Thought for the Day

Saturday, November 23, 2002

Santa Cruz Turkey Trot Double

Well, I had been mulling it over for a while, and some time late last night I decided to go over to Santa Cruz this morning and run the Turkey Trot. The 5K started at 8:20, and the 10K started at 9, so a double was a possibility.
As some of you may have noticed in the Mileage Mongers database, I've been lazy about running for several weeks, so I didn't expect much, but I didn't do badly in the 5K.
The course is as scenic as it can be, along a cliff overlooking the Pacific coast. I pressed the start button on my watch, and glanced to make sure it wasn't still showing zeroes, but when I got close to the first mile, I looked and saw that it was stopped at 11 hundredths of a second. I guess I hit it twice.
The split called at 1 mile was 6:35, and at the turnaround/halfway mark it was 10:20. I finished in 21:35, which was good enough for second place in my age division and an etched glass commemorative coffee mug.
I decided to run the 10K as a fairly hard training run, but I didn't get an official time. I was ticking off 7:30 miles like clockwork.
With no pressure, it was somehow easy to settle into a good pace. I ran it in 46:37.
A pretty good unplanned day at the races. I hope everyone else has as much fun as me this weekend.

Sunday, October 27, 2002

Silicon Valley Marathon 2002

First, I rediscovered a fact which always seems to surprise me. I am not superhuman.

I had dreams of 3:20 dancing in my head for twenty miles this morning. I began to fall off my pace at mile 19. I just struggled in from mile 21 on.

3:44, or thereabouts. Thinking that the results would be on the web, I didn't bother to try to crowd in and see them after I finished. No splits. I can't find my race watch.

Second, this was a fantastic marathon. From everything I saw, it was as well-organized as always. As always, a skimpy expo and not a lot to choose from in the food after the race. But a beautiful course this year.

That's it. Can't write any more now.



Monday, October 21, 2002

The Relay 2002

The Red Hot Runners finished 66th out of 278 teams overall. We had wanted to compete as a mixed team, but ended up with too few women runners. We only had four women, and 8 men.
We finished in 27 hours, 2 minutes, and 19 seconds.
I ran legs 10, 22, and 34.
Leg 10 is the toughest one in the race, 8.9 miles, with a 1400 foot climb in two miles after the first mile. But there is a fantastic view of the Napa Valley after you crest that ridge and start down the other side. You can't do great time coming down because it's steep and rocky and you have to watch your footing. I was able to keep running all the way to the top, and I finished it in about 76 minutes. That was starting around 4 to 5 in the afternoon. I passed four other runners, but was passed by four myself, three of them in a pack as the course levelled out for the last two miles.
My next leg was 2 am that night, more or less level, on Skyline Blvd. I covered the 4.2 miles in about 32 minutes. Not great, but I was really feeling beat from the first leg. The really discouraging thing for me was that the only other runners I saw during the run were two who passed me.
My last leg was another tough one, a total of 6.2 miles, starting with a long, slight downhill, then finishing in the last almost two miles with a very steep uphill into a sandstone quarry. It was the hardest 49 minute 10K I've ever run. I think it was my best effort of the weekend, because I paced myself right to be able to run the hill well, and I caught and passed another team with about a hundred yards to go. No one passed me.
This is a pretty short race report considering all I've been through this weekend, but I just don't have time to work on it. But now a lot of you guys know what this is like. We had a great time.
I'm really happy with how I ran, although I'm very sore now, and I'm sure I won't get the best possible time in SVM next Sunday.
I'm not injured in any way, and the soreness is just muscles.

Monday, October 14, 2002

Primo's Run Half Marathon

I decided to run this half marathon instead of the Big Basin Redwoods for a couple of reasons, but mainly because I thought it would be easier.
Other reasons are that this is one of the biggest running events in the Bay Area, with a 5K and 10K also offered, and I've never run it before.
There were about 700 half marathoners, and about two thousand each in the 5K and 10K.
Beautiful weather in the hills east of the SF Bay. I wore a tee-shirt, but had my gloves on the whole race. Gently rolling hills.
I couldn't find my racing/track watch, so I don't have my splits.
There was a major screw up in course direction. The lead group went off course. Some time before the main pack went off, the course was corrected. Some between that point and the leaders got directed back onto the course by a shortcut. The leaders got back onto the course by a longer route.
So some people went about a quarter of a mile long, some went about a quarter of a mile short, and some ran the right course. It looks to me like I had the short course.
This happened between mile 2 and mile 4. I didn't see the 3 mile mark, an indication I was probably off the course, The split called at 2 miles was 14:40, then at 4 miles it was 28:30. I don't think I sped up at all in those two miles.
So I ran about a half marathon, probably a quarter of a mile less, in about 1:37:15.
I'm happy with that time. Even over the full course I would have been under 1:40. Considering the rolling hills and the fact that I ran 20 miles LSD 3 days before, I think I could beat 3:20 in the Silicon Valley Marathon, if I wasn't running the Relay next week. I don't know if I should count this as a new PR.
I'm going on the road to look for work, so I may not be in touch much over the next few days. I'm looking forward to reading all of the marathon race reports, though.

