Sunday, December 4, 2011

2011 Las Vegas Marathon Race Report

3:55:13 - 8:59 pace - 30+ min PR
12/4/2011 - 4pm start

After coming off a great (1:30) half marathon in October I thought I would primed to crush my marathon PR. But the training since then was filled with injury and burnout. In the 8 weeks before the race I got in 4 speed workouts 2 were cut short because of calf pain. A week or two before the race the calf pain died down but left behind was a more serious Achilles Pain. I didn’t know if it was injured or just sore from my tight calf muscles pulling on it the last 4 weeks. I didn’t tell anyone about this new injury. I didn’t want any of my friends or family to worry about me during the race. Deep down I was worried… real worried.

Leading up to the race:
Because of the injury I felt extra nervous during the taper, it was as bad as my first marathon. When I am really nervous for some reason my quads start getting sore (phantom pains?). Everyday leading up to the race my quads felt a little worse than the day before. I was mostly conserved with my Achilles and I almost switched to the half marathon at the Expo the day before the race. The anxiety of running a night race is awful because you can’t do anything but think about the race every second for hours before the race starts. I decided at the last minute that I would go aim for 3:40 far from my original goal of 3:20ish.

0 – 13.1 miles (8:34 pace, Avg HR 156):
It was surprisingly cold in Las Vegas, at the start it was in the high 40’s with some really cold gusts of wind every now and then. The marathon had about 4,000 runners and my first mile was pretty slow but after that I was able to settle into an 8:30 pace. I think I got about 3 miles before my calf/Achilles started hurting. I was concerned but this is how my lower leg has felt for the last month so I pushed through. The first half of the marathon was extremely boring, we ran a bunch of loops trough an area that was mostly industrial. I finished the first half in 1:52, exactly where I wanted to be and felling pretty good. I was planning on hitting the gas and running a faster 2nd half with the help of the huge crowds and awesome scenery. I was pumped!

13.1 – 20 (9:02 pace, Avg HR 160)
The marathon joined the half marathon course at 13.1 miles and ran the last 13.1 on the strip. But the half had started 20 min before I arrived and I hit a wall of people (terrible race planning) 33,000+ runners in the half marathon. The half marathoners I first encountered were running about 10:00-10:30 min pace. I was pretty frustrated and the rest of the race I spent zig zaging through runners. I don’t know how I did it but I kept a positive attitude and just kept plugging along. I saw a couple of marathoners that completely lost it and were pushing people out of their way. Maybe I was just happy that my calf had held up so far. The spectators were awesome, I have never seen so many people watching and cheering on the race.

20-26.2 (9:34 pace, Avg HR 167)
Around mile 20 the road started to open up a little (except at aid stations) and I was able to run faster. Only I couldn’t because my quads had secretly turned to jello and I am not sure why. In the last 2 months I have run 19-21 miles 4 times and my quad have never complained. Maybe the load of work shifts to my quads when I run above 9 min pace. Also my calf’s had been slowly getting worse making for a painful last few miles. Also at this point there were a lot of people walking that I had to navigate around but I kept my cool and held a consistent pace all the way to the finish. I finished in 3:55:13 a PR of about 30 minutes! Until I looked at the data this morning I had assumed that I slowed down much more when in reality my 2nd half was only 11 min slower than my first half. Also this was the first marathon that I completed without walking.

Post Race
My calf and Achilles feel great but my quads still feel like I hiked up a mountain yesterday. I am itching to go run already but I am going to stick my 1 week off plan. It’s a good thing that its ugly outside or I would have gone for a run today. I am looking forward to start training for the next marathon with what I have learned. Most importantly I need to cross train more to address that quad weakness and say injury free.

Overall: 987 out of 3766
Men 30-34: 157 out of 435

Marathon Progression
Oct 2009 – 5:19 @ 220 lbs
Jun 2010 – 5:02 @ 207 lbs (17 min PR!)
Apr 2011 – 4:25 @ 178 lbs (37 min PR!)
Dec 2011 – 3:55 @ 180 lbs (30 min PR!)

And finally some pictures
At the starting line

At mile 13 – Still looking comfortable

At mile 25 (not looking so comfortable)

Finish Line. It’s kind of hard to see me but I am on the right in the white shirt. To give you an idea of the traffic the left side is the half marathon finish.

After walking back to the hotel, my wife won $300 while I was out running

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Red Rocks 5K Race Report

I ran this course a few weeks ago so I knew how hard it was going to be, its 2 miles down hill and 1.1 back up with almost no flat spots. My friend and I deiced before the race that no matter what happens in the first 2 miles you are going to crawl the last 1.1, so we might as well take advantage of the downhill.

Mile 1 - 6:16, Avg HR 165, net loss 205’. As we start off the race I was in pain, last night I stood in a trash can full of ice but my Achilles were still sore today. The race started with a hill climb but even with that the first mile still was mostly downhill. I didn’t warm up enough and I about pulled my hamstring running down the first steep hill. I eased back but then it felt like I was braking with every step.

Mile 2 – 12:19 (6:03 mile split) Avg HR 171, net loss 245’. Now that I was properly warmed up I was able to extend my stride without my hamstring feeling like it was going to give. This mile was entirely downhill and very fast. The slamming on the concrete didn’t feel good on my Achilles and my quads were also taking a beating. I was actually looking forward to the end of the downhill.

