Tuesday, January 31, 2012

25 Miles - Last Big run before Big Race

Saturday - 25 mi, 03:36 08:39 pace
Eudair was nice enough to run the whole thing with me today, she is amazing (she had been out due to injury and has only recently been back running so I was surprised she was up for 25 miles, but not too surprised). Started out with a group from Longleaf, but we fell back a bit to keep the pace easy. Ran into Starkey and then along the power line road to Serenova tract. 

Saw one deer and then later saw two more - no longer living ones. Turns out there was a hunt going on which we found out on our way back (would have been nice if signs were posted). Picked it up the last couple of miles. Melanie from the Striders was nice enough to give us a lift back to Longleaf. 

The weather was great, it was wonderful having someone to run the whole way and it couldn't have gone better (except for the part about running while a deer hunt was going on).

This was my last big run before the big race (although there is 18 miles next week, pretty big but less than 20).  I need to concentrate on getting some spring back in my step and feeling completely fresh.  Also, I think I'm going to get a new pair of Asics Nimbus.  My old pair is somewhat worn out so I decided to try this long run in the Ghosts. I like those shoes but they didn't feel quite as good as the Nimbus for the extra distance.  I had pretty good luck with the Brooks Launch at the 50K but the bottom of  my feet were hurting and could probably use the extra cushioning that the Asics have.

When I started the training for this 100K race it seemed fairly easy in some ways, but the training is starting to catch up to me a little bit now, so good time for a taper.

Jenny is attending a  Newton training class this weekend.  This is the class to learn how to teach the class that she took over this past summer.  Lots of good information about running form that can apply to Newton and non-Newton runners.

So, in the evening I took the boys out for dinner to Carrabas

Then, Sunday morning I decided to skip my run and make pancakes (from scratch - I used to be a boxed mix only kind of guy!)  for the boys and relax as the rest would do more good at this point than another day of running.

All in all, it was a pretty big weekend.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Recovery week and 100K Goals

So, here's how the days since last week's 50K have gone:

  • Monday - No running today, also day off from work, had a massage in the morning, then did errands and hung out at home, then went to Jenny's Boot Camp in the evening (oh, wait a second, that included a mile of running!!).
  • Tuesday - Started out to run and then soon realized it was a bad idea.  Started to get back in bed, then Jenny suggested a walk might be good for me, so I went for a walk - 2.2 miles, and it helped
  • Wednesday - 6 miles at 8:49 pace First run , then bootcamp in the evening where I couldn't believe I was doing squat jumps with no problems
  • Thursday -  7.2 miles at 7:39 pace, ran with the Striders, although mostly by myself, ran the first mile with Mike,  fastest run for the week
  • Friday - 6.2 miles at 9:02 pace - Easy neighborhood run -
  • Saturday - 16 miles at 8:35 pace - Long run into Starkey park and back - .  Did not plan who I was going to run with but met up with some people starting out at 5:30 (Bob, Rachel, Kim, and Rebecca), then ran into Eudair, ran with her 2 miles before turning back for home.
  • Sunday - 5.4 miles at 8:43 pace, Easy run by myself,  along the grassy area next to Trinity Blvd.
  • Monday - day off from running, but did a 1.7 mile walk in the morning and boot camp in the evening
 So, about 42 miles of running for the week.  A very good week coming off of the 50K as well as having also done 2 boot camps.  Usually, a typical mileage week after running a marathon might be 5-10 miles.  It must be a combination of having been a slower pace than a marathon, the softer surface, as well as using a bigger variety of muscles to navigate the trail terrain.  It's also the feeling that I'm not done yet until the big race is over with.  Although, actually, I was quite prepared to take time off if I needed it when I made the decision to put some race effort into the 50K race and not just try and run it as a training run.

Now, I'm starting to feel like I'm in the homestretch of training.  I have one more big, long run coming up this weekend , 25 miles.  Eudair has offered to run it with me, so the company will be very nice.  This weekend will also be my last time having to do a run the day after a long run.  Then the next few weeks will be cutting back in mileage for the taper.

As races get longer, the science of trying to predict the finish time based on shorter distance race times becomes less and less precise and fades out of the realm of science and into an art.  I've been talking to whomever might have the answer and reading whatever I can find on the subject.  Here are some numbers I came up with.  Also, to start with I listed some finish times along with their paces to put things into perspective.

