Tuesday, October 31, 2017

This Week in Running 10/22 - 10/28

DayMileage / WorkoutComments
Tuesday7Pretty solid run after a layoff
Wednesday52 Miles at 15:47 with a headwind
Thursday7Average run
Friday5Average run
Saturday13.5Long run (9:49 pace throughout)
Total miles for the week: 37.5; YTD: 1495

Me goofing around on the Strip

Week's Summary

Not a terribly great week.  However, I did go to Vegas for some much needed recovery.  I was there for Shari's birthday and I did a whole lot of nothing.  The most exercise I got was walking the Strip and moping around the pool.  And maybe sauntering to the buffet troughs.

I did pick it up at the end of the week and managed to get in my typical 2 mile run in a record breaking 15:47 (at least the best 2 mile pace for me in a while).  I also managed to squeeze in a long run of about 13.5

I am worried about the Vegas marathon, which is coming in 2 weeks.  Here are my reasons:

  1. I really didn't get a 20 mile run in.  A few weeks ago I did a 19.  It went okay, but not great.  
  2. I did not have a massive mileage build-up.  I think I topped out in the mid 40's.  Maybe that is fine for people, but I like to hit the upper 50's / 60's -- at least for one week.
  3. I've been banged up for a lot of the summer and I am fighting an aggravated calf strain.  I can still run on it, but my calf for the past few days has been upset.
  4. My recent long runs haven't been "good".  I seem to go okay for about 7 - 10, sometimes 13 miles and then I run out of gas.  For someone who wants to run 26.2... that's not good.
On the plus side, I feel fairly well rested.  I am not burned out from previous marathons but I am sort of ho-hum about it this year.

My last few marathons have been painful reminders that I am not fast and that marathons are simply tough.  If I hadn't registered for Vegas a year ago and I didn't have a streak going, I'd probably switch down to the half.  But the streak is driving me.  I am not sure how many other runners have done the Vegas Marathon every year since the Rock n Roll people took it over but I aim to go for 10.

I think my strategy on this one is to conserve my energy and really try to hit the split that I think that I can carry through for the second half.  Normally I try to get to the half way point around 2:05.  Maybe I need to hit it at 2:15 or so.  I'll have to take into account the weather as well.

One of the sad realities of running a marathon this time of year is that the weather and environment is absolutely perfect for running.  Every day, I come home from work itching to log a 10+ miler.  But I can't -- I am tapering.  A long run at this juncture is only going to jeopardize my race, not help it.

Upcoming Races

11/12: Las Vegas Marathon - Las Vegas, NV (Confirmed)
11/23: South Davis Recreation Center  Turkey Trot 5K - Bountiful, UT (Confirmed)
11/25: Lamoille Canyon 5K Turkey Trot - Lamoille, NV (Probable - Weather Pending)
03/03: March Madness Half Marathon - West Bountiful, UT (Confirmed)
03/18: St Patrick's Day Half Marathon - Las Vegas, NV (Maybe)
04/21: Salt Lake City Marathon - Salt Lake City, UT (Confirmed (2018))

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

This Week in Running 10/8 - 10/14

Awesome fall colors / view along the Jordan River bike trail

DayMileage / WorkoutComments
Sunday109.6 at 9:28 pace + Hike
MondayOffIngrown Toenail surgery
Thursday5Average run
Friday5Average run
Saturday17.25Long run (9:42 pace throughout)
Total miles for the week: 37.25; YTD: 1420.25

Week's Summary

Well this week was a strange one.  First off, after last week's 5K I need to get some distance in.  So I tore up the trail with a near 10 mile run.  I felt really good and it was just one of those fall days where I felt like I could run forever.

To avoid sitting around in the house all day, I wound up hiking up Wire Peak near the University.  It was a 2.25 mile hike uphill.  The ground temperatures were about 55 degrees but it was windy, a little bit of snow and freezing cold at the top.  It wasn't that great of a day for pictures, but it was a worthy bit of cross training.  By the time I was done with the hike, I had 15 miles in.

