Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Missed my Sat run, but I have a great excuse

My daughter was born on Saturday!

Her name is Brooklyn.






Last week I was able to get a run in on Monday and Wed.  Then, my wife had to be induced on Thursday.  Yes, Thursday . . . birth Sat.  After 49 hours my daughter was born at 1:06 pm on Sat.  I was suppose to run 10-12 miles at a trial in the South Bay.  Yet, I cannot think of a better reason to miss a run.

My wife and baby come home from the hospital on Wed so it has been a crazy week so far and I'm sure things will only get crazier (but also very exciting).  Yet, I did get a run in tonight (a short 4 miles) and I plan to get another run in on Wed.  Then, hopefully I can make it out for a trial run on Sat morning.  My wife gave me the option of going on a run or going to the 49er game (I have season tickets).  My choice was going on the run.

I'm so happy!  Brooklyn is my first child.

***sorry also for being behind in other blogs I read.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Wet, Cold and Muddy Run

First, I’m so far behind with reading the running blogs that I really enjoy reading. It has just been a crazy few weeks. Especially, preparing for the expected baby and family coming into town. I despise google reader at the moment because I feel so guilty everytime I go in there. I just can't get caught up.

However, with that said, I have done my best to get out there and run. I have been able to get a few short runs in during the week. And, last Sat., I met up with some people from my running group last summer for a run. We met at the Skyline Open Space Preserve and were going to run through the Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve.

I was really looking forward to the run.  As the weekend approached, however, I knew it would be a rough run.  It rained a lot on Friday and rain was anticipated on Sat.  It was cold and windy.  We exchanged e-mails on Friday and still planned to head out there for the run.  When we got there, it was cold, wet and windy.  Worse . . . it was muddy.  We arrived and debated for a few minutes on whether we should just leave and save the run for a better day.  However, we decided to attempt to run and the run started up this hill:


It did not go well.  We made it about .1, .2 if lucky and stopped.  It felt like our feet dropped in 1 foot of mud with each step.  It was cold and windy.  We walked back down the hill and considered calling it quits.  Yet, we saw another path that looked a little better and we headed out.  We stopped a couple of times and considered whether to go on or turn around.  We lost one on the way, but me and four others kept going.  Even though it was very cold (40s) and windy, we pushed on.  Here are some pictures:




We made it about 3 miles out and to the top of a hill (Borel Hill) and then decided to turn around.  The wind was nasty and the footing was getting worse.  The plan was to go either 7 miles or 11 miles but with the weather we were happy with how far we got.




I'm in the last picture.  As you can tell . . . I need Santa's help with winter running clothes.  I had to use my bike jacket, a regular hat and my bike gloves.  Last winter I was injured and could not run.  So I have very few winter clothes for running.  I've been a good boy, so I hope Santa helps me out.

The route back was very interesting.  There were a lot of running down hills and with the poor footing it lead for interesting moments.  No falls, but we were all over the place.  A few times it felt like I had no control of my feet they were going where they were going to go. Almost ran into bushes, someone in front of me, someone behind me and a few times came close to doing a face plant.  Yet, that made the run fun.

We decided to take a short cut back due to the conditions.  We ended up running about 5 miles. About 4.9 miles longer than what it looked like we were going to do.

Monday, December 7, 2009

7 mile Sunday Run

I was able to get out for a 7 mile run on Sunday at Stevens Creek Trail in Mountain View. It was cold out, but I generally like running in the cold so it was nice. I started off a little slower than I wanted (about a 9 min pace the first 1/2 mile), then I went too fast until mile 3. My hands were cold (and I did not have gloves) so I pulled my long sleeve shirt over my hands (and over Garmin). I would check my pace at the mile markers and knew I was going to be in trouble down the road once I saw my pace.  I was going about a 7:30 min a mile pace for miles 2 and 3. Way too fast.

I was really getting tired in miles 4 and 5 . But, I thought about all of the people running races on Sunday (especially those running marathons) and knew that I could get through these last few miles when others were pushing themselves so hard. I wanted to finish at an 8:30 pace. With about a 1/2 a mile left, I check Garmin and my pace was 8:32. I kicked up the speed and was about to finished my 7 miles at 8:29. I was tired, but felt really good.

It's very interesting to be running without a race coming up. In 2008 when I re-started running, I was training for a marathon and then after my injury layoff I started running in preparation for another marathon. So, this is really the first time, I'm running, just to run. With the baby coming soon, I don't want to plan a major race until mid-year (looks like maybe San Diego). I had a work Holiday party on Sunday and someone asked me what are you training for. And, I said nothing. Just running to run. It feels great.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Busy week . . . but still got some runs in

This week has just been crazy busy.  I'm so backed up with my google reader that I'm scared to check it.

But, I did get a few runs on.  This past Sunday, I was able to make it out to Steven's Creek Trail, in Mountain View, for a run.  I got up relatively early and make it out there for a 6 mile run.  This was the longest I ran since the SV marathon.  I felt good.  I ran it at an 8:29 pace.  I'm not sure I could have kept that pace up if I went longer.  If I went at a slower pace, I think I could have done 8/9 miles. I was sad to learn that later that same day on that same Trail, a women was attacked.  Fortunately, she was able to get away.  Be careful out there.

I planned to get three runs in during the week, but work has just been keeping me tied up.  Besides the regular work, I have an article that I wanted to get done yesterday (it is due soon).  So far I have not had time to start it.  I'm hoping to find time in the next day or two.  But, I did get a short 3.1 mile run in on Tuesday.  I wanted to get another run in Thursday morning.  I was up late on Wed night trying to get work done (until about 1:30am) and I wanted to get up at 6:20 to get out there by 6:30-6:40 am and do a short 3 mile run.  The alarm did go off at 6:20am.  But, I did not get up.  :(   I finally got up about 7am, but then had to get ready for work and in the office.  I was able to get in a 3.4 mile run tonight on the treadmill. Running on the treadmill is just not the same (I did run at 11pm so was able to watch a rerun of Seinfeld.

