Thought for the Day

Sunday, March 28, 2004

DC Ranch 5K/10K Double 2004

Earlier I said if I went to the DC Ranch Run, I'd run the 10K. If not, I'd run 20 with the East Valley Runners.
So I thought about it, and decided that doing both the 5K and 10K would be almost as good as doing a long run, but I would get to race, too.
The 5K would start at 8:25, and the 10K was at 9. Plenty of time for both.
I felt very tight in the 5K. I wasn't sure what the course would be like, and it turned out to be all rolling hills. Steep rolling hills.
My quads felt pretty tight the whole race, and the late start made it very warm. I could see a couple of runners in my age group pass me near the first mile point, but try as I might, I couldn't catch them. I finished fourth in my age group in 21:34.
It turns out it was a very competitive age group, and by that, I don't mean that we were all fast. I mean that there were seven of us within a couple of minutes of each other. There were runners in my division 2 and four seconds behind me. So it's good that I kept pushing to the finish.
My splits:

14:02 7:27 (This mile marker had to be wrong.)
21:34 7:32 6:51 (For 1.1 miles.)
6:57 pace

The 10K included the entire 5K course, the first half at the start, and finishing along the same route, but with a long trip into the foothills, part way up a mountain, and back down.
Where the 10K course split off from the 5K course, a volunteer was saying, "Turn right and take the sidewalk." Well, some of us went on the sidewalk, and others stayed on the street. The sidewalk had more turns and dips than the street, so some of us did a little more than others. I was a little bothered by it, but I don't think it mattered much since it was only for a few yards.
It was getting very hot out, too. I drank as much as I could while running and threw water over myself at every water station.
I didn't feel as tight as I had in the 5K. I was able to settle into a more comfortable race pace. You can see some of the uphills and downhills in my splits. I held my own on the uphills, and did very well passing people on the downhills.
I ran a 45:09, and took third in my division.

22:23 15:06 7:33
29:28 7:04
36:45 7:17
43:49 7:04
45:09 1:20 6:40
7:17 pace

There were no awards or medals, just a discount at the local running store. I got $10 off for finishing 3rd. First and second were worth $25 and $15 off. It's all right, I got a nice shirt off the clearance rack, but I would've like to have gotten some race junk to
put on my shelf.
Oh well, it was a great way to spend Saturday morning.
I was pretty tired the rest of the day, and a little sore this morning.

Sunday, March 14, 2004

Valley of the Sun Marathon 2004

I'm sure some of you are asking yourselves things like, "Isn't Jerry ever embarrassed to report on his marathons?" or "When is Jerry going to wise up and train correctly for a marathon?" or "Why doesn't Jerry pace himself better so he doesn't have to hobble in to the finish of a marathon?"

Well, yeah, I am kind of embarrassed to post my marathon results sometimes. I swear I'll train for a marathon before the end of the year. I don't know if I'll ever get the knack of pacing myself properly for 26.2 miles.
Leading up to Valley of the Sun, I knew I needed to get in some long runs, but there were too many little races going on every weekend. I have a limited amount of time and energy. I'd tell myself I could run a race and a long run in the same weekend, or a long run in the middle of the week, but I'd do the race and not the training.
Lack of discipline killed me. Between the Pacific Shoreline Marathon and Valley of the Sun, I ran six races, and no long training runs. On one occasion other than the half marathon race, I ran 13 miles.

2/8 Runners Den Classic 10K
2/15 Desert Classic Half Marathon
2/21 Foothills 10K
2/24 ARR Open Mile
2/28 Run to the Sun 5.5 mile hill climb
2/28 Diamond Run 3 mile
3/13 Chandler Gold Medal 5K

So I didn't train for the long haul, and I got used to racing at a faster pace. That last 5K, the day before the marathon, was just the final disrespect to the distance.
The Valley of the Sun is a very fast, downhill course. The downhill is all in the first half, and after that it levels out. There is one steep uphill near mile 16, but it's just a bump in the road, and it really is just giving back what we had gained in a steep downhill near mile 15.
Results posted for this race include an interesting statistic you don't usually get, your relative place at the chip splits along the course.
Here are the gruesome details:

10k: 0:46:44 64 7:31
Half: 1:38:37 55 7:31
20 Mile: 2:40:06 68 8:00
FINISH: 3:58:41 116 9:06