Mile 3 – 21:49 (9:29 mile split) Avg HR 185, net gain 345’. Yes you read that right a 9:29 mile and wasn’t out of matches, actually I was passing people. Almost immediately after the 2 mile mark the race turns and climbs back to the starting area. I was surprised at how many people ran 6 min pace and were now walking. This mile hurt like hell is was a man killer.

Finish 3.1 miles – 23:13 (14:00 pace for the last 0.1), Avg HR 189 (Max HR 193), net gain 105’. Believe it or not I was still passing people while running 14 min pace. That’s because this entire 0.1 mile section was spent climbing the stairs to the top of the Red Rocks Amphitheater. My quads were on fire by the time I crossed the finish.

Overall I finished 25th out of 2,000 people. The course was absolutely gorgeous and I am sure this is one that I want to run again next year. Hopefully next year I will be able to take it easy the day before.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Englewood Schools 5K race report

Today was my first race of this weekend, I was already signed up for a race on Sunday but I couldn’t pass this one up. It was small race put on by our kid’s schools, probably about 50 people in the race. Since my half marathon last weekend I haven’t run a single mile under 9:00 pace so I wasn’t sure if my speed would be ready to go sub 7:00’s today. I didn’t know till the end but the race was only 2.8 mile not an actual 5K.

1 Mile – 6:15, Avg HR 170. We went out really hard running the first 0.5 just under 3:00. After that blazing fast start there were only 3 of us in the lead group. I was in front setting the pace while the other two followed. I felt really good, I was actually surprised how quickly I had recovered from last week.

2 Miles – 12:34 (6:19 mile), Avg HR 184. After the excitement of the first mile our group’s pace dropped. About half way into this mile one guy made his move and I followed while the other runner was dropped and never returned. This guy put about 50 ft on me and I thought he was going to run away from me too. I figure I at least give it a try and I dug in and caught up to him but I was really in the red zone then and he easily pulled away immediately.

2.8 Miles – 17:21 (5:59 pace), Avg HR 191 (Max HR 198!). Going into the last mile this guy picked up the pace but I still caught him but he pulled away again. We play this cat and mouse game most of this mile. The race finished with 1 lap on the track. MY TRACK! I should have mentioned earlier that this race finish at my old high school where I have run lots of races. I wasn’t going to let this guy beat me on my home turf. As soon as we hit the track I made my move, again I chased him down but this time I didn’t let up and I went around him. He chase me for about 100 m before he broke (we put on a good show for small fundraiser) I didn’t slow down at all and sprinted into the finish in 1st place.

Overall I ran the 2.8 mile course at a 6:16 pace. That would have been an awesome 5K time but I am still really happy to win the race even if it was a small race. 2nd pace finished about 0:10 behind and 3rd place finished about 1:00 back. Also I got to beat my kid’s principle and a bunch on other kid’s parents that I know pretty well. My odd track coach was also there and got to see me win (he is the mayor now). I don’t think I ever won a race before.

Now it’s time to really test my ability to recover and see if I can run hard again in tomorrow’s 5K.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

2011 Denver Rock n Roll Half Marathon

1:30:31 New PR!

The Course:
This race starts and finishes only a few miles away from where I live but home field advantage hasn’t been the case. 2 yrs ago I ran my first marathon on this course, I hit the wall hard at 18 and walk 50% of the last 8 miles to finish in 5:19. I was happy I finished my first marathon but not happy with my time so I marked the calendar for my redemption the next year. Last year I had even a worse marathon on this course and got my first DNF ever, so again I marked my calendar again for redemption the next year. But this time was different I made a vow to myself to lose some weight and get healthy and few days later I joined loseit. This year a marathon didn’t fit into the plan (because of business travel) but I figured a successful half marathon would be just as good. Emotionally I had a lot riding on this race, I owe all my weight loss to my failures on this course.

A few weeks ago I had a failed track workout and I realized that I was just completely burned out, since then I have stopped all my regular speed workouts. I did have a few hard runs, a 10K at 90% effort 2 weekends ago and a 20 mile progression run last weekend but other than that I have just been maintain my mileage the last few weeks. And it worked, going into this race I was feeling so good that I almost switched to the marathon at the Expo, instead I registered for next year’s Denver RnR Marathon.

