Sunday, March 28, 2010

Race Report: Oakland Marathon – third marathon completed!

Okay, no PR.  And, goal not obtained.  But, I finished!

And, I feel I did the best I could.  I was sick for a week and a half and still have a sore throat and congested.  I had so much stuff coming out of my nose during the marathon I ran out of tissue (and I had a lot with me).

Before I get to my performance, I want to state that Oakland did a great job.  There were about 1,100 full marathon runners.  There also was a half and 5K.  Overall it not a large race.  Yet, the community came out in full support as if 25K people were running it.  We went through various types of neighborhoods (some very nice and others struggling).  But, every neighborhood we ran through there were people out of their house, on street corners, looking out apartment windows cheering us and supporting us.  Many people had their own water/food stations.  A man gave me a water bottle.  The support made me feel great.  It was a major lift running “The Hill.”  Oakland – you did a great job.  Thank you!  Based on the community support I would recommend this race to anyone.  You feel the pride in the community.  There were many “thank you for running Oakland” comments.  There were streets (in all types of neighborhoods) were every house had people in front of it supporting us.  First class community support.

As for me, I stayed the night in Oakland to avoid the drive across the bay.  Which overall I think was good.  I had loud people next to me . . . well the TV.  But, the front desk gave me ear plugs and it worked.  I was able to fall a sleep about midnight and got an okay night sleep.

I brought two of everything with me, shorts, shirts, shoes, soaks.  I tried them all on and determined what felt right or best.  I left my hotel room at 7:10am and was at the start line a few minutes later.

The race started at 7:30am.    We would meet up with the half runners about mile 17.

The first ten miles were all hills.  Up and down.  It was tough.  Miles 5 had a very large incline.  Unfortunately, I passed someone who passed out, not moving much, in the middle of the street.  The ambulance came while I still near and the ambulance left and past me on the way.  I hope she is okay.  It did get me to think that no matter what my goal is the main thing is to finish the race.  It’s tough because you want to do your best, but when you have a wife and baby – those things are far more important.

I slowed down just a little (I was doing about 8:45 pace) on “The Hill” which generally were a number of hills (long ones) from miles 5-10.  At mile 10 after the last hill, I was about 9:05 pace.  Mile 11 was a down hill and I was able to drop my avg pace.  Miles 12-14 had a lot of down hills, but a number of up hills.  It was tough.  It was not “hot” but it was in the 60s and very sunny so I was feeling exhausted.

I pushed on and made it without stopping until mile 19.5.  I wanted to keep running, but I was exhausted and felt very light headed.  I needed to regroup so I walked for about .25.  Then ran.  Then walked some time later.  Basically, the last 6.7 miles were tough.  I was at a 9:09 pace at 19.5 but ended up falling into the 9:40s.  Mostly about four walk breaks hurt my time.  When I ran, I was also running slower than normal.  I was fatigued.  Was it being sick?  Was it The Hill?  Maybe a combo.

But, I did it.  I ran that last mile plus and came in at 4:17:58.  Not a PR and a big falloff the last 6.7 miles.  Overall, I feel good about the race.  I gave it the best I could coming off being sick that caused me to be in bed for two days (missing work – which I never do).  After finishing, I felt very light headed and thought about going to an Aid Station.  I found a good shade area and sat down for a good 10-15 minutes a felt better.  So I feel I did what I could.  I just did not have my normal energy.


Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Night before the Oakland Marathon

My third marathon will be in the morning!  Hopefully, I will complete it (not get injured).

I thought my training went well until I hurt my ankle about two weeks ago and then I got sick less than two weeks ago.  The flu I got was horrible.  It caused me to work two days of work and I did not run for 6 days.  By the time I started feeling better, my ankle was okay!  So that’s one positive.

I took it easy this week running since I was still trying to get over the flu, I have stayed congested and I have had a little sore throat to date.  I feel okay though except for carrying tissue with me.  I ran four times this week, but only 3-4 miles per time.  The last two runs I tried to keep a really good pace and felt good.  So we will see how it goes.

There is a large hill (miles 5-10) and it is suppose to be hot (for me anyway).  I like running in the 50s and I think about miles 20-26.2 it will be in the mid to high 60s.  So not getting sick would have still made it tough to get a sub 4.  With the ankle and still recovering from the flu, I suspect I will end up b/n 4 and 4:30 (large range).