I have plenty of other excuses for a bad performance. It was getting very warm in the second half of the race, high 70s to low 80s.
My blood sugar wasn't bad at the half, but was out of control when I checked it at 21 miles. It most have been rising steadily for those seven miles. I had decided to cut my insulin basal rate even more than I usually do, and see if I could do with eating less, then during the race I forgot about that adjustment.
My calves were cramping during the last mile. I would jog a few blocks, start to cramp, walk a little, then start jogging again.
The finish line was on the track in the stadium at Red Mountain High School. I jogged as far as I could, then stopped and started walking while I was still a few yards from the end. Someone in the crowd yelled at me to run. I can't imagine that anyone who knows what it's like to do this would yell something like that. I knew my priorities at that point. It wasn't worth it to me to make my legs cramp up just to cut a few seconds off my time.

So here's my trouble. I haven't committed to training to run a great marathon. Similarly, I haven't committed to training to run a great 5K.
About all I'm committed to doing is running for fun.
If a race sounds like fun, I'll probably do it, marathon or 5K.
This works fine for short races if you enjoy competition but you don't really care if you get a medal. But it's a painful way to run marathons, especially if you feel compelled to compete, which I do.

Marathoning well takes discipline. I know. Out of 24 marathons, I've run three or four in which I was somewhat comfortable.

I'm looking at training to run the Whiskey Row Marathon, May 1.
But I'm also looking at the other races around town before then.

Saturday, March 13, 2004

Chandler Gold Medal Run 5K 2004

They held a race in my neighborhood on my birthday, Saturday, and I couldn't resist. It's little race around Desert Breeze Park, which is less than a mile from where I live. It was almost completely un- promoted, and a friend of mine said that he and his wife had finished first in their age groups for the past two years. He wasn't running it this year because he and his wife were going to run the Valley of the Sun Marathon on Sunday.
So Saturday morning I jogged over to Desert Breeze, registered for the run, and did this 5K in 21:28. It's all very flat, blacktop through suburbs around the park.
The weather was perfect. It had just rained earlier in the morning.
It was overcast and cool for the race.
I started off running about 90%, not wanting to go all out. For the first mile and a half (no mile markers) I was in about sixth place and didn't see anyone close to my age ahead of me. At close to half way, a guy my age caught up with me, and I dueled with him for about fifty yards, then decided I didn't want to work too hard.
I didn't want to be too sore for Valley of the Sun the next day.
In the end, I got 10th overall, and 2nd in my age group. It was a cherry-picking race. While I'm sure I could have gotten a better time, I'm not sure I could have moved up a position in my age group. The guy who took first ended up with a time very close to my PR, and I'm not sure he couldn't have run faster if I pressed him.
Anyway, I had fun on my home track, and came away with some race junk.

Friday, March 5, 2004

Running in the Rain

A local running store, the Scottsdale Running Company, holds group runs on Tuesday and Thursday nights. I had planned on going to the Thursday night run, and headed over there after work, even though the weather wasn't looking too good. It was raining on and off all day.
When I got there, it was raining, and only a few other people had shown up. A couple of them decided not to run, but five of us started out into the rain.
I tried to run around the deep puddles at first, but within a mile that was obviously futile. I was wet through, from my hair to my toes.
It was just raining as we started about 6:10 pm, but there were soon some bolts of lightning across the sky, followed in two or three seconds by crashes of thunder. It was getting very dark, both from the sun going down and from the clouds thickening. It was really pouring after about three miles.
As we started back towards the store, along Hayden Road, we were going into the wind. The lightning had come closer, and I saw it come toward the ground. Often you will see a lot of lightening out here, but it will all stay in the sky.
For a couple of minutes, we were pelted by tiny pieces of hail that melted quickly on the ground. They added just a touch of sharpness to the cold rain.
Passing cars on Hayden couldn't help but throw water on us from the flooded road. I ran to the far right side of the sidewalk, but a couple of times the water would splash over me as high as my left shoulder. I don't know how, but the water from the road felt even colder and wetter than the rain.
Within a couple of blocks of being finished, everything went white, brighter than sunlight, so that I couldn't see. That was followed immediately by a crash of thunder. I stopped in my tracks. Another runner passed me and I shouted, "That was scary!" He just said, "Yeah!" and kept going full speed.
We all survived. It was quite an adventure for a workday.

