Monday, April 26, 2010

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Wow! Big Sur 1st thoughts

This course/race is all it was made out to be and more. Bart Yasso's comment that if you are going to do only 1 marathon in your life and this is the one to do couldn't be more true. I've run 24 marathons now including 10 Boston's and I'm afraid to say that I now have a new favorite marathon (sorry Ann).
It's going to take me awhile to process what happened today, so just a few pictures and some short comments on the race. I took over 60 pictures and video clips during the race including my favorite here below on the Bixby bridge. My camera guy is funny bossing me around...

I finished with a big smile on my face but it is hiding a lot of pain in those old legs! If you check out my Dailymile or Running Ahead sites where my splits and stuff are stored you will see the obvious story of going out well but then paying a 'price' over the last 6 miles... Final result was a 3:51:13 finish, 538 overall and 46 in age group which was not too far off from the 'attempted' 3:45.
But more on that later after I've had time to process it a bit. Overall, I'm happy with how it went. It's a gorgeous brute of a course that would require some very specific hill work to do well on and it certainly adds 10-20 minutes to your time for a flat course which I now believe.

Now if I could only figure out an easy way to upload all those crazy pictures to my Picasa website... Off to the post race party where I hope to run into another Canadian by the handle of R-Cane runner. Kudos also to Punk Rock Tri-Guy, and Runner's Rambles who also challenged the big hills (there were many hills) of Big Sur today.

Good times and happy days!

Ready to Roll!

Wow! Words do not describe this place properly. Truly spectacular, amazing, awe inspiring, definitely the Cape Breton of the west! We had time to drive the course from end to end and I'm in for quite an ordeal but plan to enjoy every minute of it. The weather is looking to be great with lighter winds than today, and moderate temps from 10 to 20C as things warm up.

They have a very early am start with the buses leaving from Monterey at 4am for the 645 start. Now freaking out a little bit, worrying about things that will work themselves out in the morning but I'm good to go and ready for action!

See you on the other side...

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Heading West

The bags are packed and all the work is done, including the 'work' work so that I was able to go in the 1st place and the 'road' work so that I'm ready for the fun that lies ahead at Big Sur. This picture is from the ferry in Halifax harbour here on the east coast. At the end of 2 days of meetings we took a break and the ferry across to the city for a nice meal and a relaxing evening out.

Not much happened over the past week workout wise until yesterday when I got my last marathon paced run in and this morning with a last 'long' run of only 12 miles. Both of these runs went very well and give me confidence that my goals are reasonable and achievable. The history of my MP workouts tells a tale of the ups and downs over the past 3-4 months but the key is I'm now running faster with less effort than when I started.
My goal will be to run at an easy effort with a heart-rate range of 130-140 which is 80-85% of max. I'm not going to stress out about the pace but expect it to come in around 8:00 to 8:45 depending on the hills. Today's long run which felt like a nice easy run came in at 8:40 pace with an average heartrate of 132. Again, I'll keep it below 140 so that I don't blow up early on and will take what comes.

Meanwhile, it's the Boston marathon weekend and the weather is looking on the coolish side but it should be good for some fast times. Good luck to Mark, E-Speed, Punk Rock Tri Guy, Runnrgrrl and R-cane to name only a few.

Have a nice week, I know that mine will be awesome (couldn't help but rub it in ) !!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Reality Check

I ran a 5k race on Sunday. It was a good wakeup call/reality check that I needed to let me know exactly where I am/am not at this point in my fitness and training. I finished way back in the pack with a time of 22:26 which was a considerable improvement from my last attempt at this distance where I only managed 24:00.
A very short race story: you see my memory fades with age...
1st mile was good but downhill and with the wind. However, unlike most of my races where I can find a good pace and not get passed there were runners, dogs, kids streaming past. In the 2nd mile I felt some slowing but was feeling decent and in a nice rhythm, even passing a few runners until the turn back for home around the 3k point. We made a turn up a little hill and into the strong wind which just killed me and I totally blew up! Breathing, legs and HR went all crazy as the pace dropped off and I struggled from here on in for the last 2k. A brutal uphill finish over the last 500m totally did me in as I was passed by more dogs and kids right to the finish. See the little kid in the picture about to nip me at the line! Sheesh! My splits were horrible and also tell the story with 6:44, 7:11 and 8:06 (ouch)!

Still, it was a good attempt at a race and I'm happy with the result considering how the winter has gone for me with my lack of energy problem (now resolved). With my legs finally getting under me I can't be too disappointed because a more conservative even paced strategy could easily have put me under 22 minutes. Looking at McMillan running calculator and others it at least puts me in the 'decent' marathon range of around 3:35 to 3:45. And besides, I've been training for a marathon and not a 5k so we can play on the safe side, slow down, take extra pictures and still run 'well'.

Now if I can just get through this last week of work....

Have a nice week!

Sunday, April 04, 2010

21 days, 22 miles

Time is flying by with just 3 more weeks to go before Big Sur. With spring finally arrived the pond has warmed up and our goldfish are becoming more active, even begging for food. When you put your fingers in the water they like to take nibbles. They haven't had a chance at my legs yet because the temperature is still only about 15C but they will soon. I was tempted to try it after today's long 22 miler but opted out because I was so stiff and sore at the end that it might have been hard to keep my balance on weakened shaky legs.
Meanwhile on the indoor scene, Jo's indoor plants do almost as well as her outdoor ones with new blooms on a regular basis from a bargain buy she got in January. I guess her green thumb works for all types of plants!
As I said, just 3 more weeks to go and training continues to go well. On Thursday I did my last significant marathon paced run with 9 miles at a slightly up-tempo effort. Going into this workout I didn't feel very ambitious but surprised myself once it got going. The route was exactly the same as the previous one on March 18 with an extra mile tacked on the end but the pace was much improved at basically the same effort (heartrate).
Today's last long run of 22 miles went very well, despite not quite 'feeling it' again at the start. Might have been some residual tiredness from the MP run, but the pace was still good, nearly identical to the last long run at 9:07/mile (vs 9:08 for 21 miles) and a lower average heartrate of 131 (vs 133). Mind you I was very tired at the end of the 3hr 20min and the legs had that last miles of the marathon feeling over the final 4-5 miles, but that's what I was out there trying to do. The things you do to yourself in order to be able to run a 'decent' marathon....

Well, that's enough for now, time for some more beer and ice cream. Have a great week!