Monday, February 13, 2012

Weekly training

Here's a recap of last week's training

Saturday, 2/4 - 6.5 miles - Easy run after hard workout/12 miles on Friday.  Ran around the neighborhood on streets since I had Olivia with me in the BOB.

Sunday 9.5 miles, 65 minutes- squeaked in a run right before the Superbowl.  I really felt good and got a nice run in.  Started out at about 7:15 pace and dropped it to 6:40 pace by the end of the run.

Monday 8.25 miles, 59 minutes - easy out and back run at lunch on part of the course for my upcoming 1/2 marathon.  Didn't really feel motivated for a hard workout today so ran easy and pushed hard workout back a day.

Tuesday 10 miles - 2 x 2 mile at tempo pace.  My co-worker Scott who's training for an Ironman had this workout on his schedule so I decided to run this workout with him.  We ran a 2 mile warmup, 2 miles at 5:50 pace, 1/4 mile recovery jog and 2 miles at 5:40 pace and 4 mile cooldown.  I had originally planned on a little bit harder workout, but decided I'd rather do a medium-hard effort and run with someone than a run by myself.  I think it was the right choice because my legs were feeling a little tired after 46+ miles in the last 5 days.

Wednesday - day off

Thursday 10 mile easy progressive run.  Started at 7:15 pace and worked down to about 6:15 pace.  Ran the workout with Scott again.  I could have gone a quicker, but he was pretty tired at the end since he had a hard bike workout earlier that morning.  Right now I think getting the mileage in is more important than cranking out really hard speed workouts.

Friday 8.25 miles in 58 minutes.  Ran at lunch at memorial park and tried to avoid the massive puddles after the morning storms.

Saturday 10.5 miles - 7:10 pace.  Olivia had been sick and woke up about 10:15 and decided to stay up until about 1:00 am on Friday night.  She didn't really want daddy so poor mommy ended up staying up with her while I slept off and on for a few hours.  I got up at 5:25 to go run with the Kenyan Way group and was literally walking out the door when Olivia woke up at 5:50.  I ran upstairs to give her a pacifier and try to get her back to sleep so Suzanne wouldn't have to get up, but no such luck.  She wanted mommy and kicked and screamed until Suzanne got up.  Since I missed the start and would be running by myself I just went back to bed and ran later in the day.  I had wanted to do a longer run, but my hamstring was a little tight so I called it a day and spent some extra time stretching.

Sunday - 5 miles.  I didn't make it out until a little after 6 and it started sleeting about halfway through my run so I cut it short again and spent some extra time stretching and working on some of my stability exercises.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Aramco Houston 1/2 marathon - 1:16:59

I ran my 2nd fastest 1/2 marathon and hit my goal going into the race, but I felt I could have done a little better.  Race weather was absolutely perfect - mid 40's, not windy - couldn't ask for anything better.  Going into the race, I didn't know what kind of shape I was really in and I wanted to be sub 1:18 and I told myself I'd be very happy with sub 1:17 since I only had about 2 months of healthy, pain free training going into the race.  My mindset going into the race was to treat it as a fitness test and not have unrealistic expectations and my primary goal was to run a decent time and be able to hold my pace and not blow up.

I woke up a little earlier than normal because I wanted to make sure I got downtown with enough time to get a warm-up in before the race and be able to get to the starting line early enough to be able to get up to within a few yards of the start line.  Walking into the GRB, I ran into Jena, a guy I had trained with some last year who had moved to Denver and was back in town for the race.  I made sure I signed up to be part of the ABB team challenge because last year they had about 20 - 30 port-o-potties inside the GRB with no lines and it was pretty much the best thing ever.  Unfortunately this year they had no port-o-potties inside the GRB and the ABB only got you access to one of the restrooms and they only had 4 toilets in the men's room.  I think I would have been better off just getting in line for the port-o-potties somewhere outside.  I ended up spending so much time in line, I didn't have time to get my planned warmup in and I had to head straight to the start line after dropping off my bag to make sure I got into my starting corral before the 6:40 cut-off time.  I got about a 47 second jog before the crowds were too thick to keep running.  The only good thing is with 3 corrals this year instead of 2, I had no trouble getting up to the very front of the corral with time to spare.  I saw my friend and co-worker Scott who is training for his 2nd Ironman and one of my primary goals was to beat him since I don't think I've ever been beaten in a race by a co-worker.  I thought I would be able to beat him, but it wasn't a sure thing with my lack of training coming into the race.

