January 30, 2012

First race of the year - SLC Winter Series 5K

Off the starting line at the first race of 2012

It feels like its been a year since the Philadelphia Marathon, our last race. Over the past two months I quickly recovered from that race and started re-building the base. By Christmas I was at full volume, and put in a 6-week base cycle with weekly totals of 122, 124, 135, 143, 140, and 143 miles. The super-mild "winter" weather we've been having has made training a lot easier than it usually is this time of year. I've been doing short (3-5 mile) tempos and some random fartlek workouts - but nothing too hard quite yet (Full January training log). Still, I wanted to close out the month with a rust-buster race before I started my "real" buildup towards the Boston Marathon in April.

On Saturday (Jan 28th) I opened up the racing season at the SLC Track Club Winter Series 5K. I can't say enough good things about these races (they also hold a 10K and 15K in February)... well organized, accurately marked (and flat) courses, chip timing, inexpensive, great raffles and prizes, etc.

The race went about as expected. I won in a time of 15:20 with a very controlled effort. You can read my full recap on the Fast Running Blog: SLC Winter Series 5K Recap. I ran the first mile in 4:46, opened up a gap, then was able to cruise home at threshold effort (5:00, 5:01) for the remainder of the race. I'm at a good fitness level right now, and I'm excited to get into the real marathon workouts. I won't race too much between now and Boston - a pair of 15Ks and a 5K, most likely... enough to keep the competitive juices flowing and have some fun, but the focus is on the long, grueling workouts :-)

Lots of good photos - Andrea didn't race, so she was on camera-duty and did a great job. A couple volunteers from the SLC Track Club also took some action shots (the finish line ones).

Starting line, with the mountains overlooking Magna in the backdrop

Off we go

Finishing stretch

After the race we went up to Alta w/ friends to hike around - they all snowshoed while I played around on my rando-race skis. Things are very sketchy for backcountry skiing this year (there was an avalanche fatality just a few miles away that afternoon)... so we're not skiing much. The focus is on Boston, and we'll get our backcountry skiing in once spring rolls around. Just not worth the risks right now.

Some pics from Alta...

Of course, we have lots more photos of both the race and playing around in the snow:

I'll also add in that Andrea and I went to see Scotty McCreery, The Band Perry, and Brad Paisley on Friday night. It was a pretty awesome concert, and action packed weekend!

January 23, 2012

2012 Race Schedule (January Draft)

Like everyone else, we have been planning out our 2012 race schedules over the past couple weeks. While the smaller events aren't set in stone, we know what the big "target" races will be for the spring. For me (Jake) - the primary focus is on a spring marathon. I bounced back really quickly from Philadelphia, so as I blogged about last week, I'm going to be running the Boston Marathon in April. After Boston, I'll have two months to work on my speed and hopefully run a 5K PR in Las Vegas, and then that sub-1:04:XX half marathon that I want so badly at the USA Half-Marathon Championships, which are being held in Duluth, MN as part of the Grandma's Marathon weekend. Andrea's spring season will likely take the opposite approach, with no races until March, as she is trying to bounce back from a couple injuries - she'll focus on competitive sea-level 5Ks at Boston and Las Vegas, then step up in distance and go for a half-marathon PR at the USA Champs.

We are still waiting for the USATF-Utah 2012 circuit to be released, but most of our local races will come from that schedule, especially during the summer months. The Top of Utah 1/2 Marathon (where we both ran well last August) will definitely be our schedule, and we are thinking about staying local (in Utah) for a fall marathon and running St. George.

So here is the tentative schedule for now. We'll keep an updated list on the "Races" tab at the top of the blog.
(* = USATF-Utah circuit race)

January 23  -  SLC Track Club Winter Series 5K  (Jake)
February 25  -  SLC Track Club Winter Series 15K (Jake)
March 24 - Southwest Spine and Sports Mountain to Fountain 15K (Jake)
March 30 - Utah Valley Invitational 5000m
April 15 - Boston Athletic Association 5K (Andrea)
April 16 - Boston Marathon (Jake)
May 5 - Provo City Half-Marathon*
May 12 - Las Vegas 5K
June 9 - Heart of Holladay 5K*
June 16 - USA Half-Marathon Championships

Summer possibilities: Murray Fun Days 5K, Hobbler Half-Marathon, Tour de Run, Draper Days 5K, Top of Utah Half-Marathon.
Fall possibilities: St. George Marathon?

