Friday, November 28, 2008

DHP Thanksgiving Day 5k

Today’s race was run to mark the end of my six weeks of speedwork. Of the six weeks I missed two sessions and gaffed up one with Garmin malfunction. Each week comprised a tempo run and Intervals. The question was going to be had it worked? My legs were a little sore still from last weekend and I wondered how much that would affect the outcome.

I arrived with my wife who was running the 10k and parked the car, we wandered over to the start line, we already had our numbers and so I took the time to have solid warm up. I gently ran the first half a mile of the course and turned around, on the way back I did some butt kicks and high knees and opened up my pace and when I got back to the Start/Finish I stretched out everything. We were called together and given the usual brief, the 5k was an out and back and the 10k would be a repeat of that. The RD made a point of asking people to line up according to how they were going to race; fast 5k, fast 10k so one and to my surprise there was some shuffling about, I kissed my wife and wished her good luck and made my way to the front.

The idea really was to really race this as hard as I could and with a ready, set, go we were off! Two runners shot off and I followed they soon opened a lead and another runner was pacing off me and then overtook me I glanced down at my Garmin and saw that I was running at a 5:40 pace, well that’s not going to last I thought and eased back, I was overtaken by several more runners and I settled into my pace and thought about my cadence and keeping it high. I was about 8th or 9th place at this point. I reached the turnaround skipped past the water stand and set off on the return.

The route was on a footpath along the side of a creek and while mostly flat there were a couple of “rolls” and one section that dropped us under a road and of course this had an up the other side, more interestingly were the run off culverts that were a V shape and about four feet wide you had to judge your footing as you approached them so as to mot reduce your speed too much most of them I managed one or two I didn’t and end up juddering through. Another two runners overtook me in the last mile and I drafted them but they pulled away with half a mile to go. With the last 400 yard left I noticed that people using the 10k lane and turning round to go back out on their second lap, first one then two and then another two I sprinted through the finish and hit stop on my Garmin. I was detagged and made my way through the chute I looked at my 305 and saw; 19:43:74. Woot! A 1:04 improvement on my PR from last year, I am awaiting the official times etc but I think I came fifth overall and have to be in the top 3 for my age; this I am guessing from looking at the others who finished ahead of me.

A quick shout to the sponsors; DHP, it was a welcoming and well run race. DHP (Diaz Human Performance) provides specialized training for runners and triathletes, they are also a major Polar dealer in the area hence the free shoe bag in the photo. I have no financial interest but I did use them last year for my V02 max and RMR tests, you can read about that here.

Well the proof of the pudding is in the eating; well running - if you want to race fast train fast. I had the pudding later in the day! I am on my bike today and have my last long, well medium run; 15 miles on Sunday and then that’s it full taper mode for two weeks. The hay, as they say, is in the barn!

Quick edit: Now the results have posted I did come 5th overall and was first in my age group with a 19:42!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Swap Beat Week 3 Results

Well the only constant is change and week 3 has seen plenty of that; the table has turned on its head and like a good martini is well shaken. After no long run the previous weekend resulting in a slight creep up Sunday’s race certainly had an effect! That being said it was never my intention to claim any swag…in fact I am trying to get rid of it and as Pat was a winner last week this week's winners are…drumroll, well you can read it yourself: Julianne and Robin, congrats to you both – great job!

Same as every week go to the SWAG page and choose your prize Julianne has first pick, contact the donor for shipping and you’re all set. So with Thanksgiving this week there will be Turkey Trots going on allover the country the question is will you be taking a trip to the trailhead or track or will it be a tryp-to-phan!

The Google Word Verification stalking continues and in line with the fact that this is a weight loss competition this seemed a little close the mark, 0/10 spelling but you get the idea!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

PCTR Pt Mugu 50k

This post could also easily have been titled: A race of two halves or SLB; your mind is writing checks you body can’t cash! But I am getting ahead of myself.

As I left my house I had one eye on the weather, living inland it’s almost a given at this time of the year that the weather will not be as warm at the ocean and I wasn’t disappointed. Low cloud obscured the sun and the starting temperature was 56f degrees; perfect running weather. I made the short drive to the start line and arrived in good time with nearly an hour to go before the race actually started, I was amazed at the number of cars already there and I was forced to park on PCH. I grabbed my coffee and walked to the registration table. After I had picked up my number and pinned it to my shorts I bumped into Meiko from the TRC who was running the 50k and then I also saw Billy and Jes also from the TRC, Billy was running the 30k with some friends from a RW world forum, Jes was running the 50k and was worried; she has been suffering from ITB issues and was dreading the thought of a DNF, I gave over my mantra band and told her to think about the acronym for the next 6-7 hours and see if she could work it out! I also bumped into someone from work who was running the 18k and his wife who ran the 9k, quite a contrast to this time last year where I just turned up ran and left!

