had a recent bout of A-flutter while running.  You can see it here (click for bigger):

I was running north on a beauty of a day and just as I was running up the small hill across from the Brigantine my HR jumps as you can see a the 2 mile point in the image above. That stayed until about 5 pm that day (the run as around 2 pm).

    Recent Training Summary: I'm neither happy nor unhappy with my current training. I've come to realize that I set goals that may not be age appropriate. By that I mean that while I continue to see improvement month-after-month now that i'm finally running on a regular schedule it's not at the pace that I thought I could achieve. I thought I could to the SD Half at 1:32 and I did 1:34.  Thought I could do the OC half in 1:30 and did 1:32. Thought I could magically do my threshold runs at 6:45/mile and that's been impossible.

    Progress is progress and probably more of a "glass half full" viewpoint would be more appropriate.  If I had to do over I'd have put more early miles in and more speed earlier to get with the program in November and not February. Even for a June marathon.

    Here's yesterday's tempo - a set of shots (again - click to see more)


    If you can see from above, we did 4 miles at around 8:10/mile, then were SUPPOSED to do 7:30/7:10/6:50/6:30/6:50/7:10/7:30 (which is what Jessica did), but, I did 7:17/7:00/6:52/7:07/7:24/7:22/7:17. It was really hard too.

     HR distribution 
    Strava thinks I did 42 Min of Threshold, 15 min Tempo



    Pace distribution
    Strava thinks I did 5 min of Threshold and 35 min of Tempo

    So my HR is going Threshold and my feet are doing Tempo.  Hmmm....


    Saturday, May 07, 2016

    Recovery Week


    Week after OC - mostly recovery Weekly Check in: Felt very sore on Monday after the race. My right hamstring was (and is on Saturday) still sore, but it's mild. Seemed to creep up to my right glut during the run today.  This was despite the fact that I was able to do quite a bit of swiss ball hamstring exercises this week and other leg stretching - but still not enough

    Weekly weight/sleep: I've been sleeping on average 5.5 hours/night this week.  Had a good long nap yesterday and today as I was really exhausted.  Have not felt all that great this week either from a workout standpoint.  The weather was not great and I spent some time in gym 
    • Weight:  Still right at 162-164 most of the week. 
    Today's Run: Did the 18.5 mile run below. We did basically two loops of the 8 mile mission bay classic, but added some miles through Morena Blvd. on the first loop. I ran strong the first loop, but began to lose it right at the end.  The second loop was a struggle and I had to let Jessica go so she could stick with the plan and do marathon pacing for the last 4-5 miles.  My right hamstring was sore the entire time. other than that, ok.

    Conditions:   cool - it was supposed to rain hard but we managed to avoid that. The Ojai (Mtn to beach) crew did 22.4 miles today and that was terrific.

    How it felt: Harder than expected.  Still not recovered yet 





    Monday, May 02, 2016

    OC Half Marathon Race Report

    OC Half Marathon 
    May 1, 2016
    Race Report


    After a couple bad years with injuries and performances that left us wanting for more..a group of us have been doing some races together as we all have June marathons.  For Vic, Jessica, Andy and some others it's Grandma's marathon in MN.  For Leonard it's the Tunnel Marathon in WA a week earlier. We are about 8 weeks behind the SDTC Boston Group (that had their race a few weeks back) and closely aligned with the SDTC RockN'Roll group which is also in June. 

    Leonard, Jessica and I have been doing some long runs and tempo runs together - only a few so far - but they've been some killer workouts (for me anyway).  I need months of regular tempo to keep the progress going. Moving out of weekly track work and moving to long runs and tempo - with some marathon pace on the long runs is the plan for the next 6 weeks. 

    Yesterday Leonard, Jessica and I ran the OC Half Marathon in Newport Beach.  It's a large half marathon with over 8,200 finishers. I was 118th overall, 103rd male finisher and 58th "age graded" finisher with a 73.8% age grade which is OK, but not where I need to be.  I was 4th in M55-59 which frankly did not include any fast runners as a a time under 1:25 for M55-59 is clearly possibly on this course. 

    We drove up the afternoon prior and stayed at the Hyatt in Newport near the start line. Not quite close enough to walk there, we awoke at 4:30 am and caught the 5:15 am shuttle for the 6:15 start of the half marathon.

    Start of the full marathon: 5:30 am in Fashion Island

    After watching the full marathon start we loafed around and killed time for 45 min until our race began.  We dropped our bag in the UPS spot for drop offs and headed over to the start line.


    The course winds quite a bit and has a hill at the start and a couple other smallish rollers during the race.  It does finish slightly lower than it begins, but the massive downhill is at mile 2 which - like Boston - is a bit early to try and bank time IMHO, but that's the course.