Some people from my running group were planning to get together for a 10/12 mile trail run on Sat.  I was really looking forward to going.  Then, I realized I have a baby CPR class in the morning so I have to miss it.  :(   I was a bit unsure if I should increase my mileage so much this soon so maybe it is for the best that I cannot attend.  Instead, I'm going to try go for a 7 or 8 mile run this weekend.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving and Turkey Trot 5K Race Report

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  Here are some things that I'm thankful for:

  1. My wife who is awesome and never gets in the way of my running. She always supports me in anything I do. She is also unreal to be carrying a baby for already 34 plus weeks.
  2. My baby on the way.  I can't wait for her to come (due date Jan 4th) and cannot wait to take her on runs (already have the stroller).
  3. My family. Especially my mom and sisters who are always there to support me.
  4. My job that I really love and enjoy.
  5. The ability to run.  Even though I'm slower than I like, it is such a blessing to just be able to get out there and run (some people due to injuries or disabilities can't).  I don't really understand why I stopped running for maybe 6 or 7 years.  I think I just used the excuse of "too busy" and did not take out the time to run. I'm glad I changed that thinking.
  6. that although my left knee still gets sore, it holds up and lets me run.
  7. My pets (Jake and Jenny, the dogs and Kobe, the cat).  I love them so much.
  8. All my friends.  Friends and family make my life is so much more enjoyable.
  9. Running groups.  I'm thankful for the people I met in my running group.  They made training and running the last marathon so much more enjoyable.
  10. Running blogs.  I enjoy reading other running blogs.  I find it interesting to hear other running experiences.  I learn and get motivated by other blogs.  I also enjoy writing on my blog.  It helps me stay accountable and feel part of a running community.
On to the Race Report:

I ran the Silicon Valley Turkey Trot this morning.  Since I took a month off after the marathon, I only ran the 5K.  I was able to get three runs in before (all about 3.1).  The first two runs were slower pace, but the last one on Tuesday I ran at a 8:29 pace.  I was not sure what to expect as far as time for the 5K.  I made a goal of under 26 minutes.  However, I was meeting two co-workers there and was planning to run with them for at least the first mile or 2.  I was not sure what pace they wanted to keep.  One of my co-workers sent an e-mail in the morning that he could not make it because family came early (I think he might have woke up late). My other co-worker met me by the bib pickup.  I picked up my bib a few days early, he had to pick his up.

There were so many people there about 8-11K I guess (hard for me to tell), but it was packed.  I did not expect that many.  Here are a couple of bad pictures that my iphone took:





It was very difficult to get in line.  I had to stand off to the side with tons of other people because the street was packed.  There was no room on the street.  What was great is that I ended up standing next to someone in my running group (he is running CIM and was out with his young son).  I wished him the best.  I was able to touch base with him until the race started.

It took us over 4 minutes to get to the start.  My co-worker, Will, was planning to run next to me.  I wanted to run in under 26 minutes but I forgot my Garmin.  Can you believe that?  I was already well on my way to San Jose when I realized I left Garmin at home.  I had my iphone to check the time, but it is sure not the same.  How could I forget Garmin . . .

The first mile was madness.  It was zig zag trying to get around people.  I guess 50% of the people ignored the pace signs and just stood as close to the front as possible.  There were many walkers who I had to somehow try to get around.  Yet, that sort of makes it very fun.

The first mile went well.  I felt good. I had no concept of pace.  I tried to run hard, without going all out.  I also tried to keep it at a pace that Will could do.  I could tell it was difficult for him to keep up, but he was doing a really good job at staying with me.  I did not want to go faster since he told me that it was getting tough to keep up.  The course remained crowed the entire way, but after I got passed the walkers, it was easier to keep a steady pace.

For mile 2 I slowed down (or tried to) so that I would not lose Will.  He would fall a little behind and then push forward to catch up (or I would slow down a little).  At the mile 2 marker I checked my iphone and it seemed I was about 17 or so minutes (mile 2 was a bit slower).  I talked to Will and told him that I wanted to pick up the pace for the last mile and asked if that was okay.  He said to go a head.  I was a bit unsure if I should stay with him (I did invite him to the race), but it is a race!  Since he seemed okay with me going a head, I took off.  I think I ran the last mile about a 7 min pace.

I came in under 30 minutes.  Minus the 4 minutes that it took me to get to the start line, then I did it under 26 minutes.  My goal!  I'll have to wait for the race results to know my time.  I wish I would have brought my Garmin.  I don't think this was a PR.  About 9 years ago (before I stopped running) in my only other 5K, I think I ran faster.  I can't remember the time. I thought 20/21, but maybe 23/24.  So maybe this is my modern PR.

I waited at the finish for Will to arrive.  It was a great way to start a long weekend!  I love races (when I run good)!


Monday, November 23, 2009

Another easy 3.1 mile run in

I was able to get a short run in on Sunday.  Only 3.1 miles.  The run was at a slow and easy pace, but I felt a lot better than my last run.  My legs felt good.  My wife's friend is just starting to get into running.  She actually went with my wife and watched the two marathons I ran.  After the last marathon, she decided to try running.  I told her I would go out for a short run with her on the weekend.  Since I want to ease back into running that seemed like a good plan.

We went out to Stevens Creek Trail in Mountain View.  In 2008, I used to run this trail often (I would run from my house to the Trail . . . it is about 4 miles away from my house).  From Mountain View to Shoreline Park is another 5 miles.  When you get to Shoreline you can do another 6/7 miles one way.  The Trail from Mountain View to Shoreline is okay.  The good thing about it is that you do not have to stop for lights or cars.  There are a number of bikes and I would prefer more shade (on hot days especially).  Today the weather was great . . . overcast and cool.

Once we started I could tell that I would have to take it easy.  The first mile was about 10:10, but I could tell it might be too fast.  She told me that I could go a head, but I wanted to stay and run with her.  This was only her 3rd run since she started running.  She had not run since high school (I'm guessing about 17 years).  She did great.  We went a bit slower the second and third mile.  I had my Garmin and she was looking okay about 1.5 miles out so I decided to take us to 2 miles out before turning around.  On the way back I could tell she was struggling some.  We went a little slower the last mile.  At the 3.1 mark I told her that we did 3 miles and could walk back.  It was funny because right when I said that she immediately decided to stop.  We finished the 3.1 miles about a 10:40 pace.  I stopped my Garmin and we walked back though we did a couple of appx. 100 meters sprints (that was fun).

I felt really good.  It was a nice easy run with good company.  My legs felt strong and I know that I could have went faster.  It is very exciting to see someone start running.  It reminds me of when I first started running in 2008 after years of not running.  I hope she keeps it up. I gave her one of the books I bought (the Runner's Rule Book . . . which I thought was easy fun reading).

Friday, November 20, 2009

26 days later

26 days after the SV marathon, I finally went on a run.  Yeah!  I was planning to take a month off, then I cut that to 4 weeks and this week I decided to run a few days early.  I registered for the Turkey Trot in San Jose so I wanted to get a few runs in before it.

I planned to take it slow.  I ran 3.1 miles at a 9:56 avg pace.  The first mile was the slowest (about 11 min a mile).  I had a lot of discomfort in my left knee with each step immediately when I started running.  I actually wondered whether I should not run.  I stopped and played with my knee brace.  Then I saw my neighbor who was out walking and walked with her for about a quarter of a mile to try to warm up my knee.  My knee felt a little better when I started running again.  After the first mile it was somewhat better.  It was very frustrating but the last mile it felt okay and currently feels fine.  I need to keep doing my core exercise and look into other possible solutions.

