Category Archives: Running

Even more running and riding

I finished off 2013 with a bit over 3,400 combined miles running and cycling. A bit over 600 of that was running, a good 100 miles less than last year. I’m running the Colorado Marathon again this year, though this time with a larger group of friends. That means it’s time to start training. Unfortunately, I’m still recovering from a broken rib that happened at the beginning of December while playing hockey. And, heh, I’m also recovering from the flu. The 16 week training period doesn’t actually start for a week, but I’ve only run twice in the last month. Hopefully I’ll get a few runs in this coming week before the countdown begins.

In any case, part of the ritual is reviewing how training went last year. The two plans in the table below are from the book The Marathon Method. Training this past year didn’t go quite as smoothly as the previous year. Hopefully this year will be a bit more consistent.

2013 training

Colorado Marathon and the impending BTC

It’s been over a month since I ran the Colorado Marathon. I finished ~14 minutes faster than last year, but missed my goal by a good bit. Here are my results. My official time was 4:49:05. Here’s what my GPS said I did on Strava.

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This year, I really did try to push my pace a bit. I felt good most of the way. I was with the 4:30 pace group until the half marathon mark where I decided to stop for a pit stop. Even with the stop, I think the 2:17:47 time was a personal record. (If not, it’s close. I didn’t need to use the port-a-potties all that badly, so it’s a moral PR if nothing else.)

I ran the first five or so miles with my friend Patrick. We run at nearly the same speed, so it’s a good match. But he took a pit stop early, so I didn’t see him again until the finish.
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Here’s a picture as I was approaching the finish. This is probably just before my legs gave out.
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They didn’t literally give out, of course. But the fast starting pace finally caught up in the last few miles. With about 5 miles to go, the 4:45 pace group caught up to me. I stuck with them for a couple of miles, but just couldn’t keep it up. At about mile 25, I really needed to walk, and did so for a good 1/4 mile. The data on Strava shows the slow down pretty well. 🙂 (My GPS gave me extra mileage in the middle of the race, so it thinks my pace is under 11:00, though in reality it was a few seconds over.)

Even with the rookie mistake of going out too fast, I’m pleased with my results. Pacing is hard for such a long run. I pushed too hard to maintain the pace the whole way, but I didn’t push so hard that I couldn’t finish.

Next up for me (this weekend!) is the Bicycle Tour of Colorado. I’m riding with a couple of friends from Boulder who I ride with often. It’ll only be three of us because two dropped out after a bad accident a few weeks back. Blade and Alma are recovering well, but aren’t ready for the ride. Alma really shouldn’t ride until next season. Her crash was particularly bad, requiring emergency brain surgery. Her story is here. I was involved in the crash as well, but only had a small bruise on my shin.

I won’t go into more details here, but it was relatively slow speed crash at only 20 mph. It really reminds me how fragile we are. I plan to take next week’s riding especially carefully.

Toenails neatly trimmed

Actually, I trimmed them about a week ago to make sure they’d have time to heal before tomorrow’s marathon, just in case I did it poorly.

Training has gone pretty well this year. I have just over 350 miles in – just slightly less than last year. I missed two of my long runs – one because of a cold, and one due to our crazy spring snow. But I still got in two 20 mile training runs. The first was quite slow (12:30/mi) and had me really doubting that I could improve my time this year. I really didn’t feel good the whole run. But I did finish and wasn’t terribly sore afterwards.

The second went quite well. It was the Rocky Mountain Road Runners 20 mile marathon training run. I managed a 10:30/mi pace and felt strong the whole way. I don’t know if I can manage that pace for another hour, but I’m gonna give it a shot. Last year, I finished in 5:03. That’s a bit slower than I hoped (and expected). That may happen again this year, but if all goes well, I’m shooting for 4:35 (that 10:30/mi pace). There are pace groups this year, so I may try to stick with the 4:30 group. And if I can’t, I’ll just keep running.

One nice change this year is the lack of injury. Last year, I strained my Achilles two weeks before the race and I was really worried it would keep me from finishing. I babied it for the first 1/3 of the race before settling in and mostly forgetting about it. This year, my back has been a bit stiff, but that’s really nothing new. I’ve been rowing every week and doing core strength exercises. I can’t say that that’s helped, but it certainly has hurt.

