Monday, April 27, 2009

Capitol Peak 50

I've never had a great day at this race. In 2006 it was my first 50 and I was really slow and it was a blizzard up there. I guess I did great just to finish in 12:36. In 2007 I spent the night before the race in the hospital with my Dad and didn't get any sleep so I decided to drop down to the 55k. I didn't really have my mind on the race and it took me 7:14. In 2008 I ran a nice PR at Mt. Si 50 mile the week before so I wasn't very fresh. It was warm with some long snow patches and after 10:14 and a huge BONK I crossed the finish line. This year I ran Boston on Monday so I only had 4 days to recover from that PR race before toeing the line in Olympia. But really those are all just BS excuses for me not being in good hill climbing shape for this tough course.

I started out knowing this would be a long tough day. So I figured it would be a good 50 mile training run and I tried to hold myself back and not get competitive. I knew I would run out of gas early and I was expecting it, waiting for it. I started at a fast but comfortable pace. A pace I could probably run for most of the race if it was in July.

My legs made it to about the second A/S before I had to start working hard even though I had been consuming a good amount of calories. After the 3rd A/S I was spent and that was not even 20 miles. I wouldn't call it a bonk but I wasn't moving very fast. I continued to take in the calories and hoped my legs would remember how to burn fat. I passed the 50k mark at about 5:55 and still hadn't recovered. I haven't done any hard runs longer than 3:15 in a while so this new new ground for my body. It took about 2 hours, maybe 2 1/2 for my legs to remember how to work off fat instead of sugar but they finally did. Eventually I was recovered enough to make a strong finish for the last ~14 miles. I even passed a few people.

I did manage to squeeze out a PR of 19 minutes. That means I've PR'd in every race this year* except the fun run on 1-1-2009 but I did run a marathon the day before.

Here's how my year has gone so far. Yeah I'm faster but my mileage is way down.
12-31-2008 Last Chance Marathon 3:29:20, slowest of the year.
1-1 First Call Marathon 3:46:06, first double since 3-2007.
1-10 Bridle Trails 50k 4:42:07, 51 minute PR.
1-17 Capitol Peak FatAss 50k 4:55, new course but the fastest I've run down there.
2-7 Orcas Island FatAss 50k 6:19, 23 minute PR.
2-21 Yours Truely/12 summits 50k, with a group, not for time 8:12:59.
3-21 Chuckanut 50k 5:28:39, 13 minute PR.
4-4 Yakima RC Marathon 3:15:47, 3 minute PR
4-20 Boston Marathon, 3:15:27, 20 second PR
4-25 Capitol Peak 50 mile 9:55:40, 19 minute PR

Photo by Glenn


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Boston Marathon, A 26.2 Mile Parade.

The 113th running of the Boston Marathon.

It’s been a while since I’ve traveled. Let’s just say the last time I flew in an airplane I didn’t have to take my shoes off. I was a little stressed about what I could take and what I couldn’t. I wasn’t going to check my race stuff and that’s pretty much all I was bringing. I arrived at the airport at the required 2 hours early and about 4 minutes later I was sitting at the gate wishing I’d packed my laptop. I did upload a bunch of documents to my phone so I had plenty to do.
My flights over to Boston were good. I didn’t get any sleep because of the 2 year old future soccer player sitting behind me. I didn’t think it was that big of a deal but it would plague me all weekend.
The flight back on tired legs sucked and getting delayed in Denver twice made it worse. I’m not an expert flyer but when a plane shows up late and then, after you board, the Capitan says we’re sorry but the maintenance crew can’t certify the plane to fly, it can’t be a good thing. So we get off and wait for another plane to show up. Obviously I eventually made it home but it wasn’t “fun”.
So I made it to Boston. I bought a Charlie Card for the “T”, grabbed a free shuttle bus over to the Blue line train/subway thingy, take that a few stops and transfer to the Orange and jump off that a few stops later. What a great system they have. I climb out of the subway and walk about a ¼ mile to the YWCA. It’s a nice clean friendly place that’s super close to the Finish line and really cheap. They let me check in even though it’s only 10 am. I try to catch a nap but I was too tired and too wired for that so a grab a snack and head over to the expo. It was a little chilly and breezy but perfect weather for running. I knew where I was going, I like to be prepared, but I didn’t have to. All I had to do is follow the source of the hundred’s of runners carrying bright yellow race bags.
My impression of the expo was that it was smaller than I thought it would be but way way busier. There were about 36-40 Adidas (a main sponsor) cash registers going non-stop selling race gear with long lines from open until close the entire time of the expo. There were hundreds of other typical expo booths that were all rather busy also and all the walk ways were jammed with people. I think if things were spread out more it would be better for both sellers and buyers.
Of course I made it over to the Brooks Booth because everyone knows they make the best running shoes in the world. They had a tent set up where brothers Karl and Carl were doing a live show every hour. It was funny, they truly are super fans.

