November 30, 2013

AAYS Renegades Run 3-Miler (Andrea)

This morning, I ran the Renegades Run to support the Arizona Academy of Youth Soccer. This was my last race of 2013. The course was one big loop and very flat. It was a small race of ~150 runners, mostly kids and parents of the academy. Jake and I debated whether he should pace me or not, and we finally decided that it wouldn't affect his training negatively and would help me a lot.

17:20 (1st place) - [FRB Report]

The start was as crazy as always when lots of kids are racing. I squeezed myself onto the start line and we were off. I knew that 5:47 pace would be a stretch and it felt really fast from the beginning. We "settled" right on pace and hit the first mile in 5:47. I passed the first girl shortly after the mile then focused on keeping good form. Jake pushed the pace a bit on the 2nd mile with a 5:42 in order to give me a confidence boost. The final mile was a straight shot to the finish. I really started hurting at 2.25 miles and said to Jake "Help!". He pushed me through that last bit to keep pressing. The course ended up being exactly 3 miles, running the last mile at 5:49 and with a finish time of 17:20. That was HARD - I ran as hard as I could and am proud to have run that fast :)

Part of me was disappointed not to race the full 5K and the other part was really happy it was over! I am confident that I would have finished barely under 18 minutes for the 5K which has been my fall goal since I had surgery back in May. It's been a long journey since then and I still have a long way to getting back to 100%, but this fall season has given me a lot of hope that I will continue to feel better every month.

I really appreciate all the encouragement that I have gotten in the last year. I have had a lot of ups and downs, and the support I get from my on-line friends have helped me in so many ways.

Running to the finish w/ Jake
This one shows I gave it my all!

November 29, 2013

Mesa Turkey Trot 10K

Happy Thanksgiving (day after)! Yesterday I ran the 44th annual Turkey Trot in Mesa, AZ. I won the race in a controlled 31:00.

Here's my report (cross-posted from Fast Running Blog):

It was 60 degrees and sunny at the starting line this morning... I love coming down to Arizona for the winter holidays.

The goal today was to get in a good workout and to be disciplined enough not to hammer, because that would serve no purpose with the marathon so close. I came in exactly at the faster end of my target range.

Some other guy went out with me (actually, ahead of me in the first mile). Not sure why he thought that was a good idea. I dropped him during the second mile, then caught some of the wheelchair racers. After about 2.5 I was all alone. Kept the pace under control, dinked around a little too much with the crowd at the end, then ran back along the course to the 5 mile mark and met up w/ my Dad (who was being paced by Andrea). His goal was to break 48 minutes and he ended up running 47:20... his final sprint was the stuff legends are made of. If I could learn to kick like that...


Fun morning. Won a turkey. Bring on CIM.

If you don't count 10K splits in half-marathons (which don't count because they aren't certified), this was actually a 10K Road race PR. I'm in much, much better shape than when I ran the 10K in Kansas City earlier this fall, that's for sure.

Course was 2 loops, each loop with one (gradual) 50 foot climb.

November 16, 2013

Saltair Half Marathon and 5K

Andrea and I ran in the Saltair Half Marathon and 5K this morning. I won the half in 1:10:01, and she won the 5K in 18:45. We went into these races with the idea of getting in solid workouts and walked away with a little cash. Not bad for a wintery, gross Saturday morning! Here's our recaps...

Jake - 1:10:01 (1st place) - FRB link

The inagural Saltair Half Marathon was timed perfectly - 3 weeks before CIM, which is when I'd be out on that same road doing a 13 mile MP tempo anyways. As usual for runs out there, the weather was slightly uncomfortable at times, but being able to get in this kind of effort in a race setting with some company makes it well worth it.

We started off with a good sized group. Chris Rushing was off the front quick (unaware, unfortunately, that the 5K started 30 minutes later). Fritz moved ahead after a half-mile and had a pretty good lead on the rest of us for the first half of the race. Nate and I wanted to keep all the miles ~5:20 and finish ~1:10. We dropped the rest of the group and slowly reeled Fritz back in, catching him just before the halfway point. During the second half we just tried to work together and kept the miles consistent. Miles 11-12 were a little rough with wind and cold rain, so even though they were a little slower, the effort stayed the same. We were stride for stride until we hit the 13 mile mark, and then it was every man for himself. I ended up winning by about 2-3 seconds. Great run for Nate, and Fritz wasn't far behind in 3rd.

