Sunday, August 29, 2010

53 Races In 53 Years. Correr Es Vivir. Running Is Living.

Marathon Plan - Regressive Countdown - Week Eleven
08/23/10 - 08/29/10 - Week Total: 8.5 miles (don't pay attention to this number) There are reasons behind it!!! I did a lot of X-training though!!!

Back in the 80's I met a good friend, Elena, that happened to be a runner. She was those that got up daily at zero dark to go for a run with a group of other nuts like her. Because I had a limitation (a.k.a. asthma) I was incapable of doing so, and thought that anybody that did, had to be challenging their respiratory system to the point of being nuts. Elena also ran several New York Marathons. What is that? 42.195 Km? Who wants to run a marathon anyway? 

17 years later, 1997, another good friend, Mary Yuliet (also a nut daily runner) invited me to go for a run. We were in a beach city, Puerto La Cruz, where our girls were in a gymnastics summer camp. I declined her invitation because of my asthma. She insisted. Indeed, after one minute I was without air and wheezing. I told her to continue while I would turn around to go back home. She said: Are you sure? I replied. Yes, you go. 

For some reason that to this day I can't explain, I decided to continue. I saw her fading while I was jogging using my inhaler every second. I kept going. Curiously, after 1.2 miles/2K my asthma was gone. I was surprised, turned around and jogged for that same distance back home without asthma. After 41 years of my life with that illness I got a revelation, my asthma subsided while running. 

That very same day when the kids and coach came back from their training, I told my daughter's coach that I wanted to go for a run that night and try again. We ran 8 miles/13K. I could not believe it. First of all, I always thought that due to asthma I was some sort of disabled person for sports (with the exception of swimming). Second, I covered a pretty decent distance just the second time I hit the road. At that period of my life I used to hike 3-4 times a week in a very steep mountain and lifted weights also 3-4 times a week. So I have to recognize that being in excellent shape was definitely a factor. After that successful day in my life, I was able to run almost every day while the girls where in their camp. 

When the training camp was over and we went back to Caracas, I asked Julio, a runner and sports coach from my kids school, to help me with a running plan. If I was able to run as I did that summer with whatever pair of shoes, I definitely could be a decent runner. He gave me three advices. One, every week run intervals, very short, and very fast. Two, work hard on your abs. Three, run free the rest of the days, whatever distance you can cover. 

I was hooked. 

One day Julio encouraged me to sign up for a race. A 12K. The race was sponsored by a hospital in Caracas "Clinica El Avila". I was very excited 

I didn't know at the time there was a difference between running and racing. Because of that, I just went and ran. I had a conversational pace, said hi and smiled to every body along the course, and finished in 1:07 for a 9:00 minute/mile pace. I didn't know if that was good or bad. Julio told me it was good "especially when you were running like a Queen on a float, waving to the public".

There is no memorabilia of this race. My kids couldn't go with me because I was not gonna leave them alone at the start without somebody looking after them. There were no bib numbers, pictures or race flyers, but everything is recorded in my brain. That's how my racing story started. Then it continued slowly throughout the years and after moving to the US in 1999 it took me a while to adapt to the cold weather that today I love so much.

As I say in my Lizzie Lee is Racing blog: I am a road race fanatic. I race every weekend I can. I race any distance up to a marathon. I race, I race, and I race. If that's an illness then I am terribly sick!

Today I am 53 yo and I have completed 53 races. I dedicated my 53rd race to a Venezuelan man, Pedro Penzini Fleury, who during 30 years made his passion of running contagious. His motto, paper column and published book were titled "Correr Es Vivir" - "Running Is Living". He passed away last Friday 08/27/10, and I ran my 53rd in his memory.

Yes indeed Pedro and thanks. 53 races in 53 years. Correr Es Vivir. Running Is Living.  

Correr Es Vivir. Running Is Living. I ran my 53rd race in memory of Pedro Penzini Fleury who passed yesterday 8/27 in Caracas, VE. He wrote for more than 30 years a paper column titled "Correr Es Vivir" - "Running is Living", when not too many people were involved in road running.... His first column was published on Mar 12/79 and his last on Dec 13, 2009. He also wrote a book titled: Correr Es Vivir.... Thanks Pedro for all the advices.
Run-A-Muk 10K, Mukilteo, WA - Aug 28, 2010 1:03:30 - 10:14 min/mile
Run-A-Muk 10K, Mukilteo, WA - Aug 28, 2010
I met Donna last year in the Run-A-Muk 5K when I won our division and she got second.
Today she won the 5K division....and I didn't win the 10K!!!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Rebel Without A Cause

Marathon Plan - Regressive Countdown - Week Twelve
08/16/10 - 08/22/10 - Week Total: measly 16.4 miles

Yes, it's possible. It's possible that a Type A runner like me, who strictly follows the running plan to the fine print, decides to be a rebel.

Though my marathon plan calls for interval workouts, I wanted to do this week shorter than specified. Those that are not part of my marathon plan. So, last Sunday I went and did 8x400, 4x100 and fartlek.... No pressure, just go and run until I want, until I am exhausted. According to Lydiard, the fibers activated in very high effort events - sprinting uphills, short fast runs - are hard to recruit. Because of this interval high effort, I was a little bit sore during the first days of the week, and decided not to run on Tuesday. I went, instead, for a simple workout of 3 miles. Power walking, trekking, and jogging uphill. No rules. Whatever I wanted to do. Incline, + speed, - speed. Anything was valid.

