Monday, August 31, 2009

Comin' Home!

Well, week one of my 16 week cycle came to an end and I am already disappointed in my training. Due to the previous weekends race, my training group opted out of speedwork last Tuesday and then I missed the track workout Thursday due to business travel. 0-2 in that department and now I need to taper this week for a half-marathon. Overall my mileage was about 6 miles less than I had hoped for, but I have to remind myself that it is more than what I am used to doing and the 16 week cycle give me 4 more weeks than my previous 2 training cycles. I just need to be sure that I'm up to full speed so to speak in a couple of weeks.

I'm racing in the Roswell Turtle Half-Marathon on Labor day and it will be somewhat of a homecoming for me. I grew up there and left after graduating from high school in 1985. I haven't run in Roswell, NM since track in the 8th grade. And better yet, last year's winner is an old high school buddy. He doesn't live there but apparently still runs and comes back to compete in the some of the local races. He won the overall in 2008 with a 1:26:36. This is a very small local race that has a full, the 1/2, a 10k and a 5k. Total participation last year was only about 200 for all of the races.

So what's the importance of this race? Nothing really other than it's in my hometown and I might get the opportunity to race against that high school classmate. I haven't seen him since my 10yr reunion. Seems to be the current theme as just last week I had dinner with a friend in San Antonio that I had not seen since that same night. Hopefully on this occasion, he'll see a lot more of me than I see of him. I don't plan on wearing rear view mirrors.

Probably the real importance of this Labor Day jaunt is that it may be a good indicator of my current racing condition. While I was and still am feeling pretty good about my recent 5K time, I'm a bit concerned about my endurance. Race predictors indicate that I should run a low 1:2X:XX half, but I'm not too sure about that. Shooting for a 1:25:XX and anything below that will be icing on the cake. Anything above that will be disappointing, but it is what it is right? If I don't hit my goal, it just means that I need to work that much harder to reach my ultimate goal.

And finally, with this race comes the last time I will taper until the Tucson marathon. I have a few races including a 5K, a 10K and a 10 miler before then, but I've already told myself that I will race those on whatever I've got in the tank at the time. I don't plan on altering my pre-race week for those races. After all, I must keep my eyes on the prize.

Still haven't decided on the shoes for Monday. I just recently received the new Brooks Launches and they look awesome, but I haven't run in them yet. I'm planning on a tempo run this Tuesday so I guess I'll get a test drive, but I'm sort of leaning towards the Adidas Adizero Manas. They are supposed to be good for up to half-marathon distance, but they just seem so light and lacking of cushion. Concerns me a bit for that reason. I do get to run in a Gilbert's Gazelle's racing singlet for the first time. That's exciting. That is my training group that has really helped me in taking my running to another level. Hopefully I don't fall flat on my face and they ask for it to be returned.

Well, that's it for now. Work has totally consumed my life these last few weeks and will do so until October 15th, the extended filing time for federal tax returns. Uggh! This time of year kicks my ass more than any run that's for sure!

Take care!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

It's in the books!

Okay, the anxiety has passed. I now can say I have a 5K PR in the books. Of course I had my previous 5k time from '06, but who want's to go around posting a 24:23:7 as their 5K PR when they are training for a sub 3:20 marathon?

Okay, so on to the race. It was a pretty nice Saturday morning for a local 5K/10K. It was really nice that the race was started and finished at the neighborhood country club, so just about a mile awas from home. That being said, I drove to the race and warmed up from their with some buddies from my running group. They were all running the 10K and leavng me a the sole sprinter for the day. I could tell from the looks of the crowd assembling that the competition would be weak overall, but with a few young cross-country runners. One of the guys in our group that was not running is a 10K master and he coaches a local private school team. He told me he had a 5 minute miler runnng. I knew I wanted a couple of fast guys, but would this guy be too fast?

We took off on a straight away and very soon I glanced at my Garmin to see we were doing 5:10 pace. There was one other high school XC runner with us. At that point I decided to ease off just a bit and settled into a 5:50 pace. The other two while slowing down a bit, widened the gap on me to about 50 yards. Well, turns out they were both too fast for me, but they was close enough for a while that I thought "just maybe they'll fade". But for most of the run I had more thoughts of "when will I start to fade". The first mile split came in at 5:47. 13 seconds faster than planned, but I thought that was okay. The only way to go sub-18:00 was to go sub 6:00 splits. Mile two marker seemed like it took forever to come around, but finally it did, 5:49. Mile three was nothing more than a brutal attempt to hold on with what I had left. A 5:47 split of which I wasn't aware of until after the fact. I don't remember looking at the Garmin again for pace or time other than total distance at mile at 2.65. When I hit the 3 mile marker I tried to shift gears one last time, but I think it felt a lot faster than it really was. I crossed the line in some severve pain, but seeing my time of 17:44 made it feel just a little better. The funny thing about this race was that other than for a very small stretch where there was a turnaround in a cul-de-sac, I never saw any runners other than the two in front of me. It was almost as if it were a 3 person race.

I was truly surprised as I didn't know if I would be able to go sub 18:00 or not and it was my "everything goes perfect" goal. Well, I guess everything went perfect. So for the rest of the day I relished in my success, but told myself, that's it. Enjoy it today and back to work tomorrow. I've got bigger fish to fry and Day 1 of training starts Monday, August 24th. 16 weeks of training for the Tucson Marathon.

The nice thing about having a valid and current 5K PR is that I can now base my runs on a more accurate number for pacing rather than "I think I can run a XX". This should help me dial in more precisely on my training paces.