I was very happy my pacing - 35:02 at the halfway turnaround, and 34:59 coming back. Right on the money - I think my official time was 1:10:01. Exactly what I wanted to accomplish today. Strong stimulus but under control.

Mile splits: 5:22, 5:24, 5:15, 5:23, 5:21, 5:20, 5:14, 5:16, 5:19, 5:20, 5:20, 5:26, 5:25, 5:16.

My new Saucony Type A6s were great. I'll go with them for CIM.

Overall I thought this was a really good race. Deep fields for both men and women. Great prizes... I walked away with $183 (love that totally random amount) plus Andrea (who won the 5K) and I also took home all of this...

I guess the race was sponsored by Dr. Pepper, GU, and sunscreen.

Andrea - 18:45 (1st place) - FRB link

Typical conditions at any race that starts at Saltair - rainy, snowy, cold, windy, etc. I ran a 2 mile warm-up with Allie and Kassi then watched the half marathon start. The 5k was 30 minutes after and a much smaller race. The weather varied from a calm wind to very windy and raining. The race started, and the first half of the race felt relatively comfortable at just under 6 minute pace. After the turnaround was a different story. I was able to maintain my pace until about 2 miles but was working a lot harder to fight the wind and rain. I looked at my watch at 2.5 miles and was running 20 sec/mile slower. I think the wind died back down at that point, but I wasn't able to speed up. My final time was 18:45 with the course at 5-10 seconds short. Splits were 5:58, 6:01, 6:19, 5:59 pace for .07 miles.

I ran slower than I expected/wanted, but I'm not worried. I've had a great couple weeks of training and the weather wasn't ideal today. Today served as a great workout and I did win the women's race :) Afterwards, I watched the half marathoners come in, froze, then ran a 2 mile cooldown with Collin and Kassi. Overall a well-run event and I was pleased with the organization.

More photos from Andrea...

And here's the elevation profile sketched up off memory :-)

November 6, 2013

Training Summary - 3 weeks leading up to Indy HM

Recently I've been posting training summaries - my daily log is always accessible, but hopefully these recaps are useful to those trying to see the bigger picture and how I try to put the pieces together. I had 6 weeks between the TOU Marathon and Indianapolis Monumental Half Marathon. The first three weeks of that stretch is documented here. The following three weeks is summarized below...

I've added (in parenthesis) my AM/PM mileage to the bottom of each cell. I think that information is useful for those looking to see how I break up the weekly mileage.

The goal for the two weeks before Indy was to get in a few HM-specific workouts, while keeping the volume reasonably high and not shying too far away from some Marathon-specific (MP, or usually labeled as "AT" = aerobic threshold) work.

On October 16th I did an 18 mile run that included 8.4 miles of hard, hilly, rhythm breaking running at MP or faster. These hills were more challening than what I'll face on the CIM course, but I'd rather be over-prepared for the hills. Later than week I ran a 5K race followed immediately by 7 miles at MP, which ended up being a 20 miler including warmup and cooldown.

The following week I did a hard HM-specific workout 10 days out from Indy: 2 x 5K in 15:22, 15:21. That weekend I did a 5 mile AT tempo at 5:12 pace, following by 2 x 1 mile in 4:53. I didn't try to squeeze in anything extra; those two sessions got the job done.

In the week leading up to Indy I cut back my mileage quite a bit and did a few light workouts to stay sharp: 5 x 1K at 3:04, and then 6 x 1/4 at 5K pace. 

The race in Indianapolis (1:05:54) wasn't fantastic, but wasn't terrible either. Realistically I knew that ~1:05:20 - 1:05:30 was what I should be aiming for, but I got sucked out too quick and basically had to just hang on after 10K. I learned some valuable lessons that I'll incorporate into my training over the next month and race strategy at CIM.

Now I've got 4 weeks of training (followed by a 1 week taper) before the marathon. I'm going to continue to stick with 2 hard sessions per week, keeping the workouts spaced out and of high-quality. Most of the work will be very marathon-specific from this point forward. I've got a 10K race on the schedule 10 days out from the marathon (Thanksgiving morning).

November 3, 2013

Indianapolis Monumental Half Marathon and 5K

Scott, Andrea, and I post-race
Andrea and I traveled to Indianapolis this weekend for the Monumental Half-Marathon and 5K. Here's our race reports...

