Saturday, July 9, 2011

Hobbler Half Marathon race report

About mile 9
I have been looking forward to this race for a long time. This was my goal race, just like it was last year. Totally bonked last summer, but not today. Today was my day.
After a 30 minute delay, we started out. As usual for me, I started out too fast. First 2 miles were under 6. Good grief, I thought. I can't start that fast! But, I was feeling good, and there was a group of runners right ahead of me that I didn't want to let get away. At about mile 5, I caught them, and was with them for about a mile or so. Mile 6 marked the end of the easy section, and the start of the rolling hills. I made it through that little roller coaster with a great pace. I was doing about 6:07 through there. By this time, the whole group except the 2nd place female had fallen back, and she was just a few strides ahead. I managed to catch her just before mile 9, as I was exiting the canyon. I was feeling really strong compared to that point last year. My pace was slowing, but I was still going faster than planned, and I was still feeling pretty good. I got passed by an older gentleman just before mile 11, the first person to pass me since that group around mile 4. And I'm pleased to say that nobody else caught me, although I thought someone was making a move with just under a mile to go. Mile 13 was my slowest mile by far, but still under 7 minutes, but my final .1 was at a 4:58 pace.
I finished with a time of 1:22:21 for a 2.5+ minute PR. 14th place overall, and surprisingly 5th in my age group. Last year I won my age group with a 1:29. Oh well, that PR is a pretty sweet prize. I'll take it!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Support The Runner's Store

A couple years ago, I was so excited to find out a running store was opening up in my community. Omar from "The Runner's Store" has put on a few running events in that time, and the owner has been a big help for me with shoes, stroller tires, and other running related stuff. The store is awesome, and he's a really great guy.

Here's a great opportunity to support the local running community. Even if you're not local, your help would be much appreciated! Vote for The Runner's Store in the "Boost this Biz" contest. The winner of the contest will receive $10,000 to promote his business. If you are on Facebook, please vote for my friend's business in this contest. This would be a great opportunity for his business and the local running community!

In order to vote, click here, allow the app, like the page, and then vote for The Runner's Store (Omar Ortega). And then, please share with your friends! Thanks!

Here's the link if you need to cut and paste into your browser:

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Quick Core Circuit

The core is a vital part of the runner's body, but all too often neglected. In order to help myself focus more on this area, I created this core strengthening routine. I call it my "Quick Core Circuit" because it can be done fairly quickly. It consists of 3 sets of 7 exercises done in succession with no recovery time between each exercise. Each exercise focuses on a different part of the core, so even though you are not resting between exercises, each part is getting a break while another part is being worked. For me, each set takes 7-9 minutes, so the entire workout can be done in as little as 21 minutes. I started this routine a several weeks ago with fewer reps. Listed below is what I am currently doing.

1 - 30 Push ups
2 - 50 Crunches
3 - 60 second Plank
4 - 45 second Side Plank (each side)
5 - 15 Single Leg Hamstring Bridges (each leg)
6 - 30 Supermans
7 - 15 Single Leg Squats (each leg)

I've recently thrown in some clams and side leg lifts to strengthen my hips as I had been having some ITB trouble.

What do you do to strengthen your core?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

We're for Water 4 mile race report

First PR in years! I'm so excited! This was only my second time running this distance, but a PR is still a PR. I really wasn't expecting much today because I haven't really been training for the last month and a half, and I had been nursing some mild injuries this week. I mainly just wanted to see where I am at now that I'll be starting to train for another half marathon.
When I got to the starting area, I began entertaining thoughts of possibly winning this thing. I didn't see anyone else doing much of a warm up, no one really looked fast, it looked to be a pretty small race, and there certainly weren't any faster looking shoes than mine. I didn't think too much about it though, I just wanted to run a good race.
At the sound of the horn, I took off and was immediately in the lead. It was a new experience for me. It wasn't long before a kid caught up to me (we had been chatting at the start line), and we stuck together for the first mile or so. After that, he slowly pulled ahead of me, and I was never able to make up that ground.
I forgot my watch this morning (which seems to be becoming a pattern lately), so I had no clue as to how I was doing. I knew the first mile was pretty fast. Probably around 6 minutes, but I felt like I kept a pretty even pace from there. As I crossed the bridge and made the final turn to the finish, I saw the clock, and it was still under 25 minutes. I ran a 25:06 last November when I was in much better shape, so I was caught completely by surprise, and sprinted as fast as I could. I crossed the line cutting 12 seconds off my PR.
Final stats:
Official time - 24:54
Overall place - 2nd
Age group place - 1st
Age group award - Medal and a pipe wrench (the race was put on by the Arizona Municipal Water Users Association to promote wise water usage, and encourage fixing leaks). Definitely the most unique award I've gotten from a race.