100K Finish Times/Paces:

Time      Pace

 9:00     8:41
10:00     9:39
10:30    10:08
11:00    10:37
11:30    11:06
12:00    11:35
12:30    12:04
13:00    12:33


1. 2.8 times marathon
     Last marathon (Boston): 3:27  (not my best time, but reasonable)

2. 2.8 times marathon
     Better marathon (Deseret): 3:11  (close to my PR of 3:06)

3. Based on this website (Running for Fitness)

    50Km race at 4:34:30 time for 45 year old male = 10:00:24 predicted time.

4. Number I've been spouting off to people about what I think I can do:
     "About 12 hours would be nice"

5. Time needed to qualify for Western States 100 lottery -

      Under 14 hours

So, the problem/dilemma is a pacing strategy.  Do I do run/walk?  Should I just go out "easy" and run by feel (that worked for the 50K, not sure how well it translates).  If I go out too fast I could "blow up" somewhere between 31 and 62 miles and end up walking a lot.  If I go too slow, I might end up with too much time on my feet and tire myself out that way.

It's a long, long way to go.  I won't know the real answer until I just go ahead and do it!! 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Croom Zoom 50K Race Report

Stats: 31.19 mi 04:34 08:47 pace

My first trail race. I couldn't have asked for better weather. It was freezing at the start (literally) but it warmed up nicely but stayed cool enough to not feel hot.
The course was beautiful. I fell down once at mile 20. I ate m&m's at the aid station (twice).
Saw Jenny and Sean K. out on the course, met Cathy B.  before the start of the race and ran into a lot of nice people out on the course.

Overall I kept a pretty even pace and had to fight to hang on towards the end. It was also nice to see Ash, who I ran with on my first Croom practice run, he was there volunteering today and was very encouraging each time I went past the starting area. I'm very pleased with the overall experience as well as my time which I knew could vary quite a bit. It helped a lot that Jenny encouraged me to think about some goals before the race. I also really enjoy the relaxed after the race hanging out, it feels like you are at a cook out with a bunch of good friends (even though you don't know everyone).

The course consisted of an initial starter loop of just over two miles, followed by three big loops about 10 miles each.

Due to some last minute changes, the 50k race had two start times, 6:00 and 7:00.  There was also a 100K race starting at 6:00 and a 25K race starting at 7:00.  I started out wearing a long sleeve tech shirt (old Disney marathon shirt), sleeveless shirt, hat gloves, arm warmers and shorts.   It was about 32 degrees at the start (it was 28 degrees for Jenny's 6:00 start)

I had some time goals in mind but didn't have an exact pacing strategy.  As the race continued on and I became more and more acquainted with the 10 mile loop, I began to get into a rhythm, speeding up and slowing down as the terrain permitted.  Since it's a relatively small race there were a good number of stretches where I was alone in the woods.

First Loop
Sometime during the first loop I caught up to a guy, chatted with him a bit and then passed him.  I was going to follow him at first but he pointed out that since I had caught up to him then I should keep going at the same pace.  So, I went on ahead and stayed in front of him until I had to stop for a bathroom break then he went flying by me.  Got going again and caught up to him as we went through the starting area again.  I ditched the gloves and arm warmers then started on the second loop.

Second Loop
During the second loop I was running behind the guy, Mike, who by this time had no shirt on (he started out with just a sleeveless shirt), so for the rest of the race until the results were up he would be known as that guy with no shirt on.  He had picked up the pace and was pushing into sub 8:00 range so I backed off a bit.  Still felt a little bit fast for me although it was hard to judge me speed.  It feels faster when running in the woods with the trees around you, watching out for roots, and jumping over a log every now and then.  About mile 20, I was going up a slight incline and my foot caught a root and I went down pretty hard.  But fortunately, being on an incline I didn't fall very far and my hands landed on nothing sharp.  After the initial shock, I realized I was fine and got back up again.  That was my only fall.  I think my landing reflexes were good due to all of the burpees I've been doing at Jenny's boot camp!

