Saturday, April 26, 2008

Hermes 10 Miler 2008 – Race Report

The bad news: I did not break 1:10. The good news: I ran very strong and improved my time from last year in what appears to be a slower, redesigned course.

<--- The course taken from my Garmin watch. The start is marked. We started going East, part of a loop, then entered the "Death March". returned from across the street to complete the small loop and finish at the start.

Compare the course this year vs. last year. Dan commented that this year’s course should be faster than last year, because two inclines over bridges have been eliminated. But there were still inclines in the last 2 miles and a head wind resulted in slower times, by an average (I estimate) of about 2 minutes.

The race started at 8:30 am. Temperatures were in the upper 60s and it rained right as we lined up in the start. The roads were a bit slippery at first, but dried out later.

We started running east, then turned around. My first 3 miles were: 6:42, 7:06, 6:44. By mile 3 we had entered the long stretch close to the lakefront which I have dubbed "The Death March" because it is long, boring, and hard, due to strong winds.

<--- My friend Dan (left, facing camera), in front of the "House of Blues" where we picked our registration materials and timing chips.

I spotted Dan running not far ahead of me and caught up with him by mile 4. Dan is a faster runner so I teased him for running too slow. My times for miles 4-6: 6:59, 7:01, 7:07.

At mile 5.5 we turned around to run west. Unlike previous years, we followed a different route to run back so we did not get to see the front runners. Now we got the head wind and our times slowed. By mile 8 we were out of the "death march" but now the head winds were even stronger My times for miles 7-10: 7:29, 7:19, 7:26, 7:12.

I struggled in the last 2-3 miles but had some strength left for the infamous DrT kick. According to my Garmin watch, the course was 10 miles and 391 feet. My pace in this last 391 feet was 5:16 min/mile.

Final time: 1:11:28

Even though I did not meet the 1:10 goal, my time was faster than last year. I was also pleased that I finished very close to Dan (last year he was 3 minutes ahead) and also, during the kick I passed Aaron, a younger runner who is faster than me.

<--- Tired but happy, with a nice medal around my neck.

I stayed around for a while but then left to go home. And here comes the big surprise: I checked the results in the internet and I WON 3rd AGE GROUP AWARD! And I was also 53rd overall This is amazing because we are talking about a 800+ people race, with 53 people in my age group. Last year with a slightly slower time, I was 86th overall and 11th in my age group. This unexpected success was, I believe, the result of a generally slower race. I have asked if it is possible to go and pick up my award. I might never get an award in such a large race.

Next race: Cleveland Marathon in 3 weeks. Ultimate goal: 3:30. (The McMillan calculator predicts 3:20 time based on my 10 mile time, but my times are always slower, compared to the predictions, as the distance increases, so it is going to be a very difficult goal to achieve!)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Hermes 10 Mile Race - History & Predictions

I have run this race 3 times now, starting from the inaugural race in 2005. Here are my times:

2005 – 1:16:30 – 97/692, 11 ag (34F, freezing rain)
2006 – 1:14:52 – 128/840, 17 ag (60 Foggy)
2007 – 1:11:44 – 86/778, 11 ag (50 Rainy)

The inaugural race was done with freezing rain and I was running with shorts! I got hypothermia at the end :). In 2007 I was just coming out from the Detox diet supervised by my wife and I was feeling strong and lean at 168 lbs.

Last year's race went very well for me so my goal for this year’s race is simply to improve my time from last year. If I run strong, I might even break 1:10 (for that, I would need a 7 min/mi pace - the good thing with 10 mile races is that it is easy to figure out pace for a given time and visa versa!)

Here is the report from last year’s race:

So, here I am, showing up for the 10 mi race in downtown Cleveland, with new
shoes, new shorts ($40!!! that's insane!), new socks ($10!) and down to 168
lbs after a 11 day diet.

I did not know what to expect.... The weather was crummy... started raining
just when the race started, but it was not too bad.

Result: I DID GREAT, improving my time from last year by almost 3 minutes!

