Friday, December 30, 2011

Goals we don't need no stinkin' Goals!

So this really did end up being like a trilogy.   Parts 1 and 2 were a look back at the last year for running, and if this were a Back to the Future movie we would be going way back in time.   But since the sequence of the movies and sequence of these blogs don't line up this is more like Back to the Future 2, you know, where Marty goes to the future to save his kid.

Untrue to the title of this blog (right like there are runners without goals) I have several hearty goals for the upcoming year.  But since this is a running blog, let's focus on the running goals.   I was going to lead off with "GET FASTER" but looking at yesterday's Tempo where I cruised through 4 miles at 26:58, maybe I should just work on maintain faster.

Any who, my early season goals are speed work.   Followed very much by the main goal of the year, drum roll please...I am going to train for and run my first marathon.   My friend and I are planning on running the San Francisco Marathon on July 29.

I have all the details worked out, training plan is all but set, my running buddy is in full bore too, just need to sit down with him and work through the details of the training plan.   The secondary goal, as we should all have some attainable mileage goals, is to run 100 miles a month or 1500 miles for the year.  I chose this because last year my goal was 50 miles a month, or 600 miles for the year, and once I built up to a nice mileage I was able to hit 50 every month, so this one seems pretty attainable. I think that the end of the year will be the hardest part, Christmas always seems to be a bit of a slow down season.
So here is the race lineup for the year.
  • 1/1/12 - Thunder Run 5k - A great way to start the year.
  • 2/26/12 - Tri-Cities Half-Marathon - the inaugural race!
  • 3/10/12 - St. Patrick's Day Foot Race, 10k - St. Patty's day is the next week.
  • 5/6/12 - Bloomsday, 12k - Such an awesome race!
  • 7/29/12 - San Francisco Marathon - My first marathon!
  • 9/22/12 - Indian Summer Half Marathon - A good test between marathons
  • 10/28/12 - Tri-Cities Marathon - If all goes well in SF, then I plan on going all out for this one, as it is a great flat fast course.
2012 Tentative Races -
  • 6/17/12 - Vancouver USA Half Marathon - Redemption for last year.
  • Assorted 5 and 10k fun runs.
Mileage Goals:

100 miles per month or 1500 for the year.

All right then.   Good luck to all of you and your goals in 2012, and remember to have fun out there.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Triumphs and Failures (2011 Review - Part 2 )

At least you didn't have to wait two years for the sequel to this gem.   I mean how exciting is it to think that you are all hanging on every word in a blog post recapping a year of running and random exploits from my life.   I know that I am riveted to my seat in anticipation.   Of course when I last left you, I was just preparing to embark upon...

A marathon which, I thought, perhaps foolishly, that upon training for and running a Half-Marathon, one could simply double up the mileage and plan and tackle the full on 26.2.  And perhaps I could have had certain things not conspired against me later in the year.   But I digress (or progress as the case may be), let us rejoin our program in July.

July - I took the first week of the month off, well the first three days anyway, and returned to running in a 5k event locally.  I drove out there signed up as last minute as possible, then promptly ran the 5k in 23 minutes even.   I also geared up and plowed full steam ahead into a marathon training plan.   Things got off to a great start in July as I started cranking through 25+ mile weeks.   I did a 14 mile run in mid-July, that was probably one of the best runs I had had in months, and then a 16 mile run at the end of July.  I also shoved a 10k in there somewhere which was a good test of where I was at.  I felt good, but knew there to be a lot of work left to accomplish this goal.   I climbed to 88.5 miles for the month of July

August - I picked up right where I left off in July.  I was cruising through tempo runs, and speed sessions, but the long runs were starting to kill me.   Or perhaps the speed runs were starting to catch up with the long runs, but somewhere in August the stress of the training got to me (though I didn't notice until September).  I completed yet another 16 mile run in mid-August, though this one wasn't as spectacular as the July run, so I backed off the some of the harder runs and tried to focus on enjoying the run.   At the end of August I set out to tackle a 20 miler during the weekend of my 10 year high school reunion.   I managed to get through 18 miles and that would be the last double digit run for a month which pushed me over 100 miles for the month.   On top of my 10 year high school reunion, we celebrated my wife's 10 year high school reunion, and hosted my best friend from high school for a week.   August was crazy busy and with all that going on I pushed on trying to fight the good fight, at least until...

