Tuesday, April 28, 2015


Can't wait to see these people again!
Can't believe how fast this race snuck up on me! I started the week at work totally forgetting I wouldn't be there from Thursday-Monday. Good thing I never really do anything for a trip before the night before I have to leave, so I'm not behind or anything. I'll throw some clothes in a bag and call it good. Despite kind of letting it sneak up on me, I'm actually really excited to see all my teammates, and now I'm really pumped for Thursday to get here already.

I was able to do ten miles on Sunday as my last long run before Indy. Matt joined me for the run and we ended up running faster than I would have liked, finishing the miles at an 8:58 pace. My legs weren't feeling super fresh despite having the previous three days off (I did group Monday and Wednesday, but didn't get out there by myself). I'm going to take it easy this week before the race... nothing fast. Don't want to upset my sensitive little legs.

Anyways, I did a little research on the race and started to formulate my goals for the event. The race itself is super flat which is actually kind of a worry. My legs are used to up and down, it gives various muscle groups small breaks, and just totally flat can actually build up soreness in my muscles faster than some gently rolling terrain. While my legs might be feeling it, it shouldn't be too big of an issue. I certainly can't use "it was too flat" as an excuse for a crappy time. So I'll just have to embrace the flatness.

The route of the race is fairly bland. I watched a preview video of the course and it mostly takes place on large streets without a lot of scenery. Not sure if there are "pretty" parts of Indianapolis, but, if there are, we sure aren't running through them. We do get to run around Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which should be fun. I have heard that is the most boring part of the race though, as there isn't a lot to look at and the track itself is a couple miles long.

Those large streets and event size will be a challenge though. I'll have to try to pay attention and run the best line I can. I could easily add a couple tenths of a mile to my run by not paying attention and missing big on the tangents. I'm not going to memorize the turns, so hopefully I'll be able to see ahead in the sea of humanity and position myself accordingly. Right at mile 12 you turn left and the finish is 1.1 miles straight ahead. I'm not sure whether or not that will be exciting and fun or straight up torture.

Another challenge will be the whole sleep/time zone thing. I'm already a night owl, and that does not mesh well at all traveling east and waking up early for races. I'm also sharing a hotel with three other people, so one person breathing loudly at night could keep me up. So that will all be touch and go. I'd like to be confident on how I'll feel on race day, but it is going to depend a lot on my sleep and how rested I am. Hopefully that won't be a big issue and I'll be able to attack the race appropriately.

Laughably flat.

"A" Goal: 1:42:30 or faster. This is 7:49/mile, my pace at Shamrock. This race is flatter, but obviously longer. This would also beat my first ever half marathon time. I think if I'm feeling good and have a good race, I can get this. It's going to require 100% effort though.

"B" Goal: 1:44:59 or faster. I still set my bar for most half marathons at 1:45. Anything less is acceptable. Anything more and something went wrong (unless it's Bald Peak or similar).

"C" Goal: Give 100%. I can't control jetlag, lack of sleep, crowds, legs feeling like shit for some reason, etc. This year at Shamrock I totally missed all my goals, but I gave it my all so I didn't dwell on it and actually felt good about the race. If you run hard you have nothing to be ashamed of.

Thursday, April 23, 2015


The destination last Sunday.
I'm not quite sure if I'm ready to run a fast half marathon or halfway to being ready to running a fast half marathon. Thus, I am "half ready." Take that as you may. I have no doubt I'm able to run *a* half marathon without major issues, I've done that the last two weekends... the real question is just how fast can I run it?

In case you forgot, my next major event is coming up quickly... the 2015 Indianapolis Mini Marathon on May 2nd. I leave to fly in Indiana in a week. Yikes! This event is a reunion of my teammates from my Strangers to Solemates team from Ragnar SoCal last April. The main point of the trip is to have fun, so I'm not going to put a ton of pressure on myself to hit a certain time. Next week I'll have a more detailed look at that race and my expectations going into it.