Mile - 2006 - 2007 - Difference (seconds)
1 - 7:09 - 7:03 - 6
2 - 6:52 - 7:10 +28 (don't know why I went so fast last year)
3 - 7:35 - 7:08 -27
4 - 7:29 - 7:03 -26
5 - 7:16 - 6:49 -27 (downhill, fast times)
6 - 7:21 - 7:11 -10
7 - 7:34 - 7:10 -24
8 - 7:55 - 7:33 -22 (strong head wind)
9 - 8:04 - 7:47 -17 (uphill)
10 - 7:44 - 7:02 -42

The first two miles were actually faster last year. Then I settled in a 27
second faster pace per mile. My pace up to mile 7 was nearly constant,
around 7:10 (mile 5 was downhill). Miles 6-8 were on a straight stretch by
a small airport, felt like a death march (my comment from last year) but
this year I was feeling strong along this stretch. Mile 8 especially was
against a strong head wind, not very pleasant, time slows down. Mile 9 is
uphill (hence the slow times, both years).

A clear difference from last year is in mile 10. Last year I was tired by
then (I remember I was feeling tired the last 3 miles, and the time shows
it) while this year mile 10 is my best mile for the entire race. I finished
with plenty of energy.

What a Day!

<--- Here I have superimposed the map I get from my Garmin with a Google map of the area. I manually scaled them to the same size and used layers in Photoshop (this is the first time I have tried this). You can see more details (street names, etc) if you click at it to enlarge

Boy, I had a strange day yesterday.

Every Tuesday and Thursday I am taking a fitness class at the Brecksville Rec Center. Sometimes I run to the Rec Center by taking Snowville up, then turn right and run down Brecksville Road. Lately, I have been driving to the RC, parking the car, and then runing a route that goes around the RC.

For some time now I have been thinking that it would be fun to run the Rec Center, following the Buckeye Trail from Snowville Road. I was going to do that yesterday, but I was late and only had one hour so I figured it is better to run on streets (and good thing I did!)

So, I ran up Snowville, down Brecksville Road, then turned right on Parkview Rd to Meadows Dr. then left on Valley Parkway to Brecksville Rd and from there to the RC. This was a total of 7 mi.

Between 5:45-6:30 I did the fitness class with Steve. Since I did not have a car and I had to run back, I decided now to take the Buckeye Trail. I went in the back of the RC, through the woods I managed to find Meadows Dr, ran to Valley Parkway and from there I took the Buckeye trail.

What a disaster! First, I was not sure I was following the right trail. It looked very unfamiliar and I could tell I was running North instead of South. The trail was wet and muddy. And it seemed endless!!! Finally, I found some parts that looked familiar so I knew I was in the right trail and was running towards Snowville, but the ups and downs seemed crazy to me! How did I ran this trail in the summer? Maybe I was just tired. I walked quite a bit. FINALLY, I reached Snowville Rd but had no strength to run up home, so I walked home. It is a good thing I did not attempt to do this before the fitness class!

The total mileage recorded was 14.4 miles, done in 2:36, almost 11 min/mi average pace. Since I have been eating a lot all day long, I decided not to eat dinner. I am continuing with a fast today...

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Week 16 – Training Report

The beautiful weather continues…. for the entire week. Temperatures went up to 70s. A bit too hot to run in the middle of the day…

<--- Nice route around the Rec Center in Brecksville... Start from the RC (marked) then up Brecksville Road (21), turn left on Parkway, then down through the trail, more trail, goes around, ends in 82 and from there run back to RC.

S: 6 mi slow w/Liz, Columbia and back
M: 4 mi around EH
T: 3 mi around EH, then fitness
W: With Dan tempo run at the Bike & Hike trail. We started with an easy 2 mi. for warm up. Then fast 4 miles and then easy 2 miles, total 8. My mile splits: 8:59, 8:48 (warm up). 7:18, 7:30, 7:06, 6:56 (fast part), 7:38, 9:04 (cool down). It was fun.
T: Total 8 miles as follows: 1 at lunch, 5 around RC (see route here), 2 inside RC, followed by fitness.
F: 3 mi at lunch. It was hot and I was feeling really bad in the afternoon, a combination of muscle pain from yesterday’s fitness and the hot run.

