Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Yet another comeback attempt

So I start yet another comeback attempt... which will last until the next injury.

(X,9,X,14,X,X,18)=41

Tue- Cloudy, 66F, GA 9 - My quads were still sore from the half but this is the "good" kind of soreness. The kind of soreness after a hard workout. I finished my run at 10:30pm today! Amen to long summer days. It didn't get completely dark till about 10pm. It was almost a full moon so I completed my run in the moon light.

Thur- Cloudy, 64F, Medium-Long 14 - I felt sleepy yesterday so I blew my run :( I wonder how many miles I'll get in this week...

Sun- Cloudy, 73F-66F, Long 18 - I really felt like bagging this run during the first two miles. I claimed that it was too hot (the folks in TX & AZ would laugh their heads off if they heard this) and had a bunch of other excuses. Eventually, I won the mental battle. Once I got past 4 miles it was much better. I finished my run again at 10:30pm. Today, it was totally dark since there was no moon.

The story of the week was that I got in only 3 runs. I missed 3 runs! I put too much pressure on myself on those three days aiming for what was on schedule. I should have instead just got in 5 milers, then I would have had 56 for the week ... I've got to remember that any run is better than no run.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Scotiabank Vancouver Half-marathon Race Report 2007

Scotiabank half-marathon, Vancouver, BC, 7:00 am
Temperature: 50F, Heavy rain & Light thunderstorm
Humidity: 94%

Executive Summary:

All signs pre-race indicated that this run would be a wash - I had not run at faster than 8:20 pace for over two months, I had got in just one 8 miler in the last two weeks, and I had not run for a week! It did end up being a wash but not because of the run. I've never run in heavier rain in my life! The run wasn't that bad. I was on PR pace for most of the race before dying at the end. This ended up being my second fastest half time.

This race is a keeper and Vancouver is a great city. I'll be back next year again! The Vancouver marathon is on my list too now.

Pre-race:

The Scotiabank half was advertised was advertised as being "the most scenic half-marathon you'll ever run". They weren't exaggerating - it indeed was the most scenic half I've ever run. The course seemed fast - a net elevation loss. I was optimistic about a PR ...

Unfortunately, I have been going through a string of injuries. These started five weeks before the Eugene marathon. Initially, my injuries were running related. Lately, my injuries can only be described as freakish/unlucky. I lost 8 days after twisting my ankle running on grass. I twisted the same ankle twice after that. Two weeks before the half on a rafting trip, while wearing booties with no arch support, I inflamed by right heal. I also bruising my ankle after hitting a rock. The ankle remained swollen for days. The last straw was that at the PT's office - the heat pads burnt and bruised my heel ...

On Friday, I walked all day exploring Vancouver. By the evening the soles of both my feet were killing me... Luckily, I remembered the Dr. Scholl's TV ad about his massaging insoles - "Are you gellin' gellin'?" I found a Canadian pharmacy and got the insoles for my walking shoes. The amazing thing is that by the end of Saturday all my foot and heel issues were gone!

I had very low expectations for the race. Therefore, I didn't bother staying off my feet on Saturday. I even had Indian food for dinner in the evening - something I don't dare doing even before my long runs. It was even more foolhardy given the GI issues I dealt with in Eugene.

The race started in front of the UBC student center. This was a 10-15 minute drive from my hotel in downtown Vancouver. I was nervous that I would get lost. As I drove in the rain I hoped I would make it. The car radio was tuned to a weird techno mix of "Sweet child of mine". That was the strangest thing I ever heard... Just when I was certain I was lost I saw a bunch of cars. At 6:15am they had to be runners heading to the race as well!

I had not run for a week so I decided to run a warm-up mile before the start. My pace was around the 9 min/mile mark. Hmmm... this was not exactly close to half marathon pace.

As I lined up I noticed that some folks weren't really standing where they should be. Generally, you can tell the folks who should be right in front, from the folks who shouldn't... I've noticed that the amount of stuff you have on is usually directly proportional to your pace. It's not unusual seeing faster dudes wearing singlets/having no shirt on and not wearing a fuel belt... There were a couple of Punjabi females lined up in front of me. I could bet a hundred bucks that they couldn't be faster than me :)

Race:

The race started at 7am sharp - no warning before hand just the sound of a horn.

1-5km:
4:22 (7:03, 168), 4:19 (6:58, 184), 4:12 (6:46, 189), 4:23 (7:04, 186), 4:29 (7:14, 189)

As expected the first couple of minutes was dodge obstacles time. I passed Punjabi female 1 & 2 in seconds. I heard someone complain - "There's a lot of elbowing going on up in the front". I thought - "That's what happens when you don't start where you're supposed to".

In the first mile a couple of Kenyans breezed by us. They must have been late to the start. Prize money is by gun time so being late for them could mean a missed pay day. I found out later that both the Kenyans (a male and female) ended up making up the gap and winning. The male even set a course record!

The first 6-7kms were an out-an-back on the UBC endowment lands. The out part was a gentle downhill with an inverse climb on the way back.