Sunday, October 6, 2002

Pet Friends 5K

Penny and I ran the Pet Friends 5K on Saturday. It's a fun little race, probably about 50 runners. I thought the course was short, but the race director, who has done lots of other races, said it "could be twenty or thirty yards" short.
Penny was very excited from the moment that we pulled into Spring Grove School. I think she may have actually rememberred last year's race. She started out almost dragging me down the first straightaway. There were a couple of other dogs with us at that point, but when we turned the first corner, after about a quarter mile, we had a little bit of a lead over the whole field.
We were passed just before the one mile point, we which we hit in 6:39, by a medium/small dog running a very even pace. Penny and I just aren't the types to run that way, however effective that might be. Penny has even less self-restraint than I do.
Penny put too much into the first mile. Through the second mile, we traded the lead aomngst the big dog division with a blue tick. That's a breed something like a big springer spaniel. A beautiful dog, who could easily outrun her master.
There were water bowls just before the two mile point. Penny gladly slowed and stood by the bowls, but acted like she didn't know she should take a drink. After a few seconds, I said, "Let's go." and we took off again, hitting the two mile point in 7:35, 14:14.
We were not going to catch the blue tick, and a schnauzer came up from behind. Penny actually waited for this dog to catch up before she would start racing again. Then she would slow and walk for a while, then want to run again. Somewhere in the last few hundred yards, whe decided she wanted to catch up, but she couldn't do it before the end of the race.
We hit the three mile mark in 7 minutes flat, 21:14, and the finish at 21:46.
So we took third in our division. Penny and all of the dogs had a great time. We had taken first last year, but three minutes slower over the same course. There was some tough competition.

Monday, September 30, 2002

Trailblazer 10K

Shoot.
After I wrote this, I realized it was longer than the race reports from RTB. Oh well, read if you want.
My wife says I have a compulsive personality. I certainly have a family history of compulsive behavior. Many things I spend my time on have a compulsive nature to them, including running and participating in online groups.
A couple of months ago, July 13, I ran a 43:41 10K and got it into my head that I ought to be able to run a sub-43 10K, going under my age, 43. I made an attempt on September 13th, but missed it. So the next week, I tried again, then again the week after.
So I wasn't planning to race this weekend, but I knew there was a race in Mountain View on Sunday. Yesterday I woke up at 6:21. I looked at the clock and the gears in my head started to slowly turn.
If I got dressed quickly, grabbed a light breakfast on the way, and didn't hit any unexpected traffic, I could be registered by, oh... 7:45 maybe. The race would start at 8:30.
So I was gone.
I was registered by about 8:15, but the start of the race was delayed a few minutes while the course monitors were getting in position.
The course is all on a paved, mostly flat, but undulating pedestrian/bicycle path, partly what is called the Stevens Creek Trail and partly through Shoreline Park.
I had very little chance to warm up. Then, like everyone else at the race, I had time to cool off at the start. Still, I started out feeling good, like I was running comfortably at a good pace. I may have started too fast. I didn't feel like I was slowing down a lot, but a lot of people passed me after about half a mile. One guy in particular, had a very stiff running style. He seemed to be running close to my pace, and I was thinking, "I hope my form looks better than his."
I was very happy with my early splits, but they may have been screwy.
You'll see why I say that.

1-- 06:35 6:35
2-- 13:26 6:51
3-- 20:35 7:09
4-- 27:16 6:41
5-- 36:20 9:04 ???
6.2 43:41 7:21

I'm guessing that the mile 5 marker was actually at one mile to go, but who knows. Something was off.
I know I did lose some concentration between mile 4 and mile 5. A runner ahead had started walking. That's pretty unusual at the pace he had been running. I mean, you see people stop and limp sometimes, and you see people slow way down. But you don't often see someone running better than 7 minute miles just get tired, walk for twenty yards, then start running again, but that's what this guy did. At the same time I was catching him, I was catching the stiff-looking runner I mentioned before.
The three of us ran in a loose pack for a while. This was a little before we should have seen the mile 5 marker. I think every time I pass a mile marker during a race, it gives me a little boost. I know I'm closer to the finish, and I have a better idea of how I'm doing against my goal.
After we finally passed the misplace mile 5, I started to pick it up. I immediately left the other two in that pack as if they weren't moving. I only realised then that they were both dying, trying to hold on. I had lots left, but I had just naturally, lazily, fallen into pace with them.
Another thing which may have affected me was the fact that some time during the race the infusion set from my insulin pump, a little plastic tube that goes under my skin, pulled out. I didn't notice it until I took off my sweaty shirt to put on a dry one after the race.
As I said, I don't know when it happened, but it had an affect on my blood sugar, and could have affected my performance.
Oh, well. Sooner or later I have to stop running 10Ks every weekend, but I still feel compelled to get this out of my system.
Somebody please stop me. :-)




