Wednesday, February 27, 2013


After that really crappy run last Wednesday I didn't run again until Monday. So I took another four days off and during that time I was still sick. I didn't really start feeling better until last Sunday and by Monday I was feeling much better. At group run I had a very good run, doing the six miles at a 8:40 average with a 8:00 final mile.

I'm still not healthy but I am on the mend. I am sneezing a lot today and have some congestion. I am definitely in "drain" mode though and look forward to feeling 100% in the near future. I was encouraged with my run at group... it was like I never took almost two weeks off. My legs felt really fresh (duh) and my respiratory system seemed to hold up. I would have gone even faster but I was with a larger pack until some of us split off for the seven miles. At that point we opened it up a little more. It felt really good!

I was (and still am until I get more miles in) concerned that my training for the Shamrock Run would be negated by getting sick in Vegas. My runs were really starting to come together in terms of speed and the way I felt while running them. Plus, my long runs were hitting half marathon distance. I'm afraid the two week break will set me back a little. Oh well, no point in complaining, just got to get back on it!

Just two more weekends to train until the Shamrock Run three Sundays from now.

Thursday, February 21, 2013


Well, I got sick while in Vegas. The first night I woke up at about 4am and barfed and emptied my bowels at the same time. Always fun. Then repeated the next night. The final night I was able to keep everything down but I felt bad and my stomach couldn't really hold anything more than crackers and ginger ale down (thanks Libbie!).

Second day, trying to soldier on.
Now, the stomach bug has transformed into a head cold. Needless to say, it sucks! Las Vegas was fun, but I would be okay with not going back there for a while. The frat boy party atmosphere and everything being so pricey was a turn off. Then again, I was sick the whole time, but if I want to gamble I can go to Spirit Mountain and there is nothing else real convincing the city offers.

People on the trip went running but because I was instantly sick I didn't run at all. My first run was last night, my first run in almost a week. It didn't go very well. I took it real easy because I knew I was sick, which translated into a 9:20/pace. The pace wasn't a problem, it was my legs. I had no giddy up at all. They felt weak and worn. My whole body felt like I was very nervous. The slightest of bumps in the sidewalk made me feel like I was going to trip and fall over. I wouldn't have had the strength to avoid tripping by stumbling for a few seconds either, it would have been SPLAT.

Anyways, I did four miles and that was enough. I feel much worse today. I don't think I can blame that on running, but I will probably back off until I feel better. My body needs to concentrate on getting better right now.

Just sucks because I was starting to really get into a grove. I was in half marathon shape and my times were getting better. Oh well. Think this is the first time I have been really sick in over a year. Guess it's my turn.

Monday, February 11, 2013


Pretty even, solid splits for a half!
This last weekend I decided to run a half marathon of 13.1 miles as my training run. My training runs in the last few weeks had been either 10, 11, or 12 miles, so this was the next step. Also had to make sure to add that extra tenth to make it official!

This weekend I am going to Las Vegas with Libbie and other running friends for her 30th birthday. So I won't be getting a long run in, although we might run once or twice for shorter distances. Anyways, I figured I might as well go "out" with a bang, so I set out to run the half at 8:45/mile or less.

I ran a route to Fanno Creek and then did the length of that south all the way to the Tigard Library. Basically the same route as I did for my ten miler recently, I just added the stretch south of 99W (and also went all the way up to Hall before dropping into the greenway). Really like having that trail system so close to me for long runs!

Felt pretty good the whole run. OPB Radio was having their pledge drive so 30% of my run was spent having them beg me for money. Sorry guys, I don't have my wallet on me. Get back to Car Talk dammit! Anyways, that was about the only negative on the run. I felt really good until the last two miles or so. By then I felt drained but was still able to keep my pace up for the most part.

Been feeling it the last two days too, my legs are a little achy and feel a tad worn. I ran only five miles today at run group and kept it pretty easy the first three miles. Took off in the last two and was feeling pretty good. Plan to run six or seven Wednesday and then whatever happens in Vegas. I'll get back to my long runs again the weekend after.

Thursday, February 07, 2013


My top five running months. January 2013 clocked in at #2.
Turns out in January I ran 103.5 miles. Considering most my months seemed to be hovering around 50 or 60 miles, that is a huge accomplishment. I was going to celebrate and gloat that it was my biggest month of running ever (and first over 100), but when I ran a report on RunningAhead to see what my average monthly total had been I discovered I ran 116.9 miles in June of last year. Dammit younger version of myself!