Third Loop
At the start of the third loop, I topped off my bottles with accelerade from my drop bag.  Ash (who is going to be doing a 100k next week) said to me, ok Mark, just one more lap, you did this same run just a few weeks ago.  It was at a slower pace then but it still gave me some confidence to hear it.  I was still feeling pretty good but knew things would change over the course of the next 10 miles.

There were two aid stations on the course, one was at the starting area, and the other at the (about) halfway point on the course.   When I was about a mile from the half way point aid station on the third loop.  I saw Jenny and Sean who had started at 6:00.  They looked pretty good and told me they doing a walk run strategy.  After saying hi, picked the pace back up and made it to the aid station.

Stopped for another handful of m&m's, which tasted really dry in my mouth this time.  I had been drinking pretty good although could have done a better job early on in the race, but did not since it was so cold then.
As the miles counted down, I started feeling good about staying on track and not falling apart, I had a glimmer of hope as I got to mile 27, but tried not too get too excited until mile 28.  Some time after mile 29 I could see Mike up ahead (the guy with no shirt), even though I felt like I had been slowing he must have slowed down a bit more.  As I got closer, he took off again and I thought I lost him.  With about a half mile to go, on a section of trail going up hill and covered with roots, I saw Mike go down.  I stopped and offered him my hand but he said he was ok and to go on ahead and said something like this just isn't my day.  I felt bad for him that he had fallen.  Got going again and before I knew it I was done.

Got some food and waited for Jenny and Sean who soon came across the line looking surprisingly strong.  Hung out for a bit more and had a beer before packing up and heading home.

As we were leaving, asked someone to get a picture of the three of us:

  1. 8:31    -  Started off on the road with the 25k'ers
  2. 9:46    - turned onto the off road, sugary sand here
  3. 9:39    - back through starting area and ditched long sleeve shirt
  4. 8:27    -  Start of first big loop
  5. 8:56
  6. 8:46
  7. 8:13
  8. 8:22
  9. 8:52
  10. 8:09
  11. 9:24    - Bathroom break took longer than expected
  12. 8:48
  13. 7:59
  14. 8:05
  15. 8:56
  16. 8:25
  17. 8:56
  18. 8:24
  19. 8:14
  20. 8:12        It was sometime around here where I fell down
  21. 8:58
  22. 10:02     Back through start area, refilled accelerade bottles
  23. 8:56
  24. 8:35
  25. 8:52
  26. 8:21
  27. 9:28     Grabbed some more m&m's at aid station
  28. 9:13
  29. 8:41      Must have been some downhill here
  30. 9:04
  31. 9:11
  32. 1:47 (0.19 @ 9:25)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Ship/Shore then ready for 50K

The new year is flying by already.  It feels like I just posted my mileage wrap up for the year just yesterday, but 10 days has gone by already.

MONDAY: 5 mi 00:43 08:30 pace

Later that same day of my last post, Monday January 2, we left on a 6 day cruise with planned port visits of Key West, Belize and Cozumel.  The cruise started out of Tampa because the boys had seen the ships leave from there when we visited the aquarium, Thomas requested a cruise that stopped in Key West, Andy was ok with anything.  The day started out a bit windy and cool with a smooth slow ride through the ship channel, then through Tampa Bay on the way out to the Gulf.
12th Deck of Ryndham

TUESDAY: 5.54 mi 00:46 08:18 pace
The first full day at sea was pretty rough out.  I managed to get in a run on the treadmill.  They had a nice track on the 6th deck outside which circled the entire ship, 4 laps to a mile, but had a sign that said "No Jogging"  (although the sign on our ship did not say PLEASE, just NO JOGGING).

 The treadmill wasn't too bad.  The ship was rocking but I soon forgot about it. 

We were supposed to spend some time in Key West, but as we were getting ready to pull in, the captain announced that due to the wind we would not be able to dock there.  We were close enough to land to get cell service so I had a little bit of time to check my email while we were in sight of where we were supposed to go.

The ship continued to pitch and roll and I was mostly ok, until later that night while at dinner (which Jenny and Thomas were unable to go to due to not feeling well) it finally got to me and I had to excuses myself before the main course, although Thomas was fine and ate all of his dinner (salmon).