I finsihed the week of running this morning with an easy 15.16 at 8:22 pace and 44 miles for the week. While the mileage the last 4 weeks have all be below 50, my local coach wanted that for purposes of having fresh legs to start the 16 week cycle. No going back now, it's been done and he got what he wanted.

I had originally told him that I wanted to focus on a 3:05 goal for Tucson. He told me last week that he predicted a sub 18:00 5K and when I texted him yesterday, his response was "I told you I know my students, let focus on 3:00"......doh! While I'd be lying to tell you I didn't have desires to go sub 3:00, I didn't expect the training to be for a sub 3:00. It will just add to the pressure of expectations. Makes me nervous, but it's a good thing. A motivating factor.

So Day one tomorrow calls for an easy 8 and then track work on Tuesday. Looking forward to a couple of good weeks of training before a local 1/2 marathon on LaborDay in my hometown of Roswell, NM. This will be another fitness test for me. I think a half will give me a better idea if a sub 3:00 is possible or if the 5K time was just a perfect day for me. I haven't lived in Roswell since 1985, but checked out last year's results and a high school buddy of mine won it in about 1:26. I'm hoping he's there this year. Haven't seen him since 10yr reunion and he allways used to get the best of me as a youngster. It's my turn. I guess my goal will have to be sub 1:25 or sub whatever _______ does?

Until next time, take care!

Monday, August 17, 2009

The anticipation.......

Well, it's gonna happen this weekend, finally a 5K that I can run. Seems like I've had something going on about every weekend that there has been one locally (not that there are many), but not this time. Will I be ready? What is my goal? How will I pace myself? Even if I know my goal pace, can I hit it? Geez, this is just more than I can stand. And I haven't even considered what I'm going to wear??? Okay, I didn't say that. I believe a training group singlet, the West Texas Gazelles will be my choice of top. Shorts of course and my super fast Adidas Adizero Manas.

No matter what I decide on pacing strategy or goal time, one thing is for certain, I am almost assured of a PR if I can cross the finish line on two feet. I've only run one 5K before, 2006, and my time was 24:33.7. Glad they got that .7 on there.

Seriously here, I'm concerned about my pacing as I don't have 5k experience. I'm worried about two things right now. 1) Going out too fast, and 2) going out too slow. Other than that, I feel pretty good. Sounds a bit silly, but I am concerned that in effort to go low I may not be able to contain myself at the start and end up falling off pace in the end. My other thought is that if there is not any quality competition there, I could possibly go out too slow and end up having a little gas left in the tank at 3.1. The reason for that concern is that I live in somewhat of a small town and you never know what the participation will be like or what fast college kid will be in town for the weekend. As much as I don't look forward to it, and quite honestly even dread it just a bit, I hope I'm hurting like a mofo at the finish line. I don't want to cross the line and later think to myself that I left a little out there on the road. I don't want a finish-line picture with a smile.

One of my favorite quotes is by Steve Prefontiane, legendary Oregon State runner from the 70's......"the only good race pace is suicide pace and today looks like a good day to die". I wish that I was confident enough to go out and do that, lay the hammer down, but I don't know if I can. I just hope I don't die and fall short of my expectations. More importantly, the expectations some of my friends have of me for this grand event. Truly a supportive group of great guys and gals from the RWOL 3:20 thread, but perhaps a bit more confident in me than I am? That's okay because I think they will help me to push harder when I'm pounding the road Saturday morning.

I'm really hoping for a couple of strong runners to be there that I can chase or at least "race" with. I don't care about where I finish overall or in my AG. Those would be nice, but I'm more concerned about my time. Where do I stand physically and what can I expect in the future based on my present condition? That being said, I need a couple of young bucks up front. A rabbit. Even if I don't catch him, her, them, whatever, just as long as they push me to my limits.

My goal, uh, goals? Let's get that over with now. A) 18:00, B) 18:30, C) 19:00. I think that 18:30 is possible, but would be tough. An 18:00 would require one hell of a day for me. Everything would have to go right and even then I'm not sure I'm capable. Again, then inexperience has me a bit uncertain of what to expect. And while a 19:00 would not be too shabby, I think I would truly be depressed if I went anywhere above that based on my previous training runs.

On to the rest of the week, the last before my official Tucson training starts. My coach asked me to drop my mileage down to the 40-45 range to be sure that I had some fresh legs for the beginning of the 16 week plan. Honestly, I haven't seen it yet, but should be getting a copy any day now. It will be coming from Gilbert Tuhabonye of Gilbert's Gazelles in Austin, TX. My weekly training group is being trained by him in a roundabout way and I am now having him develop my plan based specifically on the Tucson course, my past performance and my desired goal time of which I am not yet sharing with the you.

I should hit somewhere in the mid-40's this week and then it will go up from there with what I have been told will be several weeks in the mid-70's. This training cycle will be the longest that I have ever had in my short marathon career as well as heaviest in mileage. In my previous two marathons most of my weeks were in the low to mid 50's. My first doesn't relly count because that was a few years back and I only trained to just finsh under 4:00 which I did. I'm a bit excited about this plan as well as concerned. It's always a challenge from a time standpoint to get my running in, Core Performance training, and still have time for work and the family. Right now work is brutally busy so it leaves me a bit anxious as well as excited.

Well enough said for now. I'll be back this weekend and you'll find out if this if this turns into the "Fantastic 5K" or the "5K Fiasco".

Take care and thanks for dropping by!