Friday, July 26, 2013

Type A or Type B Runner, which are you?

I have been thinking about this a little bit lately, I kind of know the answer for myself and it has varied. But before I stuck my foot in my mouth any more than I normally do I looked at the symptoms and took a little quiz.

Here is the answer:

You have some Type A features, but are not the 'typical Type A'. You can probably really benefit from the resources below. While your health and happiness aren't as threatened as some, your chances for improvement are that much greater than those with much stronger Type A tendencies. With some lifestyle changes and a few stress relief techniques, you may be in great shape!

Type A I know it when I see it, and I've had my own bouts of it over the years both with running and work. These days, even though I can get impatient and umm well can be a driven competitor, I think I'm trending Type B (a little more on that later).

As a young runner/athlete I started out very much Type B, albeit a somewhat anxious, if not downright anxious Type B. That was about the first two years of my college running career at a small Midwestern college. If I was driven by anything it was fear of failure. And yes, I did fail, flat on my face a few times.

As a freshman and sophomore I got dead last at our conference outdoor meet. Utterly disastrous running, way off my season's best. [in case anyone is curious, I ran 2:15 in the 880 as a freshman, and something like 16:50 for the 3 mile as a sophomore]. Chalk those up nerves and inexperience--especially not knowing about decent pacing early in the race.

But somewhere along the way--primarily after taking a semester off to ski in Colorado--I looked up at the school records and what it took to be all conference and dedication to the sport morphed into obsession. At times unhealthy, fretting about times, splits, workouts, diet and weight, and of course outside approval from peers and coaches, maybe even friends.

I did improve, some. But was consistently inconsistent and was known as more of a workout runner than a meet performer. The highlights of my running for the school was a 9:43 indoor 2 mile at a meaningless early-season meet, and a surprise 4th place finish at our outdoor conference meet in the 3000 m steeplechase.

After stepping away it took a couple years and a reconfigured mindset. No longer was I running to impress anyone, I kept running to see what I could do with it, plus I simply enjoyed getting outside--in whatever conditions--for 60 to 90 minutes a day. Lo! I improved considerably (for example my 5K time got a minute faster) and I became a consistent, and sometimes even prolific, racer.

Those post-college years were fun. I would do the work, and make sure that I got in certain types of training in a reasonable progression, but was not so OCD about it.

That brings us up to today, as a masters runner. I'm competitive as ever, but that's only on race day. A little recognition is nice, but masters running is kind of a funky netherland. I think I've mentioned the that the term elite masters itself is something of an oxymoron, unless you're talking  the likes of Kevin Castille running sub 29 min 10K at 40, or Pete Magill doing 15 min 5K at 50, or Joanie Samuelson 2:50 marathon in her mid 50s. There are so very few at the top and the depth is thin.

All that aside, my training and personal training philosophy (i.e, knowing what works for me) is very Type B. I go into a week with a rough idea of how much I'd like to run, but how I do it and what workouts I end up doing totally depends on how I'm feeling. If I'm tired I might take a day off, or run half of what I'd planned--mileage goals be damned--or break it up into a double. Plus I'll cut back on higher intensity workouts, including lactate threshold training if I'm not feeling quite up to par (which happens a lot at 55!).

So I just put a reasonable amount of volume, incorporate threshold or tempo running when I can (say from 20 to 60 minutes a week) and do very little speed or race-specific training other than some pick ups (20 sec) or a few surges of one to two minutes. I let the races themselves take care of specificity.

Interestingly, a number of the athletes that I coach (in fact the majority) are very much Type A. They want to know what they'll do, usually well in advance, how much (as many miles and workouts as they can), and they can fret about pace. We end up with a bit of a trade off. They put up with my idiosyncrasies, I deal with theirs, and it usually works out. I don't care much if they ran 9.3 or 10.4 miles on a given day at 7:45.2 or 9:59 pace. I do get on their case if they run a recovery run or long run too fast, but that's about it. And if they have to stop or modify a workout because it's 95 degrees and 90% humidity, well replenish your electrolytes and don't sweat it. Save the good stuff for race day.    


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Gold Discovery Run Masters Rankings and Records page is up

Despite some formatting problems, and no doubt a other few glitches, I've posted the masters rankings for the Gold Discovery Run. These are somewhat preliminary and it is a work in progress

Monday, July 22, 2013

Thrashing at the Gold Discovery Run

A lot of firsts and such to discuss here. To start, I hadn't done the Gold Discovery Run since 2008, so that was a first in five years. Plus it was my longest run since 2009, capping off my longest week (65 miles) since October of 2009.

However, a day later, the most important thing is that not only am I standing I'm walking around and not feeling too bad.

My plan was to just go easy, make a decent effort distance run somewhere between moderate pace and marathon pace. But as race day approached I got to thinking more and more about time and place. And then on Sunday morning it seemed like everyone showed up, the deepest field since I've been here. So I thought what the heck, I'll try for top 5 and maybe a 1:45 or so.

There have been some changes in logistics. They still bring us up to the start in rickety old Salmon Bake buses, but this time they read a two page memo on safety and such before we left and then we sat in the bus for another 20 minutes before the three buses left in a caravan. We got to the start at 8:58, just enough time to strip off the warm ups and do a few minutes of jogging.