September - In September I realized I was exhausted.   Between the new baby and running, I crashed.   To add to the anxiety, my company was anticipating layoffs.   Turns out this was a recipe for "I don't want to run right now" itis.  And in looking at the log, it shows.   I approached September the same way I have approached December, just maintain.   I ran easy when I ran at all, but I did race.   The week before the layoffs were to be announced I ran a local Half-Marathon, and did extremely well considering I was uninterested in physical activity.   By the end of September I had run 64.3 miles.

October - Thankfully, the first Monday of October brought good news and I had survived the cuts at work.   So with the change in weather, the work outlook and a new found energy, I petitioned my friend into doing the Tri-Cities Marathon relay at the end of the month.   I was back to running three or four times a week, and enjoying every single run.   My mileage climbed back to the 20+ miles per week, and my friend and I crushed the Tri-Cities Marathon Relay, both setting PRs in the Half distance as always a race report here.  By the end of the month I was sitting at 97.2 miles and some how couldn't find it in me to get over 100.

November - As the temperatures continued to fall in November, it meant one thing.   Basketball season was back.   I was still running three or four times a week, hovering right at 20 miles a week and finally worked a couple of games.   Not much in the way of excitement for November  Just a nice easy month where I pushed across 80.2 miles and crossed 700 for the year.

December - I have been so busy this month.   I refereed 16 basketball games in the first 17 days of the month, and 1 last week.   I usually book ended those with runs typically 8 or so miles.   It is a low mileage month, probably will end up lower than September, but only because I can't factor the basketball games into the total.   I imagine that I will end up in the 65 mile range for December which will leave me at 775 for the year 175 more than I set out to do.

  • July 4 - Camp Patirot Fun Run - 5k - 23:00
  • July 23 - Shoreline Run - 10k - 51:39
  • September 24 - Indian Summer Half-Marathon - 13.1 - 1:51:30
  • October 30 - Tri-Cities Marathon Relay - 13.1 - 1:49:02
As I look back over this year's running I know that I have learned a lot.   For one, I appreciate what my body can do, and listen to it (at least as much as I can).  But I also have found a great place to share the triumphs and failures here on the Loop.   I learned that there is a time and place for speed work, and that it isn't necessarily during a build up of mileage that I wasn't prepared for.   I have taken this into account when planning for my 2012 goals. 

I hope you have all enjoyed reading through my 2 part review.   Happy New Year guys.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2011 Review - Part 1

I am going to do the review in two parts here (honestly it would do better as a trilogy, everyone likes a trilogy, but really who wants to read two parts of a year review much less three).  Mostly I want to highlight the accomplishments of running throughout the year, but I also want to touch on a few things that were important to me too.

January - After having convinced my friend (or him convince me) that we should run a Half-Marathon in the spring we had taken the plunge at the end of 2010 and ventured into the local running store.   Having been properly fitted for running shoes we had eliminated at least one excuse from the goal of running 13.1 miles.   Now all we needed was a training plan and a race.   December saw the culmination of my running goal for 2010, which was to run a 5k.  With this goal accomplished January became an exercise in two ways.   First, try to build up and maintain a good mileage base for the start of training.   Second, get through basketball season without too much pain.   I found that running and basketball caused a flair up in my shin splints, so I limited running to get through the season.   Spots of running throughout the month brought me to a total of 18.6 miles, but at least I didn't think I was pushing myself too much.

February - With six basketball games to referee in the first 5 days of the month I knew that I was not going to get any running in during the first week.   But I did manage to sell my friend on the Vancouver USA Half-Marathon and  a training plan.   We chose this race because it met the two requirements, it had to be on a Sunday and it had to be a Half-Marathon.  I used the majority of the month to get back into the three days a week running habit, and started increasing mileage on the long run with my training partner, getting to 5 miles for a long run by the end of the month and hitting double digit miles for a week for the first time ever.   February saw a total of 22.2 miles.