Read Set Go:
The logistics of the race are a nightmare 15,000 runner in either in the half or the full marathon plus spectators. After checking my bag I only had time for a 0.25 warm up before it was time to line up. Conditions were perfect the rain from the day before had cleared it was a nice 40F on the starting line.
Mile 1 – 7:05 I was in the first wave to start but it was still wall to wall people, I didn’t have a choice on speed here.
Mile 2 – 6:52 Once the traffic cleared up I picked up the pace. This mile was a scenic stretch threw the heart of downtown Denver.
Mile 3 – 7:09 I realized that have run the last mile too fast for my comfort, so I slowed the pace on purpose here.
Mile 4 – 7:09 Near the end of this mile there is a big hill, not really long (2 city blocks) but steep.
Mile 5 – 7:10 I spent the majority of this mile trying to get back into a comfortable pace, I was still in the red zone from that hill and my breathing was out of control.
Mile 6 – 6:48 The race entered City park while the sun was rising over the building in the distance (beautiful) and for the first time I felt like I hit my stride. I was running comfortable and fast.
Mile 7 – 7:00 Stopped for a bit to eat a cliff shot and drink some water.
Mile 8 – 6:52 Slightly downhill for part of this mile
Mile 9 – 7:01 Now leaving City Park and back to the streets of Denver. This part was an out and back section I remember last year being on the other side watching the fast runners go by and thinking next year I want to be up there with those guys.
Mile 10 – 6:53 I know that the next mile has 2 big hills so I take advantage here of the flat. At this point I am 99% confident that I can hold this effort all the way to the finish.
Mile 11 – 7:08 This is the mile I was a bit worried about with its two big hills, I gave both of these hill all I had. I was flying past people going up both of these hills it felt great. I knew that once over the top of the second hill was going to be a nice 2.5 miles downhill to the finish (home course advantage).
Mile 12 – 6:36 Once on the downhill it didn’t take long to recover from the up hill effort. There were some flat spots but I held my downhill pace through them. Like the uphill section I was passing people left and right, my confidence was sky high.
Mile 13 – 6:16 Another mile of mostly downhill running, the start and finish was at the same place so the earlier miles must have had a lot more up than down. I felt so good (runners high) that I just kept picking up the pace. I passed so many people in this last mile.
Last 0.1 – 0:32 (5:20 pace) I sprinted in the last 0.1 which was also downhill. They had barriers along the road holding the huge crowd back. The volume from this finish line crowd was just awesome. The last 2 years this course had made me feel like a loser but not today, I starting a new home course tradition. Overall I was 148th out of 8,900.

A 20+ min PR but not my first:
Here is my Half marathon progression (These are all the Half’s I have ever run)
Jun 2009 – 2:15 (220 lbs) This was my first half ever and I was pretty happy with my time (had 2200’ of downhill, 0’ up)
Sep 2010 – 1:53 (209 lbs) I can’t tell you how happy I was to run under 2hrs, I didn’t even care about the 22 min PR.
Oct 2010 – 2:25 (209 lbs) This was last year’s Denver Marathon, they counted me as a half marathon finisher.
Oct 2011 – 1:30 (180 lbs) coming into this race my goal was 1:35 but I felt really good and finished with a 23 min PR.

At the 5K mark, still crowded and the sun isn’t quite up.

Here I am crossing the finish line, this is first finish line picture where I am not looking at my watch.

Finished! Time for some beer and pizza (yes that’s my post race recovery meal)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Fans on the Field 10K

– 42:15 (6:49 pace, Avg HR 177)

Earlier in the week on Wednesday I had a failed speed workout and I knew right from then that I wouldn’t be racing this one but using it as a workout. On race day I decided on something in between race and workout, pacing my friend on his time goal. On Saturday my daughter’s friend had a birthday party at Jump Street and being the active parent I am I jumped with the kids for a couple of hours, which I still felt on race day.

Mile 1 – 6:44 (Avg HR 165). My legs felt like crud right from the start. This first mile felt way harder than it should have.

Mile 2 – 13:24 (6:40 mile split, Avg HR 177). As the excitement of the start wore off this mile felt like work, not fun. My quad felt like they were going to rip off of my hips and my friend that I was pacing was now pulling away from me.

Mile 3 – 20:07 (6:43 mile split, Avg HR 178 ). At the start of mile 3 we ran through the Pepsi Center and along the arena were the Avalanche and Nuggets play.

Mile 4 – 26:55 (6:48 mile split, Avg HR 178 ). I started to hit my stride and the pace just felt easier (quads feeling better). I caught up to my friend and took the lead as pacer again. Also on this mile we ran through Coors field (Rockies Stadium) and a short section along the dirt from home base to 3rd base and then out the back of the outfield.

Mile 5 – 33:56 (7:01 mile split, Avg HR 181). Back on the streets of down town Denver the tall building made nice shade. My friend and I were running with a small group and all of us really hit started to run out of gas and the pace slowed.

Mile 6 – 40:58 (7:02 mile split, Avg HR 184). Huge traffic jams as the 5K race merged back onto the same course. My friend says he is done and not to wait for him and go for it. I held the same pace be he and the group we were running with dropped way back.

6.2 Miles – 42:15 (6:25 pace, Avg HR 190). I picked up the pace a little for the final stretch but I still held back because my quads were burning up (and this was a flat course). The race finished on the sidelines of the 50 yard line of mile high stadium (Broncos). I felt like a star running out of the same tunnel onto the field.

I really did have a lot of fun and this was one of the coolest races I have ever run. But it was hard holding my pace through the halls and 90 degree turns inside the stadiums. I finished 35th out of all the men and 5th in my age group. My friend only fell behind by 0:20 in the last mile and finished with a PR by over 2:00 (he was pretty happy).

