Sunday, February 10, 2019

Review Of February's First Week

Not much went on during the first full week of February.  After two Sunday's of 5K races, it was a week of some unexpected moments.

Three times this week, the temperatures when beginning the run was 42 degrees (including this morning).  Am not complaining though.  A few of my running friends back in the Midwest and East have had to deal with snowy conditions and have taken to the treadmill.  And we keep hearing about global warming!

A friend of mine sent me some Boston Marathon programs going back to 1997.  Arriving a few days ago, it got the juices flowing at perhaps doing one more marathon.  Then the other night, it was watching the Boston Marathon Documentary DVD.

Right now, I'm waiting for the California International Marathon entries to open in early March.  There may be a half and a full marathon before CIM if a yes decision is made.  It is a PA-USA Track And Field Championship race.  However, there needs to be a commitment!  Also, health is important here.

The mileage has been steady.  A little more speed work will help.  This week, hopefully the first double digit long run will happen.

Next Sunday, the Fort To Fort 10K race (Fort Mason to Fort Point and back) will take place.  Looking forward to it.

Have a good week ahead everyone.  Yes, the weather here is predicted to be colder than normal and with several rainy days.      

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

January In Review

January 2019 went beyond the expectations of this runner.  It culminated with an encouraging 5K, nearly 150 miles of running and renewing membership with the  Excelsior Running Club.  The most important thing is, knock on wood, staying healthy.  The last sentence is all I have asked for for the year of 2019!

February has started out well.  After a decent 5K this past Super Bowl Sunday, it is not to feel encouraged.  It's nice to feel any accomplishment after a series of setbacks going back to late 2016.  After talking with Allan of the club, there are definitely priorities and goals moving forward.

Now, all of this wouldn't have been possible without several things.  Being on a running website like Strava, fellow runners are encouraging one another.  You don't have to have a GPS watch or be an elite athlete to join. I joined a little over two years ago and wouldn't trade it for anything else.

Teammates like David, Andrew, Noel and Les have checked in to see how things are.  Strava is a great motivating tool to get out there and getting the runs in.  With this sport in particular, there are no shortcuts.  You have to put the work in.  Any athlete in any sport will tell you that.

The confidence has returned.  This runner is not being cocky here.  With the rash of injuries, one wondered if you could go into and race and finish it injury-free.  The Waterfront 5K race just over a week ago, though a low key race, was a barrier that needed to be broken.      

About a week ago after renewing membership, I entered the Stow Lake Stampede.  Put on by the Impala Runners, this course is mainly the same as the Zippy 5K races in the 2000s.

There are several other Pacific Association USA Track And Field races involving the club that I'm looking forward to, including our club race on Memorial Day weekend.  

Looking back, the last PA race I ran was May 2014 in the Marin Memorial 10K.  It was a race that there have been many fond memories of.  The finish on the College Of Marin track in Kentfield is satisfaction enough!  

Looking back, the race went well that Memorial Day morning.  Yet, there were some frustration regarding transportation.  Though the race close by in Marin County, getting there without a car really sucks!  Public transportation got me to within three miles of the start/finish.  It turned out being the last USATF race up until now.

I guess you could say that Sunday, April 14th will be interesting...

Have a good week ahead everyone!

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Kaiser Permanente 5K recap

The 36th edition of the Kaiser Permanente Half Marathon, 5K and 10K was one of the more enjoyable events taken part on this past Super Bowl Sunday.

Not entering until the previous Sunday, I was looking forward to racing in Golden Gate Park once again.  It would be the third time running in the 5K and the second time on the current course.

Despite a weekend of rain, the runners in the three event distances received a break in the rain.  It was windy out on the Great Highway but unlike a couple of years when a driving rain made things treacherous.

Leaving the apartment and taking MUNI, I arrived at the start area about 30 minutes beforehand.  There was some light rain but nothing like what the area has received the previous two days.

