Sunday, August 26, 2012

Goofy Training Update and Golden Gate (not) 5K Race Report

I ran 14 miles this morning, in 3 parts, with a race in the middle. This probably wasn't the smartest idea. I was dreading this run/race because I was convinced it would be super foggy and I wasn't looking forward to running in cold damp weather. Instead, we awoke to sunny and clear blue skies, which was all the motivation I needed to get it done -- days like this don't come around often.

Part I was with Jason using 2/1 intervals, from the Marina to the race start at the Polo Fields in Golden Gate Park. After we registered, we still had a bit of time, so I ran another mile to keep my legs warm and avoid getting too stiff before the race. I ran a total of 6 miles @ 12:08 pace, which is a little fast for a long run (not for 6 miles, but remember I was doing 14 total) but not super fast. I am not surprised because 5 of those miles was with Jason, and I could tell it was a little fast yet it felt comfortable.

I love these low key weekly races from DSE. This is our "bib" and timing chip. They time them manually by ripping the button and sticking them on a pin. I guess someone pushes a button on their timer machine when each person crosses and then they match thPart II was the not-quite 5K Golden Gate Cross County race, hosted by the Dolphin South End (DSE) Running Club. Their motto is "start slow then taper off" with the goal of hosting at least one race per week at an affordable price ($5-10). I love these low key DSE races that go back to basics and remind us that running is supposed to be fun. The picture to the right shows my "bib" and timing chip--women's were orange and men white. They time each race manually by ripping the button and sticking them on a pin in order across the finish line. I think someone pushes a button on their timer machine when each person crosses and then they match them up.

The course today was 1/2 mile short, but I was glad because pushed pretty hard and averaged 10:17 for 2.6 miles. I planned to take it easy since I still had to run 5 more miles after the race, but I got carried away and pushed a bit too much. At that pace I would have finished a full 5K in just under 32 minutes, which is pretty fast for me. I walked 1 min after each mile, but I do much better when I use shorter intervals instead of trying to hang on for a whole mile, so I think I'm going to try running 4 minutes and walking 30 seconds at next Sunday's 5K race. The race itself was great. The course was gorgeous, mostly flat and 95% off-road through dirt and grass. They had bananas, grapes, cookies, and uber bars after the race, which I indulged perhaps a bit too much before heading back for the last 5.5 miles.

I ran part 3 alone on a slightly different route back home while Jason ran a different route to get in his 10 more miles. It was a slow and painful 5.5 @ 13:31 pace using 2/1 intervals. It was a lot slower because my legs were tired from the first 6 with Jason and the race, plus this route was mostly uphill and unpaved, but I'm perfectly ok with that because this is closer to my training pace and the route was very scenic. Part of this route (and part of the first) was across Golden Gate Park. Every Sundays, they close a section of a major road at the park to motor vehicles for pedestrians and cyclists to enjoy. It was so peaceful running there without the roar of car motors. I'll definitely be running there again for my next long run.

Today's total was 14.18 miles in 2:54:54 @ 12:20 average pace. This was probably the hardest 14-miler I've ever run. The hills and unpaved terrain really do add a level of difficulty, and running 2.6 miles at 10ish pace in the middle surely didn't help either. But I they are done and I did enjoy them overall. I experimented with nutrition during this run; instead of my usual gels or shot blocks, I ate mostly fruit snacks (like gummy bears). They are so delicious and much cheaper than those other products, but still chockfull of sugar to provide that energy boost and keep the carbohydrate flame burning. I think they worked just fine, but I also ate that food after the race, so I can't conclusively say yet whether I can run a whole marathon with just that. I'll try it at my next half marathon race next month and see how it goes (I did and will bring at least 2 gel just in case or if I need an extra boost towards the end).

So Goofy training is well underway. I technically don't need to up my milage just yet, but I want to maintain my endurance. This was my last long run before my next half marathon race on September 16. After that I'll begin upping my milage to 15+ with long runs of up to half the distance the previous day. I think these past 2 weeks have been good for acclimating to the hills and terrain, and I do feel like my legs are getting stronger. They really have to no choice because running anything more than a mile will encounter both.

How's everyone else's training coming along?

Sunday, August 12, 2012

New Running Plan

Last season was all about speed and breaking 5 hours in the marathon. That took a lot of work, but the reward was totally worth it. This season the focus is the Goofy Challenge, which is not at all about speed. I thought I would still do some speed work and try to improve my times at shorter races, but with the move to San Francisco my plans have changed.

