Tuesday, January 15, 2013

2013 Running Goals & Preliminary Race Schedule

I typically make one post for all my goals for the year, including non-fitness goals, but since I have so many running goals I thought that deserved it's own post. I'm still thinking about other life goals and will post that separately later.

My main running goal for 2013 is to find a better balance between speed and distance. I still have lofty distance goals as I delve deeper into ultramarathons, but it's time to stop using the move as an excuse to slack off and work on some speed again. I also want to do more fun and unique races, and more trail runs. So yes, these are very aggressive goals and I may not achieve all of them, but making them doesn't cost me anything so I might as well aim high and see where I land. 
  • Run + Walk a total of 2013 miles for Moon Joggers
  • Run 1300 miles (108/mo; 25/wk)
  • 1 mile in 8 minutes
  • 5K in 28 minutes (9 min pace) or PR (sub-29:23)
  • 10K in 62 minutes (10 min pace) or PR (sub-1:03:28)
  • Half Marathon in 2:15 (10:15 miran pace) or PR (sub-2:18)
  • Race with the Race Guards team
  • Ultra longer than 50 miles
  • Relay Race (like Ragnar Napa Valley or The Relay
  • Volunteer for at least 6 races
Tentative 2013 Racing Schedule

This is still very much in flux because I'm still learning about all the local races, but I have already registered for the ones in blod and I'm strongly considering the rest, but will likely not do all of these and add a bunch more because I plan to run as many as I can with DSE and Tracy's Racing since they are nearby, inexpensive and with great company.

What awesome race am I forgetting?

2012 Recap: Goals Update

Moving to San Francisco threw a wrench into life in general, so some of these goals suffered or I forgot about them. But considering such a huge life change, I did pretty good. 

  • Run 1000+ miles (80/mo; 20/wk) - Check! 1141 miles!
  • Run a 5K in 29 minutes - Semi-Check: 29:23
  • Run a half marathon in 2:15 or PR (sub-2:24) - Check! 2:18:03
  • Run a marathon in 5 hours or PR (sub-5:22) - Check! 4:52:17
  • Become a Marathon Maniac (3 in 90 days) - Check! MM #5026
  • 30 day running streak (1 mile/day) - Nope
General Fitness
  • Walk 500+ miles (42/mo; 10/wk) - Check! 600 miles!
  • 30 day plank-a-day challenge - Check!
  • 10 hours of yoga per month (2.5/wk) - I have no idea, but I doubt it
  • Bike at least once a week - Nope, moving to SF threw a wrench in this one
  • Drive car < 6500 miles (541/mo; 125/wk) - I stopped tracking once we moved to SF, but since we don't drive here, it's probably a Check.
  • Spend < $1000 at restaurants - Stopped tracking when I moved to SF, but with prices being so high in SF I doubt it. 
  • Eat restaurant food no more than 100x (8x per month) - Probably failed at this too, but again stopped tracking when I moved to SF
  • Do 1 new thing each month - Totally forgot about this one
  • Read 6 books - Check! 9 books read/listened

2012 Recap: Races and Milestones

Until I started pulling numbers for this recap I did not realized I had raced so much in 2012. With a total of 24 races, that's 2 more than I have ever raced in one year (2010). Unlike 2011, which was the year of speed, 2012 was about building endurance and dipping my toe in the ultramarathon pool. Even without a focus on speed, I managed to PR at 6 disstances at the beginning of the year when I was still reaping the benefits of the speed work in 2011. I think 2013 will be about finding a balance between speed and distance, but I'm still working on drafting those goals, so stay tuned.

  • walked 600 miles
  • ran 1141 miles
  • biked 468 miles
  • total run + walk: 1741 miles
  • total (all 3): 2,206 miles
  • RRCA Certified Running Coach
  • Moved to San Francisco
  • 50 Mile Ultra
  • 6 Hour Timed Race
  • Raced on back-to-back days
  • Marathon Maniac
6 New PRs:
  1. marathon = 4:52:17 (29:12)
  2. half marathon = 2:18:03 (5:57)
  3. 12K = 1:21:58 (7:15)
  4. 10K = 1:03:28 (2:52)
  5. 5K = 29:23 (1:03)
  6. magic mile = 8:10 (7s)
24 races: 

Ten more races than last year, and 2 more than previous record in 2010. Breakdown per distance: 5 5Ks, 2 10Ks, 1 12K, 1 15K, 9 Half Marathons, 4 Marathons, 1 50M, 1 6H

Monday, January 14, 2013

Race Recap: Disney's Goofy Challenge

It is no secret that I'm not a fan of Disney races. Now that I have first hand experience with a race longer than a 10K, I can confirm that these races are absolutely not worth the price of admission. I should have just taken Dad's word for it, but you know how we humans don't believe it until we try it ourselves. I can see the appeal, in theory, but the few highlights of Disney magic did not outweigh the negatives for me. I'm glad I came back for it though to run with my Galloway buddies. We had so much fun in our color coordinated outfits.

