Friday, April 25, 2014

Mixed about April

Although I enjoy the longer days and warmer temperatures of April, as a runner it is usually my worst month. That’s one reason why haven’t even given the Boston Marathon a second thought since 1984, the last and only year I had planned to go. Ended up injured over the winter and since it's never been on my calendar. Yes, winter, that’s the thing. For most of the years since 1984 I’ve either skied or been injured. Only 1999 and 2000, early masters years when I was a spry 41-42, was I in any kind of decent shape in April.

This year is no exception. I’m making the transition but it isn’t pretty. Every year I promise myself to be in top shape for the Chena River Run, depth-wise usually the most competitive race of the year here. Never happens. Coming off ski season I always gain a few pounds while transitioning to running. My weight’s usually stable but not in April, so by the end of the month I’m 2-5 lb heavier that at any time of the year.

My legs feel almost lifeless and brittle. So it’s just a matter of doing a build up and becoming consistent. I’ll do some pick ups and tempo runs here and there but there is no zip. In this phase I feel susceptible to injury and so must wait. Just put in the miles, start picking up the pace a couple times a week. Paying dues.

Fortunately, I’ll feel better in May, when the weather gets really great. The only downside to that, locally at least after CRR there are not any decent races to focus on. Murphy Dome Roam is actually pretty nice but at an odd distance with a huge hill climb it's more of a training-social event. That’s why I’m planning on travel to Anchorage later in the month with the aim of a sub 1:20 half marathon.

About Boston, what a great one this year with Meb Keflezighi taking a surprise win. All the focus was on Shalane Flanagan and Ryan Hall, and the near 39 yr old Meb wasn’t even favored to be a top 5 or 10 finisher. Local runners did really well. Rick Lader ran 2:36 and Erica Burr 3:11 to lead the way.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Half Way House

I'll probably need one of those someday. A half way house for OCD, running addiction therapy, and other maladies. Great.

Making some transitions this month, and maybe then some. Perhaps more on that later.

Into my third week of running following a long--somewhat rewarding but not always wonderful ski season--and it's coming back although I feel awkward plodding along at 56 years old. With so much ice and snow out there still, I'm running outdoors most days but workouts are on the treadmill. Seem to be in reasonable early season shape and can hold threshold reps in the low 6 min/mile range and I felt relatively good doing a series of 1 min reps in the 5:40s range the other day. Nevertheless, the transformation invariably takes six to eight weeks so I can't rush it. Also mixing in some skiing to avoid to many miles too soon.

What's best is that I now have a season plan, actually for the entire year. It may or may not include a marathon. It might be more of a year for 10K and under, although with some longer stuff mixed in.

May is the usual kickoff, Chena River Run. It's always the most competitive race of the entire year--I never get close to top 10 anymore with up to a dozen runners going under 17 minutes--but the course is slow and it's just too early in the season for me to feel like I can roll. So it's usually 17:30s to 17:50s for that one and wait for faster at later date.

After that later in May is the Trent/Waldron Glacier half marathon in Anchorage. That's a good one all on bike paths. The race has a few quirks, but it's low key, the course is good, and they even have age graded rankings. I don't think any other race in the state does that.

The June schedule includes the Midnight Sun Run and the Jim Loftus Mile. I wish they'd space these a little bit further apart, and put the mile on the following Saturday after MSR, instead of Thursday. But it is what it is. This year in honor of the late Jim Loftus, a friend and excellent masters runner, I would like see how close to 5:00 I can get. Loftus who ran the 800 in 2:12 at 55 or so, also ran a 5:00 at 50.

July is wide open. August I'm going to break away from the pattern and either do the Alaska Championship 10K in Anchorage on the first weekend to go for a sub 36, or possibly the Big Wildlife (Formerly Humpy's) marathon a couple weeks later. This all depends on scheduling with high school cross country and all, in addition to June and July training.

The big one though is that I want to do USATF Club Nationals in December. That's a long wait, and far away (Pennsylvania this year). But XC is the best, although it might not be my best event. To keep things going (and if I don't do a marathon in Anchorage) I might do Equinox. Although, maybe not and just focus on training and XC. Obviously late summer is a little bit more open ended.

Anyway, looking forward to it and to seeing people out on the roads, trails, and track.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Roger's Top 10 Times at Four Distances

It's between seasons and I must be bored. When bored I make lists, but this one has a bit of a purpose. is the most comprehensive data list for road running and such, while has its list for high school athletes and there is an equivalent for NCAA. Athlinks does go back for decades, but it's like finding a jaw bone, a femur and some teeth from some 2 million year old hominid and making inference on it's life. Athlinks has 16:20 or so as my best 5K, 34:06, 10K, and 2:44 marathon. None of those match with reality. So for the four most common distances that we do, I've listed my 10 best times.

A nuance with my running was that my best years as a runner (age 24 to 30) were spent at altitude in Colorado and Nevada. So I have used a 3% conversion factor for those races at 5000 feet and above. Listed in parentheses are the actual time. Some might say that a 33:00 at sea level is the same as a 33:00 at 5000 or 6000 feet. All I can say is Try It, and then get back to me. Nevertheless, I moved to sea level at 31 and enjoyed several good years in which I ran close to what I'd done at altitude.

