Saturday, May 26, 2012

2012 RTP Summer Goals

I've worked pretty hard the first half of this year to get into better shape. I put a big brake on sugary treats and started following a running plan. As a result, I've lost a little over 20 pounds (would like to drop 5-10 more), and have PR'ed every distance I have run by a relatively large margin. One of my 2012 year-long goals was to 'say good-bye' to the 10's. That is, pace times greater than 10 minutes per mile. I'm starting to push the 9 minute per mile mark, but what Phoenix so graciously gives in the mild winter, it sneeringly takes back in the summer.

Phoenix runners can almost always count on slower paces from mid-June through September. Many times, the heat is so debilitating that runners take a hiatus, switch to less rigorous aerobic activity like llama farming, or worst of all, run indoors on a treadmill--sometimes barefoot!! Sickening I know but that is the price we pay for a democracy with people named Larry.

Well not me! With only a few days of adieu, I present the first draft of my summer running goals*

  • Track work once per week focusing on improving ladder times as well as.......
  • One mile at sub 7:00
  • Maintain a base of 25-30 miles per week with 4-5 runs
  • PR the 5K distance at SYTO in July and again in September......
  • at the Grasshopper Bridge 5K finishing sub 25:00
  • 3X per week Kettlebell cross train -barefoot, YES BAREFOOT!**
  • Swim laps twice per week
  • ease up on hyphenation and made up words
  • Continue to document and report blog-world plagiarism
The summer schedule looks pretty consistent-- a trip to the coast, some work in the office, lots of family time. These goals should fit in nicely and set up this soon to be 46 year old for The RTP 2012 Fall running goals.

* I will certainly adieu and re-draft these goals as many times as I damn well please this summer
** Show me proof that pre-historical humans wore shoes while doing a kettlebell workout. I'll wait....
I thought so.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

2012 Pasadena 1/2 Marathon Race Report

13.27 miles
2:03:42 Garmin Time
2:03:51 Chip Time

Have you ever heard that line about the the journey being worth more than the destination? That was the May 2012 Roadtrip to Pasadena for the 1/2 Marathon. Chris, Suzanne, and I headed out on Saturday at about 8am driving West on some flat-ass desert to go and embarrass some California poser-racers and bring their 1st place money back to Arizona (to spend on.... you guessed it, things that come from California). They say a picture is worth a thousand words. I say just do captions, I'm tired and lazy  these should be worth about $2.98.
Lovely scenery as we approach the AZ/Cali border
Could I look any happier?
and do not try to bring agriculture across this border
Executive Vagabonds, that's us

Expo at the Santa Ana Racetrack
This place is huge!

Outdoor hot Expo, typical

Chris eating and drinking everything not nailed down
and I ate and drank the things that WERE nailed down
Art School
part of the Marathon relay route
"Do not touch" art. Touched it!
Staring at the magazine rack at the airport
Have you seen my dog? Anyone seen my dog? Anyone?
Race day porta potties
Really kinda cool
Designing Cars for 2022

Looking East down into the Rosebowl


Post Race Festivities

Playing Frankin's Tower


Volunteers not doing a very good job of.... Putting water into cups??!!????
Buffalo finisher!

Chris and Suzanne

Los Tres Amigos
Why I Run
Into the Fire
Windmills, 105 degrees, and snow up on those mountains
It was fun. I'd do it again. Now on to getting faster.......

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Two Runners and an Anti-Baby Household