Sunday I did another 13.1 from my house. This time, instead of doing Fanno Creek again, I went up the powerline parks to the Nike Campus to run around Hollister Trail a couple of times. I think this may have been my first time back at Hollister since December 7th, 2013 (a day which did not go down in infamy). I keep wanting to think I'll like Hollister but I never really enjoy my time there. It's a nice trail, but if I'm there I've either driven myself there and ran it in many, many loops (loops suck) or I've killed myself over a number of hills to run there from my house.

Sunday, I did the latter. I ran from my house to Nike via the powerline parks. These parks are just hilly for the sake of being hilly. Originally, this route was by design, it would be more of a challenge than my 13.1 miles in Fanno Creek the week before. The execution was poor however, as it hit 80 degrees on Sunday and I left my house at 2pm. Yeah. Couple that with only 16oz of luke warm water and I didn't have the best time.

I felt okay until about mile eight. It was midway through my second (of three) laps in Hollister. I was getting bored with the run already and the heat was starting to affect me. I had done some drinking that night before that might have contributed to being a little dehydrated to start, then my normal bottle of water just wasn't cutting it. The third lap and the trek home were a real mental battle. At one point I had to stop and lay down under a tree because I felt like I was going to pass out. I walked up a steep hill. However, I kept moving forward and finished.

Despite what felt like a breakdown on those final miles, this "half" ended up being faster than my one the weekend before on flatter ground. This includes the quarter mile of walking up the big hill on the way back. So all told, it was a pretty good run! Thankfully I was able to stop by a school with water fountains and get some water (I had run out) around mile 12.8. That put a spring to my step for those final tenths of a mile. I ended up being about a half mile away when I hit 13.1 and very gladly walked the remainder home.

Saturday, April 18, 2015


So, it's been no secret that recently I haven't been quite as fast of runner as in the past. After setting a new 10k PR in early November of last year it was a slow downhill slide to my two week break due to over training syndrome. Now that I am back, I'm feeling better, but my speed is nowhere near what it was during my peak fitness. I just recently got a personal worst in the 15k despite trying my best, so I know I have to buckle down if I want to get anywhere near where I used to be.

I'm not sure I'm 100% dedicated to getting all the way back, but I do know I want to improve my fitness from it's current level. I'd like to get back to being able to run a sub 1:40 half marathon and still be in the 3:30s should I run a full. I've been getting in miles recently, but I've needed to introduce the dreaded run type that will help me to get faster... the tempo run. I can go out and run 9:00 miles without complaint (okay, I'll still complain), but these faster runs require a greater level of commitment.

Anyways, the last two weeks I've gotten out there and ran a fairly uncomfortable pace. I'm still not quite sure what an "official tempo run" is, but I've always just figured it as a pace that is uncomfortable and where I can only get one word out at a time if I try to speak. Usually that means the low 7:00s, a little higher if I'm running the hills near my house. I dread that uncomfortable feeling, where your brain is screaming at you to stop, but that is the pace necessary to get faster.

Good idea of how I feel after a tempo run.
Fortunately, once I get running I realize it is not that bad. I've only been doing four miles at a time and to be honest it's nothing to dread. I still agonize over the run all day and really don't want to do it, but during I always think "this isn't that terrible" and afterward I feel like a million bucks. Long story short, while I don't look forward to them, I'm happy to re-introduce the tempo run to my weekly routine in hopes of someday possibly getting back to my old self.

Total (Avg pace)
30:13 (7:34/mi)
29:48 (7:28/mi)

Monday, April 13, 2015


Finishing Corvallis in 2013. I wore this
shirt yesterday in honor.
I am happy to report I can run a half marathon distance without too much difficulty. If my original plans held, this weekend I would have been running the Corvallis Half Marathon. However, I waited to sign up until I could convince someone to go with me. Eventually a group of friends was planning to go but that was right as my body was breaking down so I didn't sign up, not knowing how long it would take me to get back into the swing of things. When I finally felt good enough to sign up, it was $80 and that is just ridiculous.

Anyways, I probably wasn't ready to try and run a half marathon fast anyways, so being able to tackle one in an "easy, long run pace" format was a good start. Originally I was going to run with the Portland Marathon Clinic on Saturday morning, do their nine mile run and then tack on four extra, but Brandon's lacrosse schedule had different ideas, so I was relegated to running by myself on Sunday. I even woke up early, around 8:00am, so I could get this run in before an early afternoon Timbers game. Woke up early. To run by myself. Guess my dedication hasn't waned quite as much as I thought.

