Thursday, March 31, 2011

Moving Forward

After the LA Marathon, I have taken the last 2 weeks off of training. Other than a couple of 3 miles runs and a 4 mile walk with my wife, there has been no biking or swimming. Over the last 2 weeks, I have tried to figure out what went wrong, once again, at the LA Marathon. I have talked with several people, some athletes, some in the medical profession, about my issues....hunger at mile 9 and having no energy later in the race. Two theories have come up, one being the lack of protein I ate in the days leading up to the race. I have a PB&J sandwich for lunch on Friday and another one at the stadium before the race but that was it for protein. For the most part, Friday and Saturday was all carbs. Second was the fact that my body was using more energy to counteract the cold/rain/wind, makes sense, although I had a poncho on, but I was still wet and at times, cold. Time to move on, I have bigger things in my future...Vineman 70.3 on July 17th.

I received my training plan from Craig Moss the other day and have been studying it like crazy. I will be making some adjustments to the swimming portion by adding more distance to some of the workouts. I will also add a few longer bricks, later in the training cycle. I am also looking forward to meeting some people I follow on twitter and doing some bike rides and bricks with. With that starts Sunday with a 5 mile run.

Monday, March 21, 2011

2011 LA Marathon Race Report

Melissa and I arrived in Santa Monica by 4:15am and walked right on to a shuttle by 4:30am. Once we arrived at Dodger Stadium, we found a couple of seats in the stands to sit in. The stands were a lot more crowded this year, but given the weather, it was understandable. We tweeted our location and soon, Candice and Kristy(her first marathon, by the way) came by to say hi. We saw Chris and he took a picture with us and we chatted for a while. We hit the bathrooms and headed for the corrals. We were fortunate to be in the sub 5 corral and it was much less crowded. The race started late, which was a bit frustrating since it was cold and windy and I wanted to get going.

Melissa, Chris, Bob

Bob, Candice, Melissa ready to race

The race started about 15 minutes late, but once we got going, we got warmed up. We stuck with our 8/2 run walk interval from the beginning. At mile 2, we shed our warm up jackets, but kept our plastic ponchos on...something we were thankful for the rest of the day. This year the course wound it's way through Chinatown and Little Tokyo before heading up towards Silverlake and Hollywood. By mile 9, I was hungry, which was a strange feeling since I had breakfast at home, a PB&J sandwich at the stadium and a Gu at mile 6. I felt like I needed some solid food in me. We made it to mile 12 and the Mount Gleason Runners tent and picked up our Gatorade and Gu, but I was not feeling so great.  Melissa's garmin ran out of juice about this time and her watch was timing the intervals, so we had to adapt using my garmin and mile markers to try and keep the 8/2 intervals going. We stopped at A Runners Circle tent at mile 15 for a quick chat, some much needed pretzels and a few pictures and then off we went. By this time, I was completely soaked, even with the poncho on and was starting to feel some discomfort in my left knee. I thought of popping one of the 800mg Ibuprofen I had with me, but thought with the stomach issues, that may not be such a great idea. I saw Glenn, actually he saw me on Rodeo Dr, got a high five and exchanged a few words and we continued on. We now came to the section of the course that I had trouble with last year...the section of Santa Monica through Century City. Melissa kept telling me we were going to break through the wall and kept cheering me and everyone else on. I actually saw a side of her I have never seen before. I couldn't figure out where all of the energy was coming from. At one point I asked her..."Are you sure those were Advil's you took?" She said yes and kept on high fiving everyone on both sides of the road. We made it past mile 20 and I felt relieved that we made it past that section of the course. We got into the VA hospital grounds and all of the sudden I had some cramping starting in my left Achilles. We stopped, stretched and walked a bit, it seemed to get better but when we stopped at the Start Training LA tent, I took on more gatorade, popped a salt tablet and had some more pretzels.

I felt a bit better and off we went to conquer the last 5 miles. It seemed that the weather was worse those last few miles with the wind really picking up as we got closer to the coast. We passed so many people, some SRLA kids, that were wearing just a tank top and shorts and walking like zombies, most likely suffering from the onset of hypothermia. We made it onto Ocean ave and the finished seemed so far away. We pressed on and finished strong...or at least as strong as I could. We crossed the line with a finish time of 5:05:15. That was a 9 min PR for me over last year's race, although it fell short of our original time goal of 4:30-4:45. Given the conditions, I am very pleased.

