Monday, November 29, 2010

11/29/10: Flemington Turkey Trot & 5K PR

Steve and I have a semi-tradition of running the Flemington Turkey Trot each year. I realize that if it is "semi" then it really isn't a tradition, but oh well. Mike Mozer also joined in on the semi-tradition and rounded out our "Blood, Sweat, and Beers" team.

It's been a long time since I've run this race seriously since it's often right after a major race (Philly Marathon or JFK 50). For that matter, it's been a very long time since I've run any 5K seriously. But over the last few weeks, I've been running some surprisingly good speed workouts, so I decided to go for it.

My legs were still a little sore from running the Philly Marathon with dad 4 days before and doing a workout of 800s two days before. I felt pretty good all considering, though.

The gun went off, and the first mile went by quickly, as it always does. I was running very fast for me, but the pace felt sustainable. I hit the first mile in 5:32. I tried to stay relaxed and in control while still pushing the pace in the second mile. I didn't get an exact split for this mile, but I think it was around 5:45.

I was hurting in the last mile since I'm really not used to running this pace, but I know sub 18 and a big PR was in the bag. I hung on and finished in 17:48. That knocked out a long time goal of going sub 18 and was a 16 second PR. Also was good for 36th place out of over 5,500 runners. Woohooo!!!

So I guess even slow ultramarathoners like me can run fast sometimes. This also made me think how fast I can actually go for 5K. Maybe I'll give it a real go again someday.

Running has continued going well since the Turkey Trot. On Sunday I went for a long run on my favorite 25 mile loop (I mean who doesn't have a favorite 25 mile loop). I was feeling good and decided to run an extra 1.2 miles for hahas. Ran it in 3:15, which was surprisingly good for me.

I've been feeling awfully good recently, so hopefully I can keep it up and throw down some good performances this winter.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

11/21/2010: Philadelphia Marathon

Two posts in one day. You all are lucky readers!

Today was the Philly Marathon / Half Marathon extravaganza. Dad and I ran together in the marathon, Dylan (college roommate and Tahoe crew / guest poster) ran the marathon, Laura (Jen's high school friend and track teammate) ran the half marathon, and Roz (college friend) ran the marathon with one of her students in the Students Run Philly Style program.

It was wildly successful all around. Dad had an amazing race and ran 3:40, which qualified him for Boston with 5 minutes to spare! He ran strong the whole way, paced it perfectly, and just crushed it in general. We ran right around 8:12s for the first half and ran the second half in around 8:30s. This was only his second marathon, and it's incredible how well he had it dialed in. Congrats Dad!

I had a ton of fun running with Dad and really enjoyed the race. Highlights (aside from running with Dad) included excellent weather, gummi bears at mile 23, and liberal use of the beer aid station twice at miles 19 and 21. It's so good when it hits your lips.

Dylan did very little training and still managed to run 3:11 somehow. Rumor has it that he would have qualified for Boston if it wasn't for a porta potty stop. Dylan's ability to run races well with very little training just amazes me.

Laura racked up another half-marathon in her quest to run a half or a full in every state. Laura also didn't train a lot for this one but finished really well in 2:05.

We didn't get a full debrief from Roz, but we saw her out on the course running with her student. Students Run Philly Style is a great program, and it's great that Roz gives so much of her time to it.

Jen really outdid herself in crew duties this race. With so many runners going different distances, it was certainly complicated. Jen should write a book on how to crew in races. She's got a black belt in it.

I really like the Philly Marathon and have a ton of great memories there. I'm looking forward to going back there. Rocky has 5 movies (I only count 1-4 and 6), so I figure I should at least run the marathon that many times!

11/21/10: Mountain Masochist DNF

This post is about two weeks late, but I unfortunately DNFed at Mountain Masochist. Here are the details of my latest saga.

It was a cold day, and we started off in the dark at 5:30am on the roads for 5 or 6 miles. I was running a brisk pace, feeling good, and clicking off pre-dawn miles quickly. After 6 miles, we hit the trail and starting climbing. I was feeling good on the trails and moving up in the field.

Around mile 9, I went for my first S-cap and took a fall. Nice move, Will. I looked down and discovered my leg had very quickly gotten covered in blood. It wasn't pretty, but I felt fine and kept on running. The upside was that I figured I was now in contention for the best blood award!

