Thursday, April 30, 2009

training progress...and regression

Over the last week or two I'd managed to get my stair time over 27 floors down to 2:13.0. although I've lost my sense of pace - I guess starting too fast and fading at the end. I'd also got my 5k time for 2009 down to 17:14, with negative splits of 5:36, 5:35, 5:33, and :30 for the last 200 meters (5 minute pace). Today was a step backwards, as I ran slower than my last two times up the stairs, which would have been fine if I hadn't been pegging my heart-rate to run even that fast (2:19.2). To top it off, my weight vest was stolen from the stairwell. Those degenrates are going to get some bad juju!!! Hopefully, next week will be better!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Circus Circus the 5th

The day after a hard interval workout, I was able to suck it up and set a new "pr" on the stairs (27 floors, 55 landings, 420 total stairs). My best had been 2:22.7, and today I managed a 2:18.6, for a drop of 4.1. I'm happy about being able to cut some time, especially the day after my hardest workout in a while...the only difference was with the 2:22, I could have continued at that pace, while today I was getting pretty lead-legged just past the halfway mark, and could not have continued the pace for 9 more floors (160 more steps). When Dave & I got to the bottom, I ran the first 9 floors hard, with a continuous watch, and my total for 36 floors, which happened to be only a step or two different than the Legacy is advertised, was 3:00.4! Now if I can do that without a 6 minute break in the middle, I'll be extatic!! No Spring Run 5k on Saturday...laying the hardwood in the dining room in the morning before heading to Meadowood to promote the Climb...Beer tasting at 6:00 (yeah!)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

best interval workout of 2009

the title says it all, although i'll be feelin' it tomorrow. it was one of those workouts where you know you were working pretty close to all out - I have the upset stomach to prove it :)
As points of comparison, I'll list a workout from my peak, spring 2008, earlier this month/last month (to show the improvement) and today...
peak (1999-2001) 5k workout - 2 mile warm-up, 4 x 1 mile under 20:00, preferably each mile under 5:00, 2-3:00 slow jog recovery, 1-2 mile cool-down. pr-15:50
last year - 3-3.5 mile warm-up, 5-6 x 4:00 at 5:00+ pace, or 4 x 6:00-8:00 at 5:10-12, 2-3:00 slow jog recovery, 2+ mile cool-down. 2008 best - 16:20
early 2009 - 1-2+ mile warm-up, 6 x 3:00 at 5:10-5:20 pace, 2:00 recovery, 1+ mile cool-down, flatish 5k in the 17:30-18 minute range
today - 3.1 warm-up in 20:26 w/strides, 4 x 4:00 @5:07 pace, 2 x 2:00 at 5:00 pace, 2:00 recovery, 1+ mile cool-down...hopefully I'd be in the low 17's for a flat 5k...I just don't know when I'd find that out. The hip is pissed, but hopefully not to the point where it'll effect my running the rest of the week.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

eventful moring at the Daffodil Run

I did not run today, although after feeling good, and being able to run stairs theday after a 17:33 5k on Friday, the thought crossed my mind...but I'd already agreed long ago to volunteer by giving splits at the mile mark, and I ran the aforementioned 5k 48 hours before race time and a 2:27.8 stair-climb yesterday. I'm starting to get dialed in with pace on the stairs, but I was surprised and a little disappointed to see 2:27 on my watch a couple days after a 2:23. I was expecting a new best, and still hope to get down to 2:15 in the next few weeks. This afternoon, after the drive back from Grass Valley, I ran in the 75 degree heat (felt great) and posted a 2:22.7. Very steady pace all the way up - now I just have to figure out where/how to cut 7 more seconds. I figure a 2:22 is good for a 3:15-20 or so on the Legacy.
Abby & Dave both ran the 5k @Dafodil and both ran pretty even splits. That's impressive in itself, as most people do not pace well. Dave came in unofficially in 27:07 and Abby, despite some cramping issues after mile 1, reached her goal of sub-30 by running 29:52. As I was giving splits, no pics. I know, I suck...blah blah blah. Even though a few old friends were racing elsewhere, including 2007 10k Champ Peter, Robert, and Steve, there were many familiar faces, and I very much enjoyed seeing you all. I'm even hoping I can con...I mean convince, Catherine into joining our stairclimb team next month! There was quite a race forming between Troy and Neel in the 10k, and Larry and a newcomer in the 5k. Larry would stick on him til the last homestretch before falling back just a bit. Troy led most of the 2nd half - all the way to the last hill pretty much - but hit the wall hard. Neel passed with 200-300 meters to go. Troy had some hydration/heat stroke but was determined to finish. I accompanied him to the line...after the legs became wobbly, he needed a hand to stay balanced but managed to keep his forward motion going...took a spill 30 meters before the end, and got up and fiished. Amazingly, he still finished 3rd overall! For his troubles, he got an ambulance ride, but those buzzkills wouldn't even turn on the sirens for him. I'd sue 'em Troy...should of had sirens, man!! By the afternoon, he was recovering quite nicely.
After a breakfast in Penn Valley and a quick visit to Indian Springs winery (and the hospital) Abby, Hannah, & I headed back to Reno, with a quick stop at Boca for the dogs. I needed to do something today, inspired as I was from all the racing, so I did the road run/stair-climb. My next race will probably be the RunAMuck relay with Turi on 5/9, although there are a couple possibilities the week or so before. There are a couple on 4/26, but we are doing a rather large stout tasting on the night of the 25th, so that probably ain't happening...