The warmup went okay and felt ready to go.  The start was a little dicey because of a few small children trying to have their 200 yard sprint moment.  No problem.  At least there wasn't the baby strollers and the walkers that I have had to dodge the past several years.

The first mile ended up the slowest at 9:19.  Probably, it happened to most runners because after about two thirds of a mile, the runners had to make a hairpin turn to the right and a slight climb up Stow Lake Drive.  This is a good reminder only because runners in the Stow Lake Stampede, I believe, will be doing this again in April.

Surprisingly, the large crowd being in really thinned out while leaving Stow Lake.  The light rain stopped and it was actually ideal.  The pace started picking up too.

After an 8:48 second mile (18:07), I noticed that the two mile sign was about 25 yards ahead.  Was I running the tangents poorly?  Who knows.

There was the left turn briefly onto Transverse Drive and then the right turn onto Middle Drive.  Things were still going well until the bottom of the first decline, the runners had to detour around a large puddle that will take awhile to drain.

Reaching three miles on the Garmin at 8:54 (27:01), once again, the three mile marker was roughly 25 yards ahead.  From there, it felt longer than the 188 yards to the finish line.  No complaints here though.  It seemed that I couldn't gain, for the last mile on any of the competitors ahead of me.

My watch had 28:22 at the finish (3.17 miles and no buildings either) though the official results had 28:26.  It didn't change the placing either overall or in the age group (5th - age group).  It's nice to have a 20 second improvement from last week but this was a downhill course.

Right afterwards, I saw Allan from the club and he had a singlet waiting for me.  It was great seeing him after several years of not competing in the PA races.  We talked about scoring a team in several events this year.  Right now, I'm committed to four to five races on the schedule beginning with the Stow Lake Stampede race in April.  Allan had a great year in his division last year and is looking forward to 2019.

Also, there were some good performances in the half marathon today from the club as well as a sweep in the Jed Smith 50K in the Sacramento area yesterday.  A good weekend for the Excelsior Running Club. 

Right now, this runner is digesting this race and the Super Bowl.  Monday is a continuation of continuing to improve and staying healthy.

Have a good week ahead everyone!             

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

The Years Have Gone By

The thought of doing this post came after a great conversation with running teammates, David and Noel following last Sunday's Waterfront races. 

Next week, it happens that it will be 51 years since that first time in the sport of running (track and field, cross country, trail and ultra running).

It was early in February in 1968.  I was in my second and final year at San Lorenzo High School and decided to go out for track and field.  Several weeks earlier, this future runner had been the last cut from the junior varsity team in basketball.  It was a hard thing to swallow and it was taken very hard.  However, moving on, there happened to be another calling.  It ended up as a decision that I'll cherish forever! 

The first day of workouts was on a large portion of grass behind the bleachers of the football field.  It would be about two weeks before any of the distance runners took to the track.  That was because the track was one of dirt and it was easy to get shin splints.  From recollection, the track was muddy from the recent rain.

The distance was a loop roughly 450 to 500 yards.  There were roughly about 50 of us of different ages and grades that would being doing this 10 times.  Believe it or not, I got through the first eight reps okay but the last two were torture.

One thing learned while trying out in any sport was not to complain about the workout.  It didn't happen at all during basketball practice.  It didn't happen in my three years of track and cross country.  There were times that one wanted to do it but it was important to endure.

Over the next few weeks, in practice, I would be wearing these low cut Converse shoes.  Eventually, before the start of the season, I bought some Adidas spikes.  They felt a little weird but it was good to learn how to run on the mid to front portion of the feet.  The coaching staff felt I could run the mile and two mile.  It varied from meet to meet with the coaches which one I would run. 

In the time at San Lorenzo and, eventually at Tamalpais High School in Mill Valley where graduating, track and field along with cross country was a blessing!  Besides the rewards, the camaraderie with runners is unlike any other sport!  It has carried over all these years later.

Talking with David and Noel last weekend really had me thinking back all these decades on the ride home.  David asked me about a change in the Bay To Breakers race and the add of a 15K.  One of the things learned is to adapt to change.  People at my age don't always adapt well.  An addition of another distance is no problem here.

