Monday, May 30, 2011

2011 Astros Race For The Pennant 5k - 16:15

I arrived at the starting line eagerly anticipating the race. In my mind I believed myself to be in pretty good shape. My workouts were going well. I was not peaked for this race but I felt I would be able to put in a good effort. The only 2 ominous things on the horizon to look out for was Sesar Figueroa and of course the hilly course. If Sesar showed up for the race then I felt that I was in good enough shape to try to hang on to him as long as possible and be pulled to an excellent time. But the hills on the Elysian viaduct were pretty extreme I was told. I wasn't too afraid of this since I had incorporated some hill and leg strengthening training. I ended up seeing Sesar at the starting line and exchanged some pleasantries and prepared for the horn.

It went off and we all ran out with Sesar taking a decisive lead ahead of us. I was in the midst of an unexpected crowd of young guys. I did notice young Carlos Arias, our newest Kenyan Way Elite team member in the mix early. I also noticed a tall blond runner who was running pretty strong. About a quarter mile in we hit the viaduct and head up the hill. We are hitting a pretty aggressive pace and there is a pack of us about 2-5 seconds behind Sesar. We hit half a mile, then a mile at a whacked out 4:50, totally uphill! Can you say insane! I can't really say anything because I was the main instigator in the chase pack, chasing Sesar. I just didn't expect to see such a crowd of guys still in the mix. The tall blonde guy was still in the mix, Carlos, and another shirtless kid all right with or directly behind me. I wasn't breathing hard but everyone around me was. In my mind I felt everyone else was going to die BEFORE I was (Boy was I wrong!).

So as we hit the 1.5 mile mark and headed for the turn around I'm still in second but Sesar has started to pull away a bit. He has about 10 seconds on us and we have slowed to around 5 min pace. Then we head up the hill again. Initially I'm good, just aggressively pushing and then somewhere in the next 45 seconds or so I bonk. I feel the strength quickly leave my legs like a gas tank with a hole in it. I watch as the tall blond guy, the shirtless kid and then another guy eventually pulls away from me. There was nothing I could do. There was no response available. The legs were done. The energy drifting away from me. I had to sit through a 5:15 2nd mile and then a 5:32 3rd mile and finally a 40 second .1 for a final time of 16:15. I was speechless. I couldn't fathom how badly I screwed this race up. I finished 5th.

After the race I caught up with Carlos and a couple of other guys that passed me during that 2nd mile. One of them happened to be the tall blond guy. Turns out we had been acquainted with each other from the past. He told me that he was the guy that finished second to me in the 2010 Houston Rockets Run. I didn't recognize him as he was shorter than me the year before. Turns out he was Craig Nowak. He won the state 5A 1600m as a junior this year! An obvious stud. I complimented him on his great strength as he was able to finish in 15:4x on a tough course, as a high school junior. Remember that name!

As for me, I remained disappointed in my own results. I knew what I did wrong and knew that this course was not a good indication of my current fitness, especially with how I ended up running it. The only thing to do was brush the results aside and forget about it. I had another race in 5 days. An opportunity to redeem myself.

As an aside: Sesar easily ran his own race finishing in 15:09. Another high schooler finished ahead of me, the shirtless kid but I didn't get his name. First time I've been schooled by high schoolers in years. Craig obviously is a stud, the other kid BETTER be a stud!!! Good job by the kids.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Look What I Found: 2009 Space City 10 Miler

This is kind of old but I stumbled across it and I'm sure many of you haven't seen it so why not show it? Sean ended up finishing 2nd in the race. You can actually see a lot of the who's who's of the local running scene. Who knows? You may see yourself. Nice footage that we usually don't get around here.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

How To Go From a 20 Minute 5k Guy to a 15:30 5k Guy

My wife told me I was an idiot for doing this. She said I should charge money for this kind of advice. But I will do it anyway. I will give away the secrets for a 20 minute guy to be a 15:30 guy. Some of you will hate me for giving away these secrets, but only know that I had nothing but good intentions. So you want a to be a 15:30 5k guy huh? Well first you're going to have to do a little bit of work.

But wait, you don't know much about running except running around as fast as you can for 30 minutes. So that is why you start off by getting a beginner guide to running such as the one provided by Hal Higdon. Pretty simple and cookie cutter and you can't go wrong with that. So you go to the site and notice marathon programs in the beginner, intermediate, and advanced modes. So you pick the beginner level. Marathon training can't be that hard, after all, your brother trained for only a week and finished one.

So you start your training. It's best to have a couple of running buddies in the beginning because a 10 mile run by yourself can get pretty darn boring. After about a month you get yourself down to 8:30 minute pace for 10 miles. You're on your way to being a stud baby! You run your first marathon and finish in less than 4:30 hours but you are cramped up and hurting afterward. Who knew a marathon could be so hard? It's ok because you have got by Stage 1, building your aerobic base.

So you rest up and decide to register for a 5k. Your time can't be that fast because after all you haven't been doing much training since the marathon. But you blast a sub 20 5k and you didn't even think this was possible. It must have been the marathon training. Of course it was!