Sunday, August 28, 2011

2011 Colorado Relay

Over the weekend I ran with 9 others from my work in a relay race. The race started in Breckenridge and finished near Aspen. Our team finished the 195 miles in 32:10:34. I had a lot of laughs and a lot of great stories to tell, I won’t bore you with all of those non running stories. Here is a description of each on my runs. (kind of long but you should at least read about the last run)

Leg 10 – Frisco to Copper mountain Friday 5:35pm, 6.5 mi @ 8:22 Pace, Avg HR 177, Elevation Gain 690’
I left my house at 5:30 am and basically sat in the car for 12 hrs straight. I ran a 1 mile warm-up to try and loosen up my muscles but my quads felt terrible. I start off at a sub 8:00/mi pace which was fine for the first mile. Miles 2, 3, 4 @ 5 were all up hill, about 2%-3% grade. It was also hot and during these miles my heart rate averaged in the 180’s! The last 1.5 mi flattened out and I was able to resume a pace near 8:00/mi to the end.

Leg 18 – Eagle to Gypsum Saturday 2:40 am, 6.5 mi @ 7:36 Pace , Avg HR 160, Downhill Course
I was unable to sleep between this run and the last one. My quads felt bad before the last run and then I ran a hard uphill, my quads were now really hurting before this run. This leg was mostly downhill and I planned on taking it easy and saving some energy for the last run which was going to be my hardest. Right off the bat I started with a pace in the 7:30’s. I ran very even splits within 10 seconds faster or slower than the average. This run had my lowest average heart rate so I guess I did take it easy.

Leg 30 – Snowmass Golf Course to Snowmass Ski Area (trail run) Saturday 2:40 pm, 8.4 mi @ 10:58 Pace, Avg HR 163, Elevation Gain 1,540’
Since my last run I was able to nap about 30 min and my quads were really sore. I started on the golf course but in less than 5 minutes I was on the side of the mountain. I ran most of the first mile but then I had to walk some and run some the next 2 miles to the peak of the climb. The view at the top was amazing and the tail descended along some cliffs. There were times when I was only a few feet away from a really steep cliff it was really neat. But the fun was short live as I soon start ascending the second peak of the run. I really had a tough time on this climb, one mile was over 14:00. I came over the peak and again ran along some cool cliffs. Then I started my final decent to the finish line. At the very top I could see way at the bottom the finish (1.5 miles to run and 600’ decent). Also at the bottom I could see and hear my team cheering me on and making a ton of noise with some cow bells. I can’t describe what happened but it felt like I grew wings. I sprinted down the side of that mountain like a madman. It seemed like every switch back I could hear them get louder. I was going so fast that I almost didn’t make on a few turns. I ran that last mile in 7:29 on some pretty sketchy terrain. I met up with my team and we all ran the last 0.1 into the finish line together.

This will go down as one of my best running experiences ever especially that epic trail run. In the future I am going to imagine my teammates cheering me in whenever I need a boost.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Monday, August 8, 2011

Wall papering my workspace

Unless it’s already on the bib I will write the race name, date, time & distance. Then I hang it on my wall at work, eventually when I run out of room I will take the older ones down and store them somewhere.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Evergreen Town Race (10K)

My goal for today’s race was to run 41:59 so 6:46 pace. The race is at 7,500’ elevation but almost all downhill it was a really fast course. The biggest downhill was in the first mile and most everyone went out too fast. I ran the first mile a little faster than I wanted and I spent most of the second mile recovering. In the early miles I had already tossed my goal and traded it in for a faster pace. I came through the first 5K at 20:40 which felt great and way under my goal. But things were just getting started and I was going to pick up the pace. I had been running alone for a while with the same pack of runners about 100 meters down the road. I decided it was time to chase them down which took about a mile to cover the distance. I caught them near the 5 mile mark and went straight though the pack. It felt really good zipping past this pack of 10-15 runners. I really turned on the gas in the last mile, it hurt a lot but at this time I was running on a runner’s high. At the 6 mile marker I could see the finish line and I nearly went into a full sprint from there. My Garmin says I ran the last .2 @ 5:22 pace. I passed another few people in the sprint into the finish line. I ran my second 5K in 20:04 almost as fast as my best 5K this year.

Garmin Stats
Mile 1 – 6:34 (Avg HR 165)
Mile 2 – 6:43 (Avg HR 171)
Mile 3 – 6:34 (Avg HR 174)
Mile 4 – 6:39 (Avg HR 178 )
Mile 5 – 6:28 (Avg HR 182)
Mile 6 – 6:19 (Avg HR 185)
Last .27 – 1:27 (5:22 pace) (Avg HR 191)

This was an extremely competitive race.  I finish 68th overall and 16th in my age group. Lot of fast people showed up to this race today.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Scavenger Dash

This adventure through the streets of Denver was part scavenger hunt part running race. Each team had 2 runners plus an optional pit crew to help solve clues. There weren’t any teams without a pit crew in the top 3, I am glad we had are ours.

All together there was 12 items.
3 – Challenges. Cryptic clue would lead you to a location where you had to complete a task.
5 - Pictures of statues. Cryptic clue would lead you to a unique statue that you needed to take a picture of
3 - Find one of these and take a picture next to it. Find an Elevator, Cigar smoking Indian & a Mannequin with a head.
1 - Crayon rubbing. The clue sent us to get a crayon rubbing of the seal that’s on the 13th step of the capital

The race started at noon and it was 80+ degrees out and I was sweating buckets the whole time. While getting lost or not running the direct route we ran 9.25 miles in about 1:52, we finished 2nd place overall. The best route we could have taken to find everything would have only been 5.9 miles.

