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.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

3200 Time Trial

This is likely to never be formally documented anywhere, so I figure I should get this on record. Ran 11:15 for 3200 last Saturday at the UMBC track (Garmin says 11:13, but I think it starts a few seconds late for some reason). I was lucky to have faster (and much faster) people running ahead, so I feel like it was pretty much race effort. Something around 5:25 for the first mile, but I couldn't hold the pace to get under 11. Hopefully there will be another attempt before the summer is over.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Big Horn

My sister put some pictures from the trip on her blog.  Some from the race, some from what they did to kill the 12 hours and 58 minutes it took me to finish.

My favorite picture was this one--I got tired of carrying the water bottle after 50 miles, so I found a place to put it:

I am not going to bore anyone with a very detailed description of the race.  It took 13 hours and was 50 miles.  I don't even care to remember much of it at this point.  But the basics were this--a point to point course (the 100 ran out and then back, brutal).  Start was 8800 feet, dropping down to the footbridge at mile 18 somewhere in the 4900 range.  Then back up (quickly) to 7000+ in about 2 miles.  Some ups and downs until mile 40 (a hill known as 'the haul') where the course dropped from 7500 down to Dayton, in the high plains below.  While that's a tough course the scenery was pretty unbelievable.  It really reminded me of going to several different national parks in the course of one day.  There were parts very much like Zion, which is my favorite park, so that's saying a lot.  One of the folks at an aid station said he would have liked to take about 4 days to hike the course and see it all, which seems about right.

The downhill beginning felt good, I tried not the push the pace cause it was so early.  I still felt good at the footbridge station.  I changed my shoes (the Mizunos were giving me blisters, because of course they were).  The climb after that was pretty much a walking affair.  I felt like stopping completely a couple of times, but knew that would kill the momentum.  The next 10 miles or so were up and down, and I ran a good deal.  I passed quite a few people (some doing well, some limping along) at this point.  The aid station at 28 had a few issues (they told me it was 26, which mentally made a big difference), and they were just about to run out of water.  I got half a bottle so I wasn't hogging.  The 6 or so miles to the next station were starting to get to me.  I walked a good deal.  It also didn't help you could see it, several miles away and several hundred feet higher.  But my family was waiting there, which helped keep me moving forward.  Another shoe change, some soda and such and we started up the path.  They got to walk with me until I decided I wanted to jog (which didn't last long). 

Around the last serious up, a hill known as 'the haul,' someone I had been running with earlier in the race caught up to me.  She had done the race previously and warned me about the downhill that was looming. And she was right, I wanted to quit in that part.  I couldn't even walk down because the it was so steep.  So I ran down the hills and walked the flat.  My legs were pretty thrashed at this point.  And even when it flattened out several miles later I still walked from one aid station to the next cause it was trail and I couldn't lift my feet.  With 5 miles to go the trail became a gravel road and I managed to walk and run that part.  But it was very exposed and I could feel the sun burning my neck and the back of my arms.  And there just wasn't much shade.  I think I ran extra trying to go anywhere there was trees.  At 1.7 mile to go there was a last aid station, a quick spray of the hose and a icee pop (!) and I was ready to go.  I think I ran most of the last mile and finished in under 13 hours.  Immediately swearing not to do another for at least several years.

The rest of the trip was a nice vacation.  I was (carefully) climbing Independence Rock just two days later.  But I didn't technically run a measurable amount for 10 days.  It was my longest break in two years.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Goin' Out West - Big Horn Trail Race 50 miler

It wouldn't be a trip out west without the obligatory Tom Waits...

Big Horn Trail 50.

This looks to be an insane race.  Start is about 8800 feet, however the first 10 miles or so are downhill into the 'low' part of the course in the 4,000 feet range.  But then it goes up and over a ridge close to 8,100 before going back downhill to the finish.  The 100 does this out and then back, which is just nutty. 