I went through my stretching routine garnering a few odd looks as I prostrated myself in the parking lot, but whatever, and then chatted with Jes waiting for the gun to off, it did and so did we.

The race is run around a figure of 8, it starts at a parking lot just by the ocean. You run the first loop twice and then one and a bit of the second loop, it has you running up and over two valley passes and covers 5 hills each of which are about a 1000' of climbing. The first mile is along a reasonably wide path this is followed by another two miles along a twisty single track and you gain your first 1000’, needless to say because of the steepness of the incline lots of people slow to a walk and if you get bunched up your forced to move at their pace, with this in mind I pushed hard at the beginning to get a good place. I pushed up the hill and topped out after about 35 minutes. The trail then rolls for a couple of miles looping back and then drops down for another five until you reach the start point. Having only run once this week post surgery my legs had a real spring in them and these miles all whizzed by at sub 10 minute mile pace (four at sub nine). I reached the start and blew past the aid station without stopping, I was wearing my Wasp vest and had a handheld and was popping a gel every forty minutes.

From the start point I started up hill #2. Two miles later I was up the top and running down the fireroad into the next canyon, this was a route change from last year and apparently this was because several people fell running down the single track; which we would run up it this year. While running down a fireoad is fine, this one was strewn with ankle turning rocks and we had to swerve to avoid some mountain bikers. I pushed on the down the hill opening my stride and pace and dropping in a 7:29 mile, this was my fastest mile by far so far and would be the quickest of the day. As we bottomed out we picked up another fireroad and hit the second aid station and turn around point, I grabbed some water to cool off and wet my cool tie. From here we about faced and ran along the fire turning left to pick up a single track trail which then rejoined the fireroad and we ran back over the hill; three down two to go. It was here I recorded some video (sorry about the angle!) as I hadn’t taken many photos. Quite clearly I had in mind what could happen in the next half. I pushed over the top and back down into the starting valley and it was during this climb that the cramps started. I am not prone to cramps, in fact I can probably say I’ve never had them while running, but three times in the last week I have had cramps;hamstring once and calves twice. This time it was my calves again. Not bad, well not really bad but bad enough especially on the uphills so much so that from here any major hill became a real slog. To be honest I have no idea why, I was taken an Endurolyte every hour and had no real change to my diet in the last week, so it’s is and remains a mystery, one that will need to be solved within the next two weeks!

Running downhill my calves were mostly cramp free unless I caught my toe on a rock and then they would lock and I would need to stretch them so I endeavored to be careful. My pace was falling off from a 10 minute ish miles, it had crept to 10:40 on the third hill, I managed to reduce that to 10:30 on the way down but it would soon creep up again. The fourth hill was a repeat of the first, although this time having shed the 30k runners the 50kers where spread far and wide and I had this section mostly to myself, I plodded up and recorded my slowest mile on the way 18:04; definitely a run of two halves, this time I topped out at a considerably slower pace and made my across the rollers and actually overtook someone who looked to be having a tougher time than me. I closed off the loop and heading back down passing the start and finish for a torturous forth time. With only 9k left there was no question of not finishing but my goal of sub 6 hours was looking less and less likely and I focused on getting a new distance PR. I had in my mind that I needed to beat 6:24 (which is actually 10 minutes faster than my PR, d'uh!) but it was all to the good. Again the climb seemed tortuously long and was painful. As soon as I reached the top it was time to turn around and head back down. With one eye on my watch the last three miles got successively faster. I could feel someone behind and when they turned down the offer to pass I figured that I would just pull out all the stops and go for it aiming for anything faster than the 6:24 which would be a fair reward. I covered the last 0.78 of mile in 6:31 and crossed the finish line according to my Garmin in 6:22:52, (also according to my Garmin it measured 32+ miles) it was only when I started typing my report tonight I realized that my PR was 6:34 so I actually reduced it by twelve minutes and not two! Official times are yet to post.

I stretched out and grabbed some Sprit which hit the spot as it always does and relaxed chatting to other finishers and Sarah, one half of Sarah and Wendell the Race Directors who, once again, put on a great event, anyone in California could do a lot worse than attend a PCTR event as their first ultra, they’re well organized and very friendly. I hung around for a while and saw Jes finish; after 7 hours she still hadn’t figured out the acronym and I didn’t tell her!