Monday, September 23, 2002

Palo Alto Moonlight Run 10K

Mon Sep 23, 2002
There were three events, the 5K walk, the 5K race, and the 10K. There were more than a thousand runners in the two races, and probably two thousand more people in the 5K walk. So it was a big event.
The Palo Alto Moonlight Run 10K was run over exactly the same course as the Baylands FrontRunners Run for the Community 10K that I did a couple of weeks ago. This is a much larger event, though. And it started at 8:45 PM. And I was sick. And to try to clear my sinuses, I had a huge, spicy barbacoa (like a burrito, but with tons of barbecued beef) for dinner, and while it did help to clear my head, it wasn't completely digested at post time.
I had originally planned to run the 5K at this event, but changed my mind to try to get my elusive 43 minute 10K. So over an uneven surface that I had failed to PR on two weeks before, with a head cold, in a more crowded race, in the dark, I was hoping to have a breakthrough race.
What do you think?
I had a great time, but my time wasn't great.

splits:
1. 06:33 6:33
2. 13:51 7:18
3. 21:02 7:11
(missed markers for miles 4 and 5)
6. 43:00 (7:19 pace)

Finish: 44:36

I think under better conditions I can still break 43. It will have to wait.
I did several "surges" in the last two miles, and kicked strongly at the finish. I had more in the tank after. I just couldn't get into a groove I could hold onto where I was moving fast but comfortably.
I'm still not over this cold today. I'll do a 6 mile run tonight, but
I did nothing but rest yesterday.

Tuesday, August 27, 2002

Mount Madonna Challenge 12K

I wasn't anticipating any racing last weekend. In fact I was thinking that I wouldn't get much chance to run, so I did some pretty good workouts Thursday and Friday, then six miles early Saturday morning, before our plans had changed. I really trained through this race, which will do me well in some of the stuff coming up, but didn't help much on Sunday.
I know Bill Flodberg, the guy who created this race 27 years ago, and he gave me some advice for how to run it. He said that you need to get in a good position in the first half mile, because after that you hit the single track trail going up the mountain, and it's difficult to pass. I should have known that this was good advice for someone like Bill, who used to win this race, but maybe not the best advice for me.
I started out fast, staying in the front 10% of the runners, and reached the bottom of the hill out of breath. I had heard that this first hill was tough. I mean, the name of the race includes the words "Mount" and "Challenge." That should have been a clue, but I didn't really know what I was in for. I've run some big, tough hills, but I started this one trying to do my 10K pace. It went up steeply, then switched back the other way up the mountainside, going up steeply. Then the same thing again, and again. The trees and brush were thick around us, so you couldn't really see how close you were to the top. I'm panting like a dog and chugging along telling myself "It's okay, we have to be near the top." And every time I think that, I see runners on the switchback above me.
I climbed like that for as long as I could. Meanwhile, I passed two people who had started on the hill ahead of me, and about five people passed me. You really had to be careful passing, because the footing was uneven, the trail was narrow, and it dropped off very steeply on the downhill side. You could here people saying, "On your left... Coming through... 'scuse me..." all around.
After about fifteen minutes, and after I saw a couple of people ahead of me take brief walks, I started walking the steeper rises. About five more people passed me, but after that, I passed as many as passed me.
There were no mile markers anywhere on the course. When I got to where the constant uphill relented, (and became rolling steep up and down) I checked my watch. We had been going steadily uphill, climbing, for about twenty minutes. Knowing the course now, I would probably save a little more at the start and be more conservative at the bottom of the hill.
The rest of the course was just a good, tough, trail run. A lot of it was on dirt roads.
After doing quite a few road races, it was interesting to me to observe a difference in races like this. In some races the runners stratify. You run with the same group of people pretty much the whole way. Throughout this race I was passing people and being passed.
People got away from me, and I caught up with them. I got away from them, and they caught back up to me. Some people were great on the uphill. Some smoked on the downhill. Some ran out of gas toward the end. Some found their second wind.
It was a beautiful day, a cool morning just starting to warm up as I finished. I loved the course, the trails over needles and leaves and powdery dust, the trees, the hills, the meadows.
I was fourth in my age division for at least the third time this year, but the third place guy was three minutes ahead of me.
My official time over the 12K course was 1:06:42, but my watch time and the time that showed on the big digital timer's clock when I came in was 1:07:35. They must've screwed up somewhere. This is about my marathon pace, but it hardly matters on a course like that. My legs today feel like I raced twice the distance. I'm more sore from this race than I was after running 30 miles lsd last weekend. Hams were hurting in the race, but quads are complaining now.

Monday, August 19, 2002

Skyline to the Sea Stevens Creek Striders Clambake



Yesterday I ran further than I have ever run before in a single day. It was the Stevens Creek Striders annual Skyline to the Sea run and clambake. The run is on the Skyline to the Sea Trail, from Saratoga Gap, where Highway 9 intersects with Skyline Boulevard, to Waddell Beach. Runners have three options, the 18 mile section from Saratoga Gap to Big Basin Park Headquarters, the 12 mile section from there to Waddell Beach, or both, for a total of 30 miles. I did both.
Today I'm feeling fine. Lots of marathons have taken more out of me. This was not a race. As a matter of fact, the run organizers had us all chant before we started out, "This is not a race." It was just a long club run, with everyone sticking more or less with a group running at a comfortable LSD pace for them. I ran it in about 7 hours, with several stops on the way. We were at Big Basin Headquarters for at least 20 minutes.