We got our medal, mylar wrap and some food and headed for the exit. There was a jam up at the exit and we couldn't figure out why, but then we could see the problem. People that were waiting for their loved ones were crowding the exit of the finish chute and essentially, it became a single file line to get out. After about 100 feet, I grabbed Melissa and we busted through about 4 people and made it to the sidewalk and continued our journey to the car. Note: LA Marathon, you need to get that exit figured out, rain had nothing to do with it, barriers, fences would have helped. The rain and wind continued and as we walked to the car, it came down even harder. We skipped the finish line festival because it was too cold and we wanted to get into some dry clothes. We made it to the car (almost 1.25 miles from finish) and changed into dry clothes. Once we got warm, we headed out to The Griddle Cafe for brunch. They had a huge wait (45-60 min), but since we walked in wearing our medals and told the guy we just finished 26.2 miles, he sat us right a way...which was very much appreciated. We got several congratulations from some of the patrons in the restaurant, which was kind of nice.

There are so many people that I would like to thank for their support and love through out my training but here are a few that have made a huge impact. My wife, who has stood by me every time I tell her I want to do another race and puts up with my crazy training schedule. Craig Moss, for allowing me to come and run with the Mt Gleason Runners every Saturday and your advice/coaching/friendship. Melissa, my running partner, who pushed me to a new PR...I couldn't have done it without you. Thank you to all of the volunteers and those of you that braved the weather to come out and support us!

I am taking a couple of weeks off of training and April 1, I will start my Vineman 70.3 training plan.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

It's Showtime Again

So here we are, one year later, going through the same "taper madness" once again. It seems that this year, like last year, I have been plagued by an injury along with a busy schedule that has kept me from completing my Higdon marathon training plan to it's fullest.

Between work, travel, and injury, I was only able to get one, 20 mile run in this cycle, but it went fairly well. Melissa and I tried a 10/2 walk/run interval on our 20 miler. I thought it was working out well until around mile 18, where I was feeling "the wall" rapidly approaching. The last 2 miles were tough but we got through it. This week, we decided to do 14-15 miles and try a 9/2 walk/run interval. I think it definitely worked better for us than the 10/2 did, so we will use it during the LA Marathon. We also discussed a nutrition plan for the race, Gu every 6 miles or as needed. I think that with the Run/Walk interval, we should be able to power through the wall and finish least that is what I am hoping for.

This week I have been adding extra carbs and salt to each meal along with staying hydrated and cutting out alcohol and coffee the last few days. I have been trying to get to bed an hour or so earlier to get some extra rest, although I have been waking up at 2am (the time I will get up on Sunday) every night this week, but go right back to sleep.

Saturday will be a busy day with the expo in the morning and the Mt Gleason Runner's annual luncheon in the afternoon. The rest of the day will be spent resting.

This year, I don't have the fear of the unknown...I have done the distance and know I can do it again. I've learned from my mistakes (going out too fast) and will try and not repeat them. I am hoping to stay strong to the finish and set a new PR along the way. I am excited to be running with my RP, Melissa and all of the other "tweeps" that will be out there as well. Rain...well, we will just deal with it. I ran 20 miles in a downpour last year during training, and while granted, it sucked, I survived it.

Good luck to everyone running, especially those running their first marathon!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

2011 Firecracker 10K Race Report


A little late on this report, but I have been busy with work and travel. This is the second time I have run this race and granted, it is a tough course, it is one of the better 10K races in my opinion.

I'll spare you all of the details and give you the Readers Digest version....

The pre-race entertainment is spectacular, the dragon dance and the lighting of 100k firecrackers is truly a site to see. (Last year's race report and video) The 5k kicks off first and the 10k about 30 minutes later. I had one goal for this race and that was to PR the course. The one thing you should know about this course is that the first 2.9 miles are uphill and a good portion of that is a very substantial grade.

I started out the race thinking I was going to try and keep a 9:30/mi pace for the first 3 miles and an 8:30/mi pace the last 3 miles. With all of the congestion of the start and the narrow road up the hill, I averaged 9:40/mi pace the first 3 miles. I tried to stay strong up the hills, but ended up taking a couple of walk breaks towards the top. As I started down the hill, I started to pick up the pace a bit. Made it into the Dodger Stadium parking lot and back towards Chinatown. I turned the last corner and kicked it up a notch and sprinted the last 200 yds. Average pace for the last 3 miles was 8:15/mi. Finished in 55:09 which was a 4:30 PR over 2010.

I met up with the rest of the runners from A Runner's Circle and we headed off to the beer garden for a celebratory drink. I highly recommend this race to anyone in the Los Angeles area, but be prepared for hills!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Sunrise Over the Mississippi  2/20/2011