S: Aided long run with Vertical Runner group. Started at 6:30am. From Peninsula to Boston and then up on Boston Mills road. I was feeling quite weak until our first aided stop in the entry of the Bike & Hike trail. My mile splits for the first 5 miles: 8:44, 8:16, 8:32, 8:40, 8:37 (that includes several large hills). At the 1st aid station I ate a power bar and felt much-much better, as shown by my mile splits at the B&H trail: 7:46, 8:03, 7:54, 7:46, 7:59.

<--- Vertical Runner aided run. Start from Peninsula (Lock 29) then you can see how we turned right to go to the Bike & Hike trail, then from there connect to Carriage Trail (windy), then to Station Road and back via the Towpath.

Around mile 10 we entered the Carriage Trail. My pace slowed at the trail and fell behind the leading group: 8:17, 8:43, 8:28. After we exited from the trail, we turned right on the Towpath, to the Station Road where we had another aided stop and I had an energy gel. From there, we were only 3 left, ran back in the Towpath, through the Red Lock, Boston and back to Peninsula. My mile splits in the last miles: 8:42, 8:30, 8:34, 8:49, 9:00, 9:08, 8:45, 8:39. These are the times that really matter, when I am tired.

Overall, we covered 20.75 miles in 2:55, average pace 8:28. My goal was to keep the average pace under 8:30 and I achieved it. Considering that this route had hills and trails, I hope in the upcoming marathon to be able to average 8 minute miles for 26 miles. Not easy but I will try it!

Totals for the week: 53 miles, 169 lbs

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Week 15 – Training Report

This week the weather was nice so I ran every day except for Friday. I also paid attention to my eating.

S: 6 mi slow w/Liz, Columbia, trail, Snowville
M: 1 mi w/Liz then 5 alone in EH
T: 1 mi w/Liz then 7 alone, Snowville to towpath to Boston, then back via Riverview and Snowfille
W: Had to go to Detroit with J. Waldsmith, so I did “hill repeats”, 3 times up and down our street.
T: 6.5 mi, Columbia to Riverview to Snowville and home
F: Rest

S: Had to go to J. Motley’s funeral so I woke up early and started running from Red Lock to Peninsula along. Met group there at 7 am. Did an interesting loop (see route here) from Peninsula to Boston, to Brandywine Falls, to Bike & Hike trail, and back to Boston via Boston Mills road, and then back to Red Lock for me. Total 15.9 miles in 2:15. Mile splits: 8:43 8:15 8:11 8:14 8:29 8:11 8:06 8:00 9:08 10:55 8:12 7:48 8:06 7:38 9:01 9:22. The slow miles were when we reached Brandywine Falls and went to enjoy the view.

Totals for the week: 47 miles, 169 lbs

Next week I have to start long runs. We are only 5 weeks away from the Cleveland Marathon. Here is the general plan: Run 50+ mi/week. Do 18-22 miles long runs every weekend:
4/19 = 20 mi run, 4/20 = Race, Hermes 10 miles, long run on Sunday, 5/4 = Long run (Stereoscopic Weekend), 5/10 (one week before marathon) 15 mi long run, then taper.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Spring Classic 2008 - Race Report

<--- The happy family after the race!

Well, another great race for our family! We got up at 7:30 am. The temperature was 35F and the prediction was that it would be up to 40F by race time, partial cloudy. I could not decide if I should wear sorts or long pans. Most runners had long pans on so I kept mine... In retrospect, I would have been better off without them.

For the past two days I had developed a cold, and I was a bit dehydrated. I started fast, maybe too fast: 6:54, 7:00. Then settled a bit: 7:16, 7:10, 7:13, 7:36. The course consists of two loops, and by the time I was completing the first, both wife and daughter had finished their 5K and they were lined up by the start line, very happy, showing me their awards, 2nd place for wife and 1st place for daughter!!!

In the meanwhile, I had 6.5 more miles to go. Without exaggeration, this felt like the hardest race I have ever done. The thought of stopping was going through my mind. My times had slowed: 7:36, 7:43, 7:41, 7:45.... I stopped 4 times for water (none last year). I was passed by two female runners in the last miles (always a bad sign :)) But I kept going: 7:37, 7:41, 7:42, and final 0.1m at 7:10.