March - My first 10k.  Which was also my first attempt at 6 miles.  It was made especially intimidating by the fact that I had to spend the week of the race away from home for work.   Nothing is as exciting at Butte, MT in March.   This was also around the time that I discovered the Loop.   Mostly I was a bit of a lurker, I was a bit afraid to put anything in to writing, as it didn't seem as if I had anything more interesting to talk about than training runs, of course the more I read the more I realized that this was the perfect place to start putting any of my thoughts down to share with complete strangers.   March also included a twisted ankle.   An misstep off a ladder while working in the garage sideline me for one long run.   While I felt guilt at missing the run, I did get back out only a couple of days later and found that I could work through it.   The following weekend I ran 7 miles in celebration, brining March's total to 42.8.

April - Looking back this was one of the more mundane months both for training and personally.   With the improving weather, I did notice an improvement in my running.   I incorporated an evil hill to start getting ready for Doomsday Hill in Spokane.  As I look back through the log I question the 3.3 mile week - now I remember being sick, a cold or strep throat, something along those lines.   I also remember feeling much better the next week, running back to back days for the first time ever and slipping under 25 minutes in a 5k for the first time.   So maybe April wasn't that boring after all.  In the last week of the month I managed to really nice up-tempo runs as lead ins to Bloomsday, and brought my monthly mileage to 49.7.

May - What a way to start the month!   Bloomsday was perhaps the highlight of my running year.   This race left such an impression on me that I can't wait to go back and run again in 2012.  If you are ever in Spokane, WA for the first Sunday in May, you owe yourself to run this race.   Everything about it was amazing, from the start with the trees full of clothes, to the on course entertainment, to the amazing crowd support, many of which are on their front lawns.   Really if you want more wander on over the my race  Riding that high, I hit double digits on a run for the first time, with runs of 10 and 12 miles in consecutive weeks.   I also, felt this strange jealousy over the fact that I was neither prepared, nor financially able, to join a group of strangers in Philadelphia for a running event.   Looking back, it seems weird that it took 2 months to form a bond with the amazing people on the Loop, that share nothing more than a love of running.  Now when I miss a week of Bloops I feel like I have missed a year of people's lives.  As the calendar turned to June, I saw 72 in the month total column for May.

June - The anti-April if you will.   This month was turbulent in so many ways.   It started off calmly enough, with my training partner and I hitting 12 miles one last time in the lead up to our Vancouver race on the 19th.  During this time my wife was entering the home-stretch of her own race, six weeks until the birth of our second son.   With doctor's appointments regularly, it wasn't much of a surprise when we learned that the first signs of labor were present and that our new bundle of joy could arrive any time now.   So of course in the weeks leading up to the race I pondered what to do.  Finally, I decided that if I were to go, I would end up missing the birth, and decided to stay home for my wife (more races always exist).  So I ran a virtual (or fake) Half-Marathon around my neighborhood, on a slow, sore, wet morning, details  Of course, our son didn't make his grand appearance until nearly two weeks later on he 30th of June, a week in which I ran zero miles.   Even with the hubbub of baby, and the 13.1 mile adventure I managed to get to 74.5 miles for the month, and was up to 279.8 miles on the year almost half way to my goal of 600 for the year.

The first half of the year

Races -
  • March 12 - St. Patrick's Day Footrace - 10k - 55:18
  • May 1 - Bloomsday - 12k - 1:03:48
  • June 18 - Max's Virtual Half - 13.1 - 2:05:04
The review continues tomorrow where I hope to improve on my 10k and Half times as well as the pursuit of even more.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

2011 Cable Bridge Run (The Race I Didn't Run)

Let's start off with the fact that I haven't posted in almost 3 weeks.   Wow.   In that time I have been swamped with work, design activities sure can be fun.   I also got going hot and heavy into basketball season (for those that don't follow, or don't want to go searching, I referee high school basketball during the winter).  Plus I have been running off and on throughout the three weeks, though not as much as I would like.

First off, basketball.   What a difference a year makes.   Last year, it was all I could do to get through 2 games in an afternoon, much less think about running during off days.   I was still building up strength and stamina, increasing my mileage wouldn't come until spring, so basketball caused more pain that I thought it would.   I had shin splints, sore legs, and was drained after doing just a couple of games a week.   This year, completely different.   On more than one occasion I have gone out and run 3-5 miles in the morning and then worked 2 basketball games the same night.   I am on my feet about 2.5 hours when I work 2 games.   If it is possible, I am enjoying the games a lot more this season than last season, probably the experience and working with the more experienced guys have helped.   But right now I am loving basketball.   The first part of the season winds to a close this week with the schools heading into the Christmas break.   I am very much looking forward to the second half of the season.