    Around mile 5 - 6:55 pace passing another old dude


    I felt mostly good during this race.  My right hamstring had been bothering me over the past few days but I took off on Saturday and did very little on Friday and it never really felt that bad during the race. Likewise with my left Achilles tendon - mildly sore as always but no real pain.

    Finishing Stretch

    Looking at the race in terms of 5K splits, it was truly effortless to run the first 5km at 6:46/mile which surprised me as I'd been struggling doing that during the tempo runs.  I did a 20:54 5K which was almost exactly the pace I did a week ago in training when I was dead at the end.  But to be fair, there was a mild uphill as we ran around "Fashion Island" and then it was a mile of all downhill followed by some flat running through the rich bastions of Newport.




    The second 5K I did in 21:42 @ 7:00/mile. this part had very mild rolling terrain through newport. Still feeling fine. We ran through the $10M home neighborhoods and then down to sea level with a view of Balboa Island and the dock. Again - mostly easy.

    The third 5K got a bit nasty. First we meet up with the marathoners, run under a bridge and up a paved trail, then a wee little hill to a parking lot then onto another paved trail where "slow runner avoidance" - now underway for over a mile - began taking it's toll. There was a sign when we merged that said "Marathon runner stay right, Half Marathoners stay left" which was mostly followed be the marathon group, but this was the 6 hour pace group not the Kenyans on the trail and there was a ton of dodging and turning while running uphill and navigating the course at this point.  This was my hardest 5K in the race and my slowest.  My HR went from the 140 average i'd been on up to more like 150 and remained there for the rest of the race.

    Thankfully the last four miles were a bit easier and, well, it was the end of the race.  Time to grit your teeth and just bear with some "discomfort".  Unfortunately I did not feel like I was racing any more but just thinking of the upcoming marathon and running accordingly. Could I run a marathon this fast? While this was my goal pace, I did not feel like I could do two of these - this course anyway.

     The last long straight I prior to turning into the OC Fairgrounds and finish line I just ran even and my HR floated up to 153 and I was not all the tired at the end. Could have easily done this race about a minute faster, which I've got to work on!






    Wednesday, January 13, 2016

    Less than 24 weeks until Grandma's Marathon


    Weekly Check in:

    Feeling stronger the past couple of weeks. My  last post was 12/12/15 so it's been about a month.  Grandma's marathon on June 18 is now nearly 23 weeks away. I've got my hotel and registration taken care of needs flights and a car for now.

    Morning weight/sleep: 
    • Weight: around 168. I've been slowly floating back down from 172 during the holidays
    • Sleep: I've been going to bead after midnight and waking up at 7:30 lately.  6 hour/day average

    Today's Plan:  11 miles of hills and trails
    Yesterday's Plan: 8 x 400 @ 10K (6:15) pace

    Actual: For these I opted to do the Sorrento Valley road "Pump Station 65" route. There are markers on the ground that *somebody* needs to re-paint and/or re-measure and paint.  100 - 1000M

    Conditions:   Perfect - 60 with a light wind
    How it felt:  Felt sluggish for the first few, then I got the point that I "need to run fast" and picked it up.  At first I was thinking of how I used to feel running 40 min 10Ks (not too hard) and then how I "blew up" at the Kook10K a few years back when I went through the first mile at 6:15 and then basically ran in at 7:30 up the hill.   Here's how it looked on Strava: 



    Here's the actual Garmin Connect measured times for the 400s. They have "actual time" and then "moving time" and list the two speeds side-by-side on their system. I assume that they average the speed while i'm in both.  This is more of a bicycle feature I think as you always have to stop for lights on bike rides.  I'm going to use the "actual" where i hit the start/stop button on the watch...which has the computed speeds for each 400 (0.25 miles really) as follows:

    1. 6:47
    2. 6:37 
    3. 6:39
    4. 6:19
    5. 5:58
    6. 5:55
    7. 6:03
    7. 5:48

    hardly consistent, but I guess that's the point. getting the feel of running at the correct speed, or what i'm aiming for, "making 6:15 seem tolerable" for a few miles so that I can run a sub-40 or thereabouts.

    Finally, here's the paces of my Monday (or Mon/Tue if I skipped Monday) runs since I turned 55 on 11/16/15

    11/16 - 6.2 miles @ 8:39
    11/23 - 6.2 miles @ 8:42
    12/2 -   6.2 miles @ 8:10
    12/7 -   4.2 miles @ 8:16
    12/14 - 8.1 miles @ 8:22
    12/21 - 8.0 miles @ 8:09
    12/28 - 8.8 miles @ 8:16
    1/11 - 10.1 miles @ 8:25

    Beginning in December I basically dropped about 30 secs/mile average while increasing my weekly mileage back up to the 35 mile range,  then 45 in XMAS week including my all time PR for the 8.2 mile pump station 65 run of 7:47/mile (1:03). That's a PR over 12 years.