Mrs. RTP and I have been running a lot more since January. We both have taken the no-sweets diet plunge, and except for a handful of 'cheats', we have done well and lost a bunch of weight. The increase in running combined with the weight loss has resulted in much faster times and a big running performance boost for both of us.
It puts the Sugar in its mouth
She mainly runs in the morning on Tuesday and Thursday with our neighbor, and I run on M/W/Fr, and we both run Sat morning. I go first because I get up to run at 4am. It has worked out great for both of us, but the summer heat will soon challenge. And a bigger challenge is our daughter Amelia who is now crawling like Lindsey Lohan whenever a Greenie rolls under her couch.
Daddy's little princess
Amelia is coming up on nine months and wants to do everything her 4 year old brother is doing. Now that she can crawl, she follows us all over the house eating whatever she finds. She favors the bleach bottle and I usually let her have it because the safety cap seems sufficiently impermeable. Dust kitty? Into the 98 degree filter and out in the diaper trash. Thirsty? Dog's water dish. I need to take a trip to the local Home Despot and buy a bunch of anti baby-happiness devices and install them around here and there. And on we trudge.
Don't Bogart that Double Chambered Plexiglass Bong My Friend
This morning was the last longish run prior to Pasadena. I've pretty much been training for this half-marathon since January first. My main 2012 running goal is to break 2:00 in a half-marathon. I had originally set my sights on a race in December, but I got faster a lot faster than I thought I would. I've been very close to the goal in training, knocking down a 2:03 a couple of weeks back with energy left in the legs at the end. Very likely could have gotten it that day. This goal is there and within reach. Just gotta stick to the plan and run the paces I need to run. But what if......... And try to ignore the What ifs.
A baby and a bong? In a Running blog??
I ran 8 miles this morning and had planned to run them at about 9:30 to keep it easy. I had an attack of ego somewhere in the middle and grabbed a few sub 9's, but finished with an overall pace of 9:15 and plenty of energy. This week has 3 easy miles on Monday and Thursday, and 4 miles at 9:00 on Wednesday for  race simulation. The main goal of this 'taper' (I hate to call it a taper because I sort of believe that term should be reserved for full marathons or for faster runners. But it is a good idea to let the body fully heal and go into the race hungry to run) ..the main goal of this taper is to keep the legs fresh but let them heal. And don't do anything stupid. Not sure how I can avoid that part. The family is staying home for this race, and I am traveling with my buddy Chris who is trying to finish without crapping out his pancreas.

(Internet images related to final sentence too disturbing to publish. I need to go to therapy)

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Today's Long Run into a Wall

Cock a Doodle Doo
I got up pretty early today to run 14 miles. For the past few weeks, I've been getting up when Norman gets up to pee. Norman is our almost two year old Choc lab and my running partner. He gets up right around 4am, and I started running at that time to be able to finish in time for work, and also because it's peaceful and the air is cool.

The plan for today was to get the miles in and to also do some REAL hillwork. I've been practicing hills to try to get ready for Pasadena. There's a pretty decent mountain in central Phoenix called Camelback, and the streets near this mountain are the best bet around for building hill strength and experience. So the route I built has some mild rollers for the first three miles, then a flat stretch where I extended to about 7 miles. Then the ascent.

I've been eyeballing Tatum Blvd. going North for the past year as a hill challenge. I've only ever flirted with the very bottom 1/4 mile, but today, I was determined to crest the beast. Tatum goes up about one mile at a pretty decent grade before it flattens, then MacDonald goes East into a 1/2 mile mega-incline. This was tough, but I slowed my pace and got into my hill-chug "I Think I Can, I Think I Can" mode and turned around at the 9.1 mile mark. I had been thinking about the reward of the downhill after slugging through this uphill, and my pace was almost instantly fast.
Crap. Now I'm going to have scary clown dreams tonight
But what I didn't count on was that I would get tired of going downhill!???!!! WTF! I had planned to glide down to the 11 mile mark and push back home for the last three miles (mostly slightly downhill) while keeping a 9:00/mile pace. I ate a GU somewhere between 7 and 8, and had had most of my water, but I knew a couple of abandoned houses along the route where I could refill. But all of that was not on my mind, as my quads and hammys started complaining, and I began hearing the internal "WALK" chant. I had hit the wall and still had 2.5 miles to go.

The Wall is a phenomenon in running when a person 'runs out of gas'. Technically, when we exercise, our bodies use oxygen to burn (oxidize) fats and other ready sources to meet our energy demands. But if we create too much of a demand by going too fast or too far (or both), our bodies build up lactic acid in the muscles (which feels sore) and we can't get enough energy to keep going because we can't get enough oxygen into our cells to burn stuff to create energy, so our brain tells us to stop or at least walk. If you've run in longer distance races, you have seen people walking with droopy shoulders, heads down, and legs dragging zombie-like. They have 'hit the wall'. The strange thing is that after a short walk, we usually feel like we can run again. But once we start to run, out bodies immediately revolt, and we have to walk. In races, it is a sad helpless thing to see (and experience). On Saturday mornings, it just looks like some guy out there running for the first time in his life. Graphically, it looks a lot like this:
Those spikes are me walking

I pushed myself, chastised myself, and eventually resigned, happy that I had at least finished my goal distance and the gone up the Tatum beast. As for the Wall, I've been told that its good to hit it once in a while. Maybe its one of those 'know your enemy' things. As Norman and I pulled up to the driveway a little more than 2 hours after starting, I had the feeling that I knew this 'Wall' character a lot better, and I hope he leaves me alone and goes off to bother someone else for a while.