So this spurs you on to train more. After all if you can break 20 minutes without even training hard what can you do if you actually train? So you just do some random stuff like running quarters on a track as fast as you can. Two quarters a day will suffice. Hmm, that's boring, how about throw in an 800 in there every once in a while. There you go. You are well on your way to being a stud. After all, isn't a 5k about running fast? And what better training than doing a couple 400s and an 800 a couple of times a week for a total of 10 miles a week.

So let's see how your training is going by registering for another 5k. Bam! you break 19 minutes for a 5k! Who would have thought you c0uld do that! I mean, you spent a couple of years running for 30 minutes a day as hard as you could for 5 days a week and couldn't break 20 minutes and now you don't run as much and you are breaking 19 minutes. You are well on your way to being a stud. It is true, speed does kill. Now let's get those 400 times down so we speed up our 5k time. Let's run them harder.

So you keep up your training methodology and you can now consistently run in the low 18's for 5k. You are well on your way. Along the way you join a running group to meet more like-minded individuals and participate in relays and other grand activities. Who woulda thunk it? Running is fun! After another year of running you whittle your time down to sub 17:10 off of 10-15 miles of track work. Basically a few 400s and maybe some 800s and a mile thrown in their some days. But something isn't right. You know you can't go too much farther by farting around and experimentation. Also, you are reading all of this info about how to run faster and you don't understand a lot of it and other things that contradict themselves. You want to be one of the top runners but which methodology do you choose?

This is where you have to choose a local Olympian to guide and ensure your success. After all, they have been down that road before and you will be able to pick their brain. But be forewarned, you may think you are a stud and all but they will probably tell you that you are 25 pounds overweight and your primary goal will be to lose that weight. Take their advice and do everything they say. They will take your rudimentary ideas and mold them into a more advanced training philosophy. They will introduce foreign things to you like hills and long runs. You will be told to increase your mileage on a continual basis. You do some 5ks and you break 17 minutes for 5k and you feel good. You are well on your way to being a stud!

You like what you are doing so far. It's simple you just follow what your local Olympian says. He does the thinking and you do the following and whalaaa, the results come! And they are coming fast and furious. Can you keep up with the pace? But he tells you that you will reach a point where improvement will become harder to achieve. You don't care because you just want to continue on the ride you are currently on. You want more and more so you join his marathon program because you figure that if the marathon made you break 20 minutes before, what will it do for you now?

So you do the long runs. You make some buddies on these runs. You see what they are doing. You look forward to the weekend, not to party or lounge around, but to run and run longer. Surprisingly the runs are getting longer and longer but you don't crater. You continually take on the challenges for that week. Your new friends push the pace, a different guy each week, making the runs all that more exciting. During the week you do your mileage like a faithful servant and keep every commandment. Later on in the year you shock yourself and your coach by running a 16 low at a low key 5k. Wow how could this be? You are closer to the goal. It is attainable and you are well on your way to being a stud!

So you run your marathon. It is difficult but it is much easier the second time around. You break 3 hours and you don't feel totally cooked afterward. The marathon was great but now you want to see what you can really run for 5k and you can't wait. You end up waiting the appropriate amount of time to recover and you break 16 minutes for the 5k. Not only do you break it, you break it in style by running a 15:46. You now start to train with your local Olympian. You are training with the big boys now. Kudos you are well on your way to becoming a stud!

Since the marathon training worked before you decide to train for the marathon again. A few months before your 3rd marathon you run a 15:32! Kudos, you accomplished your goal. You are now a 15:30 guy. Mission accomplished, you are forever in your happy place. You can go home. You are finished because you are now a 15:30 guy. No wait, you aren't really finished. Because that was never really your goal to begin with. Your goal was to see how low you could go. Whether that be 18 flat or 15 flat you don't simply pack up and go home. You run now because it makes your body look the way you want it to look. You run because it makes your body feel how you want it to feel. You run because at the end of your hard work you get to see your results come to fruition. You run because you make good friends for life that respect your work ethic and you respect theirs. So you see, you never were looking for a final result or a destination or a great running time. The fun and fulfilment was always in the journey.

But if it is only the time of 15:30 that you are pursuing then the aforementioned plan will work as advertised but only if you follow it exactly as instructed above.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Garmin 610 Review Link

Have you been thinking about purchasing the new Garmin 610? Here is an IN DEPTH review.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Race of the Day

Don't celebrate early. Take care of the business at hand first. Just win baby. Here is a lesson learned from one of the all time greats. Take a look...

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Question About Shoes

What type of flats do you wear, also what type of training shoes do you sport for workouts? thanks.

This is an excellent question that I have been struggling with the past few years. Let me start with what I've been doing the last few years and then what I've been doing recently.

The previous few years I went minimal. The thought was if my shoes were lighter I would be able to move quicker. Pretty simplistic I know, but it was something different to try. I also wanted to build up my calves and the rest of my lower legs and feet. This worked initially as my times continued to drop. But was it the shoes or the training? As my times have begun to stagnate the last few years I began to wonder whether I was beating up my legs a little too much in races because after great starts I would fade big time at the end, no matter what shape I was in. I wore adizero PRs (3oz) for my racing flats and some light weight puma flats(5oz) I won in a race for my speed workouts.