My Orlando Running Group, Sole Mates AKA Crazy Mates because all of us are doing Goofy. First up was the half marathon on Saturday. I took it easy and ran most of the way with my Orlando Galloway running group. It was a lot of fun, but that had more to do with the people than the course. Running down Main Street in the Magic Kingdom and seeing Cinderella's Castle in all it's lighted glory was cool, but that was it. The course was basically an out and back to the castle along highways. The last 5K was awful due to the heat and my right leg (inner lower leg just above ankle) started hurting towards the end. I took a quick ice bath at the hotel, refueled at Sweet Tomatoes, then took a nap. We went for a quick dinner at Macaroni Grill then I was back in bed by 8 p.m.

Crazy Mates! Sunday morning I woke up for the marathon in pain. I taped it and hoped for the best, but I was really worried about it. I questioned if I should even start the race, let alone if I'd be able to finish, but I figured that it was probably just tight and it would loosen up in time. It finally did, somewhere during the 2nd half, but it got replaced by pain on top of the ankle on the other leg (likely an overcompensation injury). So from the very first step, I was in pain. I knew what I had to do if I wanted to finish this marathon, so I sadly let my running group go and ran my own race. I knew running this alone in the heat would be tough, and at that moment I wished I had my headphones, but I'm glad I didn't because it forced me to truly experience the race. I had my P&S camera, so I set out to make the most of it. Since it hurt more to walk or start running again, I didn't follow a specific running interval and just jogged at a comfortable pace for a few minutes then waked for 30-60 seconds and on all the hills. The weather was actually cooler than Saturday for longer than I expected, but towards the end the sun came out full force. The pain was at bay thanks to some Tylenol and lots of biofreeze, but I really struggled with the heat and I could no longer run without shade, so that became my new run/walk interval.

Start line fireworks Start to Magic Kingdom: The first 5 miles are on the highway and parking lots leading up to the Magic Kingdom. They have a few characters, photo ops and music along the way, but it's fairly boring. As I was nearing mile 5, my friend Christine found me. This was her first marathon and I was thrilled to see her. We chatted while we walked and ran together for a few minutes,  then I let her go not wanting to slow her down knowing I would not be able to keep up. Then I saw Ric leading the 5:15 pace group and I ran with them for like a minute before I quickly lost them. As I neared Cinderella's Castle, I looked for Jason. He took my pic got my sunglasses, then I was on my own again.

Entering the Magic Kingdom parking lot Before running under the castle Near the castle (by Jason)

Speedway: Less than a mile through the Magic Kingdom, and we're back on the parking lot/roads for 2-3 miles on our way to the Speedway. This was a new part of the course, and it was pretty cool running around the track with all the classic cars and the "characters" from the movie Cars. Up next was another 3-4 miles of back roads through their water treatment plan (really?) on our way to Animal Kingdom. This was boring as hell, but at least there was some shade. 

Riding Expedition Everest Animal Kingdom: As soon as you enter the backlot of Animal Kingdom, there is basically a petting zoo on the side of the road. Instead of standing in line to get your picture with a character, there were cast members holding all kinds of wild life for you to pet or take pictures with, including birds, goats, and a big snake -- I ran away from that one quickly. My friend Eric told me he was DJing just before Everest, so I looked forward to that. On my way there I debated if I should ride Expedition Everest. I knew I'd never run this race again but I was worried about wasting too much time since I was going so slowly. After I saw him and gave him a hug, it was a really nice pick me up and I picked up the pace a bit. As I ran pass Everest, I saw runners running in and that the wait was only 5 minutes so I went for it. It was amusing how we were all running through the queue. Once we got to the loading zone, we only had to wait a few seconds for the loaded car to take off then we were on the ride. Even though I don't love this ride, it was the highlight of the race and I'm really glad I did it. We ran out as soon as it finished and I had a second wind, which was unfortunately quickly squashed because the next mile or so was on a very narrow sidewalk and I was forced to walk.

ESPN Wide World of Sports: The next 2-3 miles suck because they are in the highway with the blazing sun, but around mile 16.5 I ran into Carol and Debbie at the medical tent. I was so happy to see them that I almost cried and the next 3 miles flew by as I ran and chatted with them. Then I lost them during a potty break just before the stadium. I just wanted to keep moving to not stiffen and figured they'd catch me because I was moving slower, but then I really had to pee so I sped up in hopes of finding a potty and being out before they caught up. As soon as I went in, I saw them run pass me. When I got out, I could see them in the distance but I simply couldn't catch them because we were now back in the sun and running up an on-ramp. Running around the stadium was a nice touch and shady. 

