Saturday, June 29, 2013

A Lame Mile But 2nd in the US?

I was so not up for running the mile this year. Normally I'll start with minimalist speedwork about five or six weeks out, with the Flint Hills mile in mind. Starting at 30-45 sec pick ups at mile pace, and building to weekly sessions of 1.5 to 2K of running at mile pace or faster. My foot has been touchy this spring, and whenever I pick up the speed it is sore for a few days. And face it, at 55 aerobic running just feels better.

Nevertheless, the mile on the Flint Hills Series calendar and it's usually the one chance a year I get to run the mile. So I planned to at least do it.

Or not. The smoke rolled into town on Wednesday and we had "Unhealthy" air quality conditions (AQ index of 150-200 ppm of PM 2.5) in the morning. So on Thursday morning I went for a run up 45 min run up on Skyline Ridge, where the air was a bit cleaner--at the upper reaches of the smoke cloud. I didn't plan on doing the mile at all. But by 3 or 4 PM the wind picked up and blew much of the smoke out of town and you could see several miles.

Ugggh. Had to do it.The saving grace this time was that I wasn't hyped up/nervous.

I lined up and just kept repeating, it's only a workout it's only a workout. My plan was to go 77-78 on the first lap and then drop down, hopefully finishing in something around 5:05. I executed the plan okay, but a bit too slow laps 1,2,3, on which I hit 400 m in 79.8, 2:37.7, and 3:54, running with high schooler, Joe. I did run the last lap in 74, but it wasn't enough to hold of Joe who is more fleet of foot. So 5:10.7 and 4th place. I could have been a little to a lot more bold on the first two laps in particular. Oh well.

Was surprised to see that the time is currently (as of June 29) the second best outdoor mile time this year in the US for age group 55-59, 5 seconds behind Brian Nelson's 5:05.45 set back in February ( MILE RUN&sort=Asc&sex=Men&pseason=Outdoor&cyear=2013). Also, it's a new age group record for the Flint Hills Mile, ahead of Jim Loftus's 5:14.9 from 2006.

So I'm not getting any faster with age--and Estle would be the first to tell you that although I'm pretty  lame (he always cackles and makes fun of me for whatever reason). However lame that may be, I appear to be slowing less than my age group peers.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Top Age Grade Results for 2013 Midnight Sun Run

Time for the top age grade results from this year's Midnight Sun Run, this is preliminary and I may have missed someone from an older age groups, so I'll double check that later this week.


Dorli McWayne (60).....44:15.....88.59
Jane Lanford (58)..........47:52...... 79.62
Erika Van Flein (53)......48:15......79.02

Mike Kramer (45)........34:35...... 85.33
Chad Carroll (43)..........35:36...... 82.95
Roger Sayre (55)............36:35...... 87.43
Greg Finstad (58)........41:20.....79.37
Andy Holland (57)...........43:24.8.....77.51

Soon I'll also catch up a bit to update some of the all time Masters rankings/times/placings for this event.

Finally, however, I'd also like to acknowledge that the youth movement is on and there were some very good times from local teenagers.

13 yr old Ty Donaldson ran 39:55 (75.63%), brother Max 16 covered the course in 35:25 (80.49%), and Tristan Sayre age 15, ran 36:14 (79.97). Among girls,16 year old Allison Hebard ran 42:22 (74:06)

Monday, June 24, 2013

Midnight Sun Run 2013: That one hurt!

I'll admit that there is a certain edginess to my running, but it is also something that I can't explain all that well either. Maybe it's just that I've never quite outgrown being 19-20 with people flipping trash my way all the time, so I am out there to prove something. Maybe I just like wrestling with these demons and pre-race angst. One thing for certain, I don't really enjoy grinding through the 4th mile of a 10K knowing that I'm slowing down and not sure how much longer I can hang on.

But like Jackson Browne's Pretender, this time next year I'll get up and do it again. Amen.

This year I didn't get all that nervous with butterflies--maybe once or twice briefly the day before--but as Saturday and the evening ensued this feeling of dread began to weigh heavily. I just knew this would be a tough one. Felt it.

At about 70, it didn't feel too hot but at the same time it was about 5 or 6 degrees warmer than comfortable for a 10K. I warned the kids and reminded myself to run easy--on pace--for the first mile. That didn't really work out for any of us. The field was deep this year, a lot of good runners lined up including several unknowns from out of town. Some in disguise.