Two potential routes were plotted out the night before, my fairly regular home to Fanno Creek Trail loop, which ended up being the perfect distance if I did the usual turnaround at the Tigard Library, or another "new territory route" up 170th to Walker and back on Murray. Certainly not new territory in general, just new running territory. I went to bed planning to run the "new loop" but by the time I went to run I headed out on the Fanno Creek Trail option. Just didn't feel like dealing with the constant whizzing of cars and chose relative peace and quiet even if it was overly familiar.

The run ended up being really uneventful. The only thing to note was my more sluggish pace. I just went out and ran what I felt was a 9:20 pace based on my recent long runs. After my first mile was about right I watched as my mile times crept upwards into the 9:50s. My pace felt much faster so I didn't push it. Just ran with the way I felt, not overly concerned about my pace. A 9:58 mile on a flat part of the course was a little concerning, but I felt like I was giving it appropriate effort, so maybe it was just one of those days. However, by the end of the run my times crept back into the 9:20s with the same perceived effort, so that made me feel a little better.

Overall, I couldn't have been happier about how things went. My legs felt great the whole time, didn't even really feel too tired at the end (maybe a result of the slower middle miles?) and the run itself didn't seem to drag on too long. While my overall 9:35 pace wasn't anything to brag about, I went out shooting for 9:20-9:25, so I wasn't even that far off. It gave me confidence that I have a half in me, so I'll run the distance once more in training, likely next week, and then try to attack the Indianapolis Mini Marathon on May 2nd. Won't PR, but hopefully I can go sub 1:45.

Monday, April 06, 2015


I don't always volunteer at races, but when I
do, I take selfies that make it look like I have
poofy 80's bangs.
Well, my step back week ended up being a little more of a break than expected, but that's okay. I had my trail run on Monday and group run on Wednesday. I was planning on running Thursday but it was cold and raining and I just couldn't bring myself to do it. So then I planned to run on Friday, but after a long week at work the last thing I wanted to do was run (plus it was still cold and threatening rain). So I chickened out. However, I don't really care. I still got in 21 miles for the week and it was a step back week anyways.

If I were training for a marathon, I would have gotten my butt out there. For now though, I'm still in somewhat of a "break" period (just need to make sure I am in half shape for Indy) so I'm more flexible with when I run. I used to run only three days a week until I started training for my first marathon, when I bumped it up to four. I'd like to keep it at four, but from time to time three isn't the end of the world. One of those three was a trail run that really worked my legs in new ways, so who knows, the week might have been just as effective.

Saturday I volunteered at the Soles2Souls 5k/10k in Beaverton. This is the 5k I won last year (the date moved up two months). I was going to run the 10k this year, but put off signing up because of the way I was feeling earlier in the year. So I was about to sign up last week but kept seeing that they were desperate for volunteers. I decided to help out instead of struggle through a 10k and be reminded how much slower I've gotten.

I ended up providing course direction about 1.25 miles into the course. It was a lot of fun! Volunteering for races is always fun, you get to encourage the participants and feel a part of the race without actually having to run it (ha). I must have said "good job!" and "way to go, keep it up!" about 50 million times. The 10k was the 5k loop twice, so it was fun to see those people again and joke with them about how much more scenic the second lap was going to be. Anyways, people must have seen the winning times from last year because this year the field was much more competitive. I had zero chance of placing in the top 3 of either race, so I was happy to just be volunteering!

My long run was on Sunday this weekend so I was nice and rested for it. I planned to do ten, as part of my step back week, before shooting for a half marathon distance next Sunday. Happy to report it went really well. Averaged 9:09/mile and felt great the whole time. I am happy to report ten is now again "no big deal" which wasn't the case when I first came back from the overtraining episode. Did another big squiggly circle loop from my house and incorporated some new territory to mix things up. It all went really well and I'm feeling positive where I am running shape wise. I'm nowhere near as fast as I once was, but I feel back to my normal self.