5-10km:
4:40 (7:31, 189), 8:57(6+7)(7:13, 186), 4:24(7:06, 185), 4:09 (6:42, 181)










I have grown up in metric land and even spent my undergrad years in Canada but I started running in the US. Therefore, the running section of my brain is not tuned to thinking in in kilometers. For most of the race I was converting distances from kilometers to miles in my head. I computed that a km was around .65 miles (now I know it's .62 miles :)). The 5k, 10k,.. km markers were great since I knew what they were in miles!

The course by the ocean beaches was truly beautiful. That was until it started raining. Once it started raining it was difficult to admire any scenery.

The 10th km was a steep decline - almost a drop of 300ft. This accounted for the net elevation drop of the course and then some. The rest of the course was mostly rolling.

10-15km:
4:23 (7:04, 187), 4:29 (7:14, 185), 4:31 (7:17, 188), 4:47(7:42, 187), 4:38 (7:28, 186)

The weather for the first half hour had been perfect. After that it started pouring! It it did not take too long for me to get drenched - that feeling of running with soaked shoes... I felt for the volunteers. It would not have been fun for them!

There were folks in front of restaurants sipping coffee and cheering us. I bet they were thinking - "Why would any sane person want to run in this?". I was thinking the same thing. I would not have minded exchanging places with them. I though about how it would feel like to get back to my car and sit on the heated seat...


15-21.10km:
4:33 (7:20, 186), 4:43 (7:36, 186), 4:45 (7:40 185), 4:58 (8:00, 184), 9:38 (7:17, 189)


The race finished in Stanley park/Second Beach. To get there we had to cross the Burrard bridge. This was a 100ft climb.

I had nothing lift for the climb -nada, zip, zero... I tired to move my legs but they did not move. My pace slowed down to the 8:30s. I wish I could blame the heavy rain or something else but that was not it... I just was not sufficiently prepared. It's just a reminder that I need to train for St. George else I'll be in for more of the same except that it'll be worse.

The good thing about the markers being in km was that it prevented me from focussing/obsessing on the distance. I remember getting to markers 18km, 19km etc. but it just was not the same thing mentally as getting to mile 11...

I was happy to get back to my car and away from the rain. I did explore Stanley park during my trip. It must be a runners paradise. Miles of scenic trails! Ironically, as soon as I got to my car the sun came out. I was not complaining - I'd rather have it rain during the race than when I am sight seeing! All in all I thoroughly enjoyed my four day Vancouver trip!

Avg HR: 184

Results:

Clock: 1:35:45
Chip: 1:35:28 @ 7:16 min/mile

OA: 247/3350
Male: 194/1466
AG: 31/165



Sunday, June 17, 2007

Throwing in the towel...

The damage from last week's rafting trip has pretty much stalled my running. I have PF like symptoms on my right leg and my ankle is bruised and swollen... I cannot phantom how just wearing booties and walking on rocks could cause so much harm. It did not feel comfortable but a swollen ankle?

The Vancouver half which should have been such a fun run will end up being a wash...

Time to hit the gym.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Kicking off the 18/70

Week 1/18: (5 R, 8 GA, 11 ML, 5 R, 9 GA, X, 15 ML) = 53.7

I think I need to get back to writing my daily snippets. I can't remember anything about my runs for the week. All of them (except for today's run) started after 8pm. My run on Thursday started at 9:15pm! Thank you Spring... Thinking of my half marathon on the 24th, I tried to crank up the pace a bit for my runs on Friday and Sunday.

Today's 15 miler went well. It was sunny and in the 60s. The wind provided a respite from the sun... Running into the wind in warm temperatures is not as bad as in winter. There were quite a few runners getting in their long runs.

I went white water water rafting on the Wenatchee river on Saturday. Negotiating the rapids and the frigid water was fun. However, my legs did not like the booties that I wore. Today the bottom of both my feet seem to be acting up... Hopefully, this is not the beginning of a bout of PF.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Battling the elements

Today's 20 miler was more of a mental victory than anything else.

With temps getting up to 85F and it being sunny all day I waited until 6:30pm before I started my run. It was still 79F and sunny when I started but I knew it would get cooler and the sun would set by the time I finished. The first 40 minutes was quite a struggle. I just focused on running and not worrying about the fact that I needed to run 20 miles in all. That was when I had a break through of sorts. I decided to take off my shirt. Running felt much better for the rest of the run. I had forgotten to body glide up so this was a smart move for more reasons than one.

Apart from the heat I was still dealing with remnants of my VMO injury and I had managed to re-twist my ankle yesterday (this time it was not as bad as last week so I was able to run on it).

For the second half of my run I was battling fatigue more than the heat. The sun had set and there was a gentle breeze. I had to run through a rain shower too. Running in the rain when you don't have a shirt on is kind of fun. The sweet smell of rain in the midst of the heat is very different from that of cold rain.

I don't seem to be too sore from this 20 miler. I now kick off the Pfitz 70/18 for St. George. With this 20 miler I've crossed 1000 miles for the year. I know that's not much but considering I ran only 1200 miles last year this is a victory of sorts...

Week: Mon - 10, Thur - 14, Fri - 10, Sat - 6, Sun - 20
Total: 60.1

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