Once this is done, I’m really looking forward to switching back to cycling. I signed up for the Bicycle Tour of Colorado with my cycling friends, and have felt like a slacker not getting in enough miles. That will change starting Monday. (Well, maybe Tuesday or Wednesday….) After the BTC, I’ll do the Courage Classic for the fifth time. I have a friend who wants me to the Imogene Pass Trail Run with him in September. It looks insanely hard and would be quite a commitment to tack on. I’ll have to decide if it’s possible soon.

Now, I’m off to Fort Collins to pick up my race packet and continue carbo-loading. Woohoo! Here goes nothing!

Another year of biking and running

As the year closes down, I’m about to hit 3000 miles total. That’s about 2300 miles on the bike and 700 running. I’ve signed up for the Colorado Marathon again, so I’ve transitioned back to running more than riding. Running really is more pleasant in the cold after all.

As I plan for the marathon, I wanted to look back at how training went last year. I came amazingly close to the the 16 week plans that I’d been following. I knew that skiing would get in the way of some real training, but that’s a good tradeoff to make for me. I put together a table of the two training plans I was looking at (the beginner and intermediate plans from The Marathon Method).

MarathonTraining

(I pasted a picture because I’m simply too lazy to deal with formatting tables in WordPress.)

I did four organized runs for the long runs as noted above (Frosty’s Frozen 10, Ralston Creek Half Marathon, and two Rocky Mountain Road Runner 20 mile runs). I managed to do more miles in my long runs than the even the intermediate plan had, but I was otherwise closer to the beginner plan. That’s probably because I rarely ran more than three times per week. I’ll shoot for about the same amount of training this time around.

Bolder Boulder 2012

Since I was still feeling fine after the marathon, I figured I’d do the Bolder Boulder again this year and see how much I’ve improved. It was a fun run, but very different than last year.

Last year I felt like a ran along with most of the crowd, but with plenty of people passing me. I passed very few people along the way. This year it was the opposite. I found myself passing people constantly. It was a rather nice feeling. 🙂

I’m not saying I’m fast. Far from it. But I beat my time from last year by almost 11 minutes (almost 2 minutes/mile!). And I finished in the top 1/4, instead of almost exactly half way back. I stopped at pretty much every water station and had a gulp or two of Gatorade, and dumped water on my head. It wasn’t incredibly hot, but still hotter than last year.

Here’s my GPS data on Strava. I think links to the official results become stale, so here they are in line:

bib number: GK198
overall place: 12375
location: Longmont, CO
division: M47
division place: 135 out of 395 click
gender place: 8227 out of 21460 click
mile 1: 8:58.82
mile 2: 9:25.73
mile 3: 9:48.75
mile 4: 9:37.00
mile 5: 9:07.31
mile 6: 9:45.74
net time: 58:36.38
pace: 09:25

The view of the start of one of the many, many waves.

There are lots of crazy costumes.

The woman who started in front of me. The Vibram Five Finger shoes aren’t so weird, but the jeans are!

We finish up in Folsom Field. What a beautiful day!

And because I’m a nerd, here are my results from last year in line (it’s still possible to get to the official results, but it seems difficult to get a direct link that will stand the test of time, though I did just try):

bib number: G095
overall place: 24559/49211
location: Longmont, CO
division: M46
division place: 262/411
gender place: 13833/22358
mile 1: 10:37
mile 2: 10:32
mile 3: 11:23
mile 4: 11:27
mile 5: 11:20
mile 6: 11:40
net time: 1:09:22
pace: 11:09

Colorado Marathon Pics

It occurs to me that I didn’t put any pictures up for the marathon. How silly. Poudre Canyon is really pretty, and made for a great downhill run.

This is the view near the start. The sun’s just coming up.

As I said, it’s a pretty canyon. Margaret’s just in front of me. This is just before she took off on me.

The woman in bright green was a slave to the alarm on her watch. She’d run for a few minutes and pass me. Then her alarm would go off and she’d start walking, and I’d pass her. There were quite a few people doing the run/walk thing.

Margaret’s the black spot just in the sun ahead of me. That’s about the last I saw of her for an hour or so.

Coming out of the canyon.

And I caught her! Actually, I think I passed her at a rest stop, and she caught me.

Margaret getting a high five from Evonne at the finish. 26.2 miles!

Stuffing ourselves with burgers and fries.

And one picture together in the lobby of the Armstrong Hotel before they headed home. (I truly didn’t realize how short they are until I saw this picture. 🙂 )

Colorado Marathon

Success!

OK, I’m not really all that excited about it. But it did go really well, and I felt good for most of the “race”. My official time was 5:02:57. Official results are here. And here’s the GPS data on Strava.

