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.