I'm still very excited that I was able to start running again.  I'm going to take it slow the next few weeks and slowly build back up my endurance.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Still resting my knees, but many running books

Another week with zero miles.  It is really tough to not run when you want to run. I plan to have my first run since the SV marathon next Sunday (which will be four weeks off).  Not sure how far I'm going to run, but I will run.  I am 90% sure that I will run the 5K Turkey Trot in San Jose.  They have a 10K, but with the time off I'm not sure I'll be up for a 10K.  So I'm planning to run an easy 5K (it might only be my third run since the time off . . . assuming I stick to the plan). I was able to get some workout in this week, mostly on the elliptical.

I was also really excited to have been included in an e-mail chain of runners that I ran with during the summer regarding winter runs.  It seems that we will be planning winter runs on the weekends throughout the bay area .  I'm very excited to explore new areas and to run with people I enjoy being around.  Very exciting.

I also talked my family in So. Cal about running a half marathon with my next year.  There is a half marathon in Redlands in April and a half marathon in Newport Beach in May.  The Redlands run is near my younger sister's house.  Her husband wants to run that one.  The Newport Beach run seems like a fun run along the beach and is closer to my older sister's house.  Both my brother in law (younger sister's husband) and older sister have told me that they will run with me.  I'm thinking the half in Newport Beach would be nicer.  It also might work better with my schedule.  My wife will be returning to work in April so it might be tough to make the Redlands half.  It will also be great to run another race with my older sister.  About 1999, I ran a 5K with my older sister in Riverside (the Mission Inn run).  We had a great time running together.  Until I started running again in 2008, the 5K was my only race.  The only negative about the 5K is that I cannot remember my time.  It was either 20 mins or 21 mins . . . I think.  I've tried to find the results online, but no luck.

I also was able to accomplish my running goal for the week.  That goal was to buy a running book.  I actually went a little crazy.  I tend to travel a lot (sometimes too much) for work so I thought having extra books were okay.  But, I don't think I needed 6 running books.  I bought:

(1)  The Runner's Rule Book.  This seems easy and fun reading.  As my car (now former car . . . I traded it in) was getting washed I read it a little.  It was good and I think it will be a good gift to people I know who are just getting into running.

(2)  Hal Higdon's Marathon, the ultimate training guide.  For my first marathon, I used Hal Higdon't training program so I thought I would read more about his advice and programs.

(3)  and (4) are two Peter Pfitzinger books:  Advanced Marathoning and Road Racing for Serious Runners.  I've read on a number of blogs good things about Pfitzinger so I thought I'd buy these two books.  I looked through the table of contents and they seemed interesting.  Plus, with "fitz" in his last name . . . the guy has to be good.

(5)  Brain Training for Runners.  It was recommended.  I looked through it and it seems useful.

(6)  Galloway's book on running.  I'm not sure why I bought this one.  I guess I liked his simile or something.  I really can't think of a reason why I bought it.

Still waiting on some of them to arrive

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Zero miles run this week. Hello Elliptical.

I want to run so badly.  Yet, I'm trying to give my knee some rest in hopes that it will heal.  Thus, zero miles for me this week.  The sad part is that I'm not sure my knee feels any better.  But, it's not worse.  My plan is to rest a month (which I now define as 4 weeks).  On the 28th day from the SV marathon, I plan to go for a short run.  Then, get 1 or 2 short runs in before the Turkey Trot in San Jose.  I plan to run the Trot slow and just do a 5K.  Hopefully, I won't lose too much.

In the meantime, I have used my home elliptical 4 times.  I think I'm getting fast on it (or at least not as slow).  I also used my home gym to get some weight training in twice.  However, it sure is not the same as running.  On the positive side, it allows me to watch sports at night while I jump on the elliptical or use the home gym.  I feel bad for the treadmill.  Although, I generally ran outside, I would use it 10x more than the elliptical.  It must feel very neglected.

I do wonder how the long runs are going to go in the winter.  Last winter, I could not run because of the injury.  I generally like running in the cold and/or the rain so I am sort of looking forward to some long runs.  I got use to running with the running group for the long runs over the summer so it's a bit scary to think about running by myself.  I did train for my first marathon alone, so I know it will be okay.

My only running goal for the coming week is to find a good running book or two to read to help me better prepare for the next marathon.  Any recommendations would be great.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Lessons Learned and looking forward to running again

First, thanks for the comments (directly and indirectly) regarding the marathon. I was disappointed with my time. I really wanted a sub-4. However, I'm over that. I'm really happy to have completed the marathon healthy! I also know I had a tough race. Just never felt myself and yet still finished with a time within my range. So, I am happy.

I also learned a few things:

(1) I need to run through my long runs (18 miles plus) without walk breaks. During the long runs, my running group ran a mile and then walked 30 seconds. I was okay with that routine because I was battling my knee injury and did not have much confidence that my knee would hold up through the training schedule. For the next marathon, I think for training purposes the last 1/3 of every long run (at least) I have to run it with no walk breaks (to the extent possible) and try to run that last 1/3 near marathon pace. I'll have to think about the details, but I think the walk breaks on the very long runs do not work for me because I need to get my body used to running for 18, 20 . . . 26.2 miles straight.

(2) My hill work and speed workouts were good, I think. Next time, I need to get in more tempo runs at marathon pace. Because of my knee injury I could not run for about 5 months before training so when I started training I took it very slowly and carefully. I don't think I pushed myself enough on the tempo runs at marathon pace.

(3) I need to learn to relax more in the marathon. I think because I knew I was fighting a cold and had horrible sleep the night before, I was real tense. I need to keep in mind to relax and run smoothly.

I'm so thankful that I was able to complete the marathon and beat my prior time by about 55 mins. I know that I can do better and I really look forward to my next race. Yet, when I started this training program I was very unsure whether my knee would hold up. Even though I had to tape my knee daily and run with a brace, it held up through the training and the marathon!

Part of me wants to go out and run another race right away. Yet, it has been over a year since my left knee has been pain free. I told myself I would take about a month off and hopefully it will heal completely. My physical therapist recommended that I take 6-8 weeks off (that's a long time). There is a turkey trot in San Jose that I really want to run. That would be about a month off. Thus, I am going to keep that race open and if my knee feels good, I'll run it (likely slowly). If my knee needs a couple more weeks then I'll pass.

For 2010, I want to run two marathons. The first one I'm considering is one of the following: Napa, Big Sur, San Diego, or Seattle. Which one will depend on my knee and whether I can start running in late November. The second marathon will either be Chicago, DC or the SV marathon.

As far as exercise during this time off from running, I plan to bike and use the elliptical. I went for a bike ride on Sat. and jumped on the elliptical on Sunday. Not the same enjoyment as running. I also want to do weight training and maybe try Yoga. I would love to play basketball, but that would not give my knee a break. Whatever I do . . . I'll be counting the days until I start running again.