My right Achilles/calf were a little sore for the first 8 miles. I stopped a few times to stretch it and rub it. For the next 8 miles after that, I didn’t feel it at all. Then, for the last 10 miles, I only felt it when I stopped and walked. I think it was good that I cut back my training so much the two weeks leading up to the race. But the injury wasn’t too bad in the end and really didn’t slow me down much.

Margaret said she was going to run behind me so that I could pace her. But that lasted for about a quarter mile. I intentionally ran slowly at first because of my calf and I didn’t catch her until mile 16. Actually, she had to catch me since I must have passed her at one of the aid stations. We ran together, taking it pretty easy, until mile 22. At that point she was having some GI issues, and I’m afraid I ditched her. (Yeah, I feel a little guilty. But she’s a big girl and can handle it.)

I finished the last four miles pretty strong. I passed a bunch of people, and was only passed by two others. (A couple who looked like they’d been sandbagging it the rest of the race. They zoomed passed me and disappeared into the distance.) There were a lot of people walking for good long stretches at that point. I’m pretty happy that I didn’t need to do that too.

My best mile was centered round mile 23, where I actually ran a little faster than a 10 minute/mile pace. Of course, I couldn’t keep that up and settled back to just above an 11 minute/mile pace. I did speed up for the final quarter mile stretch to the finish. I guess that’s required. 🙂

Evonne was there waiting at the finish and I gave her a high five on the way past. Apparently I sprayed her with my sweaty hand when I did that. Again, my apologies to her. Margaret came in a few minutes later looking strong. Her IT Band had bothered her on some of the long training runs we did, but it didn’t bother her at all that day. Very fortunate!

So, am I bummed that I didn’t finish in under five hours? Not in the slightest! It’s kinda fun pushing myself a little, but I find the sheer distance as the only real challange. Going fast doesn’t really do much for me. (Though, I suppose finishing sooner would be nice.)

Will I do another marathon? Quite possibly. I’ll definitely be doing more cycling than running over the summer. It’s much easier in the heat. I’d also like to do more trail running. We’ll just have to see where this leads….

Did I say something about injury?

I think I did.

Training for the marathon has gone well. I’ve had normal aches and pains along the way, but nothing major….

A week ago, in my exuberance for the last few weeks of training, I decided to ride to Ward. It’s a 22 mile, 4000′ climb from home that I do a few times a year now. I didn’t go too hard, though since I’m the lightest I’ve been ~25 years, it was still a personal record. When I got home, my right calf was a little sore. No big deal.

The next day I did a 10 mile “long run” as part of the taper. (The week before was 20 miles, so 10 no longer seems all that long.) I felt a sharp pain in my calf off and on the first half. It didn’t really feel all that bad. Also, no big deal.

Tuesday night I went for my first ever run in the dark. It was nice and cool after a day that hit the 80s. I was only doing 4 miles, so I decided to do a little speed about 2 1/2 miles into it. I ran at just over an 8 minute pace for about a mile. That’s very fast for me, and I was surprised I could keep it going so long. I don’t remember my calf hurting, but I think that that speed was a bad idea.

Thursday, I did a five mile run at an easy pace. Like Sunday, my calf was hurting off and on. The pain was sharper – a kind of burning sensation. Still, it would come and go, and didn’t seem too bad.

On Friday, walking around at home, the pain was worse. It definitely felt like burning, about six inches above my ankle. Looking it up on the web, I worried that I had a partial tear of my Achilles. Yikes!

So I’ve taken it easy the last few days. Yesterday, I only felt the pain a few times, and it didn’t feel nearly so strong.

Today, I had been planning to do a six mile run, but that seemed like a bad idea. I’ve certainly injured myself at some level and need to make sure I give it time to heal. I’ve put in plenty of miles so I figure I can still run next weekend as long as I don’t make things worse. A few less miles this week can’t ruin all that training.

But I also didn’t just want to lay on the couch for another day. Since my calf felt good all morning, I decided to go for a very easy bike ride. I’ve felt only a slight twinge of that pain in the hours since, so I think I was good and didn’t overdue it.

I’m planning to take it easy again tomorrow. I’ll either do a very short run on Tuesday or play hockey. I may do both….

Hopefully, this was really just another minor bump in the road. Coming just a week before the marathon, it still freaks me out. We’ll just have to see….