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Half of Team Library Dork kicks Circus Circus butt!

Dave and I ran from Rancho to Circus Circus this morning. After running up and down twice a couple times (and being quite sore) I found out last weekend that I can go up once with no consequence, no matter the pace. I ran that one in 2:28, which had been my fastest, with no soreness after. I also finally got around to counting the steps (420 over 27 stories, compared to <600 over 36 stories at the Legacy)...which means I'll add one third to my total, assuming I can hold the exact same pace. That might be a stretch, but who knows. That would mean my 2:28=3:18-3:28 on the Legacy. Today, I wanted to run up twice, but not hard both times, in order to still be able to do another quality run or two over the next few days. So I ran the first one pretty hard in a new "pr" of 2:23.9, and took it easy on #2 (still had a high heart rate) running half and fast-walking the other half. Headed to the gym for an abbreviated upper body workout before sampling tonight!
I think if I can get my single trip down to 2:15 in the next month, I'll shoot for a 3:09 at the race. If by some miracle I can get down to 2:09 for 27, I'll shoot for 3-flat at the race. That's a stretch, though, without some divine intervention on my heels and hip. The good thing about taking 4 seconds of my time today is that my quads were fatigued quicker than last time, but I was still able to cut a few seconds. Encouraging that I can still run OK on a day that I don't feel exactly the way I'd like...

Sunday, April 12, 2009!

Pre-race...alien sighting
the water was about the same as outside - 53 degrees - but somehow seemed colder.
lap one
Hannah's mean face!
they had coffee pre & post race as well...I got to drink some this time. Great spread.
Hannah's favorite spot above the beach...
Well, yesterday was my second ever open water swim, the first being 800 meters in the Pyramid Lake Sprint Traithlon in 1997 or 1999...can't remember which. Outside of that, I'd never swam longer than a quarter mile, and that would have been about 20 years ago. BUT, I figured I'd better be able to swim an open water mile with no specific training if I have plans to swim from Alcatraz with the minimal amount of swimming I plan on doing over the next 3 months, so I signed up for the Ice Breaker 1 mile in Folsom Lake. As far as being able, after two half mile loops in Folsom Lake, I felt like I could have done another, so that was good, but just like the first two, it would not have been fast. I took my place near the back after the gun, and didn't get going in the water 'til about 30 seconds after the gun. I'd end up doing short intervals of freestyle (after the 1st longer stretch) and did lots and lots of breaststroke...not exactly the model of efficiency, but slow and steady...did I mention slow. I came in after one loop ahead of 30-40% of the field in about 18 minutes (18:30-something on the clock), but unfortunately most of the people that were slower than me got out after a half mile. I'd end up passing one swimmer (and got passed by 4) on the last loop, which I swam in 19 & change. So on the one hand, I'm glad I could comfortably swim a mile, but I was expecting closer to 30:00. The trouble with open water swim is that there aren't too many runners masquerading as swimmers, like I I was actually competing against actual swimmers, and those slower than me were smart enough, or cowardly enough, to only do a half mile. That would not have accomplished my purpose of developing a baseline for my swimming fitness, though, so I was in it for the full mile no matter what. That's the difference between swimming and running...those who can't run a 5k might walk it or jog/walk, but those who can't swim, well, just aren't there on race day. I think I did win the 70+ women's age group.
We had a wonderful pancake breakfast at Granite Beach, and hungout for quite a while, as it turned out to be a nice day, with Hannah running up & down the beach and all over the grassy area. I actually felt good enough later that afternoon, that I did a hilly 5 mile run in Grass Valley (even though it wasn't a run day) and kicked all 27 floors (420 steps) of Circus Circus' butt this morning in 2:28...12 seconds faster than last time with a touch less effort. The plan is to swim at least once a week for 3 months, even though I still don't think I could bear the monotony of swimming a mile or longer in a pool - that might have to wait til mid-late May, and I'll start heading up to Boca and Tahoe. The new suit (an Orca Apex 2) worked pretty well...kept me warm (except for my feet) and had minimal issues with water retention...just a little in the crotch and low back. I know that a half size smaller is too small, so it'll have to do.
Next up is manning the mile marker at the Daffodil Run on Sunday, Run-A-Muck relay on 5-9, and the Climb the Legacy (36 stories - 600 steps) on 5-17.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

back to the stairs...