Here are some pictures I took.
(Be aware that after you've looked at a few of these, Yahoo! is likely to say that my website has exceeded its data transfer quota and shut the site down for an hour.)


Wednesday, July 31, 2002

San Francisco Chronicle Marathon 2002

What could be better than a marathon through The City, the city by the bay, the city they built on rock and roll, sex and drugs, free love, China Town, the Bank of Italy (now known as the B of A), the Barbary Coast, earthquake and fire, and yes, Gay Pride? Certain parties who shall remain nameless have intimated that the Chronicle Marathon in San Francisco might not be one of the most carefully organized and managed events. I have to say that it isn't perfect, but it's a magical place, for a marathon or anything else. This is a world class urban marathon.
The Embarcadero, Fisherman's Wharf, Aquatic Park, the Maritime Museum, Fort Mason, Marina Green, the Palace of Fine Arts, Crissy Field, the Presidio, Golden Gate Park, the Great Highway (on the Pacific coast), more Golden Gate Park, Haight Ashbury, China Basin, Pac Bell Park, the Bay Bridge, Pier 39, the Ferry Building. That about sums it up.
I was concerned about parking before the race, and it took me a while to get parked that morning. I parked in the Embarcadero Center, close to the start, but I was afraid it was going to cost me an arm and a leg. It was only when I was leaving that I found out marathoners got free parking there for the event. It was only on Monday that I found out that some time in the last week they updated the maps on the web site to include information on parking, as well as lots of other information that hadn't been there before.
There were plenty of porta-potties, almost no lines, but the start area was kind of narrow. I had prepared for that pre-race evacuation that's necessary for me to avoid that embarrassing marathon running hazard we talked about recently. I ate enough roughage the day before, and I set my coffee maker to have a pot ready when I got up.
I had to leave home at 3 to get to San Francisco for the 6 am start.
For some reason, the coffee came out weak, it turned out too weak to give my guts the required stimulation to do their job on my first visit to the can.
Walking around near the start before the race, I found a coffee shop that was just opening. I got a cup of good, black stuff and got back into line. I had just finished my coffee and gotten to the door of a porta-potty when the race started. I was unconcerned because of the chip timing. I did start to wonder, though, while I was taking care of business, how quickly they turn off the start. When I did get out to the start, though, there were a couple of runners who had just started, and more, who looked like serious runners, who were just hanging around stretching. I decided I had time to warm up and stretch a little, so I did, and that explains my late start.
I hit the first mile in 7:17. A little faster than I should have been going, but I was pretty much alone. There was no one to pace myself with. As I caught up with people, I knew that I was actually ten minutes ahead of them all. They were running slower than my pace, so I couldn't stay with them either. Honestly, though, I knew I was going too fast at the start, but it's what I felt like doing. If I do more long runs, I'll be able to keep going that pace longer.
They do this weird thing in races in San Francisco. SF is full of one- way streets. To "facilitate vehicle traffic" for the Bay to Breakers, they alternately open two parallel streets to cars then runners. They do this in one place for the Bay to Breakers. They did it in four places for this marathon. Theoretically, the distance is the same whether you go around the block on one side or another. But it changes the elevation profile of the course for different runners. It also makes it tough if you're trying to run with someone. If you get separated, you could go completely different routes. Since I started almost 10 minutes late, I was usually around people running slower than I was. The first time the course split, around mile 8 in the Richmond District, I found myself running alone for almost a mile. It was very disconcerting running with no one ahead of me. I could have pretended I was winning the race if I'd though of it.
When I had to merge back in, a guy who had run down the other street actually stuck his arm out to keep me from going in front of him. So I ran behind him for two steps then passed and continued to move up.
I don't know what he was thinking.
So this is turning into another one of those posts that is so long I can't expect anyone to read it, and it's getting close to a week since I ran the race.
The weather was wonderful except for the headwind on the Great Highway, from mile 10 to the half. That took a lot out of me.
The half marathon had way more runners than the marathon, and they start it at just about the same time that the MOP from the marathon gets to the half, which means maximum crowding. After running through all of the slowest people in the marathon, I found myself dodging through a huge crowd of people only doing the half, and doing it slowly.
Other than the last three miles, which were flat, most of the pace fluctuations are due to hills. They changed this course to make it easier, but they could not make it easy. It is still one of the tougher marathons.
The last few miles I was just out of gas. My split for mile 25 was a little faster than the one before and the one after because I tried to pick up my tempo to finish strong. I was able to speed up for maybe a quarter mile, but I couldn't hold it to the finish, and I ended up even more exhausted. By the end, I was just hanging in there.

Here are all my stats. Sorry, no heart rate, but I can report blood glucose readings, which I don't see anyone else doing. :-)
Basal rate is the amount of insulin given hourly by my insulin pump.
Bolus was a dose of insulin to correct a high blood sugar, possibly caused by the adrenalin rush of starting a race.