Here are a few of the better pictures and some comments (not the actual clues):

My teammate and I prior to the race, I passed on the pre race beer

Take a picture inside this sculpture

Take a picture with a mannequin that has a head (Terrible picture of me by the way)

Find the dancing ballerinas sculpture and imitate their pose for the picture

Find the fat lady and take a picture with her, she was at the opera house

Sunday, June 12, 2011

2011 Estes Park Marathon Race Report

Start and the first big accent (miles 0-10)
It was a really beautiful course but I think scenic = tough at least in Colorado. Around mile 2 we started a steady climb all the way to mile 6. Once at the top my muscles felt dead already. Also at the top of this climb I ate my first gel and it made my stomach queasy. Then it was long decent back to Estes Park. The downhill felt almost as bad as the uphill, I am not sure why downhills tear my quads apart. I ate half an orange at mile 9 which made my stomach feel even worse.

Around the lake (miles 11-16)
We got back into town where it’s actually flat and I ate my 2nd gel at mile 11. I almost puked, I didn’t although I wish I had. My legs were in terrible shape, my stomach hurt and I was getting hot. I came really close to giving up here, my car wasn’t far and I could have easily hopped in and drove away. I have given up on a marathon once before and that was way worse than any pain I was feeling. During this time I kept drinking liquids but I had given up on solid food.

Second loop out of town (miles 17-22)
The second loop started with 2.5 miles of steady climbing. The nice thing was as soon as we climbed a bit there was a light breeze and I felt cool again. My altitude had changed to “I will finish” and I was cooling down so things were looking good. The climb peaked at mile 20, here I looked at my total time for first time in the race. I wasn’t happy with my current pace and I was thinking the 5hr goal was gone. Running down the other side of this loop I picked up the pace a bit but my stomach seemed to be the limiting factor. I still hadn’t eaten anything since mile 11.

Back into town and the finish (miles 23-26.2)
At mile 23 I decide to eat a banana at a water station. This time it went down fine and a mile later I starting to feel a lot better. I looked at my watch for the second time in the race and saw that I there was still hope for finishing under 5hrs. I ran nonstop the last 2.2 miles at a 9:23 pace and a bpm 170-185.

Results and the big picture
I finished in 4:52:23 just under my medium goal of 5hrs. Which is not a great time, I am pretty sure that I could run it a lot faster if I was fresh. I showed up to this race pretty beat up and mentally exhausted having run 2 marathons in the previous 9 weeks. The real goal behind this was to join the marathon maniacs club. The entry requirement is 3 marathons in 90 days. Now that I have met this goal it’s time to take a break from marathoning and see some shorter distances.


Sunday, May 15, 2011

2011 Colfax Marathon

Pre Race:
At the starting line it was 37F and had just stopped raining. I wore my regular running shorts, tech-t, running hat, cotton hoddie and cotton socks. I received lots of great advice on clothing but in the end I couldn’t violate the most important rule in marathoning “don’t change anything on race day”. But I am going to buy some rain gear, so next time I will be prepared for anything.

Miles 0 - 6 “Relax we got a few miles ahead of us” (6mi @ 10:06 pace)
The first 6 miles were mostly dry with some light drizzle here and there. I started off slow and was boxed in by all the runners. I wasn’t about to go crazy like other people I saw weaving in and out of the traffic. Hey, we got 25 more miles I think you can make up for 1 mile of slow running. I was getting really warm debating on when I should toss the sweatshirt on the side of the road. Running in Denver is weird became its hilly but not big hills just short quick ones. Going up and down these little hills my quads didn’t feel right. Actually they didn’t feel right the last couple of days but I wrote it off as pre race jitters. My quads always get messed up as I cut back on the mileage. When I used to do the traditional taper (20 days) my quads would be useless at the start of the race. This year I have done a short taper (13 days) and that has helped a lot but not fixed the problem.

Miles 7 - 19 “Wet soggy and flirting with a DNF” (13 @ 9:53 pace)
By now the drizzle had become light rain but I was still feeling a little too warm. I ditched my sweat shirt at the Broncos stadium (9.5 miles). I didn’t realize at the moment but this was a huge mistake. At first running without the sweat shirt felt refreshing and my pace increased for the next few miles. I ran down a big hill around 14 and my quads felt terrible. Miles 15, 16 & 17 people keep saying just a little farther and then some downhill. I was like “please no more downhill”. Also during these miles my condition was deteriorating, I was getting really really cold. I remember at mile 18 I checked to see if my phone was still transmitting to run keeper and switching on the external battery, this was really hard because my fingers just didn’t want to move. At mile 19 I couldn’t open power gel with my hands, I had to use my teeth. I was seriously afraid that I going to have to duck out of the race just to warm up.

Miles 20 - 22 “Warming up, feels like I might be able to kick it in” (3 @ 10:11 pace)
I couldn’t remember if the course went back by the stadium. I figured that either way I was going to have to go find my sweatshirt. Luckily at mile 20 the course came pretty close and I only had to go off course (in the wrong direction) a few hundred feet to retrieve my sweatshirt. Around mile 20 it also stopped raining and was clear to the finish. I warmed up pretty quickly and my mood and pace improved. I finished mile 22 in 9:46, it had been 5 miles since my last one under 10:00. It felt like I had gotten my second wind and could finish the last few miles at a good pace. I was thinking that I could still get my medium goal of 4:22:00. But these feelings were short lived.