BTW:  we put together the jogging stroller for the baby-to-come this weekend.  Still have two months until she is due, but can't wait to take her running.

Also, Jake is doing great.  We dressed him up a devil for Halloween.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Race Report: The Silicon Valley Marathon

Okay, I struggled.  I never felt in a grove or relaxed.  Yet, I finished.  I thought I would come in between 3:59:59 and 4:20.  I really wanted to have a sub 4 (or very close to 4:00). I did not get that time.  :(  It is disappointing, but I still finished with a solid time (for me) of 4:16:08, within my target range.  The good thing is that I completed the marathon with no sign of significant injury.  My knee held up even if I was very sore.  The thing is that I know I could do better.  I know I was trained for a better time, but it was tough out there for me on Sunday.  So on to the details:

I have to start with the excuses.  Yes, I have them.  Saturday just did not go good for me.  I felt like crap during the day (a sore throat and light headed).  I was able to rest some in the late afternoon and started to feel better.  I tried to stay relaxed at night.  I went to bed about 10:45 pm (I was a bit nervous and could not fall asleep sooner).  Then, about 12:45pm, I am awoken by my dog!

My dog, Jake, sleeps on the bed with us.  On Friday night his face swelled up significantly.  I was out at a pasta party.  My wife (Jill) left me a message that she was rushing Jake to the vet because his face was about three times its normal size.  When Jake gets home his face is still swollen.  The vet says he must have been bit by a Bee or spider and had a reaction.  She gave him some medication and he should be fine.  We watch him throughout Sat. and his face continues to go back to normal.  By night time we don't think much about it.  He seems okay.

Then at 12:45pm he is freaking out.  Jumping all over and off the bed.  I get up and let him outside in case he has to go pee or poop.  I checked him out when he came back in.  Everything seems okay.  I go back to bed.  Then, within an hour he is again jumping on and off the bed.  He moves from one part of the bed to the next.  This goes on until about 3am (after multiple times of us telling him to stop and settle down).  At 3am, Jill puts him outside.  Within a half an hour we hear him banging against the door.  So we try again to put him in the bed room.  His crazy actions continue until about 4am, when Jill gets up and takes him to the living room to sleep on the couch with him so that I can get some sleep before I have to wake up a 5am.

So that's my vent.  The short story is that I got a crappy night sleep the night before after feeling like crap in the day.  But, I knew I still had to focus on being positive.  I told myself that I got a solid night's sleep the two prior nights so I was okay.  I'm not sure how much of an effect the bad night sleep had on my performance.  I do love my dog so much that I was not really upset with him . . . I think he had a right to be a little freaked out.

Here is Jake:



So on to the race details.

I arrived early (about 6:15 am).  My wife works in an office near the start line.  Which is great because I have an entire indoor restroom to myself.  :)  We made our way to the start line in plenty of time.




It was still dark when the race started.  I had a salt tablet before the gun.  My plan was to run a 9:00-9:05 min a mile pace the first half and then try to either keep the pace or pick it up in the second half.  I had my best running friend, Garmin, with me to help me keep pace.  As always I seem to want to start out very fast.  But, I just kept checking my avg. pace with Garmin and adjusted my speed accordingly.

Miles 1-3 were basically just trying to find the right pace.  I ran 8:48 the first mile, but then ran exactly a 9:00 pace for miles 2 and 3.  So I was doing okay.  Following the plan.  Yet, I did not feel in a grove. My legs felt tired.  Yet, I was confident that things would fall into place.

During mile 3 and 4, I thought back to last year when my knee pain developed.  When I first started training in March, I was very uncertain that my left knee would hold up.  I was thankful that my knee felt okay and I was getting through the spot of the injury last year.



My mile 4 was a little off pace at 9:15.  I think this is when my stomach first started bothering me (yes, another excuse).  I was not having major stomach cramps, but I felt like one could come on any second.  I tired to take deep breathes.  I thought about using one of the pot-a-potty's but I pushed through because I wanted to stay on pace.  I ran miles 5-9 around a 9 min pace.  Things seemed to be going okay, but I still had not found a good grove.  It was more of a struggle to maintain the pace than it should have been.  Miles 10-12 were just a fight to keep pace and hold off the stomach cramps.  I could tell this was going to be a hard run.  I was already beginning to doubt whether I could keep the pace.

My goal was to get to mile 15 before stopping to use the restroom.  But, before the halfway point I saw an empty port a potty.  I was still at a 9 min a mile pace but I knew that now was the time to use it.  As a result my mile 13 was my worst mile of the first half (10:02).  To complicate matters, I lost half of the string that is used to tie my shorts.  I had one long half and the other half was out of sight.  I tired for a couple of seconds to dig it out, but I just gave up and used my water belt to hold up my shorts.  I had the vision of the shorts falling off, but thankfully that never occurred.  Here I come nearing the halfway point:



So the first half was tough.  I was still on pace for a sub 4, if I could run the same speed in the second half.  I got to 13.1 about 1:58.  However, I struggled from the get go of the second half.  My mile 14 was at 10:30 and my mile 15 was at 9:54.  Just like that I was off pace. Then, mile 16 I ran in 11:28.  I remember taking Powerbar Gel after mile 15.  Maybe, I should have taken it early (I had taken powerbar Gel after mile 5 and 10).

I did pick it up and have a good mile 17 at 8:43 and a solid mile 18 at 9:16.  Here are some pictures between miles 15 and 18:







Miles 19-26, however, were just tough.  I never could not find a good grove and never really felt relaxed.  Maybe, I tried to put too much pressure on myself.  My legs were very sore and it felt hot. So what I tired to do was to run from one mile marker to the next with a walk when I reached the mile marker (generally about .1 or .2 of a mile walk).  Maybe, I should have just focused on walking ofr 30 seconds at a time and then run to the next mile marker.  My walks were too long.  But, I was sore and exhausted. 

Generally I would see the same people during these miles.  I would pass them when I run and they would pass me when I walked.  I had a short walk break before mile 25 and then ran the rest of the way.  I was tried and exhausted but I pushed myself to make sure I finished within my target range.  I was disappointed that I would not have a sub-4, but I was also happy that I was finishing my second marathon with a PR! (easy to do due to the injury last time).  Here I come at mile 26:




And, here I come to finish the marathon:




I take a slight moment to remember my dad by pointing up.



