Sunday, September 16, 2012

Let's Now Put My Feet Up

Week 4 - Phase III - Core Workout: VO2 Max -
09/10/12 - 09/16/12 -
Week Total:  80.0 -

Training season is over. I closed the week with my highest mileage ever, 80 miles, and my two best Half Marathons of the year. On Saturday 9/15 I ran JBLM Half with a PR of 1:45:22 for an 8:03 min/mile, and following day, on Sunday 9/16, I ran my second best in the hilliest course I’ve run in Washington State: Edmonds Half finishing with a strong 1:47:36 for an 8:12 min/mile. We climbed 980 ft, and although we ran a loop, everybody wondered how it seemed we climbed all the way. Frank Yamamoto, the soul of Edmonds’ running, designed the course. We could’ve cursed Frank’s name, but we didn’t. There is no escape in Edmonds. It’s a brutally hilly town. To the contrary, we praised Frank. He had a heart attack this week, and just went through open heart surgery. He’s recovering well, and we wait to see him back to take control of the sports in the area… We may tell him to flatten the course a little for next year, though!!! :) Get well, Frank.

I am starting my tapering as we speak, and plan on a good and well deserve resting for the following 3 weeks. I am very impressed that I had been able to put all these miles, run these races at a fast pace, and haven’t felt fatigued or sore any given week. I cannot be happier with the results.

I am skipping Race For A Soldier this coming Sunday. It’ll be hard to miss that fantastic race, honoring our military personnel and helping those with PTSD, but Gig Harbor is also a hilly course, and I know I will be tempted to race it. I want fresh legs for my Utah marathon. Let's now put my feet up. 

JBLM Half Marathon
I was down and blue on race day due to recent events, but ran my race like if there was no tomorrow. I was very surprised of the PR - 1:45:22, considering my legs had already run 50 miles during the week, including a 20-miler on Wed. Last 5K of the race were run in 23:17 min which is almost my 5K pace. Got 2nd place in the division.

1- 8:24
2- 8:34

3- 8:19
4- 8:09
5- 8:03
6- 8:09
7- 8:09
8- 8:08
9- 8:07
10- 8:04
11- 7:35
12- 7:41
13- 7:18
13.1 - 0:43 (7:18)

With Nancy Szoke, a super Ultra girl
With Pelicano!

Edmonds Half Marathon - My second best Half. A day after my best on an 80-mile week??? Phenomenal. Got 1st place in the division.

1- 9:02
2- 8:37
3-4-5- 24:11 (missed the splits)
6- 7:55
7- 8:41
8- 10:03
9- 6:23
10- 8:27
11- 8:36
12- 8:37
13- 6:26
13.1- 0:30 - (6:26)
With Debora Kerns
With Debora Kerns and Monica Callen

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Yes, I Was

Week 5 - Phase III - Core Workout: VO2 Max -
09/03/12 - 09/09/12 -
Week Total:  67.7 -

And with the Over The Narrows 10-mile race results on Sat 09/01 I went a couple of days later to apply the experience in Labor Day Half Marathon. My rational was that if I was able to sustain 8:08 min/mile pace for 10 miles on a hilly course, I could do faster than 8:32 that was my current PR (1:51:42) on a regular flat course.

And so I went on Labor Day. Guess what? I PRd by 4 minutes. FOUR MINUTES. Got my Half Marathon in 1:47:44 for an 8:13 min/mile. This race was the Regional USATF Half Marathon Championship and I got third place in the division. The winner was a woman I didn't know and when I asked her about where she's been, she told me she just entered in the division last week!. She doesn't seem to race that much. Second place was 14 seconds ahead of me.

 I ran pretty steady and though I planned on running by HR I didn't monitor it and ran by feel... It was GREAT...