I had my Garmin for the sole purpose of making sure that I ran my target pace for the first 2 miles of the race.  After that I'm pretty much in a groove (or rut) and am locked into the pace I'm going to run and am not going to be making any major adjustments.  Since I didn't really get a warmup in, I wanted to be around 6:00 pace for the first mile and then hold 5:50 - 5:55 pace for the first 8-9 miles and then pick it up if I could the last part of the race.  I came up on mile 1 and the clock said 5:32 and everyone was freaking out, but the actual time was about 5:52 and the clocks at each mile were about 20 seconds off.  I was running with Jena and felt relaxed and really good the first few miles.

I hit my first 5k at 5:54 pace. I had to make a conscious effort not to pick up the pace too much early since I was feeling well and wait until later in the race.  I grabbed water and gatorade at a couple of the water stations early in the race because I wanted to make sure I was well hydrated and could finish the race strong.  My second 5k split was 5:53 and I was feeling pretty good.  Around mile 7, I felt like I was picking up my effort a little bit, but I was running with a group of abou 8 - 10 guys, most who were running the full marathon and it was easier just latching onto the pack.  I threw in a little surge at the turn-a-round, a little before mile 9 and put a little gap between Jena and myself.  At this point, I started to think that I might have a chance at a new PR and running a sub 1:16 and might be able to make a run at 1:15 if I could negative split the race and run low 5:30's my last 5k.  My 3rd 5k split was 5:52.

Unfortunately between miles 9 and 10, all the gatorade and water I'd taken in started to bother my stomach a little bit.  After I hit mile 10, I was dry heaving while I was running and I stopped for about 12 seconds to try to throw up and clear out my stomach but I only kept dry heaving and nothing came up.  Jena had caught up with me a little before mile 10 and started to pull away and I was terrified that Scott was going to catch me while i was on the side of the road.  6 or 7 guys went by but I quickly got back onto pace and turned onto Allen Parkway with less than 3 miles to go.  I could see Jena a little ways ahead, but I just couldn't seem to catch many people.  My 4th 5k split was 5:52 (probably about 5:48 pace when I was actually running and not dry heaving on the side of the road) and I passed 2 guys and I was hoping to have a really fast last mile since there were a lot of people just ahead that seemed within striking distance.  Unfortunately I just didn't have enough left to pick up the pace and it was all I could do to stay on pace and not drop off.  I caught one last guy just before the final turn with a couple hundred meters to go but then he found his legs and started sprinting in and I couldn't stay with him.  I crossed the line in 1:16:59 and I didn't realize how close I was to 1:17.  I probably would have sprinted a little harder the last 50m if I knew but fortunately I came in under it.

Jena beat me by about 25 seconds, my friend Dan ran the race of his life and had a 3 minute PR and ran 1:13 and I managed to hold off Scott who ran a 1:18.  After the race my quads were pretty beat up.  I think the combination of running that hard for that long with the good weather and the race being pretty much on concrete for most of it was harder on my legs than any of my training.  I was a little disappointed with the stomach issues and I think I could have run about 30 seconds faster without them.  In hindsight I didn't need to drink so much fluid when I was well hydrated coming in and the weather was so cool.  Being the uber-competitive person I am, I still felt a little disappointed at the end even though I hit my goal times because I think I could have had a legitimate shot at a new PR if I'd done things a little differently with a better warmup and limiting my fluid intake.  Overall I was happy with the results and where I was with my fitness level with limited training and I was extremely happy that I had no injuries or discomfort after the race and I feel 100% healthy.

