Sunday, May 31, 2009

Races Until the End of the Year

Here is a list of races that I plan to do until the end of the year (my wife will also run most of these, and my daughter some of them):

June 6 - Race for the Parks 15K
I will volunteer to get my hours for the Buckeye 50K. (I have done previously races when it was 4 miles)

June 20 - Jim Klet 5K, 10K
I have been running the 10Ks for many years. Tough hills make a PR impossible.

~ July 4th - Kent 10K
This is a very small race and nearly everyone (especially women) gets an award. Not sure if it is held this year. I have my 10K PR in this race

July 12: Broadview Hts 5K
I have never done this before but I thought we (our entire family) might enter since it is a local race. This will be my first attempt for an under 20 minute 5K

July 18: Buckeye Trail 50K
I have signed up for this. My first race at 50 years old! (but there are no age group awards in this race) I have run this twice already. Tough but good!

August 8: Independence 5K
A good race for a 5K PR. I have set my 5K PR here (20:08) but have not run this race the couple of years because we were on vacation. I will aim for an under 20 minute time.

August 16: Perfect 10 Miler
This should be a nice race for my wife too. I have run it the last 3 years.

September 13: Buckeye 5K, 1/2M, or River Run 1/2M
Too bad there is a conflict again this year. When the races were one week apart, I was doing both, but the last years I did the Buckeye. This year however, I might try the River Run again, if Liz makes this her first half marathon race. (It is a point-to-point and a downhill course, so it is perfect for a PR or first 1/2 Marathon - it was my first one too)

September 26: Akron Marathon
I ran my first Akron marathon last year. The course is tough but the race is fun. I have not decided what to do this year. I would run a family relay or 1/2 marathon. I'd rather not do a full marathon if I am going to run Athens in November.

October 11: Towpath Marathon
I might run the marathon slowly as a training run for Athens, or just do the half. I must do something since I want to support this race.

November 8: Athens Marathon
Yeah!!! The "Classic" marathon. First marathon ever (1896). Older than Boston... I could go on and on but I stop here.

November 22: Fall Classic 5K, 1/2M
It has become a family tradition.

December 31: Great new Year's Eve 5K
A nice way to finish the year.

Back to Trails!

Now that the Cleveland Marathon is over, Trail running is back in our area. For me it is a welcome break from running roads.

Last week I participated in the first group trail run. About 50 runners showed up in Peninsula (see picture, courtesy of Nick Billock). I only ran 10 miles (up to Pine Lane and from there to Boston and Back).

We repeated the same route yesterday but with only 15 people this time. The group went faster this time and I soon found myself running out of energy (I should remember to eat something before the long Saturday/Trail runs). So I fell behind. In the way back (Boston to Pine Lane) I ran on my own and took my time. Despite running the 2nd half considerably slower (with lots of walking breaks) than the first, the overall time this week was faster than the previous week.

The official training runs for the Buckeye 50K start on Sunday June 7th. In the meanwhile a typical week these days looks as follows:

- Monday: Crosstrain (Yoga?), walk or 1-3 mile slow run
- Tuesday: Run to Brecksville Rec Center, Fitness class (4-8 miles)
- Wednesday: Tempo run or speedwork with Liz (this is new)
- Thursday: Run to Brecksville Rec Center, Fitness class (same as Tuesday)
- Friday: Rest
- Saturday: Group Run
- Sunday: Slow run with Liz (6-8 miles) or (soon to start) Group Trail Run

Every Tuesday and Thursday Liz and I take a Fitness class at the Brecksville recreational Center. I try to run there and, if possible, take the back way (down on Snowville, to the Buckeye Trail to Brecksville, up through the trail to Brecksville Road, and from there to the Rec Center, a total of 8.2 miles, 6 of which are on the Trail, part of the Buckeye 50K Trail route). I love this route and it is a good practice for the Buckeye 50K run.

Cleveland Marathon – The Aftermath

It’s been 2 weeks since the Cleveland marathon and things are going fine. I recovered really quickly with only minor pain/discomfort for a couple of days. My time has been officially changed to 3:22:47 (pace: 7:44) My placement is 191 out of about 2000 marathon runners, and 16/495 in the 45-49 age group. For the fun of it, I tried some other statistics, and I see that I am 5th out of 20 Brecksville residents, 1st out of 10 named “George” and 1st out of 42 marathon runners who are 49 years old.

Here is a picture of me at the finish... I was well aware that my picture will be taken at the finish, so I made an effort to look happy :). Actually, I felt great. I was not too tired or ready to collapse.