So post event here is the postmortem; going out too fast too soon, such a rooky mistake, aided to my blow up in the second half, I could have probably bluffed my way through however the addition of the cramps really knocked my game into touch, had I not had those I could have run more of the ups; I walked a lot of them and could had had faster coverage on the flats, that would have reduced my time significantly, a minute here, ninety seconds there and a sub 6 hour race would have been a reality. That being said and not wanting snatch total defeat from the jaws of victory I did PR, this was actually my 1 year ultraversary (there's no such word but you get the idea) and last year I finished in 6:54 so it's a pretty big reduction year on year.

Of more concern is the recent cramping episodes, I need to do a bit of research and address then as it’s one thing to have then at mile 16 in a 31 mile race but having them at mile 16 in a 50 mile race is a whole ‘nother ball of wax so that gives me two week before Twin Peaks to figure it out. Other than that from a fitness perspective I felt pretty good, HR was high but it usually is I peaked at 185 bpm and spent 5:30 in Zones 4 (51% of total) and 5 (36% of total). Recovery was fine and although a bit achey and stiff I am in pretty good shape.

There’s a few photos here and the MotionBased data is here:

Friday, November 21, 2008

Recycling Dean!

I just finished reading the new Dean Karnazes book 50/50. It’s taken me a while for several reasons; it’s not exactly a page turner, I’ve seen the movie, which in my mind is better and conveys more of the atmosphere of the event, I seem to be a state ongoing exhaustion so I am gabbing zzzs within 2 minutes of my head on the pillow and, to be frank, it’s not very well written. Let me qualify that last statement, the sub title of the book is: Secrets I Learned Running 50 Marathons in 50 days- and how you too can achieve Super Endurance!, gosh that’s a big statement, even with a large spoonful of salt it’s a pretty medium sized claim, which, unfortunately, it doesn’t live up to or even close. The level of writing is too superficial. It does a good job of touching on a lot of topics; nutrition, training, racing, running clubs and many more but doesn't go into them in any depth or real detail. What the book does do is provide you with a series of doors that anyone interested in or has just started running will need to open and paths that need to be followed to find you own answers. Do I recommend it, well even after my criticism the answer is yes. It is entertaining and you do get an small insight into the Endurance 50 event, the logistics and the highs and the lows, most importantly you get a feel for the average runner who was able to get out an experience it for themselves; something that is much more reinforced in the movie see the trailer below which always puts a lump in my throat.

So should you go out and spend $20 on it the answer is no and with that in mind I will send my copy gratis to the first person who answers the riddle of my arm warmers post your answer in the Comments section. Acceptance is conditional that you write your review, as long or as short as you like and then you give it up for grabs on your blog.

..."my biggest fear was worrying whether or not I could finish it, but it was when I stopped to think about it the only way I would fail was if I didn't come out and try"...Anonymous 50/50 runner

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

What are the odds?

Check out this word Google stalking me?

I suppose if they were it would be 'runfar', just to pander to my ego, even so, spooky or what!

Swap Beat Week 2 Results

As promised here are the results of Week 2. Some significant shuffling across the ranks and two new winners. Congratulations Laura and Pat who storm into first and second place. No surprises there as I know both of these are serious competitors; Laura’s attempting to be the youngest runner to 50/50; that is run a marathon in each state! She’s having a tough time right now so hopefully this will give her a well deserved boost. If you haven’t read Pat’s blog he has set himself (and a few unsuspecting pals) the challenge of completing The Beast a series of ultra races in Virginia. Two hardcore individuals.

Winners please post your first and second prize choices in the comments section assuming no conflict you can then contact the owner of that prize for shipping etc, if you both want the same stuff Laura has priority. Here's the list of SWAG.Remember you can’t win two weeks in a row so Laura and Pat are out of the running this week. Congrats to everyone who went negative, with no long run last weekend I crept up…at least that’s my excuse and I am sticking to it!

A little something for the weekend...hopefully!

So those of you looking for the Week 2 results of Swap Beat will have to wait an extra day, I tallied everyone’s losses and then promptly forget to email myself the spreadsheet so it is stuck at work, check back later today, however we do have two new winners!

Anyway as 2008 draws to a close minds are planning 2009. I myself find myself straddling this year’s end and next years start with a late 'A' race in ’08 and an early 'A' race in ’09; more on next year later.