In the end, it was a tough day for me.  I am disappointed with my time.  Yet, I am happy that I completed my second marathon.  This time without (I think) an injury.  My knees, legs and feet are still sore, but I think they will be okay.  I also know that I can do better.  I so badly want to go out there and run it on Sunday again (if it were possible) and do better.  So I know I have realistic goals in front of me.  I really can't wait for my next marathon because I know the experience of this one will help me.  And, I do understand that I'm relatively new to running and I will learn how to improve maintain a pace for 26.2 miles.  Here are some post-run photos:

Me after the finish:




Jill and me, with the baby to come:


Some of my running group members:


Here are my splits:

Mile Time


1 08:48.9

2 09:00.2

3 09:00.6

4 09:15.2

5 08:59.0

6 09:03.4

7 08:47.2

8 08:55.4

9 08:56.8

10 09:10.1

11 09:04.0

12 09:07.8

13 10:02.2

14 10:30.7

15 09:54.7

16 11:28.8

17 08:43.1

18 9:13

19 10:07.8

20 11:21.5

21 10:04.1

22 11:36.1

23 11:06.7

24 10:52.2

25 10:57.2

26 09:44.9

0.2 forgot to stop Garmin

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The day before the SV marathon

One day to go!  It is so exciting.  I picked up my bib this afternoon.  #480.  It is going to be very interesting on how my body holds up.  Last year was my first marathon, but I hurt myself (as everyone knows) around mile 3.  Hopefully I don't get injured this time and can see how my body responds in the second half.

I am targeting a finishing time between 3:59 and 4:20.  I plan to go out at a 9 to 9:05 min a mile pace the first half.  If I feel good, I will slightly pick it up the second half (maybe just 5 or 10 seconds a mile).  I want to leave myself a couple extra minutes for any unexpected breaks (the need to walk or use the bathroom being the main ones).  I know I will hit a wall at some point.  So hopefully I can push through it.

However, regardless of my finish time I am so thankful to be able to run and hopefully complete 26.2 miles.  Two years ago, on Oct. 28, 2007, my father passed away after a tough battle with cancer.  I lived close to him and did my best to support him.  I watched him undergo all the treatments that were recommended.  I rushed to the hospital a number of times when something went wrong.  I was there about week before his death when his doctor came to his house to tell him that the treatments were not working and he would likely only have a week to live.  He handled the news with strength and courage.  He continued to battle the cancer until his death.  He fought to walk 20 feet (with the use of a walker and help from others, including me).  I remember how difficult it was for him to just stand up or sit up.

I know that 26.2 miles is hard. And, I know there will be hard times.  But, just like last year, during those hard times I will focus on how lucky I am to be alive and to be healthy.  I will remember that many people, like my dad, have to fight a tough disease that makes it difficult for them to take one step.

My dad died because of lung cancer.  He smoked.  Sometimes I get angry because he smoked.  Yet, about six months after his death, I looked at my life.  I weighed 232 pounds, had high blood pressure and eat unhealthy.  I did not smoke, but yet I was not treating my body as I should.  I was living a very unhealthy live.  I decided that I would get in shape.  I always enjoyed running (even though I had not run years) and always wanted to run a marathon and decided that I would train for one and run it in memory of my dad (my first posts tell the story).  I've also learned to eat healthier.

So this year I will gain run this marathon in memory of my father.  I also run it to be healthy because I learned from his live and what he went through.  So no matter what time I finish with I am so thankful to be able to run 26.2 miles.  It will be a blessing to be able to complete (hopefully) my second marathon.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Only 3 days to go

I have now finished my long runs, my hill runs and my track workout.

The long run over the weekend was only 6 miles.  I ran the last 3 miles harder than the first 3 and finished about a 8:40 pace.  The running group was small since it was only 6 miles, but it was great to see the yello running group again (and for the last time this season).  It is going to be strange to wake up on Saturday and not see the runners that I've ran with the past 6 months.  I will miss running with them.  Hopefully, next year I'll see a lot of them on the trails.

Here is one picture I took of us after the 6 mile run.  I'm in the back



Last year I trained by myself so it was a new experience to run the long runs with a group.  I enjoyed it and would definitely run with running groups in the future.  It was nice to also get to know some of the people in the group.  I thought most of the runners were very nice and made for enjoyable runs (especially the very long runs).  I know I'll miss most of the runners.

A few hours ago, I finished my last track workout.  This was also the first year I did speed workouts on a track.  Tonight, I took it easy and only did two 800s, one 1200 and one 1600. I kept a good pace and felt I got a good, but short workout in.  I think the speed workouts have increased my long run pace.  It will be exciting to see if it pays off in the marathon.

On Thursday I will run my last training run before the big day on Sunday.  I'm planning to run only for 20 or 25 minutes.  I had a good hill run and track workout this week so I plan to take it easy on Thursday.

I also went to the Doctor's today for a physical.  With the news of the recent deaths of runners, I thought it would not hurt to have a physical (it had been over a year).  My doctor found nothing obvious.  So I'm good to go.

Can't wait . . . only 3 more days.  I better get to bed so I can rest up.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

10 days to go

The marathon is only 10 days away. I'm so excited! Redemption? Or, a repeat of last year? Hopefully, at the very least a fun race.

This past Sat. I finished my last long run. We did a hill run of almost 12 miles. We ran this about two-three months ago and it was very difficult. It is still a little difficult, but much easier now that I have had a couple more months of training. So hopefully that's a good sign. The run has a lot of hills which makes it difficult, but also very fun. I find enjoyment in running hills. You have a chance to focus on your form and breathing. There is also a sense of accomplishment with each hill you climb, especially if the hill is difficult.

I also finished my last Yasso 800s today. I've been a bit under the weather this week (great timing) so I did not feel like running tonight after work. I wanted to go home and just rest. But, I forced myself to the track and had an okay run. My 800s (10 of them) were between 3:16 and 3:31. Yet, I went slow doing the down time of each 800. However, I finished all 10. My last Yasso 800. Hopefully these 800s will help.

Now the big issue on my mind is my plan for the marathon. I don't want to go out too fast. Yet, I really want a sub-4. My concern is burning out the last portion of the marathon and falling off pace so I initially wanted to run the first half faster to give me lead time. Yet, most things I read seem to state it is best to go for a negative split or run each 1/2 the same pace. Thus, I'm thinking about running a 8:50-9 min pace the first 13 miles and then try to run a little faster the second half (maybe only 5 seconds a mile faster). This would still give a little room in case I have a bad mile or two in the second half.

Monday, October 5, 2009

San Jose Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon - My best race to-date!

This past Sunday, October 4, 2009, I ran the San Jose Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon.

So far in my limited running experience, I have only ran three races.  I ran the SJ Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon last year.  In that half Marathon, my training run called for 20 miles so I ran 7 miles before the half marathon.  That was the first time I ever ran 20 miles so the last few miles of the half marathon were very slow and difficult.  I ran the Silicon Valley Marathon last year and hurt my knee in mile three. That left for a very slow and painful 23.2 more miles.  And, then in August, I ran the half marathon in Mountain View. In that half marathon, it was in the 90s, the race started late (9am, I think) and I went out way too fast (about 7 min a mile pace).  I ended up losing all energy by mile 5 and really struggled for the next 5 miles before I finished somewhat strong.  Ended up with a time of about 2:07.