Basal Rate: 0.2 U
BG:______103___(15 min pre-race)
Mile____Time___Pace
1.______7:17___7:17
2._(missed it)
3._____22:07___7:25 (2M ave)
4._____29:56___7:49
5._____37:30___7:33
6._____46:04___8:33
10K.___47:42___(chip time)
BG:______166
Bolus:___0.5 U
7._____53:53___7:49
8.___1:01:08___7:14
9.___1:08:51___7:43
10.__1:16:17___7:26
11.__1:23:56___7:38
BG:______140
12.__1:32:03___8:06
13.__1:40:19___8:16
HM.__1:41:13___(chip time)
14.__1:48:13___7:54
15.__1:56:21___8:07
BG:_______88
Food: 1 PowerGel
16.__2:05:54___9:33
17.__2:14:41___8:46
18.__2:23:35___8:53
30K. 2:32:26___(chip time)
BG:_______98
19.__2:33:12___9:37
20.__2:41:09___7:57
21.__2:49:36___8:26
Food: 2 Glucose Tabs (just felt like it)
22.__2:58:44___9:08
23.__3:09:05__10:20
24.__3:19:37__10:31
25.__3:29:31___9:54
26.__3:40:29__10:58
M.___3:42:50___(chip time)

BG:_______88___(10 min post-race)

Wednesday, June 19, 2002

Longest Day 5 Mile

Apparently 6/19/2002 was the longest day of the year, the summer solstice. At least that's why this race was run on a Wednesday. There were a lot of unique things about this race. The setting is Coyote Point County Park, which has access to miles of paved trails on the edge of the San Francisco Bay. The race was on a Wednesday, in the middle of the week instead of a weekend. It was in the evening, after people got off work. It was age and gender handicapped. Because I was a male over 40, I got a two minute head start. Of course, there were similar head starts for older men, women, and children 15 and under.

I'm tired. It's late. Here are my splits:

mile-time---split
1----6:43---6:43
2---13:39---6:55
2.5-17:55---4:15
turnaround
3---22:29---4:33--8:48 for the 3rd mile?
4-missed it
5---37:16--14:47--7:24 avg for 2 miles

I'm not sure of the accuracy of the course measurement. Obviously the third mile was longer than the others. This was out and back on the same course, so miles 1 and 2 were the same as miles 4 and 5.

Unofficial time: 37:16
Official time: 35:16 (age handicapped)

I won a medal.
Well, they promised a medal to the first 100 finishers. There were only about 30 of us running. I didn't place near the top overall or in my age group. Well, you can't be totally out of the race with so few people there.
Not being sure of the distance, it's hard to know what this race means. It was a good workout, though.
There was a moment before the race. There was a strong cold wind blowing off the bay. I turned and faced the setting sun, and the wind was coming from exactly the same direction as the sunlight. I closed my eyes and stood still, feeling the wind and the sun warming and cooling me. When I opened my eyes a few moments later, everything seemed different. I was totally relaxed. That alone was worth the trip.
One more race. Five more race miles. With marathons in San Francisco and Silicon Valley coming soon, I should be able to keep up.




Tuesday, June 4, 2002

Nisene Marks Park Marathon/Redwood City Police 5K Foot Pursuit

This is a two race post with lots of background information. Sorry it's so long.

Forest of Nisene Marks Park Marathon

In the late '70s, and the '80s, my family lived in Aptos, CA, just outside of the Forest of Nisene Marks Park. We had four different ways of running from our house into the park. There were five of us Nairn brothers. Chris, being youngest, stayed there longer as the rest of us moved out.
Chris ran the Nisene Marks Marathon more than a decade ago. He says it might have been 1990, but it seems to me it must have been in the '80s. Even back then, I was running more than he was, but he's always been in pretty good shape. He did a triathlon and he once biked across the country for Bike-Aid.
I had been afraid to attempt a marathon. I didn't think I could deal with my blood sugar in a 26.2 mile race. Because of several things, technological advances like home blood glucose testing, the new, hometown Silicon Valley Marathon, hearing of other diabetic athletes, and starting to feel old, I finally became a marathoner in October of 1998.
When I ran the Nisene Marks Marathon in 1999, I asked my brothers if any of them would like to do it with me in the future. Chris promised that if I would come to Wisconsin to run a marathon with him, he would come to Aptos to run this race again, with me.
So last year we ran the Mad City Marathon together in Madison Wisconsin, and this year, Chris flew out here to run Nisene Marks.
Chris got here last Sunday. He said that he figured that he had three days to get in shape for the marathon. After I picked him up at the airport, we got lunch then went directly to the hills. Madison is flat, so Chris wanted to do some hill running. We did about six miles with some serious hills, and Chris did very well. It turns out that was the longest run he did in preparation for this marathon. He had only been doing about 4 miles on the treadmill two to four times a week.
The next day we went over to Aptos to join our oldest brother, Buddy, who was visiting with my Dad in Aptos. We went for a jog in Nisene Marks. Buddy kept saying he would do whatever distance we were planning to do, but looking at him, I knew that wouldn't work. We ended up jogging/walking about three miles. But we got a good look at the park again, experienced the terrain, and talked about lots of stuff. Buddy had talked earlier about possibly running the 5K, but after this trip with Chris and me, he decided not to.
Chris weighs about 200 pounds, but is fairly lean. He owns his own roofing business, and he does a lot of climbing up and down ladders carrying shingles and tiles. His arms are about three times the width of mine. I knew this wouldn't be easy for him, but I had seen him do many difficult things, including Mad City the year before, and I knew he would be okay.