Since the race my training has been going well.  I took about a week and a half of easier running to recover and I'm back on pace to get up into the mid-60's for my weekly mileage.  Last Monday I did a 400, 800, 1200, 1600, 1200, 800, 400 workout with about a 400m slow recovery and 800m after the 1600.  My splits were 78, 2:38, 3:58, 5:27, 4:06, 2:40, 76.  On Friday I ran a 2 x 4 mile tempo run with 5 minutes recovery.  The weather was in the mid-70's and over 80% humidity and it was pretty miserable.  My good weather goal times were run the first 4 miles at 5:45 - 5:50 pace and the 2nd 4 miles at 5:40 - 5:45 pace.  With the warm weather I wanted avg 5:50 - 5:55 pace.  My first 4 miles were 5:52, 5:46, 5:44, 5:45 and my second 4 were 5:45, 5:49, 5:50, 5:50.  I'm feeling good about my next 1/2 marathon in 4 weeks, but the weather is going to be a crapshoot and I'll just have to wait and see how that turns out.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Finally healthy

Over the past few months I've made some good progress and finally am pretty healthy and am starting to get back in shape again. I've been able to do full mileage and speedwork the last couple of months although I could tell my achilles and calf weren't really 100%. It didn't hurt, but it wasn't completely better yet. This last week I was able to do several runs where it really felt 100% and I didn't notice any discomfort or lingering issues. I've really been working hard on improving my hamstring flexibility and ankle mobility and I think has really contributed to the injury finally clearing up.

I've been able to get up to 55+ miles a week for the past few weeks and I had one week I hit 60 miles. I'm finally getting back in a little better shape and am feeling a little better about my workouts. Earlier this week I did 7 x 800 at 2:40 - 2:42 with a 1/4 mile jog at 7:45 pace between reps and this morning I did 18 miles with the last 6.5 at sub-6:05 pace. I have 4 weeks until the Houston 1/2 marathon and I think I'll be in good enough shape to run a sub 1:18. I'd really like to be under 1:17, but we'll see how everything goes the next few weeks. 6 weeks after the Houston 1/2 marathon is the Woodlands 1/2 marathon I'll be running in and trying to break 1:15.

5 weeks ago I ran a 10k race up in the Woodlands that one of my co-workers was the race director for and I ended up winning the race. I was a little hesitant to run it because my achilles was still giving me some problems and I didn't want to aggravate it, but I decided I would run the race as a tempo run and keep it to around 6:00 pace. When the race started, a couple of guys just took off and I let them go and settled into my pace and was in 5th place. I went through the first mile in 6:05 and the guys leading ran a sub 5:30 first mile. I just kept my pace steady and saw the guys start coming back to me and caught the leaders between mile 3 and 4 and took the lead a little before mile 4 and didn't look back. My time was a somewhat embarrassingly slow winning time of 37:40, but I think the course ended up being a little long. For a lot of the race we had to run on sidewalks or in a specific lane of the road and I imagine when the course was certified, they measured the shortest distance you could run and didn't measure it on the meandering sidewalks. My Garmin said I was running sub 6:00 pace for most of the race, but it didn't really matter too much since I wasn't running for time.

After the race, our family packed up the car and headed to San Antonio where my wife ran her first 1/2 marathon. Olivia and I got to see her in 5 spots on the course and she ran 1:57 and achieved her goal of breaking 2 hrs. It was extra impressive because the weather was pretty nasty that day and got up to over 80 degrees that day.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sad News

This morning I decided to retire....