It's still really good though! One hundred mile months should be routine from now on. Long runs definitely help push that total up, and when you think about it, to hit 100 you only need 25 a week. Do seven at run group Monday, 6 mid-week, and 12 on the weekend and you got 25. I should be routinely over 30 and even 35 during marathon training so this is just a start.

On another note, I feel very glad to be in my 20s. Not only because that makes me not old, but it is WAY less competitive when it comes to running. Sure a 25 year old can win a race, but overall there are less males 20-29 in most races compared to those in their 30s. The 30s seems to be where the major competition is.

Me in M35-39 group
For my last race at the Zena Road Runs, had I been 36 instead of 26, I would have placed 11th out of 13! Just as ugly in the 30-34 year old bracket too. There were 13 participants in both those brackets and only 3 in my bracket. Needless to say, once I hit 30 I'm going to need to step it up. If I keep my training up though when I hit 30 I'll be able to place much better.

And I think that is how it works. Most 20 year olds don't have to worry about their health. They are fine not exercising and their bodies hold up. Towards your late 20s, as you get more mature mentally and physically you start feeling a little older, you realize you are going to need to do something to stay in shape and be healthy. Enter running. Plus, I think I remember reading something about aside from the elite of the elite, your body chemistry in your 30s is actually at its peak for running.

To sum it up, glad to be with the lazy twenty year olds at the moment. However, once I hit my 30s I'll also look forward to the challenge there. It is important to remember that running is an individual sport though. To run a 15k at 7:46/mile is pretty fucking good. If the field that days means it is 11/13 then so be it.

That pace in the Shamrock Run last year would have been about 800th out of 6300. Top 15%, not bad. And while Shamrock isn't the best field around, there is the 5k and 8k to siphon out some of the less serious. Most the top finishers in Shamrock last year... you guessed it, in their 30s and 40s.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013


Runners climb the first hill right after the gun went off. Can't find myself in the mob.
Most of the nation's attention this last Sunday was focused on one major sporting event. You know which one I am talking about. The historic Zena Road Runs 15k! Who gives a crap about that football game, my right? Okay, I do like to watch the Super Bowl, but I was very focused on making this race successful for me. It didn't start until 11am, which was great (no early morning!), and it still left time to go home, shower, and head off to a Super Bowl party by kickoff.

I was a little worried after posting my goals for this race. I thought I might have bit off a little more than I could chew with a 1:15 on a hilly course. 8 minute miles are no big deal, but eight minutes on this course might be tough. I Google Street Viewed parts of the course I could and got a sense of what I was up against. I felt pretty good though as I had a pretty light week of running this week intentionally so I could crush this.

The race was pretty small, about 380 racers split between a 3 mile, 6 mile, and 15 kilometer race. The 15k field was pretty serious, even more serious than the Coburg half marathon to be honest. Looking at the results from last year I figured I'd place about right in the middle of the pack. That was fine with me though as long as I ran the best race I could.

Two miles in. Gravel and hills, GAH!
Libbie and I parked at the shuttle lot down a gravel road and then took the bus to the start line. After checking in we had to kill about 25 minutes. It wasn't too cold out, 44 or so, but not warm by any means. The weather was dry and overcast, really some perfect running weather. Eventually everyone all clumped together in the road and got ready to start. The race was unique because there was no "start line" just a giant clump with a sign saying "<== 15K" and "3 & 6 mi ==>" pointing opposite ways down the road.

We were just chatting wondering if there was going to be a start line or what and all of a sudden the horn to start goes off. Holy shit! I went from talking casually to running a race in about two tenths of a second. Guess we're racing now! Kinda funny, and frankly, I kind of liked it. No getting nervous or anything, just go!

Miles 1-3 "Gravel and Hills" (8:35, 8:19, 8:28):

Much like the HoHo 5k, this race starts you going up a hill pretty quick. Unlike the HoHo, this hill is probably 3x as long and you are racing 9 miles instead of 3. I made sure to pace myself up it, pushing myself but not blowing my load right at the start. I went to a point where my lungs were screaming but my legs felt okay still. Turns out this was about 8:30/mile, which is surprising since that pace normally feels sort of fast on flat land. Gotta love race day adrenaline.

Anyways, I chugged up the hill, my breathing pretty labored. Fortunately there were "breaks" during the uphill three miles and most of the tough uphill was right at the beginning. A couple other small hills to climb but nothing too major in the first three. Not as bad as I was expecting, which was nice. That first hill was a beast, I won't downplay that, but we were still very fresh at this point and if you paced yourself it didn't ruin your race.