Splits - HR%
1- 8:11- No reading
2- 8:07- 85%
3- 8:22- 85%
4- 8:10- 90%
5- 8:13- 89%
6- 8:13- 89%
7- 8:18- 91%
8- 8:17- 88%
9- 8:03- 91%
10- 8:18- 91%
11- 8:31- 86%
12- 8:11- 91%
13- 8:02- 91%
13.1 - 0:43 (7:10)- 91%

These numbers are great for an analytical person like me. This was a flat course, so the numbers reflect even effort. I went "cautious" for the first 3 miles like I always do. Then I unleashed. I was able to keep the same 89%-90ish% effort for the whole race but couldn't elevate it beyond that. My legs delivered though.
I skipped my 8 Yasso's scheduled on Wednesday as I was tired. I had ran 2 strong races in 3 days, and decided to rest. I kept my high mileage though as these miles are running at a leisurely pace.

On Saturday I had Fairhaven 15K. Good race and distance to execute again with the same strategy. As this distance was 1K shorter than Over The Narrows, my goal was to have at least the same pace of 8:08. I had excellent results: 1:15:28, 8:06 min/mile and first place in the division. The difference with this race and Labor Day was that I felt rested that I could increment from 90% to 95% half way of the race. Strategy was to run the first 2 miles easy, and then just follow my breathing. I never looked at the watch to check the HR, but I had it exactly where I would've wanted it... What it means that now I can definitely run by feel without any gadget... My PR was a 16-minute PR (not a common distance so is not run very often...)

Splits - HR%
1- 8:10 - 87%
2- 8:25 - 87%
3- 7:47 - 90%
4- 8:07 - 91%
5- 8:04 - 91%
6- 7:43 - 95%
7- 8:08 - 95%
8- 8:05 - 93%
9- 8:00 - 97%
9.375 - 2:56 (7:48 min/mile) - 97%

And a day after the 15K I had another Half Marathon: Skagit Flats. I wasn't tired or sore but I didn't know how I would perform. I had no goals whatsoever, but just to run as strong as I could. I was very pleased to keep up with the 3:30 marathon group, which was a 1:45 HM pace up to the turn around. They continued we returned. My HR was reading lower than expected, it was difficult to put it in 90%. This occurs when my legs can't get there. I didn't feel them tired but they were no fresh either. As soon as we hit the turn-around I had the déjà vu of Skagit Flats 2010. Where in the hell this headwind comes from? I didn't feel it on my tail. Well it was there and deflate me somehow slowing my mile 8 considerably. I pressed the next mile and recovered. At mile 9, The Prez (Marathon Maniac founder Steven Yee) and a friend of his, to whom he was pacing, passed me. I though this was great because they looked strong and I could hang on with them. I ran with them for a whole mile at an easy 86%, but I felt way more effort than this HR. It was the headwind, not a terrible wind (~15mph) but it felt pretty heavy. So at mile 10 while they flew away, I faded. I pushed as much as I could but lost considerable ground until mile 12 when the wind died down. Then I pushed for a miraculous mile. I finished in 1:48:10, 26 seconds shy of my PR. I got a bobble-head trophy for 3rd place division 50-59.

A great week with almost 70 miles and 3 fantastic races. My blog and question last week was Am I Holding Myself? The answer is: Yes, I Was.
Splits- HR%
1- 8:19 - 81%
2- 8:09 - 82%
3- 8:08 - 84%
4- 8:20 - 86%
5- 8:09 - 86%
6- 8:00 - 90%
7- 7:53 - 87%
8- 8:31 - 86%
9- 8:11 - 89%
10- 8:20 - 86%
11- 8:45 - 84%
12- 8:42 - 87%
13- 7:44 - 93%
13.1- 0:44 (7:50) - 92%

Lizzie Lee and The Prez, Steven Yee, Marathon Maniac founder @ Skagit Flats

Shannon Perry, The Butlers, and Michael Hsu @ Skagit Flats

With Michael Hsu and Sharon Butler @ Skagit Flats

With Sharon who broke 2 hours! @ Skagit Flats

With my niece Angie @ Skagit Flats
Fairhaven 15K - 55-59 division winners
With Marie @ Labor Day Half Marathon
Labor Day Half Marathon 55-59 division winners

Happy. I got me a nice 4-minute PR @ Labor Day Half Marathon

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Am I Holding Myself?

Week 6 - Phase III - Core Workout: VO2 Max -
08/27/12 - 09/02/12 -
Week Total:  42.0 -

My St. George marathon training has not been a "following-a-plan" kind of training. I am just following my own method with some fundamentals taken from plans I have studied and that make sense to me. My running-commute takes most of my time, and I love it. It includes 9.2 miles from/to work, plus 5 to 8 miles with running partner Michelle on the same day. Though I feel tired some afternoons, I haven't felt fatigued not even once. Reducing the mileage two weeks ago was positive and permitted me to climb back to 50 miles without issue. I reduced the mileage this week as well, and will increase it next week to what I foresee will be my highest mileage week. Everything seems to be working out pretty good for me.

This week I worked 7 Yassos and they were tough. I think it was not a good idea to do Yasso's 2 days after a 21-miler. Or maybe it was. My legs were tired, but I still delivered. I did them slower than what I've been doing, but I'm still happy with the results: 3:33-3:33-3:36-3:34-3:31-3:34-3:28.

Next speed work was done on a 10- mile race in a hilly course. The workout had double purpose: Speed, and fast downhills. My marathon is mostly downhill and I need to continue pushing the quads so they don't become marshmallow during the descents. 

My goal was around 1:25-1:26, what would be pretty much my Half Marathon pace. I didn't want to speed up beyond that considering the hilly course. These results would be satisfying for me. 

After seeing and chatting many of my best running friends we were set to go. The first mile was downhill; the second was an ok terrain; the 3rd was a climb. However, I had my  HR under control, and didn't let it go too high. I was surprised that with that, I still got a good splits. As it happens with most of my races when I hold my HR I was now ready to unleash. The worst was gone. I pushed the pace. 

I knew I was doing great when I was about mile 4 and still had not seen the race leader coming back. Then here comes the front of the pack and a little bit later I saw the first female. It happened to be Amanda, a gal that I've just met inside the theater when we were putting our bibs and chip on our shoes. Second was my good friend Ginger, and then I decided to count how many women I had in front of me. When I hit the turn around I was #12. Two girls passed me immediately and I was bumped to #14. I kept pushing for the whole mile 6, and passed 2 ladies. Back to 12. I picked up the pace and at mile 7 I had so much energy that I passed 3 more, including my favorite runner in the world who I hate to pass. She is my hero, Judy Fisher, a World Class runner. Then I sped up. I passed a bunch of guys, but there were no more women in my reach. My thoughts were only to keep pushing just in case somebody else was coming close behind me. The last mile was uphill but I had enough power to climb it.

Fantastic race. FANTASTIC. Exceeded my goal on hilly Gig Harbor. 10 miles/16Km in 1:21:15 for an 8:08 min/mile. 9th female overall, and 1st place in the 50-59 division (which was a very competitive division, the first 3 spots were very, very close). A PR of 25 minutes. And better than that, a nice gathering with my running friends and great food, including a big Panera box full of bagels and cinnamon rolls.

1- 7:36
2- 8:09
3- 8:41
4- 8:00
5- 8:11
6- 8:15
7- 8:06
8- 8:04
9- 7:54
10- 8:14

I did the math, and with this effort I can get a high 1:40s for the Half Marathon. This was a tough course, and even if I lose ground in the next 3 miles I think I can make it. Am I Holding Myself? 

Here with female winner Amanda Hoskins (center) - 1:11:47, Ginger Gruber, 2nd overall - 1:14:45, Beverly Schubert - 1:21:51, 3rd in 50-59 division, and Judy Fisher winner 60-69 - 1:22:04
With Shannon Perry and Michael Hsu
With Tony Seabolt and Sharon Butler - Very nice ontheRUNevents photo


A Frustrated Goal

Week 7 - Phase II - Core Workout: Anaerobic Threshold -
08/20/12 - 08/26/12 -
Week Total:  50.2 -

The Yasso's are the hardest workout for me but I consider they are a great way to measure fitness. This week I did 6x800, and though I lost a little bit of ground I was happy (I always AM). 3:17 - 3:20 - 3:22 - 3:23 - 3:24 - 3:24. 

As part of my speed workouts I also threw in this week a 5K with a very high goal. I had to run 7:16 min/mile for a 22:33 race what would put me in National Class for my age. 