This morning was a break from the norm. After running an actual track workout (for the first time in a while) over the weekend, I parked at the same spot in Rancho San Rafael Park, jogged downtown, and did two runs up the Circus circus hotel and casino. I meant to count the steps on my third time up, but there was no third time. I'll get a # next time. Climb California was 52 stories and just under 1200 steps. Climb the Legacy in May is 36 stories, but just over 600 steps. Circus Circus has 27 floors varying from 14-21 steps each (that much I found out this morning), so it's somewhere between 2/3 and 3/4 of the Silver Legacy. After having to power walk up the California building waaaaaay more than expected, I was glad to see I could still double step run up 27 floors. I'd take the first step of a few flights one at a time, but most were double. I was a few seconds slower than the first time we did this same workout a couple months ago, but unlike last time, I'll be able to walk tomorrow, after posting times of 2:40 and 2:48. I'd have liked to have not slowed 8 seconds on the second run up, but I think a sub-4:00 at Climb the Legacy is possible if I can complete any or all of the following over the next few weeks...
4 x sub 2:50,
3 x 2:40-2:45, or
2 x with one sub 2:30 and the other sub 2:40.
I feel about as good as it gets for me anymore, so I don't think I'll be sore tomorrow and plan on running a slower paced 7-8 miler off road. Ideally, I'd like to do 3 normal runs and a stair climb (every week) 'til the race, in addition to 6-7 weight workouts, 1 weekly swim, and a couple cross training sessions per week...spinning, stair climber (no, it's not the same) or eliptical trainer. Should be fun. Then I have to amp up the swimming a bit so I don't drown or freeze in the San Francisco Bay in July :)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Climb California 2009...and beerquest!

Last Saturday was the culmination of a lot of anticipation on my part. I haven't been doing a whole lot of "regular" running so far in 2009, so of my three events in 2009, only 1 (the Verdi 5k) has been a normal run. The next race was on snowshoes, and this one was on a stairwell. 52+ floors of 23 steps per floor to be exact...1197 total. Tallest building in Northern California. Enough to shake my already fragile confidence, but we'd done a couple practice runs, one at Circus Circus (26 shorter stories) and the Grand Sierra (28). I was able to run the GSR at 10 floors a minute for two minutes taking every other step, but then faded to 7 floors/minute for the last 8 floors. The great unkown would be the remaining 24, but i figured to be at 24 floors at 3:00, and then would have to hold 7 floors a minute for the rest to be right around 7:00...well ahead of last year's winning time. Abby, EJ (Abby's cousin Eric) & I met Turi & Amber (of Team Library Dork) and Ron & Lori at the plaza in front of 555 California about an hour before race-time. We did a muted warm-up before having to get in line waaaaaay too early, and proceeded to file through three hallways for 20 or 30 minutes, thus negating the warm-up, before taking off. I knew almost immediately that something was different, and I would not be able to start anywhere near goal pace. I knew the steps per floor were greater beforehand, but maybe I was hoping they were each an inch or two shorter as well. By the time I got to halfway, I was nearly a minute off pace. I ended up crossing the line in 8:19 for 4th place, about 30 seconds behing the leader. Surprisingly, there were nearly 1,100 finishers in the race. I'd have blamed the lackluster time on the layout/height of the building, but my teammates all met or exceeded their goals. As you can see from the pics on this page, and Turi & Amber's blogs as well, the view from the top was well worth the effort. The spread was nice too, but we didn't stick around long enough for the official results. There was beer to be had after all!
I'd visited City Beer and Healthy Sprits the day before the race for some rare bottle finds, and went to the highly regarded Toronado after an excellent brunch. Turi, Amber, Abby & I took the Muni from Castro to the Powell Station and walked the remaining 2 miles from there to the wharf to pick up Turi's packet for the Presidio 10 the next morning. The funny thing is, we all thought Turi was loco for planning a run the next morning, as we'd all been quite sore after our practice runs, but none of us were sore after the race. I'm sure the food immediately after followed by lots of walking helped, but I still expected more. It actually frustrated me (well into my third or fourth beer) that I missed my goal by such a large margin and then couldn't even say I gave it my all-based on my lack of limping, etc...
Abby and I had a couple great beers by the wharf and a small bite to hold us over before walking a couple more miles back to Fino's downtown to meet Ron, Lori & family for an italian dinner...and wine. By the end of the night, we'd listened to dueling pianos (and drank), walked a little, stopped, walked a ways to Rogue Alehouse for several more drinks, debated the definition of "flashing", and walked back downtown before Abby & I cabbed it home from Ron's 2 a.m. Did I mention Abby's parents had Hannah & the dogs for the weekend? We'd also had an incredible meal the night before the race with Eric & Sue, and enjoyed a great breakfast Sunday morning as well before hitting the road. I brought back several great and rare beers for myself, Ben & Dave (of TLD) including a special one for my 1,000th beer rating! Yes, that's been as fun as it sounds. I'm actually figuring out what to have for #972 tonight.
I'm also ploting revenge on the stairwells at Silver Legacy's Climb the Legacy on May 17th. Before then I'll be freexing my butt off in the Ice Breaker Swim in Folsom Lake, racing in drag with Turi at the Run-a-Muck, and then freezing again in the SF Bay in the Alcatraz Challenge. That's what happens when I try new things...
BTW, Eric and Ron, Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" is still firmly stuck in my head three days later...arghhhh!