So I had yet to have a good race.  And, really not an enjoyable race.  Which made me wonder if I just like punishment.  :)

My expectations for the San Jose Rock 'n' Roll half were initially simple - come in under 2 hours so that I could keep up some hope of running the marathon in under 4 hours.  However, thinking it through I realized that I really needed to come in better than 2 hours to have a goal of a sub 4 for the marathon.  I decided to try for 1:54 in the half.  According to the McMillan Running Calculator that would put me close to a 4 hour marathon time.  With my Yasso 800s about 3:30, I thought that would give me a shot at a sub 4.

My plan was to not start off too fast.  Keep it around 8:45 pace.  I told myself to run a 8:45 pace the first half and then try to pick it up the second half.  I hoped to approach an avg pace of about 8:40 before I crossed the finish line.  That would get me in under 1:54.

There were about 12K people there.  The streets were packed with runners.  Here is a picture from the main website:



I started off about 45 seconds or so away from the start line.  It was packed with runners and it seemed that every one was going faster than me.  That made it difficult to keep my planned pace.  Thankfully, my good friend, Garmin, was there to always let me know that I needed to slow down. Yet, it was tough.  The first 2 miles, I ran about a 8:35 pace.  Yet, I kept telling myself to slow down, its a long race.  My main concern was to go too fast and then burn out.  I'm still learning how to race and, more importantly, what my body can handle.  I was good at slowing down.  I ran miles 3 and 4 about a 8:41 pace.

Then I ran into a couple other runners from my running group.  I ran with them for a little while.  I noticed my avg pace was creeping back towards 8:30 avg pace.  This was not the plan so I had to slow down and let them go a head.  My mile 4 (when I was running with the runners) was at a 8:17 pace.  So, slowing down might have been a good idea.  I had powerbar gel about mile 6.  Towards the end of mile 6, after the power bar gel, I started to pick up the pace.  I felt good at that time.

I kept a faster pace for mile 8 and ran it at 8:06 pace.  In mile 9, I was able to catch up with the runners from my running group and I was feeling good.  I was actually enjoying the race . . . for the first time.  I felt confident that if I kept a solid pace, then I would be able to reach my goal of 1:54.  I ran miles 9 and 10 a little slower than my mile 8 since I did not want to burn out (about a 8:15 pace).  I also had another power bar gel before getting to mile 10.

My thought was to try to push hard the last three miles and see how my body responds.  For me, I tend to think of three miles as the home stretch (only 3 miles left, no problem).  So I picked it up and my mile 11 was run at a 7:56 pace and mile 12 at a 7:54 pace.  Then, at mile 12, I saw the clock and noticed that with a strong last mile I could come in under 1:50.  I pushed the last 1.1.  I was tried, but felt good.  I ran mile 13 about a 7:21 pace.  What was interesting is that in the beginning of the race when I was telling myself to slow down, I kept getting passed by many runners. Yet, now at the end, I was passing many runners.  So maybe slowing down at the beginning helped.  Or, maybe not.  It does feel great though to be able to finish strong.

In the end, it was a fun race.  Easily my best race ever!  A new PR (easy to do based on my bad experiences before) with an official time of 1:48:52.

Here are my Garmin results:


Split
Time
Distance
Avg Speed
Max Speed
1
0:08:34
1
8:34
7:15
2
0:08:36
1
8:36
8:05
3
0:08:40
1
8:40
7:48
4
0:08:42
1
8:42
7:56
5
0:08:17
1
8:17
6:38
6
0:08:31
1
8:31
7:47
7
0:08:26
1
8:26
7:54
8
0:08:06
1
8:06
7:19
9
0:08:11
1
8:11
7:21
10
0:08:19
1
8:19
7:31
11
0:07:56
1
7:56
6:38
12
0:07:54
1
7:54
7:23
13
0:07:21
1
7:21
5:22
14
0:01:11
0.2
5:57
4:25
 Summary
1:48:50
13.2
8:14
4:25

My friend, Garmin, had to running it 2 seconds faster than the official time and also had my going .1 further.  Still a great race.

And, finally a post-race picture:








I also have to say I was impressed by my wife, who at 27 weeks, walked (and ran the last mile) of the half marthon.  Great job!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Completed my 22 mile run; now time for the San Jose Rock 'n' Roll half

This past Sat I completed my 22 mile long run.  The longest run of the training schedule and last long run!  It felt great to complete it.  And, so far my knee is holding up.  Still painful at times, but not worse.  I was so unsure if I could make it through the training schedule many months ago when I started it.  Yet, I completed all of the long runs.

Unfortunately my Garmin was not charged so I could not record my times.  We were going about a 9:45-9:50 pace.  For the long runs we go a bit slower because we throw in 30 second walks.  I felt good during the run.  It was dreadfully hot, but I kept up my energy with gel packs at miles 6, 12 and 18.  I also used salt tablets at miles 12 and 19.

The good part about the run is that I was able to pick up my pace the last two and a half miles and finished strong.  I think (no garmin) I ran the last two and 1/2 miles about a 8-8:30 pace.

Now it is on the the rock 'n' roll half marathon in San Jose. Hopefully, it will go a lot better than the Mountain View Half last month.  I'm still learning how my body works in races so I'm going to try not to go out too fast.  Keep a good pace and if I feel good then pick it up in the second half.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

9 mile Canadian long run

This Sat. I did my first Canadian long run.  I am in Canada for the weekend and did my run in Brampton (the Brampton etobicoke creek trail)  It was suppose to be only an 8 mile run, but I took a left when I should have taken a right and ended up going 9 miles.  It was a good run.  My avg pace was 8:33.

The trail was nice.  It was paved and not crowed.  A handful of other runners, some walkers, and a few people biking.  I went out a little stronger than a normally do and then just decided to keep a bit faster pace.  I was planning on only running a 9 min a mile pace, but I am so bad at keeping the proper pace.  Yet, I felt good with the pace.

The interesting part is how easy 8/9 miles feels right now.  Especially mentally.  The entire week when I thought about the run I just thought "it's only 8 miles."  And, on the run, I kept thinking only 6 miles left, 4 miles . . . and so on.

I also really enjoyed getting out of the heat.  In the bay area, the past month it has been hot and the long runs.  Today it was cold out (maybe 50 degrees) . . . but that was nice (maybe why it was so easy to keep a faster pace).