There were some other things that popped up during the ride home.  Much has changed in the sport of running, and for the better.  In future posts, I'll share a few of them!         

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Waterfront 5K recap

After 50 consecutive days of running, it was time to participate in a race.  Just like in 2018, the Waterfront 5K in Brisbane was the venue.

Traveling down with Greg, we talked about last year, this season's professional football and basketball and the recent Partial Government Shutdown.  Before we knew it, we were there in the parking lot near where the Waterfront 10 Miler and 5K started.

The weather couldn't have been more ideal.  It was partly cloudy skies with no wind as we were running along the trails near San Francisco Bay.  It would be the fifth time running in the 5K.  This runner had no idea that something really good would happen on this day.

In the 50 days, the training has been solo with some good days and not so good days.  The previous week had good weather but the week before, it rained several times causing some very slow workouts.  The workouts tended to be slow when running in urban neighborhoods.

It was nice to see some of the runners from the Dolphin South End Runners.  It was good seeing David and Chikara from the Excelsior club and meeting Noel.  David was second in the 10 miler and broke 60 minutes on a winding trail course.  Congrats to Chikara and David who finished 1-2 on this day.  Also, congrats to Noel who finished despite having recovering from an ankle injury.

The 5K started out okay and felt good.  However, I still don't have the feel on pace right now.  My goal was to run a consistent 9:35-9:40 pace.  However, the first mile was quite a bit faster at 8:58!

I paid for it during the second and third miles though.  However, when seeing the two mile split at 18:11, the feeling of running this course faster than last year was evident.  It might be a good idea to get some speed training in during the upcoming weeks!

With a three mile split at 27:56, and a very slow third mile, the last portion meant staying focused and running through the finish.  There was the fact of running alone with two runners in front significantly and a couple of runners behind.  Seeing the clock at 28:47 (unofficially) while finishing was a relief!  Found out Monday afternoon that the DSE had me timed at 28:46 and fifth in the 65-69 age group.  Wow, this group is more talented than a year ago!  

I knew it had been awhile since last running a sub-29, like nearly four years.  When returning home and looking back at past races, this Waterfront 5K was my fastest six seconds!  Yet, I know inside that there's work to do in order to continue improving.

After getting some sliced bananas and some NUUN energy drink, it was back out on the course to cooldown.  It was cool watching Chikara and David finishing up their 10 miler.  Eventually, I caught up with Keith from the Pamakids club and ran in with him.  He was coming back from an injury and was actually self timing.

About a mile away from the finish, Keith had a mishap when a couple of cyclists converged on us on the trail.  Trying to avoid them, Keith took a fall scraping the palm of the hand and his knee.  Fortunately, with the help of another runner and myself, Keith was able to get up and finish.  Also, thank you to David for having the first aid kit near the finish.

January is finishing up on a positive note.  February is right around the corner with a couple of races.  Also, there's re-registering with Excelsior and PAUSATF.         

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Week Three

Definitely, I was happy with week three.  The training was a little more intense.  Though the weather wasn't great, the two time trials (1000 meter on Tuesday and a 5K time trial on Sunday) were encouraging.

The training will continue this week with much of the same.  Hopefully on Tuesday, a return to the Kezar Stadium track for some intervals with a longer run later in the week.

Next weekend, either a 5K race at Crissy Field, down in Brisbane or both days.  Have a good week everyone!

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Week Two

Week Two of 2019 wasn't much different than week one.  Hitting the goal of 35 miles a week was met.  Also, there was actually a time trial at the Marina Green.  The 1000 meter run met its goal.  I wanted to run it at a nine minute per mile pace.  It ended up at an 8:53 so mission accomplished!

With the weather the way it was this past week, the only possible race to run was the Saturday Parkrun at Crissy Field.  However, with a Friday night rain, I knew that a small part of the course would be fairly muddy.  My thoughts of my best 5K in about five years went out the window.

