Sunday, November 25, 2007

Seattle marathon 2007 volunteer report

This was the second year in a row that I volunteered at a water stop at the Seattle marathon. Both the times were for "Asha For Education" at the 30k(marathon)/7 mile (half) water stop. I guess this is going to become my way of saying "thank you" to the folks who volunteer in the races I run. What's nice is that Microsoft matches volunteer hours at $17/hr so this effort was worth $17*7 to Asha.

The folks running the marathon this year lucked out! I don't think there could have been a better November Seattle day for running. It was a little chilly but dry and sunny.

I reached the water stop at 6:45am and left at around 2pm. We got the tables set up, diluted the Gatorade, set up the water, handed the water & Gatorade, cleaned up and finally helped pack up the stuff into the moving trucks. The lead half-marathoners passed first, then the pack, the walkers, the lead marathoners, the pack, the walkers, and finally ending with the last runner with police escort, before the roads were re-opened. The only glitch was when there were more half-marathoners than we could handle so we had to keep filling the Gatorade cups and leave then for the runners to pickup themselves...

We also setup an impromptu band with empty gatorade containers and mixers, as the instruments. Hopefully, it was helpful to the runners and not cacophony (which would have worked too since they would want to run away from the water station as soon as possible.

I've now got 96 packets of GU (unfortunately I'm used to using Cliff shots) and two big containers of Gatorade concentrate at home. At the end of the race all the spares are thrown if not taken since they're donated to the race. We were more than glad to help them get rid of it :)

It was nice for us to get this note after the event:

“You are an incredible team. You were incredible last year and have been incredible this year too”! - Terry Montague, Water Station Co-ordinator, Seattle Marathon Association

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Heading to India...

This was another good week. All in all I had 45.7 miles - 3 runs on the treadmill (1 LT, 1 10 miler & a VO2 max - 6*800m @ 5k) and 2 outside.

Some thoughts as I ran my 17 miler today
- I saw someone I know, and running the Seattle marathon tomorrow, panting up the 51st hill. Why is he not saving his legs for the race?
- What a beautiful day for running: 45F, sunny and dry
- Dodging two dogs and how their owners tried to explain their dogs' (mis)behavior
- As I passed a family of three, the mom and daughter walking & the dad on the skate board, the daughter warned her dad to watch out for the runner on the right. I am a runner - :happy)
- I had intended to run 16 miles but then I remembered that this would put me at around 44.4 miles for the week. So I need to run 16.6 miles today. Then I reasoned that if I ran 16.6 miles it made no sense not to run 17 miles. That's how I convinced myself run an extra mile :)
- It was getting cold on my way back, running into the wind.
- The beautiful sunset. I run for moments like this!
- Toxic fumes from a bulldozer and a man smoking just did not seem to go with the fresh/unpolluted air by the river...
- I continue to struggle up the 51st hill at the end of my long runs.

I will be heading to India on vacation on Thursday so I don't know how much running I will be able to get in over the next three weeks. I won't be brave enough to try running outside. Hopefully, I'll find a treadmill somewhere. My goal for the vacation is the typical holiday season dream - eat all the junk I want to and not gain any weight :)

An interesting article in the NY times about getting back to an activity after a break: Short Layoff, Long Comeback - Gina Kolata

"One of the first and most noticeable effects of detraining is that that plasma volume is lost."

"But if runners keep running, even if they cover many fewer miles than at their peak, they can maintain their plasma volume"

"Within three months of detraining, athletes are no different in these measures than people who had been sedentary all their lives."

"But the good news is that it takes much less time to regain fitness for a specific sport than it did to become fit in the first place. Even exercise physiologists are surprised at how quickly the body can readapt when training resumes."

Sunday, November 18, 2007

40 miles +

Finally, five weeks after St. George my right knee has fully recovered (fingers crossed). I have three weekly mileage hurdles - 40 mpw, 60 mpw & 70 mpw. Crossing either of them usually gives me a good idea of where my fitness is. This week I got past the 40 mpw barrier for the first time since the marathon. I had 2 good tempo runs, a 10 miler and a 14 miler. The other run was a 5.5 miler dedicated just as runners across the country did. It was a very peaceful run just after the rains - windy, cloudy and in fading light, just like it must have been in Central park on 11/3.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

US Olympic Mens Marathon Trials

I stayed awake on Friday night so that I could catch the trials starting at 4:45am PST. It sure was worth staying awake for. I wish I was still living on the east coast and able to watch it in person. The three US OT qualifiers could not be more deserving!

USATF race coverage
NYRRC picture gallery

1. Ryan Hall: I had watched him during the London marathon. The way he broke away from the rest of the lead pack was amazing. He made running look so effort less all the way through to the end. Surely, a medal hopeful at Beijing. His response when asked when he will be training for Beijing: "I have been training for it for a long time now, starting with my first 15 mile run around the lake."

2. Dathan Ritzenhein

3. Brian Sell: He is considered to work the hardest of the US runners, averaging 160 miles a week. If he did not make the top 3 he indicated the he was going to quit running and go back to Dental school to provide for his family.

The new dawn for US distance running was clouded by the death of Ryan Shay when he was 5.5 miles into the race. I cannot imagine what his family must be going through but yet his father took the time to thank the running community:

My Son Ryan Shay 11/3/2007 2:55PM - "My family, Alicia, and I cannot thank you enough for your thoughts and prayers. The calls and e-mails are over whelming. God bless you all. Joe Shay"

Small Town Mourns a Running Marvel

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