I plan to start off and try to keep a pace to get in under 4, but Ii don’t feel great, I will just  back off and try to “enjoy” the marathon.  So my main goal is really going to be to run as much as possible.  I only want to stop if (i) I have to use the bathroom or (ii) I need water refill.  Other than that, I just want to run the 26.2 miles (even if I have to run slower than I would like).

It is amazing that soon I will have completed my third marathon (unless an injury prevents me).  That is quite amazing when in June of 2008 it was so difficult to run even 1 mile.

I started running because my dad died of cancer in late 2007.  He smoked.  I did not smoke, but I was out of shape (232 pounds).  I worked a lot (but never on my body).  I never made time to work out.  Though 7 or so years before I used to run (shorter distances and slow, but I stayed in shape).  I decided that I was getting older and I need to focus on my health (not only on running/working out but on what I eat).  I changed my diet and got in shape.  I write this so that I can remember why running is important to me.  It is part of being healthy.

I’m now going to be 40 years old soon and have a 3 month old daughter.  Being healthy is important so that I can stay active with my daughter as she grows.  I lost my dad (who was only 60) way too early because he did not take care of his health (by smoking).  So running is not just a hobby, I have to remember.  It is something I love to do, but it is about living a healthy life.  And, to complete another marathon . . . regardless of the time . . . is something to be proud of.  So I’m just going to try my best to enjoy the marathon and do the best I can.

Since this will be my first marathon as a father, here are some pictures of Brooklyn:

She is having fun in her favorite chair


Her first trip to the ocean:



Her feet touch the beach for the first time


In her other chair


Oh that’s not Brooklyn, Jenny what are you doing?


Friday, March 19, 2010

The wrong Tapering Checklist

The Oakland Marathon is 8 days away.  And, here is my checklist in preparing for it:

1.  Injured.  Check.  My ankle/lower leg is still sore.  It is getting better but very slowly.  Hopefully in a day or two it will be fine.  But, I can run on it right now.

2.  Sick.  Check.  Even if I was not injured, I could not run because I started felling sick on Tuesday night.  I went into the office on Wed and by later afternoon on Wed I felt horrible.  I was sick in bed all Thursday.  Hoping I get through this flu soon.

So for this tapering week I have only been able to run 4 miles on Monday.  Hopefully, by Sunday I can get a couple miles in so that I can run a few times next week.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Injury? Frak!

Okay, less than two weeks from the Oakland Marathon.  Last night my leg (just above my ankle started hurting).  I was not even running.  It started getting sore after work.  I planned to run 4 miles that night and I did, but I took it slow.  It hurt the entire time but not major pain.

Now this morning it continues to be sore and more painful.

I think it is my Peroneal Longus Tendon.  I’m quite sure the injury is not too bad – I would not be able to have run last night.  Yet, I can’t run 26.2 miles on this so I’m hoping it gets better soon.

I’m worried that initial treatment says to rest it for two to four weeks.  I don’t have two to four weeks!

Hopefully, a few days off will do the trick.  I might try to go to the doctor, but they will just say to rest it and see if the pain goes away so I guess I might give it a couple of days before going to the doctor.


Saturday, March 13, 2010

12 weeks old and 12 miles run

This Sat., Brooklyn turned 12 weeks old!  The time has went by really fast.  I can’t believe she will be three months old on the 19th.  We are reading to her at times.  We have a number of baby books, but I wonder why we have to stick to baby books.  I started reading her Shakespeare and my wife is reading her Marley & me.  The baby books are fun though.

By coincidence, my scheduled run this morning was 12 miles.

Because of “The Hill” at Oakland I wanted to get in a good hill run.  I thought about driving to Oakland and running The Hill, but that takes an hour both ways . . . which means less time with Brooklyn on the weekend.  So I decided to go to Rancho and run up to Black Mountain.  Well, not all the way up, just 6 miles up.  I thought that would give me a good hill workout and would be harder than running “The Hill”

Thanks also for the comments, much appreciated.  I know that I can complete the marathon.  I might not get a sub-4, but I need to stay positive and just do the best that I can.  I mean . . .  I need to just enjoy the experience and challenge of the marathon.

I’m also using Windows Live Writer for the first time. Seems easier than blogger . . . still need to get used to it.  Thank you Aron for your post suggesting it.

I got out to Rancho before 8 am and started my journey up in elevation.  My legs were really tired (it is time to start tapering).  They did not want to get climbing.  I pushed myself really hard this week in my speed workout (10 x 800s, at 7:00 pace, resting pace at 8:34 for .25) and a 5 mile temp run at 7:30 pace, last mile at 6:30 pace.  I did both on the treadmill so I used an elevation up to 2.  The elevation made the workouts harder, but it felt good to complete them.  My legs though still felt the workouts and were tired.  As I was running, I told myself that I need to start tapering to get my legs rested for Oakland.