The race selected was Alki Beach Run, an out-and-back, straight line and flat. The weather was perfect: low 60's, and a nice sea breeze. I arrived very early as usual, ran a couple of miles as warm up including a handful of strides. Let the oxygen flow, and went (nervous I confess) to try to get what I was looking for. I went with HR 91% for the first mile and clocked 7:15. I was able to pick up the pace, set my HR in 93% and I knew I had this. I was running so hard, that I thought "I don't want to run a 5K ever again". When I was expecting that was time for the turn around, we were still going forward. Where is it? I got there at 12min 20 sec. That didn't make any sense; that was a high 24-minute run. I was running faster than mile 1 for sure, but when I got to mile 2 I definitely thought that the race was screwed up. I clocked 9:20 for the 2nd mile. This was not possible. I run my half marathons at 8:30-8:45. I lost concentration, and decreased my speed, and crossed the finish line in 24:53 - 8:02 min/mile. I was puzzled and clueless. I recently ran a 5K on Seattle hills in 23:33. This run was on a pancake course. I ran last week a 10K at 7:44. I had been running 1/2 miles at 6:50 pace. I started asking to other runners and everybody told me the course was longer. Somebody told me he wanted his money back. I would not ask for my money back because is a cancer run, I would not even ask for an adjustment on the time, because I gave up last mile, so my adjusted time would not be what I went for either. 

Well, it happens that Alki Beach 5K Run Course Marshall placed the turnaround cone in the wrong spot and the course was almost a quarter mile long. It's hard to believe, especially when this was a certified course. As The Silver Strider published it: All the times were consequently way off, negating any chance for changes in the Top 10 for 2012.

I talked to the organizers and they mentioned that when the route was measured, pins were placed in the concrete; the pin for the start/finish, 1st & 2nd mile were in place, but the pin at the T/A was gone. They told me they are taking steps to make sure the route is completely accurate in the future. 
It was hard for me to let go. I am glad there was a big crowd of running friends and together we enjoyed The Silver Strider crew post race party. After goodbyes, I continue running along the beach and went to complete a 20 miler. Good mileage for the week, but A Frustrated Goal.
Alki Beach Run 5K

From Ear To Ear

Week 8 - Phase II - Core Workout: Anaerobic Threshold -
08/13/12 - 08/19/12 -
Week Total:  31.2 -

Probably this was not too smart, but I decided to throw in a couple of goals in the middle of my marathon training. As speed work is my key work for the next five weeks I decided that decreasing my mileage from 50 & 60+ to 30ish would not do too much damage. I wanted very badly to run a 10K in a certified course, but to have a great run, I needed to do some tapering.

I knew that I had the required speed to be in the top 10 in my division in Washington State, and the opportunity was there with the Railroad Days 10K. It was going to be a big race for me as this race was the USATF Regional (Pacific Northwest Track & Field, PNTF) 10K Championship. I decided to go bold, naked if you will: no heart rate monitor, no pace monitor, no music. My only guidance would be listening to my breathing. The goal was to get low 48's. Another goal I had was to be on the podium. Olympian Regina Joyce would take 1st place for sure, and the rest would depend on who shows up, and who doesn't. 

I went earlier, picked up my packet and warmed up jogging one mile followed by 6 to 8 100-meter strides. Rested for 10 minutes and the race was about to start. I didn't see Regina on the crowd and this surprised me. She never misses this race. Now, my goal was higher. In Regina's absence, could I get the championship? 

I went too fast at the start (first time running without heart rate monitor) so I was clueless on what my effort and pace was for the 1st mile. After the mile marker I saw I was going too fast for me: 7:18. I slowed down for miles 2 & 3 to avoid crashing later. I had very bad splits, but had time to adjust to get what I needed. 

My goals were achieved. I ran the 10K USATF Regional (Pacific Northwest T&F - PNTF) Championships in 48:23 (7:48 min/mile), a PR of 2min 33 sec. Got first place and was "crowned" the 2012 10K Champion for the division. Got 5th Female Masters Overall and my smile went From Ear To Ear. 


1- 7:18
2- 7:40
3- 8:12
4- 7:58
5- 8:03
6- 7:44
6.2 - 1:24 (7:00)

Yasso workout: 5x800 this week: 3:27; 3:25; 3:25; 3:25; 3:20