When my wife tells me that her legs do not hurt after a race, I tell her that she did not try hard enough. Applying this to myself, yes, my legs were hurting for the next few days, but they did not hurt bad enough. I did not feel the need take an ice bath as I did in previous marathons. And I felt fine at the finish. So, maybe I could have gone faster too. I feel I could have finished at 3:20, but I had no reason to push myself. Also, I have not done any speed training (not only for this marathon, but in general).

The bottom line is that I feel I can improve this time next year with better training and equally good running weather conditions.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Cleveland Marathon 2009 - Great Race + Big PR!

Hi, I am back!

What happened? I was busy with work. After each race I was going to write a report but I was either too busy or did not have pictures, one obstacle after another… but I am now back.
<- With daughter Lea, after all was said and done

My official goal for the Cleveland Marathon was 3:30, but my secret goal was to beat last year's time (3:26:23) for a marathon PR.

Looking at my training and recent race times, I was at about the same fitness level as last year, so I was hoping for a similar performance.

I followed last year's unorthodox plan, which somehow works well for me... Three weeks before the race I started a strict diet. I was 171 lbs 3 weeks ago (the morning of the Hermes 10 mile race). I then started the Detox diet. This includes a fast the 7th day. I have been doing this maybe once or twice a year and it has helped me and my wife lose weight. We have found that we lose weight on the program without feeling hungry. When this was done, I continued the diet on my own. On Friday the 15th I was down to 162 lbs. I then relaxed and ate better for 2 days, and I was 165 lbs the day of the marathon.

Again, this year, I did not taper much. Only the last week mostly. I took two days off before the marathon (Friday & Saturday - absolutely no running, just lots of eating). So, Sunday morning I was lighter than normal, but with full energy/water reserves.... This plan apparently pays off because I ran strong and I only needed water & Gatorade and no gels, or food, and I don't hit the wall. I ate a few bites in the morning and a sip of Gatorade. I do not believe in over-hydrading that makes runners want to pee during the race (a waste of time).

It was a beautiful day, cool, sunny and a bit breezy... (OK, maybe more than a bit) I started with the 3:30 pace group for the first two miles, which were slow and then moved on my own... My Garmin got messed up and was running 1/3 mile off distance (behind), which made it hard for me to know my average pace and expected finish time (I have it set for average, not instantaneous pace), but I knew I was running fast and was a bit worried that maybe I was going too fast. But I trusted my internal pace regulator... I was running comfortably for the distance and my fitness level.

Pace for the first 8 miles: 8:10, 8:00, 7:30, 7:17, 7:15, 7:27, 7:16, 7:21.

The route takes us through Cleveland West side first, maybe the best part of the race.... I had settled in a nice fast pace but I was surprised to see the 8:20 pace group ahead and came very close to it by mile 8, but eventually stayed behind. Miles 9-12: 7:26, 7:20, 7:22, 7:50.

By mile 12+ we are back downtown (wife and daughter were waiting for me to cheer me up), heading East, and running by the Lake. I did not like the course change this year. I prefer to run through city streets going out of the city and then return by the Lake. Seeing the city by the Lake with the sun behind is a beautiful view, despite the possibility of head wind (which was the reason for the change, but it felt like we had headwind either direction)

The stretch along the lakefront was rather boring. We then entered the East side park. Miles 14-21 things are still going well: 7:44, 7:24, 7:34, 7:46, 7:45, 7:46, 7:51, 7:41. By looking at the clock at mile 20 I can see that I have built a solid 5 minute lead so the 3:30 goal is in the bag, so to peak. Now I even think I have shot at a PR!

Miles 22-26, I have slowed a bit, closer to 8 min miles, but I have no pain or any problems, and I still feel strong: 7:56 7:57 8:02 8:04 7:58. I pass other runners who are slower or are walking these last miles. Finally, I see the finish line, which always makes me happy, and finish the last 0.2 miles with a mild sprint at 6:56m/min pace.

My final time: 3:21:48 (7:42 page - 16/477 in age group and 191 overall)
*** correction: The time has officially been changed to 3:22:47 (still good :))

New marathon PR (by almost 5 minutes) & Boston qualifier! I don't know what it is with the Cleveland Marathon, but it brings the best out of me.

My wife finished the 10K at 56:41 (11/238 age group), an improvement from last year. My daughter finished the 10K at 1:04:25. That's good for her, considering that until last week her longest run ever was only 5 miles.

After the race we stayed around for a while and then went home, tired but happy. As I am writing this, I feel unexpectedly pain-free, and I did not even take an ice bath. You think I could have run even faster? :) Next year!
Two days later: Recovery is going fine. Today I ran 4 miles and took my regular fitness class without problems....