Sunday, November 14, 2010

It's been a long time

After more than three years without a post, I'm back--both to real running and writing about it. I ran a 10k today, and my time wasn't horrible. It wasn't good, but I think I finished top 10 in my age group. I know I was the 34th man, and 47th overall.

The coolest thing about today's run is that my whole family ran. My son is 13, and he and I ran the 5k together. He was able to run sub-8:30. My 11-year-old daughter and wife walked the 5k, and my daughter ran a 1k fun run. I guess I shouldn't be too disappointed with my time since I ran an easy 5k before my race.

I'm shooting for a BQ time in the next year or so. I figure I'm in shape to train for a 3:30 right now, but not yet the 3:20. Instead of training for a marathon, I'm working on overall fitness. I'm doing pushups and pullups. My weight is down to about 142. I figure now is the time to get fast and light.

OK, not enough writing, but as I keep telling myself, some is better than none. More to come.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

5k PR: Carlsbad 5000

I have a new PR for a 5k: 19:29. Of course, I'd run only one prior 5k, so I had a 50/50 chance of doing better. Because I hadn't had a lot of time to train, I concentrated on speed work. My schedule was (and still is) track intervals on Tuesday, track or hill work on Thursday, long run Sundays.

The result is that I've improved my speed substantially. I figure I'll concentrate on being faster since I can't run as much as I'd like. The nice thing is that the 19:29 5k is an "equivalent" time for a qualifying marathon. In other words, the 5k time means I should be able to reach my goal with proper training.

The race, Carlsbad 5000, was great. The course is super-fast and by the beach. Weather conditions were almost perfect, and I'd read an article that suggested you should run your first mile a little fast when running a 5k. Kind of the perfect storm for my PR.

My wife, son and I made a weekend of it and stayed there. I love the way my family supports my races. It's nice to see them at the finish line.

The race is great for spectators because each age group/gender had a separate start time and the elites go last. That way we mere mortals can watch the really fast people. Because the course is a big "T" and runners cover the perimeter of the shape, spectators sitting near the intersection can see runners pass by three times: just after the start, right in the middle, and just before the finish. That's what we did, and we saw the women's leader miss her previous world record by a hair.

It's time for bed. But it's nice to be back. Next time I'll have to write about my shoes.

Has it been that long?

Work is still a bitch. Many days (2-3x/week) I'm there from 8 AM until midnight. Most days at least 12 hours. I haven't had weekends free, either.

I've been able to squeeze in a few runs and a few races, but finding the time to write has been tough. Running-wise, I can usually make three runs per week, but my weeks are 20-25 miles per. I'm hoping that next month will be better. I'm nearing the end of my huge project, so I'll have more time.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Weekly wrap up

I'm getting concerned with my lack of miles. I'm 23 miles behind my goal after allowing for a zero-mile week. Otherwise it would have been a 53-mile deficit. Thank goodness next week is the last recovery week. It'll take some 35-40 mile weeks to get back on track.

Tally: Monday 4, Thursday 5, Saturday 7.5, Sunday 9. I'll call it 25. No blisters or injuries. Shiny new shoes.

First "long" run in the Kinsei

When I trained for my first marathon, my buddies told me that at the peak of training, a ten mile run would seem like a tuneup. I thought they were crack smokers. At that time, my longest run had been six miles or so. Ten seemed like a looooooong way.

They were right. Or else I've been smoking the same crack. Progressively longer runs have made 10-milers less significant. Last year, 20-milers became routine. During the holidays, I would do one every other week without killing myself. Such an effort would have made me a bed-ridden pile of goo in the past.

So it pains me to say that today I did a long run of nine miles in the Kinsei. "Long" and "nine" seem like a contradiction in terms these days. When did that happen?

Nevertheless, the run was great. It was cool and overcast. I ran with friends for the first time in a week, which was a welcome change.

Another welcome change was that I had no problems breathing during the run. I was hacking beforehand, but an albuterol and atrovent cocktail seemed to do the trick.

The only niggling problem was that I got a hot spot on the forward part of my arch. No blister, but it probably would have developed, given time. My right shoe was probably a little loose. It had to be the shoe or the lacing because the socks were tried and true standard Asics.

The run for next Sunday? That one goes to eleven. Next week I'll feel like a runner.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Midnight run

It's 12:20 a.m., Saturday morning. It's 36 degrees Fahrenheit. I'm running past large vacant lots, thinking, "I've seen coyotes out here before. What the H-E-double-toothpicks am I doing?" The answer: I'm squeezing in a run where I can. I grab a stick off the ground and keep running.