I am within a month of this cycle’s 'A' race; Twin Peaks 50 miler and this weekend, fingers crossed, I’ll be on the start line of my penultimate tuning race; PCTR Pt Mugu 50k. It seems hard to imagine that this will be the anniversary of my first ultra marathon. This time last year I was undecided on what distance to run and in fact whether to run at all, I was just coming off of injury and had kept open the option of bailing at the 30k and 40k mark you can read the race report here. I say fingers crossed as last week, albeit a week late, I had my little surgery I am now on the mend, I have a follow up visit this Thursday and hope to get one run and a bike in this week. I was hoping for a gentle five miler last night but it just felt too soon; without going into graphic details the bruising looks like I came off worse after three rounds with a pit pull with lockjaw, so we’ll see how things go later today. I’ll taper as such Friday and Saturday and that’ll be that. While it is a training run I do have some goals. In order of increasing appreciation:

3rd: Finish; never assumed
2nd: New 50K PR this would be sub 6:34
1st: Sub 6 hours; my epiphany was 5:54

So plenty of things to play for and with the following weekend being Thanksgiving it’s very likely that this will be the last long run (20m+) before Twin Peaks so it had better be a good one. Having run it last year the good thing is that I know the course however the bad thing is that I know the course. Here’s the elevation profile, I’ll let you decide if you would sooner be surprised or not!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

What you see is what you get; how to customize you Forerunner screens

And so in light of Alice’s and Bob’s recent observations that the Garmin Forerunner 305 is now on sale at Costco for $160 (guess what my wife is getting for Christmas!) I thought I would share some of the features and things you can do with yours, this will I think also apply to a 205 with the exception of anything to do with HR.

When I first got my Garmin Forerunner 305, one of the annoyances was the need to dig into the settings menu to look at the time, it wasn’t until somebody told me you can customize your screens that I realized what other info I could look at. So this quick post will tell you how you can set up the three screens to see the data you want to see rather than the default.

There are three screens that rotate available for customization: Main 1, Main 2 and Running, this is the same for “Biking” which I use and for “Other” which I haven’t, I assume swimming, skiing and snowboarding, or indeed anything else that begins with "S" know skating, stamp collecting and Scrabble etc, could be used here. A couple of other points to note; in case you wondering what the little white square is just below the word Garmin, it's a reminder to me to switch between Bike and Run and the "flecking" below the Start/stop and Lap Buttons is delamination of the surface due to insect repellent during the summer; water resistant; yes, insect repellent resistant; no!

Anyway to get back on topic. To set up the screens to show some really interesting data follow these instructions:

Press Mode to enter the Settings menu
Use Up/Down to scroll down to Settings, press Enter
Press Enter to select General
Scroll down to Data Fields press Enter
Select Main 1 Press Enter

Here you will be prompted to select the number of quadrants you want and will see the screen divided into four quarters, in the middle is the quadrant tally scroll up or down to select the number of quadrants you want (1 is minimum, 4 is maximum). Using the Up/Down to scroll to the number of quadrants you want, press Enter. You will then be prompted to use the Up/Down and Enter buttons to select the field you want to view.

You then repeat that for all for quadrants. Press Mode to exit back to the Main 1/Main2/Running menu and repeat for Main 2 and Running.

My preferences are:
Running: Pace / Lap Pace / Calories
Main 1: Pace / Average Pace / Distance / Lap Distance (a lap for me is 1 mile)
Main 2: Distance / Heart Rate / Average Cadence / Time, this is moving time

For Biking I have the following:
Biking: Time / Current Lap / Average Cadence / Lap Cadence
Main 1: Speed / Average Speed / Distance / Lap Distance
Main 2: Distance / Heart Rate / Average Cadence / Time, this is moving time

As you can see there are some repeats, to be honest after playing with it these are the ones that I come back to more often that not.

For both running and biking for the cadence to work you will need a Footpod and Cadence Monitor. The Footpod also allows you to use a Forerunner on a Treadmill and the Cadence Monitor can be used on a bike trainer, both of which are important to those of you in more winter climates.

Finally you can vary the speed of screen rotation. From the same menu as Data Fields select Display, select Auto Scroll Timer; I suggest Fast to minimize the risk of running into a lamp post while gazing at all this newly discovered data.

PS the layout of text to photos looked ok to me on a 19"monitor at 1280 x 1024

Friday, November 14, 2008

Bon Tempo!

After the fun and games of Wednesday’s intervals (or not as the case was) Thursday’s tempo should have been a breeze, and it was. The plan called for 10 miles in total, the first 9 at 7 min miles or 5k pace + 15 seconds and a mile cool down. I managed to get to start point a little earlier than usual in an effort to minimize the amount of time I was running in the dusk/dark and by a little after 4pm I was on my way. The path I run is the beach path starting at Will Rogers and heading North for a half mile then south for four and half miles to the turnaround, South of Santa Monica Pier, and then basically a reverse on the way back, at this time of year it’s pretty quiet with a few runners, skaters and cyclists etc but it does allow you to pick up some speed, with the major obstacle being sand over the path luring you to slip and fall or forcing you into the path of oncomers. It gets a bit busier by the pier but as by that time its cooling down and getting dark you’ve plenty of room. After trading in Gel DS I am now running in Asics Banditos which are much more comfortable but a little big, I had to go up 1.5 sizes over my road shoes which are half a size up on my regular shoes and I am wondering if that was a half size too much.