Because too much is never enough I went down to VA just to run a mile on the track.  I felt like I won't have the same shape for a while if I carry through with my plan to hibernate for at least a month after the 50.  So 5:08 (maybe 5:09, haven't seen an official result yet) is going to be the quickest time for a while.  I do think they have a fall track meet or two down there, so I might be back.  Passed on the 800 because I didn't want to wait around. 

Monday, May 6, 2013

Living on the Air in Cincinnati - Flying Pig Marathon results

Baby, if you've ever wondered.  Wondered what ever became of me.  I'm living on the Air in Cincinnati.  Cincinnati WKRP...

Continuing my tour of Marathon with funny names, I chose Flying Pig in Cincinnati as my big race this spring.  It's a pretty hilly course, on par with the Baltimore Running Festival.  It was a little late in the season that I would have like, but since i've already done Shamrock and have yet to run fast enough to do Boston, it seemed the most logical.  I also considered Glass City.  But, you know, Toledo...

Silly Garmin thinks the course went up some magic hill in mile 5.  Otherwise it looks pretty spot on.  Notice the small, steep hills throughout the second half.  Nasty little buggers.

Compared to Baltimore: 

My sister decided to come along to watch me run, which was great.  She brings big stuffed Elmo along to cheer and it's easy to spot her among the crowds.  I was him high 5s early on in the race.  She and her friend Cindy got into town the day before I did, and picked me up from the airport Friday night.  It was a weird, long trip from BWI up to Philly to connect and then over.  I boarded the plane at 6:30 and due to the nature of the flights I was flying over Baltimore 3 hours later.  Both flights sat on the runway for a significant amounts of time.  I don't know if that had anything to do with how I felt but when I finally arrived Friday, but my legs felt terrible. 

I woke up and felt much better Saturday, and went out early for a shake out run around 20 minutes.   It was very humid, which had been a concern all week.  So I spent the rest of day concerned about the weather, needlessly.  If it was anywhere as humid Sunday it didn't seem to affect me.  It was very cloudy and felt cool for the early start (6:30).  I tried to take it easy on Saturday, but we had to see some of the city, so we took the trolley, went to the botanical gardens, and hit the expo.  We tried to grab dinner early and get to sleep early, but I think it was something like normal time.  I didn't sleep much, when I woke at 3:45 that was it and I was sitting quietly in the dark waiting for race time. 

Finally it was 5:30 and I was out the door catching the shuttle over the river.  Got dropped right at the Bengals stadium and did a short 5 minutes to warm up.  Found the A corral and the pace groups (3:10 and 3:05 were pretty much together).  Something I noticed about the midwest is people line up properly.  At Grandmas last year and again yesterday folks were really well ordered at the front.  Wish it was more like that around here sometimes.  I did another short jog and before long it was the anthem (O!) and the start.

The Race

The plan was to start with 3:10 pace group and wait a really long time to break away and get a sub 3:10 qualifying time.  Spoiler alert:  this did not happen.  I kept 3:10 near for about 2 miles, but over the bridge into Covington I got ahead.  They were rather close to 3:05 this whole time so I decided to just keep 3:05 in sight and run in space.  I like to run in space.  I think I was running a bit extra through this part and ended up .2 further than 26.2.  Not a huge deal, of course, it's to be expected with full marathons. 

Pace for first 5 miles - 7:07, 6:56, 7:05, 7:05, 7:13

It felt like I was walking.  There were several bridges early, and to get to downtown it was a climb.  I was relaxed and keeping 3:05 in sight.  It was a group probably close to 30 people.  I didn't want any part of that group.  I was passing people, and it was crowded with the half folks mixed in.  I had a preview of the hilly section from 6 onward on Saturday so I knew it needed respect.  I subconsciously decided to be fairly aggressive up the hill section, as I like run up hills at a good pace and then 'rest' a little on the down parts.  I started to reel in 3:05 through these miles. 

6 - 10   6:59, 7:15, 7:06, 6:59, 6:53 (note, these are Garmin splits, I was at least one tenth ahead of the mile markers on the course at this point). 