Register for the 2012 Las Vegas 5K and Run By The World Famous Welcome To Las Vegas Sign.

The Las Vegas 5K is a new race - they are trying to create a super-fast, competitive race like Carlsbad. If you sign up using the banner above, you get $5 off registration.

January 19, 2012

Our favorite post-Olympic Trials links

(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Here is a list (in no particular order) of some of our favorite articles and blogs that we've seen since the Olympic Trials. I'm sure we've missed a few good ones, so if you have something to add, post it in the comments.

For the best recap and breakdown of the races, of course you need to check out Letsrun.com:
Mens Analysis - Womens Analysis

One of the funnier (but totally true!) articles from the week, making fun of the fact that Nike dropped Meb, then he signed with Sketchers and ran back to back marathon PRs in 2 months! -
Somebody ought to lose their job at Nike

Q: And, you’re sure he is no longer a Nike athlete?  We usually grab up those personal interest stories, war, Africa, 
just do it stuff.
A: No, we let him go so we could hire another bench-sitting baby in the NBA…marketing said that was the way to go.  Meb has no tattoos.
Some good race recaps from personal blogs
Paul Peterson - Fellow fast running blog member, and two-time OT qualifier:
Just clicked off 5:05-5:10 for the first 8 miles of the race, got in a great rhythm. Was it too fast? Oh, definitely! But I wanted to roll the dice. And I was excited about it. Maybe I could be the Trent Briney of this year?
Since I ran the 2008 Trials, and this would likely be my last Trials, I had nothing to lose, and I didn't see much to gain by running 2:18-2:19. Trying for 2:14-2:15 sounded a lot more interesting.

Camille Herron - Camille is a hard working, high-mileage runner:
I had a lot of people trying to give me advice on how to approach the race. As bold, confident, and risky as I am (which you have to be to win a marathon!), I felt what was most important to me was running a steady race to ensure I got a new PR. I’ve tried many times the past year to “throw myself out there” for a new PR…. and have come up short. Sometimes you take the risk and it pays off…. and sometimes it doesn’t. Great quote, Every GREAT race involves an element of risk. I ran a conservative race this time, probably too conservative, and got a PR (sometimes the risk, IS, running conservative and coming from behind). I would have liked to have passed more people and finished around 2:35 or faster, but given the nature of the course/conditions, I think it was a slower race than everyone anticipated. Additionally, I believe steady progress and not forcing it is a good thing. My fitness continues to improve, so I’ll go with the flow!

Devon Crosby Helms
- An "ultra" runner who decided to give the marathon a serious shot, and has dropped over 10 minutes off her PR in the past year:

At the beginning of last year, I thought the journey was to the 2012 Olympic Trials. I thought that that is where the chapter would end. Now I see, it wasn't the end of a chapter, it was the introduction to an entirely new book. I look forward to discovering what I can do, following the thread of adventure and discovery before me.

Jaymee Marte - The last place finisher in the women's race... her inspiring story is worth checking out:

I have never been one who cares much at all about medals, but this one, I wanted more than anything on this earth.

Runner's Feed has posted recaps/interviews with dozens of athletes that are worth checking out. They put a lot of focus on the non-elite elites, which is cool - because they are often the runners we can identify with the most. Here's a few from their list:

Janet Cherobon Bawcom
we have a rule in our house that you never complain if you ran a PR. 

Mike Wardian
I was happy with the result but not satisfied, I know I can run sub 2:15 now and that is crazy cool. [Check out Wardian's upcoming race schedule... the guy is an animal! Oh, and after running 2:21 at the trials, he bounced back at ran 2:31 at the Houston Marathon the next day, which is amazing, but not surprising at all if you know who Mike is]

Well, that about sums up the difference b/w Top 3, and not Top 3
(photo by Margaret Hunter)
Adam Goucher writes about his wife - Kara's ticket to London

Her pre-race nerves were gone but mine remained. In that sense, runners are the lucky ones. The people who really have to suffer are the coaches, the parents, and the spouses. Our nerves do not go away when the race begins. Our nerves persist every step of the race causing a completely different type of agony than what the runners are experiencing. 

Perhaps it is because we have stood witness to the preparation for his moment for the weeks, months, and even years leading up to a race. This race is only a snapshot representing a much larger body of work. We have watched as the runners in our lives have battled through injury, sickness, doubts, good workouts and bad. We know just how desperately they want it; just how much they have already suffered and sacrificed to get to this line.