The first five miles went by with a huff and puff and I reached my turnaround in 34:55. I had in mind a 70 minute round trip which would mean 9 miles at sub 7 minutes to make up for the cool down tenth mile, so unless I ran a solid negative split 70 minutes was not looking likely. I stopped to grab some water from a fountain and headed back. By mile 7 I was feeling it but only missed the 49 minute mark by one second. Mile 8 and Mile 9 were both over 7 minutes and mile 10 over 8 minutes. So I finished with a 1:11:47 for the round trip, faster than last weeks run but not quite where I wanted it to be. Here are the GTC digits:

A few people have asked how I come up with these targets for the intervals and tempo runs. They are based on those prescribed by the FIRST plan, in fact my whole training plan is based on that; 3 quality runs a week, 2 cross training sessions a week. I initially tweaked the first 8 weeks (base building) with alternating long runs and long bike rides, and then during the last 4 and next 2 weeks (speedwork etc) added in the Intervals and Tempo runs and an extra run the day after my long run. I took those designed for a marathon and cherry picked and tweaked them. Here is a scan of the book.

All in all I would say that the speedwork is hard, but the upside is it is rewarding, after only four weeks of it I could now go out and get a personal best for the 10k and half marathon, after last nights run I would have had 26 minutes to cover the remaining 3.1 miles. However I would caution that it is at pace that you open yourself up to more opportunities for injury, so it is important to build up to it, the beauty of that of course is that you get to see almost instant results week on week. It really reinforces the maxim that if you want to race fast you have to train fast!

Good luck to everyone racing this weekend.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Intervals…that means you stop in between, right?

My plan had me running intervals last night (1 x 400, 1 x 800, 1 x 1200, recover to 100-110 HR bpm in between) rinse, repeat and top and tail with a warm up/cool down. I programmed my Forerunner on the fly at the parking lot which is a bit cumbersome but if you’re got Crackberry thumb dexterity you can do it in a couple minutes. Changed and set off. Two miles warm up check, threw in some high knees and butt kicks and felt good. Got the go alarm and we're off:

First 400 1:26, 41 seconds rest
Next 800 3:06 53 seconds rest
Next 1200 4:48 (and hereafter it went to hell and a handbasket) 4 seconds rest WTF!
Next 400 1:35 (duh yeah after 4 seconds rest) and then I missed the next rest interval completely
Next 1.26 miles! 10:07 hang on, 1.26 miles that's two in one…ugh I give up!
Mile and a quarter cool down

It would seem that I missed the rest period ran through the next half mile, missed the next rest period and then finished off with the last interval…sigh! Not the best of workouts but kinda sorta got it done, my first two split were pretty good and the third was ok. Next time I think I will just use a simple distance or time rest period. But if anyone from Garmin is reading this can we have a vibrating alert in the 505! Tempo run tonight swapped from Friday as I am at the Doctors (again!), that's easy; slow for a bit, fast for a bit, slow for a bit...even I can manage that!

This week I broke the 1000 mile mark for this training cycle (395 running/628 bike), only 250 or so to go to the start line and then another 50 to the finish line!

Maddy and NikeMom have claimed their Swap-Beat SWAG; Robin's shirt/socks and JKRunning's iTunes card have gone but there's still plenty of good stuff left!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

'tis the Season!

Well it’s that time of year and in an attempt to at least appear to be organized, trust me I will fail miserably and given that all of my family is overseas this is always an expensive mistake! and look at some Christmas shopping! Now unfortunately, other than my wife; who is erring over to the darkside of triathlons there are no more runners in my immediate family so the Christmas shopping can fall between socks and sweaters, I like to think of it as an incentive for them to take up a sport!

Unfortunately the economic times we find ourselves mandate that we try to get the biggest bang for a buck (pound/euro/yen delete where applicable) so here are a couple of suggestions that might want to add your list or get for the runner in your family or hell you could just go out and get it today and blow off waiting the 43 shopping days left!

Costco is now stocking Garmin Forerunner 305s for $199, now I thought this was a good price until I checked Amazon where you can get one for $190 (free shipping) and you can bundle in a Cadence Monitor and Bike/Wrist QR strap for an extra $50.