After getting my picture taken with my race number and filling up on samples I headed back to my plush private suite at the Y. Ok it was more like a dorm room but it was nice. I tried to nap again and I think I actually fell asleep for a few minutes but it was the middle of the day and I didn’t want to be up all night so I grabbed my camera and headed out to take pictures of the finish line, pasta man, etc. I seemed to run into somebody I knew every few minutes, mostly Maniacs because there were a lot of us there.
After a spicy chicken pizza, I went to bed early and tried to catch up on my sleep but only slept a couple hours at a time.
Sunday I relaxed and did some sight seeing. I watched the milers fly around the block 3 times.

I’m surprised any of my pictures came out they were going by so fast. I eventually got on the “T” and made it over to the pasta feed, another long line, but they had free beer. That’s a great way to get in some Carbs. The dinner was actually pretty good.
Race day
I got up not completely rested after going to bed early but waking up a few too many times in the middle of the night. I guess I was over hydrated. I left for the buses just before 6 and after a very long ride in a school bus I made it to a chilly breezy Athlete’s Village. The Village was huge and there were runners everywhere. First thing I did was use the porta-potty with no line because I knew they would get busy later and they did.
After sitting, standing, laying down, walking around forever,

and having my picture taken a couple dozen times I headed over to the start. About half way there I heard the start of the Women’s Elite race and I cheered out for the fastest person I knew from Washington, Go Devon! I figured I’d see her on TV when I got home.
My corral 7000-7999 was already full when I got there so I had to shove in with a hundred other late comers. The race hadn’t even started and there was already about 7500 people in front of me. The start of the race eventually came … and went … and nobody moved. A few moments went by and we started walking, and then stopped, and walked 10 more feet and stopped again. This went one for about 5 minutes until just before the actual starting line when we broke into a jog. It was the first time I’d run in a few days and it was good to be finally running Boston. I wasn’t sure my hips were recovered from the camber of Yakima but I would find out in a few miles. I had 2 pace charts on my wrist. One was what I knew I could beat and the other was one I knew I could run but maybe not today. They were 3:08 and 3:14. I found a spread sheet online that was made for Boston. It had me running a 7:35 first mile even though it’s the steepest downhill of the course, from there it dropped down quickly and in the 3rd mile I should be running at a 6:55 pace. Hmm that didn’t happen.
Over the length of the first mile the pace slowly increased but still too slow for my liking. I tried to be smart and run straight ahead. I wanted to weave and sprint my way out of this pack I was in but the pack never ended. On the downhill’s I could see a two lane hwy snaking off into the distance jam packed with runners for as far as the eye could see. The first mile was over 7:40 but they got progressive faster (except mile five when I stopped to pee) until mile 6. 6 was my fastest mile at 7:04, and from there the times varied by terrain. My slowest mile was in the Newton Hills where I had 2 miles at the crawl of 8:00 per mile but I was still passing people.
Somewhere around mile 10 I was running next to someone (as I was passing them) and I commented that this wasn’t the Boston Marathon; it was the Boston 26.2 Mile Parade! That has stuck with me and I have repeated it a dozen times.
Many people told me before the race it’s about making it there, it’s about the experience, just enjoy the ride, don’t try to PR, it not a fast course. That mentality perpetuates itself and you end up with most of the 26,000 runners out there with their head in the clouds jogging along at no where near the pace they ran to qualify for the race.
I never gave in to the will of the other runners. I stayed true to myself and ran the race my way. I passed about 3000 (give or take 500) runners, but I never let it frustrate me. It’s always fun to pass somebody, right. I knew I was off pace but I gave it my best. Even though I wasn’t weaving around, passing does take more energy than running a steady pace. I think I fueled well, maybe could have had one more gel near the end. I did break into a jog for about a half a minute once I turned into the home stretch on Boylston Street just to soak in the crowd a little longer then back to pushing the pace.
And no I didn’t stop to kiss any girls or drink any beer along the way. The crowds were great, I wasn’t sure I’d like them or not, but I did. It was loud but not as loud as I thought it would be. I’m happy with my 20 second PR and I’m glad I had the chance to go. The wind and “weaving” definitely slowed me down but that’s ok. Will I ever go back, probably not. It’s too long and too far away from the family to do for a second time. Maybe when I’m old and grey and just want to go for a 26.2 mile parade.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Boston, A 26.2 Mile Parade.

I ran a good race and I'm happy with my results but I'm constantly looking for ways to do things better.