WEDNESDAY: no running

 This day was scheduled as an at-sea day.  I did not run.  After breakfast at the buffet with the boys I figured I had better get signed up for our tours, especially the zip lining in Belize.  I was way too late, it was all filled up and I was totally bummed out (no one else was happy either) that I had procrastinated and let everyone down.  I often get away with procrastinating and in some rare circumstances it often works out for the best.  Maybe not so much this time (although you never know).   Jenny suggested I look for my Dad to see if he had signed us up since he talked about doing the zip line tour.  I called him and left a message then went to go look for him.  I wandered the ship a bit and stopped back by the tours desk to see if he had signed us up - nope.  I eventually ran into my Mom in the library, then my Dad showed up, too.  We stopped back by the tours desk and talked to the travel agent about some other options as well as things to do in Cozumel.  I spent way too much time doing this and worrying about it.  Eventually, found Jenny and the boys again.  Andy said he was interested in Cave Tubing in Belize and Rock climbing/ropes course/snorkeling trip in  Cozumel.  So, after worrying and wracking my brain, the actual answer took all of five minutes.

Thomas with anchovy at Lido buffet

THURSDAY:  no running

 This was port visit to Belize day which we would be doing the cave tubing tour.  I didn't bring my camera (phone) due to too many unknowns (in hindsight a disposable waterproof camera would have been perfect).
So, I'll just post some stock pictures of Belize cave tubing

The water was cool but not cold or freezing.  It was also clean and clear.  Inside of the cave was dark but we each had hardhats with lights.  A guide had us link up our tubes then steered us through the river as it went through.  There was a nice 25-30 minute hike to the start of the tubing part which went through the rain forest.

After the tubing, was a decent lunch and then the bus trip back (about an hour and a half).  The bus trip out included some commentary from the tour guide with many jokes, some of which weren't that funny, especially for a first time visitor to Belize - such as saying that we needed our passports on us, telling one passenger they weren't coming back, and the description of the Belize prison that we drove by.  Ok, they weren't that bad, but also weren't the best.

 FRIDAY: 7.24 mi 01:02 08:29 pace

 Our excursion into Cozumel was not until 1:00 p.m. and since I was up pretty early I decided to run a little bit longer.  So, this would be my long run for the week.
Today was probably the best day of the cruise.  We met up on the pier with the group (our ship, the Ryndham at 55,000 tons looks tiny next to the Carnival Magic docked next to us)

and took a short, 20 minute ride to a place on the water that had rock climbing walls, rappelling, rope bridges, and then snorkeling.  It was very well organized and the staff kept you moving the whole time.  

After the climbing stuff there was a snorkeling portion where we saw lots of fish.

Also included, was a drink at the bar/restaurant on the beach.

Then, back to the ship.

SATURDAY: 6 mi 00:47 07:54 pace

 I woke up pretty early again, or so I thought.  Clocks went back to Eastern time so I started my run at 7:00 instead of 6:00. I picked up the pace a few times so the average was a little higher.

This was an at sea day.  Did some swimming in the pool, watch "Return of the King" to finish up the Lord of the Ring movies, played Scrabble with Andy, Thomas, and my Mom - and Thomas won (his first time ever playing).

For dinner, we ate together in the dining room, the 4 of us and my parents at the same table.  Baked Alaska for dessert (my first time ever having that).

I set an alarm to wake up the next morning at 6:00 so we could have breakfast and get off the ship at 7:45.  Just one slight problem.  When my alarm went off, we were not near shore at all.  I thought we would be close since it takes a couple of hours to go through Tampa bay, up the ship channel and dock.  Oh, well.  I got into the shower, showered, then Jenny got in.  I soon realized that my phone had switched to GMT (5 hours early) due to picking up the "Cellular at Sea" signal.  Knocked on the bathroom door to tell Jenny the bad news.  Tried to get back to sleep, but neither one of us had much luck.

SUNDAY: no running

Disembarking went smoothly because Jenny had signed us up for the express disembarking, pretty much just walk right off the ship.  Customs were easy, and we got our car quickly and drove home through the very light early morning Sunday traffic.

The last and most important part of the trip:  Picking up Sammy from the kennel

Back to work!