About a mile and a half in or so the road changed from paved to gravel. That sucked. The second and third miles were less about the mini hills we were climbing and more about the gravel road. NOT fun to run on. Most everybody just ran single file on the best "bare trail" caused by cars driving on it. The gravel did affect my pace somewhat as you couldn't push off very well. Just had to keep going though! The gravel ended right around the mile three marker. I knew my mile times to that point and wasn't too happy with them. I realized I had to pace myself due to the hills but I also was aware I had to bomb the next few miles to make up for it.

Miles 4-6 "Downhill Bombing" (7:09, 7:03, 7:15):

Once the road changed back to pavement it felt like I was a new man. The surface was definitely a little bit harder, but once my legs got used to that (5 seconds) it felt great. I honestly could tell how much faster I was just by changing to the pavement.

This is actually near the finish line.
Pretty soon the course started to go downhill - fast. Too fast actually. At parts it was so steep I was almost shuffling down it. I wanted to really let it fly but my legs couldn't have handled that. I was worried enough about fucking up my knee or getting shin splints with the pace I was going. Some people passed me here, but that was alright.

Anyways, the fourth mile was basically the exact opposite of the first mile. All downhill. My lungs felt great at this point in the race after being really tested the first third of the race, this third was doing its work on my legs. When my phone read out my fourth mile time of 7:09 I was stoked and did a little fist pump. Maybe I could make up that time from the first three miles!

The next two miles were more of the same although the downhill portions were much milder (yay!). I was able to run pretty dang fast without exerting much effort. There wasn't really any uphill during these miles, just flat or downhill. When I heard my fifth mile time of 7:03 I was shocked. I thought for sure the fourth mile would be my best based on how downhill it was, but I guess the slighter decline worked in my favor (I also got a huge shot of adrenaline after hearing that first low seven time).

The final downhill mile was more of the same. I felt great at this point, I figured I could ride this downhill thing until mile six and then I'd only have a 5k to go. Even if I was tired, it was just a 5k! I figured I'd need to average around eight minutes a mile over the last three to hit my goal. Completely doable.

Course elevation profile. Notice the 600 foot elevation gain in the first three miles.

Miles 7-9 "Bring it Home!" (7:59, 7:57, 7:24)

After mile six the course flattened out and we got rolling hills instead. Nothing too bad, sure a couple fifty footers maybe, but nothing to derail you at that point. I feared my legs would be shredded after the downhill portion but I felt surprisingly good. My lungs were hurting but my legs felt decent, which is really what you want. I knew if I just had a sold effort into the gate I'd have a great time.

Nothing too special about these final three. By now the field had separated and I had run pretty much by myself for three miles or so. I was within fifty feet of somebody either way, but no bunching at all. I just made a conscious effort to keep my speed up. It's a little harder when you don't have people right there egging you on.

What else of note? Passed a few walkers of the 6 mile race. The miles still seemed to be coming at a fairly regular rate, no "eons" between markers like my half marathon. I was a little disappointed with the 7:59, but really, it was still under eight, what did I expect?

Picked it up a bit with the finish line near and the last .33 miles came in at 6:30/mile or so. I was able to see the clock as I crossed the finish line and was thrilled with my time! I was very drained though, I am sure I looked like a hot mess. I stumbled into the little shelter that was there and grabbed some food. A couple of people looked at me with a concerned look. What can I say, I like to leave it all out there. If you come in looking good with your wits about you something went wrong!

Happy with my 2nd place age division ribbon.
After eating I waited for Libbie to finish and then we waited for the 15k awards. I wasn't really expecting to place but I thought since the fields were broken up by 5 year increments I at least had a chance. Turns out I placed second in my age division (males 25-29). Wohoo! There might have only been three of us, but still! I kicked ass and it felt good to be rewarded!

Overall a very successful race! My pace was slightly under my half marathon pace and I really felt like I could have kept it going another four miles (if it was flat!). I thought I managed the hills really well and attacked the race the right way. Very happy!

Official Results: 9.33 miles in 1:12:22.5. 7:46/mile pace. 44/114 overall.

Mile 1: 8:35
Mile 2: 8:19
Mile 3: 8:28
Mile 4: 7:09
Mile 5: 7:03
Mile 6: 7:15
Mile 7: 7:59
Mile 8: 7:57
Mile 9: 7:24
Final .33: 2:09 (6:30/mile pace)