Hammer Nutrition is having an end of year blowout on everything. Up to 50% off. I snagged a new cycling jersey, bib shorts and two pair of socks all in for $60. The clothing is made by Voler here in SoCal and it’s top quality stuff, they also carry Tri suits and have a ladies specific range. I also grabbed a Patagonia Capilene shirt ($18) and Headsweat Visor ($10) and a couple of extra water bottles ($2.50 each), you can never have enough water bottles, right!

On the nutrition front I threw in my basket a replen of Perpetuem, and Raspberry Gel; 26 serving jug. Perpetuem is my drink of choice for the long run (2hours plus) it has a mild taste and is easy on stomach, here’s the blurb from the Hammer website:

...Perpetuem - This product, introduced in early 2003, takes the concept of long-distance fueling to the max. Though many athletes use Perpetuem for shorter distance events (which is perfectly acceptable), we designed it primarily for extreme endurance events lasting several hours to many days. Perpetuem contains 75% carbohydrates (from long-chain maltodextrins - no added simple sugars), 13% fatty acids from a specially made long-chain lyso-lecithin, and nearly 10% soy protein. A small portion of fat seems to cue your body to more liberally release its fatty acids stores, which account for up to two-thirds of one's energy requirements in long bouts of exercise. A little fat in the fuel also slightly slows the rate of digestion and thus promotes caloric satisfaction, another attractive plus during primarily aerobic ultra distance events...

Suffice to say, it works!

The gels are water soluble (read; wash out of clothes easily) Raspberry and Vanilla are my favorite and you can mix them together to get RaspNilla or VanBerry?!? Espresso has a high caffeine punch for when you're at mile 28 so you could have a RaspPresso or EspreNilla or go wild and have a RaspVanSo! You’ll need a bottle to mix them in but, hey, they’re on sale too!

There’s a bunch of other Hammer products I take; Endorolytes, Premium Insurance Caps, Mito Caps, Race Day Boost, Race Caps Supreme which I have been using for the past year and will be reviewed at the end of the year.

So charge up you Credit Card and go wild!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Swap Beat Week 1 Results

The scores are in the results tallied, percentages calculated and the winners can be announced. I heard back from Viv and Laura and have updated the SWAG post with their contributions. I have also listed the breakout of the Nike prizes and the Grand prize. There is a total of 14 prizes including the grand prize, so the way it will play out is each week the top two losers select their prize over 6 weeks the seventh week there will be only one winner and the overall winner will receive the Grand Prize.

Please post in the comments section of this post (yes I am a comments whore) your first and second choices; in case you both choose the same thing, the higher ranking will get priority. From there it is up to the winners to contact the relevant donor to arrange shipping etc. Clicking on their name in the SWAG post will take you to their blog. Once received you are honor bound to pose with said winning item, photograph yourself and post about it etc.

There is a slight rule change in the interest of fairness of distribution of prizes. Because of the small number of participants you now cannot win two weeks in a row. If you are in the Top 2 on consecutive weeks then prizes will slip down to the next person on the list, consider this motivation to keep yourself at least in third place. Of course if you’re third and the next week you come first you have to pass on the prizes. Hopefully this won’t get too complicated and the idea is that everyone gets something.

So without further ado and fanfare this week’s winners are: Maddy & NikeMom. Congratulations to you both. Congrats to everyone who managed a loss. Week 2 is underway, send me your updates Sunday and watch this space.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Late night long run!

And so on Friday night I turn up at my Doctor’s office after spending two hours in the car only to be told, can I reschedule (note told not asked!). I slowly count to ten: 1..2..3..4..5..6..7..8... it is after all not the fault of the receptionist and it would be rude to shoot the messenger. So I rebook my appointment and leave. Now having not built in any long run time this weekend and the thought of no long run next weekend due to the reschedule I am wondering how I can carve out some time. Anyway after a chat with my lovely wife Sunday night is available and she agrees to put the boys to bed, ably assisted by the in-laws who are staying. So just before dark I head out, no trails just a simple 4 hours on the local roads.

The pace is not fast but steady for the first two hours and I am covering the mileage easily and without issue. I have in mind the distance of 26 miles. It’s hard to gauge the exact time as my 305 pauses at traffic lights when I do and I have a fair amount of junctions to cross, (22 in total by the end) which allow for a quick breather but break the pace, stride and concentration. Around Mile 15 I can start to feel the road through the sole of my right shoe, nothing too worrying but it’s there. At Mile 20 my pace falters some and I refocus my efforts, my pace is dropping from mid 8s to mid 9s and ends up in high 9s and even a couple of 10s by the end. By mile 25 I am pretty spent; it’s been a long time since I have gone anything further than 12-15 miles on the roads and I am starting to feel it now. I slog through the last 2 miles and then just for the hell of it push for another 0.2 just to make a round marathon distance rather than a round number.