Miles 23 - Finish “The train has come of the tracks” (4.2 @ 11:31 pace)
After a 1 min walk break I was ready to start mile 23 with that same awesome feelings. But the first few steps into the run and my calf muscles nearly cramped up. I hate that feeling your muscles send out the second before they lock. Anyways I had some painful cramps last year and I wasn’t about to get one now. I changed my strategy to “forget about time, let’s just finish”. I think that when my quads are gone I must have changed my running form to one that is easier on them but really hard on my calf muscles. Nearly every step of the last 3 miles felt like it could have been the last before a huge cramp. The course went back through downtown Denver but this time I walked up every little hill. I ditched the sweatshirt again at mile 24(I was plenty warm for the last 2 miles). Even in this shape I was still passing a lot of people that must have been feeling worse. I was so happy to see the mile 25 marker, I wanted to sprint home but my legs would only allow 12 min pace. Crossing the finish line was a really good feeling and made it worth all the pain.

Post Race:
My official time was 4:28:03 my medium goal was 10 min pace (4:22:00). When I came through mile 22 at 3:39:39, I was 21 seconds under 10 min pace but after that I lost big chunks of time. This marathon was about 2 and half minutes slower than my last marathon. But I am really happy to have another marathon finished under 4:30:00.

I didn’t have any chaffing problems and only had got a 1 blister on one foot. The only thing sore today is my quads, everything else seems good. I am walking around normal today even on the stairs which is a day after first for me. I can remember the day after my first marathon every muscle seemed sore and my feet, ankles and knees were in bad shape too.

As every marathon I learned a lot and now I will adjust my training. 1 major problem I want to address is my quads, they didn’t feel right from the start. After 18 miles and a few small hills they were toast. In training I never have problems with my quads. I have successfully run many 18 & 20 mile runs without any quad problems and that’s usually just days after a tempo run. I am thinking that maybe over tapering is the issue not duration of the taper.

Here I am finishing, I am the one it the white shirt.

It’s amazing how quick your mood changes once you cross the finish line.

Finally some warmth, it only made it up to about 40F by the finish.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Cherry Creek Sneak 5K

- 19:56!
My wife’s boss signed me up to run with him only a few days before the race. I told him ok but I couldn’t cancel my long run because this was my last weekend to train for my May 15th marathon. My goal was to go out at about 7 min pace and then see how I felt after a mile. But I wasn’t feeling to good about this race, I wasn’t sure how my body would feel the day after 17 and I was still feeling sick.

I ran the first mile in 6:47 (163 AHR) near where I said I would. I really felt great the scratchy throat was gone my legs didn’t feel like they should have from yesterdays run. So I said to my self “lets go”. I ran the 2nd mile in 6:15 (176 AHR). Everything still felt great and I was passing people like crazy which was a great confidence boost. I kept speeding up the entire race and the 3 mile I was really pushing my HR to the max. I ran the 3rd mile in 6:08 (AHR 183) but again I was still on top of the world, can you say runners high. My watch said I ran the last 0.16 (I guess I went over by 0.06) at a pace of 5:08 (AHR 190).

I was a great weekend of running but now I am paying for it (ran 17 on saturday the day before the race). I really feel like crap, my throat is worse then it was yesterday so I am going to go take a nap now.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Experiment #2 on speed and walk running

 First a quick recap, last Wednesday during experiment #1 I ran the first 5 miles easy and then the last 5 miles at 8:22 pace with 1 min walk per mile.

This time I wanted to do the same workout but with 0:30 walk breaks for the last 5 miles.

During the first 5 miles I averaged a little over 10:00 pace. I did my usual 1 min walk break after each mile. My heart rate averaged about 135 for these early miles.

Mile 6 – 7:37 – Avg HR 165 (I was thinking this was way too fast)
Mile 7 – 7:25 – Avg HR 176 (maybe that wasn’t too fast)
Mile 8 – 7:10 – Avg HR 177 (gradual downhill for most of this mile)
Mile 9 – 7:12 – Avg HR 181 (major traffic light and a short but steep hill, HR spiked to 192)
Mile 10 – 7:03 – Avg HR 186 (mostly flat)
Keep in mind that each of these splits contains a 30 second walk.

Last 5 miles in 36:27 (7:17 pace). I am really floored with these results, this is a faster pace than my best 10K. I think that there must have been some other factors at work here. I expected to run faster with the walk times cut in half but not by this much. Maybe last week I was tired, less focused or something. I noticed that the transitions seemed a lot smoother than last week. Don’t let anyone tell you that run/walking is only for slower runners.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Solid weekend of running

Saturday: 15 miles run in 2:24 (9:37 pace) average heart rate 139.

