Archive for November, 2009


When in Rome, do as the Romans do, and when in the USA, pig out on turkey and all the trimmings at Thanksgiving, Whoohoo!
I’m thankful I discovered running, and the friends that come with it, and also thankful that I’ve made it to taper time in fairly good shape.

What have I been up to? Our club, the LMJS, is organizing a training program for the Oakland Marathon and Half. The marathon program started last week, so now there are about 75 people following three training programs drawn up by little old me (with some input from others). Eek! I hope they’re doing OK. The weekly supervised runs will be plenty hilly, since the course has a major hill in it.  I’ve run various bits of this course at different times. The uphill’s not too bad, but that descent down Lincoln is not be trifled with. It’s on concrete too. They don’t put asphalt on gradients that steep. The half-marathoners are starting their training soon, and I’m still working on those plans…

Today I’m taking a day off as part of my taper. CIM is the weekend after next, and I’m still thinking about a pacing plans For the first time I’m planning a negative split instead of doing it by muddle. I’m tinkering with a spreadsheet to get the splits out. I’m not sure if I’ll use a pace band, or try and memorize it all. The memorization trick would involve a set off offsets from 7:30 pace, hitting zero around halfway, then going negative. After mile 18-20 or so, it stops being a pacing plan, and becomes a schedule. “Hitting mile 20 in X equates to a finish time of Y” type of thing. Nice to know if you’re pushing to hit a particular goal.

Speaking of pace bands, I volunteered at the LMJS 4th Sunday Runs last weekend, and at the start Loraine showed me a small post-it note with three mile splits on it. Yup, a 5K “pace band”. It worked, and she got another PR, on her own this time. Good job, Loraine! Her husband, Dan, has been coming back from a knee injury that the docs seemed to think is degenerative, but maybe isn’t. He’s been running in a pair of Vibram Five Finger shoes, with good results. It looks like there’s something to this barefoot/minimal-shoe trend.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!


…and Giddy Up

The injury-like thing did turn out to be a two-day wonder, which is of course how they are supposed to be. We are advised to fix injuries before they incapacitate us. This advice supposes that we can discern between a harmless twinge and something that’s about to get worse. Perhaps experience helps, or we get lucky. My Achilles tendon, or it’s surrounding structures, was swollen for a day, a little uncomfortable for a second day, then back in service. The week ended with a the longest run of this cycle, whose 24 miles doubled the Alameda beachfront before going twice around Bay Farm Island and home again. Wile beginning the first of these laps I spotted a pair of runners a long way ahead of me and wondered if I would catch them. My long run pace of 8:30-8:50 is still faster than the majority of runners I meet. As it happened, this pair were at my pace, but they got a lot closer after refilling their water bottles at a restroom. A man and woman. I ran along about 100 yards back, until they commenced a second 6-mile lap of the island. I’d now been following this pair for 6 miles, and their pace was metronomic. Marathoners? A surge brought me level, and into conversation with Gareth and Christine. I gathered that they weren’t a couple, just running buddies, out on a 22 miler. Gareth runs marathons and ultras, and is training for CIM, so we had a nice chat about that. Christine’s story was much simpler “I only ever ran one marathon, this one” She pointed at her hat, which had a picture of the Golden Gate Bridge. “I was scared of the distance, and paced it quite conservatively, not looking at my watch at all, I later discovered that I was second in my age group”. She looked about my age. They were quite impressive. No doubt I will see them again.
So that little jog used up 3 1/2 hours, longer than I expect to be running in Sacramento. The average pace was 8:38, which was within a second of the my pace in my first marathon, 16 months ago. how times change.
On the subject of CIM, I’m in planning mode for that. My pace will likely be a little faster than the 7:30 min/mile I’ve been training for. The course is at least 5 seconds faster than flat, plus I’ve been feeling quite strong lately. so 7:20 might be possible. I’m interested in planning for a deliberate negative split instead of just letting it happen. Starting out at 7:30 or a little slower, and speeding up by degrees. More about that later.


Sorry it’s been a while since I posted. I’ve been a little busy. As for what I’ve been busy doing, that’s a whole other post, but it’s marathon related. Anyway, I didn’t run today, which is my first day off for a while. My left achilles tendon gave a twinge or two earlier in the week, but had behaved itself yesterday on an easy run. I poked and prodded it last night, and it was somewhat tender.  Those of us who self-coach sometimes have to talk to ourselves in a firm voice. “No running today, and probably not tomorrow either. Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation for you!” Hopefully I can nip this thing in the bud, and there’s no point in stressing over it. I’ll come back stronger after a little break.

In other news, the BAA sent me an email and postcard this week. “This card confirms your acceptance into the 114th Boston Marathon on Monday, April 19th, 2010.” For some the “BQ” is quite the transcendent experience. I’ve been a little blasé about it, since I managed it with a 13 minute cushion. It’s still really nice to get that card, though!

Race PRs

5K20:43 (LMJS 6/28/09
12K54:36 (Across Bay 3/21/10)
15K1:09:51 (LMJS 19/27/09)
Half1:31:28 (Kaiser 2012
Marathon 3;13:14 (CIM '11)


November 2009
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