<--- Finally, the ordeal is amost over! - The final stretch before the finish but without any strength to sprint to the finish line!

My final time: 1:37:47, 4/21 in my age group, 47/172 overall.

I met my goal, per previous posting, breaking 1:40. This is however the slowest of the past 3 Half marathons I have run since last May. I need a bit more work if I am going to improve last year’s times by the end of the year.

Wife finished 2nd in her age group (of 3) with 26:42, an improvement over her Fall time of 26:55.

Daughter's goal was not walk. She achieved this and also improved her previous 5K time by 5 1/2 minutes!! She finished first in her age group (out of 3) with 28:48 (previous time, less than a month ago, 34:19)

My friend Dan, had a terrific time of 1:33:30 but finished 5/10 in an exceptionally fast age group (50-54).

We all went home happy.

I am looking forward to the next race, for me: Hermes 10 miler in Cleveland Ohio, in 3 weeks.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Spring Classic 1/2 M history and goal for tomorrow

Tomorrow I am running the Spring Classic 1/2 Marathon in Strongsville (near Cleveland) Ohio. A local running club (Cleveland West Road Runners Club, CWRRC), is organizing both a Spring and a Fall Classic. I have been running both races for the past 3 years.

They follow the same route, seen here (from my Garmin GPS watch - click at the picture to enlarge): The start line is marked with blue. We go up (slight uphill) for a bit over a mile, then enter a parking lot and out, then continue up, pass under 71, until the turnaround point (at this point I am tired, anxiously looking for the red cones that mark the turnaround), then down (skip the parking lot in the downhill) and then do a little loop to go through the start line again (first loop) or finish. The 5K route turns around after the parking lot.

I have run the 1/2 M course a total of 6 times. Here are my times:

Year / Spring / Fall
------------ -----------
2005 / 1:41:22 / 1:41:28
2006 / 1:45:00 /1:43:51
2007 / 1:42:10 / 1:33:14 (PR!!)

Last Fall I shuttered the course record, going from 1:41:22 to 1:33:14! That was quite an improvement. My goals for tomorrow, in order of increasing difficulty:

1. Beat last year's time: 1:42:10
2. Beat the Spring Classic best time: 1:41:22
3. Beat the Course best time (also 1/2 M PR): 1:33:14

I suspect my time will be between #2 and #3. I am setting the conservative goal of breaking 1:40. Wife and daughter are running the 5K of the same race. My wife's time from last Fall: 26:55. Daughter's time from one and only 5K: 34:19.

Good luck to our family!

Week 14 – Training Report

I am writing this on Friday, before the week ends, but tomorrow we have the ½ M Spring Classic.

S: The week started with a 20 mile “aided run”, organized by Vertical Runner. Because I had a presentation at Church (for Greek Independence Day) I could not run the entire 20 miles, so I got up at 6:00 am, went to Boston and at 6:30 I started running toward “Happy Days” parking lot where the group would start at 7:00. I met the group at mile 5.2 on 303, and then turned around and continued with them. We turned left on Akron Peninsula, then right on Bolanz, left on Everett then right on Oak Hill, up the infamous Oak Hill (I had to walk there), then continuing to Major, to Stine Road, then left on Riverview and I ended in Boston with 17 miles (the rest continued back to the start point).

Somehow my watch was stopped for 2-3 miles so I had to guess the time and mileage. Time: 2:24, average pace 8:28, mile splits: 8:55, 8:27, 9:10, 8:41, 8:23, 7:57, 8:25, 8:37, 8:37, 8:28, 10:03, 8:42, 9:08, 8:07, 7:59 (down Stine Rd it is easy to go fast!) 8:54. Overall, it was a nice run!

M: rest
T: Run w/Liz 1 mi, then continuing to Columbia and back. I was a bit tired and had to walk for ¾ miles. Stereo Club meeting in the evening.