Keeping the running fairly low key this week -
Monday - 7.5 miles (7 at the Y plus another 0.5 at Jenny's boot camp)
Tuesday - 6.3 miles easy
Wednesday - 5 miles easy (just missing the rain, warm and breezy morning)
Thursday -  6 miles, a little faster (8:05 pace)

CROOM ZOOM 50K this Weekend (SUNDAY)

My first 50K race will be this Sunday and it will be my first big trail race ever.  Jenny asked what my goals were and I really hadn't thought too much past wanting to run at a faster pace than my practice run up there a few weeks ago.  Anyway, since I'm not used to paces vs. finish times for a 50K I wrote a few down that are within my realm:

4:15 - 8:12 (pace)  - I think I'd really have to be feeling great, would need a good number of sub-8:00 miles

4:30 - 8:41 (pace)  - This one is a little more attainable but still very challenging

4:45 - 9:10 (pace) - I'm pretty sure I can do this one, although on my practice run, the 9:00 miles towards the end felt challenging, but that had been a long day

5:00 - 9:39 (pace) - I should really try to break 5 hours, otherwise I'm not sure if I'd feel like I put in what I was capable of

5:15 - 10:08 (pace) - still a faster pace than what I did the training run in, I guess I'll save this one in case things aren't going well because if it turns sucky it helps to concentrate on a goal to help keep going, hopefully it won't turn sucky.  I'm pretty sure it won't.

Just finish it.  Hopefully it won't come to this but if it does then it does and I am going to finish it!!

The race will start at 7:00 am so I shouldn't need to wear a light.  At one point, it looked like they were going to change it to 6:00, but then they decided to allow either start time - 6:00 am to start with the 100K racers, and 7:00 am to start with the 25K racers.  Jenny and Sean are going to get there early and start at 6:00, and I'll get there a little bit later to start at 7:00.

I'm not too nervous about this race because I can't afford to worry, since the 100K is coming up in just one month - that's the one I'm worried about!  (but not too much because it almost seems surreal - i.e. I'm not getting my head wrapped around the distance).

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year

Two years ago I posted a map showing where I could have run to based on the miles I ran.  This past year I ran about 2016 miles, which is enough to go from Tampa to Flagstaff

2011 began shortly after driving back from a great visit to Jenny's parents in Texas.  Unfortunately, as we were leaving I picked up a cold that decided to hang around for a while.  So, training wise it was pretty tough to keep my miles where I wanted them to be but I somehow managed.

Training continued as the Boston marathon approached but I was wearing myself down and setting myself up for an injury, which happened one week before the marathon.  I didn't think it was so bad at the time.
But, that one decided to hang around for a while, too.
I cut back in miles for May and continued cutting back more into June until I decided to basically stop running until I got better.

That didn't happen all by itself.  Eventually I went to see a doctor and then started physical therapy.  I was also going twice a week to Jenny's boot camp class.

Eventually I started to run again and then finally by the beginning of October the pains that had curtailed my running were pretty much gone.  I ran a 10K, Komen Race for the Cure, 41:55 -  faster than I had run since Boston and just two minutes away from my 10K PR.

In November, I ran the Turkey Trot 10K in Clearwater (39:55) and came within seconds of my 10K PR.

Then finally, in December ran the Pasco Sheriff 5K that Kathryn was the race director for, and to my surprise I PR'd and won the race with a time of 18:34

The miles for the year went something like this:

Jan              277
Feb              261
March            263
April            127
May              115
June              29
July              13
August            83
September        165
October          195
November         226
December         257

So, running wise I was somewhat back to normal, and in some ways stronger,  although with a much different outlook on running.  From the numbers it looks like nothing has changed really, and maybe it hasn't, we'll have to see what 2012 brings, hopefully some good things.   Although I have yet to come up with any resolutions.

Also, in 2011, I finally got over my fear of not running on the road or other hard surfaces.  I did a couple of trail runs over the summer, then started doing them on my own and then sometimes I would also run on the grass alongside the road to simulate running on a trail.

There were many challenges in 2011 but there were good things also.  Here's hoping for better things in 2012 - although there will always be challenges of course.  Hope doesn't make things happen but it does keep you going.  You really need both, hope and something else whether it is hard work, patience, understanding, or learning.