Jen was waiting at the mile 11.5 aid station. She quickly switched out my bottle for me and sent me on the way. Boy what a great crew I have! There was a long climb up to about 2,000 feet, and I was still feeling great and ran the whole climb.

I was in about 15th place at this point, which is great for me in the very competitive field there. Unfortunately I hadn't been able to drink much of anything the whole race. I've learned my lesson not to overhydrate and let it just come to me. My new formula is to take it easy on the drinking for a while, wait until I get thirsty, and then drink as needed. The problem was not I knew I was getting dehydrated but still couldn't get much down.

The top of the climb is at mile 17 or 18, and I was starting to cramp from the dehydration. My legs weren't doing very well on the downhill. I threw down a few S-caps in case it was an electroloyte issue, but they didn't help. I was still about run a decent pace and got to Jen at mile 22 not feeling great.

Jen filled up my bottle with ginger ale, which I hoped would help. From mile 22, it is a nasty 8 mile climb up to mile 30 and 4,000+ feet. A very daunting prospect when I already felt bad. I slowed down on the climb and tried to make it to mile 27. The bright side is that the views up there were amazing, as they were for much of the course. The beginning of November is close to peak foliage in southern Virginia, and these really were beautiful mountains.

I came into mile 27 in worse shape than mile 22. I still wasn't drinking much of anything and was starting to feel pretty out of it. I wasn't ready to throw in the towel though, so I managed to eat one whole grape and got back on the trail.

The wheels really started falling off on the last big nasty climb to mile 30. My legs were cramping, and I couldn't run uphill anymore. Something I did during the fall early on had apparently been getting aggrevated, and it was also very painful to run downhill. It was getting extremely cold moving up the mountain, and there was snow on the ground. Because I was moving so slowly, I was really freezing. Yeah, not good.

I literally stumbled into the mile 30 aid station. I slumped into a chair and put my head in my hands. A little kid was apparently concerned about my leg that was still covered in blood and offered me a band-aid. Very cute, but it wasn't quite going to cut it. I asked the aid station crew to fill up the 1/3 of the bottel I had managed to drink with more ginger ale and stumbled on down the trail.

I now have 6 miles to go to get to Jen, and I am not in good shape. I take a sip from my bottle, and it tastes god awful. I have no idea what the aid station crew put it in, but I immediately threw up everything in my stomach. Now I can't run uphill, can't run downhill, am ridiculously dehydrated and low on calories, and am freezing. Somebody get me off this mountain!

I have no choice but to keep moving, so that's what I do. Somehow I get off the trail to the dirt road that climbs to the next aid station. This mile long climb really seemed to just add insult to injury. I trudge on up, wander over to Jen, collapse on the ground, and announce weakly that I'm dropping. Jen immediately agrees that is a good idea all around and promptly tells the aid station workers I'm dropping. They also agree. I'm glad we're all in agreement. Jen half carries me to the car, and we drive off this helacious mountain.

I think I trained really well for this race and was in top shape. I felt great for a while and was running strong. But on some days things go wrong and there is nothing you can do. I'll hopefully go back to MMTR one day, and I hope to have a bit more luck!

Monday, November 1, 2010

11/1/10: Tapering like it's my job

I’m five days out from MMTR and definitely ready to go!

Tapering is always weird. I can run 90+ mile weeks and feel awesome. Then I stop running, and I feel like I’m about to fall apart. It’s very strange, but I’ve gotten used to it. I don’t know if it’s the residual fatigue from training or just all in my head, but whatever causes it, I’ve learned not to stress out.

After the 22 mile run I did two weeks before the race, my right leg was feeling all sorts of messed up. My calf was blown, my knee was all locked up, and my hamstring was incredibly tight. I just took it really easy with the running and made sure to sleep a lot. Now I’m feeling really good and am ready to rock and roll at MMTR.

Mom and Dad were here last weekend, and it was great to see them. Dad and I went on a 12 mile run on Saturday and an 8 mile run on Sunday. It was awesome running with Dad as usual, though I still wasn’t feeling 100%.

Then on Sunday afternoon I went to the gym with the intention of lifting weights and maybe some stairmaster. My legs felt pretty good on the way over, so I decided to hit the treadmill. I ran 1.5 miles at 6:00 miles and then 2 10:00 miles at a 10% grade. The 6 minute miles felt pretty good, and the 10% grade felt REALLY easy. Better still, my legs feel great today.

I feel very ready for Saturday and just can’t wait for the gun to go off!