Then, there was the question of the week. What race for the weekend? There weren't (again) long races in the area, so I decided to go for B2B 10K races and not to run for the rest of the week. My plan was to run the race on Sat as a tempo run and on Sun as a recovery run. 

Recovery run my butt. I ran faster on Sun with much less effort (both courses were 100% flat). Analysis was required. Self-explanatory table of this running geek is attached.

Rational: I went too hard on the first mile on Sat, and spent my energy at the beginning of the race. Also, the "partly sunny" got me hotter on Sat, though the temp on Sun was higher - the rain kept me cool. In both cases I love the transition from mile 5 to mile 6. Yes, that's me. I always leave gas in my tank for a strong finish.

In summary my week went just like this: I scratched the plan. I ran like a kid. I ran like a dog. I played with the tasks. I didn't run much. I raced as I pleased. I was a rebel. A Rebel Without A Cause.

B2B 8/21/10 & 8/22/10
Snoqualmie Railroad Days

With good friend Dhruv

In line for pancakes with strawberry!!!

Excellent weekend!!!!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Paradoxical Chills

Marathon Plan - Regressive Countdown - Week Thirteen
08/09/10 - 08/15/10 - Week Total: 23.6 miles

I spent my whole week like a desperate race-addict checking all the Western Washington race calendars. There was no race for this weekend to replace my long run. Oh well, I was on my own. I planned on having my long run on Saturday at 5:30 am as we got a heat advisory alert, mid 80's, but after a stressful week at work, I had to sleep in, and it was not until 7:00 am that I hit the road for a 13.6-mile run. 

I took my fuel belt with four 8-oz of water, and I thought I would be perfectly fine. The temp was 68F, sunny with a nice breeze and would not climb too quick in the time I was going to be running. I think I distributed my water smartly and miles went well until mile 11, when I started shivering. I knew was a sign of dehydration. I had very little water left, but I was only 2.6 miles from home, and seriously it was not that hot. At mile 12.5 I felt my body shutting down. Paradoxical Chills and goose bumps signal shut down of skin circulation, portending a faster rise in temperature... In short: preamble for heat stroke.... Scary!!! 

A sprinkler was watering a lawn and I stood under it.

original graphic:

The owner was there, and I told him: "I am so sorry!" He said: Don't worry, I put a wet bandana around my neck when is that hot!!! How hot could it be?  

I finished my run around 9:45 am and it was 71F.  I turned a cold shower on and stood under for 10 minutes.  

I understand we, Seattleites, are used to run year-round at lower than 50's but, 71 is not that hot.... Is it? I felt like a wuss after reading that my dear Shirley could run at 10K pace in 101F.!!! but she mentioned that most people who run in 20 deg hotter weather than they're used to, will suffer.. Yes, that was the case. This summer my long runs have been at a max of 55.
I learned my lesson. After the experience, I went running on Sunday more than prepared. We had a red alert that read: EXCESSIVE HEAT WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR THE GREATER PUGET SOUND REGION UNTIL 10 PM PDT MONDAY... and the expected high was 87!!!!!!!!! I went to the track so I could have my car there with my "Ice chest" emergency kit handy: Lots of bottles of cold water, and ICE!!!!! every 400m half a bottle. It was GOOD!!!!!!!!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Thanks Muscles For The Memories

I started my NY marathon plan 3 weeks ago after 3 months being layoff due to knee injury (sounds like a broken record). Not I only started slow, but with lower mileage. First week I logged 14.8 miles being a 10K the longest run. The second week I logged 18.2 with a 9-miler long run; and this week, the third, I went for a half-distance, for a total of 24.1.

The race: Tacoma Narrows.
Only purpose: To cover the distance.
Expectations: Die in the process.
The day: A typical Seattle gorgeous summer day for running: overcast, drizzling and 58F (while the rest of the country is frying at 105F).

I could not be more surprised and, of course, happy with the results. 2:31:10 for an 11:33 min/mile (0:37 min/mile slower than my 13.1 PR). The same pace I was able to keep two weeks ago for the 10K. My PR marathon pace.

The question has been posted many times, and I don't know how much scientific evidence is there to support the subject, but my experience today tells me that I didn't lose as much as I thought.   

NY, I am definitely in. Thanks Muscles For The Memories

BTW, this was my race # 50 !!!
Woke up @3:45 am, drove 60 miles south to Tacoma. Race was one way, so needed to take a shuttle to Gig Harbor. Start was set at Tacoma Narrowws Airport in a foggy, rainy and chilly morning, however perfect for a long run.

The profile of the course was pretty good and easy (*), with the exception of  260 ft we climbed between mile 3.8 & 4.2 which left me  in very bad shape till mile 5. I thought I was done. Then, I got a second wind.  (*) A lady from Key West,  FL told me in the finish line: "What a hilly course"...Wow, definitely everything is relative. They don't have hills over there.

With John Riak, one of the most finest Washington State runners. He PRd with 1:11:26 and got 2nd overall

Glass over bling... Oh well!!!

The week before I raced an 8-K which happened to be better than the race the prior week.  Again, muscles do not forget that easy...

Seafair Torchlight Run. A summer race part of the Seafair Festivities that last a month. Race is @ 6:30 pm
Running on the Alaskan Viaduct (WA-99) with gorgeous views of the sound.
Though the temp was 71, the Seattle Met Medical Strike Team was there to help us cool down...

Post race party @ The Beer Garden