Recently I decided to go another route and do something in between. I picked up some 7oz Brooks Green Silences that I won in a race(to use as my racing shoes). I have had improving results since. I've also started to wear my 9oz Adidas Bostons for my speed work and have been having good results.

So the results of my experimentation is to not get something too heavy or you'll be too slow. Don't get something too light or you'll beat up your legs. What is the correct fit for you? You'll only find that out through experimentation.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tip to Ward Off Injury

Here's a free tip to help you avoid injury. They say starting a weight program will help you prevent running injuries. I'll even go a little bit further and say that if you seem to be having a nagging problem that doesn't seem to go away in a few days then start lifting weights near that problem area. I'll use myself as an example.

Recently I had increased my mileage a little bit and I had also increased my intensity as well. During the following weeks I started to get a little tendinitis and my shins were hurting a bit. I also started to feel a few niggles around the groin area. So what did I do? I started to do calf raises, adductor, and abductor workouts. The problems were gone the next day. Granted, I have a history of lifting in the past so I really didn't have to do much, but the lifting helped nonetheless. You see, your problem areas have supporting muscles and when that problem area gets out of whack then your supporting muscles come to the rescue. I would even go so far as saying that strengthening your legs through a weight program can help ward off stress fractures. When your muscles fatigue your bones pay the price and absorb more than their share of punishement.

So remember, if you start having issues that don't go away after a few days, then think about strenghthening that area. It worked for me and maybe it will work for you.

Monday, May 16, 2011

New Races and Workouts...

For those of you interested in my progress the past few months here are a few posts to get you up to speed...

  1. 6 Mile Tempo

  2. Texas Lonestar Stampede 5k (14:56)

  3. 6 Mile Tempo

  4. Run For the Arts 5k

  5. Conn's Green 10k (32:41)

That's it for now!

These Old Kicks Are Way Cooler Than Your New Kicks

25 years ago we didn't have the Nike Plus or the Garmin to help tell us how many miles and what pace we ran. We had this...

The Great Astros Game Escape

Word on the street is that he got caught and they made him watch the rest of the game.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

6 Mile Tempo

A hot muggy day but I still managed to do well. I ran with the Wade and we didn't quite manage to run as fast today because of the weather. Sean only managed to do about 4.5 miles before he reaggravated his Achilles and had to drop out. I managed to finish the workout in 33:02 which is about a 5:30 pace. If I can do this in this type of weather then things are looking good.

The only unfortunate thing is Sean injuring his Achilles again. I sense his frustration. This has been the only thing holding him back these past months. If he can get any consistent training, any at all, he would be right near the top again. Especially at 10k and above.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Texas Lonestar Stampede 5k 14:56 (2nd Overall)

I had a lot of fun at this race. Some Kenyans came down from out of town and I got to race with them for a mile and a half until they put on the jets. There was a 5k and a 10k and so there was a Kenyan registered for each. Once the horn sounded we took off.

There was the 2 Kenyans and an unfamiliar face (Matt Russell, USA triathlete, ex steepler) at the front. Matt looked confident and took it out to the front. A high schooler who I have been seeing at the last few races Carlos Arias was right behind them and then me. We were all tightly bunched together. The first mile was pedestrian (for Kenyans), about 5 minutes. I was a little shocked it was so slow. I mean, we have local guys here, including myself that take it out faster than that the first mile. Evidently the Kenyans were toying around for about another half a mile and then started to accelerate to about 4:45 pace. By then Matt dropped off, and shortly after that Carlos dropped back. I hung on for a little longer but slowly but surely they put about 15 seconds on me for the second mile.

The third mile I was by myself for a while but I could still see the Kenyans in front of me. I ran as hard as I could but I wasn't hurting too bad which was shocking. I then started to hear some foot steps and hard breathing behind me. I though it was Carlos. As we headed toward the last .1 I had finished my last mile in 4:52 but the guy behind me was gaining on me. I looked back and it was Matt Russell. Somehow he got his second wind and was trying to track me down. I waited and looked back and he had put on the jets sensing weakness. Fortunately I had plenty of sprint left and regained some of the lead I had lost and ended up finishing 3 seconds ahead. The time was awesome as I finished in 14:56. Matt finished in 14:59 and the top Kenyan, Kiplagat finished in 14:31.

The Garmin says it was 3 miles but whatever. It was a road race and these things happen. It was a USATF certified course but it must have been closer to 3 miles than 3.1. Whatever the real length of the course was, it doesn't matter because I'm in pretty good shape.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

6 Mile Tempo (First Workout Outside in 7 months)

It was a great morning. I ran the workout with Sean who is coming back from Achilles issues. He was only supposed to hang for 4 miles but he ended up finishing up with me. It was an amazing workout for me, the fastest ever tempo for 6 miles. We finished up at 5:26 pace with 32:38. It feels good to ace a tempo for once since it's my Achilles heel.