Lauren Fleshman
blogging about her friend Stephanie Rothstein - 
There is a Herculean price to pay for making yourself vulnerable to a dream.

Flotrack images -
Top 10 Men's Moments - Top 10 Women's Moments

Local Utah blogger Hungry Runner Girl had a post-race interview with Dathan Ritzenhein - 
Ritz on what's next

Yahoo! Photos - Houston Chronicle Photos

Women's trials shatters marathon depth record - This is really cool. In my (Jake's) opinion, this is exactly why they shouldn't lower the women's OTQ standard too much for 2016. Chasing the trials standard improves depth, and depth is good for the sport!

The top 3 men 
(Reuters / Richard Carson)
The top 3 women 
(Reuters / Richard Carson)

January 18, 2012

Some stats from the Women's Olympic Trials Marathon

Yesterday I posted some pace graphs from the men's olympic trials marathon. Today - the women's race.

Here is the link to the women's spreadsheet. Download the original file and open it in Excel for the formatting to be correct.

I am missing some mile splits for almost all of the competitors when they crossed the 1 hour mark (due to formatting that I don't feel like spending the time to fix right now), and also a few random splits later in the race (due to the splits simply being wrong on the USATF results website). Still, the graphs are interesting to look at...

The first graph shows the average mile splits of all finishers, and then separated into groups. A couple things jump right out - the women started off a lot slower than the men, the course was not completely flat, and its very common to slow down towards the end of a marathon!

Next up - the Top 10 women. I am missing some splits in here, but you can see that the top 3 (Shalana, Desi, and Kara) really hammered it home. Amy got dropped around mile 19, but put up a heck of a fight over the last couple miles.

Now, the DNFs - like the men's race, there were some blowups...

Zoomed-in view of the same graph. What I find interesting is that a lot of women dropped out when they weren't running all that slowly (yet). Quite a few made it through the halfway point of the race in that 5:45-6:00 pace range, but it just wasn't their day.

That's all for now. Maybe I'll do some more when I have some more free time.

January 17, 2012

Some stats from the men's Olympic Trials Marathon

I'm not going to offer any recap of the trials marathons, because there are dozens and dozens of awesome articles and photo galleries you can check out. Just head over to Letsrun.com and you'll be entertained for hours.

As everyone who watched / read knows, both races were incredible, and we are sending very strong teams to London this summer. It was cool to watch, but Andrea and I definitely felt like watching from home was not the way to experience the trials... it was exciting to be watching, but at the same time - very bittersweet. We want to be competing in 2016!

Being a total dork, I converted the mile-by-mile splits from the race website into a more usable spreadsheet. You can download it below. I've also made a few graphs. If time permits, I'll do this for the women's race as well.

Here is the google doc link for the Olympic Trials mile-by-mile splits spreadsheet. You'll want to download the original file and open it using Microsoft Excel, or else the formatting will be all jacked up.

For all of these graphs, the Y-axis is the mile split / pace, and the X-axis is the mile marker. The trials had timing mats at every mile, which is a stat geek's dream!

First up - here are the splits for the Top 20 finishers...

Now here are just the Top 4. You can see where Ritz lost it, around mile 20 - but he fought and clawed his way back in the last couple miles. 

Here are all the DNFs. While there were a few slow miles in there, most guys dropped out before they crossed that threshold into 6-minute mile land. They knew when the wheels were falling off.

This graph is similar to the first one, but just picks out some selected individuals. Paul Peterson, one of our fellow Fast Running Bloggers, was one of the few guys in the history of the marathon to slow down, and then manage to speed back up over the last 5K. Very impressive... he's a tough racer!

Here is what Paul said when I showed his these graphs: You can definitely see how the course was NOT flat, as some mile sets were consistently fast or slow (ie - Mile 8/16/24 are all the same stretch of road). The mile with the 180-uturn was 7/15/22, and those were all slow miles for everyone, etc. You can also see the utter carnage/chaos of the last last 6 miles pretty clearly...for everyone.

And finally, here's the average (+/- SD) splits for the entire field of finishers, versus just the top 10 finishers. I found it interesting that the "field" managed to kick it in over the last 0.2 relatively better than the top 10 guys :-)

January 12, 2012

Making Lemonade

Andrea told me this morning that "wasatch and beyond is getting pretty pathetic!"