This was to be my first marathon with my insulin pump, a good way to get started with it, a marathon I was just out to have fun with, not a race.
I gave some misinformation about this marathon earlier. I said that there was about a 1700 foot climb. Here is what the flyer for the race says:
"Marathon is out and back with an elevation gain of 2500 feet in the first 12 miles. There are two steep climbs on the course. One from mile 5 to mile 6 and the other from mile 10 to mile 11."
Okay, that might sound difficult, but I should inform you that that statement is not true.
The race starts in Aptos County Park, which is a meadow in a narrow ravine between steep hills on both sides. From the starting line, runners begin climbing out of the ravine, a rise of maybe 150 feet in 200 yards. Then the road levels out for about half a mile, where it comes to another ravine and dips down, following the curve of the hillside as you go down and back up, probably a 100 foot drop with the same climb on the other side.
So you see, the marathon really has two steep climbs in the first mile.
It is true that there are steep climbs from mile 5 to 6, and especially from mile 10 to 11, but these are just increases in the degree of the slope, which really begins around three miles and doesn't let up for more than a few hundred yards until you turn around just after the summit.
What can I say about the hill/mountain running in the Nisene Marks Marathon? How about this; my ears popped near the top going up, then again near the bottom on the way down.
We ran the first six miles in 1:04, and felt great with that. In Madison, Chris had started too fast even though I warned him he was ahead of the pace I would have run alone. This marathon, we started very conservatively, well to the back of the pack. After the first mile, the road is pretty flat for two miles. It goes from pavement to dirt, too. We made very good time there, and we really didn't slow down terribly as we started to climb. The steeper portion, on the former track of what they called the "incline railroad," is about 600 feet in one mile. We were feeling it, but running strong and reeling in runners who had gone out faster.
We reached Sand Point Overlook, 640 feet higher up at the nine mile point, in 1:37. There was no great view that day, though; it was too foggy. It had been somewhat foggy and drizzly at the start, and the weather didn't really clear until early afternoon. I ran the whole race in a short sleeve coolmax tee, and I was okay, but I would have been more comfortable in long sleeves.
After Sand Point, a sandstone outcropping that makes an opening in the redwood forest, most of the trees aren't conifers. It's oak and manzanitas. When it's not so overcast, the sun shines through more than it can in the redwood forest, and it can get warm. That was never a problem, though.
We maintained the same pace covering the next 4.1 miles and 900 feet in elevation change to reach the turnaround in 2:22. just climbing 900 feet would have been okay, but there were a couple of places where it dropped down and went back up again, just to make it interesting.
I think Chris was just awesome through this. There's something to be said for working hard for a living instead of spending your days working the imprint of your butt into an ergonomic chair.
I thought we would be able to coast down the mountain at pretty close to the same pace we went up. Actually, looking at the splits, we were doing very well as we went back to the Overlook. We hit it for the second time, the 17.2 mile point, in 3 hours.
But before we hit the next marker, six miles to go at 20.2, Chris started to run out of gas. We started to do a lot of walking. Looking at our pace through to the finish of the marathon, I realize that when we ran, we must have been running pretty fast. But we mixed in a lot of walking.
Here are the splits:

mile....time......split...dist...pace
06.....1:04:19..1:04:19...06.....10:43
09.....1:37:40....33:21...03.....11:07
13.1...2:22:15....45:35...04.1...11:07
17.2...3:00:27....38:12...04.1....9:19
20.2...3:37:35....36:07...03.....12:02
26.2...4:50:54..1:13:19...06.....12:13

Time: 4:50:54
Place: 49th and 50th out of 63
Although I know I could run this marathon faster, I think this is a respectable time and position in this race. One of the reasons this marathon has a small field is the fact that a lot of people are justifiably intimidated by it.

Redwood City Police 5K Foot Pursuit

Like Nisene Marks Park, the course of this race had some history with me. I used to work at RealNames, one of those internet companies which just went out of business. It announced its "wind down" in May.
A few of my friends at RealNames used to run with me through that neighborhood after work. I wrote to a couple of them to see if they wanted to do this race.
I didn't put this race in the schedule because I wasn't sure I was going to be able to make it. First, I wasn't sure how I would feel the day after running Nisene Marks. Second, I wasn't sure if I could get my brother to the airport and get to the race on time.
Everything worked out. :-)
While I was trying to change into my running clothes discreetly in the parking lot by Oracle, where the race start and finish was, Benson and Will, the other former RealNames employees, walked up behind me.
We talked for a while about what we'd been doing. I'd just run a marathon. Benson had been running occasionally. Will had run a little, and had quit smoking, again, the day before. So we were ready to race.
We got to the back of the pack. The race director was up front saying something, but it didn't seem important. We heard a car horn and everyone started running. Oh, well, I guess it's time to go.
Although the course was certified, there were no mile markers or splits, which seemed really odd to me. I might have been perturbed by it if I cared about my time. I tried to run with Will and Benson, but Benson started to fall back on the one hill on this course, a bridge over a lagoon. I stayed with Will, who was doing a comfortable warm up pace for me until we got about a mile into the race. Then he started to slow down, and I slowed with him.
After what I think was the halfway point (the water stop) Will said he was ready to die. I suggested we wait for Benson, and he agreed. Will and Benson had gotten into pretty good shape while we were working together. When they expressed interest in this race, I was hoping they were still into running. No such luck, but maybe they'll get re-inspired.
After Benson caught up, we ran together for a while. Will always had a really good kick. With less than a mile to go, I told Will I didn't want him to pass me at the end, so I was going to start racing. I ran that last part at as near race pace as I could manage. It felt good.
Time: 27:59
After the race, while I was walking around, my quads started complaining a bit, but I think it was good for me. I don't really mind running the day after even a hard-raced marathon, as long as I do it easy.

