Monday, April 26, 2010

6 more days..

til the first benchmark of the marathon training, a half marathon.  Actually, it's not a biggie really.  I feel like I'm an experience marathoner.  I've done 4 and therefore have put in easily 6 months at the shortest to a full year in preparation.  The main thing with this marathon training is getting to October injury free and just "fast enough" to qualify for Boston.  The "just fast enough" will be a theme throughout the training.  With that I'm planning on just cruising the half on Sunday.  The competitive juices get flowing and I might actually end up pushing faster.  My legs would be trashed for the following week of training so I'll have to stay calm and just try and get into a rhythm.

I ordered some Hammer espresso gels.  24 in all which should last until marathon day.  I tried the Powergel double latte version on my long run last week and it was way too nasty sweet.  So that's out.  Strawberry-banana and Hammer espresso.  I bought one of those Helium Fuel belts at the running store and gave it a go.  Definitely easier to run with from a comfort standpoint than just the single running bottle belt.  The only drawback was getting the flask in and out of the belt.  It's really only for training as I won't need to worry about bringing water with me during the half or the full.

The weekend is over but I managed to navigate the spring time weather.  I was able to run in nice 70 degree weather on Friday for the long run and ride in some sunshine on Saturday.  Sunday was an easy day with some easy running miles sandwiched around a 30 minute swim.

Right now the forecast has a nice warm day for the half but because it's also a full marathon everyone starts at 6:30am. least it will be fairly warm but not as nice if we started at 8am.  I guess I really only care about the weather on marathon day in October.

Oh another cool thing about the marathon is TweetMyTime. The chip timing system for the half and full is linked up with this company who automatically will update your tweet or facebook as you cross various timing mats and finish.  That's totally cool.  Gotta love social networking..

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Earth Day 5K Race Report

Elena's first ever 5k was on Sunday.   The weather was quite chilly at about 45 degrees with some wind but it was sunny.  We had picked up our packets on Saturday so we had our chips and numbers.  I was surprised by the number of people, well over 500 as I assumed it would half that due to the small feel of the race.

Starbucks was about a block from the start line so we went over there to get some coffee for our spectators, Amber and Joe.  Elena ended up scoping out some of Joe's hot chocolate but mainly wanted just the whip cream.  I put the kibash on her whip cream eating so she wouldn't have tummy trouble during the race.  We stayed inside Starbucks staying warm until about 10 minutes prior to start time.

Elena, Jill and I all lined up way toward the back of the start chute.  Since we had a chip it really didn't matter how long it took for us to get to the start line.  The race started and Elena was totally excited.  After a couple of minutes, we started moving and by the time we hit the start line we were going full speed.

Elena was ready to jet off.  I had to slow her down.  The course was an out-n-back with a big downhill for about 3/4 of mile at the beginning and of course that same downhill hits ya in the face with uphill in most of the last mile.  Elena was off and I was kept slowing her down but we still hit mile 1 at 9 minutes.  She still felt great.  She was getting encouragement from fellow adult competitors who she was passing and keeping up with.

We made it to the halfway point and only water stop.  I decided to get Elena some water and it was her only time that she stopped and walked to drink it.  I was worried she wouldn't want to start running again but she started with no problems.  She actually was clipping along for a bit a good speed after the break. We hit mile 2 with a 10 minute split and then about 200 meters later the hill the started.

The hill was brutal on poor Elena.  She was struggling and at numerous points wanted to stop and walk. I kept encouraging her that we didn't need to stop and she was moving and almost done with the hill.  The hill combined with her first 5k really made mile 3 hard.  She kept running the whole way up and made it past the hill.

Mile 3 was 11:30.  Phew..  Once the hill was done it was only about 400 meters to the finish.  We had talked in training about pushing at the end.  She was excited to keep a nice pace then push it at the end.  I asked her if she wanted to push the pace.  She was quite demoralized by the hill but end up pushing a little bit and we finished in 32 minutes.

She finished 2nd place in her age group(8-10).  She won a $15 gift certificate at the local running store.  My baby's a professional now.   No longer an amateur, she's being paid to run. The girl who won was 25 minutes and 10 years old.  She ran the race by herself.  I don't think Elena is tough enough to run by herself.  She'd be lolligaging along for sure.  She needs to be pushed a little.  We'll keep training and probably do the Race for the Cure for fun.  The DC race has so many people there is really no way to go at anything but just an easy pace.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Felt Strong

I actually felt like an athlete for the first time since last summer, today.  I had the strongest bike ride since then although it still wasn't super fast but I felt 10x better than I did on Monday.  I have Elena this weekend so I decided to test a little bit longer brick run to try and keep my mileage up.  Plus it was 80 today and if I tried to run early tomorrow morning, it was predicted to be 50 and rainy.