Most of the early part of the week I was in a bit of rehab.  The story on that soon.

My long run on Saturday went okay.  I was doing very well for the first 13 miles or so.  But when I started I felt like I just wasn't fresh feeling.  I was a little sore -- for whatever reason -- and there wasn't much spring in my step.

I should've slowed down, but I figured just go for it and see how long I could hold it.  Well, I hit that wall around mile 13.  What probably contributed to my demise was running with some Army recruits.  I saw them doing drills in the park and on my way back in, I caught them about 1/2 through their 5K (they were approaching me).

I had about 1/2 mile start on them and I noticeably picked up the pace.  Alas, the leader (who I think ran a low 18 5K) passed me with about a 100 yards to go.  It was fun and challenging pushing the pace mid long run.

I am closing in on the Vegas marathon.  I am nervous about it:

1)  I could use another 2 weeks of training.  I think having been injured in July, it took a lot of my base mileage.  I am hitting mid 40's.  I like to hit about 60 with a few 18 - 20 mile runs.  So far, I have maxed at 19 once.

2) With the tragedy that has occurred there (any big marathon this worries me) they are changing a lot of aspects of the run. I believe it was going to be a repeat of last year's route.  But where the shooting took place is exactly where the starting line is.  So I had planned my hotel near the finish and start lines.  Now, they are potentially moving both locations.  Vegas looks small, but walking from the Bellagio to the Stratosphere (about 3 miles) is not my way of starting the marathon with fresh legs.

I suspect if I wasn't a legacy runner (9 years this year) I might consider bowing out.  We'll see what happens though.  I have faith it will work out.

Awesome picture of the crisp air on Saturday's Long Run

Toe Surgery

Treated toe -- believe me I have ugly feet -- you don't want to see the rest

There is a bit of a story to this one.  A week before my very first marathon in 2009, I realized I had an ingrown toenail.  It hurt -- not a lot -- but the pain was present and uncomfortable.  I have had them before and they can make walking painful.  I had them dealt with in high school and was told I'd probably never have to deal with it again.

Either way, I went to a podiatrist a few days before my first marathon and the ouchie was in a touch spot, but he managed to use a buffer and get it so I could run with it as is.  I was told to come back after the marathon and he'd officially fix it.

Well the problem was after the marathon it no longer bothered me.  And my first experience getting it fixed (in high school) was not exactly an awesome experience.  And I have a phobia about people touching my feet.

So for the past 8 years I've been doing, do-it-yourself surgery at home.  And other than a brief visit to a podiatrist in 2013 for another issue (who offered to fix it then and there), I haven't really felt a need to do anything.

Well, fast forward to roughly the past month and I've found that the pain was getting worse and my home surgeries were no longer working.  So I finally went to the doctors (which I should've done during my knee injury time).

To make a fairly long story short, I squeamishly got it fixed.  I was cringing, whimpering like a little baby, and had my hands over my eyes like a child on a roller coaster.  But all in all, it wasn't too bad.  Worst part was probably the injection for the toe-number and the thought of what he was doing to my poor toenail (I have yet to lose a toenail to running, by the way).  The procedure took a whopping 15 minutes, didn't require stitches (which it did when I had it done in high school) and I didn't pass out afterwards (which I did in high school).

I had to take about 3 days off from running, soak my foot in salt water once a day and change the dressing on my toe.  So far the procedure seems to have worked.  After some runs, I am finding a little bit of blood on the bandage and there is only minimal pain -- even 10 days after the surgery.

I am just glad I have this monkey off my back.

Upcoming Races

11/12: Las Vegas Marathon - Las Vegas, NV (Confirmed)
11/23: South Davis Recreation Center  Turkey Trot 5K - Bountiful, UT (Confirmed)
11/25: Lamoille Canyon 5K Turkey Trot - Lamoille, NV (Probable - Weather Pending)
04/21: Salt Lake City Marathon - Salt Lake City, UT (Confirmed (2018))

Saturday, October 7, 2017

BYU Homecoming Cougar 5K Run - Provo Utah

Official Time: 24:51
Placement: 91st male, 117th overall, 6th in the 45 - 49 age group
Results: Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: mid 50's. Slight north wind. Very comfortable
Garmin Dump: Here

Mile  Time Comments
1 8:03 The first mile had quite a bit of up hill. Tough going straight out of the gate.
2 7:50 Downhill. Pretty gassed from the first mile. Holding back a bit
3 8:51 Really struggling here - turned it on when I saw the finish line
3.02 0:7
Total Miles: 3.02 - 24:51


Well I was really jonesing for a race this weekend.  I haven't raced since the 2nd week of September and I was looking to toe the line once again.

There wasn't a whole lot to do choose from this weekend.  The St George marathon was in full swing this weekend, so many races take a week hiatus as a result.  I was looking for a 10K or maybe even a half, but there was nothing but a bunch of 5Ks.

I looked through the race calendar and I found the University of Utah race and the Brigham Young Homecoming race.  Both supported their respective students / scholarships.

I sat on if I wanted to race and when I went to register for the U of U race, registration had been closed.  So that left me with going to the BYU race.  The BYU race was $10 cheaper, a bit further drive and to be honest, I have no affiliation with the school.  It was also extremely competitive.

I haven't visited BYU before and have heard it was a really beautiful campus.  So I figured why not and ponied up for the race.

The Race

The race had a really funny start time: 9:45.  I rolled in just shy of 9 and quickly picked up my bib and shirt.  Parking was a bit of a headache but I quickly figured out that parking in the football lot was the way to go.

I wound up using the restroom a few times and warming up.  I couldn't use the track on account they were holding kids' races.  But there was still plenty of space to do some laps on the grassy field.  

There is a lot of competition at this race.  Just about every BYU graduate who was a runner and who wasn't running the marathon down south was there.  And it seemed like a lot of young runners were there that clearly looked fast.  For a 5K, they had a pretty good turnout.

The race started promptly at 9:45 along the north road along the university.  Unfortunately, from the start you are running uphill.  It isn't an awful hill but it is enough that makes you start gasping for breath -- so soon too!

You basically are running east along the closed-to-traffic route along the university.  The road was  lined with yellow-leaved trees and it was really a nice experience despite grinding up a hill.

Luckily, you crest the hill after about 3/4ths of a mile.  Here you start running into a lot of people waiting for the parade (which looked like a big deal).  There were tons of little kids high-fiving runners and basically cheering us on.  In fact, about 2/3rds of the race we had a decent crowd lending support.  There also was music blaring from speakers.  

Traffic was closed off to the runners and there were a handful of business and university buildings.  Not terribly scenic but very runnable.

After reaching the summit of the hill, you are greeted with a nice downhill.  Nothing too crazy, but definitely enough to let you recover a bit and start picking up the pace.  My first mile was in the low 8's, which surprised me but was right on target.  I didn't even hear my watch after 2 miles and didn't even know my time but looking at it now, it was a nice mile -- at 7:50.  

The last mile is a bit of a grind.  The crowds are gone and you are making your way back to the university through some of the back service roads (as well as passing by a few, small restaurants).  The course wasn't marked that well at this point.  If I hadn't had someone in front of me I most likely would've missed a turn.  I think some turns had volunteers but I really would've been lost had I been in the lead pack but it was hard to tell if they were spectators or part of the race.

The last mile is mostly flat with a few rollers.  But I was gassed and I just kept trying to keep the wheels moving.  My speed endurance is really gone and I wasn't too surprised to see that I ran an 8:50.

I really pushed it once I got onto the BYU track.  Running on the spongy surface was a treat and my goal of breaking 25 minutes was in site after a glance to my Garmin.  I pushed it through and was pleasantly surprised to see a 24:50 on the jumbo screen.


I was pretty happy with my time.  I have been doing some speed workouts and I feel like they are making a small but noticeable difference.  I've been trying to run more shorter races as I am hoping to bring back some of my speed.

I knew I wasn't going to place in my age group on account of how competitive the race was (I think there were 600 runners).

I walked off the post race windedness and eventually grabbed some blue pancakes.  Apparently they are free for all comers.

My knee held up fine as all my other body parts.  However, my knee was crackling a bit during warm-up.  Nothing painful, but definitely disconcerting.

This race was a bargain.  I got a really nice 5K, a post race meal and generally a good experience throughout.  There weren't any water stops on the course and no mile markers.  In talking with others, they felt the course measured up (on person ran 3.08 miles).  So while my Garmin is reporting it short, I feel it was fairly accurate.  We did run under some overpasses and made quite a few turns, so the Garmin could've easily gotten lost.  I would also hope that the BYU track organizers certified the course.

The shirt is a tri-blend cotton shirt.  I was expecting something of this nature, but it would've been cool to have a tech shirt.

I'd run this race again.  It was well organized, cheap and a good form of entertainment.  Am I a BYU Cougar fan now?  No...

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

This Week in Running 9/24 - 9/30

Little bit of snow on the mountains now

DayMileage / WorkoutComments
SundayOffRest day after previous day's long run
Monday52 Miles in 16:01, rest easy
Tuesday7Medium paced average run
Wednesday6Basic run with 1 mile of strides
Thursday5Average run
FridayOffNeeded a rest day
Saturday19Long run (9:39 pace throughout)
Total miles for the week: 42; YTD: 1351

Week's Summary

Well a pretty good week once again.  I am starting to do a few more quality workouts.  I am really trying to get faster.

When I started the 2 mile training route I had set out to run a mock 5K.  At 1.5 miles I was hurting bad.  I could've finished the 5K but the last mile would've been rough.  I stopped at 2 miles.  Since then, at least every week or so (and sometimes twice) I've been doing my 2 mile time trial.  Sometimes the wind is at my back, sometimes not.  But I try to crank it out at 5K pace.  I am trying to build up speed as well as building up mental strength to endure the pain of fast running.

My long run went reasonable well.  I don't think it went as well as the previous week.  It was a smidge warmer and I my legs were just not quite as responsive.  Also there was a little bit of doubt in my mind.  I had done 16 (17?) the previous week without any problems but for whatever reason, over 16 seems to be a bit of a mental hurdle for me.

I was pretty trashed the rest of the day -- exhausted physically -- but wired mentally thanks to an overload of caffeine.

Overall, it was a decent run and a definite confidence booster.

Also, during my long run I got to run against the Jordan River Marathon.  They had started on the southern end of the trail and started about 7 miles from the finish.  I ran north well before they started and by the time I was coming back, I was making contact with the lead runners.

It was interesting to see the wide range of athletes.  Those clearly running an excellent race and those on their last legs.  There was just a wide variety of people.  I tried to lend whatever support I could by cheering and making a fool of myself.  It made my long run that much more interesting and fun.

Knee Injury

My knee is still holding up nicely.  I am doing my exercises religiously (my PT is pleased despite having graduated from physical therapy now for nearly a month) and wearing a wrap while running. It tends to be bothersome for a bit in the morning and the first quarter mile of just about every run.  After that, I don't feel it at all during the day.

Upcoming Races

10/07: BYU Cougar Run - Provo, UT (Confirmed)
11/12: Las Vegas Marathon - Las Vegas, NV (Confirmed)
11/23: South Davis Recreation Center  Turkey Trot 5K - Bountiful, UT (Confirmed)
11/25: Lamoille Canyon 5K Turkey Trot - Lamoille, NV (Probable - Weather Pending)
04/21: Salt Lake City Marathon - Salt Lake City, UT (Confirmed (2018))