So if someone does a search, maybe this will pop up in addition to Athlinks: Roger Sayre Running Personal Bests.

5K - I've run a ton of 5Ks in my life, but it was the hardest distance to get on top of (never broke 16 in college and didn't even get very close), and as my running went south in my mid-30s, it was the first to go.

15:11a (15:39 at 5000 ft altitude) Greely 5K, Greely CO, June 1985
15:20a (15:48 at 5000 ft altitude) Colorado Run 5K, Fort Collins, CO, August 1986
15:28a (uncertified) Autumn Run 5K, Steamboat Springs, CO, September 1983
15:31a (16:00 at 5000 ft altitude) Colorado Run 5K, Fort Collins, CO, September 1985
15:34 Empire State Games, Ithaca, NY, August 1989
15:34a (16:03 at 5000 ft altitude) Human Race, Fort Collins, CO August 1985
15:35 Cazenovia 4th of July 5K, Cazenovia NY, July 1989
15:35a (16:04 at 5000 ft altitude) Loveland CO, August 1985
15:39 Empire State Games Qualifier, Syracuse NY, June 1989
15:43 Guthrie Gallop 5K, Sayre, PA, April 1990

10K - I didn't know it until later (mid 20s) but I was probably most naturally a 10K runner. The distance is a blend of speed and endurance. I don't like them as much now, but do wish we had some more opportunity.

31:48a (32:51 at 6000 ft altitude) Coal Country Classic, Craig, CO, October 1983
31:58a (32:58 at 5000 ft altitude) Home Fed Run, Fort Collins, CO, April 1983
32:09a (33:09 at 5000 ft altitude) Loveland, CO, June 1985
32:11 Empire State Games, Albany, NY, July 1991
32:19 Asbury Park 10K, Asbury Park, NJ, August 1989
32:20 Asbury Park 10K, Asbury Park, NJ, August 1991
32:24 Enchanted Mountain 10K/USATF Regional, Olean, NY, September 1990
32:27 Lilac 10K, Rochester, NY, May 1990
32:31 Bismarck Press Run 10K, Bismarck, ND, September 1992
32:31a (33:31 at 5000 ft altitude) Colorado Run, Fort Collins, CO, September 1988

Half Marathon - I PRd at my first attempt at 24 and only ran a handful over the next 20 years. One of my best was the Vail Half in 1986 where I ran 1:22, but the course started at 8,700 and finished at 10,400! It was a good day. Most of my best halves are at age 46 and older. Wish I'd run some more of those back in my 20s and 30s.

1:11:05a (1:13:05 at 5000 ft altitude) Rawhide ½ Marathon, Fort Collins, CO, October 1982
1:13:18 Las Vegas Half Marathon, Las Vegas, NV, December 1988
1:17:27a (1:19:05 at 5000 ft altitude) Colorado Half Marathon, Denver, C0, October 1999
1:18:25 (estimated by memory) Manitoba Half Marathon, Winnipeg, MTB, June 1995
1:18:51 Santa Claus Half Marathon, North Pole, AK, July 2009
1:19:11 Santa Claus Half Marathon, North Pole, AK, July 2005
1:19:16 Trent-Waldron Half Marathon, Anchorage, AK, May 2008
1:19:30 Santa Claus Half Marathon, July 2006
1:19:36 Santa Claus Half Marathon, July 2012
1:19:58 Santa Claus Half Marathon, July 2008

Marathon - Geez only 9 marathon finishes (10 tries)? Those marathon maniacs will run that many in a month and call themselves lazy. Still time for a sub 3 or two, but not at Equinox. Maybe, on a good day, could take a few minutes off that 3:17.

2:29:46a (2:34:24 at 5000 ft altitude) Rawhide Marathon, Fort Collins, CO, October 1983
2:31:15a (2:35:49 at 5280 ft altitude) Mile High Marathon, Denver, CO, May 1983
2:44:24 California International Marathon, Sacramento, CA, December 1999
2:54:02 Mayor’s Marathon, Anchorage, AK, June 2008
3:00:01 California International Marathon, Sacramento, CA, December 2005
3:09:44 Equinox Marathon, Fairbanks, AK, September 2008
3:10:46 Equinox Marathon, Fairbanks, AK, September 2006
3:12:22 Equinox Marathon, Fairbanks, AK, September 2004
3:17:20 Equinox Marathon, Fairbanks, AK, September 2013

Wednesday, April 02, 2014


I'm not really taking any time off in the transition from skiing to running, but not going to jump into races right away either. Last year I did three early 5Ks, but started a week earlier and didn't do the Sonot so there was less need for recovery. This spring I'll take my time and skip the Spring Fling and Beat Beethoven and just wait until the Chena River Run to break out. Hopefully it will be warmer! I think temps were 10, 15, and 22F for those three races!

Meanwhile, I'll just jog for another week or ten days, think about getting some new shoes, and look forward to enjoying some warmer running elsewhere (snow free) for a few days this month. I've got some ambitious goals this year, and contrary to the popular approach these days any potential marathons are secondary. I really want to nail the mile, 5K-10K, and XC this year.