Time to taper

Well, it’s been a while. I did indeed sign up for the Colorado Marathon, and it’s now just three weeks away. Training has gone pretty well. I’ve managed to get in two 20 mile runs, along with lots of other long, slow distance runs over the last five months or so. I’ve totaled 523 miles since the beginning of November!

Both 20 mile runs we’re part of the Rocky Mountain Road Runners marathon training series. It’s been really nice doing a long run like that without carrying a Camelback. There’s nothing impressive about my results. Well, except that I finished both without any real trouble. I did experience some rather painful chafing on the first run, but some bandaids, compression shorts and butt cream solved those issues just fine. Yesterday’s run was slower than the first one, but I blame the wind. It was really strong on the second lap.

For the past week, I did 4 runs for a total 38 miles. That’s my max ever, and is just what I was hoping for for my peak training week. I also did a bike ride with the CyclingBoulder folks on Thursday. (My friends seem to be getting much faster. I had to push really hard and still couldn’t quite keep up.) And I played hockey on Tuesday. (I usually play once a week.) Altogether, a tough week, though I don’t feel all that worse for the wear.

With only three weeks to go, it’s now time to taper down my training. I’m rather happy about that, and I’m looking forward to riding my bike more. Indeed, I may find myself riding so much that I ruin the effects of tapering. But I think I’ll be ok with that. I’m not looking to win anything here.

I am hoping to finish in under 5 hours. Based on my training runs, that looks quite doable. I expect that only nature or injury would prevent it. But we won’t know for sure for three more weeks….

A Year of Running

One year ago tomorrow, on Halloween, I went on my first run. The intent was to give me an easy way to exercise over the winter from home, without spending as much time in the cold on my bike. It worked out pretty well, and I’ve come to enjoy running.

Since that day, I’ve logged 270 miles, 235 of it this calendar year. In May, I ran the Bolder Boulder, a 10k “race”. After that day, I didn’t run again for two months. (Though I spent lots of time on my bike.)

Since starting back up, I made a simple goal of running ten 10Ks, and doing at least one 10 mile run before the end of the year. (I was including the three 10Ks I did in the Spring in that goal, so I only needed to run seven more.) At this point, I’ve accomplished all that, including one run of 13.2 miles – a half marathon!

In the month of October, I’ve really picked it up, running three times each week, and totaling a bit over 80 miles. I’ve also tried to do a trail run each week (snow this past week foiled that plan) to help work on leg and foot strength. Hopefully, that will help prevent injuries….

Here are a couple of shots from my first trail run on October 5th, on Rabbit Mountain, about ten miles from home. It was a lot rockier than I expected (though the pictures don’t show it), and has a killer (for me) mile climb at the start.

It had a rather wonderful view to the west.

Sadly, shortly after returning back home to work I heard the news of the passing of Steve Jobs. It’s hard to imagine what my career and life would have been like without this man. I’ve worked at Apple the last twelve years, and spent about that long working on the Mac before that. I never met him, though I saw him many times on the Apple campus, and have many coworkers who have stories they could tell….

A week later, I ran around the Eagle/Sage Loop at Boulder Valley Ranch. This was a much easier run, though a bit longer. Here’s a nice view towards Boulder Reservoir to the East.

And looking back South from the little lake just visible at the left of the picture above.

And finally, some shots from my “half marathon” last weekend.

About three miles in, I began thinking I should have picked a less hilly route.

Here’s a view of Haystack mountain as I approach it from the North.

And here I am at the furthest point from home, 6.1 miles away. Haystack Mountain is right behind my head, to the East.

I couldn’t resist taking another shot of the Haystack, but this time the Flatirons are in view even further South.

These cows were not amused by my presence. At this point, I was a bout 3 miles from home, and passing the distance of my previous longest run. My legs weren’t so much tired as stiff. They really didn’t want to go any further, and had nearly locked up. Still, I made it home, “running” the whole way. I only stopped to take pictures, though I did linger a bit at the halfway point.

Of course, once I got home, I was completely spent. I stopped running when I hit my driveway, and had a very hard time walking the rest of the way into the garage. Lifting my legs to climb the two steps into the house was ridiculously hard.

As the day and evening wore on, I was able to move a bit better, though I limped around the house and couldn’t quite stand up straight. I was very glad that that didn’t continue over the next few days. I was only marginally sore, and played hockey the next night just fine.

And yeah, I haven’t signed up for one, but I’m thinking about running a marathon. The Colorado Marathon in May. If my training doesn’t go well, I can always do the half marathon or 10K instead….