Jake - 1:05:54 (7th place)

Before I say anything about my race, I want to give a shout to the IMM race organization (especially elite coordinator Matt Ebersole) for putting together such competitive fields. All 4 course records were shattered. An interesting storyline was that 16 year old Alana Hadley and 49 year old Colleen De Reuck (who ran 2:39!) both qualified for the Olympic Trials.

Weather was ideal (low 40s and the wind from the day before died off). The course was also great - an essentially flat loop with no surprises.

I wanted to get out at just under 5:00 pace and come through 10K a little under 31 minutes. The pack was big off the start. I counted 14 guys ahead of me as we came though the mile (4:55). I tried to tuck in the back, but the Kenyans started to string it out in the second mile, and the big group already started to break up. Mile 2 was another 4:55. I had passed a few guys and moved up to a yellow singlet (Andrew Sherman). We ended up running pretty much the rest of the race together. We caught up to Jason Ordway in the 3rd mile (4:50, so 14:40 at 3 miles... too fast, borderline suicidal, although it didn't feel that way). We moved away from Jason and miles 4-6 were 4:54, 5:07, 4:58. Hit 10K in 30:48. On paper that doesn't look too bad, but it wasn't run evenly, and took a toll.

We had no one in sight in front of us, so Andrew and I were basically racing each other. The pace slowed from 7-9: 5:02, 5:08, 5:12 (ugly). A little after 15K another guy (Brandon York) moved up and caught us. Now we had a little pack of three, and the pace picked back up a little. Miles 10-12 were 5:05, 5:05, 5:08. Brandon and Andrew were both a little ahead of me with about a half-mile left. Andrea was waiting a quarter-mile from the finish and told me to be proud of my finish. That was a good thing to say and it got me going. I moved past Andrew, but Brandon still had a little gap on me. My legs felt like lead but I mustered up a some mental fortitude and was able to beat him to the finish by a few strides. I felt good about how I finished. The last mile was 4:59 and then ~29-30 for the last tenth. Here's the full results. Deep race with 9 guys under 1:06.

I knew sub-65 was a longshot, so I'm not at all disappointed in the outcome. I've said this before, but anytime you break 66 on a fair course, its a good performance and you can't be too upset because it doesn't happen by accident. I definitely learned a few things that I think will be valuable as I approach CIM in 5 weeks (and half-marathons next spring). My PR of 1:05:45 from October 2011 will unfortunately survive another year. Before I think about trying to break 1:05, I need to beat that time, and break 1:05:30. Smaller steps. And I definitely run better off negative splits, not going out hard and hanging on.

For the upcoming marathon, I need to be realistic about what my current capabilities are and try to maximize my chances for a good performance (not just go for 2:17 because that's what I want to run). That will probably mean going out a bit slower and not necessarily chasing the OTQ standard. I've got 2 years to chase it... I still haven't run a really good marathon, so that should (and will) be my main goal. Plus, anything can happen if you aren't going backwards in the last 10 miles.

Andrea - 18:16 (2nd place)

Another step in the right direction today. I consider this a better performance than the SOJO 5K and was able to finish a lot stronger.

The elite race coordinator (Matt) was nice enough to let me hang out in the elite quarters (=warm indoors) prior to the race as Jake's coach/psychologist/masseuse. The talent level in that room was pretty phenomenal - truly some of the best in the country ran today. I ran part of the warm-up with Jake and walked with the elites to the starting line. Conditions were pretty good for fast times at 41 degrees and only a little breezy. Because the 5K started after the half/full, I jogged to the half mile mark to watch (and make sure Jake didn't go out at 3k pace). I have never seen such a big race start - the masses just kept coming and coming. It made me happy to see so many people that love the sport!

Obviously I wasn't super focused on my race. Apparently no one else needed to do strides for the 5k so I didn't either. A few mascots danced for a couple minutes then we were off. I was in 50th place at 0.25 mile and I'm pretty sure there were at least 35 epic crashes. I stuck to my 5:55 goal pace and worked on reeling in the runners ahead of me. I was able to speed up in the last 0.5 mile and finish with a pretty good kick.

I hoped to run around 18:15 so I am satisfied with my performance! I haven't had the best week with quite a bit of discomfort of my lateral knee and glute, but once again race day performed its miracle and I felt completely healthy. I really do believe that the races are helping my right leg/hip muscles fire correctly and are good for me as I continue to heal.

I relaxed for a few minutes then went out to wait and cheer for Jake. He came around the corner with two guys on either side of him, and it was great to see him kick it into that extra gear and outsprint them! Overall a good race for both of us.