Sunday: 6 mile trail run. Its 3 miles and 1520’ elevation gain to the top, I only time the accent portion because I like to compare it to accents.
I ran the uphill in 38:12 (12:44 pace), average heart rate 175 with a peak of 189 bpm. 38 min may not sound very good but one of my goals for this year was to reach top in less than 40 min so I can take that off my list. Also I beat last year’s best time by over 5 minutes and 2009’s best time by about 16 minutes. And now some pictures from this run.

Trail Head: elevation - 6046’, 33F, Foggy

This is a little over half way to the top, fog is getting thicker.

About 0.25 from the top and it’s snowing

Finally reached the top, elevation - 7570’, really cold and really thick fog.

Here is another shot at the top, behind that shelter is a great view of down town Denver but not today.

This is about half way down the mountain the sun is thinking of coming out. If you look way down the valley you can see the highway. Also on the other side of the valley is the famous red rocks Amphitheatre.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Gloomy Easter Morning on Mt Falcon

Its 3 miles and 1520’ elevation gain to the top, I only time the accent portion because I like to compare it to accents.
I ran the uphill in 38:12 (12:44 pace), average heart rate 175 with a peak of 189 bpm. 38 min may not sound very good but one of my goals for this year was to reach top in less than 40 min so I can take that off my list. Also I beat last year’s best time by over 5 minutes and 2009’s best time by about 16 minutes. And now some pictures from this run.

Trail Head: elevation - 6046’, 33F, Foggy

This is a little over half way to the top, fog is getting thicker.

About 0.25 from the top and it’s snowing

Finally reached the top, elevation - 7570’, really cold and really thick fog.

Here is another shot at the top, behind that shelter is a great view of down town Denver but not today.

This is about half way down the mountain the sun is thinking of coming out. If you look way down the valley you can see the highway. Also on the other side of the valley is the famous red rocks Amphitheatre.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Run/walk speed experiment #1

I am not ready to resume track workouts but I want to have some kind of hard work out during the week. Then I remembered that I was going to do some speed experimentation on the run/walk strategy.

Parameters of the run:
1. Clock never stops out on the course (actually I never stop my watch during a run).
2. Walk 1min after every mile
3. First 5 miles will be a warm up at a comfortable pace. Last 5 will be the experiment phase, I want to test this out on not so fresh legs.

Here is how it went
Miles 0 - 5, 51:04 (10:13 pace), Average HR 131
Miles 6 – 10, 41:52 (8:22 pace), Average HR 161, Max HR 181, last mile in 8:11
Total time – 1:32:56 (9:18 pace), Average HR 144

I created some tables to show how much a walk affects overall pace at different speeds. If my mile time with walk breaks is 8:20 then my running pace has to be 31 seconds faster. This means that I was averaging 7:40-7:50 pace during the running portions of the last 5 miles.

Psychologically this feels pretty easy, I am only thinking about how far I have till the next walk section not how many miles till I get home. The down side is that first few steps into and out of the walk zones are a little tougher on the body, especially slowing to a walk. The run/walk method seems a lot less efficient at this speed. Looking back it might have been easier to run the last 5 miles at this pace without stopping. Next Wednesday I am going to do this run again but with 30 sec walks.

If anyone wants to see these run/walk pace tables let me know and I send you a copy.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

2011 Eisenhower Marathon Race Report

26.2 miles - 4:25:39 - 10:08 pace - 37 min PR.

Ready set go. Miles 0 - 6, 10:08 pace, 137 Avg HR.
At the start of the race it was a little warm with a light breeze. I felt great I had actually slept decent the night before. For these early miles I was just trying to keep my cool and not get caught up in all the excitement. My discipline paid off and I stuck to my schedule walking 1 min every mile. It’s hard to walk 1 mile into a marathon with everyone running past.

Into the wind. Miles 6 – 13.1, 10:09 pace, 147 Avg HR.
This was and an out and back course and when we came out of the park it was almost a straight shot to the turnaround. This entire section was run into a constant head wind. You can tell from my heart rate that I was working much harder to hold the same pace. Also this section was not flat like I thought it would be (there are hills in Kansas). One of the downsides to the run/walk strategy is that you have to run your own race. I couldn’t draft off someone going 10:00 min pace or my mile time would be up around 11 min. But other people certainly didn’t have any trouble speeding up to drafting off me. I didn’t let this get to me I just kept on going my only though was about getting to the turnaround. My knee problems were short lived they started and ended some time in this section.

Wind at my back, who turned off the AC? Miles 13.1 – 20, 9:59 pace, 159 Avg HR.
I assumed that once I turned around I would just fly with the tail wind. What I didn’t realize was that the temperature had climbed up into the 70’s and the wind was keeping me cool. My pace did increase but so did my heart rate. For a comparison 2 weeks ago I ran 20 miles in 3:07 at 138 Avg HR today I had to work much harder for 20 miles coming in at 3:21 with an Avg HR of 150. I hadn’t planned for the heat, hills or wind but I didn’t let it get to me I was focused on getting the job done.

Getting hot and tired. Miles 20 – 23, 9:49 pace, 176 Avg HR.
My mini goal for today was to arrive at 20 miles in good shape and in a decent time. I have heard from a lot of people that a marathon is can be split into two halves a 20 mile warm up followed by a 10K. I agree, the real test begins at 20 miles. We turned off the long straight out and back road and returned to the park. Now there is no wind at all and I am really starting to heat up (in case you wondering heat is my kryptonite). But my pace is steady and maybe starting to increase a little. I should also say that I am passing people in droves. This walking strategy is really paying off.