I walk the last mile home to avoid a hard cold stop, consume a large bowl of home made cereal (carbs) and another of Greek yogurt (protein), pop 8 Recover-ease and a multivitamin, two glasses of water, stretch, pack my bag for tonight's 8 miler, shower and I am in bed by 10:30.

So I finish with an unofficial time of 3:55:43, an average pace of 8:59, not my fastest time but not my slowest, I need to upload to MotionBased to get the true numbers but I estimate another 10 minutes spent waiting for traffic lights. I was only nearly mowed down by cars only twice. Consumed 6 gels and 60oz of Pepetuem and burned off 3476 calories which will help towards Swap-Beat, results to follow! No MotionBased data and no photos but here's the GTC info:

Friday, November 7, 2008


Wednesday, Thursday, Friday round up that is!

Wednesday I was scheduled for Intervals, quarter, half and full miles on a ladder working up and working down (¼ x 2, ½ x 2, 1 x 2, ¼ x 2) topped and tailed with a warm up and cool down. Usual place; on the beach path, not so usual weather: a strong head/tail wind depending which way you were going and usual time; and here is where it went wrong somebody moved the clocks! I managed to get through the warm up and first four sets but realized that I was going to end up in the pitch black on unlit stretch of path, after a quick readjustment I changed the miles to halves changed direction to stay in the relative light and had a shorter cool down. I ended up with a reasonable set of splits, not great but reasonable and a slightly shorter than planned run. Here are the splits:

Quarter mile intervals

Half mile intervals

Thursday I had switched for Friday (Tempo run for bike) and so this time I got to the start point earlier. Ten miles was the distance two to warm up at around eight minute miles, four at sub seven minute miles and another four at sub eight. I had traded in my Gel DS shoes, the asymmetric lacing was bothersome and for this run I was wearing Asics Banditos (doesn’t the name make you want to run like you stole something!), such is the joy of Road Runner Sports' 60 day trial. I set off with a real spring in my step, new shoes, zero wind compared to the previous day and the determination to have a good run. Well I had a great run, one the best I have had for a long time. My splits for the first two miles were a little fast. In the next four I was sooooo close to having a ladder (increasingly faster times) for the pace section; I was a mere 3 seconds off on mile 3 (#5 in total)! I eased off in miles 7 and 8 and then caught a second wind for mile 9 and went sub 7 minutes again, finally taking my foot of the gas in the last mile. So 10 miles in 1:12:35, average pace 7:15, that’s only 30 seconds off my best 5k pace of 6:47 and if you took the four miles at pace and the next two and a bit I would have run a 43:00(ish) 10k which is about 4-5 minutes faster than my 10k best. Here are the GTC splits:

Tempo run splits

It’s runs like this one that make me keep coming back for more and seeing a return on the training investment is always great. It got me thinking about to next year. I am pretty much set for the Spring, (more on that to follow) but the Summer is problematic due to the heat so, and this is early stage planning, I am thinking that I may just have to copy Nitmos’ Summer of Speed and work on 5 & 10ks and half marathons. My existing 5k and HM PBs are pretty good, I think, 20:47 and 1:37:32 respectively but my 10k PB is rubbish at 47:53. So with some work maybe I could get a sub 20:00 5k, sub 40:00 10k and sub 1:30:00 HM, having a quick pair of heels would certainly be handy when I start going longer distance next Fall/Winter…anyway, at least for now, it’s all just being kicked around in my head. .

And so this morning was a quick hours spin on the bike trainer; 15 miles making a total of 32 bike miles and just under 50 running miles for the week.

No running this weekend due to a medical thing, no biggie just off my feet for a few days. Those of you in Swap – Beat don’t forget to email me you weight by Sunday, Viv and JKRunning have had their swag added to this post, Laura I need yours. Finally Nick has some excellent incentives for you all, go check them out.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Swag!