My swag

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Desert Classic 1/2 Marathon report

Although almost nothing about this race went as planned, I still had an awesome time. This was supposed to be goal race. I started planning for this marathon last summer. I had just trained for a half marathon, was planning to run the Grand Canyon Marathon, and shoot for a big marathon PR at the Desert Classic. Didn't quite work out, but that's alright.

At the beginning of January, I decided to drop down to the half marathon distance due to some foot issues I was having. That was a bitter sweet decision for me because I really wanted to run the marathon, but I knew I'd be able to rock the half. Things were going really well, and then the Saturday before the race, I got sick. Fever, body aches, cough. It pretty much lasted all week. I didn't run the entire week, (I also took most of the week before off to rest my foot), but by Friday, I was feeling ok, and thought I'd still try for a PR.

My plan was to start out at about a 6:40 pace, pick it up to about a 6:30 by mile 5, and then run a fast 5k to finish it off. I was proud of myself for not going out too fast, and was able to hit the 6:40 mark pretty comfortably. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to go any faster at mile 5. I was able to hold the pace until about mile 8 or 9, but by then, I didn't have much strength left. My pace ended up around 7:00 for those last several miles.

I finished with a time of 1:30:17. Not bad for being sick all week. And I was able to win my age group and take 8th place overall. Cool!

This race was really cool for other reasons too. My favorite cross country runner (who has run several races with me) was there for his 2nd half marathon, I saw a ton of people I know (dailymile friends, blogging friends, real life friends). I also got to run an extra 5 miles by filling in for an injured runner on a friend's marathon relay team. I ran these miles really easy since, you know, I just ran 13.1 miles. We still ended coming in first in our category, so I got two first place medals on the day. This was really a fun day. There will be other opportunities for PRs.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Freeze Your Thorns Off 5k race report

My buddy Adam, from The Boring Runner, put together this little shindig for some local bloggers, the real life version of his virtual 5k race. I got to meet a bunch of people I hadn't met before, and see again some I hadn't seen in a long time. It was a really cool experience.
I was really hoping to PR today, and I thought I had a really good chance since I just ran the course (or a slightly altered version of it) last week. I wasn't able to get my usual warm up in because I was too busy chatting with all the new faces. I figured I'd be alright.
I took off at a quick pace, hoping to run a similar pace to last week. I wasn't feeling as good as last week, but I was doing ok. When I got to the turn around, the mark was quite a bit short of what I was expecting. Having done this course several times before, I knew where the turn around should be, so I kept going those few extra paces. That extra bit dropped me from 1st place to 3rd. I tried to make up that ground, but just couldn't pick up the pace as much as I would have liked.
I finished with about an 18:45. Not a PR, but that's still a decent time, and I had a real nice time getting to know all the runners (at least the ones I was able to talk to). One of the highlights was the finisher's medal that Rio handed out. Very awesome. In fact, a lot nicer than some medals I've received from real races.

The awesome finisher's medal
The top 4 finishers
Thanks to Adam, Lauren, and everyone else who made this an awesome race!

Friday, January 7, 2011

New Year's Day 5k race report

I had been telling myself the whole week before this race that I was going to PR. It's been 5 and half years since my last 5k PR, and I want a new one! And this would be a good race to do it with it's flat course that I have done the previous 2 years. It was going to happen.

My brother-in-law, who has run this race with me the previous 2 years, and I left early enough to get good warm-up in, but when we arrived, there was seriously one car in the parking lot, and the organizers were still getting everything set up. It was cold (36 degrees), but I wouldn't have expected the temperature to scare off this many runners. After the warm-up, we came to find out that we were an hour early. Oh well. We got in some extra miles since we needed to warm up again.

At the real race time, there were about 300 runners on the line. We made our way to the front and waited for the start. Historically, the start and finish were the same, but this year, the start was moved up a ways, and the finished was moved back. Not sure why.

The course runs out of the park, and then along a canal to the turn-around and then back again. I got off to a good start and settled in about 10 place by the time I got to the canal. I was feeling really good, but I didn't want to go out too fast and run out of gas at the end. When I reached the turn-around, I discovered that they had moved it about 50 feet further down the path. When I turned around, I was at 9:50. I was hoping to be around 9:15. I thought, "No wonder I'm feeling good!" I was going much slower than planned, so I started picking up the pace. I had moved up to 8th place, and started picking the runners off. I managed to get one right after the turn, another about half way back, and one more in the final quarter mile.

When I finished, I knew the course was long because of the change of the finish line and the turn-around. I finished with a time of 19:02, good for 5th place overall, and 1st in my age group. My brother-in-law finished about 15 seconds in front of me for 4th overall and 1st in his age group.

After taking a look at his Garmin, the course measured 3.19. I know they're not 100% accurate, but I know I ran faster than a 19 minute 5k. Assuming the course actually was 3.19, I ran a 5:57 pace, which would equal an 18:29 5k. That's five seconds faster than my PR. Too bad it's not official.

Luckily, I have another chance this Saturday at Adam's virtual/actual 5k race on the same course. Hopefully he's using more accurate measurements!