The hills were sorta fun, in a weird way.  I was passing by people, feeling pretty good.  Thanking folks for cheering.  All that stuff.  The half folks turned off somewhere in here and things got pretty spread out.  The hills flatted off and went down a bit.  Not to say there wasn't more climbing.  I used a little surge to get closer to 3:05 through the down parts and this was as close as I got.  Half split was 1:33:08.  I was thinking it would have been better to be closer to 1:35, but in the end it was a well-run first half and indicated a really good finish if everything went ok from there.

11 - 15  6:57, 6:57, 6:51, 6:49, 6:56

Digging deeper into those splits, all but mile 13 had more elevation loss than gain.  The 6:49 14th was 0 feet of gain, and 130 feet of loss, if you trust the garmin elevation charts.  I guess I was picking it up a bit in addition to letting myself go on the down parts.  Still feeling rather good with less than half to go.  I had taken Gu at 3 and 10 and decided to take a 3rd around 15 in case I couldn't stomach one later. 

16 -20  7:05, 6:56, 7:00, 6:53, 7:19

The end of the good feelings.  Somewhere around 16 I started to feel off.  The course went through an out-and-back section where you could see folks running in the other directions.  There were sharp turns and I lost the 3:05 group completely there.  At one point my thoughts were to pick up the pace at 17, since it was only 9 miles remaining.  But I knew it was most important to hang on even at that point.  I kept the effort even.  There were a few short, steep hills in this section that were nasty.  None were really breaking me, and I was picking off lots of folks dropping from the 3:05 group just ahead.  Up to 20 I was only drinking water when I felt like I needed it.  But starting at 20 I took gatorade.  I stopped for a few steps at 20 to make sure I didn't just spill it all over myself.  But I started up again and the rest of the way was that familiar battle against myself to keep from walking again.

21 - 25 7:24, 7:13, 7:23, 7:29, 7:36

A fade.  But really nothing i'm that upset about.  I watched the watch like a hawk and as long as it was still reading under 7:30 consistently I was not going to sweat it.  And I felt like the difference between 3:10 and something better was simply up to walking versus running.  Thinking in terms of 5ks instead of miles (thanks Joel!) was much easier mentally.  The folks who dropped from 3:05 were keeping a consistent pace at this point and we mostly all shuffled along together.  No one was walking, which I think helped keep me running.  I was temped to turn around and look for the 3:10 group to see how close they were getting, but I resisted. 

Cincinnati didn't really come into sight until very late.  I think I preferred this versus at Grandma's where one could see Duluth forever and it never seemed to get closer.  Somewhere after 23 I could see the buildings, and knew I was close, but not that close.  Then after 25, you come around a bend and you're there.  Really helps pull one towards the finish at that point.

26, .4 - 7:25, 3:05

Here's where the extra garmin distance catches up.  Finished it out just as it started to rain steadily.  I didn't mind that at all.  The finisher's medal was the heaviest one i've ever lifted.  I had to walk hunched over because of the weight.  I headed over to the med tent, but mostly cause I need to sit down.  I wasn't really feeling as bad as I had in the past.  I found the beer shortly after and it continued to rain. 

Garmin numbers -  3:08:00.9 (3:07:54.0 moving time).  26.42 distance translates to 7:07 pace for actual distance traveled.

Official results - 3:07:59, pace 7:11/mile.  103rd place out of 4135.  95th male, 15th male 35-39. 
6.8 Mile: 49:38  (pace: 7:16 , rank: 153 )
Half (13.1 Mile): 1:33:09  (pace: 7:07 , rank: 126 )
19.7 Mile: 2:19:35  (pace: 7:06 , rank: 110 )
Last Mile: 7:35  (rank: 220 )

Since i'm 35 it is 2 mintues under my 3:10 BQ time.  If I actually get in to the race still remains to be seen, but I have a good feeling about it.