December 28, 2009

Gearing Up

This is a week of gearing up for my next 12-week training program, leading to the LA Marathon on March 21 (goal time 3:04...again).
My original plan was to do 100km/62mi weeks with a long, hard (progressive) 35km run on Sundays. However, my two marathon gurus, Joachim and Steve, told me that long hard runs are not important. What is important is mileage, i.e., the more, the better. This was confirmed by Scott (In the Long Run) Brown, who piled on the miles this fall and ran a 2:45 at age 44. Not to mention Hosaka's 210km a week. Anyway, they said I should run 120km a week, with no extra-long hard runs, but a marathon pace run once a week.
So...the program is:
Tues: 20k @5:00 (moderately difficult)
Wed: 12k easy (am) and 8k intervals @ abt 4:00 (pm)
Thur: 20k @5:30 (moderately easy)
Fri: 15k with 10k @ marathon pace (prob. gradually increasing distance)
Sat: 20k @5:30
Sun: 25k starting at 5:15 and getting faster
Mon: Rest

So to check that I am recovered from Santa Barbara and begin building for that, this week was:
12k @4:38.
Splits: 5k/5k/1k/1k: 24:52/22:25/4:14/4:02
Legs felt fine, no soreness at all.

Rest, work trip to Hamamatsu. Which is why I ran Monday.
Also good because I will run a 5,000m time trial Wed.

5,000m on the track in 18:48
Splits: 3:45/48/49/44/41
Felt pretty good. Ran with Fabrizio the whole way. Time is ok considering I am coming off a marathon and have not run this fast since July 29th (which was 18:38).
Weight: 60.6kg
Shoes: 220g Nike Katana Cage
Temp: About 8C/46F

20k @5:28
1:49:23 (27:09/27:09/26;53/28:09). Just ran easy pace, which turned out to be about 5:25/k.

20k @5:09
1:43:01 (26:56/26:39/24:38/24:47)
Wanted to run under 5:00 pace coming back and did so without difficulty.

Left knee (muscle above/outside knee?) is slightly sore, so rested. Also doing a long run tomorrow with a lady. (If a lady invites you for a long run, you have to go, right?)

30.1k @5:32
2:46:50 up to and around Lake Tama-ko. Legs a bit sore and tired the last 10k. Knee was fine.
Week: 88.3km (7 hrs. 50 mins)

December 21, 2009

Back Running Again

Some photos from Santa Barbara. Form is not too bad for the end of the race, right?

As for running again, actually, I have been running for the past 9 days (including today). And feeling really good. Ran easy Sunday and Monday (13th and 14th) and then pretty good runs from the 15th. Some very good, in fact. No soreness in the quads or anywhere at all. I guess the 18 weeks of training did in fact make my legs stronger. So I'm already looking forward to LA in March.

Sunday 13th
11k (approx) easy along the Tamagawa Josui. Now a tiny stream, but it was once one of the main water supplies for Edo (old Tokyo).

Monday 14th
8k easy in 43:22 5:24/k. Picked up pace one k but with difficulty.

Tuesday 15th
8k easy in 42:40 5:20/k. Felt much better - lighter, legs fresher.

Wednesday 16th
7.8k on the track. 1600 x 3, 800 x 2
6:32/6:19/6:11 (400m jog, total time 10:00), 2:59/2:57 (200m jog).
No warmup. Legs felt fine. Not pushing the pace.

Thursday 17th
8k 42:52 5:22/k. Legs felt good.
4:30. 8C/46F

Friday 18th
10k 48:51 (25:57/22:53) @4:53 (5:12/4:35)
Felt pretty good. 2nd 5k started at 4:47 and went down to 4:23.
4:30. 6C/43F

Saturday 19th
11k. Namban Rengo Hash Run - Easy with a few spurts. Distance approx.
Fun run (Hash House Harriers style). Legs felt good.

Sunday 20th
20k. 1:37:50 (24:41/25:00/23:46/24:19)
@4:54 Out @4:58 In @4:49
Felt good from start. 5:00 pace felt easy.
2:30. 10C/50F. 20% humidity

72.8k for the week

Monday 21st
12k. 55:34 (29:45/25:48)
@4:38 (4:57/4:18) Last 2k in 4:14, 4:02
Legs felt fine. No soreness at all. Didn't plan to run at such a good pace.
5:20 (pm of course). 5C/41F

Rest tomorrow as I have to go to Hamamatsu.
Wednesday night is a 5,000m club time trial.