No, not from running, but I decided to retire two pairs of my beloved Nike running shorts including my oldest (and favorite) pair of lime green shorts. I think I may have had the shorts since college or shortly thereafter and they have served me well. They were becoming a little too frayed and the elastic was losing its elasticity. The other shorts were some navy blue shorts that I wore for my PR marathon, but they are a little beyond their useful life and I didnt want to risk getting arrested for indecent exposure if I kept running in them. (My wife wouldn't let me post pictures of me in the shorts for the blog post)

I've been making some progress on recovering from my calf/achilles injury and I'm able to run fairly regularly and work on building my mileage back up. I've been doing a lot of work on improving my hamstring flexibility which seems to be taking some of the stress off of the calf and achilles. A few weeks ago it was feeling really good and I was running with no discomfort or pain and I think I got a little too excited and tried to ramp up a little too quickly. I hit 50 miles in a week and had one day of some relatively easy 800m repeats. By the end of the week I could tell I should have cut the last run or two a little short or taken a day off, but I was kind of stubborn and really wanted to hit 50 miles for the week. I've been traveling for 2 out of the 3 weeks since then so I've taken it a little easier and only been doing about 30 miles a week. I can run pretty much pain and discomfort free, but when I wake up in the mornings my achilles and calf often are pretty tight.

I'm running a 10k on Nov 12 that a co-worker is the race director for and I'm hoping to run it as a tempo run. The next day my wife will be running her 1st 1/2 marathon in the San Antonio Rock and Roll 1/2 marathon. I'm going to switch from the marathon to 1/2 marathon in January because I'm not going to be ready for a marathon by then. I received an invite to the Woodlands 1/2 marathon in March so my goal is to get healthy and go for a sub 1:15 in that race.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Finally, another blog update

After a several month hiatus I decided it's finally time to write a blog update. About a month and a half ago I aggravated a nagging achilles injury and have been trying to get healthy to really start training for the fall races. For a couple of months my left achilles was bothering me, but it always seemed to loosen up and the tightness and discomfort would go away 1 - 2 miles into a run and it wasn't really hampering me. In early June I ran the Heights 5k and with a little less than a 1/4 mile to go, my achilles really flared up. I was close enough to the finish that I kept going, but I couldn't even jog normally to cool down after the race. I think I probably made a mistake wearing my super lightweight racing flats that weigh about 3 oz after not having worn them in a couple of months and not doing a lot of fast speedwork. Running a 5k without a lot of speedwork puts enough stress on my legs, but the lightweight flats have a really low heel and put a lot of extra stress on my calves and both of my calves felt pretty thrashed after the race. Next time I get back in racing shape I need to make sure I'm doing strides and/or shorter speedwork in those flats if I'm going to race in them. At one point, my achilles would hurt when I'd start walking after sitting on an airplane and not moving around for a few hours.

I went back to MSHC to get it treated and seemed to be making some progress, but I probably got a little too aggressive trying to get back into the swing of things and it's kept bothering me. We've done a couple of EPAT treatments which is a shock wave therapy that's basically like a mini jackhammer pulsing on my leg. It seems to be helping because my achilles feels a lot looser the week after the treatment and doesn't get real stiff and tight in the morning. I did a relatively easy 5 mile run last week and it still was pretty uncomfortable. I've talked quite a bit with Dr. Leist at MSHC and we did an scan of my stride and I'm going to try wearing my orthotics again.

A couple years ago I got orthotics because I thought they might help with some of my hamstring injuries, but once I started going to MSHC, we determined the root cause of my hamstring issues and so I quit wearing my orthotics. I don't remember the exact timing of when I stopped wearing the orthotics, but shortly after my hamstring problems cleared up, my achilles started bothering me. I used to wear stability shoes but when I was fitted for shoes a few years ago, they watched me run on a treadmill and said that I didn't have any ankle pronation and should be wearing neutral shoes. It also seems like this is about the time when I started getting injured after staying relatively injury free for a while. Even though I don't have visible ankle pronation, my foot pronates fairly significantly and this would put a lot of stress on the inside part of my lower calve which has the most scar tissue and problems. We are going to try either the orthotics or going back to more of a stability shoe to see if that helps clear up the problem.