Nervous energy. Masters runner Mike Kramer (5th)  looks out on the course; race winner Dylan Anthony is painted in brown, wearing green shorts 3rd from left; I'm (820) in white hat with the boys (Tristan bent over in red top, Mikko in white top (822), Peter (726), and Kuba black hat in the middle/left of the startline. (photo Fairbanks Daily NewsMiner)

The howitzer went off about a minute after 10, and I hadn't run more than 10 meters when I took a sharp elbow to my forearm from a U-Alaska Anchorage female runner, painted up and dressed to kill, as a bird: feathers, beak and all. She said sorry, but all that I could think then and for the next 5 minutes was ow! OW! Ow, that hurt. Two days later it still hurts.

The lead group wasn't too terribly fast but everyone took it out pretty hard. I was somewhere in the 30s at the mile, which was 5:42, a good 10 sec faster than planned. I eased up slightly in mile 2 and gradually slid by a few groups of runners in the shaded neighborhoods south of the UAF campus, and hit the 2 mile in 11:36 (a more reasonable 5:54). I was just hoping that first mile wouldn't come back to haunt me, as I was already feeling it, mostly in my gut and semi-nauseous when we turned onto University Avenue. I was in about 20th place. 

Picked off a few on that long stretch along the four lane boulevard, crossing 3 miles at 17:24 and 16th place. 

Your friendly blogger at 3.5 miles
The 4th mile is usually my toughest, or more precisely 3.5 to 4.5 on this course. It's just a long stretch and we're strung out by there. I was in with skiers, Tyson about 8 seconds up, with college skiers Vanya and Stephan 5 or 10 seconds back.

Just past 4 miles (23:40; although I don't think that was a 6:16 mile!), where I took a sip of water over a tight and protesting stomach, Vanya and Stephan caught back up. I uttered some nonsense, like this is what we've been waiting for isn't it, and started to fall back on my heels. Vanya pulled way a few times and it took all my energy to keep him from breaking away. It was just a matter of hanging on. Slowly, Tyson was coming back to us. 5 miles 29:27 (5:46?), and I figured I could do it. We passed through the biggest of dozens of block parties--I could smell the alcohol in the air, but at least they weren't throwing it us as they had in the past.

One last insult from a guy on a bike "cmon guys, show a little pride in your running and pick it up!" with woman cackling in Doppler effect behind me, and I started to pull away from Tyson and Vanya and focusing on the next guys, 15-20 sec up, two of the boys whom I coach. I've had some really good final miles in the past on this course, but not on Saturday. Just chalk it up as adequate: I got through it without losing my dinner. Crossed mile 6 in 35:24 (a 5:55).

Unfortunately, that's just what happened to poor Kuba at 6 miles. He had to stop. I cruised through the park, careful not to have a stereo act. Vanya and Tyson were on my tail but I had enough of a gap to hold them off.

Finish didn't come a moment too soon, 13th place in 36:35. That was a hard fought effort.

Oh and my arm? 10 minutes after finishing it started aching again. OWWW! A freakin hematoma.

Kuba (l) and Mikko (r) collect their Midnight Sun Run scholarship awards!

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Arduous Torture Test

Did the unique "Two Way Torture Test" on Saturday, an old school type of event. No entry fee, porta-johns, or race shirt, only 2 pins per race bib provided, no rock bands or traffic control, and a very large hill. And the most unusual thing about this long-standing local race (two year hiatus 2010, 2011 because they couldn't get the permits I think), is that it's a partner race with the two teammates going opposite directions.
Last time I did this (2009) I went counterclockwise and ran 1:23:35 (or about that), using the terrain as a que. I sort of dialed back on the flats and downhills and ran hard (threshold) on the uphills. It's kind of a natural way to run that direction. This time I wanted to see how it would go the other way, with 3.3 flat miles, 2.5 mile hill climb. Rolling for a few and and two big downhill miles (separated) on the return.

It was warmer than desired, low 70s, but there was decent shade along most of the course (miles 10-12.5 were kind of exposed). The course starts/finishes at about 465 feet along the Chena River.
Splits were something like (elevation [feet] gain/loss in parentheses)
6:09 (+54) 
6:22,  (-55)
6:19, (-20)
7:06 (+118 net, but total +194)
7:33 (+298)
7:58 (+301)
6:06 (-22)
6:19 (+21)
5:42 (-237)
6:18 (-17)
5:42 (-261)
6:11 (-157)
6:00 (-26)
1:24:26, not quite hitting my goal of meeting the 2009 time but it was definitely warmer this year.

Only had half my caffeine and felt out of sycnh from the start. Ran the first mile quicker than planned, and 2nd and 3rd a little slower. The hill was tough but I kept the effort in check. Once over the top, and recovered, I was able to get into a decent rhythm and caught a guy who had been 20 or 30 sec ahead. Last mile was tough, but happy do to that in 6:00 pace.  3rd individual time and 3rd team. Some new talent in town as grad student named Rick blasted a 1:14. Fast time for this course.