Tuesday, February 23, 2016

LA Marathon

Rolling down the Imperial Highway...
Santa Ana winds blowing hot from the north

(the course doesn't go anywhere near the Imperial Highway, and the Santa Ana winds blowing hot were a worst-case scenario)

La part 2

The Plan

Train as hard as possible and hope for a decent day to run a PR. Sacrifice to the gods of good weather and try to no overdo things watching the Olympic trials on Saturday.

The Reality

Trained well until the snow back home. The race weather was warm and spent half the day standing at the trials.


The Start

Got a taste of that famed LA traffic and nearly missed it. Was dropped at the gates to Dodger Stadium and had to rush down to the corrals. Found people entering through a gap and went in there, but only got as far as corral D. Started in a sea of people and had to resort to going off course a little to manage some sort of pace. Out of the stadium things opened up I started to run my race.

Early Miles

Felt ok. Maybe not so peak tapered, but early miles were relaxed at a PR pace. Caught up to to Ryan and Brennan downtown and make some bad joke that I can't remember as I went past. They told me to get up further and I listened. The hill out of downtown was tough and I felt like a bit of work, but got to relax a bit on the down side into Echo Park. Made a reference to Warren Zevon and the Pioneer Chicken Stand that no one got as I crossed Alvarado Street. Was taking water about ever other stop, but more wound up on my head than anything else. I also started chasing shade as the buildings on the left made shade along Sunset and later Hollywood Boulevard. At mile 8 I had to run over the Elliott Smith wall, which is from the cover of an album that people don't even seem to like. But I didn't really care, I was taking in the sights of Tinseltown.


More of the Same

Everything was going ok through the middle of the course. It was warm, but not enough to cause a melt down. Plus it's a dry heat. Saw my brother and sister around 14 along the Sunset Strip. Made a 'lol WTF is a record' joke when we passed the former Tower Records (nobody laughed). The course turned and went through Beverly Hills and Rodeo Drive. Saw somebody run off course to take a photo of the Beverly Hills signs, so didn't feel as silly about the wall detour earlier. The course entered a long stretch of no shade around mile 18 through 20. The foot pain crept in around here, which was annoying but not enough to cause much beyond a slight slowdown.

The Problems

The foot pain, the return of some plantar fasciitis that has been an intermittent problem in the last couple of years. I think it was exacerbated by running in the far left of the course chasing shade in the middle miles. And possibly the result of the shoes I was wearing (or just the fact that I wore the same shoes for that extended amount of time). I had thoughts that I wasn't going to be able to finish because the pain had become so acute. I stopped and put my number on my shorts and ditched the singlet. I walked for what felt like an eternity before trying to run again. It worked to an extent cause I was able to get moving for a little while before the sharper pain returned. I got off the course the best I could, even went completely behind an aid station at one point. I also was grabbing water at every opportunity and cooling myself down. If I hadn't stopped to walk with the foot issues I might have run into trouble with the heat catching up with me. I can't really be sure about that. Somewhere around 24 and half the fog rolled in and the temperature cooled down. I had the idea at some point I was just going to tough it out and at 25 seemed like the time. Finished at 3:32 and had to walk probably more than half a mile at the end to get to the 'A' reunion zone. Good planning, there.

GPS here:
https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/1052262468

Friday, November 27, 2015

Ashenfelter 8k - Glen Ridge, NJ

New Jersey, the ancient ancestral Anderer homeland.
I have wanted to do the Ashenfelter 8k for a few years now. The race is no turkey trot, it's quite competitive, as it should be. Horace Ashenfelter is Penn State's most accomplished Track and Field alumnus, with the fancy indoor track named after him. He won the 3k Steeplechase in the '52 Olympics, the United States' only 3k steeplechase medal (so far). He set the American record in the prelims and the world record in the finals. He lived in Glen Ridge, NJ after college and was an alumni representative to prospective students in the area, including my dad in '65. So with all those reasons in the world to run, I finally made a point to make the trip this year. I had no marathons in surrounding weeks which had stopped me in the past.

Of course there were a few reasons why maybe I wasn't going to be at optimal fitness for this one. I just ran my highest mileage week in over a year and I wasn't going to drastically cut back my miles this week either. I doubled on Monday and ran quicker at Fed Hill group run in the evening. I went to the TTWSS pre-Thanksgiving meal at Outback (eating later than usual and having steak instead of carbs). I didn't go home until after 11 and got up just after 5. But I should be in better shape than I've been for a while (see highest week comment two sentences previous) and I took Wednesday off completely, so it was worth putting 100% forward to see what happens (ignoring the fact I tend to go for it once the starting gun goes). Anything sub 32 would make me happy, hopefully closer to 31 flat than 32. It's weird that I stress so much about 30-40 seconds in shorter races sometimes. 31 Wouldn't have resulted in a top 100 mug, regardless.
Despite not quite getting up when I should have, light holiday morning traffic meant I was up there in plenty of time to warm up out on the course. In my head I was expecting a pretty flat course, but I should have not thought that at all. The town is called 'Glen Ridge' after all. I say my friend Mike and chatted for a minute or two. He wound up top 20, but not as satisfied with race I think. Also, there was a guy for NJ track club that wore Maryland flag shorts with his Jersey singlet. I don't know him, but maybe somebody out there does.