Dark times. Miles 23 – 25, 10:43 pace, 180 Avg HR.
Near the end of the journey through the park I start taking a turn for the worse. I feel terrible and like I’m dangerously close to the dreaded wall. My mind was clouded with thoughts of doubt and my legs felt like lead. My pulse has spiked, I actually saw it in the low 190’s. But I kept my cool (mentally not physically) I changed up my strategy and walked 1 min at the start and another at the half for both of these miles. Interesting thing was that I was still passing people during this time. Coming out of park we turned towards town and went over the last hill.

Finish! Miles 25 – 26.2, 9:43 pace, 184 Avg HR.
After coming over that hill I could see the town, more importantly I could see the steeple of a particular church. This was the church where the race started and finished. It was that exact moment I knew I was going to finish. My mood did a 180 and I felt refreshed and excited I was almost there. I resumed my normal pace and strategy and I finished strong. I passed so many people in that last mile it was nuts. I was so proud of myself and so happy it was just a great moment at that finish line.

Post Finish Analysis/Random Thoughts
The run walk strategy was great and I got to mile 20 in pretty good shape. After about 5 miles almost no one was passing me and I was doing all the chasing. The wind and heat really gook a lot out of me, I wonder how fast I would have run in better conditions. Looking over my heart rate stats after the race was a real eye opener. I was only running 10 min miles but the effort I was putting in was huge, my heart rate was over 180 the last 4 miles. I bet on fresh legs a 180 heart rate would get me 6:30 pace for 4 miles. Anyways I finished 4th out of 12 in my age group and beat my previous time by over 37 mins. I’m 30 lbs lighter than my last marathon but I think a bigger factor was is that mind was much stronger and more confident than previous marathons.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Experiment #3 on speed and walk running

For the 3rd week in a row I am running the same 10 miles with the last 5 hard.
Strategy for the last 5 miles
Week 1 – 1:00 walk / mile
Week 2 – 0:30 walk / mile
Week 3 – no walking
Looking back on all of this the “no walk” should have been week 1.

Another goal for this run was to match last week’s times then we could analyze the differences in HR. This is really hard to do for a few reasons
1. My memory at 5:30 AM ain’t to sharp. The best I could remember is 740 730 710 710 700
2. Stoplights, I may have caught it last time but this time I had to wait.
3. I couldn’t match the first 5 from last week because I think I was still asleep until mile 3.
Here’s the data

I don’t know how I managed to come within 0:03 of last week’s total 5 mile time. If I wouldn’t have gone berserk the last mile I would have been spot on.

Straight through running without walk breaks was more efficient. Not only that but this was mentally easier than last week’s run. Last week’s run felt like an interval workout (it kind of was). So it looks like if I want to run a faster I’ll have to stop walking.

GPS Data technical talk
If last week’s splits look a little different it’s because they are. I had to use some math to try and predict the splits since the watch only came back with 9.91 miles. This time the route was 9.95 but I still needed to fix the splits otherwise that last mile is way off. The math I used last week was faulty, so I fix it and created a spreadsheet that better estimates where the splits are when my Garmin comes up short (or long). The change is +/- 0:00 - 0:03 per mile and then the last mile split may have big changes.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

IT band injury?

20 miler done, but it was an ugly run. I post the details in the running forum soon.

Well I completed my 20 mile run but it was an awful day. I am usually posting my good times so I think I have to post my bad times as well. Here it goes, it’s pretty bad.


Total Time 3:32

So here’s what happened. I started off not feeling very good my calf was hurting right off the bat. But I didn’t think much of this because the first miles are never good. A few more miles go by and my calf is getting worse. Miles 10-15 felt like I had found my rhythm and I was thinking that I was in the clear. But after my last pit stop (mile 15) my calf came back with a vengeance. It was just dead weight from then on. This threw off my gait and before I knew it my hamstring, knee and ankle were all in pain. But I couldn’t stop now I only had a few miles to get back to the car. I really struggled those last 3 miles to maintain an 11 min pace.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Polar Bear 5K

I was telling a friend last week that I hadn’t run a 5K in almost a year. My last 5K I was 208 lbs and I finished in 22:30. I started thinking to myself “maybe I should run that same race again this year”. So on Saturday I decided to run the Polar bear 5K here in Denver on Sunday. It was a nice morning, sunny and in the high 20’s, perfect 5K weather. I had forgotten how much a 5K can hurt and I made it hurt. Right from the start I ran my guts out finishing the first mile in 6:26. I slowed down a bit for the second mile 6:39, but then had a strong finish with my last mile at 6:21. My goal for the race was to finish in less than 20 min. I barely missed the mark at 20:05! but I am really happy with my time. Out of everyone I finished 8th overall and I received an age group award for finishing 2nd in the 20-29 division. So exactly one year later I’ve lost 19lbs and taken 2 ½ min off my 5K time.

An observation: After the race I talked with a lot of runners who finished in front of me and I as watched the next 10 or 20 people finish after me I noticed something. I outweigh everyone in the top 25 by at least 30lbs lighter than me, most of these guys look like they are between 130-150.