And OMG they took it out fast! Usually the pace starts moderate for the first mile, and I've been in the lead group, and it's in the second mile that things bring it up. But upstart runner AJ took it out like a 5K; I caught his mile split in 5:15. He was followed by a pack of five, including Chris Eversman, Matias Saari, Devin McDowell, Tyson Flarharty, and Max Kaufman: the latter two skiers. I was a good 30-40 seconds behind them (6:13), in no man's land with the next group 20 or 30 seconds back.

Nothing to do but look ahead, although I already felt stressed.

It was all okay until a steep downhill at about 4 miles, when my hamstring seized up. I wondered if I'd even make it to the 7 mile feed station. Fortunately, we had a long climb after that the knot worked itself out (but I could feel it the rest of the way).

This was my 5th running (in 10 seasons) of this event and this was by far the muddiest. We probably had six or seven (or eight) large puddles (20 or 30 yards long and a foot or two deep) to circumnavigate, usually by winding through spruce thickets on muskeg paths. Walking basically, or by hanging on alders and side-stepping the puddles hoping not to fall in.

I finally caught Max at 4.5 miles, up the rock overlook, and he hung close through the aid station. Once we got onto the dirt road I was able to open up a bit. But not even half way through and I was feeling it. Onto Gilmore Trail road at 8 or so, I could finally see Tyson who was up by about a minute. Over the next 3 miles I gradually reeled him in, passing at about 11.5 miles. It looked like he was paying for that fast early pace.

After that I probably could have backed down and pulled away comfortably but I decided to try to go pretty hard, to see if I could break Wayde Leder's 2009 time (1:45:38 fastest 50+).

I thought I had a good shot until hitting the 16 miles. But I brought it home to finish in 1:46:25, and 5th place (fastest/deepest top 5 since 2002). So it was a faster/harder effort than planned (who knows what will be left for Santa Claus Half in less than two weeks), and I didn't quite get that 50+ mark; however, the time took off almost 8 minutes from Jim Decur's 2004 best for the 55-59 age group. No complaints.

Meanwhile, Eversman won in 1:34:20, which I think is the 4th fastest time ever on the "new" course (started ca. 2002) on this long-time local race. Moses Waweru ran 1:32:41 in 2004. Saari's 3rd in 1:40:13 is also the 3rd fastest masters time (1:37:45 by Mike Kramer,  in 2009).

Among the women, Mellissa Lews ran 1:55:10 to win overall, and I believe that also is a masters record.

(I will be posting up some all time age group listing soon, in the other blog).

Friday, July 05, 2013

Independence Day Run now that was a good race!

First, kudos to the organizers, Kevin Brinegar, Liz, Chad, and their helpers. If you want a good no frills race in this town then try to hit one of their races: Spring Fling, Independence Day 5K, and the Labor Day 5K. Plus the Bun Run trail race. You will get an accurate course and time and what's not to like about that!

I got to Pioneer Park a little late and a little lethargic. It was cool at about 60 and smoky as I started my jog. But I warmed up quickly, and after about a mile and a half at about 9 min pace I took one look at young woman, Alison Jackson from BC, warming up by the bridge and knew that this one was going to hurt. She just looked strong and fit and athletic and I could tell that she'd probably be sub 18 minutes for 5K, and likely capable of a 5 minute mile or better.

Without too much adieu we were off just after 10, and a young soldier and Jackson took off. I tucked into third and the only thing I could think during that first mile was too fast! too fast!

I went in thinking 5:36s would give about 17:24 and that's about all I could hope for. I didn't have the Garmin but I bet they hit the half in 2:40 or a bit faster and I was about 3-4 sec back. Jackson took the lead by the mile at 5:25 and I was two seconds off her pace. Breathing hard but not out stressed yet. So I pressed on and gradually got closer. I passed at 2K and she was also breathing hard, so I just kept it steady. We crossed the bridge (about half way) well in the lead.

Photo Daily NewsMiner 7/5/2013

I was able to extend my lead behind the Carlson Center and by 2 miles (11:02) could no longer hear footsteps. I was buoyed a little that I hadn't slowed too much and felt strong enough to hold onto the lead.
Nevertheless, keeping focused enough to put the hurt on is always a challenge over the last mile in a 5K, so I just concentrated on maintaining a good rhythm, while trying to throw in short bursts of speed when I could (not fartlek, more subtle, just enough not to lag too much and fall back on my heels). I tried to break the course down into line of sight, 30 sec to a minute ahead. I knew I could break 17:20, and just kept it going to the chute. Not enough in the tank for a blazing kick, but still able to hold on decently. Passed 3 miles in 16:45 and I crossed the line in 17:17.6.

Age Grade 89.9%, a PR for that! And my fastest road 5K since 2009.

My main competition for the day, young Alison, ran 17:38. And that's easily the fastest women's time here in a decade. Crystal Pitney ran 18:00 at a couple local 5K races
when she was in high school, and that's the closest we've seen. A job well done to Ms. Jackson! (I just did a quick internet search and see that she's run 35s for 10K this year and last summer was 11th in the 20-24 age class at a world triathlon championship).

So she pulled me through a fast first mile and kept up the pressure the entire race. Everyone I talked to was pretty happy with their run, and were ready to celebrate the race. It was a good day for freedom and to race.