Tigger! 20 Mile Celebration: Since this was the 20th anniversary, they had a special arch way mile marker at mile 20. There was Disney music playing with characters along each side of the road and Minnie, Mickey and Pluto up on stage. I stopped and waited in a short line to take took a picture with Tigger then went in search of my potty break. My biggest complaint about this race is why isn't there Disney music blaring out of every speaker along the course. They have frequent entertainment, but a lot of it is DJs or speakers playing pop music. I think it would add so much more to the experience and magic if there was Disney music the whole time. 

Hollywood Studios: Mile 20 - 23 was the worse part because it was all on the highway on our way to Hollywood Studios and the sun was blazing. My stomach started to hurt every time I tried running in the sun, so I walked until there was shade again. Once I entered Hollywood Studios, I saw some familiar faces volunteering and I started getting emotional. Then I saw Donna, called out to her, and she ran to me and gave me the biggest hug. That opened up the flood gates. Mile 23 was also the candy station, which I had been looking forward to all day. I checked my phone after this and noticed a text from Tracy and Scott that were visiting the parks and were out on the course waiting for me. I tried to compose myself but once I saw them I started getting emotional again. They took my picture and we hugged as I choked back tears, and as soon as I ran off I broke out in a big sob and cried all the way to the boardwalk. I wasn't sad, just tired and overwhelmed by all the support and relieved that I was going to finish this race and make the cut off. 

Boardwalk: I knew this section well as I had volunteered here many times before and I knew that my parents were here somewhere. I kept looking for them and wondering where they were. I finally saw them just before the last bend to go into Epcot. I once again choked back tears as I hugged them and then started sobbing as soon as I ran past them and into Epcot. These were certainly tears of joy and relief as I was now only 1 mile from the finish line. 

Mile 26! Freaking finally! Finish: I was beyond relieved to finally see mile marker 26. I walked up to it so I would have the strength to run the last stretch to the finish. As soon as I turned into the finish shoot, I saw Jason and threw my hands up in the air then made a kill me know gesture lol I slowed and finally stopped for a second because I wanted a picture of the finish line, then ran it in and threw my hands up in the air as I crossed. I burst into tears again and was so happy to be done. I got my Mickey medal, which is beyond amazing, then staggered over to the Goofy tent. My Galloway group was there volunteering and I was so happy to see them. I hugged Laura through more tears, but I was also all smiles. Carol and Debbie were also there, so we took some pictures together before I made my way to the Galloway tent to reunite with Jason. 

My favorite bling. It's much more impressive and bigger in person. Post-Race: I was convinced the rest of my Galloway group was gone by now since they had all finished 30-60 minutes before me. This thought had made me really sad during those last few miles, but as I neared the tent I saw Chris, Katrina, Todd, Brenda and Omar! I was so happy to see them and had to really hold back tears. It meant so much to me to see them there and it was a special treat to see Omar since I had missed him on the course. After a ton of pictures, Omar offered us some Mimosas and we toasted our accomplishments then went to Unos to refuel and compare notes about the race. 

Final Thoughts: Even though the marathon was really tough for me, I'm glad I did it and finally got to experience this first hand. But never again! I made the best of a bad situation and ran smart to avoid further injury and finish before the cut-off. Today both injuries seem fine and I just have the typical post-marathon soreness. This race does have some moments of Disney magic that I enjoyed (Main St, Cinderella's Castle, Speedway, Everest, Stadium), but that is such a small percentage of the race that it doesn't make up for all the highway running and congestion almost the entire race. I may run a half at Disneyland someday and come back and do another half here for the Coast to Coast medal, but I'll have to think long and hard before making that decision and need lots of peer pressure. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Race Report: New Year's One Day 6-Hour

I ran my last race of 2012 on New Year's Eve, starting at 6pm and ending at midnight. It was the perfect way to bid adieu to 2012 and welcome 2013. This was my first timed event, and I really liked it. It's really weird not having a finish line in sight and knowing that no matter how fast you run it will still take the same amount of time to finish (unless you stop earlier). I really liked the challenge and it's a great way to train yourself to dig deep. Even though I didn't quite run a marathon, I felt just as beat up. I think I'm starting to understand how running a slower marathon is harder than running it hard because at least when you run fast it's over with quicker and the pain usually stops when you cross that finish line. When you run it slower you are on your feet a lot longer and that hurts just as much.

