Thursday, June 12, 2014

Tweaks & Keeps

This winter/spring training cycle was the most successful of my running career. I managed to stay injury free with only a couple short-lived niggles here and there. I prioritized rest and recovery, and I backed off training when I was under a lot of stress at work. And what do ya know . . . I PRed in the 5K, 10 mile, 15K, and in two half marathons and placed higher than ever before in my age group in a bunch of races.

It’s like I actually learned lessons. From my prior experiences!

But there are always more lessons to learn. So here’s how I plan to tweak my training for my next race – which is . . . drumroll . . . America’s Finest City* Half Marathon on August 17.

*In case you didn’t know, America’s Finest City is San Diego. 


1. Longer long runs. 
2. Longer tempo runs.
3. Or possibly combine long and tempo runs. 
4. Make easy runs a wee bit longer.

After running steady in the 30-40 mile range, I am ready for a little more mileage. And I think with these tweaks I won't run out of gas again, like I did in the final miles of the SD RnR Half. But a lot went right last time around, so I want to keep on doing some of the same going forward.


1. Weight training (legs). Need strong legs to power down the hills at the beginning of the AFC course.
2. Yoga, stretching, foam rolling. Duh! 
3. Prioritize rest and recovery. Commit to back off as needed and during times of high stress.
4. Keep mileage bumps ups reasonable.
5. Run a few races as break through workouts / tough tempo efforts.
6. Keep the pressure off myself. I need to stay patient and not get greedy with the number of seconds I want to shave off the PR.

One more new thing this training cycle. I joined San Diego Track Club and am training 2 days a week with the group. I think I ran alone every single run in 2014 until recently, so it's been fun to make some new connections with some local runners!

Two Little Runners


Monday, June 2, 2014

San Diego Rock N Roll Half Marathon

The start. Ryan Hall on very far left in orange.
Off to a slow start . . . My strategy was to run at 6:55 and see how I felt at the 10K split. And hopefully feel great and speed up after that. Mile 1 was according to plan. I was up pretty close to the front of Wave 1, so I didn’t have to waste much time weaving (6:56). Mile 2 had one of the few sustained hills, and I pressed my effort a little here. Only to be delayed by a crossing fire truck! (7:03). Mile 3 was perfectly flat, and I was in the groove (6:52). Mile 4 had a 47 foot climb – which shouldn’t have slowed me down as much as it did. I became aware of my legs this mile. They were not feeling fresh (7:06). (I noted to myself that I need to taper for longer than 7 days when running the faster paces I am training for now.)

The Meb miles . . . Then the plan went out the window. Meb Keflezighi was the 1:30 pacer, and the Meb group caught up with me in mile 5. I got swept into the Meb pack, and it was a blast. The crowds were cheering for Meb, and when there weren’t crowds around runners were asking Meb about his training and life. I felt inspired and decided I could hang with Meb (6:50). Mile 6 I was still in Meb-party mode (6:42). When I saw 6:42 display on my watch, I panicked and decided not to look at my watch any more. I was still determined to hang with the Meb pack. I felt good in mile 7 (6:48), but by mile 8, I had fallen behind into the Meb-chaser pack (6:49).

Losing focus . . . Then there was mile 9. I lost sight of the Meb pack, fell out of the Meb-chaser pack at a water station, and momentarily lost my inspiration. The mile was a net 50 feet downhill but I clocked my worst mile of the race. I had started looking at my watch again and did not like what I saw (7:07).

And regaining focus, briefly . . . Mile 10 was more downhill, which allowed me to pick myself back up (6:53). I took focus off of the letdown of losing the Meb pack (later, I found out they finished at 1:29) and focused on getting the 1:30:XX. I did some quick math, and it was going to be close. I honestly don’t know what happened in mile 11, another starting in '7' (7:03).

A big push for the 1:30:XX . . . Mile 12 was my fastest mile of the race and also the biggest downhill. I was making up time for those 7:XX miles (6:37). The last mile was slightly downhill, but felt like I was running uphill. I was trying to will myself into another 6:40 mile . . . but I didn’t have anything left (6:57).

The final stretch.
The elusive 1:30:XX . . . I crossed the finish in 1:31:24. Off by just 25 seconds! But still a 2 minute PR, and I’m really happy with my race. I would have loved crossing the finish line with the Meb pack. Or with a 1:30:XX. I’m just not quite there yet.

But I have come a long way in a pretty short time. My first race back after a 6 month break from spraining my ankle was a 3 mile Turkey Trot in November 2013, where my average pace was 6:50. By design, I didn’t run very many miles this training cycle (averaged 26.5 miles a week), as I needed to build a base and some durability.

But now, it’s on. Next time,  the 1:30:XX is mine!









10 mi





Two Little Runners