December 10, 2009

Santa Barbara Marathon

Santa Barbara is a lovely town on the California coast about 1-1/2 hours drive north of LA. It has a long running tradition, so they decided to hold the Santa Barbara International Marathon. Fortunately for them, I showed up to make it “international.”
I arrived in LA on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 26, so had 10 days before the marathon. Had turkey for dinner and the next day drove to Las Vegas with my wife, daughter and her fiancee. First time to Vegas. I’ve never been eager to go there, not liking glitz, glitter or gambling, but I have to admit, it is a place everyone should visit once. It’s not just a different kind of city, it’s a different planet. Saw the Barry Manilow show to please my wife, but it was a good show—he’s still got the voice and is a nice, engaging guy.
I ate well and continued to do so back in LA. Had a thrill at one of my daughter’s favorite restaurants when Michael Emerson, Ben from the TV show Lost, walked in and sat down near us. It’s my favorite show and he’s one of the main actors, so that was cool. And for you Gray’s Anatomy fans, T.R. Knight stopped by his table to say hello.
Had lunch with one of the two main guys organizing the LA Marathon and confirmed that I am the official representative for Japan. The object is to get a lot of Japanese runners to go over and run it. We will have an ad in the Jan. 22 issue of Runners magazine, just to create some awareness of the race (which is March 21st and which I am going to run, as is Barry Bergmann), looking ahead to trying to create real interest for the 2011 race. It’s going to be a great event on a great course!
Anyway, I probably ate too much in the 10 days before the race, although I cut back the last four days. A larger problem was lack of sleep—I was jet-lagging the whole 10 days. This is one drawback of doing an overseas marathon, at least for me. Next time I think I will take sleeping pills to knock myself out each night.
I followed my training program fairly well, with a bit of extra taper . Ran early each morning to get used to that (was up at 4:00 or 5:00 anyway). So by race day I felt ok, but not great. Legs were rested but probably my body was not.
Drove up to SB on Saturday and met my cousins for dinner, along with blogger friend Michael from San Francisco and John, another SF runner. Michael is famous for running 12 marathons in 12 months (SB was his 12th), as well as for his terrific blog (12 months 12 races). Naturally we carbo-loaded at a good Italian restaurant.
Race morning was clear and cold. The 6:30 start was delayed for 30 minutes due to a traffic accident (which was not on the course, so that was strange). Retrieved my t-shirt from the garbage and sat on a tiny chair in an elementary school for 25 minutes. The sun warmed things up later, but my hands were pretty cold for the first four miles.
Lined up near the front and started behind the 3:00 pace group, letting them get gradually further ahead. Felt a bit cold and stiff, but was moving ok. My target pace was 7:01/mile (4:21/km), for a 3:04. The first mile was 7:14, then picked it up to 6:49. I’m not going to list the rest of the splits, because about 5 mile markers were missing and numerous others were placed wrongly. At one point I ran a 6;30, followed by a the same pace. This was very frustrating. I need the markers to hold a steady pace, otherwise I tend to slow down. This was especially true since I was running alone the entire way. People were passing me and I was passing others, but I didn’t have a group, or even an individual, to run with. I slowed quite a bit in miles 8, 9 and 10 as there were no markers and it was uphill, but managed to get to the half in 1:32:23 (if marked correctly), so I was basically on pace.
After that we had another a gradual uphill for two miles at 18 and 19, and I had been gradually slowing anyway. My legs were tired and sore enough that it was hard to hold the pace running alone. The downhills didn’t really help, as I didn’t want to go faster and stress my quads. There was another long hill (the steepest on the course) in mile 23, which reduced me to a slow slog. I recorded 8:15, but I think it was slower. However, from 20 miles my legs didn’t feel as bad as they had at Napa Valley in March. In fact, after the hill I picked up the pace considerably and held it to the end. I had planned on doing that, so was glad I was able to (maybe I was able to because I had planned on it).
I wore my Nike fuel belt and drank the four small bottles of sports drink (with protein powder) and also ate four gels. At mile 20, my daughter gave me two small bottles of an energy drink (rich in carbos and amino acids) which was almost too sweet to drink, but I managed one and a half. Does all that really help? I don’t know, my legs still got pretty sore.
The new shoes — Nike Air Zoom Cage+, at a light 240g, were problems at all.
So the final time was 3:09:17, or 3:08:33 minus a 44-second nature stop at about mile 15. I didn’t really HAVE to go, but I felt better afterwards. (Besides the damn mile markers, there were not enough porta-potties on the course.)
At least it was faster than Napa, but I have to say it was disappointing, as I had trained for 18 weeks to run a 3:04. I did win my age group, by about 10 minutes, which was nice, but, well, I expected to (most US marathons, except the big ones, have very few strong runners over 50 and none over 60). Only one 55 year old beat me, and only 4 50 year olds.
I was 68th overall out of 1,686, and 61st male out of 922. There were also more than 1,000 relay runners—teams of 3 or 4 people. It was a little weird to be running behind someone, maybe trying to catch them, and have them stop and hand off to another person. My age-graded rank of 82.5% is apparently “national class” (not quite world class).
I’d like to say it was a good race, but I can’t quite do it, due to the hills, the bad mile markers, the shortage of toilets and the scarcity of food and drink at the finish. It is a really nice town and the support along the course was pretty good.
Looking forward to the LA Marathon in March—and a faster time!

Final Taper

Weeks of Nov. 23 - Dec. 5.
17th and 18th weeks of 18-week marathon program.
Late, but I should get my final taper into this blog.

Program Menu: 11k with 8 x 100m striders
Actual Run: 11k with 8 x 100m @ 5:36/k

PM: 6k@5:30-6:00
AR: 6k@5:51

PM: 13k with 3 x 1600m @ 5k race pace
AR: 0k (work trip to Hamamatsu, no time to run)

PM: 8k recover
AR: 17.8k. 5k@5:39 in Tokyo. 12.8k in LA (4k@5:57, 3 x 1600m@ 5:00/5:00/4:30, 4k@5:33
Legs rather stiff, did not feel particularly good.

PM: 10k with 8 x 100m striders
AR: 0k

PM: 21k@4:48-5:14
AR: 11k@5:14

PM: Rest
AR: 5k. 3.8k@5:55, 6 x 200m striders.

Week total
PM: 69k
AR: 50.8k

PM: 11k@5:30-6:00
AR: 11k@5:45

PM:11k easy with 3k@4:21
AR: 12k. 4.5k@6:00, 3.2k@4:22.5 (2 miles in 7:16/6:46), 4.3k@5:58.
Cruised the 3k, felt ok.

PM: 8k recovery
AR: 8k@5:41

PM: 8k recovery with 6 x 100m
AR: 6.4k easy, picked up last k

PM: 6k recovery
AR: Rest

PM: Program ends, as I am a day off
AR: 6k@5:50.

Week: PM: 44k AR: 37k