Also, I noticed on Friday that the Dolphin South End Runners and their 5K course was altered because of the Partial Government Shutdown.  Seeing how it was altered, I went in on Map My Run to see if the altered course was a 5K.  As it turned out, it was just over three miles.  Though the weather was nice, I wasn't going to pay $3 for a course that was short.  Of course, there was the Hot Chocolate 5K and 15K.  I wasn't going to pay $75 for that either.

There will be another time trial this week, probably on Tuesday.  It will be something 1000 meters and up.  Also, the intensity of the training will be picked up too.  Maybe, a Parkrun at Crissy Field will be my first race of 2019 this Saturday.  We will see! 

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Week One

The first week of 2019 went well.  A total of six runs and 32.5 miles was an improvement over 2018.  The average time of the runs was a little slower than last year but, knock on wood, no injuries.

This week, with the weather predicted to be wet, will begin doing a little speed work.  The Kezar Stadium track might be sloppy but getting in a little interval training is a must.  Hopefully, there will be a couple of races for this runner in January.  This coming weekend is supposed to be wet again but will take my chances on one of the 5Ks at Crissy Field.  If muddy, so be it!

It's now been 30 days consecutive of at least a run.  That's a good sign!    

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

New Years Day 2019

There is always something special about a new year.  One of the first thoughts that come to mind is to improve on what you did the previous year.

This year is already different.  I felt sick and became ill during my first run in 2018.  It was the first time that happened since January 1, 1971.  That was the last New Year's Day I didn't run.  

The mindset and the determination of not having that happen this year was repeated over and over again. Anything over last year's one mile struggle is a thing of the past.  It just so happened, and unplanned was a 10K workout covering mostly of the Crissy Field area.  In fact, it was my best 10K workout since a 10K split in the Bay To Breakers race last May!

This coming weekend is going to be interesting.  There are two 5Ks (Saturday and Sunday) in San Francisco.  The Saturday race is the free Parkrun at Crissy Field.  Sunday is the Dolphin South End Runners race in Golden Gate Park.  The Polo Fields 5K has been one of the more popular ones over the years.

Either Thursday or Friday, I'll decide which one.

Last year ended up as my best mileage year in awhile.  Because of a very good December, I ended up with 915 miles thanks to a 130 mile-plus month of December.  More interesting was the fact that I ran 24 days in a row to finish the year.  The motivation from other runners and cyclists on the Strava website helped a great deal.

Anyway, this runner is looking forward to a safe and injury free 2019.  Hope all of you reading this have the same thing.  Listed below are some running figures going into 2019.  Happy New Year everyone!

2018 mileage: 915 miles
# of 2018 races: 13
Lifetime mileage: 85,123 miles
# of Lifetime races: 1187 

Saturday, December 29, 2018

The Year In Review

Well, 2018 was a better year for this runner than in 2017.  Despite a non-running stress fracture in late May, things were definitely better.  Yet, any runner would tell you that things could have been better.

It started and ended with the Waterfront 5K race in Brisbane, just south of San Francisco.  Put on by the Dolphin South End Runners, it has been one of my favorite races.  Ironically, this runner ran in it three times in 2018 with the final one in September being the best 5K and race this year.  That would give any runner some encouragement going into 2019.

The Giant Race 5K and the Bay To Breakers 12K were better races regarding time in 2018 versus 2017.  And finishing with 12 races and over 900 miles running were the best in roughly three years.

Since December 8th, I've been running every day just to get the base back.  It has been difficult sometimes mentally just to get out of bed during several chilly and sometimes, rainy mornings.  However, it was well worth it, especially how I physically felt prior to December 7th and today!

There are no set goals for 2019.  Renewing the membership with the Dolphin South End Runners was a good idea.  Pre-entering two races in the Bay To Breakers 12K and The Giant Race were no brainers.  However, there are no other commitments at the present time on other goals.  In 2019, I'll take things day-to-day and week-to-week.

In the meantime, Happy Holidays to everyone reading this.  Hope everyone has a safe and injury free 2019!