All in all, it was a great running weekend with friends and family.

Monday, May 20, 2002

Heart & Sole 5K

This race was my 5K PR attempt on Saturday. It's a flat loop through a suburban neighborhood. It was a very boring place to run compared to most of the races I've done lately. There seemed to be a couple hundred runners there, but there was a 5K and a 10K. I haven't seen the official results posted yet, so what you see here is unofficial. The 5K and the 10K were run simultaneously on the same course. The 10K was just two laps instead of one.
I started close to the front, but not in the first line. Then some little boys crowded in front of me. Oh well, I think the only way to avoid this is to take a position on the line, and while I'm improving, I know I'm not an "elite" runner.
My objective in the first mile was to go under 7 minutes. I was sure I could do that, but I was not sure exactly what the pace should feel like. I went out hard, and I felt like I was doing well, but people were passing me, almost from the first block. After a while, I settled in a little bit, breathing hard but comfortably enough to keep it up, and not so many people were flying by.
I hit the first mile in 6:35.
I tried not to be shocked, and to hold onto that pace. I knew I slowed down some over the next mile, and people continued to pass. I think the ratio of people I passed to people who passed me in this race was about 10 to 1. I only passed about three people the whole time, and many of the people who passed me were running the 10K.
I did the second mile in 7:17, 13:52 for two miles.
I really felt like I picked it up on the third mile, but it turned out to be exactly the pace Doc recommended, 7:40, 21:31 for three miles.
It was quite discouraging to have people passing me on their way to the second lap for the 10K while I was finishing the 5K, but I was done in about 51 more seconds.
total: 22:22
That's my watch time, since I don't have the official time yet.
Well, I got my PR. Like Doc advises, I went out fast and tried to hold on.
This was kind of an odd experience. I did what I wanted to do in the race, but I didn't come away satisfied. It was good to run the first mile well under seven minutes, but it didn't seem like I was achieving that much because I was getting passed continuously. It was good to get a 5K PR, but because of the way the race was set up, it almost felt like I was dropping out early.
I didn't run anything close to consistent splits. I have issues to work out with my blood sugar.
I'm sure I can do better, but I won't try again real soon. The next two 5Ks I do will be dog and owner races, the Dog's Best Friend and the Mutt Strut. I'm going to try to bring my 10K time under 45 before I try to PR again in a 5K.

Based on some old numbers for my previous PR, these were Doc's original recommendations:

> 1st mile 7:15 (know you are ok at this speed)
race split: 6:34
> 2nd mile 7:30 (think positive and maintain)
7:17
> 3rd mile 7:40 (life will be wonderful shortly)
7:40 :-)
> .1 :44 (let the partying begin)
:51 :-(
>
> total 23:09

Then, after some review, he said this:

> Ok, after you run your sub 23's this weekend, why don't we start
> looking at sub 22:30's and work our way down?

Let's work down from 22:22!

Thanks again for your help, Doc. I'll let you know when I'm back in the hunt. I'll do some track work, but aiming for 10Ks for a little while.

Epilogue:

Okay,
My official time was 22:23. I had to correct my PR, darn it.
Then the other details are that I was 25th overall out of 205 runners and walkers in the 5K. Oh, and what's this? I was third in my age group?
That's right, ladies and gentlemen, the Bionic Man, Geronimo "Rucking Fox" Nairn, has won a medal in a race shorter than a half marathon! I take back all of the bad things I felt about this race before, because right now, I'm really thrilled.
I guess I've learned another lesson about racing: Hang around after the race at least until you're sure you're not in the medals. I'm sure it's better to get a medal on the day of the race instead of later in the mail.

Tuesday, April 23, 2002

Nicknames

Hi,
I've been going through some changes lately, and I'm thinking about my nickname. Geronimo has served me pretty well. My real name is Jerome, and Geronimo is to Jerome what Juan is to John. They called me Geronimo in my high school Spanish class, and it's the nickname my team mates gave me the first year I ran the Relay from Calistoga to Santa Cruz. When Nevada Nikki used this quote, it just struck me that Geronimo was a good name to use here, too.

"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in one pretty and well preserved piece, but to skid broadside, thoroughly used up, worn out, and shouting GERONIMO!"

However, to be truthful, I am not totally reckless. Although I haven't avoided adventure, I'm not really a thrill-seeker, either. That quote doesn't completely match my philosophy of life.
So I've been thinking of other possibilities.