Last weekend was the Tri-Cities most famous run (I assume, even though we have a bunch of races here), the Cable Bridge Run.   I had been meaning to sign up for the race for a while, but with everything else going on I hadn't gotten around to it, until the 10th.  Well, had I been thinking ahead, and really with a basketball riddled brain (I had completed my 7 game in three days that day) I would have realized that the race and my 3yo's basketball game were at the same time.   But I didn't look for the race time until after I had registered.   So I hemmed and hawed as to run the race or watch the kiddo's basketball game.   If you have followed me at all you know which way I went, family always comes first.   Friday afternoon I picked up my race packet and tech-shirt, even though I had no intentions of running the race.   Needless to say, Saturday morning came and went as did the race, with a lesson for next year, make sure to check the time for the race to ensure conflicts don't exist.

 This is the poster, but the shirt pretty much looks the same with the bridge and bears.

I have had every intention of reading more blogs the last few weeks = Fail! Or posting more of my own = Fail!  I haven't even been commenting that much, just been super busy with everything else going on the last three weeks.   hopefully with some time off from work and basketball I can find the time to get a couple of more posts in.   I also hope that I can summon the courage (or will power as the case may be) to participate in the Great Cookie Challenge.   While I have run on days I have done basketball games, I haven't run many consecutive days recently, unless you count running one day and then doing three days of basketball as running.   I plan on giving it the ol' college try anyhow though.

I have just about completed my race and training calendar for next year and will share that in a post later as well as a post looking back over the year.

Have a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of you out in Loopland.  Remember to have fun!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Happy December Everyone

I hope that everyone had an enjoyable November and a Happy Thanksgiving.   Of course, if you didn't, things are looking better as the calendar turns to December

I continue to ride high, experiencing seemingly two months of personal and running happiness.   My current 'plan' has me running when and how I feel.   But my hidden agenda is to increase the number of days I am running, and for that reason, I enjoyed a handful of 3ish mile runs in the last couple of weeks, perhaps the first time in a while that I haven't felt guilty about running less than 5 miles.

I have also managed to add some tempo runs back into the mix too, and boy have they been amazing.   Last week before Thanksgiving I went out for a 5 mile run, the first mile was nice and speedy so I decided to hold pace for as long as possible, which ended up being a 4 mile tempo at 7:39 pace followed by a 1 mile cool down.

Yesterday, I looked at the schedule and part of the add more days plan was run (need to get to 7 for the Cookie Monster Streak) .   The log showed 74.1 miles for the month, and I wasn't just going to leave it at 77 or something like that when I could get to 80.  So I set off at lunch, PF bothering me a bit in the left foot, and right knee a bit sore, not expecting much.   After I got moving the first mile beeped off and I realized I was at 7:49 pace, so I just decided to roll with and focus on breathing for the run.   I had decided that I would try to keep this up for 5 of the 6 miles since I had done the 4 the previous week.   And it totally rocked. I felt great after the run (despite the PF and knee, which were mostly gone by the end of the run anyway).  Overall, the Tempo yesterday - 5 tempo miles at 7:50 pace, fastest at 7:30 (last mile) everything else at about 7:55.  With a 1.1 mile cool down at about an 8:30 pace, overall 6.1 miles at 7:58.  Sweet! 6 miles under 8m/m.  Time for a Dancing Banana.That is pretty much how I felt yesterday after rattling that little guy off.  It is really good knowing that I am seeing some speed improvement.   And hopefully will see big improvements this spring when I roll out the speed plan in Feb 

I have basketball games this weekend, so I will probably drop down to 3 miles a day for those days to keep it lighter and avoid too much stress on the joints.
  • November Miles - 80.2 (would have gone higher but I took the first week off)
  • Yearly Miles - 710.5 - Well past my goal of 600, looking to score 800 by the end of December  I have lots of basketball games the next two weeks so it could be interesting.
Next year's goals need to be ironed out a bit.   But I think I can get to those at the end of December  I hope that everyone has a safe and happy holiday season.   Remember to have fun out there.