It was a great day out.  It had rained the night before so some parts were muddy, but not like the 30K race two weeks ago.

I made it to 6 miles and decided to run to the 2K elevation rather than turn around.  I made it to 6.5 miles when I hit 2K elevation.  I noticed that twice I climbed over 500 feet in a mile.  That was great because the Hill climbs 500 feet over 4 miles.  The problem is that going uphill means I go slower.  At the 6.5 mile mark my avg pace was about 10:30, which means getting a sub-4 in Oakland could be very tough.  On the way down I was about to drop my avg pace to 9:25.  It was a tough run, but I’m glad I did it.

Here are some pictures from my run (I had to upload them from blooger, windows live writer would not let me):

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Getting very nervous about the Oakland Marathon

I really, really, really wanted to do the LA marathon, but due to schedule conflicts I could not make it.  I decided to sign up for the Oakland Marathon.  Which is now less than three weeks away!

I signed up for it because I was running a lot during the winter and thought it would be "fun" to get in a local marathon (three people that I ran with during the winter were running it).

Yet, the more I read about miles 5-10, the more I think . . . "why did I not just do LA"!

The issue - is that miles 5 to 10 have an elevation gain of about 500 feet!  Today I read the course description and Miles 6 to 11 are called "The Hill"

I do live in the bay area, but I am not at all familiar with Oakland.  So I am getting very nervous.

I know I can complete the marathon, but I'm worried about . . . you know . . . time.  I think either (i) I will go too fast and "The Hill" kicks my butt so for the second half of the marathon I go very slow or (ii) I go too slow on "The Hill" to save my energy and still am tired in the second half that I can't make up the time.

I feel that I can get under 4 hours.  I feel so much better prepared than my last marathon especially after my run last Sunday.  But, with "The Hill" I might have to face that this might not be the marathon for me to get a sub-4.

I'm thinking of maybe trying to drive out there this weekend (or next) and run those 5 or so miles to get an idea of what type of pace to keep.  I'd likely though just get lost or something since I don't know that area at all.

I know I need to be positive so I just need to not worry about time (it is so hard) and just focus on trying to have fun and finish the marathon (my third!)

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Last long-run before the Oakland Marathon is done!

I got in my last long run today (Sunday).  I generally do my long runs on Sat, but I had family in town so I had to push it off until Sunday am.  I planned a 20 mile run along Steven's Creek Trail to Shoreline park.  I started about 2 miles away from Steven's creek trail at a local park.  I did not take any pictures of the run, but I do have pictures of Brooklyn below.

I've been running a lot of hills this winter so I wanted to get in a good long run at a steady pace.  My goal was to run the first 10-miles between a 8:30 and 8:45 pace and then see how I do on the way back.  Running hills is much different as it is harder to maintain a fast pace so I was unsure how I would do in the second half (if I could keep the pace up).  I hoped to come in with an avg under 9:00 for the 20 miles and I hoped to run it without stopping (other than if I need water refill or a bathroom break).

In addition, this was going to be my first long run alone.  :(  I've been running with a group most of the winter.  Even if my family was not in town, I planned to skip the group run on Sat since I wanted a flat run for my long run.

The run went great.  I started off at a 8:35 or so pace and kept it up.  I wanted to make sure I did not push myself too fast the first few miles but still gave a little room to slow the pace if needed.  I felt good.  I used powerbar Gel at mile 5 and 10.  I kept a steady pace.  About the half way point, I dropped the avg pace to about 8:33.  On the route back, I tried to keep the steady pace.  My goal was to make it to mile 15 at about an 8:30ish pace and then try to gut out the last 5 miles and hopefully not fall too far off pace.

By mile 15 I lowered my avg pace to 8:30.  I kept it at that avg pace for a few miles.  I started slowing down in miles 17 and 18.  My avg pace dropped to 8:34.  I decided to try to keep it at that pace to the end.  I was getting tired the last mile, but pushed hard and dropped my avg pace to 8:33 for the 20 mile run.

Here are some recent pictures of Brooklyn, she is 11 weeks old (as of yesterday):

Me and Brooklyn:

Brooklyn with Jake and Jenny

Brooklyn having fun (that is Jenny that you can see)

Brooklyn with her friend Leo: