Monday, April 29, 2013

Proof I Didn't Peak in High School?

Last Wednesday I ran Kari's "Proof I Didn't Peak in High School" timed mile.

I had hoped to run it at track the night before, but work kept me from getting to track with my running group, so I ran it in the morning on our mostly flat bike path.

I don't know how to warm up for these things, so I ran out for a mile at a comfortable pace, noting nearby landmarks every quarter mile (that's one nice thing about the track).  Then I did some little leg/hip stretchy things, then ran a mile back to my car, at an uncomfortable pace.

My overall lap paces when I glanced down at my watch at my approximate quarter-mile landmarks were: 7:16, 7:21, 7:23, 7:21.

Meh, 1 mile in 7:21.

I was hoping for closer to low 7, but for no real reason. I felt surprisingly like death afterward given my unimpressive speed (see upper right photo), but then again I haven't been to track since mid-March and my runs have been primarily long runs around a 9:00 pace, short incredibly hilly runs, and comfortable-paced trail runs.  So it shouldn't be a surprise.

I can do 10-12x400m in the 1:38-1:45 range, which is mid-to-upper 6min/mi pace, but that's with 200m rest in between.

I had fleeting thoughts about attempting this again, but decided my lack of recent speed work would probably mean marginal, if any, improvement.

After finishing my mile, I breathed heavily while pacing back and forth for a few minutes, glad that no one else was around to witness how winded I was.  Then I attempted to steady my hand to take some cell phone pictures to prove I did this thing, and hopped in my car and hurried home to catch my online class with minutes to spare.

What did I learn from this?
1. Go back to track workouts. Now. Stop letting work interfere.
2. Do I really want to run a 5K in a few weeks?  Half Marathon pace is so much more comfortable.
3. I like how the track visually breaks up a distance. Trying to run fast-ish down an endless straight stretch is hard.
4. Really, I like 400m better than anything else that is supposed to be run at a hard effort at the track. I complain about 800s, so I probably would have complained about a mile, too.

Oh, and was this proof that I did not peak in High School?  I don't know. I don't remember any timed miles from high school.  Aside from a Turkey Trot I ran in 9th grade (still can't find my time for that...), I didn't run in middle or high school except when it was required for soccer.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

What I Ate

Consider this post my response to Kara, Alyssa, Kari, and Emily's posts.
(Found on  Facebook)

7:15am: black coffee.

7:45am: banana on my way to run.
8:15am: 8.25 mile run.
10:00am: post-run breakfast burrito- eggs, cheddar, bacon + 16 oz water.

11:45am: Strawberries and pathetic looking fridge-clean-out-veggies (2 stalks of celery and some dried up baby carrots), while driving to a meeting.

2:45pm: Cocoa roasted almonds while driving between two meetings. Plus another cap-ful. Finished off another 32 oz of water.

4:00pm: Rita's gelati: Rootbeer ice & vanilla custard.  Because Rita's just opened it's first store in CA last week, and that's exciting.
I normally eat a real dinner, but since we are going out of town this weekend, we are playing the "clean out whatever's left in the fridge instead of going grocery shopping" game.

6:00pm: Made some guacamole using up 2/3 of an avocado and some tomato. And I ate it with probably 3 servings of restaurant style tortilla chips (that may be a conservative figure). Not pictured, because I ate them directly out of the bag. Finished drinking another 32 oz of water.
6:30pm: Husband threw me a mail-order beef stick while I worked at the kitchen table.

8:45pm: Dinner/Dessert: Lots of strawberries (2 more pints to get through before Friday afternoon) on top of slow-churned vanilla ice cream + whipped cream and unsalted peanuts.  I really only went ahead with this because I didn't want to admit to my husband that I already had frozen custard earlier in the day.

  • I eat in my car a lot
  • Much less coffee than normal
  • More snacking than real "meals"

Monday, April 1, 2013

Chesebro Half Marathon Recap

Last Saturday I ran the Chesebro Half Marathon.  It’s one of several races on the same day that make up the Great Race of Agoura Hills and it was my first race in California last year.  It is not a PR kind of course, but it is a scenic course and a well-organized race, so I decided to run it again with the goal of beating last year’s time.

They offer race-day packet pick-up as well as an expo on Thursday & Friday. I was able to get to the expo Thursday afternoon, which was worth it, to allow me to sleep in for an extra 30 minutes and save that extra little bit of running around on race morning. 

Road Runner Sports also had a booth there with barely worn shoes for $50.  I do not at all need new shoes right now, but it’s worth a look. Lucky for me, there weren’t many shoes in my size to tempt me. I did, however, come home with a stick to torture my calves and quads.  I had been eyeing one since last summer when I worked at the running store.

2013-03-22 07.34.48-1

The morning of the race I found parking quickly and easily. The race organizers provide you with a long list of parking options, noting which lots are best for people running the half marathon vs. the 10k or 5k - and the times various streets will be closed. Very helpful. I parked in a Vons parking lot a little over a half mile from the starting line.

Here’s the deal:


In terms of elevation, it’s no easy course, but I’ve definitely run worse. Like here. Or here. Oh, and I didn’t review this one yet.

The Chesebro Half had a 7am start; we were off by 7:05. The race starts downhill (you had to walk up that hill to get to the start), then through a neighborhood around a park where you will eventually finish. I started with a friend from my running group, we said we’d start conservatively then it turned out we ran an 8:20 for the first mile. Whoops.


pic_2 - Copy (2)  pic_3  pic_4 - Copy

I don’t know what happened, but I look so twisted. Note to self: work on stride.

It was roads up until mile 3, then we entered a park and started running on a wide path/fire road. We passed some park rangers on horses, a couple aid stations, and a few groups of teenagers who were unenthusiastically cheering us on. I’m sure they gained much from those 2 hours of required community service. Somewhere in there the wide path turned into single track; the dirt surface became more sandy and rocky; and the grass and trees turned into desert-scrub and sage plants.

The anticipation of the big hill was killing me, though when I actually got to it, it wasn’t as bad as I remembered last year, thanks to getting a year of mountain trail running under my belt.  After mile 8, it was glorious downhill on a fire road for 2 miles.  Unlike last year, I was prepared for the hill that came around mile 10 so I didn’t totally destroy my legs on the downhill stretch leading up to it.



^View from the Top; Pictures from event’s facebook page.

Around mile 10.5 we were back on roads with one more mini hill then gradual downhill until the finish line in the park, where runners from all races were finishing.  On that note, there were two women shoulder to shoulder, happily walking their way to a 10k finish in front of me, less than a quarter mile from the finish line, just before a sharp right turn in the course with a curb to not trip over. I turned on my race rage and got around them, then picked off a few runners who had been maintaining their distance in front of me.

I finished in 2:02:58, shaving 11 minutes and 30 seconds off of last year’s time. 
Stats: 339/913 Overall, 96/435 Females, 15/41 in my Age Group.

My split paces in table form and a graph for the visually inclined:

chesebrosplits     chesebrograph

Finish Line:

finish  finish1  finish3  finish4

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