I'm still keeping up with my running, and my endurance is stellar, but running here is a whole other ball game because of the hills. So my focus right now is going to be on volume to build crazy endurance for Goofy, and on building the muscle adaption necessary to run on hills and on back to back days.  That means slow runs with lots of walk breaks, to avoid injury and ensure that I recover quickly before the next run.

I've also fallen in love with trail running ever since I ran the Presidio Cross Country 5K on August 5th. It's very primal, the views are amazing, it keeps me occupied as I negotiate the next terrain or elevation change, and the lower impact of the soft ground is a great way to help me avoid injury from the pounding of the high milage. Since I'm using leg muscles I didn't before, to stabilize on the uneven surfaces of the trails or power through a hill, I'm also building leg strength. That should serve me well when I go run Goofy on the mostly flat course in Orlando.

This means that an ultramarathon is absolutely in the cards for me now. I was hesitant to do 30+ miles on a trail, but now I totally understand why most ultras take place there. No one wants the pounding from cement and asphalt for that long. Since I'll already be building milage for Goofy, I'll be primed for an ultra so my first official one will probably be in early 2013.

I plan to start running 4 days a week, basically taking 1-2 rest days every 2 days. Any mid-week back to back runs won't be very long runs, but they may be challenging -- hills or trails or both -- followed or preceded by a very easy recovery run on a flat route. Of course, I'll probably also be walking on rest days, because that's my main mode of transportation; that should also help with the hill adaption. Then every 2-3 weekends I'll do back to back long runs per the Goofy schedule.  I may still go to the track or do some tempo runs on shorter runs, but I'm not going to worry too much about those. I want to get back to enjoying running without too much structure and doing races for fun instead of some do or die pace goal.

This is going to be fun! :)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Catching Up (7.24 - 8.07)

I seem to have lost all motivation to blog, but I know that the longer I go without posting the harder it will be to get back into it, so here's an update in somewhat bullet form of what we've been up to during the last 2 weeks, including two short race reports.

San Francisco Half Marathon (1st Half) on 7/29 - This was HM #16 and the first race in my new city. There was no PR and I barely finished in 2:30, but I got it done. It was really challenging, both physically and mentally. The lack of sunshine, due to the foggy and rainy weather, the relentless hills, and racing alone (Jason started a whole hour before me) made it hard to stay motivated.  I'll try to write a full race report with those details later, but this and DM will have to do for now. I'll probably run the 2nd half next year so I can get the extra medal, but since I'm not a fan of big races (13K+) I'm not sure. See map, elevation, and official results on dailymile.

City and Muir Woods Tour - The day after the race, we went on this 8-hour tour with Jason's parents that were visiting, and I used this iPhone app called MobilyTrip to capture it. Probably not the best way to recover from a hard race, but it was a lot of fun. It was a great way to see highlights of our new city and we'll be going back to Muir Woods for a longer hike. Check out my MobiliyTrip journal for photos and details about the tour.

New Home - The craziness and challenges of moving across the country continue, but at least we finally moved into our permanent home in the Marina on Saturday. We absolutely love the neighborhood and how close we are to a National Park and other cool attractions. Our stuff, including  furniture and kitchen stuff, will not be here for another week or two, but we have a new bed and mattress, and some basics to get use through. Let me tell you though, it's hard as hell peeling and cutting potatoes with a small steak knife, and I'm having to get really creative when cooking because all we have is a 10" cast iron skillet and 9 x 13 baking pan. So if you have recipe ideas that only require those two cooking vessels, please comment!

Presidio Cross Country 5K - 2nd race in SF and it went much better than the half. This was my first trail race and I had so much fun! Despite my pace being slower than at the half, I ran a better race and focused on enjoying running and it made all the difference. And to think I almost didn't even go, but thankfully Jason made me. Now I'm hooked on trail running =) See more details and official results on dailymile. After the race and some errands, we enjoyed our new neighborhood with a friend. It was the perfect day.

Presidio Hike - Last night we went on our first hike in the Presidio, the national park right next door. It was short, but it didn't lack in terrain and elevation changes. I'm so excited to do more of these in the future, and I plan to do a similar run there tomorrow. See map, elevation and details on dailymile.

So that's it. We're all caught up now and I'll try to post more regularly so I don't have to do catch up posts like these in the future. How's everyone doing back in Orlando? Miss you!
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