  • 23 laps 
  • 24.4 miles
  • 2/7 in 30-39 age group
  • 30/62 overall place
  • Garmin Total Time: 25 miles in 5:51 @ 14:01 pace
  • Garmin Moving Time: 5:28:51 @ 13:09 pace
  • Full Garmin data: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/256704299)
Swag: Below is a picture of all my race swag. The green hat was an optional purchase, but I got mine for volunteering at the aid station prior to the race. The medal is my 2nd place age group award. We'll also receive a custom coaster with our name and distance completed.


Support: There was a huge aid station near the start/finish of each loop filled to the brim with everything you could possibly want, including water, soda, cookies, candy, pretzels, shot blocks, salt tablets, energy bars and after sunset pizza and hot soup. There was a timing mat we passed each loop with a big screen tv showing your progress and splits. Runner progress was posted to the race site every hour, and the site had a link to allow friends and family to email messages to the runners. I got a few and it was such a treat! My favorite was from George, and I read it at the perfect time when I needed to dig deep and ignore the pain:
"Scott stumbled upon the most advanced weapon in the ultrarunner's arsenal: instead of cringing from fatigue, you embrace it. You refuse to let it go. You get to know it so well you're not afraid of it anymore." Run without fear!

IMG_1508 IMG_1510

Course: Each lap was 1.061 miles around the lagoon at Crissy Field with spectacular views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Angel Island, Alcatraz and the San Francisco Bay. The start/finish was about half a mile from my apartment, wich was great for a quick walk home after we finished. The loop is 60% dirt and 40% asphalt. The 6-hour race started at 6 pm and finished at midnight. The sunset was at 5pm, so my entire run was in the dark and it was cold in the low 40s, but that wasn't much of an issue once I was running. As we looped round and round, I took in all the sights and was grateful for a clear night. The Golden Gate Bridge is gorgeous when lit up at night. We could see all the lights from the city and cruise ships in the bay. At one point somewhere in the Marina someone released light lanters. The moon was huge above us lighting the way.

IMG_1512Race: Since Goofy is less than two weeks away, I wanted to take it easy and avoid injury. I could not decide what I wanted my distance goal to be, but I knew I wanted to run at least 20 miles and really wanted to get in a marathon if I felt good. However, my main goal was to practice running at night on tired legs for my upcoming ultra in March. I volunteered at the aid station for 5 hours prior to the race and was on my feet most of that time, so I certainly accomplished that goal.

I started slow with :30/:30 intervals for the first 3-4 miles, then switched to :60/:30 intervals for most of the rest of the race. I felt a twinge in my IT band early on; somewhere around mile 7 I think, but thankfully that settled down quickly. My biggest problem was that I kept having to pee, so that ate up a lot of my time. Having an aid station available every mile is both a blessing and a curse. It's too easy to dilly dally and waste a lot of time, so I tried to only stop once an hour to eat some shot blocks with some water and stretch. The other laps I would stop for a quick sip of water as needed. 

I was feeling really good most of the race, the cool temps certainly helped, and was surprised at how quickly the time flew. That is the beauty of the loops; they let your brain breakdown the race into manageable chunks and you just focus on the next milestone: the next loop or the next hour. I felt like I was flying when I was running, but I know I really wasn't moving as fast as I thought.  Eventually my legs, specially my calves, started to tighten and hurt, but since I knew I wasn't injured I pressed on. I switched to :90/:30 intervals after mile 17, but shortly after gave up on the intervals altogether when I couldn't run any faster and just ran the longer stretches of the rectangular loop at a steady pace and power walked the shorter side where the one tiny hill was, which became a small mountain after so many laps.

I walked one whole lap with Jason and considered walking the rest of the race when I realized there was no way I'd make it to the marathon mark, but I knew that would just drag on so I dug deep and pushed as hard as I safely could for some mental training of running on sore and tight legs. I ran the last lap with Jason and finished strong with less than 10 minutes until midnight. We turned in our timing chip, got our glass of champagne, quickly gathered our gear and bundled up and waited for the countdown to the new year and watched the fireworks over the city. It was the perfect way to end 2012 and I'm so glad that Jason was there to share it with me. 

Post-Race: I wasn't that sleepy when we got home at 1 am, but I was sore all over. After a quick shower and some refueling, it didn't take long to fall asleep. I woke up this morning earlier than I hoped, so went for a walk to shake out the legs and see if anyone was still left at the race site. There were only 2 people there, so I helped them break down the aid station. Talk about active recovery! But I really think it helped. Turns out that I placed 2nd in my age group, so I was able to get my medal before I headed back home. We then walked to lunch for my celebratory milkshake, then got some chores done. I'm still a bit sore, mostly the muscles on the outside of my right leg by my calf, but overall I feel great. I can't wait to try the 24-Hour option next year :)
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