W: With Dan tempo run at the Bike & Hike trail. We started with an easy 2 mi. for warm up. Then fast 6 miles and then easy 1 mile. My mile splits: 8:52, 8:26 (warm up). 7:29, 7:31, 7:48 (At first I was following Dan, running the planned 7:30 but then I started slowing down. I turned around first so Dan can catch up for me, but I started running really fast so I finished ahead of Dan) 7:10, 7:01 (!!). 8:07 (Start of cool down) 12:34. I enjoyed it!

T: Easy run, 5.7 mi at EH alone (Liz is out of town)
F: Rest
S: Spring Classic 1/2M (tomorrow!)

Totals for the week: 50 miles, 169 lbs

Week 13 – Training Report

The highlight of this week was going to Washington DC for Spring break!

<-- Here is something you don't see very often: A map/running route of Washington DC!

S: 4 mi around EH
M: Rest
T: 6 mi before leaving for Washington DC. We drove with Tony and arrived at DC in the evening.
W: 7 mi along on DC, sunny. Found a nice path to the monument area. In the afternoon we walked with Tony for 3 hours and took picture. In the evening with walked (all of us) to Georgetown.
T: 7 mi along, cloudy. Liz was done in the afternoon so we went for a walk to enjoy the Cherry Blooming. In the evening we drove to Virginia and met with Margaret and her family and went out for dinner.
F: 6 mi w/Liz around the monuments, taking pictures. We left around noon.

Even though I was planning to eat carefully (I usually lose weight during trips) we were at the Club level and breakfast and snacks were free. I cannot resist free food! So I might have gained a pound this week!

S: Because tomorrow (Sunday) there is an aided 20 mile run planned, participation in this run was rather small. The parking lot was closed (for some unknown reason). The group decided to run in trails but Dan and I ran at the Towapth. It was below freezing and the towpath was not muddy. The running surface was good. We did 12.3 miles going south and back, rather fast (time: 1:40:29, average pace: 8:09). Mile splits: 8:58, 8:12, 7:57, 8:03, 8:10, 8:14, 8:07, 8:00, 8:08, 8:05, 7:50, 7:42, 8:35.

Totals for the week: 43 miles, 171 lbs

Week 12 – Training Report

I am a bit late with this report… two weeks to be exact, but no one complained :) Only Dan mentioned it.

On Sunday I watched a show “I will make you thin” on TV. I was very inspired. Rule #1: When you are hungry, eat! Rule #2: Only eat what you like. So far so good… but how am I going to lose weight? Rule #3: Eat consciously. Huh? Hmmm… I always eat very fast. Time to slow down. Rule #4: When you are full, stop. OK… So, I tried to follow these rules but it did not work out very well. I still enjoy watching this British guy… It is fun, but not very effective for me.

S: 6 mi along Columbia road w/Liz.
M: 7 mi. Columbia nad back
T: 5.8 mi. around Echo Hill. See picture here for how this "6 mile EH" run looks.
W: I did not run, it was raining. Tony and I went to a Cavs game! It was fun but were sitting too far back, Tony did not bring his glasses and I forgot the binoculars. Oh well…
T: I ran 7 mi around EH. In the way back home I met a guy who used to live in our house! I invited him home and we had an extended talk about how the house has changed. That was fun!
F: 1 mi up and down the street.

S: It snowed 4 inches during the night. I had to shovel my way out. We met at Bolanz road parking lot. Not too many people showed up because of the bad weather. We did a 9 mile loop, right to Bolanz, left into Akron-Peninsula, left to Rt 303, left on Riverview, right on Major Rd, right on Oak Hill to Everett, to Riverview and back to Bolanz. Considering the snowy/icy roads, that was a hard route. When we were done, one group decided to do the loop again. I went with them, but I did not have the strength to go up Major Rd again (big loop to the left side seen in the picture here), so I continued on Riverview and did a bit extra, to meet the mileage. Total miles = 18, average pace = 8:47. Mile splits: 8:59, 8:43, 8:31, 8:57, 8:57, 9:30, 8:15, 7:51, 8:25, 8:26, 8:33, 8:29, 9:01, 8:41, 9:15, 9:43, 9:07, 8:54. My slow part (9:43) was when running alone at Riverview.

Totals for the week: 45 miles, 171 lbs