If I'm going to be injured and miss running, I guess now is as good a time as any. The weather is miserably hot and there aren't a ton of races I'm missing right now. My job has been pretty busy the last couple of months and we have a healthy, happy 10 month old that seems to be starting to sleep through the night on a more regular basis. Now that I can get more regular sleep without regular nightly wakeup calls, if I can get my achilles healthy I should be able to get back to regular training. It's been a bummer not getting out to run with my friends and trying to work out on the elliptical and stationary bikes are so boring. I'll try to post an update in the next couple of weeks on my achilles and hopefully I'll be making some improvements.

Here are a few recent pics of us-

Daddy and Olivia - not in Houston

Family vacation in Colorado


Taking it all in

Look what I found!!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

TIR and other assorted races

I realized I only have a few hours left to get my monthly blog update in before the end of March. Lately I've been torturing myself by running races in the heat and humidity of Houston.

Rodeo Run
About a month ago I ran the rodeo run and finished 12th overall in 36:00. It was warm, humid and windy and about the only good thing about the weather was that it was overcast and not sunny. I went in thinking I could run about 5:35 pace and hoped to negative split the race. I ran the first two miles in 11:00 and thought I was going to have a great race and then I hit the first hill. I had been running with about 4 guys, but they pulled away going up the hill and I could never catch them. I stayed about the same distance behind them through about 3 miles and then they started pulling away. When we hit the turnaround around mile 4, we were running straight into a headwind. Fortunately nobody caught me and I stayed ahead of the female winner, but it was a pretty miserable race. I hadn't done really done any speedwork since the marathon and I'd only be running 4 - 5 days a week and just wasn't in that great a shape.

Texas Independence Relay
The week after the Rodeo Run I ran the Texas Independence Relay, a 203 mile relay with an assorted cast of shady characters who were mostly fellow Kenyan Way runners including a couple of lawyers and a Cialis salesman. The race starts in Gonzales Texas which is west of Houston and finishes at the San Jacinto monument in Deer Park. Our team finished 4th overall in 20hrs and 55 minutes which works out to 6:11 pace and we beat the previous course record by over 20 minutes.

I ran 4 legs and a little over 21 miles. My first leg was the toughest leg of the race coming in just under 9 miles and had the most elevation gain. I started the leg at about 3:00 pm and I had a terrible headwind the first 4 miles. Then the hills began. I did manage a 5:40 mile for the final mile after I crested the hills and averaged 6:15 pace for my first leg. My second leg was around 8:00 pm and fortunately it was much shorter and just under 4 miles. It's interesting running along a dark highway when it is pitch black out and hoping there isn't some dead animal or pothole to step on, but I managed 5:48 pace on that leg. My third leg was pretty tough. We had slept in the van for a couple of hours and we woke up and I had the first leg from our van and was still a little groggy and my stomach wasn't feeling so hot after the filet of fish sandwich I'd eaten 2-1/2 hrs before. I think I started running about 2:00 am on this let When I was warming up, I knew that the sandwich was going to come up sometime soon so I ran enough hard strides before I started until I threw up. I figured it was better to lose it before i was on the clock instead of during the run. I started passing people on this leg and I lost count but probably passed between 11 and 14 teams on this 4 mile leg and it came out to a 5:51 pace. My last leg was a 4.4 mile leg in Pasadena and I busted out my superman costume for the team to enjoy. Unfortunately I couldn't find any pictures to post but if Spiller is reading this I'm sure he can picture it with his photographic memory. I didn't want to get shot so I ran as fast as I could and finished up with a 5:41 avg on the last leg. It was a fun race and we had a blast.