Unfortunately, she is right - but its not our fault! We are having one of the driest and most pathetic winters in history. In terms of snowfall, right now 2011-2012 is primed for a podium spot in the "least snowy winters of all-time" competition. This is obviously the exact opposite of last year's 800" winter, where every day was a powder day! Backcountry conditions are sketchy at best in the spots where there is even enough snow to make turns. I hate to admit this, but we've only been out on skis once so far - and that was to skin inbounds laps at Brighton.

When winter hands you lemons, you make lemonade, right? The upside of the mild winter is that I've gotten my mileage back up into the 130-140 / week range a lot quicker than expected, and I'm feeling great. So good, in fact, that I've decided to run a spring marathon. Yesterday I got an elite entry to the Boston Marathon.

And now that I'm running Boston, I'm sure the weather patterns will completely shift and it will get downright stormy for the next couple months :-)

I'm really excited about the opportunity to run Boston, and hopefully have a breakthrough race that will be redemption of sorts after falling apart in Philadelphia last fall. A lot of friends from Utah are also heading east in April, so we'll be traveling with a great group of folks and this is going to be a lot of fun.

January 3, 2012

New Years Resolutions

Here is a list of all our New Years Resolutions that we made last year, followed by our goals for 2012. Jake tends to set very high goals for himself, whereas I try to be more conservative.

[This post goes along with our 2011 in Review posts: 
Andrea - Jake]


2011 Resolutions -

2000 miles run total - Ran a total of 2929 miles this year! 
PR at the half marathon distance - Dropped my time from 1:34 to 1:17. Huge improvement.
Run a marathon - Ran the Philadelphia Marathon in 2:49.
Stretch 5x a week - Stretched almost every day to keep my back and hamstring healthy.
Don’t be overly sensitive :) - Debatable!!
Take vitamins every day - Missed a few days, but overall stayed very consistent with iron and multivitamin.
Become a valuable asset at work - Got a raise at work and a new position in New Product Development.
Make 2011 the most memorable year yet No doubt the most fun, most adventurous, best skiing, best trips, best running, least stressful year of my life.

2012 Resolutions -

Have lots of fun!

Be healthy and injury-free
Take vitamins everyday
Run 2500 miles
Do 7500 pushups
Sub-17 minute 5K
Sub-1:17 half marathon
Win USATF-Utah LDR circuit
Run a relay/team race
Core and hip exercises 3x a week
Backcountry ski 100,000 vertical ft
Take vacations to new places (ideas - Portland/Oregon coast, Wind River Range, Jackson Hole, Yellowstone, Sierra Nevadas, San Diego, Escalante, Canyonlands, etc)


2011 Resolutions

5,000 miles run - Ran 5806 miles. Crushed that goal!
200,000 feet vertical gained (skiing / hiking) -  About 150,000 through the end of ski season, the stopped keeping track of hiking and biking. If I counted running in my vertical challenge, it would be at least double that number.
5,000 perfect pullups - Didn’t keep track, and didn’t come close to this number. Pulled my groin in May and was afraid to re-aggrevate it, so I didn’t start doing Perfect Pullups again until the end of November.
20,000 perfect pushups - 26,500 perfect pushups! Guns blazing!
Run ultramarathon - Antelope Island 50K in 3:38, course record.
Run marathon - Utah Valley 2:21, Philadelphia 2:25
PR at a distance that I’ve run before (half-marathon or shorter) - PR at every distance - 5K, 10K, 15K, Half Marathon.
Explore Wyoming - No Wyoming! We spend time on a pair of Southern Utah trips instead of going to Wyoming. This wasn't a failure by any means, because there is so much to see in Southern Utah.
Ski in lesser known Utah ranges - Nope, stuck to the Wasatch! Skiing was too good to bother driving anywhere else.
Shred the Cascades - Went to the Sierra Nevadas for summer vacation instead. This turned out to be a great choice!
Get promoted at work - Somehow made this happen despite doing all the things listed above!

2012 Resolutions -

Run 5,000 miles
20,000 perfect pushups
5,000 perfect pullups
Sub 1:05:00 half marathon
Sub 15:00 5K
Win a marathon
Win USATF-Utah LDR circuit
Run a relay/team race
Go to Wyoming!
Do a really cool, possible EPIC, trail run
Ski some new lines in the Wasatch
Ski a 10,000 foot day
Eat healthier
Be less annoying

Go to the Doctor (not for anything specific, I just haven't been to a doctor in about 8 years, and its about time I get a physical and some baseline bloodwork done).