Back when I worked for UMAX helping to make Mac compatible computers, there was a game called "Marathon." Other than the name, this game had nothing to do with the marathon race, except perhaps for the fact that it required hours of concentrated effort to get through it successfully. After hours at UMAX, we had many marathon sessions of playing Marathon with each other over the LAN. Marathon was the first of the fully 3-dimensional computer games which has players enter and move around in a virtual world, much like the real world except that it is frequently necessary to shoot others.
When I began playing, I was less experienced than the other players, so I chose the name "Mrs. Much." It fit me because I did miss much.
Then one day when I decided that my skill level was not so far behind the others, I changed my moniker to "Rucking Fox." That day I ruled the net. Everyone wondered who this "Rucking Fox" was who blasted them to smithereens.
Lately, my training has really started to show some results in my times and the way I feel when I run.
I'm considering changing my nickname to Jerry "Rucking Fox" Nairn. Of course, I can understand if there are any objections. I don't want to offend.

The other possibility comes from another part of my life. I have known for a couple of years that other type 1 diabetics like me were obtaining much better control of their blood sugars using insulin pumps. I tried to get one a couple of years ago, but was told I just wasn't sick enough.
Recently, I have been working with my current healthcare providers (GP, CDE, and endocrinologist) and today I was told that I will be getting a pump, probably within a month! I am really excited about this. It will mean so much to the flexibility of my life and my ability to control my blood sugar and my health.
This pump will work much more like a normal pancreas would. I'm hoping it will make me better, stronger, faster.
So the other nickname I am considering is "The Bionic Man.

Monday, April 1, 2002

Monterey Bay Half Marathon

The Monterey Bay Half Marathon was at the California State University, Monterey Bay, on Saturday. CSUMB is on the grounds of the former Fort Ord, a large military base just repurposed for this four or five years ago. As I warmed up jogging near the start near the stadium, a lot of things reminded me what this place used to be, like the stenciled messages on a lot of these very plain-looking, windowless buildings.

"EXPLOSIVES - NO SMOKING WITHIN 50 FT."
"RADIOACTIVE - AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL ONLY"

The stadium is nice, but not extravagant. It dates to before the place was a university. It doesn't look old or new. A red, rubberized track, showing some wear, and an astroturf field.

Once again, I didn't have the right clothes. Last week, the weather had been cool, and I went to a race wearing a long-sleeved shirt.
Then it turned out to be a very sunny morning.
Saturday, we had had a very warm day Friday. The forecast was for more warm weather. But Fort Ord was foggy all morning.
(It was still foggy when I left, so I don't know if they ever got any sun over there, but it got into the 80s in Hollister both days this weekend.)
My favorite long-sleeved shirts were at home in the laundry, but I had one, too tight and purple, but coolmax, in the bottom of my gym bag. It did the job for me, so I shouldn't complain.

The race was very well managed, water stops every two miles, well-marked with volunteers at every point where someone might possibly make a mistake, and emergency vehicles on the course.

The race is named for the bay, but it really goes out into the hills away from the ocean. I didn't get a glimpse of the bay except from the freeway on my way there and back. From some of the peaks you might have seen the water on a clear day, but as I said it was foggy.

The fog was never really thick, but at points you couldn't see more than fifty yards. It did effectively block out any warming from the sun, though, and the air was always moist and cool.
I started out fast, as Doc recommended. It turned out to be a little too fast, as I ran out of breath. I had to slow a little just to breathe, but when I got to the first mile marker, it turned out I hadn't slowed down too much.

This race is an official tune up for Big Sur, and they use the same mile markers that are used for the Big Sur Marathon, big cello-shaped plywood cutouts. It really is great training for Big Sur, too. The hills are tough.

I'm blathering on here too much again, so I'm going to go through the race really quick:

mile split
---- -----
1. 7:16 (Doc's fast first mile Rx)
2. 7:50
3. 7:27
4. 8:03 (Rolling hills to this point)
5. 8:23 (Hills start to get serious)
6. 8:15
7. 8:05 (A long downhill)
8. 9:29 (Steep uphill and other problem*)
9. 8:27 (Really steep up and down)
10. 7:58 (Starting the downhill trend)
11. 7:54
12. 7:18 (Huh? I sped up but...)
13.1 10:02 (9:07 pace for 1.1 miles)

* Between 7 and 8 I dropped and chased the cap to my glucose tablets, then had a slow water stop while I tried to wash down some glucose. So part of that long mile was a big hill, and part of it was clumsiness.

I have to believe that the mile between 11 and 12 was marked wrong, and that the last part was more than 1.1 miles. I did speed up quite a bit through that 12th mile, though, and the last mile or so was no longer predominantly downhill, just rolling.

As I turned the corner into the stadium parking lot, probably less than half a mile from the finish, there was some poor guy lying on the ground getting oxygen from the EMTs. It must be awful to get so close and not be able to finish.

I had a great day. I ran a 1:46:33. I can't remember any other half marathon times, though I know I did several in my teens and early twenties that were much faster.

But I'm calling this my over 40 PR for this distance, and I'm happy with it. Knowing that my legs weren't really fresh going into this, and this course is rolling hills from beginning to end, with some significant altitude along the way, I have high hopes for Big Sur. I just need to put in a couple of good long runs and I'll do well.