Monday, March 1, 2004

Run to Sun/Dog Jog/Diamond Run Report

Run to the Sun, Climb to Conquer Cancer 5.5 mile hill climb

So it was nothing our Canadian associates would call cold. It was still cold enough for me to be shivering in my hat, gloves, long- sleeved shirt, vest, and tights. It was probably in the 30s or 40s before the start around 6:30. The glow of dawn was just starting to lighten the sky. The mountain was just a silhouette above us. The race is entirely on a blacktop park road. Dobbins Point is at 1200 feet, but we weren't starting at sea level. Someone said that it was a thousand foot climb, but that may have just been a round number
I jogged back and forth to stay warm, then lined up a few rows back from the front before the start. In the early going, I was close to the front, too close, I thought, so I eased up. The first mile and a half are rolling hills, ups and downs, inclines and declines of 20 to 100 yards, not amounting to much increase in elevation.
I got a split at a roadside marker at 1.5 miles: 11:15, a 7:30 mile pace.
The hill starts in earnest after that, and with the sun now up, you could see it coming from a long way off, a diagonal slash across the face of the mountain. That long, gradual rise continues for about two miles.

2.0 3:55 15:10
2.5 4:21 19:30
(combined for an 8:16 mile)
3.5 8:38 28:08

I had planned not to let anyone pass me after the three mile mark. My weakness in several races has been to go fast at the start, lose focus in the middle of a race, and finish strong. I thought if I focused on the middle of the race, the start and finish would take care of themselves.

4.5 8:49 36:57

In that mile from 3 and a half to 4 and a half miles, there is one long, steep climb, a curve around a corner where it levels off a little, then another long, steep climb.
I was gaining on one runner ahead of me, but someone caught up with me from behind. I hung with him for a while. We both continued to gain on that runner ahead, but after 30 yards I let him go. I kept him close enough so that I had a hope of catching him at the end.
The last mile is lots of up and down again until you get to the final steep climb of about 150 yards. I closed on the runner who had passed me, and he closed on the runner ahead of him, but once we hit that final incline we were in the positions we would finish with.

5.5 8:24 45:21

The runner ahead of me was a 40 year old who took 3rd in our age division. I took 4th, 14th over all out of 110 finishers.
I felt I had a pretty good race, and the view of Phoenix from the top is worth the trip.

Dog and Jog Furry Fun Run 2K

The organizers of the Run to the Sun had told us that we would be able to get a bus ride down from the top, and I was counting on that to be able to make it to Papago Park by 9 am for the next race. After waiting for a long time, though, I had to decide if it would be wiser to wait for a bus or to just run down myself.
I ran down and got to the parking lot in time to see the first bus starting up to the top. It was already too late for me to make it in time to run the Dog and Jog, but I did get there in time to seem my wife, Sue, finish with my bitch, Penny. They had a good time. Penny enjoyed it more than Sue, who got pulled down by Penny and bruised her elbow.
So I missed competing in that one. From the times I heard, it's pretty likely that Penny could have gotten a medal if I had been able to take her.

Diamond Run, 44 Home Runs, 3 mile run

This race was scheduled to start at 5 pm, but was delayed for about 20 minutes, apparently waiting for all of the gates at the Peoria Sports Complex to be opened and for all of the race volunteers to get in position. As it turned out, the wind, which had been blowing hard, started to die down, so it worked out.
This was partly through a parking lot, but mostly on the warning tracks of the seven baseball fields where the San Diego Padres and the Seattle Mariners hold their Spring Training. It was a little like a track race, in the fact that it was absolutely flat, the surface we were running on was mostly red grit, and a lot of the time you could look across a field and see your competition.
I wasn't sure how I would run, so I just pushed hard the whole way.
There were no mile markers, so I got no splits. I ran most of the race a few steps behind a guy who looked to be about my age. I finally passed him probably in the early part of the third mile.
I ran a 20:42.
That's a 6:54 mile pace or 28 seconds per home run.
I've had a better time in a 5K, and I'm sure I could have done better if I hadn't run up a mountain that morning, but what I did was good enough for 15th overall and 3rd in my age group.
I got a souvenir baseball that says, "2004 Diamond Run Winner." Pretty cool.

So I had a busy weekend. I didn't do the MBA 5K that I was thinking about doing on Sunday. I had really decided to run those three races on Saturday because they were all unique. The race on Sunday wasn't that special to me.
Hope the rest of you had a great weekend.