Monday, April 11, 2011

Off to Boston

So I will be off to Boston this weekend to help with some coverage of the meet. Unfortunately, I was not able to gain entry into the elite mile out there, but I am hoping to race the 5k, at least. We'll see.

It looks like Delaney will be out there, which will be fun. I am going to cheer vigorously for him.

If anyone else is going to be out there, hit me up and we can share a jog or a shirt visit. Good luck to everyone all over the country racing this weekend. I wish that I could be joining the Western team out at Mt. Sac, but I will be able to go to Stanford with some of the crew in a few weeks.

Good luck to everyone and let's have a great weekend!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

SAC is BACK!!!

Am nervous...oh so nervous.

The countdown to Mt.Sac has begun! Actually it began like a week ago, but now that we're four days away the nerves are mounting to an extreme. Track races make me ten times more nervous than roads or cross country (which is saying something if you ask anyone who has had the extreme misfortune of spending any significant amount of time around me in the 72 hours leading up to a big race) I think that this is primarily owing to the fact that whatever time you run on a track is pretty honest. There are no hills or muck or any of that good stuff to make it less of a straight-up foot race and more of a foot-race combined with a feat of strength. So however fast you run on a track, well, that's how fast you are or aren't. At least that's how I see it.

The sole goal of Thursday night: to run a P.R. That's it. Just so that I know that the last couple years of training haven't been totally in vain and that maybe I've actually moved foward even though I don't always feel as though I have. Since it's always seemed to me that I don't run quite as well on the track, I've mulled over reasons as to why that may be, employed some good old-fashioned self-psychoanalysis, and looked at track races where I ran well as well as ones where I didn't, and noticed a huge difference in my approach to both. Mainly, whenever I turn it into an effort where the end result is strictly to hit a given time, you know, a "hit these splits and nothing else and if you start falling off of pace then you suck and nobody loves you anymore" kind of thing, I tend to run relatively poorly. And you can always tell when this occurs because the person who told you they would yell your splits at you suddenly stops telling you what you're hitting and just says useless and inane things like "keep moving foward!" or "great workout!" Seriously? Don't lie to me. Please just turn away and don't watch. Go get a snow-cone or something. I'll be done when you get back.

But anyway, whenever I find a pack to race, stick my nose in it, and actually race for the sake of competing, the time seems to take care of itself. So the plan for Thursday I have decided is to do just that. Get with a pack and race. Mt.Sac is always a strong and deep field so I know if I compete well, a fast time is bound to come with that. Granted, I have a range of splits that I will listen for in the early stages of the race that will give me an idea of what sort of pace we are at so as to prevent going out at some pace that can't be maintained or improved upon throughout the duration of that 25 lap joy-jog. It's easy to get caught up in the initial adrenaline rush of such a big race at a meet the caliber of this one--I learned that my freshman year the hard way.

May it be another magical night at Mt.Sac!!!

t-8 days to Beantown

At last year's Boston Marathon I finished 20th overall in 2:19:17. That was a small miracle considering my training had gone quite poorly. However, as you may know, that left me 17 second shy of the Olympic Trials qualifying standard (which I have yet to achieve before next years race). I have already competed in one Olympic Trials and considered it an experience of a lifetime, so competing in a second would frankly just be icing on the cake. But, this weekend, weather permitting, I'm taking one more real shot at earning a spot on the line in Houston this January. Boston obviously isn't the fastest course in the world, but for a strong, efficient (but admittedly not super fast) runner like me, it is not a bad course either. Plus, it's tough to beat the crowd support and the accommodations provided by adidas and the BAA. This race is a blast. My training, although certainly not perfect, has gone much better than last year. My total mileage is lower than it used to be, I have a chronic foot injury that bothers me as much as ever, and my workouts have been mostly alone because Art and Greg are both training for the 800 meters or something. However, a couple of my key workouts have been as good as ever.

Workout #1:
Three weeks ago, I went to Nelson Laux's house in Arvada to do my standard marathon pace long run on the "Arthur Loop". This a a crazy, car dodging, kamikaze 3M road loop with gentle rolling hills that is perfect preparation for Boston. I started out by running 10M easy on a dirt path in 71 minutes, followed by 3 laps of the Aurther loop (9M total) taking just enough time between laps to choke down a gel and a couple swallows of Gatorade. Averaging just under 15:50 per lap with my last lap being the fastest, I can honestly say is probably my second or third best effort over that course ever. Probably my best solo effort by far. Nelson joined me for an easy cool down of 3M during which I constantly tried to convince him to get in shape a make a come back.

Workout #2:
2 weeks ago, was my last true fitness test over any distance. I loaded up the family after work and headed to Boulder. While Char took the girls for a walk in the park, I pulled on my road flats, warmed up three miles and did 5 x 2 mile on the Fairview track with a 1 minute rest for gels and Gatorade. Averaging 10:17 while getting progressively faster throughout was a great indicator of my current strength and running economy. And although the last one at 10:13 was hard, I never felt like I really took it too the well and actually felt quite good cooling down after.

Now if only I could start feeling good during my taper, I would be supremely confident going into next weekend. For some reason, I always feel like crap the first week or two of my taper, but usually manage to put it back together by race day. Now, the only thing left is to pray for a tailwind :-)