30 September 2010

Making Decisions

Wow, time has gone by since I last posted. It has been a crazy couple of weeks. I'm back in rip city. Classes and work are in full swing. And my thesis. Though that is going really well. I've been in touch with a prof at another college who has done some work in the specific area of my field, i.e. wrote a text I'm using as a source. I met with my advisor on Tuesday and she was very happy/pleased with my progress :) Hopefully I'll actually start writing this thing soon. The goal is to be done with the paper by the end of the quarter and present/defend next quarter.

Running has been good. I'm in full taper mode and its starting to get to me. Only running 4 days this week...I may add a short short run tomorrow, like maybe 3 miles. Something long enough to keep me sane and short enough to keep me rested. I've been giving a my goals for the marathon (next weekend!) a lot of thought. Given my training level, fitness level and new found (? maybe I've had it all along. lets call it new realized) speed I'm headed for a HUGE pr. My only other marathon was a 3:54 over a year ago. Since then, I've dramatically changed my training and dropped 9:22 from my half marathon pr. I am definitely shooting for 3:15. I'm also playing around with the idea of trying to qualify for Boston. Since I started running half marathons in 2005, Boston was always a goal. I didn't tell many people that until last year though. It might be a day of race decision. If I go for it, I plan on running with a pace group. I have a feeling that talking with them at the expo next Friday will help in my decision.

If you told me in January that I would possibly attempt to qualify for Boston before the year was out, I would have laughed. Then, I would have had to run a pr half and keep it up for another 13.1 to qualify! I've never really been a great runner. My running career started when I was 13 and went out for track. I was a hurdler my first year. Then I switched to middle distance and distance. Eventually I joined the cross country team. By great runner, I mean fast runner. Sure, I showed up to practice and ran my best at meets, but it was never fast. At best I was our number four miler, going under 5 minutes once. Although, that was after h.s.  I never qualified for an invitational or the post season. Having a chance at Boston is like a dream for me. Qualifying would mean I'm a great runner. Well, I guess I can be great without that but it would make me feel a whole lot better about my running career.

For now its off to a long day of work and class. See you on the streets runners!

12 September 2010

A Whole New Level

Skagit Flats Half Marathon
11th overall, 4th age group

This is by far the best race I have ever ran. It was a 4:22 PR over my last half marathon in March. Skagit Flats is a local race (sort of) that is fairly small. There were ~400 runners in the half. I'm not sure how many were in the full marathon. Instead of driving 2 hours north the day of the race, I stayed the night at my great-aunt's house, which is only 30 minutes away. Before the race started, they announced a few marathoners who had run 200+ and 400+ marathons, including Larry Macon.

The course is an out and back through some rural roads with beautiful farm land as far as the eye could see (minus the start/finish at the local high school). The weather was rainy and colder. Probably around 54 at the start. Oddly enough, I run my best in that kind of weather. Guess I'm a true PNW runner.

I wasn't sure what race strategy I would use until the morning of the race. I was debating between starting slower (7:10's) and working my way down to 6:45's (1:30 is 6:51 pace) or just going out like hell and holding on until I died. I opted for the latter.

I lined up towards the front of the start. Well, at the front of the start. Based on my goal time of 1:30 and previous years' results, I figured I would be top 20 overall. I heard a few of the full marathoners talking about shooting for 2:42 (the winner was actually 2:38). I knew I didn't want to stick with them at the start. Still, when the gun went off I took off like a bat out of hell. I ran with a small group of guys for the first few miles. Around mile 2, four of us broke away a little. We took turns accelerating ahead to lead the group until the turn around. One of the other guys was a full marathoner and kept going. The other two runners and myself picked up the pace a little. Then, we picked up the pace A LOT. The splits(below) show that the really fast mile hurt me. One of the other two guys was able to recover from it a little better and pulled away. The other runner (Greg, as I learned from those cheering for him) and myself ran together until about mile 9 or 10 when I pulled away. I held it together pretty well for the first 9 miles (again, splits below). Even so, my “falling apart” wasn't that bad. My splits were still faster than my average pace from my previous PR. Somehow, I managed to pull together a really strong finish for the last .1 miles and crossed the line in 1:27:30.

Overall, I really enjoyed the race. It was a great, fast, flat course. The volunteers were really helpful. Though I didn't take any water during the race (not my smartest move), the cheering and support they gave was awesome. A few of the hs cross country teams manning the aid stations were given a list of entrants/bib numbers. So instead of the usual “good job” we heard our names. For me this gave a huge boost. If you're ever in the PNW in September, I highly recommend this event. I'll have more pics soon, for now there's just one, I believe around mile 4.

Nerd alert: My overall time at 4 and 8 miles was 26:26 and 52:52. Being the numbers guy I am, I thought that was really cool.


This past year, I have lowered my half marathon PR by 9:28. I am at a whole new level of running that I have never been at before. It is an amazing and humbling feeling at the same time. I'm slowly thinking that I might shoot for sub-3:20 at PDX next month.

02 September 2010


Not much time to post tonight. I've got to get to bed since I've got work in the a.m. and then I'm driving to see my wonderful fiance!

Distance: 9 miles
Time: 1:09:45
Pace: 7:45

Today's run called for 9 miles with 5x1000m @ 5k pace. I wasn't sure that I'd actually do the intervals. Tuesday turned into an accidental tempo run and yesterday was a 12 mile MLR. My legs were feeling pretty tired. I decided I'd try to hit 4:00 for the intervals. Somehow, I dug deep and actually got faster with each interval (mostly). Ended up with splits of 3:58, :54, :48, :49, :42. I was super happy with those times. I'm pretty confidant that I'll be able to PR in my half-marathon on the 12th. The only thing I'm not sure of is what to do about my LR. I'm suppose to run a combo 17 miler/tune-up race for Sat/Sun next weekend. Pfitz has the race first and then the LR. But...my race is on Sunday. Not sure if I should bag the LR, run it really slow or turn the half into a 17 miler. Any ideas?