Now I have to travel to Houston on Monday, get in a short Texas run.  Then fly back to CA on Wed and start getting ready for my 22 mile long run. "22 miles" sure does not sound easy like 8 miles.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

20 mile run done

This past Sat.  I finished my 20 mile run!  It had been nearly a year since I ran that far and it felt good after going through many months without being able to run.  It was a very good run.  I ran with the 9:20 group.  We actually all ran in one group this week (rather than split to a 9 min group).  For the really long runs, we keep a bit slower pace, about 9:40.

I wanted to go faster at times, but stayed with the group.  I did not have any stomach issues which was good and did not have any major downs.  I used two powerbar gels and had some red beans.  I did have to stop to use the restroom once . . . I hate that.  But, no stomach cramps.  I think I have a solid routine down for these long runs.  Powerbar gels, some red beans, nuun, a peaunt butter sandwish on wheat bread before the run, and pasta the night before.  On the next long run I might want to try salt tables.

So the run went well.  Maintained a solid pace and was able to finish the last three miles stronger.  A few additional thoughts:

(1)  It is fun running with a group.  Last year I trained by myself.  That does have some benefits.  Yet, I'm very appreciative of the group. It adds an extra enjoyment to running and really helps you get through these long runs.

(2)  We ran into a large organization doing some walk.  I'm sure it was for a good cause, but let's not block off the walkway.  When you hear a group of runners behind you, try to make some room so that they can pass. While it can be somewhat frustrating . . . it is a little fun to dodge people.

(3)  My left knee is sore.  The good thing is that I cannot tell if its more sore than it used to be (a few months ago) or is better than what it used to be.  I guess after living with a bum left knee for nearly 11 months now, I don't know what's normal soreness.  I just hope it feels better over the coming days.  I'm planning to do a Yasso 800 in about 20 hours so I hope my left knee holds up.

(4)  I officially think my left knee is jealous of my right knee.  I know it questions why does it have to remain sore.  Why does it have to wear a brace?  Why does it have to be taped and not the left knee?  It's not fair.  Well, the left knee needs to just suck it up.

In less than two weeks will be the 22 mile run.  I can't wait.  It will be great to complete it.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

What a difference a week makes

On August 29, 2009, I ran the Sankara iWalk 2009 1/2 marathon.  I did not sign up for it until Thursday.  My training schedule called for a 11 mile run so I thought this might be fun and different.

The 1/2 marathon started at 8am.  And, it was hot!  I heard that it hit mid-90s during the run. It was painful.  The course was flat, but there was no shade.  Since it was a training run, I thought I would run at a 9 min a mile pace and try to come in under 2 hours.  For whatever reason, I started off fast (well fast for me).  The first mile I did about 7 min a mile.  The second mile I was about 8 min a mile.  As I stated it was very hot.  So I made a big mistake by starting off fast.  Between mile 4 and 5, I lost all my energy and I had to start walking.  I just felt beat and dizzy.  It was a tough run.  I'm not a big fan of running in the heat to begin with, but without shade and no wind, it was difficult to hit your timing goals.  The next 4 or 5 miles were a struggle for me.  My avg pace quickly increased (as in slower and slower).  8:30, then 9:00 min a mile.  Soon I was at 9:10 am at the halfway point.  When I ran I was doing okay.  At the halfway point, if I could keep pace then I could fight to come in under 2 hours.  However, it was just getting hotter and by mile 7, I knew I had to walk again.  So the rest of the race, I ran when I could and walked when I lost energy.  Generally, I would go about a mile to a mile and a half running and then walk a little.  It was a very disappointing run because I expected to come in under 2 hours.  I finished at 2:08:37.

I was glad that I finished strong.  The last two-three miles I pushed to maintain a good pace.  Here is a picture of me after the race.  One other note, I was very happy that someone that I run with when I run in the 9 min pace group came in first in her age group.  That was exciting.

Well this past Sat., the training program called for 13 miles.  It was a training day so I was not going to push myself too hard.  Yet, it was important to me that I did not feel the strong urge to walk and that I felt good at the end (unlike the prior Sat).  I was intending to run with the 9 min pace group, but they were starting at 6:30 am (anticipating that it would be a hot day).  That would mean I would have to get up around 5 am and after  a long week, I passed.  I decided to meet the 9:20 pace group at 8am.  It was a very good run.  I felt fine at 9:20 pace.  About the last two-three miles, I picked up the pace and ending up coming in at 1:59 for 13 miles.  The key is that I felt good during and after the run.

A bad run (even if you have an excuse) just beats away at your confidence so it's nice to come back with a good run.  I feel that if I'm smart about not starting too fast, in my next 1/2 marathon I should be able to break the 2 hr mark.  Hopefully, I can do that at the R&R San Jose 1/2 marathon so that I could feel that I have some glimer of hope of running a sub 4 at the SV marathon.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The week after the 30K plus

On Sat. I completed the 30K. At least the planned 30K. We ended up doing 19.3 miles in total. I can say that some of us (mostly me) complained about the extra .8 of a mile . . . a little bit. Mostly when it became clear when we were 8 miles away from the end of the route that we would be running almost a mile further.

This is my longest run since the marathon. Unlike my 15 mile run, there were no stomach cramps! The 15 mile run two weeks prior was very disappointing because I fell off-pace. This past Sat., I felt good and kept pace. I worried and thought about the stomach cramps a few times, but felt good. I tried to change what I eat. The night before went with pasta and then the morning before the run I woke up extra early and had a Peanut butter sandwich. I switched the GU for powerbar Gel. I also swapped the Cytromax for Nuun. No problems!

We ran at a 9:40 pace (due mostly to walking breaks). I'm not sure about the planned walking breaks. Last year in my training, I ran straight through and stopped only if necessary. Yet, last year I ended up injured so I'm up for anything.

The big key is that my knee is holding up. Both my knees were sore on Sat, but by Sunday they were getting better. Then by Monday morning there felt just as good as before the lone run. So on Monday night I did a 4 mile hill run and had a pace about 8:30. Tonight (Wed.) I went to the track and put in some Yasso 800s. I had a very busy week (had a speech on Wed) and got little sleep the prior two nights so I was very unsure of whether I would increase the number of 800s. I did 4 and 5 800s the prior two weeks. Today I ended up doing 6 800s (just what I had hoped to do). I ran them between 3:16 and 3:30. The first couple I ran a bit too fast (around the 3:16-3:20 mark). The last 4 800s I was between 3:26 and 3:30. It's a good workout.

Sometimes I just don't understand people. There is a group of Team in Trainers there every Wed night and they generally leave in a group (during my run). Some of them will cross the track, walking very slow, not paying attention, and leaving no room for runners to pass. I just don't get it. I almost ran into a lady today because she is fumbling around and changing her direction while she is walking across the track. One of her teammates had to tell her to watch out.

There also was a man who was at the track and he was running very fast. I was doing my 800s (about 7 min a mile pace or a bit less) and this guy was just going right by me. Impressive.