Laura Billy's Boot Camp DVD set CLAIMED by Laura

Viv (IronMan CoolMax Socks and Gu Roctane) CLAIMED by Pat

JKrunning $25 iTunes Card CLAIMED by Maddy

Robin (SC Brooks shirt and a pair of running socks) CLAIMED by NikeMom

Julianne (The Footwheel) CLAIMED by Julianne

Nick (1 Year Subscription to UR) CLAIMED by Robin

Stuart (Nike+ iPod Armband, Nike+ Chip, Pre Poster) CLAIMED by Maddy

Mediocre Pat (24 Vanilla Gels) CLAIMED by Laura

MCM Mama (Brooks LRS shirt) CLAIMED by MCM Mama

Stuart: Nike+ iPod Armband, Pre Poster & You Suck Postcards CLAIMED by Nikemom

Maddy ($20 gift card to Fleet Feet Sports)

Nikemom Johnny Wraps

and the Grand Prize of:

His 'n' Hers Nike DriFit shirts, a signed Sanya Richards poster, Olympic Trials shoe bag & Steve Prefontaine Book

The first weigh in is this Sunday, the top 2 weekly greatest losers(winners) choosing prizes and an extra prize for the overall winner.

Monday, November 3, 2008

My own private marathon…

Well almost. Almost private and almost a marathon. I was actually scheduled to run 24 miles this weekend and 26 next, but I have a little out-patient thing this week and so with no long run this coming weekend I upped the distance to 26. Saturday it poured with rain on and off all day and we had thunder and lightening and everything and I was wondering what the state of the trail was going to be like. I hadn’t needed to worry as it was so damn hilly that it had drained pretty well. I met with Jes from the TRC who was going to run for time rather than distance and we agreed to do a short out and back in the dark meet up with the main group and then run with them. Anyway best laid plans; we met some of the main group on the back section and then lost them altogether and then lost Jes as well, when I finally got back to the start her car was gone, in fact they were all gone!

But back to the run. So with the cloud swirling about and the temperatures almost prefect I plugged on up the hill. The mud on the lower levels gave way to rocks and shale and the higher I got the dryer it became. After seven miles of up (the first 2.4 were a repeat of the out and back) and an approx gain of 3500’ and a total mileage of 13 miles outbound I hit the turn around point at Castro Peak. Discretion being the order of the day; at the forth set of Keep-Out sign and with the antennas within sight I figured it was close enough. On the way back down I realized that I was going to come in way under on the mileage and so I started running mile repeats backwards and forwards on the trail, resulting in a very strange look from a pair of hikers who I saw three times from three different directions within the space of half an hour!

With the extra miles under my belt it was now a race against the clock, and I pushed down the hill aiming to get to car by 11:00am, failing by 10 mins.

All in all, despite being short on miles, it was a great run, had I had the time I could have clicked off the extra miles and probably a few more. It goes a long way to reinforcing that last weeks bad run was weather driven and that while I can run in the heat, there is a limit and 90degrees plus is about it!

The totals were: 23:7 miles (nearly a marathon; well within 5k), 5:13 trail time, 4:47 moving time, 6705’ of elevation gain; not surprising as the route was 43% up, 43% down and 14% flat!

There are some pretty good pictures here some babbling video here, here and here and the MotionBased data:

I am sifting through the swaps, start weights and all that good stuff and will post all the info tomorrow.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Tempo, Trick or Treat!

Friday night’s Tempo night. I was planning 10 miles but with Trick or Treating on the agenda I only had time for 8 miles. The plan was 2 miles at 8 minute pace, 4 miles at sub 7 minute pace, 1 mile at 8 minute and the last at 8:30.

Usual location on the beach path, it was overcast, cool a little humid and pretty empty, although I did meet my wife, who was also running, at my 2 miles mark (her six mile mark; she has a half marathon in December), a quick chat and I was off of my tempo section: the miles rolling by pretty quickly I managed to surprise a few cyclists who were pootling along. At the 4 mile mark I stopped stripped off my shirt and headed back, another 2 miles rolled by as I huffed and puffed getting more and more odd looks, I hit the 6 mile mark and started to put on the brakes and finally just eased into the last mile. As for the results well a picture is worth a 1000 words but it was pretty much on point of the four tempo miles the fastest was 6.46 and the slowest 7.04, just over my target , my other miles were pretty much where I wanted them to be pace wise. Here are the digits for those who need to know:

Afterwards I jumped in the car and headed straight to my son’s best friends house met my wife and we all went Trick or Treating, my son amassed a life time supply of candy…but that’s the point right!

Today it rained…a lot, thunder, lightening the whole nine yards, me thinks the trails might be a bit muddy tomorrow. I am meeting another member of the TRC an hour before the main group, at least it should not be too hot!

There’s still time to enroll in Swap-Beat and don’t forget to send me your starting weight by Monday morning and the item to swap. I’ll add a page with all the swag on it when I get a second, oh yeah and don’t forget the clocks go back tonight unless you live in Arizona or Hawaii.