The start was a bit of a mess, folks were getting back from their warm-ups and just going to the front of the mass of people and stopping. They had a line for the start, but the timing strip was up from that. I think we started in front of the actual line, but that was pretty much the only thing that could happen. Folks moved back a bit, but at a point they just stopped. The race crew made announcements about only folks who run sub 6 should be right at the front, but I was expecting close to 6 flat given the way I usually start races too fast.

Race details - first miles were quick, 6:03 and then 6:13. Started to tie up after, getting through 5k in 19:25 or so. The race passed by the start/finish line around 3.5 and does an out-at-back which was demoralizing. Mile 4 had a short hill which shouldn't have been that bad, but felt tough. Finished with 31:50 on the watch, 31:45 gun time. Might have been closer to the 31:50 if the start line was indeed behind the fast folks up front. Approximately equal to a sub 40 10k and a smidge faster than the 12k 10 days ago. Progress?

On the way home I stopped at the Ebright Azimuth, which is the highest point in Delaware. It's a short trip up Naamans Road from 95, within sight of the PA border. Parked and crossed the street to the sign and the benchmark which was paradoxically in a slight depression by the sidewalk. This counts as my fifth state high point if you include DC, I've done more marathons than high points. Might need to work on that.

Strava link

Friday, September 11, 2015

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Katahdin hike

I left the champagne at home and did the Hunt Trail ascent of Mt Katahdin in Baxter State Park, northern Maine. I took a few photos along the way, most have some clouds as they rolled through pretty consistently throughout the day. The starting elevation was around 1,000 ft and the peak is nearly a mile high at 5270 feet. The whole route is about 5 miles each way and took my sister and I over 8 hours. There was some running, but quickly it became a hard scramble over boulders. A few folks were finishing their long sections of the Appalachian Trail which was great to see. And several folks commented on the Fells Point on my shirt. The climb out of the forest became a scramble. Not necessarily harder than the one I encountered in the Tetons, but more intimidating for sure. At one point we climbed up over a sort of ridge where it dropped off quickly on both sides. I worried about it on the way down, but somehow most of it was easier going down. After quite of bit of scrambling, with a few iron bars to scale harder climbs it flatted out (relatively) into a broad, flat area. But it was still going upward. There was concern in this area about harming the endangered plant life up there. The clouds were constantly moving around us. At some points you could see them raising up as they hit the mountain. It was reminiscent of a volcano at times. The top was something else. At the bottom we spoke to a ranger who said Nation Geographic had named it the second-best summit climb and I can see why. The far side fell away drastically down to a green valley. The peak extended as a ridge to the east, the aptly named 'Knife's Edge,' a thin pile of rocks. I wanted to try climbing a bit, but the way up was enough for me at the point. At the bottom was a waterfall that races along the path. When we reached this, we knew we were close to the bottom. On to the next one. Season is running out, so maybe next year for Long's or a try again at Grand Teton.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Caribbean Excursion - Puerto Rico and Saint Thomas

A few shots from my Caribbean trip. Did manage to run a few miles in St. Thomas on the second day.
Isla Verde beach, 20 minutes after landing in San Juan

Old school hotel on the way to Old San Juan

Walls of Old San Juan

A view of Old San Juan from 10 stories.





My first views of St. Thomas

Self explanatory
Charlotte Amalie wall

Up and over the hill to the beach (cruise ship is visible in this one)

Magens Bay, not too shabby


Random Garmin

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

(Don't Go Back to) Rockville 10k

Not much to say about this one. Went out around 6:05 pace. Couldn't hold it past 2 miles. It was hilly, but not that hilly. Good support (thanks Conrad, Dan, Tom, and Chicken Tender!). Both races i've done purely for the MD RRCA Grand Prix deal have been turds. So maybe that's a lesson.

One thing that was pretty lousy was a 5k started after the 10, and they finished together. So I was weaving through the middle of the pack for the last mile or so. Not my favorite thing ever.

Time didn't match the 10k a ran November of last year. I don't think it even matched the 10k split of the 10 miler I ran two weeks ago. Certainly was light years behind my 10k split at the Cherry Blossom.

That's running.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Falls Road 15k

(aka Baltimore Pacemakers Prep 15k)

The Falls Road 15k is the only the race i've managed to run all 3 years of my running revival. A small race with rolling hills through Druid Hill Park (not the dreaded hills, though) it's one of my favorite races, since 15k is pretty much my favorite distance to race. In 2011 I went to Fells Point festival and had several Natty Bohs, but will still happy with my 1:08. Last year I was in much more respectable shape and cut that time down 1:04 and the place down to 12th overall. Back in December of last year I made a notecard goal going under 60 minutes in 15k, so I was looking to get the final goal completed.

This year a 5k was added in addition to the 5k. It didn't have much effect on the race up towards the front. Cory was running the 5k at an easier pace since he is two weeks away from Chicago. He did take the lead through the mansion loop, but by the time we were around the lake 3 out of the top 4 places overall were 15k runners (first, second, and fourth). I went out aggressively and was hanging with the second place runner. First place had checked out and i'm not sure who all were behind me because I wasn't checking at this point.

The hill on mile 4 is where reality set in and my pace slowed. Second place pulled away and I was running the rest of the way on my own. I try to push the back side of the park through Woodberry because it's mostly downhill, although the switchbacks are a bit tough. The turnaround at mile 7 was my chance to see the next person behind me, and it wasn't so close. I had pretty much already lost out on sub 60, so I was just finishing up however I could.

Final totals. 1:01:30 on my watch. 3rd Overall. On to the next one, either Newark Mile or Army 10.