Law Week Fun Run
This race wasn't very fun even though it claims to be a fun run. I'm tempted to sue the race director for false advertising. I had played golf out in the sun for a good chunk of the day before the race and didn't stay ver well hydrated and then I woke up the morning of the race and it was warm and humid. I think it was close to 75 degrees and 80% humidity when the race started. I got to the starting line and saw Bill Blancett, Jose Lara and Colin Carroll and thought I would probably finish 4th. My goal was to go for 5:30 pace and I thought I was in better shape than the Rodeo run and I could probably handle that pace for 5 miles. The race started on the edge of downtown and ran out Allen Parkway to Shepherd and came back and finished near the edge of downtown. I hit the first mile right on pace at 5:30 and was in 4th place. Bill and Jose had taken off and Colin was hanging back a little bit. John Yoder and another guy were a couple seconds back. I thought I kept my pace pretty well in mile two, but I only hit about 5:50 for mile two but that was probably the toughest mile of the race. The turnaround was between miles 2 and 3 and John was right on my tail and the other guy was about 5 seconds back. John passed me on the uphill right after the turnaround, but after we crested the hill, I passed him back and pulled a little bit ahead. I thought I was going to drop him there and I knew that if I could stay even with him through 4 miles then I could probably outkick him. As we heading back to downtown, our various fan club members would see us and we'd alternately hear- go John, go Geoff. John seemed to be falling a couple steps back and then somebody told him to go after me and he picked it up again and passed me going up the next hill and I just couldn't reel him in after it. He was within striking distance and I even thought I might have a chance to get him with a mile to go, but I was beat and couldn't make up any ground. He ended up beating me and I finished 5th overall in a painful 28:45 or something close to it.

I'm going to run the 4 the park race on Saturday and hopefully will break my 5:30 pace target if the weather conditions cooperate. My training has been a little more consistent the past couple of weeks, but since I don't really have any major races I'm training for I haven't felt that guilty about skipping a run or two each week so I can have some more time to hang out with Olivia. She's almost 7 months now and is a lot of fun except when she keeps waking up in the middle of the night.

What's happening?!?

Just being cute for the camera

Olivia in the BOB

After the Houston Marathon

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Buffalo Wallow 6k - 8th overall

I always loved running cross country in high school and college and I enjoy running the Buffalo Wallow race. It was a tough day and I wasn't quite in top racing form, but I survived the race. I had a pretty hectic race and my training wasn't the greatest the past week and I did an relatively easy 6 miles the day before. I wasn't sure I was going to run the race because my wife was feeling a little under the weather and was still in bed at 8:00 and I either had to wake her up to take care of our daughter or let her sleep. She ended up getting up at 8:10 so I decided I'd head down to the race (started at 9:00) and hopefully it wouldn't be too late to register. I got there about 8:30, registered and did an abbreviated warmup. The course had changed slightly due to the new pedestrian bridge across the bayou and it seemed like it might have been a tad longer than past years. The footing was definitely a little softer and the course was slower than past years.

At the starting line I saw Colin Carroll and Vaughn Gibbs who I knew would both probably beat me and a few other guys I didn't really know. The course is 3 laps around a ~2k loop. I probably started out too fast since I was right on the tail of the top 5 or 6 guys about 1/2 a mile into the race. During the first lap, the top 8 guys split out into 2 packs of 4 and the top 4 guys pulled ahead. I stayed with the 2nd group of four the first lap and the 1st 1/3 of the 2nd lap and then the other three guys pulled a little ahead. I stayed in fairly close contact through the 2nd lap, but I was hurting by the end of the 2nd lap and still had a lap to go. At that point, I didn't think I was going to catch any of the guys in front of me unless they completely blew up and I was just hoping to not throw up and not to have anyone else catch me. Fortunately I achieved those goals and finished in 22:34. I was about 30 seconds behind the 5th place guy and I think if I were feeling a little fresher coming in and had run a little smarter early in the race I should have been able to finish 5th.

I'm planning on running the Rodeo Run 10k next weekend and then running in the Texas Independence relay the week after that with some fellow Kenyan Way runners.