Here are some stats from my race.
My 5k splits were:
22:83, 5k
22:24, 45:02 10k
22:16, 1:07:18 15k
22:22, 1:29:40 20k
22:41, 1:52:21 25k
23:48, 2:16:09 30k
24:34, 2:40:43 35k
23:41, 3:04:24 40k

Finishing Time was 3:15:27

I finished in 3711Th place. My number was 7678. I passed a lot of runners.

I'll post a full race report tomorrow after the Jet Lag wears off.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Is it Monday Yet?

As of right now the weather forecasters say;

50% chance of rain, 50 for the high and 42 for the low.
40% chance of rain with a temperature range from 40 - 50 degrees.
20% chance of rain with temperatures ranging from 44 - 51.

hmmm, whom shall I trust?

Friday, April 10, 2009

Running Superfans

"Brooks® Launches Irreverent Campaign to Spread Joy of Running"

Check out the running superfans website. These guys are pretty funny.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

One last long run before Boston

YRCM 3:15, 3 minute PR.

With two weeks to go I figured the Yakima River Canyon Marathon would be a good tune up and last long run. There are many similarities that I thought would be good for me to experience before I flew back east.

First traveling and staying in a strange bed. I almost always travel to my races on the morning of. After 80 marathons/ultras in the past 45 months I've only not traveled to the start the day of the race 9 times including Yakima and 3 of those were in a camper. That's the benefit of living in Washington. After being up early working and traveling to Yakima I fell asleep early and slept all night.

Second would be the travel to the start hours before you need to via bus. Of course Yakima was only 2 hours before the start and Boston will be twice that. I didn't mind hanging out before Yakima because I knew 1/4 of the 500 runners there. I even met a couple of new ones. Hopefully I can find a place to chill out at Boston (and stay dry and warm).

Next would be a point to point downhill race with a big hill near the end. I think Yakima is hillier than Boston. Yakima has 1000 feet of drop and 700 feet of climb with nearly half of the climbing coming in the last hill at 22 miles (much bigger than heartbreak).

There are 2 major differences between YRCM and Boston. First and most obvious is the number of people running and watching. Running in the canyon was peaceful and quite virtually no spectators and the biggest pack of runners I found myself in was 3. Things will be much differentl in Boston. I just hope I can remain patient until things thin out. And I don't let all the screaming girls distract me too much.

The other is the camber on the roads in the canyon. I thought since the roads were closed I could find some flat places to run, down the middle or in the gravel or somewhere, but that wasn't the case. Nearly the entire course is either slanted left or slanted right. I thought the camber would even out left right left right as I snaked my way along the river, and it wouldn't really bother me that much. I was wrong. I am one of those runners that can't handle running on a cambered road, even as a teenager it hurt to run on the side of the road. I saw people that didn't show signs of it bothering them and maybe there are exercises I could do to strengthen my hips but until that day I'll continue to steer clear of cambered roads. Thankfully Boston doesn't have them.

So how'd my race go. The 3 min PR doesn't tell the whole story and I know I'm capable of running faster.
My plan was to run 7's and see how things went. I thought other than the hills I could hold it the whole race, but I wasn't looking to kill myself or get injured, just finish somewhere under 3:20. Well, right before the race I realized I needed new running shoes. I ordered them and they came in on Friday the day before the race. I choose the new Brooks Racer ST4. I knew my feet would be fine in brand new Brooks shoes but I didn't have a chance to calibrate them with my watch. I figured it wouldn't be a big deal if it was off by a little and gave it no more thought. I should have. It turned out that the watch was about 10 seconds (or 20 yards) off per mile so instead of running 7's I was running 6:50's. I didn't feel like I was pushing the pace and was just running along enjoying myself when I should have been thinking about correcting the time in my head and trying to run 7:10's. I think this might have made the hip situation worse. After about 10 miles my hips which had been working hard due to the camber started to hurt a lot more. They went from a dull pain to a sharp pain. This wore on me even after taking a couple of Advil and I soon slowed down. I went through the half in about 1:31. Once in a while the road would actually straighten and flatten out for a while. That was great because after about a quarter of a mile my hips would start to feel better and I would pick up the pace. This let me know I wasn't injuring myself and that I still had life left in me but not as much as I should have because of the earlier fast pace. One great thing is that I never any calf or hamstring cramping so I know I had some gas left in the tank.

Five of my miles were just over an 8 min pace;
17 was an 8:19
19 was an 8:07
20 was an 8:10
22 was an 8:55 (big hill)
23 was an 8:23 (1/2 hill at a crawl 1/2 downhill sprint toward the finish)

1:31 1st 1/2 is a 6:56 m/m (and a PR)
1:44 2nd 1/2 is a 7:56 m/m (Ouch that sucks!)

Picture from the Yalima Herald