I got off the bike and downed some extra gulps of water and an espresso Hammer Gel.  Coming off the bike, the legs always feel weird so I was just trying to get them under me.  The wind was whipping quite good but for most of the first mile it was a tail wind.  I was just trying to float along.

I had packed an extra gel in case and was planning my standard out-n-back course.  Depending on how I felt, I could turn around at mile 2, 2.5, 3.1 or 4.1.  The first mile has about half of mile of uphill so it's always a slow go but I came through the marker at 7:10.  This was easily my fastest first mile in forever.  I was thanking the tailwind but knew I'd pay on the way back.  The 2nd mile is a gradual downhill for most of it and then the course basically flattens out.  It's usually the fastest mile for all the runs on this route.  I hit it in 6:30 and was like "wow".  This is cool.  The legs were just feeling good and I was really wasn't pushing it at all.

I decided for better or worse I'd go all the way out to my 4.1 turnaround point and put down the 8 miler.  I was able to keep 6:40ish pace for a few miles until I started to feel a little bonky.  I quickly down the gel I had brought and just tried my best for the last couple of miles to keep the form and pace.  Of course the last mile was into a massive headwind and uphill.  It was pretty painful but I figure I could use the mental toughness for those last 10k of the marathon.

Overall it was a 6:45 average pace and it didn't feel hard.  I think the nice warm weather plus about of month of some consistency in workouts is really paying off.  I'm still fat as the inside of my knees ended up getting chaffed a little from my fat legs rubbing together but it's slowly coming along.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Big race coming up

Elena's first 5k is on Sunday.  We've been training for a month off and on.  She ran a mile last night and it wasn't too bad for her.  I think she'll be fine except there's a slight uphill in the middle of the race.  She moans about running up hills.  Soon enough she'll be loving hills because she'll be able to take advantage of her light body to crush her competition. ;)

Hopefully, if all goes well she'll have fun and crush her age group competition. Okay I have the typical high expectations but I know she can go fast.  I'll just let her go her pace and make sure she doesn't go sub 6 for the first mile. ;)

Finally, the weather here in DC has turned decent.  I'm finally getting into a nice workout rhythm.  This is helping to work off those extra pounds.  I think I gained like 5 lbs during the trip to Florida.  Of course, it probably had to do with going to all you can eat places every other day.  It was pure luck on our part as we had only one all you can eat planned during the trip.  The other 4 places were just by accident.  So all in all, Florida was 5 all you can eat places in 8 days.

Swimming is sucking big time right now.  I just can't get into any groove.  My times are stinking but I'm finally getting consistent so hopefully it will turn around before I start doing real swim workouts.  My first tri of the year is in September so probably mid-May I will start the swim workouts again.  Ugh..ladders and speed intervals.  Definitely painful.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Hammer Gel Espresso

I know it's been in like forever since I did a full blown blog.  With simple one-liner status spew outs, what's the point.  Well, it's once again time to keep track of my progress towards something.  Today marked the first real workout towards the Baltimore marathon this fall.

I got this crazy idea to try and run Boston when I'm 40.  It's like my mid-life crisis.  Along with doing Boston at the age of 40, I'm going to do another Ironman.  What better excuse to get out there for 10+ hours of exercise than to try and tell myself I'm not really 40.  40 is a big number.  Life is pretty much half over.  Only 40 more years to have fun.  Anyway, I hated the first Ironman so I probably would never do one again until I got this hair-brained idea to do one for my 40th and then I get to wait 10 more years before trying again when I'm 50.  I got 18 months before the Ironman but only 6 months before Baltimore.

My goal is run Baltimore this year and use it as a qualifier for Boston 2012.  That way I can just train for Ironman Arizona in all of 2011 and not worry.  Well that's if I can run Baltimore in under 3:15.  I think I can do but it won't be a walk in the park like my old days of running.

Back to the here and now, I just did 10 miles and felt a little slow at the beginning but man things picked up nicely after consuming an espresso flavored Hammer Gel.  I got this for Easter from a fellow runner.  I had tried Hammer Gels in the past and never really liked them at all.  I figure I'd give it a go since it was just a training run.  I'm glad I did.  It tasted exactly like a condensed mocha.  I washed it down with some water and about 5 minutes later my pace picked up without much effort.  I wonder if Hammer makes Egg Nog gels.  Those would rock.  So now I have 2 flavors of gel I like, PowerGel strawberry/banana and Hammer Gel espresso.  I got a few more flavors to try over the next long runs.

Well now the rest of the day will be slacking in front of the TV and I'll just ride tomorrow to give the legs some rest unless I feel like a quick 4 miler off the bike.  The weather and my 2008 Ironman picture are fueling my workouts right now.  I can't believe how slim and in shape I was for that Ironman.  Hopefully, I can get back into that shape for Baltimore.  I've started back on the diet and made it through Costco yesterday without buying chips.  Doritos are no longer part of my diet.  Frito Lay may have to tell shareholders and readjust Q2 forecasts. ;)