Work has been killing my running recently. This sets off a chain reaction: running suffers, fitness suffers, happiness suffers, family suffers. When work eliminates my greatest relief from work-related stress, the vicious cycle makes things bad.

Thursday morning I woke up at 2:30 a.m. Not from an alarm, but from sheer panic over getting a long-term project finished. I worked until about 7:30, took the kids to school at 8:00, then started a run at 8:30.

Five miles easy. It was supposed to be seven miles, but I had a meeting at 10 a.m. I would make it up Friday.

Weather was great, overcast and about 60 degrees. For the first time since the marathon, I didn't have trouble breathing. I was a little late for my meeting, but the stress relief was worth it.

Seven miles Friday was going to be a challenge. I had a long day ahead of me. My goal: get to work early and run at lunch. I wouldn't be able to run after work because I planned to work from 8 a.m. until at least 10 p.m.

My plan failed. My son made me 45 minutes late for work. The chain reaction begins anew: late for work, no run at lunch, no stress relief. Crap.

I finished work early (9:30), got home, and put my kids to bed at 10. Then came the realization that at midnight I had to go to my kids' school for registration. Registration started at 4 a.m., but my wife and I are the kind of psychos who want specific teachers for our kids. Over the past few years, successful registration has required progressively earlier wake-up times. 6 a.m., then 5 a.m., then midnight.

I wasn't going to sleep, so I came up with Plan B. I would get to the school at 12, run for an hour, then wait in line. I checked the temperature, 39 degrees. This would take some planning.

I got my running clothes, double-layered, and grabbed a headband and reflective vest. I packed jeans, warmup pants, a boatload of warm clothes and my inhaler. I made a thermos full of coffee, snagged a bottle of Gatorade and a Kirkland Weight-loss Shake (my favorite recovery drink at $1 for a perfect 4:1 carbs:protein ratio). No need for a cooler. It was cold.

I got to the school a couple minutes past midnight. There was already a small crowd. I got my number: 31. I talked to a few people and found out that some poor soul (psycho) had been there since 7 p.m. Next year is going to suck.

I stuck my number and car key in my pocket and started my run. Within a mile I couldn't breathe. This was going to be a long morning. I wheezed my way through 7 miles at 9:38 per. Yuck. 8x 100 yard sprints and I was finished. But I avoided any coyotes.

I changed into my street clothes outside my car. I spent the rest of my morning talking to other parents, drinking coffee, stretching, freezing my ass off, and hacking up a lung. My left piriformis was sore and both my puny triceps hurt from carrying a 3 foot stick for 5 miles. And I felt great.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

New Kinsei

Hit the treadmill in my shiny new Kinsei last night. Easy 4 miles while watching Jack Bauer get duped again. After 5 really bad days in his life, he should know that everyone is trying to screw him, but I digress.

I wheezed a lot less this run. I guess that's good. Not wheezing at all would be better. I used a different inhaler this time, atrovent, because the albuterol stopped working. Atrovent is effective, but you have to use it several times a day. It's a pain in the ass. It tastes like ass. I'm not speaking from personal ass-tasting experience; it's metaphor for tasting really bad.

Back to my shoes. As a mini-torture test, I wore socks that previously gave me blisters. My feet felt great all four miles. The run was short, slow and on the treadmill, so it was hard to make a true assessment. I'll get a better idea as the week progresses.

I'm planning three 5-mile runs and eight on Sunday. I can't wait. I had to leave my running stuff at home to force myself to rest today.

That was too bad, because I like to look at my new shoes. They're very sparkly.

Therein lies the value of new shoes for me. Granted, they have fresh cushioning and support, thereby softening and correcting my stride. But more importantly, I want to run in them because they're very sparkly.

I want to try them on the treadmill. I want to try them on long runs. I want to hit the track with them and run my favorite hill. I want to show them to my running friends so they can look on in envy or roll their eyes in disdain. I want to race in them and try them on my favorite courses to see if they make a difference.

For my money, new shoes are good for a month or two of good hard effort just because they're new. Pairing them with different sock and insole combinations can tack on an extra motivating month or two. That's 250-500 miles of motivation. Even at the ridiculous price I paid, they're probably worth it. And they're very sparkly.