With my knee holding up, I am really excited for the marathon this year. I am starting to believe that I'll be able to complete my training injury free . . . while learning a lot about how to run.

My Yazzo 800s splits:












Split Time Distance Elevation Gain Elevation Loss Avg Speed





1 0:02:13 0.25 85 38 8:52





2 0:03:16 0.5 38 36 6:31





3 0:03:03 0.31 25 43 9:50





4 0:03:19 0.5 84 54 6:38





5 0:03:20 0.31 27 27 10:48





6 0:03:26 0.5 28 33 6:52





7 0:03:32 0.32 28 50 10:59





8 0:03:26 0.51 28 24 6:48





9 0:03:57 0.32 30 16 12:27





10 0:03:26 0.51 88 35 6:46





11 0:03:31 0.25 49 65 13:59





12 0:03:29 0.51 0 57 6:53





13 0:00:04 0.01 9 0 6:51





Summary 0:40:08 4.8 520 476 8:22







Looking at my splits, I really went out too fast in the 800s initially and that slowed down my cool-down period between the splits later on.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Excited for the 30K training run this Sat

It has been a while since I have posted about my running. I am still plugging away. Hoping my knee holds up. The big test is going to be this Sat for a 30K run (18.6 miles). I'm planning to take it easy and just try to make it through the run. Here are some updates:

1. The longest run so far was a 25K (15.5 miles). My knee did just fine with the help of the tape and brace. The problem was after mile 10 my stomach had major cramps. It was very disappointing because I'm not sure what caused it: the Gu or the Cytomax (power form). I'm going to try different products this week (Powerbar gel) and I'll mix my water with a different electrolyte supplement. Last year, I had cramps a few times. Hopefully, I can determine what works with my body so that these cramps won't pop up in the marathon.

2. I had a great run last week through Redwoods for 8 miles and no one nearby except for wildlife, including deers. It was a great experience. There are a lot of hills which made the run tough. But, it was still great.

3. I'm trying to push my training program forward with Hills and Speed work. Because of my knee I have been very cautions about running Hills and even running too fast. The last couple of weeks I have built up my Hill runs to about 4.5 miles of Hills. For the speed work, I head to the a local track and have been doing Yasso 800s. I'm hoping these well help me get through the marathon strong.

4. I'm really starting to look forward to the marathon. I'm starting to believe that my knee will hold up (big test this weekend). I know I always comment about it. I'm trying to tell myself not to comment about it. But, for me, it's still one run at a time and see how things feels.

5. This week I'm also going to try eating a light breakfast before my long run (well maybe at least an hour before my long run). I generally do not eat before the run. I have to start reading up on what's good to eat before the run. I have some good ideas.

Overall - the training is going well. Most of all, I'm just really happy that I can run (there were about 4 months there when I could not run because my knee would be too painful).

Saturday, June 6, 2009

7 mile run

It took me a few days to recover from my fall last weekend. My ankle was a bit sore and swollen, so I did not run until Wed. Fortunately, I did not get seriously injured.

I ran Wed and Thur, practicing Chi Running by trying to focus on my posture, leaning forward, and lifting my heals. So far it seems a bit easier to run faster with the Chi Running techniques. I have to purposely slow myself down. On Wed, I was getting tired towards the end of the run because my pace was too fast.

I have also been running with a metronome. I'm using a metronome in order to keep a steady cadence. Part of Chi running is running with a steady cadence. Whether you go faster or slower you keep a consistent cadence. My Chi running instructor recommended a cadence of 88-90 strides per minute. Right now, I'm at 86 (working my way up). I think this is what caused me to go too fast on my weekday runs, since an 86 cadence is faster than my normal cadence. Here is an article on running with a metronome.

I had two good runs during the week and then this morning was my 7 mile run. I did not bring my metronome. I wanted to focus on my running form for the longer run and not worry about other aspects of running.

I started off with the 9:20 pace group. We had a very large group today (maybe 25-30 runners). After the two or two and 1/2 mile mark, I went a head of the group. I felt a little closed in. I tried to continue to focus on leaning forward and lifting my heels. I ended up catching up to the 9:00 a mile group. I caught up to them with about 2 1/2 miles to go. It took a lot out of me to catch up to them. I felt like falling back but I pushed myself to stay with the group. This group only had about 10-15 runners. I stayed with them until the end. And, I did not fall!

Next week is an 8 mile run. I'm going to have to consider whether I want to start out with the 9:00 minute a mile group. I want to finish the marathon in under 4 hours, which means I need to have a pace of at least 9:07. Yet, I'm still recovering from my knee injury so I don't want to push myself too much. I guess I'll see how I feel after my weekday runs.

It feels great to start the weekend with a nice run!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Runner Down

I have now finished three Chi Running lessons. And, I have been trying to incorporate the Chi Running technique to my long runs. Yet, I cannot use Chi Running as an excuse for my most embarrassing running moment (and, I have had a few).

But, I can blame a goose. One that looks like this:


He/she looks relatively harmless.

I guess it might be a bit unfair to blame the goose and not my own feet. You can be the judge.

This past Saturday was a 6 mile run. We have done 6, 7 and 8 mile runs the previous three weeks. So this week was suppose to be an easy week. I would have time to practice my Chi running without pushing my knee too hard (still recovering and hoping my knee holds up).

Everything was going perfect. I was with a group of about 25 runners at Los Gatos Creek Trail. We were going about a 9:20 pace.

I was running on the dirt next to the concrete path. When there is a dirt path next to the concrete I generally try to run on it since I feel that it is easier on my knees. The problem with running on the dirt is that it can be uneven and there are many occasions when you have to jump back onto the concrete.

This time in my way is a goose. It is moving slowly and blocking my path. I have a few choices: (1) jump over it, (2) run it over, or (3) jump back onto the concrete path. I should have picked 1 or 2.

I really don't know what occurred. All I remember is that I stepped to my left to get back on the concrete and somehow I twisted my right ankle. I immediately fell to the ground. My first thought was wondering if I was going to get run over. My second thought was my knee.

I was running near the front of the pack. We were at the 4 and 1/2 mile mark. It happened very slowly. I felt my ankle twist. I feel myself falling to the ground. I try to land proper (if even possible) and try to roll away from the path. As I hit the ground, I hear someone call out "runner down". I watch the group run around me, some having to quickly move out of the way. A couple stopped, others faces seemed surprised. Luckily I did not take anyone else down. My hands, arm and legs were scraped up. My right ankle was very sore. Slowly I got up. I checked my knee and then walked off my ankle pain for a minute or two. I then start running slow with someone who stopped. I was able to get my pace back up and even catch up to some of my group. My ankle is still sore and a little swollen, but I think staying off it for a couple of days should do the trick. The worst part is just the embarrassment of falling down.

I guess at least I can blame the goose.